The wind howled, pushing him forward. Ahead, he could hear the shouts and pounding feet of his group. But between the blowing sand, the chaos of the routed defenders, and the weight of his armor, Gundrek was falling behind.
Turning a corner, hoping that his companions had turned here as well, Gundrek was nearly trampled by a group of people running in the opposite direction. Rubbing the sand from his eyes, he noticed that the majority of them were either slaves or Unclean. Pushing his way forward, he pulled out his Kraghammer.
Ahead, he could see shapes approaching in the blowing sand. He could hear laughter and screams of terror as he approached.
There were three of them, enemy soldiers, laughing as they surrounded a young girl. One of the soldiers was pulling out a pair of shackles. Nearby, he could hear more laughter and screams as more soldiers were gathering prisoners.
Remembering his time as a slave, Gundrek felt that old rage well up within him. Growling, he rushed the soldiers, his hammer slamming into the one with the shackles. The force of his rage exploded outward, forcing all three soldiers to be blown backward away from the girl.
Moving to stand between the soldiers and the girl, Gundrek shouted a curse at them.
As the soldiers stood, a deep voice from behind them ordered, “Stop! I will deal with this.”
The man who approached from the storm was tall. The sand seemed to blow around him, leaving him untouched. His upper torso was bare, bronzed and muscled, and his lower body was covered with an elaborate skirt of interlocking scales. His head was covered by a huge feathered head-dress. On one hip was a long obsidian dagger. As the man moved closer, he smiled down at Gundrek, revealing a mouthful of incredibly sharp looking teeth.
A feeling of dread flowed over Gundrek; he knew who this was. He was standing before Tectuktitlay, the Moon King, ruler of Draj.
Briefly looking behind him, he growled down to the girl, “Run. Get the others, whoever you can, and run! Don’t look back. I will give you as much time as I can.”
The girl nodded, her eyes wide, and scrambled away. Gundrek, nodding with satisfaction, turned back to the sorcerer king. Hefting his hammer, he settled into a fighting stance.
The king, seeing his opponent prepare to fight, chuckled quietly.
The two of them circled each other for a moment; Gundrek trying to look for a weakness, and Tectuktitlay arrogantly waiting. With a shout, Gundrek charged, swinging his hammer in a wide arc.
Moving with an almost inhuman speed, the King dodged the attack. Slipping away, he pointed at Gundrek. A bolt of white light shot down from the heavens, striking Gundrek.
Feeling a strange weakness wash over him, Gundrek stumbled. Shaking his head, he let his rage give him strength, pushing away the magical weakness that the Sorcerer King had inflicted.
In a blur, Gundrek again rushed. This time, his hammer connected with flesh, and Tectuktitlay gave a brief grunt of pain and surprise. The king warily stepped away, reaching down to draw his obsidian dagger.
Again the two circled each other. Around them, the soldiers gathered to watch. Gundrek attacked again, but received a long gash on his side as the sorcerer king dodged away. With each attempt to attack the king, Gundrek received a new wound.
Again, Gundrek shouted, swinging his hammer in an overhead arc. Tectuctitlay, sensing that the attack would hit, raised his hand. Suddenly, one of the nearby soldiers was there to take the blow. Hearing bones crack, Gundrek quickly pulled his hammer back, only to feel a stab of pain as the obsidian dagger slipped between his ribs.
Crumpling to the ground, Gundrek gasped for breath. As he turned to look down the street, he saw the young girl watching, her hand over her mouth, before bolting down an alley.
As Gundrek’s vision began to fade, he heard the sorcerer king say, “Take him.”