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Thread: The Exodus - Part 3 - Encounter

  1. #1

    Default The Exodus - Part 3 - Encounter

    Please read and Review...Any feedback at all would be great, and help make me a better writer...


    "Just another couple days, and we'll be in Dalimond," Shawn told himself for the hundreth time. The young guard looked at the darkening sky, then back to the winding road ahead. "Just two more days till we're home."

    Carts and cargo disks full of all sorts of cloth moved slowly north, pulled by farmers and oxen to market. Shawn and three other mercenaries had been hired by the patriarch of this family to act as a deterrent from bandits and wild animals. All told there were more than fifty people in the caravan, and once they had sold their goods he and the other guards would be well paid.

    "Hey Shawn," called Jeron, a hulking Satyr Guardian. He shrugged, readjusting the weight of the massive maul strapped over his right shoulder. "Got any apples left?"

    "Listen goat face," Shawn yelled back, shaking his head. "If I had any, I'd be eating them myself. But we haven't had any for the last couple days."

    "I know," Jeron said, face falling. "Hey, a guy can hope, right?"

    Shawn just shook his head again, chuckling to himself. Why Jeron seemed addicted to the small green fruit was a mystery, even by the Satyr himself, but it never failed to make Shawn smile. It was worse than a dwarf and his ale, but the diminutive Paladin in their group never went anywhere without a cargo disk full of the stuff.

    "You have three of them in your pocket," whispered a dainty voice into his ear. Shawn felt a soft fluttering and then miniscule pressure on his left shoulder. "You should give him at least one of them."

    "I will tonight, Jewel," Shawn said, making sure that the pocket was securely closed. "I'll say I found them by the road, or something like that."

    "That's pretty lame," Jewel replied. She raised her head up, peering ahead, then alighted from Shawn's shoulder and fluttered forward on gossamer wings. "Hey Shawn...Listen..."

    "What?" he asked, stopping and pushing his senses hard. A faint sound, the steps of an animal fleeing, came from ahead then quickly died out. "Heh, just some critter catching wind of us and running."

    "I'm not sure," Jewel said, flying towards a cargo disk and sitting down gently on the edge. "You're probably right, but maybe we should alert the farmers?"

    "Sure thing," Shawn replied. He sped up his pace, quickly reaching the grandfather of the family. "Master Goldfiber? May I have a word with you?"

    "Of course, young Druid," the ancient human replied with a smile. Though well into his second century of life, he was pulling on a cargo disk with the same strength and intensity as the rest of his family. "What is it?"

    "Jewel thinks that there may be trouble ahead," Shawn replied. He hefted his staff, then pointed ahead. "The road here gets very windy, going through the hills ahead."

    "I know, lad," Damian Goldfiber chuckled. He waved a patronizing hand. "I've traveled this road since before your parents were born. Never had any trouble here."

    "Just the same," replied the elf with a scowl. His parents were both nearly a hundered and fifty, young by elvish standards. Shawn himself was only twenty eight, still a child but easily a match for most of the dangers in the world. "Please have your family pull close together, and make sure the men are ready to fight, just in case."

    "Alright lad, alright," Goldfiber muttered, stopping his advance and waving his sons over to him. "We'll be a few minutes, alright?"

    "Very well," Shawn answered, then turned and walked up ahead of the Goldfiber family.

    Most of the Dalimond peninsula was a plain, unbroken flatlands as far as they eye could see, but every now and then hills and small mountains poked up to disrput travel. These particular hills stretched far to the east and west, denying passage to most travelers and hindering the rest. A few enterprising dwarves had hacked a path out to facilitate movement of copper and tin ore to Aughundell for processing, and soon many sentient beings had moved into the peninsula to take advantage of the rich soil and wide spaces.

    The wide spaces were attractive for many purposes. It was far easier to plant and maintain crops, and livestock could be set free to roam. Bandits and raiders found their work hindered by villagers able to see all around for miles, and thus were able to prepare a defence. But perhaps most importantly was the fact that the nomad race hated wide open spaces. Indeed, it had been nearly a decade since a Sslik had been seen in the Dalimond Peninsula.

    "Copper for your thoughts," Jewel said, hovering nearby her friend. She smiled as Shawn sat down by her, waiting for the Goldfibers to start moving again.

    "Heh, many things," he replied, resting his staff across his knees. The oaken stick glowed softly, imbued with power that increased his focus and enabled him to better use the power of Nature. "Most recently of the Sslik band we found near the abandoned town."

    "Ah," Jewel responded, looking down. The entire band had been set upon by farmers and literaly torn to shreds, lynched out of fear and hate caused by centuries of skirmishes and misunderstandings. It didn't help that a Sslik raiding party had burned nearly half of the ripe crops and killed three families not five years before that. "We were young, and couldn't have known that the farmers would act like that."

    "I know that," Shawn muttered, looking at the fang dangling from his neck by a cord. A gift from a grateful farmer. "I don't feel guilty about alerting people to wild animals in their backyard. Especially not such dangerous animals. I just feel bad that they were killed, rather than chased off. Alyssa teaches us that all animals are precious to her, and should be treated with at least a bit of respect."

    "She doesn't blame you, and neither do I," Jewel smiled, placing a tiny hand on his arm. When Shawn smiled back at her, she nodded and started fluttering back onto the road. "Come on, they're moving again."

    "Alright," Shawn said, stepping forward once again.


    "What does Shadow Spear say?" asked Dagger Maw, instinctively knocking it's bow and pulling an arrow slightly back.

    "Shadow Spear says calm down," the big warrior said, supporting Eagle's Pride while pointing at his warriors. "Gather the not fighters together off of the road, and leave Long Claw and Little Ruxus with the not fighters. If the battle goes bad, then have Little Ruxus lead the not fighters away and into hiding."

    "Eagle's Pride," it continued, looking at the Ranger. "How long until the Softskins reach The Weeping Feathers?"

    "Very little time," Eagle's Pride replied, grabbing the spear off of it's back. "Perhaps fifty steps away, maybe more."

    "Sleeps with Crows. Mist Eye," Shadow Spear said, releasing Eagle's Pride to find it's fighting place. "Stay with Shadow Spear. Perhaps the Softskins will not attack, perhaps the Softskins will. But Shadow Spear needs wisdom from both Sleeps with Crows and Mist Eye."

    "Of course," the Shaman replied, reaching into a pouch at it's side. It pulled out a leather thong hung with bones, jewels and the skulls of small animals. "But Sleeps with Crows will be ready, for Softskins are not to be trusted."

    "Mist Eye agrees," said the Cleric, no longer leaning on it's staff for support. It had it's own magical focus, a beaded string capped by a viper's skull. "Better to be ready to kill than to be killed."

    " 'When dealing with Softskins, offer food in one hand and a spear in the other,' " Shadow Spear said softly, quoting an old Sslik proverb. It walked to the center of the road and stood, spear ready, it's casters at either side. The rest of the fighters had unslung their weapons and waited patiently behind them, forming a wall across the road. Whatever happened now, they were in the claws of Kaasha.


    "And that is why Arbotus gullets are worth so much," Jeron said, rubbing his stomach.

    "That's just plain gross," Jewel scowled, covering her ears with her hands in mock shock and disgust. "I'll never eat at a Satyr banquet again."

    "Hmmm...So that's what we be eatin in Bachan, eh," murmured Boradin Mountainbrew, rubbing his chin. "******** tasty yah know, 'specially with a bit o' ale, aye. Might have tah be getting me kin to go on a huntin' trip wit' me..."

    "Oh, not you too," Jewel scowled, shooting a dirty look at the Paladin. "I can't believe you men. Shawn, tell them they are gross!"

    "Truth be told, I love that particular dish," Shawn said with a wink at Jeron. When the little Dryad scowled at him too, he threw his head back and laughed. "Ok, ok...I actually hate it, never understood why until now."

    "Ah lad, you got no taste," Boradin rumbled as they rounded the curve. "Now, you want some good grub, you take Ruxus Tongue, boil it in ale, and add in ground up Sslik..."

    The dwarf trailed off, staring at what his companions had already seen. All four of them slowly reached for their weapons, trying not to frighten the creatures in front of them while also getting ready. Nearly twenty Sslik fighters were spread out across the road, staring straight back at them. Behind the guards, the farmers rounded the bend and stopped abruptly, none moving a muscle. One of the younger ones, a teenaged girl named Lahna stifled a scream of terror.

    "Steady now," Boradin whispered to his companions, all previous jovility completely forgotten. He took a step forward, shield raised but sword still in it's sheath, and raised a hand. "Now, you critters better be movin' soon, afore me and me crew be sending yah packin' back to where yah be comin' from."

    "Ssjinmfahsis gata tikhrelshlan ejinmfahs dibleopi kishu Ssmasho Wiji," one of the Sslik, a frightening looking one holding a staff topped with an elven skull and holding a strap covered with other skulls and bones.

    "Shira Lorth Kahkai sremo hoshu gakjinmfahs," replied the fighter next to it. This one stood in the middle of the road, carrying a spear that glowed with enchantments and wearing a wolf's skull on it's head. "Dishira Lorth Kahkai lop hoshu jijinmfahs."

    "Shira Lorth Kahkai is name," the first one said, laying a hand on it's chest. The words came out slowly, one after another, but at the same time seemed clipped and hurried. The Sslik seemed to think hard for a moment, then continued. "What is Mighty Miner's name?"

    "Huh?" Boradin said, wrongfooted by the odd speech, and even more confused by a Sslik speaking Common.

    Shawn was equally surprised and confused. In all his life he had never heard of a Sslik speaking like a sentient creature, much less speaking Common. He had seen them communicate through hoots, whistle and grunts, but he had also only ever seen them communicate during battle. He looked at the Sslik again, looking at their armor and gear and seeing for the first time the beautiful craftsmanship that adorned the leather and metal. One even had hawk feathers sewn onto it's leather pauldrons, creating a mantle of shimmering glory.

    "I think it asked your name," Jewel murmured to the Dwarf as she fluttered up to his side.

    "Oh, right," Boradin replied, regaining his composure. "Me name be Boradin Mountainbrew, Shira Whatevertherestbe. Now, you gonna be movin', or is this gonna be gettin' ugly?"

    "Ssjinmfahs imkishu Sslik," the first Sslik said to the Warrior. It glared down at the dwarf, then spoke louder. "Ibhesk Clo jaja yalushe Ssurgish."

    "Hih," the Warrior barked, a sharp wheezing sound that Shawn instantly recognized as a negative. The elf smiled to himself, realizing that even without knowing the strange speech coming from the reptiles he was able to understand them a little. The big Sslik continued, shaking it's head and gesturing at it's translater. "Ibhesk Clo kishuak lorthak dwaym. Sslik raymal pliroichu. Shira Lorth Kahkai gata desa jijinmfahs. Shira Lorth Kahkai gata raymal pliroi Sslikchu."

    "Stop yer blatherin' and move already," Boradin said, unsheathing his sword and stepping forward. Bows creaked as they were rapidly drawn, causing the Paladin to slowly step back and lower his weapon. "Ok now, no need to be gettin' all cranky."

    "Ibhesk Clo says Sslik not fight without need," Shira said, then paused as if to reconsider. "Or perhaps, Ibhesk Clo says The Weeping Feathers not fight without need. Sslik are more than animals."

    "You certainly are," Jewel said, floating forward slighty. She spread her arms wide and opened her mouth to say something more when an arrow flashed past her. The shaft buried itself into the chest of Ibhesk Clo, broadhead sticking out the warrior's back.

    "Got the bastard," Damian Goldfiber muttered, fitting another arrow to the string and drawing his bow back. The smile was still fixed on his face when several arrows struck him in the chest and head. Howls and battle screams erupted from the Sslik as they charged the farmers, rage sparking fires in their eyes. Ibhesk Clo dropped to it's knees, grasping at the arrow as blood oozed down it's chest.

    "No," Jewel cried, flitting up and away as the first Sslik reached her. She kept her bow down, trying to show she meant no harm.

    "Get em," Herber Goldfiber yelled, rushing forward with a woodaxe upraised. Most of the family followed, raising farm impliments and old weapons. "The beasts killed gramps!"

    Shawn barely had time to think before the first Sslik, black scaled save for a bright red tail, attacked. It swung a massive axe that shrieked with a Reaver's malice, forcing Shawn to duck. An Etheral Blade ignored parries and armor, passing through the target effortlessly, destroying flesh and spirit alike. Shawn threw an arc of lightning at the enraged creature, blasting it back several feet and burning away flesh.

    An arrow flashed down from above trailing frost particles. Another Sslik, this one wearing patchy chainmail over it's purple hide, took the enchanted arrow in the shoulder, going down but scrambling to it's feet quickly. Jewel readied another arrow, this one aflame, and fired it down at the Reaver.

    "Make sure they're dead before moving on," she yelled, tiny voice almost lost amongst the warcries of the Sslik and the screams of the dying humans. "They'll regenerate from any flesh wound they take."

    A meaty thud jerked Shawn's head around. Jeron had brained one of the Sslik with his maul, dropping the big reptile with a single hit, and was trying to use the haft of his maul to fend off another one. Shawn stepped forward to throw another lightning bolt when he felt his entire body seem to catch fire. Burning erupted from his belly and seemed to consume him completely, then he found himself on the ground vomiting. A cleric near the leader was chanting slowly, pointing at him. Shawn knew another Mystic Blaze like that would probably kill him.

    Another arrow shot down from the sky, embedding itself into the Cleric's chest. Jewel cheered as the old Sslik dropped to a knee, then pulled back another arrow and selected a new target. Herber was swinging his axe like he was chopping wood, scoring bloody gouges and gashes on the reptile he was facing. Boradin's armor and healing spells were keeping him alive, but the dwarf was taking far worse than he gave. All around them the human farmers were dying. Shawn began healing who he could, but each time he would bring somebody back to fighting strength that person would go down with another ghastly wound.

    "Run," Jeron yelled to the women huddled amongst the cargo disks. He deflected a lightning fast spear strike, then swung at his attacker. The reptile took the full force of the maul on it's forearm, snarling as the limb shattered. But with Jeron still pulling his weapon back the Sslik had an opening and took it. The speartip entered the Satyr's throat and punched out at the base of his skull. Wordlessly the Guardian dropped to his knees, staring helplessly as the Sslik placed a foot on his chest and wrenched the spear free.

    "No," Shawn cried. He swung his staff, cracking a Sslik across the face, then gathered energy for another lightning bolt. Herber was down, trying to place his intestine back into his stomach, and the arrows had stopped raining down from above. He knew he was as good as dead, and turned back towards where the leaders had stood, electricity crackling across his body. Then light exploded across his eyes, moments before the ground rushed up to meet him. Fuzzy objects moved in front of his eyes, digging into the ground as the last sounds of battle faded. Then it all went black.
    Ssilmath Torshak, Paladin of the Lost, Shaman of the Damned, Master Armorsmith

    My other "crack would be cheaper" hobby

  2. #2


    nice story ssilmath. job welldone i give it 2 talons up
    100/96/21 32.2 mill hoard Killer 87% socializer 47% explorer 40% achiever 40%

  3. #3


    Where is the exodus part 1?

  4. #4
    Klaus Wulfenbach
    Mithril Council, Chaos
    "Death is fleeting. Pride is forever."

    "Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."-- Abraham Lincoln

  5. #5


    Thanks. I had guessed that was part one from looking at his posts.

    Been trying to back up - save these stories to word doc's as I had time.

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