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    The Broken Plain

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    Kieyotie McDermott
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    The Broken Plain

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:00 pm

    The Broken Plain
    {From the RPG Module of the same name.}

    Ecanos L’Ordan steered his boat upriver past the small village’s docks. He wanted to pull in for a drink, hot meal cooked by someone else, and to do a little trading. He’d been sailing north through unfamiliar lands for nearly a month now, stopping every couple of days to see where the orc hordes had been raiding.
    He’d heard rumors at each town of an Orcish rebellion that had the beastly humanoids running all about killing and pillaging everything they found. Not that the Orcs ever did anything but rebel against something. Not all were the pillaging bunch of degenerates of legend, but most fit the profile.
    He knew they were close, but was hoping to catch a rest and then sail on past the worst of the trouble tomorrow after some trading.

    His craft was unlike anything these locals had seen. It was a Yapluka Catamaran, with her twin hulls painted black with a single mast, it was low slung and sleek with black sails. Unlike the wide bellied wooden fishing boats that plied these waters, Shade’s Shadow inspired fear and caution to those who saw her. It looked like the kind of ship a pirate, smuggler, or fell wizard would sail.

    Ecanos sailed her upstream past the docks then dropped sail, securing everything while the current brought her back towards the little village. When she got close to the docks, he steered Shade’s Shadow so he could leap to the longest dock with a line and tie her up. His ship was larger than most of the other vessels this village had seen at seventy-five feet by thirty-five. Even the larger river barges were not quite that size.

    This man had her tied up to the end of the dock quickly by himself without struggle. Many of the fishermen and net menders watching called to their gods as the demon-master of this ship finished tying her up. There had been enough trouble in the area with the Orcs. They didn’t need trouble from their life-bringing river, too.
    Someone went running for the sheriff right away.

    Ecanos went about stowing his sails and coiling his lines, securing everything for the night. He doubted this city had anything like a dock master, but he wanted to wait a few minutes tidying things up just in case. It rarely took long for the local officials to turn up after he docked anywhere.

    In this case it was a Sheriff named Brin. He is a likeable man, short and stocky with a serviceable short sword on one hip and a small folding crossbow on the other, unreadied. He moved like an old soldier, cautious and wary despite the smile. His plain, yet serviceable clothing showed that he was not a man of airs, and his hands spread wide at his hips showed he wanted no trouble, but was willing to react if need be. HE came out on the dock, leaving three deputies of the standard sort waiting on the shore.

    “Hello, there, Traveler, welcome to Goodholme. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions before you come ashore to our little village?”

    Ecanos came across the deck and hopped down to the dock, “Good day, Sir, feel free to ask whatever you wish. I was waiting for someone to come see me and maybe help guide me around your village.” His accent was enough like the Sheriff’s to be uncanny. Ecanos appeared to be half-elven with the dark tan that comes from a life on the water. He was taller and stockier than most half elves, dark haired with light grey eyes. He wore black canvas jeans and what looked to be a silk shirt with bone buttons. He had gem-studded gold rings in his ears, tattoos, and wore several unusual weapons. He wore a wide brimmed, three pointed hat, and had several medallions and charms hanging about his persons. He moved like a seasoned fighter and wore lightweight shoes. “I have heard of many troubles in your lands. How fares Goodholme?”

    “The troubles with the Orcs have not reached us, yet we stand on alert. We can always use those willing to help, if you are interested. May I ask if you plan to trade goods or bring news?”

    “I only know the news of the cities down river, and that is mostly rumor and conjecture about the Orcs. News which you already know being closer to the situation, I’m sure. I always have something to trade if your village has a need, but I am mainly here for a rest for the evening. I enjoy a drink and a song once in awhile and would like to see what your village has to offer an old sailor.”

    “I fear that we would have little to interest you, but feel welcome to join us. I will show you about if you would like?”

    “That would be wonderful. Does you village have any restrictions on weapons or creatures?”

    “Normally, we would ask that you limit yourself to a single blade and perform no magic but in these times, we simply ask that you do not cause harm to our town or its people. As far as creatures, we ask that you leave them aboard your vessel at this time as our village is not used to having the varied beasts of the world roaming our streets and it prevents accidents. I would hate to have someone mistake a companion for a monster and lose their life after a foolish attack upon it.”

    “Understood. I believe I am ready to join you, then. I am looking for a place with a good meal and better cup of liquor. Someplace with a friendly serving staff of the female variety would be even better.”

    The Sheriff held out his hand, “I am Sheriff Barthan Brin. Welcome to Goodholme.”

    “I am Ecanos L’Ordan, sailor.”

    The sheriff led him from the docks and they were joined by three of the town’s five deputies. The sheriff introduced them as Rown, Talies, and Walter. They were alike in their plainness. They were all about the same age, had the look of cousins possibly, and wore short swords, although Rown had a bow and quiver.

    From the shore, Sheriff Brim pointed out the Mill and Townhall. The Main Street followed the bend of the river. Most businesses faced the street, not the river, but most had beach access.

    The crossed the grassy rise to Mainstreet passing between the mill and a bakery. The businesses on the opposite side of the street sat on a rise about six feet higher than the poorly cobbled roadway with steps leading down to the street. Three streets branched off Main, each with a few homes and businesses.

    Sheriff Brin pointed down to where the tavern sat with the village’s hotel above it. He pointed out a couple places to get a decent meal and the market with the farmer’s booths in the field behind it. He noted the Smithy, sail mender, carpenter, and shipwright, too. The Sheriff states they have a small alter to Gal-thana a local Goddess that has seen fit to bless their crops and harvests and the Town hall has a small room set aside for their local cleric who can heal minor injuries or illness. Brin allows that visitors are encouraged to make an offering, but are not forced to.

    As they walked down to the tavern, Ecanos saw little being done for defenses. When he stopped two nights ago, the worst of the Orc Tribes were noted to be within a week’s march of this area.
    The entire town was poorly built to defend itself. It was mostly fields and homes, without so much as a wall. With the river on the north and woods to the west, the village sat where a hill dropped down to the river with few trees in the village.

    The Tavern, Town Hall and Mill were the tallest structures and 2 stories, but due to their position, only the Tavern had any line of sight to the surrounding area. A few businesses had their shutters closed, but most were still open and plying their trade. The town’s buildings were wood and plaster with thatch roofing. A few men walk about with sharpened pitchforks, or other farming tools, and a couple have swords or a mace, but most go about unarmed. There seem to be less than two-hundred people living here. The men that would be serviceable in a fight looked to number under fifty.

    When asked about defenses, Sheriff Brin explains that two of his deputies patrol the perimeter of the town at all times and five villagers add to that duty. The rumors of the orcs in the neighborhood continue to grow, but thus far no one has actually seen anything. The outlaying farms have been asked to send runners at the first sign of trouble, and those who live at the edge of the village board their windows and bar their doors at night.

    The Sheriff takes Ecanos into the tavern and introduces him to Fred, the owner, then leaves to continue his own duties, asking that Ecanos causes no trouble while in town.

    Fred sets Ecanos up with a bowl of tomato soup with various greens and vegetables in it and a glass of Goodholme Red, a wine he makes himself in the cellar. Ecanos decides the soup is good, and the wine is bad, but is not in the mood to complain as he has had worse and it had a strong alcoholic bite. The second glass tastes better- well, less bad, and the third is almost tolerable.

    The hearth is cold, but it is still warm in the small tavern. Pipe smoke, beer, old wine, fisherman, farmer, and other layers of smell fill the fifty-square-foot room. Fred’s wife, his two daughters of marrying age, and two other serving girls bustle about the room, refilling mugs and bringing soup and bread. Ecanos moved from the bar to a table where he could listen in to the talk of the room.

    “…damned Orcs. If this raidin’ don’t let up, we might have to cancel the harvest fair. I heard they captured Marco’s Troupe and ate ‘im!...”

    “… I love riverfish. You can fry it, bake it, saute it. Season it with lemon, pepper, butter, garlic. You can make riverfish stew, salad, sandwiches, pasta…”

    “… big as my arm it were. And there was Mikey with it held to the deck, his pants around his ankles…”

    “…I haven’t heard from Davidson farm this week. His wife sells those turnips. His turnips aren’t that great, but his wife…”

    “… I’ve got my father’s grandfather’s sword back at the house. I’ve taken t down and sharpened it real good. It’s Old Steel, from back when they knew how to forge a sword…”

    “…My brother over in Garintown sent word that he was going to be coming this way soon. In Pluggerville, which is about a day from where he has his farm, the Orcs killed everyone but the people they used for slaves. I hear they ate the children and took the women while the men watched in chains. You know, my brother should have been here by now…”

    Ecanos kept drinking, listening, watching the crowd around him. After dark the place began to fill up as men came in from their fields and off the river. They eyed him cautiously as they leaned over their drinks asking their friends who he was.

    He was not the only stranger in town, but he stood out. He was obviously a fighter, and most had been down to take a look at his ship by now. He also carried more weapons than he had seen in the entire town already.
    There was a traveling merchant with his goods still stowed in his wagon trying to make it out of the area.
    He was talking with a group of young adventuring types that were looking to go make a name fighting orcs and taking their treasures. The merchant was trying to talk them out of it by telling of what he had managed to stay ahead of thus far.
    One old-timer laughed at them, “Kids, if Orcs had any treasures, they wouldn’t be raiding and pillaging the likes of us!” The others in the bar cheered and agreed.

    After the main rush for the evening has settled, the maids brought out several baked fish, boiled rice, steamed vegetables, and fresh bread the group has been smelling and laid them out on the bar. For a few coppers each, you are allowed a plate. A solid silver coin allows you to eat your fill. Ecanos’ Gold has bought him his meal, drink, and a decent room with its own tub.

    The fish is white, flaky and tastes clean. Baked in its skin with ground salt and pepper in a bowl, it makes and excellent meal with the rice, vegetables and bread. Ecanos has even taken to the Goodholme Red after starting his second bottle.

    Every once in awhile someone will swing by his table and greet him, ask a simple question, or ask for news. Ecanos is polite and after a little while he moves back to the bar when a couple of the fishermen invite him over to talk about his boat.

    He shares news from downriver with those who want to listen and ask questions. He avoids most questions about himself as he tries to gather local news about the orcs, calling on the merchant to add his tale. He lets the villagers know that the next morning he is willing to rent a booth in the farmer’s market to trade some wares now that he knows a little more of what the village would be interested in. He also starts buying most of the drinks and makes sure everyone has plenty to eat.

    It is about the time for the working class to start heading home to their wives, a couple hours before midnight, when the alarm bell begins ringing from the tower on the town hall. Shouts, yelling, and a woman’s scream can be heard from outside, along with the guttural language, Ecanos recognizes as Orcish.

    He pulls one of his swords and casts a series of spells over the group in the bar. In moments, they are all sobered, calmed, and feel confident in themselves and they draw long fish gutting knives and find items around the bar to defend themselves with.

    The young adventuring group pulls swords, bow, axe and mace. They look nervous and unsure of themselves, but are gathering with the others behind Ecanos near the door.

    The first orc through the door comes in screaming and is knocked back out when Ecanos throws a powerful stream of beer much like a firehose at the invader. He has his sword hand over a glass of beer with two fingers dipped into it as he casts the spell. He follows the invader out, swinging his sword low as he exits, cutting two orcs, looking down at their beer soaked comrade, in half. Other patrons follow him into the crowd of orcs that are charging out of the trees thirty yards away. Several orcs have already made it into the village in their first wave. He shouts to the adventurers to go earn their name pointing at a group of five trying to get into one of the houses. He directs the others after another group.

    It’s dark, but the village has enough lit windows to see the orcs moving about. Ecanos waves his hand and a thousand poisoned darts fly from his fingers into the mass of raiders streaming out of the trees. Their battle rage does not even allow them to notice, but many in the front line falter and fall dead. A few keep coming, but their numbers are greatly thinned. Ecanos sends a second stream of darts into those still coming from the trees then runs around the tavern to see what he can do about those already in the town. He sees the bar patrons standing together to deal with those his darts did not kill.

    As he moves down Main Street, he sees the orcs killing any villager they can with brutal ferocity. They are wearing hide armor stained the greys, greens, and muddy browns of their own skin. Some have tattoos and all have weapons. Be it club, salvaged sword, chipped axe, or poorly made spear, these large creatures are effective with their tools. In more than one place tow fight over a dead villager over a pitchfork or better axe.

    They are breaking into businesses and the homes above them, dragging out screaming women and children. They are grouping up to kill the few men offering resistance. All across the little village he can hear screams and the sounds of breaking household items.

    Ecanos attacks the groups he can find. Dressed in black his is a shadow of death, tearing into the orcs from behind, cutting down as many as he can before moving on to the next threat. He is not trying to kill everyone he encounters, but injure, wound, and break their morale before moving on. In their current state the villagers are only making things worse. Instead of forming a defense, they are attacking the nearest foe in a panic.

    After a few minutes, the Orcs stop coming from the woods, moving around the tavern. This allows those there to group up and form a resistance that begins moving into town, pushing the orcs back. Some Orcs are breaking to run, taking what they can drag along with them.



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    Kieyotie McDermott
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    Re: The Broken Plain

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:01 pm


    Ecanos targets those dragging women and children, severing arms and cutting down those orcs he can get to. He sees what must be the leader of the Orcs fighting Sheriff Brin and one of his deputies, but as he heads of to help, an orc dragging a girl by the hair comes out of the building to his left. He goes after the orc even as he sees the deputy cut down by the orc leader’s longsword.
    When the Orc sees he is being run down, he cuts the child’s throat and tosses her at his pursuer. Ecanos pauses long enough to see it is too late for him to help and chases the Orc down.
    By the time he returns to where he last saw the sheriff, all he find’s is a headless body of a deputy he hadn’t yet met and the Sheriff with a sword wound in his chest and another through his belly. He hears a war cry barked out back towards the tavern and sees the orcs begin to stream back towards the woods.
    Ecanos wants to give chase, but his skills would be better used to help the Sheriff. He lays the dead child down and begins to use his magic, focusing on the wounds, only keeping half an eye out for an attack.

    The remaining youths of the adventuring group chase those fleeing back towards the woods, cutting a few more down. As they near the edge, they quickly realize they do not want to be fighting orcs in the trees in the dark.

    After passing the sleeping Sheriff off to two women who are bringing the wounded to the Townhall and the cleric there, he thinks about setting the woods ablaze, but does not want to destroy it because it is where the village gets some of its non-fish meat and all of its winter firewood and building materials.
    Instead he walks the village to assess damage and make sure there are no orcs in hiding, healing those he can help until the women can get them to the cleric.

    The town is run by committee, with the Sheriff as the head. Four houses and one business are in flames, and the bucket brigade is hard at work putting them out. The fires are minor enough that Ecanos saves his spells and lets them work. Returning to the tavern, he finds the council arguing over what they need to do. He gets them on track setting the town’s defenses. There are still an unknown amount of orcs in the area and this may have only been an initial attack.
    They immediately turn things over to him as they confess they know trade, fishing, and the like, but the Sheriff was the only one with real battle experience. Hence his being voted their Sheriff.

    Ecanos gathers the three remaining deputies, Talies had also been killed as he was on watch near the woods. He send them to gather the young adventuring group and a few of the hardier townsfolk, gathering all the villagers they feel can fight. He sets other men to gathering the Orcs out of the streets and a second group that would bring all the dead villagers to a central location so their death rights could get underway.
    Once the Adventurers came back, he gave them some horses that had been gathered to go with a couple villagers to go to the outlying farms to gathers those people in. They were to confirm the location of the Orchish host, but not engage it. They were not to risk themselves, but bring in anyone they could get to by morning light.
    He set the women to moving women, children, food and drinking water into the fishing boats with the most elderly to man them, getting them out across the river and away from the next attack to hit the village. Once they had made a camp on the far shore, he had them start moving the animals across, allowing them to use the younger boys to help set up pens.
    The young men and elderly who can still be of use are put to dowsing the village’s thatch roofs with water to help keep them from burning.
    As everyone is put to work, he allows one member from each family, usually a mother and a young child to move their most valuable items to the town hall where he is working to fortify and protect the building.
    As he talks with the cleric, he learns that the orcs have been raiding villages and specifically stealing the idols to the gods out of each. It supposedly strengthens their gods while weakening the power of the human gods in the area. Ecanos doesn’t bother to explain that creatures that run bands like these orcs only use such symbolism to keep their group in line. Not one of the Orcs that raided tonight came near the Townhall where the idol was known to be kept. They were after women and goods.

    It did not take long for the adventuring group to return with news the village was surrounded and they could see fires burning where the outlying farms should have been. The rest of the night is spent in preparation for the next attack. He set archers on the roofs with several buckets of water. He puts archers with swords to protect the women and children on the far bank.
    He takes those with the most experience and has them help move wagons and barrels between the houses, blocking the routes the raiders can take, forming killing tunnels throughout the small town.
    They break dishes and crockery up and scatter the pieces in the fields and around the outlying areas of the village to form caltrops. Most of the dead orcs had no footwear. They did several things that would not stop the force coming towards them, but would slow, annoy, break morale, and hinder the attacking force. A rake left in a field might only injure the person stepping on it, but it would be one less screaming raider in their streets. A coon trap might only wound the foot of a single soldier, but it would slow that orchish soldier so an unexperienced fighter might have a chance at getting an arrow or sword into it.

    He placed the adventuring group to hold the tavern. With an archer on the roof, a spell caster watching the upper story windows, they barricaded the back entrance and set tables up to form a barrier outside the front door. They stood with Fred to protect the building.

    When dawn broke and the sky began to lighten, the villagers and Ecanos could see two groups arrayed around them, one on the hill to the southwest, and one flanking them along the river to the east. Ecanos made sure word was passed to watch the trees where the previous night’s attack had come from, knowing a third group lurked there still. The adventuring group and Fred would no doubt have to face most of that group alone.

    The village was quiet. All the animals, children, wounded and most of the women were across the river, most were sleeping after the rough night. Ecanos had gotten into his supplies and brought out coffee and other restoratives to be shared with the men set to protect the little village. He had sent word to all to target leaders first. Orcs were like most goblinoids at heart, cowards. Once their leadership failed, or they took enough losses, they would turn tail and run. Unfortunately, there were more orcs than villagers able to fight. Even with defensive positions, they were outnumbered almost 5 to one. He spread word along his lines that each man had to account for 10 orcs or they were lost.

    He used his spyglass to watch as the Orc commander arrayed his troops. The Commander was a large creature, probably half Ogre or some other creature. It had grey skin with white markings and long black hair. It wore mix-matched pieces of plate covering its left arm, shoulder, and groin, leaving most of his body exposed to show the markings and scars upon it. It had leather breeches and a heavy oak and iron shield. The beast waved an orcish double headed axe and had a great sword on its back. The creature’s curses and and shouts could be heard to the village. Like most goblinoids warlords, he carried and wore most of his wealth. Rings, heavy gold necklaces, and armbands can be seen glinting in the early morning light.
    Ecanos can see the orc that attacked the Sheriff standing with the Commander. The creature is taking the brunt of the Commander’s anger as the larger beast points out the defenses of the town with his axe. The smaller creature is also wearing more jewelry than the rest and the longsword in his hand is much nicer that what an orc would normally carry.
    Ecanos cannot see the supply wagons on the other side of the hill, but knows they are there as orcs bring weapons, and food from over the hill. A few dirty, chained humanoid slaves can be seen moving about carrying things for the orcs.

    He passed word that the troops on the hill were mostly archers, protected by orcs with shield and spear, so firing upon the hill would be a waste of arrows. The flanking group he could see had short swords or axes with spears, but did not look to be carrying shields. He told his men to wait until the Orcs made the first move, but once they had, they were to target the largest orcs and those who looked to be in charge. They were going to attempt overrunning the village. The more the killed in the fields, the fewer they would have to face at spear length. He still had no word on those in the forest, but he and the men had worked hard to set a surprise for anything coming from that direction.

    Ecanos did not see any shaman in the opposing forces which was good, but they were forming good lines, which was bad. As he watched the orcs had the slaves create an alter upon which the Commander set two dozen desecrated idols he had taken from other villages. The large Orc half-breed chanted to it and to his troops as he killed one of the slaves, washing the alter in the man’s blood.

    Ecanos had warned the villagers to stay where he had placed them and hold their position. He had placed two archers and two spearmen atop a dozen roofs that overlooked the easiest routes for the orcs to take due to the blockages. Each man had tables to shield them, buckets of water, extra arrows and spears, pitch forks, axes, and a good range of vision with overlapping fields of fire. He explained that they were to kill orcs from their position. That the orcs would come to them, so there was no need to get down and make a target of themselves. He explained that they were to defend their homes and that on the ground the orcs had the advantage of size, strength, training, and sheer brutality. From the rooftop, the spearmen could keep the Orcs occupied while the archers from another roof could fire down upon them.

    Through the glass, Ecanos could see the archers on the hill standing around fires, so he called upon his powers and brought a brief, but soaking rain down on the village and the hill. It would not stop the arrows, but it would help with the fire.
    He watched the reaction on the hill. It was like someone had kicked a hornets’ nest. The Orcs began to scatter and panic, but their commander shouted for them form up and start firing arrows. His big axe cut one running orc in two in his rage.
    Ecanos waved his hand as the arrows hit mid-flight, altering their direction with a gust of wind that sent them into the flanking force along the river. After he did the same with the second wave of arrows, the commander shrieked. He grabbed the smaller orc he’d seen fighting the Sheriff, threw him into the troops and bellowed an order to start the attack.

    As expected, a third force came out of the woods, only to be met by the orcs that had been killed the previous night reanimated and set to defend the village. Some of the villagers had been uncomfortable with this part of the plan until Ecanos said they would protect the village they had attacked and that he would remove them once the battle was over. They muttered their prayers and curses but decided they wanted to live more than they wanted to argue. The terror of the orcs suddenly facing their own come boiling up out of the pit where they had been shallowly buried was well worth the effort. They had been stripped of their armor, most of it going to the village defenders, but had been given back a single weapon each. The undead fought with fear or pain and decimated their former comrades as they tried to cross the shallow pit the undead had been buried in.

    On the opposite end of town, the caltrops were doing their work, slowing the charging force enough to allow the village archers on that end to do their work from behind their table shields.

    As the remaining force moved down the hill he could feel the nerves of the twenty men set to protect that side of town begin to unravel. Just as the shield bearing forces set themselves at a range where the archers could target the men on the rooftops, Ecanos unleashed the creatures he held in check.
    The night before he had seeded the village side of the hill with many of the charms he specialized in. Creatures in an altered form that obeyed simple commands for a bit before being sent back to wherever they called home. In this case, Earth Elementals, Land Sharks, Delvers, Diggers, Dire Tigers, Bears, and direwolves sprang from the charms planted just beneath the grass to wreak havoc upon the archers and their shieldmen. The carnage lasted only a few minutes, and the humans defending the village were in mild shock, but Ecanos shouted for them to use their arrows and the Orcs began to fall. The Orcs lost more than half their forces before they ever came near the village.

    But they still had their leader, who now mounted a giant boar and led the next attack. At this point thing began to get chaotic. The archers worked to pincushion anyone they could while the spearmen defended them from those who gathered around the houses. The baracades worked initially, but the orcs began to smash through them once they realized what was going on. Still, by the time they reached Main Street 2/3 were dead or wounded and out of the fight.

    In order to protect the altar, the town hall and the majority of the town’s valuable possessions, Ecanos had cast a great many warding spells on the building. He came down from the bell tower and headed for the orc commander, killing orcs with his matched longswords as he went.
    He found the commander near the stables where the large half-orc had joined with his flanking forces. The creature was gathering them to make a push through the baracades to main street.
    The Half-orc sent the smaller creature who had attacked the Sheriff to distract Ecanos while he turned his boar to the baracade and smashed through it, his troops following under arrow fire from the rooftops.

    The large orc had obviously gained some bravado killing the best the villages had to offer while the commander went after the idols. Ecanos was not a village sheriff, however. After removing the big orc’s leg after ducking under a wild swing, Ecanos buried his sword in the creature’s back as it crawled towards the sword it had dropped.
    After picking up the bejeweled sword, he turned and saw the Commander riding for the town hall.

    Ecanos took an extra moment to dispatch three more orcs who had run up during the fight. Leaving the rest for the men on the rooftops, he ran back towards the Townhall inflicting serious wounds to any creature he passed, but not slowing to fight. He wanted to be at the building in case his protections failed.

    The Orc commander bowed low over the boar’s back and aimed its charge at the iron reinforced double doors of the town hall. Instead of destroying the meager barricade with 1000lbs of pork, the creature absorbed the full impact on its own skull with a resounding crunch. The wards threw the dead hog back out into the street, to be followed a moment later after inertia sent the orc Commander into the wards and back out into the rood farther than the heavier hog.

    Ecanos was waiting when the large Orcish commander, obviously half Ogre, regained his feet. The beast had lost his shield, but still held the axe. It reached over its shoulder and drew the greatsword and smashed both together as it roared a challenge. Then it stood straight and stretched.

    “Nice trick, Halfman. The Half-ogre growled in the common tongue, “I look forward to eating your brain and gaining your wisdom. You have done a great deal of damage to my army and I look forward to using your knowledge in the future.”

    Instead of answering, Ecanos dropped his sword –the point sunk 6 inches into the street- and drew a grapeshot pistol from his belt. In the same swift movement, he pointed it at the orc’s broad chest and fired, sending six once ounce soft lead balls through what passed for a heart of the large creature.

    To the remaining orcs who had paused to watch the battle it was as if the little man had struck with thunder and felled their great demi-god leader with little more than pointing his finger.

    The Half Ogre looked down at his still smoking chest, poked a finger in the large hole and fell over on his face. The remaining forces were running before the smoke completely cleared. The archers took down a few more, as the spearmen climbed down to give chase. They spent the rest of the day ensuring the orcs were scattered enough to not trouble
    the village any further.

    In the meantime, the village began cleaning up the orcish bodies, taking anything of value and piling the corpses up to be burned. Ecanos released the undead from his spell after they assisted in the work, letting them flop down atop the pile that had formed downwind from the village out on the beach.

    The villagers lost fourteen men in the attack; two had been pulled down by their spears and three rooftops had been overrun. They had killed almost two-hundred orcs. When someone had gone to check the orcish supply wagons had been left behind when their general had attacked, they found 30 or so slaves of various races. A few of whom wanted to return home, but most of which had no home to return to, so stayed on. The food was distributed to the villagers, as was most of the treasure, most going to families that had lost members during the attack.

    The village gave a significant portion back to Ecanos as payment for the supplies he used and for saving them. The rest the council promised to use to build better defenses for the town as they repaired the damage the orcs caused. Despite the damaged fields and crops, the village would still have a harvest. The council sent many things, including the cleaned idols, back to villages that had been attacked and still survived. They still had enough of the Orcs’ plunder the council was considering the construction piers and landing so the village could become an actual port along the river.

    Ecanos wasn’t going to be around for any of that however. After a good day’s rest and some trading, he climbed back on his boat and continued upstream. The orcs that were scattered today would regroup under another leader, and there were still plenty of other groups banded together out on the plains west of the river from what he had heard. Even with the adventurers deciding to give up that calling and staying behind to help with construction and protecting the village, Ecanos was not sure if he wouldn’t see a smoking ruin when he passed by this way on his return to the sea.


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      Current date/time is Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:24 am