Tales of Dungheap Fortress
A laughingstock in the civilized realm, the aptly named Dungheap Fortress is the new command of disgraced commander Adama. Determined to regain his pride, even at the expense of his own men, Adama is blind to the forces gathering against him.
The leader of the lizard-men, Prince Rupal fears the changes in Dungheap Fortress bode ill for his nomads. Yet he faces a much greater danger, for the ancient evil of his race has awakened from its long slumber beneath the sands.
Now the two enemies must set aside their differences and combine their strengths if they are to have any chance to survive.
“All is ready sir,” Padilla whispered, “the men are in widely scattered squads, each instructed to be silent and stay hidden until a lizardman is close. We should be able to surprise and surround them. We have three times the normal complement of men on the walls and they all will be watching carefully. Nothing will slip by tonight.”
The twilight deepened into darkness without an alert. Adama walked the wall, silently nodding to the men on guard. A faint buzzing sound from the south came to his ears.
“Do you hear anything?” he whispered to the closest sentry. The man listened intently then shook his head slowly, “nothing sir.”
“Keep a sharp eye out.”
Adama drew his sword and peered out into the night. His instincts told him something was about to happen. Yet, the night continued still and quiet. Then with a whir, a large insect-like creature appeared and dove for him, only his quick reflexes and drawn sword saved him from its attack. Adama sliced at it with his sword, expecting the movement to scare it away, but it altered its flight allowing the sword to slid by harmlessly as it continued in at him. He ducked to one side as the insect flew through the space he was standing in.
He sliced at the insect again, this time managing to hit it with the side of his blade. The insect was knocked sideways but regained its balance, turned and headed for him again. More prepared this time, Adama held the insect at bay with his sword, while examining it curiously. The whirring wings moved so quickly they were a blur and the body seemed more wormlike than a typical insect. It darted about seeking a way through the net of flashing steel he wove before him. Anticipating its moves, Adama sliced just as it dodged and cut it apart. The two halves burst in a tiny explosion, releasing a foul smelling odor and disappearing.
“What was that thing?” the sentry raced up, sword drawn.
“Some kind of flying insect, like nothing I have ever seen before.”
There was a cry of pain from the hill to the west of the fort and Adama heard several of the distinctive whirring sounds in the air around the fortress. “Swords out men,” he roared, “Watch for attacking insects.” He watched another of the strange flying creatures flying aimlessly around in the torchlight. When it came close it seemed to sense him and turned toward him. Better prepared this time, he held it at bay with his sword, before managing to cut it in two, watching in satisfaction as it popped.