... [continued from part 12]
The Elemental’s fist came down again, this time to finish off one of the wounded guards that was no longer mobile enough to stay out of the Elemental’s path. Its attacks were uncoordinated and appeared to focus only on the wounded and those directly in front of the Elemental. Jarious ordered the men to concentrate on flanking the Elemental and only occasionally stand in its way to slow it down.
Again, the creature’s massive fist swung in, a green ball of light streaked in and struck the Elemental’s hand dead center. Arrious’ arrow flew true, and its enchantment was enough to disrupt the Elemental’s form. At the impact point, small arcs of green lightning danced on the creature’s form and then radiated in irregular patterns across the Elemental’s body. The Elemental’s swing abruptly stopped, all the momentum from its attack evaporated in a magical flash. Two heartbeats later, the interrupted swing continued - this time slower and with no momentum. The break in the attack gave the injured guardsman the crucial time he needed to get beyond the Elemental’s arm radius. The remaining guard and volunteers took the initiative to continue their attacks, hacking away at the creature and removing large patches of dirt and detritus. The Elemental healed much of the physical attacks against it, though Jarious could see the guards and irregulars were, indeed, slowing the creature down.
“AGAIN!” Jarious yelled at Arrious. “Drive it back.” The creature didn’t show any meaningful emotion, and it was immune to pain, but Jarious was sure he was finally turning the tide of the battle.
Arrious was not a fast bowman. His strength was in his unerring accuracy - easily the best, steadiest, and most consistent archer Jarious had ever known. Luckily, speed wasn’t what Jarious needed at that moment. With the remaining guards and irregulars pushing at the Elemental ’s flanks and the shaman assaulting the creature with spirits, what Jarious know needed was deadly accuracy.
Arrious swiftly drew and knocked an arrow from his quiver. His trained hand pulled the string back as he lifted the bow and aimed in one continuous action. Jarious saw Arrious mouth the word “now” and the mage finished the incantation for the sickly green incandescent manifestation of the spell that slithered from the spellcaster’s hands onto the arrowhead. When the spell was completed, the caster stepped back and Arrious exhaled slowly, holding completely still and waiting for the right moment to strike.
The arrow loosed with a purpose, defying attempts by the wind and sky to slow it down. It flew true and struck the Elemental just as the construct's other fist was at its apex in the midst of a swing. Again, the green magic erupted into arced lightning on the Elemental ’s fist. Again, it stopped moving for a few heartbeats. Again its renewed swing was perceptibly slower.
“Again! Press the advantage,” Jarious exhorted. The Elemental had lost the initiative, but the humans had yet to truly capitalize. They simply didn’t have enough crucial magic to hold it off.
“Need help?” Jarious turned around to the familiar voice of Fovreh.
“Tyrant’s balls, about time.” Jarious pointed to the guards and militia. “Help them bring it down.”
“Fine.” Fovreh, annoyingly relaxed, began a spell that took only a few seconds to complete. He reached outwards with his right hand which was enveloped in blue swirling light. The light shot from his arm towards one of the two remaining guards. Jarious noted that Fovreh chose the last remaining guard that had not yet been wounded. The guard’s axe flashed a brilliant blue like the color of the sky on a humid summer’s day, and the next swing that made contact with the body of the Elemental saw minuscule lightining arcs, like those of Arrious’ enchanted arrows. Again, with the lightning came sluggishness from the Elemental .
“Finally,” Jarious thought, “the axes and swords did something besides give the soldiers and irregulars a false sense of confidence.” Fovreh mumbled a few obscenities for reasons Jarious could not comprehend, and let loose a series of similar long-range enchantments. They didn’t do anything more than make the weapon magical, but that’s all that was needed. Plus, Jarious knew the simplicity of the spell meant that Fovreh could cast it from a distance. More intense magical processes required proximity to work.
Arrious’ arrows continued to fly, hitting critical areas of the Elemental in yeoman-likefashion. Now with stronger enhancements on their melee weapons, the men under Jarious’ ad hoc command began to make real damage on the Elemental ’s form. Dirt, stone and earth were hacked away and not replaced. With each hit, the Elemental slowed more. Even the spiritual attacks appeared to be doing significant damage where only a few seconds earlier they were only a nuisance.
In the corner of his eye Jarious could see Grawfn run in from the city directly towards a large collection of the dead and dying. Rather than axe in hand Grawfn had already pulled his poultices and waterskin.
Arrows flew. Spirits attacked. The wounded were administered to. Soldiers and irregulars swung their weapons with renewed vigor. Jarious commanded. The battle was in hand, but he was damned sure he would not allow some overconfident fool to piss away their advantage.
The Elemental, reduced to half its colossal size to something akin to simply "huge," unexpectedly exploded, its magical essence unable to hold its humanoid form together any longer. The closest men fell back, and shielded their faces from the earthen assault, but no one seemed to be seriously injured in the immediate aftermath – simply very, very soiled.
Jarious looked for Gral, but could not see him among the living.
“Good day,” Fovreh muttered to no one in particular.