Thursday, 30 August 2012

Woffboot VI - Orcs and Goblins vs Dogs of Empire

"Right! That's enough muckin' about," Gnashbad growled. Dat lot over dere is a bunch of humies. No fancy taktics, lads, we go right over there and beat them round the face with anyfing to 'and. Got it?"

"Yeah," his warband snarled in unison.

"Easier than stampin' on warp rats in a barrel," opined Snorrel from next to his burly master.

The orcs set off down the hill at a light jog.


"Right! Next time, we stay on the hill," Gnashbad growled, attempting to pull the greatsword out of his thigh again.

He needed to rethink. Slowly, for while he was thorough he didn't think fast, he ran through the events of the battle in his mind. What went wrong? What was he missing?

The fight was a series of disasters. The night goblin archers ran at the first blossom of flame from the Bright Wizard on the far hill. Then the Tilean pistoliers flanked the main battle line, at which point the Redclaws had panicked and hurled their payload of fanatics out much earlier than Gnashbad had told them to.

Frightened and confused by the volleying fire and shot from the human lines, Brod stopped short in the middle of the short valley. The giant had taken more than enough abuse from similar weapons earlier in the day; indeed, glowing lumps of warpstone still glittered along his forehead, embedded in the thick bone. Crying like a lost child, the colossal hulk was surrounded by pistoliers. The whinnying mounts frightened him further, and he offered no response to the hail of gunfire that brought him to his knees.

Gnashbad didn't have any powder weapons.

The spider riders were driven back by a disciplined line of greatsword-swinging mercenaries. Their paymaster screamed a new bounty on each goblin in the squadron, and the money-greedy humans fought eagerly, already spending the coin in their venal minds.

Gnashbad didn't have any teef left to motivate his boys; Brod had cleaned him out. Mork only knew what the vast, child-like being did with them.

The sole success of the afternoon was the night goblin shaman, who danced under the legs of the pistoliers, slashing their saddle straps and terrifying the steeds. The horsemen panicked, running straight into the back of the orcs. Gnashbad could still hear them screaming, and smell their limbs cooking over the campfire.

Gnashbad had all the night goblin shamans the Redclaws could bring him. He hated the cackling little freaks, they made his head hurt.

He needed to rethink his plans. Even when his boys connected, the cash-crazed humans fought with surprising skill and fury, hacking through his lines. The assault broke like water against a wall. But twice now, the irritating shaman had proved his worth. Perhaps he needed to alter his opinion of magic.

He thought again of the shadowy figure who'd appeared before him while he took his turn on watch the previous week.

"You dream of war, greenskin," the man said, "but your dreams are dust. You couldn't convince the other Black Orcs that military tactics were worthwhile, so you scrabble around in these bleak hills with the rejects of a dozen clans, seeking to prove them wrong.

"I can help you. I can bring your orcs the discipine they so desperately lack, the savage focus you seek to instill in them. Your name will be a legend. You'll carve a swathe across the world. Tell me you aren't interested."

"Zog off, humie," he snarled, deep in his barrel chest. And the shadow had laughed at him.

"You lie," the shadow mocked. "You lie, and I will see you again."

"Nah," said Gnashbad. After the figure vanished in a swirling cloud of burning embers, he went back to sharpening his swords, unimpressed. He'd seen plenty of weird sights in the Border Princes, they didn't faze him. He'd forgotten about the figure by the following morning.

But now, he was thinking twice.

1 comment:

  1. Commissar Pendleton buffed the brass handles on the paychest to a fresh sheen. The Schiltrons of Tarano had earned their salt this day, his timely promise of performance-related bonuses had proved inducement enough to put the battle-weary greenskins to flight.

    In the valley below, the Viadaza Toreadors were picking over the goblin corpses for loot, using their long spears to keep a healthy distance from the creatures' filthy robes.

    Pendleton gazed over at the hills to his right. Stood in a shallow, scorched crater was 'Burnin' Vernon Aurelius. The hireling wizard gave him a double thumbs-up, eyes and teeth bright against a soot-blackened face as his greenjacket escorts edged nervously away.

    "Excellent work, pisanos." He said to the mercenaries. "Now someone go and round up the Udolpho Riders. After felling that giant, they've earned at least time-and-a-half."

    Pendleton rubbed his hands together in a well-practised display of avarice. A profitable start to the campaign, and if his mysterious informant spoke true, they were one step closer to the Zenres Bonanza...