"Close your eyes, concentrate on the rose. Look at each individual petal, how they curl out to form the flower, how they overlap each other. Think of how the stem attaches to the rose, the leaves angle out from the stem and the thorns attach. Now with that picture firmly in place sprinkle a few rose petals in front of you and push with your mind. Push the picture from your mind into the hand that held the petals."
"Now open your eyes and look at your rose." said Master Clarisse. As she told her student to do this she looked at the mess that was in his hand. It looked nothing like a rose or any other flower she had ever seen.
"What do you call that? You do know what a rose looks like don't you? Jorge, if you want to be a spell caster you must learn how to concentrate. To be able to blot out everything else from your mind, only see the spell you are trying to cast. If you ever succeed and become a Battlemage you will be casting spells with arrows whizzing passed your head, dire monster screaming in your face and blood splattering your body. All this and letting none of it interrupt what you're doing. Now try again."
"Look at it in you mind. See only the flower you're trying to make. Study each individual part of it and then push it into your hand."
"What is that? Do you call that a flower? That is a mess. Concentrate! No, don't concentrate, leave. Today is a total waste of my time and yours. What is the Master going to say about this? Just leave."
The young man looked up from the mess of flower petals in his hand and tried to speak. Twice he tried to say something and then bowed his head and slowly left the study room. Concentration was the key and today he just couldn't. A thousand things, no a million things were going through his head. News of the devastation at home, news from the battle front and news of Saranne.
Jorge walked down the passage, through the door and into the garden. First he compared the thing still in his hand to a rose. Point by point he studies the rose and looked at his hand. Dropping it he walked over to a nearby shade tree and hit it. He continued to lash out at the tree as if by pounding it he would be able to forget all the troubled thoughts that were racing through his head.
"Young man, you are not doing my tree nor you hand any good there. Don't you think it's time to stop?"
Looking up with a start Jorge saw Wilson the gardener standing there watching him.
"How do you stop thoughts from coming into your head and interrupting your concentration? How do you see the beauty of a flower and forget the ugliness of war, the horrors at home and the slaughter of your loved ones? How?" he asked the old man.
Taking his arm Wilson led him over to a nearby bench and sitting down said, "Son, if I could answer your questions I'd be the best and most famous Mage ever to come from this school, not just an old man working in the garden. Hold your hand up so I can see it."
Wiping away some of the blood with a corner of his tunic the old man saw that the skin was only torn up a bit and there didn't appear to be any serious damage. Flexing the fingers he saw that full movement was still present.
"Looks like you injured your pride more than your hand. Things a little hectic today?"
"Yes, I had a session with Master Dommer which led to him yelling at me when I couldn't do the simplest spell and now Master Clarisse abruptly dismissing me when I couldn't concentrate enough to produce a rose. I just can't get all the news from home out of my head."
"Son, it takes nature years to produce a rose. First it has to grow the plant, then the bud and finally the flower itself. What makes you think you can do the same thing in just moments? I don't care what the Masters tell you, you can't hurry nature. It's just not your time to create a rose or do the simplest spells. That doesn't mean you can't do them, just that you can't do them now."
"Bring your books out here under the friendly, open skies of the garden and study for a while. I always find that walking around here, looking at all of this loveliness helps to calm my troubled thoughts and you might find the same thing. Run along."
Back in his cubicle Jorge gathered up the books and scrolls he had been studying and returned to the garden as suggested. Walking through the plants and flowers he came to a small grassy knoll where he sat and looked over his books. Fleeting thoughts of home went through his mind as he studied. At peace with the world around him he tried to become at peace with his troubled thoughts. The raid on his home village, the slaughter of his family, of Saranne. Why? Why the slaughter of them? They weren't hurting anyone, weren't threatening anyone, they weren't part of the army. They were only peaceful farmers. Going about their lives making things grow, producing not destroying, creating not tearing down. His brothers and sisters who had not even began to experience the wonders of life, destroyed. Why?
Slowly the words in his books began to make sense again as he put away his troubles and was able once again to look at the pages. In his mind he pictured not a rose but a simple daisy. A daisy like the many that grew around his home. When he opened his eyes he saw the flower in his hand. Bright and yellow like his mother grew and loved so and he cried. Holding the daisy in his hand he cried for those he had lost.
Wiping his eyes finally he placed the flower in his book and went on with his studies. At peace in his mind he was able to pay attention to the words and their meaning, to make sense of what they were trying to impart to him. As the day ended and the darkness began to overcome the garden he created a small light to shine on his books so that he could continue to read. The same light that Master Dommer had yelled at him for not producing earlier.
Finally tired and hungry he snuffed out the light and rose from the knoll to find something to eat. Only then did he become aware of Wilson sitting on the bench nearby.
"Feeling better now son? I thought the garden might help you. Being surrounded by growing thing always helps me put a different perspective on things. Here things grow, blossom and produce their flowers or fruit and then die back for the next year, each in turn. They renew themselves each year just as the Maker planned. You have to renew yourself and go on with your life just as the Maker planned for you also."
"Go get something to eat and then sleep. That's part of the plan also."
"Thank you, Wilson. It did help and I am hungry." The young man walked past the older man and entered the building.
"Today we study something a little more difficult. I know some of the spells you have been studying have been hard but today we study the hardest thing there is, controlling the mind of another. With this spell you can convince an enemy you are a friend, you're not there or what ever it is you are trying to make them think. Controlling someone's mind is easier on those who are less intelligent. The smarter and more intelligent a person is the harder this spell is to cast successfully."
Just then two of the students jumped to their feet and yelled. They backed away from their desk with eyes large in shock.
"Master Dennis and Mistress Abigail, would you please resume your seats? The monster is gone."
"Another thing that aids in the casting of this spell is someone who is not paying attention to his or her surroundings and what is going on around them." This produced giggles from several of the students. "Someone who is distracted, asleep or unintelligent is easiest to convince. Now here is how this spell works. We will break it into its different parts..."
The Master continued to instruct the students on the different pieces of the spell, how they fit together and how they interrelated to come up with the desired effect. He had the students go over the pieces time after time until they had them firmly in their minds and then they started to put the pieces together. All afternoon they worked on this spell and the related parts.
Jorge took his books and walked to his grassy knoll. The plants looks different all buried in leaves and wrapped in rags against the winter wind and snow. The grass had died back but still the knoll was his place for contemplation. It was where he went over the day's lessons and put them in order, pigeonholed each piece into the correct order, deciding on the rightness or wrongness of the spell for himself. Some spells he knew he would never cast, they felt wrong to him, for him, while others seemed natural and felt right for him. It was these that he concentrated his studies on. How to work them, how to improve them and how to make them more powerful or more adaptive to what he wanted them to do.
"Wilson, why should I want to control a person's mind? That was today's lesson and while I think I have all the parts of the spell and can make it work I don't see the why of the spell."
"Jorge, do you think all these plants grew like they are? I trimmed them, watered and fertilized them and shaped them into what they are. I controlled them. As a Battlemage you might not want a sentry to see your army approaching his camp. Or you might want him to see an army when there's only a few of you. Your task as a Battlemage is to help win the battles and to help keep your fellow soldiers alive. By influencing and controlling someone's thoughts you might be able to do this."
"Yeah, but is it right? Is it right for me to control someone else's mind when I'm not even sure I'm in control of my own?"
"Jorge, I don't know about right and wrong for you. I only know what's right and wrong for me and my plants. I've noticed certain spells that you seem to shy away from. Certain spells that destroy plants and trees for instance. I destroy plants all the time. I pull the weeds and grasses that would overcome my flowers and scrubs. I pull out and destroy the flowers that are sick or I cut back and prune the plants and shrubs. Controlled destruction or selective destruction is what I practice in the garden. It's something you might think about for yourself. There are going to be times when you have to do something you think is wrong in order to accomplish something you think is right. Study the situation and if you feel the good of the one outweighs the bad of the other then do as you feel is necessary. Another thing you need to remember, it is always easier to destroy than it is to build. That works for spells as well as anything else. Think how long it takes a tree to grow to be a span across and how short a time it takes to cut it down."
"Thanks Wilson, that helps. I might not agree with it but it helps." With that Jorge went back inside to where it was warmer. Inside he ran into a couple of the other students.
"Why do you spent so much time in the garden?" Dennis asked. "Does that old man give you some secrets about these spells?"
"That old man is named Wilson. He's my friend and he helps me be at peace with myself. He helps me put all this into a perspective that I can understand better and accept. It wouldn't hurt you to learn some other ways of looking at all of this."
"Sure, I'll become a gardener too. Come on Zette, first thing you know he'll be teaching you how to grow flowers," said Dennis as he walked away.
Suzette smiled shyly at Jorge. "Don't let him bother you, he's just jealous because you're a better student than he is."
"Not really, I just try to look at all sides of the spells we're learning to use. If he would do the same he could improve also."
"You coming Zette?" called Dennis.
"We are pleased to welcome many of you into our ranks. From this class we are elevating twelve to Journeyman status. You will be reassigned to assist the armies on the battle lines. You others will stay behind for another term of study and training before being evaluated again. We are also very pleased that with us today is our Mage Erasmus Grand Master Wilson who wishes to confer with you. Grand Master Wilson."
Old Wilson, the gardener came forward. Today instead of his soiled gardening clothes he wore the black and purple robes of a Grand Master Wizard. With a twinkle in his eyes he addressed the students and new journeymen.
"In magic we learn that what we see is not always real. What you thought was a tree is a soldier, what you thought was a simple gardener is a Master Mage. Look below the surface, look at the many different sides of the issues, look. Magic is more than a few words said together, a few ingredients sprinkled about or a wand pointed in the right direction. Magic is understanding what is going on around you and being able to control a small part of it. I have enjoyed the company of one of your fellow students and wished to share his joy today as he is elevated to Journeyman status. Thank you."
As Grand Master Wilson left the podium his place was taken by Master Clarisse who called out the names of the twelve students being elevated. Jorge was the second name called off. As he stepped forward he saw the smile on Wilson's, no Grand Master Wilson's face and the slight nod he was given. Suzette soon joined him but when the last name had been called Dennis was not among them.
They each then stepped forward and were enrobed in Journeyman robes, solid black with a deep maroon band around each sleeve. Properly attired they were then presented to the Dean, Grand Master Truman. He shook each of their hands, congratulated them and passed them on to the next well-wisher. At the end of the line was Grand Master Wilson, smiling and congratulating each of the successful students. Jorge he clasp on the shoulders and then hugged.
"I hope you don't mind an old man sharing your joy on this day. I can remember back when I first made Journeyman. It was the proudest day of my life, the goal I had dreamed of, nothing else matter so much. The later honors that were bestowed upon me didn't mean nearly as much as my first Journeyman's robe. Wear it with pride, my son, wear it with pride."
Jorge and Suzette were both assigned to the Northern front. Here they joined the other Battlemages who were trying to assist the army to stand off the invading hordes of Chaotic creatures that were attacking. Being fresh from school they weren't given very important assignments. They were split up and assigned to learn the surrounding area, which forces were contesting the enemy, their location, make-up and leaders. As they became more familiar with their area and who they were working with their duties changed also. Soon they were backing up the more experienced wizards and pulling night watch to combat the influence of the enemy mages and shaman.
Jorge had just splashed water in his face to keep himself awake and alert. "Worst time of the whole watch, youngster. Just before morning. Seems like you been here forever and day will never come and for some reason the need to sleep gets to you worse also. Hang in there, you'll learn how to deal with it." said the old veteran he was watching with. "The lack of a moon doesn't help any. Can't see more than three or four feet anyway. There could be a whole army out there and we couldn't tell."
Silently agreeing with him Jorge shifted his sight and started to scan for heat forms. Granted he was limited to only a hundred feet or so but it was better than not being able to see anything. As his eyes became used to sifting out the smaller forms of mice, rabbits and the smaller animals normally found across an open field like this his scan picked up nothing. Well not totally nothing as there was something moving at the extreme range of his sight.
"Manny, how good are you with that bow? If I wanted you to place an arrow out at say thirty-five or forty yards could you do it in this darkness?"
"There's something moving at about a hundred feet, add just a tad more and see if you can scare it this way so I can tell what it is."
"Forty yards? Ok." The veteran nocked an arrow, pulled back to his cheek, slowly sighted and released.
"Another one now, just a bit shorter than that and about five yards to the left."
"Hope you know what we're doing here," he said with a chuckle as he released a second arrow.
The two sentries could hear the sound of the second arrow hitting something solid and the moan of an injured person. Without being told the soldier nocked and released a fire arrow the lit up the sky and alerted the other posts to possible trouble.
The dry grass was quickly caught up by the flames from the fire arrow. The flames, small though they were silhouetted the forms of advancing troops.
"Post number Seven, Enemy in sight in front of Post number Seven," yelled out Manny. Turning back he began to fire arrows as quickly as he could nock them to his string.
Jorge turned and cast a light spell into the quiver of arrows. Not the heads which would be embedded in the advancing foe but on the guide feathers. Now with each arrow that Manny shot it lit the area a bit more so that others could see the enemy as well.
Knowing that they had been discovered the enemy began to rush the battle lines. As they clumped into large enough groups to use a spell, Jorge cast into them. Fire, Lightning, Lights, Sleep and other magical assistance was rained down upon them. By now the army was awake and stumbling to the line to defend themselves. More and more arrows shot out from the barricade to fall more and more of the advancing enemy until without even reaching the barricade they turned their backs to the walls and ran.
A cease fire order was given to the archers and the rain of arrows stopped. Soon a sergeant with a relief detail came to Post Seven and relieved the two sentries. "Report to the Centurion in his tent. By the way, good work."
After hearing their report the Centurion commended them for their work also. "A little closer before being discovered and they might have stormed the barricade. The archers just had enough time to get there to stop them. A good nights work, dismissed."
"Thanks for what you said in there," said Manny after they left the Centurion. "You could have taken all the credit yourself. You were the one who spotted them."
"We spotted them. I saw something and you flushed them into the open. Working together like we're supposed to do we spotted them and helped to stop them. See you tonight."
With that Jorge returned to the area where his tent was located and tried to go to bed. Everyone wanted to know what happened, who did what and were you there? It was more than an hour before he could stretch out on his palette and the sun was up.
That afternoon when he once more joined the group outside several of the more senior Battle Mages stopped by to speak with him. The words were quiet but friendly. He had done his work, discovered the enemy and helped to turn them back and then had not tried to hog all the attention for himself. This they knew was the real test, especially for a youngster like Jorge.
That evening the Centurion sent for him before his watch was to begin.
"We want to send a small patrol forward. Would you be interested in joining the patrol? You could be useful."
"Yes sir, I'd like that. Who do I see and when do they go?"
"The trooper on duty with you last night said you might, he's going and requested you. Be back here in an hour, combat gear and dark clothing. Dismissed."
As all of his clothing was dark the last part was no problem. It was the combat gear that throw him. A Battle Mage could not wear metal armor and the leather armor was too weighty and restricting. It interfered with his movement and something about all the metal seemed to hamper the full effectiveness of the spells. He ended up wearing a pair of heavy leather bracers to give his arms some protection and a sling across his chest which held six throwing daggers in individual sheaths. They were weapons with which he was skilled, they were smaller than a normal dagger and didn't interfere with his movements or hamper him.
When he joined the others at the Centurion's tent Manny motioned him to join him. "You stay with me tonight, youngster. Just like last night, together we'll come through this again."
The Centurion came out and briefed then on what he wanted them to do and then sent them on their way. Counting Jorge there were eight of them going out tonight. They had been given a password to use to get back inside the barricade. Several of the other troopers and the sentry wished them luck as they passed over the barricade and moved into the territory between the two camps. For the past few days rumors of movement had been coming in. They were to see if the enemy camp had grown, was less or had remained the same.
They had not moved far before them came to the knoll. Here they got down and crawled to keep from being silhouetted like the enemy skirmishers had last night. Soon they were back on their feet and slowly advancing towards the camp. They crossed the small creek and moved downwind from the tents and shelters that they could see. Below the corrals of draft and riding animals they turned to circle the encampment. Ahead of them they spotted two sentries watching over all of the animals and the lower part of the lines. Taking two arrows from Manny, Jorge made a couple of passes over them and then said a few words. It became very still and quiet there. He then motioned for Manny and one of the other archers to take the arrows and kill the two sentries. The release of the bow was without sound. The normal twang of the bowstring was not heard this time as the two silenced arrows sped to their targets. One fired on by Manny was a clean kill but the second was not. Though gravely wounded the sentry had moments to alert the camp. His mouth could be seen opening and his neck straining from his yell but no sound was heard. Another of the troopers slipped forward and slit his throat finishing the job started by the arrow.
The smell of fresh blood made several of the animals nervous and they stirred around. The troopers slipped past them to a spot to better observe the encampment and check the number of tents, shelters and for any movement. There were a number of campfires but little movement could be seen.
Motioning them together the force leader said, "I think the fires are to fool us. I think most of them have moved to another location to attack us. There weren't enough beasts in the corrals to handle the number of beings that should be living in those tents. Mage, can you do something to stir them up so we can see what numbers are here without bringing down the wrath of the Gods upon us?"
Pulling Manny with him he asked the archer, "Can you place an arrow into the standard pole outside the large tent up there? No more than three feet from the ground?"
When Manny nodded Jorge took an arrow and again made passes over it and mumbled some words. Giving the arrow back to the archer he signaled for him to fire as he moved off to one side. Closing his eyes Jorge concentrated on seeing the arrow sticking out of the pole of the battle standard. The feathers on the end, how they joined the shaft, the colors on the shaft and the notch cut in the end of the arrow. With that in mind he cast his spell.
Up through a line of tents a roaring, rushing ball of flames passed. The dry canvas of the tents instantly burst into fire and smoke. The rushing ball just missed the standard and shot through the large tent at the crest of the hill, circled back around setting even more tenting afire and then hit the standard pole from another direction with a large shower of sparks. Now there were three lines of flames burning brightly and setting the camp into a turmoil. Soldiers ran about trying to extinguish the flames and to find the enemy who was causing the problems.
The force leader was correct. The numbers of men and beings was much less than they should have been. They were greatly reduced from the past few days. Retreating quickly they opened the bars on the corrals and stampeded the draft and riding beast through the middle of the camp to further the chaos and confusion. All but the ones they had kept back for themselves. With their assignment completed they mounted up and returned to their own lines.
The force leader was able to keep the sentries from shooting them as they approached the barricade and they were soon back inside. The force leader dismissed the scouting party and went to report to the Centurion.
As they walked away Manny turned to Jorge, "That was the durnest thing I ever saw. I thought you missed at first and then that thing came roaring back I knew you did it deliberate. I didn't know a spell could do that, what was it?"
"What I did was combine a couple of spells. I placed a beacon spell on your arrow so the other spell would have something to home in on. Then when I told the second spell where to go I deliberately missed but I had told it to find the beacon. When it passed it the first time it turned back and found it. By doing that there were several paths of flames and they couldn't be certain which one was where we were coming from. See you tomorrow night, I'm going to bed."
When Jorge left the tent to break his fast several of the more senior Mages did more than congratulate him on his part in the action the night before. They had heard of the spell he used and wanted to know more about it. They listened closely while he spoke.
"It was a trick that I picked up from a simple gardener who turned out to be Grand Master Wilson. He showed me not only to look at the spell and how it works but why it works. Once you start to study them that way you can see different ways of joining spells together. The first thing you know you have a series of spells all linked together that do something all together different. You can join two or three simple spells and form something very complex, that works both better and with more affect. I figure our main task is to keep the enemy off balance. If I can cast spells at him that he's never seen before then it will confuse him and keep him off balance. And it's hard for their mages to throw counter spells when you're off balance or have never seen the spell being used against you."
"I don't know all that you can do with these, you need to look at them for yourselves. How would you combine them? What do you want them to do? Be flexible, don't look just at the spells you have but how you can combine what you have to do something more effective. It works for me and being much more experienced casters I'm sure it'll work for you."
That was also the day that Jorge was moved up to the more serious tasks, he had graduated from the green rookie stage. Scouts had been sent out to find the main army that had melted away from in front of them. The Human army advanced and during a brief skirmish routed the Armies of Chaos, driving them back and creating a large hole in their lines. It was into this hole that more scouts, skirmish parties and patrols were sent. Make contact with the enemy and let us know where he is, was the order.
Jorge was with one of these parties moving ahead looking for the Army. They had slipped through a small valley and were making their way up the hills on the other side when the forward scout returned. Signaling for complete quiet and then for the Force Leader to advance he informed him of what he had seen. The Army was over the next hill!
Moving slowly and with utter quiet the party crept to the crest of the hill and even slower worked their way over it to looking into the next valley. As far as the eye could see were tents, clusters of beings, movement and rider beasts. The Army numbered in the thousands. This then was the Main Army that they had been searching for.
Picking one of the other scouts the Force Leader pulled him to one side. "You need to get back and let the General know where we are and what we have encountered. Let him know that we have no idea of the number of enemy troops here but there are thousands. Mage, can you add anything?"
"Yes, I can." Pulling a small map from his pouch Jorge swiftly checked it over and marked the location. "Show this to Master Mage Browning, he can place it on the large map and point out the roads, rivers and so on to the General. Do you need help getting back?"
"What kind of help do you mean, Mage?" asked the Force Leader.
"Magical of course. They're bound to have patrols out to stop anyone from doing just what we're trying to do. I have a spell that'll turn him invisible to the eye for a day."
"That would help him get back."
"It works against the eye, they can't see him nor his heat form but it doesn't work against the nose. If they have dogs or other beasts like that they can pick up the scent. They will know that someone is around, they just can't see him as long as he is passive. By that I mean he can't fight. Not anything. There is a change that takes place in the body when it starts fighting that negates the spell. The new mind set, the rapid heart beat, the rise in temperature or something. You can't attack anything, not even to swat a fly."
"You heard that Gordon, you can't fight anything. Tell the General that we will be returning at nightfall so we can report further if it is necessary."
Jorge took Gordon's arm, closed his eyes and pictured a blank space, mumbled a few works and Gordon disappeared.
"Gordon, I should warn you that you can't see yourself either. Don't try to look at your feet because you can't see them. You need to walk or run normally. Good luck."
They could hear the faint sound of footsteps but that was all as the scout left to carry his message back. Returning to the others they again watched the Army of Chaos milling around below them. Pulling out a scrap of parchment, a quill and some ink, Jorge mumbled some more and then began to make notes.
"Orcs of the Red Hand tribe... Goblins of the Broken Club tribe... Orcs of the Fang Rippers... Hobgoblins of the Hand of Death... Trolls of the Misty Swamp... Ogres of the Knotted Arm... Brigands of the Black Banner... Brigands of the Crescent Moons..." He continued until he had eighteen different groups listed on his piece of parchment.
Looking at the Force Leader he said, "This gives us a better idea of who we're facing. Shame I didn't think to do this before we sent Gordon off, then they'd have known who would be facing them."
"How can you see so far Mage? I can't make out any of those standards."
"Force Leader, I used magic again. An Eagle Eye spell to increase the range of my sight. I keep telling you that magic is a tool that we use to assist us more than we use it to fight with."
The Force Leader pulled back all but two of the men to the other side of the crest. There they could relax a bit and talk as long as they kept it low. All during the day they made note of the groups that joined the massed army. As dusk started to settle in and the enemy camps were making ready for the night the patrol withdrew again leaving two behind to keep watch.
As they nearer the area being held by their own forces they could hear the sounds of movement ahead. Cautiously so as not to be fired upon by their own troops the patrol advanced towards the faint noise. Just ahead in a small gully they came upon Gordon and five large Orcs. Swiftly pulling daggers the patrol pounced upon the enemy and slew them before they could utter a sound. Gordon had not been able to resist the temptation to slay an Orc while he was invisible. When he did and turned visible there were others around who saw him and were able to chase him down. He had not made it to camp to warn the General. Still moving cautiously they advanced again and spotted to last two Orcs who were keeping watch on the human camp. This time with arrows they dispatched the two watchers and continued on to camp.
Dismissing the rest of the patrol the Force Leader took Jorge with him to report to the General. Consulting the small map that he had initially sent back with Gordon, Jorge was able to point out on the General's large map the location of the enemy. Now using the scrap that he had written on he was able to let the General know some of the forces that he was facing. Grand Master Laine was quite pleased with the report as was the General.
"Young Jorge has been quite active lately, General. He and his partner were the ones who spotted that attack a few nights ago as well as bringing back the information that the Army of Chaos had withdrawn from in front of us. Now he's with the patrol that finds them. Quite active," commented Laine.
"Fine work young man, tonight as well as the other times. We'll have to see if we can't come up with an assignment more fitting to your abilities. Go get something to eat and some sleep. We'll probably be moving out at first light."
Prior to first light three skirmish parties headed towards the small valley in front of the large Chaos forces. Their job was to sweep away any enemy scouts that were out to spot movement. The army was to be an hour or so behind them. They flushed two small groups that they were able to defeat without a survivor. Upon arriving at the mouth of the valley they moved with great stealth through the trees, up the side of the hill to the overlook. There they found the two watchers still on the job, tired but alert.
"There's been a lot of movement for the last hour or so. It looks like they're getting ready to move out. You can see the dust way in the back like some of them are on the move already. That large tent, the black one way back there looks to be the command tent. We've been watching them come and go from it all morning. Sometimes on horseback and sometimes on foot. Them down at the base of this hill ain't doing much. Maybe they're going to stay here to hold this area."
"Abbott and Lewis, take two horses and report to the General. Looks like they're on the move. They're leaving out the mouth of their valley. He knows where that is and can move to cut them off if he wants to. You just make sure you get through to him and let him know. Tell him also that we are attacking from the ridge to keep their attention here. Any help that he can send would be appreciated." ordered the Lieutenant in charge of the three skirmish parties.
As the two riders left the Lieutenant turned back to Jorge and the three Force Leaders. "We have to prepare to engage the enemy to try to hold their attention away from the attack that is coming from the other direction. We need to do everything possible to convince them that we are a major force that has found them and are now attacking. Our men need to move around a lot so they appear to be more than they are. Force Leaders, you will talk with the men so they are aware of what we expect from them. Mage, I ask that you do everything within your powers to assist them."
Long bows were strung and crossbows were loaded. Arrows and bolts were stuck in the ground in front of them to be close at hand for the next shot. When the command was given to shoot instead of eighty or a hundred arrows and bolts being launched the sky was black with the long, wooden shafts of death. For each arrow or bolt that was propelled towards the enemy Jorge had made it appear that ten had been fired. Orcs, Goblins and Hobgoblins were falling dead from fright not arrows.
A loud cry went up in the Chaos camp. More and more creatures ran to see what was causing the commotion and were falling dead from the attack. Others were running from the scene to spread the word. Brigands and trolls came to assist in holding the forces attacking them. Finally they withdrew to regroup and then to attack with some kind of organization. Or with as much organization as such a mixed army had.
Calling for a momentary cease fire the Lieutenant let them approach to the end of the valley they were in and start to climb the slope before he had the archers fire again. For each enemy that fell from a real arrow, two and sometimes three fell from imaginary ones. With the third flight of arrows to hit the new attacking foes they turned to retreat. Backs were even easier to hit than shielded fronts. With those in the front trying to get away they hampered those behind them trying to advance. Great holes were torn in the shielded lines that were advancing making it easier for arrows to get through to live targets rather that be absorbed by shields and armor. Confusion ruled the Armies of Chaos and many died as a results. A general retreat was called from the area while the officers and leaders looked over the situation.
Finally they formed up again to attack. Three large lines of creatures, all carrying large shields. Just as they started forward cries of 'attack' and 'enemy' could be heard at their rear. The General and his Army had arrived. Now Chaos had an enemy they could see and attacked with uncontrolled furor. The Battlemages with the main army laid they out is windrows with spells of destruction cutting through their ranks. With an army in front of them and an army behind them the confusion was complete. Which way to attack?
Finally the leader of the forces facing Jorge and his companions gave the order and his forces advanced. With the arrival of the main army Jorge no longer needed to conserve his magical strength. He changed his spells. Into their midst he cast great smelly clouds of noxious vapors. The Orcs and Goblins in the lines fell over gaging and gasping for air. He cast webs of sticky fibers that tied up those it touched like great ropes. He cast spells of endearment that charmed those it touched so that they attacked their companions rather than the forces in front of them.
While this confusion was being cast upon their ranks a small force of twenty more soldiers arrived. While their numbers were not great their supplies were greatly needed. Each of they carried five or six filled quivers of arrows or bolts. With the additional arrows those gasping for breath died where they laid. Those tied up were killed also while assistance was given to those who were fighting against their friends.
The few survivors of the battle ran to get away from all the death that was surrounding them. This was not how it was supposed to be. They were supposed to inflict death and misery on the humans, not suffer the same from their hands. Where were the miracles of magic that their leaders had told them about? Where were the great allies that were supposed to fight at their side? Where was the sweeping death that was supposed to take their enemies? The only death and magic they had seen had been at the hands of the humans.
The Orcs and Goblins milled about not knowing which way to go until their main forces had been pushed back to join them. In sheer desperation they turned and in mass swarmed up the hill to get away from the hordes of humans in front of them.