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Heroes of Mystara - Chapter 19

by Jesper Andersen

On the road to Punaauia

Moldain 18th, Felmont, the Year 1000 After Crowning

The road to Punaauia was dusty and hot. The horses carried them quickly though the plantations outside the city, which were mostly fruit orchards and coffee farms. Within an hour they were surrounded by heavy tropical forest and the path ahead grew dim and damp. For the sake of the horses they slowed down a bit and rode quietly on following the jungle trail.

They had been travelling for half a day when they reached a turn in the road. As they cleared it, a dozen or so arrows suddenly flew from both sides of the road immediately killing Eveil and Thaminor's mounts and wounding the other horses. In a second everything turned into chaos. Ikaros' horse reared and threw him to the ground before it galloped down the road. Whitemane tried to keep his horse calm but was then struck by two arrows in the chest and fell hard to the ground. Petja and Wulfgar quickly dismounted and took up a defensive position on both sides of their fallen friends.

For a moment all was quiet in the forest as Ikaros, Whitemane, Thaminor and Eveil moaning got to their feet. Then a group of armed men charged screaming forth from the edge of the jungle. Although Wulfgar killed one with his axe and Petja crippled the arm of another with his rapier they were desperately outnumbered, two or three against one.

Ikaros turned to face an assailant and was about to release a spell when he was struck on the head with a mace and fell unconscious to the ground. Eveil, likewise, tried to fend off the bludgeoning blows from three of the bandits but one of them struck her from behind and she fell limp to the ground.

By the time Thaminor fell as well, Whitemane, Petja and Wulfgar had killed or disarmed a further six of the bandits. Wulfgar recognised their leader as the man in the green hood who had been watching them two days before at the Serpent's Eye. Suddenly, another figure dressed completely in black robes stepped from the shadows of the jungle. He raised his hands towards them and while he gestured he uttered words of ancient magic.

Out a thin air, a thick web of sticky spider strands materialised around them and held Whitemane and Petja firmly in place. In a moment the bandits were upon them and clubbed them to unconsciousness.

Only Wulfgar still stood and he now summoned his incredible barbarian rage and broke the magical bonds laid upon him by the wizard's spell. Fearful, the bandits withdrew and formed a defensive circle around him.

'Who's next? Come on you cowards! By Thor, I'll split your skulls!' Wulfgar shouted with foam coming out of his mouth. None of the bandits dared get near him, so he lunged forward in rage and with a mighty strike shattered the weapon of one of them and drove his axe deep into his ribcage.

The dark robed wizard gestured once again and when he spoke, five glowing missiles of magical energy were released from his hand. They struck Wulfgar squarely in the chest but still the barbarian did not fall. Instead, he took a step towards the mage and smashed his great northman's axe though the helmet of a man blocking his path.

Wulfgar was about to charge the wizard when his mind registered another figure stepping from the forest. He was dressed in a heavy set of chainmail and brown tunics. His head was shaven bald and he had a moustache shaped like a horseshoe that reached his chin. In his hands he held a heavy crossbow with a strange blue metal bolt on it.

'Thoooorrrrr!' Wulfgar roared as he lunged towards the dark spellcaster but before he could reach him the bald crossbowman shot him in the chest with the strange blue arrow. He felt a pain surge through his body. Then darkness.

Next time: Revenge of the Iron Ring