A Tale of the Wars – A Great and Terrible Day. (c ) KNW 2002
Garruk-Kal-Tammux had left Thezzerkazzo. The bridge over the Vikk was finished and he began the march to circumvent the obstacle of Vikkers, leaving a skeleton crew in the former Imperial capital to defend it while he went to claim glory. As such, most of the upper echelon went with him, with the singular exception of Semthak.
Having proven his ability to run a city (or at the very least, a citadel, fortress, or walled town), Semthak was the obvious choice to leave in Thezzerkazzo, besides, Tammux was growing weary of the moody Orc, who now felt very old since the death of Ploknag in the winter. But that was six months ago, during the charge that stole the Human capitol, and since Ploknag died of his wounds on the field, he would be returned to the living world eventually and thus, not be truly dead.
Tammux left the Elven witches behind, they were needed to keep the weather constant for other plans, plus, they made a great incentive to return.
With Tammux out of the city, Y'hali quickly grew bored of pawing at her coven. Her master had barred any Orc from entering their chamber, with the exception of Semthak, who only seemed to want his one, crude Elf. She began to long for the feel of a thick shaft of greenskin inside her, thrusting and pounding her tiny body; so much so, she had decided to sidestep Tammux's order and get some cock for herself.
She chose something sparse to wear, a tunic that just barely covered her little behind, and tied her hair up in a long, braided tail, so it wouldn't get in the way. From her room, she sauntered past the guards (whose eyes never left her body until she was out of sight), and made her way down to the mess hall.
All eyes were upon her. Since her turning, she had only enjoyed the company of Semthak, Tammuk, and the handful of White Tusks, as well as a couple others who had snuck into her chambers, in all, less than twenty of these greenskinned fuck machines had taken her.
This was to be changed. With the tunic barely covering her to start with, she went to the lead table and bent herself across it, exposing her sweet Elven pussy to the entire assembly, at least two hundred Orcs. It took less than two minutes for someone to answer her wishes and stick a thick, hard piece of meat into her waiting body. It felt so good, so satisfying, and it didn't matter who it belonged to, all she wanted to do was to be fucked like an animal.
- - - - -
By the time it was over, she was thoroughly sated. Her body felt like lead, but every nerve tingled. She lay in a puddle of Orc-juice, her pussy and ass gaped and the cum of an army oozed from it. Her belly was full, her behind was stuffed, and her womb had been the recipient of quarts of sperm. Had she been a Human, that would mean something, but no coupling of Orc and Elf had ever resulted in a child.
She felt aroused again with that idea: that she could indulge her lust and feel the danger involved in becoming pregnant. There were but three Humans left in all of Thezzerkazzo who could do that, and two of them were out following Tammux's crusade, leaving a single being who might assent to her plan.
- - - - -
Having given up on enjoying life, and finished every worthwhile book in his library, Vincent had taken to simply writing an account of his life in the hopes that, when and if his Empire was reclaimed, the successors would learn from his mistakes in underestimating the Orcs. In every previous clash between Orcs and either the Humans, Elves, or Dwarves, the Orcs had lost due to poor strategy, organization, or inferior technology. Now that they were on par with the rest of the world, they were truly a force to be reckoned with. The Imperial armies had grown lax, not having fought a serious conflict in decades, and before the Orcish onslaught, it seemed the world was heading into an age of peace.
But, like all false images, that one had been shattered, and by Vincent's thought, so had his empire. Bregna and V'renchia were in full revolt since Douglasson confiscated the Church's property, a logical move, but since no one had known how much Harlock had worked to keep those two provinces in line, the results could not be predicted. While penning a few of the words his father had told him, he heard heavy footfalls outside the library.
The Orc named Semthak came in and began to scan the shelves. Vincent didn't know much about any of the Orcs in his city with the exception of Tammux, and he was far from likable. But this Semthak had wandered into the library a few times before, found something to his tastes and read for a while. This time, he seemed a little lost.
"Looking for something, Semthak," Vincent asked, not raising to face the Orc.
"Uh, yeah," Semthak replied, "Oi saw a book in 'ere once 'bout da buildin' o'dat big road."
"It's called 'Via Mondus: Uniting the Continent', and it's on the fourth shelf from the left, second from the bottom, next to 'Civic Planning' and 'Transportation Methods of the West'."
It took another half a minute for Semthak to find it, gently pull it from the shelf, tip the books it sat next to sideways, and find a chair.
"Odd subject for an Orc, Semthak. Bored?"
"Tammux left me 'ere 'coz Oi knows 'ow ta run a place loik dis. Might as well take advantage o' whut it's got ta offer."
Vincent looked up, glanced around, looked pensive, then took a breath.
"Where's your Elf?" Normally she followed Semthak wherever he went, but today, was nowhere to be seen.
"I gots some o' the girls ta give 'er a bath," he replied, fishing a pair of spectacles out of his pocket, "she dudn't seem ta know when ta clean up any more.."
To Vincent, the sight of an Orc with glasses was just too comical, and he couldn't help but snicker.
"Found dese inna desk an' it makes readin' dis tiny scribblin' easier. So shut yer gob."
Smiling and shaking his head, Vincent went back to his writings. Soon after he was interrupted again by a polite 'ahem', in a voice that was most certainly not Orcish.
Looking up, he saw the tattooed hide of Y'hali Springbloom. He'd never actually met the Elf, but had gawked at her a few times.
"Come with me, Human" she said, sounding like she was giving a command.
"Ain't yew supposed ta be in yer room, Elf?" Semthak asked, not looking away from his book.
"Aren't you supposed to be wallowing in your own feces, Orc? Or are you just taking a break?"
Semthak said something about giving her a break under his breath and tried to ignore the Elf. Her attitude had become somewhat acerbic as of late.
"Well, Human, are you going sit there and gape, or get moving?"
Vincent wasn't totally sure what was going on, but decided to follow her directions. He set his quill in its little box, stoppered the ink vial, and left the open tome and its half-finished page behind. As he followed, his eyes could not help but wander about her form. Under the diaphanous linen she wore, which may or may not have once belonged to his beloved Ryea, she was slim, sleek, and very sexy, even if she did look like a human teenager. Before he even noticed, they arrived at her room. Vincent knew of Tammux's orders that no one pass beyond this door, but the guards scarcely moved a muscle as they went by.
Inside, a tangle of bodies writhed on what had been the guest bed. The floor was alive with Elves doing rather un-Elvish things to each other, and it seemed that not a single thing in the space had been left unused for some purpose or another. Everywhere was the smell of wildberries and honey, almost overpowering in its intensity. Even though every window was open, the breeze seemed unable to move any of it.
Here Y'hali turned, snapped her fingers, and brought the room to attention.
"Ladies, I need space. Move." These words were said in Elven, so to Vincent they seemed more like singing. The Elves on the bed immediately parted and Y'hali shed her garment, and ordered Vincent to do the same.
He had been without sex in nearly a month, a rare thing considering how active his love life had been before his wife had been 'turned', but knew what was going on in his castle. The Orc females in the castle had stopped visiting him, but the sound of Orcs coupling could be heard at all times of the day before Tammux left, and he had also seen the troupe of Elves a few times as well. Tammux could keep him a prisoner in his own home, why not take advantage of the situation, besides, he saw none of the tattoos on these Elves which adorned the bellies of every female Orc he'd seen, which meant they weren't protected from impregnation as the greenskins. This, he thought, could get interesting.
She ordered him to lie down, and when he was comfortable, she began to chant something. The rest of the painted horde took up the chant, seeming to follow Y'hali's movements perfectly. The Elf put one her tiny hands on his already erect shaft and began to massage his testicles with the other, and Vincent felt an odd tingle spread from where her flesh met his.
The ceremony, as Vincent thought of it, went on for half an hour, through which he seemed only partly aware of what was happening. By the time it was over, every Elf in the room had handled him, and he was ready to find out just how it felt to handle them.
Climbing onto the linen-covered surface, Y'hali found a good spot, got onto her hands and knees facing away from Vincent and said but three words: "Mount me, Human."
No more invitation was required, simply entering the room had brought Vincent to attention. He got up behind her, took his manhood in hand, and found her willing and ready, and so very good around him.
Thoughts of his first night with Ryea came to mind, how they seemed to mesh so perfectly, how that moved as one; but that would not be the case with Y'hali, and he knew it, she wanted one thing and it was plain and simple sex. Easing out half-way, Vincent could not help but be amazed at how her soft, velvety pussy felt against him, the way her slender hips felt in his hands, and the way she softly moaned when he moved within her.
To Y'hali, it was exhilarating, this Human was more skilled in lovemaking than the Orcs were, although that simply meant that he didn't pound away only to fill her insides with cream and leave. He worked slowly, calmly, and with a practiced touch, even though she could tell this wasn't his favorite position. The risk of unprotected love thrilled her even more, the possibility that now, after a fertility chant, this Human could father a child with her made her actually want to abandon this soft, easy approach and simply rut like animals. This was such a delicious way to betray Tammux, even if she could never refuse one of his orders, this was a loophole she would take just to spite him.
Vincent pulled the Elf close, kneeling as to get her to ride his meat while he could run his hands over her body, knowing that in such a position, she would need his help to keep her balance; that small element of making her vulnerable was worth trying for. Around them, the other Elves had crowded onto the bed and were licking and fondling anything they could find; it seemed that small, tender hands and thin, soft tongues surrounded him. He could hear Y'hali's breathing becoming laboured and she reached back to take his head in her hands, they kissed deeply as the press of flesh moved with them and Vincent felt his climax starting to form.
She was enraptured, this Man was better than any Orc (although, Orcs were worthwhile in numbers, she thought to herself), and her loins began tingle with an oncoming orgasm of her own. The slow, even pace meant that it took much longer to finish, but made the last leg of the race a tantalizing thing, and for ten long minutes the two held back as long as they could.
Vincent's concentration vanished as a slender tongue flicked over his balls and he could hold back no longer; pulling her as close as he could and holding her tight, he emptied himself into her waiting body.
Y'hali felt the same tongue and lost her grip on control. As the Human pulled her close and she realized just what he intended to do, she also came. As her pussy spasmed and she bucked against his strong arms, she felt his fluids rushing into her inner recesses. She knew that every minute of the fertility rite increased the amount of seed a male produced, and had gone on so long for just such a reason. The thick, warm feeling spread deeper and she thought she could feel the wiggling of each little swimmer.
Riding out an incredible orgasm, Vincent was amazed at just how backed up he had been. After five shots, he lost count of how many times he spurted into this Elf and gave up trying to keep track. It took many minutes for both of them to stop, and when they finally disengaged, each was breathless and spent.
But for Vincent, the night had just begun. As he fell backwards, he felt Elves rush in from all sides to clean him, fondle him, and to rub against his flesh. He saw Y'hali out of the corner of his eye, reclining blissfully and running her hands over her belly, smiling.
It would be many more hours before the Elven coven finally let him go, and without the help of a guard, he would not have made it back to his own room.
If Tammux killed him for this, it was worth it.
- - - - -
As night fell on the Continent, the moon rose to light the way for a long trail of figures moving through the forests. Delfu Greywing lead his, and they really were his, troops though the trees to this place, the now defiled Temple of the Moon Goddess. Time had been lost engaging Orc reconnaissance elements, picking up stragglers, and searching for water, which seemed to be in short supply.
The Temple was a mess; once a pristine place, gleaming bones were all that remained of the outermost guards, many bearing signs of massive trauma. Inside, dried blood had caked to the walls and floors, rodents and insects had cleaned up what they could and now only skeletons were left to populate this once holy place. The main hall was somewhat less disheveled, but scattered belongings and broken seats were left where they were broken or thrown, and the crystal windows of the roof were now broken shards on the floor.
The altar had once been a gleaming marble sculpture traced with gold and adorned with stones, an ancient thing created by hands that had been lost eons ago. But now it was broken and chipped by Orc vandals and other two-legged scavengers. All was dead quiet until a scraping sound alerted the Elves to another presence.
There, in the corner, clutching a small bundle was a Goblin. Her eyes were wide with fear and she looked starved. From through a hole in the wall was suddenly heard much crying and wailing, and the Elves had all turned to see what was going on.
To an Elf, they drew their weapons. Gleaming steel shone in what moonlight came through the ceiling, and the Goblin was paralyzed with fear. Delfu held out a hand, staying their blades, and after sheathing his sword, cautiously approached the Goblin.
"Why are you here," he demanded, but with a low, calm tone, "what right have you to defile this place?"
"We..we's hidin'.. from.. from de Orcs.." she replied. Delfu realized that the only cloth she had with her was wrapped around a small Goblin baby that was mewling for food.
"You are allies with the cursed Orcs, Goblin, what need have you for refuge?"
"D.. dey.." she stammered, tears welling up in her eyes.
"Dey.. dey ate da rest o' our clan.."
"D-during da snowy, dey turned on us, an'.. an' just gobbled up most o' our males.."
"Even the Orcs could not stoop to such things. You are spies, or saboteurs most likely."
Just then, a newcomer to Delfu's number spoke up.
"Sir, it speaks the truth."
"I saw some of this, but could scarcely believe my eyes. One Orc would enter a camp with a missive, and shortly thereafter any Goblin that was too slow was in the cookpots. They stoop to this depravity willingly."
Delfu now saw the Goblin here as a victim, not an enemy. She had been running from the Orcs for months, apparently with only the barest amounts of food and what little water the Temple's spring produced. This scrawny thing was of no threat anymore.
"When we return," Delfu spoke, "the Orcs shall be no more, and should your number be here, than you shall be no more. Do you understand?"
"Yah.. we gets it.."
"Excellent, then let us not meet again, Goblin."
After a short ceremony at the broken altar, the Elves were underway again, their march would lead them to a pass in the mountains still controlled by the Dwarves. Hopefully they would be willing to rejoin the war now that the Elves had found their courage again.
- - - - -
In a few hours dawn would break over the no-man's land between Ghoug and Zbetznu. A mangled mess of ground strewn with the dead some ten miles across had been chosen as the place where the Empire would try to grind down the Orcs and retake the center of the Continent. But unbeknownst to Gregoriv Zbetznu, the stalemate would be broken, but not by him.
Luthiv had been sent north, to ford a river north of a village named Evolgrav, half a day's march away. Nork had rested and would prepare to march west to scavenge for supplies. Klazkh would practice some maneuvers in sight of Akbar, to keep the forces there from venturing too far. Flekmo was already moving into the battlegrounds too seek out an army patrolling the area under a Human named Pleskul.
Ghoug himself prepared his army during the night and after a quick meal, they were ready to go. He had fifteen thousand Orcs, five thousand Ogres, over a thousand Trolls, and all six Giants.
In the fog of the morning, Flekmo's forces encountered an equal number of Imperials and had already begun to fight. Ghoug knew that riders would be sent to let Zbetznu himself know what was going on and so he moved deeper into the scarred lands as well, but a few miles south.
Far to the north, the town of Evolgrav woke the sounds of the village alarm, but not in time to save them. Orcs overran the small number of militia and slew everyone who resisted. A female barked some orders, and a number of them broke off and began to set up camp. Soon, she was gone, and all that could be heard was the sounds of shrieking women and girls as the Orcs took liberties with their captives.
- - - - -
Zbetznu was alarmed. And rightfully so, the Orcs were marching across the battlegrounds in a smaller number than expected; he readied his men, if they reacted quickly enough they could destroy this smaller force and then fall upon the larger number at Akbar before they could react.
Luthiv would have normally been tired by now, having run for an hour, but the 'Zerker brew cooked up by the priests and medics was doing its job. Her troops ran in loose formation, and she checked the sun to see if she was on time for the next phase she would participate in.
- - - - -
The Humans began to break, Flekmo could feel it happening. Their casualties had been heavier than they expected, and they thought they were meeting inferior numbers. As they began to bolt, Flekmo gave the command to pursue and the skirmish became a slaughter. Pleskul's men were bolting in fear, running as fast as they could to the safety of their own redoubt to the east.
After a few minutes of fun, Flekmo gave orders to stop the chase and wheel to the south. There were more Humans to kill, and these would be more of a challenge.
As the Imperial forces marched at double-time, Zbetznu was trying to figure out where the Orcs were supposed to be. He had received faulty information and was now blind out in the middle of the battleground. Ahead, a scout yelled 'greenskins!' and he ordered a charge.
- - - - -
Ghoug spotted the Imperial banners in the distance, and ordered the Giants to lay flat. He would need them as shock troops to really hammer these Humans once they had committed, but if they retreated, he would have break off the assault with no way to let Luthiv know what was happening.
As the armies neared each other, insults and spears and arrows and war cries went into the air.
'Finally,' Luthiv thought, as her troops ran full tilt into the hamlet of Grepsburg. Here was the only bridge across the Selthus River for ten miles, and the Orcs would need to control all of them. Orcs ran hard into the militia guardsmen on the outskirts of town and they managed to close the gates of the palisade before the Orcs could get inside.
"Shit!" she yelled. Now she would have to wage a lighting siege somehow. As long as the Humans had that bridge, Flekmo's flank was vulnerable. She called for archers and oil, and prepared to fire the town.
- - - - -
Ghoug was really in the thick of it. The Imperials had charged them but the Trolls took the brunt of the attack fearlessly, being incapacitated only after killing two or three humans each, and doing a real number on the small amount of cavalry the Humans had brought along.
Then he spied a bearded rider on horseback and knew, just knew it was Zbetznu. Without that Human, the resistance in this half of the continent would crumble.
Nork had finally reached his only real objective, a town west of the Redoubt named Yanol. The locals had seen his scouts five miles away and readied their militia, spearmen mostly, with a few light cavalry archers. It wouldn't be a glorious fight, but as long as some Human blood was spilled, it would be good enough.
Pleskul and his company arrived in his command area just in time to be told to head back in and accompany Zbetznu in his attack on Ghoug. Pleskul's blood ran cold: the forces he encountered were definitely not Ghougs, and that meant that there were two different armies out there against his commander. He had the Bregnan Expatriate Cavalry brought up to speed and prepared to head back into the battlegrounds.
- - - - -
Through the use of the Trolls, Ghoug managed to turn Zbetznu's line and make then face the south, but it had cost him heavily. The Ogres weren't faring as well as they could have in the mists, but now that the sun was high enough, it would soon burn off. All they had to do now was keep Zbetznu from either running or winning.
Someone told him the Ogre commander was down, and he knew this would mean the end of his ability to control the Ogres. He let them do as they chose, an Ogre in the throes of battle-frenzy was just as dangerous to its allies as it was its enemies.
In Grepsburg, the walls were ablaze. A makeshift ram had brought down a section of flaming palisade, and the Orcs had exploited the gap immediately. But it was taking time, time they didn't have. The Humans here were not willing to capitulate after even an hour of bloody combat. Around the two warring groups, the town burned, throwing a column of smoke into the air. Luthiv had to get out of Grepsburg , but had to make sure that no Human remained to tell the Empire what had happened. The Humans wanted to fight house to house, forcing the Orcs to bash down every door? Fine, they could hide behind barricades while their houses burned.
Nork was less than thrilled. Once Yanol's 'militia' had been seen, and it was discovered that only old men and young boys wielding spears were all they faced, he had charged the army right at them and could only watch as they panicked and bolted west. But this did mean that a town full of unprotected goods and females awaited him, so he would try to scrape some reward out of this.
- - - - -
In the battlegrounds, Zbetznu was shocked to hear the phrase 'we're being flanked' yelled by one of his lieutenants. He had been so wrapped up in destroying Ghoug he had failed to notice another army sneaking up on his rear. By then it was too late. He was trapped, and cursed himself for not expecting something like this.
A heavy club flew through the air and he never saw it heading towards him.
- - - - -
Pleskul was ready to head back into the thick of things when his scouts spied smoke to the north. That could only mean that there were Orcs in Grepsburg. And the bridge there was strategically important because if the Orcs controlled the south bank of the Selthus, they could stab into unprotected steppe and not be opposed until riders could close the distance, and by that point defenses would be erected and the Orcs would be entrenched.
Cursing this day, he turned his men north in the hopes that only a small force was there making trouble and that he could rout them and then rush to Zbetznu's aide.
Short of breath and covered in soot, Luthiv ordered her troops into a double-time in an effort to get to Ghoug, lest the Empire's reinforcements arrive first and foil the whole plan. A Half-Orc rider gave news of Imperials moving in her direction and she found new energy: this meant that the Imperials were coming to find her and not reinforce Zbetznu. The plan had worked!
- - - - -
Danmar, a new general, was roused from his bed by a messenger. His whole command had little respect for him and treated him like an imbecile despite his training, and they chose now to let him know that both Zbetznu AND Pleskul were in action. He almost slew the messenger right there, but sent him to prepare the Bregnan Loyalist Brigade and to have his horse ready in ten minutes.
He would ride this horde of morons into battle and show them what he was capable of.
By this time, Nork had despoiled Yanol and moved on. Not a single female remained in that village who had not been visited upon by at least ten Orcs, and their torn clothes and empty houses were all that remained for them.
Sated, he had the train of goods sent to Ghoug's command area and set his headquarters on a high hill, giving him an excellent view of the area for miles around, and let his troops rest and have an early lunch. The day had not been a total loss.
- - - - -
Zbetznu's men spent their lives dearly and opened a hole in the Orc lines where the two forces met, and began to retreat. Wounded in the fight and thrown from his horse, but not seriously injured, he was on foot like the rest of his infantry and blended in too well to give orders. The Orcs were closing behind them, large lumbering things and fast, vicious beasts assaulted the rear of his troops and panic began to spread.
Then, the lumbering beasts charged. Their speed was too great and they began to rend men limb from limb with ease, tossing their pieces this way and that. A headless soldier sailed through the air and fell with all its limp weight atop him. His men were too frightened to even think of picking him up and kept running.
- - - - -
A lone rider stormed across the wastes, bearing grim news. Danmar slowed to listen and refused to believe his ears.
Zbetznu was downed, his army flees in panic. Danmar was to retreat to the redoubt and prepare to defend.
In one smooth motion, his saber gave the reply. As the rider lay on the ground gurgling and struggling with a slashed throat, Danmar decided to show just how courageous he was and ordered his troops to move forward.
Luthiv's lungs burned for breath, and her limbs ached with fatigue, but the Humans had chose to engage her here. Their cavalry had charged into her weary warriors and rode many down, but lost more as they were dragged off horses and bludgeoned to death on the dry soil. She had many Orcs, and the Imperials did not appear to have as many, so she fought on, determined to show just how lethal even an exhausted Orc could be.
- - - - -
In the center of the line, Klazkh grew bored and ordered his troops to drill for a siege right there under the watchful eyes of everyone in Gatekeep. As long as he was doing something, he didn't feel quite as left out.
- - - - -
A horde of soldiers came over a hill and nearly collided with Danmar's force. They kicked up a cloud of dust and made such a racket that no one could see what was going on, but Danmar was sure that the cowards were wearing Zbetznu's colours.
Before either he or his men could react, the Orcs were upon them. Coming out of the dust they hadn't expected Humans to be there, but descended upon the unwitting fools with all the fury they could muster.
- - - - -
Danmar quickly lost his nerve in the face of such numbers. His men died in groups, simply trampled by the Orcs they faced. He was the first to break, followed by his command group, then by every soldier on foot.
As they ran, no one thought to pause at the Imperial redoubt, and many Men were injured as they fought their way over the earthworks. Those on horse simply leapt the ditch, leaving the Infantry to pile up in the low areas and be used as stepping stones for those behind them.
To the north, Pleskul had decided to retreat as well. As heavy a toll as they took on the Orcs, they were not faring any better and with the numbers favoring the greenskins, tactics demanded he retreat. The men took the signal as a sign to flee, and flee they did.
Neither force bothered to warn the Imperials waiting at the command line. They were allowed to be spectators in the worst rout of Imperial forces ever. On noon of the day it began, over forty thousand men were in full retreat, this was nearly half the total number of soldiers who had been in the area defending that very morning.
Countless cooks, quartermasters, medics, priests, and scribes were overrun by Orcs, slaughtered as they tried to run. The Orcs simply kept going. As they ran, they blitzed over a small village named Blistros, stampeding over the handful of defenders left behind after the rest of the citizens had fled.
- - - - -
By suppertime, the Orcs had pushed a day's distance southeast, and had cornered the Imperials in Selthane. Boatloads of refugees fled for Skarodyn, Akbar, and other places as Pleskul did his best to fortify and prevent the Orcs from taking the city.
In all, the Orcs took six towns, as well as Grepsburg, which had been reduced to a mass of bone-choked ash surrounding a stone bridge.
Luthiv, her army having rested for a time, was sent back north, to Evolgrav, on reports of Bregnan militia and regular army being in the area. With her she took a valuable prize: The bruised and bound form of Gregoriv Zbetznu. And this time, she was the one who would put him in the cage.
Ghoug and Flekmo had entrenched somewhat outside of Selthane, well out of the range of longbows and ballistae, allowing the Trolls downed in the combat to filter back into their companies. They were allowed to dine on whatever they found, be it Human or Orc, so long as they were ready for reveille in the morning.
Behind them laid a vast stretch of carnage. Countless numbers lay dead or dying as carrion-eaters began to pick at them, Orc children played by stabbing Human survivors who were too injured to move, and seeing which group could collect the most booty in a given time. Piles of armor, weapons, and other goods accumulated as they worked to outperform other gangs, and laughter reigned over the many miles of corpses.
Ghoug had every female in the villages brought to his encampment, and they numbered in the thousands. Every male Human was slain, their bodies left to the rats. He would have his army 'recuperate' by raping every single hostage in full sight of Pleskul's men in Selthane, and into the late hours of the night, their screams rang off the walls of the city.
- - - - -
"Danmar you fool! Why did you not retreat as ordered?" Pleskul was furious, this rookie general had lost four thousand men due to a moment of inaction, then claimed command of the remnants of Zbetznu's forces.
"I did not know what was going on," Danmar yelled back, his face red with anger, "the troops given to me show me no respect and did not bother to inform me of the events until well after you had left!"
"You should have been awake by six bells on your own accord, you moron!"
"Do not suppose to call me a moron, Pleskul, my family was.."
"I care not about your family, you pampered imbecile! This army was not created to let you noble-born wastrels spend the lives of Imperial soldiers!"
"Watch your tongue, Pleskul, I can invoke the Charter of Sekl and you'll be back in the fields with a lash at your back!"
Here Pleskul lost what little restraint he had left. With the swing of a practiced warrior, his gauntleted fist swung true and knocked Danmar from his feet. Before the downed man could react, Pleskul had ordered his arrest and execution on the charge of high treason and incompetence of command.
"Hang him in his noble-born armour and let him dangle from the main gate! I will brook no fools in this army while our backs are to the wall!"
- - - - -
The sun set over the east.
It set over a wasteland of death, over the bodies of both Orc and Human.
It set over Evolgrav, where Luthiv relished at thought of whipping and beating her toy mercilessly.
It set over the ashes of Grepsburg and the bones of its defenders.
And it set glinting off the armour of Hiram Danmar, his tongue hanging out, his face a grimace of pain, and ravens circling over his corpse as he swayed slightly in the wind.
- - - - -
By the light of the moon, a number of Orcs paused on the road that had been cleared behind the mountains. They and a number more would also be pausing at this hour to do their duty.
They spread out, a hundred of them, each a dozen paces apart, and produced a small sack. Inside was tinder, some oiled cloth, and chunks of flint and steel. They prepared their small bundles in the piles of jumbled logs next to the road and set to fire them. Small fires at first, then fanned to more robust flames. Each Orc piled extra timber atop their individual pyres and helped them grow into more threatening blazes. Soon, the entire chain of dried logs was ablaze, and the dry breeze that wafted over the mountains intensified.
Soon, the trees not disturbed caught fire, their leaves and branches dry from a harsh winter and a spring with no rain. The wind began to howl, and fire began to hop from treetop to treetop to treetop in a spectacle of light and noise. The terrible retribution about to be wrought upon the Elves had begun.
"It would come to be known as 'Ghoug's Push', even though no image of the Orc
exists to let us know what he was like. All that is known is that the Empire was
lured into a trap which cost them dearly, and even the happenstance that occurred
played against their favour. This happened at the height of the Empire, over eight
hundred years ago, when they were, supposedly, the masters of the Continent.
"With this knowledge, students, try to imagine that your enemy is ALWAYS
smarter than you."
Commandant Ferdinand Spellek,
'Intermediate Military Tactics'
Winter session, Western Military Academy,
Kotsport, IY 813