Turn 19 -- End of the Slaverers

Howling their challenges and curses as they charge, the advance of the Trolls sends a deep shiver up the spine of Rasmussen. A deep fear that rises from the butterflies of the halfing's stomach grows to grip tight his dry throat. Disturbing images from the previous day of the horrible remains of his friend, Kre, force the halfling into a frozen state of inaction. The blood and torn flesh that littered the cave floor were a terrible reminder of the power of the beasts charging at him. A voice deep inside his head screamed at him,"RUN!!!" But the little halfling couldn't move his limbs.

As the fear becomes almost too much to bear and Ras comes closer to screaming in terror, another emotion begins to surface, one unfamiliar to the halfling; that of pure hatred. Quickly realizing that these beasts are surely the ones that killed and devoured his friend, the knuckles of the halfling grow white as he grips tightly the swords in each hand that he hadn't remebered drawing. No longer feeling the need to scream or run, Ras instead fights the overwhelming desire to rush headlong toward the Troll's themselves. Knowing that he must remain within the wedge, he secretly prays that one of the vile beasts will penetrate the defensive front so that he can exact his revenge.

To Ras' right, Kersath fights a similar battle within himself as he struggles to remain in the center of the wedge. Every instinct of the Dark Elf cries for him to forego the protection of the others and the wedge and to meet the enemy head-on. He curses softly as he returns his longswords to their scabbards, having been drawn without him even realizing it at the first sound of the attack. Standing confidently in the protective circle of his companions, Kersath folds his arm contemptuously across his chest as he watches his companions prepare to deal with the vile creatures. Ever wary of an ambush however, his eyes also scan the surrounding boulders and terrain for other Trolls to rush the party.

"Just four of 'em, eh, Ah smell a trap," replies Druckner from his position between Beleg and Garth. Taking a step back in the wedge, he assumes a defensive posture, his shield held high before him and his axe gripped tightly in his right hand. Knowing that his companions can handle the charge of the four Trolls, like Kersath he scans the surroundings suspiciously, trying to spot any heat signatures. Much to his chagrine, the effort comes to no avail.

At the front of the wedge, Beleg drops his lightstone to the floor in order to grip his bastard sword in two hands. Simultaneously mourning the lack of a shield and praising the elders of his order who insist that all warriors learn the art of wielding a sword with two hands, he prepares to meet the onrushing Trolls. "For the honor of Forseti and the courage of Kre Novablade!" he shouts defiantly at the foul creatures as they come into the reach of his blade and his righteous wrath. The challenge of the Paladin is well-founded as his mighty weapon, Troll's Bane, finds a mark deep into the hide of the Troll. A great hissing sound can be heard as the magical blade burns the cut flesh of the creature, preventing the magical regenerative abilities of the beast, a thin strand of smoke rising from the wound as well.

The Troll howls in pain from the deep wound of the Paladin, its courage faltering the creature attempts to get at the warrior with a flurry of weak strikes from it's talons, failing miserably in each and never getting close enough to bite at Beleg.

To Beleg's left and at the point of the wedge, Ortho calmly awaits the approach of the other three Trolls while surveying the terrain about; himself fearfull of other Trolls hiding in the cavern. He doesn't have long to look about as one of the Troll's rushes forward to engage the dwarven priest. His own rage rushing to the forefront of his thoughts, Ortho easily avoids the sharp talons of the Troll, brushing aside the attack of the Troll with undeniable contempt. He attempts to return the attack of the beast but his axe finds only air as the Troll steps to the side of the blow. Ortho sets his jaw as he gazes at the creature before him, waiting for its next attack.

Gnore tenses in his position as the Trolls charge the Company's wedge. Firmly placed, the dwarf does not move. From his position, he releases an assault of curses as if they alone will win the day.

"Come to me you maggot-ridden filth!!! I'll teach you to chew on one of our number, you dung-eating orc mates!!! Be thankful your useless lives end at the hands of the noblest warriors alive...You goblin barf. Goat urine!!! And don't think your vomit spit will affect us, you bastard ogre mothers, we are ready for you!!! Come and die like the worthless Troll carcasses you are!!" The dwarf continues to scream similar exclamations of which there seems to be no end. He doesn't have long to wait for an assailant however as the third of the four Trolls rushes forward to engage him.

Concerned only with launching his own attack, Gnore does little to avoid the first swipe of the Troll. The deadly claw sinks into the flesh of Gnore, tearing at the cloth of his undershirt as it quickly becomes stained with his blood. Gritting his teeth from the pain, the dwarf releases another string of curses and his own attack of his bastard sword. His anger and the rise in adrenaline however causes the dwarf to miss the Troll terribly. Quickly recovering his balance, Gnore turns to face the beast once more.

To Gnore's right, Snagger yells in rage at the Trolls as well. Gripping his axe tightly he digs his feet in preparation of meeting the charge of the beasts. Remembering how the Trolls blinded him in the last fight, he bellows, "Ye won't be gettin' me lak da a'gin me uglies." He then twists his face in an odd manner and with a very loud, "Shnergt!" inhales through one nostril in preparation to spit back as soon as a Troll gets close enough. Seeing that none of the four beasts have come to him, he turns and spits at the beast engaged with Gnore. The mucocous projectile flies true from the mouth of Snagger to hit the Troll square in the back of it's head. Snagger laughs heartily at this even though the Troll ignores the insult. Raising his axe, he continues smiling as he slowly walks forward to assist his friend.

Attempting to pass over the low shield wall presented by the dwarves, the last of the Trolls attempts to barrel Garth over with his charge. With shield raised and set, the Troll is stopped by the stocky priest. Raising his mace, Garth lands a blow to the side of the Troll's knee and a loud, crunching pop is heard. With a howl, the Troll falls forward, his weight born upon the shield of the stalwart priest, his claws reaching over the shield to rake Garth's back. Preparing to strike again, Garth sees the knee of his foe slowly wrenching and popping back into place. Pausing in dismay at this sight, Garth slowly begins to buckle under the weight of his foe and the troll his body is taking from the slashing at his back.

Driven to one knee, Garth grits his teeth and raises his head, his one arm bearing almost the full weight of the Troll upon his shield. Looking dead ahead, Garth spies that this Troll indeed is male. With a wicked smile, Garth cries, "Regenerate this!!" and lets fly with his mace at point blank range. A piercing cry fills the cavern causing a momentary respite in the battle for friend and foe alike. All eyes watch as Garth's adversary becomes airborn in a protective fetal position. As the wounded Troll begins its descent, Garth lowers his shield and begins to pump his tiny legs. Jumping forward, his shield connects with the trajectory of the Troll, propelling it back a goodly distance from the shield wall of the RFC. Whimpering and foaming at the mouth, this is one Troll that is out of the battle, at least for the moment.*

The unorthodox attack of Garth and the general prowess of the Red Feather Company seems to take all the fight out of the Trolls. Realizing that there is no escape, the beasts renew their attacks on the Companions who seem to be driven to a higher heroic plateau by the thought of revenge for their loss Companion. Beleg quickly deals with the Troll before him, a mighty two-handed strike from his great weapon actually slicing the beast in half, the strange powers of the sword actually cauterizing the wound as the two smoking halves fall to the ground. Beleg pauses in wonder as he looks on at the damage done by his anger, skill and the magical blade in his hands.

Talons claw at the shield of Ortho as the Troll attempts to rip the shield from the dwarf's grasp, to no avail however as the priest holds tight. A downward strike of his axe and the Troll loses the lower portion of it's left leg just below the kneecap. Ortho laughs as the creature stumbles and falls to the ground, the severed limb still moving forward of it's own accord. Despite this unnatural occurance, Ortho brings his shield down once more this time to strike the beast in the center of it's chest. A great eruption of blood and guts rush forth to splash over Ortho as the creature's chest cavity flies open. Standing on top of the vanquished creature, Ortho wipes a hand across his bearded face, washing the blood and gore from his face.

Across the tunnel, Snagger and Gnore quickly dispatch of the Troll attacking Gnore; the cursing dwarf actually frowning as the Troll screams in pain, it's chest arching forward from Snagger's axe imbedding in it's back.

"Ye took me kill," howls Gnore to Snagger as he turns his furrowed brow to his smiling dwarven kin.

"Aw come on now, Gnore. Ye couldn't keep me from the glory o' killin' this scum either, now could ye?"

"Yes, Ah could!" responds Gnore as he angrily kicks at the corpse of the Troll at his feet. He quickly raises his bastard sword and drops the blade on to the neck of the Troll just as Snagger retrieves his axe. Gnore bends to grasp the head by the coarse hair at the top. Green saliva still drips from the ugly maw of the Troll as Gnore looks into the blank eyes of the creature.

"This be one less vermin that will be killin' dwarven kin. Or brothers of the Red Feather!"

The last Troll looks on in unmasked horror as the dark elf, Kersath and the halfling, Rasmussen, slowly walk toward the crouching beast. Realizing its obvious fate, the Troll rises and charges the two. It is quickly sent flying backwards as a series of magical bolts slam into it's chest.

"For Kre!" states Dain as he lowers the right hand that still sparkles with the residue of the magic so recently released from it.

Ras and Kersath continue their march toward the Troll, their weapons drawn and held before them. The beast attempts to rise as smoke drifts from the darkened hole in it's chest, but one of Kersath's swords flashes out to cut across the hamstring of the creature sending it tumbling to the ground once again. Turning over on all fours, the Troll ignores the pain in it's leg as it attempts to crawl away from its vengeful assailants. The shortsword of the halfing, Ras, reaches out to smash into the exposed back of the Troll, sending it falling to the ground once more.

The two members of the Red Feather Company continue their mutilation of the Troll as it tries in vain to escape them. Kersath keeps the beast on it's knees or prone with well placed strikes of his blades as Ras deals his own damage to the creature. Dealing out punishment to the Troll, they toy with it as they continue to strike at it ever so often, stopping only long enough to allow the regenerative powers of the beast to heal itself before finally assaulting it once again.

Ras smiles to himself as he stabs the creature once more in it's exposed side, side-stepping a swing of it's clawed hand in the process. He relishes in the pleasure that he seems to derive from punishing the vile creature beneath him. He knows that he could continue this way for hours, even days.

To everyone's surprise, Kersath proves to be the more merciful of the two, his swords falling in quick succession to brutally end the life of the vile creature.

"Why did you do that?!" responds Ras in shock at the deed of Kersath. "He deserved more!"

"Perhaps so, little friend, but in the end it is mercy that will seperate us from them..."

An angered Ras turns away from the dark elf as pulls a cloth from his backpack and begins to wash the blood from his blade. Walking back to the other members of the company, he stops before Talimar.

"What now?"

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