Well folks this is it - the final installment. My thanks to all of you who have stuck with this project which has now been almost two and a half year's in the making! Well a few of those months were admittedly spent in inactivity for various real life reasons. It feels a little strange to have finished I must admit, but this is by no means the end of Orc's Drift. I hope to hook up with some fellow willing Oldhammerers at some point and I'm sure I won't have to hard a job to talk them into playing through these scenarios again, although I can't promise a write-up of these proportions I'm afraid!
Anyway, this isn't an acceptance speech so I won't gush anymore - on with the show...
Brommedir circled warily around the Orc Chieftain, sword poised in classical fencing pose, ready to turn the brute's attack. All was not well however, and his ears still rang from the impact of his helm on the creature's thick skull. Damned odd, he thought to himself, sounds like a great wagon train. He paused briefly to straighten said helm and to brush the dust off his scarlet cloak, eyes never leaving his hulking opponent. A chap ought to look smart in front of the men after all. Shouting over to his subaltern, Brommedir prepared for the fight of his life,
"Aydendorn, form a platoon. The redoubt must stand..."
Then, over the roar of battle came a call from Chardz on the Dwarven defensive line by the compound entrance,
"Broomhead, where are you? Reinforce the North wall, dammit, we are overrun!"
Torn in both directions with only a pitiful handful of archers left at his command Aydendorn despaired,
"Haven't you had enough? Both of you! My god, can't you see it's all over! Your bloody egos don't matter anymore. We're dead!"
And still the green throng swelled...
The swirling combat that raged between the Elves and Kwae Karr Orcs in the redoubt ground on, neither side able to press an advantage home. Brommedir and Magyar exchanged blows, each seeking for a gap in the other's defences.
Hagar Sheol had more luck as he dived into the sappers' trench, bringing his great axe down on a hapless Dwarf's head. Howling in triumph, he beckoned forth his warriors to join the fray.
Also eager to taste battle, the Vile Rune Orcs pressed forward further threatening to swamp the beleagured Dwarfs.
The sappers over by the East Wall fared little better as the F'yar Guard added their weight to the struggle. The Dwarf engineers were now completely surrounded, Orc boots lining the entire length of the lip of the trench they had dug. The impact of their charge claimed the life of another Dwarf, although the plucky defenders managed to stave off Hagar Sheol's vicious attacks.
Standing back to back with his commander, Oswen the unit's musician still sang on. Parrying blows with desperate abandon, his song didn't falter, even when an Orc blade got through, only to be turned by his armour.
The clash and clamour of the fight for the redoubt seemed to slacken slightly as the combatants began to tire. Again both sides fought doggedly on, neither Orc nor Elf willing to give an inch of ground. Amidst the weary combatants, Brommedir skipped lithely out of the way of Magyar's reach.
Bagrash stepped up to the outer wall, foul incantations issuing forth from his snarling lips. The guttural chant rose in pitch and volume, containing within it a rage and delight in the letting of blood. The shaman gestured towards his Chieftain and King sending forth the fury of battle. Magyar Ironfist and the Kwae Karr warriors around him stopped as though transfixed for a moment before a dreadful light crept into their eyes. The Orcs let out a great shout, gnashing their teeth and crashing sword against shield as they worked themselves into a terrible frenzy.
With the awful strength of berserkers the Kwae Karr again laid into the remnants of Brommedir's Bows. Two Elves were bludgeoned to the ground by the frenzied attacks; the last survivor somehow impaling his attacker as he stumbled back from the onslaught.
Brommedir found himself no longer able to stay out of reach as Magyar bore down on him. Again failing to land a single blow, the Elf commander cried out as the Orc King's cruelly spiked club crashed home, penetrating plate steel and flesh alike. Bloodied but alive, Brommedir staggered to his feet and grimly raised his guard once more.
Hagar Sheol continued his rampage in the trench, hacking down another Engineer, while his warriors and the F'yar guard jabbed their weapons down at the hard pressed Dwarfs.
Guthrum paused, a little consternation piercing the fog of his mind. Little 'uns weren't supposed to do this. They were supposed to run. Screaming. This one, however, kept hitting him. Hard. Indecision paralysed Guthrum as he struggled to formulate a plan. He didn't want to get hurt again and there must be easier things to eat than this angry Dwarf. But the screaming mob of Orcs behind him prevented retreat. Guthrum roared in frustration and... pain?
An almighty bellow rent the air as the massive frame of the Hill Giant swayed. Guthrum looked about in confusion, clutching at the gaping hole in his belly, before slowly crashing to the ground. Chardz paused, leaning heavily on his bloodied sword.
The furious yell of the Vile Rune roused him from his fatigue and the doughty hero prepared to receive the next charge...
"Oswen, Oswen, I can't hear you. Where's that song you were singing?"
Chardz looked round for his trusty musician, only to see the leering visage of a Kwae Karr warrior. The Orc placed a filthy boot on the prone form of Oswen and with a great heave, pulled its crude blade out of his chest...
Bagrash stalked into the compound, delighting at the destruction that lay all around. Once more he began the chant that would instill a frenzied rage in his warriors, this time directing the spell at the F'yar Guard.
Surrounded as they were, beset on all sides and tiring fast, the remaining Dwarf sappers didn't stand a chance against the enraged shock troops.
Steel shod Orc boots trod Dwarf blood into the mud as the horde pressed on.
As the last Elf archer fell, Brommedir also found himself surrounded by a ring of berserk Orcs. Using all his skill, the graceful Elf dodged attack after attack, leaving two throats spouting dark ichor. Magyar Ironfist saw his chance and once more sent the Elf commander sprawling with a mighty blow.
Chardz afforded himself a quick glance in the direction of the redoubt. He saw Brommedir locked in his desperate struggle - the only other last island of resistance in a sea of green. With a darkly humorous grin the Engineer called out to his comrade,
"Well, you've fought your first action."
"Does everyone feel like this at the end?"
"How do you feel?"
The Elf caught the Dwarf's eye across the the Orc infested compound, previous enmities now forgotten,
"I feel... sick."
Brommedir's confession softened Chardz' heart momentarily, and to disguise his emotion he gruffly shouted back,
"Well, you have to be alive to feel sick."
The slight tremble in the Dwarf's voice betrayed him and Brommedir smiled weakly,
"You asked me, I told you. There's... something else. I feel proud to have fought with you..."
With that Brommedir turned once more to his persecutors, his once shining armour tarnished with his life blood, his cloak tattered and besmirched with mud. Again his sword sang through the air and this time it was the Orc Chieftain's blood that polluted the ground. Yet he could not hold out forever and slowly the mob closed in...
Chardz faced a wall of green. Ready to sell his life dearly, the Dwarf raised his trusty sword above his head once more. He no longer felt the wound in his side. Nor did he pay any heed to the hate filled eyes, flashing teeth or Orcish cries that approached. In the last moments before storm broke around him Osrim listened to the call of his ancestors and smiled. He would go out in a blaze of glory and red ruin...
Flags fluttered gaily from the gleaming spires of Palesandre and the city bustled as it always did, as if unaware of the impending tumult that threatened to engulf it. A rider broke free of the busy streets and galloped furiously through the palace grounds, incongruous in his haste. Barely waiting for the page to take his horse, the rider hurried up the grand staircase and through the great double doors that led to the throne room.
Lord-Commander Helmsford, Prince-regent and General of the Grand League's armies looked up from his maps at the sudden entrance,
"Ah, Major Crealock, to what do we owe this unexpected and precipitous surprise? How goes the fight with the Goblin host at Ortar?"
"Excuse me, my Lord, there's something I must convey to you. I rode along the highway down to Orc's Drift. The sky above is red with fire. Your orders my Lord? Do we move to the Drift?"
Outside the city went about its business as black clouds spread from the North in a pall across the sky...