Author's Notes: Hey everyone, all I can say is that I am sorry that I have not updated in so long. So let us get to it, as always I own nothing.
The Beastmen surged forward in a wave, apparently abandoning all thought of subtly and instead relying on numbers and brute strength. Men rushed to man their positions and Karl saw the Baron himself and both of his sons. However; there was no sign of Lady von Dorchener, a fact which Karl found disconcerting. True, there was as of yet no sign of the Chaos Warrior himself, but surely, he was about somewhere and Lady von Dorchener had declared her intent to face him. Perhaps she was keeping herself concealed until her opponent revealed himself. If that was the case Karl was not sure if her absence was good or bad. Either way, that was a potential problem for later. Right now he had plenty of problems charging right at him.
He joined his pistol to the fuselage being directed at the charging Beastmen. This was a ragged affair as the men were arriving from other parts of the camp and so there was no chance or effort made to organize the fire into proper volleys. Beastmen fell and were trampled by their fellows who paid them no heed. With a crash the Beastmen hit the barricade like a wave crashing into a rock, though a rock would no doubt have held better. The barricade rocked where it was hit especially hard and men were thrown backwards from it. While the smaller Beastmen were hindered by it the larger ones were able to either climb over it, or in some cases simply start to tear it apart.
Karl was fortunate, as the Beastmen near him were mostly of the smaller variety, some of which barely reached the top of the barricade with their heads. Karl brought the pommel of his sword on the top of one creature's head while brining the other one down like a cleaver to sever the fingers of another as it tried to pull itself up. He was looking for more opponents when he was struck in the side and nocked to the ground and a great weight fell on him. For a moment they thrashed about on the ground, with Karl yelling and cursing in pain while his opponent bit and tore at him while Karl, for his part, could not angle his body to allow him to bring his weapons to bear. At last, after much wriggling and struggling, he was able to get on his back and face his opponent.
At first he thought that he was being attacked by a traitor, or another Chaos warrior as the face looking down at him was that of a human man. Then it opened its mouth and revealed rows of needle-like teeth and as it reared back its head to howl Karl saw that it sprouted horns on its head. The head was connected to a canine-like body, with spines sprouting from its back and its tail ending in a bony mass which sprouted more spikes. Before Karl could react it brought both of its front paws forward to pin both of Karl's arms, its claws digging into his flesh.
As it howled a man ran up behind it and struck it in the neck. The creature screamed and turned its head to face the man. In desperation the man struck again and this time the blow partially severed the monster's head from the rest of its body. Its scream ended in a gurgle and it fell to the group where it flopped about for a moment and then went still. The man reached down and offered a hand to Karl. Karl took it gratefully and was helped to his feet. Before he could thank the man the man went rigid as a spearpoint burst through his neck, a gloating Beastman standing behind him. With a roar of rage, Karl lunged at him.
Before the Beastman could pull its weapon free Karl brought his left-handed sword down on the shaft of the spear, severing it. At the same time he thrust out with his other sword. It caught it on the underside of its chin and the blade went up and into its brain. As the man before it had the Beastman went stiff and then fell to the ground. Karl pulled his blade free of the body and then looked around to take in the situation.
In contrast to Karl's own situation the area in his immediate vicinity around seemed to be mostly in human hands and the Beastmen attack was being repelled. Unfortunately, the same could not be said elsewhere. To the right of them the Beastmen had broken through the barricade and the humans were being pushed back. To the left the barricade was holding, but were hard-pressed and Karl guessed that that section of their defenses would fall before much longer. Just then Sir Fernando appeared on horseback, waving his sword to attract the attention of all those around Karl.
"WITH ME MEN!" With that he jumped the barricade, Karl and the rest behind him. At first Karl was not sure what they were going to do. Sir Fernando, aided by Henri and some of the other sergeants who were in the group, formed the men up into something resembling lines. Once this was done he led them in a charge to the left which slammed into the flank of the Beastmen attacking the barricade who, due to be focused on the defenders in front of them, failed to detect the attacking force until it was too late. As the two sides clashed Karl thought that he could smell magic. But though he looked everywhere he could see not sign of the Chaos Warrior, nor any shamans either. With the defenders in front of them and a fresh force hitting them from the side proved to be too much. First in ones and two and then in larger and larger groups the Beastmen broke and fled. The humans did not pursue them. Instead the two groups combined into one force, though clearly not as organized as Sir Fernando would like. Nevertheless, he turned them towards the right were the Beastmen had pushed the defenders away from the barricade and were now making their way into the camp.
While before this meant that the Beastmen had been winning, it was now to their detriment as Sir Fernando led Karl and the others in a charge into their rear. The Beastmens' whole attention was what was in front of them and at first they were unaware of what was going on behind them. As they gradually became aware of their danger they tried to turn to face them. When this happened the humans in front of them, including reinforcements led by Sir Felipe, turned to face their foes. Taken between two forces the Beastmen panicked it was clear that they were on the verge of breaking. Beside him Henri gave a whoop of victory.
"THAT'S IT BOYS! WE GOT THE BLOODY BASTARDS ON THE RUN!" He might have said more, but at that moment a javelin took him in the back and he fell to the ground. For a moment Karl stared at his friend's body in shock and then another, more disturbing, thought occurred to him. The javelin had not come from behind.
Looking about Karl tried to find the source of the missile, or missiles as he saw more coming in and more men falling. Just then his ears caught a sound over the battle, a sound which sounded like the thundering of hooves. Looking around to find the source of the hooves he saw a large group of the four-legged Beastmen were pounding towards them from the side as hard as they could. As they did so they raised a chorus of drunken cries.
"WHEEL ABOUT! WHEEL ABOUT!" Sir Fernando yelled at the men in an effort to get them into position to face the new threat.
This caused confusion as not all the men had heard him and continued to advance after the Beastmen in front of them while others had heard him, but had not seen the Beastmen and thus did not know which way they were supposed to wheel to and some did not even know what that meant. All of this resulted in the human force dissolving into a confused mass. Karl leveled his pistol at one of them and pulled the trigger, only to have it click empty. He had fired all his shots and had not thought to reload it. There was no time to reload before the enemy crashed into the. Had the Beastmen launched a coordinated attack it would likely have been the end of them. Fortunately, the Beastmen attacks lacked coordination and even the two groups were not united themselves, with each individual Beastman rushing in and attacking as they reached the humans. Despite this they had the numbers and gradually the human force began to fragment into smaller groups and individuals as Beastmen got among the humans and forced them apart.
This played to the Beastmen's strength as one-on-one they were often larger and stronger than the humans and had far more experience than then even the professional soldiers among their opponents. The humans' greatest strength was their discipline and coordination and they were now being denied this. Even as he cut down another Beastman Karl's attention was caught by something which gave him pause. A smaller Beastman whose most notable feature was that it lacked horns of any kind. Surprisingly it was not fighting, but weaving among the combatants.
Just as Karl was going to turn his attention back to the larger Beastmen the small one struck. With a sudden burst of speed it shot through several combatants, launched itself into the air and landed on the back of one of the sergeants who was trying to rally the men around him. Before the man could react the creature dragged a blade of sharpened bone across the man's throat. He man went rigid and fell to the ground chocking on his own blood. Before his body had hit the ground the Beastman was gone and had vanished into the swirl of combat.
A Beastman rushed at Karl, an axe held above its head. Karl jumped to the side and the axe thudded harmlessly into the ground. Before the Beastman could pull it free Karl thrust his sword into the side of the Beastman's neck. As he pulled his blade free he looked up in time to see a man who he did not recognize bellowing orders to the men around him also being killed by a hornless Beastman, though whether or it was the same one Karl did not know. Regardless, it appeared that the enemy were attempting to kill anyone they saw who were trying to rally the humans, ensuring that they could not reform to face the threat. That seemed unusually clever for Beastmen, but perhaps it wasn't them. Karl's thoughts went to the Chaos Warrior, he was a sorcerer and people always said that they were knowledgeable and clever. Not that it mattered at the moment, what mattered was that the humans were being deprived of their leadership. He looked around for the von Dorchener brothers, but he had lost sight of them in the swirl of battle, nor did he see any other officers or sergeants.
He remembered when he had taken control before and he felt something stirring within him and he found himself shouting to the men around him. They could not always understand him, or even hear him and sometimes he was forced to grab them and pull them to where he wanted them to go. Slowly they began to come together. It was not a traditional formation, more of a rough circle, with the men facing out on all sides. They formed an island in a sea of violence and while they were still hard-pressed, they were, at least for the moment, holding their own. This attracted the attention of both the Beastmen and other humans. The Beastmen began to congregate around the humans and attacked in an effort to overwhelm them. The beasts were attempting to use weight of numbers and their superior strength and ferocity to beat down the humans and in other circumstances they might have succeeded, but there were several factors in the humans favor.
While the humans were clearly terrified they literally had no choice but to stand and fight and this gave them a terrible courage and ferocity. So, for the moment, the circle held and as long as it held the Beastmen could not get behind the humans. This defiance acted as a beacon not just to the Beastmen, but to the other humans as well. Those who could made their way towards to circle in an effort to link up with those within. This led to several being stabbed by their fellow humans as they broke through the Beastmen in front of the circle before those within realized who was in front of them. However; those was not common and the arrival of these men helped to strengthen the line. Even those who were unaware of the circle, or who could not reach it, were aided as the pressure on them eased and some began to form their own groups.
Karl found himself in the middle of the circle directing their efforts to hold the line. Karl quickly found this to be a hard and as draining as fighting on the front lines as it seemed that it was a never-ending series of one crisis after another. Here the circle was giving way and Karl had to rush in the men he had kept back as a reserve. There were few of these as the men of the line were being cut down and the line was in constant danger of collapsing and most of those who reached them were instantly placed where the lines began to falter due to loses. He had the idea of rotating men off the line to the reserve force so that they could rest, but there was no way to do so without risking gaps opening up for the enemy to break through. So all that they could do was hope that they could hold out until help arrived.
Thinking of that Karl again looked around for the von Dorcheners, but again he did not see them. Where in the name of all the gods were they? For that matter, where was Lady von Dorchener? Her magic had helped win the battle last time and it would be of great help here as well. Just then he caught movement out of the corner of his eye. He had been expecting this and so he was better able to spot it. It was one of the smaller Beastmen who had somehow slipped in among the humans and as it leaped to land on his back Karl moved.
He stepped to the side, causing the Beastman's jump to carry it through empty air. Karl then moved back and kicked it in the back as it flew past him. The blow caused the creature to fall hard into the mud. Before it could recover Karl moved in and stomped down on its neck as hard as he could and was rewarded with the sound of bones breaking. He whipped his head around to take in his immediate surroundings, but he did not see any more of the small assassins. He returned his attention to the battle.
With the majority of the Beastmen in the immediate vicinity focusing on Karl and the men which he had drawn together men who had not been able to reach them were starting to form their own groups. While individually none were strong enough to defeat the attackers, they further divided the Beastmen's attention and several of them were forcing their way towards each other. One of these groups was led by Sir Felipe. He had lost his horse, but it did not appear to have lessened his enthusiasm as he shouted orders and encouragement to those around him. Karl looked around, but could still not see Sir Fernando.
Still, even though Karl could not see him, matters appeared to be stabilizing. There was no sign of the Chaos Warrior and the Beastmen's assault had been blunted and if the humans managed to linkup and if the rest of the camp would come and if Lady von Dorchener was with them to employ her magic they would be able to break the enemy for good, or at least for long enough for the humans to leave the area. If they were fortunate the Beastmen would kill the Chaos Warrior, if the humans themselves did not do so and the Beastmen break up into smaller tribes and groups. All that; however, was in the future. For now they had a battle to win and it while it appeared that things were starting to turn in the humans' favor, it was still entirely possible that they could lose.
The sound of a horn drew Karl's attention, and the attention of everyone else around him. A second blast heralded the arrival of the Baron von Dorchener and with him came of force of horsemen. They were not knights, indeed Karl believed that the Baron and his children were the only knights in the party. Indeed, most of them did not even have armor and the horses were certainly not the destriers ridden by knights. Despite all of this their effect was instant and, for the enemy, devastating. Never in ordered ranks the Beastmen had broken up into separate groups to engage the various human contingents. This left them vulnerable to the cavalry charge which hit them before they had time to react.
The horsemen swept through them like an unstoppable force. Many Beastmen were simply nocked down and crushed under the hooves of the horses. Others were struck by the various weapons which the humans carried. Some managed to jump out of the way of the charged, but this led them to running into of their kind and becoming tangled up, hindering any effort to respond. Some of them even began to fight amongst themselves. Cutting, biting and tearing one another in their desperation to get out of way of the horsemen.
The charge; however, was not entirely successful either as it could not take full advantage of the surprise of their attack and the confusion it was sowing in the enemy. The force had clearly been hastily assembled and it was showing. Lacking the skill at maneuvering their horses that knights' training gave them the Baron did not dare lead them too close to the knots of human fighters and so while the pressure on them eased considerably, none were fully relieved.
Because they were not heavily armored, or even had no armor at all, many fell to the enemy's random counter-attacks. They men clearly knew how to ride, but few if any of them appeared to have trained to ride in combat. This meant that for every blow of theirs which landed several missed or caused only slight wounds rather than killing blows. Their lack of experience in combat riding also resulted in several of them simply falling off their horses. In spite of all of this the charge appeared to have broken the back of the enemy assault and the Beastmen appeared to be on the edge of breaking. Then a second horn brayed out.
At first Karl could not see who or what was making the sound, all he could hear were shouts and screams from both men and Beastmen. At last Karl was able to catch a glimpse of the newcomers to the battle. It was the four-legged Beastmen, battle cries joining the sound of the horn, crashed into the battle. While they were clearly attempting to close with the humans they appeared to be perfectly willing to cut down any of their two-legged fellows who were too slow to get out of their way. This caused the Beastmen in front of them to do everything that they could to get out of their path and this caused them to rush several of the human groups in their efforts to avoid being trampled. The humans fought back, but between the Beastmen that they had been fighting getting in the way and preventing them from preparing for the charge of the four-legged. This combined with the panicked flight of the smaller Beastmen resulted in a wave-like charge which flowed over several knots of humans before the horsemen were able to intervene.
Karl expected the horsemen to charge the four-legs, but they did not. Indeed, it appeared that the Baron was reluctant to engage them with his force and appeared to be attempting to keep his distance. The Beastmen, for their part, appeared to be forcing their way towards the horsemen in an effort to engage them, at least at first this appeared to be the case. As they pushed onwards into the fray they appeared to lose interest in the horsemen in favor of simply fighting with anything and everyone within immediate reach. Nevertheless, their appearance had negated the advantage which the humans had gained from their own cavalry charge. It looked to Karl that the battle had devolved into little more than a massive brawl and victory would go to whichever side was the last to break.
Karl had taken all of this in in flashes as he fought with the Beastmen around him in a struggle which he assumed they were winning simply because they were still alive. He looked about and saw that one of the other human groups had moved closer towards Karl and the others. With a little effort Karl thought that that they could linkup with the others. Then the situation changed again.
Karl's nostrils caught a new scent over the other smells of the battle, the smell of magic. For a moment he that that Lady von Dorchener had at last joined the battle, but he quickly dismissed the idea. The magic had a taint to it which had not been there when she had used her magic during the last battle. That left only one option, the Chaos Warrior had come as expected. Despite the situation Karl grinned at this new development. It was perfect.
The warrior was the one holding the Beastmen together and here he was and was, though Karl doubted that the warrior knew it yet, he was without his magic due to the wards of Lady von Dorchener. While he was no doubt a formidable fighter from the way he had dealt with the two Beastmen Karl guessed that he preferred to use his magic when possible. Deprived of his favorite weapon the warrior would be at a distinct disadvantage which would allow Karl, the Baron, or someone would be able to take him down thereby breaking the Beastmen's moral and causing them to disperse and end the threat, but even as all these thoughts passed through his mind another, more disturbing thought occurred to him.
If the wards are suppressing his powers; how am I still able to smell it? Then the warrior unleashed a spell.
In defiance of the wards a ball of purple fire materialized and crashed into a group of defenders. Men screamed as they burned and died. Some Beastmen were caught by the flames as well and also burned. This went unnoticed by their fellows, save for the ones closest to them. A few of these also caught fire, but the majority of them sized the burning ones, threw them to the ground and stamped on them. Karl was not sure if they were trying to help or just stamp the flames out, whichever it was they succeeded in doing both. This; however, was of little interest to Karl. What did was the fact that the warrior was able to use his magic at all, let alone in so powerful a manner.
How was that possible? Why had the wards not stopped him? Karl could not understand as, from what he had seen, Lady von Dorchener was a competent and powerful wizard and was not sloppy with her spell work. The wards should not have failed. Karl did not understand, but those were questions for later, once the battle had been won. Of more importance to the present situation was the fact that the warrior could still use its magic. That would make killing him far more difficult and unless Lady von Dorchener came to deal with the warrior it would likely be up to Karl to deal with him.
Karl was jostled from his thoughts by someone being pushed into him. This focused on situation in his immediate vicinity. The warrior had brought more Beastmen and they were pressing Karl's men hard and the circle looked as if it might break.
Karl cursed and focused on what was going on around him. Beastmen, emboldened by the presence of the Chaos Warrior, were surging into the circle with renewed vigor and men were looking to Karl for guidance. It seemed that command was harder than it looked.
"PULL IN! PULL IN! THREE STEPS EACH MAN!" He cried out, bellowing in an effort to make his voice heard over the din of battle.
The men tried to pull back, shrinking the circle to compensate for their loses. Unfortunately, this proved to be a mistake. The men were not soldiers and while brave were not trained to fight in formations. Each man withdrew at his own pace and this opened up gaps which the Beastmen were able to push their way through and get amongst the humans and cut some of them down, enlarging the gaps and allowing more of the Beastmen to get in.
The circle was falling apart and all Karl could do was desperately dash back and forth cutting down Beastmen in an effort to save lives and restore the circle. It was not enough, no matter how many of the enemy that he killed it seemed that there was always more of them. Karl felt pain as a spearhead was thrust into his thigh and he fell to the ground. He swung wildly in the direction of the attacker, but in the confusion he was not sure if he hit it or not.
He got to his feet as his wound knit itself back together and looked around. Many of those around him were dead or wounded and it seemed likely that they would soon be overrun. Guilt washed over Karl at the sight. This was his fault, the men had looked to him and he had led them to their doom. The Beastmen seemed to feel the same way, as their bellowing took on a triumphant tone. That filled Karl with a burning hatred and the wolf within him howled. If he was going to die he was going to take as many of these gods-cursed monsters with him as possible! He turned to face a large specimen of Beastmen and began to head towards it. Somehow sensing him the Beastman turned to face him and began heading towards Karl.
It had taken only a few steps when the blade of a sword burst through its throat. It jerked and then fell to the ground. As the blade was withdrawn the Beastman fell to the ground revealing Sir Felipe standing behind it. With him came those of his men still capable of fighting and others who must have come from different groups who had linked up with him. These men struck at the Beastmen who, focused on Karl's group, were taken unaware. Many were killed and others broke and fled and the two groups linked up. This; however, did not mean that the battle was over, far from it. They had merely gained a momentary reprieve.
"WITH ME MEN! FOLLOW ME!" Sir Felipe cried and they surged after him, Karl among them, Karl feeling relief that he was no longer in charge.
They surged into the fray, Karl at Sir Felipe's side, determined to keep the young noble alive as he was apparently the only one keeping the group together and who knew what they were doing. They charged onward, fighting any Beastmen that they came across and linked up with other humans. Despite this it was quickly becoming apparent to Karl that there were no longer any defined battle lines, more like dozens of individual fights between groups. This made it impossible for Karl to know who was winning, from where he stood it appeared that the two sides were evenly matched, with humans winning in some areas and Beastmen winning in others, but he could not be sure. At the moment the whole of his attention was dedicated to keeping himself and, as far as it was possible, those around him alive. He knew; however, that it could not go on. The Beastmen simply had more numbers and could sacrifice them until all the humans were dead. If the humans were to win then a way would have to be found to swing the balance in their favor.
A thought which naturally occurred to Karl was to find and kill the Chaos Warrior. His death would surely demoralize the Beastmen and cause them to break. Even if it did not, the warrior was clearly a powerful combatant and spell-caster and his lose would be a devastating blow to the enemy while a great boon to the defenders. All that Karl had to do was find him and kill him.
No problem at all. Karl thought sardonically.
There was still the question of how the Chaos Warrior was able to use his magic when Lady von Dorchener's wards were supposed to have prevented that. While the answer was beyond him, what wasn't was the fact that, as the wards were not working, Karl or whoever fought the warrior would have to face his magic in addition to his martial skills. That meant that Karl would have to do his best to take the warrior off-guard. That is, if Karl could even find him.
Since he had used his magic the warrior had disappeared into the swirling mass of the combatants. Karl was not sure how he would find him before he did so much damage that it did not matter anymore. Just then his thoughts were interrupted by the call of a horn. It seemed that the Baron was still alive and his force was still fighting. That gave Karl another idea. It would perhaps be easier to help the humans link up with one another. This would enable them to deal with the individual Beastmen groups one by one. This would mean that even the Chaos Warrior would not be enough to tip the balance in the Beastmen's favor. This would also likely draw the attention of the warrior and bring him out, something far more likely to enable Karl to find him rather than Karl simply wandering the battlefield hoping to find the warrior by sheer chance.
He pounded Sir Felipe on the shoulder to get his attention and pointed in the direction of the horn call. The knight understood at once and stated waving his sword in the direction of his father and calling for the men to follow him. They began moving in that direction.
The Baron, or someone with him, must have seen them as well as when the horn sounded again it sounded as if it was moving in the direction of Sir Felipe and his men. There were Beastmen between them, but these were mostly disorganized bands and the men were always able to either sweep these aside or beat through them to continue on. Though they had succeeded so far, Karl could tell that the men with them were beginning to tire. They had been fighting for some time and they were clearly running out of energy. If they battle went on much longer, they might lose through sheer exhaustion.
Just then they broke through the last of the Beastmen and there was the Baron. He was sporting wounds and his force had been noticeably reduced, but they were still fighting and the two groups linked up. This improved the fighting capabilities of both groups. The horsemen could more easily break groups of Beastmen, while the infantry could guard their flanks. There was also the effect that the link-up had on the men. The increased numbers and the presence of the Baron raised moral and they seemed to forget some of their weariness. Karl looked about, sure that the presence of the Baron would attract the attention of the Chaos Warrior, but so far Karl had seen no sign of him. Just as he thought this shouts and screams were heard on their left flank. For a moment Karl thought that the warrior had at last shown himself, but he soon saw that this was not the case.
For a moment Karl could not see what was going on, but at last he saw and when he did he wished that he had not. It was a massive, misshapen creature, one that Karl recognized immediately. It was one of the Beastmen who had fallen afoul of the Chaos Warrior and been twisted into the freakish shapes they held now. The creature was lumbering towards them and the effect was immediate and the exact opposite of the presence of the Baron had had upon the men.
"CHAOS SPAWN!" Someone screamed, terror in their voice. As it lumbered towards them the men began to break up, with some moving to fight it and others trying to get away from it. In both cases Karl could see the drained looks on their faces. They were tired as many of them had clearly thought that the battle was almost over and the presence of the Spawn showed that the battle was not over and that dashed hope crushed them in an almost physical manner.
Karl broke away and began to make his way towards the Spawn. He had to kill it as quickly as possible before it could break the will of the men. He paused and, as quickly as possible in the dark, he reloaded his pistol and fired at the Spawn. All three bullets and all of them hit the creature, but they appeared to have no noticeable effect. The bullets sank into its flesh and the creature kept going without even appearing to give any noticeable effect, save that it turned what Karl thought was its head to look in Karl's direction and began to head towards him. Karl cursed, it seemed the creature would make mincemeat out of the men around him and it seemed that it was going to take a good deal more killing than he had anticipated and he could not take on his wolven form with so many people around him. Where in Khaine's hells was Lady von Dorchener? He was sure that her magic could hurt the creature, but she was still nowhere to be seen.
Fortunately, the Baron was present and clearly understood the threat which the creature posed and was making his way towards it, those horsemen who were capable of following him doing so. Seeing this Sir Felipe urged those around him to greater speed in an effort to reach his father. As they attempted to reach the creature Karl realized that its appearance was a double-edged sword. The Spawn was killing any human who came within its reach and causing panic among the humans. At the same time the creature was clearly insane and was attacking as many Beastmen as humans. The Beastmen clearly understood this and kept their distance as much as possible, the only exception being three or four Beastmen who stood behind it and were driving it forward by prodding it forward with spears and whips. Seeing that an idea began to form in Karl's mind.
Most of the Beastmen in the area were focused on surrounding the horsemen, which in turn left them exposed to Sir Felipe's forces as they fell on the Beastmen's rear. In the swirling melee Karl saw his chance and took it. He broke away from the main group and made his way through the battle towards the Beastmen directing the Spawn. In the confusion of the battle they did not see him until he was upon them. A single thrust did for one, a slash for another. The other two proved to be more difficult, apparently they were more intelligent than many of their fellows.
Rather than simply charging Karl they maintained their distance and used their spears to force Karl to do the same. They also split up and moved to either side of him, forcing Karl to divided his attention between them. The one on the left lunged forward to stab at Karl. Karl battered the spear aside with one blade, but as he moved to launch and attack of his own the other Beastmen lunged forward and stabbed Karl with its spear. It did not do too much damage, but it forced Karl to turn back to face it and when he did so the other Beastman lunged forward again, forcing Karl to turn back to face his original opponent. It was clear that the enemy would keep this up until they brought him down. Something would have to be done to change the situation. Karl decided that he would simply have to take them on one at a time and endure the wounds that he was going to receive. Then fate chose to intervene on his behalf.
He had decided to focus on the Beastman on his left and was pressing it, all the while being aware of fact that the other Beastman was closing in on his back. Just then a horseman appeared from the battle. The rider was holding his side, clearly wounded and did not appear to have any control over his horse, which was running wild. Focusing on Karl the Beastman in front of him failed to see the out of control horse till it crashed into it, nocking it to the ground. As the horse ran off and before the Beastman could regain its feet Karl ran up to it and stabbed it through the neck.
Pulling the blade free he turned back to face the remaining Beastman. It had lunged forward in a clear attempt to spear Karl before he could turn around to face it. Karl was forced to jump back to avoid the spear thrust, which caused him to lose his footing and fall backwards. Fortunately, the Beastman overextended itself with its thrust and when Karl fell the thrust turned into a stumble and it became a race to see who would get to their feet or recover their balance first. Karl won. Springing up he rushed forward and struck the Beastman's head off.
With the handlers dead Karl turned his attention back to the Spawn, he could not kill it on his own in his human form, but maybe there was something else he could do. Putting his swords away he grabbed two of the whips which the Beastmen had been using to drive the Spawn forward. He began flailing away with the whips at the create. Not being an expert with them he struck himself several times with the whips, causing himself a great deal of pain. However; most of the blows struck the creature, which instinctively tried to move away from. Unfortunately for the Spawn Karl kept dancing around it so whatever direction it moved in Karl drove it another way, causing it to not really move at all.
Combatants on both sides began to see this and move around until Karl and the Spawn were in an open space. Now that he had, at least for the moment, saved the humans from the Spawn Karl now had to figure out what to do with the creature. He could not kill it as he was and if he were to continue what he was doing now he would eventually tire and then the creature would get him. Karl racked his brain, trying to find a way out of his current situation, but he could not think of anything.
He looked about, hoping that there would be someone who could come to aid him, but all of the humans were busy with the Beastmen around them and could not come to support him. That being the case, he would have to come up with a plan on his own. So as he continued to strike the Spawn he studied it in an effort to find a weakness. From what he could see it had poor eyesight and seemed to rely more on its other senses to find its prey. Dropping the whips he ran around the Spawn as it tried to orient itself now that it was no longer being hit. Once he was behind the beast he lunged forward to strike at its back. He hoped that he could hit its spine and either kill or cripple it. Unfortunately, when he hit its back the blades sank into muscle and blubber, but the creature no longer appeared to have a spine and though the creature made sounds of pain he blades seemed to have no more effect on the Spawn than his bullets had. However; though they did not appear to have done significant damage to the Spawn, his blades seemed to have unintentionally helped the creature.
It seemed to have retained enough of its intellect to know the difference between a whip and a blade and how close someone had to be to use them. With a burst of speed it spun about to face Karl and lunged towards him. Karl was forced to backpaddle in an effort to avoid it, while at the same time striking at appendages from the creature which seemed to come at him from every direction.
Well, he thought grimly to himself; That did not work as expected.
Author's Notes: Hey everyone, sorry that it has been so long since I last updated, will try not to be so slow in the future. What did you think? People have been saying that they want Karl to be more than Marx's errand boy so I am playing with ideas, sometimes first steps are falling over. Till next time happy Halloween, stay safe with all that is going on, please pray for a family friend with cancer and all who need it. Bye and may Jesus bless you.