Talida paid no heed to anyone else in the hall as she rushed headlong toward Bregan. Thankfully, Thratar had not taken his sword back. Bregan unsheathed it, and blocked her overhead attack just in time, all in a single motion.
Bregan grunted at the blow, with her ferocious strength causing the impact to reverberate up his arm.
“Why, Talida?” he asked, breathless in the face of her unbridled fury. She twisted her hips, and with a two-handed grip slid her blade along his, pushing toward him and down to his left. It crossed his sword arm over his body, and the tip of his blade hit the wooden floor with a thunk. He braced to take a sword in the gut, but instead she followed through with the motion to her hoof, pivoting as she brought her opposite knee toward her, then kicked out at at his right knee. Even though he barely managed to escape the brunt of the impact, the glancing blow was enough to cause an audible pop and his knee gave out beneath his weight.
Bregan’s sword clattered to the ground, and Talida casually kicked it away. Thratar was currently engaged in his own fight, since he’d turned around to deal with the fighters trying to get into the hut. No help would come from him. Everyone else in the hut was scrambling for another way to get out, but to be fair none of them were fighters, and would likely fall to Talida’s blade faster than Bregan had.
“Why? Because there has been enough pandering to the lesser races of the world. We are strong, and the rightful owners of our ancestral lands–”
“I am not speaking of the Grimtotem party line!” Bregan shouted at her, and she jerked back as her eyes widened. “I gave you everything: my home, heart, and soul.” His voice broke, and something moved through her eyes, too quick to identify.
“You were nothing more than a means to an end. I needed a village close to Thunder Bluff to observe enemy movements, and yours was my best bet,” she replied scathingly.
Something had been tightening in Bregan’s chest since discovering Talida’s duplicity. In that moment, with those words, it finally snapped. He couldn’t breathe, and he certainly couldn’t move. Talida’s cruel grin reappeared once more, like a shark’s fin breaking the surface of the water.
Then, a two-handed mace took her in the left side of her ribs, and rang out with a crash of plate armor against the metal of the mace. Despite her armor, her eyes squinted and teared up, as she let out a gasp. She stumbled away as it came crashing downward where she had stood a split moment before, and would have killed her if she still stood there.
“I hate to say I told you so, son,” Shikoba said, almost amiably, “but I told you so.”
Bregan scoffed, and tried to shift to a different position, but even that small movement sent shockwaves of pain through his injured knee. He didn’t mean to let out a whimper, but to his great shame he did.
“Says the man who was celebrating her not five minutes ago,” Bregan accused, though the pain made his voice high and petulant.
If Taurens were able to show physical signs of blushing, he may have caught his father doing so, but perhaps not. The man was firm and unshakable in his belief that he was always right, which drove Bregan insane, particularly in times such as these.
“If the two of you are quite finished,” Talida fumed, rage making her voice growl. Bregan turned his head to face her. She was seemingly recovered from the blow his father had dealt her, and surprise jolted through Bregan like lightning. His father may be a farmer, but he was incredibly strong, and a former soldier; as evidenced by the battered and worn mace he gripped loosely in his hands.
Talida snorted and gnashed her teeth, as her eyes shone with a dull red at first, but gradually brightened to a red like rubies held up to the sun.
“She’s gone into Berseker Rage,” his dad observed, deadpan. “Didn’t know she was a warrior; now she’ll feel no pain, be faster–” She rushed him then, and though the sword was held in her grip, she lowered her shoulder and slammed into his father’s midsection. The mace came down a split second too late, and splintered the wood. It fell from his grip, and the handle thudded to the floor. Though it wasn’t a loud noise, it reverberated through Bregan like a concussive force, as in growing horror his mind processed what was about to happen.
Shikoba grunted and staggered back. He doubled over and dropped to a knee, winded. As Talida rose the blade over her father’s bent form, time slowed to a crawl. Something rose within Bregan, hot, blinding, and rapid, like a sun bursting in the sky. Pain no longer radiated through his leg, and he didn’t stagger as he lurched to his feet. The sword was still moving oh, so slowly, as he ran at full speed toward the two of them. When he reached the mace behind Talida, the sword was six inches from his father’s skull.
Bregan grabbed the handle of the mace. Five.
He planted his left hoof. Four.
He heaved the mace upward. Three.
Pivoting, similar to the way Talida had, he began to swing the mace around. Two.
He held his breath, and prayed. Sun, guide my hand so that I may save my father’s life. One.
His mace connected with her right shoulder and upper ribs with a blinding flash of light. Talida was thrown clear across the Hall, and landed with a crash in a heap at the far end. His eyes were still blinded from the strange radiance, and afterimages danced in his vision as he sought out his father.
Shikoba was unharmed, and Bregan collapsed to the floor in front of him, this time from relief instead of pain. The mace fell from his hands as he dropped it to the floor, and he fell forward to embrace his father, who gripped him in a tight hug in turn.
“Looks like you didn’t need my help after all,” Thratar commented, amused. Bregan, still dazed, moved back from his father’s embrace to face the Orc. He’d managed to take out the three who had tried to infiltrate the hall, and they groaned from the beating and multiple sword slashes over their bodies. Blood matted their black fur, as well as the ropes binding them like trussed pigs.
“Show-off,” Bregan rasped. Thratar grinned in response, but his eyes darkened as he looked toward Talida at the other end of the Hall.
“What shall we do with her?” Thratar asked.
Shikoba followed Thratar’s gaze and shook his head. “She wanted so badly to meet Baine. I say we grant her wish.”
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter One
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Two
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Three
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Four
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Five
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Six
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Seven
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Eight
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Nine
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Ten
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Eleven
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Twelve
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Thirteen
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Fourteen
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Sixteen
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Final Chapter