View Full Version : Chapter One

09-02-2014, 11:23 PM

Three men suddenly ran out of the treeline and moved toward the center of the narrow road. Gregor, leading the caravan, needed to decide immediately how to respond to the bandits blocking the road 120 yards ahead. Trying to break past them is what he preferred doing in the past, when he led smaller caravans, but this current one was five wagons and three mule-driven carts, twice the size he was used to. Not everyone would be able to make it if he tried it.

Sighing, he resigned to the second best option, circling the wagons and hoping they outnumbered the bandits several times over. Most of the road was narrow and wooded on both sides, but they had just entered a clearing, thankfully giving them enough space to do it. He whistled the alarm and called out to the caravan, "Bandits! Circle the wagons!"

Most of the caravaners present were experienced and they followed suit. Less than thirty seconds after spotting the bandits at the far edge of the clearing, the entire caravan was circled together near the center of the clearing. Everyone was shouting and rushing to exit the wagons and congregate into the middle of the circled wagons and carts.

It was a trading caravan, used to traveling from town to town selling their wares. Traders being targeted by bandits wasn't uncommon to hear about, but in over twenty-six years of caravanning Gregor had only experienced it four times before, three of those times they broke past the bandits and escaped.

There were 27 of them, including six women and three children. The men spread out near the wagons, preparing for the bandits to rush them. If they tried to come between the wagons, they could only fit one at a time, and it would be much easier to fend them off.

Gregor was the oldest man in the caravan and his youth had left him years ago, but he could still defend himself if it came to it, and he was able to remain calm. For now he was standing back making sure everyone was where they should be, letting the younger men take the brunt of things should the bandits decide to attack.

Peering toward where the bandits were blocking the road, Gregor could see the three that had been blocking the road had begun walking toward the caravan. They were about 40 yards to the south. He called out to someone on the far side of the circle, "Hey Jorba, anything approaching from the north?"

"Three to the west!" replied a third person. He was younger, barely a man, and his voice shook a little. Gregor did not know the boy's name, but he nodded his head and faced back to Jorba.

Jorba was still poking his head out around the edge of a wagon, and after a moment he called out "Two from the northeast, one with a bow, so that makes eight!"

Gregor wasn't happy to hear about the bowman. It was rare to see someone able to use one effectively, and most bandits resorted to hand axes and clubs, with a few blades. Almost never would you see a bandit able to procure a quality bow. Worse still, it meant they weren't entirely safe within the wagons, and the women and children in the center were more exposed than anyone.

Our 18 men more than double their numbers, but Gregor knew most of the caravan had never saw actual fighting before, and none had experienced dealing with a bowman attacking them, not even Gregor himself. He began selecting those who seemed the most capable if it came to a fight, and chose about 5 others who, if it came to it, would rush out at the bandit bowman with him.

The three bandits that had been approaching from the south were only about 15 yards from the wagons now, and one of them called out "Well hello there folks, you wouldn't happen to know the quickest way to Foabur, would you?" He was licking the edge of his hatchet as he chuckled at his own sarcasm.

Foabur was exactly where the caravan had been headed, and was barely a quarter-day south of them now. These bandits have seemingly been staking out this road for a while now, waiting for someone to come passing through.

Gregor looked around and saw a good portion of the men swallowing hard, adjusting their grips on their tools and makeshift weapons. A few among them had aged swords, three had simple staves, and one man was simply holding onto a wooden chair with one hand and a thick club with the other.

No one had responded to the bandit yet, so Gregor cleared his throat and spoke, "We outnumber you three-to-one and have four guards from Nalvo. We have no directions nor goods to give you, so simply be on your way!" Nalvo was the previous town they had been to, it was about four days north of them now, and it is well-known for the training the city guards received. It was unfortunate they did not actually hire any guards from there though.

"Is that so?" the bandit replied laughingly, "well then, I guess we will have to ask someone else for directions... Maybe one of those pretty looking girls I see in there?" The other two bandits beside him roared out laughing.

A notable *twang* sound reached Gregor's ears, followed shortly by Jorba yelling, "Arrow! Watch the sky!" The women and children began panicking, trying to look up but being blinded by the midday sun. A moment later the arrow landed resoundingly into the side of a wagon, on the far side of the circle away from the bowman. It was only a few feet from hitting the large man holding the chair and club.

The bandit that spoke earlier, now obviously the leader of the group, shouted loudly "Consider this your opportunity to surrender. Put down your weapons and maybe we won't kill you all!"

In the silence that followed, a loud *thud* came from behind the western group of three bandits. They whipped around in surprise, as did the three from the south, where their leader was. It was a fist-sized rock that had been thrown and landed there, but Gregor could not tell who had done it, or from where. As Gregor turned back to face the bandit leader, another *thud* sounded, this time accompanied by a distinct sound of a cracked skull. The bandit leader fell forward to the ground. He didn't move.

The remaining two bandits from the south were shocked, and the three western ones saw their leader collapse as well. As the two nearest the body turned toward the forest behind them, a figure was already running out at them, faster than Gregor had witnessed someone move before. The figure had moved already a third of the way toward the bandits.

The bandits, realizing the situation, began to ready their weapons to attack the newcomer. The forest was more than 50 yards away from them, but this newcomer had covered that distance already. Before he could react, a staff came down hard on the side of the first bandit's head and he dropped to the ground.

The sudden flurry of activity had caught the attention of anyone who could see past the edge of the wagons. More surprised than anyone, though, were the bandits themselves. They were not prepared for a sudden attack.

Gregor's eyes could finally focus on the quick newcomer, and he realized it was a woman.

The strange woman was now upon the last remaining bandit toward the south. The bandit had readied his makeshift mace and was trying to land a blow on the woman, but his swing was deftly parried and a thrust of the staff into his abdomen left him gasping for air as he writhed on the ground.

The woman's hair was like flowing silver, and Gregor saw what appeared to be sharply pointed ears. His mouth was already agape, and now he could utter only a single word, "Elf."

The three bandits from the west had already begun charging her, spreading out slightly to approach her from three sides. They were 30 yards away and approaching steadily. By this time Gregor had finally regained some reasoning, and he turned to those he had selected earlier, "Come on, this is our chance!" He had originally selected them to rush the bowman, but instead they moved toward where the elf would be fighting the three bandits. Gregor's mind had forgotten entirely about the bowman.

They rushed between the wagons, trying to close the distance. The elf had no fear and allowed the bandits to spread out unhindered, but they were cautious and stayed several yards back. With the unexpected approach of Gregor and the five others, the bandits were out of time. Suddenly, two of them charged in to strike at the woman simultaneously. The third stayed back.

The first had a new-looking woodman’s axe, and the second had a saber. The steel of the saber appeared well-made, but it was not being maintained well and was probably half-dull. The axe came down first, aiming for her shoulder. She jumped back suddenly as he swung, and he met nothing but air. He stumbled forward trying to recover, but he was totally unprepared for her swiftness. The saber tried to stab the elf now, but the bandit didn't even get in close enough due to the superior length of the staff. He clutched at his throat as his windpipe had suddenly been crushed.

The axe wielder had recovered, but by now the caravaners had reached him. He took a club to the back of the head and fell unconscious. The third bandit which had decided not to rush at her had already turned away and was now running as fast as he could to the east, trying to round the caravan and meet with the final two bandits.

Gregor turned to the woman now, about to thank her for the help, but she paid little heed to them and had already turned toward the fleeing bandit and began to chase him. Gregor, realizing the path they were taking, finally remembered the bowman. His eyes widening, he began to cry out in warning to the elf.

She had nearly already caught the bandit, preparing to thrust the staff into the man's back. Gregor once again heard the *twang* of the bow. The staff connected with the bandit, knocking him to the ground, but the arrow found its mark somehow. Against all odds, moving at a full sprint and 60 yards from the bowman, the elf took the arrow into the left shoulder.

Stunned by the development, the elf woman fell to one knee, staring at the bandit bowman. The other bandit was about halfway between her and the bowman, and both seemed stunned that the arrow had connected. The bandit that had been knocked down by the staff a moment ago scrambled up to his feet and began running toward the treeline.

Breaking the bowman's stupor, Jorba and eight other caravaners rushed them. The other bandit closer to the woman was still stunned and didn’t realize he was about to be under attack. The bowman began retreating toward the treeline and calling for his friend to run as well.

After a moment, he realized what was happening, and saw the man that was rushing toward him. Barely 10 yards away was a large man. In his left arm was a heavy looking club, but in his right he held a wooden chair. The bandit turned and began to run, but the man pulled back his arm and then threw the chair at the bandit. It knocked him over, and the large man walked up to him and stood over him.

Both confused and terrified, the bandit dropped his weapon, “I surrender! Just don’t kill me!” The large man smiled a bit, and then used his club to hit him on the side of the head. It didn’t appear to be a heavy blow, but the man was unconscious immediately.

Gregor and his group finally reached the woman, who was now standing back up. Speechless at first, it took him a moment to say, "H- ... Th- ... A-Are you alright?"

The elf actually looked at Gregor and the others now for the first time. After a few awkward moments of silence, she gripped the arrowshaft, braced herself, and quickly and deftly pulled the arrow out. Her face showed a painful grimace, but after a moment she responded, "Can any of you dress a wound?"

Gregor looked at the shoulder and the left arm, hanging limp by her side. "It looks like it's severed some tendons... We have medical materials in the wagons. Can you walk alright?"

"Yes" came an answer with a bit of haggard breathe, "Lead the way." She now used the staff as a walking stick with her right hand.

Jorba and his group had now joined them, and together he and Gregor told some of the younger men where to go fetch supplies. Jorba and several others then jogged off into the middle of the caravan to inform everyone of what had happened.

Gregor continued at a walking pace, and the elf followed, although he noted that her eyes darted around a bit. She was definitely cautious of whether to fully trust them or not.

Gregor had never interacted with an elf before, never even seen one. Normally they kept to themselves, not interacting with humans in most cases, and staying vast distances to the west in the depths of the Endless Woods.

He had heard stories of elves here in the east, but they were always about events that happened many years ago. He did not know of any elves seen in the last two hundred years, and his mind was racing trying to figure out what it could mean that an elf is right here, right now….


09-02-2014, 11:24 PM
Player Perspective: Darik Rynthai

These perspectives are what the character saw while they were making decisions about what actions to take.

Darik has little memory of his parents, as they disappeared when he was young. They were a well-respected couple with few enemies but they were not wealthy. Their disappearance is a mystery. With no one to care for him, he was left to fend for himself.

Thievery was a practical necessity. In the beginning, he was caught a number of times and chased from towns. Stuck in the wild, he was forced to learn to survive off the land. Each new town offered Darik the chance to hone his thievery skills and increase the gains from his skills.

Part of surviving off the land required Darik to become proficient with a bow in order to survive and live with a comfortable diet. Years of hunting for food have made him an exceptional hunter and tracker.

Darik’s lifestyle often meant that he came at odds with armed opponents. Preferring to flee when the odds were stacked against, he sometimes stayed to fight if the odds were in his favor. As he grew older, more daring and more proficient with weapons, Darik would find that traveling along the roads would yield better rewards by preying off of merchants and weary travelers.

The bow he currently has was something he managed to procure from an old man on horseback near the town of Foabur last year. It was expertly crafted, and it has served him well. He didn't originally to kill the man, just to knock him unconscious, but for some reason the man seemed more dangerous than your average old man.

Whenever he came upon a merchant or traveler, he would offer his victims the chance to surrender their goods with the promise to let them live afterward, preferring not to shed unnecessary blood.

Though this would change under Tradek’s leadership.

Darik had done things solo for several years, but one time in the midst of observing a passing caravan, he witnessed bandits ambushing it. It was a narrow road, and both paths were cut-off by the bandits. Suddenly bandits rushed in and in less than a minute the entire caravan was taken out, every single soul killed, whether it be man, woman, or child.

The bandits looted the entire caravan, taking everything of value. It was a bigger haul than Darik had ever seen at one time, and he decided that he wanted to join them.

It was an awkward situation at first, but after he showed them his skills with the bow, they saw how useful he would be and kept him around.

Throughout the next six months, he earned the trust and admiration of the rest of the 25-man bandit pack. He was unofficially considered by many to be second-in-command to Tradak, who led the group with an iron fist.

Now, there camp was a few miles from a large clearing that had a road going through it. It was the only road leading from Nalvo to Foabur, and they had been watching it for the last week, waiting for an unsuspected caravan to pass through.

Tradak has split the pack into three groups. Two with 8, one with 9, to alternate watching the road, so that no matter when the caravan approaches it can still be targetted. Most caravans are rather small, so 8 would usually be sufficient.

Darik was in the same group of 8 as Tradak was, which was further split into three smaller teams. Tradak and two others took the south, blocking the exit of the clearing. Three others took the west. Darik and one other handled the northeast. The plan was to trap a caravan in the middle of the clearing and ambush it from all sides.

Around midday one time, a caravan approached. Tradak and the two other with him blocked the road, and the panicking caravan circled into the clearing, just as expected. However, it was a larger caravan than they had thought it would be: nearly twice the usual size.

Darik and the bandit beside him crept forward out of the brush, toward the caravan. They needed to get into range for his bow. He could see through the gaps between the wagons that huddled in the middle of the circle were numerous women and children. Since the caravan was larger than usual, so to were the number of people he had little interest in harming.

After a few moments of panic and rushing about within the circle, Darik hears Tradak speaking on the far side of the caravan now. The sarcasm in his voice was obvious, as it always was when Tradak spoke. Moments later, his teammate beside him turned and said, "Let's start things off with a warning shot to show them we mean business, shall we?"

It was pretty standard. Scaring them was easier than fighting them, and since this caravan was so large they needed to be cautious of a full-on fight. He notched an arrow, aimed, and fired. Aiming for the farthest wagon, he wanted the arrow to be in full view to scare them as much as possible.

Darik's teammate chuckled as the caravaners panicked. They couldn't even see the arrow at first due to the midday sun, but once it landed things grew silent.

Tradak once again spoke to the caravan, giving them the option of surrendering. With Tradak's philosophy, they scare the victims as much as possible until they surrender, and then when the caravan gives in they strategically slaughter them all. Keeping the details of the bandits' locations, tactics, and numbers as secret as possible was crucial if they were going to keep at it.

Shortly after that, sounds of confusion and gasping of the caravaners began, followed by the sound of fighting near Tradak's location. He quickly looked toward the caravan, but it didn't seem that they had moved any, especially not enough to launch an attack.

Darik pulls out another arrow and notches it, then turns to his partner, "Go check what's happening over there, I'll watch the caravan." Nodding, the bandit started jogging around the caravan, keeping about 15 yards from the edges of the wagons.

Darik focused his attention on making sure the caravaners wouldn't decide to attack at him, but they all appeared distracted and a bit confused at the moment.

The sounds of battle continued near Tradak, when suddenly the caravaners grew active. "Come on, this is our chance!" was yelled by someone inside, and half a dozen men began rushing through the wagons, straight toward where Tradak and the fighting was happening.

He turned left, looking toward his partner, who had slowed. Beyond him, coming around the edge of a wagon and sprinting away was one of the other bandits. Darik recognized him as one of the three supposed to attack from the west. If he was running it meant the fight had gone poorly.

He began to raise his bow, prepared to fire at those still inside the caravan. However, he noticed that chasing behind the fleeing bandit was a strange figure. He immediately turned his bow toward it, but as he looked he realized this figure was running faster than he thought possible, and would catch up to his friend in mere seconds.

It was 60 yards away, at least, and at that speed it was going to be one of the most difficult shots he has ever attempted. Instinctively, he pulled out a different arrow, this time one he specially made himself. He was more accustomed to how it flew, and would need any bit of good luck he could get to make this shot. As he switched arrows, he moved a few steps closer.

He aimed, focused on how far to lead the target, and loosed the arrow. Time seemed to slow down, yet the figure somehow still appeared to be moving incredibly fast. The figure caught up to the running bandit and began to thrust out a staff toward his body. The arrow found its mark, lodging itself firmly into the shoulder of the stranger.

His friend was knocked over by the momentum of the staff hitting him, but he quickly scrambled up and continued running. Darik noticed that the group of six caravaners who had charged earlier were now heading to where the figure was, and his partner was about halfway toward them, stunned by the fact the arrow had hit. He was quite proud he had made that shot. All his years of practice had paid off.

He turned his head back to the caravan, noticing that nearly a dozen of them had suddenly decided to charge toward him and his partner while they were distracted. They were nearly halfway toward him, so he immediately began heading back toward the woods.

He called out to his partner, trying to get his attention so he can flee as well, but it was too late. He was set upon by caravaners, unable to escape. Unable to watch, Darik turned his attention to escaping into the wood and returning to the bandit camp...

Legendary Nova
09-03-2014, 12:44 AM
This is so good that you could make it into a best selling book!

Nicholas Sapien
09-03-2014, 01:02 AM
This is so good that you could make it into a best selling book!

me too!
So the Elfs are very rare then?

09-03-2014, 01:05 AM
me too!
So the Elfs are very rare then?

Well, as far as any humans knew they had completely disappeared. No Elves had been seen in hundreds of years.

Also, you should totally change your signature back to what it was before.

Nicholas Sapien
09-03-2014, 01:15 AM
Well, as far as any humans knew they had completely disappeared. No Elves had been seen in hundreds of years.

Also, you should totally change your signature back to what it was before.

I don't see why I should, no one complained about it before
But I changed to something more kid friendly? If a tank is more friendly

I think you are gonna tell us the story of the elf next chapter

Dos Eggys
09-03-2014, 01:16 AM
Also, you should totally change your signature back to what it was before.
​Apparently, Myth likes the eye candy.

Legendary Nova
09-03-2014, 01:41 AM
I don't see why I should, no one complained about it before

I just thought it was a sig bomb...

Love the character perspectives, Myth. Puts a nice swing on the story as you hear another point of view.

09-03-2014, 01:42 AM
I don't see why I should, no one complained about it before

xD Well in the brief time you had that sig today, I received two complaints by people.

But thanks for changing it. xD

I think you are gonna tell us the story of the elf next chapter

All in good time...