When the party moved, it did so without notice from Heineken. Okies was also there the evening before. He joined in some of the festivities, but only in face, and only for a few points of conversation. Then he was gone again, and none of us knew what to make of him. Was he a man, a wizard, a daemon, angel? I simply had to touch my back and my side to be reminded of his generosity. He told me I was needed, and my being here with this party, I hoped, showed him that I had made an effort to recognize his actions and his good favor.
The only thing we remembered is that we went to bed the night before and when we woke up, it was upon the fragrant soil of our own world, bless the Forest Queen – Mieliekki. We were close to town and we showed up at the assigned location, with a considerable amount of unpleasant words from the humans of my party, save Dolan, who seemed lost in his own smiles upward, soaking up the world around him, giving thanks to his own god.
The caravan accepted us and didn’t ask questions as to the arrangements of our group. It simply trusted us to work as the unit which we acted to be. Malcer handled the pleasantries of the conversation with the other humans of the town and the rest of them didn’t speak. Some of the those who were responsible for the travel arrangements looked shocked when first setting their eyes upon the dragonborn, but she made no attempt to explain.
And within several long minutes, the caravan set out for their town of destination, Greenest, and we took our own positions around it.
The sun grew higher in the clear sky that Spring morning, and the first day passed smoothly. We had five more, and each of us that night prayed in our own way for an equally smooth day from then on.
But Malcer even said it himself, “Wizards are a fickle bunch,” he said. “Their water’s are never smooth the whole way across.”
An orc raid two nights later proved his words true, and I felt myself become jittered. At first sight, my insides rattled with the fire of an angry wind through a burning forest. I went out under the full moon and the scattered eyes of Father Nature to commune with my kind. I walked on my own terms, in my own direction.
…and when I saw them, I saw the red flush of my heart wanting to rip every one of them into pools of their own filth. Yet, the smaller of voices within me reminded me of where I was and with whom I was now considered brother.
I raced back to the caravan and in a yelling whisper, woke up the rest of the party.
“Orcs! Three hundred yards west. We must get positions. Positions!” I ran around flustered and with Elvin haste, something I knew the humans of the party found perhaps a respectable trait. But if ego existed, I wanted to save it for the sheen of my arrow tips.
They surrounded us with their ugly grunts and foul smells well before we saw their lazy fat forms.
The party spread out and one by one, we watched them fall around the caravan. Tom Cullen took the brunt of the screams from inside the caravan, ensuring the screams stayed within the confinement of the walls.
“Shut up and stay there!” He insisted, pointing the sharp tip of his waist knife at two of those inside. They closed the wooden curtains and he slammed his knife into curtains, nailing it to the frame of the caravan. In a turn he turned and threw another knife into the throat of an oncoming fire orc.
The orc loosed a wail as the silver blade whipped into his neck as a thick dark blue spouted from his throat.
As he went to reclaim his blade I was atop the caravan with small but steady steps of the ranger my father trained. Yet, dismally I fired my weapons, and as my enemies moved, many of my points were lost in the tall crass and dirt patches of the caravan’s camp site. On one occasion, I was reaching back into my quiver when the damning point of an orcan staff slammed into my shoulder. I was flung from my position and landed hard on the packed earth.
Thank Mielekki I was able to roll under the wheels with my small form, allowing the air to slowly gather anew in my lungs.
The process was slow, but we made it out alive, as we did in the next few days, following orders of some, asking directions of others. We were a party of assistance, and each of us did his best in his own capacity to provide for the survival of the whole. We didn’t know one another well, but we knew collectively that were we to lose one member of the group, our successes would be many times lower in future opportunities.