Battle! Part VIIISubmitted by ridiculous at 2010-02-22 11:27:02 EST
Rating: 1.28 on 46 ratings (46 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
2nd Prelude: http://www.ubersite.com/m/124425
2nd Day: http://www.ubersite.com/m/124476
Part VI: http://www.ubersite.com/m/124495
Part VII : http://www.ubersite.com/m/124527
The scout moved slowly through the wood. He was nervous being here in general, much less alone. It was usual for a scout to be alone but knowing that no one else was willing to enter the woods was what discouraged him. Having been ordered to locate the enemy and report on their position, force, defenses and most importantly to be weary of any surprises they might have in store for the Horde.
He moved through some scrub brush and ducked below some hanging foliage being extra careful to examine where he put his feet. The mage had warned him about traps very sternly. He could see a trail ahead and moved to remain parallel with it. Moving on the trail was an unnecessary risk. Ahead the floor of the wood was darker, he crouched low and tried to will his eyes to see. Moving forward cautiously he could hear flies.
The other scout, or what was left of him, sat slumped against a tree. A cleverly disguised trap had put four eight inch wooden spikes through his abdomen before throwing him back against a tree. The coagulated blood soaked his clothes and the soil around where he sat. His eyes moved to the corpse’s gut where the flies were having their feast. Hundreds of maggots devoured the now bloated and greenish body. Stifling a gag reflex the sentry moved away careful to avoid the victorious trap.
Crouching behind a tree wide enough to hide his body he peeked out from its edges. Ahead the trees were thinner and there was more light as the wood broke into a clearing. He could hear the noise of the enemy camp.
Scanning what he could see ahead there was a ditch and bulwark being erected. Men labored, some digging others setting sharpened spikes in the ditch. The bulwark was layered with timber leaned up the slope to where the defenders would be, it had been stripped and would make for a slippery surface to climb. Scanning more he could see many fletchers busy crafting arrows, one was tying the flights and it was evident that the arrow wasn’t true. They were working quickly; they knew the Horde was coming.
A woman walked across the top of the earthen rise. She was dressed in a purple gown and even at this distance was strikingly beautiful. A man followed on her heels; he looked strong but subdued as if he was beaten but not defeated, he stood behind her silently. His attention never strayed from her, clearly he was her slave. She stopped and appeared to direct several men atop the bulwark. They were naked from the waist up and brown with filth. One of them nodded, bowed and the group disappeared from sight. The woman continued her walk and came to a man in armor who went out of his way showing her deference as he addressed her. She seemed to smirk at him and moved past without a word. She moved out of the scout’s line of sight.
He remained a few more minutes, attempting to gauge how many they were. He knew from the battle there was at least three hundred fifty remaining but he would prefer to offer the Knight Commander as much detail as possible. Backing up he stepped into the darkness and began to move around the circumference of the camp looking for another vantage point. He walked slowly, bent low, keeping to the shadows and watching for traps.
The sound of water being poured on the ground came from his left. He froze. Listening closer he knew it was not water, he heard a soft moan of relief. The sound ended as quickly as it had begun. There was the rustling of mail as the sentry finished what he had come to do. A twig snapped on the forest floor, a moment later, another. The sentry was coming closer! He had been spotted but there was no alarm, the enemy sentry was coming to investigate.
Using the arm on the far side of the now approaching enemy he unsheathed a dagger, kept in a leather scabbard on his thigh for just this reason; it made no sound. There was the rustling of brush and leaves as the feet shuffled closer. He remained completely still, thankful that his cloak obscured him in the darkness. His muscles complained from the exertion of remaining immobile and in such an awkward position. He could hear the mans breathing, he was very close now. The sound of steel on steel slowly sliding announced that the sentry had pulled his sword. The fool, he was too close for the weapon to really be effective now. He had to be quick, and he had to be silent, sentries were never positioned out of earshot of one another.
In one fluid motion he turned and dove for the man, dagger first. The dagger met the soft flesh of the enemy’s throat as they tumbled to the ground. Falling atop the sentry he pushed the dagger home burying it so deep he felt the blade slide between the dead soldier’s vertebrae. The sentries arms, that had been attempting to fend off his attacker went slack as blood bubbled from the wound in his neck. His last breath found a new exit, never coming close to his mouth. It was over in a moment and there had been nearly no sound.
After Sir Perth had heard the scouts report he thanked and dismissed him. Turning to Uriel who also had heard, he said:
“Well a ditch and bulwark is the least I would expect from him with all the time he has had to prepare.”
“There is more, I am certain of it.” The other replied.
“Of course there is, but what?” Sir Perth hoped for an answer but knew he would get none. The Horde would have to go and find out, and finding out would mean lives.
“What of the woman? Perhaps she is the sorceress?” Uriel was mostly asking himself.
“A woman? Can women perform your arts?”
“Oh yes, some of my best pupils have been women.”
“I guess you’re right, a witch, after all. Wait…You taught magic?”
“Saying a person is a witch does not imply gender. Witchcraft is a type of magic, but most don’t know that anymore. Anyway, it’s a story for another day, William.” Sir Perth nodded and replied.
“Well it would certainly make sense, I mean, her being a witch. I can’t imagine a woman having any place with Baraccus’ army, unless she’s a whore?”
“No whore would be instructing the men in the camp.”
“Right, so then she has to be a witch.” Uriel opened his mouth to correct him again but thought better of it.
They both went silent as they retreated into their own thoughts turning over what little information they had and trying to reach the best solution. After a time Uriel broke the silence.
“Perhaps I should meet with this sorceress?”
“You’re joking?” Sir Perth certainly hoped he was.
“Perhaps we can reach an accord, she and I?”
“What? Don’t forget what they have done! After all this how can we have an accord?!” Sir Perth’s emotions were getting away from him.
“Listen, William. If she and I meet on the battlefield with you and Baraccus there will be many more dead; on both sides. I promise you that.” His tone was calm and caused the flames in Sir Perth’s belly to gutter and die. “Also, do not mistake my words. I am not discussing an accord between you and Baraccus, only between the Sorceress and myself.”
There was a pause as Sir Perth collected himself after having been rebuffed for his anger. He finally voiced his question. “What type of accord would you ask of her?”
“I will ask her to stand off the field with me. To let you and Baraccus settle the matter yourselves.”
“I don’t understand. What good is magic if it cannot defend us?”
“Magic can only be a shield for very few but a spear for many. Do you understand?” He could see the Knight Commander did not, he continued. “Think of a shield. It is strong and hard and can save your life from most anything. Now imagine the shield is twenty times bigger but made from the same quantity of steel. It becomes weak and flimsy; a dagger could easily pierce it. Now do you understand?” Sir Perth nodded that he did.
“OK, so how is talking to her going to defend us?”
“It won’t, but if she and I can reach an accord then we can step aside and let you and Baraccus finish this. You still outnumber him nearly two to one, defenses or not.”
“I do not like this...” Sir Perth said.
“Would you prefer to die tomorrow?” With that he rose, collected his staff and left the tent.
Saleene sat upon her makeshift dais smiling sweetly at Graegor as he finished washing her gown and hung it to dry. She insisted he remove his shirt before washing the gown. She liked watching him work. He really was one of the more impressive servants she had ever had. He was strong, his form well cut and not too many scars. She liked scars, but not too many.
He turned to face her. “Yes mistress?”
She stood before him. “The small clothes, too.” She removed her undergarments. His eyes instantly went to the floor. She smiled at him again, she did like this one. “Graegor.”
“Yes mistress?” He did not look up this time.
“Graegor, look at me when I speak to you.” His eyes met hers. She slowly walked over to him stopping an arms length away. “Am I so ugly that you do not wish to look upon me?”
“No mistress, it’s not that…” His eyes returned to the floor.
“Am I not attractive to you?” She smiled again, she was enjoying this game.
“Oh no mistress! I just…” he trailed off obviously having no idea where his boundaries were.
“Then why don’t you look at me?”
His eyes moved up her legs over her shapely hips, they lingered a moment appreciating the well groomed patch of dark hair teasing at what lay beyond. He slowly trailed his eyes up the gentle curvature of her body, he appreciated her breasts, firm and perfectly curved they were every bit as beautiful as the rest of her. Her neck, was delicate and smooth, her lips, stretched in a smile that he knew was for him, but when he looked in her eyes. Green with tiny flecks of yellow, she wore her smile there as well.
“Yes mistress?” His response was little more than a whisper.
“Don’t you want to kiss me?” She cooed.
She stepped closer to him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and leaning in she kissed him long and slow, opening her mouth a little she allowed his tongue in as he pulled her tightly against him. He broke from he mouth pressing kisses down her face and across her neck as his hands slid around her waist. She panted for him as one arm moved from his neck, across his chest and down to the bulge between his legs.
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