The Tip.It Times

Issue 10699gp


Written by and edited by Wingless

It is only a few years since I first came to the Fremennik lands in search of adventure. I came seeking a quest. What I found was a challenge to impress the noteworthy people of Rellekka and to prove that I was not just an outerlander passing through "barbarian" territory for a thrill. After taking on tests of strength, charm, and intellect, the clan leaders pronounced me an official Fremennik, giving me the new name Daldar. Through later quests I proved to be a fair diplomat and a fierce warrior, and after slaying and skinning a number of dagger-mouths--the Fremenniks' mortal enemy--I was given the added honorific of Farstrider.

The dagger-mouths, or dagannoth as they are commonly called, are large aquatic creatures, as big as a full-grown man or bigger. Periodically they swim out from their birthplace on the nearby Waterbirth Island to swarm the coast of Rellekka. We do not know their reasons for doing so, or if they have any reason at all. We only know that we must fight them, and we do. When watchmen bring word of a coming invasion, Brundt the Chieftain issues a call to arms for all the able-bodied men. The women take the young and infirm to the southern part of their village, away from the water. Sigli the Hunter and Thorvald the Warrior are always Brundt's second and third in command, helping to quickly organize the men in loose formations before the dagger-mouths reach the shore.

Usually these attacks are of little consequence, but this time is different. We knew they were coming days before, thanks to a warning from Jarvald, who ferries people to and from the island where these creatures spawn. Brundt sent word to the leaders of the nearby Fremennik tribes and islands to ask for more men and more supplies. The blood bonds of these warriors made it a certainty that we would receive aid, despite the threat of ice trolls that a few islands face. We have amassed an army for one purpose: to destroy the beasts that dare to threaten our lands.

All the preparation of the past several days comes down to this. I stand shoulder to shoulder with the men who have accepted me as one of their own, watching the shoreline as the waves push the enemy closer to their doom. A silence falls over the city despite the hundreds of men standing in formation with their blades drawn. The first dagannoth washes onto the shore and gets to its feet, shambling towards our front line. I hear the sound of dozens of men tightening their grips on their weapons and lifting their shields. Eager for bloodshed, we wait.

"For the Fremennik!"

There comes the war-cry, and a horde is unleashed. We are born and bred warriors, hailing from Rellekka and the surrounding lands. The dagger-mouths have invaded en masse from their caverns and their underwater hiding places. We will not let them destroy what our people have built. Even the Fremennik who founded new tribes are here to defend the mainland. Warriors from Neitiznot and Jatiszo and even some from the mountain tribe have come together here to make a stand with us. They know what is at stake. We cannot let the dagannoth win.

Steel pierces the thick hides of these beasts, but their claws and teeth likewise damage the exposed flesh of our men. Not all of us wear armour strong enough to withstand the ferocity of a dagger-mouth's bite. Not all of us will survive this onslaught. Brundt, our leader, sounds his horn to my right. He is surrounded. Koschei the Deathless cuts a bloody path to his side and I am confident again knowing the chieftain is safe. The dagger-mouths took a wife and a brother from me; I will not let them have more victims.

I feel a sudden burning sensation in my left arm and know that I have idled too long. Bone hits bone and I roar my challenge to the dagannoth as it withdraws its long fangs from my flesh. I am Daldar Farstrider of the Fremennik, I scream, locking eyes with my opponent. You will not be spared. I wear the ancient cursed armour of Guthan the Infested, whose spear can suck the life from its victims and heal the wielder. Readying the heavy spear with my good arm, I take aim and stab into the creature's chest. The dagger-mouth's beady eyes stare into mine as it expires, and I do not look away as I pull my weapon from its dying body. I take its life force to augment my own and continue the battle.

I bring death to all that dare approach me. Everything I wear, from my tainted armour and bloody spear to the heavy bonesack on my back, is a warning to the enemy that I will not show mercy. There is no time for the diplomatic side of me to think of peace. There is no time to acknowledge my past as an outsider or the chaotic future that defeat here would entail. I must only give over to the frenzy that this massacre evokes in me, and I do.

The battle rages on for what seems like hours, but finally the dagannoth retreat back into the water. Our berserkers chase the stragglers to the docks, their axes and broadswords still thirsty for blood. The shoreline bears testament to the carnage of the day. The water washing over the sand is tinted with the blood of the retreating enemy as well as the corpses littering the beach. The battle is over. We have won.

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Tags: Fiction

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