Arenth watched from the woods as the the men swarmed into the village. King’s paladins, by the look of them. In lieu of the traditional armor a knight of the Kingdom would wear, they wear clad only in robes of varying colors. Arenth scanned the invaders for one clad only in a white robe with an accompanying blue belt. He breathed a sigh of relief. The Justicar of the order had not accompanied the men on this raid. If Arenth played his cards right, he thought me might make it out alive, and more importantly, with the relic.
Arenth watched the so-called holy warriors as they kicked in doors to the flimsy shelters his people had erected in the woods. Here a woman was dragged out with her children. and tied up and left in the mud. The paladins moved from house to house scouring the interior for living people. Eventually a band of men who had been out hunting returned to see their loved ones left lying prone on the ground. One of the hunters knocked an arrow and let fly at the first paladin to walk into view.
Arenth knew what the outcome would be before he saw what happened. It didn’t stop him from hoping the arrow would strike true. The arrow would have been a killing blow. It flew directly toward the hard of the unsuspecting paladin. Just as it should have pierced the soft fabric that served as armor, the shaft and arrowhead splintered into hundreds of pieces. Not a single one so much as grazed the paladin’s skin. The shot itself served only to alert the young man of the new threat. Arenth heard the shouting as the paladin called to his companions and the hunters rushed in to fight them.
Arenth sighed and shifted in his hiding spot. He knew the hunters were untrained and the paladins spent a majority of their lives training. The battle itself was impressive. The paladins didn’t kill a single man who faced off against them. Each hunter was successively knocked unconscious either with the flat of a blade or a hilt. They were then disarmed and tied up with the rest of the villagers.
The paladins continued to search through the buildings until finally they all met in the center of town. Arenth would have loved to have been closer to hear what they were discussing. He needed to know if they knew of the relic or if this was merely a raid to root out those who did not follow their strictures. He saw some angry gesturing. Soon half the paladins rounded up their prisoners and began escorting them away. The remaining paladins set fire to the buildings. Arenth waited.
He waited until the paladins left. Then, he waited for the fires to burn out. He slept briefly and restlessly, always awakening and expecting to be tied up by the paladins. Each time he awoke alone was a relief. He waited as the sun set. Through the cold of the night he dared not stir from his cover. Even as hunger and thirst assaulted him, he stayed put, not daring to risk revealing himself. Finally, on his third day of delay, he saw what he had waited for. A solitary paladin rode into the clearing that now housed only rubble. He surveyed the destruction and dug his boots into the flanks of his horse, riding out. That night, Arenth ventured down into the ruins of his home. He dug up the Skull of the Red Horned God and stole away into the night.
Apropos of: Arathania
(Sorry for the delay in getting this up all!)