The Grief of Ziemach

War is brewing, the fates of four great kingdoms teeter on the edge of destruction. Zeitun the majestic mountain fortresses of the Dwarves, Lithae the beautiful forest home of the Elves, Morok the home of the once mighty Horse lords, and Bracocia the home of the Orcs and a terrible, slumbering evil. The fragile peace seems destined to fail, for the past few years Orcs have been raiding the borders of Zietun burning and pillaging.
There is perhaps one who can stave of this mighty evil, in the most unexpected of places. Fjolin a young dwarvish warrior is about to be thrown on a deadly adventure through barren wastelands, towering cities and dangerous plots

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11. Chapter Ten: The Invasion is Answered

Outside of Ziemach hidden by the torrential rain and mist, a small group of Orcs stood hidden just below the rise hill. Their wolves stood to one side restlessly, pawing at the ground and their breath steaming. The Orcish leader was not happy as he lay in the mud watching the city, assessing its defences and garrison. This particular party had been there a day, but over the last week more and more bands had been slipping in under the cover of nightfall to a small valley, hidden within the mountain forests about three or four leagues from Ziemach.

There were maybe two hundred Orcs there not enough in itself to challenge the Dwarves until you factor in the human resistance fighters. Long had they hidden within the depths of the forest, out of sight and mind of the Dwarves, but now they marched and what is more they had secured an alliance with the Orc, who had in return for the information about the Dwarves invasion sent a small battalion of raiders, to help ravage and burn the undefended villages that lay in and below the foothills of Zietun.

The humans were late. The Orcish leader was growing angry as his troop grew more and more restless. It is therefore of no great surprise that he heard a great thump from behind him, followed by a smaller Orc flying through the air to crash into the side of the hill just centimetres from where the commander was lying, waiting for those damned humans. They should have been back an hour or so ago and still no sign.

Catching a faint smell on the breeze, he raised his head and took a long sniff as the zephyr wafted the scent towards him. The scent was human, growling he slithered down the slope to his wolf. Climbing on to its back he waited gently patting and stroking his night wolf as it shifted uneasily beneath him, baring fangs and growling as the first couple of humans ran in a crouch around the outcrop. They stood breathless for moment, leaning forwards as they gulped down air their chests heaving, before straightening and walking calmly towards the Orcish chief grinning happily.

The human’s leader swept of his hood and gave a florid and rather mocking bow to the Orcs, his slightly devilish smile flickering across his face so fast that it would be impossible to discern whether or not it had actually been there. The Orc grunted in response, his beast taking a menacing step towards the humans who merely laughed. Speaking rather condescendingly to the Orc he said contemptuously

“Call of your pet ugly one, before we make it.” There was a pause as the Orc eyed the human angrily. However when the human leader fitted an arrow to the string, the Orc yanked savagely at the wolf’s ruff forcing it to turn as it whined in pain.

“Good, now perhaps we could get on with business.” The human said pushing a few strands of dirty blond hair out of his eyes. The Orc merely growled angrily. “Good, now the defences are as weak as we had hoped.” He said an evil smile playing at his lips. “The remaining garrison is stretched thin and patrols are few, we should be able to raze the villages to the ground and leave before they even know we are there.” He said his voice filled with satisfaction. “In fact there is one less than a mile away if you are game for the hunt.”

The Orcs nodded silently and signalled their assent by beating at their armour with their weapons slowly causing a sound like a drum beat to fill the air. The humans smiled and ran off in to the woodlands blending with it and disappearing for long periods of time, before reappearing fleetingly to guide the Orcs on the way to their quarry. The Orcs followed swiftly then on their wolves which ran quickly leaping over the fallen logs and small bushes. It was not long therefore till they reached their destination.

The first the dwarves knew of the attack was the buzz of arrows and the howling of wolves as the uneasy alliance of Men and Orcs swarmed down the slopes from the woods. The Dwarves fell in droves as they ran desperately trying to rally to a brave few retired veterans who stood steady, weapons in hand their backs against the well in the centre of the village. The Orc smiled slightly as he felt his wolf leave the ground as it leapt towards the enemy.

 Throwing his spear he impaled one of the Dwarves through the throat pinning it to the well. Turning briefly as his wolf impacted onto the ground, snapping and snarling at all around it, he saw that the other Orcs had the village in flames as the humans shot arrow after arrow into the fleeing dwarves causing them to fall lifeless their weapons falling from their hands. Throwing his head back he screamed his victory, the terrifying cry of the Orc ringing about in the confined space.

Then turning he and his pack turned and the wolves carried them swiftly away, the humans followed on slightly slower felling any survivors as the village was consumed by flame. The Dwarves invasion was underway, but the Orcs had answered.

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