February's winning entry was written by Matt Roberts, writer for the Nameless PCs webcomic, for the February Contest: Army of One. He can also be found on twitter under @NotanNPC.
He lifted his head off the dirt in a daze. For a moment he didn’t remember where he was or what was happening. It was the pain that brought him back, sharp and specific in his left thigh. That’s where the arrow was. His face throbbed. That’s where the punch hand landed. His breathing was shallow and pained, from a cracked rib. That’s where the boot hand kicked. Two figures stood flanking him as he lay prone. He noticed the one in front of him was an Eladrin
“Come now, Talos. We wouldn’t want to keep the Lord Drigs waiting,” said the Eladrin. Talos rose to his feet spitting blood on the ground. The second figure, a mean looking dwarf saddled up beside him, war axe ready. Ah, Drigs’s goons, Talos thought, the price must have gone up.
“He’s a might anxious on seeing you again,” the Eladrin continued with a slight smirk.
“Kord forgive, we ever keep the great Lord from raping and pillaging.” Talos said.
“Mind your tongue, mongrel!” The dwarf said driving the handle of his axe in to the back of Talos’s knee. Talos allowed himself to drop to his knee. His hand was now in reach of the arrow.
“Mind the arrow.” Talos said quietly.
“Wha-? “ The dwarf’s query was abbreviated by an arrow up his jaw through the top of his head. Dropping his axe into Talos’s hand which was quickly redirected into the chest of Drigs’s other lackey. Talos stood and quickly checked his surroundings as he retrieved his crossbow from the sling around his back. Neither of Drigs’s henchmen had a bow.
He stood as still as his leg, now arrow free, would let him. He knew the archer was young. A veteran bounty hunter would have brought him down by now, rather than look in shock as the rest of his gang was taken down.
“Go ahead and show yourself.” Talos said, “No need you should die as well. But, if I have to come find you, that’s going to piss me off.” A young human girl emerged 20 yards up the path. Her bow was drawn and aiming at Talos.
“There we are now, miss. What horrible circumstance has brought you to run around with the likes of this scum?” Talos motioned to the bodies on the ground. The girl remained silent. Her face showed bravery sheer enough for Talos to see through.
“Come now, you don’t want this.” Talos pointed at the Eladrin. The girl remain silent. “What’s your name?”
“Leona.” The girl said just as Talos raised his crossbow and fired. The bolt severed the string just below the nock on the upper limb. The sudden release of tension sent the riser shooting from her hand to the ground, leaving only the bow and limp string in the other. Her eyes and mouth were wide in shock, which quickly gave way to fear as she watched Talos, slowly, reload his crossbow.
“Run along now, Leona,” Talos said paying more attention to his crossbow than her now. She could not move from fear. After a pause he realized she was still there.
“Go on now. This one’s not for you,” he said as reassuringly as he could, indicating at the crossbow he was now putting back in his sling. “It’s for whatever waits down the road. I‘ll not fault you for getting mixed up with this lot. I was young and stupid, once.” he said as he began rummaging through her cohort’s pockets. Leona slowly took a few steps backwards and after a few yards she turned and sprinted. Talos had already began walking in the opposite direction.