Iron Heart - Through fire (X)

There was clearly that something went wrong when shouts and weapons clashing started to hear from behind them. The dwarf leading them raised his hand in the air: stop and wait. It was getting closer. Form the line facing it! The shields touched the frozen grass unbelievably silent and the archers took position behind their bearers. What was coming was in for a treat! They listened intently and it was clear a class of the free people and the orc rolling their way, the sound closer and closer until, from behind the rocks they could see it. The shieldbearers formed a phalanx covering their few lightly armored camarades in the center. She recognized Turuninde between her brother and Tolmen, carrying a shield too big for her, covered in red email, its silver shine on the star effigy and on its bruises. She was so thin that there was only one possibility of her wielding such a huge shield that came to Turuviel’s mind, and that was so strange that it seemed impossible as well! One metal only there was that light weighted and resistant, for that shield was no mere toy! How would she have such a treasure to wield? But this was not the time to admire gear.  


Around them ten more enemies were trying to break the phalanx, going rounds like mad bees or wolfs attacking a much bigger prey. They were ever unsuccessful but the phalanx had also no chance of trimming their number, so they led them into a trap with their apparently hopeless retreat. The whisper of the command came and the volley took flight barely heard, from impossibly afar, like only old skill and desperate need guides hands. They reloaded while their enemies roared in pain and confusion. A few fell to the ground while Tyelpenasse looked their direction with a wolfish grin on his face and cheered. The plan worked. The second volley took its own toll with equal efficiency. The orcish horde changed its plan and charged towards the flying death source but behind them the phalanx broke into a line and they were soon crushed between the two groups of the free people in a turmoil of shouting. 


The dwarf commander laughs and his heavy hand hits the shoulder of the one leading the supposedly stealthy group. “I take it we are now expected?” The other scoffs and nods. “So be it! It was a smart move to rally with us, don’t look so crestfallen! It seems you had no losses and no wounded, so I say we make the best of it not giving them time to call for reinforcements or better their defensive positions. Two of the archers! Go up that height and arrow down any emissary you see riding for Grams! If it looks like a bigger than that retreating army do not engage it and come join us in the mines, we’ll probably need help cleaning up.” Shrieking of something big  against the top of trees interrupted his boasting and all turned to where it came from. A younger dwarf gave an almost cheerful battlecry. “Drakes! Damed drakes!” “Now if they decided to join the party let’s greet them accordingly, lads!” “Axes and shields!” “At them!” came from all the short and stout warriors. The elves looked annoyed at one another: the old enmity of drakes and dwarfs found an evil way to bite them all now that speed was of importance and they could not afford wounded and losses against a defended keep where the naugrim habitude with such environment was priceless. The drakes needed to be put down fast and without losses, with all the skill the whole force was able to muster, this was no hobby hunt around their halls.

The old one-eyed Noldo was the first to voice it aloud: “Now you won’t keep such a hunt only to yourselves, would you?!” And he charged with equal frenezy as the dwarfs, the heavy shield held high looking weightless in his skilled hands . Some dwarfs cheered and all in the group readied their weapons as the rain of fire, claws and chilling screams came pouring over them from the sky.