Metagore, The Battle For

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: House of Ghosts

The second group of Senturian recruits find themselves traveling into Medsa'lear.

Chapter 52 (v.2) - Seven Faces Of Darkness

Submitted: February 22, 2017

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Submitted: February 22, 2017



After five long days and nights of traveling through the thick forests of Ringwood, the Senturian recruits finally passed into the murky swamplands of Medsa'lear. For half a day they trotted through the muddy grounds. While the woods of Ringwood seemed to be full of life, the swamplands appeared to be almost as dead as Black Rain Forest regarding sound. Where they should hear the fauna of the swamps, all they heard was the squelching of the hooves of their mounts in the puddles and mud. The farther into the swamps they traveled, the quieter everything seemed to get, as if the very air around them even stopped making a sound---Medsa'lear itself appeared to be holding its breath.

A low rumble shook the ground, followed by the snapping of a large tree branch as it fell. Looking to where the limb had fallen, the soldiers' eyes beheld a massive, brown, serpentine head seeming to come from the darkness. Its black tongue flicked out to smell their presence, and its red eyes honed in on their movements as they slowed their stride.

The Senturian knights all stopped in their tracks, mesmerized and in fear of the massive creature. Six other heads began to protrude from behind the collection of trees---some much shorter than the first, others a bit longer.

Briar's eyes widened within his steel helmet as he nervously turned towards his commanding officer---hoping to be reassured by his bravery, but to no prevail. Rosule sat slouched forward upon his mount. His armor-plated hands gripped tight onto the reins. His parted jaw quivered in fear.

"'Tis that thee-," Briar started in a whisper, then grew quiet as the seven pairs of eyes stared at the group---seeming to hone directly upon him.

"'Tis thee dragon o' thee swamps," another stated in awe of the beast.

The hydra lunged forward---snapping limbs as it passed by the nearby trees. Its seven heads constantly swayed in random directions as its large body stomped through the muddy grounds.

"Attack!" Rosule commanded---trying to overcome the numbness and his pulsing heart, as adrenaline rushed through his veins.

The five hundred Senturians drew out their steel weapons and rode their steeds towards the oncoming creature. The giant beast plowed over some of the mares---trampling them under its massive feet. The serpentine heads snatched a few of the knights off of their mounts and crushed their armored bodies in its jowls.

One of the four smaller heads darted forward---its fangs dripped with steaming venom, which melted armor off of the recruits that were unlucky enough to be in its path. Its scales seemed brighter than the three longer heads and lacked the scars and burns the largers bared.

It quickly snatched up a knight from the ground, just to drop him quickly in an attempt to bite at another of the smaller heads when it tried to take the same soldier from it. The knight, dead from the initial bite, started to dissolve as the potent venom had melted through to his skin and bones---his muscles and blood boiled from the toxins.

Many of the mounts had gotten spooked by the large beast and ran off into the swamps to never be seen again. The remaining knights continued to fight for their lives. Some of them noticed scarring on the flank of the hydra and quickly teamed together to stab and hack at the weak scales, bringing angry and pained shrieks from the beast. The archers stayed their grounds towards the back of the group, shooting arrow after arrow towards the serpent's many eyes. One metal bolt slammed into a pasty brown eye, causing the massive head to jerk and bite in the direction the arrow came from.

Cries from both the Senturians and the beast filled the air. Bloodied bodies decaying with venom, and other debris from the fight quickly littered the ground---both sides fighting to survive.

From off in the distance, came flaming arrows raining down on the hydra. Warriors dressed in leather armor rushed towards the group of recruits and helped to bring the great beast down once and for all. A large ogre---wearing a maroon, leather chest plate, with a light blue serpent head painted over the left breast---walked up to one struggling heads. The flames of the arrows glinting brightly off the scales surrounding them. The Learish ogre drew back his warhammer and slammed it down upon the hydra's burning head. Near instantaneously, the massive creature collapsed into the mud---its hide burning as it laid dying before the two armies.

"Get them!" Rosule shouted, pointing his spear towards the Learish army.

Much to their surprise, the group of Learish warriors all immediately knelt to the ground---their heads hung low in humbleness. Rosule looked over the kneeling warriors, then glanced at his men, then back at the Learish. Rosule walked cautiously up to one of the elven looking warriors and lifted his head with the tip of his spear. "Who are you? And why do you kneel before us?" he questioned, still taken in awe of the situation.

"I am Ser Garras, from Medsa'lear," the warrior responded as he motioned to the blue serpent head painted on his chest with his eyes. "And we surrender unto you."

Rosule kept his spear pressed against Garras' neck as he examined the warrior. "Why do you surrender like a yellow-belly? Be it not better for you to fight?"

Garras' could feel the tip of the spear slowly piercing into his throat as he tried not to swallow. "We- We're just doing as we were commanded."

Rosule's sweat glistening brow furrowed. "By who?"

"Rakash," he intoned.

Rosule tilted Garras' head up a little further. "Who's Rakash?"

Straining his neck---trying not to make any kind of movement---Garras responded, "Rakash is a royal guard at Lord Kaprin's manor."

Puzzled by the responses, Rosule stayed persistent with his questioning. "Why did he give you the command to surrender?"

"That is something you would have to ask him yourself. I can take you to him if you wish."

"Take us," Rosule commanded as he nudged Garras to stand to his feet.

The Learish all stood and began making their way back to the city---the Senturians following close behind. As they walked, Rosule kept his spear pressed to the back of Garras' neck, just in case the journey turned into an ambush.


Later that evening, the two armies came up to the manor, where Garras took Rosule and twenty other Senturian knights inside to meet with Rakash---the remainder of the troops waited outside in the courtyard of the estate.

"Rakash," Garras greeted the large ogre as they entered the great hall. "The Senturians would like to have a word with you."

The plump giant stood and waved for them all to approach him. "Who am I having the honor of speaking with?" he asked the morling in front of the group, who still had his spear pressed to the back of Garras' neck.

"I am Ser Rosule, former treasurer of Sentries."

The ogre placed his fist over his heart and introduced himself. "I am Rakash, royal guard of the Learish realm...You wish to have a word with me?"

"Did you give the command to your warriors to surrender?" Rosule asked bluntly.

Rakash sat back down at the table that he had once sat at and responded, "Indeed I did."

Rosule's brow furrowed. "Why did your lord not give the command?"

The ogre's yellow eyes peered down at the table, and his broad snout scrunched tight. "Lord Kaprin died at sea, sailing towards your homeland," he informed them.

Rosule looked upon the ogre, feeling as if he was just putting on a show to trick him into letting his guard down. "And how do you know of his death?"

The ogre's large eyes looked back up at the knight. "Ser Garras here, returned back to us a few days back, with the news of being the only survivor of the voyage."

"What about your duchess?" Rosule questioned. "Why did she not give the command?"

The ogre's pale green head drooped down, and his voice started to crack. "Duchess Alor, along with Marquess Lucan, were both on the ships with our lord."

Rosule's tan face grew tense and distrusting. "Why would they all leave their kingdom behind to fight in a war of knights?"

"I don't know." Rakash's eyes glanced back up at the Senturian. "Lord Kaprin was always one to demand the most unwise of things of his servants."

"So you're in charge now?"

"No, not by any means," Rakash responded. "I would just rather see this kingdom stay standing than to lose it all without a chance of survival."

Rosule's brown eyes narrowed in on Rakash's. He slowly pulled his spear away from Garras' neck, then quickly jousted it back into it---piercing all the way through. He yanked his weapon out of the dead warrior.

"Throw Rakash and all of the Learish army into the keeps," Rosule commanded his knights. "If there's no room for them all, slaughter the remaining men. Then go and burn down their villages."

"But we surrendered unto you," Rakash pleaded loudly.

A smirk grew upon the Senturian's face. "That was very polite of you; but this is war, not peace. Next time pick who you are willing to surrender to. Besides, surrendering doesn't hold any value in this war, now does it?"



© Copyright 2018 D. L. Stewart. All rights reserved.


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