Grishak was puzzled; he had seen no signs of life. Granted the ground was rocky, with little in the way of plant or animals, but he had expected to have crossed at least some type of trail by now.
He found himself in an area of numerous caves, their design evidencing that they were not purely a natural phenomenon. Still, he thought, as he bent down to drink from a swiftly rushing stream, laying his axe to one side but within easy reach, it was unusual.
An angry buzzing sound, made him reach for his weapon, as an arrow bounced off the rock in front of him. He whirled ready to face his attackers and was struck three times in quick succession. Once through his bicep, another through the meaty part of his shoulder and the third time into his left thigh.
Wounds which would not incapacitate him but irritate him for sure. There was a mixture of chanting, battle cries and plain screaming as a rag tag bunch of tribesmen charged his position. He grinned to himself and readied his axe, much opposition they would not be, but at least they would lift his spirits.
With a casual swing, Grishak decapitated the first of his attackers, ducking below an incoming stave, he drove his weapon upwards. Its sharpened blade tearing between the tribesman’s legs and only stopping when it ran out of momentum. He kicked the man off the axe, a mixture of blood and entrails stringing out from the falling body.
A sword slammed into his shoulder and he cursed, this was not as easy as he thought. It seemed as though these fools were intent on dying, their insane charge having been followed up by simultaneous attacks. He knew he was winning, but in his partially recovered state, he was weakening quickly.
Arms clasped him from behind and a huge tribesman rushed forward, his spear pulled backwards ready to strike. Leaning forward Grishak felt the man on his back unbalance and quickly he smashed his head back, being rewarded with a cry of pain. Breaking the hold on his arms, he grabbed his assailant and threw him directly onto the oncoming blade point. With a shout, he followed through with the axe, splitting the second man’s skull in two.
They were all around him, he was corralled like a wild animal with bared steel ringing him in. There was a whirring and the first arrow struck causing him to bellow in pain.
Rushing forward he lashed his axe from side to side, but his attackers melted away before him. Arrows flashed from behind, cutting into his limbs and he whirled once more, to be presented with the same scenario. Little by little his strength drained away, his wounds debilitating yet never fatal.
At last he fell to his knees, head swaying from side to side and with a concerted rush they came. Half standing he struck into them, two or three more fell before they pulled back. Then came more arrows and slowly he slumped to the floor, his vision blurring and finally he was overcome, a vast blackness overpowering him.
With a roar the creature stood to its full height, towering over the onrushing Knights. This did not stop them. One long arm reached out and plucked a Knight from his saddle, jaws closed and razor-sharp teeth sheared through armour. Cornelius saw the head spat aside, before the body was unceremoniously dumped on the floor, blood fountaining clear.
A lance shattered against iron-hard skin, splinters whistling past the monster’s head. One hoofed foot struck, cracking the horse’s ribs and caving in its chest. Its rider hit the ground hard, and did not move again. Butt was close now.
Sir Frederic screamed his war-cry once more, adjusting the angle of his lance at the last moment. The steel-tipped head cleaved through flesh and stuck hard, passing through one side of the thing’s jaw and out the other. It shook its head at the irritation, holding and snapping the weapon easily. The Knight drew his sword and whirled back to the attack.
Cornelius did not know what the thing was, but it still only had two arms and two legs. Granted they were huge, as were the muscles which rippled across its immense frame. The red-skinned monster had been bad, this was a nightmare. Someone had been drinking when they had created this; wolven-jawed, earless, with a lizard-like tail and hooven feet. Long strings of slaver fell from its partially opened maw, the remains of the lance blade fixing its features sadistically. He saw the Knight raise himself high in his stirrups and strike down, watched him fly backwards; his blow blocked and followed with a ringing slap. It was his turn now.
As the thing turned to kick out, Cornelius slid underneath it. Blades free, he scurried past, slicing at its taut hamstrings. With an audible twang they parted, causing it to drop to its knees. His plan was not as successful as he had expected though, as its tail helped it keep balance. A clawed hand closed about his head and began to squeeze.
Guest post with D.P. Prior
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