Fan fiction:Bane Hero of the North/Chapter 13
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Bane Hero of the North is a fan fiction piece by Bane, originally posted on The Dark Library. The fiction series was recovered on April 14th 2010. You can find more information on Bane:Hero of the North article.
Chapter 13: The Gate(Part IV)
Bane looked out the window of the small room, he watched as men rushed about in the courtyard below, carrying equipment and readying the carriage. The preparations to the night’s operation were in full swing, and he had returned to his room to relax himself, to prepare his spirit for the challenges to come.
He gripped the mighty sword Flamir had given him so many months ago and studied the blade in marvel. In all his fights using the sword, its blade was not damaged in the slightest; indeed it looked as though it had never been used to spill blood.
He dropped slowly to the floor, on his knees and placed the sword before him. He closed his eyes and began to hum softly while he placed his giant hands on his thighs. He felt at peace, the problems he had faced and was about to no longer a concern.
He could see his village as if he were soaring through the sky like a great hawk or eagle, he could see smoke rising from the small houses and people milling around. He could see his grandfather Kuchi pace around the ground with his battered walking stick.
Bane shook his head and came out of his trance, looking to his right, at the jar of paint that he had asked for earlier. He placed his right hand into the sticky blue liquid and withdrew it, drawing a line down one side of his face. He grunted and dipped his hand into the jar once more and began covering his right face in it. If he were to fall tonight, it would be with honour and courage.
He wiped his hand with a wet cloth to wash the paint away, gripped his sword and stood slowly up allowing the cloth to drop quietly to the stone floor. He sheathed his sword and looked up to the ceiling. It would be a long night.
Turning quickly the barbarian strode towards the door and left the room.
Bane looked at the gathered group of men that stood in the courtyard of the keep. Most were armed well with good armour, sturdy looking shields that bore the Lord’s emblem and sharp shining weapons. They looked steady and ready for the night’s actions.
Bane paced over to where a smaller group of men waited, next to a carriage and horse. Chiana stood clad in a chain-mail vest and shin-guard. The girl carried an extremely long looking bow while a quiver of arrows was loosely slung around her back. She brushed back her long hair and nervously smiled at Bane.
Balkin next to her, his body armoured, a helmet covering his face. He gripped his axe tightly with both hands.
“Nice make-up!” joked Chiana as she saw Bane’s war paint. The barbarian looked anything but amused.
“Nice night for some good killing Bane?” Whispered Balkin. Bane simply grunted a reply and looked at the other members of their group. Galin was standing there, while Shrug was sitting on the drivers seat up on the carriage. Oxan stood chewing a length of thin wood, his hair mixing in with the great brown and black furs that made up his cloak.
Bane peered into the cart, nobody was sitting inside, but it looked comfortable, especially for the long road the passengers had before them.
A group of five other young looking men stood besides the cart, dressed in lighter armour than the main body of troops, who carried bucklers instead of main tower shields, and wore splint-mail shirts instead of plate-mail.
“We are to open the gate Bane while Shrug and Galin will be driving the carriage. I do not know who the passengers of the carriage will be or who will be riding forth as well on horse.” Chiana said, her blue eyes revealed her anxiety.
“I believe we will find out.” He said as he heard footsteps coming from the keeps entrance. Lord Cork stepped forth, dressed ready for battle, while four men walked beside him, all of varying different sizes, none of them armed for conflict.
A tall man wrapped in a cloak disguising his features was the first Bane eyed, then the small fat man who walked awkwardly. The third was a young man, who wore a simple leather jacket for protection. A small bag hung over his shoulder. The last man was the nobleman who he knew now as the son of the man who ruled the city of Galmnor that was James Ferol. Currently the man looked tired and scared.
“Quickly now lads, lets get moving.” Shouted Cork as he surveyed his troop. There must have been at least forty armed men standing ready now thought Bane. Not a bad number but he considered the Shadows. The attack he had been involved in had been swift and brutal, could forty men stand against the Shadows?
Bane touched the hilt of his sword and looked towards the courtyard gate that led into the town of Kanton, and their mission. It slowly began to open creaking loudly as the giant oak moved; he heard Lord Cork and one of his sergeant’s shout out orders. Then they moved out to the sound of clanking armour and boots.
- - -
The torch in the guard’s hand flickered violently as a gust of wind swept through the streets. The man shivered and coughed wickedly, bringing forth phlegm. He spat it on the cobbled street and gave a look about him. It was cold, and the earlier events in the week had unsettled Crily greatly, and a good deal of his friends had been killed. Now that was a pity, less people to drink with now! He shuddered as he remembered the barbarian lad who had thrown the table at the guards, how effortlessly he did the act and how the lad roared like a lion as he fought. He shuddered almost uncontrollably, not sure if it was the cold or the thought of the wild youth. He heard a feint sound from behind him breaking his thoughts and instinct whipped him around and the object he feared was there. Crily opened his mouth in horror.
Bane launched himself forward, sword raised, his face twisted with determination. He leaped upon the guards back, wrapping his free hand around the man’s mouth to stop him from yelling and plunged his shining sword through the guard’s shoulder blades. He could feel the guard spasm as he carefully allowed the man to drop to the ground, blood shooting from his fatal wound. Bane turned to his companions who huddled together between the buildings behind him.
Bane heard the sky cry out loudly, and a light pleasant rain began to fall from the grey coloured clouds. He turned back towards the dead guard and wiped the blood from his sword on the man’s sleeve.
Bane looked up at an open window above him and saw a boy with short light brown hair and pale almost pure white skin nervously look down upon the scene, the boy quickly ducked back in, hurriedly closing the wooden shutters to his window. Bane picked the dead man up with one arm and dragged the body aside. All that was left of the moment of brutality was the pool of blood on the cobbled street, blood that was being washed away by the rain.
“Nicely done barbarian!” exclaimed Oxan, surveying the dead body with interest. “Perhaps we should hide the body before anyone sees it?” Spoke one of the young men, his voice trembling slightly.
“No point really Kez, everyone’s gonna know as soon as Lord Cork starts trouble.” Replied another of the men not much older than Bane and knew him as Jesper. The man called Kez shrugged his shoulders and looked nervously about him, buckler and sword in a ready position.
“Relax lads, nights gonna be easy, all we got to do is our part, the main fighting will be elsewhere.” Oxan’s confidence seemed to lift the group’s spirits and Kez relaxed his sword. Bane could feel his heart race after the efforts to kill the guard, he felt more awake and alive than usual, and he could almost say he had enjoyed it.
“How far are we from the gates?” asked Chiana, moving between Oxan and Bane.
“Not far, the fighting should start soon, so we must act fast.” Oxan moved towards Bane and began an almost silent run down the cobbled streets; Bane and the others close behind.
The gates didn’t look heavily guarded thought Bane as he spied the area closely. It was heavily lit however, and they still outnumbered Bane’s group. Bane shook his head briefly cursing himself for getting involved with this matter, but then remembered his goals glory could be found here! Bane smiled a wicked smile, and the glint in his eyes was as if he had a fever.
“You alright lad?” whispered Balkin, keeping his words quiet so only Bane could here him. Bane nodded slowly.
“Yes, I am fine, just looking at what we have here.” In truth he had been uneasy since he heard the cart and riders sounds on the cobbled streets, if fighting elsewhere was loud, this was louder. He had worried that it would bring the whole group of Shadows down upon them.
“How many?” whispered Oxan, as he noticed Bane counting under his slow confident breath.
“Twelve, while four are above on the ramparts. I will head up there, but someone must cover me, the rest crash into the main lot.” He cringed as he heard the rhythm of beating hooves on stone, and turned to see the rider and carriage now more than ten yards behind them. Shrug and Galin looked uneasy but ready to do what they must while the boy on the horse looked pale and grim.
“The fighting has started. Lord Cork is battling hard, we must break out now!” spoke out the rider in a trembling voice, Oxan nodded.
“What must be done, away with battle lads, lets go!” With that the giant man roared, charging forth from the darkness of the alleys and buildings and upon the guards. Bane joined the run, feeling a surge of energy and rage build up inside him, his battle-cry parted from his lips and he felt the hunger to kill, to slay his enemies and to be covered in their blood.
- - -
His sword flashed out quickly as the first guard rushed him; Bane ducked the clumsy swing of the hooded man and thrust his sword forward, sending the blades sharp tip through the chest and lungs. Bane withdrew the blade a moment later, and the body dropped awkwardly to the floor. How could the Shadows have reinforced their men so quickly? No sooner had Bane and his fellows rushed from the alley and attacked had more guards rushed from the buildings surrounding the gates.
Bane rushed forward to see one guard to his left cry out in pain as an arrow struck him in the thigh, giving the barbarian a prime target to attack. Before the man had finished whimpering, Bane had leapt towards him, striking the man in the face, cleaving the head in two. Blood splattered on Banes arms, face and chest while the lifeless body dropped back.
The barbarian could feel his rage boiling over him as he watched the lifeless body hit the floor, ever ready to control him totally and turn him into nothing more than a killing machine. It was a worrying thought Bane decided, he had gone through it many times before and witnessed at the back of his mind the devastation he had caused, how violent he had been.
Shaking his head he looked below, beneath the stairs he had climbed was a moving symphony of bodies, a sea of men dancing for some their last dance. Screams echoed across the town like lightning and thunder across the sky. He could hear the fighting Lord Cork’s men were doing elsewhere and briefly wondered how they fared against the Shadows.
Movement flashed before him, another guard had rushed forward, short sword and round-shield in hand. Bane could see the sad and frightened look in the man’s eye. As Bane met the attack, knocking the shield to the side in one powerful stroke and striking the guard in his unprotected ribs he couldn’t help but think that perhaps in different circumstances the man could so easily have been a friend. Bane shoved the thought aside as easily as he did the man, who fell from the wall into the fighting below.
Suddenly the wall was struck by a quivering arrow, which almost shattered on impact, causing Bane to duck and stare in the direction of where the arrow had come from. He could see guardsmen crouching down on top of a tower, aiming another arrow right at him.
Just as suddenly the guard screamed out and Bane could see a long quivering arrow sticking out of the guards right eye. He looked down and saw Shrug give him the thumbs up and a big smile. It was then Bane realised that the carriage and the horsemen were still trapped behind the gates and Oxan’s circle of men were being pushed back. He would have to open the gates soon before everyone below was killed.
He heard footsteps behind him, light steps that told Bane that it was not one of the heavy booted guards. Turning round he saw Chiana bounding up, bow in hand.
“We have to open the gates Bane, quickly!” Chiana shouted. Bane nodded and turned towards the gate rushing quickly across the rampart, eyeing the winch above the gates and those who stood by it, waiting for him.
Chiana stopped her run, kneeling on the cold ramparts and pulled back on her bow, releasing the arrow towards the guards striking one in the chest, surprisingly piercing the armour like a bolt from a crossbow.
Bane met the other two with a growl, his head swimming, his eyesight blurred with crimson. He felt as if he could rip his foes apart with just his bare hands. Roaring out his people’s battle cry Bane smashed his way through the first with a single blow, while hammering the second with a well-aimed punch to the jaw. The guards both fell back, one spraying out blood from his split stomach and chest, the other holding his face whimpering.
Bane turned on the whimpering man hacking through the back of the man’s head. The body fell forward and slid from the ramparts. Bane kicked the head that still looked up at him mockingly from where it sat, besides his foot on the rampart.
Chiana rushed over but slowed to a halt, Bane was slavering from the mouth, like the way of an animal. She had seen this side to the barbarian before and it had frightened her, a fear that had not disappeared.
“Bane, help me open the gates!” she shouted pleadingly. Bane looked up and she wished he hadn’t, he looked at her as if she were a stranger. Then he seemed to relax, the glazed look in his eyes faded.
Within moments Bane leapt to the winch and gripped it tightly. His muscles bulged and skin hardened as he began moving the winch. A creaking sound followed and the shouting from below got louder. The gate was open.
“Now Shrug, push forward!” Urged Galin, as he looked over the skirmish before him. So far from what he could tell everything, although going slowly, was ok, not one member of their group had been killed, although he had noticed a few with minor cuts and bruises.
He watched in awe as he noticed how expertly Oxan and company had fought, especially the new trio. Balkin and Chiana he noticed had been easily dispatching opponents while Bane had seemed like some kind of demon, with nothing on his mind save death and destruction.
Indeed the horseman with one copy of the message rushed forward, breaking out of the melee. A couple of guardsmen aimed bows at the rider, but with Chiana and Shrug scanning the area for exactly that, loosed there deadly arrows from quivering bow and struck the guards before they had notched an arrow.
The gates gawped open and sense of relief passed through Galin as he realised they had almost broken free. He was even more relieved to see the horseman ride at speed from the gates and into the open land, hopefully towards Galmnor.
Shrug snapped at the reins and pushed the carriage forwards, breaking through the melee and outside the gates and the town walls.
Bane watched from the parapet above the gates as the carriage and a horseman rode off and was happy that no enemy riders gave chase. However he was more concerned about his group’s predicament. Looking back down into the combat he could clearly see that their escape route was blocked off by enemy reinforcements that rushed between the network of alleys and tunnels, pouring out into the courtyard like bees from a hive. They would have to leave too, and take their chances in the nearby woods.
“Get out of here!” He cried out, pointing towards the woods. Bane rushed forwards and lowered himself over the edge before dropping form the rampart to the ground below. As he hit the ground Balkin and Chiana rushed passed him, a look of concern written across their faces. He followed them out of the gates and into the darkness of the road and the trees.
- - -
The wheels cracked and moved as the horses drove the carriage forward. A dim green light shone from within casting un-earthly shadows of green outside of the dark cobbled path. The driver kept low in his seat, and wrapped his wool cloth tightly around him to stop the chill of the night. Next to him sat Galin, carrying a crossbow and sword. He kept looking into the woods around them, as if expecting a bolt or arrow hitting him at any second.
The coach jumped as it hit a small bump in the road and there was a sound of wood cracking, as if the wheel had snapped in two.
“What was that?” A head poked itself out from inside the coach, illuminated by the green light.
“We hit a bump back down the road sir.” Shrug turned to Galin and whispered something into his ear. “Sir, the driver has suggested that you turn off that light.”
“What for? Speak.” The voice came as if it had been rehearsed.
“It makes us more of a target. Its dark sir.” Galin swallowed his saliva and waited for an answer. He turned around and thought he see shapes moving in the darkness, weaving in and out of the trees and bushes. He shook his eyes and turned back towards the passenger. “Sir, its important. We might find ourselves in trouble due to the bandit activity.” He gripped his sword hilt harder as if expecting the inevitable arrow.
“Good heavens, I almost forgot.” It would not be good if bandits captured them. With that the green light instantly vanished leaving the driver and guard momentarily blinded.
“Shrug, I saw movement in the trees.” Shrug nodded his head and began the coach moving forward again. The wheel on the right side, the one, which hit the divet, was shaking wildly about as if it would shoot off in any direction within a blink of an eye.
- - -
The coach was not that bad thought Fed Garrand as he lay back down on the comfortable bench. The seat was nice, but the constant rocking was starting to annoy him. It couldn't be helped though. He should have gotten used to this but it was the darkness of the woods around him and the threat of bandits that made him look at his companion who sat in the darkness in head of him.
"We should be there in no time, the drivers seem to be alright." There came no answer, and Fed looked worryingly at the man in front of him.
"The wagon will not stay up for long and when it falls I will expect the worse." The voice was low and calm. "I assure you, we will not arrive on time." Fed started to break a sweat. It was not often he was late for guilder meetings and trades, would his reputation be famished.
Fed looked out the window. It was almost pitch black and he had trouble locating shapes in the darkness. Could there be bandits out there? He worryingly looked over to the other passenger, who was fast asleep, wrapped up in a comfortable looking blanket. He then heard a loud cracking noise as if the wheel had just split apart. He then felt himself, and the carriage sliding low on one side.
- - -
Shrug had been quiet since the wheel had been damaged, and Galin knew it was badly damaged. He did not want to disturb his companion though with his worries.
He tried to push the threat of bandits aside, for he had faced much worse things before, in darker and colder conditions, recently too. Perhaps he was being over cautious. The problems in Kanton were not improving, and while he was no longer there his thoughts dwelled on the two men and woman who he had introduced to his friends before he had left. Could they really help the town from the aggressive monks who had invaded their peaceful town, he shook his head. The barbarian looked as if he could take on an army of fallen and win. Then his thoughts came back to the task at hand. The passenger was important, perhaps the one man that could start an offensive against the monks, against the Shadows. CRACK...
The wheel had held its last and came apart as the road ahead split off in three directions. Galin fell from the side of his seat and hit the stone path hard, knocking the wind out of him. The horses had started to scream wildly as Shrug tried to maintain control. The carriage itself hit the ground, bringing the horses back. Shrug made a silent curse and dropped out of his seat heading for the two wheeling animals.
The horses were crazy, thrashing their legs everywhere. He would have to be careful if he would be successful in controlling the huge animals. Ducking he missed being decapitated by the flailing hooves of the blacks legs. It would not be possible, only time will relax these beasts he thought as he withdrew a pistol from cloak. He would have to shoot them free of the binds.
Directing the aim towards the strap around the wagon and the horses he fired. The spark suddenly lit up the area and the sound crackled across the woodland. The bang set the horses free, who then in turn ran off in different directions.
“Damn, damn them.” Turning his attention from the horses he went to check on his fallen comrade, who was at current rubbing his head and spitting out spittle’s of blood.
As he neared his companion he felt a sharp pain hit him in his thigh. He hit the ground hard.
“Bastards.” Galin stood up and ran towards his companion but before he could reach him he heard Shrug call out in pain as a volley of arrows and crossbow bolts hit him. “Bastards. Face me like a man damn it.” Galin threw his cloak to the ground and drew his sword. A crossbow bolt made impact with his shoulder and he could feel it bite into his flesh. He was lucky; the armour he wore had taken the brunt of the force.
He turned around to take note of the carriage passengers scrambling from the wrecked coach. They were doomed for sure. He did not know the exact count of the bandits that shot out from the woods bearing blades and firing crossbows but he knew that the merchant and his passengers were dead, or were going to be.
He turned and dispatched a bandit who had crept around his un-protected back. Before the body had a chance to slump to the ground another bandit had thrown himself forward, firing his hand bow at Galin first. The bolt span off wildly and he caught the attackers sword arm. As he did another bandit jumped on his back, knife in hand. In seconds he brought up his hand bow to the bandit who had attacked him from behind and fired it into the bandits unprotected armpit. He felt the warm feel of blood pour onto the back of his neck before kneeing the remaining opponent.
Suddenly the cold sensation of steel against flesh made him scream out like a wild beast. He turned towards the remaining bandits instead of running that had already set and fired their bows before Galin had realised.
Then there was nothing but darkness.
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