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07 February 2007 @ 11:50 am
21 Flamerule 1372 -- Early Morning  
I woke from my trance more suddenly than usual. Something was wrong.

Sêlune was no longer on my bed; nor was she near Seledra, so she must have smuggled the wolf back out when she came up for the night.

The room was dim, barely touched by the grey, pre-dawn light just starting to come through the window. The world seemed quite still. Too still.

I heard a faint canine whimper and went to the window to see Sêlune just below. She obviously felt the same thing I did from the way she paced back and forth. She heard me slide the window up; she looked up at me, ears perked, and barked once. Then she turned toward the west, ran a few feet, looked at me again, and looked back west. I couldn't communicate with her as Seledra did, but it didn't take an animal expert to read her body language. I leaned out and looked in the direction Sêlune pointed and listened. A faint clamor came to me, the sort of cacophony only produced by a large nunber of armed beings on the move, and it was growing louder. Something was coming, and it wasn't very far off. Maybe a mile, at best. Probably not even that far.

I dressed quickly and checked the condition of my weapons, and then I sat at the foot the Seledra's bed, trying to decide whether I should wake her or wait until I was sure what was going on. With Sêlune so agitated, I was surprised she wasn't already up.

Suddenly her eyes opened.

"I was wondering when it would wake you too."

"I guess my danger sense is a little less finely tuned than yours."

"Not everyone has the luxury of living day to day without wondering when they will find someone's knife in their back. Come, let's wake Thralia."

A noise came from outside the window, and it wasn't Selune this time.

"Something tells me she's already awake."

Seledra dressed an opened the door to find a drow girl standing there as though she were about to knock. This can't be good.

She introduced herself as Miri Talaviir and said she was a member of Thralia's band. We followed her to the top of the stairs, wary, and Seledra asked, "You're in Sun & Moon? How come we didn't see you in Everlund?"

She stopped to explain to us that the full band only played in large cities, but Seledra still hesitated.

"Um. Could we hurry it up? They could be here at any second!"

"Who?" Seledra asked.

"What your senses tell you; a horde of orcs from the north."

Seledra started running, and I followed. Outside, Sêlune ran up to us, happy we were finally there to help. Thralia and Tordrin were there, along with a group of people who must have been their bandmates, all preparing for battle.

If it were up to me, I'd've kept running straight into the woods, but I knew Seledra would want to help, and I wasn't about to leave her. And Thralia and Tordrin, like Seledra when I met her, had helped me. This was a new world to me, this world of people who offered aid freely, without being tricked into it or coaxed with the promise of a return favor.

Thralia's band was diverse, to say the least. Miri, the girl who came to our door, was half drow, half moon elf, and she had a twin brother, Venye, also outside, readying a hand crossbow. There was a gold dwarf, whom I think I saw in Everlund, another sun elf, standing close to Thralia, an air genasi, keeping lookout from a rooftop, a half-elf, and two gnomes, male and female, one of whom was bustling around a strange metal man.

There was no time for introductions, as a commotion came from the woods. In our heightened state of awareness, we all drew our weapons; maybe the orcs sent an advance force to distract us while the main force hit us from the other direction. But it was two elves, not orcs, that bounded up to us on horseback.

Seledra's face brightened. "Cousins!" she shouted as she ran toward them. She introduced them as her cousins Isendur and Isioleth, twins.

Isendur said, "I hope you don't mind us getting here a little early. We thought you could use a couple extra hands when that horde arrives."

Isioleth added, "Did we miss breakfast already?" Despite the joke, she got down to business quickly, perching herself in the Y of a tree trunk as soon as her horse was tied up in the stable. Her brother joined the air genasi on the roof, and Tordrin and I followed suit, finding suitable positions in the trees. Then the genasi shouted the alert. "Orcs in range! Fifty heads!"

And it began. People started moving into position, but I focused my attention on taking out some of the orcs on the front line, sending out bolt after bolt from my light crossbow. I heard Tordrin whistle, and a brown bear came crashing through the woods. It must be Qilué, his animal companion that he'd told me about last night. A drow name, cute. She joined our advancing line of melée fighters.

As the battle raged on, I saw an orc crash through the fray and toward Isioleth, who was showing off by firing her arrows hanging upside down from her tree. I looked where he came from--Seledra was down.

I leaped from my position and ran toward her, passing several feet from the orc just as one of Isendur's arrows impaled his neck from behind. Another orc trampled Seledra on the ground and seemed ready to attack her, so I fired my crossbow, hitting him squarely in the shoulder. He turned his attention toward me and I readied another bolt as Sêlune took his leg in her jaws, but just as I took aim, Tordrin leaped between me and the raging orc, shooting him point-blank in the face with not even five feet between them. I smiled despite myself, and Tordrin smiled back before we grabbed Seledra and pulled her to safety, with Sêlune right behind us. As we propped her up in the stable, the air genasi joined us to see to her wounds. As she appeared, Tordrin whispered "Thank you, Ariadne," and went back out to rejoin the battle, squeezing my hand as he turned to go. I took a position just outside to guard the area.

Seledra insisted she was more embarrassed than hurt, but the orc had kicked her in the head as he turned toward me, and she was disoriented. She was also badly bruised from her trampling, and had a deep scratch on one arm. She asked how many orcs were left, and Ariadne replied, "We've taken down half of the infantry, but Urgurth and his personal guard still stand."

As Ariadne tended her wounds, Seledra blurted out, "You are as kind as you are beautiful. I can see why Jaden is so in love with you."

Ariadne only smiled, saying, "That’s quite a blow to the head you took out there. Rest now, dear."

Just then, I saw a small group of orcs, four of them, break through the main line of defense and rush toward the stable. I motioned to Ariadne, who hesitated by Seledra for a moment before getting up and drawing her greatsword. "She's unconscious, but stable," she said, and she took to the air again. Sêlune shot out of the stable toward the orcs, baring her teeth and snarling.

I shot one in the belly, as I saw arrows fly toward the group from several directions. They were coming too fast, though, so I set aside my crossbow and drew my rapier. Rilla came running from her position in the underbrush, longsword drawn, and dispatched the one I'd gotten in the belly while Ariadne attacked the others from above. As I ran up to the other three, still heading for the stable, Ariadne had engaged one and Sêlune was harrying another. I took on the third, joined by Rilla, and we dodged and wove around the brute. I couldn't do much damage with my rapier, but I could keep him from getting closer to Seledra.

Then he swung his axe at me, and I dodged, but not quite well enough. The shaft of the axe hit me in the chin as the orc swung it back up for another strike, and I flew backward, landing heavily on my right hip. He charged, raising his axe above his head for the kill, but Rilla darted behind him and sliced one of his hamstrings. I leaned up on one elbow, with searing pains in my jaw and pelvis, and from my new supine vantage point, I could see Sêlune leap onto the orc's neck as he went down, while Ariadne make short work of her original target and moved on to the one Sêlune had just left.

Farther off, the main line was more split up, which was probably how those orcs had gotten through. Tordrin was on the ground again, running toward me, but another orc split off and went after him. I tried to shout, but opening my mouth sent a new wave of pain over me. I pushed myself up as far the pain let me, pulled out my dagger, and flung it at the orc with the last of my strength.

Doubling over with pain, I didn't see what happened after that. All I know is Tordrin didn't get to me, at least, not before Ariadne did. She and Rilla somehow managed to get me into the stable beside Seledra.

"I think your pelvis is cracked," she said in her ethereal voice, "And your jaw is badly broken."

"Th'orc--Di' I hit--?"

"Shhhh, don't try to speak, it will only make it worse. Don't worry about the battle right now."

She put a hand to my cheek, and the coolness of her touch eased the pain a little.

She pulled out a small vial of potion and held it to my lips. "Drink this, it will dull the pain. It may make you sleep as well. But it will make it easier for you to wait until we have time heal you fully."

I drank the small amount she gave me, and she left to fight some more. When I figured she couldn't see me, I crawled to the door of the stable, hoping I could at least see what went on.
Current Location: Olostin's Hold
Current Mood: soreoh gods, it hurts
Current Music: the clash of weapons
The Heretic Heartdandycat on February 8th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
That. Was. Awesome.

I bow down before your mad battle writing skillz. No complaints on my end and nice use of Selune!
vaudyvaudy on February 8th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
It would be as nothing without the seeds you planted for me. You're a pretty darn good battle-writer yourself, missy.

I was thinking that we should probably incorporate some townspeople, at least the constable and Hold guards would probably join the fight when they heard the commotion and found out what was going on, and maybe other people as well, who just happened to have some amount of fighting ability; the Silver Marhces book lists people of various classes and levels among the population of the Hold. I don't know whether I should incorporate it into this post, or include it in the next one, since I haven't decided yet whether she loses consciousness, and even if she does, she'll see a few things before she's out.