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The Hunted 
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Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2006 1:03 pm
Posts: 367
Location: Lost in the Den of Boredom
Just a little story I wrote today, I don't know if it'll be continued, or if I'll ever do anything with it...

Hope you like it! :D

The small raiding group had been traveling for days. All soldiers where weary and exhausted, and the food would run out in a few days if things would stay going the way they where. Khelmor took a bite from the cooked horse meat he had been given. It was tough and old, and it wasn’t cooked long enough. Still, he was satisfied. He had been able to get food nearly every day, something exceptional under the current conditions. He thought about how this was supposed to go. It was a normal coastal raid in the southeast of the Tilea, the town of Pugno.

They had been a fleet of eight ships, all armed to the teeth. It hadn’t been enough. In the days between the first scouting of the town and the actual raid itself a small army had arrived in the town, looking for soldiers and the ever-present mercenaries. As always with a recruiting army, they had enough spare weapons to arm a small country. This had proven the undoing of the proud Druchii. Instead of a lightly armed town without any tactical insight, they had been ambushed by a force of battle-hardened warriors, accompanied by large numbers of armed townsfolk. He had seen vicious Druchii Corsairs being killed under the continuous stabs and slashes of twelve-year olds. He had seen fishermen fighting in the detachments the Empire of Men was so known for. Every group was led by a war veteran. They even had some heavy cavalry. None of this had sealed their fate though. It had been the Ogres. Large, brutish and immensely savage Ogres. They had followed the army, looking for a fight and fresh meat. They got both. With nothing to deal with these enormous, hulking creatures the Druchii had fled. Four of the eight ships had been left in the harbor, everyone able to man them dead, wounded or captured. The rest had fled. They had been the last ship to leave, and by the time they had left the port the way to the south was already shut. They fled up to the north, deep into unknown territory, only vaguely knowing their position. All they knew was that they where following the Black Gulf, and that they would eventually have to leave their ships. This happened after nearly two weeks. The Tilean warriors had decided to pursue them and take their considerable wealth as payback for the damage done to their town. Of course, the Druchii wouldn’t let this happen. When the first Tilean ships where sighted, the army moored, left their ships to the Tileans, and fled further inland. With a army, almost three hundred warriors strong, they had traveled through the land, leaving devastation in their wake. Then, they heard about a group of bounty hunters wanting the Captain’s head. Suddenly, the army that caused panic and chaos only a few days ago seemed to have disappeared. This was only partially true. The Captain, fearing the well-equipped bounty hunters and their servants, had split up the army in several groups, and had given command to meet at the north side of the Black Fire Pass, near the spring of the Thunder River. After that, relatively little had happened, apart from the scouting parties killing the occasional farmer who saw them.

Now, they had traveled through the Varenka Hills, crossed an unknown river, and they where following what they assumed to be the Skull River. When they entered a forest, they headed straight north, only diverting from their direction to evade patrols or mountains. They had been marching through this forest for two straight days now, and everyone was getting restless and annoyed by the endless sea of gloomy green.

Khelmor was roughly awoken from his daydream when he heard someone call him. It was Radoth, the Reaver who was appointed to lead the small group.
“Khelmor! The scouting party just returned, and they captured a group of hunters. Maybe they can tell us where we are. Do you know someone who speaks this despicable dialect they call a language?”
“Larth speaks Tilean, I think sir.”
“Get him here, and get someone practiced in torturing, just in case.”
With that, Khelmor turned, and went looking for Larth. It was his job as cartographer and navigator to direct them, but without map this would prove very difficult. As he walked to Larth’s tent, he was suddenly surprised by the state of their ‘army’. Every face he saw was tired, weary and hungry. The first snow was coming down, and, from the looks of it, it wouldn’t be the last. When he arrived at Larth’s tent, he asked where he was.
“I don’t know, sir. He went to get some food out of the forest a few hours ago, and hasn’t returned since. I don’t expect him too either, really.”
“Do you know anyone able to communicate with the humans in this region?”
“I think some people from the ‘Raptor’s Venom’ speak a human tongue. I’m not sure though.”

After reaching the tents where the crew from the ‘Raptor’s Venom’, a fast, sleek ship that was left in the harbor, rested, he asked for a translator. A long, thin Elf with a deep cut in his face limped forward.
“I think I’ll be capable of talking with them, assuming we are still in Tilea. I say assuming because the weather in Tilea most times is nice, sunny and dry. I can’t really fit ‘snow’ in that description.”

Khelmor restrained from making a stinging remark about the Elf’s obvious lack of fighting skill, and mumbled something about ‘winter’. He gestured the Elf to walk behind him as he returned to Radoth’s command tent. As he entered the tent, he saw the humans had already been brought in. They where bound to the tree the tent was built around, and they all had several bruises and small wounds. Clearly they had decided to resist themselves. Radoth showed Khelmor a map, showing a region called the ‘Border Princes’, positioned between the Human Empire in the northwest, Tilea on the southwest and a large range of mountains on the east.
“I assume the mountains on the east are the World’s Edge Mountains. Ask these slaves where we are.”

After the wounded Elf emitted some strange, outlandish sounds, and the humans retuning some even stranger words, the Elf pointed to a place on the map. After some translation, Khelmor knew where they had gone wrong. Instead of following the Skull River to the Thunder River, hey had followed the Howling River, all the way into a valley. The forest they had been traveling in had been the southern outskirts of the Forest of Gloom. They had to either turn around, and sink the morale of the men even lower, or they had to find their way over the mountains. Khelmor didn’t like traveling without any landmarks to guide him, and the Forest of Gloom was a perfect example of terrain without any kind of landmark. He pondered about this for some time, when he found another option. After discussing it with Radoth, he began to think about the dangers that would accompany it. On the other hand, it would mean food and riches of they where lucky…

Tijminator

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Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:45 pm
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