Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Rescue of What's-Her-Name: Part 3

The orcs came on, in a frenzy of bloodlust. The ranger dropped several more with his bow, but was forced to draw his long sword as the orcs looped around the group. He parried the first orc’s thrust, and then ran him through with an expert riposte. Even as the orc dropped, another leaped over him, hacking with an axe. The elf was slashed across the left arm and staggered back, wildly parrying. “I need some help!” he shouted.

The halfling looked up from petting the cat. “Oh, we’re going again.” He shoved the cat off his lap, and then ran back to the battle. Drawing his short sword, he darted from tree to tree, before spotting the beleaguered ranger. He stepped out, moving noiselessly towards the orc that was hammering away at the ranger’s defenses. As the halfling neared, he stepped on a twig, which cracked loudly. Freezing, he waited for the orc to turn, but it failed to notice. “Damn, I blew that roll!” the thief muttered, then continued his cautious advance. Rallis took another blow, which knocked him to the turf. The orc, with a cry of victory, swept his axe down in tremendous two-handed blow, even as the halfling leapt at his back, short sword raised.

“Hey?” the halfling suddenly asked, poised in mid-air. “Is this a simultaneous attack or should we roll Dex?” He looked at the orc in front of him, who’d turned around. “I think it’d be a Dex roll.” The orc shrugged. Bobbin looked over at the orc shaman, who gave a thumbs-up. “Okay, Dex it is.” He pulled out a 20-sided die and rolled. “A seven, I made it.” Lowering his axe, the orc waited, rolling his eyes and checking his wristwatch. He got back into position, though he did not begin his swing. Bobbin dropped to the ground, backed up several feet, and then ran once again at the orc, who was waiting patiently. The halfling jumped again, short sword held high, aiming a terrific blow at the orc’s back. With a ‘thunk,’ the short sword sunk into the orc’s garish leather armor, though only a small trickle of blood could be seen running down.

“A one!” said the halfling, pulling at his hair. “I can’t believe it! I’m dead. I am completely and utterly dead!” He turned back to the orc, who was calmly waiting for him to finish. “Fine, just make it quick!” Ripping open his shirt, he bared his chest, face screwed up. “Go ahead, do it!”

With a shrug, the orc slashed Bobbin across the chest with his axe. The halfling fell, though he managed to make a rude gesture as he did. The battle resumed. Lars, now covered head to toe in blood, killed another orc, decapitating it with a single mighty stroke, though another orc sank a spear deep into his thigh. Rallis had regained his feet, but it was obvious that another hit would probably finish him. The cleric, Coryn, hard pressed by several orcs, had his back to a tree and was grimly fighting on. Of all the fighters, only Tamra appeared unhurt, as she slew orcs left and right, shouting “Hi-yaaaa!” at every stroke. The mage, Melkor, stood calmly in the center of the chaos, unperturbed by the spears that flew by, barely missing, as he chanted softly to himself. As he raised his right hand with a flourish, three balls of bluish energy appeared, each leaping away to unerringly strike an orc. “That’s it for me, guys!” he said. “I’m all tapped out!” He then promptly disappeared.

Even as the mage vanished, Tamra slew the last orc opposing her. She glanced around. “Uh, who should I help?”

“Me!” bellowed Lars, even as he slew another orc.

“Shut up, Lars,” Bobbin managed to say, even though he was unconscious. “You’re only down half.”

“Help Coryn,” Rallis said, as he blocked a barbed spear that almost found his head. “He can heal.”

“Pretty please!” said the cleric. He landed a mighty blow with his mace, striking an opponent flat across the shoulder. Despite the resounding ‘thud,’ the orc hardly appeared to notice. “Dammit!” Coryn said. “How come maces do such crappy damage?” He held the weapon up, letting the sunlight glisten off the flanges. “Look at this thing! I should be able to crush skulls with this. Shouldn’t this do more damage?” he demanded, brandishing it at the nearest orc, who glanced around sheepishly, then shrugged. “Jeez, I’d give my left arm to be able to use a decent edged weapon.” He got back into his fighting stance. “Sorry,” he said to the orc. “Just had to vent for a second.”

The fight continued. Tamra, oblivious to the entreaties of the embattled Lars, sped to her love’s aid. With a yell, she cut down the nearest orc, even as the cleric finally dropped one. The sole remaining orc attacking Coryn glanced around, did some quick math, rolled a die, and then promptly fled. At that, the rest of the orcs also turned tail, leaving the party victorious.

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