“Orcs are dorks!”...
“Let’s kill ‘em all!” …
“Death to the pig-people!”…
This and more could all be heard even before Charlotte Wellings was able to begin speaking about the why. Perhaps there are Humanists or Humanist sympathizers in the ranks of the Crux Ansata after all, and what better place to begin according to those type than at the bottom of “The Racial Scale”.
“So, Sheon and I have been collaborating on a small project.” she began. “We had a team of archaeologists working at the old temple Josiah Havel discovered. And we found something. It was a large silver monolith with strange writing. It was within the city limits of Britain, or nearly when the caravan was raided by Orcs. Afterwards, a number of Orcs were seen near the Governor's office. Now, some of you may know, the Governor of Britain, is currently... an Orc. So, we will be turning the Governor's Office upside down this evening, searching for clues. So. let's get after it.”
Sadly, I had looked down at my gear at the wrong time during her speech. I wish I could have seen her face as she said, “an Orc” when referring to Parfu, the Governor of Britain. A persons hatred of a race is at times easy to see in their facial expressions, even when they try to keep it hidden. Going purely off her speech pattern and emphasis I find myself being undecided of what her true intent is. But, considering the “stock” she comes from, she definitely has the benefit of the doubt. Most of the time the apple does not fall far from the tree, but there are those exceptions where at times that apple lands on a hill and ultimately lands a great distance away from the tree. That being said, Charlotte is Innocent until she proves herself guilty of something.
But, I digress.
Once we arrived at the Governor’s office we found no orc invasion. We did not find any evidence of a large raiding party. But Charlotte did find a twisted representation of the Orcish Blood-God statue standing in the corner of the room. Touching it unleased the magic it held. Anyone who touched it was transported outside of the Orc Dungeon in the Serpent's Spine Mountains. Once there those calling for the death of orcs were able to exact their pound of orc flesh.
Once we reached the altar of the Orcish Blood God the mysterious monolith stood to the side of the blood pool. Charlotte began wondering aloud why they had brought it to the altar, if they had done so as a tribute to the Orcish Deity. Those thoughts were put on hold quickly as Orcs descended on us from every place imaginable. Once again the Knights were thrown into action without warning. The close quarters fighting was intense. Just when we thought the battle was almost done another super Orc would crawl from a crevice or waddle up from the mud. While the battle raged our fearless leader was trying her best to secure the item that was stolen. Eventually she was successful and the words, “We have what we came for, back to Britain!” echoed throughout the cave.
Once back at the castle Charlotte placed the strange monolith on the ground. More than a few began to ask if anyone knew what the runes and writing on it said. I imagine there were those in the crowd who were feeling good about our victory. As battles goes, this was among the easier ones, so why not bask in the glory of an easier win. Yet… from the back.. a lone voice could be heard in the murmur… “I dont feel right about just killing them and taking the item.” Then something else could be heard. Something with a much greater significance and a much greater urgency.
“SHH!! Everyone quiet! Listen.” Charlotte said. Knights looked at each other with puzzled expressions but seemed to begin listening. “Do you hear that?”
At that very moment Selina the Crier began, “Some of the latest news.”
Then Selina delivered the news, “Orcish War Party Seen Headed for Britain, Castle Blackthorn in Danger!”
Knowing magic users are useless on the Castle grounds and that the Crux’s horde of Dragons are simply not allowed at all, Charlotte beckoned, “Quickly, across the bridge, form a defense!” To which the Crux quickly obliged.
As I said earlier, most of the time the apple does not fall far from the tree. Watching Charlotte bark out orders such as, “Form a line to defend the Castle!” and “Dragons in the back ready to advance! Melee in the front, archers behind them! We must defend the Castle!” I think even the local village idiot would have to realize whose gene pool Charlotte tapped to get those skills.
As the drums crept closer “Forul Solum” rang out all over the place, while others began summoning various critters to assist, at least one Knight was seen running around in panic unsure of which ranks he should be in and more than a few were readying the always reliable “An Lor Xen”. As the first orc appeared from around the Bucking Horse Stable the battle was on.
Dragons who were already prepared for battle were unleashed. However, the Orcs had done their reconnaissance and unleashed poison quicker than the Dragons could arrive. Despite an army of healers Dragons dropped quickly. Healers refocused their attention to anyone taking damage or anyone spasming from the vicious poisons effect. Eventually the Crux Ansata began to get the upper hand and Orcs started dropping to the ground.
Finally one lone Orc was all that remained and Charlotte said, “This is only the scouts, be mindful of the full force!” The Knights bandaged wounds, wiped blood from their visors, reformed the lines… and waited.
We did not have to wait too long. The next wave of Orcs hit fast, hit hard.. and hit often. Orders from our make shift commander rang out. “Healers, keep those dragons up! Archers! Maintain your range! Melee, keep them off the archers!”
After what seemed like an eternity, once again, a single lone Orc battled our forces. Most Knights and Dragons were battered, bruised and almost beaten. Then from the back of the ranks we heard, “Maintain the line, I don't think they are done with us yet! Orcs fight in waves.”
“Be careful, these look... odd!” she warned.
Sure, they did look odd. But as odd as they looked it paled in comparison to how hard they fought. On more than one occasion, as I was gathering my gear to join the fray again, I found myself wondering if we would be victorious or not. A very rare thought when it comes to battles alongside the Crux Knights. I can’t say how long the battle lasted. At times in a fight minutes pass like seconds and at other times seconds pass like hours. But, I can say the battle continued until almost every, if not every, Knight in attendance had at least one corpse on the ground. As I looked around at the carnage after we defeated the Orc forces I had only one thought. Thank the Gods for magic so strong it can bring us back from death. If it were not for that, the Crux Ansata would be reduced to a few legendary “An Lor Xen” casters after this battle.
My apologies for taking so long in getting this out. It has taken this long for me to make some resemblance of a recovery to where I can actually put pen to scroll. As I sit here now, still slightly laid up, I do wonder what significance the Ancient Monolith holds for the Orcs. For them to launch an assault on King Blackthorn’s Castle, knowing with a great degree of certainty they would die, makes me believe it may hold greater repercussions for us all. But... maybe the Humanists are right and “The damaged frontal lobe causes orcs to be born aggressive. All orcs think like wolves”… then logic being involved in their decision to launch such an invasion could easily be tossed out a nearby window like the contents of a chamber pot. Maybe their decision to storm the castle was simply rooted in, “Dey tooks whut iz ors. Git dem!!” *shrugs* Time will tell….
Surely the King has the best and brightest scholars, linguists and scribes trying to decode the language on the stone. Right?