Die Writing

The Ranger’s last stand

Posted in Ezra Haley by erdaron on August 27, 2012

The orcs piled into the room. The Ranger stood at the other end, blocking the door to the next passage. His longsword was drawn, with its tip pointed down, touching the rough stone floor. With his other hand he held his cape. The orcs formed a semicircle around the ranger, packed almost shoulder to shoulder in the small room. The cleric followed the orcs, standing behind them at the other end of the room.

“Stand aside, ranger. The bounty is ours. You cannot stop us.” The cleric spoke with mocking confidence.

“We’ll see. All that separates me from your throat is a few soldiers.”

The cleric laughed.

“It used to be hundreds of miles and tall castle walls. This is easier,” the Ranger replied.

The melee broke out without any warning. One of the orcs launched at the Ranger, whose blade cut him down in an instant. The wave of soldiers’ steel then thrust forward, but the room was crammed and they constantly blocked each other. The Ranger bound and leapt in the tight space, weaving a deadly arc. His cape flashed a momentary obscuration, and his blade cut and sliced against his enemies. Several more fell away, but still their number remained great against the lone vigilante.

Then for just one instant, he broke the wave of black armor that rose around him. The thrust forward with his gleaming blade, striking at the cleric, who froze in disbelief. Yet the Ranger was not quite accurate enough to find his enemy’s heart, not quite fast enough to evade all of the cleric’s bodyguards, not quite powerful enough to brush them aside. The blade did not strike true, merely wounding the sorcerer, yet the attack left the Ranger open. A warhammer landed squarely on his chest, tossing his broken body back against a wall. His convulsing hands dropped the sword. His body whizzed as he tried to suck air into his crumpled lungs.

Though the Ranger was dying, the orcs surrounded him with their weapons still drawn, and did not approach his body.

“Bring me his badge,” the cleric growled, clutching at his shoulder in an attempt to stem the flow of blood. Two soldiers knelt down and started searching the ranger. He was still alive, but could do nothing to resist. A minute later, the orcs stood up, empty-handed.

“That is impossible,” the cleric spat. He shoved the orcs aside and stood over the broken Ranger. “Where is it…” he said. He stared at the dying Ranger. Perhaps it was the odd, shifting lighting, but to the cleric it seemed that the man’s lips curled in a grin. The cleric looked up, and turned his gaze toward the door through which he came in, then back at the Ranger. “Open the door,” he ordered, motioning toward the door that the Ranger was guarding.

One of the orcs moved toward the door. It was stuck, so he used his shoulder to force it open. Beyond it was a tiny room filled with broken dusty furniture. There were no other exits. There was no one in it. The Ranger was guarding trash forgotten in this cave for centuries.

The gambit was not for the Ranger to draw the cleric into close quarters and kill him. The Ranger must have known he could not overcome the guard. The gambit was to lure the cleric deep into the underground tunnel, while the woman who was worth more than the Ranger’s life could slip away to freedom.

Silent, the cleric took a sword from one of the orcs, knelt beside the Ranger, then stabbed him in the chest several times.

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The berserker’s end

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on August 17, 2012

Anger came easily. He let it wash over him like a purifying rain. The fury liberated him, turned him from a mere man into an element of nature. He was a river of death, broke loose of its banks, swallowing and demolishing everything in its surging wake. The cause of the anger disappeared under the crimson waves rolling over his mind. The madness itself became the focus, and he gladly let it blind him. His blade sang and danced with wild abandon, as only those with a free heart can. He crushed and slaughtered in ecstasy.

Every blow, whether dealt or received, filled him with a gleaming light and added to his delirious intoxication, right until the moment of his own death.