Death of a Moredhel Warrior

EVENTS NEWS #46
Date: 1/20/2014 at 5:05
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: Death of a Moredhel Warrior

Resolving once more not to misplace his trusty wooden sword, Binby practiced a few feints against imaginary foes. He knew many of the People in Sar-Sargoth thought of him as a foolish boy, but Binby was resolved to become a warrior worthy of his heritage. His wooden sword had been his father's, and his father had died honorably in battle against the humans.

Since his father's death, his grandfather and several others of his kin had looked after him, but he was allowed to spend much of his time wandering the streets of the city. He dreamed of the future... of being a Bladedancer, of leading mighty armies against the humans, and of becoming a respected warrior among the Great Clans.

A deep, rumbling bellow pulled Binby out of his reverie. Something like a dragon had made the sound, and the noise of the city abruptly halted as every resident paused in his or her work. In the silence, the steady beat of leathery wings could be heard, and in seconds Binby -- and many others in the city, from the alarmed sounds rippling across Sar-Sargoth -- realized the sound was increasing in volume.

Soldiers began to shout, as the garrison of the city came to high alert. Fear gripped Binby, and he nervously clenched the hilt of his wooden sword. Dragons did not raid Sar-Sargoth with any great frequency, but it did happen from time to time. Binby began to consider his course of action, but froze in shock as he caught sight of the creature rapidly approaching the city.

Far from being a dragon, this creature was roughly humanoid, and nearly 30 feet tall. Its scaly, leathery skin bulged with muscles, and was studded with bones that protruded like some form of natural armor. Its bull-like head was covered in a scattering of eyes, like a spider's, and fire seemed to surge up its throat when it opened its pincher-like mandibles to roar another challenge to the city. Its wingspan was even broader than the creature was tall, and its serpentine tail snapped angrily in the wind.

Binby had heard the stories of the demon lord hiding in the mountains. Whenever it had been spotted, warriors had rushed to engage it, but the creature always seemed to escape. If the rumors were to be believed, it was growing in size and strength. Binby had thought the stories fascinating and more than a little frightening, but all reports had suggested that the demon was content to remain on distant mountain peaks. Binby had never imagined he would see it up close, and the sight filled him with dread.

So terrified was he that he remained utterly motionless as the demon circled the city once, then descended to land with an earth-shaking thud not 100 yards from his position. The demon turned in place, impossibly quick to Binby's eye, and settled his gaze on the Moredhel youth.

Time seemed to contract for Binby as he realized his fate: the demon had blocked Binby's only possible escape route. He felt his fear become replaced by an odd, detached calm; as if from a distance, he heard his own voice yelling out a Moredhel battle cry. With sword raised high, he charged toward the demon. The demon's tail whipped around to strike at the youth, and in the back of his mind, Binby registered surprise as he realized a gruesome, contorted face covered the tip of the tail. Binby ducked the tail and thrust hard at the face's eye as it passed overhead. The tail flinched back, stung by the strike, and Binby felt a surge of satisfaction.

The demon moved forward then, and its heavy footsteps caused Binby to lose his balance. As the demon reached for him, he tried to move away, but he was off-balance and too slow. The demon wrapped one hand about his torso and easily lifted Binby from the ground. Behind the demon, Binby saw a stream of Moredhel warriors rushing into view, swords drawn and bows taut. Binby silently wished them well in the coming battle, then all conscious thought left him, as the demon squeezed the life from his body. Binby felt his bones breaking and his organs being crushed. He opened his mouth to scream, but only a torrent of blood and gore issued forth. As his vision dimmed, Binby's last sight was the fire smoldering within the demon's mouth.

-----

Varissus removed his helm and wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. Near exhaustion, he took a moment to recover his breath and absorb the fact that the demon had been driven away. Dozens -- well over a hundred, actually -- of his brethren had died in the battle. The beast was bold to attack such a populated area, but Varissus could see why it had felt prepared for the challenge. He had heard the stories told by those who had faced the creature in the distant mountains; if anything, it seemed more powerful than rumored. It may have been the exhaustion, but Varissus was certain that the beast's wounds had been closing moments after they were received.

It had taken clever tactics and no small amount of luck to secure the victory. Varissus nodded to Cocoamel, the fearless troll that had closed with the demon and nearly hacked off its foot with a single swipe of his axe. The Moredhel Ridire had been in the thick of the battle as well. Varissus felt little surprise at that; Ridire worshiped the God of War, after all, and had been in the city when the demon came.

As Varissus recovered his breath, he noticed Dilzaci, the Praetor, speaking in hushed tones with Tao, the Moredhel magician who had fought alongside the Bladedancers. Varissus replaced his helmet and crossed over to where the demon had launched into flight. Something out of place caught his eye, and he turned. Amidst the carnage, he spied the lower half of a Moredhel torso: the remains were notable in that they appeared to belong to a youth.

Varissus stopped short as he saw the wooden sword pinned underneath the body. With sinking feeling, he realized that Binby, his brother's son, had died facing the demon. He closed his eyes and silently wished the youth's spirit a speedy passage to the Blessed Isles. Taking up the toy sword and tucking it into his belt, Varissus turned away, grim-faced. There was much work to be done, and this was no time for mourning. No doubt even now the new Witch-King, Aidan, was meeting with his counselors and determining how best to prepare for another attack.

Surveying the carnage, Varissus muttered a prayer to whatever deities might be listening, that the demon would not return to Sar-Sargoth. It was plain to Varissus that death and destruction were its constant companions, and he despaired to consider the cost of its defeat.

Penned by my hand on the 22nd of Dzanin, in the year 55.