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The Battle of Wilmik

by Bill Manley

A low mist hangs on the ground like a cold blanket in winter. The sun is slowly climbing to it's throne above the town of Wilmik. Night still has a firm hold on the valleys and glens near the Stone River.

The town is already awake, farmers are tending their fields near the river. The night watch is being relieved by the day watch. Children are playing some sort of war game outside the town walls. The start of a typical day in Wilmik.

A figure hides in the gloomy mist still clinging to a valley overlooking the town. He watches the townsfolk perform their daily activities as they have for the past several days. He sits atop the muscled back of a massive black dire wolf, scares mark the wolf as a veteran of many campaigns. The figure's dark grey flesh makes him difficult to see in the mist. The only thing betraying him is the blood red armour, dented and stained from many battles, as it shines in the damp mist. The dark warrior grins as he raises his massive battle-axe into the air.

Jarid sits at his post on the walls overlooking the glen were the children are playing. Watching the kids play, Jarid doesn't notice the Axe raised in the air not 200 yards from him....

Remembering the battle plan, archers wait in the trees for the signal. They didn't have to wait long, the axe drops and they let loose their arrows. Six guards fall dead from the walls, others that survived raise the alarm as the Hobgoblins charge.

Farmers running up to the town walls to defend their homes failed to notice the Gnolls in the trees. Most of the men are felled by arrows before the take ten steps. The others are cut to shreds by the flanking Goblin footmen.

Jarid, with an arrow stuck in his left shoulder, takes aim with his crossbow and lets fly a bolt of death. The lead Hobgoblin falls from his mount, a bolt stuck in his head. Jarid starts to reload as he remembers the children in the field, he drops his crossbow and jumps down to the platform leading to the gate, yanking the arrow out on his way down.

"Close the gates!" yells the Guard Captain.

"Their are still children outside Captain! We have to save them!" Drawing his longsword, an heirloom from his Father. Jarid charges out the gates followed by several other guards but are cut off by the flanking Goblins, the gate slams shut behind them.

Spotting two Goblins bearing down on him, Jarid readies himself for the fight. The Goblin on the left, wielding a broadsword, swings in a high loop aimed at Jarids head. Jarid drops to one nee and thrusts his sword into the goblins gut. Rolling to his left and onto his feet, Jarid puts the dead goblin between himself and the second one. The second goblin swings his weapon in a wild arc at Jarid, missing by only inches. with the momentum of his roll, Jarid swings his sword in a short controlled attack, the goblins arm falls to the ground, weapon in hand.

Elsewhere on the battle field, the Gnollish archers set up in a line, raise their bows, draw the stings back, and launch a volley on fire into the town. Straw thatched roofs burst into flames on contact. Soon, a fire storm engulfs the Longhouses near the walls. Poorly trained bucket brigades fail to contain the fire and it spreads to the rest of the town.

The Hobgoblins run down the children, the wolves tear flesh off the smallest ones as their masters either cut them down with swords and axes, or crush them under the charge. No one survives.

Jarid, cut off from his companions, is pushed down to the river banks by the goblins. There he makes his greatest stand as he is alone against five goblins. Gripping his sword with both hands, Jarid makes a thrusting move, it was a fake and the goblins fell for it. with his opponent off balance, Jarid cracks him in the jaw with his hilt nocking the fool to the ground, unconscious. Spinning to his right, Jarid parries one stab with his sword arm and pushes the goblin over with his free hand, putting him behind the group. Without hesitating, Jarid severs the head of a second goblin, but was unable to parry a thrust from the third goblin who slashes Jarid in the ribs breaking one and nocking the wind out of him. Jarid falls into the river and drops his sword.

The dark figure, now accompanied by his bodyguards, rides to the front lines and orders his forces to fall back to his position. The arrows continue to rain fire into the town. Only the bravest souls walk the walls inside the town, for to do so is certain death. Knowing that he has lost the opportunity to raid the town, the Hobgoblin general is fully content to destroy the town and kill everyone in it, unfortunately for the town guards, so are his troops.

Jarid, now unarmed and fatigued, prepares to fight hand to hand against three goblins. Unfortunately for Jarid, the goblins don't give him any time to rest. Two of them charge at Jarid while the other waits for him to make a move. One goblin, armed with a pike, stabs at his mid-section. While the other swings an axe at Jarids right side. Stepping to his left, Jarid grabs the pike and pulls. He losses his balance in the defensive move and falls, pulling the pikeman into the path of the axe. Unable to stop his swing, the goblin buries his axe deep into the back of his comrade. Seeing his enemy pinned on the bank of the river, the third goblin raises his sword, determined to drive it though Jarids skull. In the excitement, the goblin fails to see Jarids companions charging to his aid. Both goblins are run though without even seeing their killers. The battle in the river doesn't go unnoticed by the other goblinoids, ten wolf-riders are bearing down on them.

"We have to get out of here, Jarid."

Jarid looks at the burning town and sees town folk jumping off the walls to escape the flames, only to be hacked apart by the humanoids who are now surrounding the town. "All is lost...." Jarid and his friends escape to some fishing rafts that have floated near them from the docks. Using the raft as a shield by hanging off the far side, they float north to safety, hundreds of arrows hit the raft as they escape. The Wolf-Riders break off pursuit as there is no point to cross the river.

Two hours later the whole town is a raging inferno. Any villagers that are found living are hung from the trees by their ankles, their throats slit from ear to ear. The invading army moves south to the closest fording point one mile away. There, they will cross the river and head north into the dense forest. From the forest they will raid settlements and farms all across the Southern Coastal Plains. When they have finished destroying the settlements there, they will head to Whiteheart.


DM notes:

Jarid is a 2nd level fighter played by one of my PC's.

The Dark Figure (or Hobgoblin General) is a 3rd level Paladin of Ericus Doombringer. (dark paladins are a special kit that my PC's and I have put together, I'm sure most DM's have done the same....) The Dark Figures name is not know to anyone, I will keep it that way until the PC want's it revelled...or until the other PC's figure it out.

The humanoid army destroyed Wilmik to lure the Soderfjord army out into the open were The Dark Figure hopes to defeat it, leaving Soderfjord widely undefended.