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A brush with death
Tue Jan 2, 2007 08:47 (XFF:

Crael battled on as the clash of arms around him seemed to drag on interminably, underneath his armour he was drenched with sweat and Brutus’ flanks were increasingly warm to the touch. The battle had blurred into an almost endless repetition of slash, parry and block. The axe still felt light in his grip thanks to the void and the pain in his arm was a dull throb which he couldn’t really feel. All this dreamy continuance ended however as Crael heard s stricken cry to his right where he had lasted registered Kaleb to be. The youth quickly wheeled Brutus around to see Kaleb being dragged from his horse by two Trollocs. Too far away to do anything with the axe Crael cradled it under his shield as he drew a long dirk from his bandoleer with his good arm and threw it as fast as he could to take one of the two Trollocs through the neck. He was still unable to engage the remaining Trolloc however and it dragged the struggling Kaleb from the saddle before stabbing a wicked looking blade under his breastplate and through the mail into the young man’s stomach. The void evaporated in Crael’s head, replaced with anger that he hadn’t felt since his last encounter with Trollocs that had almost cost him his life. Blood wrath filled him and he leapt from Brutus saddle the axe once more in his right hand as he sprinted the remaining distance to the Trolloc manhandling the other Shienaran, Crael’s first sweep of the axe took the unsuspecting Trolloc by surprise shearing off the forearm wielding the sword, Crael threw his whole battle maddened weight into the screaming beast throwing it to the ground before he hacked brutally at its neck with the other edge of the gory axe.

He saw movement out of the corner of his eye and had half turned and dropped his shield to cover his side when a massive blow forced the air from his body. The Trolloc that had hit him came in for another attack and was astonished when instead of shying away Crael, with at least two ribs broken and a fractured arm launched himself from the ground at the creature’s legs toppling it over him as he sliced at a passing tendon with the axe.

Crael heard the impact rather than felt it. To him it sounded like a gong as something heavy crashed into his helmet knocking him to the ground and into unconsciousness with one massive effort. Crael’s vision blurred as he saw a Trolloc standing over him, in his last moment of wakefulness he heard it scream and suddenly catch light from behind collapsing on top of him in its frenzy.

Crael awoke to carnage and an ageless face bent over him, slightly blurred beyond her stood two men carrying swords and wearing the distinctive colour shifting cloaks of warders. Around him were strewn the bodies of Trollocs, limbs and other body parts scattered all around him and the scent of blood pervading the air. He heard a distressed whickering behind him and abruptly turned his head to look, pain shot down his spine and bright white spots danced in his vision as he briefly saw Brutus with his reins in the hands of another Gaidin.

Ice cold washed over and he felt the peculiar sensation of his bones knitting together rapidly. As the feeling faded he looked back up at the Aes Sedai as she removed her hands from his chest, she helped him up and he unashamedly took her help his knees seeming weak and his whole body exhausted. He looked around him and spotted Kaleb sitting against a mound of Trolloc corpses entirely unhurt by the look of him even though there was a large amount of his own blood on his armour. “Thakar was the Gaidin assigned to protect you two, I have these two bonded to me as well so I could easily spare him to look after you, he lost you when you both went back for another lance only locating you again just before your friend there got hit. I sensed his need and difficulty and came to him, just in time as well it seems.”

It was the Aes Sedai who had spoken and Crael thanked her and her Warders profusely as they helped him and Kaleb back into their saddles. The Aes Sedai turned away with a final farewell saying that she must go into Podian to see where she could help. Thakar however turned them around and followed them back to the camp where he had them get out of their armour and rest. It seemed he at least slightly blamed himself for their near deaths and was determined to make up for the error now.

Crael was amazed to see that despite the battering that he had been exposed to his new set of armour had survived remarkably undamaged, there wasn’t even a dent to the complicated plates, he inspected it thoroughly finding that the only real damage had been done to the helm and the lacquering on the shield. All in all the Light has indeed sheltered us, I only hope that everyone else fared as well. I feel more right now, after this I know my choice was right, I am fighting the shadow still and Tar Valon is the best place for me, it is home now.

  • Once more into the breach...Crael Kantar, Tue Jan 2 07:43
    Crael was the one who was laughing now, the Gaidin who had suggested that he train in armour would have been pleased at Crael’s efforts, for the past two days he had done just that. Most of the... more
    • A brush with death — Crael Kantar, Tue Jan 2 08:47
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