Alaric Willowbreeze stopped his horse on the dirt path. Looking around he realized that he was lost. Thinking he could cut his journey in half if he went through the forest, Alaric chose speed over logic. Of course he was new to the area, new to being an adventurer, but that wouldn’t stop him from getting to his destination. But after being so sure he was still on the right path and finding out that he wasn’t was too much for him.
“Great.” Alaric muttered after studying the sky. “I have absolutely no idea where I am.” He looked around the aea again. All he saw were farms, roads, and trees. Then something to his right caought his eye. Alaric pushed his horse on towars a farm where a man was mending a fence.
“Excuse me Sir.”
The farmer looked up from his work. “Yes?”
“Could you tell me where the nearest village is?” Alaric asked.
“Well now, let’s see.” The farmer leaned on the fence post and tilted back his straw hat. “Alton’s ’bout a days ride that way.” He pointed in the direction Alaric came from. “And Losad’s maybe and hourse ride the other way.”
Alaric thanked the farmer and continued towards Losad. “A t least I’m not too far behind.” He murmered as he galloped down t he road.
Alaric reached Losad as the sun was setting. He went directly to the inn, saw to his horse then got a room for the night. After telling the barmaid to prepare dinner for him Alaric left the inn. He strolled around Losad for a couple of hours, taking in the sights and listening to the citizen’s convesations. When he returned to the inn one of the barmaids was waiting for him.
“There’s a small man sitting at the table by the stairs that’s ‘bin waitin’ here for an hour or so. He described you quite well, Sir. I didn’t exactly tell him that you were lodgin’ here, he’s ‘bin waitin’ by his own wish.” She revealed a bowl of soup with bread. “He’s your dinner, Sir. Soup, just like you asked.”
Alaric nodded and took his food from the maid. He walked directly to the man by the stairs, sat down and began to eat.
“I’ve been waitin’ for two days for you.” Said the small man after a while.
“I got somewhat delayed.” Alaric looked up from his meanl. “I’m sorry Kurn.”
“Sorry? You’re sorry?!” Exclaimed Kurn.
“Your accent has become thicker.” Noted Alaric.
“Well I just cam back from visitin’ my cousin-” Kurn looked gravely at his young friend. “Elves and Dwarves are unwelcome here, Alaric.” He whispered across the table.
“They haven’t done anything to us yet.”
“That doesn’t mean that they won’t.” Kurn sighed.
“We’ll leave at first light.” Alaric looked around the table. “No ale tonight?”
The dwarf shook his head. “Tryin’ to cut back. Can’t vbe drinkin’ if I’m to look after ya.”
Alaric smiled. “I assume you have a room for yourself?”
Kurn rose from his seat. “O f course. I can take car of myself, Alaric. Have been for a while now.” Answered the dwarf as he walked up the stairs.
Alaric and Kurn rose and left early the next day . They passed many farms and fields but saw no one. They stopped for a quick lunch then continued on their way.
Alaric was restless. He hadn’t been in a fight for a while and the silence seem to make him more restless then he thought possible. He remembered the first time he left his woodland home on his own. He was fighting so often the he became sick of it. It was the first time he had made a non-elven friend, a dwarf named Kurn Baldkil.
Alaric learned much on that short journey. He became friends with many people and met more. He also was given a task, a taks that would leave the fate of Eath in his hands. And now, two years later, he was on a quest that surrounded that task.
It was a month ago that Narmola, Goddess of all living things on Eath, came to the Woodland Prince in a dream. He rememered that she was beautiful, bathed in a pure stream of light. Yet he couldn’t see her face, he only felt the sense that she was beautiful. Her voice was soothing, almost musical, and she told him that the time had come for the task to be completed. Narmola told Alaric that others would join him but some would perish . He was told that a descion would be made, one that would partly fall to him. He didn’t fully understand what she meant but Alaric had a great sense of wanting to please her. The elf smiled.
Kurn looked beside him. The elf was in another of his trances. “Hmpf.” He said to himself. “As if he wasn’t crazy enough.” The dwarf chuckled. This journey was going to be entertaining, possibly as much as the last one.
The last one. The last one would be cherished in his mind and heart forever. It was the last year that he spent with his wife. Gorsa was the only person that made him feel complete. When she left he was no longer Kurn Baldkil but a miserable drunk. All he had left of her was an old cloak. They had no children, she usually miscarried. Late on Decem ber day though, Gorsa went into labour. It was their first child but she didn’t live to see the baby. Kurn didn’t know that she had died right away, not until he realized that the baby was also dead. He burned the house down then buried his wife and child side-by-side under the house’s ashes. He hadn’t returned since.
“Kurn.” Alaric had stopped his horse. “Do you hear that?”
Kurn also stopped and listened. “Orcs.”
Alaric nodded. “Possibly seven of them and I thik they’re looting a wagon or cart.”
“Are ya sure?”
“Positive. I can’t make out wha they are saying though. Something about killing.”
“Hmm.” Kurn started to unbuckle his waraxe. “Maybe we should pay them a little visit, don’t you agree?”
The elf smiled. “I’m sure they’d be delighted to see us.” Alaric unsheathed his sword and galloped toward the orcs.
The orcs didn’t hear Alaric or Kurn until it was too late. Alaric neatly severed the head of the nearest orc as the dwarf jumped from his saddle, striking an orc at the same time. Taken by surprise the remaining orcs quickly stopped looting and drew their wearpons. Two of the orcs made their way to the cart’s owners, capturing them and two bags of the couple’s items from the wagon.
Kurn rapidly swung his waraxe in short arcs, eventually killing the orc. Again he swung his axe but in a long sweeping arc which tripped two of the oncoming orcs. He swiftly jumped on the biggest enemy and neatly decapitated it as the smaller orc reached for his weapon and stood up. Alaric, coming from behind, thrust his longsword into the back of the monster making him howl. Kurn then took the opportunity and slashed at the orc’s leg’s. Alaric pulled his sword out from the orc’s back and sliced it’s head from it’s shoulders.
“What happened to your orc?” Asked Kurn.
“My sword somehow found his heart.” Replied Alaric, wiping his blade.
Across the road, the two remaining orcs were retreating farther into the woods with their loot and two humans. Without a word Alaric and Kurn ran after them. The elf sheathed his sword, drew forth his bow and shot an arrow. The arrow flew straight into the closest orc’s back, making him drop his loot. He spun around, club at the ready, to confront his attackers but another arrow lodged itself into his brain. The last orc, realizing he was alone, dropped his prisinors and ran through the woods out of sight.
Kurn dropped beside the couple. “Are you alright ?” He asked the man.
“My head hurts but otherwise I’m fine.” He looked over to his wife.
“I don’t think I can walk, Garth.”
“Alaric.” Said Kurn. ” Help me get ‘er up.”
The dwarf, with the elf’s help, brought the humans back to the road. Their cart wasn’t completely destroyed but it was a bit beat up. All of their belongings were strewn about the road, along with the bodies of the orcs.
“What are yer names?” Asked the dwarf.
“I’m Garth and this is my wife Del. We’re travelling to Arbuck from Atlon. Settin’ up our business you see. What are your names?”
“I’m Kurn an’ this is my friend Alaric.” He looked around the area. “We might as well make camp for a little while, clean this place up. Alaric, get some wood for a fire.”
Alaric nodded and went into the woods. Del watched his with interest. “He’s an elf isn’t he.” She said absently.
“Yes, an’ a young one at that.” Kurn replied.
She looked at him as she spoke. “What’s he doing so far from his home?”
“I don’t exactly know.”
“And you, you’re a dwarf. Why are you so far from your mountain homeland?”
“Same reason.” He said gruffly. “Orcs this small usually don’t attck carts in this area, do they?”
First time we’ve ever been attack.” Said Garth. “Usually our childeren are with us but they left earlier to have our house ready. Said we were too old to move by ourselves.” He chuckled. “We weren’t suppose to leave Atlon ’till they came back but I wanted to leave as soon as possible.”
Alaric had come back at that time with an armful of firewood. “Seems that the orcs were waiting in the woods. I found a camp a little bit away from the road.”
“Orcslikes to ambush and fight with uneven odds.” Replied Kurn as he started a fire. “They’re pretty small too, maybe just young fighters.”
“That would explain it. They were too easy.” Alaric looked at the dead orcs. “We should get this cleaned up, Kurn. Reinforcements will soon be on their way.”
“I can help you re-pack the wagon, since i know where everything goes.” Said Garth.
Alaric smiled. “Of course. Let’s get started.”
While Alaric and Garth repacked the cart, Kurn tended to Del’s leg. SHe had sprained her ankle so Kurn wrapped it and gave her a brew that would take away her pain.
“I don’t see many elves or dwarves in this area, let alone two of them together.”
“Our kinds aren’t welcome in these parts of the world.” Kurn looked at her hard. “You’re well spoken for a commoner.”
“I came from a wealthy family and married into a poor one. Now my husband’s business has made us wealthy. What’s your st ory?”
Kurn was taken aback by the women’s bluntness. “I don’t share it with everyone I meet. Sorry.”
The women shrugged. “Just making conversation.” She looked at Alaric. “What about him?”
“You’d ‘ave to ask ‘im.” Kurn rose. “If you’ll excuse me, there’s work to be done.” H e hurridly walked to Alaric and Garth, who were almost finished packing the cart.
“Alaric, we should get the bodies off the road an’ burn ’em.”
“I can finish up here.” Garth said reasuringly.
Kurn and Alaric dragged each orc into the woods, stripping them of anything valuable before lying t hen in a pile.
“There’s something wrong about this.” Uttered Kurn.
“What do you mean?” Asked Alaric.
“See that buckle there? It’s the symbol of Fertol, God of War. Usually they’d have the handless arm of Thogkk.”
“Who’s Thogkk? I’ve never heard of him before.”
“Thogkk’s Merta’s son, God of the Orcs, Orgres, Goblins, Hobgoblins…God of about everyone of those fould beasts.” Kurn placed his hands on his hips. “He’s a giant orc with a missin’ right hand. He gave it up to Merta so h e could r ule over those mutts. Thogkk’s just like his mother, but not as cruel.” The dwarf ripped the brass symbol from the dead orcs armor.
“What did you do that for?!” Exclaimed Alaric in disgust.
“We can take it to a man I know in Arbuck. He’s an expert on these sort ‘o things.” Kurn looked at the pile in disgust. “Come on now. Best we be movin’ on.”