It wasn’t the ideal place to take an arrow out of ones leg but it would have to do, Krysten’s options were limited now she was on her own. With a hot iron poker in one hand and the shaft of the arrow in the other, she pulled.
The next 5 minutes or so were a blinding flash of pain that she forced herself through. Stopping herself from passing out was the hard part, willing herself to continue the rough and ready treatment was nigh impossible.
Finally able to collapse onto the bed in the house she had found abandoned, the task was done. Her cauterized leg could heal and the arrow had been angrily tossed into the fire to try and gain some satisfaction out of the whole event.
Closing her eyes to try and rest she found that she couldn’t get the brief image of Tilla out of her head.
They had been close during the war, not in a physical way but they had always relied on each other to watch one another’s backs. They had saved each other’s lives countless times and had vanquished what had seemed like an entire legion of orcs, goblins and evil creatures on the various battlefields of war.
The Battle of the Western Gate was the last time she had seen him. The scheme had been to fight the enemy in the eastern planes whilst Megarél was constructed. Of course building a fortress city to hide in had been plan b after it had become clear that there was no winning the war. The Battle of the Western Gate was the final encounter with the enemy before their forces retreated inside the city walls and had been locked in ever since.
As a part of the last platoon to find sanctuary within the city walls, they were responsible for the most bloodshed and carnage. By the time they had head the last trumpet call for them to pull back the two of them had been separated from any others survivors, fighting back to back with foes on all sides.
Left swing, right swing, parry, lunge, the whole scene was a blur of lightning fast reflexes and blood… so much blood. There was no way they’d make it back to the city, the gates were 200 yards away and a small army stood between them and the gates, but then a flash of light lit the darkening day, foes caught looking at it were stunned and the two of them took no hesitation in dispatching dozens more as they slowly made their way back to the city.
Within 100 yards the enemy had regrouped and the surprise had worn off. Krysten could see others from their platoon try to dash for the gates only to be cut down by the blades, hammers and all manner of crude weaponry of their merciless foes. This would be her end, a pile of bodies to her name and the safety of all those inside the city, it could have been a worse legacy.
Decapitating one of the larger orcs brought a moment’s pause in the battle as the legion of creatures formed a tightly knit circle around the duo and regrouped for their final assault.
“It’s been an honor fighting with you Krysten,” came Tilla’s tired voice from behind her. Turning her head slightly her vision started to come back into focus as the adrenaline in her system gave her a moments peace. He was soaked in blood, mostly the enemy’s black, sticky blood but there was trails of crimson too. Looking down at herself she realized how tired she was. Her arms ached from swinging her two handed blade, her legs ached from being on her feet for what seemed like an eternity and she started to feel the cuts and bruises all over her body for the first time – a wash of stinging pain that was causing her steady hands to shake like a rattlesnakes tail.
“We’re not done quite yet Tilla, don’t start giving up on me now,” she replied as she heard a soft laugh in return.
“Well at least the archers have had more sense than to fire near us.”
Looking up Kryten could see what it was that was darkening the sky, a rain of arrows were being fired from the city walls, past their position and into the numberless ranks of the enemy.
“That would be a tragic way for this to end… One last fight then?”
As the orcs and goblins surrounding them started to take steps forward into range of their blades Tilla bellowed as loud as his waning voice could muster, “ONE LAST FIGHT!” and broke into a crazed laugh as the two of them continued their slaughter.
With her adrenaline kicking back in Krysten fought harder than ever before, faster then she had ever moved and with a satisfied smile on her face that she would die with a friend to her back, that was until the city gates opened.
She looked up expecting them to have moved closer but she could tell by the piles of bodies under her feet that they hadn’t budged an inch, and then she saw them. A dozen or so clerics in full battle dress with a symbol on their plate armour she hadn’t seen before. Wielding mighty hammers that were about as tall as the clerics, the group ploughed through the horde, smashing broken bodies through the air.
“Follow me!” Krysten instructed to Tilla as she started to advance to the gates and the aid that had been sent for them. With Tilla still at her back it wasn’t long before the two groups of veterans met in the carnage.
With the group shrinking back inside the gates the last thing Krysten remembered before passing out though exhaustion was Tilla’s unconscious body being carried by one of the clerics into a frenzy of healers and the sounds of the gates closing, and her freedom being locked outside.