Eston Earns His Epaulets

Eston Earns His Epaulets

Eston Felagund watched skeptically as the rag-tag group shuffled past him through the Northern Gate into Valaris. “Definitely an interesting lot, eh Lindore?” He said. Lindore grunted, turning back to watch the road. “Yeah. Well maybe they’ll have better luck than the last group. That damned wizard almost killed us all when he took a gnoll arrow in mid-spell.” he replied. Eston rubbed the nearly healed burn on his arm with the memory of that misfired fireball. It had been too close. He too settled back into his post, scanning the countryside for threats.

Nearly an hour later, stifling a yawn, he turned to peer back through the gates, only to see Guard Captain Ealodel’s strange eye tattoo staring back at him. Eston jumped. “Aa-ahh! Uh, afternoon sir, uh ma’am, uh, all quiet to the north! Uh, how are you?”

“Well you’re just jumper than a whore in confession now, aren’t you? Strap up, we’ve got another job to do. Shut the gates, meet at headquarters. We’re going to rescue our people.” Ealodel’s stern manner brooked no argument, and she turned on her heel and stalked away as Eston and Lindore leapt to comply. Shortly thereafter, the two young elven guardsmen nervously fingered their blades while standing in the rear of the formation, listening to Ealodel’s battle plans. They marched parade-step toward the bridge, with awestruck refugees looking on, and drew weapons together on command. Eston’s curved glaive gleamed in the sunlight as he drew a big breath, hoping the air somehow contained the essence of courage he needed. At the command, his battle cry was drowned in with twenty others as the guard brigade rushed the bridge to meet the gnolls head-on.

Eston found it awkward to wield his long glaive in such close quarters packed in with the other guards, but as the front rank grappled in melee with the gnolls, he brought the shaft down in a sweeping overhand smash just between the shoulders of two of his comrades, slicing through the arm of a frothing, berserking gnoll with a wicked handaxe. He howled and dropped his axe just in time for the guard to Eston’s right to put a longsword into his stomach. Ealodel fought at the point of the formation like a whirlwind of death, rending gnoll flesh with two whirling blades. It seemed as if she were dancing some ancient form with the weapons, calmly flitting in and out of reach, slicing left and right, and sowing death in her path. Her cries urged them all on. “Forward the Crescent! Charge for Moonbow!”

They had nearly reached the end of the bridge when the gnolls appeared on the riverbanks with a salvo of javelins which took the elves by surprise. Focusing his concentration, Eston spun his glaive, shattering the javelin destined for his chest. He turned to see the other javelins sticking out of his comrades, and four guards bleeding on the hard cobblestones. Then he saw Ealodel. Alone, at the end of the bridge, with a javelin through her left arm, she fended off three gnolls with her right. He dashed forward and thrust the glaive before him, piercing the side of one of the gnolls. He panicked when the blade wouldn’t free, but Ealodel slew the other two gnolls before they could turn on him. Together, they fought a tactical retreat back over the bridge, carrying their wounded to safety, as they saw the strange party of adventurers dash into the jail.

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Eston Earns His Epaulets

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