The sky darkened ahead of the group as they headed west. Gilex and Utar led, followed by Rustic and Clay, then Perahn and Brim, who was tied to his saddle in such a way that it prevented him from falling and Kentra, bringing up the rear. Several hours later rain fell in heavy sheets as they entered a thick wooded area. What they didn’t know was that an unseen enemy, shrouded within the trees, waited for them to pass before launching a volley of crude, but deadly arrows from the north and then south.
The first stream of arrows hit Perahn in the right leg, Brim in the throat and shoulder, and Rustic in the left arm. Gilex’s armor protected him, and he remained unscathed. Gilex immediately yelled for his men to flee and then galloped away just as the second volley was launched. The next wave missed Gilex, Utar, and Rustic, but Perahn took an arrow in his left shoulder. The impact almost caused him to lose his grip on the horse’s reins, but he held on to them and galloped away. He glanced back and saw Brim and his horse on the ground. Both weren’t moving.
Meanwhile, Clay was hit a few times while escaping, but none of his injuries were serious or life threatening. His horse however, was hit several times, leaving the mare gravely wounded and bleeding profusely. Her strength failed a few hundred yards later and she stumbled to the ground, throwing Clay headfirst. Kentra never had a chance to flee because his horse was struck in the neck, causing the animal to rear up and throw him from the saddle.
Gilex, Rustic, Utar, and Perahn never broke stride until they were several hundred yards away from the attack, and then Gilex brought them to a full halt. “Where is everyone else?” he asked, looking at each of them in turn.
“I saw Brim get hit several times; as for Kentra and Clay, I don’t know,” Perahn answered.
“I’m going back for them,” Utar shouted over the piercing thunder.
“We’ll meet you further up ahead. Good luck,” Gilex said.
Utar nodded and sped off.
Utar rode hard until he saw Clay. He was using his barb-hooked spear to keep several Mangalers at bay. Utar yelled his infamous battle cry, and then began hurling throwing axes at the enemy. The attack slew two Mangalers and distracted the others, leaving them exposed to Clay’s weapon of death. The tall man made quick work of the others, and then took Utar’s hand as he slowed his horse and helped Clay onto his mount.
“Are you okay?” Utar asked.
“A few scratches, that’s all.” Clay said and borrowed Utar’s bow. “I got our backs. We need to move, there are many more around us.”
“Do you know what happened to Kentra or Brim?”
“Brim was killed, and the last time I saw Kentra, he and his horse were shot multiple times.”
An arrow then crossed in front of the horse.
“We can’t go back for him,” Clay stated.
Not knowing what happened to Kentra bothered Utar, but he knew they couldn’t go back, so he spurred the horse on. They made it a few hundred yards when more wolf creatures, armed with swords, emerged from the forest. Clay quickly took aim and slew three on the right, followed by two waiting directly in their path. Utar never slowed and rode over another two.
As Utar and Clay rounded another bend, a small group of Mangalers, armed with bows, appeared in front of them and began firing. Clay was hit in the left leg and right arm. Utar was hit in his right shoulder, right leg, and one arrow skimmed off of his left ear. Utar struggled with the reins, but never lost control, because if he had the other dozen or so wolf creatures emerging from the foliage would have overwhelmed them.
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