Sherrad, Rayaellana, Mark, and Xavier

On the mountain peak, Sherrad lifted his hammer and roared in defiance to the thunder and the driving rain. “Show your faces, cowards” he yelled to the sky. There was never an answer from above. This time, however, there was an answer from below.

“Your arm is injured, master. Come. Let me bind it for you.” Looking down, Sherrad saw Mark standing unconcerned over the body of a beastman but looking straight up at him. The physician’s apprentice was no good in a fight, but he could forever silence those who weren’t quite dead at the end of the battle. And he was becoming a darned good battle medic. Sherrad descended. The cut on did burn, now that the boy mentioned it.

Rayaellana appeared from behind a tree. “The rest are dead.” Sherrad stared at her for a few seconds before turning back to Mark. The fact that the she calmly related the death of multiple beastmen was uncanny. She was barely over five feet tall and didn’t carry a weapon. With her spells and her unarmed fighting style, Sherrad didn’t think he ever wanted to be the one facing the elf’s wrath.

“I’ve one here. Maybe he can talk?” Xavier’s voice carried from the upslope path. “He’s a vile thing but you said we needed something to question.” The Brettonian knight prodded a man with a face more like a goat than a human, with grey hair covering his skin and horns protruding from his hairline. Rayaellana continued crossing the peak until she stood before the beastman. She punched the creature in the snout before anyone else could react.

“Where is your master leading us, creature?” Blood spread onto the creature’s fur before the rain diluted it to a watery stream. The creature let out a pained bleat before trying to work its jaw. The mouth and the tongue moved, but they could no longer produce sounds anywhere close to human. Rasps from the beast’s nose indicated that air could no longer pass through it.

The elf declared the beast useless as she raised her arms, wrists touching and hands V’d outward. She spoke a request into the sky in a language unfamiliar to the others. The rain around the beastman’s head began diverting itself and flowing directly into the creature’s mouth. The visible manipulation of the rain continued until a torrent beat at the beastman’s mouth. It shut its mouth, but couldn’t breathe out of its nose. When it finally opened its mouth again to take a breath, the rain flooded the creature and it drowned. Everyone except the elf watched the beast collapse. She was already heading back down the mountain.


The group’s mounts were still safely tied when they arrived back at the foot of the mountain. Xavier’s warhorse stood out among the others’ plain riding mounts. The knight’s squire was unsuccessfully attempting to remain dry under a dripping fir.

The elf had walked down alone, and Sherrad hoped she had had sufficient time for her temper to cool. He realized that he actually had no idea what the elf was thinking, whether mad, happy, or indifferent. Most people thought that elves had the same view of the world as humans. Most people didn’t know how completely wrong they were. Realizing that he couldn’t figure her out actually caused them to get along better than most human-elf coworkers.


They came upon the first mutilated body an hour later as the rain stopped. Mark looked it over and declared that it had been a beastman. The throat was torn out, and the more muscular parts of the body were missing bite-sized chunks. The next scene had two mangled bodies.

In twos and threes, they found the path littered with corpses for the next two hours. Some were beheaded. Others were torn in half. Some of the dead creatures had been tied to trees, and others were pinned up with spears. All were gruesomely murdered. Sherrad stopped keeping count after the third group of bodies.

From a small rise up ahead, Xavier roared and there was the sound of something smashing into metal. Sherrad looked up from the latest corpse to see the knight lying on the ground a yard from his horse. There were multiple large fragments of stone on the ground around him. Mark and the squire rushed to Xavier’s side.

Rayaellana alit from her horse and sprinted to the rise. She surveyed the area ahead for a few seconds and then suddenly dodged to her left as a large stone flew by. Sherrad watched the stone crash into a tree behind the elf, causing a rain of bark and splinters. Ray crouched down and held up a hand of caution.


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