Friday, January 15, 2016

Skard II

Skard let fly another arrow, one of two dozen raining down on the humans. He had watched with mixed feelings as the first wave rained down around the Giant. Skard still held a grudge against him for winning their fight, but he also respected him after returning his axe. Death by a hail of arrows was not what he deserved.
    The last he had seen of the Giant was him on his knees before the oncoming human army swarmed over him. A third volley of arrows fell upon them, picking off a couple with screams of pain being swallowed by the din of the charge. Most of the arrows were blocked by their shields. The Brogdah Clan didn't have too many archers and there were a lot more humans coming at them than they could shoot.
    It was too late now anyway. Dropping the bow where he stood, Skard kneeled down to pick up his axe. The leather grip felt good in his hands. It felt right. He added his voice to the guttural chanting of the front line.
    The humans were close now, they'd crash into their line in less than thirty seconds, but that was not the Orc way. The Brogdah Clan would not sit and cower behind a wall of their comrades. The Brogdah Clan would do what they did best.
    Skard tightened his grip on his axe and yelled, rushing toward the oncoming humans. What had once been more than one hundred shouting, raging, charging humans, prepared to kill a clan half their size, suddenly turned into a chaotic rabble of those with the passion for war, who fought, and those useless sacks of flesh who fell to the axes and swords of the Orcs.
    Skard reveled in the action of it. He swung his axe with both hands, removing limbs and lives. He had already killed at least three before he found himself facing an actual warrior. The human was well armored with a long blade covered in scarlet Orc blood.
    Who had he killed? How many had he wounded? Did it matter?
    Skard would show him what Orcs were made of. He would show everyone how to deal with that kind of human. Letting out a deep growl he leaped at his foe.
    Skard's axe lashed out in an arc, barely passing over the human's head as he ducked. The human swiped his blade over the back of Skard's leg. The metal biting through leather and flesh. Skard stumbled, crying out in pain, but did not dare fall to the ground.
    Though it hurt like hell, he kicked out with his wounded leg, knocking the human into the dirt. The axe came down with a spray of blood as it sunk into the human's chest. Not even his armor protected him from the force of that blow.
    Skard raised his tusks triumphantly and roared. All around him lay the human wounded, the dying and their dead. His brothers and sisters were victorious, their calls echoing his own success. The surviving humans fled toward the other half of their army, all the way across the field. The reinforcements should have joined the fight sooner if they hoped to win against the Orcs. It was too late now. Now they cowered behind their shields waiting for their defeated comrades to return.
    Sweat and blood dripped from Skard's chin, he hadn't noticed until now that the cut over his ear had reopened during the fight. He struggled through the mass of bodies underfoot, pain searing through his leg with every step. He saw more Orcs scattered among the dead than he had expected. His friend, Borkin, who he had known since they were little broods, lay among them. Jaw clenched shut, Skard moved on.
    Gwarr was a bloody sight to behold, but there were no wounds that Skard could see. Their elder was a rallying point and everyone was slowly making their way, looting the dead while they passed. Mexta stood next to him, a nasty cut spilling blood over half her face. Other than that and the evil eye she was giving Gwarr, she looked unharmed.
    The blaring of a war horn made Skard turn. He was surprised that the humans would want to resume the battle after having lost so many, but then realized that the noise didn't come from across the field to the east. It came from the north, still quite a bit away, but dust could be seen rising from trampled ground. The cavalry was coming and the humans who were defeated a moment ago shouted with renewed vigor.
    Without hesitation, Gwarr's roar signaled the attack. Their elder charged forward, the clan at his heels. Skard stumbled over the fallen, his wounded leg troubling him until the battle rage took hold of him, taking his pain, storing it for after the battle when it would return tenfold. The charging Orcs left the dead behind them, reaching the clear field, where only a few dead humans lay, having been killed by arrows. The Giant was surely face down in the grass here somewhere.
    The Brogdah Clan neared the human front line. Skard could see their faces. They were scared at the sight of the battle enraged Orcs, looking north toward their saviors. The cavalry wasn't there yet though, this was their chance to tear apart the demoralized troops before they arrived.
    Orcs screamed in pain and anger as they slammed into the human's shield wall. Spears jabbed at them, but the wooden and metal shields were not enough to stop the oncoming behemoths that were the Orcs. Skard's axe tore through a shield - breaking it into two halves - and cleaving into its owner.
    Again the humans outnumbered the Orcs, but they were terrified by their brute strength. Skard saw it in their eyes as he swung his axe with glee. Though the humans had more than twice their number they began to fall back. He respected the fact that they did not outright flee and was glad, for it meant that more remained to be slaughtered.
    Another human blocked his path, better than the others. He parried Skard's blows or dodged when he could. The young grunt wearied at being thwarted. He even tried to bait the human giving him an opening, but the coward would not take a risk. Fighting continued all around them, humans and Orcs shouting their pain and rage.
    As Skard took a breath before starting a new assault on his opponent, the blowing of the horn resounded, but much closer than before. Too close. To the north the cavalry crashed into the battle. Orcs had positioned themselves to stop the onslaught, but there were too many riders, breaking through their ranks and tearing them to pieces.
    A sudden motion drew him back to his foe, the human finally going on the offensive. Skard growled, knocking the sword aside, taking the shield to his face. Slightly dazed, his instincts took over, slipping his axe behind the human's legs, pulling them out from under him.
    Skard lifted his battleaxe to give the finishing blow to the human cowering under his shield, the gallop of a horse barely audible in his triumphant state. A sword slashed across his back, followed by the horse's shoulder and rider's knee.
    Skard stumbled, dropping his axe. Pain from his earlier leg wound shot upward, bringing him to his knees. The human he had been about to kill now stood over him, sword arm raised. Riders galloped past them, swarming over the battlefield. A riderless horse was the last thing Skard saw before it crashed into him.


  1. Good battle scene, better than many I've read. Nice callbacks to what Gwarr did, what Mexta did last, nice to leave open what the hell happened to Big John, and also to Skard. Loads of good technique here. Not too much character, but that's a battle scene for you.

    1. Thanks, glad you liked it.

      Yeah, Skard's characteristics focused on the youthful mindset of believing oneself immortal. The Orc-warrior mentality of just going into the fight and crushing your opponent. He already had to deal with losing against Big John, which wasn't easy, although he could find respect for someone who bested him.

      It's nothing special character-wise, but I felt like a standard young grunt perspective in the middle of the fray was needed as a contrast to Kruzz.

      As always, thanks for the comment. ;)

  2. Aha, so Kruzz is coming up next? That's odd, him being all limbless...

    1. Nope, that's not what I meant to imply. I meant Skard was introduced as a character as a contrast to Kruzz. Although, Kruzz is planned to have an appearance in the next Orc post, but first another human coming up soon. ;)