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Assault on the Roadside Keep

by Greywolf-ELM

[Please Read Before Continuing: A human is murdered by the Orcs in this post. The character handled this, to show the Evil and Chaotic side of the Orc. If you will be offended, please skip this post. Thank you]

A middle-aged Goblin sits up in his prison cell; three Orcs look to him for guidance. FillexHulkil had a vision in the last sleep cycle. He would be delivered from this prison, and the other Orcs with him. A warband of Orcs on a Coming of Age quest would shatter the tower door and set him free. His mission was not going as well as planned. Two weeks into his search for Orcs to swell his tribal ranks, and he was captured by a human patrol. Stripped of his Gri-Gri, he was unable to cast most of his spells. The three Orcs in his thrall now share the same cell with him. He whispers to them during the day.
"We will be freed today, we will travel with these newcomers for a time and see where their luck takes us."
Yes, freedom, and the chance to complete my task and gain acceptance from my Chief.

After Gorga dispenses orders, the tribe readies weapons, and moves down to the roadway to start walking toward the keep. The gag is removed from Father Gilthen's mouth and he is pushed ahead of Gorga within an arms length. They take the narrow path winding from the main road up to the large Iron reinforced wooden gate. The gate is anchored in the barrier on both sides. There is a ten-foot deep drop off on both sides of the entryway to the gate, which is just over 10 feet in height. The warband jogs right up to the gate as the sentries wait with arrows prepared. Ierkh looks up a little at them both and starts grinning.

Gorga begins "Let us in, or the Cleric gets it." Both sentries blanch at this, and one climbs down and runs for the tower.

"We can't let you in Orc, you'll kill the Cleric anyway." Is the reply from the remaining guard as he shoots an arrow into Father Gilthen, with a look searching for forgiveness in his eyes.

Gorga spits out a command as he takes the Cleric to the ground, "Ierkh, over the gate and open it for us, it'll be faster than smashing it."

Ierkh moving with a speed that is unexpected, is up and climbing the wall in no time. Rhgl takes to the barrier on the left, and begins to climb, but miscalculates the danger of the barriers on the edge of the ditch, and uncharacteristically slides down into the ditch. As soon as Ierkh starts up the front of the gate, the remaining sentry scrambles down the back of the barrier, and runs for the tower as well. Father Gilthen cries out piteously as Gorga drives the arrow deeper into the wound. "Now you will pay for their treachery Cleric." Gorga sets about making his chosen enemy die as painfully and noisily as possible. Father Gilthen tries remaining quiet and pray to his god, but this Orc is skilled in delivering pain to the right places. Agonised screams are what the men in the tower hear from beyond the barrier.

A huge Half-Ogre climbs over the top of the gate eager for what awaits him inside. Ierkh drops down on the inside, and easily rips the brace out of its anchors on the back of the gate. The door swings open, and the warband has made it past the first obstacle. Ierkh rounds on the fleeing sentry and breaks into a run. As the sentry makes it through the tower door, Ierkh has closed the distance by half. Sharraxtharkhul stops to give Rhgl a hand out of the ditch, and his wolf companion paces back and forth, as if he'll get to eat the trapped goblin when he is pulled up.

Scrag and Drusilla chase after Ierkh, and notice arrows flying from slits at the second level. Two more human archers have moved out onto the roof of the attached building, and begun shooting arrows at them as well. If Ierkh doesn't get that door open, this will soon be a killing ground.

Gorga finishes up his grisly task, and rushes past Sharraxtharkhul and Rhgl, "Hurry, and stop fooling around. We'll need you inside."

"They come. I am almost free"

Ierkh slams into the Iron-bound Oak door, and for an instant concern registers in his mind, shortly after; there is an explosion of wood, as the wooden bar on the inside of the door absorbs the destructive power of a charging 900 lb Half-Ogre. Ierkh roars in exaltation and a little relief as he bursts into the room. In a moment he is pierced with a longspear, while three others are too busy avoiding shards of wood, to make good an attack on the Half-Ogre.

In the middle of the room a round table has been thrown over, and 4 Darokin soldiers take cover behind, each waiting with a longspear for anything coming through the door. The room is round, with a ladder leading up to the next level. There is a barred door across from the entrance, and the voices of Orcs can be heard, from the other side, loudly shouting to be freed. The remains of a dice game are strewn on the floor Copper pieces lie everywhere.

Ierkh lays about him with his rock, while the others brave arrow fire to make it up to the front of the tower. Ierkh is filling the doorway, and hasn't thought to make room for the others to come in and help him kill. Blood dribbles from the spear wound in his side, and he begins to weaken some. As Gorga makes it to the tower, he quickly sizes up the situation and yells. "Ierkh, make way so we can fight too." Sharraxtharkhul rushes up managing to clasp a hand on Ierkh's leg, through the doorway, before Ierkh decides to move. He is able to channel the power of nature up from the ground, through his body, into Ierkh, halting the flow of blood from the wound, and sealing it into a dark bruise.

Rhgl gets a bad feeling, and a large rock buries itself in the ground at his feet. "Gorga, the pinkskins throw rocks from the tower top!" Scrag takes a glancing blow from a rock, and throws himself at the doorway, to squeeze past Ierkh. An opening is made between Ierkh and the doorjamb, and the warband makes it in the tower. Despite the reach advantage of the Darokin soldiers, they die quickly having inflicting few wounds on the Orcs.

Cries are heard from the prison cells. "In here." "Release us." "Don't leave us to the pinkskins mercy." "They have come as I said." "Let me kill some Dar-O-kins too." The shouts become hard to recognise, as the Orcs become uncertain whether they will be set free or not.

Rhgl and Sharraxtharkhul begin searching bodies and picking up coins, while Ierkh prepares to muscle the entrance to the prison. Scrag and Drusilla guard the ladder, and the wolf looks to see if anything will follow in the door. Gorga gets a key ring from the goblins, and brings it over in time to save Ierkh the exertion of bending and breaking that would be required to get the iron cell door open.

"Quiet Orcs. I, Gorga will set you free today. We are of the Vile Runes tribe"

The barred door leads to a 30' by 50' prison, with barred doors guarding smaller cells. Manacles are attached to iron loops in the floors and the ankles of the Orcs. There are a dozen Orcs scattered in different cells here. Most of them are injured. The cells are relatively clean, but the Orcs manage to make them seem cluttered and filthy. One cell in particular holds 4 Orcs. 1 obviously touched by magic, the other three clearly look to him for direction. "I have foreseen our release at your hands, I am FillexHulkil" A goblin stands to greet Gorga from within his cell. He is small, but there is a power about him. "I must have my Gri-Gri, they keep it in the last cell. You will need my powers before the day is gone"

Gorga releases the Orcs, and finds that all have been severely beaten or injured during capture. Of them all only two would be capable of combat, one named Tyco, who keeps asking to kill the Dar-O-kins, and FillexHulkil a magic man, called a Wicca, from the Broken Lands. All the Orcs, except the Wicca are the remains of the Screaming Monkey tribe, which was recently decimated by Darokin soldiers. The Wicca strangely does not claim a tribe, but few question Orcs who use magic.

Gorga gives Tyco a longspear and a Darokin Rapier, and points him to the ladder. "More Darokin soldiers up there."

Tyco clambers up the ladder, and throws open the cover, sword and spear in one hand fierce determination as his shield. The archers at their arrow slits turn quickly as Tyco jumps upon one, wrestling him against the wall, sword and spear were dropped as the spear would not come to bear through the hole into close quarters fighting. The others draw rapiers as the Orcs swarm into the room. The battle is short, and soon Tyco is directed to the door, which opens onto the roof of the prison. There is no one left on the roof, and Gorga points to the ladder again. The next level up in the tower is without combat. There are cots lined up in this sleeping room, and a small chest lies near one of them, it is locked, with no key found that fits the lock. Tyco gets his directions from Gorga again, and a storage room is found above. Crates of rations, extra weapons and armour are stored here. The Goblins begin taking everything they can carry down to the first floor, they've not been much help in the combat here and this is a useful task as Gorga sees it. They must leave quickly when the tower is cleared, for help is surely on the way from the city south of here.

After again being directed by Gorga to the ladder, Tyco is unable to open the ladder hole cover, to the roof of the tower. He braces and pushes, but is unable to generate enough force while standing on the ladder to get the trapdoor open. Scrag climbs up to take his place, and Ierkh reaches up and with a screech of metal on wood, helps force it open. Scrag is unsure at this point if he really wants to be the first through the hole, but Ierkh is impatient, and gives him a boost.

Scrag is suddenly struck by 3 arrows from different points on the roof, and he falls back into the room. The Orcs look at each other, and Tyco charges up the ladder, the others following behind.

As the Orcs swarm the rooftop and defeat is assured, a human reaches up to grab something, and jumps over the side of the tower, sliding down a cable away from the tower. As Ierkh squeezes through the trapdoor, Gorga yells to him "Ierkh, break that rope!"

The soldiers die quickly as Ierkh runs up to the wooden post holding the wire in place. Seeing he has no knife to cut with, Ierkh does what he does best. Drawing back his "good rock" Ierkh smashes the post, and sees the human fall to the ground half way to his destination on the outer barrier. This man did not expect his escape route to be foiled so easily.

FillexHulkil was dancing around the fallen body of Scrag, pulling arrows from his body. Gri-Gri waving in the air, and uttering a low guttural chant calling the powers of healing from the spirits. The Orc sits up in time to hear the shouted command of Gorga up on the roof "Quick, he is getting away, out the main gate."

Upon receiving healing, and hearing Gorga's shout, Scrag springs up and begins rushing down the ladder after the fleeing human. Sharraxtharkhul sees the Orc's coming down, and rushes down and out of the way on the ground floor of the tower. Rhgl looks up the ladder and sees death in the eyes of the Orc's above, and darts down and out of the tower running for his life.

"Orcs can be so fickle, what did he do anyway, just carrying some boxes to the ground floor. Why pick on poor little Rhgl and come after him? He would never hurt another Orc, unless he deserved it, and then there would be the sneaking and hiding, and the sharp knives to exact his revenge in the sleeping hours." Running towards the gate, Rhgl furtively looks above for the hail of rocks that he fears will soon follow.

FillexHulkil takes a different path, he heads up to the roof, and seeing the fleeing human, who has caused him so much trouble, begins calling upon the spirit world for another spell. The eerie sound washes over the Orcs, as they look on in awe and respect, if not fear. The spell culminates with a word echoing with sinister intent "Sleeeep". The fleeing human falls to the ground fast asleep as he is running past the body of the Cleric outside the encampment.

Next up: Return to the home tribe