Grim awoke with a start. His head was pounding. He shouldn't have had so much ale the night before. As always, he had probably overslept. He'd be late, getting to the mines.
The pounding in his head was still bad, but it didn't explain the shouting coming from outside his tent. It wasn't just shouting, there were screams and the ring of metal on metal. The sounds of battle.
As soon as his brain processed the information, Grim jumped up and out of his tent, wearing nothing but a loincloth. His muddled mind cleared as he viewed the scene of carnage. humans were attacking the females and the broodlings. He had to do something.
Grim had forgotten his battle axe in his tent, but that didn't mean he was less of a threat. The grayish green skin of his arms was thick and taut with muscles. Orcs were strong beings, even as little broods, but working in the mines, chipping away at the hard mountain stone, had made Grim even stronger than most.
He saw a human on a horse, raising a bloody sword to strike down a broodling. Grim would hesitate no longer. He ran off in a sprint and dove at the human, knocking him from his horse, to the ground. The human looked dazed from the fall and was surely in pain, with Grim's weight pressing down on him.
Grim grabbed the fallen sword and turned to the broodling who had grabbed a spear. The brave little fellow wanted to fight, but with the other grown grunts at the mines there was little hope. "Run. Gather as many as you can and run to the mines. I'll distract the humans."
The brood looked at him defiantly, he really wanted to fight. Grim gave him a stern look and then the little one gave up and nodded that he would obey. The brood gave a shout of alarm as a human came running towards Grim yelling something or other about a Captain Bron.
Grim got off the human, who had passed out, and strode towards the one coming at him. A brutal slash with his sword almost cut the human in half. Now Grim had two swords.
The broodling was still watching him with awe. "Go, dammit! Run and save the others." The broodling nodded and ran off.
More humans came running at him. Grim roared in fury and cut them down. Striking with the sword in his left hand and then the one in his right. One of the soldiers managed to slash his arm. The pain only made him angrier. He buried one of the swords in the man's skull.
Another soldier came at him with a spear. He was careful and poked at Grim from a distance, always jumping back when Grim tried to engage. The fight ended with Grim taking a spear wound to the leg and the soldier taking Grim's sword to the chest.
Weaponless Grim searched for his next foe. The rage of battle was upon him and even though the wound in his leg gave him a slight limp, he was itching for another human to kill.
He saw a trail of females running from the settlement with their broodlings in tow. He ran towards the edge of the settlement to block the path of any humans who might try to follow.
The sights he saw made his blood boil. Tents and huts afire. Dead females who had tried to protect their young. Dead broodlings, barely thirteen summers old, who thought they could fight like berserkers. Dead Orcs all around.
Five humans were following the females. Grim had to stop them. He grabbed an axe from a dead broodling's fingers and attacked. He hacked off one soldier's sword hand, who fell to his knees screaming. He knocked another aside with his free hand, before the human could strike. The third soldier slashed at his chest. Red blood ran down Grim's stomach. He roared in pain. Anger reaching new heights within him.
Grim hauled his big axe and felled two men with one stroke. The axe remained in one of the bodies as they fell away. The soldier he had knocked aside lay on the ground, but he raised his sword and slashed Grim's thigh, before Grim's large fist knocked him out.
Two wounds to the same leg made his limp a lot worse. He grimaced in pain as he faced the last human. The man only had a dagger, probably having lost his sword during the fighting. He circled Grim cautiously. Anticipating an attack, Grim waited and quickly grabbed the human's arm when it came.
Grim tried to twist the blade aside, but it still cut a deep gash in the skin of his ribcage. He still had ahold of the man's arm though and he pulled him close so that he could bite into his neck. It tasted horrible, but Grim's large tusks left a grievous wound behind. The soldier collapsed, trying to scream, but only gurgling his blood.
The females and broodlings had made it far enough. Grim was panting from exhaustion and blood loss. He wouldn't be able to fight much longer. He had done what was necessary to give the others a chance to escape. That's all that mattered.
Another human on a horse rode around a burning hut and spotted him. Grim didn't know if there was much he could do. The man had a spear and was riding straight at him. Grim couldn't fight any longer, but his warrior instincts still reacted to threats. As the spear thrust came, Grim dodged and grabbed the rider, throwing him off his horse.
Grim didn't much like the beasts, but he would be faster riding it than he would be limping after the others on his bad leg. With the last of his strength he straddled the horse and rode off. Leaving the burning settlement behind.
Friday, June 20, 2014
"Captain Bron. What are our orders, sir?"
Bron looked at the Orc settlement in the distance. Atop his horse he had a clear view. Wooden huts and leather tents were scattered in a large area. It didn't seem like the Orcs had much structure, but it was a settlement nonetheless. His men camped behind a hill, out of the sight. They were waiting for the commander's orders.
Bron held the official document in his hand. The commander's order to attack the settlement. He gave no reason, he didn't have to. He was the commander. But Bron knew why they were here. Why they were supposed to attack.
Behind the settlement loomed the Blacktop Mountains. Many resources could be extracted from them. Coal, iron and more metals, but most importantly: gold. Gold. That's what this was about. That's why Bron would have to give the order to attack women and children. All the male Orcs will have gone to the mines by now. The settlement would be defenseless. Well, not completely defenseless. They were Orcs after all. Even their females and children would put up a fight. Bron would have to keep that in mind when he and his men attacked. Orcs were dangerous, no matter what age or gender.
The soldier next to him cleared his throat. "Captain?"
Bron sighed. It was time. "Prepare the men for the attack. Commander's orders!"
"Yes, sir!" The soldier left to perform his duties.
It wouldn't take long. Bron had heard some of the men tell rumors that they were just here to scout the terrain. That the King wouldn't want to start a war with the Orcs. But most thought the King a reckless fool. They thought they were here to do just that. And they were right.
In less than ten minutes his battalion of about one hundred men was ready. He raised his arm and let it drop, signalling the attack. A horn blew. He and his ten scouts dashed ahead on their horses. The rest came running after them, shouting and screaming. The settlement was sure to hear them, but there wouldn't be much they could do. They were outnumbered and his men were well trained. It wouldn't take long to slaughter them.
Bron rode into the fray, sword in hand. A female Orc came running out of one of the wooden huts. She charged at him with a spear, screaming.
Bron had thought it might be morally difficult to kill these women, but in the face of danger his instincts kicked in. He deflected her spear with a swing of his sword and as the momentum of her charge brought her closer, his backstroke cut her down.
Immediately, another female came at him. He cut her down as well. His scouts were spreading out, doing the same. The fastest of the men on foot were starting to pour into the settlement. The rest followed.
There was movement to his right and he turned to attack. It was an Orc child, a boy. Bron hesitated. Females that attacked him were one thing, children were another. The boy looked shocked and confused. A man atop a horse, towering over him. With Orc blood spattered on his armor and more dripping from his sword. The kid must have been scared.
It was Bron's duty to slay him. He had his orders. But still he hesitated. Until the child's shock turned into rage. The boy jumped to grab a fallen spear. Bron had no choice and raised his bloody sword.