A jagged bolt of lightning seared the cloudy night sky above the hill fort of Rath Aergar. Evoking a frightened reaction from the weapon-men gathered on the wooden ramparts, set atop the forts stone and earthen outer walls.
"Not natural," muttered Odar Mackai, the Rath Commander, while thoughtfully stroking his long, gray streaked black mustache. As if confirming the commander’s comment, another bolt of lightning lit up the night, revealing the amassing horde of blue painted feral elves. Alongside the savages were the large, ancient races of lizard men, known as rhexauradon, or rhex, children of the dark crocodilian god, Sobek. They gathered on the tree line of the great Nethrun forest just out of bow range.
“A war party from hell," commented Raggan Dubh, Rath Aergar’s druid and sorcerer. The wind was whipping his red hair and green robes about his slight, freckled frame as he leaned on his oaken staff with both hands.
Descending from the night sky, a crow landed on Raggan’s shoulder, after a few clicking and cawing sounds, the black bird took flight and raced east.
“What says the bird, Druid?” asked Odar hopefully, “mayhap a good omen from the gods of battle, Macha or Bran?”
”Whether from Macha, Bran or the shape shifting Morrigu herself, I know not,” replied Raggan thoughtfully, “but the bird tells me there are many more foes gathered within the forest.”
Odar cursed, then turned and paced the ramparts, barking orders and encouragement to the archers and spearmen on the wall. Only thirty were professional soldiers, the rest were villagers, farmers and loggers from out lying communities who chose to defend their homes. All others had been sent to the sub terrene passageways known as the Tunnels, which led all the way through the eastern spur of the Black Dragon Mountains to the Citadel of the Dragon, Aergar’s patron city.
A commotion on the edge of the forest drew Odar’s attention, the horde, which appeared to out number the defenders at least two to one, parted. Out from the tree line strode a tall figure, clad in the black wolf pelts of a feral elf warlock; he was followed closely by a huge, axe wielding rhex. With a brush of his blue painted hand, the robed figure pushed his furred cowl back, revealing long flowing green hair and glowing red eyes. In his right hand was a long black double edged sword.
A roar issued from the woad painted horde of feral elves at the warlock’s appearance, their high pitched, ululating cries shook the walls. They thrust crude bronze and stone weapons in the air, and their bone adorned, animal skin and fur garb gave them a wild look. Some wore antlers from great stags, horns from wild goats and tusks from wild boar to add to their savage appearance.
Feral elves and the children of Sobek had always been a nuisance, raiding Aergar’s herds and crops, as well as supply and trade caravans, but never in concert with each other, and never in large numbers.
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