Gray clouds pummeled the combatants on the slippery battleground with cold, wet despair. Gale force winds blew branches of all sizes into the air along side dead and withering leaves. Cold air bit with freezing teeth, tearing at already shredded flesh. The rain ran down the hills, mingling with red blood of a dozen men and flowing against the black blood of their inhuman enemies.
The men that still lived charged their foes, swords raised and dripping with tiny rivers. Their opponents roared and brandished axes equal in size to the humans, half the height of the smallest of the dark creatures. Their tales flicked from side to side, rattling the chain mail armor that sparsely covered them.
The two sides swarmed through the slick trees in the gray of the stormy afternoon until they crashed into each other, metal on metal ringing above dull rolls of thunder. Swords crashed on armor and then found the unprotected sides of the enemy creatures, piercing quickly and without hesitation. Many an ax returned the favor, not worrying about vulnerabilities, favoring brute force to dent and bend and finally break through armor that had long protected against lesser power. Men fell in halves with screams choked in blood that lasted less time then for their bodies to hit and sink into the muddy ground. The creatures fared no better, the quicker swords only made their deaths longer, no less painful or fewer.
The men battled furiously, war cries rising above the din of the storm around them, save for one soul, cowering in the hollow of an ancient tree. He watched, hidden from view, lost in the mayhem, though he could clearly see the carnage playing out before him.
“War God, protect them and lend them your strength to cleanse these hell spawned monsters from the land,” he whispered as he watched the human field leader, pointing his long sword forward, lead another charge.
Time froze. The world held its breath. The winds stopped. The rain ceased. The clouds halted their descent. Both battalions were silent. Confusion swept into the land. Man and beast’s attention was drawn to the peak of a mountain a few miles away, visible through an opening in the forest canopy.
A shimmering light hovered above the rocky point and whirled at great speed. Shafts of white light shot out, escaping the orb sporadically, followed by erratic bolts of lightning. The strange phenomenon grew in size and ferocity with each passing beat of fearful hearts on the lands below.
A bolt of lightning crossed the distance between itself and the warring parties. It blasted the battlefield and the world inhaled. The winds came alive, ten times stronger than before, but in the opposite direction. The rain and clouds went with it. Human and inhuman now ignored each other and sought protection from the unnatural hurricane. Those who found shelter gazed in the direction nature’s wrath had chosen and traced it back to the now blinding light hanging over the mountain.
A second streak of lightning shot down from the light and split the mountain in two with a deafening explosion. A hail of boulders covered the distance between the mountain and the skirmish, crashing down on the battling enemies. The warriors cried out, trying to run. Stony debris rained down on all. Man and demon-creature alike were smashed or flattened, the mountain accomplishing what neither side had yet been able to do.
Those who were not instantly killed by the onslaught fixed their dying eyes on the light that had sent their destruction. As those visions faded to blackness, their last image was of a pulsing light.
The storm reversed course. The world exhaled. Nature returned to its previous state. Clouds came again, along with their companions wind and rain. The blood never washed away completely.
The shimmering orb pulsed greatly once more and then disappeared.
The wind calmed, the rain changed to a drizzle, and the clouds thinned. The sun did not come out. An upturned tree that had survived for a thousand years before that day, curiously bled red.