The dust settled some as Anton turned his horse toward the elf, who was waving her left hand as she cast some spell at the king. Spurring his horse into motion, Anton was suddenly bogged down in a mass of sticky mud, as rider and mount began to sink. Thinking quickly, he lunged off the horse and tried to skip to dry land, several feet away. He was unsuccessful, and ended up dragging one foot out, almost losing a boot in the process.
The elf made good use of Anton’s wasted time, whipping her hands around her and conjuring a circular wall of thorns, isolating the two inside. Just as Anton steadied himself she struck, having transformed into a massive black bear. Two paw strikes sent the king reeling to his right and the ground, losing his shield in the process. Cursing, he tried to roll with the blow as much as he could in order to regain his footing and put some space between the two. ‘Damn! I’ve not been hit like that in years!’ he thought.
The bear’s eyes were the same color as Tessara’s, and displayed the same frenzied madness she had shown a moment before when an elf. It charged the king, barreling into him while biting. The force of the impact again knocked the king to the ground, but not before he was able to bring up his great sword, which burst into flame an instant before striking the bear with the flat of its blade.
The flames surprised the bear, giving Anton a split second to scurry to his feet and swing. The mighty sword struck hard this time, scorching bear fur and flesh and slicing a bloody gash into the beast’s side. Howling in fury and pain, the bear stood on its back legs and swung at Anton with its paws, connecting with several deep scratches in Anton’s breastplate and compressing his chest.
The bear stepped back toward the wall of thorns and transformed back into the elf, who then started screaming.
“YOU’ve brought this on us all! Balance! Bring back what WAS!” she screeched as she called down another spell, this time a column of flame from the sky, centered on Anton.
Hearing the rush of air above him, Anton dove to his left, barely avoiding the flames, but still within the corona of intense heat. His armor immediately began to smoke as it heated, burning the padding underneath and his skin with it.
Reg dragged himself to standing on the arm of one of the Guards, bleeding profusely. The rate at which he was bleeding out alarmed the small part of his mind that was still rational; meanwhile the orc warrior in him paid no attention to anything but the thorns that separated him from Anton and Tessara. The battle outside had continued, but the Mistmarchers were holding their own, and in some places pushing the Nomen back. There was some confusion among the barbarians when their Prophet had joined the fight and then disappeared, and they were poorly organized at this point, anyway.
Reg lunged for the wall, some 8 feet high, and with the help of the Guard mounted a horse, which he showered in his own blood. Bellowing a war cry that rose above the ear-splitting din of combat he stood on the horse’s back and dove over the thorns, partially catching on some, which tore at his flesh. A column of fire nearly dazzled his vision and warmed his face.
Anton pulled himself into the mud and tried to hold his mouth shut, feeling a tugging sensation in his chest as the fire sought to draw all the air out of his lungs, and perhaps his lungs with it. Focusing his mind he drew on powers that he’d not had to use in years and brought some healing to himself after thinking a prayer to Iomedae. The healing magic spent, he felt his skin begin to burn again.
‘If this is the way a king dies, then so be it,’ he thought as he forced himself to his feet and turned to find Tessara.
The elf was on the other side of the circle, laughing and preparing another spell when Anton saw her, and saw a bloody figure fall on her from above.
Reg was much heavier than the elf, and with his armor even more so. He crashed down on top of her, knocking her flat to the ground, he lower jaw impacting so hard on the firm turf that shattered teeth and blood spurted from her mouth. His inert mass weighed her down as she struggled to get her wits about her.
Anton, partially on fire, smoke coming out of the seams of his armor and from around his neck from the charred skin underneath, staggered toward her, before collapsing and sinking into unconsciousness, his wounds too great to continue.