Chapter 13: Breaking the Siege

 
Chapter 13: Breaking the Siege

Epic Soundtrack

With one final crash, the gates of the besieged Watchtower of Baden Falls give way, splinters of wood flying through the air and into the fire-wreathed archway. The yelps of triumph from the invaders quickly turn to shouts of panic, fear, and pain as the first wave tries to make their way into the unanticipated inferno. The heated pitch has started to melt out from the barrels, slicking the ground with a flaming black goo that underlies the wall of flame forming the defenders' last battle line.

Caedmon gives the approaching gnoll one more look before nudging Ken. "Time to make tracks," he suggests as he sheathes his blade and runs to the spot where the horses are waiting. The ranger vaults into his saddle with a smooth movement and looks to Rives, sitting astride the tall warhorse Strider, for the signal to charge.

The collapse of the gate and the howls from the gnolls was all that Rives' tenuous composure could take. He flinched, no nearly jumped in is saddle, and Strider seemed to share that unease by rearing up from the near-apocalyptic scene in front of them and flailing his front hooves wildly in the air. Rives leans far forward in the saddle in a desperate attempt not to be thrown from his mount and the horse comes down and breaks into a dead sprint towards the gates and the stunned gnolls. Rives stays low in the saddle, hanging on for dear life and letting out a terrible (or is it terrified) scream as he and his horse approach the flames.

Alelip screams, at the top of his lungs, "NOW!" and, while trying to ensure that the horse does not throw him, digs his feet into the horse's hindquarters to urge it to go as fast as possible.

As he approaches the flames, he draws in as close to the horse as he can, to minimize the risk of catching fire.

Kenjin followed Caedmon to the horses and climbed into the saddle of the largest available mount. "In the future, before I decide to light a great bonfire in the threshhold of the only way out of wherever we are, could someone please tell me we plan to use said exit?"

Odd that at that moment he feared the fire more than he did the Gnolls but to stay behind meant suicide. Nevertheless, it took a great deal of mental convincing to get to the point where he was prepared to follow the others through that flaming hell.

"Ok, let's do this!" She shouted over the chaos. As the others surge forward on their mounts so too does kenjin, certain that he is about to become a flaming brisket treat for the Gnoll invaders.

Marin was just quiet, praying soflty on her mount. At the order, she reacted a second too late and as she spurred her horse cursed for letting her fear control her. Copying her comrades, she was almost lying over the neck of her mount as it ran as fast as it could, frightened by the fire and the gnolls and Marin was doing what she could to keep her balance and not be a hindrance in the escape.

Caedmon brings up the rear, urging the riderless horse to stay in line, as the daredevil squad bursts through the gateway with a bravado born of desperation. Fortunately for them, this tactic is as shocking to the onrushing gnolls as it is to the soldiers themselves. Not a single axe is raised, nor spear thrust, nor arrow launched, as the steaming sextet of horses comes barreling out through the fiery mouth of the watchtower. The gnolls that had descended the stairwell try to pursue only to be thwarted by the unexpected bonfire.

Naturally, the surprise only lasts for a handful of moments, but it is enough to give the wily riders a lead of almost a hundred yards. The forces attacking the watchtower make no attempt at pursuit, realizing the hopelessness of their task; a few fire arrows but none find their targets.

The initial surge of adrenaline begins to taper off, and Rives comes to realize that he is at the head of a column of riders charging overland at breakneck speed through a forest presumably rife with enemy forces. Indeed, the hoots and yelps of the hyena-headed gnolls and their fully canine companions are echoing among the trees...

OOC: Which way do you ride?

OOC: into the ambush, why do you ask?

Rives let's Strider take the lead, not having thought about the plan beyond "get the horses out of the keep." Honestly, he was still in awe that the plan had actually worked.

ooc: I would think we would ride out in whatever direction the gate was facing.

Alelip keeps low as he passes through the flames, trying to shield himself with the body of the horse that he is riding from the heat of the flames. As he clears the flames, and as he continues to ride hard away from the attacking gnolls and into a forest, he sneaks a peak behind him and sees that everyone made it out and is still mounted. A dawning realization is reflected in the growing smile on his face, which is that the plan had worked, spectacularly in fact, but that now that they were clear of the assault they needed to double back and find the rest of the men.

When he gets what he judges to be a good distance away from the attacking gnolls, or at least the ones that he can see, he begins to pull up on the reins of his horse.

Kenjin holds on for his very life. He was no horseman, not at all, in fact the mere thought of riding often filled him with dread. Wanting nothing more than to be off his mount only the hoots of nearby, hidden enemies keep him in the saddle. A moment of clarity comes over him as the trees rush by and the keep falls away at their rear. He smiles.

"Glad we had a plan!" He shouts out to the others, not concerned as to whether or not their enemy can hear him. "For if we didnt I would really be worried right now!"

"Do we have one for now? Glad to hear it!" replied Marin from her place near the rear, more concentrated on not falling from her horse than keeping with the tone of voice of Ken. Once she was tempted to try drawing her sword, but the mere thought of loosing hold of the reins made her change her opinion

"You know, once we finish this I'll demand horseriding lessons from Rives!" she says for a moment looking to her side and paling at the shadows of the gnolls. "How in the Nine Hells are we going to fight them?" the cried in her mind




 

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