“The Lone Wolf” -Chapter 5 (Excerpt #2)

Here is the conclusion to Chapter 5. Will Remence and his village survive the orc onslaught. Let’s see Grok can hold the  line against the orc onslaught.

Chapter 5- “Victory!”

Grok felt the center losing ground. The archers had prevented the orcs from gaining his flanks, but with all their forces now pushing in on the center, he knew it was going to fold. These orcs had proven to be too cunning and well equipped. He yelled, “Pull back! Pull back between the structures!”

Grok’s next command came in the Dwarven language. All the men in the village had been taught portions of the language at a young age to prevent orcs and goblins who understood the common tongue from being able to discern battle commands. Grok cried out, “Urmul!

The center of the line slowly started to give in to the demands of the orcs, bending like a worm. It was a feint. A tactic to give the orcs the illusion that the line was going to break, but instead, the humans were subtly drawing the orc center into them.

Grok was giving them exactly what they wanted: more ground, and the orcs greedily accepted. Thinking they were making gains with every step, they continued to push forward, having no idea that they were being drawn into a trap. What was really transpiring was the edges of the human flanks were subtly engulfing the edges of the orc phalanx.

Even with their newfound discipline, the orcs were ignorant of complex battle tactics, allowing Grok and his men to slowly make a “U” around the orcs.

 

***

 

By this time, Remence and the bowmen had alighted from the rooftops. They moved to join in the fray with close quarters weapons, all except one: Remence. He had a different idea about how he should play his part in the battle.

Remence figured a “Lone Wolf” would not be as conspicuous as a pack of ten, giving him an element of surprise. Knowing his skill with a bow far outweighed his skill with a sword, he decided he could do more damage from afar.

He slipped from building to building, coming back to the front of the village, where he could engage the undefended rear flank. Remence found himself at a hut at the very front of the village. He placed his back against it, feeling the cold clay of the building penetrate his clothing. His mind quickly began to wander. He thought about everything that could go wrong. He was out there alone. If those orcs turned on him, there would be no one to come to his rescue. His heart raced. His hands moistened with perspiration and trembled with alarm. He stood frozen, unable to move.

Remence closed his eyes and inhaled, taking in a deep breath. The cool air filled his lungs. His mind calmed, and he turned inward. His heart rate slowed as he focused on steadying his emotions. Remence released the air from his lungs, and as he did, his fear and doubt blew away. He heard the battle raging in the distance, but his hands no longer quivered at the sound. His vison had sharpened, and he was eager to join his brothers in combat.

Clovina, be with me. Be with all of us, he prayed. He drew an arrow from the quiver on his back, nocked it, and peered around the edge of the building.

He could see that his fellow villagers were drawing the orcs into Urmul. Then, above the raging battle, he heard, “Ug! Fug! Bruse! Now!”

As Grok called on the Le brothers, three massive, half-ogre brutes barged out of the huts in front of Remence. The two largest, Ug and Fug led the way, screaming at the top of their lungs as they charged through the top of the “U” with wild abandon.

So loud and impressive were the two half-ogres that several of the orcs stopped mid-swing to see what rampaged toward them, their bloodlust and good sense being replaced by their curiosity.

Remence looked on with awe as well. He watched as Ug reached the first orc in his path. The thing stood dumbfounded, engulfed in Ug’s nearly eight-foot shadow, transfixed by the size and enormity of its newest enemy. It put up no defense as Ug smashed its skull with one fell swoop of his mighty club.

The sight of the orc’s head being crushed woke the rest of its comrades from their stupor.

Fug reached the next orc in line. It attempted to block the swing from his club, but the attempt was futile. Behind the swing, Fug had brought to bear all four hundred plus pounds of himself. The orc’s flimsy defense was easily knocked aside, and a crunch followed as club struck bone. The creature was knocked clean off its feet. Unmoving, it never stood again.

Remence stepped out into the open, feet apart, eyes on his target. He brought his bow level with his eye, the arrow tip pointing right at the orc in his sights. He drew the string back, his hand touching his cheek. He released his breath slowly and with it the arrow. The missile whizzed right past Ug, having been needled right between him and his brother Fug. It plunged deep into the exposed shoulder of an orc that was charging them. Flesh and tendon ripped apart, and the force of the arrow sent the orc spinning to the ground, its weapon torn from its grasp.

Remence shifted his focus from Ug and Fug to their triplet brother, Bruse, known in their clan as the “Runt” because he was nearly a foot smaller than his brothers, barely cresting seven feet. Remence had caught out of the corner of his eye Bruse’s movement. He hadn’t simply waded into battle like his brothers. He avoided engaging with easy targets, instead picking his way through the throng. Remence sensed that the Bruse had a specific target in mind.

Remence scanned the battlefield and saw a very large orc wearing a red horsetail plume on his left spaulder. The monster stood head and shoulders above all around it, pointing and shouting commands. And even though the orcs were trapped and their fate seemed sealed, the huge orc continued to instill morale in his troops. The orc captain. Bruse is after the orc captain.

Pulling another arrow from his quiver, he nocked it, his eye never leaving the battlefield. He searched the path that Bruse was taking and noticed two orcs break off from the fight with the men from his village. As the orcs moved to block Bruse’s path, Remence’s bow came up in a flash, and the arrow flew from it, so fast it would have appeared he hadn’t taken aim. A split second later he had another arrow on the string.

The first orc attempting to intercept Bruse took an arrow to its calf. The force of the projectile crippled its balance, knocking it to the ground. It howled in pain, grabbing at the wound where the arrow had penetrated all the way through, fletching on one side, tip on the other.

Remence’s second arrow hit the next orc, but bounced harmlessly off its scale armor.

Remence sprinted forward, making his way to the next hut in line. He not only tried to keep step with Bruse so he did not lose range, but he also used the structures for concealment, for there was little to no natural cover in the barren tundra of Dacturn.

 

***

 

Bruse met the second orc as it came at him with a spear thrust. He pivoted on his left foot and swung his right foot back parallel to his left, making his frame as small as possible. As the spear tip passed his midsection, Bruse grabbed the shaft with his right hand and yanked on the spear, pulling it forward, forcing the orc off balance. He brought his left forearm into the spear, splintering the shaft in half, leaving the portion with the tip in his right hand. Bruse stepped forward and drove the broken spear tip into the back of its former wielder, who was now half bent over. There was an awful crunching sound as the spear tip pierced mail and bone. The orc fell face down into the ground, lifeless.

Bruse turned all his attention to the orc captain. Its back was to him and with the ringing of steel and the dying screams of his comrades, Bruse believed that he had caught him unaware. But the orc captain turned and faced Bruse long before he got within striking distance, forcing Bruse to stop in his tracks.

The orc captain stood over six-and-a-half feet tall. He donned freshly crafted chainmail armor over his massive, muscular frame. The scars from battle were numerous and noticeable on many parts of his body that were not covered by his coat of mail. He handled his great axe comfortably in one hand. He would have been imposing force if Bruse had not been half-ogre.

Bruse took measure of this creature. He knew the orc had seen many battles. The fact that he had risen to the rank of captain spoke volumes about his fighting prowess. And what was even more remarkable was that this beast had the ability to keep his people fighting even when the loss was inevitable.

But that was the orc way: strength, size, and toughness were what elevated one within that society, not intelligence, wisdom, and honor.

The orc captain, in his broken common tongue, laid out the challenge. “If defeat me, they belong you, brute.” He pointed his axe at his troops.

“I’m not here to command. I’m here to kill.”

The orc captain just gave him a jagged, toothy smile and growled in orcish, “Mirdautas vras. Mabaj nar armauk.” Bruse grasped the basic meaning: “It’s a good day to kill for I have no enemies.” He also understood the concept: “I have killed all who have opposed me, and I am happy to accept this challenge.”

The orc captain laughed, “You not have weapon.”

“I don’t need one.”

“Quite a few of you kind fall to my axe,” he chided as he tapped his hand on the blade. “And they have weapon. Foolish creature.” Pointing to himself with his thumb, “I, Grond the Gargantuan. I not turn from fight. I not lose.”

“We all lose, sooner or later. Today you will meet your pig-faced god,” answered Bruse.

At that moment Bruse saw a subtle change in the orc captain’s face—he had been insulted.

Grond the Gargantuan charged Bruse, his axe at the ready. He was much quicker than his name and size belied. Only years of martial training, which taught him how to anticipate an attack, saved Bruse in that moment.

Grond’s axe swings were coming at him in a furious pace. Bruse continued to retreat using his deft dodging and fluid blocks to knock aside the orc’s deadly axe. But those quick, numerous attacks prevented him from get his feet set and he remained off balance, making it difficult for him to muster any counterattacks.

 

***

 

Remence’s next arrow was at the ready. He kept his focus on the orc captain, ready to let loose if he could find a clear shot.

Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of an orc coming in from the side to strike at Bruse. Without thinking, his bow came eye level as he tracked the enemy. Within a split second, he felt an empty bow in his hand, the string reverberating from the lack of tension.

His aim was true; his arrow penetrated the orc’s exposed neck, dropping it mid-stride. Remence did not even take the time to digest the fact he had killed the orc before he had another arrow nocked.

 

***

 

Grond continued to press forward, his great axe leading the way with a huge overhand attack. Bruse sidestepped, and the axe crashed into the ground, as dust flew in the air. Bruse thought that Grond was off balance and moved to counterstrike, but Grond had his axe out of the dirt and swinging for Bruse before he could get close, forcing the half-ogre to shuffle-stepped back out of harm’s way.

The two combatants found equal footing, but that did not deter Grond. He strode forward and took a massive swipe with the blade of his axe. Bruse slid back just enough to let the strike whisper by him, giving Grond the idea he nearly hit him. This emboldened the orc captain, who came at Bruse again, swing at him with even more vigor. Bruse slipped back just enough to lull Grond into thinking he had regained the upper hand, waiting patiently for an opening. Grond pressed his perceived advantage. He made a power swing, bringing his great axe over his right shoulder, stepping in deep. That was Bruse’s opening.

As Grond stepped forward, so did Bruse. The half-ogre brought his left hand up, blocking the hand holding the axe. His blocking hand slipped around Grond’s right wrist, and he yanked the orc captain’s arm down, as he brought his right forearm up into Grond’s right elbow. The orc yelped as his arm was hyperextended, forcing him to lose the grip on his weapon. Then, in one fluid motion, Bruse turned his back to Grond, making hip-to-hip contact. He used his momentum and leverage to throw the giant orc over his shoulder. Grond’s feet went vertical in the air, and when his back hit the ground, he made a huge grunt as the air from his lungs was expelled.

Bruse immediately dropped his right knee on top of the orc captain, along with all his considerable weight. He struck the orc in his face repeatedly, shattering his nose.

But Grond the Gargantuan was a veteran of many battles, and his survival instinct took over. Even as Bruse drove his fist into his face, the cunning orc retrieved a dagger from his belt and plunged it into any part of Bruse he could find. The blade pierced Bruse’s right leg, forcing him to disengage as he grabbed at the wound.

The two combatants came to their feet at nearly at the same time. Grond wiped the blood from his broken nose as he and Bruse circled each other, like two lions locked in a fight for dominance, both of their gazes unerring.

Bruse limped from his wound, and for a split second, the orc captain’s eye contact dropped, ever so slightly, to his leg. When it returned, Bruse saw the look of recognition there: weakness.

Bruse moved a little more gingerly on his leg, slowing his movement on purpose to lure the massive orc closer to him. The captain made two thrusting attacks at Bruse’s midsection with his dagger, testing Bruse’s defenses and mobility. Bruse moved out of range, making an exaggerated wince every time he put weight on his wounded leg. On his next attack, Grond’s first thrust was a feint, pretending to attack Bruse’s midsection. He retracted the dagger, dropped his level, and swung for his leg instead.

Bruse answered by pulling his right leg behind him. He shifted his weight to his left leg and brought his right knee into the lowered face of the orc. That blow brought Grond’s head up and in line for a left hook to the jaw.

A barrage of blows followed. Bruse hit the giant orc with a roundhouse kick to the ribs, and there was an audible crack. The kick was followed by an uppercut with his left, then a right cross. He grabbed the back of Grond’s head with both hands and followed with three knees to his midsection, finishing his sequence with a slicing elbow to the face.

Grond the Gargantuan fell back a step but remained standing. He was barely conscious, hands at his side, a bloody mess. Bruse took a quick moment and drew within himself. He stepped forward into a front stance as he struck, putting all his energy into an open palm strike to his opponent’s chest.

Bone crunched under the weight of the blow, and part of Grond’s rib cage crushed inward. With that final strike, Grond the Gargantuan was knocked to the floor. He lay there in a bloody heap, having lost for the first time, in what was the last battle he would ever fight.

Bruse, exhausted, and breathing heavily, slowly picked up the dagger that Grond had dropped. He stood over Grond, who was barely conscious, struggling for breath, and coughing up blood. He made eye contact with Bruse, who stood over him in victory.

“I told you… we all lose… sooner… or later.” He plunged the dagger into Grond’s chest, killing him.

 

***

 

The remaining orcs, now leaderless, lost morale and fell into a rout, making them easy prey for the human warriors. Every orc was slaughtered without remorse.

As the warriors gathered round after their hard won battle Grok said to them, “See to the wounded and dead. Tonight, we shall feast!” Grok cheered as he raised Bruse’s hand in victory. Everyone else cheered as well, except one. Remence. He knew this was no time to celebrate. It was time to flee. For they had gotten but a very small taste of what was about to descend upon them.

That’s the conclusion to Chapter 5. Look to see whether or not Caladin gets the job or not in the next post.  Let me know what you think by visiting my website at johndpepeauthor.com, emailing me at johndpepeauthor@gmail.com, or by simply comment here at godamonggeeks316.com.  Pre-order ebook ($0.99/Free on Kindle Unlimited) is now available on Amazon! Hurry the ebook price is going up to $2.99 on June 15.  Paperback will also be available June 15th for $14.99.

One Comment Add yours

  1. gpavants says:

    Hi John, Love the action packed chapter. Great detail of each literal blow-by-blow. I still get a kick (not literal…or a crushing punch) from the Le Bros.

    Hope you get some happy readers.

    Thanks,

    Gary

    On Sun, May 17, 2020 at 11:25 PM God Among Geeks wrote:

    > jdpepe posted: “Here is the conclusion to Chapter 5. Will Remence and his > village survive the orc onslaught. Let’s see Grok can hold the line > against the orc onslaught. Chapter 5- “Victory!” Grok felt the center > losing ground. The archers had prevented the orcs from g” >

    Like

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