Unexpected surprises by oscar garcia

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SUMMARY: Arias must stop Ash's army before it gets to Luhr.

It was a huge mistake walking the army through the narrow valley, and more than anyone, Arias was aware of that. He watched as the armored goblins marched to the drums beating at the end of their lines. Even with the considerable echo of the valley, they marched in time. This was the only thing he ever saw goblins do in an orderly way. First came the grunts, the smallest ones. They rarely were armed with anything other than sharpened sticks, but a few had some with stone or bone tips. He saw two of them with steel tips. Grunts were never armored, and usually were not willing fighters, but the shaman Ash, one of the goblins from the northern tribes, cowed them enough to make them lead the way as fodder for the real army. Three hundred passed by before some of the better armed goblins marched next. The next line stood about two hundred strong. These were tall, lean, muscular goblins. All of them armed well. Some with horn bows or swords. They were all armored, but usually in tattered leather. About a third of their number had chain mail, or steel breastplates. Things they looted from battles past. Ill fitting, if not worn. Next came the cavalry, riding humongous boars with tusks as long as his shortsword. A bubble of air element kept his scent from escaping or else the boars would have smelled him. Twenty mounted boars, the leader twice the size of the others, and mounted by two goblins marched by. They were the biggest threat to him, but he just needed to time this right so that he could do this with as little expended energy as possible. He still had to leave this cursed mountain range and travel back to Luhr far in the east. Not to mention explain to Damael why he disappeared for a few days. He knew that Damael meant well, but the man could be so fretful. Arias knew the only way to deal with this army quickly and with most of his men going home safely was to ambush them here in the entrance to the Valley of the West Wind, so called for the incessant winds that blew westward. On the other side of the mountain range was the Valley of the East Wind. His army could not make the trip quick enough to set up an ambush, so Arias decided to take matters into his own hands. He did not expect to have to fight the entire way back to his army, but he knew it would not be without violence. Next on the march was the commander's elite guard. Goblins from the north by their size and charcoal colored skin. They were also noticeably more hairy than their southern cousins. They all wielded two handed axes that Arias was not sure he could even lift. Behind them came a palanquin carried by about a dozen grunts. Inside was Ash. Ash was an earth elementalist, but had powers with the other elements, too. Regretfully, Arias could never find him away from his army. Here at the tail end of the army was about as close to one on one as he could get. It would have to do. Behind the palanquin were the drummers, pounding drums a meter across also carried by grunts. They were the last to walk into the enclosed valley.

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