The white-furred beastman snarled as Ithelus careered wildly into its side, sickle flailing – the grimy haft of its axe slammed up, battering the curved blade aside. Shrieking something in its own guttural tongue, it turned its attention to the elf. Ithelus howled in pain as the axe’s wicked edge gouged into the meat of his arm, sending him staggering back with blood drenching his shredded sleeve.

On the other side of the road, Hans looked up at the shout of his name – remembering the first blast of the youth’s blunderbuss, he made a half-hearted feint to the left before dropping backwards off the edge of the cart, the beastman before him braying in frustration as its axe slashed against thin air. Leaping off the edge of the driver’s seat, it turned to its right, seeing the carter trapped against the rearing horses of the second wagon – with something uncannily like a human grin, it lunged, Hans turning in time to catch its descending wrist with both hands. Muscles bulged beneath the thing’s matted fur, the glinting axe-blade edging down...

The bloodied Bestigor avoided Seth’s stabbing spear again, its horned head turning between its mounted prey and the bleeding Ithelus – on its right, its brother kept up its furious assault on Lothar, splinters flying from the soldier’s shield as the thing’s rusted blade hammered down again and again. Praying it did not have the wits to change tack, Lothar backed up as far as he could, shield arm still held high.