Rise of the Alstalar

Breach!

The Destral of Ophen is impregnable...

Bael’Thar’s, so far, incomplete recollection of his first day as a member of the esteemed Alstalar.

‘These swine had best hurry’, Bael’Thar of Black Omen muttered to himself. The ever-present acrid smoke of Ophen’s cheap candles filled the dim room. Pathetic recruits surrounded the impatient orc, as he endured his eternal wait in line. Next to him a small human, smelling of manure and wearing a peculiar head-dress, yammered on seemingly about nothing to no one. ‘How has this dump survived?’ Bael’Thar, about to berate the odd human, uncharacteristically hesitated. The little man seemed familiar to the burly warrior. ‘Bracken’. He recalled the warchief speaking with the weedy man and the stern admonition, ‘Do not harm him’. The orc brooded. Finally, the old man behind the book motioned for Bael’Thar to approach. With a few strokes of the old man’s quill, Bael’Thar was the newest member of the feared Alstalar. That was it. No blood rituals, no chants, no invocations. No drums even! He stared at the tiny yellow pin in his hand. ‘What is this?’, he growled.

Fixated on the dull pin in his heavy hand, Bael’Thar wandered away. Some old human gassed on about little of importance. In a flash Bael’Thar’s eyes narrowed and his concentration returned. Sounds of discord from outside. A single word, ‘Breach!’ The orc sprinted out the door his axe, Titan’s Wrath, already in hand. Mindful of the implacable warchief’s command, Bael’Thar rumbled, ‘Bracken, with me! Today is for blood and fire!’ The orc’s thundering roar scattered the timid humans, who fled his inexorable stride.

The panicked words were true. The demons had somehow breached the Destral and were pouring through. An Earthen Bellower of monstrous size led the way, surrounded by a swarm of bloodflies. Lurking in the back a Splintusk Crusher, howled and snorted with an unearthly fury. The air filled with the stench of fear as the terrified Ophenians tried to flee from the demonic doom.

But Ophen was not a helpless babe in the woods; it had its defenders. A solitary woman stood firm before the demon-spawn, resolute in her duty to protect the citizens of Ophen. And a lone, grim archer of uncanny aim calmly and ruthlessly pierced the bloated bloodflies, each with a single unerring arrow. Cleverly he withheld his deadly shafts until the vermin were isolated, lest their death throes spatter the desperate defenders of Ophen with their lethal acid, even timing a strike so that the brutish Bellower should suffer the burns of the acid.

Bael’Thar arrived late to the battle. Already the corrupted beasts were hungrily moving towards the helpless commoners, spurred on by their Splintusk master.

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Meshon Keebler

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