Monday, July 7, 2014

Continued Defense of Herdis

Night falls after Torleik, his command, and Hrolfr dispatched more than 600 orcs. The story continues from Creos's perspective. (Played on November 29, 2011.)
Creos withdraws to his perch in the large tree off the end of the MADS longhouse where Torleik and Hrolfr have set up camp. His experience during the recent mana collapse around Herdis continues to disturb him. Questions abound in his mind. What exactly happened? Why did it cause my features to fluctuate and cause me such pain? Why did it set off a flashback? What did that flashback mean?
The inhabitants of Herdis celebrate their victory. Their carousing irritates Creos. He grabs the dwarven hammer from a nearby branch and climbs to upper branches of the elder oak, far above the limits of the city walls. He finds solace among its red and orange leaves.
As he settles into his new perch, he recalls distant flashbacks, those he'd long forgotten during his rather uneventful, solitary life. Horrific screams. Blazing fires. Clashes of swords. Disfigured bodies of women and children in their homes. He cannot, however, see the faces of the attackers, and this maddens him. He looks over the city, piercing the dark to see the orc horde, and his anger swells. He scans the area beyond the city from the forest to the northeast to the southwestern woods.
He sees six pairs of men scaling over the northwestern portion of the wall. They're quiet, wearing only linen and carrying small arms. Curious, Creos descends to the ground, jumps over the wall and watches the pairs split off into separate directions. He follows the nearest half dozen, who head west along the ditch that parallels the road. They get a small fishing boat from a longhome near the road and use it to cross the river.
Creos swims across the river as he follows the covert operatives, but he loses them in the nearby woods. Maintaining a cautious advance to the south, he catches a strong scent of blood and the rhythym of drums to the north, deep within the forest. He moves closer to investigate and discovers several orcs amassed around what appears to be a doorway made of bones.
A large orc at the doorway sacrifices ravens, dripping their blood on about a dozen diminutive orcs, possibly children. They wear armor embedded with feathers, and they dance in place to the beats that engulf them. The drums' cadence begins to accelerate, and the small orcs lift off the ground, their hands clasped together to join themselves in a flying ring. They levitate into the dark canopy above the treetops and out of sight. At once, the drumming ceases, and a moment the later the remaining orcs disband.
Creos hides a little to the west, and when he believes the coast is clear, he returns to his observation point. He sees about a dozen orcs sentries had remained to guard the gate. Too many to allow him a chance to snoop around. However, he notices something about the gate that he hadn't before--the lifeless husks of a woman and child mounted to the doorway.
Disturbed by this, Creos returns to Herdis by the way he came, leaving behind the humans he'd tailed. He wakes Torleik and delivers the new intelligence. Torleik calls for a runner.

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