Cousins in Arms - Chapter One

"Davin, wretched Davin he dropped it just to spite me" Hans said to Jax, his cousin and best friend. "Of course he did. He knew that you wanted to walk on the walls with Thora tonight, he has had it in for you since we got here." Jax replied. The boys had been put in the service of Master Taggart at the Oaken Tree Inn when they were but eight. "If only Rat hadn't spilt the keg of dwarfin brew." Davin was given the nickname of Rat by the inn and stable boys because of his enjoyment of the misery of others and love of mischief. Also he was a small skinny boy with black hair, sunken in eyes, a long pointy nose, who had a striking resemblance to a rat. They all were just about fifteen years old. Now old Master Taggart had appointed all three of them to the task of cleaning pots and pans after the kitchen had closed, a considerably late hour for the Oaken Tree Inn kitchens produced food in a steady flow till two in the morning. "We'll get him back." "Don't we always Hans? And don't worry Thora will understand" "Did you see the rider that came in earlier? He fell off his horse with exhaustion. I wonder what drove a man to ride so hard?" "I don't know, but I think he is a messenger from one of the border towns." The boys continued working for another hour until they finally finish the task and headed for bed.
The next day after their morning choirs Jax and Hans go to the common room just in time to hear the news of the messenger. "Orcs! Countless orcs come down in droves from the north! Aid must be sent, and armies mustered! My town has been sacked, the same fate should not come down upon yours." the messenger cried. Master Taggart stood up. "Who sent you messenger? What town do you come from?" "I was sent by the mayor of North wood!" the messenger replied. "North Wood? But that is less than one hundred miles from here. If your story is valid where are the refugees? The folk fleeing from harm?" "Oh I fear lord of this tavern that you will see them later this day with orcs and goblins quick at their feet." True to his word the refugees came fleeing down from the north. Master Taggard then ordered all men and strong lad to the armory to arm and dispatched a messenger to Dell with a plea for help. The talk among the men of the town was cheerful. It was common to hear "The oaken walls of the town will not be breached not even if we are out numbered ten to one!" "If they are we will just retreat to the inn which in such a fortress we could hold our enemies at bay slaughtering them till they break and flee." and other such boast as well. The walls of the town were thick and made of oak, which some would say is as hard as iron, and the inn was constructed out of the same oak with defense in mind. They were tested defenses and as long as the orcs didn't have siege weapons, which according to the messenger from North Wood they lacked, the walls would hold.
It was dawn, Jax stood atop the walls with bow in hand. He was unquestionably the most skilled in the ranged aspects of combat, winning both the archery and knife throwing contests. Jax was tall and slender youth with dark brown hair. His build did not favor him to close combat but with his two daggers, both in sheathe at his side, he was a formidable opponent. In front of him stood an army of orcs and goblins readying for attack. Hans was on the walls as well with a large broad sword in hand. Unlike Jax, Hans was shorter in stature but far more muscled. His blonde hair stood up in the breeze as he surveyed the field. The orcs came on in steady waves. Arrows tore down their ranks but still they came. Until finally the beasts were at the walls, when suddenly the main gate flung open. In pored the orcs and their smaller kin. Jax from atop the walls saw Davin laughing out loud urging the orcs in. It was Davin, wretched Davin, who had betrayed the town to the filthy beasts in return for some price.
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