Sunday, 4 January 2015

Scent: Part 34

Ropes were thrown over the invaders standard and Reven's naked, battered, bleeding body was hoisted up on to it. His arms spread wide, his body was a lattice work of knife cuts and puncture wounds. The raiders had been overly cruel to the interloper and bled him to within an inch of his life. Now he was held aloft to the baying crowd for their entertainment and as a warning to the defenders in the keep; a promise of the fate that befall all of those who opposed the horde. 

Reven's vision was blurred by the constant stream of blood the flowed into his eyes. He was beyond feeling pain. He felt himself lurch forward as the bearers of the banner moved toward the keep. Although he couldn't see it he knew that the attack had begun. The raiders voices were raised in bloodthirsty cries, beating their axes and swords on their shields they surged toward Einder's Keep and their inevitable victory. Reven's head bobbed against his chest as if he were afloat at sea, blood trickled down the shaft of the standard which wobbled and shook as its bearers struggled to keep it upright with his added weight. He felt a warm wind wash over him and heard the screams of the invaders in front of him. He was glad to feel anything as his life ebbed away.

Sanya unleashed her spell and a curtain of fire smashed in to the front ranks of the attackers, immolating them. Their flesh ran like water under the intense heat of the magical fire and Sanya laughed maniacally at the damage she had wrought. Kaleth had already started her charge and smashed into the side of the attackers line, tearing and rending flesh with tooth and claw. Warriors of Iron rushed in either side of her hacking and bludgeoning the raiders with a zeal born of pure unadulterated fury. The sight of Reven's mutilated body had not sewn the seed of fear the raiders had hoped. Instead it had fanned the flames of hatred and driven Sanya's troopers into a killing frenzy. Captain Ingerham hadn't even waited for the raiders to batter the drawbridge down, in his haste to spill blood he cut the ropes and let the bridge crash down on the attackers heads; crushing and drowning them under its bulk. He was now butchering all that came within reach of his axe. Goren and his scouts, still on the battlements,  were loosing arrows into the throng as fast as they could, each one finding a fleshly host. Sanya brought back her arms as she incanted, ready to send another wave of fiery death down upon the invaders. Even as she revelled in the devastation her troopers were inflicting on their foes she knew that it wouldn't be enough.

Chief Harnvok watched as his mass of troops swarmed forward. He cursed the witch and her foul magics. The price of destroying these meddlers would be higher than he expected but a warrior was measured by his enemies and his victory here would only add to his legend when it was written. The beast on his right flank was doing as much if not more damage than the woman but he had dispatched men with long spears and he was confident it would soon be brought down. He glanced over his shoulder at the battered body dangling from his standard,  a smile creeping across his face. The boy was big for his age and he took more punishment than most hardened warriors would have been able to take. He still clung to life even though Harnvok was sure that he didn't cling to any hope. He turned back to the battle in front of him, waiting for the tide to turn as it inevitably would. He didn't have to wait long before the assault of the tiny defending force started to falter. He knew it would, greater numbers would always win the day. The defenders at the keeps bridge were being driven back. The attack on his flank slowed as the beast drove too deeply into the raider ranks and lost the band of warriors that were protecting it's sides. Soon the arrows would stop falling from the battlements as their supplies dwindled and then they would sweep the defenders aside. There was a measure of respect for these warriors.For so small a number they had taken a horrific toll in their defence. Maybe showing off the boys battered body wasn't the best idea he thought looking once more upon the bloodied body.

Captain Goren was the last man on the battlements. His men had followed Sanya down the stairs to bolster Ingherham and his men. He watched as his friends troops lost more ground as the press of raiders squeezed between the arches of the keeps gate. The ground was thick with blood, entrails and the fallen bodies of friend and foe that lay strewn across the cobblestones of the keeps floor. He gazed out across to where Kaleth's advance had faltered. He couldn't see the men that had been sent to assist her and she was now being jabbed and harried by men with long spears. The war hound was near unstoppable when she had room to move put they pressed her on all side finding chinks in her armour and stabbing their spear tips into her thickly muscled flesh. Some of the raiders were using the vines that grew up the old walls of the keep to climb the battlements. They would soon be upon Goren and as he stared out at the horde of raiders he almost felt glad death was coming. He stole a glance at Sanya, she had made her way to the front rank of defenders and stood shoulder to shoulder with Captain Ingerham. She carved a bloody ruin in the attackers, a whirlwind of death, her blade flashed out severing limbs from bodies and heads from necks but as he watched he knew even a warrior as prolific as her could not stem the tide of raiders. There were still too many of them and the Warriors of Iron were falling too fast. Goren steeled himself, before he met his doom he would commit one last act of kindness. He knocked the last of his arrows to his bow string and drew it back, his eye settling on the dripping red monstrosity that was once the boy Reven. He would end his suffering cleanly. He drew back further still on the string as he settled his aim but then a head popped over the battlements directly in front of him, spoiling is shot. The bow string twanged as he released his arrow and he watched it fly as the raider hauled himself up and drew his sword.

The last noise Reven heard before losing consciousness was a scream. Was it him? He didn't know, he didn't care, he fell into darkness...

The enveloping darkness of the room was all around him. His red eyed tormentor kneeled over him, fastening his clothes about him. His body ached from head to toe. He raised his head wearily to look down upon his tortured body. There was no sign of the cuts the thing had made in his flesh, the hole in his shoulder was already healing. He looked into the face of the armoured giant in front of him and felt only despair. It stood, towering over him and then it spoke, its voice deep and gravely boomed through the grill in its helmet, 'It doesn't take long for eyes to grow accustomed to the dark. It takes less time for souls to become accustomed to darkness and hearts to grow black as night. You are our ever burning light', he flicked what felt like water over Reven as he spoke. 'You are our vessel of judgement, the collector of skulls. You shall be our champion in this never ending fight.' The thing finished splashing water on Reven and stepped back into the darkness, 'You are our vessel and I deliver you unto this world, bring it to its knees' and with that the red eyes blinked out and Reven was alone. His eyes closed once more as he fell into darkness.

Revens eyes snapped open. The standard was falling forward and he was falling with it. Goren's arrow had missed him and instead found one of the standard bearers, who had died screaming. Chief Harnvok stood before him, mouth gaping as he threw his arms up in front of him to protect himself from the falling boy. Reven landed on him hard, knocking him to the ground. Harnvok tried to push him off but the slick, greasy blood that covered Reven's body prevented him getting any purchase on the boy. Reven lay chest to chest with the raiders chieftain and smiled as thoughts of Fang came unbidden into his mind. With no weapons available to him he brought his hands up to either side of the chiefs neck. Harnvok tried to pin Reven's arms back but they were being driven forward with unnatural strength. As they closed around the chiefs neck Reven drove his thumbs into the taught flesh and then tearing a hole buried his face in the bloody mess, biting through windpipe and jugular as if he were a beast himself. Harnvok's body spasmed as Reven tore his throat out and then lay still. Reven sat up, still astride the chief and howled like a demon as the dead chiefs blood dripped from his chin and mingled with his own as it splattered on his chest. The raiders nearby drew back from the boy as he rose and stood over the body of their dead leader. He looked fearsome, his naked body red with blood and his eyes bright with a madness that froze the blood in the warriors veins. He reached down and slid a hand under Harnvok's helmet, taking him by the hair. He wrenched savagely and ripped the dead mans head off of his shoulders and held it aloft for all to see. Reven circled on the spot, showing the grisly trophy to the ever receding circle of men. 'I am their vessel' he intoned as they backed away. 'I am ruin, I am death, look upon me and despair' Reven's voice was so loud that the men nearest him covered their ears as if they were being shouted at by a god. Fear spread through out the raiders army as his words echoed over the battleground. A hole punched clean through the raiders line as a bloody Fang made his way to his friend. Reven swung himself up onto Fangs back and still holding Harnvok's head aloft he rode through the fleeing crowds of raiders toward the keep spreading palpable fear in his wake. 

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