Monday, August 31, 2009

Berserker Part 57

Lars continued his swordwork, wondering briefly if his heart would pop before his arms fell off. It seemed he had been fighting for hours his only moment of respite was during the magic display. He wasn’t sure who or what committed such a feat but as long as it kept killing goblins he wasn’t going to waste time and energy worrying about it.
Seeing a large orc in the rear shaking a club covered with porcupine quills at him he snarled in return, baring his teeth. But inwardly lars groaned, knowing they would be the death of him if something didn’t happen soon. The excessive numbers had been overwhelming at first, but now only a score of the goblins remained and maybe three dozen orcs all told. He would’ve given his side a fighting chance under normal conditions but the defenders had taken casualties as well, losing almost half of their original number. Also the footing had become treacherous, Lars had seen a number of men’s feet or ankles siezed by enemies they thought had been vanquished but still clung to life. Not being able to get free from the death-grip they were stuck were they were and quickly cut down by the rest of the enemy that still stood.
And like him all the rest of their group were worn, every thrust sent burning agony through their arms, every blocked attack felt as if their fingers would be wrenched from their sockets.
Tiredly managing to parry the clumsy thrust of a goblin, his other blade reflexively snaked forth, skewering it. As he withdrew his blade the orc that had been eyeing him decided to make good his threat. Charging Lars from his left, the arm which still grasped an outhrust saber.
With deceptive speed the orc brought its club down in a blurring arc. Lars, wishing to keep his arm, abandoned his left sword and dove rolling hard to his right, the huge club missing his head by inches and pounding heavily into the dirt. He came out of the roll and sprung to his feet before the Orc had recovered from its overlunge. Forcing his screaming muscles to respond, he in turn charged the Orc bringing his blade down at the thing’s neck.
To Lars’ dismay, his blow was stopped short by the leather wrapped haft of his opponents club. Lars was astonished at it’s sheer strength, despite his opponent being down on one knee holding his weapon high overhead it didn’t budge. It was like trying to move a mountain.
Coming easily to its feet the Orc pressed forth inexorably forcing Lars’ sword back face to face the Orc grinned horribly at Lars. With malice kin its eyes it jerked its head up, intent on using its sharp tusks to its adavantage in such close combat fighting.
Surprised by its move, Lars stumbled back and tripped over the corpse of a goblin. Like a hulking angel of death the Orc strode haughtily to the prone figure. It stopped with its club half raised for the killing blow, looking around curiously for the source of the high pitched whistling that had become more shrill for the past few moments.
Finally looking up it saw the flaming meteor hurtling straight toward it from the heavens. It barely had time to register that it was in danger before the missile struck a few feet behind the Orc. Upon striking it burst into hundreds of burning shards, sending sheets of flame in all directions.
The object’s placement was both useful and horribly damaging. Having dropped almost in the center of the fighting, both friend and foe alike were awash in fiery agony. Hair sizzling, lungs crisping from superheated air, the poor torches ran crazzily about seaching for an end to the pain.
The horses,which had been barely under control during the fighting, bolted madly. Spooked by the flames they no longer heeded the shouts or reins of their masters as they ran in all directions, breaking tack, dragging wagons, and flinging out terrified passengers.
The Orc that had stood so triumphant before Lars in it’s imminent kill saved his life, taking the brunt of the fiery blast and shielding Lars from harm. Rolling aside to avoid the flaming carcass from hitting him as it fell, Lars took the time to utter a few small prayers to the spirits of his ancestors that had most assuredly save him from death.
Stumbling to his feet, Lars looked around dazed from the sudden change of events. He saw that the fireball was not alone, having at least a dozen of its kind rocketing from the distant city. Momentarily he fancied that the men at the battlements saw him in peril and took action. Shaking himself to his sense he realized the utter stupidity of such a thought. The only other possible reason for their catapulting surfaced unpleasantly from the persistant fog his head seemed wreathed in. They were being sacrified in exchange for the deaths of the invading Orcs and Goblins.
Lars ran as quickly as the laws of physics would allow him, looking for his sister. She would know what to do.

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