Spring, 24th Day of Welcomed Showers, 4,028th Cycle
The elven scout, Aspen Thistledown, and the half-elf Blade Runner Skirmisher, Ezra Two-leaf, approached prepared to open the door leading out of the goblin wolves’ den.
Ezra stood behind the door and waited for Aspen to ready her bow before opening the door. As soon as he opened it, Aspen yelled, “Goblins!”.
Before Ezra could close the door, six goblins poured into the room. Each had a small spear and a quiver strapped to her backs which held two more of the deadly shafts.
Ezra moved to where Aspen stood so they could together fend off the goblins intent on killing them both. However, the two found themselves quickly surrounded by the bloodthirsty creatures who attacked with ferocity.
“Quickly, use your enchanted robe!” Aspen reminded Ezra who was busy trying fighting against four goblins.
Ezra had found the robe on the remains of a mage they both found inside a small secret room hidden in the kitchen. After donning the robe, Ezra was able to tell that the robe had the ability to call upon an armor power which could protect its wearer against attacks.
Unfortunately, Ezra had been severely wounded by the goblins’ spears to activate the robe’s power. Aspen could see him teetering on the verge of consciousness. She desperately wanted to help the half-elf but she had troubles of her own.
With a cry of pain after being stabbed in the chest with a spear, Ezra fell to the ground beside Aspen.
Despite slaying three of there kinds, there were still three remaining goblins to contend with!
Aspen moved to stand over the fallen half-elf’s body in a vain attempt to protect him against the goblins who, with renewed fury, pressed the attack.
Aspen was barely able to strike one goblin before she succumbed to the pain inflicted by the goblins’ spears stabbing at her.
Aspen’s last view was that of a goblin’s wicked spear tip piercing her face just unconsciousness claimed her.
When Ezra awoke a short time later, he found himself inside a wooden cage inside a dungeon room. His entire body was wracked in pain.
His belongings were nowhere in sight. He was dressed only in his woolen shirt and breeches.
The large room he was in was bathed in a reddish glow given off by two braziers which stood next to a large wooden statue. The statue was carved in the likeness of a huge orc with bulging muscles and sharp tusks protruding from either side of its mouth. It held two wicked looking axes in each of its hands.
Two orcs dressed in leather armor and holding spears stood by a door which afforded the only way out of the room. In front of the statue, Ezra saw an old orc dressed in the magical blue robe he recently found. The orc, clearly a shaman, was genuflecting before the statue and chanting prayers to its deity.
An empty cage stood next to Ezra. Across the room, he saw two more cages. One held the unconscious form Aspen. Her face and once golden hair was covered in blood.
Ezra also noticed the small form of a female half-folk inside the cage next to Aspen’s.
“You will all be sacrificed to Baghtru,” the old shaman warned Ezra and the half-folk in the common tongue. “The god of strength and battle will welcome our sacrifices and bless us with the might to destroy the kingdom of man once and for all!”
The shaman left the room along with one of the guards. The remaining guard stood by the door.
Ezra was able to quickly take a good look at the hallway outside the door before the orc guard closed it behind him. The hallway came upon a T-intersection. A single wooden door was visible at the end of the hall. Even from where his cage was, Ezra could hear the ruckus of orcs coming from behind the other door.
“I think that’s their #@@% barracks,” the half-folk said to Ezra who was slightly taken back by the half-folk’s use of profanity. “It only gets quiet when their @$$ is all sleeping.”
“Who are you?” Ezra asked. He tried to sit down and get comfortable but the wooden cage’s small size wouldn’t allow it.
“My name is Lyda Cusswell.”
Ezra couldn’t help but grin at the appropriateness of Lyda’s surname.
Ezra introduced himself and asked how Lyda ended up as a prisoner of the orcs and goblins. She went on to tell him about how a dozen orcs and goblins ambushed a caravan of actors she was traveling with on the Forest Road three days ago. The others with her were slain except one female half-folk who managed to escape. Lyda was captured and brought to the orcs’ lair and was told by the shaman that she would be sacrificed to their deity.
“How’s Aspen doing?” Ezra asked Lyda pointing to the unconscious elf.
“Your friend looks like $#!+.”
“We need to find a way to escape,” Ezra said. “Are you rogue? Maybe you can—”
“Oh, #=!!, you didn’t just think I was a #@@$!% thief, did you?” Lyda said clearly irritated by Ezra’s assumption. “Why the ^#*% does everyone think half-folks are all thieves?”
Ezra grinned, again, as he tried to apologize to Lyda. After, Ezra talked to Lyda about planning a way to escape. Together, they decided that it would be best if Ezra regained his strength. It seemed that the shaman was not planning to sacrifice them anytime soon, so they may still have time.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long until Aspen succumbed to her wounds. When the guards found her dead, they took her body.
The next day, the two remaining prisoners were brought a wooden bowl of slop filled with some kind of unidentifiable meat, which Lyda said the orcs normally did not give to their prisoners. Ezra looked into his bowl and was horrified to see what appeared to be strings of golden hair floating in the thick slop.
He quickly threw the bowl against the wooden bars!
Lyda, too, couldn’t bare the thought of eating what the orcs had served them.
Nearly two weeks later, Lyda saw an opportunity to put her and Ezra’s plans of escaping into action.
They both came with a daring plan to overwhelm the two guards who every morning brought their only meal for the day. The shaman only arrived after they both had been fed. Since Ezra had still not completely recovered from his wounds, it was up to Lyda to fight the guards alone and then free Ezra.
When the guard with the food unlocked Lyda’s cage, the half-folk quickly rushed the orc with the spear. She ducked under the spear, grabbed it, then twisted it with all the might her tiny frame could muster. The orc grunted in pain and let go of the spear. It then tried to grapple with Lyda who sidestepped the now unarmed orc.
The remaining orc surprised by Lyda’s brazen attack, recovered from being surprised. It drew it’s short sword and slashed Lyda across her back.
Lyda screamed as the orc’s blade bit deeply into her back nearly severing her spine in the process.
Lyda fell upon her knees, turned to look at the caged Ezra and mouthed a downcast, “I’m #@@% sorry.”, before dying upon the cold stone floor.
The two orcs called the shaman who was furious. The old orc then took Lyda’s body and gutted it before the statue, offering the half-folk’s remains to their evil deity.
After the shaman walked up to Ezra’s cage.
“Let this be a lesson to you half-elf,” the shaman said. “There is no escaping from here, except through death.”
The shaman then stormed out of the room, but not before ordering the guards to withhold Ezra’s food for a day.
Ezra curled himself upon the cold floor and wondered if he would ever see the light of day ever again.