Duels at Isle dangerous
1625, Dark season, Death week, Godsday.
At Dangerford a large encampment had been set up south of the river and at its centre Leika and her commanders held a meeting inside a large tent. After the meeting Asborn gathered the hird and announced that the Tarsh army was camped at Alda Chur, a city a day’s march north of us.
Leika would try to attack the invaders before they could cross the Creek at a hill named Orlanth Victorious. After the announcement Asborn approached us and told us to gather 12 men from the hird and to guard against any break away forces that might try to cross the Creek during the battle.
As Leika’s hird crossed the Creek to intercept the Tarsh army we started to look through the village of Dangerford for straw and clothing to create fake guards. The villages itself were deserted in case the fighting spread this far. We found straw and clothes to create eight fake guards and placed them at battlements of a small watch tower at the north side of the river.
While we searched we also found a drunk scribe sleeping under the hay in a barn. After I had talked to the scribe for a bit we slipped into a conversation about the history of Empire Wyrm Friends, one of our common interest. He told me about Forang Forosh from the village Tink that appeared to be reborn from the time of the Empire Wyrm Friends.
I told him that I was a sword sage and traveling to meet this man would be very interesting indeed. “A sword sage, alight, alright.” he said as he looked me up and down, “Do you know that there is a Humakti spirit living at the Isle Dangerous that could teach the art of the sword?” I was bit stumped and asked why the spirit had chosen that location.
The old sage gave a cunning if somewhat toothless smile and told me that the island had been an duelling ground for generations and Skall the Arkating, as the spirit was called, guarded it against any foul play. We hid the old sage in the cellar under the inn, which he was more than happy to occupy since it contained several barrels of beer and wine.
After conferring with Jarolar and the others about what the sage had told me we formed a plan to engage any enemies into a duel at Isle dangerous and thus creating a magical barrier that only a handful invaders could pass by duelling against us. We searched for a suitable sacrifice to summon the guardian spirit and eventually settled for the black spear Leika had gifted Jarolar. Geiri performed an hour long ritual and Skall the Arkating emerged from a snowy mist.
He looked confident and solemn at us, his two handed sword resting with a casual grace on his shoulder, his was body covered in death and truth runes glowing with a blue shimmer. Geiri asked him for protection while we challenged any invaders to a duel. With a curt nod he agreed and faded away. The hair on my armed raised and my heart pounded heavily in my chest as I felt magic flood the duelling area.
We spent a couple of hours of calm eating and preparing the duelling area before the first Tarshites arrived. Korl spotted some scouts on horses, but these were not Pharandros troops rather they look like the came from Kodros, the Island where General Fazzur Wideread rule. When the riders got to the middle of the shallow water between the northern shore and isle Dangerous we stood up and approached them. They instantly turned around but Jarolar and Korl threw their javelins and one man fell from his horse. When we dragged him back to the island he convulses from the magic and passed out. After giving him first aid he told us that general Fazzur was approaching with 2000 men while Pharandros army were engaged at the hill Orlanth victorious.
An army of 2000 thousand men were alarming news, we planned to guard the crossing as long as possible, but had to warn Queen Amalda at the Two sisters. I tried to use Speak to mind to reach her, but I failed. We sent a four of the men that came with us with a message to Amalda.
Two hours later a regular company of riders approached us. When they came to the shore of the Isle Dangerous five of them could continue, the rest convulsed and turned away visibly hurt. The leader demanded that we should let them pass and we said we would, if they defeated us in a duel. It was a short battle. After we had landed some blows they yielded and limped back to the north side of the river.
A while later the main army had arrived at the flood bank. A group of five infantry men crossed the river in a small makeshift boat. As the men paddled towards us we could see the soldiers at the opposite shore pointing and waving while there were some betting going on.
The second group used some kind of company magic that made their spears glow red and marched towards us. This was a fierce battle where Jarolar’s right arm got severely hurt, but he managed to heal himself with rune magic. Brioc felled the first one with his axe and one of them almost punched through my shield with his spear. When Geiri cut down the second one they yielded.
We could see Fazzur Wideread and his officers gathering on the small hilltop squinting and gesturing in our direction. Underneath the hill something more menacing was happening, seven young men were fighting in what appeared to be fights to death in single combat, while three priest where chanting. When a man fell a shadow appeared to rise from the slain body and were absorbed into the victor. Maybe this is how the dream dragon was created?
A young man in a beautiful white armour boarded a boat and paddled towards us. The betting among the soldiers resumed, it was clear that this was an important person, but maybe not a popular one considering the betting seemed to go both ways. The man introduced himself with a clear voice as Prince Orontes of Tarsh and called on us to step aside or face him in a duel.
Jarolar stepped forward and the prince glanced him up and down, swallowed, and said in a muted voice that he wished a duel to first blood and offered Jarolar 2000 silver if he made it look like a good defeat. Jarolar declined, “Your blood be enough for me”
The duel was over almost as quick as it started, Jarolar cut across Orontes right arm and a gush of crimson blood ran over his armour. Orontes almost seemed to smear the blood over himself while he fell into the snow, yielding. From the snow he plead, “Capture me for ransom, I have information for you.” We bandaged his wound and tied him to a tree. A heavy snowfall started and we lost sight of the army, even the sounds became more muffled, for a while it seemed as there was nothing but us in a sea of white
The snow stopped and so did the cheering and betting among the soldiers. A man with four arms and black skin walked down to the shore, the soldiers scrambling in silence to keep out of his way. As he travelled over the river we could see that even the whites of his eyes were black as obsidian. He is wearing two curved sables and two parrying daggers in his four hands. Korl stepped up to challenge him.
At our left side Skall the Arkating stepped out, Skall’s eyes locked on the four armed man, his sword placed firmly in front of him in a two handed grip. With a strange silence where nothing but the heavy breathing and faint creaking of leather and metal against metal the fighting began. The four armed man hacked relentlessly at Korl landing several blows. Korl stood steady and countered, where his axe connected a green liquid oozed out of the wound.
The four armed man hardly took notice and continued to hack at Korl while the oozing wound seemed to close up by itself. Skall thundered, “Chaos! Attack!” and charged the chaos beast, swinging his two handed sword with stunning grace and speed. Skall’s first blow cuts one of the chaos beast’s arms clean off. We all rushed in to aid Korl. Jarolar ran behind him, while the rest of us engage him directly.
Jarolar seemed to pray for a moment and then drove his spear into ground, at the same time the spear bursts into flame and he shouted, “Storm tribe, push!” We all pushed the beast unto Jarolar’s spear. The spear pierced through the neck and out through the beast’s mouth, the flames hissed as green goo sprayed out through the mouth. The beast trembled and died.
Fazzur slowly walked down the edge of the water, behind him were the priests from the ritual kneeling. Fazzur shouted, “A single man cannot stand against and army and win, but this day you have won.” Jarolar roared back in defiance, “Have you ever seen a Sartarite back down from a fight?” Fazzur ruefully replied, “That may well be. Take these priests, their chaos magic is nothing I want part of.” Fazzur turned and walked back, his army closing ranks behind him, heading north.
Later Korl prepared to pass judgement on the priests in a foreign language that I assume was the Tarsh native tongue. The priests looked up at him with a bewildered look as he cut their heads.
We returned to Clearwine a few days later. Leika had thwarted Pharandros and his army, it had been a hard battle. She thanked us for holding Fazzur back at Dangerford. We return to Apple Lane with the old drunken sage from the barn.