(Another excerpt from my novel “Ancient Darkness”)
They surrounded the inn like a pack of ravenous wolves. The shrieks and howls echoed across the valley like a violent storm thunderously rolling down the mountain side. Dkhra sprang forward and approached the door, his talons scratched across the wood surface loudly as he grasped the latch. He pulled and turned but the lock refused to give. He stepped back his feral rage increasing as he anticipated the sweet victory of killing and feasting on his prey. He let out a howl that pierced the valley and echoed for miles. The Uttar sprang forward attacking the inn with fang and talon smashing through the windows and ripping the inn down piece by piece.
Forge yelled as the Uttar attacked them from every angle. Forge swung his axe with bestial fervor, his anger fueling his attacks. He picked up body parts from impaled and severed Uttar and tossed them into the surging horde.
“Stupid beasts….butt ugly, foul smelling, inn destroying …. Arrrrhhhh…!” Forge sputtered out insult after insult as he attacked with no concern what so ever for his well being as he waded deeper and deeper into the mass of Uttar.
“Forge! The idea is to defend the tunnel entrances!” Rastain yelled to the half crazed dwarf as he impaled one Uttar after another with deadly accuracy. He was precise and deadly with his bow, moving fluidly and with practiced ease. Saleena found her self enthralled watching him fight, as one Uttar broke through her defenses and sliced her arm. The warm sensation of blood running down her arm broke her momentary lack of focus and brought her back to the task at hand. She cursed loudly as she unleashed a series of savage attacks impaling the Uttar hilt deep with her sword. She kicked the dead body back and backed up next to Rastain. Forge came crashing through the advancing Uttar, severing heads and limbs as he came to stand next to Rastain.
“You know you do this to me every time.” He huffed as he tried to catch his breath.
“Do what?” Rastain asked as he fended off the surging horde of Uttar, trying to give the dwarf time to catch his breath.
“Cost me money… The inn is completely destroyed…. The damn beasts even ripped up the floor boards! Why the hell do they need to rip up the floor boards?” Forge smashed his axe into the head of a lunging Uttar and felt a small sense of retribution for his lost inn.
“Do we have a plan?” Saleena asked as they backed up closer to the tunnel entrance. They were surrounded on all sides with their backs to the tunnel entrance. Rastain looked to Forge.
“Something will come to mind eventually.” The dwarf grinned in response.
The Uttar stopped, pacing back and forth like ravaged dogs encircling them. Rastain knew something was about to happen he couldn’t see any way out for them, he just hoped that the rest had made it through the tunnels and out the exit already.
“How far is the tunnel exit?” He asked. Forge looked around at his feet for a few minutes before answering.
“Umm…” He wasn’t sure how to answer.
“Forge?” Rastain asked, the alarm in his voice making Forge feel even more guilt then he already was. “Bah…. The exit collapsed in the spring after the heavy spring rains.” He couldn’t bear looking at Saleena or Rastain.
“So they are trapped?” Saleena asked she was on the edge of breaking down into tears as she held back the hopeless feeling in her gut.
“You are all trapped….” The voice was hoarse and grating that answered. They all looked up to see a large Uttar standing several feet away. His long black hair soaked in blood hanging over his face. The eyeless face looked at them as he grinned.
“Give us the priest… my master has need of him.” Dkhra cracked his neck and shoulders as he dropped to all fours and slowly inched forward.
“And you might live.” He whispered.
Forge laughed before anyone could answer. He spread his feet apart planting them firmly and gripping his axe with both hands.
“Come and get him.” Forge sneered as he answered.
Dkhra sneered and simply nodded. The Uttar horde screamed and surged forward. The ground suddenly started to shake and rumble causing the Uttar to halt in confusion. Then the ground stopped shaking as abruptly as it started. The Uttar surged forward once again as they did a loud thunderous clasp of lighting exploded across the forest. The sound and light expanded from one focal point at the base of the hill like ripples across the still surface of a pond. The Uttar fell to the ground withering in pain as they grasped the sides of their heads.
“What was that?” Saleena asked as she covered her ears, the ringing in her head was intense.
“Trolls” Forge shouted as he pointed to the hill side.
The forest seemed to suddenly come alive itself as trolls appeared ripping into the flanks of the Uttar horde. The trolls rushed forward picking up the Uttar and snapping them like twigs. The Uttar recovering from the stun spell surged forward attacking the trolls in response.
“Ha-ha!” Forge cheered as he rushed into the battle.
“I told you something would come up.” The dwarf shouted over his shoulder as he joined the battle.
“Where did they come from?” Saleena turned to ask Rastain but she noticed he wasn’t standing there. She looked around and saw him fighting with the Uttar that had demanded they hand over the priest.
The tide of battle had turned and now the advantage was no longer on the side of the Uttar. Dkhra was unsure what to actually do next. He could hear the cries of his brethren as they fought, they all wanted to flee but the desire to kill was to strong. They also had their orders to retrieve the priest. Defying those orders would mean certain punishment, even death from the master.
He rolled to his left as he avoided the ranger’s furious attack. He had never encountered any one that could attack so fast before. It took all of his ability to stay out of the ranger’s deadly reach. He crouched low and sprang forward lashing out with his talons. The ranger easily sidestepped and countered with a savage thrust of his blade. Dkhra parried off the attack and skidded across the ground to come to a stop a few feet away. He remained crouched on all fours staring at the ranger. His sightless vision was confusing him the ranger’s aura seemed to change during the battle. The normal energy that surrounded the ranger seemed to change and fluctuate from blue to yellow then to red. Most humanoids, elves, dwarves and humans appeared blue to the Uttar as a blue shimmer of energy and noise, while demons and other celestial beings appeared red or yellow. Dkhra couldn’t understand why he was seeing different auras, but for one reason or another it frightened him. It was an odd sensation to feel fear from a human and something in his mind told him he needed to get away. He frantically looked around for a way to escape but saw none. The ranger charged forward his two blades held close to his side. Dkhra slid to his left but the ranger seemed to anticipate the move, the blades slicing deep into his side. The pain was intense as he slid across the ground his breathing was becoming more labored, each breath brought a burning pain and a rush of lightheadedness. Dkhra could feel his life draining from his body, he needed to escape. He turned to flee and came face to face with the large wolf. The aura of the wolf flared red and then yellow as it attacked. Dkhra fell to the ground as the wolf lunged and then the world went black.
Saleena watched in horror as Sid emerged from the tunnels and lunged savagely to help Rastain. The wolf was savage and brutal as it ripped the wounded Uttar apart, it was as if the wolf had snapped and its killing instinct took over. She turned her head away, even though the creature was intent on killing them the sight was to gruesome to watch. She heard Sid howl and then both him and Rastain dashed off into the heart of the battle.
“It makes you wonder doesn’t it?”
Saleena turned to see Kiera standing next to her. She was weak but her wounds had been bandaged and she stood there swords drawn ready to fight.
“What does?” Saleena asked
“Watching a battle from the sidelines… The gruesome brutality and senseless taking of lives. We hide behind our ideals and morals but in the end this is what it comes down to. It’s either us or them.” Kiera looked at Saleena, she could tell the woman was torn, her world was changing and she was no longer in control of those changes.
“I have no pity for these creatures…” Saleena answered with a steel edge in her voice.
“You do. You just don’t want to admit it and that is what angers you.” Kiera simply answered. She was answering from experience. The conviction in her voice cut to Saleena’s heart and tugged at it.
“What do we do then?” She sighed as the world she once knew came crumbling down. She could feel it as she watched the battle unfold in front of her.
“We have faith.” Icardan answered from behind them.