Canyon Ambush

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
This story opens upon a powerful wizard perched high in a canyon watching an enemy convoy pass below. The reputation of the canyons alone leaves the wizard puzzled as to why the enemy would risk passing by here. The wizard sends for the Dragonaut, an elite shock force that serves as the spear tip for the empire.Still a work in progress, just want some feedback.

Submitted: January 21, 2010

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Submitted: January 21, 2010

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Wizard Priam stood on the stone ledge, a balcony protruding from the solid rock face of the black cliff looking down upon the canyon floor below. His face expressionless, his body showing complete indifference to the events going on below. There was absolutely nothing remarkable about the wizards appearance other than his eyes. His eyes had turned midnight black. Even though his eyes were jet black they still somehow emanated a soft glow. Those eyes were focused on the canyon floor and the events unfolding below. On the far end of canyon a large convoy began making its way into view, turning the corner of the valley floor into view of the long straightaway stretch of the canyon that could be seen from Wizard Priam’s perch. The convoy was headed by foot soldiers, about twenty of them. None were heavily armored for they kept moving at a light jogging pace. Their body protection looked to be bamboo chest and shoulder fixtures, as well as bamboo fixtures across their thighs and groins. They wore no helmets but had on thick head dresses. Slung across their backs they had long bows and two short swords, each criss crossed over the other. Their forearms were each buckled with bamboo rods that ran along the under side of their forearms from mid-palm, where a handle came off the rod allowing the fist to grip it, up to the elbow. These were designed to block blows from staff weapons and to deliver more devastating elbow and forearm strikes to an enemy’s body in hand to hand combat. These men were probably skilled fighters but were the lowest form of infantry. They were feelers, set ahead of the convoy to spring traps and take the brunt of surprise attacks, alerting the main body of the convoy to danger before they were upon it themselves. Behind these men about a quarter of mile were another twenty soldiers mounted on horseback. This unit strolled along at a leisurely pace. These soldiers were elaborately armored. No inch of skin was visible, helmets adorned with short, thick spites across the scalp, a solid jaw piece covering the mouth attached to the helmet from the corners of the mandibles. A form fitting nose piece gave rise to eye pieces cut in such a way to give the soldiers a full field of vision. The torso was covered by segmented armor which accentuated the pectoral, abdominal and oblique muscles of human anatomy. Their arms had armor plates that covered the biceps. Their forearms were covered in gauntlets that had formidable blades protruding from them, each the size of a medium hunting knife. Their legs had armor plates covering their thighs and on the calves were gauntlets similar to those on the forearms with a single blade fashioned on the outside of the calf. Each soldier wore a black cape and had in their left hands 6 ft long spears. Leather sheaths fastened alongside their horses held an array of blades including hatchets, two short swords and a single long sword. Some had an assortment of other smaller weapons. Maces, clubs, crossbows, throwing daggers etc. All of these men were huge by human standards. They were all very tall and extremely muscular. Even though their bodies were completely covered in armor it was still obvious that under all the thick protective garments were large, bulging muscles. It could be logically deducted by any scout observing the scene that these men were elite, perhaps the personal escort and guard to a government official, member of the royal family or a high ranking military officer.

As the convoy moved slowly through the canyon, more of its main body came around the bend at the far end of the canyon floor and into view. Not far behind the men on horseback were half a dozen wagons led by four large war horses each. The wagons themselves were driven by men in considerable armor, although theirs was much more plain than that of the elite guard ahead on horseback. They wore silver helmets and chest plates. Next to each driver there was a spear fastened to the side of the wagon, ready for a quick draw by the driver, next to the spear was a medium sized thick sword held to the inside of the wagon by a leather scabbard. No other weapons were visible. The drivers sat atop a bench that was the front of the roof of the completely enclosed coaches. The coaches had only small windows, two on each side. It was impossible from any distance to see what was in each coach. Behind the wagons was about a hundred infantry. These men wore armor similar to the drivers of the wagons but they each held a spear and a had a long sword strapped across their backs. These men walked in ordered columns and rows though not in a formal march step. Behind the infantry were another ten or so of the elite guard on horseback.

Wizard Priam’s position was high on the cliff face, concealed in shadow amongst the many crevices of the canyon wall. His eyes, still jet black orbs in their sockets, were magnifying the scene on the canyon floor far beyond what normal human sight was capable of. After surveying the convoy for several minutes more, making sure not to miss any details, he backed up several feet against the canyon wall completely out of sight from those down below. He put a finger to his temple, blinked his eyes hard once and when he opened them again his eyes had returned to their normal light brown color. He kneeled down and took a handful of dust and gravel. He enclosed his hands around it and closed his eyes in concentration. A soft glow emanated from between his hands for a brief moment. The wizard opened his eyes and his hands. There sitting in his hands was a small bat. It spun several circles in Priam’s hands, gathering itself and shaking a bit of dust out of its fine brown fur. Once the bat settled, it looked up into the Wizards stern, intense gaze.

“Go to Carvage Kill and report”. The small bat exploded out of his hands without hesitating for a single moment after the command was given. It took flight and was out of sight within moments. It wouldn’t take long for his messenger to find the General. Their fortress, stables, and training area was not far from this place in the canyons.

Wizard Priam approached the ledge of his perch high on the canyon wall and watched the convoy as it moved slowly through the canyon. It was very unusual to see an enemy presence in these canyons, much less a convoy such as this which seemed to be transporting something of value. Although the enemy had never firmly established it, they suspected that these canyons were home to the Dragonaut, the Talon Empire’s elite military branch. The Dragonaut was comprised of the Talon Empire’s most lethal warriors, its most cunning Warlocks and even several Wizards who specialized in warfare. Nearly every warrior in the Dragonaut was endowed with powerful magic. Some had once been normal men and had been altered by magic to the end of becoming a more lethal force, others wielded the power to harness and control magic. Warlocks were the most numerous of those able to wield the power. Typically a Warlock was an elemental, meaning they were able to control or manipulate forces of nature such as wind, water, fire, stone and earth or plants and beasts. It was rare for a warlock to be able to control more than one “element”, which is what they referred to each of the natural powers as.

Whereas Warlocks were numerous, both in the Dragonaut and indeed in the Order’s Empire as well, Wizards were far more rare a commodity. A Wizard was one who had complete control over the one power. A Wizard could control all of the elements as they saw fit, they were also able to cast spells, curses, and charms. They could often divine the future or show you the past. They could enter a man’s mind and see his thoughts, even control him sometimes. Wizards were all powerful men. Some were able to gather and focus the one power to such a degree that they were seemingly invincible. Time did not pass the same for them, most Wizards were centuries old. The birth of Wizards seemed to come in cycles. Thousands of years would pass without a single Wizard being born and then, as though it were the blooming of some celestial garden in season, hundreds of wizards would be born in the same year. As quickly as their onset occurred, so too would their emergence as abruptly disappear. Wizards were traditionally known to be Academics. They typicallyd wanted nor took any part in warfare. They spent their time reading and writing books, studying the power they wielded. They sought to better understand magic and its applications in regards to the improved quality of life for all mankind. They were often solitary men, many lived by themselves in remote, hard to find or difficult to get to areas. Other Wizards had gathered and lived together in what best could be described as temples. Regardless of their living arrangements, all Wizards had shied away from living near men. Men had proven themselves to Wizards as being greedy and selfish beings. They constantly pestered Wizards asking for this and that; to make their livestock reproduce and grow faster, to allow their crops to grow without doing the work of irrigating the fields, to grant them the power to avenge a brothers death by a neighbors hand….the list of requests had always been endless. When Wizards would not intervene, men would become agitated and in some instances, violent. Over the years there had been more than a few deaths due to a Wizard defending himself against the feeble attacks of men generated out of greedy desperation, drunken bravery and utter stupidity. These deaths inevitably caused a change in the socio-political standing of Wizards amongst men. A separation of the “classes” as it were. Wizards stayed to themselves and yet held leadership positions in their respective governments that oversaw the daily lives of men, and while men had respect for Wizards out of fear, they also resented them based on the power Wizards held over them. The cumulative affect was a tentative and precarious relationship between the two groups.


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