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The Crowfall Chronicles - The Tales Of Vaandus - 2


oridi
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More in the story of Vaandus!  This entire storyline is being written by Vaande and is one of many that are placed in the Nest scenario.  Please message him or comment below if you're enjoying this journey he's taking us on.

The Tales of Vaandus - Part 1 http://community.crowfall.com/index.php?/topic/3727-the-crowfall-chronicles-the-tales-of-vaandus-1/

 

 

The Tales of Vaandus - The Battle of the Dead Forest - Part 2
By Vaande

 

The silence of the forest was broken by the sound of trotting hooves at high speed. On a path made by wild animals were Vaandus, Argus and Luis, the three older members of the group. After meeting in the clearing, the three went to the tents that had been set up in the forest and equipped themselves to fight the possible threat of the hunger.  Alby had gone ahead to trace the path that the three young men took and to leave signs so that others might follow him.
 

 "Ha! There is one of Alby's arrows, we are on the right track! " said Luis as he held tightly to Argus’ back to keep himself from falling. The guinencean was looking for a way to break the silence that had settled from the time the captain had discovered that Ange and the twins had left without any resistance from Argus, his second in command.
 

 "For the love of Valkyn! Stop being such hard heads! This will not help the boys! "
 

 Vaandus heard Luis and thought for a moment. He decided that he was right.  He had something more important to worry about.
 

"You're right. Making problems will not help them, but we will! Let's go faster, Argus! "
 

 Argus, who until a moment ago, blamed himself for his mistake, now, had a new glint in his eyes.
 

 "Let's Captain!"
 

--- 

 "Think we lost them?" Garbis asked his brother as he followed him.
 

 "How about you go back and make sure that no infected is following us? At least you will serve as a distraction for me and Ange to run away. "
 

Brand and Garbis faced each other. They tended to argue over small things.  An army of infected was not going to change that but a female voice made them stop the discussion and pay attention to her words.

"If the two of you want to stand there fighting, feel free to do it, but I do not feel like staying here in this sinister forest waiting to be cornered by hunger."
 

The trees that made part of that part of the forest were dead because of the river flooding in the rainy seasons.  Their tumorlike galls swayed in the wind breeze, making strange sounds spread through the area. But then, a different noise mixed into the middle of the others.
 

 "Did you hear that?"
 

 The spearman said as he looked at all sides as if fearful that something would jump out of the tangle of trees.
 

 "You mean, the same sound we’ve heard since we entered this part of the forest?"
 

 As he spoke, Brand was pulled back without warning by Ange and in the place where he had been landed a huge creature, more precisely, a Hell Cat.  It was almost completely taken by the hunger. The creature was standing waiting for the first movement of its prey,  swinging its tail, making its crystal thorns beat in the nearby trees.  This was the sound that Garbis had heard.
 

 "It's too early for you to be here!"  said the spearman as he charged against the hell cat, aiming to attack the animal's chest where part of its flesh was rotting.  This would allow his spear to reach the heart more easily, but the advance of Garbis was interrupted by the creature's tail.  If not for Brand´s shield the sharp crystals would have probably killed him. However, even after defending the attack the twins were thrown to the ground by the strong impact. 

Still on the ground, Brand called to Ange,  "Make a distraction!"
 

The fae threw a smoke bomb near the hell cat, confusing the creature with temporary blindness. It began to charge at the trees and to attack the area near them at random, which gave Ange the opportunity to approach the twins to guide them out of the smoke screen.
 

Before long, the three got away from the beast and now were near a river. It was not deep, but the current was strong and did not seem it would be easy getting through it, especially with Brand’s right arm.  In the fall his arm had crashed into a stone hidden by the snow, fracturing his bone.
 

 "Hold on a little, I will do first aid."
 

 Ange began to bandage the knight's arm, noticing he was pretending to not feel pain at the same time his face contracted. When finished, she turned away from the knight and leaned against a tree.
 

 "Let's be honest, we are trapped here.  If we go back we will meet with a small army of infected and a hell cat.  If we move forward we will have to face the current of the river and I'm sure it will be difficult enough without Brand´s broken arm. "

 

Although not wanting to admit it, the knight knew it was true.  His arm would delay the crossing. He could only blame his incompetence for letting himself get an injury like that on the battlefield, but before he could speak, his brother intervened.
 

 "I will not leave my brother behind to save my life! If necessary I will fight until my last breath!"
 

 The nervous and worried Garbis now showed a spark of courage. His brother had prevented his death from the hell cat attack, and thus he would return the favor. Thinking about it, Garbis positioned himself and his spear forward, aiming towards where he identified a bluish glare between the trees.
 

 "I never said I would leave.  The captain would never look me in the same way if I did that."
 

 At these words, Brand stood up and joined the two of them and with a smile he said.
 

 "I still have my left arm.  This will be enough to finish them off."
 

They were the youngest people from the group of seven and therefore had a strong connection. If they were to fall, they would fall together.

And so they began their battle against the approaching hunger.
 

 ---

Brand pushed the hidden mechanism under the shield, causing an arrow to be shot from the crossbow, hitting one of the humanoids.

Ange threw one of hers knives at the head of another infected, running toward him to snatch the knife back before the enemy´s body fell to the ground, only to turn her body to stick the same knife in another enemy that was about to attack her from the left side.

An infected knight was about to attack the fae with a sword in her blind spot but was intercepted by the shaft of the spear of Garbis.  He turned the attack and with a push, threw the sword up from the corrupt soldier's hands and then turned his spear to pierce the heart of the enemy. In the next instant he grabbed the sword from its free fall to add it to his arsenal of options.
 

The fight had lasted about twenty minutes and everyone was running out of energy and out of options. Brand ran out of arrows and the spear of Garbis got stuck in the body of an infected, forcing him to retreat without his weapon.  Now he was using a one-handed sword, a weapon that he was not experienced in handling. Ange’s throwing knives were all in the bodies lying on the ground, out of reach. The group of the infected had trapped them near the river bank and to make things worse, the hell cat appeared, looking very angry. The beast jumped in their direction to end his weakened prey.

 

"It was good to fight alongside you guys until the end"  Garbis said while facing the beast as it was free falling in mid leap, ready to end their lives.  But a sound gave them hope, the sound of arrows being stuck into the right side of the hell cat body, causing the beast pain and making it lose its balance. This gave enough room for the  three to  jump to the side to dodge the heavy body falling. Now the hell cat was lying on the ground, struggling to get up.
 

 "Alby !? Are you there? "
 

Ange asked, but the elk was an experienced archer and did not like to leave his position exposed, even if his enemy were the ones infected by the hunger. To prove his existence, he shot an arrow that landed right beside the foot of the fae.
 

 Meanwhile, another sound came behind the large amount of infected humanoids and some of them could be seen being tossed to the side. As it came closer, the three identified the sound.  It was a battle cry.
 

 "Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!"
 

Into the midst of the enemy army came a centaur, swinging his heavy glaive as he charged through them. It was Vaandus and the centaur did not stop when he sighted the young people but rather continued his advance to get close to the hell cat that was by now almost standing.  With a double handed swing of his glaive the centaur hit the body of the creature, throwing it into the river with its ribs completely destroyed.  The hell cat struggled while the current carried it away.
 

 "You'd better be prepared to endure the punishment i have come with for you three." said the captain as he looked for the path that he had opened within the enemy group.

Argus was coming towards him, while Luis was shooting at any infected approaching the centaur with two small crossbows that he had in each hand.
 

 "We can not go back the same way we came.  They are joining with another group and it will be a suicidal task to try go through this wall of bodies."
 

Brand stood in front of everyone and said as he stared at the huge amount of enemies approaching.   "I will delay them as you cross the river ."
 

The absurdity made Vaandus put his hand on the left shoulder of the knight to show how much he did not approve of the idea.
 

 "I will not allow it!"
 

Without thinking twice, Brand shrugged the centaur’s hand away with a movement of his left arm and said, after gathering all the courage of his being.
 

 "No matter if you do not allow it! My right arm is broken and you and Argus are the only ones who can manage to cross the river without much resistance.  We have two people for each of you to carry and if we all try to go through as they approach us, it is quite possible that we all be killed during the crossing. There is no other option!"
 

Vaandus was speechless.  He did not want to admit it, but this was the cruel truth. Even if he said to Alby to provide cover while they crossed, the infected bodies would just ignore those who fell dead and continue ahead to catch them.
 

 "He's right, Captain, we cannot afford to lose the whole group now.  We need to warn the others about the approach of the hunger..."
 

Argus liked to use reason to work things out, but as he spoke each word his will to stake everything on any hope of surviving that battle increased.  He knew, however, that this was just a fairy tale. The same could be said of Luis. He did not know how to express himself.  He had been the one who had taught Brand to use a crossbow and considered the boy his student, but he was a war veteran and he knew he had a mission to fulfill.
 

 Garbis was about to protest, but Ange approached him and said with a sad expression.
 

 "Respect the desire of your brother.  He will fall like a warrior.  He accepts that his sacrifice will  save the people who are precious to him, so please, do not make things more difficult for him."
 

 The spearman could not deny what was said.  Tears began to flow down his face while he turned his back on his brother, heading toward the river where the three veterans waited. As Ange and Garbis climbed onto the the centaurs and rode away, they could hear the last words of the knight.
 

 "Thank you captain!  You saved me and my brother in the past and this is my way to show gratitude!!"
 

 ---

When finished his speech, Brand set off in the direction of the opponent army. Using his left arm, he hit his shield against the face of one of the hunger slaves, making the enemy fall on the others behind it. Meanwhile, arrows fell on the other enemies, giving a little time for the knight to catch his breath. 
 

He looked back and saw all his companions riding up the opposite bank of the river, none of them looking back. He knew they did that as a way to respect his wishes and he knew that he was satisfied with his decision.

Then, with a last advance, he disappeared into the enemies and arrows no longer fell from the sky.

 

 

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The Chronicles of Crowfall           The Free Lands of Azure            RIP Doc Gonzo.

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