Broken Heroes

We few, we lucky few.

Wherein Samuel leads his men to war.

No sooner than the Greenthorns arrived back at the outpost with a wagon of high quality arms, they were sent to march with the strike force gathered to break the camp of Northmen, somewhere three or four weeks march north of the Wall, that had ambushed Frost's men.  Bands of scouts had been sent in advance, and would rondvoux with the strikeforce to lead them to the enemy camp.  Sure enough, after two weeks of marching Agramon greeted the force to give them detailed directions to the camp, as well as a good measure of their numbers and strength.  Given new orders, Agramon could not stay with the force, and left later that same day on some unknown task.

Sure enough, however, within the week the force located the Northron camp, and began battle preparation.  A horrible battle ensued, as the Northrons had been joined by a band of mountain folk, huge brutes standing nearly nine feet tall, built like boulders and wielding tree trunks as clubs.  Their leader, however, was the most fearsome.  A horrifying crossbreed of a dragonman and a demon straight from the pits of hell: billowing wings sprouting from his back, horns spiraling out of his head, fearsome gnashing teeth, spikes and blades grafted on to its arms, legs and chest, and a nightmarish blade that oozed blood as soon as it was drawn.

Despite the beast from hell and the four giants, Samuel and his men were triumphant.  As the end of the battle drew near, the draconic demon fled the battle, knowing it could not face two dozen men alone.  Samuel accepted the Northron's surrender, and began the task of tending the wounded, and burning the dead.  Not satisfied letting their leader escape, the Greenthorns begged permission to track down the beast, and bring him back, alive or dead.  Grudgingly, Samuel gave them permission, but warned that he would be marching back at dawn the next day, and he would not wait.

Without a moment's hesitation, the Greenthorns began to track the leader as it fled through the woods.  For half a day they doggedly tracked the hellspawn, before, just as the sun set, they came upon him.  Malek let loose a flight of arrows, only to watch them glance harmlessly off the creature's armored hide as Devon and Ferd charged headlong at the horror.  Michael, barking orders to flank and strike at the joints, joined the fray, his blows hardly scratching the abomination.  Snarling viciously the demon lashed out with its sickeningly blood drenched blade, and carved Devon's chest nearly in two, dropping him to the ground.  Ferd Halfgiant, enraged by the sight of his fallen friend, rained down blow after blow with his axe, until finally the hellspawn staggered, revealing a weak point in its plated, metallic hide, as Malek took aim and fired.  As the arrow flew, the beast lurched for Michael, intent on killing him before he was banished once again to hell- but the blade never struck home.  Struck dead by Malek's arrow, the demon fell, bright red blood oozing from its many wounds.  Only as Malek set to drive a last arrow through their foe's unguarded neck did the realization come that this was no hellspawned lizardman, but a man.  An ordinary man fitted with a most savage and nightmarishly ornate suit of plate armor.

Victory did not come cheaply.  Back at what had been the Northron camp, nine men lay dead, fifteen others gravely wounded.  Among the dead were two militiamen, six privates, and Corporal Raymond- a man who had served over fifteen years on the Wall.  The Greenthorns had their casualties as well.  Devon clung to life by the barest of threads, his chest cut open down to the bone from left clavicle to sternum, and bleeding from several other wounds.  It would not be until well after the weary and wounded force arrived home at the outpost that he would regain consciousness, and the scar on his chest will haunt him for life as a reminder of the price he paid to wield the great sword Bloodquench.



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