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Member Since 16 Jan 2009
Offline Last Active Aug 11 2009 01:09 AM

Topics I've Started

The Borien Quest

27 February 2009 - 04:48 AM

Greetings! I've come here at the advice of a friend, and have a chapter from my book I've been working on for ages. My goal is to have it finished by the end of summer at the latest, and I'm hoping earlier than that. Anyway, I've been working on this story for the past seven years, since I was thirteen, and it's seen several revisions, in this past year especially. This latest version actually takes it back closer to the original; I'll leave it to you to decide if that was a good idea or not. :mellow:

Well, I hope you enjoy!

Chapter One
The Forest Gladelon

Two men rode down the forest trail. Autumn was at its peak, and the leaves overhead were full of vibrant color. The birds sang loudly, as many gathered in flocks for the flight south, and leaves rustled gently as they fell to the ground. The two travelers were both clad in long-sleeved tunics and trousers, over which they wore ring-mail shirts and leather jerkins. Each bore a weapon.
The foremost rider ducked under branches as they went along. His name was Arlin, and he was of a settled disposition. His clothes were plain brown, but he wore a fine long-sword at his side.
“Macleod,” he asked, as he turned in the saddle to look at the other rider, “how much farther is this village? We must have been in these woods for an hour now.”
“Not much further,” replied the other rider, Macleod, as he swatted aside a branch.
Macleod was a little edgier than Arlin, and wore both brown and green. He had a quiver and unstrung longbow on his back, while at his side hung a single-edged falchion.
“I don’t know why you wanted to come out here yourself anyway,” continued Macleod. “You know it can be dangerous, and you aren’t exactly used to this kind of environment.”
Arlin only shook his head, as he had heard Macleod’s argument several times before. Macleod was not finished, either.
“I could easily have gone and done this myself, after all.”
Arlin continued to ride without reply. They went only a short ways more before Macleod stopped them.
“Look, there it is,” he pointed.
Arlin could see the wooden palisade walls of the village they were making for.
“Careful now,” said Macleod. “These woodmen aren’t exactly always friendly.”
“Neither are you,” retorted Arlin. “Don’t worry so much, Macleod.”
Macleod grumbled under his breath as they came out into a glade, and to the edge of the village. A ditch had been dug around it, the dirt from which had been piled on the inside and topped with the wall. A dirt path crossed the ditch and ran up to the foot of a gate in the wall. Arlin led the way up, as Macleod warily followed. There was not a sound to be heard from within.
The gate was open, and they easily entered in. The village was a collection of huts in no particular pattern, and a crowd was gathered in the center of the town.
“Hail, travelers,” said one of the men, as he left the crowd and advanced to meet Arlin. “Welcome to Berron. I am the chieftain here, and though we’d like to offer you hospitality, I’m afraid this is not the time.”
“Are there problems?” asked Arlin. “The people look troubled.”
The chieftain looked surprised.
“You haven’t heard yet? The Ogrenes are less than a day off. The few stragglers from the nearest town reached us just moments ago, with word that the Ogrenes had pillaged their homes. Curse them!”
“Is it true then? The Ogrene tribes are on the warpath?”
“You’re not from the woods, are you?” asked the chieftain, scornfully. “Yes, the Ogrenes are on the warpath! Most of the woods is theirs already.”
Arlin nodded slowly, and examined the defensive situation of the village.
“How far out are they?”
The chieftain shrugged.
“Maybe half a day, maybe less than an hour. We really don’t know. All we know is that they are coming, far faster than we could safely escape them.”
“Would it be possible to hold this position against them so your women and children could escape?”
The chieftain grew plainly irritated.
“Just who do you think you are? Do you think we haven’t considered that already? We don’t have enough men to hold the Ogrenes at bay for a moment!”
“My friend and I have some veteran fighters outside the forest. We can bring them here in a matter of hours.”
The chieftain’s eyes narrowed.
“You’re from Beween, aren’t you? That same ‘glorious kingdom’ that sent our people to die! We’d rather share our forefathers’ fate than accept help from you!”
The people heard everything that the chieftain had said, and quickly drew near. They looked weary and haggard, a pitiful group to see. Children clung to their mothers, and families stayed close together. There were a number of young men, however, that seemed less somber than the others, with a sort of desperate battle craze over them.
Arlin felt a great deal of pity for all of them.
“Chief Baldon!” said one of the younger men, as he stepped out of the crowd. “If he is a Bewinnian, then we should take the chance to avenge those of our village who died in the war for his kingdom! Kill them both!”
Macleod had his falchion out and was alongside Arlin immediately, who remained calmly seated. The young woodman drew a blade of his own and rushed forward, but the chieftain caught him and roughly pulled him back.
“Thurden, control yourself! No matter what, this man is a guest in our village, and we are not going to discard hospitality because of the times!”
The woodman sheathed his sword and sulkily returned to the crowd.
“I apologize,” said the chieftain, as he turned to face Arlin again. “Tension has risen so high I can barely manage my own people. Still, I will not change my mind about your help. Leave here while you can.”
“Chief,” said another woodman, “maybe we should reconsider. We need help, and we don’t have a chance without it.”
The chieftain paused, and looked off to the side.
“Chief,” persisted the woodman, “our families depend on us receiving aid! We need help desperately!”
“We can never accept help from the Bewinnians!” said Thurden, as he emerged from the crowd again. “If we did we would only seal our fate for a later time!”
“He’s right!” cautioned another woodman. “The Bewinnians are not to be trusted!”
Arlin listened quietly to all that the woodmen said, and motioned for Macleod to put away his falchion. The woodmen argued back and forth for several moments, all the while of which the chieftain stood silent.
“Enough!” he said at last. “Bewinnian, we will accept your help. We need every man we can get, regardless of past quarrels.”
“Wisely said, my friend,” said Arlin, with a pleased smile. “If you will excuse me, I have something of which I must discuss with my companion.”
The chieftain nodded and stepped back, while Arlin and Macleod withdrew to the gateway. The crowd was a buzz of talk, but neither of the Bewinnians paid attention to what was said.
“Macleod, I need you to go get the militia,” said Arlin. “We need them brought back as soon as possible.”
Macleod looked startled.
“Aren’t you coming too?”
“No, you can go get them. I’m going to stay here, and see if I can organize these men into any better of a defense.”
Macleod’s face was set in his stubborn expression that Arlin had seen many times before.
“I won’t go unless you go too. If you want, I’ll stay and prepare the defense while you go get the men.”
“Macleod, don’t question my orders.”
“And if the Ogrenes attack sooner than expected you’ll die with the rest of them!” said Macleod, as he angrily gestured towards the woodmen. “Arlin, you’re too important to risk like this! I know more about woodland warfare then you do to begin with!”
Arlin simply did not respond, and Macleod began to splutter other reasons. Finally he stopped, and slowly nodded his head.
“Alright. Alright, I’ll go. But keep safe, Arlin. Don’t do anything stupid.”
With that he turned his horse around and rode back down the trail. Arlin turned about and rode back towards the woodmen. They seemed confused to see Macleod leave while Arlin remained.
“Your companion is leaving,” said the chief, confused. “Aren’t you going with him?”
“No,” replied Arlin firmly. “He will bring help back as quickly as possible, but I will stay here and help in preparing the town for defense.”
The chieftain seemed to gain a whole new respect for Arlin, and most of the crowd was won over as well.
“Perhaps I was wrong about some Bewinnians,” said the chieftain. “You, for one, do have courage.”
“Thank you, my friend. Now, let’s see about those defenses.”
Arlin and the chieftain quickly set to work examining the town. They chose its sturdy town hall as the place for their final stand, if it came to that, and also as a place to shelter the elderly, women, and children during the fight.
They also examined the wall, which had scaffolding on the inside so men could shoot over the top.
“We do not have much towards keeping the enemy from the wall,” noted Arlin, “and the gate isn’t strong enough to resist a determined attack.”
“It won’t stand in the way of the Ogrenes for long,” admitted the chief. “We can barricade it; that should slow them a little.”
Arlin surveyed the walls again.
“How many archers do we have?”
“There’s at least a score of good archers among us. Most of the rest know how to use bows, but are not necessarily good shots. We can give bows to some of the women.”
The idea struck Arlin as somewhat barbaric.
“I believe our goal was to protect the women and children, not press them into service.”
“You’ll find that things are different in the woods than in your kingdom,” replied the chieftain, with a cynical expression.
Arlin recalled that many times Macleod had told him much the same.

The woodmen earnestly began the work before them. Arlin helped in the erection of the west gate’s barricade, and directed archers to positions on the walls. Many of the archers were able women, while a group of men armed with a variety of woodland weapons stood ready to defend the street.
A horn call was heard not far in the distance. Every woodman paused and listened, for to them it sounded like an eerie note. Arlin climbed up on the scaffolding near the west gate and looked out over the wall into the woods, even though he knew he would not yet see anything.
“We likely have less than half an hour,” said the chieftain to another woodman. “Make sure everyone is at their positions, for I fear that help will not arrive in time.”
Arlin loosened his long sword in its sheath; he was the only one present who bore a weapon anything of the sort. He began to doubt whether he had been wise to stay in the village, and if he was even doing the right thing.
“Too late now,” he muttered to himself, and he climbed back down off the wall.
He returned to his horse, and untied it from the post it had been left at by the town hall. He reached into his saddlebag and retrieved a steel helm, which he placed on his head and fastened tight. He quickly mounted his steed again and rode back to the barricade. The horn calls came again, much nearer.
“They are coming fast,” said the chieftain, a little edgy. “Make sure everything is ready!”
“It is, Chief,” replied a woodman, obviously nervous.
“Hold firm,” said Arlin, reassuringly. “Macleod has never failed me yet, and I know he will not disappoint us today.”
Time seemed to pass excruciatingly slowly. Many of the woodmen looked doubtful.
“Maybe we should have tried to get the women and children away,” said the chieftain.
Arlin checked his straps and gear one last time; everything was ready. He adjusted his helm a little.
Several more moments passed. Some of the woodmen began to fidget nervously. The horn calls came again. Arlin looked over his shoulder, half expecting some sign of Macleod’s return, but all that met his eyes were the nervous woodmen charged with keeping the barricade.
He mentally compared his own fine blade with the broad axes most of the woodmen bore.
“Perhaps, with my arms and steed, I may be able to do some good here,” he reflected.
The woodmen looked to him with hope, for it was apparent that any hopes for holding the town rested with him. Still, as he knew all too well, his advantages could only do so much good, and one wrong move on his part during the fighting would be enough to end any such hopes.
Macleod had to return soon, or the battle would be quickly lost.
Nothing could be heard in the town, except for the nervous breathing of the woodmen and an occasional cry from a child in the hall. Even the birds were hushed. The horns sounded again. And still no sign of Macleod.
A chorus of howls broke out not far from town, with cries so unnatural that Arlin’s hair stood on end.
“The druids of the Ogrenes,” whispered the chieftain hoarsely to a nearby woodman. “They can change their forms to wolves through evil enchantments!”
Arlin felt as if his hair was standing on its tiptoes. Could it be true that a branch of the Black Arts was still practiced in the heart of the forest? He had heard of dark sorcerers and enchanters before, but never did he expect to face any. But perhaps it was just the superstitions of the woodmen. That was a reassuring thought.
One of the woodmen on the wall motioned to the chief. The chief climbed up the scaffolding, even as many others on the wall suddenly took more alert positions. The woodman indicated out into the forest, and the chieftain nodded slowly. Woodmen across the length of the wall began to put arrows to their bow strings. Arlin drew his sword.
The horns suddenly burst out, close and furious. A maddened cry leapt up from hundreds of throats in the woods, and drew steadily nearer. Arlin, still behind the gate, could see nothing.
The chieftain held his arm up for several moments. Many of the woodmen on the walls cast nervous glances towards him, but they kept their bows ready. The cries sounded as if they were just outside the wall.
“Volley!” roared the chieftain, swinging his arm down. The woodmen released their arrows, but nothing could be heard outside except the furious cries of the Ogrenes.
The woodmen continued to set arrows to their bows and released several more volleys. A great pound was heard on the outside of the gate.
“They have a ram!” shouted the chieftain. “Shoot down those bearers! Brace the gate!”
Several woodmen ran forward, and threw themselves again the wooden barricade inside the gate. They were shaken backwards by the second blow, but quickly returned. The nervousness of the woodmen was gone, replaced by a grim determination.
“Steady!” shouted Arlin. He held his reins tightly, and wished he had brought a shield with him. His horse shook its head nervously, and he stroked its neck to calm it.
A third blow was delivered to the gate. It was not thick, and its wood was already cracking. Arrows began to fly over the wall and into the town. One of the woodmen was struck, and fell to the ground, not to rise again.
A fourth blow was struck the gate, and it shattered into several pieces. Several tribesmen rushed the barricade and tried to scale it.
“Stop them!” shouted Arlin. “Don’t let them through!”
His last words were drowned out by a sudden chorus of howls, accompanied by a great cheer from the tribesmen. Several woodmen leapt atop the barricade, and swung down at the tribesmen, but suddenly two wolves leapt forward and cleared the top of the barricade with great leaps. One tackled a woodman and hurtled with him off the barricade. The wolves moved quickly, and were a truly terrible sight.
“Stand fast!” ordered Arlin, as the woodmen wavered. “They will die like any other creature!”
Even as he said so one gathered itself and leapt off the top of the barricade for him. He turned his horse aside and brought his sword crashing down on the creature mid-air, killing it instantly. The woodmen gave a great cheer, and surged forward again.
Arlin began to grow quite frustrated with Macleod.
More wolves and tribesmen followed the first, and it was all the woodmen could do to hold the barricade. Soon wolves and tribesmen both were within, and Arlin urged his horse forward to battle. The Ogrenes were armed like the woodmen of the village, but many of them bore round shields as well. They were a fierce sight, with wild beards and temperaments.
“For the king!” shouted Arlin, and he guided his horse into the fray. He struck skillful blows, and laid low several tribesmen. More clambered over the barricade to replace those that had fallen. The woodmen were suffering greatly, especially from the wolves.
Arlin suddenly became aware of something to his right, and turned just in time to see a leaping wolf before it crashed into him and threw him from his saddle. His horse whinnied in fright and fled the battle, while Arlin crashed to the ground with the wolf on top of him.
The wolf did not get a chance to attack, for a woodman drove his short-sword into its neck. Arlin quickly climbed out from beneath its body, and made a mental note never to underestimate woodmen as fighters again.
Arlin held his sword with both hands, and leapt back into the fight. It was clear, however, that they could not hold the gateway much longer. He noticed that the woodmen on the wall were suffering from enemy arrows, too. The chieftain held one arm, out of which protruded a shaft.
“Curse you, Macleod! Where are you?” Arlin raged to himself.
Another arrow struck the chieftain, and he fell to the ground dead. The woodmen began to waver, and several started to run.
“Hold fast!” shouted Arlin. “Hold fast or die!”
It was too late, for the first few to flee triggered a rout. The woodmen literally ran for their lives.
Arlin fought himself free, and pushed himself to a burst of speed. He ran along the woodmen, shouting continually to reform in front of the town hall.
Arlin was surprised to find that he was the first to reach the building, and he shouted for those inside to barricade the door with whatever they had. He then turned and began to try to form the woodmen into some sort of a line, but the enemy followed too closely. The only thing that held any of the woodmen in place was the realization that their families were within the town hall.
Arlin found his horse near the hall and remounted it. He was quickly surrendering all hope of Macleod’s return. It occurred to him that he himself, mounted once more, could make an escape. It was his last chance to do so, and he knew he was important to his country.
He was not about to abandon the woodmen, though, whether or not it was folly. He urged his horse back into the battle. All that could be heard was the din of the fighting, the shouts of men, snarls of wolves, and the screams of children inside the hall.
Arlin fought recklessly, charging in and out of the enemy line. He accounted for several more wolves and a number of tribesmen, but the enemy was too numerous. A sudden shouting and a cheer rose from behind him, near the east gate of the village, but Arlin paid no heed.
Suddenly several hands gripped him, and tried to pull him from his saddle. He tried to fight the tribesmen off, but could not succeed. They pulled him from his horse, and his head struck a rock on the ground. Darkness took him, and he saw no more.

A Quick Farewell

24 February 2009 - 10:10 PM

Greetings, one and all! I hate to make a new topic for just this in and of itself, but I wanted to say something, and I guess a new topic is as good a place as any. You can feel free to delete it once it's served its purpose. :wink_new:

Anyway, I'm going to be gone for a while - you probably won't hear anything more from me till after Easter, if then. It's not like that's exactly a great loss for anyone, :xcahik_: but I wanted to take the chance to say again that this is a great mod, and I wish the team the best of luck, especially Rob. Keep up the amazing work! :)

But, anyway, I am leaving now, and I bid you all a very fond farewell.

Best of wishes,
Sean O.