The elf stepped slowly over the threshold into the tunnel, giving a wave of his hand to relight the old torches along the stone walls. The sudden brightness illuminated the horde of darkspawn crowding the pathway, making them growl and roar in surprise. The elf stared at them through the slits in his helmet, silently counting the horde before him and realizing it was a fool's errand.

His gauntleted right hand reached for his sword, drawing the curved elven blade. Sparks of electricity danced along its blade from the ancient enchantments woven into the very metal. His left hefted his square shield, its heraldry mostly faded and vaguely resembling a wolf's face. His slim, elven body was clad in plate that looked far too heavy. Deep red mail carved of dragon bone and scale. Atop his head a heavy, ridged helmet of similar make guarded his head.

A glow sprang from the elf's hands as he prepared his magics, casting several spells in succession. First a spell of armor, causing his very skin to harden under the armor and become like flexible rock. Following this a spell channeling his power inward to augment his minimal physical strength. It also spread outward, bringing the elf partially across the veil causing his armor and body to shimmer and grow translucent. At last a pair of barriers were erected, bubbles of arcane energy that shrouded the elf and guarded him. With his magics in place he charged forth.

Strength he did not have when walking into the tunnel lightened his steps, briefly striking fear into the lines of darkspawn. They quickly recovered, and those in back took up their bows. Wicked arrows were fired, but none of them hit their mark. Most bounced off his magical shields, the rest shattered on his shield. With a furious swing he cut into the ranks of his foes, rending several genlocks of their heads at once.

The darkspawn reacted quickly, spreading outward and surrounding the elf. He swung with sword and shield, barely making a dent in their numbers. They struck at him with sword and ax and mace, their archers still firing. Blade and mace failed countlessly to hit home, either being halted by the barriers or slipping through harmlessly as the elf faded between corporeal and incorporeal. Arrows did little more than fell the archer's allies, genlock and hurlock alike fell to friendly fire. The battled seemed an eternal stalemate until one dagger managed to slip by the defenses and make a small gash in the elf's side.

He grinned behind his helmet when the blood leaked out, his hands glowing once more. He drew the blood from his wound, charging up a spell that made the very air tingle with energy. He spread his arms out and rush of red energy flowed in every direction around him for several feet. Every darkspawn caught in it suddenly screamed and dropped their weapons, staggering and stumbling in the spot. Their bodies twitched and shuddered, wounds bursting all over their bodies as their very blood boiled in the veins.

The elf took the opportunity to carve the darkspawn with his blade, slicing effortlessly through his prone foes. Heads and limbs flew everywhere as he slaughtered them, before a sudden thudding drew his attention. Turning back toward the rest of the horde he saw a large ogre bearing down on him. Its face enraged, fists clenched and ready to crush the elf. He merely aimed his sword at the ogre's head, and the air rippled around the two as a rush of red energy shot into the ogre.

The great beast came to a sudden halt, looking rather confused for a moment. It turned to face its fellows, before bellowing and charging into their lines. Heavy feet kicked and crushed its kin, while its fists sent them flying and slamming into the walls and ceiling. The ogre rampaged down the tunnel, doing the elf's work for him.

The elf finished killing the prone darkspawn, before following after the ogre. The few darkspawn that avoided the charge posed little threat as he sliced their heads from their bodies. Hours passed as he continued traveling further and further, using his bleeding wound to fuel more dark magic and cripple his foes. The blood loss and exhaustion began to tire him however, and eventually he was forced to return to using only his sword.

The darkspawn continued to surge forward along the tunnel toward him, constantly surrounding the elf as he turned and struck at them. But for ever darkspawn he slew two more rushed in to fill their place. Their attacks were still for naught, unable to do little more than occasionally scratch the skin. The elf panted and slumped slightly, growing weary of this battle. The darkspawn were like an ocean of corrupted bodies, all striking and firing arrows at him.

He continued to fight on, before the strain of his magics became too much. One by one his enchantments began to fade. The barriers vanished, allowing more weapons to strike at his armor, though each hit either bounced off or phased through. Then the glow about him vanished, and his body became fully corporeal once more so every strike clanged against his armor and slowly chipped away at it. His skin softened to it's normal state, and the elf let out a grunt as he slumped amid the sea of darkspawn.

He tried to swing his sword, but the weight of his armor and the blows raining down on him rendered it a pitiful movement before a mace hit his hand and sent the blade flying. His shield became too heavy for his hand to hold, and it fell to the ground with a clang. Blood began to soak his underclothes as arrows started finding their mark and piercing the weak points of his armor. Swords and daggers stabbed inside, but the elf lifted his arms up for one last spell.

All the blood that now soaked his clothes and pooled beneath him vanished in a crackling cloud of red mist that rumbled about the elf. It rippled and condensed, obscuring the elf from view. He let out a last defiant war cry, and the cloud exploded in a burst of red energy that filled the tunnel for many meters. Every darkspawn caught in the blast slumped to the ground and screeched in pain before bursting open from their fervently boiling blood. Hundreds of the foul beasts fell, while the elf slumped into a kneeling position.

Mortally wounded, unable to support the weight of his armor, and all his mana spent, he could do little more than kneel helplessly. He watched as, while a vast group of darkspawn fell from his attack, several more rows of them marched forward. At their head, a tall hurlock wielding massive broadsword. It approached the elf, who put the last ounce of strength into a punch aimed at the hurlock's gut.

The hurlock side stepped the slow attack with ease, watching the elf tumble forward from the momentum. Just barely staying off the ground with hands and knees supporting him as his helmet fell off and exposed his neck. The hurlock raised his blade, bringing it down and removing the elf's head and ending the warden's service. As the life faded, nine words repeated in his head: "In war, victory. In peace, vigilance. In death, sacrifice."