Part 8 of my Oldhammer Fiction novella – go to Part 1 if you’ve not read any yet!
So far so good, mused Grim as he circled the valley of Nstaad on the wyvern. The Hard Core boyz had chased the dwarves away from the exchange—they hadn’t even put up a fight. Now if his own servants could get in there and find the gold even better.
The air was cold at this height above the mountains and the wyvern had to swoop in tight circles and flap its wings hard to keep in the air—Grim had once heard something about an elvish practice called Pisicks that claimed the flight of creatures such as dragons and wyverns was impossible and against nature, but one thing he did know what that to keep airborne the creature he rode had to flap its wings bloody hard. So the air stream rushed past his ears and the cold burnt the green skin of his face. He loved it. He exulted in his pain and superiority—from here he could see everything like a king—like a god!
But what was this? What were those flippin’ mercenaries doing—the whole unit of gobboes was driving fast down the slope of the valley in a large loop aimed at the road south of the inn. He’d said to Shur Burt that they were to send some wolf riders not the whole bloody lot of them. Where was his reserve now! Every good general should have a reserve—he’d heard that somewhere.
Was it too late to recall them? Maybe not. He could dive down and land in front of them—that would scare the shit out of them and no mistake. Send some of them back to the woods at least—perhaps just split them in two now—seize the road south to prevent any escapes and attack the inn from that side too. And hold the others back—under his command—waiting on the slope to see where they were needed. It looked like the dwarves were retreating to the inn, so they’d have to attack that place to get them all—maybe put a light to it, or smash it down. Shame his wyvern wasn’t a fire-breathing dragon—that would be well handy.
A wisp of cloud obscured his view for a moment. He pulled on the iron chains that were the wyvern’s reins and kicked her side with his spiked spurs.
“Down fell beast,” he grunted—the old orc who had bred this wyvern told him that she obeyed certain commands, but Grim wasn’t sure he believed that—it seemed pain and pushing and pulling were the main things that the beast understood.
The wyvern lost height as Grim had wished, but now he was further east over the valley, towards the glade of trees where rumour had it an elf witch dwelt. He looked down. The leaves of the trees below were a lighter green—elven trees perhaps when compared to the dour dark pines that covered much of the mountains. And something glinted down there. There was a small lake, a pool of glistening water. Grim bent over the neck of the wyvern to get a closer look. A pink figure was in the shining water. Grim took the wyvern down to get a closer look. Maybe this was a prize finer than gold.
Tears came to Grim’s eyes as the wyvern plunged through the clouds. A ray of sunshine though illuminated the lake in the glade once the wyvern was clear of the cloud. Grim pulled up on the chains and the wyvern levelled off and turned in a slow arc over the trees—perhaps a hundred paces above the lake. A female lay floating in the water—dark hair streaming like a fan from her head. And she was naked.
The Broken Hand orcs counted it a special right of their royalty to mix with other races—humans usually. They counted the mixture of bloods and pollution of the so called “good” races with their own a privilege above any other. De facto therefore Grim had probably some half-orc blood in him somewhere—it was difficult to find willing human females though—for some reason they were put off coupling with orcs. But here floated an elf ready to be taken. To be his mate perhaps and to enhance the next bloodline of the Broken Hand.
Grim spoke to the wyvern, hoping the creature would understand, “Pick up the floating elf, don’t kill it.” He thought about adding the word “gentle” but very much doubted the wyvern would understand. To his disbelief the winged creature began a shallow dive over the lake, skimming low over the trees. At the far end of the lake, Grim glimpsed a white domed building. A figure clothed in white stepped from the doorway and held up her hands towards the wyvern and Grim. Somehow Grim decided it best to duck at that moment. It was a wise choice as then he missed a bolt of blue light that screamed over his head.
The woman in white began running and shouting.
Grim looked over the neck of the wyvern. The female elf in the water was still floating. Well you couldn’t hear that well if your ears were submerged could you, but as they came closer she must have realised that something was wrong. There was a splash and suddenly the naked elf was flailing around with her arms trying to swim away. She glanced over her shoulder, just as the wyvern stuck out its claws to pick her up. Grim smiled as she looked at him. She was more beautiful than anything he had seen (although admittedly she didn’t have much competition, given the company Grim kept).
The elf now dived suddenly, her slender pale legs tipping into the air as she tried to push herself down into the water. But the wyvern was fine with that. She grabbed the elf’s ankles in her claws and plucked her out of the water like an osprey takes a fish from the sea.