Age of Heroes

Headless Chickens

A private letter

My beloved E.
Thanks be to the gods, somehow we have survived! Riverbrook is saved and the orc threat averted. And I still don’t know how. The history books may record these events as a mighty battle between two great armies. All I saw were headless chickens.
First in Riverbrook, as it soon became apparent that Esteban and his war council had no idea what to do. Our alleged commander had no plan, and no orders to issue to his men. Instead he called on all and sundry for ideas, which inevitably led to countless hours of panicked bickering at the prospect of annihilation at the hands of a the orc horde. I would have thought the first job of a commander is to command…
Anyway, as the officers argued we had the first answer to our prayers. A relief force of some one hundred dwarves! These doughty kinfolk of Ignar doubled our numbers, and more than doubled the town’s ability to fight off the orcs. Riverbrook was still heavily outnumbered but at least now we had a chance.
Eventually we had a plan, of sorts. With the dwarven reinforcements to bolster the town’s defences, Riverbrook would be well placed to hold off the orc attack. The stout warriors had brought big barrels of oil in their baggage train to fire the fields on the approaches to the town, and also a massive catapult to launch massive lumps of stone into the ranks of the foul creatures. With luck these would help break up the orc army, reducing their numbers to managable sizes for our soldiers to fend off.
Meanwhile we Irregulars would ride around through the northern woods to the rear of the orc camp to assassinate Garrok. That creature appeared to be the one thing uniting the orc tribes. With Garrok slain they should break up into tribal factions and drift apart.
We had our second stroke of luck as we embarked on this mission. There were elves in the woods. Not enough to fight off the orc army, but sufficient to draw most of Garrok’s guards away from his camp that we might ride straight in. The only obstacle being convincing the aloof elven folk to help us. As it happens, our foolish nobleman seems known to the elves. Very well known and apparently highly thought of, for they bent the knee to him as if he were royalty or something? Although that would certainly explain his lack of common sense! Maybe a subject to broach with his more amiable sister in quieter times.
Garrok was not totally unguarded but the handful of orcs and orogs (at least I think that’s what Ignar called them, ugly huge half orc half ogre beasts) could not deter us from our mark. Ignar and Torinn drew their attention while Landar and I sniped at them as best we could, and the mounted soldiers rode around the edge of the camp to take on the orc warlord. Eventually Garrok fell, but only after two of our company had been knocked out and the rest of us surrounded him.
And to the victor the spoils. The prize for the heroic defenders of Riverbrook is the long and arduous task of burying our dead, cleaning up and rebuilding the town, and all the while watching over our shoulders should any of those orc tribes return.
I hope to bring you gladder tidings in my next letter.
Forever yours,
P.

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