Carrion Fields

Alone Against the Darkness - by Tahren

The call of an evening bird broke the oppressive silence that hung over the Forest of Nowhere. The waning sunlight pooled atop the dense canopy, leaving the musty undergrowth dim and foreboding. At ground level, a figure stumbled through the shadowed forest, leaving a trail of dark blood. Angrelm was a warrior, not a ranger, and he was cursing his lack of familiarity with this particular wood. It didn't help that he was completely blind.

He slumped, leaning his back against the trunk of an immense tree and took mental stock of his wounds. He bled freely from several cuts on his arms, but was still strong enough to wield both of his lightweight rapiers. He could feel a gaping wound in his side, oozing blood beneath his chain armor. He would survive that, but the scalding burn of poison festered there, and that worried him.

Angrelm stabbed one rapier into the moist earth and groped blindly about his belt. There! He found the small flask he had tied to his hip just for a time like this. He grasped it with one blood-soaked hand, and thumbed the stopper out. Wincing, he drank the viscous, foul-tasting fluid. He coughed, subduing the reflex to spit it out. The world started spinning for a brief moment, but stabilized as the dim forest light flooded his eyes.

He could see again!

The warrior discarded the empty bottle, and pulled his rapier back out of the ground. The dark knight Narguth had beaten him soundly, but he had escaped with his life. His foe had uttered dark incantations, poisoning Angrelm and robbing his limbs of strength with devastating ice-borne spells. Against such power, sometimes survival was just as sweet as victory.

Hours passed, and Angrelm could feel his body slowly and naturally purge itself of the excruciating unholy poison. His wounds were taking time to heal, but he was safe. Resting in the forest had been a good choice, giving him just enough time to recover for the sprint back to the relative safety of the Fortress of Light.

Whispering a prayer to the Fates for the fortune of his survival, Angrelm smiled and pushed himself away from the tree. He stepped toward the left, around the trunk.

The last thing he saw was the incoming blade of an axe, screaming with the wail of a hundred damned souls as it approached at impossible speed.

Grinning, Narguth wiped his axe upon the blood-spattered forest floor. He snorted in disgust at the corpse that lay in two pieces before him, and at the look of shock frozen eternally upon the face of his latest victim. The axe shuddered in satisfaction, the wail of a hundred and one damned souls following Narguth as he rested the unholy weapon on his shoulder and set out in search of his next victim.

Welcome to the Carrion Fields. Where evil is EVIL, and you may need a few friends to help you conquer the most powerful foes.

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