There are battles and then there are battles. My friends and I have been in many battles recently, but this one was different, more ferocious somehow. There was no great adversary to overcome as has often been the case in the past. Oh, there was an orc with a magic horn and a magic sword, but without his trinkets he was just an orc. Battling orcs and wargs doesn’t sound all that dangerous considering what evils we’ve faced. But these orcs and wargs just kept coming. Give me one large adversary over hordes of arrow fodder any day.
I woke everyone up when I saw the orcs sneaking towards our camp. As I was fully awake and ready for battle, I closed half the distance towards the orcs and let out a challenging roar. I succeeded in getting the attention of all five orcs. Markus took up his gun and Felix his bow and they began shooting from where they stood. The orcs began closing in as T&T charged in with his sword.
As I fought with two of the orcs I noticed that one orc remained behind. He pulled out a horn and blew on it. I wasn’t sure what the horn blast was supposed to do, but I was certain it wasn’t anything good and both Markus and T&T seemed to be effected by it. In spite of whatever the horn did, we appeared to be winning the battle. I dropped one of my orcs and T&T took out the other. So I ran up and attacked the orc with the horn. When he saw me coming he dropped his horn and pulled out his sword.
The sword was obviously magical, its blade sparkled with magical energy. We exchanged several blows, neither of us gaining the upper hand. But when Markus shot him in the left arm the orc gave me the opening I’d been waiting for. When he dodged out of the way of my axe swing I latched onto his arm with my fangs and swung him around. He fell to the ground, his arm ripped to shreds and he didn’t get back up.
There were only two orcs left. The four of us were wounded, but it looked like we were about to win the battle. But suddenly three wargs came charging at us from the nearby stream. And two more wargs came out of the trees, these two bearing goblin riders. We fought on as best we could, but the odds didn’t look good. I found myself tearing at my opponents as much with my teeth as I was swinging at them with my axe. We were in danger of being overwhelmed by the sheer number of opponents and I could feel my animal instincts trying to take over.
I’ve let my animal ferocity take over in the past when I hunted alone. To be honest, there’s an indescribable feeling of freedom when I do. But there’s also a loss of control and I feared what might happen should I lose control with my friends at my side. So I retained control, but only just. For as we fought the wargs more orcs appeared and the ranks of the enemy swelled even larger.
The rest of the battle was a blur. There was noise. There was pain. There was blood. There was lots of blood. Some of the blood was ours. Most of it was theirs. And there was a strong taste of fresh, warm blood in my mouth. I’m not sure how we did it, but we all survived the carnage. We were hurt rather badly, Markus and T&T worst of all. Thankfully we still had magical means to cure ourselves.
Once we could move again we searched through the bodies for anything useful. I’m sure somebody picked up the horn, but I immediately went for the sword. Even laying on the ground covered with blood and gore the sword’s exquisite craftsmanship shone through. I picked it up and wiped it off on the shirt of a dead orc. That’s when I heard its voice in my head.
The sword’s name was Durandal and it was made to be wielded by chaos creatures. The sparkling sword told me it would be happy for me to be its new master. That’s when Cavindel spoke up. My axe informed Durandal that I was already spoken for. The two weapons argued in my head for a while and then they both stopped talking. The sword was a masterful piece of work but there was no way I was going to give up my axe. So I held the sword up in the air and asked if anybody wanted a talking sword. To my surprise, Markus took it. I guess he’ll never again be able to give me a hard time about having a talking axe. I think I’m going to miss that.
Once we’d cleaned up and caught our breaths we continued on towards the dwarven fortress. When we drew near we concealed ourselves and checked it out from afar. I had expected, or at least hoped, to find an abandoned ruin. But what we found was anything but. The fortress appeared to be the home base for an army of orcs, ogres and some kind of winged reptiles. We watched a group of orcs march up to the doors, acting more like a trained military troop than a band of brigands. I had a bad feeling that the battle we’d just survived was nothing compared to what lay before us.