The Silver Tower Chronicles Adventures in other worlds, other times, and other realities

25Dec/13Off

Enzi’s Irregulars #0078

Eurysa spotted the dragon first, “Heads up, everyone, incoming! Get into your lines!”

The archers lined up and prepared their Halzium tipped arrows. As the dragon dove through the sky, Eurysa suddenly felt breathless. The thing was enormous. The egg that had hatched it had been far larger than a human, but this young drake dwarfed the gorgon's imagination. The thing was nearly sixty feet long with a massive wingspan. It had scales that glimmered in the light of the day. They were mostly mottled green, some of them dark enough to look black.

The creature had narrowed its eyes, it had obviously seen the archers below. It still was swooping down on their position. Eurysa wondered if that meant the creature was overconfident. She hoped for the sake of all the soldiers that the creature was vulnerable. The archers held their arrows until the drake came closer. Finally they unleashed their volley. Eurysa's only arrows joined the others. Many of the arrows scraped across the scales. They were not direct hits.

The scales of the beast was designed to turn blows away, like any good armor. The true test was hitting an area where it could not deflect the blow. A direct hit like that would tell the tale of the battle's possibility of victory. There were several direct hits, including Eurysa's shot. However, all of them were stopped cold, and rebounded off the impenetrable scales. Even the Halzium tips could not shear through the dragon's scaly hide. Then came the retaliation.

The dragon seemed to spew out some foul liquid across part of the front line. The vile fluid instantly began to melt anything it touched. The screams of those hit by the acid breath were full of both fear and pain. The drake swooped past the survivors and began to lift back up into the air. Eurysa followed the dragon with her eyes. Her sharp vision scanned all that she could see, searching for some crevice in the armor, any kind of weakness that could be used to stop the threat.

She saw the perfect spot. However, it was behind the wing. Eurysa would have to shoot at a target that was flying away from her. To hit it hard enough, she would have to strike the target right as it paused on the bottom of a dive. That meant she would have to lead the target considerably to have the arrow arrive at the right time. It would effectively be a blind shot and the gorgon expected she would only have the once shot. She only had one Halzium tipped arrow left anyway.

It also meant the drake would get a second attack. Eurysa knew she had to make it the dragon's last aerial assault. She watched the trajectory of the drake as it came around for its second pass. She watched the dive, watched as the drake found its target. Eurysa took a deep breath, drew her bow, and turned her back on the drake. She aimed at the open space where the dragon would be. She drew her bowstring back and fired at nothing.

The huge dark shape swooped past her, spewing out acid. The breath weapon decimated many more soldiers, but the gorgon's eyes were on her arrow. Her aim had been perfect. Eurysa watched as the arrow slid between the scales at a weak spot in the dragon's armor. Like all armor, it had to be more open at the joints. Her shot aimed for where the wing joined with the body. The arrow sank in perfectly. The drake shrieked out in surprise and pain, spinning out of control at the sudden wound and crashing into the ground.

Aldebaran and Ritter hit the ground running as the leapt from their seats out of the way of the archers. They charged across the field toward the felled drake. They hoped for a chance to finish it off before it could do any more damage. Aldebaran reached the drake first thanks to his longer legs. The minotaur brought his blade down on the dragon as hard as he could. A blast of sparks leapt in the air as the metal scraped against the hardened scales.

Ritter took aim at the dragon's other wing. The Halz wanted to make sure that the beast could not take to the air again. His warhammer resounded with a solid crunch as the dwarf slammed the beast with all his might. The drake howled. It erupted up from the ground, leaping to a standing position. Its eyes were full of pain. It swatted the Halz and the minotaur away with its mighty front paws. It took a moment to survey the situation. The humans were mostly dead, though a few had fled.

The only enemies were the three monstrous mercenaries. They had hurt the drake. It wanted to make them pay for it. It could feel that neither of its wings would be of much use. An arrow in one and a broken bone in the other. The dragon had never taken damage before, but he found himself surprisingly resilient. The pain was a new sensation, but he had quickly learned how to manage that. It had, however, learned that there were threats that could challenge it.

He looked first to the gorgon. The archer was slithering over to the first batch of archers that had been slain. She was searching for another halzium tipped arrow. Most had been destroyed, but unless she was lucky, she would only have enough time to fire one, if she could find one in time. The drake would not allow that, however. It charged across the field looking to slay Eurysa first. She had been the first to harm the drake, it seemed only right that she should be the first to die.

Eurysa struggled through the mangled remains of the archers searching for an arrow as the dragon neared. It chuckled as it looked down at the gorgon. Eurysa stared back up at it, knowing she had no chance to escape. She tried to use her gaze, but her power was too weak to effect the drake. It drew in a great breath, preparing to unleash its breath weapon once more. There was a loud clang sound as metal hit scales. At the side of the beast was the mighty Aldebaran.

“No one else on our team dies while I yet live!” the minotaur yelled.

The drake cocked its head to the side and grinned, “As you wish.”

It opened its maw and stretched down to bit the minotaur. Aldebaran did not attempt to dodge the blow at all. He instead raised his blade and tried to jam it down the creature's throat. Feeling the pain of the jab, the dragon ejected its acid all over Aldebaran. The drake stumbled back, coughing up blood from the wound in its maw. It would not make that mistake again. It would be careful about how it bit its foes. Then pain flashed again. A sharp pain came across its front paw.

Looking down, it was the dwarf Ritter. The drake had been worried for a moment that the minotaur had somehow survived the full fury of its breath weapon. However, Aldebaran was little more than melted sludge. The minotaur would never slay another foe. The dwarf, however, was quite annoying. His warhammer could break bones and crush flesh, the scales were not made to protect as well against such a powerful bludgeon. The dragon snapped at the dwarf, teeth sinking into the leg of the Halz.

The drake then snapped its mighty neck, flinging Ritter away with all its might while rending flesh with its razor-sharp teeth. That left only the gorgon. The dragon spun back around to face Eurysa. It saw the archer with bow in had and an arrow nocked. Eurysa let the barb loose. It sailed through the air with perfect aim. The arrow had been aimed for one last soft spot. It hit the dragon's eye and pierced it. The arrow sank deeply inside. The drake shuddered for a moment, then collapsed.

It had taken several wounds from the three monstrous mercenaries, this one had simply been the one that had tipped it over the edge. Eurysa could not even be sure that it was dead, however. There was a different sound, however. Several soldiers were rushing up behind the gorgon. The rest of the humans had arrived. Most of them swarmed over the drake and began to stab at it to make sure it was dead and stayed down. Eurysa breathed a brief sigh of relief, the battle was over.

She looked over at the remains of Aldebaran. It was sad that he had sacrificed himself. He had been a friend for many years. The gorgon scanned the area, looking for any sign of Ritter. It looked like a couple of the Nuvroci had found the Halz although it was hard to tell what was going on exactly. The drake had flung the Halz quite far away and even the gorgon's sharp vision could not see detail at that distance. Eurysa was surprised that the group had somehow won.

“Hmm, so where are the others?” a voice asked.

“It killed Aldebaran,” Eurysa hissed quietly, “I think Ritter is with the Nuvroci.”

“That is too bad,” the voice said, “I wanted to kill him myself.”

Eurysa spun to try to see who had spoken and there was a sudden pain. Her world turned upside down and seemed to revolve. She could not quite understand until her head hit the ground and she saw her headless body collapse on the ground beside her. The man standing over her body was wearing white robes. It was Naphar Bura, a Cleanser of Kurrot.

Eurysa hissed her last thought as all slipped to darkness, “Where were you Mayitso?”

Naphar claimed the gorgon head, putting it in a sack for safety. He looked over the mess that had once been a minotaur. There was nothing there that would serve as a trophy. It was too bad. The Halz was busy being tended by the Nuvroci. They would not let Naphar slay a dwarf, but the Cleanser did not care. The Halz were not a major concern. The world was rid of minotaurs and gorgons. Never would such a beast terrorize the human race again.

The Cleanser strode over to the drake. It was another monster that was dead. The human race was safer now. In the distance a mighty goblinoid army closed in on the scene of the battle. Naphar grinned. The noseless abominations of nature would find their mighty weapon slain and the army of Agon unwounded. Horns blew and were answered in the distance. The cavalry was on its way. The goblinoids closed in on the corpse and Naphar climbed to the top of the drake. He wanted to see the end of the war at point blank range.

Hobgoblins, orcs, bugbears, and goblins gathered and slowed as the neared the fallen drake. Naphar stood on top of the beast, a single human in white robes. Chatter began to flow through the goblinoid ranks and their march forward slowed. A low rumble could be heard as the great Agonish cavalry approached. It was obvious that the goblinoid army was not sure what to make of the sight they saw. The sound of the bards and heralds of Agon brought a great uncertainty to the horde.

Fear washed across the goblinoid army, as well as disbelief. They could not understand how the humans had stopped the dragon. Especially not without having their army decimated. Their stupor was broken as the Agonish cavalry began its charge, swarming around the corpse of the drake and streaming toward the goblinoid army. The goblinoid lines broke before the cavalry even reached them. The horses and their riders crashed against the goblinoid horde. The goblinoids tried to flee, but most were cut down.

It was bloody work. The goblinoids scattered to the winds if they could, though the riders chased after as many as they could to make sure they never came back. The few that survived could send a message back to the rest of the goblinoids. Their army and its weapon had been destroyed. The goblinoids were beaten. The soldiers all cheered. They knew what this battle meant. It meant that the Fifth Goblinoid War was over. They could all go home. It was all that a weary soldier could ask for.

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