Alright, this is the next installment of the Preparing for War series that I’ve been writing for fun. Honestly, I’m not really sure how good these are at all. I’m writing them mostly because I don’t have much time to write fiction at the moment, and these keep me writing something. However, I enjoy the world of Avnul, and I enjoy this particular story, which is a prologue to a tale that’s been bouncing around in my head for a few years. Maybe, at some point, I’ll actually write it.

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The massive Famhairean smashed into the palisades, manned by skeletal warriors, as the first light of dawn peaked over the eastern horizon. The giant Baeg’dithi warriors towered over their enemies, and wood and bone flew every which way as the Famhairean swung massive clubs and stone mauls. A few hundred yards behind them Bregda’s army stood in their loose formations. The Fada, the most martial of all the Baeg’dithi clans, had the tightest formations, stood silently awaiting the charge, while the fire and earth born arrayed to each side beat their shields, screamed insults across the field, and spat upon the ground to show their disgust at the thought of how the meat of their foes might taste. The invaders would not find themselves an honorable feast, as fallen Baeg’dithi warriors might, but instead would rot in the field and forests.

Bregda watched from a low crest where she stood with three of the fastest Sgaithi flyers, who would act as her messengers as she directed the assault, and the elders of her clan. Few of the ghosts, Baeg’dithi would could render themselves nearly invisible at will, had returned from their initial foray to scout the enemies lines, and those who had brought back stories of horrible wraiths that were immune to their abilities. These immaterial spirits rose from the ground, or sometimes simply appeared from thin air, and fell upon them. Those Baeg’dithi who were caught by these creatures let loose with horrendous cries as they withered, the very blood and spark of the divine drawn from them by tendrils of ephemeral mist. By the time Bregda’s army had reached the enemy camp they found defensive palisades manned by numerous living skeletons armed and armored with a mix of bronze and some gleaming metal the likes of which her warriors had never seen.

Bregda called to one of the Sgaithi, and the warrior launched himself into the air, winging back towards where his brethren had perched to await their own assault. Hrogar, just behind her, gazed at the destruction wrought by the enraged Famhairean, the defensive palisades falling like shed scales beneath their wrath. Then, as the messenger returned, the sky darkened for a moment as Sgaithi warriors passed overhead in their dozens, flitting across the coastal plain, to rain arrows and stones upon the enemy where their formations still held. “To think that we’ve been waiting for this, preparing for this, fearing this,” Shelaich scorned, “this enemy is no more fearsome than a myrcat.”

“Don’t be hasty, Shelaich,” Hrogar warned, “the mystics did not give us dire warnings for nothing.”

Shelaich seemed about to respond, but then a black wave of arrows flew up to meet the Sgaithi and several fell from the sky as the rest veered off to the right. Small forms darted in and out among the Famhairean, and one by one the great Baeg’dithi toppled, crushing even more skeletons underneath their bulk. “How many of them, can you tell?” Bregda asked of the group as more of the Famhairean dropped to the ground.

“I don’t know,” replied Hrogar. The earth still shook with the pounding of their clubs and mauls, but the Famhairean seemed to grow less enraged and more desperate as the elders watched their numbers dwindle.

Bregda waved all three of the messengers to her and sent them off with orders to advance. Soon the army surged forward, but as the elders watched them march across the field, the Sgaithi circling over them to move in for a second assault, the last of the Famhairean fell. In the center of the field, surrounded by the corpses of some fifty of the giant Baeg’dithi, a small clump of figures gathered. Bregda guessed that there might be ten of them, fifteen at most, though it was difficult to count the moving figures at such a distance. Then ranks of skeletons began to form around them as again stones and arrows fell from the sky. The invaders remaining soldiers formed thick lines amid the massive corpses and the ruins of the palisade wall, and another black wave of arrows lifted from the rear of their lines to meet the Sgaithi once again.

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Okay, that’s enough for today. I’ll have more for you on Sunday! Have a wonderful weekend!

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