The dwarf, still soaked in beastman blood, charged in swinging. The startled creature just stared incoherently until F’lore’s axe hit it in the arm. Then the monster roared, though impossible to tell whether from pain or having its dinner interrupted. The troll stood while F’lore brought the axe around for another swing. It reached down to grab a club from a dead beastman’s hand, or rather along with a dead beastman’s hand. F’lore’s axe bit into the creature’s chest while it raised the club. With another angry roar, the troll began to swing.
K’nar circled the combatants, looking to flank the troll. K’shan readied what little magical abilities she had left after the fight with the beastmen.
Lothar reached deep inside himself to shake off the fear gripping his heart. His adventure, his moment, was happening directly in front of him…but without him. He began to moan in frustration, and the sound of his own voice snapped him from his paralysis. Raising his sword, Lothar charged the troll’s other exposed flank.
K’nar and Lothar swung simultaneously. One attacker had skill behind his swing while the other did not. The elf pierced the creature’s abdomen as it flailed at the dwarf. Lothar missed.
F’lore completely ignored the beating from the troll and concentrated on hitting the monster as hard and as fast as he could. It was a test of endurance to see which creature could take the greatest beating. It’s not exactly the kind of test any intelligent creature would challenge a Slayer to. The dwarf’s axe hit often and hit deep into the tough skin of the troll. K’nar and Lothar kept weakening it from the sides as well, until the creature’s body couldn’t possibly heal its wounds faster than it received them.
One particularly lucky stab by Lothar caught the troll’s attention. The monster turned and swung the club. Lothar was bludgeoned in the ribs and knocked, breathless, to the ground. F’lore didn’t miss the opening.
The dwarf took the opportunity to plant his feet and swing his axe with every once of strength remaining. The blow struck only too well. F’lore’s axe sliced open the troll’s abdominal cavity, sending blood, entrails, and potent acid spraying forward in an arc. The dwarf was well within splash range, though K’nar and Lothar were not. The troll fell to the ground, and all was silent for a split second.
K’shan ran for the dwarf, while K’nar helped Lothar back to his feet. K’shan tore off her cloak and wiped the dwarf down, despite his sputtering and swearing. F’lore spit blood out of his mouth. “I’ve ‘ad worse beatings from an elf!”
“I am not sure if that’s an insult or a compliment.” K’shan kept wiping the dwarf down. Her cloak was falling apart as she wiped. “It is the acid I am worried about, not your thick skull.” F’lore grunted.
“Nice thinkin’, lad, distractin’ it for me. Darned good strategy.” Lothar couldn’t reply, even if he wanted to admit he hadn’t used strategy. He was still fighting to get breath back into his lungs. He also thought a rib or two might be cracked. K’nar stepped forward to be the voice of reason.
“We have met a band of beastmen and a troll. We should return to Hobbly and warn the town. We could reprovision for a longer hunt, too, if the human is up to it.” Lothar’s mind caught on the idea of going back to Hobbly.
“Good…idea,” he panted between shallow breaths.
“Not before we raid this filthy beast’s lair!” F’lore looked up at the cave entrance. “He’s sure to have killed something with valuables. I’ve built up a mighty thirst, and the troll’s paying!” He walked away from K’shan’s ministrations. She was left holding a pocked, shabby cloak.
“Amazing. I have cleaned off pints and pints of blood, but none seems to be his. Also, look at my cloak. It is in tatters from the acid of the troll, yet none has left a mark on him.” Lothar shook his head.
“The dwarf has Ranald’s own luck. I was only hit once, and I was out of the fight.”
“Tis not luck, my human friend. Tis fate,” K’nar corrected. The three followed the dwarf’s path with their eyes. K’nar then looked back to the half eaten bodies at their feet. “I guess we get to plunder out here.” Lothar was amazed they had the presence of mind to think about money when they had almost been killed two times in the last ten minutes. Such is the life of an adventurer, though.