Ch3: The old mill
It was the cool of the evening when she saw the trio of dwarves enter the old mill. Her glowing eyes watching their every move. She hid carefully in the brush as to avoid being spotted with a hood over her head, but kept an arrow knocked in her bow just in case she needed it. The dwarves were loud and made little effort to conceal themselves. They were inside only moments before exiting again. She did not trust dwarves, but then again she thought, ‘I don’t trust anyone.’ One went off to the edge of the wood and gathered wood for a fire. She watched him as he made a spectacle of just picking up wood, eyeing every piece slowly, before adding it to a growing arm full of timber.
As he continued, she could see another dwarf on the near side, with a small sword cutting down grass. She thought it odd that he would need grass for a fire, but then again, she never had problems starting a fire.
Far on the other side, she caught another figure. It was lurking in the woods, almost hidden, but she saw him peer over, around a tree to get a good look at the dwarf collecting wood. It looked like a goblin, or small orc. She hated both more than dwarves. She watched as he crept back into the woods, after getting a good look at the show before him.
She waited until they had completed work outside and the trio returned to the mill. She soon smelled the scent of a fire and meat cooking before she relaxed and returned to her chore of hunting. As she crept along the forest floor, and made sure that her footfalls were silent, and she left as little track as possible. She watched for inklings of movement in the underbrush, or the flutter of a bird. It rewarded her patience as she saw a small rabbit slowly creep out from under a bush to gather some food. She raised the bow to aim, then with a simple release it was over. The rabbit made only a small squeal before it’s end. She moved over to her kill and pulled it off the end of her arrow and cautiously returned to her den.
It was later in the evening, when she returned to the edge of the forest near the mill. She knew that the dwarves were there for the orc. She dared not pursue them herself. She wanted to make sure that the filth of the orc removed from her forest. If that meant she had to talk with a dwarf, then so be it. Upon returning, she saw a different site. Her eyes, though glowing, could see perfectly in the night. She could make out figures on the other side of the clearing. Much larger than dwarves. Was she too late?
She watched as the leader of the group, a tall and powerful orc, crept with his team up to the entrance of the mill. She could see through the open window of the structure and a dim red light against the wall. ‘The fools.’ She thought. She quickly weighed her options but realized that the band of seven orcs would be too great a task for her. Yet, she wanted to help. She knew that others may come to dispatch the orcs, but then they may find her den, and do far worse. She drew her bow back, waiting for some rational action to guide her.
As the warriors, swords in hand, rushed the entrance. Ghunzul immediately saw three bedrolls with dwarves in them and they began stabbing them wildly, screaming. “Yeeeeaaagggghrrr.” Outside the archers, at the sound of the attack, joined in celebration. Ghola sat back just inside the long grass and waited for the commotion to die down. He hoped that he could celebrate with the other orcs once the dwarves were dead.
With as much speed as the fervor and excitement started, it ended just as abruptly. Inside, Ghunzul and the others only saw grass filled sacks, while outside something entirely different was happening. Suddenly from out of the tall grass came an axe, and cleaved the back end of an orc’s head, its blood flew in the air as he fell. The one directly across looked in shock as a dwarf warrior stood valiantly behind the corpse. Before he could even raise his bow, the dwarf retreated into the grass.
The other two orcs raised their bows and shot where the dwarf was as quickly and while reaching for another arrow each found their own fate. One, as his arm was crushed with a mighty swing from the ball of a mace, fell to the ground, holding his arm, screaming in pain. The last felt the point of a blade pierce between his ribs, into his back and then through his heart. He barely uttered a sound before falling lifelessly to the ground.
Three orcs barged from the doorway with swords in hand, yelling a battle cry. They stopped just outside, looking at their fallen comrades, one still yelling in pain, pointing towards the tall grass just off to the other side. They quickly looked and moved off.
Suddenly, a yell came from behind them. A dwarf had quickly climbed up the broken sails of the mill and, while in midair, prepared for a lethal blow on one orc. His axe swung through the air upon one orc from his shoulder, through the ribs, cleaving his arm clear of his body. Upon reaching the ground, he stumbled and fell over the orc’s corpse. The other two turned to face him, snarling.
One jabbed at him with his sword, but it quickly deflected off the prone dwarfs’ shield. The other’s blade pierced his shoulder and pinned him to the ground.
Another dwarf appeared behind them, this one with a mace swung towards one of them catching him in the pit of his stomach. “Oaafh.” the orc let out as the dwarf shifted back to defend himself, pulling the sword back from the prone dwarf’s shoulder.
At that moment, an arrow whizzed through the air from the edge of the clearing, striking the cleric’s shield, the point jutting out on the other side. He looked quickly but could not see the attacker.
“Are you ok, laddie?” He queried of the warrior.
“Aye, a little flesh would be all.” As he jumped to his feet. He glanced up and wide eyed. “Look out!” He tried to warn.
A large orc emerged from the structure and raised a great sword, he could see the hilt of the sword had ivory inlays and appeared of much more craftsmanship than that of his compatriots. The sword drove quickly down upon Nobit. He barely had time to look and could not raise his shield to save himself. He cringed as he heard the blade crash against another. Tlond’s sword stopped the blow before it landed. Infuriated, the orc attacked the new assailant. Both Nobit and Bahil pivoted to defend another round of attacks.
Ghunzul’s sword swung to split the dwarf in two, but Tlond was much quicker than his fellows. He side stepped on attack, then dodged another, then swung his own at the orc, but could not overcome the distance in time to hit him.
Bahil, after blocking the attack on him, drove his axe upward, straight into the jaw of his attacker, who stumbled backward grimacing in pain, but not out of the fight. He moved forward to attack again, parried by the orc.
Nobit also went for a strike after blocking, but swung wide and missed. The orc returned with another attack, which the dwarf blocked and sent him backward with the blow. After stumbling a bit, he regained his footing and stood firm, preparing for the orc to advance, who kindly obliged.
Another arrow flew from the clearing, this one whizzing past Tlond’s head. He could not focus on the attacker, but vowed he would end the coward’s life before this was over.
Ghunzul grinned as he knew the smaller dwarf could not take his blows. He jabbed, then swung down on the dwarf, who again dodged them. The dwarf returned with a quick jab that caught the orc leader on his arm. A trickle of thick black blood dripped as he stepped back, looking at his wound, seething.
Bahil lunged forward, dragging his axe across the orc. The orc again blocked, but this time the dwarf’s shield landed against his chest, sending him flying backward, arms flailing and his sword flying.
Nobit pressed forward, but could not land a blow. His opponent jabbed forward but caught upon the dwarf’s shield, splintering the arrow that imbedded into it.
Ghunzul pressed Tlond and tripped him. He raised his sword to deliver a killing blow, just as another arrow flew in piercing his back muscle and lodged jutting out his side. The great orc staggered back. “Ghola, you runt. I will kill you.” He regained his composure. He would have to deal with dwarves before making the small orc pay for his misdeed.
Another arrow whizzed through the group, missing everyone. Ghunzul gritted his teeth. “Maggot of an orc.” Tlond had just reached his feet when a knee came crashing across his face, sending him stumbling backwards.
Bahil’s rushed the unarmed orc and sent his axe deep into its sternum. It moved no longer.
Nobit’s fortunes also turned as the orc he faced made a fatal mistake and lodged his sword deep into the side of the dwarf’s shield. He tried pulling it out, again and again, but found a mace quickly connecting with the side of his face, breaking his jaw and caving in his cheek.
Tlond stumbled, but felt an enormous hand grab the top of his head and the large ivory handled sword poised to sever it from his body.
Again, an arrow flew in catching the orc squarely in the chest, penetrating his lung and sending him backward yowling in pain. Tlond quickly pulled two throwing daggers and let them loose toward the last orc. He heard one hit it as the other soon after clamored against the roots of a tree just past it.
The orc stumbled a bit, then fell as a mace shattered his knee. Last, Bahil’s axe severed his head. Each of the dwarves stood panting as seven orcs lay before them. Bahil picked up the great sword and positioned it where it would fit on his belt, dragging the ground.
Nobit looked at the orc leader. One arrow, brackish and covered in grime, protruded from his back, the other human made and wedged into his front. “Look at this.” He said. The three inspected the arrows and the directions they came from.
Tlond and Bahil walked up, both walked back up towards where the orcs had come and found a matching arrow impaled in the eye socket of a smaller, scrawny orc. His bow and several arrows spread about the ground. They were black and unkept, much like the one in the leader’s back. “He’s dead.” Bahil announced.