The Shadow Walking
The Feast of Samhain
Location: Feltonwood Hold, Harkania, Cymeria
Timeline: Late Night, October 31, 3550
Kaelan had drifted to the edge of the celebrations’ area, to indulge in a moment of calm, before going back to the festivities. It was not that he did not like celebrations, he enjoyed feasting, Mead, and good food as much as the next Dwarrow, yet he was not able to truly relax and just enjoy the night. Maybe it was just the time of the year, celebrating the Night of the Flame. He knew that to the Cymry this day was important, marking their deep bond to the spirit world. Dwarrow asked little of the veil that thinned in this night, nor would they wish to.
The Dwarrow Prince shook his dark mane and tried to make himself relax. It was an insult to Mikhael’s hospitality that he could not enjoy the celebrations. At the moment Falún managed to cover it up, being a charming reveler. Kaelan could hear his brother’s voice quite clearly over the tune of a flute.
Herr Mannelig herr Mannelig trolofven i mig
Fr det jag bjuder s gerna
Om i viljen eller ej
I kunnen vl svara endast ja eller nej
He had just begun to work his way through a famous, if slightly strange, ballad about a troll trying to marry a human warrior. Among dwarrow, it was often assumed that it was not a troll, but a Dwarrow who had tried such feat. Kaelan’s smile at his brother’s humor froze on his face when he saw the dark figure move along the paddock’s edge, moments before Mikhael’s warning shout coincided with flames erupting among the celebrating Cymerians.
A tongue of flame shot up near Kaelan, he dodged the heat barely, with a roll over the wet ground. Behind him erupted screams, as two people were caught by the flame. The fire was coming too fast, too greedily, he knew that at once. Kaelan slipped his heavy fur cloak off his shoulders, grabbing the first burning person, a stately lady, with a hard grip to push her down. It was his only chance to cover her entirely with the heavy material to smother the flames ere they could do more damage. She struggled in panic, he had to use force to keep her down. He could feel the heat under the singing cloak but deprived of air the fire died down. She was still injured, he could not tell how badly.
The screams beside them were interrupted by a sharp, cracking sound, as the burning man was hit by something. Looking up Kaelan saw his brother who was just throwing the second jug at the man, the breaking crockery hurt the man for sure, but the jug spilled its contents on him, dousing the flame. Shock and relief warred in Kaelan, the fire was of a kind that could be fought with water, which was good. But there were too many people in danger. He jumped up, pulling the pained, injured lady to her feet, supporting her. “Falún, darag kar!” he called out, knowing his brother would see the same- they needed to get the injured people, those in danger from the fire to safety, to water that meant.
Falún came hurrying towards him, taking on the injured man, several of the people celebrating turned to helping at once.
“You must think, we will leave you alive, stone-spawn.” A voice behind him made Kaelan whirl around. Two darkly clad figures stood there, both with blades in hand.
Kaelan reached to his back, where Shadowbreaker hung sheathed. In dwarven fashion, neither he nor his brother had abandoned their weapons or armor fully for the feast. “Let’s see about that,” he growled. He did not need to look or say something to know that Falún would get the wounded people out of the fighting.
The two advanced on him, and Kaelan did not wait for them to begin the dance. He stormed at them, right between them, swift turn left, his blade cut through the air, slashing at his side, full turn to the other, parrying a hit, the man put weight on the blade, but he forgot that dwarrow were somewhat stronger than menfolk. Kaelan pushed back and made him stumble, advancing on him with a series of heavy attacks.
The blades clashed, armor creaked under the weapon’s force, and sparks sprayed from the sword’s edges as the weapons rang out in the age-old song of fire and steel. Kaelan’s focus narrowed totally down to his two attackers, he did not allow himself to slow down, or get pushed back. His fighting was wild, aggressive and powerful, always advancing, always attacking, the blade cutting through armor and flesh. He barely regarded the hits he took, many of them were blocked by the heavy chainmail armor he wore, some went through, the pain only fuelling Kaelan’s fighting rage.
The first one went down the blade through the gut, screaming his treacherous agony into the night. Kaelan did not waste time on mercy, nor was their room left for it. He turned on the other, surprising him by suddenly using his left fist to make a hard impact with his midriff, the man stumbled, bending forward, Kaelan turned sideways swinging the sword, it came down like an executioner’s blade, beheading the second. A heavy thud behind him, made him come around, a third opponent had fallen from Falún’s blade, as his younger brother cleared the path for others to retreat.
Kaelan peered through the darkness towards the hall. Mikhael had to be there somewhere, fighting the leaders of this new attack. “Falún stay here, see to protecting these people,” he said before he took off towards where he guessed Mikhael was teaching those blood-nosed-troll-kin about the mistake of their untimely appearance. Yet while Kaelan had no doubt about Mikhael coming out on top of this, he could not quench the worries altogether. Again his friend was the focus of an attack, there was something, a darkness on the move that had made him their primary target. Right now all Kaelan could do was get through there and help.
Author's Note: The song Falún sings is actually the Swedish medieval ballad "Herr Manneling", which is truly about a troll lady trying to marry a Knight.