Sorry for the wait-but let me tell you, it's worth it.
Part 4: The Councils
Sir Morin scratched his nose and rubbed his eyes in the same motion. His oversized hand nearly covered his undersized face.
The great hall was stifling from the heat of the sweaty men packed into it like sardines. There were more important guests than the castle had ever known: lords from across Rollingplain (and a few from Southmont) were crammed into the wood paneled room, the only light coming from two small windows set high in the wall. A fly couldn’t have fit between the nobles, so tightly were they packed around the oaken table.
The temperature in the room was not improved by the vast amount of shouting from the various nobles.
“The elves are advancing, they must be stopped here!”
“With what army, sir, do you propose such a thing? And whose money will pay for it?”
“We will are pay for it, fool! This is our land-”
“My people are starving, and you ask me to finance a doomed campaign-”
Doomed, sir? This war is not doomed; it has been decreed by the gods-”
“Oh, stuff it! Nobody but the tree-huggers believe in your gods anymore-and that’s who we’re fighting!”
“I will not risk my forces on such a risky venture!”
, sir? This is no risky venture! The gods have decreed-”
“WILL YOU SHUT UP!”
“Sir, I don’t appreciate your tone-”
On and on the babble went. Sir Morin always hated councils, but never
had he seen the lords this
bad. Not that he could blame them; the ones whose lands were devastated wanted revenge, while the rest wanted to save themselves.
Sir Morin debated silencing them, but knew it be of no avail.
Someone else had a different opinion.
“Quiet!” he yelled. A younger lord, from Southmont, he was; Sir Morin did not recognize him.
But it was obvious that the noble was aware of this lack of recognition. “I am the Lord Cam of Normandy,” he announced as he stood, “and I have a plan to end all your troubles.”
The lords silenced themselves, and stared tiredly at Sir Cam.
“A friend of mine has an army on route to the elves’ camp; he will be able to defeat this terrible foe only if not one of you lords interfere with his progress. The army may raid villages for supplies, and your peasants may complain; but is a few angry peasants compared with an elvish invasion?”
The first reaction of the lords was one of doubt and reluctance; but all were grateful that they
didn’t have to lead an army for miles and miles to defeat a superb general.
It would take time, Cam knew, but these fools were already his.
you! How dares you break treaty with the tin-heads!” The puny forest orc was screaming so loudly that Thagûrz was amazed that the orc’s muddy head didn’t explode. “For almost whole year, we have been at peace with men from big-flat-land. And now you is started a fight with them?”
“It was tin-heads
who started fight with us! Not other way around!” Thagûrz retorted angrily.
After his victory over the human invaders, Thagûrz had expected praise from the forest orcs-and at first, he had gotten it. But once he traveled to Ral Nistro, and spoke with the so-called “Council of Chiefs,” the leaders of the city condemned him for his aggressiveness.
There were ten chieftains standing on the rocky hill overlooking the orc city, circling a large bonfire that in olden times had been used to sacrifice victims. Now, the bonfire held pots filled with slop that looked significantly less than edible.
The head chief quickly resumed his rant. “We doesn’t believe it! Maybe you destroyed that village, eh? And now you trying to blame tin-heads.”
Thagûrz was in shock that orcs, even these pathetic wretches, would sooner blame their own kind then take the fight to the true enemy. It showed, he reasoned, how far orcs have fallen from the old ways, and how corrupting the influence of humans is.
Could orcs truly
shun from such a battle? Could they refuse to avenge their fallen brethren?
It seemed so.
Thagûrz was through reasoning with these idiots. “You look-if you don’t want to make tin-heads die for killing orcs, than you no better than goblin scum. I go now, to see if there are warriors in this storm-forsaken place who haven’t forgotten meaning of honor, who will help me get revenge. Because you will obviously not.”
He stormed off done the hillside, as the chieftains hurled insults back at the orc who dared offend their honor.
“Are you sure, my lord?”
“Yes. There is no other way.”
“But will the humans agree to such a thing?”
Arkantos snorted. “They will; they may be fools, but they know death when they see it. And death is coming to us all, if they don’t help us.”
The party of elves rode down the grassy hill, toward an army that would like nothing better than to crush the skull of the hated elven general.