Monday, 30 July 2012

Orcs Drift: The Gathering Storm...

"Careful! Pot that chap somebody! Good fellow, good fellow!"

Brommedir winced as another of his bowmen was skewered by the rampaging Orc King. He narrowed his eyes and glowered at the ever growing Orc column gathering by the bridge that Chardz and his engineers had so diligently repaired. Nodding his exquisitely plumed head in the Orcs' direction, Brommedir turned on his adjutant.

"Aydendorn, what's wrong with them? Why don't they fight?"

Taking a deep breath, the long suffering officer shouted back,

"He's counting your bows, sir."


Aydendorn rolled his eyes at his commander's perennial deafness and leant a little closer,

"Can't you see that bloody great Wyvern circling up over the hill? He's counting your archers. Testing your fire power against its thick hide, before sending his horde against us."

Brommedir was about to launch into a diatribe against low down, dirty Orc tactics, when he was interrupted by another tirade issuing from the vicinity of the East Wall. Druid Snart, who was by now literally frothing at the mouth, was busy heaving at one of the wagons that made up part of the defences.

"Death awaits you! You have made a covenant with death and with hell you are in agreement. You're all going to die! Don't you realise? Can't you see? You're all going to die! Die... Death awaits you all! Die..."

The cart slowly toppled back onto its wheels, the crash of its landing putting an even more sudden stop to the Druid's cries. The Elves looked on in bemusement as the madman began hopping around clutching his foot, his face darkening into an even more irredescent shade of crimson than before.

"Death awaits... ooh bugger, my toe... Death, Die... By all that is holy that smarts a bit... ooh, ouch, gah!"

The archer's attention was soon drawn back to the highway, however, as the braying of horns, beating of drums and tramp of many feet began to echo down the valley.

The Kwae Karr were coming...

Osrim Chardz looked up from the great sword he had been impatiently polishing.

"Sir, the sentries report Orcs to the north east. Hundreds of them."

So that's what all that racket was. Osrim harrumphed testily into his beard; the Elves were no doubt enjoying a bit of target practice already - fine if you were into that sort of thing, but definitely not his cup of ale. All this sitting about, manning the barricade, however, was trying his patience.

"Right lads, we're not going to sit here all quiet and meek till the greenskins finally show their faces are we?"

The small group of sappers looked expectantly at their revered leader,

"What do you suggest boss?"

With a hearty grin, Osrim continued,

"Well, you hear that awful din they're making? We're not going to stand for it right. Do you think the Dwarfs can't do better than that, Oswen?

Oswen, one of the stouter members of the company, returned the grin with a wide beam of his own and replied in a voice as rich as Bugman's Stoutback Stout,

"Well, they've got a very good bass section, mind, but no top tenors, that's for sure."

And with that a mighty chorus of Dwarven voices ascended to do battle with the Orcish chant that assailed the very air,

Dwarves so hardy happily dreaming
Of honour, fame and foes a-screaming
Gird yourself with armour gleaming
Onwards to the fight

Dwarves so hardy stand ye ready
Hearts and shi-elds held so steady
Make the base Orc so to dread thee
with thy battle cry

Though the hills be swarming
The foe, his ranks are forming
Take a draught, at danger laugh
 The brew your temper is a-warming
Dwarves so hardy be not tardy
Lest you miss the battle's fury
Wave your burnished axe heads 'fore ye,
Axes of the Dwarves!

Undeterred by the hail of Elven arrows and Dwarven abuse, the Orcs continued to pour across the bridge. Magyar Ironfist, still seething from the implied insult of being sent to deal with the puny defences at Linden Way, led the vanguard of his tribe onwards, brandishing his great spiked mace. Whether his howls and cries were directed at the defenders of Orc's Drift, or at his great and noble king, who circled above the Orcish column, was not entirely clear.

Certainly the king's personal troops, the F'yar Guard, were not feeling particularly welcome amongst the Kwae Karr, and lurked towards the back of the pack.

As the Orc advance ground inexorably towards the compound, Brommedir leaned from his vantage point at the top floor window of the hospital,

"At two hundred yards! Volley fire, present! Aim! Fire!"

At this extreme range only one Orc fell, unnoticed by the seething horde.

Back in the compound, Snart's rescue attempt was gaining momentum, despite the grievous wound to his toe. Having laid out one of their comrades on the cart, Bertolac and Fernbreth headed back towards the hospital to fetch another patient. Gymlet unceremoniously dropped his end of the stretcher, rubbing his back and bad leg furiously. Luckily for the unconscious occupant it was only from Dwarf height that he had been dumped. Beli fliched as his end of the stretcher was snatched from his hands by the impact. Nervously looking over his shoulder, disturbed by the noise of the Orcs' advance, he hurriedly returned to the comparative safety of the hospital.

Meanwhile Snart, seemingly without a care for his own safety, limped out beneath the volleys of Elven arrows, towards the small paddock that lay between the village and the Orc lines.

F'yar came in fast and low, strafing the Elf firing line once more. The bowmen coolly stood their ground and unleashed a volley as the great beast swept down upon them. Both rider and mount were struck but the arrows failed to penetrate their targets.

Once more F'yar's lance buried its head in Elven flesh, while another struggled in vain against the Wyvern's powerful jaws.

The Kwae Karr Orcs kept on coming, a unit of archers following the armoured spearhead onto the bridge.

The bloodied but unbowed Elves let fly another volley at the Wyvern's receding back. At this close range no-one missed and this time one of their arrows found a weak point in the creature's leathery folds. A ragged cheer went up at its surprised squawk of pain.

Brommedir's detachment continued to target the Kwae Karr, bringing down another two Orcs, while Snart made it unscathed to the paddock fence.


By now the Orc archers had formed up along the river bank, although at this range they were unlikely to hit their Elf adversaries behind their mealie bag wall.

Magyar and his column surged ever onwards, unconcerned about the dead and dying left in their wake.

F'yar, snarling at the Elf bowmen who dared wound his pet, soared skywards in a great circling arc, in preparation for another pass.

With the aerial threat gone for the moment, Brommedir's bows focussed all their fire on Magyar's unit. Despite the diminished range and all the Elves finding their mark, the Orcs' innate toughness and ramshackle armour protected them from harm.

Whispering into the panicky animals' ears, Snart slowly soothed and gained mastery over them through sorcerous ways. Nuzzling up to the old druid, both draught animals were ready to do his bidding.

Back at the hospital the walking wounded staggered out with the last two bed-ridden patients and made their painful way over to the barricade.

Again Brommedir bellowed out his orders and another hail of arrows sped towards the great mass of Orc soldiery. Despite dropping almost the whole front rank of the leading column, the Orcs continued to lope unconceredly over their dead.

Brommedir turned excitedly once more to Aydendorn

"Ten! We dropped at least ten, wouldn't you say?"

The Elf officer offered a thin smile in response, muttering under his breath,

"That leaves only another 190..."

Seeing that his Orc warriors were almost in a position to begin the assault on Orc's Drift, F'yar brought his Wyvern down to land alongside them. Brandishing his bloodied lance, the King looked down expecting to see his subjects gazing back up in awe and adoration.

Instead a sea of hostile faces glared back at him, foremost of them his old rival, Magyar Ironfist. Before he knew what was happening, a hail of arrows rained down on him - from behind. Although the missiles clattered harmlessly to the floor, the damage had certainly been done. Numbed to the core, F'yar struggled to comprehend what had just happened. The treacherous dogs had turned on him!
With a scream of rage and hatred, Magyar spoke out,

"So F'yar, so-called King, skulker in the shadows and backstabber of the womanish Half Elf King, here we are. You have cast your last slur at me. Now it is my turn.

Your deeds are seen for what they are - a coward's work. You sit there, up on the back of your stinking lizard, lording it over those you deserted at Col Fields.

It is my time now. I, Magyar Ironfist, Crusher of the North, claim the throne.

Get 'im lads!!"

And with that the Kwae Karr tribe surged forward en masse, desperately slashing and hacking at the Wyvern. Taken by surprise, and already weakened by the bowfire of the Elves, the great beast stood little chance. Disemboweling one of it attackers with a swipe of its talons, the beast's dying cries were almost muffled by the other victim it had been in the process of swallowing.

Leaping atop the still writhing corpse of the Wyvern, Magyar brought down his spiked mace in a great ringing blow on F'yars helm. Dazed and blinded by the blood that now oozed down into his eyes, the beleagured king failed to strike back at the pretender.

"Now Bagrash, dammit, now!"

Magyar stepped back from the wounded F'yar and glared at his shaman, who was of course fiddling with his groin once more.

Bagrash looked up unhappily - Preparation H had also failed to salve the itching between his legs, and what was that shouting all about?

"Baaggraashhh - now or I'll have your head as well!"

The shaman suddenly remembered the plan. Pointing his finger at his erstwhile master, Bagrash muttered the words of power and there was a blinding flash...

All that was left of the once mighty King was a blackened mark where he had fallen. The shaman's sorcerous flames had done their work.

Magyar stepped forward and surveyed the sea of green faces around him.

"Look on your so-called King you dogs. Where there was once F'yar, there is now only smoke. I claim the throne unless there is any that would oppose me..."

A sudden outbreak of coughing and shuffling of feet affirmed that Magyar indeed stood unopposed.

"Right then, that's more like it.

Onwards to Orc's Drift!"

Joining Magyar's stirring words came the tramp of yet more Orcish boots - the Severed Hand Tribe had arrived...

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Orcs Drift: To the Walls!

"I want this wall six feet high, firing steps on the inside. Form details to commandeer more grain sacks and mealie bags, block that south entrance, keep 'em moving! Do you understand?"

Osrim Charz was in his element now that something needed doing. Even the ominous bat-like shadow that had suddenly darkened the sky above them hadn't bothered him. Some of the lads were even whistling.

"He don't want much does he 513?" muttered one of the younger sappers, nodding in his commander's direction.

His older and wiser companion shook his head,

"That he doesn't, 376, that he doesn't. Neither will those Orcs when they get here - apart from a good buffet to the 'ead"

One of the nearby Elves pricked up his ears and with a thinly disguised look of disgust turned to address the busy engineers,

"I say, along with elementary manners, don't you Dwarfs even have names? I thought you... people held great stock in what some dried up ancestor did centuries ago."

513 paused in his work and looked up at the Elf before turning back to 376,

"Just goes to show these high falutin folk with all their airs and graces don't know much, eh. Anyone can see we're a veteran unit - we'd be Longbeards soon if we didn't mind getting our hands mucky in such a manner as this."

The grizzled, old Dwarf again met the Elf's indignant glare with a steely gaze of his own,

"Were we to use our own names we'd be there all bleedin' day laddie, citing battle honours and titles gained in combat . 513 is how many engagements I've seen - how many you done?"

All of a sudden the Elf archer seemed to have developed an almost obsessive interest in the state of his bow string...

Still reeling from the shock of the sight of a large number of Orcs massing in the hills on the far bank of the river, Brommedir's Bows and Osrim's Engineers soon sped into action.

Osrim and half his engineers rushed to the main entrance to the village and began building a defensive wall. Over by the makeshift Hospital, the remaining sappers began construction of a second line of defense.

Brommedir, along with five of his bowmen, bravely commandeered the 1st floor of the Inn, turfing out the malingerers (or wounded as the Druid Snart liked to call them).

The rest of his contingent joined their standard bearer in manning the West wall. Gripping their bows tightly, eyes scanning the horizon for movement, they prepared to spread out to form an effective firing line.

In the midst of all this hustle and bustle, the Druid, Snart was busy too,

"He breaketh the bow and snappeth the spear in sunder! He breaketh the bow and snappeth the spear in sunder!"

Cursing and muttering under his breath, the old drunk proceeded to shepherd his walking wounded out of the hospital. Bertolac, an injured soldier, and Fernbreth, a half blinded Elf, struggled under the load of a stretcher and its occupant.

The reason for the Druid's apparent madness soon became clear - with a great screech, preceded by an altogether far more obscene noise, F'yar and his wyvern descended from the sky in a tumult of beating leathery wings and dung!

Landing by the main entrance to the compound, F'yar looked on in satisfaction as Elves and Dwarfs scurried for covered.

Osrim's party beat a hasty retreat from the breastworks they had erected at the village's entrance, taking shelter in the shadow of the hospital.

Back in the centre of the village, the finishing touches were being put to the redoubt the rest of the sappers were preparing outside the hospital - despite Snart's rantings and ravings. Slightly hampered by the Dwarf's fortifications, the Druid oversaw another unconcious casualty stretchered out of the building.

Having been nudged frantically by his subaltern, Brommedir became aware of the commotion outside and looked on with distaste. Retreating in full view of the rest of the contingent was hardly going to inspire the men to acts of valor. He barked out orders and as one, his detachment put through the windows they were stationed by and took aim.

A hail of arrows sped from the hospital eliciting an indignant squawk from the wyvern. All six archers found their target, although those that had aimed at the beast saw their arrows clatter harmlessly to the ground. F'yar was not so lucky and let out a furious bellow at the arrow protruding from his leg.

Stung by this attack and suddenly realising his vulnerability in landing in front of a regiment of Elf archers, F'yar kicked and goaded his mount somewhat ignominiously back into the air. From this vantage point he wheeled aroud, seeking revenge.

Their defences prepared, the engineers outside the hospital retired inside - they had little to add in a fight with the monster that prowled the sky above them. Cleaning and checking their weapons and armour, they grimly waited for the inevitable Orc assault.

Osrim selected five of his best warriors and led them back to the village entrance - it would be unwise to leave it unguarded and hopefully the wyvern would be more concerned with eating those fool Elves who were doing their best to goad the beast with their arrows.

Still raving and occasionally waving his fist at the serried ranks of Elves on the West wall, Snart led his sorry looking party limping over towards the carts that made up part of the village's defences. The Elf bowmen shook their heads in bemusement at the madman's antics - he seemd to be leading his equally irrational patients in the direction the Orcs were approaching!

"Will you besmirch yourself and kill your brother? Ye shall not kill, so says the Law. You believe in the Law, dont you? Go to the others. Go to the others..."

One of the older Elves had had enough of the Druid's rantings, although conscious of the man's standing as a healer within the Grand League, couched his threat in genteel terms,

"Druid, be quiet now, will you? Theres a good gentleman. You'll upset the..."

His admonition ended in the beating of great wings and a terrible gurgle, as F'yars cruelly barbed lance tip burst through the unwitting Elf's chest. The Orc King had wheeled around and brought the wyvern into a long low swoop along the Elf line with eyes burning and a terrible cry on his lips. The next Elf in line had not the time to dive for cover as F'yar's attack raked across the wall. The burly Orc now struggled with the weight of two bodies, transfixed on the end of his spear. That is until the wyvern reached around, slobbering horribly...

Taken aback by the speed of the attack the Elves could do naught to fight back save duck behind their parapet, notch another arrow to their bowstrings and wait to redress the balance.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Orc's Drift: Death on the Wind

King F'yar exalted in the sense of power that coursed through his whole body. The great dorsal muscles of his Wyvern mount surged powerfully beneath him and he narrowed his eyes against the rushing winds to gaze at the land that lay stretched invitingly before him.

Great mountains dwindled into foothills, the narrow passes widened into valleys, in whose depths rivers sparkled in the sunlight before vanishing beneath dark clumps of forest. His eyes lingered on the great patchwork of fields, ran along the roads that criss-crossed back and forth, and which led eventually to the glittering citadel of Palesandre.

He smiled to see the conflagration to the East - a sure sign that his alliance with King Murgol of the Hill Goblins was alive and well. A sure sign indeed that the Grand League had fallen for his plan and that the way lay open to his prize.

The Wyvern banked and swooped to a lower altitude with a little assistance from F'yar's boot and the landscape rushed to meet him. Ah, there it was. Still an insignificant speck nestled amongst the foothills, yet it commanded both the crossing over the river Canis and the main highway that led to Palesandre. If his army were to take the capital, Orc's Drift must fall.

And what of his army? The Orcish King once more scoured the roads and passes that wound their way down from the peaks. Small plumes of smoke punctuated the path his old Tribe, the Kwae Karr, had taken from Linden Way and it seemed they were within striking distance of Orc's Drift. His heart swelling with pride, F'yar searched eagerly for his allies.

Dawdling far to the North West were two ant-like columns, labouring their way down the Kachas road. Fools! They were a long way off from linking up with the Kwae Karr and their numbers seemed to have dwindled significantly too. Whether this was through attrition or cowardice, F'yar cared not. A black rage descended upon him and he plunged his hapless mount into a steep dive.

What need did the King have for such pathetic minions. He would crush them underfoot once he had wiped the remains of the Grand League's finest from his steel-shod boots.  Had not he, the Tyrant of the North, single-handedly  murdered the Half Elf King and plunged the Grand League into disarray? Had not he, F'yar the Merciless, laid a trap big enough for the Grand League's entire army? Had not he, Scourge of the Northlands, Crusher of Hearts, raised the largest, most fearsome horde of Orcs that had ever menaced the lands of Ramalia?

Yes, Orc's Drift was his for the taking. The glory would be his alone and those who cowered in his shadow would rue the...

A terrible rippling and rending noise from below tore him from his reverie and both the Wyvern and its incandescent rider were suddenly born upwards as if their load had somehow been dramatically lightened. F'yar fought for control over the beast and banked into another dive back towards Orc's Drift, growling as he went,

"By the Gods, can you not still your bowels even now?"

Monday, 23 July 2012

Orc's Drift: Bad Blood and Ill Tidings

Osrim scowled into his stew ration with renewed testiness. It wasn't that the dish lacked meat or flavour - he'd given up hoping for either soon after he had volunteered his service to the Grand League's Engineering Corps.

It was that... Elf. Even thinking about that word made his fists itch. Osrim stabbed viciously at a hapless lump of turnip. Mudpies he had sneered, do carry on with your mudpies... It was enough to make a Dwarf do half a job out of spite. Almost.

The bridge had been pretty much the only thing keeping his little unit of sappers together. Ill feeling was running high at missing out on the action going on over at Ortar. All the lads wanted to do was crack a few Goblin skulls and yet here they were playing at... mudpies.

The rest of those pointy-eared fops weren't helping either. As if there leader Broomhead, or whatever he was called wasn't bad enough. Osrim was feeling less and less inclined to talk his Dwarfs down from adding some of those pointy ears to their trophy collections on the now regular occasions when a spat had developed - incited of course by those arrogant little...

Then came a sound he hadn't expected. A clear and shrilly declaimed note sounding out from the peaks that towered above them. A note which shook him to his senses and put his worries and grudges firmly into perspective. A note that made him the only obstacle between the enemy and their ultimate goal - the capital, Palesandre.


Brommedir paced back down the line again, casting a stern eye over the Elves who stood stiffly to attention before him.

"Very good, very good. Spick and span as it should be."

Then again, was everything as it should be? A frown threatened to crease Brommedir's flawless brow. It had seemed like the perfect command at first - Guarding the supply lines to the front at Ortar would give him and his unit plenty of time to do what they did best; polishing their armour, oiling their bows and showing off their fine looks in regular military reviews.

There were, however, several flies in the ointment. That Dwarf who was in charge of the bridge - he hadn't caught his name as the damned fellow had been mumbling as usual. That Dwarf had been acting very suspiciously and Brommedir was becoming increasingly concerned over the safety of the Army paychest that had been put into his care.

The Druid hadn't made a good impression on him either - even less so when he wnadered past, drunk as usual, and made jibes at his fine Elven bowmen as they stood ready for inspection. Toy soldiers indeed! No, that glassy eyed stare and nervous energy that seemed to permanently animate Snart certainly unnerved Brommedir.

As if all that wasn't enough, he now had rank insubordination in his own ranks, as he turned and saw a ripple of movement flow down his beautifully straight ranks. This was intolerable - he couldn't have his once proud looking bowmen looking about them, shuffling their feet nervously and generaly fidgeting in a most unprofessional manner.

"I say, this won't do. This won't do at all..."

Brommedir began a severe reprimand but was caught short by his junior officer - the one who always seemed to shout at him in an incredibly rude manner.


Elves began moving to defensive positions and Brommedir, never one to be outdone, offered a rather strangled sounding...

"Thats it men, to your stations. Very good, very good."

Brommedir also noticed with satisfaction that the Dwarfs were busying themselves with makeshift barricades using grain sacks, furniture and whatever else came to hand.  He just hoped that they were selecting only the cleanest sacks to be filled and put onto the barricade, if he was going to be defending it.

At least the thought momentarily kept his mind off the fact that they were, as he too now realised, the last line of defence between the approaching Orcs and the capital city, Palesandre...

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Summer Blockbuster

Ok, so bit of an attempt at a multimedia extravagansa today to relaunch (finish off!) my Orc's Drift project...

What with the Oldammer frenzy, the LPL, Magnificent Sven rebooted and life in general, the last instalment of this great project has been sadly neglected.

All that is about to change...

This is partly what was hindering me - I think they're fairly self explanatory.

So to remedy matters this is the annoying over-hyped trailer to get you all back in the zone - its been a while I know!

So sit back, press the play button and picture the scene...

A peaceful vale nestled between rugged, yet beautiful mountain ranges (fade to black)

Animals graze contently in pleasantly bucolic surroundings (fade to black)

They came to build a bridge... (fade to black)

... but little did they know...

...they would end up fighting for Orc's Drift,

their lives,

and the whole of Ramalia itself!

This summer

Coming to a blog near you

The last thrilling instalment of

Bloodbath at Orc's Drift