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Ashdown

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Re: Ashdown

Postby Seikfreid » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:20 pm

Fangrim was the first to the base of the tree, and it was a good thing he was. No one else could have reacted as quickly as he did. The moment he stepped into the archway of the gate, there was a sudden whoosh and two sword blades sliced through the air just in front of him. He jumped back instinctively, and the blades passed just inches from his chest. Immediately his sword was drawn, and he faced his new attackers. Two guards faced him, their eyes- what were they?- looked like empty sockets that stared him straight in the face. Anselfer and Seikfreid were at his side now, swords drawn. The trio could see past the two guards who barred the path. On the other side of the gateway they could see Algair and Gregor fighting back-to-back against a dozen or more of the guards.

Fangrim saw his friend in danger and rushed the two guards in front of him, striking blows against both. Seikfreid and Anselfer rushed by to relieve the two Crown soldiers in the courtyard. Fangrim quickly finished off the two guards, who collapsed to the ground without uttering a cry. He followed the others into the courtyard and threw himself into the fray. By now there were more than twenty guards fighting against the company of five. Many lay dead, but as they were killed reinforcements arrived from across the courtyard. Just as the group thought they had gained a numerical advantage, they heard drumbeats and saw an entire company marching across the courtyard in formation. If the enemy column reached them, they would be driven back and overwhelmed.

Everyone fought harder, but there were still too many guards fighting them to break off and flee. Fangrim killed his opponent and instantly raised and blew his horn as loud as he possibly could. It took just an instant, but he barely raised his sword in time to parry a blow from one of the guards. The column of guards stopped and spread out into a long line, four rows deep. Algair looked up and his hope began to fade. If the guards had advanced in a column, they would have only had to fight four or five men at a time. Now that they were in lines, the five warriors would be overwhelmed.

The lines advanced, their soldiers perfectly in step with each other the entire way. How do they maintain perfect formation Algair found himself wondering. He concentrated on fighting again, desperately trying to kill of the few guards remaining before the enemy company arrived. The lines closed on the group swiftly, and the men were just beginning to feel totally lost when the remarkable happened. A volley of arrows from behind Algair cut through the guards' ranks, killing a dozen soldiers. Yet they still kept coming, their formation unbroken, still in step. Another volley smashed into them, and another and another. There were less than twoscore left when they finally reached the five warriors, but by now the five were exhausted and would have been killed had it not been for Anselfer. Raising his staff, he bellowed something and a blinding light erupted from his staff, smashing through the guards and obliterating them all. Once they were all dead, he collapsed to the ground and lay still.

Fangrim lifted the exhausted wizard onto his shoulder and began to jog away. "Come on, more will arrive if we aren't gone in the next few moments."

"It appears your horn has worked, I'd say," said Algair, gesturing in the direction of the woods. A band of Frontier Guard archers was emerging from the forest, motioning for the group to follow. "And it's lucky it did. Without those archers we would all be dead."

The sounds of many drums in the distance reached the group's ears as they fled through the forest and away from the man who called himself the king.
Failure is not an option.
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Re: Ashdown

Postby Seikfreid » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:10 pm

Sorry for the long delay, guys.

After two days of nonstop walking, the company finally emerged from the forest and onto the plains to the north. Seikfreid was awestruck by the vastness of their expanse and stood open-mouthed at the top of the ridge upon which they stood. As far as the eye could see, the nearly barren grasslands stretched into the distance. A few ridges and rolling hills would provide some cover, but if their pursuers had still been behind them, there would have been no place to hide. As it were, they would be safe as they crossed the long stretch of open plains.

They stopped for supper and made camp for the night at the forest's edge, but did not light a fire. In the morning, Seikfreid was the first to rise. He yawned, stretched, and slowly rose to his feet. It was still dark, but he could just see the first faint light of the sun beginning to crest the horizon. Delighted at the chance to see a sunrise this far north on such an open area, he moved to the edge of the ridge and sat down to watch. As the sun moved up in the sky, a voice spoke softly from behind him.

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" It was Algair, who was sitting just behind him on the ridge. Seikfreid had no idea how long he had been there.

Seikfreid nodded. "It's amazing how much bigger the sun looks on the open plains."

"And that is one of the many reasons I often wish I could return to the Northlands." Seikfreid was surprised to see Algair's face suddenly turn sad.

"Why can't you?" asked Seikfreid. Algair was silent for a long time, and Seikfreid thought he may have mad a mistake in asking. Then the warrior spoke again. "It would drive me mad," he said finally. "I couldn't handle the guilt."

"Guilt?"

"Yes..." Algair looked down. "I was engaged to a wonderful girl from Turrinburg. We used to wander these plains, only it was farther to the east. We were so happy together. Then, one day, I woke up to find our camp overrun by trolls. I fought as hard as I could, but I couldn't save her. She was killed before I could even get to her. The trolls left me for dead and left as quickly as they had come. But I still clung to life. I crawled for two days, until I was parched and delirious. I awoke in Anselfer's house three weeks later, in Ashdown. But I remembered. And I vowed to get revenge one day. So I have been fighting trolls ever since." He went quiet again, and Seikfreid looked away sadly.

"I'm sorry..." he whispered, turning to face east. Something was coming towards them through a valley. He rubbed his eyes, but it was what he had thought he had seen. Algair saw it too.

The warrior sprang to his feet. "Troll wagons! With prisoners! And look, they are pursuing some other faction on horseback!"

He drew his sword. "Perhaps I will find the one who killed her today," he said. He let out a horrifying scream and charged down the hill, screaming, "Come on, Seikfreid, today you prove that you are the greatest warrior alive!"

Without even realizing it, Seikfreid had drawn his sword and was following Algair down the hill.
Failure is not an option.
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