Posted 08 May 2005 - 02:12 PM
The Great War - Chapter 4
"Now what?" grumbled Nekinor, bumping around on the back of Kenocen's horse.
Kenocen looked around. The two enemy commanders hadn't spoken a word to each other during the entire trip, but finally the half-elf muttered, "We're here."
"Thank the gods," said Nekinor, squinting as he rubbed his rear. "This trip's done a number on me."
Kenocen couldn't surpress his smile...he purposely rode as violently as possible, if only to agitate Nekinor. He remembered that they were there for a common cause, however, and his expression grew serious.
"Well?" grunted Nekinor impatiently.
Kenocen muttered something and directed his horse to the south, where the town of Corren's stable stood.
As they approached the entrance, the eyes of many of the citizens of the mining- and farming-based town on them, Nekinor whispered, "They don't seem to happy to see us..."
Kenocen nodded, curious at the anger in the citizens' eyes. The two commanders leaped off of their mount, and Nekinor followed as Kenocen led them into the tall wooden structure of the stables.
Inside they found a small group, tending to the many horses inside the stable. Kenocen sniffed the air...surprised at how decent the structure smelled, compared to most stables he'd been in. Over in the corner, he saw a tall, fair, brown-haired woman, gently stroking a graceful horse with the same color hair as her. Intrigued, Kenocen approached her, tapping her gently on the shoulder.
"Ah! Oh...hello there..." she spun around. She was a half-elf, like Kenocen, and was clad in high, soft black boots, with a brown cape and gray trousers. Her brown eyes shone in the light of the waning sun, as did her hair.
Kenocen was stunned by her sheer beauty. He could hardly believe such a beautiful creature existed. He almost lifted a hand to stroke her wavy hair, but a grunt from Nekinor kept his hand back.
"Um...can I help you?" asked the woman sweetly, looking at Kenocen with similar admiration.
Nekinor grunted again and jabbed Kenocen in the side, breaking the love-drenched silence.
Kenocen lowered his head. "We only ask for a place to leave our steed, and to speak with your village leader...miss...er..."
"Larallan..." she said, giggling. "Feel free to leave your horse here...I believe we have a stall open in the back there..." she indicated an empty stall with her finger. "How long do you plan to keep her here?"
"Him," said Kenocen quickly, giggling also. "And..." he scratched his chin, "I don't think we'll be here too long, but..." he looked at Larallan longingly, "I think we can prolong our stay a little bit..."
Nekinor grunted warningly. "Kenocen...our men our dying like flies, remember?" he muttered angrily under his breath.
Kenocen didn't seem to hear him, however, as he continued to gaze at Larallan lovingly.
Nekinor rolled his eyes and, throwing up his hands, headed off to set their horse in its stall.
After Nekinor had managed to drag Kenocen out of the stables ("Let GO, Nekinor...arrgh! Goodbye my dear Larallan...we shall meet again!"), the two commanders made for a grey, stone, manor-like building, where Larallan had told them the village leader, Meyel Iss'gar, lived.
"Hold..." cried one of the two ringmail-clad guards in front of the large structure. "State your name and business with Meyel, leader of Corren village."
Kenocen sighed grimly and briefly told the two guards of the great battles that had erupted in the east.
Both guards' eyes opened wide and seemed about to pop out of their sockets.
"Of...of course...come...follow us..." stuttered one of the guards, his face pale with fear.
The commanders looked at each other curiously, shrugged, and followed the two guards into the large stone building. They passed through a great hall, where many shields and tapestries hung, depicting the many legends of the lands...the tales of the dragons...the gods and the creation of the races...it was all enough to make Kenocen's head whirl.
Finally, the two commanders, after ascending a spiral staircase to the upper level of the structure, found themselves before a wooden platform, no more than a foot high, on top of which was an elaborate jeweled and rune-covered throne, and Meyel Iss'gar.
Although he seemed around 50 years of age, he was bald, with brilliant electric-blue eyes, and wore a brown-themed outfit, with a brown tunic, brown trousers, a brown cloak, and low, hard brown boots. Laying next to the throne, Kenocen and Nekinor noticed a full suit of sturdy ringmail armor, a broadsword, a lance, and a longbow that seemed to shiver with whatever magic had enchanted it. On the other side of the throne laid a large elven shield, with runes and gems that matched the throne Meyel sat upon.
"Hum? What's this?" asked Meyel, examining the two commanders.
"Meyel, lord, sir..." stammered the guard that seemed the most fearful. "These are two commanders from...Kilaran Field...two of the three in the great guild war sir..."
Meyel's eyes opened wide, not much unlike what the guards had previously done, and he rose from his throne. He stepped off of the platform, and drew himself up to Kenocen and Nekinor. He stared both of them down simutaneously, and sniffed the air.
"You carry a heavy stench of death, Kilaran scum." His face twisted even more as he stepped back.
Kenocen raised an eyebrow at the rudeness of the village leader. Nekinor snarled quietly, so only Kenocen could hear, and made for his sword. Kenocen held a hand out, and Nekinor paused.
"Meyel, lord of Corren," called Kenocen, his voice echoing, "We come bearing news...ill news...which I believe you may want to hear."
"He's right, you know...very very disturbing news it is..." whimpered the other guard in a high, childish voice.
Meyel cocked his head to the side and strode over to the commander, his eyes glistening.
"Why," he asked, holding his hands out to his sides, "would a leader of a peaceful mining community, a peaceful farming community, such as Corren, want to learn of the evil, barbaric ways of your people?" He dropped his hands to his sides and made his way back to the platform. "You people and your battles...killing your own kind, your own people...YOUR OWN PEOPLE!" He roared and slammed a fist into his throne, causing it to nearly topple over. The two guards scrambled to hold it upright, and cowered behind it, looking fearfully at the commanders, as well as their leader.
"If it is death that you bring to Corren, then be gone! We have no wish for violence..." he looked over his shoulder at the commanders, who were boiling silently. "Your problems are your own."
Kenocen closed his eyes, almost considering letting go of Nekinor, who was attempting to charge at Meyel, sword drawn. Finally, both commanders' rage subsided, and Kenocen opened his eyes again. He spoke, trying to keep his breath at a normal rate.
"Lord Meyel, please hear us out, otherwise, you may very well find death coming to Corren, weather you like it or not."
Meyel glared. "Are you threatening to slay my people?" Kenocen could see him subtly reaching for his broadsword.
Kenocen had to close his eyes to calm himself again, and spoke. "It is not us, or 'our battles', that are threatening you, Meyel Iss'gar..." He opened his eyes, and told, in full, the story of the war that had begun in Mynadar and Kilaran field.
When he finished, all of the people in the room had their mouths hanging open, even the rude Meyel stunned silent. He did not remain silent for long, however.
"I...I am sorry..." stated Meyel. "I apologize for my rudeness...it's just...we have heard of nothing but death from your people, but this..." He hung his head.
Kenocen and Nekinor smiled grimly, their lips tight as they crossed their arms.
"This is not something that you can handle alone..." said Meyel quietly. The two commanders waited eagerly for the words they had hoped to hear all evening...
"We must form an army."
Kenocen smiled widely. Now they were getting somewhere.
"I am afraid we do not have much of a force assembled at the moment, but as you know, we are largely dependent on mining...I am sure many of the miners would make excellent fighters," Meyel said.
"But I thought you didn't want to put your people in d..." muttered Nekinor. He was answered by a slap from Kenocen.
"Shh!" whispered the half-elf commander. "We've got something here...I don't know what changed his mind, but let's keep quiet about it, eh?"
Nekinor nodded, turning back to Meyel.
"I will see what I can do in gathering a force...in the meantime, I would suggest that you two visit Orodeth Sáralondë, our village priest. He's one of the main priests and a follower of the goddess Aluwen...he could be her corporeal form, I swear...he could aid you greatly in this war." Meyel called for a guard and instructed him to take the two commanders to the temple of Aluwen.
"Aluwen's priest? Excellent...this might be exactly what we're looking for. Even if Tasyl finds Osouri, and they manage to dismiss the undead warriors...we'll need her for the orcs!" whispered Nekinor.
Kenocen smiled and nodded, and the two followed the guard to Aluwen's temple.
"Orodeth Sáralondë?" called Kenocen.
A figure, seated at a desk, spun around and rose. "Y'urah!" he said, opening his arms out wide.
Orodeth was an elf, with golden hair and brilliant green eyes. He was slim, with a green tunic, brown pants, and a white cape, one of the rare few blessed by Aluwen that Kenocen recognized as a cape which protected the wearer from any monster attacks. It took the commanders a while to recognize where the priest was in the chapel room, as he appeared to blend in with the blinding white light that the whole temple was bathed in.
"Y'urah! Mus or'nosinueh ell yus'n?"
Kenocen blinked. "Excuse me?"
Orodeth laughed. "Ah, I thought that a half-elf such as yourself would understand the language of the elves! No matter...what brings you here?"
Kenocen scratched his head, in a subtle attempt to brush his hair over his barely-pointed ears, as Nekinor told the elven priest of their purpose.
"...and Meyel told us to see you, seeing as how you're one of Aluwen's primary priests and all...correct?"
Orodeth, astounded, nodded. "Yes...yes I am...we had heard of this...we could sense the distress in the heavens..."
"We?" questioned Kenocen.
"Oh, Aluwen and I of course! Here...come in...have a seat..." Orodeth offered the two commanders seats next to his desk, and sat down. "Funny you should mention that...like I said, we had sensed a disturbance above...something didn't feel right...I must alert Aluwen of this immediately...pardon me..."
Kenocen and Nekinor glanced at each other, and watched as the elven priest began setting up candles and pillows, preparing some sort of ritual. He hummed an elvish tune, and muttered to himself, "Aluwen e'oret...yus'n sus! Yus'n sus! Orusju'erse sus, iss'ih es myih'r orusju'erse ell!" He sat down, and fell deep into a meditative state, communing with the goddess of life.
"Do you understand what he's babbling about?" whispered Nekinor.
Kenocen closed his eyes. The words took him back many years, to his childhood, where he heard that language every day...an age he had forgotten, brought back by the words of the elf...
"Do you?" questioned Nekinor.
Kenocen shook his head. "No...not at all."
The two commanders waited for nearly an hour, until finally the elf rose, muttered his thanks, and rose.
"Well...this is interesting..." he said, rising, a grave expression on his face.
"What is it? What's interesting?" asked Kenocen and Nekinor.
Orodeth held his head and sat down at his desk. He held up a finger as he rifled through his papers.
"The prophecies...the prophecies...Umi'se-ohs...where did I put those prophecies!" He leaped up and went over to a cabinet where more parchment sheets laid, and began to tear through those. Finally he reached one, and after a quick scan, nearly passed out. He made his way back to the desk and took a sip of a small flask of what appeared to be evermead.
"Orodeth, would you mind telling us what's going on?" questioned Kenocen impatiently, rising.
"Oh...of course...yes...well...you see..." He coughed, took another sip of the evermead, and continued. "Well...to sum it up...it appears that...after Mortos was driven from the world years ago, he sought revenge, and forged an alliance...somehow...with Selain, the god of summoning. I never trusted him! Anyway, these two have set a curse upon our lands...no living creature can ever fully die...as you have witnessed with your own undead warriors over in the field. Everything respawns, so to speak. Then, using Selain's powers of summoning, they created a massive orc force, which you have also seen...and since no living creature can fully die, they always come back to life...that's why the battle was so difficult."
For once, it was the commanders' turn to turn white.
"Is there...any way we can stop these...invincible beasts?" asked a stunned Nekinor.
Orodeth frowned and looked down at the sheet of parchment. "That's what I was trying to find out. Aluwen spoke of a prophecy, made ages ago, about this exact event...that would help us on our quest to find out the purpose behind this menace, and defeat the orcs before they lay waste to all of the Lands!"
Kenocen bit his lip. "Well...what does the prophecy say?"
Orodeth sighed. "That's the problem...I haven't the slightest clue."
"Wh...what? Why not?" asked Nekinor, a little more fiercely than he intended, as he made his way towards Orodeth.
Kenocen followed suit, and all three of them looked at the prophecy.
"As you can see," said Orodeth, holding it up, "it's written in a very old language. The ink itself has even completely faded in some spots, making it harder to translate. This will take a long time, even if we find someone who knows what it says..."
"But who? Who could know?" asked Kenocen, glaring at Orodeth.
"We have only one choice..." said Orodeth, leaning back in his chair. "We have to take this to the south, to the empire of Aluwen herself...in Tirnym."
Kenocen looked at Nekinor, then at Orodeth, and back at Nekinor. His head felt as if it was going to explode, a feeling that, to the commander's regret, was becoming all too familiar.
"All right then..." he said. "We do it."
"But what of the orc hoard?" asked Nekinor. "Are we just going to let them attack at will until we can get to Tirnym? The trip is going to take a while, Kenocen, days at least...we're going to cross the entire continent!"
"He has a point." said Orodeth.
Kenocen wrung his hands helplessly. Curse Mortos! Why did he ever have to do this? Kenocen drew a deep breath, and turned towards the other commander and the priest.
"Let's talk to Meyel. Let's hear what he has to say about this."
The others nodded, and Kenocen, Nekinor, and Orodeth (prophecy in hand), made their way back to the great stone structure that housed the leader of Corren.
Meyel grumbled and yawned for the third time in a row. "Why did you have to wake me up, Kenocen? What could you possibly need now?"
Kenocen sighed, rolling his eyes, and told Meyel of what he, Nekinor, and Orodeth had discovered in the temple.
"So...then what?" asked Meyel impatiently.
"Then we decided to come to you, to hear what you had to say," said Nekinor.
Meyel shrugged. "What is there to say? It's obvious, isn't it? Just head south, decipher the prophecy, and save the Lands! Fair enough?"
Kenocen rubbed his forehead. "It's not that easy. We still have the orc army to deal with."
"I told you, I'll assemble a force to deal with these creatures. Don't worry...it's all under contro...o...ol," said Meyel, finishing with a big yawn.
"I don't mean to insult you or your citizens, but...I doubt you can deal with this army alone. Three fairly powerful guilds, an army of dwarves, and some allies from Nordcarn, couldn't deal with this army...what makes you think an army of miners can?"
Meyel opened his mouth to protest, but had to surpress yet another yawn. Kenocen took advantage of this opportunity to continue.
"Someone has to go with Orodeth...I can assemble a small force, if you'll allow it...just a few villagers, preferably some of your strongest, who can handle the trip..." He looked at Nekinor. "I would suggest that you stay here, and help out Meyel...he's going to need it."
Meyel squinted in anger, and finished his yawn. "Kenocen, I swear..." he shook his head. "You have to be the craziest...most insane person alive..."
Kenocen smiled. "I'm proud of that."
"Ah! Welcome back, Kenocen! You're not...leaving already...are you?" asked Larallan, an upset frown on her face.
Kenocen smiled warmly. "No...not yet." His face became serious, and he told Larallan about how he planned to gather a group of villagers to assist Orodeth on his journey to the south.
Larallan scratched her chin. "Well..." she began, "Myself, I've always had a thirst for adventure...even Kesele here has begun to fidget, eager to stretch her legs..." She looked at Kenocen hopefully. She smiled as she saw him nod. "But...I'd have to ask my father..."
Kenocen put a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sure he'd approve."
Larallan bit her lip. "I don't know...Meyel can be stubborn at times..."
Kenocen felt his jaw drap as he stared at Larallan, astonished. "Meyel is your...your father?"
Larallan giggled. "Don't act so surprised."
"I just..." began Kenocen, but he trailed away.
"What? You just what?"
Kenocen looked up at Larallan, at her innocent, brilliant electric blue eyes...just like Meyel's. "I'm just surprised that someone as kind as you can be the child of someone as stubborn as him."
Larallan squinted her eyes, torn between admiration at the compliment and anger at his insulting her father.
Kenocen realized what he said, and he sighed apologetically. "I'm sorry...it's just that I've been under so much pressure lately, my patience runs thin."
Larallan rubbed his hand, which rested on her shoulder. "I understand. Here, not only will I join you and Orodeth, I'll also help you gather together some villagers for the journey. I know who the best riders are." Larallan winked and smiled.
Kenocen smiled as well as he grasped the beautiful woman before him and held her tightly in a tender embrace.
"Thank you, Larallan." said Kenocen, his eyes watering. "Thank you."
Back at the large stone capital building, Nekinor was meeting with the captian of the Corren guard, Taiumor Thigowen, discussing the army they were soon to create. Taiumor was a fairly young human, with very short, neatly trimmed blonde hair, which brought out his bright, almost yellow-tinted eyes. He wore a red tunic and trousers, with a brown cape casually hanging over it all. Along his waist, Nekinor caught the gleam of a sleek shortsword, practically screaming for action.
"Even if we gathered every last able villager together, I doubt they wold be enough to defeat this...unbeatable orc army you speak of," shouted Taiumor, pounding his fist into the table.
Nekinor sighed, shaking his head gravely. "Indeed no, but we can at least hold them off, without suffering too many casualties, therefore giving Kenocen, Orodeth, and the others a head start."
The captain groaned. "Then what? We can only hold out for so long..."
Nekinor shrugged helplessly. "That we have yet to figure out. We could fall back..."
"To where? And to what end? The fighting would only continue, if not get deadlier!"
Nekinor opened his mouth and stopped suddenly, as he heard the sound of someone making their way up the stairs.
It was Kenocen.
Nekinor breathed a sigh of relief. "Ah, Kenocen! For once, I'm glad to see you." He told him of the problem he and the captain faced.
"Well," stated Kenocen. He thought for a moment, then spoke. "Our group is nearly assembled. During our journey, we'll be passing through Portland. If all goes well, perhaps..."
"...we could work out a plan to fall back and set up a barrage there." finished Nekinor.
Kenocen smiled. "Exactly."
Taiumor simply stood in the middle of the room, amazed. "You two are truly great commanders," he stated.
Kenocen and Nekinor smiled at each other, humbled.
"Well, Orodeth, here are your escorts!" said Kenocen, indicating a group of sturdy men and women gathered in the stable.
There was, of course, Larallan, leaning casually on her magnificent brown steed, Kesele. In the far corner, an elvish ranger by the name of Etnali Windhorse readied his white, grey-spotted horse as he chatted with Larerran, a female half-elf, Larallan's sister. Sitting atop his black bull-like steed, not making a sound but looking around expactantly, was a dwarvish miner that went by the name of Darkkiller. Reclining among the bales of hay near the entrance was Garond Craugos, a male, human, sometimes cocky guard member.
"Excellent, excellent! Nui'umeh orus yelnile'uh!" cried Orodeth in glee. "We should set out immediately."
Kenocen laughed and looked to Larallan for the confirmation.
Larallan shouted out to the other four, who had already mounted their horses. "Are you all ready?"
There was a shout of approval, and Larallan, Kenocen, and Orodeth mounted their horses. "Then we're off!" cried Larallan, and the seven riders bolted out of the stables.
They passed through town, waving to the villagers. Kenocen spotted Nekinor, waiting at the southern border of the village. He slowed his steed and dropped to Nekinor's side.
"Farewell, Kenocen," grunted the commander, making no eye contact.
Kenocen laughed and patted Nekinor on the back. "Farewell, my 'enemy.' Until our paths cross once more...which I assure you, they will."
Nekinor smiled ever so slightly, looking at the half-elf, and for that moment, the two commanders completely forgot that they were enemies.
"Kenocen?" asked Larallan, waiting patiently.
Kenocen nodded and jumped on his steed. He took one last look at Nekinor, at the village of Corren, and followed the rest of the escort party south, into the vast, looming Kamara Desert.
The emotional departure did not sit well with Nekinor. The typically brutal commander found that he was changing, but for what reason he could not tell. He shrugged and headed back to the center of the village, where Meyel and Taiumor were waiting, the rest of the villagers and soldiers surrounding them, battle-clad, ready for war.
"So...now what?" asked Meyel, looking around curiously.
"Well, either we go to the orcs, or we wait for them to attack us," said Nekinor, slipping on his titanium chain armor.
"I prefer the latter idea!" cried one of the villagers, and there was a grumbling of approval.
Nekinor rolled his eyes.
"Well, then, we wait," stated Taiumor, looking directly up at the bright moon in the heavens above, making the surface world below appear as bright as day in the cloudless night.
After hours of waiting, the makeshift army began to grow restless.
"When'll they come already?" grumbled a dwarf.
"The suspense is killing me!" cried a farmer.
"Nekinor...are you so sure this orc army is planning to come this way?" questioned Taiumor, a skeptical expression on his face.
Nekinor paused for a moment, lifting his iron helm slightly to scratch his head. How could he know if they were coming this way or not? Perhaps they went south, instead of west, leading them straight through South Kilaran.
No sooner had Nekinor thought this when there was a shout from the south. The group stirred, and turned to see a lone, battle-worn merchant, running for his life, straight at the group.
Meyel managed to get ahold of the struggling merchant and asked him what the problem was.
"Oh! Meyel! Terrible! Orcs...orcs...so many of them! Pouring out of the mountains...comin' from South Kilarn! They attacked us, burnin' all our tents...fire...fire everywhere!" He broke down in a heap, and the villagers murmured among themselves.
Nekinor turned white. South Kilaran...Tasyl! He feared the worst, and spinning around, shouted to the army.
"South, men! To the Kamara Desert! We have no alternative...to the battle!" He roared, battle-lust sparkling in his eyes, making them appear to glow red, and, along with Meyel and Taiumor, directed the army of soldiers and villagers southward, towards the hot, dry, Kamara Desert.
Sure enough, as the first members of the army rounded the mountain range that blocked off the Kamara Desert, they could see nothing but the greenish mass of orcs among the inferno of a hundred fires, could hear nothing but the cracking of burning tents, and the screams of countless merchants, as they died a crispy death.
Many of the villagers cried out in fury, their eyes squinting in hatred. Taiumor managed to keep them under control (for the most part), as he, Nekinor, and Meyel discussed a plan for the battle.
"What do you say...we just dive right in, swords, axes, hammers swinning wildly...?" suggested Meyel, earning glares from the captain and the commander.
"Not likely. But whatever we do end up doing, we have to figure out soon, because eventually they'll spot us, and if they catch us without a strategy..." began Taiumor.
"Enough babbling!" roared Nekinor. "I have a plan...well, actually, it was a strategy that was used against me during the guild war in Kilaran...but I think it just might work." He bent forward and whispered instructions to the other two, who simply nodded in agreement.
When he finished, Taiumor gathered a third of the army together and took them to one side of the mountain range, out of view. Meyel took another third, and imitated Taiumor's actions on the opposite side. Nekinor, with the remaining third (who all happened to be mounted on horses), told the three groups of his plan. He sighed, made sure once more that the other groups were position just out of view, and spun around, just in time to meet the orc army.
One of the commanders spun around, spotting Nekinor and his small group of riders. It sniffed the air, and roared, slamming his chest like a wild ape. Numerous orcs spun around at his call, and readied their orcish weapons. The commander roared once more, and the orc force he rallied together charged at amazing speed at Nekinor's group.
"Follow my moves!" shouted Nekinor once more, as he drew his large, powerful broadsword. He listened as his riders drew their weapons, and charged forward at the orc force. At the last second, he and the rest of the first row spun in the opposite direction and made a direct cut through to the back. The orcs hesitated for a moment, giving the rest of the riders enough time to cut through, swords and hammers low, decapitating most of the orcs in the group. The rest were either wounded severely or trampled upon.
Nekinor smiled at the success of the maneuver, and gave a cry towards the other two groups, who were waiting at the mountain range. He listened hard, over the sounds of the battle, and could barely hear the sounds of the two groups heading off, around the mountain range.
The commander smiled once more, and spun around to find his riders waiting, smiles on their faces as well, with only a few wounds.
As Nekinor expected, another group, this time a larger one, was fast approaching the group. He almost considered trying the same strategy, but figured this group was at least twice as big as the last one, making it harder to pull off. He thought hard, and suddenly he sheathed his sword and grabbed for his shield, informing of the group of his latest attack plan. The riders who had shields followed suit, and with an indication from Nekinor, charged once more at the orc force. At the last second before contact, he held his shield low and parallel to the ground. They passed through the orcs, the shields cutting them severely, making large X-like marks on their chest. With a shout from Nekinor, the last two rows, who had yet to enter the fray, drew their swords, and using the X marks as guides, plunged their swords into the dark, evil hearts of as many orcs as possible.
Once the riders had followed through with the manuver, however, another group of orcs waited behind the first. Nekinor had no time to think of a strategy, and simply hollered, "Weapons out! Single line...cut right through!"
The riders understood immediately, and, drawing their swords, the group formed a line and cut through the orcs like a knife through cheese.
As soon as they passed through the most recent group, Nekinor directed them to a safe spot to figure out a strategy.
"Are you sure you haven't fought before?" laughed Nekinor. "You people have talent!" The villagers beamed. "But on a more serious note...we need to figure out a strategy...preferably some kind of feint, to keep them occupied until the others arrive..."
Over the course of a minute, the group had managed to figure out a strategy which they hoped would be effective enough. They rode out once more, and were greeted by a more organized orc force...all of the orcs were heading in their direction, weapons drawn.
Exactly what Nekinor was hoping for. Remembering Kenocen's old manuver that almost had Nekinor defeated, he raised his sword in the air, and cried out. He then began riding to the east, towards the entrance of Southern Kilaran, but with a distinct, horseshoe-like curve. The orcs, not being the brightest of creatures, followed them relentlessly. Nekinor smiled, continuing the curve, passing by the borders of the desert, and heading back towards where they started, praying to the gods that the others would be ready.
To Nekinor's great relief, they were.
The orcs were surprised indeed when they arrived back where they began...running directly into the three groups of Nekinor, Meyel, and Taiumor, all of the villagers and soldiers gearing up for the final maneuver.
The three groups had branched out, Meyel's group of miners on the right, Nekinor's riders in the middle, and Taiumor's soldiers on the left.
Meyel, Nekinor, and Taiumor looked at each other grimly, knowing that they would lose many of their number in this final, wild, suicidal attack, and with a single, horrifying, battle-hungry shout, the three groups dove right into the orc force, swinging wildly, with the sole purpose to kill as many orcs as possible.
Hours passed, and as the first rays of sunlight began to shine on the blood-stained desert below, Meyel, Nekinor, and Taiumor met together.
"We cannot keep on fighting like this...fatigue is setting in...our people are perishing faster than the orcs..." moaned Meyel, one of his arms bleeding profusely from an orcish blade.
Taiumor nodded in agreement. "We have to fall back."
Nekinor looked up at the rising sun, just on the horizon. "I only hope Kenocen and the others managed to settle on an agreement with Portland."
"Well, we're headed there, whether they like it or not!" shouted Meyel. He spun his steed around and cried as loud as he could to the remaining troops. "Fall back! To portland! Fall...back!" He cringed in pain, clutching his wounded arm.
The three of them pulled as many fighters away from the fierce battle as they could, dragging them onto horses (there were now enough horses for the remaining fighters to double up on). They took one last look at the insane orc force, which seemed to be as thick as ever, and rode south, to Portland.
"Curses!" roared Mortos. "Curses upon them all!"
Selain simply remained silent, his head low.
"They will never translate that prophecy...I will make sure of that..." growled Mortos. He headed off, writhing in anger, apparently in telepathic communication with someone. When he finished, he spun back around, a smile on his face.
"What sort of devilry has Mortos come up with now?" asked Selain curiously.
"Oh, you will see...when the time is right. Meanwhile, I have to deal with this blasted army over in the Kamara Desert."
"As you wish, Mortos," rasped Selain, as he and Mortos gazed at their next target...Portland.