Scales of War

Going full circle

With a grunt the mighty barbarian swung his gilded axe, neatly separating a trolls head from it shoulders. The grotesque carcass slumped to the ground, and just as all before, the sinews and skin began to repair themselves.
“Fire. Over here. Now!” he commanded, and 2 burly dwarves carrying lighted torches applied the flames to the beasts skin. The healing process abruptly stalled, this skin all over the body frying and turning black. A gust of wind blew through the copse of trees and swiftly scattered the charcoal remains. The head remained, and with glee the barbarian drew a dagger and sliced off an ear, stuffing it into a pouch on his belt. Scanning the surrounds, all around him hammers and axes fell on prone troll bodies, hacking them apart and throwing them on bonfires to crisp up in the chilly morning air.

In a corner of the glade lay several dwarves being ministered to by clerics and medics. As they passed by, each muttered words of ministration to heal their brethren, or beseeched Moradin to accept the soul of the fallen. Many of his brothers had fought and died valiantly, and tonight the glade would ring out with stories of their bravery. But this knowledge did little to lighten the burden of command off the barbarian’s shoulders.

“Cohen” a voice called out, snapping him back to reality. “There’s one still alive here”

His lumbering strides crossed the glade quickly where a man in a cloak of leaves held his staff to a cloaked figures throat. Two stout dwarves had the creatures arms pinned, while a third clutched his abdomen where a bright red stain was spreading.

“Tis nought but a wee scratch commandah” the dwarf responded to Cohen’s enquiring eyes. Again he was reminded of just how tough these men are. Earlier one of his clan brothers had swung viciously at a trolls neck, all while the troll savagely bit through his armour like it were paper.

For now though, the hooded humanoid had Cohen’s attention. Dexter pulled back the hood to reveal a shadar-kai. Its nose had been broken, and it was coughing up blood, but the creature was to suffer a whole new level of pain. Cohen’s interrogation tended to be short and sharp. After all, there were only so many limbs.

Dexter too knew his part in this. He removed his staff, and Cohen placed his large boot on the creature’s chest, and applied pressure. A dwarf smiled an evil grin, and released its right arm into Cohen’s vice like grip. Staring intently into the Shadar-Kai’s eyes, the pupils quickly dilated, and it almost screamed fear. News like Cohen gets around fast.

“I make this simple for you” Cohen said. “We ask, you answer. We no like answer? I take arm.”

The Shadar-kai nodded, and Dexter stepped in to handle all the big words. The questioning was short, and the pressure Cohen applied didn’t ease up for a moment, but when they were done there was another body for the bonfire, and a name.

“So Sarshan is still pulling the strings it would seem” Dexter said. Cohen merely grunted. His time with the dwarfs had rubbed off on him, and he rubbed his clan ring at the thought of settling the score.

“We’ve been ripping arms off for months now, but we still don’t have a location, or any solid leads on Sarshan. I daresay it might be time to return to Overlook, and rethink our plan”

Around the pair, dwarves within earshot were suddenly paying a lot more attention. Though none had spoken it, all were suffering the effects of a long guerrilla campaign. Plus the wilderness had no ale houses.

“Agreed” Cohen replied, nodding in affirmation. “Troops need rest, supplies low.” He turned to address his soldiers.

“Break camp at first light. We head for home.”

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Swarley

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