Book 1 Chapter 5: Water, Fire, Earth and Steel.
The first thing you see when a army of men are approaching is the dust they leave in their wake followed by flashes of light glinting off of the armor and weapons they carry. Slyfer could now see the Salamandraco. Huge armored beasts, the armor they wear is basically spiked everywhere except on their backs where the rider sits controlling his mount. The creatures have rough skin ranging from red to a dark brown to black each one unique as not one of them has the same color pattern. These are not full grown they average about fifteen meters in length including their tails which are about five meters on their own. According to Slyfers memory they are just about the right size for a snack their flesh is softer then the full grown ones and not as bland. Slyfers mouth starts to water. He catches himself. “What the hell am I thinking?”
He starts to laugh at himself and the princess looks at him as if he has completely gone insane. “Whats so funny?” The unsettling red eyes turn to her. “I was just wandering what they taste like. Princess do me a favor?” She looks at him with a mixture of surprise and amusement on her face. “You are a strange boy. What favor would you ask of me?” “Try not to kill all of the Salamandraco I would like a few as pets.” Flabbergasted she replies. “You are crazy! We need to kill them as soon as they get in range they are killers trained man eaters!”
“Can’t you hear it princess? The crack of the riders whips and how the creatures cry out in pain. They are not killers but slaves and I will not have it so. No, they will be my pets!” “Do as you wish but if one comes near me it is dead.” Slyfer turns away. “So you will not grant me this request? I understand I will stop them before they get close to you.” She just shakes her head at the crazy person.
They wait and soon they can start to make out faces most of the regiment is made out of humans and only a scarce few orcs. They mostly consist of the riders on the Salamandraco. Slyfer takes the grieves off and holds them out for the princess to hold she takes them and gives Slyfer another ,you are insane look. “Well I imagine that’s close enough.” He walks away heading toward the camp. “Where are you going?!” He turns around. “Relax princess, I just need some ammo.” She lets out an exasperated breath. “I should never have listened to hi-“ She hears the sound of rocks scraping against rocks. Vibrations reach her feet from behind. “What is he do-.” Looking behind her the princess sees a sight she wont easily forget. Slyfer is carrying a boulder about twice his size on his shoulders. He walks over and puts it down next to her and goes back to fetch another. She wants to say something but closes her mouth deciding to see how this new development plays out.
This continues until he has about five boulders in total a little out of breath he says. “Now I have ammo.” “Ammo for what? In case you have not noticed we don’t have any catapults.” Going into the deep dark place the old ones have created within his mind he drinks in his anger letting it feed him consume him. Eluna watches in shock and fear as he picks up a boulder seemingly light as a feather. He starts to laugh like a mad man giving her goosebumps.
Trisha and Elyna creep along a dip close behind the marching small army of men and orcs. Even now they smell the stench that follows any large group of men dressed in armor. The grass is long giving them good cover but any scout worth his salt can spot someone in long grass. Leopard crawling to the top of the ridge they have a look at what lies before them. About two hundred meters in front of them is the mass of men. Trisha her mouth close to her companion’s ear whispers. “How close do you need to be?” “Within a hundred meters if I want to hit him with my first shot. It’s difficult in these plains because you can’t really judge the wind accurately.”
Suddenly a voice booms through the air. The sound of it makes their hair stand on end. “Browly, Narzroc! Today you pay for what you have done. Come let me give you the answer to your question dog of the betrayer!” Looking over the ridge they see the small army has stopped. A big man on a horse is beating and screaming at his soldiers to get them moving. But they seem to be frozen in fear. Elyna spots it first. A boulder sours through the air spinning as it does. It suddenly bursts into flames turning into a mass of rock and flame.
To Trisha it seems to move in slow motion as if the earth is taking a breath before being hit by the boulder in flames. It finally hits with a resounding boom. Men start screaming in pain and panic another follows the first each one falling among the archers’ ranks the rocks shatter on impact not only crushing those under it but harming those around it as well.
Screams of pain and fear fills the air. Men that have caught, fire run into others setting them alight as well. The smell of burning flesh reaches the two in the ditch and Trisha has to cover her mouth and nose in order not to wretch.
Elyna seeing the opportunity springs into action she suddenly sprints forward keeping low as possible not to be seen. Another boulder hits and a fourth is on its way but it gets blocked by a seemingly invisible force. “So the other mage knows air magic.”
She hears Browly call for a charge and so she redoubles her speed to catch up quicker. Trisha is not far behind her. The army has nearly reached Slyfer and Eluna’s position.
Slyfer picks up the last of the boulders and throws it towards the enemy like the previous one it stops in mid-air. He takes the armored gloves from the princess and puts them on. The Salamandraco are now nearly by the river that stretches in front of them. “Are you ready princess!” Not waiting for an answer he focuses his magic on the river. It starts to rise slowly but surely the princess soon joins him and ads to the power. They hear the cursing of the Salamandraco riders as their mounts come to an immediate halt. All the while the water rises and rises. Slyfer looks at the princess and shouts. “Now!” The water now begins to arc forward towards the enemy. With one last force of will Slyfer pushes with all his might against it. The tidal wave of water rushes toward the enemy. Scooping up the Salamandracos and others with its force.
Men curse and shout at each other as they try to get out of the way. The Salamandracos get thrown on the men behind them crushing them beyond recognition. The parties of two suddenly appear out of nowhere and start the attack! The water finally comes to a halt but the damage it did was immense. A bit less than half of the enemies forces now lay crushed or struggling for breath. The enemies mages are still standing one had conjured a wall of rock to protect him from the water and the other a sphere of air around him. However they are alone now and vulnerable for attack. Slyfer can see the shifty elf and his companion sprinting towards the air mage but Lookin is nowhere to be seen.
Cursing and drawing his sword he looks at Eluna. “Stay close to me and support me with your magic!” She only nods and follows as he runs down the embankment and through the now empty river that is already starting to rise again. Slyfer reaches the first Slamandraco that is now lying on its side. The rider is pinned under it and is even now beating at the creature with his barbed whip. With no hesitation Slyfer runs him through. He looks at the princess. “Cover me!” But she is already busy. Compressing the water and spraying it as if it is under high pressure she cuts through enemies like a hot knife through butter as they approach not even giving them a chance to scream!
Slyfer sends his mind into the beast. The pain it has is excruciating the armor is not strapped or tied to the animal but implanted with barbed spikes to keep it in place. Calming the creatures mind he puts it to sleep like he did with Shcree. That being done he advances to the next. But in his way stands the earth mage. “Where in the hell gates is Lookin?”
The mage has a brown robe on with his hood pulled up hiding most of his facial features. The mage’s hands are dirty with long nails black underneath because of accumulated dirt. Actually looking at him in general shows that he is covered in dirt all over. He takes his stance spinning a wicked looking blade next to him. He is obviously adept at its use. The blade resembles a scythe with a long black stock and linear handle attached to it for closer combat. It has been sharpened to a paper thin point. Slyfer knows it can’t be used to block in a normal duel because it would bend and brake easily due to its thin shape. It was made simply to cut nothing else.
The man smiles showing a big array of crooked teeth. “So you are the answer to our question? That is where you are wrong, demon I am the answer to yours!” With that spikes of earth suddenly form under Slyfer aimed at his lower body! Slyfer rolls to the side drawing his sword at the same time. The man rushes forward in an attempt to cut Slyfer while he is in the roll but Slyfer bends low and the blade misses its mark by mere millimeters. Slyfer swings at the man’s feet but he blocks it with earth and the sword vibrates in Slyfer’s hand with the force of the blow. Jumping backwards Slyfer buys some space between himself and the mage. They start to circle each other looking for any kind of opening! “Damn human and his stupid rocks.” Slyfer’s heart is racing he just very nearly lost his head.
This kind of duel is new to Slyfer having never fought against someone that mixes swordplay with magic. That gives Slyfer an idea. Focusing on his sword he starts to gather air around it compacting it to a sharp point around the sword effectively protecting the blade and making it stronger and sharper. However it will be extremely difficult to keep it up for a long time.
Sensing the lapse in Slyfer’s focus, on the fight the mage strikes with a shout. Using the same method as before, conjuring spikes to throw Slyfer off balance. Slyfer rolls again but this time instead of a sweep the man attacks with an overhand blow. However Slyfer is quicker by half a second with his sword and he aims for the man’s hip. Like before earth is there to block the blow…… A Heart wrenching scream fills the air as the mage falls over clutching at stumps which were legs a moment ago. “How! How did you-.” Before he can finish Slyfer steps on his head crushing it with a resounding crack. “Piece of filth.”
the princess behinds him lets out a gasp. Slyfer may have killed the man but his blow still hit Slyfer on the Shoulder. a Nasty gash was bleeding profusely. She runs over cutting men in half ash she does but most seem to have retreated somewhere. Bam!! Slyfer hits a man with his fist as his sword arm doesn’t want to work properly. The man falls to the ground his eyes lifeless chest caved in his ribs sticking out of his back.
He senses the princess coming but someone is behind her! Not knowing what to do he grabs the man’s foot and with all his strength heaves him at the approaching enemy. The lifeless body spins in cartwheels limbs flailing wildly. Princess sees it coming and bends backwards and tries to stop however her speed carries her forward making her slide on the blood and gore.
the body zips past above her with a woosh! “Has he lost his mind like Trisha warned me!” The thought leaves her as quick has it sprouted when she hears a sickening Pap! behind her. As the dead body hits the orc that was running at her making them crash to the ground together. She quickly steps forward and decapitates the orc with a swing of her sword.
By the time she starts heading to Slyfer again he is already further away dead bodies left in his wake as he kneels next to other Salamandraco doing who knows what!
Slyfer stands up having put the sixth Salamandraco to sleep. He looks around for enemies but there are none close to him! In the distance he sees Aldowin dancing through enemies. With every turn or move of his body a limb goes flying, a head, a leg or they simply split in two! the air around him is filled with streaks of blood as the sword-master does death’s dance!
The Princess arrives and immediately conjures magic starting to heal the wound on Slyfer’s shoulder. Slyfer is surprised as he feels the muscle and skin knit back together with immense pain eyes closed he waits for her to finish. His master had told him healing magic can only be done when one reaches the pinnacle of water magic control. When she is done he rolls his shoulder testing it, then nods at the Princess. “Thank you.”
By the time he had opened his eyes the battle had gone quiet. In the center of it all he sees a new obstacle they have to face. But first he needs to finish what he started with the Salamandracos.
Losing another arrow that takes a man in the neck. Elyna scans the crowd of men now no longer confused but muscled into a tight column of fighting men. “This doesn’t look good, we can’t let them get organized! Where is that Brute?”
“I will bet you my rations for tonight that he is right in the center where it is safest.” Mutters, Trisha with obvious distaste. Elyna looks around scanning the area for the hundredth time to find some manner of high ground but there is only to the front where Slyfer and the princess are.
Elyna had taken a shot at the Brute but his horse got spooked at the last moment turning in front of her arrow effectively saving its savage master’s life with its own. The men had quickly become organized in a few minutes and they were now in a porcupine formation. Shields covering everywhere in a tight sphere halberds and spears pointing in every direction. She guesses after the onslaughts with the boulders and water there are about thirty to fifty men left uninjured. Here and there a man would get up groggily from getting hit by the water only to eat an arrow a moment later shot from her and Trisha’s bow.
The two companions sneak closer making sure to try and stay hidden but a call goes out. “I see two coming from behind!” Out of frustration Elyna shoots at the voice within the porcupine and gets rewarded with a scream of pain.
Another call goes out, followed by another “Two from the left.” “I see him, I see the demon!” Elyna puzzled by the last exclamation starts looking for what the enemy has seen.
Aldowin bloody all over from the battle along with his partner catches up to Slyfer and the princess. Followed by the shifty looking elf and the other three. Slyfer can see that the shifty looking one has lost a lot of blood. They all look a bit frightened of him but the princess has gotten used to it somewhat. “Are the beasts dead?” Says Aldowin pointing at the Salamandraco. Eluna sighs. “No your Estund wanted pets so he willed them to sleep. Aldowin wants to object but Slyfer just holds up his hand. “Now is not the time master. Have any of you seen Lookin?” Eluna knows what he is worried about. “I don’t think he would betray us.”
“Master Aldowin, would you mind going to look for our dear friend.” The way Slyfer said “dear friend” makes everyone a little uneasy. “He should be somewhere to the west of us. Princess look to your companions the shifty one has lost a lot of blood.” “My name is Faymin.” Says the elf with a grimace of pain. Slyfer takes a closer look and he can see a tear in Faymin’s armour. He has his hand over it but blood is still seeping out.
Slyfer starts walking with a casual gate towards the porcupine. He stops emphasizing every movement he pretends to look them over as if studying them. “If they had a better commander we would have had a lot more trouble. Luckily he is a coward.” Holding his arms out to either side he says. “So this is it?! The best the dog of the betrayer can do? Hide behind the shields of his men like a little girl! My your little shield trick is certainly irritating. Come out coward!”
Slyfer waits a moment then piles a few bodies on each other even though it makes him want to wretch he controls himself and sits on them. For this to work the men must fear him. He stabs the sword into the ground and rests both hands on the pommel. After a minute of waiting; “Narzroc I challenge you to single combat because I am bored of waiting for your cowardly leader. What say you?”
A moment passes and the shields start to move and the orc comes striding out. Lifting his head so that his tusks point upward he shouts; “I accept your challenge demon!” Now without the horse Slyfer can take in the true size of Narzroc. He is at least two heads taller than Slyfer with a body three times the size. He rips the skins off and beats on his chest. Slyfer stands up and slowly walks over.
“Since I challenged you what weapon would you like to use?” Voices inside Slyfer drown out his thoughts. “None must be spared the way you have chosen is disappointing. Kill them all. Kill them all. Kill them all!” With that images of the past flood into him!