Author Topic: Before the Dungeon - I  (Read 1861 times)

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Before the Dungeon - I
« on: March 30, 2010, 07:53:32 PM »
She remembered when the orcs had come. Hordes of them, clad in the leather armor and carrying the large pikes favored by that particular tribe. They had the faces of pigs characteristic of their race, and smelled like pigs to boot.

Her father's men-at-arms had held them off, peppering the swarming barbarian hordes with arrows and bolts. Missiles and hot oil poured down on the teeming hordes outside the wall of the small fortress. Still they brayed their hideous battle cries and hurled stones and tree limbs over the walls. But the guards simply stood there and continued their defense, manning ballistas that felled orcs left and right but did little to stop the teeming hordes.

The castle wizards stepped forward, two men and a woman in green robes simple enough for a small rural lord's hired mages, edging as close to the battlements as they dared, and began chanting the words of what she recognized as likely a sleep spell.

A rock went flying through the air and struck the woman square in the chest. She collapsed, blood spurting from her mouth, as two men scuttled forward, shields held high above their heads, to retrieve her. The last Lara remembered, she had been breathing as they had dragged her away.

The two remaining mages held their ground and finished their spells as two putrid green clouds drifted from their outstretched hands and fell among the orcs, who began choking and gagging from nausea. The humanoids around pulled back with their traditional dread of the sorcerous arts, but they did not give ground in sufficient numbers to turn the tide.

"Enough!" thundered an old man in a green robe, who ran toward the battlements and drew from his pouch a fist-sized, crumbling ball of white and yellow...did she catch the smell of bat guano?

But he did not cast the spell. Instead, he strode forward to the edge of the high wall facing the orcs, crushed his ball of components into dirt, and hurled them over the edge.

No flaming missile appeared. But the orcs' shamans, while lacking the intellect to cast the dreaded wizards' signature dweomer, had enough experience with this sort of siege to know well its components. Animal-like cries of what she could only assume were 'Fireball! Fireball!' rose over the madding subhuman crowd. The orcs pulled away, darkening the ground below like ants chasing after a choicer piece of meat, leaving only a few catapults poking up over the grass, barely visible in the dimming twilight.

For any castle well-enough off to waste a component as rare as sulfur (this far away from any volcano) must be well-endowed with wizards indeed.

Then she heard a thwack, and a man-like shape flew over the battlements and landed among the buildings of the besieged keep.

With a sick feeling, she accompanied the guard to investigate as another man-like shape crashed onto the high guard wall, splattering putrid-smelling organs everywhere.

The castellan turned to her with a horrified look and covered his mouth with his hands.

"Call the priestess!" he said, terror tainting his voice as he dashed away. "Call the priestess!"

She knew better than to look any further at the orcs' missiles. She had seen the black buboes covering the dead orc they had hurled over the battlements. She rushed off and prayed for deliverance, and begged the Lady of Sorrows to save her family's keep.