Orc Gone Good - Piece ten

The Company waited until morning to tackle the river. The canoe sat quiet at the river's bank, being licked by the shore's cool water.

York-ie slept sound under the cold twinkle of stars above, and the entire company slept deep or only hanging in sleep. Keiwick was on watch for a few hours after relieving a Dwarf from duty so he may lie down to sleep. Keiwick sat on a tall mossy rock looking over the river. He sat there quiet and undisturbed for an hour or so, but then he slid off his little nest on the stone and wandered the shore. He came across the canoe that he happened to bump into on his walk. He examined it closely, looking inside and out as if trying to learn the mastery of making one. But then, he pulled his axe from his belt and began to cut and shave away the bottom. He then struck the canoe with his great axe head, cracking a slit that he then filled with mud to hide. After an hour of his carpentry, he slid the boat back to the rocky shore, and cleaned up the chips of wood from the water's edge; he took them and tossed them in the tall grass nearly a mile away. He then nestled back into his nest and watched the sun rise in golden splendor.

All the Dwarves began to wake as their bellies called. They growled and mumbled as they rolled about on the ground trying to bring themselves to their feet. They pulled some cakes from their packs and nibbled them. Gordon stood ready looking out over the rolling foothills. He quickly got the company ready for their walk today; he did not want to waste time watching them cringe as they ate their beefcakes. Gordon tried to find York-ie, but he was not to be found anywhere; not at the river's water, not about the camp, not even on any hills in sight. Gordon sent two Dwarves to find him as the rest prepared to cross the river.

Gordon and Bordon stood by the water, looking out at the beauty of the sunrise as it shone on the lightly rolling water.

'Even though York-ie is an Orc, he has helped us greatly,' said Gordon to Bordon.

'Yes, he has been a help in this case. Though I wonder where he has gotten to.'

'No need to worry, he has given me his word to stay with us, and I don't think he would break that. But I do hope he hurries with getting back here, for I don't have all day to wait.'

Suddenly York-ie walked behind them giving them quite a startle.

'Were have you been?' asked Bordon.

'Finding breakfastsss, I found good fishhess in stream.'

'Very well,' said Gordon. 'The canoe is in the water and ready, I shall round up the company.'

Bordon walked away and called out loud his orders. York-ie looked at the canoe in an odd way. It looked different somehow, but he couldn't see how. He wanted to take a look at it, but the Dwarves were in such a hurry, they would never allow him to pull it out and 'waste' more time.

'Here you are York-ie,' said Gurwick as he handed him a rope. 'Take this and tie it at the other end, then bring the boat back so we may begin to ship the Dwarves to the other side.' York-ie took the rope and got in the canoe. It wobbled from side to side, but stayed afloat. He used a paddle he made from extra wood and slowly worked his way to the other side. He fought the current; it gradually took him downstream; he franticly attempted to move against the current and not stray too far from the company. With his great arms knotting and his paddle slapping the water, He finally reached the other side, sliding onto the slope of the shore. He carefully got out of the canoe. He took a stake and shoved it into the soft dirt, and then he tied the rope nice and tight.

'Itsss done!' shouted York-ie. He then used the rope to pull the canoe and himself to the other end, and save the fight with the current. Once to the other side they started to load the heavy Dwarves into the small canoe. They sat four into it along with York-ie as the driver.

'I am not riding in a boat with an Orc!' cried the Dwarves.

'He is a part of our company now, you must interact with him just any of us,' said Gordon.

'No!' shouted the Dwarves, 'I am not riding with that filth!'

'Well you mus-'

Gordon was interrupted by York-ie's hissing voice, 'If they do not wishess to sit with me, then ssso be it, they may guide the canoe themselvesss.'

So five Dwarves hung on tight as they bobbed in the water. The canoe sank low in the cold river. The water nearly ran over the edge of the sappy wood. A Dwarf named Fumborn guided the canoe over the running water, pulling them withall his strength on the rope. Slowly they crossed, fearing it would tip over. The water sometimes crawled into the boat, lying in puddles under the Dwarf-made boots. York-ie feared the boat's ability to hold them; it was not floating the way it should, and it seemed to be falling lower. The Five made it half way, hanging on the sides as if they hung from a cliff at five hundred feet. But they made a steady pace across, until suddenly they cried out in fear! The canoe filled with water as quickly as if a faucet was turned on inside, and the canoe rolled over, dumping the Dwarves into the deep water. They kicked and sloshed as they flapped their arms! Their armor began to sink them under the water. Fear sprang into York-ie's heart! He dove into the river and swam with all his might. He hissed and cursed the feel of the fresh pool, but he continued to swim no matter the fear. Fumborn fell under, not even seen. York-ie dipped under into the dark, searching the vast underwater, but nothing was found but schools of fish. Then he saw an image in the corner of his eye. He kicked his feet the hardest he had ever kicked! He saw Fumborn's armor glint in the light of the sun far above. His hand was stretched out towards York-ie. York-ie reached out to him, his first grab slipped and Fumborn sank far. York-ie choked from loss of air but did not dare give up, he paddled hard and took Fumborn's hand, then they swam to the top, sloshing and gasping for air! The other Dwarves had already been pulled from the water.

'What happened out there?' shouted Gordon in a concerned tone. 'Why did it sink? I thought you knew how to build such a boat!' York-ie crawled onto the rocky shore like a drowned rat. He sat and caught his breath.

'Ssss, I donts know. I donts know why it sank; perhaps there was toos much weight,' said York-ie.

'Are you saying to me that I am fat?' cried a Dwarf who dripped of water.

'Tili! This is not the issue, now go sit and get some air,' said Gordon. Tili walked away grumbling. 'Too much weight you say?Fumborn, how did the water fill the boat?'

'It came straight from the floor, gushing so quickly we could not stop it,' said Fumborn under his heavy, wet beard.

'That does not sound like weight drowned it,' said Gordon. 'Did you falter in the making? Could you perhaps have cracked the wood without knowing?'

'No. I made sure it was not faulty. I do's not know what coulds have happened,' said York-ie as he stood to his tired feet.

'Do you know what I think,' said Keiwick as he walked from behind. 'I think this was done purposely. I think he faltered in the making so he could drown us-'

'Thatsss not true!' shouted York-ie.

'But it is!' said Keiwick as he stood looking up at him. 'You faltered! A crack, I should think, a crack easily made with a strike of an axe, and easily covered with mud or a paste you carry on you. It is an easy way to kill some of us, and maybe even trapping our leader Gordon into it.'

'You lie! I woulds never do's that! You lie!' cried York-ie as he grabbed Keiwick's collar. Gordon jumped between them and held them back.

'Stop it!' he shouted. 'Whatever happened it is done now, the boat has sunk to the bottom. I suppose we shall make another, and this time watch York-ie's movements, and it shall be guarded specifically. Everyone take rest, we will not be crossing today.' Gordon walked away in deep thought, hoping that Keiwick's words were not true in any way.

York-ie trotted through the tall weeds cursing the name of Keiwick, and Keiwick walked away with a grin and sense of accomplishment.

Piece eleven: Orc Gone Good

York-ie and another ten Dwarves went in search of a tree. A larger tree than before, so the fear of tipping into the water would not be a problem. Gordon plopped in the grass and ate a cake. He thought about the accident, pondering on Keiwick's words. His heart told him that York-ie had nothing to do with it, but his mind told him the truth he did not want to accept.

For hours he sat in the grass, in deep thought. Dusk sank around him, the sun lowered behind the horizon, and the first star peeped down on the camp. Gordon fell into a light sleep, yet deep enough to have a dream, a dream that made no sense in any way. The sounding of thunderous horns then woke him from his dream that he did not remember. He passed it as only the arrival of York-ie and the Dwarves, but he suddenly leapt to his feet. He peered over the gold grass, he saw spears dancing on the hill alongside them. Nearly a hundred shadow-hidden figures with glinting armor trampled and crushed the weeds that infested the field. Gordon cried out his orders, commanding the entire Company to stand firm in the pathway of the marching figures. Black feathered arrows whistled onto their hill, pricking the ground at their feet. Keiwick replied to the attacks, striking the shadows, hearing them squeal before they vanished under the brush. They all stood watching and waiting for the attack…

York-ie and some Dwarves walked quietly in the cool darkness, searching for a tall wide tree. Many stars twinkled above, the moon looked like a clipped toenail in the sky, which shone a pale blue.

The Dwarves looked at York-ie with anger, hate, and a small dose of fear. They all had their weapons handy for quick release, and they stayed away from him the best they could. They moved quickly over the rolling hills, peering into the darkness with wide eyes. Once five miles from camp, they stumbled across a lush cluster of trees, standing high at the bottom of a hill. The Company looked up at the rustling leaves, and then they all took rest at their base. York-ie lay back and breathed deep.

'Ah, I had almost forgotten how much I love the cold night air, and how restful it is on the eyes to not squint from the sun's light,' said York-ie with a sudden change in voice. The Dwarves looked oddly at him, wondering what had happened to the hissing slithering speech he had.

The Dwarf, Gonli looked at him sideways and cursed him under his breath, 'An Orc would prefer the dark; they would use it to slit someone's throat. That's all the night is good for, to an Orc anyway.'

York-ie jumped to his feet and snarled at Gonli, 'I growss tired of the ssside remarkss you Dwarves make! I have done nothing to yous, sssso keep your hole shut,' said York-ie with his Orcish tone now returned. Gonli stood and looked at York-ie in a challenging way, then suddenly all the Dwarves pounced onto York-ie like vultures on a dead carcass. York-ie roared and threw the Dwarves from his back, but the strength of all ten was beyond his might.

'Whhatss are you doingsss?' shouted York-ie in a rage of anger. 'Unhand me's! Or I will kills you!' York-ie shouted out words that his heart did not mean to say, though his anger spoke for him. Gonli laughed.

'So you do still hold the Orc evil inside,' he said. 'Keiwick was right; you are nothing but a fake! By the orders of Keiwick, we are going to kill you.' They dragged York-ie from the trees and out into the open field. Gonli's axe was firmly placed in his hands.

'You piece of filth Dwarfsss! Cursse you! Curse you!' shouted York-ie as he fought to get away. Suddenly with great might, York-ie bit the hands of the Dwarves that held him, attacking with great strength! He hit and beat with his huge fists and arms, he roared with the power of a hundred war horns! He took the axe from a Dwarf's belt and swung it wide, smacking helms and breastplates, knocking the Dwarves to the ground. Then York-ie stopped and calmed his nerves so he might use his wits. He tossed the axe and ran into the thick of trees. The Dwarves scurried to their feet so they might follow, but Gonli stopped them.

'There is no need to chase him; he has faster legs than us. And besides, he will not come back to camp, not after the story we tell Gordon. And to Keiwick we will say he is dead, just as planned.'

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