Maybe Next Time...Author: Dan Barnaby Đ 1999
The room was filled with the smoke from a dozen pipes, and countless torches. The buzz of conversation plus the noise of three Goblins trying to play some sort of instruments that were much larger then themselves in the corner of the throne room almost made the room seem chaotic. Cushions lie strewn all across the floor and the smoke drifted lazily to the ceiling as Orc females danced for their male warriors. At the head of the room, directly across from the large brass double-doors which were the main entrance into the Throne Room, sat an immense being. Karzin Gutslasher was an Ogre, a huge creature with dark brown skin, and muscles protruding from every part of his body. He had both of his nipples pierced with large gold rings, and he wore only white tunic pants, as it was still hot in this part of the world. He sat there as the doors to his throne room burst open, hardly moving an inch, a Goblin came rushing towards him with a lance clutched in his hands. Karzin could tell by his lance and helmet and all the dust on his uniform he was a Ripper Beast Lancer, and one of his as well. The two guards that were standing outside rushed to catch him, but the little Goblin deftly dodged aside. All the while he was screaming at the tops of his lungs. "My Lord, Elves!! Elves!!"
"Allow him to speak" Karzin said as the Goblin drew near to him, waving back the more than a little upset Orc guards.
"My Lord .Elves!" The Goblin screamed in a high pitched voice, as he reached Karzinīs massive feet.
Karzin Gutslasher was not pleased. His Goblin had reported that a column of vile Elves was marching across his lands without so much as a "Move it youz scumbag!" Some things just can not be tolerated thought Karzin. Sitting on his throne of his small outpost kingdom Karzin looked about him at his underlings, and wondered if he could do something about this insult to him.
Standing before him, and looking very scared was the small Goblin named Dribble Boonersnot, his lance huge looking in comparison to himself. His helmet was dented and scratched, no doubt from racing across the rough terrain of the mountainous kingdom to bring Karzin the news. Next to the Goblin was an old Orc by the name of Farboul, but most just called him "Stench". He was dressed in richly colored clothing, and had a falchion of intricate design sheathed on his belt to help denote his level in society. He was called "Stench" because whenever he brought out those viles of liquid that were somewhere under his robes, they almost always stank of rotting Goblin innards or Fingallie droppings. But, on the good side, what they did do was almost always work. They had cured more than just Karzinīs wounds in battle. That is why Karzin had kept the little Orc around. Karzin was intent on listening to the Goblin as he retold how his Warband had seen the Elves marching through Karzinīs mountain passes with little care as to who was watching. The Lancer told how the Goblins had tried to tell them to leave, and how the Elves had slaughtered them, and how he was the only one remaining.
To the left of the throne sat Karzinīs prize possession, his Troll, Varg. Trolls have four arms and huge razor sharp fangs that line their mouths, but it is their size that is so troubling to most creatures. Larger than even Karzin, Varg towers two whole heads over Karzin, but Trolls are harmless until they are upset. This particular Troll had been heavily tattooed by Karzin himself. Karzin had chosen intricate black lines circling his arms with no real pattern, had done them one night after drinking a lot, so some of the lines just ran down the large Trollīs arms ending nowhere, but Karzin still liked the effect it gave the creature. He had done this to make sure that everyone knew that Varg was his Troll. Varg was not a bright creature to be sure, as Karzin watched he began playing with a small Ripper Beast that had gotten away from a careless Goblin days ago. He had crushed, and killed the creature moments after finding it, but Varg was still having fun, talking to it, and throwing it in the air and then catching it. There was only one other in the room that mattered to Karzin. Tehrain, the Orc Assault leader was the only other Orc in the room with any idea what was going on in the world around them. He had proved more than useful in many battles as well, and his skill with the falchion was very near to Karzinīs own skill. Which has made him an Orc to be killed in the near future. Their were others there as well, a few Orc swordsmen, an Orc archer or two that was not on duty protecting the fortress, but none mattered right now to Karzin, most were just there to soak up what favor they could from him, and today, he was fresh out.
"I will not allow this to happen!" Karzin exploded at the Goblin that sank to his knees before the mighty Ogre trembling all over in fear. Everyone in the room turned their attention to Karzin as he stood and presented his full frame to them all, making them all seem small. "No creature walks through the Blackblood lands witout fear, or our protection! And these Elves have none of that! It is time that they learn that " Grabbing his huge sword that was leaning next to the throne he brought the Two-Handed Falchion up in a wide arc, and as Varg threw up the Ripper Beast again, Karzin sliced cleanly through it. Blood splattered on the walls and upon Varg, who looked up slowly and growled a low deep growl that made the rest in the room quake. Silence prevailed in the room as everyone looked at Varg, the sight of his fangs protruding from his ever widening mouth as his lips drew back showing all his fangs, showing how sharp and dangerous they were made more than a few Orcs nervous. Varg then stood up slowly. All four of his arms flexing and his breathing getting more and more ragged, his chest heaving up and down. A new sound was heard from behind him as he rose. That of a chain moving, this chain just happened to be wrapped around Vargīs neck, and this was the only thing keeping him from lunging forward at the Ogre. Karzin slowly turned around, showing his massive back to Varg, he spoke again. " to cross the Blackbloods means death!"
Karzin stood and looked out at the battlefield that he had chosen. His scouts had told him that the Elf army was moving northward. Karzin had acted quickly after he was told about this transgression into his lands. He had grabbed every troop at his fort, sent for reinforcements for it, then set out with whomever he could find. He had a large Swordsmen warband of twelve Orcs, and Tehrain had his small group of Assault Orcs, another small warband of Archers, and of course Varg the Troll, but Karzin was not pleased, he had to make sure that Stench came along as well, his potions and mind might come in useful against the vile Elves. It troubled him to leave his fortress so short handed, but there is death to deal out, and that took precedence.
Karzin stood and smiled under his facemail, maybe things were looking better.
"Elves," Thought Karzin with contempt. "Always so predictable."
The Ogre had moved quickly after his outburst in the Throne Room. Gathering all the forces he dared he ended up with a good size patrol of his own. He was very happy in the thought that he could soon release his rage in a fashion best suited for him, with his sword.
With Stench at his left, and Varg to his right being held on a strong chain, Karzin felt power. Not just the power that kept tugging on the chain in his right hand, nor the power of the Alchemist standing on his left that kept digging in his robes, readying his magic potions. It was the power of life and death. It was the power to send Orcs and Goblins to their deaths at a whim, and to vanquish his foes with but a single stroke. That was power, thought Karzin.
The mountain pass that the Elves butchered his Goblins in led to only two ways out of the mountains. One was quick, the other not. The quickest way, was fraught with peril, every turn was an easy ambush point, with the trails only lending themselves for single file movement during most of the trip. The other way was easier. It allowed for more of troop dispersal, and had an easy view of most the trail, with the mountain on both sides of the trail, but no way to get up and be ambushed by anyone. The Elves had taken that route, as Karzin knew they would, cowards.
Karzin had positioned his force as he waited. With archers set up on his left flank in some scrub brush, staying hidden in cover until the enemy was in range. He had a unit of Goblin Spearmen standing directly in front of the opening of the pass. Behind them a large unit of Orc Swordsmen, with a standard bearer to make sure that they would not run. On his right flank he positioned his unit of elite Assault Orcs. Not a large unit, but Tehrain was with them, so Karzin felt that flank was secure.
On a shallow hill behind the Orcs stood Karzin, Stench and Varg. In full view off the pass opening they waited, waiting for the Elves to show themselves. As the first Elf rounded the last curve of the pass and the Orcs and Elves looked at each other Karzin smiled and then laughed. As the Elf saw the assembled Orcs, he ran back around the curve of the pass faster than a Goblin tangling with a razorback. He did return though after a time, and this time he seemed much more confident. Behind him marched more Elves, including a large unit of Elf Spearmen, a unit of Elf archers and Axemen and a lone figure with splendid clothing. As the army drew closer the Spearmenīs banner blew so that Karzin could view it clearly: Elves of the Obsidian Serpent, the most vile of Elves.
"Do it" Karzin spat at Stench.
Stench stepped before Karzin a few paces and raised a Composite Bow. Notched was an arrow with a message that Karzin had had Stench write for him in the common language. As Stench let the arrow fly, the arrowīs flight was not true, Stench was no archer that was sure. Even weighted down it should have flown further and it landed almost exactly between the two armies, about a hundred yards away. Looking over his shoulder and smiling at Karzin, who growled at Stench, he walked back to his position behind Karzin.
After a small conference, the lone figure at the rear of the army sent a Spearmen to go and collect the arrow. Karzin allowed him to get it, but noted to himself how easily it would have been to kill him. As the Spearmen gave the note to the figure Karzin couldnīt help but notice how richly this Elf was dressed. Karzin could see even from his vantage-point how the Elf had the Spearmen hold the note, so as to not touch it himself.
"Lotus Eater," Thought Karzin with disgust. Killing him would feel good.
After reading the note, the Elf looked up directly at Karzin and slowly he grabbed the note from his soldier, and tore it in half. Karzin smiled to himself.
"It would appear my lord that the Elves do not accept your terms of surrender," Said Stench from behind.
"Of course not you idiot, they want to test their mettle," Karin said with a smile from behind his facemail. Looking down he adjusted his Deathseeker buckle and shouted out to his army. "Get ready!"
The Elves began a slow advance, the Lotus Eater staying to the rear. Karzinīs Goblins looked nervous but the Orcs behind them insured that they werenīt going anywhere yet. When the Elves got to about 75 yards Karzin let out a loud shout.
Both the archers on his left flank and the Assault Orcs on his right rose up and fired their bows. The Elf Spearmen unit was in the forefront and took the brunt of the hit. Taken by surprise they barely had time to raise their shields before the arrows came crashing into their ranks. When the second hail came down several more fell, but still they advanced, though now they were running, the Axemen following at a quicker rate.
The chain that held Varg was still in Karzinīs grip, but just barely. He released the chain and Varg sprang down the hill.
"Charge!" Yelled Karzin as he leapt forward also charging towards the enemy.
The Goblins charged but were hit by a hail of arrows the instant they moved closer. Half their numbers fell in the first moments of the battle from arrows of the Elves. Undaunted, they continued with their charge, the Orc Swordsmen following hard on their heels.
The armies were just yards apart when the ground seemed to split open. A huge hand appearing out of it, pulling itself up. A creature the size of Varg stood before the oncoming Orc horde, as the hole in the earth closed up behind it and it stood to itīs full height. It was in all black armor, from the chainmail to the plate, and held a huge black hammer. It was called an Adamantite Golem, and it was deadly in combat. Itīs skin, and armor were like hitting solid rock. The goblins drew closer to it, and charged it, sticking it with their spears. Several broke off as the struck the armor. As the huge hammer swung up and then down, two Goblins went flying across the battlefield, never to move again. The Goblins could take no more, as they broke and ran past the Orc Swordsmen. The Elf Spearmen charged around the Golem and into the Swordsmen, several went down but soon the numbers of the Orcs were overwhelming them, and the battle was filled with the cries of both the dying, and the living. As Karzin drew near, the Axemen were as well. That was when Varg threw himself at the largest creature he could find, bounding over several Orcs in the process. The fight was brutal, and if it wasnīt for the Assault Orcs charging down from the flank, Varg would have been cut to pieces from the Axemen, who were now being handled by Tehrain, and his highly skilled Orcs.
Varg tackled the huge Gloem like it was his play Ripper Beast. Taking it down and growling at it, he tried to bite its head off, his four arms beating at it in unison. In his rage he had forgotten about his Gauntlet Scythes and Falchion, but as the Golem threw Varg away, up and over his body he rolled and came up grasping the massive sword at the ready. Karzin for his part was now cutting his way through the ever decreasing Spearmen like they were weeds. The Orcs around him were badly hurt, but strengthened by their masters presence and began to fight with more vigor. The Spearmen broke after all but three of them were dead. Running hard, they ran right into the clash of titans as Varg and the Golem were still fighting it out. Varg had taken a bad hit and one of his arms didnīt move so well anymore, for his part the Golem also seemed to be scratched and dented in many number of places, and off to the side of the battle was Stench. He would occasionally throw a vile of liquid at Varg, when it crashed against his skin breaking open, the Troll would seem to gain new strength, and his wounds would close up. The battle was turning.
Karzin sent the Orc Swordsmen after the Elven Archers that kept harassing his unit. The Orc Assault Troops had finally beaten back the Elven Axemen, even though Tehrain was cut in several places and his armor covered in fresh blood. He held the Elf Axemen Leaders head in his hand and raised it for Karzin to see. The Orc archers had moved in closer as well, and they were bombarding the Elves with arrows also. As the Orcs moved away towards the enemy Archers, Karzin stood as he looked directly at the Adamantite Golem. The Golem looked his way and Karzin felt a chill of excitement run through his body, he slowly walked towards the behemoth. As he got close to the large monster a growl was heard from behind the Golem. It raised itīs massive hammer, and twisted to the side to strike the Troll charging in from behind it, but as it did so, Karzin brought up his massive Two-Handed Falchion and parried the hammer Stopping the hammer from moving downward. The Golem looked back at Karzin, surprised at the Ogreīs strenght, but it was too late, Karzin was watching Varg. The Troll ran up to the Golem and struck hard against it with his Gauntlet Scythes, causing a long running wound to open across itīs massive back, black liquid oozed from the gash. Then Varg brought up his own two-handed Falchion above his head, bring it down on top of the Golem. The monster was almost cut in two by the great sword. As the Golemīs hammer fell to the ground the monster looked at it, then at Karzin, then it too fell to the ground, never to move again, spewing black liquid all over the Ogre and Troll.
Varg would have stopped and feasted on the rock hard Golem if Karzin had not directed his pet at the last Elf now threatening them. The Troll and Karzin both ran towards the Lotus-Eater. He was frantically chewing on something and as the two got closer a huge chasm opened up at their feet. Karzin jumped easily over it and to the safety of solid ground several feet away. Unfortunately Varg was so intent on the Elf that he never saw the opening. When Karzin looked back the ground was already closing and Varg screams of anguish and anger were heard falling, getting farther and farther away, before the ground closed up completely. Silencing the Trolls screams as if they never existed.
Karzin looked slowly at the Lotus-Eater, and was more than just angry. He let out a scream of his own this time, one of rage and hatred. The Elf was visibly shaken by this and turned to run, but was skewered from a lance as he turned to run. Dribble Boonersnot sat above on his Ripper Beast as the Elf slowly sank to the ground, the lance going in his chest, and coming out his back. When Dribble backed the Ripper Beast up, the Lance came out of the Elfīs chest with a gush of blood, spoiling the rich garments he wore. Dribble spat on the Elves head as he petted his mount on the neck. Karzin walked over, the elf doubled over on his side clutching his life ending wound, he looked up at the Ogre and even close to death, he looked as arrogant as any Elf would. Karzin then placed his massive foot on the Elfīs head and neck.
"I can save him and we can ransom him back to the Elves, my lord," came the voice of Stench from behind Karzin.
"Not this time," Karzin said as he slowly placed more and more pressure on the Elfīs face. A mumbling plea was heard from under the sandal.
"But my lord, the gold we could get for him!" Stench pleaded.
"NO!!" Shouted Karzin, as he placed all of his weight on the elf. A satisfying crunch was heard from under his foot, and blood ran out from under his sandal in several directions, staining the rough ground. For a moment Karzin just stood there with his foot on top of the Elf, his eyes closed and his head lowered towards the ground. After another few seconds the Ogre seemed to wake up from his berserk fury, and looked back to the Alchemist as he took of his helm. Only to revel that he was smiling broadly and he said.
"Maybe next time."
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