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 Aodh's Tale

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Mr. Serious
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PostSubject: Aodh's Tale   Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:35 pm

It was cold, but Aodh didn’t mind. He had been raised in the half-frozen realm of the Northlands. He listened to the crunch of the frozen ground under his feet and the faint clink of his armor as he patrolled the forest. It was a familiar route. Aodh was young yet, not yet allowed to grow a full beard, but he was a decent warrior, or at least he felt he was.

Hearing a stream of rough cursing behind him, Aodh called over his shoulder, “How’re you holding up, Sterke?”

“Tired. Bored. Wet. This snow is getting all in my beard, and all I can think about right now is a tankard of ale and a warm chunk of meat,” the large man replied.

Large was a bit of an understatement, since Sterke was the largest man Aodh had ever seen. He was several heads taller than Aodh, who was a bit above average in height himself, was barrel-chested and sported a great, brown bush of a beard. He was generally rude, course, belligerent, and happened to be Aodh’s closest friend. He held a huge double-headed axe over his shoulder, and was the only member of the group wearing set of full plate armor. He’d earned it in the last war. Aodh, on the other hand, only had his father’s suit of chainmail, his broadsword, and his round shield. In their country, you fight with what you forge or you earn your armament through valor.

Several of the other men in the patrol group laughed at Sterke’s statement, enjoying his stereotype of the warrior led by his stomach. It used to be just Aodh and Sterke in the patrol group, until tensions with the neighboring country had increased. With war on the horizons, more men were put out on the borders to prevent raids. All in all, the group had sixteen men.

Suddenly, there was a shout from the middle of the group. Raising his shield and drawing his sword, Aodh turned his head to see one of the men had taken an arrow to the neck. With a thump another arrow flew out of the forest, sticking fast into Aodh’s shield. Then their attackers came.

They charged out of the forest, only ten of them, but each was armed with heavy plate armor and wicked weapons. Aodh could no longer watch what was happening to his men as one of the attackers had charged him. The warrior was big, larger than Aodh or anyone else in the patrol, other than Sterke, and its armor was made of some dark metal with odd symbols carved all over its surface. He was also fast. He slammed into Aodh far faster than he had anticipated form such a heavily armored warrior. Aodh felt his shield crack under the strike of the warrior’s cruelly spiked mace. Aodh backpedalled, raising his sword in a defensive posture. The warrior came at him again, swinging his mace in a wide arc. Aodh jumped back, and when the arc of the swing was at its farthest out, he jumped towards the warrior, trying to run the man through with his broadsword. His blade skipped off the warrior’s chest plate.

The mace came back around, smashing into Aodh’s shield again. This time, though, the shield was smashed apart, knocking Aodh back. Cursing because the spikes on the mace had rent several gashes in his arm, Aodh held his sword in a two handed grip. The warrior came at him again, and Aodh just barely managed to parry the man’s swing. He seemed inhumanly strong. They each in turn swung traded blows, only to have them deflected, though Aodh felt he was entirely outmatched. His only advantage was that he could maneuver his broadsword far more easily than the warrior could with his mace.

Aodh managed to knock the mace away and slammed the hilt of his sword into the warrior’s helm. As the man stumbled back, Aodh saw the crease between the chest plate and abdominal plate in the warrior’s armor. He brought his sword up low and shoved it up into the crease. Purplish ichor ran slowly from the wound. The warrior let out a snarl as Aodh withdrew his sword, but did not rise from the ground. He turned to see how his fellows were doing.

Most of Aodh’s fellows were dead, but the enemy was entirely so, if only by Sterke’s fighting prowess. He had turned just in time to see Sterke bring down his axe with a mighty yell, hewing one of the warriors almost in half. This one too let out that purplish ichor in an oozing manner. There were already five other corpses left in various states of butchery near him. The other four warriors had come from behind Aodh’s fellows and had only narrowly been defeated by dint of superior numbers. Only four members of the patrol group, besides Aodh and Sterke, had survived.

“From what frozen hell did these things come from,” Sterke let out. He had ripped the helmet off one of the fallen things, and was examining it closely. It didn’t look much like a man at all. Its nose was just two slits its face, and its mouth was full of sharp teeth. Most disturbing though were its eyes. They were black except the irises were a bright, almost burning red. Its skin had a pallid, oily look to it.

“I have no idea,” Aodh replied. “Someone hack off a head to show the elders. Let’s loot what we can and head back to the town.” Putting actions to words, Aodh grabbed a few weapons from the fallen creatures. Then, going to his personal kill, he stripped that creature of its undamaged armor. He bundled it all up with some cloth and rope, and threw it over his back. He saw that the others had done the same, except for Sterke, who besides holding a few weapons in the crook of his arm, also held a relatively intact and fully armored beast over his shoulder.

“Alright, let’s head back and get us some well deserved grub,” Sterke said and started walking back towards the town.
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