1- Into Battle

Hunter the Mage Knight stood atop the pillar of Kelfin Castle and looked out upon the vast onslaught of enemies ahead of him. He grinned where most men would have shuddered or even deserted.

The men around him were clad in Kelfin Royal Knights uniforms and almost all had the same steely look on their face. They stood clutching their spears, swords, shields, bows and everything in between as they awaited the call for battle.

Hunter was ready to defend his charge, King Kell XI of the Kelfin Dynasty. The reward would be great, and the red-haired, black-clad Mage Knight would be able to drink his weight in ale once these goblins were killed and the King was safe.

Little did he know, it wasn't going to be that easy.

"Ready yourselves!" General Ax, a man Hunter had briefly met the day before when he arrived at the city, roared to the men, "They approach! Ready your weapons, and climb down to meet the vermin!"

Calls of "Aye!" and "Yes sir!" followed, as the men apart from the archers and spear users climbed down to the ground on ropes hanging from the castle pillars.

Go get 'em, tiger. Hunter thought to himself, a wide grin on his face as he climbed down.

He then leaped down to the ground of the city of Kelfin. The people were evacuated into a special safehouse on the outskirts, and the goblins were running amok. Hunter smelled the air. It smelt of explosives, something goblins dabbled in as some kind of stupid substitute to real magic.

Hunter concentrated, and a burst of flame surged in his hand. Unlike most, who had to train and buy tomes to use magic, Hunter could do it with his bare hands. Fire, lightning, ice, the works. He was one of a select few, and used this power with the precision of a goblin missile, many of which were already being fired.

The fireball in his hand grew larger and he threw it at a small green vermin who barely had time to screech before the flame hurtled at him at a high velocity.

Hunter loved killing evildoers. He was an ally of justice, or so he liked to tell the ladies. Sure, he liked to get paid, too, but so did everyone.

"Mage Knight, help!" A knight roared, surrounded by three wretched goblins. Hunter rushed over, killing a few who stood in his way.

These goblins must not have been trained in explosives, instead wielding stolen rakes and pitchforks from the people of Kelfin. Hunter summoned a short blade of ice in his hand and stabbed the first goblin, then the other one came at him with the pitchfork and Hunter broke his ice blade while defending. The third latched onto his back but he managed to throw him off with ease. The third one with the pitchfork jabbed at him again but he summoned a bolt of lightning which quickly dispatched the enemy.

"Thank you, Great Mage Knight!" The warrior smiled through his helm.

"Forget about it, warrior, that's what I'm here for. The tricky little bastards outnumbered you!"

The battle went on in a similar manner. Hunter wielded the elements to quickly end the lives of goblin upon goblin, helping the knights of Kelfin where he could. Of course, he couldn't save all of their lives, but he managed to keep casualties to a minimum. The gratitude of the warriors didn't mean a lot to him, but the big fat bag of gold waiting for him at the other side of the battle did.

When he started to feel tired from all the magic use, he switched to a regular iron blade which he was also a master of. A protégé of a famous sword master in his youth, Hunter amazed the men on the battlefield with his impressive display, cutting down enemy after enemy until there were hardly any left.

Goblins began to retreat within about an hour and a half of the battle.

"Glory to the Kelvor Empire!" Men began to shout, "Glory most of all to the Capital, Kelfin!", then chants of "KELFIN! KELFIN! KELFIN!"

When the last goblins were sent packing or else cut down, Hunter rubbed the sleeve of his mage's robes, which were dotted with goblin blood, and sheathed his blade. He turned to address the men of Kelfin, only about thirty of the five hundred or more having been killed.

"We have won this day, men!" He called to his compatriots, "We have defended the Empire once again from the cretins from the Goblin Lands and their wicked King! The day is won, and we can celebrate in peace! Send word to the King!"

The men roared a booming chant of appreciation for the Mage Knight. He still didn't particularly care. Their admiration and appreciation of what he had done for their country was trivial.

"Oh can you all really go home and celebrate your victory?" A wicked voice called back at Hunter. He turned back around to see who had said these mocking words.

A man who could only be described, even by Hunter, as his opposite, stood before him. He had long black hair and blood-red eyes, as opposed to Hunter's red hair and dark eyes. He wore black robes compared to Hunter's red-brown ones, and carried a black sword.

"Dice…" Hunter spat the name with contempt, "Why are you here?"

"To kill you, of course," The newcomer smiled a cruel smile, "By order of the Goblin King."