Attack Upon the Pack

I watched as Vader and Glenn collided with the main troops, the only bloodshed followed that affair. Mere was fast, but not fast enough to catch up before the action commenced. Looking ahead, I soon realized most of these Gnolls would likely dead by the time I got there. Instantly the idea of charging in there with them seemed a lot less appealing. Just then an eruption of black fog engulfed the battlefield, and I hatched a plan.

Time to take a detour-

Guiding Mere around the smoke, I worked my way around the main battle, soon finding, myself at the back end of the Gnoll combatant force. The smoke was beginning to dissipate, and just as I had projected, the two warriors were working their way through the crowd with deadly efficiency. Despite the advantage that may have existed on horseback, I decided I'd be able to maneuver the battlefield a little easier on foot. I dispelled Mere, my feet planting themselves onto the ground as the mass under me vanished into smoke. 5 plain Gnolls remained, noticing my presence they looked back at me, then glanced at Glenn and Vader, the two's approach slowed but still steady. It seemed with the help of simple arithmetic they figured one enemy was preferable to two and began to charge me. Hand on my blade as it rested in its scabbard, I waited in patient anticipation for a deadly opening.

The rearmost of the pack loosed a throwing spear, and I saw my opening. Dashing forward, I slashed forward at the spear, splinters exploding outward towards the dogmen. There was a slight hesitation, all I needed, and I continued my charge, slashing at the first enemy I came into contact with. Reeling from the first attack, I swung again, slashing across its belly, before pushing past it. A heavier Gnoll came in crashing his mace down upon me. Pulling my scabbard lose, I blocked the attack, struggling to maintain my footing but doing so nevertheless. I felt time slow as I realized another Gnoll had taken this opportunity to try and get in a free swing. Stepping one foot out, I span and pivoted, no longer in the place I had previously occupied. The sudden feat of athleticism caught the big dog off guard, and the downward force he had previously expelled upon me sent him to his knees, all the while my ambusher found nothing but air with his sword. I had no time to waste, I sprung myself forward on one leg, the other using the fallen Gnolls back as a platform. I leaped high above tallest head among them, preparing to bring my sword down with deadly force. Just then, I heard a whistle, shock filling me as time slowed once more, just in time for me to see one sly arrow speeding towards me. No time to parry the projectile, I spun, determined to take the hit in the back where most of my plating resided. The arrow had such force behind it, I instantly regretted taking the hit, and growled in my thought as my opportunity to attack was squandered.

It's that damn archer again-

I landed with a roll, I could feel the arrowhead piercing my back plating, but once again, minimal damage. Thank god for natural armor. I nano-seconds, the ambush Gnoll was upon me, he swung down, however, I blocked the attack with my sword, using this time to drop my scabbard, freeing my left hand. With a strong flourish to the left and a side step to the right, I dispelled the dog's attack, coming in close and running him through the torso. I removed his dying mass from my blade with a kick, pulling it free, and proceeded to Big, Slow and Stupid, careful to keep him in between me and where the archer's arrow had come from. The Gnoll came in with a heavy right swing, seeing it coming I ducked under, towards it, taking a swing of my own and its lower legs. Drawing my sword back, I followed through with a butt of my swords handle to facilitate the Gnoll's keeling over, with his legs slashed and the pain in his gut, my assailant began to topple. He wouldn't have the chance to fall through, as my blade thrust upward through his jaw, piercing the bottom of his skull. Blood gushed from his maw as his eyes rolled back, the brain losing control of the body. Pulling my blood-stained weapon lose once more, I turned towards the last two, fury boiling my chest. They were a lot smaller than the others, who on average dwarfed an average human male. They almost resembled pups, if pups stood on their hind legs and held swords. Nevertheless, there was no more standing to watch, these two had been inactive throughout most of the fight, but now they had no choice but to attack. As they haphazardly charged forward, I almost thought I saw fear in their eyes.

This was the final stretch, Vader and Glenn would soon be upon me, and I wanted to finish this before they arrived. The first slashed forward, not careful with its application of force and almost falling over on its own. I sidestepped the attack, kicking the Gnoll down as it passed me. The second made to swing at me, but I attacked preemptively, catching the Gnoll's face and sending it into a falling stagger. The other one had stood once more, I turned and slashed down, my blade already upon before I had even registered it in my sight. My blade ran across its chest and it toppled, likely bleeding out. I turned once again, expecting the last Gnoll to have recovered by now, but it hadn't, despite not being mortally wounded, it seemed it had had enough.

An easy kill then... I observed coldly, realizing this just as soon as the thought escaped me.

My attention immediately shifted to the hills. This archer had made his perch somewhere on the heightened terrain. I only needed one arrow to figure out his location and then I'd be soon upon him. There was no arrow though, I was growing impatient, the anticipation like a heavy weight on my shoulders. My focus on searching for the archer was suddenly dashed when I felt clawed paws wrap around my foot.

"Al..phaaa...wass wronnnn-g..."

I looked down to see one of the other Gnolls, a trail of blood in its wake and its entrails being held at his waist with one hand. It strained for breath and likely blood as well but still, it persisted.

"The....pup-s..." It rasped, looking towards the bodies of my last two assailants. The light of its eyes faded as it stared, inanimated in death.

I followed his eyes, finding myself looking at my work, blood coated the grass on which I stood. I silently observed what I had just done.

Just then my Combat Reflexes triggered, and I realized what a mistake I had made. Turning, I noticed the archer's arrow, but this was no ordinary arrow, strapped to it was a stick of something most definitely explosive, the fuse was lit and burning. I realized I had only one chance to make up for my mistake, if I cut it just right, I might have been able to sever the fuse from the explosive. I raised my blade, time was not on my side and I had little ability to cherry-pick a specific angle. The projectile came forth and I slashed at it, managing to cut halfway through the explosive before It began to prime, It was hardly a foot from my face.

Too slow.

I watched in horror as the explosive slowly began to burst, light and fire escaping it in a slowly expanding cloud. It was agony, all the time available to me and nothing to do with it but contemplate my previous actions. Just as I had begun to do so, time resumed to normal, the expanding cloud before nothing but a numbing flash as the blast sent me flying.

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