1 pointThe Stand at the Dead Acre The convoy was a short one. Five men on horseback with the esteemed Baron in the centre, four of Stormwind's finest soldiers they could muster as part of a diplomatic envoy for the Baron to be escorted to the township of Grand Hamlet from the ongoing construction works at Sentinel Hill overseen by Stoutmantle himself. The entourage made headway through the land deemed now under crown control as the final push against Van Cleef was made by a band of adventurers sent deep into the hearts of Moonbrook's sprawling mines beneath the southern mountain range. Idle chit-chat and casual conversation of politics turned to talk of war as the Baron regailed the men accompanying him with war stories from when he was a young man armed with a rifle in the first war with the Orcs. The atmosphere seemed to lighten as the heavily armed guardsmen preferred veering away from petty politics and listening to tales that they can relate to. 'Thunk' One of the riders behind had fallen backwards off his horse as they had approached the crossroads heading east to Duskwood. They thought it might have been drinking on duty or perhaps the heat of Westfall getting to him. That was until one of his comrades noticed a large bolt sticking out of his breastplate as the man choked on blood coming up from his lungs. "AAAAMBUSH--" the investigating soldier yelled before he too was felled by a large crossbow bolt which managed to go straight through the maille collar around his throat. The remaining two guardsmen dismounted as did the Baron who unslung his satchel and rifle from his steed. Armed and bearing shields the trio noticed over the southern hills there then came a large gathering of poorly-armed men: Defias renegades. One of the soldiers turned around to the Baron with the command to "RUN" but from the northern treeline came even more of them, cutting off their escape far away to the perceived safety of Sentinel Hill. "Who the blazes tipped them off of this damnable visit?" the Baron glared. The two soldiers shrugged as their shields clanged with the sound of bolts and arrows ricocheting off them and splintering. The trio made headway to the Dead Acre, a long since abandoned farmstead. In the centre of the field they took shelter behind an abandoned cart which provided shelter from the hail of projectiles bearing down on them but did nothing for the renegades now charging in an enraged frenzy bearing sword, axe and spear upon them. One of the guardsmen fell in a matter of seconds taking a few renegades down with him as he swung his hand axe around. The convoy was down to the Baron and one surviving guardsman who both ran into the farmhouse. The baron slapped his satchel onto the floor and took out two boxes of ammo... barely twelve rounds for what looked like a small army of over fifty defias renegades, several of whom perished taking down the third guardsman. Not very good odds even for a seasoned hunter such as the Baron. "Lock the door, stay quiet and keep away from the damned windows" the nobleman ordered. The guardsman complied and stood back but the walls were rickety with the plaster crumbling in many places. Silence for a few moments, only the sound of the Baron sliding a shell into his rifle... but this was interrupted by the sound of breaking plaster as a spear made its way through the wall and into the exposed calf of the guardsman who fell down to his knees in agony but not before he managed to smash the spear haft cleanly with his own hand-axe. The Baron discharged the rifle into the wall several feet ahead where the bandit was expected to be, there was a brief gurgle and the sound of a lifeless body hitting the hardy earth of Westfall. One bullet down... one bandit down... but the odds were not in their favour. He chambered another round and waited silently. There was the sound of a steel bucket outside being struck, presumably by a bandit's foot who hadn't noticed it. The Baron span around instantly and blasted another round into the wall which resulted in yet another bandit slumping over. A charge could be heard, the one employed by a mix of common thugs and political idealists turned renegade as he looked out the window and saw them charging over the field. The Baron hauled himself up to the top floor of the house where goods were stored and kicked through some of the thatching a hole large enough for his barrel and scope to stick out. One...two....three....four....five....six....seven...eight....nine....ten. With each shell that fell down to the stoney floor of the farmhouse another bandit met their end across the field... but on the tenth one he was careful. He waited until the remainder of the charging bandits had just crossed the path of a long-since disused harvest reaper which he noticed had been leaking oil... the final shot lit this trail of flammable liquid but it was too late for the bandits to cease mid-charge before the rusty construct erupted in the middle of the dead acre sending chunks of iron shrapnel in all directions. Those who were not killed instantly in the blast were most certainly fatally maimed or at least crippled. This however did not deter the rest of the renegades. "VAN CLEEF HAS A PRETTY PRICE UPON YOUR HEAD, BLUE-BLOOD" one of them yelled across the acre. He seemed far more heavily armed and armoured than his compatriots who had charged needlessly to their deaths but this didn't stop him from sending more thugs after the Baron. Baron West grumbled, more were coming. The final guardsman had clearly been cut in one of his arteries and had expired down below as the Baron blew the harvest reaper apart. He looked around swiftly and crawled through the thatching on the roof as the defias renegades closed the distance and broke down the door to the house. They looked around cautiously but to no avail. One went up the ladder that led to the loft and searched around: barrels of grain, opened medical supplies, and what looked like a knife-block at the back gilt with silver and bearing Queen Tiffin's bust on it as well as the date of the coronation... but it seemed to be missing the knives that went with it. The bandit who went up to investigate did not have time to blink as a commemorative kitchen knife found its mark at the top of his spine. The blade withdrew and the body slumped down on the floor of the cottage. The bandits below went eerily silent and drew out their crossbows and peppered the roof of the house with bolts which pierced through the loft floor. -SMASH- The Baron swung feet-first from the roof down into the cottage through the window, sending one of the bandits sprawling to the floor and with most of the wind booted out from his lungs, the others drew blades as the Baron brandishes his own pair of duelling knives. One of them was stupid enough to charge alone and was dispatched easily with a parry of a blade and the second knife entering his left breast. Two more looked at the Baron and charged simultaneously, he looked around for a split second and picked up a small coal shovel in a bucket behind him which disarmed both of them in a single swing but so too was he forced to drop his own knives to wield the shovel. What came next was a frantic case of fisticuffs with a firm blow landing on the Baron's jaw and another to his shoulder by the second bandit. As he span around in a brief daze he landed close to the fire and managed to pick up a fire poker with a hooked end to it for agitating the coals. As he got up in a singular swift movement he buried the fire poker into the skull of one of the bandits causing the other to flee in a panic only to find the door was locked shut. Other renegades who had by now reached the house heard the sound of fighting and all they witnessed as a sign of it finishing as the pleading for mercy before a spear end broke through one of the weaker planks of the door stained in blood and accompanying a violent coughing and gurgling noise. "WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? YOU OUTNUMBER HIM, GET HIM!" the order screamed from the other side of the field. One of the new arrivals booted open the door, breaking the lock, only to witness several of his dead allies and a dead Stormwind guardsman... there was no sign of the Baron. The others filtered in silently until one of them caught a glance of the ladder leading up to the loft. Gesturing for the clearly green thief to go up and check the others watched in anticipation until they all began to hear a loud creaking noise, the sound of timbers cracking and groaning under excessive weight... -SMASH- ...as the grain silo outside the farmhouse smashed the cottage apart. Several of the bandits were thrown from the wreckage whilst some of them were buried under several tonnes of grain that began to spill out. Far back from the base of the silo the Baron grinned with his gun slung over his shoulder and a woodsman's axe in his hands. The bandits stood up through a haze of dust which rendered the air thick and hard to see through yet they saw the silhouette of the Baron. He made no attempt to raise his rifle but simply reached into his waistcoat for a gnomish lighter. Lighting his cigar and then lobbing it he managed to ignite the crumpled grain silo which erupted into a massive fireball sending splinters everywhere. With a burning farmstead, dead renegades everywhere, the entire acre was a ruinous landscape with naught but the Baron and the renegade's lieutenant running off into the distance. The baron chambered his last round into his rifle and took aim... _______________________________________________________________________________ The Next Morning... ________________________________________________________________________________ Citizens from Sentinel Hill arrived with members of the People's Militia, they were greeted with the stench of death as crows had already begun to feast upon the remains that littered the Dead Acre. Red from the face-masks that adorned their faces and red from the pools of blood that now seeped into irrigation channels and troughs intended for pigs to drink water from. The scene was as eerie as it was grisley. The four Stormwind soldiers were granted burials over at Sentinel Hill whilst the rest of the bodies were either buried in shallow graves or simply burned on the spot on crude pyres. Despite the militiamen knowing the Baron's presence there was no sign of his body but tell-tale signs of his presence with rifle shells littering the scene. The rumour of the 'Last Stand at the Dead Acre' would begin to circulate around the county, some more embellished than others but few bore witness to the entire scene unfold. ____________ Hi all. Got bored and decided to write a short story based on a short paragraph mentioned in Baron West's character bio. Anyone who's from Westfall in Unknown Shores is welcome to take most / some of this story as knowledge their character would be familiar with just as a bit of flavour text.