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A Tale From The Deep Woods

A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Alric » Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:00 am

Hey folks, here's the first chapter of a story I'm working on. I submitted it to the contest and figured I should put it up here for the DT-reading public at large to take a look. Let me know what you think!

Chapter I:

For those accustomed to the everyday noises of underground urban life, the quiet background sounds of a surface forest were a startling disturbance. Not that Vana'sadra Nal'sarkoth, an Explorer in her clan's service, was one alien to the aboveground. She had barely seen much more than half-a-century's worth of summers but already she had spent much of her young life in the expanses of the underworld and the jungles, plains, and deserts of the surface.

Vana'sadra's wide green eyes carefully swept the rough forest path before her. The tousle-haired Mimian female of medium height wore attire of a Nal'sarkoth Explorer; green chitin armor over green trousers, tunic, and soft knee-high boots along with the white cloak of a sorceress. A long, thin bladed sword was on her baldric along with a knife stashed in her right boot. The Explorer had let her steel morion hang from her shoulders, not wanting to compromise her hearing or vision while alone on the trail. Vana'sadra was far enough away from the colonial outposts of Lenk'atar that the threat of wild animals or Hermione raiders was a significant enough threat. Thus far however, she had not detected the tell tale sign of goblin or horse tread on the trail. Regardless, she well knew that it was best to proceed quietly in case there were unseen foes ahead. Traveling alone was dangerous here, but in the wake of the recent Hermione attack on the colonies in the north woods there was precious little manpower to spare. Even now, a second wave could be marching upon the drow colonies.

Suddenly, Vana'sadra pricked her ears up at the sound of a bending branch. The forest air grew uncomfortably still as she closed her right hand about the hilt of her sword and condensed her aura around her left hand in anticipation of a fight. Something had crossed the dense growth in front of her path. Vana'sadra sucked in her breath. She knew that whatever it was was right in front of her, but where? One false step ahead could easily spell her doom.

In that instant an arrow shot out from the bushes passing a hair's breadth from Vana'sadra's face. The Explorer's training took over and she dove to her side, crashing to the grass under the shade of trees. Immediately she heard the sound of cracking branches and trampled grass as a chase ensued around her. Armored feet rushed past Vana'sadra right before a heavy weight crashed down upon her back. She felt strong hands pull her head back right as the cold touch of a steel edge pressed against her throat, and the very faint scent of blood assailed her nostrils.

The sounds of Vana'sadra's pounding heart and the deep, frenzied breaths of both her and her pursuer were momentarily blocked out by the sound of a clash followed by a short yet piercing shriek. Suddenly she felt the blade being withdrawn from her neck and the weight pushing her into the ground subsided as the Explorer was helpfully pulled back to her feet.

Vana'sadra saw a tall figure step out from the trees and back onto the trail where she had stood mere seconds before. Despite the figure's great height he was clearly male, and dressed in the bronze-toned armor of a Sarghress Highland Raider and the red cloak of a Sarghress officer. As he approached Vana'sadra was surprised at the massive proportions of the male's armored chest and corded limbs. The Highland Raider moved with a dangerous, bestial ease, completely unlike that of someone raised in civilized lands. His helmet was open, showing his long, wild red-dyed hair, a braid on each side of his head, while his ice blue eyes and fierce facial features betrayed his origin as from somewhere far from Chel'el'sussoloth, as did the unusual torc about his neck. A sheathed war sword was on his belt and he held a great naginata in his right hand, now dripping with gore.

“Nothing to be afraid of, just a traveller out by herself.” The female voice came from the individual who had accosted Vana'sadra moments before. Vana'sadra didn't recognize the accent, but the individual was speaking Chelian. She had a feeling this person was doing so for Vana'sadra's benefit more so than the male standing in front of them. Vana'sadra turned to get a look at the female now beside her. This one was also dressed in the armor and brown cloak of a Raider, with long wild red-dyed hair spilling from under her helmet. She was tall and was well-shaped, the armor not hiding her full curves in the slightest. Judging from how she had overpowered Vana'sadra, she was quite strong. The female Raider examined her curved broadsword before sheathing it, her feral green eyes flicking back from the male back to Vana'sadra. Her facial features had a tribal similarity to that of the male.

“There was only one of the swine left, the trail should be clear now,” said the male to the Nal'sarkoth as he wiped the blood from his naginata's blade. His accent was much the same as the female.

“Who, or what was it?” asked Vana'sadra, looking out to from where the male had stepped from.

“Take a look for yourself,” he replied brusquely.

Vana'sadra crossed over to the other side of the road, the smell of blood and offal directing her to where the target had been slain. In the midst of some bushes lay a wiry blue-skinned female drow with long black hair, naked save for a linen skirt, face wrap, and top and a few copper bangles and a necklace. She clutched a bone war club in her stiffening grasp, and a bow and arrows lay on the ground beside her. Her torso had been completely shorn in two, her internal organs spilling out into the ground from the shattered ribcage and cleft chest and belly. Already flies buzzed about the rapidly cooling corpse.

“I'd have thought that the Black Sun didn't come out this far,” said the Explorer as she turned back to the two Sarghress. “With the Hermiones about and the border forts we've all of Lenk'atar covered.”

The two Highland Raiders looked at each other for a brief moment before their gaze returned to the Nal'sarkoth.

“Black Sun can move fast and quiet enough to go undetected at night. Occasionally small bands make it past the border guards and prey on outlying farms. Even the Hermiones are attacked by them,” said the female Highland Raider.

“Be that as it may, I never expected to see them so deep in Nal'sarkoth territory,” responded Vana'sadra.

“I've seen them as far in as just outside of Gud'ur'hya,” growled the male, referring to the town with the Highland Raider outpost. “We picked up the trail of that one's compatriots crossing the Megha'garjana River this morning and got the drop on them. She got away and we've been tracking her the whole day. We caught the bitch just in time, too,” he added, right before stooping down to hack off the head of the dead Black Sun as proof of the kill.

Vana'sadra took one more look at the Black Sun corpse before turning back to the two Highland Raiders. Whoever these two were they were expert trackers and woodsmen, even for surface raiders. “Thank you, Sarghress. I'm Vana'sadra of the Nal'sarkoth clan. I do my work in the woods, surveying the land for places to be cleared for farmland.”

“All the good land's already been taken. Any more to the north and west and you'll be too damned close to the Hermiones. Even out here you have to watch out for Black Sun, they've been getting bolder,” said the female Raider, turning to head down the trail with the male. Vana'sadra sheathed her sword and followed them.

“Someday the Black Sun'll come down on this land like a blizzard, slaughtering any settler they find. If the Black Sun don't, then the Hermiones will. Settling out here with just a small company of Explorers and Highland Raiders for protection is mad. We can't be everywhere at once,”continued the female.

“You sound sure about the Black Sun being able to pull that off. They've always been divided into small clans. I thought you Raiders were worth any dozen of Black Sun. I know we Explorers are,” snorted Vana'sadra.

“Sure, we can whip any two, three, four tribes. But not fifty. Just ask a survivor of the Gimirri attack on Astur'avati how it went, if you can find one,” grunted the male.

“I've heard plenty of stories,” spoke Vana'sadra coldly. “My old squad leader was there escorting a trade caravan. Since Astur'avati was Illhar'dro territory they were on guard and managed to get away with most of the Nal'sarkoth caravan there before the city fell. Anyone who stood their ground or couldn't get away were put to the sword by the Gimirri horde and the entire settlement was razed to the ground.” Vana'sadra took a second look at her two current companions. She began to suspect that they had first hand experience of the event, and from their appearance, accents, and behavior she doubted it was the same as her former squad leader.

“The two of us were part of that horde,” continued the male Highland Raider. “I had just been made a warrior of my tribe the past winter but my name was known that night at the victory feast. My war sisters and I strode red-handed through the deserted streets and the ash of violated plantations covered our sandaled feet.”

“So you really are Gimirri...” Vana'sadra cursed silently. Fate had a sense of humor, all right. What were the chances that two of the same blood-crazed barbarians who had razed a colony in the past were defending the ones here on the surface?

“Both our tribes had warriors there, and I even met Tur'geis here there briefly. We barely remembered each other when we saw each other again in Sarghress service,” said the female with a chuckle. “My name's Die'tra, of the Am'saag.”

“I'm Vana'sadra Nal'sarkoth. Do you two often come out here to chase Black Sun?” queried Vana'sadra.

“We do, we're the best trackers here. Who better to track down interlopers than those born in the wilds?” answered Tur'geis, carefully watching the sides of the path for any sign of threats. “We'd best continue on, else it'll be dark before we get back to Gud'ur'hya.”

The trip to Gud'ur'hya went without incident, until the three were let past the gates of the colony. The shops were closing as the sun began to lower itself beneath the horizon, but a group of various guards and merchants gathered in the town square, speaking openly and concernedly about some matter. Vana'sadra furrowed her brow at overhearing a merchant in a fur cloak speak quite loudly about a missing caravan. The manner in which she was gesticulating wildly showed that she had quite an investment of some sort tied into the lost caravan.

“And not only that, my young cousin was on that caravan. She's one of the fur merchants, you know...they bring us much wealth, even in these times. Will no one help me find her?” said the richly dressed merchant.

“It's getting late. If that caravan was indeed attacked by Black Sun then there's little we can do right now. Those blue devils can see as well in the dark as any of us can, and move much quieter and faster than us in those woods,” spoke the captain of the guard, a stout, stone-faced Highland Raider. “You'd be as well off chasing Diva'ratrika's ghost...make that worse off, no ghost ever drove an arrow through one's throat.”

The merchant resignedly sighed, a concerned frown upon her face. She glumly looked back up at the approaching trio, her facial expression brightening as she saw that the two Highland Raiders were outlanders.

“You...you two. Would you like to make some easy money?!” said the merchant, her words slow and loud as if speaking to fools. “I can give you firewater! All you want!” she continued, waving her hands in pantomime.

“We can speak your language just fine, and we'll take the cash and that task,” said Tur'geis, wishing to put a quick end to this embarrassing episode.

“It too will have to wait until next morning. Krui'adh and Rox'elana have been waiting nearly all day to see us again and we've been out just as long. I don't know about you but I could use a good rest before going out into dangerous territory,” added Die'tra.

“Count me in with you, it's too dangerous to go alone,” said Vana'sadra. “I owe you that much for helping save my life.”

“It's much appreciated. Just where was this caravan going?” grunted Tur'geis, turning his attention back to the merchant.

“To the settlements along the Megha'garjana River to pick up furs from the trappers. Dangerous territory, I know...” replied the merchant.

“Then it must have been one of those false guides, I wager. The Black Sun and other bandits figured out that they can have their own pose as guides leading newcomer caravans into ambushes, then sell the stolen goods themselves,” said Tur'geis.

“And how would you know this?” uttered the merchant, incredulous.

“Because it's what I would do,” growled the male Am'saag.

“Well then...it seems likely...” muttered the merchant, cowed by the Highland Raider's frank admission.

“We've seen this before,” said the Raider commander. “Go ahead and assemble a team to search at first light. Your little family reunion is going to have to wait, captain,” she said to Tur'geis and Die'tra.

“Got it. We'll be home to give our kids the bad news...” chuckled Die'tra with a shrug. Krui'adh and Rox'elana would be alright, under the watch of the other Raiders. “We'll be out and back by noon tomorrow, gods willing with the missing caravaners in tow.”
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Lunareth » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:28 pm

Awesome work Alric, i really love all the jokes and hint hidden there about Tur'geis and Die'tra, and they still are the best couple around ˇ.ˇ Savage jokes are the best jokes, and Krui and Roksy will appaer in the next part, oh my! Love that you made it! <3 Make mooore ~ >v<
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Alric » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:32 pm

Took longer than I expected, but Chapter II is done! Let me know what y'all think.

Chapter II:

Tur'geis ravenously tore into the leg of boar he held in his hands, savoring his first meal of the day. Die'tra sat at his side, feeding the red haired dokkalvar baby girl in her arms. A white-haired dokkalvar boy sat across from Tur'geis, likewise eating his portion of roast boar. Both dokkalvar children shared the light blue eyes of the Am'saag, and their facial features showed the likeness to their parents present with them at breakfast.

Die'tra smiled as she recognized the similarity between Tur'geis and his son Krui'adh as they both ate in the same manner. They were so alike to each other! She held Rox'elana close as she fed the toddler from a bowl of porridge with mashed fruit. Die'tra felt a bit sad that they had to leave her yet again, at least for the next few hours. Goddesses willing, they'd all be safe by the end of the day. Die'tra was no coward and never shied away from a fight, but she was glad she and her family were away from the hell of Chel'el'sussoloth. Out of the corner of her eye, Die'tra saw Tur'geis turn in their direction and give a slight grin. Rox'elana was just old enough to eat solid food, and witnessing her take one of her first meals of the kind was a proud occasion.

“Dad, are you sure you don't have time for sword practice now?” asked Krui'adh, after finishing up his current helping of food.

“I'd love to Krui'adh, but I've got some colonists to find. How about when I get back?” said Tur'geis, flinging a bone out the window to his and Die'tra's wolves Bodark and Asena. Tur'geis couldn't help but feel irked at his inability to spend some more time with his children; he'd spent nearly all day yesterday tracking down Black Sun raiders and had scarcely time to personally train Krui'adh then.

“Awww, dad...” grumbled the male child. Krui'adh had even wanted to show his dad his latest ability at archery in addition to his skill in swordplay.

“You know...we've still got about an hour before we're to meet with the others, Tur'geis. Why don't you help out Krui'adh while I deal with packing and getting Krui'adh and Rox'elana to the Raider center,” purred Die'tra as she picked Rox'elana up.

“Alright then...enough time for a short session,” spoke Tur'geis with a grin to Die'tra and their son. A man who didn't spend time with his family wasn't much of a man, after all.

Krui'adh gave a whoop of joy and beamed a wide smile. “I'll show you how well I can shoot, and then you can teach me more sword fighting!” he added before dashing to his room to grab his wooden sword and bow.

Die'tra draped her arms around Tur'geis' great shoulders and nuzzled the back of his neck, getting a kiss on her lips for her trouble. “Krui'adh's waiting for you, go show him a few new tricks!”

“Heh, you're the one who's the better shot,” replied Tur'geis teasingly.

“True, but your son would love it even more if you helped train him with sword fighting yourself!” Die'tra purred into her mate's ears.

“You act as if I needed any more convincing,” replied Tur'geis, giving Die'tra a kiss before getting up from the table. He took up a wooden training sword and bow and then made his way out after Krui'adh.

---

The Megha'garjana River was as a thin blue ribbon through the dark forest, the boughs of the trees closing in oppressively close to those close to the river's shores. The sun had not yet risen above the cover of the trees and the long canoe thus made its way down the river in near darkness. Such dark was of little concern to the underground-raised pilots of the boats, however.

Vana'sadra had enough familiarity with the river to know her way through the rough rapids, and she was confident in the abilities of her peers. All five of the additional members of the search party were rough-handed colonists, Nal'sarkoth and otherwise, who had learned woodcraft through pure necessity. They were dressed in hide and rough silk, and carried sword, axe, crossbow and spear. But there was something about the two Am'saag that set them apart from the colonists. The colonists had learned stealth and wilderness survival, but the two barbarians had been born into and formed by those things.

A few hours of travel later, the search party made their landing at a shore about a mile from the reported Black Sun camp. Before departing, the party had been informed that any hostages would have been brought there. By this time of the day, most of the Black Sun braves would be out on patrol or hunting. A stealthy group could be able to sneak in and liberate any prisoners if there were any. Vana'sadra gripped her sword, mindful of the effectiveness of her earth sorcery out here in the wilderness. The two Highland Raiders and the colonists had likewise prepared their weapons, fanning out as they made their way quietly through the rough bush.

Suddenly, one of the colonists gave a startled cry and fell to the ground, a black shaft protruding grotesquely from her chest. Vana'sadra spun in the direction of the offending arrow just as the piercing cry of a multitude of Black Sun warriors reach her ears. She and the others gave their own cry as they charged into the fray, arms raised to strike. Vana'sadra hacked at the painted body of a Black Sun fighter, feeling her sword taste flesh. The air about her was full of the sound of clashing weapons, war cries, and the screams of the dying. A quick visual survey revealed that the raiding party was vastly outnumbered by the Black Sun defenders.

Vana'sadra pulled her sword from the dying Black Sun and turned in time to meet another charging at her, axe already falling in a lethal arc. Like a flash of lighting, a long curved blade swept down and messily severed both head and arm of the assailant. Tur'geis stepped in and roughly motioned for Vana'sadra to follow him. The Nal'sarkoth Explorer didn't need to be told twice. The death rattle of another Black Sun beside her heralded Die'tra's return by their side.

The three broke into a run, screaming Black Sun hot on their heels. Vana'sadra lost track of how far they had ran, but by the time they stopped they had left their pursuers far behind them. She took cover behind a tree, and the only sound that reached her ears was that of her deep panting.

“We've lost them,” muttered Die'tra after what seemed like an eternity. She then shook the blood from her sword and returned it to her scabbard, watching the brush before them intently for any sign of Black Sun scouts.

“Did anyone else make it?” asked Vana'sadra, likewise sheathing her sword and leaning against the tree's trunk as she caught her breath.

“I only counted us three. We can't go back to the canoe, they're going to watch it to catch us should we try to escape. They may not expect us to continue on to their encampment,” grunted Tur'geis.

“If they captured anyone they'll be back at their camp, along with the other prisoners,” explained Die'tra, passing around a water skin.

“Just keep quiet. The last thing we need now is another war party coming down on us while there's only three of us,” uttered Vana'sadra before taking the water skin.

“Then let's get going. They're not going to stop until they find us, and I want some payback,” growled Tur'geis as he led the way back into the depths of the silent forest.
Last edited by Alric on Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Lunareth » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:21 pm

Such a nice job, and you know i just LOVE the amily scene *_* As soon as i have time, i'm gonna sketch the eating scene with them, they are just such a lovely happy family <3 Thank you for writting it! *heehee* :D
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Alric » Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:23 pm

D'aww, you're welcome, and I'm glad you enjoyed it! Illustrations would be welcome, of course! :D Now whether to write Chapter III or finish that Space Age story first. There's going to be some great action, no matter what.
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Alric » Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:18 pm

And here's chapter III! I'd like to note that this is a belated birthday gift for Lunareth! Hope you enjoy it! Also featuring a minor guest appearance by Tsuris' character Argrim.

Chapter III:

The Black Sun camp bustled with activity as workers and slaves did their daily tasks. A wooden stockade surrounded the huts made of mud and wattle as warriors squatted within and tended their bleeding wounds from the past battle, all the while keeping their bone weapons close to hand.

Die'tra' keen eyes searched the open stockade from the slight vantage point provided to her by a cluster of trees. A variety of severed heads, both goblin and elf, were stuck upon the shafts of spears ringing the center of the camp. It was looking grim for the well-being of the captured trader so far. Normally the Black Sun tried to take hostages in order to gain money or much needed goods.

By the center of the camp, however, stood a series of wooden stakes. A long-haired Mimian female in torn green garments was lashed to one; it seemed likely that she was the missing fur trader. Her posture against the stake indicated that she was barely conscious. Getting her out of the camp may prove to be difficult.

The Highland Raider caught a glimpse of an unusual sight. There was an assortment of markings and tattoos on the different Black Sun, showing that not all present were of the same tribe. If there really was a tribal alliance after all then the colonies could be in greater danger than previously thought. There was a large longhouse right at the center of the camp, next to the open circle ringed by spears, decorated with skulls hanging from the door. Through the main door strode a female who could only be the chieftain of the Black Sun tribes there.

She was a lean, medium sized figure, dressed in rough fabrics along with a curious harness of bone, iron, and chitin where numerous gems and feathers were set within. Her malevolent features betrayed a cryptic menace. A hulking dark elf male of high station, judging from his attire, followed her from the long house along with an entourage of warriors. The two ferocious Black Sun spoke a few more words to each other; apparently there had been some sort of strategy meeting taking place between the two chieftains. With a bow of farewell, the large male mounted up with his bodyguards and set off to their own camp, the female leader returning to her long house.

Die'tra quickly made her way back to the ground where Tur'geis and Vana'sadra were waiting for her report. “They're regrouping and healing from our raid, and I saw the prisoner we want, as well as their leader. I say we wait until most of the warriors leave before we make our move,” said Die'tra.

“Yeah, anything else you see up there?” asked Tur'geis.

“While you were checking out my butt, I saw someone who had to be the Black Sun chieftain,” quipped Die'tra with a mischievous smile. “Maybe we can kill her too, if we move quiet.”

“Hah! Don't act like you wouldn't be doing the same if I was up there. Let's move...even in these woods the sun will soon shine down on us,” replied Tur'geis, nodding to Vana'sadra that it was time to depart. “Taking her head would be quite the feat. Their warriors are out so we may have a chance.”

“That's if they haven't raised the alarm yet about us getting away,” commented Vana'sadra.

Die'tra reached down and gripped Tur'geis' buttocks firmly as she closed with him. “Your big ass could cover the moons!”

Tur'geis responded with a swat on Die'tra's shapely rear, causing Vana'sadra to shake her head. If they didn't keep their hands off each other they could all be in big trouble.

---

Loma'khadva blinked and squinted her eyes against the dull rays of the rising sun, just cresting over the trees' leaves. She dimly recalled that she was currently bound to a stake, but right now her attention was fixated on the trio of Black Sun warriors facing her. They murmured to each other in their unintelligible tongue for a brief moment, and the Nal'sarkoth fur trader knew at that moment it was a good thing she didn't know their language.

One of them drew a bone axe and advanced towards Loma'khadva, his free hand reaching out for her. Suddenly three figures slammed into the Black Sun, driving great steel blades into their bodies. Loma'khadva kept quiet, shocked at what happened but knowing enough that this was her timely rescue.

“Who sent you? My cousin?” she whispered to the three, two Highland Raiders and a Nal'sarkoth Explorer by the sight of them. An odd combination, to be sure, but she couldn't complain about a rescue.

“I hope you're the right one. She offered to pay us big time to get you out!” replied the Sarghress female. “The name's Die'tra.”

“I'm Tur'geis, and your clans mate there is Vana'sadra. We'll get you out before you can say 'Sharess save me,” said the male as Vana'sadra cut through the ropes holding Loma'khadva to the stake.

Die'tra looked over her shoulder, catching sight of a bunch of Black Sun down at the other side of the circle drawing their weapons, having noticed the intruders.

“You sure she didn't do anything to piss the goddesses off?” commented Die'tra flatly.

Tur'geis did a double take and swore while Vana'sadra shielded Loma'khadva with her sword and armored body, edging back towards the flattened palisade, courtesy of Vana'sadra's earth sorcery, whence the three had came.

“Maybe Sharess was out having a crap and missed that,” grunted Tur'geis.

“Next time use one of our deities, okay?” muttered Die'tra as she raised her sword and charged in.

The five Black Sun guards met the three partway. Die'tra ducked under one's swing, gutting him with a low slash to his side. Tur'geis smashed down another's guard before cleaving her in two.

“They'll listen, with all this blood being spilt!” Tur'geis snarled, a wild grin on his blood-splattered face as he turned to engage the remaining savages.

“You guys are insane, you know that?” cried out Vana'sadra as she narrowly blocked a wild swing. Loma'khadva inched back towards the hole in the wall made by Vana'sadra earlier, eager to take the opportunity to escape.

Vana'sadra drove her sword into the Black Sun brave's chest before grabbing Loma'khadva and making her way out. “Time to leave!”

Tur'geis and Die'tra faced off against the two remaining Black Sun warriors as they backed up towards the two Nal'sarkoth to make their exit. Without warning, a large shape bounded out of the pathway between Black Sun huts, causing the two Black Sun to dive away from the new arrival.

The creature that crouched before the two Am'saag was something they were utterly unprepared to see. Its dexterity and general appearance was unmistakably feline, but was almost as massive as a bear. The speed and stealth by which it arrived was like no living being, and its dark, glowing eyes and flesh gave it a hellish appearance. But the beast's sharp, knife-like fangs and snarling visage made it clear that this was no apparition, but a monster bred for destruction, a brutal end-point of carnivorous development. It was a summon of a sabretooth tiger; such a beast had not been seen in this region for a very long time.

From behind the summon stepped the Black Sun chieftain. Now Die'tra understood the purpose of the gems embedded in her attire; she was a traditional summoner, rare among the Black Sun tribes. It was no suprise how she could have made her way through their hierarchy so quickly, especially with being able to control a summon of that age and power.

Vana'sadra turned back, witnessing the beast and the chieftain confront Tur'geis and Die'tra. They could still escape, and they needed her help. She gave an oath as she turned back to aid the two, noticing then that the summoned sabertooth tiger was too large to fit through the hole in the palisade.

“Tur'geis! Die'tra! Over here!” she called, raising her sword.

The two Black Sun fighters stepped back, allowing the tiger summon to charge in and engage the two Highland Raiders. It was only a few paces back for the two Am'saag, but with a creature as blindingly fast as the sabertooth tiger escape seemed a remote possibility. Die'tra was first to meet the tiger in combat. The tiger's claw struck out at her in a blur of fur and sinew. The female Am'saag warrior barely managed to back out of the way, the very tip of the claw brushing her left arm's plate. Die'tra struck back with her sword, cutting into the monster's ghostly arm. Blood gushed from the wound as the sabertooth tiger snarled in pain, but it did not sever the limb much less stop the summoned animal. The beast had been formed from the earth and shadows of the forest, making it resistant to any weapon of this world.

“By Krom'krukaach!” swore Die'tra. Thinking fast, she ducked back out of the palisade, quickly followed by Tur'geis. Tur'geis barely made it out before the gnashing maw of the giant feline smashed partially through the hole in the heavy wooden fence, the beast furious with savage bloodlust. Seeing that it was halted for now, the four drow bolted for it, sprinting to relative safety of the jungle.

Vana'sadra took another look back. She and the others could clearly hear the summon's angry growling and the cries of the enraged Black Sun, but there was not yet any sign of the sabertooth tiger.

“You think it's going around?” asked Loma'khadva, still frightened by the close brush with death.

“More like going over...let's move!” Tur'geis shot back before he and Die'tra ran off deeper into the jungle. The two Nal'sarkoth made a run for it after the two Highland Raiders once Vana'sadra saw the sabertooth tiger effortlessly bound over the palisade as if it was a mere log in a forest path. Loma'khadva shot a quick glance behind her, immediately regretting that she'd done so. The sabertooth tiger was practically right on her heels, its terrible strength being nearly enough to cross the entire clearing in one bound. Loma'khadva forgot all her injuries and fatigue in an instant as she burst off in a sprint after Vana'sadra.

Fear gripped Vana'sadra as she ran. They had little chance of outrunning such a beast, and their weapons appeared to have little effect on the monster. Vana'sadra gave brief prayers for safety to any deity who might be listening as she ran through the forest. Suddenly, Tur'geis and Die'tra ran off the path, taking up positions between trees on opposite sides. Vana'sadra knew then what they had planned, and she prayed even more at that moment.

“Keep running!” Vana'sadra said to Loma'khadva, before stopping and turning around to take stock. The blood-mad sabertooth tiger wasn't far behing her, now was the time to strike! She raised her hands, mana sparking around them as the earth before her cracked and rose from the ground just in time to trip up the sabertooth tiger. The great beast tumbled to the ground, the roots of the trees ripping themselves from the ground and entangling its limbs. A briefly puzzled Vana'sadra looked behind herself, witnessing Loma'khadva gesturing as she used her plant sorcery to aid them in their fight. But the creature was too strong, easily tearing through the vines and roots as if they were light paper.

At that moment Die'tra leapt out from behind the underbrush in a leap reminiscent of the great tiger's, delivering a score of fierce blows to the beast's torso. A fearsome baritus rung out from the other side of the trail, heralding Tur'geis' brutal attack. As the sabertoothed summon barrelled towards Tur'geis, he plunged between its wide arms and swung his naginata with all his force at the tiger's bull neck.

For one dizzy moment it was unclear if the animal was still alive. Then the summon crashed to the ground, a score of sword wounds to its chest and back and a deep gash laying its neck and torso open. As if in a dream, the summoned sabertooth tiger's corpse shifted and changed to mere earth and stone, its aura flying away back to its master.

"Now that's putting the cat out," grunted Tur'geis as he got back up to a standing position.

“Everyone alright?” asked Vana'sadra, checking herself and Loma'khadva for injuries.

“We're fine,” growled Die'tra. “We shouldn't stick around...” Already she and Tur'geis could hear the Black Sun charging out after them.

“How did you get here? I say we head to Kacara'jana. It's the closest river camp the Nal'sarkoth have and they need to be warned.”

“Going back to the boats is out of the question. They'll have guards there waiting for us, if they have any sense at all,” Tur'geis told Loma'khadva. “But we can easily reach Kacara'jana if we head to the west before heading south to the river.” He shot a look back at Die'tra. They'd get to their children later than expected but the two Raiders were still alive. Tur'geis knew their children would be fine.

Loma'khadva nodded. “Let's go, there's no time to spare!”
Last edited by Alric on Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Tsuris » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:25 am

Very nice, a sabre tooth summon was interesting to see, the cat puns at the end of that were also totally necessary well done Tur'geis

Argrim will be bummed out he wasn't around for the fighting though how rude of them for showing up just as he was leaving! XD
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Alric » Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:12 am

Here's chapter IV. It took me longer than I expected to do it but shit happens. We're almost at the end, so I'll try to get the last chapter or two done in a timely manner!

Chapter IV:

“How many Black Sun are there, anyways?” queried Vana'sadra as the four made their way through the western path. They were all careful to avoid low-hanging branches and to step on the hard packed dirt of the trail as to leave no trace; but for the two Nal'sarkoth it was slower work.

“The woods were swarming with them! At least a dozen tribes,” replied Loma'khadva, her long white hair trailing behind her as she ran.

“They'll obey a great warrior, but they'll follow a sorceress into Hell, whether it be out of respect or fear,” continued Die'tra. “There has to be more clans that you didn't see.”

“With that great chief the summoner was speaking to, the Black Sun have to be marching on the border settlements right now. You don't drive them into a fury just to let them sit it out,” grunted Tur'geis.

Vana'sadra and Loma'khadva thought about it for a moment as they ran down the forest path. “We need to get to Kacara'jana before the Black Sun do!” announced Loma'khadva, getting a second wind as she realized the danger the settlements were in.

“Kacara'jana can't have the manpower to hold off multiple tribes, they have to be informed!” added Vana'sadra, concerned about the danger to her clansmates who were present at that colony.

“I don't know if the Black Sun can take the forts, but they'll be able to strike the roads to Gud'ur'hya even if the fort holds,” grunted Tur'geis, giving a concerned glance to Die'tra. Their children were currently at the Sarghress camp at Gud'ur'hya, right where they'd left them.

“First we need to get off the path...you hear that?” said Die'tra, her ears pricking up at a distant sound. Silence fell upon them all, and a very attentive ear could have heard the sound of footsteps tramping heavy grass in the distance.

“Can't be too many...five to eight,” grunted Tur'geis as he listened carefully, naginata in hand. Fighting them was still enough of a risk, especially with Loma'khadva around.

“Let's head off the path now, it'd throw them off our trail,” explained Vana'sadra. The four took Vana'sadra's advice to heart, quickly stepping off the trail and making sure to cover their tracks in the dirt and grass. Having accomplished that, they made a rapid advance to the west off of the path.

Vana'sadra shot a quick glance back towards the path as they went through the uneven ground on their roundabout path to the river. The two Am'saag seemed to know best as to how to keep quiet. Even though they were in harness their movements were unusually quick and silent. Vana'sadra could move almost as stealthily but her pace was greatly reduced and she found it hard to keep up with them. That was the case for Loma'khadva, but even more so. The trader had little experience with stealth and woodcraft, unlike the other three.

Tur'geis looked back to the two Nal'sarkoth, furrowing his brow as he saw them lagging behind. “We can't waste time...” he said quietly, cutting himself off midsentence. Both he and Die'tra realized that the two Nal'sarkoth were in effect slowing them all down.

“Maybe we could use Loma'khadva as bait for an ambush, should we be unable to escape the Black Sun vanguard. We could be better off flanking them,” Die'tra muttered to Tur'geis, seeing that the two Highland Raiders were out of earshot of the two Nal'sarkoth.

“I know the Nal'sarkoth are not to be trusted too deeply, but we came here to rescue her for a reward, not put her at risk,” whispered Tur'geis.

“You also know that they'd be thinking the same if our positions were reversed,” was Die'tra' pithy reply.

“That's for sure,” mused Tur'geis, taking a glance back at the two Nal'sarkoth behind them. Not that he wasn't willing to do such a thing; he didn't trust the Nal'sarkoth enough not to be prepared to turn on them if it was necessary. “We came here to get paid but I want us both back with our children as soon as possible.”

Die'tra paused for a moment to think on it more. “So do I. We probably have the whole tribe after us, leaving them as bait would likely gain us nothing,” replied Die'tra quietly, conceding the point to her mate.

“I've two good reasons to get home alive tonight,” grunted Tur'geis.

“Make that three,” stated Die'tra with a smile.

Tur'geis almost fell flat on his face as he realized what Die'tra was talking about. “We'll have to celebrate should we get home then!” The Highland Raider officer then considered their location and direction again more closely, his keen ears picking up the sound of the river in the distance. “Hear me out. We'll run into some Black Sun travelling by boat by the river for sure. Let's take one from them.”

“Sounds like a plan to me!” noted Die'tra approvingly as she waved over the two Nal'sarkoth to inform them of the plan.

“Right, they'll know we'll be going for the river anyways. Might as well not cross it and head downstream to beat their forward scouts,” concurred Vana'sadra.

“That's rather optimistic, but its our best way to get downstream fast and out of the way of the bulk of the tribes,” added Loma'khadva. “Let's do it.”

Only a few hundred yards from the river, the band altered their course and ran down towards the river, their only chance of reaching Kacara'jana in time to alert the traders there. Tur'geis held up his hand to signal a halt as soon as they were within visual sight of the banks of the Megha'garjana.

They were in luck. About eight Black Sun, painted in white designs of a tribe Vana'sadra had not seen before, were standing around a dugout canoe halfway into the water. Two of their number were on guard with bows in hand whilst the rest were occupied with loading supplies into the boat. From the sight of it they were travelling light.

In an instant the two Am'saag charged in, followed by Vana'sadra. The one closest to Tur'geis quickly got a shot off but the Highland Raider managed to turn and duck just in time before whirling his polearm about and delivering a murderous blow to the archer. She fell to the ground with a shattered skull, her fingers clutching spasmodically at the earth. Die'tra likewise leapt out of the bushes with a tiger-like bound, driving her sword deep into the breast of the other Black Sun. The surviving Black Sun had either abandoned or cast aside their bows for now, useless in close combat. One drew her bone knife and dove straight at Vana'sadra, knocking them both to the sandy bank.

Vana'sadra and the Black Sun warrior tumbled about the sand and away from the other combatants. The Black Sun punched and kneed Vana'sadra repeatedly in the face and groin as she tried to drive her knife into the Nal'sarkoth Explorer's throat. All of a sudden the Black Sun fighter raised her arm to stab the armored Explorer, giving Vana'sadra a window. The Nal'sarkoth shot up and drove her sword deep between the Black Sun's ribs. Vana'sadra kicked the dying savage off of her blade and spun around in a low crouch, expecting the two Highland Raiders to be in need of aid. Vana'sadra then truly grasped the full strength and ferocity of the two Am'saag.

“Kiss my axe!” Tur'geis dodged a swing, parried the thrust of a sword wielding Black Sun and countered with a brutal slash that butterflied the sword's wielder's torso, the Black Sun's body only in one piece due to the polearm's blade being embedded in the ribcage. Two of the fallen warrior's comrades dove in, eager for vengeance. The first met Vana'sadra's thrown boot knife head on, and the second was stopped by Die'tra intercepting her with a spinning slash. Die'tra's attack put her in a good position to chop down the second to last Black Sun fighter, and the Highland Raider made sure to exploit it, bringing his life to an end. In the meantime, Tur'geis had dropped his stuck naginata and met the last axe-wielding Black Sun with bare hands, as he had no time to draw his sword. The considerably smaller male swung his axes with bestial ferocity, the first clanging off the Am'saag's armor and the second only being checked as Tur'geis grasped his wrist in an iron grasp. Vana'sadra heard the Black Sun male's wrist snap as Tur'geis lifted him up in the air and slammed him head-first on the sand with enough force to rebound from the ground. The Black Sun lay still in a ruined heap, his twisted posture a tell-tale sign of shattered limbs and spine.

“Oooh, that's gotta hurt!” Tur'geis called out as he finished off the mortally wounded Black Sun with a thrust from his sword.

“Well, that was fun...but let's not stick around for the rest to show up,” said Die'tra as she pulled Tur'geis' naginata out of the Black Sun's corpse and handed it back to her mate.

Loma'khadva moved in to the canoe and started to push it completely into the river, beckoning for the others to follow her. “We're not far from Kacara'jana! Quickly!” The three warriors didn't need to be reminded twice and climbed into the canoe with Loma'khadva, taking up paddles.

Die'tra gave a grin to Tur'geis. Being in a boat and having a good fight was quite familiar to them both. “It's just like when we first met, hm?” The two Am'saag shared a laugh as they sped down the river towards the outpost at Kacara'jana.
Last edited by Alric on Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Tsuris » Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:24 pm

Love the way you use your prose in fight scenes Alric, looking forward to the next chapter.
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Alric » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:18 am

Thanks! I'm pretty pleased whenever I get around to writing fight scenes. I also hope I can get the next chapter done quicker than this one.
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Alric » Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:18 pm

Chapter V:

“Kacara'jana is on the eastern bank, keep your eyes open,” advised Loma'khadva. The sun was falling in the sky as the four traveled down the river to Kacara'jana on the stolen canoe.

“I remember the Explorers wanted a stockade built on the river to ward off Black Sun attacks,” said Vana'sadra, watching the foliage to the sides in case of a Black Sun ambush. If that stockade had ever been built, then they'd all find it easier to inform the colony's defenders.

“Aye, but you Nal'sarkoth are led by soft-bellied merchants who can't see any further than next month's balance sheet. No one was willing to spend the coin for laborers and materials that wasn't going to the fur trapping business or the orchards,” replied Die'tra with a disdainful snort.

“If you Explorers didn't have to follow the orders of a bunch of damn fools then we wouldn't have the Black Sun swarming over the walls of Kacara'jana,” grunted Tur'geis.

“You think they could take Kacara'jana that quickly, even with the summoner-chieftain's aid?” queried Loma'khadva, clearly concerned about the outpost's safety.

“That fire isn't calming my concerns about it,” Die'tra commented grimly with a gesture downstream. Down the river one could see a thick cloud of smoke rising into the sky, the evening sky barely concealing the flames on the east bank.

Vana'sadra swore blackly as she put all her strength into paddling the canoe. In the rush of excitement she and Loma'khadva forgot their weariness. Dusk fell as they pulled into a more open area of the river, bringing the flames of the fort out into stark contrast with the night sky. The demoniac yelling of hundreds of Black Sun warriors nearly drowned out the twanging of bow strings and the clash of stone on wood. On the fort's side of the river, the water was clogged with canoes. It was clear that the Black Sun had Kacara'jana utterly surrounded.

A storm of mana arrows and other like projectiles greeted the barbarian attackers with death, causing the first wave to withdraw. Yet there were far too many for the assault to be halted for long.

“Do you think we could break through and get to the fort?” asked Loma'khadva tentatively.

“Not a chance in Hell. The fort's doomed, there's too many Black Sun and they won't stop until they've slain everyone in Kacara'jana. Even if we did manage to breakthrough we wouldn't be able to give them any aid,” said Die'tra solemnly. She knew it would be a bitter pill for the two Nal'sarkoth to swallow.

There was an unpleasant silence on that canoe in the midst of the battle waging on the opposite side of the great river. Finally, Vana'sadra spoke.

“There's nothing we can do but warn the other settlements, then...”

“Even if we had warned Kacara'jana they wouldn't have had the manpower to hold longer than they already have. The Black Sun don't know we're here, we can go on ahead and warn the settlers before they can move on from the fort,” grunted Tur'geis.

“Harsh talk for those manning the farms upland from Kacara'jana,” retorted Loma'khadva.

“It's nothing to me. I've never planted grain and never will, as long as there are other harvests to be reaped by the sword. The farms may be damaged this season but they'll have their lives safe instead,” Tur'geis replied curtly. Sentimentality was an alien concept to the two barbarians.

It was over five miles to the border farms from the bank of the river. Though they had all been running and fighting nearly without pause for the past several hours, they all had more than enough energy for the arduous trek to warn the farmers.

Suddenly Tur'geis raised his hand in a signal to halt. The moonlight had replaced that of the sun, but it was of little concern to the five. He pointed to the ground, where Die'tra was already analyzing the marks upon it.

“Looks like the Black Sun are beating us to it. They've moved as such to hide their numbers, but it can't be more than a small party,” explained Die'tra, moving her hand to show the path the raiders had gone on.

“It looks to me like they're heading for Gud'ur'hya,” grunted Tur'geis.

Die'tra quickly looked back at the two Nal'sarkoth, gauging their remaining strength. “Then we can't stop for anything.” She turned to the other two. “Our children are currently at that colony with the rest of the Raiders. I'll be damned before I let some Black Sun bathe their hands in their blood! If you can't make it there, we'll leave you behind for the rest of the Black Sun warparty.”

“We still need to warn the others. Many of them are of our people, as much as your own children. I'll be damned if we can't get to them before the Black Sun, either!” exclaimed Loma'khadva. The trader's hidden mettle surprised Vana'sadra.

The band continued onward, close on the tail of the Black Sun forward raiders. A vacant carriage loomed before them in the darkness, and the faint sound of voices could be heard. The smell of fresh blood alerted the group to the carnage that now became visible; the oxen had been apparently released from the carriage and scared off, and the naked corpses of the passengers lay dead in a bloody heap on the side of the road. Six Black Sun warriors squatted on the other side of the road, counting their new found possessions of weapons, clothing, and ada.

Vana'sadra took a quick glance at the bodies of the slain. One of the slaughtered females lay spread-eagled, beaten and bloodied with a multitude of wounds. Blind wrath instantly washed over Vana'sadra. Gritting her teeth, she raised her arm and launched a mana arrow directly at the center of one of the Black Sun on the grass. The savage warrior fell to the ground instantly without uttering a sound, and the two Raiders and the Explorer fell upon the remaining Black Sun.

Vana'sadra screamed with rage as she swung her sword, severing the head from one of the Black Sun warriors as Tur'geis and Die'tra clove through the others with sickening ferocity. The other Black Sun were down before Vana'sadra could raise her sword to strike again.

Loma'khadva had decided to lay low in the face of the onslaught, and had time to contemplate the gruesome tragedy that lay aside the broken carriage. “It looks like a family or two...probably on their way back from the market...” She had seen a great deal in the past few hours, but the grim sight was enough to make her shiver and retch.

“You can expect more of that if we don't get to Gud'ur'hya soon enough,” uttered Die'tra as she wiped her sword's blade on the grass. “Let's not waste any more time.”
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Alric » Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:52 pm

And here's the last chapter of the story. Hope you liked it, and thanks for reading!

CHAPTER VI:

Krui'adh groused to himself as he sat down in the field beside his sister, Rox'elana. His mother had given him the duty to watch over Rox'elana and the Am'saag detachment's sheep, horse, and cattle herds with several other Am'saag tribesmen. Rox'elana cooed and smiled happily at her older brother, playing with a stuffed whale she had brought from home. Krui'adh managed a smile as he saw his little sister. He'd rather be out hunting, but he was mature enough to know the importance of protecting his sister.

With that in mind, the boy looked down to check his composite recurve bow; a simple thing, but Krui'adh was proud of how his parents had told him to string and shoot it accurately. Any Gimirri worth her or his mount could use it so! His wooden sword was the other of his treasured belongings, and one day he hoped to be as proficient as his mother and father are with their steel swords! But for now, it was another dull day spent watching over herd animals and Rox'elana.

Krui'adh took some of the extras of his dinner, some lamb meat, fat, and vegetables (thankfully no broccoli!) roasted on a stick and fed it to his wolf cub, Wolkoarjos.

It was just about time to go home, and Krui'adh was certain he'd see his parents there. About time too. Krui'adh was tempted to go out and take some archery practice once Rox'elana is on her way back, but the adults present would have him come back too. Well...maybe he'd be able to get in a bit while they were all making sure she was safely on the wagon with the rest of the very young. Krui'adh rose back up to his feet, grabbing his bow as he did so. It was getting dark, so he'd have to make it quick.

“Here! I'll bring in the rest of the sheep!” exclaimed Krui'adh as he handed off Rox'elana to one of the trusted adult Am'saag present in order to get her all ready for safe travel back. Krui'adh mounted up on Wolkoarjos and rode off to help corral the stray sheep meandering about the side of the field near the river. The dense trees by the river made good targets for arrows.

The presence of the wolf cub was enough to get the sheep in line and back with the rest of the flock. Seeing the task completed, Krui'adh judged that he'd have enough time for a little target practice on the tree trunks. Wolkoarjos could barely contain his excitement as he happily dashed down to the river bank. Unfortunately, Krui'adh wasn't quite skilled enough to accurately shoot from a fast moving mount yet, so he pulled back on his wolf's reins before taking aim. Wolkoarjos slowed to a quick canter; good enough for the young dokkalvar. He always did enjoy a good challenge.

Krui'adh drew the small bow's string in a smooth motion, pulling his arm back over his head as he drew the string and shaft back to his ear. The young dokkalvar inhaled sharply as he took sight on the tree trunk, imagining it as a stag or an armed foe. Suddenly, Wolkoarjos dropped low to the ground, snarling with his fur on end. A quick motion in the bushes captured Krui'adh's attention before he could release the arrow, and he instinctively turned the arrow on the source of the motion.

Krui'adh came eye to eye with a Black Sun warrior, the two frozen out of pure shock. What seemed like an eon passed before the Black Sun turned and ran back into the bush. Another uncomfortably long time passed before Krui'adh's heart stopped pounding like a thousand drums. It didn't take much to convince Wolkoarjos to head back towards the herd and other Am'saag.

“Black Sun! Down by the river!” yelled Krui'adh breathlessly as his wolf shot like a released arrow towards the safety of the Am'saag herding caravan. Immediately the herders knew what to do, forming up around the animals and children as they rode back to their wagons near the colonies in order to make a stand with the rest of the Highland Raiders present.

*

In the meantime, Tur'geis, Die'tra, and the two Nal'sarkoth raced down the road to Gud'ur'hya as fast as they could, making stops to warn the farmers of the fast approaching Black Sun threat. Occasionally Die'tra and Tur'geis stopped, certain they could hear growling of wild beasts not far behind them and getting ever closer. Soon they came to a sizable cabin by the road with a stable beside it.

Vana'sadra pounded a fist on the cabin's door. “Wake up! The Black Sun are coming!”

It didn't take long before the door flew open. A dazed looking male stared back at Vana'sadra, dressed in night clothes and with mana fire covering his free hand. He immediately closed the door and retreated back inside, the sounds of frenzied speech coming from within.

The door immediately swung open again. An equally terrified and like dressed female stood there beside her mate, axe in hand and three small children behind her. “Then come in! We'll make a stand here,” she said defiantly.

Loma'khadva shook her head sadly. “There's too many, and the border outpost has already fallen. We must make a run for Gud'ur'hya. You have dawmere, we can make the trip before the Black Sun and warn everyone on the way.”

“We can. But some Gimirri herders came out this way, they may still be out there...”

Die'tra took one look at the frightened children and stepped in closer to the farmer and her family, cutting her off before she could finish speaking. “Get to Gud'ur'hya as soon as you can, for your children and mate's sake. Where did the herders go?” said the female Am'saag, her voice commanding.

“To the fields to the north-west of the road here,” replied the farmer.

“We may need two of your horses to warn them,” said Tur'geis. “Take your wagon to Gud'ur'hya along with the Nal'sarkoth and warn everyone you see. We've got some business of our own to take care of.”

“We've only two dawmere for our cart. Best of luck reaching the herders in time, at least you'll be able to flee fast with them!”

“Thanks,” replied Die'tra curtly. Krui'adh and Rox'elana had to be with them, just as they had ordered early this morning.

Vana'sadra turned to face the two Am'saag. “Enough, I shall accompany you.”

“No. You go with your own people, we'll handle our own affairs,” grunted Tur'geis.

“If the Black Sun move fast they'll overtake us if we go on foot,” explained Loma'khadva. There was no time to waste, and the two Am'saag were faster in the bush than the two Nal'sarkoth.

“Fine then, I'll protect the farmers, you two go after the herders.”

“Our son and daughter are with them,” stated Die'tra, glancing over down the road. Already the outer homes, already vacant, were alight with fire. “Make sure you get the family and Loma'khadva back safely.”

Loma'khadva, now armed with a crossbow lent to her from the family, climbed aboard the wagon as the family hitched up the dawmeres. Vana'sadra took one look back at the two Highland Raiders, already on their way to the herders' last location before climbing aboard with the family on her vital mission. She made a quick, silent prayer for the Highland Raiders and their family's safety. From all she'd seen today they'd need all the aid, divine or otherwise, that they could get.

“Bring them home safe!” she called out, loud enough for the two Am'saag to hear before they disappeared into the night. They were gone. Vana'sadra turned her attention to the road behind her as the wagon sped off along the road, the shine of flames visible against the night time horizon.

The two Highland Raiders ran to the north-west, searching for any sign of the herding group. Their tread made little noise aside from the occasional sound of their armor. Tur'geis and Die'tra had just crossed into an open glade when their instincts told them that they were being followed. Without armor, the Black Sun could move even more stealthily than they.

In the intense dark of the shaded forest, not even they could clearly see what was approaching. A ball of mana fire shot out from the cover of the trees, barely missing the two Highland Raiders before slamming into the trunk of a tree on the opposite side of the field.

An odd shimmering came out from the trees, and the two Am'saag quickly raised their swords to face the new threat. Three lizard like beasts came out from the bushes, running on their hind legs. The ends of their fore and hind limbs ended in vicious sickle-like claws, and their heads, mounted on long, sinuous necks, were crowned in vibrant pink feathers, mirrored by their iridescent scales. Atop the lead summon rode the Black Sun summoner from before, wielding a barbed sword.

“You two have come a long way from home just to be my property, haven't you?” spoke the summoner calmly.

“Are you to stand and talk, or take action, you swine?” retorted Die'tra, her eyes like orbs of green fire in the dusk.

“You dared attack my camp, slay my warriors, and steal my tribe's prey, and that is what intrigues me the most! The two of you should be honored. Only the finest warriors' souls are fit to serve me. You are dead already. Your heads will hang in my hut, your bodies food for my summons and warriors, and your auras shall be my servants.”

“How about I take your head instead, and see what the innards of your pets look like,” muttered Tur'geis, raising his naginata. “You can give this speech in hell next time!”

The summoner kicked her raptor mount into action, and the creature dove at Tur'geis, swinging its razor sharp fore-claws. Tur'geis dashed aside, barely avoiding the beast's swing, and struck high with his naginata to sever the raptor's neck. With an unbelievably fast turn of its neck, the summon dodged the blow and was upon the male Am'saag again. Tur'geis felt claws scrape his helmet right before he drove his naginata deep into the creature's groin with a savage grin. With a surprised cry the summoner rolled off of the dying beast as it crashed to the ground, waving over one of the other raptors as she raised a dagger in an attempt to ward off the Highland Raider.

Die'tra narrowly dodged the attack of one of the other summons, the talons ripping her armor as if it was cloth. She dove under the followup strike, slashing across the lizard beast's torso and feeling her sword's blade dig deep into its belly. The summon roared and grabbed Die'tra in its tensing grasp, trying to drive its talons deep into her. In a fury roused by fighting for her very life, and that of her children, Die'tra gave a mighty twist to her sword before tearing it from the beast's belly. Summoned entrails fell to the ground, transforming into earth, before the raptor as Die'tra rolled out of the way of the descending corpse.

The Black Sun summoner had taken the moment to mount up again, the remaining raptor snapping its jaws at Tur'geis whenever he attempted to close the distance to slay its master. Out of the corner of his eye, Tur'geis saw Die'tra rise to her feet again. The summoner noticed Tur'geis' motion towards Die'tra, and turned to throw a mana projectile while Tur'geis was busy fending off her mount.

“Die'tra, down!” was all Tur'geis managed to say before the summoner sent mana bolt her way. The mana bolt splashed against Die'tra's hastily raised mana shield, the energy dispersed enough to save her from injury but not enough for her to hold her footing completely. The summoner quickly prepared to charge another blast.

Tur'geis swore blackly, but thought fast. He quickly slashed his naginata at the beast, blocking its neck with the haft before pushing forward and stabbing the summoner in the arm. It was only a superficial wound, but served to distract her from Die'tra. Tur'geis hunched his shoulders as the raptor bit down on his neck, feeling the needle sharp teeth scrape against his armor. He was safe from being the raptor's repast for the time being, but was now at the Black Sun sorceress' mercy.

Die'tra saw the summoner cock her arm back to throw the mana arrow straight through Tur'geis' head, and instinctively sprung into action to protect her mate. Her footing now secure, she sank low into a sprinter stance and dashed forward, launching herself into the air with the last step with her sword pulled back to strike. Sensing something fast approaching her, the Black Sun leader immediately turned her head and arm to address the new threat. But Die'tra's arm shot out like an enraged cobra, and her sword then transfixed the Black Sun summoner's neck. Die'tra slammed into the dying summoner and her mount, causing all three to hit the ground hard. Tur'geis threw the stunned raptor away from his neck and brought his naginata down on the summon's neck, breaking the aura's hold on its fabricated body.

Die'tra shook the blood from her sword as she got back to her feet, taking a curious look over at the fields beyond the narrow copse of trees before them. “Look! It's the pasture where our animals are kept this time of year.”

Tur'geis rushed to her side to take a look. There was no sign of the ranchers, so they had likely been forewarned of the Black Sun war party and holed up with the wagons.

“Come on...they have to be with the rest of the laager. Those Black Sun aren't going to wait.”

*

“What do you mean there'll be no reward?” asked Vana'sadra incredulously. “After all this trouble getting Loma'khadva back safely?” The two Highland Raiders weren't going to be happy, if they were still alive. Vana'sadra was already irked from the wound on her head and broken arm she'd sustained in the defense of the colony last night.

“I'm sorry. My mistress was waylaid by a Black Sun party and was slain with her guards when she tried to flee Gud'ur'hya. All of her riches and slaves she took with her were stolen, and whatever assets she has in the surviving colonies here are to be given to her next of kin. There's nothing in her will about a reward,” said the Nal'sarkoth representative, scratching the back of her head apathetically. “There's nothing left to give the Sarghress.”

“Well...thank you, anyways,” mumbled Vana'sadra before excusing herself from the merchant's estate. She headed out towards the walls, where she knew the Am'saag laager was awaiting. The battle at Gud'ur'hya had been short, but intense. The Black Sun's will to take the colony was unusually low, and the Black Sun had retreated this morning.

“Are the Black Sun going to come back?” asked Krui'adh, cautiously watching out of the yurt's doorway. The boy kept his sword and bow especially close to hand over the events of the past day.

“Not anytime soon. Your father and I took the summoner's head. It'll be some time before the tribes get another leader willing to unite all those tribes again,” replied Die'tra, watching Rox'elana play around with a wooden sword.

“We'll have to fight them the next time! Maybe I can join in by then...” said Krui'adh, sticking his chest out as he imagined fighting by his parent's side. He then noticed a bandaged and green clad drow female walking towards the tent. “Someone's coming!”

Tur'geis, heretofore drinking a cup of wine, leapt to his feet and walked to the yurt's opening, where he saw Vana'sadra, looking rather worse for wear, approaching.

The Nal'sarkoth explorer gave a weak smile. “You and your family are alive, but I've ill news. That fur merchant is dead. There'll be no reward for getting Loma'khadva back safe.”

Tur'geis frowned, then shrugged his broad shoulders. “If we hadn't gone out to save her most, if not all of us, would be dead by now. I'll take that as a reward.”

“Are they to rebuild the outer colonies?” asked Die'tra.

“No. Gud'ur'hya is to be the new frontier. Lots of people lost a lot last night, they're not looking to repeat a bad investment, not now at least,” sighed Vana'sadra, taking a seat. She looked at the Am'saag family before her with weary eyes. “You know...thanks. Thanks for getting me and Loma'khadva out alive. We'd both have been dead a score times over if it wasn't for you.”

“You're welcome. I don't think we've seen the last of the Black Sun. You might have to pay them a visit in return, let them know the price for attacking your colonies,” stated Die'tra flatly, her green eyes all but ablaze. Tur'geis nodded in approval, as did both children.

Vana'sadra looked on the Am'saag with concern. Their odd customs and practices were completely alien to her and the colonists. Indeed, she had the feeling that these individuals had far more in common with the Black Sun they'd all faced yesterday. Was their presence here on her side just a whim of circumstance? Had the civilized force of the Sarghress clan not hired them to do their uncivilized business, there was the very possibility either one of these two or their kin could have slit her throat with no qualms afterwards. Vana'sadra quickly excused herself from the yurt.

*

Night had fallen, and both Krui'adh and Rox'elana were fast asleep. Die'tra sat facing the closed flap, making sure that her sword was properly sharpened. She knew Tur'geis was behind her, tending to his own arms and armor, and did not fear the soft sound of his feet on the floor to her rear. Yet she did not expect to feel his hands so suddenly around her waist.

“Tonight, we celebrate,” was his words, growled softly into her ear.

At first Die'tra was confused, but knew exactly when his hands moved up to stroke her belly, just now carrying their third born under her heart. She remembered that she had indeed told him last night, much to his surprise. Die'tra smiled as his hands went further up to cup her breasts. “Tonight we will celebrate...” she said softly, pressing back to her mate.
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Alric
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby TheJackinati275 » Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:49 pm

A good end to a Good story...

I must admit that i had to reread several bits here and there because i got confused, but i loved the story and it was a good read.
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Alric » Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:08 am

Sorry for the late reply, but thanks! I'm glad folks here enjoyed the story, I had fun writing it even though real life stuff got in the way at times. Stay tuned for more!
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Alric
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Re: A Tale From The Deep Woods

Postby Alric » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:06 am

Oh by the way, here's a nice pic for the end of the story by AshleyNicole6422. She previously did some very nice fanart of Tur'geis and Die'tra you can find here.

For folks who can't be bothered to click links:
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Alric
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