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Return to In Search of the Unknown part 9 "Battle Frenzy, Orcs? naww."

by Greywolf-ELM

With the quick death of the Dire Weasels and their riders, the warband is confident to take on any kobolds that might be beyond the door. Gorga takes stock of the warband. Tyco is badly wounded with multiple bites and scrapes, Scrag is a little better off, and Gorga as hurting some as well. Adrenaline is pumping through them all and the fury of battle is like a bandage to their wounds. Gorga listens at the door the kobold was trying to get through, and hears barking and yipping in Draconic. He nods to the warband.

"I don't know what they say, but more kobolds are beyond the door."

Scrag steps forward. "Scrag will open door and kill kobolds first."

Gorga steps aside and lets the proud Orc pass to the door.

"They will likely be ready for us. Rush the room and spread out to fight as many as you can. They will fall like tears of a young human."

Scrag flings the door open to a hail of sling stones, one knocking him solidly in the shoulder. He steps in and finds a makeshift four knuck** high wall of cots, wood, and stools. Kobolds are behind it, reloading their slings. With a yell of rage, he rushes into the room and at the barrier to meet his foes, ferocity beginning to cloud his judgment. More than thirty kobolds await the rush, on the other side of the barrier. No, there are two barriers. The room is quite long, and two barriers have been put together across the room to afford the kobolds some protection from the invaders. Where the first was constructed of cots, stools and pieces of wood, the second barrier is stout wood tables roped together for protection. Scrag manages to catch a kobold in the mid-section with his axe, drawing first blood for the battle, and he roars with glee.

Gorga moves into the room on the wake of the stones pounding in around Scrag, and makes a quick assessment of the situation. A fortified weak enemy, it will be tough, but the warband should be able to take them. Gorga moves in, and takes a position against the far wall, and begins shooting arrows at the kobolds, making himself the primary target for the next barrage of sling stones. One knocks him in the head, blurring his vision some.

The first row of kobolds drops their slings, and grabs spears, to fend off Orcs at the front barrier. Hobna moves into the room, and takes up a position similar to Gorga's, loosing arrows as quickly as he can, taking one kobold by surprise, turning his left eye into the latest target for his arrows. Gilnak rushes in, and swings his axe wildly hacking at the barrier and any kobold nearby, trying to find a way through. Shglsnor comes rushing up beside Gilnak, brandishing his Axe and chops into the barrier as well.

Tyco takes a seat on the floor outside of the room, and Sharraxtharkul snorts at the orc as he rushes by with his wolf companion Margrax. Entering the room, the canny goblin calls a ball of fire into existence, immolating one hapless kobold on the far side of the first barrier. "Burn, s*****, burn!" For his part, the wolf attempts to bite at kobolds on the other side, but is fended off by the spear wielding creatures. Seeing Sharraxtharkul enter the room, Gorga calls out. "Shaman, bind their souls to this room so they may not escape even in death!" in hopes of lowering the morale of the enemy. There are a few yips and howls in answer and Sharraxtharkul yells back. "Silence you yipping dogs!"

Scrag sees Gilnak and Shglsnor attacking the barrier, puts his axe handle in his mouth, and with a feat of strength, rends an opening in the barrier. With everyone in the room but Tyco and Rhgl, Iirkh squeezes his way into the room, to a hail of sling stones. With little more than bruises to show for it, he rushes the barrier, slamming part of it back two shins* into the room, bowling over half a dozen kobolds in the process.

Three kobolds closer to the far end of the room, direct the actions of the militant kobolds, ordering slings shot at one foe, and spears to thwart another. Gorga spots them from the far end of the room, with the keen eye of a leader on the battlefield, and shout directions for Hobna to release arrows into that area. Each kills another kobold with an arrow. That longbow with extra pull, gathered from his fallen enemy at the roadside keep allows Gorga to drive arrows with extra strength. Moving forward, he yells for them to surrender, and they will not be killed. The look the kobolds give him can only be deciphered as scoffing; that or constipation. Who can tell with kobolds?

Within the next spit*** ten more kobolds are dead. Gilnak and Scrag each kill one with their axes, Gorga and Hobna kill one each with arrows, and Iirkh kills two with a thunderous blow from his club. Margrax bites another, tripping him. The creature attempts to crawl past Iirkh and the Half-Ogre swats it on the back swing.

Having heard the sounds of battle, Tyco manages to staunch the flow of blood from his wounds, and comes rushing into the room. He finds a spot behind Iirkh who is moving into battle. Soon he will have a chance to capture one of these kobolds to put on a leash. A little pet kobold, won't that be nice? A trap finder and ambush marker, armour cleaner and all around slave.

With the barrier split by Scrag, and partly shoved out of the way by Iirkh, Gilnak charges through the opening and hacks into a group of kobolds who are busily switching weapons from slings to spears. Scrag wastes no time in grabbing a piece of the mess of canvas and wood and charging forward, igniting it on the ball of fire controlled by Sharraxtharkul. The goblin curses in disgust at the barbarian. A rush of flame washes over Scrag, but with no real damage, he pulls his axe from his teeth and grins at the next kobold to die.

Gorga barks out. "Those kobolds that surrender will live; all others will be eaten sloooowwlyyyy." A few kobolds look like they might consider it, but seeing Scrag menacing nearby, they choose wisely not to drop weapons. Gorga rushes up to stand beside Iirkh, who is being swarmed with kobolds. With a single swing of his club, Iirkh crushes two of the pesky kobolds with a sure finality. Hobna brings down another with his sure shooting, and Sharraxtharkul manages to redirect his ball of fire towards another kobold, who manages to drop and roll out of the way. Sharraxtharkul decides to call to an ally of nature to assist his wolf companion. Another wolf hears the call, and the two close in on a kobold, worrying him to the ground.

Chaos in the large room is as sure as any battlefield, enhanced by the thick smoke coming from the burning furniture. Tyco rushes up to the second barrier, as quickly as he can move now and attacks the final group of kobolds. Gorga grabs up a kobold, and grappling the struggling creature, takes a bite out of his neck, ending his miserable life. Using the body as a club, Gorga begins beating at the kobolds around him. Iirkh begins to take the brunt of sling stones now, and starts to get angry. A kobold directing his soldiers looks up at Gorga, with grim determination on his face, and takes a jab at the impressive orc with his spear.

After being attacked by a kobold Sergeant, Gorga glares at him, wipes the kobold blood from his chin, licks it and barks at the kobold. Seeing the lifeblood of his companion on the face of his adversary, the kobold blanches and begins backing away towards another group further back. Gorga calls after him. "50 gold for the one that brings him to me." Appearing out of the haze of battle Rhgl offers the quip. "But, Mighty Gorga, where we get 50 gold?" Gorga hurls the body into the midst of the kobold leader and sergeants. Not wanting to die like that, a group of kobolds grab hold of him, and start to bring him forward. Scrag, still raging, cuts down another kobold warrior just after the near compliance. Seeing this, they set down their leader with little shame, realising that they will be killed at will by the Orcs, and each prepares to fight as long as he can. Gorga glares daggers at Scrag and ticks off a mental checklist. "Final straw noted."

The battle is not long in ending. Gilnak, Scrag, and Iirkh step up to the final barrier, and force through it. Shglsnor having been at the back of the combat up to now, demands to be let through to the front of the battle, so that he can kill at least one enemy.
"Out of my way, I must kill some kobold."
Trying to make the defeat worse for the kobold, Gorga picks up bodies and hurls them at the remaining kobolds. Rhgl even manages to sneak up to the line of combat, and slip a dagger neatly into a kobold from behind. "Hehehe, I got one!" All are killed except for the war leader of the kobolds. Gorga sees that he is securely trussed up for interrogation and possibly capture.

Gorga and Sharraxtharkul look around to take stock of the warband, and see that besides Gorga, Iirkh, Tyco, Scrag, and Gilnak are all badly injured as well. Sharraxtharkul makes his rounds with bandages and poultices in preparation for the next day of healing that will be needed.

Rhgl suggest to Gorga that some scouting might be in order, to see if there are other groups of kobolds who might attack while the warband is resting. Gorga sends him off with a cuff to be careful of being spotted. Hobna and Shglsnor are assigned guard duty at the entrance to the former kobold barracks. Rhgl comes back some boars*** later with a report of all clear.

With the warband somewhat settled for a while, Gorga questions the prisoner. With very little torture, Gorga is able to glean information about the kobold horde and the change in leadership there. The leader, Kol, has been deposed by Ugoora Redscale, formerly one of his advisers. Some minor tribe information is gathered as well, and Gorga decides that he is finished with the prisoner, for now.

Scrag moves forward with intent to kill the prisoner, and that is when the chaotic nature of Orcs begins to shine. Tyco tells the wild orc to hold. "I have more questions for this one." . Seeing the trouble brewing, Rhgl slips around the group in the shadows. This wouldn't be the first warband to rip itself apart from infighting, and Rhgl isn't about to be on the losing side. Disregarding Tyco's request, Scrag moves up to slit the prisoner's throat. This earns Scrag a ham-fisted punch from Tyco. With the battle so recent, and blood in his ears, Scrag decides to escalate the disagreement with his axe. Not one to be outdone Tyco pulls his axe out and returns the favour. In less than two spits, Scrag is on the floor bleeding and unconscious.

Tyco moves forward to finish the deed, and Gorga, thinking of past trouble created by Scrag, says. "Kill him."

Next Up: Return to In Search of the Unknown part 10 "Et tu Rhgl?"


* Shins are equivalent to 5 Knucks, or about the length of an Ogre's Shinbone
** Knucks are equivalent to feet, Ogre Knuckles as a unit of measure
*** Boar - Measure of time it takes to skin a boar, about one hour. Spits are also used as a measure of time. A boar on a spit is turned over a fire 6 times in about a minute. So a spit is ten seconds.