It was a sunny afternoon, a bountiful harvest in the summer for all the villagers to share. The inhabitants of the village were friendly, they
welcomed travelers with open arms, and few carried a weapon. Why should they? The nearest guard post was less than a mile away. They entrusted the
kingdom with their lives and that's why they were an obvious choice.
The Arden Wood Raiders, a small group of outcasts, barbarians and thieves who have banded together for a common goal. Survival, the one thing
you fight for everyday. But also for pleasure. Killing, pillaging, stealing, these were all enjoyment to them. There were only ten of them, gathered
around the campfire waiting for their leader, Warlord Ulfang, to give them their orders. The village was three miles away and in clear site of their
current location. The guard post, counting up to 20 heavily armed men were only about two miles away. And so boomed the voice of a large man, dressed
in nothing but chainmail and fur to protect himself. "Listen up maggots, the guard post is our first target. We've got to get rid of those dogs but
without alerting the village. Once we get that done, it's time for the fun part." He stood up, bearing his axe across his shoulder. He glared around
the fire, looking into the eyes of his party. "We've done this before, it's just like stomping a spider. Let no one escape, no prisoners. Take anything
valuable." He finished, gesturing to one of his raider. The raider nodded slightly, walking over to the edge of the clearing. Ulfang turned towards
his party and slammed his fist into his chest, not even letting out a breath. The rest of his party stood up, looking around at eachother. The
raiders began to prepare for the assault, they packed up their camp site, slipped on clothing, and loaded their quivers. One of the raider returned
carrying an unlit torch, he knelt down by the fire thrusting the torch into the flames. The rest of the group ignored him, tending to their business
like always. Ulfang threw his arm into the air, pointing at the guard post. A small clearing with a stone tower, fortified with wooden walls, spikes
protruding the sides. The raiders began to make their move, slipping into the trees like shadows. The first raider pulled the flaming torch out of
the fire. Chuckling quietly, he threw it to the edge of the clearing from where he returned.
Thirteen guards exited from the front gate, all staring over at the fire. One of the younger guards, a boy at the age of 18 nudged his senior.
The guard glanced over, curling his eyebrows. The younger guard shrugged, whispering to him. "Do fires just start like that?" He pointed over to the
fire, the senior guard sighing. "Sometimes... Who knows what cause them but there's no need to worry. We just gotta investigate and there are still
twelve others back here." He turned around swiftly, straigtening his pose. The younger guard looked at him confused and was just about to speak out
when a voice, deep and commanding interrupted him. "Recruit! What in god's name are you doing?" The younger recruit stumbled back into his position
straigtening his back. The guard captain smirked, drawing his face closer to the recruit's. "If you do not follow orders correctly..." He craned his
neck to the recruit's ear, whispering menacingly. "You will not survive..." He leaned backwards, chuckling lightly as he began to march back down
the line. The recruit didn't dare let out a breath, not even glancing towards the senior guard when he whispered to him. "Sorry..." The captain
began to walk towards the road, barking out commands to the others. The line began to split up, forming into two parallel lines behind the captain.
"We're moving out! Stay ready!" He ordered, marching into the woods.
The raiders didn't dare breath as the group marched by. Ten bandits dressed in furs didn't stand a chance against twelve heavily armed guards
with twelve more only several meters behind. The fire was a half mile behind them, the smoke still largely visible in the sky. The guards marched right
pass not even glancing in the direction of the raiders. The leader of the group yelled something out, the raider couldn't hear but the group broke
into the trees. The raiders lost sight of them. They all glanced back, turning to their leader. Ulfang nodded, raising his arm towards the guard post.
The group broke off from eachother, slipping through the trees and surrounding the small buildings. It would've been almost impossible to get in but
the spikes along the side gave the more agile raiders an entrance. The spikes were spaced apart about two or three feet, an easy task for them. Two
of the raiders hopped onto the spikes, opposite walls from eachother. Karma hopped along the spikes easily, her bow slung along her back. She used
one of the spikes up ahead to swing over to one six feet away. There was only a few feet left before she could scale over the wall. She cleared the
distance in a few short minutes, the raider on the other side just popping his head over the wall. Karma surveyed the area, glancing at the guards
patrolling the walls. Her gaze falling upon two levers on opposite sides of the gates. The raider on the other side also noting this ducked his head
down, two guards passing right over him. Karma hopped over the wall, crouching in between a stack of dark brown crates, her dark clothing blending
in. Another set of guards marched by, carrying a bottle of alcohol in each hand. Karma grinned, drunk guards were easier to deal with then sober ones.
As soon as they disappeared from her sight, she ducked out of the crates scurrying along the wooden platform. She crouched down next to the lever,
the raider on the other side just hurrying along. They had to do this quick because once the guards found out, they'd be all over them. The raider
on the other side, kneeled by the lever quickly giving Karma the thumbs up. She clasped her hands around the handle and pulled down, struggling against
the rusty chains. The wooden gate began to creak open, the rustling of chains loud enough for the raiders outside to hear. Karma began to sweat, a
few yells could be heard from inside the tower. The two doors from either side were knocked open and guards began to swarm out. The raider on the
other side had just finished pressing his lever down and began to scurry down the ladder. The door was halfway only halfway open, the sun dawning
down on the gates. Karma shrugged and began to slide down the ladder, half-open gates were better than nothing.
The raiders charged into the compound, their weapons raised high. Several of them threw projectiles at the oncoming guards, the rest ran along
the walls. Avoiding the arrows flying over to them. Ulfang, too large to slide through the door pressed his hands along the wooden gates. His muscles
bulged out as he began to push against the doors, a grunt escaping his mouth. The chains began to rattle, struggling against Ulfang's might. The
wooden door began to creak, sliding open a few inches. Ulfang dropped his hands, raising them over his back. He tightened his hands around his axe,
pulling it out of it's sling. He grinned and charged into the compound.
The small group of guards from outside the fort began to edge their way out of the forests, they had just put out the fire. It was man-made.
They discovered a torch at the center of the fire, it looked like a camp had been set in the clearing a top a hill. They didn't stop long to
investigate it, the captain commanded them all to hurry back to the guard post. That was ten minutes ago, now they broke through the trees and made
it into the clearing outside the compound. Several of the guards were panting for air, their heavy armor dragging them down. The captain slipped
past the ranks and stared over at the compound. The gates were closed, the lights were on. It looked pretty normal, the only thing it lacked were
the guards that were supposed to greet them on their return. The captain raised his hand, flicking his wrist towards the wooden doors. Six of the
guards ran up to the door, they stopped a few feet away and knelt down. Bringing their shields up, the looked around the walls. Nothing. The captain
strolled up behind the front ranks, the other group forming up behind him. The captain stepped past the first rank, yelling out. "Asta!? Feran!?
Step up immediately!" He stepped back behind the first rank, tapping his feet impatiently. A minute had passed, the captain was getting impatient.
He raised his arm and called to his men. "Knock the gate down, sec-" He was interrupted by a yell from above. The guards outside glanced up, two
guards on either side of the gate smiled down at them. "Ah! Hello captain! Fine day ain't it?" The captain smirked, stepping past the first rank again.
He called up to the guards, anger rising in his voice. "What the hell are you two doing? I've been waiting out here for an hour! Open the damn gates!"
The two guards glanced over their shoulder, nodding slightly. Thye began to push down on the lever, the gate creaking open with it. The captain sighed,
raising his arm. The group began to make their way into the fort.
The raiders lie in wait, two of them set on top of the wall, six hidden alongside the gate and two inside the stone tower. None of them were
dead but Ulfang did get an arrow in his shoulder, he waved the healer away. He wanted to get the job done as soon as possible, the guards were right
outside. He leaned against the wooden wall, watching as thirteen guards strolled into the compound. He grinned, gesturing to the raider above him.
He nodded and stepped onto the wooden platform, repeating the gesture to the others. The two guards held hostage darted their eyes around frantically.
They were nervous, very nervous but they weren't for long. A blade pierced each of them through the neck, the only thing escaping their mouth was a
horrible gurggling sound. As the small group of guards entered the clearing, they looked up over the walls just to see two bodies flying down at them.
The guards stood there shocked as the raiders leapt into action. The raiders on top of the walls were gifted with magic, a capability a few of the raiders
despised. One of the magicians began to set his abilities to work, casting spell after spell of variety down at the group, careful not to hit one of his
own. The other magician knelt down, surveying the chaos. He knew only about healing, combat spells a good length away for him. He grinned as Ulfang rushed
into the crowd, hacking through the pitiful shields the guards had. He unslung his bow, pulling the string back with his finger. He was not restrained
to his healing work, he was also handy with a bow. He wasn't the greated but he was sure he wouldn't hit one of his own, he'd be extra careful after
nailing Ulfang once.
In just two minutes, the guards were reduced to seven left. Raska, the young guard was dueling with one of the raiders. His armor saving his life
more than once, the enemy was experienced he knew but was only equipped with a vest of fur and a rusted blade. He raised his shield in front of his face,
the blow of the raider's blade passing through his arm. He stumbled backwards, his arm flailing around uncontrollably. He hit his heel into something,
tripping over a corpse. He fell back, hitting his head against a wooden barrel. He groaned, opening his eyes just in time to see the raider leaping over
the corpse. He yelped out for help, raising his shield to cover his head. His sword lying three feet away. The raider was just over him, laughing
maniacally. He brought his blade down, Raska shut his eyes praying for a miracle. That miracle came, his senior guard dashed in front of him.
The guard deflected the raider's blade, the raider furled his brows in surprise. Raska was just as surprised, a small croak escaping his mouth.
But this miracle didn't last long... The senior guard turned around and extended his arm towards Raska. The young guard reached his hand out, smiling
lightly. The guard began to pull him up but only a split second later. Raska fell back down grunting as his back hit the same barrel. He stared wide-mouthed
at his senior, an arrow lodged deep within his throat. Raska slumped down against the barrel, his vision blurring. His hearing began to die down, a
stinging sensation creeping up his chest. He gazed down, an arrow lodged itself deep into his heart. Raska did not feel pain for long, his mind slipping
off into death. The sun went down, bringing the last slither of light with it.
Several hours later, when the sun began to rise. The group of raider were standing around the gate, all cheering happily. They managed to kill
off 25 guards with only one casualty. They'd lost Jimmie, a thief from the small village across the forest. Of course, the village is nothing but ashes
now but memory serves to call it that. They'd dumped the bodies into the cellar, including their deceased comrade's for what use was he to them now?
They'd strip the fort of it's valuables, stashing it in the forest. They'd have to return to pick it up later, all the goods to heavy for one go. They
also had business to attend to. Ulfang laughed cheerfully, taking a large gulp out his alcohol. He threw the bottle to the ground, the bottle shattering
with a clang. Ulfang started to walk off, the rest of the group following in pursuit. They started down the path towards the village.