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  1. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    246
    Chapter 32: A Nick Of Time...

    The straps were cinched down and tested to make sure there was no movement. Stedam made sure his 'package' was secure one last time before he headed out. He was still surprised that the tracker had no problems helping him gather the supplies that had fallen out of a tear in the bag. Once she was on her hands and knees, it was very easy to keep her down and place the rag over her mouth and nose until the liquid in the rag knocked her out. He looked at the unconscious body of the tracker and a deep frown quickly replaced the smile he had on his face. He didn't want to do this to her, but when he overheard her asking the captain about the riders capturing her friends, he had to do this. His hands mechanically went to the straps again, but he knew he strapped her down as tight as he could without cutting off her circulation. He didn't know what she would be worth to the orcs, but they had her friends and she was asking about them, so he would bring her to them. He thought he had done well and should be well-compensated for his troubles. He walked over to his mule to make sure the rope to Crisil's horse was tied tight.


    He put his hands on the mule and was about to climb up when he stopped and took one last look at the limp figure strapped to the horse. He sighed and shook his head. As he was about to climb on his mule, he froze where he stood. He could feel the sweat bead up on his forehead and he didn't dare move. He gulped and felt the cold steel of a blade pressed against his throat. His eyes grew wide as fear sunk its talons in. A voice close to his right ear said, "The tracker, is she alive or is she dead?" Stedam gulped as the blade was pressed tighter. The voice said, "I won't ask a second time." Weak-kneed, the soldier said between tears, "She is alive and well, just unconscious. Please don't kill me!" He couldn't help himself any longer and released his bladder.


    The figure holding the blade heard a small trickle of water and the smell hit them. The figure wrinkled their nose and shoved the soldier to the ground. The soldier sobbed and curled up as much as he could. The figured pulled off its mask and Rheyah stood there looking disapprovingly at the soldier. She bent down and pointed her sword at Stedam's throat. "What direction is the orc camp you were planning on taking her?" she asked through clenched teeth. "Answer me and I may spare your cowardly, filthy life!" The soldier weakly raised his arm and pointed in the direction of the orc camp. Rheyah stood up and walked over to the mule. With a quick slice, she cut the rope that held Crisil's horse to the mule. The mule was oblivious to what was going on and looked around for the sparse tufts of grass. She went to the back of the mule and smacked it hard with the hilt of her sword. The eyes and ears of the mule stood straight up and with a loud squeal, the mule took off straight ahead. She looked back at the soldier. He hadn't moved a muscle and was still balled up, sobbing uncontrollably. Rheyah sighed to herself and quickly went to Crisil's aid. Keeping the soldier in her field of view, she undid the straps and gently slung Crisil's limp form over her shoulder. She took the reigns of Crisil's horse and walked them over to where she had her horse tied up. She got up on the saddle and put Crisil in front of her, resting against her. She still had hold of the rope attached to Crisil's horse and gently urged her horse forward. She wanted to get as far away from this place as she could.


    -------------------


    Winterwulf looked at the camp they were being taken to. Judging by the thick wooden post-walls and the sharp barricades for defense, this was no small camp they arrived at. His brother came into his field of view. He knew the only reason he was still on the horse was the contraption attached to them... well, that and being lashed to the horse, too. He didn't even know if his brother was still alive. Please let him be alive. Not one of these creatures will live if it's shown otherwise! They slowly rode through the camp. Orcs and goblins licked their lips when the saw the brothers on horseback. One goblin even got up from his perch and ran towards the group on horseback, until a couple of Uruk guards stopped his advance. The crazed look in his eyes showed that he would not be deterred and, thankfully, for Winterwulf's sake, the goblin was out of his site when the Uruks caved in his skull with a bloody crunch. Any hope of fresh meat was quelled as the other orcs and goblins went back to what had their attention before.


    They two were led deep into the camp and stopped in front of a large, rusting cage. Four Uruks dismounted and two grabbed Winterwulf while the other two worked on Silentknife. The hunter was securely tied to a post, as was his brother. Winterwulf strained as much as he could to see, but he didn't like what he did see: Silentknife was hanging limp on the post he was attached to. "He needs to be checked to see if he is still alive!" Winterwulf yelled to his captors. They just ignored him and, after checking their work on securing their quarry, left the cage. Winterwulf tried to struggle, but he was tied tight... he could scarcely move. The cage door swung open and a large Uruk walked in. His body was covered in plate mail and his helmet covered all but his eyes and mouth. "If any harm comes to my brother..." began the hunter. "You'll what?" sneered the Uruk. He walked up to Silentknife's limp form and put his hand around the burglar's throat. "The human lives." was all the Uruk said as he approached Winterwulf. He walked around the hunter, checking the work done to secure him to the post. "Yes, you won't be going anywhere until you are transported to the final camp." the Uruk smiled hideously at the hunter, knowing what would be in store for him at the next camp. I can't let that happen... I don't think Silentknife will make it that far! "Until then, enjoy you stay at our fine establishment." the Uruk said as he bowed deeply, mocking the hunter. He turned and left the cage, securing the door and testing it to make sure it was secure. The Uruk approached a large, ugly troll that was covered in armor. "These are the two you will be guarding. You will have to give them food and water as they are a little tied-up at the moment." The Uruk looked at his prisoners and laughed. He turned back to the troll. "Make sure nothing happens to them!" He took one last look at the hunter, sneered, and walked away. I will be sure to make your death as slow and painful as possible! Winterwulf tried to look around, but soon gave up. Things were looking bleak.


    -------------------


    Deathwulf surveyed the camp the brothers were taken to from as safe a spot in the distance as he could. Numerous wargs and their orc riders were patrolling all areas of the camp, inside and out and numerous trolls could be seen, as well. He could easily pick out the scent of the brothers. It smells like they haven't bathed in months! I need to find a way inside. He crept stealthily closer to see if there was any weakness in the camps defenses.


    -------------------


    Crisil opened her eyes and saw only darkness. Fear set in as she couldn't remember anything that had happened. She felt a blanket covering her and realized she was in a bed. What happened? Suddenly, the memories came flooding back. Winterwulf and Silentknife are still prisoners! I have to help them! She didn't know where she was or how she got there, but she knew she couldn't stay. Carefully, she got out of bed and felt around for anything familiar. She hit a table and clamped her mouth before she yelled out in pain. She froze at the noise the table made. She could see where the door was as a light grew brighter underneath it. Someone's approaching! She crouched down, ready to spring at the door when it opened... at least she had the element of surprise with her.


    She heard the knob turn and her frame tensed up as she braced herself to leap at her captor. "Crisil?" came a familiar voice as the door slowly opened. Crisil's body relaxed as she recognized Rheyah's voice. She leapt at Rheyah and threw her arms around her neck, giving her a big hug and almost causing her to lose her balance. "Whoa!" she chuckled as she kept from dropping the candle and returned the hug. After a few short moments (it seemed like forever to Crisil), she relaxed her grip on her friend and allowed Rheyah to light the bigger candle near the bed. The added light cast a warm glow on the small bedroom, but Crisil didn't mind. She was just happy to see her friend. "I thought I had lost you!" she said, then she frowned as she thought of the brothers. "We have to go rescue them! I was with a soldier named Stedam and he was going to take me to the camp..." "He was going to take you to the orcs," Rheyah said, cutting her off, "He used a rag and some liquid that I hadn't smelled before to knock you out and had you strapped to your horse to deliver you to the orcs when I came upon you two. It's lucky I came when I did." "But how did you know where I was?" asked Crisil.


    Rheyah began her tale, "When we parted, I followed the road in the opposite direction and scouted south east. I came upon the town of Floodwend. I met the thane there, and his mother. The thane is much too young, in my opinion, but he has a wise women to guide him." She saw the look Crisil was giving here and hurried her story along, "I told a little of what I was doing and told them I was a visitor and didn't know these parts very well. The thane was all too happy to show me the detailed maps they had of the area and I quickly copied the important landmarks down. Of these, a couple of names were mentioned that sparked my interest." Rheyah had Crisil's, as well. "The name of the camp that the brothers were taken to is called Maustazg. It is south of, and watching, a town called Eaworth. I am very certain of this as it was mentioned, very often, mind you, when I talked about Uruks that rode horses. The number of riders made the thane blurt out that name... his mother agreed, very quickly, that it could only be them."


    A smile steadily grew on Crisil's face. "We have to rescue them!" Then it dawned on her. "But wait... where are we?" Rheyah laughed, "We are in a town called Elthengels. I rode as fast as I could for fear of losing you and made it to this town, which was a landmark I had copied from the map Floodwend had. It is a very accurate map." Crisil nodded. Rheyah's tone grew more serious. "I was also warned to be on the lookout for a soldier who was 'thought' to be selling slaves to the Orcs. They didn't know who it was, but, judging by what you have gone through, I'd say Stedam was that person. I followed a path around the fort and saw the big rock. That's when I stumbled upon the both of you" Crisil's face turned ashen. "And I thought he was trying to help." The realization finally hit her, "Wait, you didn't kill him, did you?" Rheyah looked at Crisil a bit before answering. "No, but I did scare his pack mule off into the night and I left him sobbing in the fetal position that he was in. He may have tricked people, but he isn't a killer. And after the events that he had gone through, I doubt he'll be doing that anymore." Rheyah looked at Crisil once more. "If I do run across him again, though, I will kill him." Crisil simply nodded and looked back at the crude map Rheyah had quickly copied. "If we head west at daybreak, we should get to their camp in a few hours ride if we ride hard enough." Rheyah paused before she spoke. "We don't know what we are heading into... it's probably best that we don't approach the camp directly until we access the situation." Crisil frowned, but nodded, agreeing with her friend. "Then lets devise a plan to get them back!"
    [I][B]I refuse to have a battle of wits with an un-armed person...[/B][/I]

    My blog with all my writings can be read [URL="http://aschesnuk.wordpress.com/"]here[/URL].

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    246
    Chapter 33: Desperate Times

    Winterwulf watched the slight rise and fall of his brother's chest. He wasn't sure how long they had been there, but he didn't think his brother could survive much longer. He saw the troll sitting outside the cage and his mind thought back to what he knew.


    The troll guarding us outside only comes in to feed us and give us water. Because of these contraptions, he has to feed us since we cannot move our limbs. We haven't been untied, so there is no exercise, but we... wait! He has to feed us..


    Winterwulf stared at his brother once more. This has to work! I'll probably have only one shot, but I need to do it the next time he feeds us!


    -----------------


    A horn sounded in the distance and the hunter watched as the troll got up. The troll stretched, if you want to call it that, and let out a long yawn. He looked around for his bucket and, after finding it, walked out of the hunter's view.


    A little while passed and Winterwulf heard the rustling of metal against metal. He lifted his head up as much as he could and saw the troll coming in with his bucket: the contents sloshing over the sides. He cringed when he saw it. How can they eat that slop? He lowered his head before the troll saw him and watched as the troll went to his brother first. The troll drew a spoonful of the slop and brought it to Silentknife's lips. When he saw the burglar didn't make any movement, he shrugged and went over to the hunter.


    When the troll got closer, Winterwulf said, "Water...". The troll set down the bucket of slop and went over to the water barrel. He took a smaller bucket and scooped some water into it. He brought it over to the hunter and tried to pour it down the hunter's throat. Winterwulf thought he would drown when the troll poured the water down his face. In between gulps of air mixed in with the water, the hunter choked and coughed up more than he drank. His throat burned from the effort. Winterwulf glared at the troll as the troll set his empty water bucket down and grabbed his slop bucket. He scooped some slop in the spoon and brought it to the hunter's lips. Now's my chance! Winterwulf moved slightly, causing the troll to lunge forward slightly. That brief moment gave the hunter free access to the troll's hand. The hunter bit down hard on the troll's hand. The troll let out a furious roar and dropped the spoon as he snatched his hand back.


    Winterwulf spat out the chunk of skin in his mouth and could only watch as the troll's fist slammed into the side of the hunter's head. The force of the blow snapped the pole he was attached to and his body flew backwards, his arms still strapped to the cross-pole. The impact of his still-strapped body with the ground forced the air from his lungs. It was the sheer pain lancing through his shoulders and neck that forced him to lose consciousness. The last image he saw before he blacked out was of the troll kicking the water bucket and smashing it into little pieces.


    --------------------


    Crisil and Rheyah looked at the camp from the hill they hid behind. Things didn't look good for the trackers... the camp was littered with warg riders. "I can't see a weak spot in their defenses." said Crisil. Rheyah bit her lower lip. "Let's ride around towards Eaworth and see what it looks like from that direction." Crisil nodded and they carefully crept back to where they had the horses tied to a lone, sparse tree.


    They mounted their horses and turned towards Eaworth. After a short ride, they heard snarls behind them. They looked back and saw three warg riders around the hill they had just come from. The wargs were sniffing around the hill and Crisil was not about to wait for them. She and Rheyah kicked their horses into a full gallop and made straight for the town. One of the wargs heard a noise and looked up to see the trackers getting away. He let out a growl to get the other wargs attention and took off after the horses.


    Crisil looked behind her and saw the wags gaining ground, fast. She looked ahead and didn't see how they could outrun the wargs. With how fast they were gaining, she knew they didn't have much time. The trackers rode their horses as hard and as fast as they could, but with every passing second, the trailing wargs were gaining ground quickly. Crisil could hear the wargs behind them, and they were only half-way to Eaworth! A shadow flew overhead and a warg landed in front of them, between the two. Without slowing down, the trackers split off. The warg that lept over them took off after Rheyah. The two behind them also split off. Crisil knew she only had one behind her, but it would have her soon if she didn't react. She let go of the reins and grabbed the bow from her back. She was an expert bowsman as it was, but she excelled at the use of her bow from horseback. She slightly tensed her thighs and the horse darted to the side, giving her a clear shot at the trailing warg. She fired off two quick arrows and the warg went down in a heap... arrows protruding from the head of both the warg and the rider. She looked at the dead warg and rider a moment, then rode as hard as she could in the direction Rheyah headed.


    Rheyah rode hard but couldn't shake the wargs. She tried to ride in a zig zag pattern as she knew she couldn't beat them riding in a straight line. She rode dangerously close to the ridge and back to the plains, switching between the gravel under foot and the grass. She trusted her horse could handle the change of the terrain, but so could the wargs. As she veered back towards the grass, she glanced back and saw the wargs closing in on her. Then, suddenly, the rider on the furthest warg stiffened and fell over to the side. The rider's foot was caught and the weight of him and the momentum of the warg caused it to lose its balance and head towards the cliff, moving like a drunk. The warg couldn't stop in time and tumbled over the side of the cliff. Rheyah smirked but then realized the other warg wasn't behind her. She turned to her left and barely avoided a swing by the warg rider. He lept from his saddle onto Rheyah's back and almost caused her to tumble off as she nearly lost her balance. The goblin wasn't used to standing on the horse and lost his balance as he fell towards the warg. Rheyah looked ahead as she heard the crushing of bones as the rider hit the ground and the warg ran over him. She looked to her left to see where the warg was and was thrown from the horse as the warg lept at her, hitting her square in the side.


    Crisil saw what was happening ahead of her and let out a cry of anguish. She knew she wouldn't be able to reach her friend in time. Before the dust had settled, she saw Rheyah's limp form and the warg slowly closing in on her, ready to deal the killing blow. As she watched the scene slowly unfold, the warg was nearly on top of her. Saliva dripped off the wargs fangs as he prepared to gorge her neck. The warg suddenly stopped, his eyes lifeless, as he fell over to the side. A javelin shaft was sticking out the base of the back of his skull. Crisil was close to her friend as she saw three soldiers appear from the far side, cautiously approaching the bodies. Two knelt by Rheyah, carefully checking for a pulse and the third approached the dead warg. He placed his boot on the wargs neck and a slurping sound was heard as the javelin was removed from the skull. Crisil pulled up close and dismounted her horse with a practiced slide and was about to run over to Rheyah's side. An arm wrapped around her waist preventing her from moving forward.


    "Easy there," said the soldier who had retrieved his javelin, "your friend has been seriously hurt. She is in good hands, just let the men work on her." Tears came to Crisil's eyes and threatened to burst free and she gazed upon her unmoving friend. Two more soldiers appeared with a stretcher and the two who knelt by her gently lifted her up and placed her on the stretcher. The stretcher was carefully lifted and the soldiers who just came left as quickly, carrying their precious cargo as if she weighed nothing. She barely heard the soldier ask why the wargs were chasing them as she watched her friend leave.


    Crisil wiped her eyes with her sleeve. She said, almost mechanically, "Two of our friends were taken to that camp," she pointed towards the camp hill on the hill, "and when we were headed this way from our hiding spot behind a small hill, those three wargs came upon us."


    The soldier had a worried look on him. "You have two friends that were captured?" he asked. Crisil nodded. The soldier cursed. "They won't be there long. Prisoners are kept there for holding until they are moved in a few days to a camp further to the northwest." The hope began to fade from Crisil's eyes. The soldier saw this and hurriedly added, "But you said your friends were just brought there, so they still may be there and you may yet be able to rescue them. Come with me!" He said as he led her behind the walls of Eaworth.


    -----------------------


    The trees were thick in part of the forest... he didn't know if he could track his target down in this lush maze. He looked at the ground and his surroundings, but couldn't see any visible signs. A quick movement caught his attention. He ran through the vegetation after his target. Again he stopped as he lost the trail again. Winterwulf was getting frustrated. He had never had this much of a problem before. He looked for trails in the forest floor and his surroundings, but, again, could find nothing. He caught more movement out of the corner of his eye and blindly chased after... fear welling up inside him.


    His leg suddenly stuck and he fell forward. He splashed in water he never expected or thought would be here. He soon realized that he was still going down. Panic set in as he struggled to keep his head above water. He struggled valiantly, but still felt the water on his face...


    ---------------------


    Winterwulf's eyes shot open. He raised himself on his elbows and looked around until he got his bearings. His shoulders and neck ached, but it was a dull throb. He reached around to touch his back and his arm brushed his face. He removed his arm and saw his sleeve was wet. He reached up and felt his face and realized is was soaked. He pulled his hand back and realized it was drool.


    "About time you woke up! Didn't think that would ever happen..."


    The hunter looked up and saw Deathwulf, laying on some boxes, looking at the hunter. He smiled and suddenly winced as the throb reminded him of his hurt neck and shoulders. Winterwulf glanced behind him and saw the contraption for what it was. Two rows of hollow needles, spaced close together that must have attached to his shoulders.


    As if reading his thoughts, Deathwulf finished it for him, "They pumped some sort of liquid through the needles into your system... probably some paralytic. You did something to piss the troll off because he hit you hard and knocked you out... Also broke the post, the ties and the contraption... he almost killed you."


    "That was a chance I had to take," replied Winterwulf, "and my hunch was right. Now to find out how to remove this from my brother, if it isn't already too late." He walked over to his limp brother and carefully touched him to see if he was hooked up the same way. It looked like it. As he was figuring out how to free his brother, the cage door slammed open.


    "You!" bellowed the troll as he stumbled through the cage in rage, his hands flailing around. Winterwulf saw the loose wrap where he bit the troll in the hand. "You did this! I'll smash you!" The troll was beyond reason and ran at the hunter. He was still very sore, but was still able to deftly tumble and avoid the clumsy attack. He got up and ran behind a stack of boxes. He backed up and the poor lighting allowed him to use his camouflage skill. The troll looked between the boxes and didn't see the hunter. He roared in rage and brought his fist down on the top box, smashing it to bits. The hunter didn't flinch and when the troll moved on, he let out a breath. He quickly looked around and located their weapons that were simply thrown into a corner of the cage. Pretty arrogant to store the weapons in the same location as the prisoners. Winterwulf could here the troll looking for him in another location, so he broke camouflage and raced for the weapon pile.


    Before the troll could turn around to investigate the noise he heard, Winterwulf had reached his bow and fired 2 quick arrows, hitting the troll in the face, which dropped him where he stood, dead.


    "Looks like we'll need another troll," came a voice from another direction. The hunter turned, his bow drawn, and aimed at the Uruk leader. The Uruk had his sword tip pointed at Silentknife's throat.
    Last edited by TanisWhisperwind; Jun 23 2015 at 01:35 PM.
    [I][B]I refuse to have a battle of wits with an un-armed person...[/B][/I]

    My blog with all my writings can be read [URL="http://aschesnuk.wordpress.com/"]here[/URL].

  3. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    246
    Chapter 34: Unexpected Surprise!

    Winterwulf took dead aim at the Uruk’s heart and a wave of calm and determination swept over him. He released his arrow and hit his target with deadly accuracy. But the arrow bounced off the Uruk’s armor like it wasn’t even there.

    The Uruk laughed. “If that was your best, your brother is as good as dead!” The Uruk went to push his sword through Silentknife’s throat, but his arm didn’t move an inch. The bewildered Uruk screamed, “What kind of magic is this?”


    Deathwulf appeared from stealth with his jaws planted firmly on the Uruk’s sword forearm. The Uruk tried with all his might to move his arm, but it wouldn’t budge.


    “Mangy cur!” the Uruk snarled and punched the warg in the face with his free hand. Deathwulf closed his eyes and absorbed the blow, but still kept his grip on the Uruk. The Uruk bellowed and pounded the wargs face with blow after blow. This only seemed to make Deathwulf more mad as he increased the pressure on the Uruk’s arm.


    The assault on the warg grew with urgency as the Uruk understood what Deathwulf was doing, but the pain overtook the Uruk as the force of the blows greatly diminished. The Uruk cried out in pain as the sword fell from his hand and Deathwulf crushed his arm in ways arms were never meant to bend. The breaking of bones and splitting of skin brought a howl of anguish from the Uruk and he fell to his knees, screaming. Deathwulf let go of the dangling arm and growled once… a low growl from the pit of his stomach, and lunged at the throat of the Uruk, silencing him for good. Deathwulf released the lifeless corpse and stood there glaring at the dead Uruk. Winterwulf slung his bow and quiver over his back, picked up their weapons and hurried over. “Take care of you brother,” the warg said without taking his eyes off the Uruk.


    Winterwulf scrambled over to Silentknife and began to unhook the contraption. He cringed knowing that he would end up hurting his brother, but he had no choice… he had to remove it. He was grateful that his brother was unconscious through the whole thing, and his body being strapped to the pole made it that much easier.


    After what seemed like a long time, Winterwulf carefully removed the contraption from Silentknife; the needles still oozed with the paralytic liquid. Silentknife’s breathing was very shallow and Winterwulf began to wonder if he did the right thing. He carefully moved his brother out of sight of the opening. It was the middle of the night, but he wasn’t taking chances. He couldn’t move the troll and he left the Uruk where he was… I’ll deal with intruders when they come.

    Winterwulf sat near his brother for what seemed like hours. His breathing didn’t get any better. The hunter stood up and found other buckets by the water barrel. Hmmm… they planned ahead. The must’ve known the troll had anger issues. Winterwulf sniffed the water, and not detecting anything, plunged the bucket into the liquid. He brought the bucket over to his brother and scooped some in his hands to get him to drink. Most of the water ran down the burglar’s neck, but Winterwulf hoped he got some in. As he went to get more, Silentknife’s hand came up to meet his hands.

    Winterwulf dropped the water and went to his brother’s side.

    “Is… the… dev..ice… off?” he asked in very ragged breaths. Winterwulf couldn’t hide his smile when he answered his brother, “Yes, it’s off.”


    “Good… must…. rest….” said Silentknife as he passed out. Winterwulf felt his pulse and breathed out in relief… his brother’s pulse already felt stronger.


    “Will he be ok?” Deathwulf asked as he appeared next to the hunter.


    “Yes, he just needs to rest and get his strength back,” the hunter said as he gently moved his brother to a more comfortable location.


    Once he got his brother situated, the hunter looked at the entrance to the cage. As if he read the hunter’s unspoken thoughts, Deathwulf said, “I’ll check out the surrounding area and keep watch.”


    Winterwulf smiled and simply shook his head. Winterwulf checked his crossbow, his weapons and his brother’s weapons and went to the front of the cell to look outside.


    As he approached the cell door, he stopped when he heard an explosion nearby. His eyes opened wide as realization dawned on what it was, but it was too late. Before he could react, a second explosion, much closer, went off and sent him flying through the air. He struck the cage and crumpled to the ground.


    —————-


    Winterwulf woke up with dust all around him and a loud ringing in his ears. Silentknife! That thought gave the hunter much-needed adrenaline, but he dropped back to a knee when he tried to stand. He tried to look around the dust and get his bearings. He could hear the muffled, faint sounds of fighting coming from outside… he just couldn’t tell how close they were. I have to get to my brother before anyone else does!

    Winterwulf tried to stand and fell against the cage for support. Once he had his legs under him, he got his bearings and tried to locate his brother. He moved to the back wall. It was stable and still in one piece. He looked around through the floating dust and saw the tarp he covered his brother with. He was able to move his unconscious brother with a little effort. Other than being covered in dust and debris, his brother looked no worse for wear. The steady breathing and his chest slowly going up and down made Winterwulf take a deep breath. Looking for a way out, he heard voices approaching. He drew his axes and ducked down, waiting to strike and protect his brother.


    “Check in here!” a voice called outside the cage. Winterwulf tensed and prepared to surprise his attacker. He heard the gate swing open and readied himself. As he was about to jump out swinging, he heard a familiar voice say, “They must be in here somewhere!”


    Winterwulf lowered his axes and stood up. “Crisil?” he asked.


    Upon seeing the hunter, Crisil’s face lit up and she ran over, squeezing the hunter in a bear hug. Winterwulf let her enjoy the reunion momentarily, but then broke free from her embrace. He saw there were five other men with her, as well. Judging by the spears and javelins they had, he guessed she was in the company of wardens. “Where’s Silentknife?” she asked as fear started to creep into her voice.


    “He’s here, but he’s unconscious.”


    Before she could say anything, he cut her off. “He is resting. The device they put us in has been been removed, but it took its toll on him. He needs to recover and we need to get him out of here.”


    “We can help with that,” said one of the wardens. “I’m commander Hawthorn and these are my men. Your tracker friend told us you were captured and in this camp, so we created a diversion to get you out. We have to move quickly, though!” he said as he directed his men to each corner of the tarp Silentknife had been placed on. The wardens each took a corner and, as one, slowly lifted him up, both to show care for the burglar and to test the durability of the tarp. The other wardens nodded and the commander took the lead. “This way!” he said.


    Crisil stayed close to the hunter as they followed the wardens out of the cage. Winterwulf kept a close eye on his brother to make sure he was ok. When he saw what was laid out before his eyes, he stopped in shock. Where he expected to see part of the enemy encampment, was an open area with a shallow crater in the middle. Everything had been blown to bits. The must’ve been the second explosion… what could’ve done this?! He shook his head to snap out of his thought and continued after the wardens. As they went through the open area, Winterwulf’s hair stood on end as he knew they were in the open and they had no cover should they be attacked. He looked at the wardens, who didn’t seem to be fazed by this whole ordeal at all. They carried his brother with seemingly little effort and didn’t break a sweat in carrying him.


    As they approached the edge of the camp, Winterwulf could see the green pastures of a hill. It was where a wall of logs should have been. The first blast blew a hole in the wall that let the wardens and Crisil in. Guess those by the wall should consider themselves as being lucky! Winterwulf cringed at the thought.


    The commander of the wardens held his hand up as they approached the breach. The other wardens stopped in unison. He looked around the area. Sounds of nearby battles could be heard, but the path to the city looked clear. The commander gave a signal and the other wardens resumed their march.


    About a third of the way down the hill, they heard a loud roar behind them. Crisil and Winterwulf turned toward the sound as the wardens continued down the hill. Five Uruks, with their swords drawn, rushed towards the waiting hunter and tracker. An object flew by Winterwulf’s ear with a Whoosh! and one of the Uruks toppled over to the side, dead… a javelin could be seen sticking out of the area where the Uruk’s heart was. The four remaining Uruks continued their charge, oblivious to their fallen comrade. The commander of the wardens joined the hunter and the tracker, his shield and spear in defensive position, bracing for the advancing onslaught.


    “The others are taking your brother to safety, and will rejoin us, if there is anything left…” said commander Hawthorn as he quickly adjusted his helmet. “Let’s show these Uruks what true fighting is all about!” he shouted as he charged to meet them, head-on. Winterwulf and Crisil were right behind him, with weapons drawn.


    Hawthorn took the two that went straight for him, with Winterwulf engaging one, as was Crisil. The warden bashed the Uruk straight ahead of him with his shield and ducked to avoid a slash from the other Uruk. With the one Uruk momentarily dazed, he brought his spear up to parry a second attack from the other Uruk. He deftly blocked with his spear and using the other end, swiped the Uruks feet from under him. He landed on his back with a loud thud and his breath left him, as did his savage-looking sword. The warden pierced him with his spear before the Uruk could get his wits about him, ending his life and making his battle with the lone Uruk.


    Winterwulf blocked the initial attack from the Uruk with his two axes and then went on the offensive. The Uruk did what he could to try to counter and block the relentless attack from the hunter, but he was moving backwards quickly and lost his balance. He threw his arms up as he fell backward, looking at the ground, and felt the blades of the axes cut through the front of his armor, leaving huge gashes on his chest. He went to lunge at Winterwulf, but the hunter put a boot on the Uruk’s sword arm and in one motion, sliced the Uruk’s throat.


    Crisil was the smallest of the group, and the Uruk attacking her knew it. He was relentless as he backed her down the hill, his sword coming down upon her two swords, battering her down. The battle was wearing on her quickly and she dropped to a knee. The Uruk smiled his evil grin and brought his sword up for the killing blow. He brought his sword down in a crushing blow, and hit nothing but air… an empty spot where Crisil used to be. Crisil used her size and speed to go under the Uruk’s legs as he raised his sword arm, and, coming up behind him, buried her swords up to the hilts into the Uruk’s back. The look of surprise was the last look the Uruk had as he fell forward, dead.


    The lone Uruk glanced at his fallen comrades and bellowed and he rushed the warden. He didn’t care that he was alone… he just wanted to take as many as he could with him. Hawthorn, surprised by the Uruk rushing at him, barely braced himself as the Uruk collided with him… but tumbling down the hill. The grappled with each other as the tumbled down the hillside… Winterwulf and Crisil both joined in the chase, but they tumbling foes opened up a wider lead. When they finally stopped, the Uruk was atop the pile. He brought his fist down towards Hawthorn’s head, but the warden avoided the punch and used the Uruk’s momentum to send him over his head.


    The Uruk fell into the hillside, off-balance and his breath was forced from his lungs. Without hesitation, Hawthorn was on him, pummeling the Uruk’s face with his fists. The Uruk tried to block the blows, but the warden was unrelenting, and soon, the Uruk stopped blocking the warden’s punches as he lost consciousness. Hawthorn stood up, breathing heavily and grabbed his javelin from his back. He held it over his head and jammed it into the Uruk’s chest, killing him. He staggered backwards and collapsed on the hillside, breathing hard, as the hunter and tracker reached him.


    “Are you ok?” Winterwulf asked.


    Hawthorn nodded, “I just need to catch my breath.”


    As the hunter and tracker went to sit near the warden, a bolt flew past the warden’s ear.
    [I][B]I refuse to have a battle of wits with an un-armed person...[/B][/I]

    My blog with all my writings can be read [URL="http://aschesnuk.wordpress.com/"]here[/URL].

 

 
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