The village was completely destroyed. It had all happened so fast. One moment everything had seemed peaceful. The other moment buildings were set on fire and peasants were being killed. The few able men had tried to defend against the raid but untrained in combat arts as they were, they posed no threat to the hardened invaders. Before Ulfric knew, the whole place had been burned down for resisting the invasion. Dead everywhere. Rice fields abandoned to nature. Men and women alike, slain. Ulfric left behind with a deep wound. His own family slaughtered.
As his wound was getting the better of him, the man laid down in defeat. Light headed, his strength leaving him. Watching the darkening sky as the last of the cries died out and the bandits hauled in their newly found food in triumph. Consciousness drifting away to embrace the dark cold nothing. Everything he had build up with his own hands went up in flames. Everything he had loved wholeheartedly laid dead in their burning home, despair and the sense of being entirely powerless overtaking him.
No 'seven samurai' story of noble strangers fending off evil. Where were the guards anyway?
The Land of Birds had always been low on traditional guards. It was a peaceful land that hardly knew any strife or war. Perhaps that was exactly the reason why these bandits had raided it in the first place. Unprotected, utopian. The feeling of harmony had made their weapons dull and left their minds with little reasons to practice the arts of combat. And now the small villages suffered the consequences. Unprotected and unopposed, bandits had free reign. They raided one peaceful place after another, taking the food and sake for themselves. Slaying the men and, if they were lucky, the women alike. Children were left to fend for themselves, slain or taken with them to serve unknown purposes.
Ulfric would have loved stopping them. Beating them all up one by one. But what did a cartographer as himself know of combat? Even with that little bit of mysterious power he held over the Bear Spirit, he was ultimately but a single man against a horde of bandits. He had taken two down with his bare fists but the others had not fallen for his surprising strength. A blade had made short work of him, cutting across his chest and leaving a large wound. Leaving Ulfric to die by himself as he believed no doctor could come to his rescue. His mistake. Despite the pain and the nearing darkness that came with the loss of his blood, the Bear Spirit within him refused to let him die so easily. His body was stronger than that of any normal man. He could feel that mysterious power flow through him and strengthen him. Even now, Bear Spirit had not left him. Even now the Guardian watched over him. Ulfric would not die just yet.
But he would succumb to darkness.