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Kevin G Hare

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The Fence and the Hand

There are two very important things you need when you are going into battle, the first is actually the least expected, the second is having an army behind you. Soren learned this early on from her father and his teachings on war tactics. Unfortunately, so did Raven. She was The Hand that ruled The Fence. She was Soren’s sister.

Her army was amassed in Barrenstone when she first learned of the force behind the domination of the Osiris Temple – the single-most concentrated library in existence – it contained enough knowledge to turn any mortal into a god. But the price was steep. For any mortal to step into its halls, the first step out was instant and certain death. To control the Temple was not enough, its contents could not be possessed without being used so few ever tried.

Soren stood overlooking the field that had become her battleground, the last stand of freedom against an evil threatening to eradicate the simple lives of good people. At her command were the mages of the Bokuru region, the elvish Ishtaban from the wooded glens of Norwenden, a score of ill-tempered, Halfling troops from the mountainous palaces of Moatoruk, and some impressive regiments of men from everywhere else. It was, perhaps, a shabby assortment of misfitted rebels brave enough to stand against Raven’s army of dark sorcerers, Reptalisans, the giants of Mordachian and every other black-hearted creature willing to fight for promised riches and power.

It began the same as many, the two legions squared off before each other. Soren brought the fight to her sister’s own doorstep, the towering Shard Palace, where the rivals yelled their battle cries at each other designed to taunt, intimidate and muster the courage and fighting spirit. Soren ran her eyes along her troops. They needed no convincing to risk their lives against a greater foe. They needed no bribes, or empty promises of power and it showed in their eyes and in the strength of their voices and the unity of the chant they rained upon their enemy. Swords were raised and banged against shields, bows were lifted and waved in defiance against grimaced, distorted faces whose voices were softer and whose hearts had not the inspiration and purpose to win because the need was greater than their own. A smile grew on Soren’s face and she joined her comrades-in-arms in their charge onto the field.

They started strong, each having calculated their move before weapons clashed and the inspiring cheers were drowned by screams of pain and anger against the ringing of colliding metal. Soren was sure to let the enemy know who they were up against and she was quick to push the dark army back, corralling them against those in the rear trying to get into the slaughter. It was then she signaled to her Ishataban archers to loose volley after volley into the concentrated mass. The upper hand was quickly diffused when the giants lifted their shields and provided sufficient cover to block the strike. The Reptalisans then charged, taking many of Soren’s forces down quickly, a maneuver that ignited the fury of the Halflings. They grouped together in pyramid formation and charged headstrong into the mess, slashing at the knees of the giants, bringing them down to a level where they could be easily disposed of with a combined effort.

Soren fought her way through, following a group of mages who carved a pathway with an ensemble of magical attacks. She planned ahead and convinced everyone the quickest defeat and end to the war was for her to confront Raven and force her to stop this nonsense quest of hers – or kill her if she refused. She was less willing for the latter, but prepared for it if necessary. She could only hope the evil that influenced hadn’t taken over all of her humanity.