Dragonborn Chapter 328: Under Siege
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*21st of Sun’s Dusk (November), 4E 197*
Old Hroldan is an ancient village on a crossroads that serves both as a checkpoint and a travelers’ inn. Right now, the small village was barricaded to the teeth.
Last night, a band of eight Nords arrived at the town in with horrific news, a large group of Foresworn is coming from the east. The village’s guards patrolled the town and sent a few messengers to Markarth for reinforcements but they all returned some wounded and two dead. The Foresworn were blocking all exits.
Wulfur, the leader of the Nord band, was tired and he rested in the inn for the night. A rumor went that he battled a gigantic freak and the situation escalated to this point. The town did not know that Wulfur was wanted by the name to the Foresworn and his apprentices kept their mouth shut.
In Wulfur’s room, he and his men were making a strategic meeting. Wulfur was wounded from his duel with Grosh, the gigantic freak. He was bandaged and in pain but he was lucky that he left Winterhold with many potions on him. His wounds only needed some rest but he lost his shield which he never thought it would be smashed like that. Oblivion, why was there such a creature in the first place.
He sat depressed while applying a [Healing] spell on himself. Now that he became ready, he was preparing to make those Foresworn eat shit when they come.
“Chief, I never knew you could use the Thu’um!” One of his men said.
“Jon is my brother for goodness sake. If I didn’t learn it after fourteen years of following him, then I should be some sort of fool.” Wulfur smiled as he said so.
“Chief, you can shout like the boss now, can you…”
“Like Jon? Oblivion, do you think anyone in the world can shout like him? I only can only shout once a day so I’ll make the best of it.”
“Oh! I see…”
“What is important now is to fortify the village. I am not sure how the folk will feel but we can’t drag this fight any longer. The Foresworn are almost a hundred and they have that freak. I want all of you to rest well before they come. Two of us shall accompany the guards available while the other rest. We need to be in our best condition for the battle.” Wulfur made a fast plan.
“Right, Chief. About the village’s guards. There are a few of them but the men who are ready to fight raised the number to 30.”
Wulfur pondered a little.
“That’s far from enough. I need to hold that large freak if he shows up and that one who calls himself Alaric is not an easy opponent for you. These two will be my target. You seven will have to drag the other Foresworn with him and kill them slowly. Use the barricade and blockage tactics we trained on.”
“Yes, Chief…” The man said but started thinking a little.
“What is it, Jalgvar?”
“Chief, I am just worried. Those Foresworn seemed to be waiting for us and knew you by name.”
“…” Wulfur remained silent but nodded in the end.
“So, I was saying… is there a chance that we are being ambushed by someone who knew our traveling plan?”
Wulfur was thinking of that matter ever since he met Alaric. Someone wanted him and to top it, the Foresworn were hired somehow. It was impossible for the Nords to hire the Foresworn as the blood vengeance between the two races was always boiling hot. Still, Jon said that the Foresworn are being controlled once. He was sure that Jon may find a clue but that was not the time for these ideas. They have to survive first.
“Don’t worry about that for now. I don’t think going to Orsinium matters now. We shouldn’t even head to Markarth.”
“Are we returning?”
“Yes, this is the best course of action. We should escape when we put down enough of them and run to the north. There is a mining village right before Whiterun Hold, we then will reach Rorikstead and from there to Whiterun. Rorikstead has better defenses and The Foresworn won’t venture that far. After that, we will bring the company down on those fuckers and avenge Frilg.”
“Thank you, Chief.” The man said and left Wulfur to rest.
Wulfur was still worried about another matter. He wanted to avenge the comrade that died but also wanted to return his men safe to their families yet he had that bad feeling. He shook the bad ideas away and laid on the bed for some rest.
Sun didn’t even set before the Foresworn arrive. The number was massive!
Not sure why but they seem to have fought with someone before they arrive at Old Hroldan.
Wulfur stood atop of a watchtower and could see Alaric and Grosh. The terrain of the area was not suitable for an open battle anyway. The village was on a road surrounded by two mountains and on a river flowing through the valley.
“Just why… why would they bring that number?” Wulfur was vexed by the unforeseen situation.
Out of his knowledge, Alaric has made a big mistake by mobilizing all those Foresworn and that’s not even the true number of the forces Alaric was intending to bring. When Alaric ordered the others clans to come, his actions were noticed by the Nord Clans outside the Reach and they didn’t know what was going on so they mobilized their forces too. Some of those clans were the Nordic ‘Black Bone Clan’, an enemy of the Firemane and clan that utilized Necromancy while attacking the Firemane Clan with the Bloodsails almost a year ago. They were defeated but their ancestral home was far from the Firemanes and Winterhold so the Firemanes didn’t go after them.
Still, the Black Bone clan moved with other Nordic clans to intercept whatever those Foresworn were doing.
Away from Old Hroldan, there were multiple skirmishes taking place but Alaric has rallied the best numbers he can utilize to face Wulfur.
“Torch that village. Force those Nords out.”
Alaric and the Foresworn started shooting fire arrows at Old Hroldan.
The Nords were fortifying the village to the best of their ability. The children and the old ones were hiding in some caves behind the village and the men started to put down the fire while shooting arrows back at the Foresworn.
“This won’t do much! The village can’t hold them.” Wulfur concluded. “We need a tighter ground.”
Wulfur and his men started shooting arrows back at the Foresworn and killed a considerable number of them. Knowing that he was the target, Wulfur decided to abandon Old Hroldan but was afraid that it would be used against him as a hostage.
An hour passed and darkness descended, light in the village only meant death. If a place was torched by a fire arrow and someone was spotted, then that person will be riddled with Foresworn arrows.
The Foresworn tried to sneak in the cover of darkness into the village but Wulfur and his men were prepared for such tactics and used the reverse phycology to empty the village from its defenders.
With one last distraction, Wulfur and his men escaped the abandoned Old Hroldan towards the mountains in the North.
The Foresworn were the best to navigate in the Reach as they could utilize all the cave networks around the mountains to travel and soon the found Wulfur and his band. One of Wulfur’s men lost his life after being overrun by three beast-like Forsworn warriors. What made the matter worse was a group of Hagravens appearing with the Foresworn and acted as spellcasters to the Horde, Wulfur and his men couldn’t help but run to a mountain where they could secure a cave.
With nothing but a wall to their back, the seven Nords faced the Foresworn horde valiantly fending off their grounds as much as they could while throwing large rocks and on any Foresworn that dared to climb the mountain. The Foresworn attempted to rely on their beast-like warriors to reach the Nords up the mountain but Wulfur personally fought to of those warriors at the mouth of the cave and slew them.
“Chief, what is that?”
One of Wulfur’s men noticed something strange on a body of those beast-like warriors. Wulfur checked it and saw a hole in the chest of that man right above the heart and instead of the man’s heart, there was a strange looking artichoke-like seed.
“A Briar Heart.” Wulfur recognized it right away.
“What is that?”
“Dark Magic, Jon once ordered us to bring him one of those to study and we went in a lot of trouble to bring it from Markarth. This… man is some sort of undead that utilizes the evil force of the seed that took place in his heart and came back to life with it. It is the worst kind of Dark Magic in Skyrim. These people who have those seeds are called the Briarhearts.”
“Chief! More are coming!”
Wulfur nodded and took a dagger rather than anything else. He stood in front of his warriors and put his helm on.
Once he looked down, he saw almost 7 Briarheart warriors coming up the rocky road. As the men started to carry rocks to throw at them, Wulfur stopped them.
“Save your energy. These things are nimble and don’t feel pain. I’ll deal with them. Just watch my back and don’t let surround me.”
7 Briarhearts against 7 Nords. The odds may look even from afar but Wulfur’s people were no match for those creatures.
Once the Briarhearts got close enough, they screamed like beasts and jumped at the Nords. Utilizing the high ground for themselves, the Nords could keep the Brairhearts at check only by the long spears they could use. Six defended while one attacked.
Holding the dagger with his left, Wulfur faced the first Foresworn in close quarters. The Brairheart tried to wave its hatchet at Wulfur but the latter was more cunning and kept injuring the tendons of the Briarheart with accuracy. Once his opponent’s arm was worn down, Wulfur could get close and pluck the seed out of the exposed heart. The Briarheart would jump away and fight with its nails and teeth if its heart was targeted but Wulfur was too large to care and brought down his opponent by plucking out their Briar Hearts.
Just like that, the Briarheart warrior fell like a stringless marionette.
Alaric was watching from down the mountain and started to feel vexed.
“Why is he not shouting? I want him to shout!”
He was obsessed with Wulfur’s shout. Having some knowledge that the Thu’um has a long cooldown, Alaric wanted to eliminate Wulfur’s shout before he goes up.
“What? No! You are not going up unless he shouts.”
“You want to take the shout? Are you crazy? It almost killed you!”
“I said no.”
Alaric was calming his brother from taking any reckless act. It was the only thing he can’t sacrifice at the moment. No matter how many Briarheart warriors were used to wear down Wulfur, his brother was not a pawn. The Matrons can make more Briarhearts every day for all that he cares for.
And also, the Matrons brought that thing. No matter if it was Ulfric Stormcloak himself, that thing was made to mass murder.
Still, out of his expectations, the Briarheart warriors fell from the mountain faster than he thought, all missing their hearts.
One hagraven went forward to check on the corpses and started screaming and shouting in its hoarse voice that felt like a goblin talking.
“Bad! Broken! Broken! Bad! Warriors can’t rise!”
“What is wrong, matron Drascua?” Alaric asked the Hagraven.
“Broken! The warrior is broken! Can’t use it! Curses!”
It seemed that she was upset because the body condition of the fallen Briarheart warriors was not fixable. Wulfur has completely sliced the most important parts to completely immobilize them before plucking their hearts.
“Grosh! Grosh?” Grosh went to comfort the Hagraven who completely understood him.
“Yeees yeees, do so.” The Hagraven encouraged Grosh to his suggestion and Alaric’s face paled.
“No, Grosh. Stop!”
Not listening to his brother, the three meters tall freak started running up the mountain raising its club.
Alaric tried to catch up but Grosh was way too fast, once he started running up the mountain after Grosh, it finally happened.
“FUS RO DAH!”
Wulfur shouted Grosh once again!
Alaric could see Grosh falling towards him with some rocks and rubble. He barely managed to dodge his falling brother and then started running down to check on him.
“Matron! Please, save him.”
He found his brother lying down but still breathing, he would do anything for his family and that was his brother.
“Will do! Will do!” The hagraven discarded him with the back of her talon hand. “Now! Kill that man! Man is bad just like the man who took my eye!”
Alaric wouldn’t voice his complaints to a matron and barely suppressed his anger towards their disregard.
“Men, let’s do it.”
He took his men and hoarded up the mountain from every direction as a bloody fight was about to start.