The Battle of Avran’s Bay

We had been grinding the elven rear guard since dawn. It was clear it was only a matter of time before they broke and we could hack apart the ships on the beaches below. It was the sixth hour past noon when the line began to buckle under the keen edges of our axes. Suddenly, the elves parted like wet soil struck by a shovel and I ordered the throng to plant their feet in anticipation of some foul play from the oathbreakers.

Through the divide I saw a warrior in an elaborate panoply of black, red and gold nonchalantly dismount his chariot. The surreal calm this individual exuded was underscored by the loving care with which he unharnessed the chariot’s two snapping beasts. For three centuries now I have served the Hold and faced all manner of monsters and madmen in its service, but I had never seen such a sight. Curse be upon all elfkind and their enchanting ways!

A spray of arterial blood brought me back to my senses as the warrior hit our line, passing through our ranks like a shadow made of serrated steel. There was nothing but red ruin in his wake. Of the fourteen greybeards of clan Kengaz who accompanied me, only corpses remained moments later. A gaping hole that could fit a royal warthrone appeared in our formation. At its centre, the elf stood with his twin blades resting at his side and a smirk of utmost contempt which awakened the ire of every true dwarf who saw it. I would have rushed at the pompous butcher had my runes not started to glow.

Glancing towards the line of elven spears, I locked eyes with their witch. Her gaze burned with malice and disgust. Every ounce of my craft was put to the test as I attempted to defend our victory against this magic and trickery. The rune of revocation I struck once, twice, thrice, four times! Yet the sorceress continued chanting and weaving her slender limbs as if handling some invisible clay, furrow on her brow growing ever deeper. For a moment of hubris, I believed I had her beaten. But she released an undulating scream towards the high havens and a chill went down my spine.

I sensed something moved beyond the Veil, something ancient and terrible with a will bent on our doom. With an iridescent flash my runes exploded, overwhelmed by arcane power. The shadow of a titanic bird could be seen above the witch for a terrible moment. Where once her words and gestures were those of a simple spellcaster, now they spread death as if trying to match the savagery of the crimson whirlwind amidst our ranks. Tendrils of purple smoke lanced towards the mouths and nostrils of my comrades, rotting their bodies from within. Strange carvings appeared on their flesh, wracking them with maddening pain, and invisible hands deflected blows that should have smote the warrior determined to send us all to our ancestors. Seeing the pandemonium unfold, the elves let out a loud cheer and charged. Then the bloodshed began in earnest.