Chancellor Damien and his guards arrived at noon. The attack on the Orc settlement had already been performed by Captain Bron. From afar everything looked satisfactory. Tents and huts were afire and many bodies of those grisly beasts could be seen scattered about. Only when Damien and his men came closer did he see their own casualties.
Too many dead and wounded. They were supposed to slaughter these ghastly women and their hell spawn. How could so many have put up a fight? He didn't understand these beasts, but it seems he and the commander had both underestimated their strength.
One of Captain Bron's scouts came riding towards him. "Chancellor Damien, sir! The settlement is ours."
"I can see that. Take me to Captain Bron!"
"Sir... he was wounded during the fighting."
"Is he conscious?"
"Then take me to him. Now!"
"Yes, sir!" The scout rode off. Damien and his men followed.
A tent for the wounded had been set up outside the settlement. More and more of the men who had taken injuries were heading towards it. Guards were posted by the entrance. They stood at attention as soon as they saw Damien arrive.
"He's inside. May I return to my post, sir? Who knows if the Orcs will retaliate." The scout rained in his horse, but seemed eager to get back. That was good. He knew his duty.
"Yes, yes. Go ahead, soldier." Damien got down from his horse and entered the tent. His men stayed outside. Maybe that would help the other two guards stay at attention.
The tent reeked of blood and other bodily fluids. Why had so many been wounded. This was supposed to be an easy victory. Damien discovered Captain Bron in the back, a bandage around his chest and his head and one arm in a sling. He got up from his cot and stood at attention.
"Chancellor, sir! Does the commander have more orders?" He seemed fit enough, even though he must have taken quite a beating.
"Camp here and have your scouts keep an eye on the mines. You might want to fortify the camp with ditches and stakes. Who knows how those beasts will react to our advances."
"Yes, sir. Those of my men that are able are already digging. The commander can rely on us, sir."
"I also wanted to hear a detailed account of how the attack went. I can see that there are more casualties than I and the commander expected. Can you tell me how this happened?"
"Sir... maybe we could step outside for a moment?" The captain looked around at his wounded men. He seemed uneasy talking about the fight in front of them. Damien couldn't understand why, but he nodded his consent. Captain Bron threw a jacket over his shoulders, covering the bandaged ribs and the sling.
They left the tent together and headed towards the settlement. Damien's guards held a respectable distance. As they got closer, Damien could see more and more of the Orc bodies. Their swamp-like skin color mixed with the red of their blood. That and their frozen, dead faces set in anguish made them look even more like hideous demons of nature.
"It happened early on during the fighting." Captain Bron began as they were finally out of earshot from others. "There was a male Orc still in the camp. He knocked me off my horse... I'm lucky he didn't kill me. Unlike the ten he did kill or maim, before he escaped."
"You're telling me you let that beast get away?" How could such a thing manage all that? Ten soldiers, defeated by one of them.
"They are smarter and stronger than you would think. Even the women fought hard and killed several. Quite a few escaped with their children as well."
"Don't compare their kind with ours. They are beasts, all of them. Understood, Captain?"
"Yes, sir!" Captain Bron stood at attention. He seemed tense, but he was a good man. A good soldier.
"Good. Now, do you have anything you want me to tell the commander? I'll be on my way again immediately."
"My men were well trained, but they had no chance against a grown male Orc. If this turns into a war, sir. Then we need to be better prepared. We need to train men that can fight these..."
"Beasts!" Damien realized that the captain didn't like calling them that, but that's what they were. "I will inform the commander. We will have to begin training immediately. You've assumed correctly. This was only the beginning and war is coming!"