Thursday, 21 April 2011

Dragon Warriors - The First Encounter

So, Tarl and Grudge (a.k.a. Neil (Cat) and Steven respectively) had been trawling about a number of small hamlets and the odd village, when our two erstwhile heroes stumble across a remote farm.  In dire need of provisions, and severely short of water, the companions take up a vantage point near the farm to discuss the next plan of action.

Initially both agreed they would sneak down under the cover of darkness and steal what they needed.  That is until they witness a small band of riders arrive and begin to cause havoc.  The turning point was the throwing to the ground of the old farmer and his wife, who then proceeded to get kicked and beaten by two of the riders whilst the rest turned the farmhouse upside-down looking for valuables, food and drink.

Copyright © 2011 Mark Kelly.
Tarl (Cat), being the more moralistic of the two, hurriedly explains the revised plan: sneak down, kill all the riders.  Being offered a chance of violence unbridled, Grudge (Steven) smiles his agreement.

Using the cover of a dried up irrigation ditch, Tarl and Grudge flank the two riders, who are still intent on thuggery and fail to notice their approaching doom.

Running low and fast, Grudge slams into the nearest of the riders, felling the man with a vicious swipe of his axe across an unprotected throat.  As a counter-point, Tarl walks briskly at his chosen target, mind fully focused as the second rider turns with a snarl to face him.  A flick of the wrist and a surge of psychic energy and the rider's brain is boiled within his skull.
As his limp corpse hits the dirt, pale fluid mixed with traces of blood spurt from his nostrils.

Luck is on their side; the noise from within the farmhouse has masked the all-too-brief engagement and demise of the thugs outside.  Quickly, Tarl and Grudge move the battered and bloodied farmer and wife to the safety of the irrigation ditch.  Removing their bows and nocking their arrows, the friends once again approach the farmhouse and wait.

Laden with stolen goods, three raiders stumble out to be greeted by the vista of their slain comrades.  Even as the dull comprehension of the scene they are privy to unfolds within their alcohol saturated brains, an arrow shaft bursts into life from the neck of one of their number, whilst the angry hissing of a second arrow alerts the other two of danger.

Hissing steel erupts from scabbards as yells and oaths fill the air.  Four figures charge together, brilliant white glinting from razor edged curves, stones hurrying before each booted foot, kicked up amid miniature clouds of earthen dust.  Then the clash of body and steel, muscle and sinew, blood and spittle erupts.

Gurgling in the settling dust, one man drowns in his own blood.  Next to him his companion lays on a crimson bed of entrails, eyes half-closed.

The wet crunch of axe into skull brings the encounter to a close.

Tarl and Grudge escort the grateful farmer, who introduces himself as Seth, and his wife, Etna, back to their wrecked home.  Taken by the gravity of the situation, both decide to stay a while and aid the elderly couple in restoring their home to its natural state.  But first there are bodies to remove and conceal.

So ends our reluctant heroes' first encounter with riders belonging to their soon-to-be nemesis, Kazrath (insert dramatic music of choice here).

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