Raggan Dubh ran down the ramparts stairs, followed by Odar. Upon reaching the compound, the druid then leaned on the front gate, right arm outstretched, and palm out ward on the wood. Magic shimmered in the air as the wizard chanted, calling on the power of Merlin and other goodly pagan gods of magic to fortify the gates. Iron straps groaned as the wood seemed to swell, filling the jambs and gaps, sealing itself against any battering it may be about to receive.
Drums began to beat, as the cries of the elves and roars of the rhex reached a fever pitch. The warlock held his sword toward the sky and black magic pulsated and thrummed all around him, keeping time with the beating war drums. Lightning cracked from the roiling clouds, striking his up raised blade. He then leveled his sword, pointing it at Rath Aergar’s gate.
A bolt of black energy issued from the warlocks glaive, striking the gates like a battering ram. The walls and the very ground they stood on shook from the force. Thick, iron strapped timbers moaned in protest, turning red, as dark energy crackled up and down its length. Raggan’s spell held briefly, before the gates exploded, sending wooden and stone missiles flying everywhere.
Some men died immediately, torn apart by shrapnel and debris, while the rest on the walls scrambled to regain their footing. Roaring lizard men charged toward the new opening in Aergar’s wall, followed by the savage elves. Arrows began to fall on the ramparts, most clinking off chain and leather armor, but some finding their marks. Crossbows thwacked and long bows twanged, as the defenders returned fire.
Odar strode confidently through his ranks of infantry in the compound, taking his position in front; he addressed his gathered weapon men and villagers alike.
“Men and woman of Rath Aergar, beyond yon ruined gate,” Odar gestured with his axe toward the smoldering remains of Aergar’s gates, and the enemies beyond, “lies our greatest challenge.
Be you farmer, peasant or weapon man of many campaigns, today, you are all hounds of war! Today you are the hounds of Odar son of Kai!” This was met by much cheering and the smiting of weapons on heat hardened, wooden shields and the thumping of spears and farming implements on the hard packed earth.
“Whether in victory, or defeat, whether we live to see Bel’s light rising in the east, or we are led to the kingdom of Don by the White Lady, the dryad of death! We will all hold our heads high, for we are the sons and daughters of the kingdom of Brynhalla! We are the warrior hounds of Odar Mackai! Bryyyyn-haaaallaaaa!” he cried, raising his axe above his head.
Many echoed the cry of Brynhalla as Odar turned from his assembled hounds, he stood firm, his steel gray gaze peering through the eye slits in his iron helm, and looking through the ruined, smoldering gates; in the distance he could see the warlock atop the hill at the tree line, seemingly returning his stare. Then his view was obscured by advancing lizard men, backlit by the elves torches. Odar banged his axe against his enameled wooden buckler strapped to his left arm, as the roaring reptilian children of Sobek leaped through the gaping hole in Aergar’s wall.
Axe, hammer and sword hacked and slashed at rending rhex talons and snapping crocodilian jaws as battle was joined in the compound. Odar Mackai sang a war song as he engaged the enemy, blocking a rhexauradon mace, sweeping the heavy blow aside with his shield and following with his axe. He grunted with satisfaction as his blade bit deep into the vile creature’s neck, spraying him with foul smelling ichors.
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