Friday, 31 August 2012

WoffBoot VI - Orcs and Goblins vs Lizardmen

Gnashbad moved the boys later that night, heading along the edges of the Howling River and deeper into the foothills of the World's Edge mountains. Dawn found them marching through a valley on the fringes of a little wood.

As the morning sun lit the low hills opposite them, Gnashbad realised they were not alone.

"Wot da Zog are dose?" he asked. The black-cowled shaman at his side squinted furiously against the rising sun. Several well-organised of blue-skinned, scaly warriors sat quietly there, basking in the early light. Bronze glyph plates gleamed in the rosy dawn.

"Big lizzids, innit, boss," the mushroom-addled magician said, confidently.

"Wot? Lizzids? Don't muck me about, ya little runt. Dey's too big."

"Nah, not ordin'ry lizzids. Big magic ones. Dey come out of da stone rings round 'ere sumtimes."

"Ain't urd o dem," said the black orc, dubiously. But he'd decided, he was going to take the shaman seriously now. If the fidgeting gobbo said they were big lizards, that's what they were.

"You'll like 'em, boss," said the shaman. "Taste like chicken."

"Chicken, eh? Right! Bashmad! Drum us a marching choon. Time for fightin'!"

A raucous cheer rattled up from the orcs. More fighting! Gnashbad was alright, past his stuffy black orc exterior. Four fights in two days! That was... that was more than Bashmad could count!


Gnashbad got the Big 'Uns ready as the Lizardmen formed a defensive line on the opposite hill.

"Ere's da plan, boys. It's a 'missill skreen'.We stand behind the goblins..."

Fighting broke out immediately, with the archer goblins hooting derisively at the orcs and the orcs immediately grabbing for their choppas. Gnashbad deal out a round of battlefield demotions, demoting the nearest three orcs to 'Dismembered Orc, Second Class'.

By the time order was restored, the strange reptilian army was fully organised.

It was an unsettling sight. Stormclouds filled the air above them, great black domes that bristled with thunder. Broad winged creatures flapped slowly above the patient ranks of javelin-wielding warriors, croaking as their riders spurred them on. And a pack of big, heavily scaled saurian cavalry snorted and stamped on the orcs' left flank, led by a towering creature, some prehistoric reptile chief hefting a vast, rectangular bronze club studded with glittering obsidian shards.

Gnashbad didn't like it. The fractious greenskins immediately fell silent, sensing his mounting fury. Everybody knew what happened to things Gnashbad didn't like. They got hit.

"Listen up, you runty lot!" the warboss bellowed. "New plan! Run in dere and clobber 'em!"

Delighted, the boys raced forwards in a screaming mob.


Gnishit, the shaman, scampered along behind the Redclaw spears. Things were looking up for him - not only was the warboss finally listening to him, but he'd recognised some of the fungi that grew amongst the gnarled trees in the centre of the little valley. Jittercaps - good mojo. He only hoped the spider riders, who'd scuttled on ahead into the copse, didn't eat them all first.

He reached eaves of the wood and peered into the thin grass.

Mork was looking out for him, alright! A huge specimen, pinkish cap covered with blue, zig-zagging veins, was growing right at his feet. He snicked through the stem with his knife, and snaffled the fungus in a couple of greedy swallows.

Then he turned to face the Lizardmen and waiting.

He didn't have long. He could already see puffy clouds of magical energy seething over the smaller lizard warriors, where their priests were drawing on the blue sky magic. But he'd show them.

A wave of nausea passed over him. Then another, bigger and more painful. And then a third. The little goblin dropped to his knees, feeling a huge spasm build up in his guts. He leaned forward, as though to spew. Had that been a jittercap? Or was it something else?

He felt a terrible sickness rise up in his throat...


Gnashbad's piggy eyes were fixed on the enemy. The previous two defeats were in the past now. Time to kill.

Long actinic bolts of lightning rippled in the clouds above, filling the valley with a grinding, thunderous roar. From the opposing lines, twin lines of lightning crackled out, leaping across to connect with Golbig's brass banner pole. The bolt arced across to the nearby archers, then on to the Redclaws, leaving charred corpses behind it.


But he had that covered, right? The shaman was supposed to deal with that. Where was the little git?

Looking around, he spotted the shaman skulking about on the left flank by the trees, despite having been told to follow on behind the main charge.

Gnashbad snarled. Couldn't trust the sneaky goblin after all. Typical.

Above him, dark shapes flashed across the sky - huge lizards with kite-like wings, ridden by little, blue lizards. The flying monsters had rocks in their claws. Big ones.

"Wotch yer 'eads!" Gnashbad roared, but it was too late. The boulders crashed into the boys, breaking skulls and flattening his men. More lightning flashed and rumbled - looking up, he could see an impossible shape streaking down towards him, blue and white fire burning a line in the sky behind it. Gork stamp the shaman! What was he doing?

Swelling up like an air-filled bladder, Gnashbad noticed. Zog it, another explody one.

The shaman's neck stretched impossibly, like a snake trying to cough up a cave squig. Gnashbad was sure the runt was about to burst messily, when his face split open in a ludicrous yawn. He belched forth a neon yellow sphere of rubbery-looking matter, a hideous grinning face peering out of it and rolling mad eyes.

The Bad Moon!

The fungal planetoid rolled forward at terrible speed, crunching straight through one of the opposing ranks of lizards. In its wake, warriors were left pale and dead, smeared with streaky yellow gunge or shrieking in unexpecting madness.

A Bad Moon was a powerful omen from the gods. It meant victory.

It meant charge.

Gnashbad sucked air into his lungs and let out a terrible yell.


The boys ran with him, screaming.


Gnishit staggered to his feet, whooping with laughter and skipping from foot to foot. It was a jittercap after all! He'd brought up the Bad Moon! The warboss was going to reward him for sure now. It'd be squigs and gravy for years to come. He felt giddy with potential.

Through the trees, he could more hear than see the sounds of Brob in combat. The masonry flail he favoured was crushing mounted lizardmen effortlessly, and the spiders were backing him up. Ahead, the Redclaws were fighting vigorously with a block of skinks, goblin spears slashing as  poisoned javelins fell among them. A towering kroxigor rose up through the skink ranks, pulverising goblins with an embossed  stone axe.

Gnishit fell flat as shadows streaked through the air above him, ancient lizard voices croaking a warcry.

The pterodons swooped low into the back of the Redclaws even as the Kroxigor powered through their lines from the front. In seconds, the few remaining goblins were scattered, slaughtered or debased by toxins.

A flashing meteorite crashed to earth a few feet behind the Big 'Uns as they charged forward, a shockwave of rubble and stone fragments devastating the back rank. And the storm clouds above were already spitting another flaming ball of rock and fire out towards the fight on the far side of the wood. The skink priests were pulling down the sky!

He had to stop them. But he could, he knew he could. Nothing could get in his way. He was Gnishit. He had puked out the Bad Moon! He had won the favour of Gnashbad! He had a bright future ahead of him!

He had a lot of arrows in him, suddenly.

He toppled sideways. The last thing he ever saw was the jeering ranks of the night goblin archers, gesticulating rudely and shaking their bows in triumph.

"Waa ha ha ha ha!" one of them shouted. "Serves ya right for gettin' nobby, ya flash git!"


Gnashbad sat on a pile of dead bodies, chewing on a roasted leg of meat. It had been a most enjoyable fight. He'd come up against one of their biggest ones, a giant with a mouthful of carnivorous teeth that had battered at him with a saw-toothed polearm. He'd cut its head off and taken the weapon for himself. The shiny glass bits along the edge had a good edge, although he wasn't sure how long they'd last.

The little lizards had been crushed by his boys, and the spider riders had done well again, hitting the last soldiers from behind at the last minute. Even Brod had finally earned his keep, chasing the enemy's general so that he'd ridden almost straight into the point of impact of one of the flaming meteors blasting the battlefield.

And that Bad Moon! Gork and Mork, that was a nice bit of work. Magic had done them proud. He hated to admit it, but the little shaman had been right.

"Bashmad! Get dat runty little shaman over 'ere. I wants a word wiv 'im."

"Yes boss," the drummer said, snapping a salute off. He ran back shortly, a pair of hooded figures with him.

"You alright, ya little runt?" Gnashbad said.

"Oh, yes boss," said one of the night goblins.

"Not you, ya git! Da shaman!"

"Oh, he's fine boss. He's just a bit tired after all that magic, isn't he? He's having a kip."

"He's full of arrers."

"Nah, boss, dat's just..." the goblin paused momentarily. "Akkrypunctcha. It's wot shamans do to relax."

"Oh yeah?"

"Oh yeah, boss. It's very good fer tension. Look, he's gone all limp."

Gnashbad considered this, tearing off another mouthful as he thought. "He does look proper relaxed. I'll 'av ta try it sum time."

"I can get that sorted for ya boss, no problim," the goblin snickered.

"No larfin', ya little sneak!" the black orc boomed. "Tell 'im, when he wakes up, he's promoted to Grand chief punjabbo, or somefink. And tell 'im he was right about dese 'ere lizzids. Dey do taste like chicken."

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