After two straight days of marching across the grasslands, the band of men and women searching for the savages takes their first rest.
The small group of 12 set up a village of tents within only a few moments. Large furs were rolled out from giant creatures they had slain and torches encircled the camp to improve vision of anything moving in their direction.
Selia moves to unpack the rest of her gear from a large trunk that is towed by a bearish animal. Right before she can get the latch open, Grainer yells for her attention. “Little Bird, your glorious skills are needed.”
She rolls her eyes, making her way over to the laughing man, giving him a small shove.
“I am more than his little sister. Keep making your jokes for now, but if it ever comes down to you and me, I will be the one laughing.” She looks back at the giant animal, now separated from the cart.
“Even if your little tricks bested me, Lilith would skin you alive.”
Grainer chuckles again, “You sure share your brother’s humor girl. Yet nothing you say is doubted by me, I will give you that.” As he peers back at the now sitting bear, staring toward the two of them.
“See these tracks,” he points at footprints moving in three different directions from where they are standing. “They started masking their path. The Savages know they are being followed.” Grainer takes out a small pelt from an inner pocket, taking a drink from the fur pouch.
Selia watches as the hooded man’s face begins to go pale, his eyes fading, until completely white. Startled, she takes a few steps back, “We are not meant to have that which you just put in your body.”
He pays no attention to the girl, his gaze moving across the fields surrounding them. The color of his eyes changing as he spins in different directions. A teal fills Grainer’s eyes when he looks to the north, finally ending his search to the west of the camp. His eyes turning a blood red.
“No one should go a day without tasting this power, Little Bird.” He looks back at her as a grin spreads across his entire face.
The man’s eyes return to a normal form. “This is their true path. They are no more than a half days ride ahead of us.” He points down the middle of the three paths, leading west of them.
“What would you like us to do, Selia?” He crosses his arms and leans back against a tent pole near him.
She looks around the camp, “They need to rest, a third day of travel would make most of them useless in battle.” Selia starts walking back toward her tent “We move before the sun tomorrow!” she shouts to the camp.
She looks to Lilith, and walks into her tent for the night. Lilith, following her, plops down to sleep in front of the flap leading inside. The creature giving one last look at the mysterious man, before closing her eyes for the night.
Grainer makes his way over to the trunk Selia was going to search through earlier. He starts shaking it violently, as a small boy pops out swinging a small dagger around.
“I am impressed, your stowaway skills are top notch Gorn,” he crows, unable to contain his laughter. “I wonder if your aunt will kill you, or your father will find us first and take care of it himself.”
Gorn jumps out of the trunk, “He will be proud of me, I’m going to become a Hero of the Bay.” he yells, quickly covering his mouth when he realizes how quiet it is around him.
“It’s just you and me right now boy.” Grainer walks back to his tent and grabs a large loaf of bread. He tosses it to Gorn, who chews through it ferociously. “Next time you decide to pack yourself in a small box, remember to bring some supplies.”
Grainer, hears rustling coming from Selia’s tent. He quickly moves over to the boy and pushes him in the direction of his tent, “You can stay with me for tonight. No need to anger Selia or that fat beast of hers before morning.”
The two make their way to bed, Gorn much too excited to sleep, being on his first adventure. The boy slowly shifts toward the front flap of the tent every few seconds, until his head lays outside staring up at the night sky.
He laid there for what seemed like days, amazed by how beautiful everything truly was. His father was always warning him of the dangers around him, but he was never able to see any of it. This was his father’s fault, for hiding Gorn from the pains he had felt so often as a child. Gorn was not prepared for a life he would someday know.
Clouds began to blanket the sky, and as he was about to go back inside he heard crackling noises moving above him.
He leapt back out of the tent to see lightening streaking across the clouds, jumping from one to another with immense speed. Each bolt lit up the sky around him, widening his eyes and mouth with every strike.
Grainer sat down beside him, right outside the tent. “It's an amazing sight, but if you ever see these flashes strike the ground, you run and hide, do you understand?”
Without breaking eye contact with the sky Gorn asks, “Why would I run?” A much larger bolt bounces from cloud to cloud above them.
The man leans over closer to the boy, “This lightening is a warning of death. When it strikes the ground, one that has been wished ill, will fall.” Grainer stands back up.
“Now go to bed, we have to get you back in a crate before morning.” Grainer pushes the child back in the tent and looks to Selia’s tent one last time before entering himself. A look of worry falls over his face.
“No need to ruin the ending of this one yet.” He walks into the tent, as the last torch burns out and darkness consumes the camp.
That morning the tents and supplies disappear faster than they were set up. Selia was eager to move forward before they lose the trail of the Savages.
“Lead on Tracker.” Grainer says as he works to close a trunk on the cart.
“Nothing ever seems to fit after you take it out.” He slams it closed and walks to his horse at the front of the pack. He takes a swig from his fur pouch, the effect taking over once again.
He looks at the path from last night, his eyes flashing with a red glow. Grainer glances to the right, his eyes take on a yellow hue and he quickly looks straight forward again. “They have not changed their path. The group seems to be moving toward Bassondor.” He shouts back to the party and kicks the horse to start moving forward.
They don’t travel far before riding to the site of two men, a single spear thrust through the both of them pinning their bodies to a tree. The head of the spear traveling clear through to the other side. The men were wearing no armor, and barely any clothing. It is obvious the two are Savages.
Grainer looks back at Selia, “Looks like someone is doing your job for you, Little Bird.” He lets out small snicker and a much larger grin. “Maybe I can just turn around here, looks like your bear isn't the scariest beast anymore.”
Selia doesn't share in his glee, forcing out a shout in anger and pushing her horse into a sprint forward. The rest of the company follows as close behind as possible, but soon are unable to match her speed and they begin to lose sight of their leader.
Grainer takes off from the rest of the party to catch up. By the time he reaches Selia, she has stopped at the end of the woods and is overlooking another town now ablaze.
Faint screams can be heard and Savages can be seen in town riding. “Looks like they missed a few.” Selia screams at Grainer and takes off down the hillside, before the rest can manage to catch up. He takes off after her looking around as if he is expecting something to come their way.
The two charge into the middle of the town, houses burning and people screaming around them. Selia jumps from her horse and pushes her hands through loops on her back. A click can be heard, as she runs towards a Savage, a curved blade attached to the top of each bracer.
The Savage turns to her, swinging an enormous axe at neck height. Within the blink of an eye she slides to her knees and shreds the inner thighs of the man, just being missed by the massive blade. He pauses for a moment then falls to his knees, her blade ready in wait piercing his jaw and extruding from his scalp.
Another axe is swung her way. Before the Savage can finish his cleaving motion, three daggers are flung into his arm, chest, and neck. Selia peers back, Grainer fighting off another two unarmored men.
She continues to sever body parts from Savages, searching for just one. Her eyes lock on a man much larger than the others, wielding a large claymore. With one swing he separates three heads from their bodies, then walks into one of the buildings that has not begun to burn.
Selia runs toward the building, as a man steps in her way. Without falter, she plants her foot on a crate to the side, and vaults over him. She continues running, the Savage falling over, his neck slit.
When entering the house no one can be seen or heard. She moves around the room, keeping her back near a wall at all times.
Suddenly an arm reaches through the wall, grabbing Selia by the neck, and with one swift motion pulls her through into the next room.
Stunned, she looks up at the colossal man as he begins to cut himself across the chest and lets out a shout of rage. The veins of the Savage begin to glow red and protrude from his body. Now the giant, even larger, charges straight at her. Selia is able to roll to the side and dodge the attack, but as soon as she reaches her feet, the man spins around and almost shoves an elbow through her skull.
Grainer slowly makes his way towards the house he watched Selia enter. Before he can make it through the onslaught of Savages, he gets a glimpse of a massive man coming out of the building dragging Selia by her leg.
The rest of their party can be heard coming from behind him, finally joining the fight.
A bear comes barreling through the crowd, first impacting the giant Savage with a roar that knocks him off balance. Before he can settle his feet the beast slams into him with its entire body, sending him flying backwards.
Lilith stands over Selia’s body, nudging her with its face. Grainer slides to the ground next to them and helps get her on the bears back.
“Get back home!” he screams.
He looks up to see the vein covered Savage returning to his feet. Grainer grabs one of his daggers, and dashes towards him. Before the Savage can get his bearings he throws his dagger, piercing his target’s abdomen.
But without flinching, the Savage shoves his sword into the ground, a wave of flames rush towards Grainer, pausing from the giant blade. Unable to move in time, Grainer takes the brunt of the fire and is sent into a pile of wreckage.
The entire village now on fire, no residents or party members can be seen or heard. The remaining Savages make their way out of these now defiled lands to continue on their journey to the Cathedral. The veins of the largest one begin to dissipate, returning him to his normal stature.
The Giant Savage turns back to view the falling town, on last time. His glorious moment struck down, as a blade pierces through his chest, Korver starring into the monsters eyes. He shoves it in a little further, the Savage returns an intense look at the man in armor of a beast.
The impaled monster grabs Korver’s sword by the blade and starts forcing it out, overpowering the Branded Beast. The other Savages remaining still in the background.
Korver releases the sword and with a swift and solid kick forward, he sends the blade deep into the Savage, and the impact throws the Savage to the ground.
Korver takes out his other sword and with ease begins turning the remaining Savages into a pile of bodies.
He runs back into the once village, “Gorn…Gorn…Gorn!” He yells out, with nothing but silence in return.
Through the smoke, he sees someone run behind a wall that somehow survived the flames. He runs in after them, begging for it to be his son. Korver turns the corner to embrace the child, but is not so lucky.
He is welcomed by cold steel, buried through his armor, deep into his side. The Branded Beast falls backwards, trying to get words out, but his eyes close faster than his mouth can open.
Up on the top of the hillside, on the outskirts of the town, lays a broken trunk, tossed from a cart by a bear taking off toward its master. A few feet away, a boy hides in the bushes.