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Tale From The World of Argyle - The Storm Rises

Simeron Steelhammer (Benjamin La Count)
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Greywolfe sat near the door to the large storage room turned prison that their captors had tossed them into for 'safe keeping'. All his companions were still alive and surprisingly well considering who their captors were. Drow are not known for their kindness nor for their lack of quick action. This reputation added with the gruesome deaths of the dwarven and gnomish miners and guards made the group look despairingly at each sound that came from outside the door. The drow sleeping drug had long since worn off everyone, who were now wide awake and scared. Apart from the six companions, no other survivors had been seen or even heard of the fifty or so miners and guards. Greywolfe figured that they were all dead from what they had seen before. Probably taken unaware in a fight that was hard fought but all to short for the defenders. He looked over his companions in the dim light of the lone candle lantern that was in the room. Apart from a wound on Gath's side, the only thing really hurt was their pride. But, each of them was bound hand and foot and had a gag securely placed in their mouths. He tried to break the ropes one more time and again, like all the other times, couldn't do it. In fact, his wrists were very sore now, as the rope had rubbed them raw. He slumped back against the wall dejectedly and began to pray again. After all, it was truly the only thing left he could do.

Elsewhere in the mines, Xiltara and Aleron sat sour faced. Aleron gave his pet raven another piece of gnome meat to eat and then turned to Xiltara.

"Surely you're exaggerating Xiltara. No group can be so deadly." the mage protested.

"I tell you Aleron, the Mithril Warhammers are unlike any group you know. They fight like possessed paladins for what they call 'The Light'. I have seen them cut through my forces time and again like a fireblade through ice. Lord Simeron Steelhammer is my sworn enemy. He has almost killed me on more then one occasion. They are not to be trifled with I tell you! We must lay waste to the entire village NOW! They will come looking for these wretched miners and Greywolfe's band and when they do, it won't just be a few of them. It will be ALL of them in the town. This will be our ONLY chance. If we do NOT strike then, I will take my forces and go. You can KEEP you're gold and you're prisoners. I don't have enough troops to take on a full Warhammer caravan." the drow matron shot back.

"But, we have my troops as well as yours. Surely thirty drow and fifty of my best orcs and hobgoblins are more then a match for thirty odd dwarves and gnomes. Just look what we did to the miners and guards here! And Greywolfe's band wasn't even a match for your drow alone." Aleron insisted.

"You do NOT know these...these...creatures." Xiltara hissed back with so much venom that Aleron felt a twinge of fear. "They are not normal. They can't be. They resist our magic like it was a babe's craft. They fight as good as my own people and they rarely retreat or have need to do so. You do NOT know what you are saying, I do."

Aleron sat for a moment and stared right into Xiltara's deep black eyes. He could see there she was being completely truthful which, given that she WAS a drow, was most disturbing of all. In all the years he had known her, Xiltara had never openly stated the truth nor had she ever expressed anything but contempt for all but the deadliest of foes. Maybe he was biting off more then he could chew.

"Well, we can test them then, with my own troops. I have about two score hobgoblins, goblins and orcs regulars that can hit the town or their patrol. I will watch through my raven's eyes the battle and see for myself."

"Do what you will with your own troops Aleron but I tell you, you're only wasting them. But that is up to you." Xiltara said with a wave of her hand.


Dor, Simeron and Magnus had been joined by Cragghorst, Granite, Thorsen, Mardin, Amira, Gantharla, Tuebits, Aljanon and Malpus in Dor's forge.

"I thank ye all fer comin' here so quickly," Simeron said as soon as all were seated. "The situation is this. Awhile back the village was taken over by a human mage and his trained orcs. Fortunately, a human ranger came along and was able ta tip the scales in a battle ta retake the mine jest up the road a bit then retakin' the town. Since then, he and his group, the Lightning Company, have been patrolin' the area and generally helping out. Three days ago, the miners and their guards dinna come home from the mine like they was supposed ta so Greywolfe, the human ranger, took his group up there ta investigate yesterday morn. Now they done gone missin' too. On top o' this, we've reason ta believe the mage is back with reinforcements. So I wanted you all to come with Magnus and me up ta the mine and let's see what goes on. Dor will be leadin' the way fer us. So let's get our preparations up and get the protective gear and spells ready because this mage is probably about and we know how them spell tossers like ta ambush."

The group nodded their heads and then set about getting gear and equipment ready. Each member of the party got what magical protection they could then, off they marched toward the mine. Simeron kept talking with Dor, learning all he could about the mine and the battles before. When they were about halfway to the mines, they came to a sudden stop as about twenty orcs, goblins and hobgoblins exploded out of the snow and came rushing at them from all sides. Simeron, Dor, Magnus, Thorsen, Gantharla and Mardin all quickly moved to the outside edge while Granite, Amira, Aljanon, Cragghorst, Tuebits and Malpus positioned themselves behind the warriors and prepared to use their magic if need be. Dor drew first blood, crushing the skull of the first goblin that got near him. Thorsen cut an orc almost in two with a blow from his axe. Simeron and Magnus each dropped an orc apiece with hammer blows to their chest. Gantharla cut down two hobgoblins as she twirled about her twin rapiers. Mardin added one more hobgoblin to the count by collapsing its nose into its face with a blow from his hammer. Simeron parried an incoming orc sword thrust and killed the offending orc with a blow to his belly that shattered its spine. Magnus killed another goblin with a backhand swing of his hammer as did Mardin. Ganth sliced another hobgoblin twice across its chest, opening up large and fatal wounds. Dor missed a goblin, who was about to smash the dwarf over the head with its club when an axe whizzed over Dor's head and took the goblin's clean off, impacting into a surprised orc's chest that was coming up behind the goblin to help. Thorsen's roar of battle lust almost scared Dor. There remained four goblins and three orcs who immediately stopped in their tracks, turned and started to run back into the woods around them. Not a single one made it as Tuebits and Malpus both let loose a flurry of magic missiles that literally knocked them all down into the snow, quite dead.

Sitting up on a branch, with a beautiful seat for the show, was a large, black raven. Aleron's familiar was dutifully obeying its master. Up at the mine, Aleron couldn't believe what he had just seen. Twenty of his troops had been killed in a few seconds and not all of this group had even fought! They moved like clockwork and almost as if without thought when they had been attacked. Only that fool Dor seemed to not know how to react and even he managed to get a kill in. Suddenly, Aleron felt a pain in his head. A stabbing pain that washed over his body like a wave of flame. He cried out, his blood felt like it had turned to acid and he was short of breath. He twisted with convulsions and fell to the ground in sheer agony. Around him, the hobgoblins and orcs watched, glancing about nervously, greatly scared. Xiltara and about a dozen drow came silently running up to the room that Aleron used as his private chambers only to find the mage slumped on his bed, head in his hands. His skin was flush red and his hands were trembling. Xiltara began to speak but, Aleron looked up then with bloodshot eyes and a grimace of pure hatred on his features. Instead of tears, she could see streaks of drying blood and she knew what had happened.

Down on the road to the mine, Aljanon stood smiling. He walked over to a spot under a tree, picked up a badly burned and dead raven and put it in one of his many pouches. As he returned to the group, still beaming a smile from ear to ear, Simeron turned and asked him,

"I understand why ya fried that bird as it probably was that mage's pet or somethin' but, why in the world would you want to pick it up, much less carry it?"

The small gnome's smile broadened even more as he answered, "Why my dear Lord Simeron, I intended to make sure this nasty mage fellow gets to eat crow!"

And with that, the group to a person burst out in a roar of laughter.

"Fair enough Al...fair enough. Now, let's go find out what goes on at the mine. Mayhap you can give him his dinner personally!"

And with that, the group headed up to the mine.

Greywolfe had heard the screams of pain and the commotion outside the door and had hoped for a minute that maybe help had arrived. When it died down, he leaned against the door and listened. His heart sank at first hearing the guttural language of orc and goblin still being spoken outside but, as he listened closer, he could make out enough orcish to gather that help was indeed on the way and that neither Xiltara nor Aleron were at all happy.

"Well my friends, perhaps all is not lost just yet. It seems the townsfolk have sent a force to the mines. I am not sure of any details and the mine is still held by the drow and Aleron's forces but, they are most assuredly upset about something. We must keep trying to free ourselves and aid these would be rescuers if we can."

He looked around at his five companions and to a person, they all nodded and even smiled a little. As long as they were alive, there was hope for rescue. And he knew that each one here would do whatever they could to help.


Tale From The World of Argyle - The Storm Rises © Simeron Steelhammer (Benjamin La Count)

Migrate Wizard: 
First Release: 
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