Chapter 14:

Chaos In The Woods Part 1

Tales Of The Chosen "Heroes"

Shawn walked through dense woodland staring intently on the ground beneath him as he ran through the woods. A frown on his face as he struggled to figure out Rose’s trail.Bookmark here

What’s going on? I swear I was following her trail just fine, and now I see nothing. How in the hells does she move so fast anyways? Shawn stopped running in frustration as he seemed to have lost the trail.Bookmark here

He looked around, seeing nothing but sticks and leaves. Come on, she isn’t that good, I think. He began to back trace to where he had lost sight of the trail.Bookmark here

Alright, alright. Any and kind of small sign, sign. He stared at the tracks intently. They indicated that she had ran through this area and… that’s it. The tracks just suddenly stop, the disturbed grass path no longer existed past the point Shawn was staring at.Bookmark here

It’s almost like she just flew into air. He thought as he looked upwards staring at the tree branches above him. He blinked once before he realized that some of the branches seemed to have freshly snapped of. Other softer, tender branches seemed to have bent around a form to fit the shape of some humanoid heading.Bookmark here

Oh, she could have climbed a tree. The terrain is a bit difficult on the ground, but is hopping tree from tree really easier? Huh. Annoyingly nimble. With that he began to follow the newly found trail that she had left behind, on the ground of course. He wasn’t really in the mood to go tree climbing right now.Bookmark here

As he continued to move forward, he wondered why an armoured adventurer chose to climb up a tree and then hop from one to another. A noise interrupted his thoughts and he quickly stopped and hid behind a tree.Bookmark here

He heard what he believed was a group of people conversing. The language they spoke was foreign, but it sounded suspiciously like the chaos worshippers he had encountered before.Bookmark here

He peaked around the tree and spotted six chaos worshippers walking through the area. He noted that the two in front leading the group seemed different. The buttons and buckles they wore seemed more intricate and valuable. They also moved around with an air of confidence.Bookmark here

Great, of course I run into elites by myself. Shawn was tempted to let the group pass him. They weren’t even heading towards the direction of Lawrence and the others, no real harm. Wait, where are they going then? He wondered.Bookmark here

He recalled what the soldiers had said when they used the communication device. That a load of adventurers and soldiers were converging on the chaos chief. Shawn assumed that these people were heading off to some sort of fight. Bookmark here

Shawn now pondered what to do next. If he followed them then he could meet others, perhaps the main fighting force. Though there was a chance that he would get spotted. Bookmark here

He could choose to let them pass, that it would not be helpful to anyone they run into.Bookmark here

Of course, there was another option. Fight them. By himself. While he did have the element of surprise, armed with Rose’s short recurve bow, but there were six of them. Not to mention he was now dealing with two more experienced fighters.Bookmark here

But the element of surprise can do wonders. He mused. Looking at the group of chaos worshippers, he noticed that they seemed to be done talking and began to continue moving.Bookmark here

If I stop them, it’ll help the others, who knows I might get a reward. He concluded as he watched the group walk past him. He noted his surroundings, noting that to his left was an elevated path. Alright I can use this.Bookmark here

He quietly pulled out his bow and notched an arrow in. Drawing he aimed directly at the back of one of ones leading the group. Releasing his hold, the arrow soared through the air and slammed straight into the back of one of the chaos worshippers. Bookmark here

The chaos worshipper fell face first onto the grass floor with a thud. The rest turned to fact Shawn in surprise. Upon seeing a small man all by himself with a nonchalant smile on his face shrugging at them, their surprise turned to anger. They charged at this upstart.Bookmark here

Got their attention now. Shawn thought as he notched another arrow. Just need to take one more down. Letting his arrow loose as his opponents begun to close the distance.Bookmark here

The arrow much like its predecessor soared through the air, right at the closest opponent. It homed in right onto the forehead of the chaos worshipper. Upon making impact it hit the helmet the chaos worshipper was wearing directly.Bookmark here

It then snapped in half and bounced of the metal helmet. The pieces falling harmlessly to the side.Bookmark here

Oh, come on! What is that luck? Shawn began to let panic set in. Fortunately, while the arrow failed to pierce the helmet, the impact still managed to stun the chaos worshipper for a moment, halting him. Bookmark here

The chaos worshipper behind him took his companion’s place in charging towards Shawn. The chaos worshipper was now only ten paces away from Shawn. Bookmark here

Shawn quickly realized that he wasn’t going to have time to fire another shot. So, he decided to chuck the bow and arrow at the chaos worshipper. Who in turn halted and ducked the projectile.Bookmark here

This forced the chaos worshipper behind him to move around him and take the charge. Shawn at this point had begun to backpedal up elevated area, axe and shield drawn, awaiting his opponent.Bookmark here

The chaos worshipper caught up and swung at Shawn. Shawn parried with his shield and slammed his axe into the chest of his opponent. The axe head embedded deep into chaos worshipper’s chest. Bookmark here

As Shawn tried to pull the axe back, he realized it was stuck. Before he could yank it out, gravity and the slope caused the body began to fall backwards, causing Shawn to lose his grip on his axe.Bookmark here

Thump!Bookmark here

The body fell to the ground, Shawn’s axe still stuck in it. Shawn stared at it in disbelief before looking at the chaos worshippers in front of him, who also stood there in surprise at this predicament.Bookmark here

They looked at each other for moment. Then back at the axe. Then back at each other.Bookmark here

This moment of peace ended when Shawn attempted to lunge forwards to grab it, the closet chaos worshipper then threw a wild swing forcing Shawn to shrink back.Bookmark here

Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! As he began to move backwards putting his shield in front. Shawn was forced into the defensive. He constantly moved backwards, keeping all his opponents in front of him. Carefully navigating around the uneven terrain, he caused his opponents movements to slow and stumble while trying to get to him.Bookmark here

Every strike that came his way, Shawn either dodged or blocked with his shield. On occasion he would throw a lightning-fast kick into his opponents’ legs and midsections. Each time his strike landed he forced his opponent to stall, trying to recover from the pain. With each strike he was allowed to keep his opponents away from him. All the while the chaos worshipper veteran was yelling instructions at the rest.Bookmark here

He was faster than them and he was landing his blows. But he only needed to make one mistake for the fight to end.Bookmark here

Shawn began to move towards a small ledge, he was losing ground. In his head he desperately began to form a new plan.Bookmark here

Then in the corner of his eye he noticed someone else arrive, the form of a tall lanky figure with salt and pepper hair. Lawrence.Bookmark here

Lawrence engaged the veteran who had been able to spot him before he could strike. The two engaged allowing Shawn to have one less opponent to worry about. The cohesion from the others lessened dramatically.Bookmark here

Shawn began to move away from the ledge, but in turn Lawrence began to move towards it.Bookmark here

As Lawrence and the chaos veteran battled near the ledge the chaos worshipper surged forward. Lawrence managed to catch his opponent’s arm before he could bring it down and they were locked into a grapple. Bookmark here

The shoving match between the two caused them to edge closer and closer to the ledge, until they both went tumbling down it.Bookmark here

Shawn gritted his teeth and weaved past the chaos worshippers and run straight towards the ledge. While doing so he unstrapped his shield and held it by the edges with both hands. He then jumped of the ledge, placing his shield forward.Bookmark here

Lawrence and the chaos veteran were still trying to get back up when Shawn came soaring down. The chaos veteran only saw a shadow appear over him before Shawn slammed shield first into the man.Bookmark here

When Shawn hit the floor, he turned to face Lawrence who was now sitting down staring at back. Lawrence gave a wince while rubbed his shoulder, “Shawn.” He gave a small nod in greeting.Bookmark here

“What the hell are doing here?” Shawn snapped at him.Bookmark here

“Trying to keep you alive.”Bookmark here

“I don’t need your help.”Bookmark here

“Didn’t look like you had things handled.” Lawrence shot back.Bookmark here

Before Shawn could rebut a roar got their attention. Looking up they could see the remaining three chaos worshippers staring down them. One of them pointed at the others and yelled something. In return the other two ran off trying to find a safer way down while the other one stood there keeping an eye on them.Bookmark here

Shawn stood back up looking at the chaos worshipper, “What are you going to do now?” He taunted.Bookmark here

Apparently in response, the chao worshipper threw his axe at him. Shawn wide-eyed quickly lifted his shield, the axe head embedded itself into the shield. Shawn stared at the blade sticking through the shield.Bookmark here

Two things stuck through his mind at that moment. First, he was glad that the shield wasn’t attached to his arm. Second, he was annoyed at his only shield being destroyed.Bookmark here

“Thanks for axe idiot!” He taunted at the chaos worshipper who roared in response.Bookmark here

When Shawn pried the axe free from his shield, he saw the other two chaos worshippers clambering down to him.Bookmark here

Using the opportunity, he swung his axe just as one of his opponents managed to make it down. The battle axe slammed deep into the gut of the chaos worshipper felling him.Bookmark here

The other chaos worshipper managed to make it down as Shawn was pulling his axe back, machete in hand. Bookmark here

The two stared each other down, waiting for the other to act. Lawrence took this opportunity to stab the unsuspecting chaos worshipper from behind.Bookmark here

As Shawn watched the chaos worshipper fall, he opened his mouth to speak. Only to be interrupted as the chaos worshipper from above came hurtling down upon them.Bookmark here

The airborne chaos worshipper foot smacked the top of Lawrence’s head causing him to drop to his knees. All this while Shawn took the brunt of the large chaos worshippers weight collapsing on top of him. Bookmark here

Shawn made a guttural noise as the wind was knocked out of him. As the chaos worshipper raised his fist to strike down on him, Shawn snapped back into reality tilting his head out of the way.Bookmark here

The chaos worshipper hit nothing but dirt.Bookmark here

In frustration the chaos worshipper lifted his other hand to strike. But before he could bring it down Shawn twisted his body to the left, before twisting to the right at astonishing speed.Bookmark here

To both the chaos worshipper and Lawrence, Shawn’s quick twisting from side to side inexplicably caused the chaos worshipper to be shoved off from him.Bookmark here

Shawn then swiveled around, now facing towards the chaos worshipper and proceeded to wrap his arms around the neck of him and squeezed tightly.Bookmark here

The chaos worshipper struggled and attempted to get up, head now stuck beneath Shawn’s arm. In response Shawn put his weight on him. A few seconds later the chaos worshipper stopped moving and Shawn released his grip.Bookmark here

Slowly picking himself up Shawn looked at Lawrence, “Thanks for the help.” He said sarcastically.Bookmark here

“What? You clearly had it handled.” Lawrence said casually.Bookmark here

“Do you seriously leave Sara?”Bookmark here

“She’s as safe as she could be.” Lawrence assured, rubbing his head.Bookmark here

“You alright?” Shawn asked.Bookmark here

“I’ll live. Come on let’s see if there’s any loot to be had.” Lawrence.Bookmark here

The two began to search through the bodies, trying to find anything of worth. Lawrence was able to fish out several flasks of what seemed to be dark beer with a peculiar smell from the chaos worshippers. Shawn rather hesitant to try out the mystery concoction chose not to bother with taking any himself.Bookmark here

Digging through their clothes a few small rings and trinkets was found and collected. Shawn replaced his missing weaponry with a machete, picked up a few extra knives and retrieved his bow.Bookmark here

Shawn then noticed a rolled piece of paper hanging out the jacket of one of the chaos veterans. Unfurling it he saw that it was in fact a very rudimentary map. While it was horribly drawn, he could just about make out what the map says. A point of interest was indicated with a massive X drawn by what seemed to be blood.Bookmark here

“Huh, this map.” Shawn murmured.Bookmark here

“What is it?” Lawrence asked.Bookmark here

“It looks like they marked a destination on the map… with fresh blood, recently made. I guess that was where they were going.” Shawn reported. “Should we check it out?”Bookmark here

“You would still go even if I said no.”Bookmark here

“Yes, but I’m asking if you want to.”Bookmark here

With a sigh Lawrence relented, “Alright. Guess we do owe that armored lady for getting us through the forest. Sara and Michael should be safe.”Bookmark here

The two then got up and begun following the map towards the destination.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.