Clearing the valley path

As we moved through the forest, I was kept towards the front of the group.  I have a decent amount of fighting experience, more than many of the members of the convoy, and since I was in relatively healthy condition I quickly stood out as one of the leaders of the group.  It was not a responsibility I really wanted, as I feel other people tend to drag me down.  I’ve mostly stayed a loner, with only a select few I would readily go into combat with, such as Aldar.

I was keeping a vigilant eye on the forest, on the lookout for an ambush.  On our way back the previous day, I made sure to remember any potential ambush and choke points in an attempt to steer the group away from them.  I also was looking for anything out of place, like a small collection of bushes that I didn’t remember, or some recently disturbed ground.  Fortunately I had found nothing, and I’d been able to maneuver the group through the safest path.  It was going to be fine, I thought, not expecting a full assault team waiting in the clearing between us and the path out of the valley.

I just saw a small group at first, five blood elves in a clearing about four hundred yards ahead.  I stopped the convoy just out of sight of them and gathered some of our quieter fighters to help scout ahead.  We pulled our heavier hitters, like Aldar, up to the front of the convoy in case the patrol moved this way and saw the convoy just sitting there.  We knew they wouldn’t dare attack our large group, but they could easily grab a larger group and pick off some of us.

The quiet group and I moved to the rear and followed our path back about three hundred yards and split up, four of us went north and back west, three others and I south and back to the west.  We wanted to make sure our flank was clear, and would meet up at the original enemy patrol.  We moved slowly and methodically, avoiding stepping on anything that would make noise, hiding behind trees, listening carefully for enemies to make a misstep and give away their position.

My team made it up to the patrol in the road first.  We quietly hid out of sight and looked around the area.  Down in the valley below were around 50 well-armed blood elves in a guarded encampment.  There wasn’t going to be an easy way through here and we all knew it.  We decided to take out the patrol and question them.

We moved swiftly and silently, surrounding them and disarming them before they knew what happened.  We knocked them out just as quickly and dragged them back to the convoy where the large group couldn’t hear them yell for help.  We tied them up to a couple of trees next to the road and began interrogating them one by one.  The first four wouldn’t give up any information, but the last one talked.

“What do you want from us?” I asked, anger filling my every word.

“You escaped from us on Draenor, we’ve come to finish you off,” she said, a slight chuckle around the last sentence.  It was all I could do to keep from running my sword through her skull, but she was the only one who would talk.

“We saw your group, there are only fifty of you.  How do you expect to kill us all?”

“We’re well equipped and better prepared than you. There may only be fifty of us, but we’re all highly trained combatants.  Yes, you’ve got around three hundred and fifty people, maybe forty fighters, but most of you are injured, weak, and poorly equipped.  You don’t stand a chance.”

“We’ll see about that.”

We tied her back up the tree.  I grabbed my team and the other quiet group and we went to scout ahead.  We were going to try to find a way around, my group again going southwest and the other northeast. My team and I skirted the edge of the blood elf camp, taking an account of the weapons and types of fighters we may be up against if this does become violent.  Most of the group were melee fighters, with a few spell casters thrown in the mix.  They were all armored from head to toe in finely crafted materials.  All I had for armor was a leather coat I found in the wreckage, many of the others were lucky to even have a full collection of clothes.

We stayed hidden for a while, watching their patrols to figure out their routes and patterns.  Once we were sure we had them memorized, we headed further west, just off the trail, but along it, to watch for any more enemies while also looking for a way around.  The other group and our group reached the end where the path was out of the valley.  We quickly realized that with the carts carrying people, there was no way we were going to be able to make it through the area without using the trail the blood elves were blocking.  First though, we needed to take out as many as possible before the main group found us.

We decided to start with the blood elves in the path out of the valley.  There were twelve of them within the path, four of them occasionally coming out to check the perimeter.  We grabbed them as soon as they were out of sight of the larger group.  Four of our guys snuck up behind them, grabbed them, and put knives to their throats.  They were dead before they could utter a syllable.  We then went into the path.

We were quickly spotted, but since we were blocking the path to the main group, there was nothing that they could do except fight.  My sword was already drawn, blade at the ready, and I moved swiftly.  The first attacker came at me, heavy mace swinging hard.  I blocked with my shield, dodged the second swing, and plunged my sword into his heart.  The others were already in battle with the rest of the melee fighters, so I went after the casters.

Casters are more of a pain because their attacks aren’t easily avoided, but luckily for me, there were only the two.  The closest one shot fire at me, while the other was shooting ice.  I stayed between them in an attempt to get their attacks to cancel each other out.  It sort of worked, but the fire was definitely hurting more.  When I saw her charging up a fireball, I went for the kill.  I rolled past her, running my sword through her ankle.  She dropped to the ground, screaming out in pain.  I then brought my sword down upon her throat, silencing her forever.

The ice dude was more annoying than painful.  I couldn’t hit him because he just keep throwing up ice in front of my sword, blocking me from hitting him.  Instead, I just kept letting him attack me, blocking as much ice as I could with my shield, shattering more with my sword, until one of the other members of my team snuck up behind him and hit him in the back the skull with a battle axe.

The other enemies went down quickly, as there was only one left by the time the frost mage was dead.  None of my people were dead, only one was a little toasty on one leg where the fire mage had hit him before I had a chance to step in.  Since the path out of the valley was now clear, our only thing left to do was to get rid of the main fighting force.

We moved back to the large assault time, the eight of us staying together this time.  In the middle of the area was the main group, about thirty-five strong, with fifteen moving around the perimeter on patrol.  We had our slightly injured man move a little closer to the patrol route, and we took up defensive positions around him.  When a lone patrol person would get near, we’d have our man lie on the ground and make a little pained noise.  If they ran, our hunter would shoot him or her in the head with an arrow and we’d pull the body back into the forest.  If they investigated, we let them get close and then would shoot them anyway, it was just less work for us if they came closer.

We took out about six of the patrol before we noticed the rest of the patrol becoming a little more wary.  We quickly headed back for our group.  On our way back we saw the stationary force have the patrol force send a group of five up the road towards our people and towards were we originally saw the small patrol that we took out earlier.  We knew we had to get rid of them before they discovered their patrol missing, so we headed back down and waited.  My group waited in the woods next to the road, and I stood on the road, a lone fighter.

When they reached me, I could see the look in their eyes.  They thought they could take me, they even started to taunt me, but then one of them noticed the blood dripping from my sword.

“Stop,” he said, “where are our men?”

“Dead,” I said, “just as you’re about to be.”  I could see the anger flush over his face, but there was also a sense of fear.

“You killed all four of our patrol, all by yourself?” he asked, thinking I was too weak to do such a thing.

“Oh, I could have, but the rest of my men wanted to get some fighting in as well,” I said as my men quickly stood up and encircled the patrol.  The patrol dropped their weapons in defeat.

“We give up, you won’t kill an unarmed group, will you?”

“No, at least, not right away.”

The leader gulped, scared.  We tied them up and brought them up the hill to our group.  Aldar came to greet us.

“Kaat, how did your search go?” he asked excitedly.

“I’ve got both good and bad news.  The good news is that the path out of the valley is now clear.  We had to kill twelve of their men to clear it out.  We also killed six of their patrolmen from the main group, and captured these five.  That leaves thirty-nine heavily armed fighters that we could find.  The bad news is that we couldn’t find a way around, so we will have to go through their main group in order to get out of here.”

“Well, at least you reduced their ranks significantly.”

Aldar and I went through the technical details of what we saw, where all their people are, how far spread out are they, what are the best routes for attack, every detail we could come up with.  We decided we’d send about half of our fighters, fifteen of them, up to the higher ground around the outer edges of the assault team.  The rest of us were going to walk right up to their encampment and see about negotiations.

We took the prisoners with us, the five we had just captured, plus the five from the first patrol.  We had them tied to a cart so they couldn’t run away.  We had a man with a sword on each of their throats while we walked down the hill.  If negotiations failed, they would die first.

We reached the encampment, and all their men rushed to meet us, weapons drawn.  They stopped just ten yards away, ready for a fight.  Their leader then came out to talk.

“Prepared to die Draenei?”

“Not today,” I said, “let my people pass and we’ll let your men go.  Failure to do so will result in their immediate death, as well as your own.”

“Do you really think the sixteen of you stand a chance against the fifty of us?”

“You should count again, I only see thirty-nine, plus I have ten of your men captured, we killed six of your patrol group earlier, and we killed all twelve of your men in the path out of here.  Also, you are surrounded,” I said, as the rest of our fighter came down out of the forest, “so give up and let us move through here.”

“Never! You will die!” he yelled, his men running in to attack.  My people quickly killed the prisoners so they couldn’t be released and fight against us.  The leader came at me, charging with his mace.  I dodged the first swing, but the second swing came down hard onto my shield.  I could feel the hit ripple through the wood and into my arm.  I swung at his neck and he dodged, just missing by an inch.  He swung again and I parried, then swung my sword at his hand.  I hit him hard, but the thick armor prevented me from cutting his hand off.  I could tell I probably broke a bone though.

He went to swing again and dropped the mace.  His hand was definitely broken.  I slammed my shield into his chin, knocking him onto the grass.  I went for a killing blow, but he rolled out of the way before I could reach.  He grabbed his mace with his other hand and came at me again, spitting blood from his mouth from where I’d broken some of his teeth.  He was furious, and that made him reckless.  His mace swings became more wild and were easily blocked and dodged.  While I fought him, I continued to watch the rest of the battle erupting around me.  Aldar was dual-wielding battle axes and looking like a complete badass.  He had already killed two men, and was fighting two more currently.  Unfortunately several of our men were being killed due to the lack of armor and proper weaponry, but we had killed more of them than they had of us.

The leader came at me again, this time swinging really wide and nowhere near me.  I leaned down and brought my shield up quickly, breaking his plate gorget.  The pieces stabbed into his throat and he dropped to the ground on his back, struggling to breath.  I brought my sword down to finish him, but he still tried to fight me, blocking my sword with his mace.  I dropped down on top of him, kicking his good hand with my hoof and breaking his wrist.  He was done, and I quickly took his life.

I stood up, dripping blood, but none of it mine.  The battle raged on around me.  We had lost eleven men, but we had taken them down to ten.  A few of them dropped their weapons and ran off into the woods, deciding they didn’t want to die today.  The six remaining enemies were quickly finished off.

When the battle was finished, the area was red with blood.  We salvaged the armor and weapons from the enemies’ bodies, and then moved the bodies off the enemy into the woods so the people in our convoy didn’t have to see.  I sent two men off to get the convoy moving again, had another few gather our dead so they could be buried properly, and then took a short rest on a clean part of the grass.  Once the convoy had arrived, we moved out.

The path out of the valley was clear and we made it out.  It was a welcome sight, and I quickly jumped into the nearby water to get all the blood off of me.  I probably didn’t smell to great either, but the water helped.  We found a shallow spot in the stream and moved the carts through the area to the other side.  At last, we were all off the island, and we knew that everything was going to be all right… at least, for the moment.

2 responses to “Clearing the valley path

  1. Nice writing Kaat!

    I like the details in Kaats fights in particular!

    Just one point, and maybe that’s even intentional, but is Kaat meant to be so coldhearted and calculating as she’s appearing to me?
    I can’t imagine anyone that has lived through the horrors of war who, in the middle of a battle, is like
    “oh well we lost 11 men of our 16 but hey! they’re down to 10 out of 39 so we’re fine. Oh, look there, a head to crush!”
    It just doesn’t really appear reasonable to me unless she’s kind of become that heartless through stuff happening to her.

    Well maybe she has been and I just don’t know because that’s the first time reading one of her storys. Oh man I’m a mess…

    Anyway, great job!

    • After the death of so many friends and loved ones, over thousands of years of fighting and death, she feels empty and cold inside. Victory in battle is the only thing that gives her any semblance of hope. To see comrades fall in battle no longer effects her as it once did. She used to feel very upset by death, remorseful towards those she killed, saddened by the death of those she once called friends, but no longer. She stopped making friends with other Draenei, not because she didn’t want friends, but just so she didn’t have to feel the pain of their deaths anymore. There are still a few friends of hers around, such as Aldor, but she prefers being alone now when not in battle, and even then prefers to work alone, taking suicide missions because she doesn’t care. Borrowing from Harry Potter, if she died in battle she would greet death like an old friend. Now that she’s on Azeroth though, she will soon find members of the Alliance and perhaps a new lease on life. Hopefully with these new people in her life she can form some meaningful relationships with them, maybe even a romantic one or two, once she gets to the point of not feeling like death is the only thing she knows.

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