Jaeger: Chapter Nine; Raid, Part Three of Three

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    Strong as the Bear
    Swift as the Stag
    Silent as the Wolf
    True as the Eagle
    Such is the way of a Jaeger



    Screams of defiance ran throughout the night. I hurriedly turned to the archer next to me, who pressed himself up against the bark of the tree we sat against.  'It's started. Come on, we better do our job. We've got to pick off the men - hopefully without being shot ourselves.' 
    I nodded at the man. I crouched, looking over the grassy bushes that ringed the path to Dragon Bridge. A large force of men - forty or fifty - stood before the makeshift palisade. They all wore woolen brown undergarments, with iron chainmail like mine, as well as a blue sash on their torsos. The majority carried axes, as well as a few shortswords and knives. A few carried bows. In the back row of the ammassed Stormcloaks, a man wearing a bearskin cloak stood, an incredibly large axe slung over his back. He had long, red hair that fell down to his shoulders like a hood. He wore simple steel plated armor, unlike the others around him. Most likely, he was the leader - Istar Cairn-Breaker. I slammed an arrow down onto my crossbow, centering my aim on a guard near Istar. I paid my attention to the Palisade - upon which, Verulus Vilrar stood. He was yelling orders - or insults - out at his own men, as well as the Stormcloak rebels. He turned to Istar Cairn-Breaker, and yelled a single word - I believe it was "Traitor" - and with that, the Stormcloak leader screamed out, and a wave of Stormcloaks swarmed out towards the Palisade. 



    My shot flew out into the air, thudding into the middle-back of the Stormcloak I'd aimed at. He crumpled to the floor without a sound, save the cricking of his back. I shot a bolt into another Stormcloak, but it hit his shield, shattering the wooden buckler, but most likely, also breaking his arm. He grabbed at his flailing arm, screaming all the while. I shot him again, in the head, to put him out of his misery. He fell. I got up, sprinting to another clump of bushes from which I could better use my archery. I aimed at a Stormcloak mage, who was shooting gouts of fire from his hands. I released the trigger, and the bolt sent him flying into a nearby rock. A guard noticed me, raised his hand in salute, and then parried an oncoming attack from a nearby Stormcloak. I was about to shoot at another Stormcloak rebel, when a loud cry rang out. I searched for the owner, and found him. Henrik Ironfist lay sprawled on the ground, a large gash running the length of his chest. I sprinted over, tears streaming down my face all the way. 



    I found the bearded warrior on the ground. A Stormcloak soldier stood over him, insulting him. I raised my crossbow, and without thinking, sent a bolt flying into him. It ruptured his chest, sending him falling to the ground like a sack of rocks. I knelt over Henrik, who coughed up a sticky red liquid - blood. The wound continued to bleed, and showed no chance of stopping soon. I looked around, searching desperately for any healers. I had almost given up hope, when a voice rang out beside me. 'I know a certain spell that could help him, if you wish.' Tovasi Beravo knelt next to me, his face stricken with grief. His eyes were red and puffy. He had a wound hastily bandaged along his arm. His hair hang down in clumps, and was clearly greasy and oily. He looked older than before. 
    'Do it, then.' Tovasi nodded solemnly, and raised his hands. He began a steady chant, praying to various gods - Mara, Arkay, Azura, Mephala, Boethiah - for their help in the spell. A golden glow began to emanate from his hands, eventually becoming a light that lit up the dark night. He finished his chant, and slammed the glowing hands down upon Henrik's wounded chest, and Henrik spasmed, screaming. Tovasi grimaced, and suddenly, Henrik stopped spasming, and Tovasi stood up. Henrik slowly rose, groaning. 'It's done, Wulf. He'll be fine. Make sure he eats his greens, though.' I grinned sadly. Tovasi smiled back.
    Henrik rose to his feet, his face uneasy. 'Thank you, Dunmer. I did not think you would be kind - it is clear that Nords are not accepting enough of your race.' 
    Tovasi laughed heartily. 'Such is true enough, Nord. Either way, I was taught these spells - it would be criminal not to use them, no?' Henrik nodded. 
    I thanked the Dunmer, and returned to the fray. 



    An arrow hurtled towards my face. I ducked behind the now aflame palisade, watching as the projectile sailed over my head. I rose up, shooting in the direction of the arrow. A satisfying thud told me I was on target. I got up, running towards a clump of Stormcloaks attacking a guard, as well as Farksal, the guard commander. A sword was about to find itself in Farskal's back, but the attacker crumpled as the crossbow smacked him upside the face, sending him sprawling. A bolt to the forehead finished him off. Farskal thanked me, shaking my hand, before blocking an overhead strike from an oncoming soldier. I fended off another rebel with my shortsword, but he was clearly the better at swordplay. I became tired, my arm growing heavy as I parried the heavy strikes of the other man. I could feel him sneering under his helmet. I renewed my effort, but to no avail. The next strike sliced clean through my sword, and only a swift roll saved me. I began to raise my crossbow in defence when a large weight slammed into the Stormcloak, sending him flying into a nearby rock, cracking his neck. I looked at my saviour.
    Be honest. Did you miss me? I smiled at the big dog, who simply barked loudly. I gave him a hug, before running back into the general melee. 



    Istar Cairn-Breaker stood in front of Verulus Vilrar, his axe raised. The older man carried his double-bladed sword, though it remained strapped to his back. A ring of soldiers formed around the two leaders. Blue and red sashes mingled like a sea of blood and water. Various cries and yells were made, along with quite a few bets. Istar looked harshly at Verulus, who grimaced sadly. 'Old Man, you give up now. We will take this town in the name of Ulfric Stormcloak!' 
    Verulus spoke: 'Istar. Why have you fell this low? This town is no military settlement, my old friend. It is but a simple village. They do not need this.'
    I found myself agreeing with him exactly. Istar sneered. 'That is true, but it is in striking distance to the capital! Sure to leave Tullius quaking in his wee Thalmor booties, yes?' I also found this statement to be true. The town was remarkably close to Solitude, allowing a garrison to be placed here. 
    'Istar. One thing we agree on is no more lives need to be wasted. I challenge you, like Ulfric challenged Torygg, to a duel - if I win, you leave, and vice versa.' 
    The Stormcloak commander nodded thoughtfully. 'I accept your challenge, Old Man. Now, let us fight.' 
    Verulus raised his sword, holding it in front of him with the ease of a bladesmaster. He smiled. 'Lets.' 



    Istar charged at the older warrior with a heavy overhanded swing, and when the attack did not find purchase in Verulus' chest, he swung it sideways, hoping to catch the guard commander unawares. Verulus nimbly sidestepped the powerful swing, bringing his sword in for a jab at Istar's chest. Istar failed to move, but his thick armor deflected the strike, sending the sword bouncing off. I found myself cheering for the old Imperial. Tovasi joined me in the chant, alongside Jorge and Henrik. Paws barked. Verulus tried again, an overhand strike with all of his strength behind it. Istar deftly rose his hammer, which blocked the sword. Verulus stagged back, but brought his sword up in time to block the savage blow from his opponent. Istar sneered cruelly at the old warrior. Verulus looked tired, and his attacks soon began to wane, followed by lazy defenses against the heavy hammer wielded by his opponent. Istar sneered once more, and remained sneering the entire while as Verulus blade plunged through his chest, sending him falling to the ground as Verulus strenth left him. They both fell over, Verulus' sword still in hand. I ran through the line of men, and fell to my knees. I checked Verulus' pulse, and was overjoyed to find him alive. I smiled at the old man, who smiled back. Istar lay on the ground in a pool of his own blood. A group of Stormcloaks tended to his body. I watched as Verulus slowly rose, victorious. 'Look up, Verulus. It's over.' I looked towards the sky. The sun began to rise, and with it, so ended the night of blood and steel.



    The wounds had been healed; the bodies had been burnt. The morning sunlight bathed everything in an auburn light. A great pyre licked the sky in the distance, and upon it burnt the bodies of the dead - be them Stormcloak or Guard. The remaining Stormcloak force had left, proving that they would uphold the promise made by their now dead leader. My friends had all survived, including Henrik Ironfist - who owed a great debt to Tovasi Beravo - and Verulus, who regained his strength after his battle against Istar Cairn-Breaker. The palisade had been taken down, and a group of men washed the blood off of the cobblestones. Later that morning, after gathering the guard-forces - including Tovasi, who had been granted permission to return to Solitude with us, and become one of the City Guard. Verulus, however, had decided to stay at Dragon Bridge to heal - he wasn't healthy enough to return to Solitude yet. At midday, we made our way out of the Four Shields, walking through the small town of Dragon Bridge. I studied the wooden homes, as well as the village in general - I wouldn't miss it, though - the only memories here were of blood and steel. I walked over the huge stone bridge that was the namesake of the town, making our way back to Solitude.



    Your's truly, Wulf




1 Comment   |   Paws and 1 other like this.
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  July 6
    The first violent encounter so far and it was well set up. Your gentle style up until now  makes this chapter all the heavier, yet still presented with a similar tempo. This in particular grabbed me: " The sun began to rise, and with it, so ended the...  more