My actual Nano attempt.
A story about revenge, power, and death. Enjoy!
Griever stood patiently with his brothers as they waited for their captain to speak, his excitement overriding the stench of sweat and dust. He – like all the men of the White Boars – were anxious for their next battle; their next victory! The thrill of battle was calling with its sweet voice. It was more addictive than a woman’s scent to Griever Bloodfist, commander of the Right Tusk.
A large man in heavy mail walked on top of the hill they were gathered around, carrying his own flag with him. The White Boar’s head was brilliant in the orange glow of sunrise, as was the man who held it. Captain Augustus White, the Boar, was a man who commanded respect through his actions, unlike those petty nobles.
“Men!” Captain White shouted to his twelve hundred men, pride radiating through the air with that single word, “Today we will finish the Second Abysman War!”
Cheers nearly deafened Griever even as he assisted them with his own voice. The men had been fighting for nearly four years in this single war, and though they loved the challenge the Abysman armies brought, victory was the most succulent of tastes.
“We have been hired for one last job,” Captain White continued, “So listen up! The last remnants of the Abysman army as moving through the Devil’s Palm as we speak! So, we’re going to give them a little going away present from our employers, Lord Droil and the Lighthaven Kingdom!” Laughter sprouted from several places around Griever, including from his friend Nathan, who stood near enough to grab.
“For honor and victory!” someone shouted. Many others took up the cry, but Captain White held a hand out for silence, his face growing serious.
“Left Tusk, I want you on the eastern cliff of the Palm. Switch to bows and have some men on standby in case they try to attack from behind somehow.” The Boar turned and looked toward Griever. “Right Tusk takes the western cliff. We want to soften them up before the main group faces them. My group, you get to take center stage this time!”
The main group – who already held pride for being led by the Boar himself – cheered before moving toward their tents to arm themselves. Griever smiled bitterly as they left, feeling cheated out of his fun. He had gotten the main charge in the last battle, so he couldn’t be too bitter. Still, the Bloodfist liked to be center stage.
Nathan placed a hand on Griever’s shoulder. “Cool your head, Commander. We might get lucky.”
Griever nodded and eased his smile up. “Let’s hope so, Nate,” he replied before turning to his own men. They were surrounding him, waiting for orders. He was honored to fight with them once more. “Alright you pigs! You heard the Captain! I want you in place in three hours! Any later and you get standby duty next time we’re in town! Got it!?”
“Yes, Commander!” they shouted, moving to arm themselves as well.
With all the men gone, Griever finally had a chance to actually take in the sunset. It was halfway above the extended hills that stretched into the Devil’s Palm, but it seemed like it could stretch on forever. The thrill of battle was beyond compare, but Griever still enjoyed landscapes like this.
Odd, though. Why did he have this nagging feeling that something bad was soon to happen?
“Better get ready…” Griever muttered, turning to leave.
A little more than two hours later, Griever sat on the edge of a cliff – well, it was more like a really steep hill – overlooking the pass known as the Devil’s Palm. Had he been an adventurer or some young whelp, he might have been curious about how it got its name or something, but… Well, it wasn’t important at all.
So, he focused on his armor.
The leather padding that covered his legs and chest had been strapped in tightly, but not too tight, just like he liked it. Ironically enough, this leather was made from boar hide. Next, Griever checked his boots. Couldn’t enjoy a good battle while tripping, could you? Also, living through a battle was easier when you stayed standing. Last, he checked his weapons.
His sword was sharpened neatly – he would have to thank Ore for that later – and the shield wasn’t too battered. The steel in both was in good shape, too. Griever smiled at himself as he moved on to his final weapon: his armored right arm. A large plate that worked as a small shield was fixed at his shoulder. The plate attached to several interlocking pieces that stretched down to his hand and over his fingers. From how the links of the gauntlet had been set, it almost looked like the scales of a dragon.
It was the reason Griever was known as the Bloodfist. Back when he had joined, he had had no armor, like all the new members of any mercenary band. Mercenaries steal armor from the bodies left on the battle field, unless you were a high ranking member or just a rich band of sell-swords. Griever had found a single gauntlet after a battle nearly ten years prior and, after losing his weapon during battle, used it to beat his enemies to bloody pulps.
After that battle, Captain White had been impressed enough to buy him a better gauntlet, saying that if he gained a reputation Griever could use it to strike fear into his enemies and inspire his allies. It had, of course, worked. Griever was feared and respected as the Bloodfist now.