The day’s air was cool, but the water on the lake was still as glass. The catch was going well, we were pulling the nets in early. A large shadow passed quickly over the boat. We looked up expecting to see a large bird or a fast moving cloud. We were wrong. There was a Theran Vedette loaded with fire cannons passing over the lake. The three of us just stood there with our mouths open.
Arngrim was the first to act. He threw the nets back over the side of the boat and grabbed an axe and chopped the lines sinking them in to the lake. Arngrim slapped the oars in to the water and the boat jumped forward towards his fishing shack. He looked over his shoulder at Fa’ala and myself and said “Swim ahead and warn the village and protect my family.” Fa’ala and I were in the water and swimming away from the boat in seconds.
Fa’ala beat me to the fishing shack and had her armor on as ran in to the shack. She threw me my hammer and said “I will go to Arngrim’s house, you go to The SteelSkull home.” I caught the hammer in my left hand and Fa’ala in the right. I pulled her close and gave her a long kiss, “You keep yourself safe and I will see you after this is over.” I turned and started running up the hill to the village. As we ran by homes and businesses we shouted that the Therans were attacking. Just after Fa’ala and I split up there was a long blast on the warning horn. I ran in the open door of the SteelSkull home. I was glad to see Vridich and Urgral were already inside, but where were the rest of my friends? Almost as If I summoned them Stilicho came in followed shortly after by Dremnin. Now we were only missing Suulin, someone said that she was accost the road in the school with the children.
Stilicho looked at me in shock, all I was wearing was a loin cloth. “Where is your armor?” “All of my Items were taken when we were made into Newots.” I said. Stilicho shouted at Fafnir to get our gear. The dwarf ran up the stairs as fast as he could.
BOOOOM! Rang out as the vedette’s fire cannon struck a building nearby. The sound shook the floor and made us all realize how real this battle would be. Out the door we could see that there were sair sailors dropping from the vedette. They were a well armed and armored unit. This was a group of soldgers that had trained together. They formed a wall and locked shields. They marched as one strait for the Steelskull home.
Fafnir came running back down with the stairs with our gear and threw it in to a pile right behind us. I pitched the loaner hammer and lovingly picked up Darin Kuyu’s hammer. I looked down at the pile of leather armor. “I wish I had time to put that on” I said to myself. I turned and ran back to the door, sweat shining on my blue naked skin.
Stilicho took the position right in front of the door with Urgral and me covering his flanks. “Sheild Wall!” shouted Stilicho. Urgral and I looked at Stilicho like he had lost his mind, neither one of us carry a shield. Stilicho looked left and right and realized that and just shook his head.
Right before the unit of theran troops were in range to engage they paused and looked to the sky. There formation opened just a little. I shouted a taunt at their center man calling him a coward and a fool. It worked. He broke ranks and charged the door. Stilicho Shouted a battle cry and struck a blow. Urgral and I both attacked the man and in seconds he was laying in a pile in the door way. The rest of the troop came on holding formation and attacking as a unit. Their armor was blocking most of our shots. It looked like we might get pushed back.
There was a loud roar and a crash, the entire back line was knocked to the ground and we could see Honus Steelskull laying waste to the back line of the Therans. This took pressure off of us and renewed our efforts. The Therans were falling like rain and we broke their spirit. Three surrendered and the rest broke and ran back to a second line of advancing Therans. Honus slammed in to the new threat. We could not get to him in time and he was surrounded. Honus was laughing and shouting the entire time, Therands continued to fall around him. We formed a line to his left.
I bashed a Theran on the head with the hammer driving him to the ground. We were winning, I felt the pleasure of the dance coming over me and then, THE PAIN! A short sword slipped past my defense and sunk in to the hilt. It was pulled free and I fell back out of the line. My head was swimming. I tripped over a dead body and fell in to a pile of shields and spears. I got back up and grabbed a shield and hung the strap over me so I could hold it to me with what strength I had in my left hand. I picked up a light spear in my right. I was in no shape to go back in to combat.
I saw that 2 guys came out of the school and were holding Hanna and a troll child hostage. I ran around the right of the school hut to come around behind them. I thought that I might be able to slow them down so the others could catch up. When I came around the hut The Theran slavers had their backs to me. The one that was closest to me had the troll child. The other one had Hanna. I could not get to him without giving away my position. I had to try to get them both. I lunged with the spear. It pierced the side of his neck and went up under the jaw. He instantly dropped the knife. I tried to pull the spear out so that I could get the other slaver. It was stuck. I was not going to be able to save Hanna. Smash! The slaver was in a pile on the ground broken and bleeding. Korack had jumped from the returning air ship and landed directly on top of him. Hanna ran to Dremnin. Korack scooped up the troll child that turned out to be his daughter.
The fight was over. We had defended the Reach from the Therands, but there was a cost. Buildings were burning. Villagers were missing. The Therands had managed to set about half of the village on fire with the fire cannons and taken over 50 name givers as slaves. The Unchained ran off in all directions, fighting fires, helping the wounded, others were binding and questioning the captured slavers. I wanted to help, but the world was swimming and spinning. I leaned against the front of the Steelskull home and slid down in to the mud. Someone was binding my wounds, I do not know who. I could feel the pain of the pressure, all went dark.
I woke. Ohh my shoulder hurt. There was a soft hand on my arm. A cool wet cloth put on my head. I opened my eyes to an orange-red angel leaning over me. Fa’ala smiled “And you told me to stay safe. I have the brains to put on armor before combat.” I started to laugh but it hurt too much. Fa’ala told me that Arngrim had been killed at the fishing shack by the fire cannon. His fishing boat and the dock had been saved.
Shortly after waking Vridich came in and stiched my wound closed and changed my bandage. Whatever salve he put on my wound had me feeling good enough to move around in a few hours.
Tago called a meeting later that night. The Unchained were made full members of the village for our brave defense of the village and the children. We were given all of our items including the book. It felt good to have it back, now to get it home.