[Vfw-times] MK Winter Assault part 71

COkane8116 at aol.com COkane8116 at aol.com
Tue Jan 1 02:18:40 CST 2002


Misha landed lightly on the floor in the center of Selig's refuge, axe 
swinging. A lutin with a spear in his hands had time to gawk before the fox 
cut his head off with one blow.

   A dozen Lutins charged at him their spears aimed at the fox's heart. 
Holding his axe in one hand he took something from his pocket using his free 
hand. The metal sphere he was holding looked just as it had when Misha had 
used it at the armory. He tossed it at the approaching Lutins. "Huyria 
Kormun!" the vulpine shouted.  There was an explosion that tossed Lutins in 
all directions, some whole, but most in pieces. When the smoke cleared all 
twelve of his attackers were dead.

   A moment later Finbar touched down next to the fox. "Great!" the ferret 
shouted. "The charm actually works!"

   "That's great to hear," Meredith said landing next to him with a thump. 
The crossbow in his massive paws shuddered and a bolt buried itself in a 
human sentries head.

   Misha retrieved the metal ball from where it had fallen. The sphere was 
different this time. The runes carved into it's surface were still there but 
the whole ball was covered with a layer of soot. Plus there were hundreds of 
cracks that now spider webbed across the metal surface. Gingerly the vulpine 
placed the orb into a pouch and turned to killing Lutins. There was no time 
now to figure out what was wrong with it. In a moment the remaining scouts 
came down together. Quickly they lashed out at every enemy within reach.

   Arla cut down a pair of Lutins protecting a small tent. Jotham and Allart 
leaped over the fallen sentries and into the tent. The wizard they found 
inside raised his hands to cast a spell. A blue light glowed in his palms. 
Allart buried his short sword in the mages chest, and the light died as its 
creator died.

   Two humans were frantically trying to open the forts one gate to let help 
in when two arrows from Padraic dropped them.

   Danielle, Finbar and Meredith charged straight at a group of ten Lutins 
who were trying to organize into a shield wall. They never got the chance. 



    At Captain Landon's shout Daria rushed through the breach into Barracks 
One, together with a mass of her fellow warriors. The acrid scent of smoke 
and charred, burning flesh filled the air, and her ears throbbed with the 
battle cries of those around her. Garulf ran alongside her, battleaxe at the 

    The Enemy had arranged their forces intelligently: for all the 
devastation caused by the Keepers' magic attack, the rather expendable Lutins 
had formed the outer defensive perimeter, thus bearing the brunt of the 
assault. Hundreds of Lutins already lay dead, but their stronger and 
better-trained human companions had been partially shielded by the sea of 
green-skinned brutes around them. Now those human soldiers rushed forward 
with the surviving Lutins, intent on crushing the attacking Keepers.

    It was, Daria knew, the absolute worst sort of fighting for her to be 
caught in the middle of. She was small, slender and lightly armored, and 
while her strength and agility were in top form there were still physical 
limitations on her abilities that she was all too aware of. In the 
close-packed sea of bodies that took shape along the outer edges of the 
barracks, there was a very real risk of her being crushed. She stayed close 
to Garulf, hoping that the bear-man's imposing bulk could help ensure her a 
little more breathing room.

    For good or ill, that state of affairs did not last long: after a few 
minutes the battle lines had become mixed and jumbled, and the combatants 
spread out to fill the barracks' entire expansive area. Daria found herself 
fighting back-to-back with Garulf in a room filled with similarly small 
pockets of attackers and defenders. The Keepers were outnumbered, but only 
slightly; the initial magical strike had done much to even the odds. Daria 
couldn't get much sense of the overall flow of the battle -- due in no small 
part to her height -- but judging from the number of opponents she and Garulf 
were facing at any given moment, it looked as if the enemy had three soldiers 
left for every two Keepers. And since the Keepers were, without question, the 
finest warriors in all the lands of the West, those odds were rapidly evening 

    Daria and Garulf ran into a cluster of enemy soldiers, and the redheaded 
warrior quickly turned her mind from the overall battle to the task at hand. 
Occasionally glancing over her shoulder to keep an eye on her comrade, she 
admired Garulf's skill with that enormous axe -- he wielded it almost 
artfully, using it as both shield and weapon, striking with precision and 
brutal intensity. At one point he was attacked from both sides 
simultaneously; aware of both enemies, he drove the butt of the handle hard 
into the face of the one on his right, even as he caught the other's sword 
with the blade of the axe. Pushing back the one on the left with a hard 
thrust, he made two quick swings -- right, then back to the left -- that left 
one attacker dead and the other grievously wounded.

    "Nice work!" Daria remarked, genuinely impressed. Clearly, Garulf was a 
far keener warrior than his barbaric weapon suggested.

    "Thanks," the bear-man grunted, as he finished off his remaining 
opponent. "On your right."

    Daria spun and blocked the incoming sword, then darted to the left and 
directed the blow's momentum down and away from her body, reducing the force 
of the impact on her arm. She then drove a hard right kick to the man's right 
knee, stepped forward into a left jab, and drove in her sword beneath his 
chest armor, angling it upward into his gut. Sweeping her leg behind him, 
Daria pulled his feet out from under him and drove him to the floor. The 
force of the impact made the enemy soldier finally drop his sword, which 
Daria had carefully kept pinned between their bodies, and she quickly took 
advantage of his helplessness to draw her dagger and slice open the man's 
neck. Retrieving her sword, she sprang up and returned to Garulf's side, 
leaving the invader to drown in his own blood.

    "Did I ever tell you how much I admire your courage?" Garulf asked.

    "Don't think so," Daria said, flashing a quick smile.

    "You don't shy away from a good fight," he continued, as another pair of 
enemy soldiers approached them. Daria and Garulf slowly circled, back to 
back, making sure there were no other immediate threats to worry about. "That 
impresses me."

    Daria smirked. "Aye, well ... you're rather impressive yourself."

    Then they plunged into the fray again. As the battle continued, Daria's 
focus closed down, the enemy soldiers and Lutins becoming mere targets to be 
destroyed, no longer sentient beings with dreams and fears and ambitions of 
their own. She and Garulf were the only two people left in her world, 
surrounded by a roomful of noisy, sweaty objects classified simply as 
"friend" or "foe". Together, they were unspeakably deadly.


High above the fighting Caroline and Padraic calmly added to the chaos going 
on in the main hall. Each was using their bows to good effect, picking and 
choosing the target to kill. The otter used her regular arrows only, leaving 
her magic ones for special targets.

   The first to be killed after she destroyed the small tower was a tall, 
black haired, human officer. He was using his sword like a pointer, ordering 
his troops to attack the Long Scouts when two arrows slammed into his chest. 
The man was dead before he hit the floor. Another man rushed up to help the 
fallen officer and earned an arrow in the back from Padraic.

   Caroline's second kill was another human, one of three Jotham was 
fighting. That fighter took one arrow to drop. She moved onto other targets 
as Jotham quickly killed both of the other two he was fighting. Looking 
around she found more targets. Misha was fighting three Lutins. Two arrows 
evened the odds, and the fox made short work of the sole remaining lutin. 

   Suddenly all the troops of Nasoj in the little fort were dead, except in 
one corner. In that corner stood a large tent. The bright red canvas of the 
tent was covered in lutin scrawl. In front of its sole entrance stood a ten 
foot tall banner hanging from a pole, that was at least fifteen feet high. 
Dangling from pole and banner were countless, skulls and decaying heads. On 
the banner was a fanged skull on a blood red background. That was General 
Selig's personal standard.

   Outside the little fort fighting raged savagely as the two sides were 
locked in a brutal fight for survival. Inside the wooden walls things were 
calming down as the Long Scouts finished with the other troops in the fort. 
Slowly they gathered in front of the tent. Between them and the tent were 
three ogres, ten human fighters and twenty Lutins. Behind them stood a lutin, 
almost five feet tall and dressed in armor. This armor wasn't the usual 
patched together bits and pieces. Instead it was finely made plate mail that 
fit him perfectly. Caroline had no doubt that this lutin was General Selig 
himself. The woman standing next to him was dressed in the flowing robes of a 

   Padraic loosed an arrow and Caroline watched it streak towards the general 
and the mage. Some ten feet from its target the arrow shattered as if it had 
struck an invisible wall. The rabbit muttered a curse under his breath and 
reached for another arrow.

   The mage looked up at straight into Caroline's eyes. She smiled and 
pointed her finger at the otter. 

   "OH SHIT!" Padraic shouted. Both rabbit and otter ran away from the 
railing as fast as possible and dropped behind an upturned table at the other 
end of the room. A ball of flame exploded a moment later engulfing the area 
they had just been standing in searing flames. It took a minute for the 
flames to die down. It revealed a burned and shattered railing.

   Caroline and Padraic slowly edged forward to the hole in the floor. The 
rabbit shrieked and dropped to his knees. "MY BOW!" he screamed and held up a 
charred and blackened stick that might once have been a long bow.

   The otter was luckier, she had managed to not only hold onto her bow but 
all of her arrows as well. She nocked an arrow and looked over the edge of 
the hole to the battle below.

   The corner of the fort was a scene of savage fighting. The keepers were 
locked in bitter combat with the soldiers defending the tent. A brown bear 
was locked in a savage wrestling match with a ogre twice his size. Arla, 
Allart and Jotham were fighting a second ogre. The body of the third ogre lay 
stretched on the ground near the tent.

   She saw Georgette, Danielle and Finbar were desperately trying to hold off 
a score of Lutins. For a frightening moment she couldn't find Misha. Then she 
saw him and Laura standing back to back as they held off the dozen, human 
fighters surrounding them.

   General Selig was still standing where had been the last time she had seen 
him. The mage was still at his side. The wizard moved both hands in small 
circles and four balls of light shot from them straight at the Keepers. 
Danielle brought her hands up as if to block the onrushing spheres. The balls 
suddenly changed course flying off to one side as if they had ricocheted off 
of a wall.

   The mage scowled and readied another spell. The pine marten morph had 
caught her off guard, she didn't know the keeper was a mage. Caroline took 
one of her magic arrows and aimed at the wizard. Danielle had blocked her 
first spell, but she didn't have the skill to stop her forever.

   Suddenly Padraic grunted and Caroline thought he had been wounded. Looking 
at him she saw that he had picked up a stone block and was holding it over 
his head. Then he threw it over the edge. Caroline followed the twenty five 
pound block as it dropped slowly to the battlefield below. It seemed to move 
with an incredible slowness, turning end over end as it sped towards it's 

   "HEY MAGE!" the rabbit shouted down.

   The wizard stopped her spell casting and looked up just as the block hit 
her square in the face. The woman's whole head exploded in a splatter of 
blood and gore that sprayed all over the lutin standing next to her.

   Caroline turned back to the battle and aimed at one of the humans 
threatening her lover but didn't shoot. "Think when you're in combat," George 
had told her during one of their training sessions. "The key to winning and 
living in combat is to control your emotions and not let your emotions 
control you." Misha was surrounded and fighting for his life, but he was 
holding his own. If she killed one of the humans facing him that would have 
only a small effect on the battle. The same went with killing one of the 
Lutins. An ogre. Kill one of the ogres and the odds will be tipped in the 
scouts favor.

   All that decision making had taken a brief moment. She swung her bow over 
to the ogres. Meredith was tumbling and twisting on the floor in a death 
match with one, she couldn't get a clear shot. So she took aim at the 
remaining monster. Allart was laying on the ground cradling a shattered arm 
as Arla and Jotham fought the eight foot tall creature. The dog morph dodged 
a blow from a club as large as her whole body.  Jotham took advantage of the 
distraction and rushed forward, his mace held high. He smashed the weapon 
into the ogres side and danced backward as the creature swung at him.

   Caroline took careful aim at the ogre and waited for the right moment. The 
three combatants moved back and forth, in a tight dance of death. Her bow 
followed every move of the giant creature as it tried to kill the two 
keepers. She had to bid her time and wait for an opening. A wrong decision 
and her arrow could wind up in a Keeper, so she watched and waited and 
finally the moment came.

   The ogre gave a huge swing of his club that made both Keepers jump back to 
avoid it's deadly contact, but Arla moved too slowly and the canine was sent 
flying backward. She landed in a heap and didn't move. The ogre tossed his 
head back and shouted in triumph. Caroline loosed her shaft, and then drew, 
nocked and shot two more in quick succession. The monsters shout ended in a 
gurgle as two arrows buried themselves in his eyes and a third into his 
throat. The ogres club dropped to the pavement. His body joined it a moment 

   Jotham stood over the dead ogres corpse for a moment. The he turned to 
where Misha and Laura were fighting. With one swift motion he drew a hand axe 
from his belt and with a single toss, buried it in the back of a human 
soldier. Holding his mace high he charged the men surrounding Misha and 
Laura. He had no time to check on Arla. Help the living first, then see to 
the wounded and the dead.


End part 71
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