Even after Werrick’s defeat, ending the fight and taking control of the chaos took more than a few minutes. Blacknail ended up stomping around and screaming for over twenty minutes before the last of the fighting stopped. He also ended up killing another knight that tried rallying a resistance, back handing a berserk hobgoblin into submission, and stabbing two horses that wouldn’t shut up. If he hadn’t been in such a bad mood, the last part would almost have been fun.
Most of Werrick’s treacherous force was dead by then, along with quite a few hobgoblins, but many humans did drop their weapons and surrender. Blacknail had their weapons and armor confiscated before putting them under heavy guard. He was told that some of them were nobles that were worth quite a bit in ransom, so he didn’t want to kill them all. Also, appearing merciful and honorable would only help him. He still had to deal with the southern humans and their kingdom. Thus, it was important to make sure they knew he hadn’t betrayed them. It was Werrick who had done that.
As he was looking over the prisoners, Herah appeared and began approaching him. He’d caught glimpses of her after the fight, but he’d been too busy to give her any thought. The other hobs he’d left behind and her must have been drawn to all the noise and joined in the fight late.
“Congratulations on your victory over the Wolf, boss. I knew you could do it!” Herah announced she walked over to him.
Blacknail sighed and used one of his arms to keep her away when she tried to hug him. The female hob tried giving him a seductive and playful look as she tried to slip past his guard, but Blacknail wasn’t in the mood. There would be plenty of time for hugging and sex later.
“Actually, Khita killed Werrick,” he explained as he dodged her lunge.
Frowning, Herah picked herself off the ground. “But she works for you, so it’s the same thing.”
“I doubt that,” Blacknail mumbled sourly. Khita was too scatter brained to truly work for anyone. She simply followed whatever dumb impulses popped into her pink human head.
“Well, he’s dead now, and you avenged your Saeter. You used to mumble about that all the time while we mated. So, let me cheer you up. All this blood in the air is so thrilling. It would be shame to waste the moment,” Herah said as she eyed him knowingly. There was a hungry gleam in her eyes.
Blacknail just sighed again. “No, I got a lot to do still. Maybe later.”
Turning away, he glanced toward the direction in which the ruins of Coroulis lay. Despite having finally killed his mortal foe, there was an almost overwhelming amount of work still to do. He’d sort of assumed that Werrick’s death would automatically make things easier, but it really hadn’t.
Myagnoir still lived, and there was the matter of Ilisti. Blakcnail hoped he was still alive. He needed to track the vympir down and find the silver. Even when that was over with, and Myagnoir wouldn’t be easy to deal with, there was still the slight problems of the boggart hordes spilling forth from the dark paths and the ever-spreading ghoul pestilence. Ugh, it was enough to make Blacknail want to climb a tree and take a nap until everyone left him alone. Why couldn’t his minions be more competent and deal with these things themselves without bothering him? They were really slacking.
Leaving the prisoners behind with their guards, Blacknail led the rest of his force back to the city. His first priority was finding out what had happened to Ilisti. Thankfully, that didn’t turn out to be very hard. After marching through the city gates and back into the ruins, one of Ilisti’s men found them and brought the vympir over. It seemed like six of Ilisti’s personal troops had survived the fight and reunited with their lord.
“What has happened?” Ilisti asked as he stepped out from shadows cast by the ruins of a home. “You seem to have emerged victorious, but is our foe, the Wolf, truly dead? That black-hearted traitor deserves far worse than a swift ending.”
The vympir seemed to have recovered somewhat. He wasn’t limping anymore, although his armor was still dented.
“Ya, he’s dead, but we still have problems,” Blacknail told him.
Ilisti nodded and then looked over at some distant ruins. “Myagnoir. I can sense that the beast still lives. His presence is like a chill wind upon my skin, and a blot upon the land itself.”
“Can you still fight? My minions are gathering up all the fire weapons the mages made and then I’m going to hunt it down before it can heal.”
“You plan seems sound, and nothing would keep me from this battle. So, let us fulfill our quest together. First though, my own condition would be greatly improved by some sustenance. Do you have any dying prisoners?”
“I’m sure there are some humans laying around somewhere,” Blackanil replied. “I’ll have my scouts look.”
The vympir nodded and then followed a pair of hob scouts back out into the forest. Blacknail had given them instructions to find a dying commoner that was away from the prisoners. He didn’t want them panicking when the vympir started feeding.
That done, Blacknail got back to work. Scouts had to be sent out and gear had to be gathered up from where it had been dropped. Myagnoir was wounded, but Blacknail still wanted every fire-lance and mage trick he could get his hands on before confronting the beast. Having as many amulets as possible was even more important. If Myagnoir started using his huge cold attacks again, only those with amulets would be able to stay in the fight.
It didn’t take long for some of the scouts to return. They’d found Myagnoir’s lair. The great beast had retreated into the ruins of a keep.
After following his minions over to the site, Blacknail stared down at it from atop the remains of a tall stone building down the street. The keep was massive construction made up of huge stone blocks, but it was in a state of quite some disrepair. Rubble littered the ground around it, all its towers had fallen, and there was a huge gaping hole in its side. That hole was obviously how Myagnoir entered and left the building.
“What do we do now, boss?” Herah asked from beside him.
“Now, we watch and wait for Ilisti to get back, and then we make a plan,” he replied.
Thankfully, Ilisti soon showed up with a new spring in his step. Apparently, a stiff drink of altered human blood had really energized him. As he reached Blacknail’s side, they immediately began planning and plotting. Then, when they had decided on a course of action, they sprang into action.
The force split into three. The first group was the largest and contained all the Ilisti, Khita, and most the troops. The second was made of up the hobgoblin mages and their guards, while the third was the smallest and comprised of Blacknail and a few of his tougher hobgoblins. On the street, Ilisti’s group took up position between the mages and the hole in the keep wall. Meanwhile, Blacknail’s group circled around to the side.
As Blacknail hid behind some rubble in an alley next to the road, the battle began with a dramatic flair. The hobgoblin mages opened fire, sending four hissing fireballs up into the air. The burning magic arced down at the keep a moment later and then hit the ruins with a series of loud bangs. Crackling flames washed over the stones and one even flew into the hole in the keep’s wall before exploding.
The response to the attack was immediate and powerful. A furious roar echoed out from the keep, shaking the very stones before hitting the attackers. Blacknail winced as the painful sound pierced his ears and reverberated through his head. Ugh, Myagnoir was loud!
A second later, a blast of air ripped out of the keep, extinguishing the flames from the hobgoblin’s attack. The wicked gale then raced down the street and hit Ilisti’s force. They shivered and stumbled back under its force, but it only lasted for moment before ending.
However, that was when Myagnoir emerged halfway out of the keep and looked around. The beast had no choice but to come out and face its attackers, since the keep wouldn’t shield it from repeated waves of fireballs. The fiery blasts would collapse the old stone structure eventually. The huge mutant drake glared spitefully at the forces before it. It then let out another roar of challenge before stepping completely out of the keep and out onto the road.
Immediately, Imp and the hobgoblin mages launched another volley of fireballs at the beast. The fiery projectiles zoomed toward the drake with lethal intent, but then Myangoir replied by exhaling deeply toward the incoming missiles. The breath contained a wave of magical power. It rippled out from the drake and slammed into the fireballs. They were snuffed out by the freezing air and their remains were blasted off into the distance.
Seemingly unconcerned, the hobgoblin mages simply threw another four fireballs at Myagnoir. They had a lot of mana stones, and were under orders not to hold anything back. Their target reacted as before, unleashing another great breath of freezing air at the incoming attacks which dispelled them. However, Imp wasn’t done. As Myagnoir exhaled, he raised a staff taken from a fallen human mage and shot a beam of intense burning heat straight toward Myagnoir.
The attack caught Myagnoir off guard, and slammed into its shoulder, blackening scales and causing the beast to roar in pain before it could respond. A moment later, Myagnoir jumped away from the beam and then summoned a swirling shield of freezing air that surrounded its body, but it had clearly been wounded again. The burn on its shoulder looked serious.
Of course, this wound only seemed to enrage Myagnoir further. Roaring in defiance, the great beast charged toward Ilisti’s force with obvious violent intent. Imp sent another beam of heat at Myagnoir, but the mutant’s magic shield shredded it.
Surrounded by spinning gusts of icy wind, Myagnoir slammed into the force that was standing between him and the mages. For a few seconds, the hobgoblins tried to repulse him, but then they quickly began to break. Huge claws threw them aside as chilling winds tore into them. Most of them didn’t have amulets to protect them from the cold, and those without quickly turned and fled before the killing cold. Thankfully, Myagnoir wasn’t projecting his cold very far from his body any more. He seemed to not have as much energy as before.
Not everyone fled before the great drake though, Ilisti and Khita held their ground, while a few hobs with amulets rallied round them. Dodging the drake’s bites and slashes, they struck back with their own weapons. Ilisti sidestepped a claw and then stabbed it with the fire-lance he was holding. Khita also had a fire-lance, and she had no problem dodging, but her attempts to counter with the fire-lance were clumsy and missed. Clearly, she had no idea how to use the weapon. One hobgoblin wasn’t so lucky though. Striking with startling speed, Myagnoir’s head shot forth and its jaws closed down on him. A second later, the hobgoblin vanished down the drake’s gullet.
That didn’t stop Ilisti from dashing forward and stabbing Myagnoir in the ribs. Enraged, Myagnoir attempted to barrel right through its attackers and crush them beneath its weight. Growling furiously, it let out a pulse of frost that stunned the nearby hobgoblins and human. Then, its claws and tail lashed out violently as it charged through their center.
One hob was thrown aside by the strike of a claw, and everyone else was forced to flee from the creature’s powerful and furious advance. Some stumbled back while trying to defend themselves, while others simply turned and ran. Roaring in triumph, Myagnoir then broke through and advanced toward the mages that had hurt it.
However, this was all part of Blacknail’s plan. As the mutant drake surged past the scattered remains of Ilisti’s troops, Imp hit it with another heat beam. The magic attack slammed into the drake’s wind shield, doing no damage, but weakening the power of the shield. The swirling wind died down as the heat beam assaulting it faded, allowing Ilisti and Khita to throw themselves back into the fight. They both came in from the front and slashed at Myagnoir’s limbs, forcing the huge drake to end its charge. Hurt and occupied by the enemy in front of it, Myagnoir didn’t notice Blacknail.
The hobgoblin chieftain had been hiding at the edge of the road in some ruins, until Myagnoir’s charge had brought it right past his position. Now that Myagnoir was stuck in place and busy fighting Ilisti and Khita right in front of him, Blacknail sprang into action. With fire-lance in hand, he quickly scrambled up the side of a crumbling building. After pulling himself up onto what remained of the structure’s roof, he glanced at his foe again. He was about head height with the drake now, and Myagnoir appeared to still be completely unaware of his presence.
In fact, as Blacknail watched, Ilisiti charged in to strike at the beast’s flank and Myagnoir responded. The great drake stepped sideways -toward Blacknail’s location- and then leaned down to bite at the vympir. Thankfully, Ilisti managed to dodge.
This was too good of an opportunity for Blacknail to ignore. A crazy idea popped into his head. He knew it was a little risky, but he was feeling bold. Werrick was already dead, and he had died in a very unsatisfying way. Now was his chance to do something amazing. It wasn’t like he had a lot of long term plans any more.
Grinning, Blacknail drew on the magic in his core and threw himself off the top of the building, straight at the top of Myagnoir’s head. Wind rushed past the hobgoblin’s body as he flew toward the beast’s grey scales, and hungry excitement coursed through his body alongside his blood. He raised his fire-lance up above his head.
Then, Blacknail’s feet made contact with the top of Myagnoir’s head. The landing sent a shock up through his legs, but Blacknail still managed to keep himself steady and stab down at Myagnoir’s skull with his fire-lance. As he drew on magic to put as much strength as possible into the blow, he activated the weapon itself. The length of the lance immediately began shimmering hazily as intense heat radiated out from it. That heat pushed back against the chill around Myagnoir, causing the air to hiss and swirl.
Myangoir couldn’t miss the sensation of Blacknail landing on top of its head, and it instantly sensed danger and tried to shake the unseen creature off. However, it wasn’t nearly fast enough. Before it could do more than shiver, Blacknail struck. His fire-lance hit scales and then burned through them as the hobgoblin’s enhanced strength and momentum drove the lance deep. The weapon struck bone and vibrated from the impact, but then the magic weapon cracked its way through and sank into Myangoir’s brain, unleashing a wave of withering heat.
The great drake screamed again, although this time the noise was nothing like anything it had made before. The air seemed to vibrate in resonance with the beast’s primal pain. The sound tore into Blacknail, and would have hurt him more, but he had already been thrown off Myagnoir by the beast’s spasms of pain. Blacknail twisted around in mid-air in an attempt to land on his feet. As he neared the stone covered ground, he managed to get them underneath him, but didn’t quite succeed in catching himself. Falling sideways, he threw himself into a roll that sent him away from his foe.
Meanwhile, Myagnoir was still screaming in pain and flailing around. The beast’s bulk slammed into the building Blacknail had been standing on a minute ago, demolishing it and sending up a huge cloud of dust. Its tail then smashed into another building, destroying it as well. The drake certainly seemed unsteady on its feet.
As Blacknail got to his feet, he watched Myagnoir pull itself and step out of the dust cloud. The massive mutant drake then turned to look squarely at the hobgoblin that had stabbed it. Its eyes betrayed more than a little pain and confusion, but they absolutely radiated hatred that was aimed right at Blacknail. Hissing furiously, the drake then lurched toward him. The ground shook beneath its heavy footsteps and it jaws opened wide, revealing wicked looking teeth of immense size.
The drake’s charge was startlingly fast, considering its wounds, and as it moved, it unleashed a massive surge of power. A blast of cold air erupted from Myagnoir, sending loose stone flying and hitting Blacknail like a furious blizzard.
As the freezing power washed over him, all the hobgoblin could do was stumble back and stare at his approaching death. The cold seemed to sap all his strength, despite his amulet. He was paralyzed and stuck in place as the drake loomed over him and prepared to strike.
Myagnoir then took another step toward him, before collapsing. There was a loud boom as its huge body hit the ground, and the hobgoblin was treated to a wonderful view of his fire-lance still sticking out of Myagnoir’s skull. The beast’s now closed jaws were only a few feet away.
“Oh, good,” Blacknail managed to squeak out as he stared at the body of his fallen foe. “I think I won.”
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