The two warriors stood back to back, blades and vestments covered in blood and various bit of tattered flesh. The taller of the two men, Patrow Kellerman was of the clan Harrowcar, a fierce and proud race, known for strong axe blades and good fighters. His companion Toggmar Brennlin, was a good head shorter, built like an ox. He was from the Sallowertan tribe of Herringer, his folks were known for their horsemanship and swordsmanship on horseback.
This day had started badly for Toggmar, standing watch at the Castle Porrodlin, between the Herringer grounds and the far distant shores of Plamindar. He and his fellow watchman had not seen the troops, until they came from under the ground 200 feet from the gates. The first Toggmar knew was when his colleague fell with a Plamindar bolt in his throat. He tried to run for the castle to warn the rest of the soldiers but was cut down by a staff and had to watch as the soldiers stormed the gates. He saw friends torn apart from blades so ragged, the blood squirted from so many cuts you couldn't see the men. Looking around him, Toggmar knew, with instinct borne in battle with the Plamindar. There was only one end in sight, that was the death of all in the party, they would slay thity-five good men of Herringer.
Toggmar jumped astride the nearest horse and rode for all he was worth reaching Fortress Drachanweld in two hours, instead of the usual three hours it would have taken. Out of breath and running as fast as he could, he went to the guard commander. Toggmar could only say “Plamindar, three miles west of here, stay close together!” Then he collapsed, tired out and weary. After three mugs of 'Hog’s Blood' ale he went to see Patrow Kellerman, the clan chief.
Patrow asked of him “From where have you ventured, my man, and what is your good name?”
“I'm Toggmar Brennlin of the Salloertan clan from Herringer. I came to you straight from Castle Porrodlin, or at least what is left of it. We lost thirty-five men of Herringer in a skirmish with the Plamindar. And they are coming here next.”
“I haven't heard of them before. Is there a way to defend ourselves?”
“Not this group, this is a skirmishing raid. The only defence is when they arrive, get the men to stand back to back, for NO reason leave anyone unprotected. These are butchers, they kill and maim, for sheer enjoyment!”
“Porrodlin you said.”
“If my memory is correct that castle had a clear field of fire, no trees and bushes and yet you said they suddenly appeared 200 feet away. Do you have an explanation as to how?”
“We thought we had everything covered, rocks for our protection near the gates, just to slow them a bit, and give us a chance to form up, but they appeared from nowhere, and all plans went aside, it became a fight to the death, each man for himself.”
“How did you survive then Toggmar of Sallowertan?”
“I was hit on the back of the head with a staff, as they do not check for casualties they left me for dead. I woke three hours later and saw the ruined castle, strewn with my friends. You don’t have the time to challenge my word nor the manpower to imprison me for being a possible spy. By now they should be coming around the fork at Hagardson’s ridge.”
“If we give you a horse and food, can you make it to Porrowlock? It's only five miles and they have a garrison of over a hundred and fifty men?”
“I could. But there is no point!”
“Take a look over the brow of that hill.”
“I see smoke pouring from the village, MY GOD! They hit Porrowlock first.”
“I was wondering, why it took them so long to get here.”
“What does that mean for us, there are only fifty here, counting you and me?”
“Patrow Kellerman of Harrowcar, as I stand here the last man of Herringer. I salute your bravery, my friend. We have but one choice. We stand back to back, axe to sword and fight until either we win or die.”
Patrow and Toggmar gather ed the men for a final prayer to their gods of war Signus the Great and Sigmar the rock. Who had held a pass against over a hundred invaders for two hours, so the injured could escape.
As the band of men rose from prayer, Patrow gave the order “By Sigmar’s blood and Signus’s hand. We fight this fight, live or die, we battle to a stand in death, we die to protect our lands.”
The men stood in awe of their heroes and the deeds done, each lost in thoughts of homes, they hoped to see. Each hoping that at dawn of day, this battle would be a historic victory and sung around the fires.
Then out of the mists for the first time, the dreaded banners of red and gold helmets were in sight. The army was on the march in an orderly manner. This was something unusual, as Plamindar attacks were usually quick strikes and then off to the next ones.
Looking out over the crest of the hill Patrow was horrified at what he saw “Toggmar, what do you make of this, my friend?”
“I can only assume ONE thing Patrow. We are all that stands between them and controlling this area, they only unfurl the banners at the end of the struggles, so we are the last stand now.”
Patrow stood aloft the castle walls, and yelled to the men “Porrowlock is in enemy hands We have no chance of reinforcements or escape. Any man willing to try is welcome, nobody will think bad of you. Otherwise we'll stand and fight here and now.”
If on cue, as he stood down a huge boulder came crashing through the walls, where less than a minute ago, he had stood. With the first breach came the rush of men, axes swinging, swords slashing through coats of leather, like through reeds in the spring. Toggmar and Patrow led a charge to try and hold the breach, but the few men they could gather were no match as more rocks crashed the gates.
“Get to your positions men!” shouted Toggmar.
On the command the men withdrew into groups, each man covered by two more as the raid progressed the men of Plamindar, grew weary. They had got used to a quick fight and were now weakening, sensing this Patrow shouted “Break ground men!”
At this command, the men broke the groups and chased down the enemy, the banners of Plamindar, lay in the blood and guts of its dead warriors. Toggmar and Patrrow strode to the top of the battlements, to watch the stragglers be chased down and put to the sword.
The fort lay in ruins, men lay dead at their feet, clothes torn and bodies tired but they had held the grounds and could be proud. Although they lost twenty men in the raid, their position had held and they knew this day would not be heard of in Plaminder.
Patrow turned to Toggmar and asked “What do you think saved us, my friend?”
After a while Toggmar said “It wasn't just the stand and fighting but also we chased them down, so they could not band together again, for another attack.”