The adventure of Tharon continues! After a successful recruitmant at Azgad, Tharon and his new men are about to find and destroy those bandits who attacked and kidnapped Talion’s brother. It’s going to be bloody real quick, as Tharon makes his first moves to the world of Calradia! Enjoy!
June 3, 1266 CE, In a forest 20 miles from Praven, Night
After I recruited my men, I took them and I went to a valley, just 10 miles from Azgad. We made a camp there. We sat down, around the fire, in order to get to know them. Nothing important had happened in their lives. They were raised in Azgad, never to leave from there. In fact, as one of them told me – Fendrel was his name – the fact that they were recruited by me, was the most extaordinary thing that ever happened to them.
“Before you came, we were just farmers, doing some fighting under Simon’s orders, you know, the man you killed back in Azgad. He was a good fella that one. We did not really like him, but he was our protector, and at these times, with all these bandit attacks and raids…”. He stopped, looking away for a moment.
Then he turned to me again.
“And then you came. We saw you, heard your offer, we thought why not. Simon also thought of that, but he hot – heated and he couldn’t submit under anyone’s command. And he fought you. Poor bastard…”.
“So, now what, captain?” asked an other man, by the name of Oliver.
I took a look at their armor and arms. Farming tools at most. Two or three swords, excluding of course mine. For our work to be done, they were enough.
“I think our best chance, is to take a rest for today and tommorow, with the first light, we will begin our search for the bandit camp”. I found with my gaze Fendrel.
“Fendrel, you shall be my second in command. For now, I want you to organize the men, for their night’s watch. I will take the last shift”.
Bandits are attacking!
“You heard the captain!” shouted Fendrel. With this task done, I lied down, exhausted by today’s events. I was in Calradia for maximum two days, and my life had already taken a fully new direction.
“Let’s see what tommorow will bring us” I heard Oliver murmuring, as he was lying down, to take some sleep. Fendrel was about to have the first watch.
Not even two hours passed when I felt Fendrel’s hand on my shoulder. I opened my eyes and I saw him making me to stay quiet. The rest of the group were awake, weapons at hand, staying in the shadows. The fire was extinquished.
“What on earth is going on?” I wishpered to Fendrel. He pointed out the woods in front of us. I managed to detect around five or six dark figures. I nodded, picked my shield and draw my sword. Fendrel was with me and one other man too, to cover the left flank, while Oliver with two of our soldiers were waiting in front of our enemies. Moments later we heard their war cries
“As it seems, captain, we do not need to find them… They found us!” shouted Oliver, laughing hard. With his cry, two arrows came towards me. I raised my shield just in time to block them.
“Fucking scum!” I growled.
Oliver throw his spear, piercing one of the bandits in the stomach. The man rolled to the ground, trying to stop the bleeding with his hands. Oliver, holding his round shield in one hand, and a one handed battle axe in the other charged, with the men who followed him.
Fighting the bandits
While charging though, the bandits shot a valley of arrows. Most of them were blocked or missed their targets, but one pierced through the knee of Oliver. The mad man did not even bother about it, and jumped on his nearest enemy, smashing the poor bastard’s head with his axe. The two others also engaged with the bandits.
My eyes got used in the dark and I was able to have a clear site of our enemies. They were eleven – well, nine now with Oliver’s attack – bandits, trying to surround our camp.
“Fendrel, take the men and attack those who are trying to flank us!” I ordered him showing four enemies, charging to our backs. I saw two men in front of me, laughing viciously, so I approached carefully. With a rapid move one the bandits, threw a dagger to me. I managed to raise my shield. The dagger had pierced through the wood and it was standing still, intches from my right eye.
“Let’s kill this goatfucker!” said one and attacked me. His attack was slow and not well planned. With ease, I dodged his attack, and I was able to counter and throw him to the ground. But I didn’t manage to finish him off, the other man attacked me, holding two short swords at each hand. He was a good fighter. He knew what he was doing. I was limited to defend myself for the time being, waiting for him to make a mistake. After some continued attacks, he thought to jump on me, and hit with the gained momentum my shield, in order to break it. But by the time I saw him jump, my instinct kicked in, and with a quick move, I pushed him off my shield, sending him flying behind me. He then fell with his face on the ground, breaking his nose and ripping his lip.
The other bandit had got up by this time and charged again, with the same attack as before. I just dodged his attack and with a precise blow, I opened his neck wide open. He fell on the ground, with blooding pouring out of his neck and mouth. I looked around. Oliver and his men had already beaten their foes. Fendrel was finishing the last of the bandits, sticking his blade in his heart.
“Is everyone alright?” I asked my men. They were all covered in blood, but we had suffered no losses.
“We have a man still alive here!” shouted Oliver in excitment, like a kid that was given a present. It was the man that was pierced by Oliver’s spear.
“And I have one here…” I said and I kneeled before the bandit with the brokrn nose, holding a blade to his neck. His face was all covered in his own blood.
“Tell me what I want to know. I am searching for a man, recently captured by you, scum. Tell me where you hold them, so I can go and take him back”. The man laughed and spitted blood in my face. So, I plunged the blade in his arm. He screamed in pain. I held the blade against his throat once again.
“Now, tell me, or I’ll use this blade to your other parts” I said, trying to sound as intimidating as I could be. In my surprise, before I could do anything, he pushed himself against my blade, opening his throat. A moment of agony passed through his eyes, then his eyes turned and died.
“Fuck!” I exclaimed. “Where is the other bandit?” I asked Oliver. He pointed to the bandit. He was still trying to hold back his blood and his insides from coming out. I approached him and kneeled beside him.
“Listen, if you help me, I will help you. Tell me where is your headquarter, where you keep the poor boy that you kidnapped and I will tend to your wound. What do you say?”. The bandit nodded, with difficulty as his hands were slipping from the blood.
“West… about four… miles from here… They keep him in a cave… There are around twenty of us… in the keep… Please… Help…”. I looked at his wound and noticed that the point of the spear, was covered in a strange fluid. I looked at Oliver, who had a big smile on his face.
“You can’t help him” said laughing. “You will never stop the blood loss. That’s why I use my poison”. I looked at the bandit.
“You see, I would like to help, but my friend over there made it difficult for me”. The man started to panic. “But what I can offer…” I said and pulled the spear from his belly. After a few moments he died.
“So, what now?” asked Fendrel. “In an hour or two the sun will rise”.
“I can’t sleep now… We will go and find the bastards, before the sun gets up”.
June 4, 1266 CE, In the forest, Before Dawn
I came up with a very simple plan, in order to defeat the bandits. Their “keep” was nothing more than a stone house and a nearby cave. We were seven men at total and with Oliver being wounded in his knee, we could not storm this place head on. We had to play it safe. The bandits had chosen a very good location. It was a narrow valley, with two hills at each side and in the far end was the cave. Their housekeep, was at the entrance of a narrow valley. The hill on the right was full of rock, so we couldn’t climb it. But we could use the hill on the left. The bandits had placed three men on the left hill, there were four men guarding the house and another four guarding the entrance of the cave. The rest of them I assumed they were sleeping.
My plan, as I said, was simple. Me and Fendrel would kill the lookouts at the home, while Oliver and another of our men. The rest of our men, under the command of a man called Quintin, would wait with Oliver after he was done with the guards in order to storm the bandits at the entrance of the cave. They were heavily armored so I wouldn’t want to take any unnecessary risks.
So, I put my plan to work. Me and Fendrel approached slowly and noiselessly the house. We were lucky because there were two in the front and two in the back. We were only holding our daggers with us. The lesser the better in these occasions. We take them out with ease and with making no sound. I looked up in the hill on my left, I saw a small light coming from there. It was our signal from Oliver. He had done his job. Fendrel and I, entered the stone house. Seven of the bandits were sleeping in there. I looked at him. He nodded, with a cold hearted look on his face. We cut their throats in their sleeps. You may think we acted like criminals, but we are not.
These bandits, had made the lives of the villages and the people, a living hell. The lads I had with me, were seeking vengeance. And killing them in their sleep and not burn them alive; I see it as an act of kindness.
We went outside and approached the cave. The bandits guarding the entrance, had kite metal shields and long, strong spears. When they saw me and Fendrel, they stood in formation, by pointing their spears at us.
“Hello, friends” I said, with obvious sarcasm in my voice. “We are here for a friend. We think you might help us”.
“You should go, smartass. Before you get hurt. This place is full with our men” said one of them.
I whistled, and in seconds my men came around me. Oliver started having this crazy laugh of his.
“When we are gonna kill, them?” he asked.
“You see, dear friends…” I started saying but one of the bandits interupted me.
“You are no friend of ours!” he stated.
No Friend of ours
“You make this so difficult for me. I would like to spare you, because someone of you has to live, but now I will not. You will join your brothers” I said and I threw my dagger to the exposed neck of the bandit who interrupted me.
“They are all yours” I said to my men. They charged at them, as I came by them and entered the cave. It wasn’t big. But it seemed empty. I picked a nearby torch. I walked inside. No one was there, at leats that’s what I thought. Suddenly, I heard a scream coming from above.
A young man was hanging from up there, upside down. A cloth was covering his mouth. I went near a mechanism, which was holding the rope, from which he was hanging. I gently put him down and I cut the rope restraining him and removed the cloth from his mouth.
“Thank… Thank you” said the man.
“Are you the brother of Talius, the Merchant of Praven?” I asked him.
“He sent you? Thank the gods!” he exclaimed. He stood up. “I am Andraemon friend. I’m relieved to see you here”. I retaliated the gesture. I then turned and got out to my men, with Andraemon. The sun was getting up now. The bandits were lying dead. Only one of my men was wounded, a small slash at his leg. I was really tired. I needed some rest.
“Take everything you want” I just said to my men. “Then burn everything to the ground”.