“Bring the Ale, Bring the Mead!
Grimbold is all we need!”
The raucous chant echoed throughout the tavern as Skanut entered. The fresh coat of paint above the door proudly proclaimed that this was the ’Kord’s Axe’. Skanut smiled broadly as his brother Orcs lifted their mugs in salute.
Jus’ make certain
You ain’t diseased!”
The room bawled with laughter at the clever little chant. The scrawny looking half-elf who shouted it was met with slaps on the back and offers of copious amounts of ale. It was not long before the whole room managed to twist the lyrics into something much more dirty and depraved.
“Why are you so happy today?”
Skanut turned to see Sila smirking, her hands full of jugs of sweet smelling mead. She was attractive enough for a Dragon-woman, and Skanut would admit to thinking about bedding her. Although he wasn’t too sure about those scales….
“I’m glad be home,” replied Skanut, before his thoughts drifted away. His knowledge of Common was getting much better, although it was still heavily accented.
Sila’s smirk dissipated into a knowing look, and she sighed heavily as she looked around her tavern.
Her gaze must have caught something, because she snapped back to Skanut. “Those Orcs by the far wall wanted to discuss something with you. Asked me to let you know the second you came in”
Skanut nodded and left Sila to work in peace. There were 5 Orcs, two of them wearing ridiculous looking cloaks and hoods. The other three just had a dumb, grim look about them. Skanut sighed, preparing to receive some sort of complaint. Why did he ever agree to become a knight?
“May your ancestors provide you a strong arm in battle,” greeted Skanut in Orcish as he sat opposite the 5 mysterious Orcs.
“May your battles be bloody,” replied one of the hooded strangers. They both seem to bow their heads lower so that Skanut could not see their faces.
There was long pause, and the three uncloaked Orcs began to look uneasy. Skanut could feel the battle tension in the air, and he clenched his fists underneath the table. He cursed as he remembered that he left his axe at the smith’s for repair.
“I’ve been told you were looking for me?” Skanut asked, hoping to break the tension.
“Waiting, to be more precise,” replied the other hooded figure. He then nodded.
The tavern suddenly erupted with screams.
Half of the Orcs overturned tables and drew their blades, striking down any armed man or woman they could see. Some were too drunk to react quickly and they fell where they sat, mugs toppling over to mix alcohol with blood.
Skanut leaped back and readied himself to face the three, now armed, Orcs as they surrounded him. The two cloaked figures removed their hoods, revealing the red woad-like tattoos that they had painted on their faces.
“The Blood Oath”, spat Skanut, “What brings your foul stench to these halls?”
The reply was the swift thrust of a blade that Skanut barely dodged. The three Orcs were rash and impetuous, and Skanut used Dendy’s training to skillfully avoid their attacks. But then a sudden roar from behind put Skanut off-guard and he mistimed a dodge, receiving a deep cut to his side.
Luckily the roar was part of Dorgrim’s charge. He and the other Ironhide dwarves must have been using the private drinking room at the back of the tavern. The charge of the dwarves made short work of the three Orcs, outclassed by the stout warriors. Once Dorgrim was finished he gave a brief nod to Skanut before rushing to help the other victims.
Skanut jumped back to his feet and grabbed a sword. He looked around for the Red-faced Orcs, catching a glimpse of a coat escaping through the side exit. Skanut barged through the exit to see an unconscious Sila being carried down an alley-way by shadowy figures.
Leaving Skanut alone with the two red-faced Orcs opposite him, blocking his way.
“Blood for the Blood God”, said one.
“Skulls for the Skull Throne”, replied the other.
Then they attacked, but Skanut’s training had prepared him for two-on-one combat. He countered the overarm strike coming from his left, leveraging the momentum into an attack on his right. The cut went cleanly through the Orc’s guts, felling him instantly.
“Fire! Fire! Tavern on Fire!” The cry was quickly spread through the camp, and Skanut became aware of a seering heat at his back. But all of his focus was trained on the last remaining Orc in front of him.
The Orc backed away and smiled. It was a gruesome smile, a smile of foreboding.
“Blood for the Blood God”, shouted the Orc before slitting his own throat. He went down, gurgling the rest of the chant.
“Skuths… faw…. da… Skulg…. groan…..”