Novel above is in quotes... cause, well, its in quotes. Anyways 1500 words of fun. I probably won't post much of this on this blog cause otherwise it would get to messy, if I really want to though I'll create another blog for that, in which I'll post my various insane ravings involved in writing that, but I don't think I will do that just yet.
Anyways, here's the story:
Chapter 1: The Desperate Band
The group of men moved through the forest quickly, yet silently. They were five in total, all armed with both blade and bow, and all looking quietly deadly. Each of them bore the same look of men who were used to the wild, but other than that they each looked quite different.
The lead man was tall and broad. He wore a long sword on his waist and held a short bow, strung and with an arrow knocked in place, in the other. The second man down the line was shorter, smaller and generally weaker looking, however, looks can be deceiving; the man was a mage of great power.
The rest of the men were all of average height and build, most carried long swords, though one carried a great waraxe in both hands.
Suddenly the party stopped. The lead man turned around and said, “Our quarry nears, prepare for an ambush.”
The men quickly took cover. The leader and two others prepared their bows while the man with an axe held it tightly while crouching low behind some bushes.
As they waited the faint stomping of boots could be heard in the distance. As the sound grew nearer it became apparent that a large patrol of men approached.
The approaching patrol was well armed and armored. Chain mail adorned every man and each carried a large shield and long sword. In the middle of the patrol, about twenty men in total, a mounted warrior, covered in plate mail, road.
With deadly precision the three archers fired their arrows, each scoring a hit and a kill. Before the patrol could realize what had happened three more arrows flew, followed by three more kills.
With a feral roar the man with an axe charged the line of warriors, beheading the first man in his reach with a savage swipe of his axe.
The men surrounded the lone warrior, swords drawn and shields raised. Two rushed for him at once, the first was dealt with by a decapitating blow, and the other was killed by a blow that sent the axe deep into his chest.
At this the remaining four men revealed themselves, the archers dropping their bows in favor of swords, and the mage moving his hands with rapid speed as he cast the first of his many lethal spells.
Though doomed, the remnants of the patrol, now only ten men strong, fought bravely. The mounted warrior found his death when a fireball hit him square in the chest, while the rest of the men were cut to pieces by the swords and axe of their opponents.
When the last warrior had fallen the leader of the group said, “We must move quickly, it is probable that these were only one of many patrols searching for us, we would not want to face such a group unprepared.”
“Agreed, lord, but where can we go? These forests will offer little, if any protection soon, where else is there to hide?” The mage asked.
“We must leave this land, we will have to travel overland to the sea, from their, perhaps we can find a ship that will take us to a distant land.”
“My lord,” began the man with an axe in a gruff tone, “meaning no disrespect, but that’s over a hundred miles away! And though we are great warriors, I doubt we could avoid capture for that long, it’ll take us at least three months, probably more.”
“But what other choice do we have, Dagon?” answered a one of the archers, a man with dark hair, “as Lord Gareth as said, this forest will soon offer us little, if any protection, and we cannot remain in this land. As foolish as it is, we must leave this land. Once across the sea I doubt the king will continue his search for us.”
* * *
The group dodged and fought patrols for the rest of the day. Finally, at the edge of the forest, they made camp. They ate a cold meal and went to bed, Dagon took the first watch.
Dagon, to keep himself awake he thought back to an event only two weeks ago, an event that changed not only his, but the lives of all the men around him…
* * *
It was three weeks ago, at least that’s what Dagon thought, his memories had been a blur ever since it happened.
But what was it anyways? Well, it began some time ago, before that fateful day. Dagon and Soren, his brother, were traveling together to pledge allegiance to their new lord, Sir Gareth.
Gareth was a new knight and old friend of the brothers; they had been under him in a recent feudal war, a war in which Gareth had been knighted.
That was many years ago, Gareth, for a time, served under his lord living in his castle. But recently he had managed to acquire enough money to purchase a small area of land. It wasn’t much, only about one hundred acres and a few dozen peasants. But he and his new wife would be able to live happily on it.
It was a coincidence that the brothers Thavin, Dagon and Soren were both lived in a village in Gareth’s newly acquired land, working as mercenaries fending off bandits. And when Gareth took began to build his fortress, he summoned them with a message saying they would now be paid by him, in gold, to lead his meager group of men-at-arms, a company of 20 men.
Of course the brothers were excited, the departed at once, leaving the inn they had been staying at, and making the journey to Gareth’s fortress on foot. When they arrived Gareth greeted them heartily. Neither had really changed, Dagon still carried the same huge, double bladed, axe, and still bore the same shaved head and extreme blue eyes, Soren was still his weak looking, short self.
They spent that night sipping ale and wine together asking each other all sorts of questions, finally, just as the sun was coming up, they went to bed.
Those months were wonderful times. Gareth and the Thavin brothers enjoyed their new lives, Dagon training the men at arms, while Gareth and Soren planned out and helped build their new home.
The fortress was finished three months after the brothers had come to Gareth. It was not a mighty castle fit for a great lord, just a simple mansion with defense in mind and a wooden palisade around it. Still, it was a site to look at.
For three years the trio worked together to better Gareth’s humble estate. Gareth won much glory and gold in a war against a neighboring baron, and was able to double his land, increasing his wealth and his men-at-arms, of whom he now had nearly one hundred.
Then disaster struck. One day, after a long hunt, Gareth, Dagon, Soren along with the usual set of hunters, came back to the fortress to find it in ashes. In disbelief they explored the ruins, finding nothing but dead bodies, both men-at-arms and unknown soldiers, well equipped, and from what they could make out, well trained.
They searched for survivors, finding only a few; twelve of the men-at-arms had barricaded themselves in one of the towers, along with Gareth’s wife and two young daughters
Though Gareth was gladdened to see his family alive and well, however, when he heard what happened he grew silent and grave.
They had come only an hour ago, three hundred strong led by a man in full armor mounted on a mighty warhorse. They had attacked without warning, overrunning the defenders and killing all. Try and they could, the men-at-arms didn’t stand a chance, they were barely able to defend Gareth’s wife, let alone the fortress. Still, they had some luck. They had captured one of the soldiers and were holding him in the dungeon.
Gareth questioned him, and though it was a long, aurous process, he finally wrung out of the man, who his liege lord was, the truth shocked not only Gareth, but all of his men.
The man, who had sent the soldiers to kill Gareth, was the king of Gilimar.
The man swore on his mother’s grave (and the king’s toes) that he did not lie, and Gareth believed him. But the question of why, still remained, why would the king wish Gareth, a man of seemingly little power, dead?
* * *
“Dagon, Dagon?” Gareth said, rousing Dagon from his thoughts, “Dagon, you awake?”
Dagon stirred, then said in his deep voice, “Ya, ya, I’m up, just thinking, that’s all.”
“About what, old friend?” Gareth asked.
“You know this whole business with the king, its pretty strange.”
“And the fact that we’re running for our lives doesn’t help much either, does it?”
Dagon gave a snort, “no, not much, but then again, I’ve been wanting a decent challenge for a while. This might just be my style.”
“This isn’t exactly what I’d call a challenge, Dagon, still, I suppose if we survive this whole thing might be quite an adventure, if we live to tell the tale that is.”
“I suppose, but why you up? Go back to bed. You still have another two hours of sleep before it’s your watch.”