It wasn’t pitch black. T’kk’tck could still see his face in front of his hands. He was crouching near a large boulder on the top of a very gently hill like hill. It was almost flat but then it most decidedly wasn’t and from where he was he could see a good distance in every direction. D’ng crouched behind and to the right of him looking around the other side of the rock. The rest of the enforcers were scattered in the deep grass around the hill keeping low and watching for their prey.
They had one job, intercept any and all scouts, cut them down and recover the messages. And they’d done good so far. Six maybe seven scouts lay dead in the low ravine to the south. The messages pouring out were increasingly desperate. The castle was weakening, the mine supporting it had fallen and they wondered where was the support they kept requesting.
This low hill didn’t look like a choke point, it looked open and safe to gallop through, and all of them had tried. And all of them had been pulled off the horse by arrow, or lasso, or spear. Surprised by T’kk’tck and his hidden group.
In the moonlight, they were easy to spot once they stood up, or you knew to look for them. As long as they stayed still though there was no chance someone in a hurry would spot them.
A low hiss brought his attention up, another one was coming, this one escorted by a soldier and both galloping hard. The group got ready. T’kk’tck lifted his wand ready to shatter the night with bright silver ice shards. They got closer to someone else and arrows flashed. There was a scream and the soldier escort tried to pull up, he was brought down but stayed up fighting.
T’kk’tck tried to get a good shot but couldn’t. And that annoying rumbling was … He froze. The rumble grew louder, and over that far gentle hill top poured the entire fleeing enemy army. Thousands of men, they came over, and before anyone could react they saw enough.
A whisper of magic and D’ng vanished. Banished to give him a better chance of hiding. Fire spells lit up the sky above fully lighting the now -completely- open plain. T’kk’tck squirmed into a crack under the rock as he heard the squad leader shout “SCATTER! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!”.
Arrows sliced from the heavens and two of the others fell screaming. He saw the knife man near the woods vanish into the treeline at a sprint. He saw the other mage attempt to teleport, but the enemy forces saw that too and counter spells sizzled and fried; the mage became just another bonfire lighting up the meadow.
All of this was done at a gallop too. The thunderous roar of hooves shook the ground as they poured over and around where he lay. Once they were on top him he knew he was safe enough from detection, but the rock itself started to shift and budge above him each time a horse used it for a leaping platform.
It shifted hard once too, crushing his ankle into the soft wet soil and threatening to crush everything else. He tried not to breathe, praying desperately that the situation would end. And then it was over, thousands of horsemen pounding off into the night. There were no screams of the dying left behind, any who had fallen were trampled well beyond screaming, and those who hadn’t were fleeing into the night themselves.
And he’d banished D’ng so he wouldn’t be able to hear from her until she’d made the mad spiraling trip through the Aether all the way home.
He started to crawl out and then realized he couldn’t. His leg was pinned, at the knee, and he couldn’t budge at all. For a few minutes he struggled against it. In the distance a frog croaked. The wind whistled above and he, he did nothing but wait.
After what he thought was a suitable amount of time he prepped his energy and went to summon D’ng again. His eyes glowed, the night seemed to freeze and … again nothing. There wasn’t enough room to properly make the gestures. Panic really set in then. He squirmed and cursed and yelled and tried over and over again and couldn’t get even half of the symbols formed.
He was sitting there. Crying on the inside and debating crying on the outside when the face appeared. He blinked at it a moment or two. It was more of a silhouette against the burning grass fires from the attack and the moonlight sky.
The voice was booming in the silence that had been. He jerked back, smashed his head on the rock that was pinning him, and cursed loudly.
“SHUSH, YOU ARE TOO LOUD!”, boomed the voice at him.
A bright mage light exploded between him and the face. Once the glare faded and the face came into view he blinked at it. It was a muddy face, upside down and grinning with all too bright teeth. Short hair hung down from the base of the face and a neck held it from the top.
“So, Mudmage, how did you get stuck huh?” Her voice wasn’t booming anymore but it wasn’t a whisper either.
A rumble came from somewhere outside of his uncomfortably tight hole.
The face turned, “yeah yeah, I’m trying to figure that out. He’s shy or something.”
“After I crawled in here to hide for my life the rock shifted.”
She nodded, a disconcerting headbang with her eyes shut.
“Yep yep, I saw that. Wooey wasn’t that a lot of horseflesh? They were in a hurry sure. Seems your folk got ambitious, let a dragon loose, lost control everyone fled. All those horsepeople fled in the chaos. RAWR. Dragons are grouchy.”
T’kk’tck opened his mouth and closed it again.
“Look just please let me out of here. Can you get help or-”
The face disappeared. Then startlingly a hand slipped around his waist, and he just, slid through the rock. She pulled him all the way clear of the rock and then set him back down on it. Before he had a chance to test it’s firmness the little woman, she barely came up to his chin, pulled her body square with his and kissed him firmly while grabbing his butt.
“TOO SLOW, Mudman, I’ll catch you later.”
And then she slid into the rock, smiling happily to herself.
He just stared after her. Once he was certain she really was gone he started summoning D’ng. Mid summon, with his eyes closed something smashed into his groin. Opening them with a choked scream he was shocked to find the woman back again.
She’d headbutted him, in the groin.
“MUDZARD! I FORGOT MY NAME! I’M KELPY THE GREAT AND MARVELOUS! ADIOS NOW! KISSES!”
He lay there, curled up in pain on a low nothing of a hill, in the middle of a field. And it started to rain.
Later when he finally got around to summoning D’ng and trying to tell her what happened she uncharacteristically cut him off with a rough “It’s about time.” and walked away leaving him to limp along after her.
There was no name for that field on a map, but years later T’kk’tck could still find it and label it properly anytime someone asked him.
“Field of Suck”