Dwarven Crates: A Casual Raid (part 2)

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Raigar tilted his head. “Shit,” he muttered as they come to a crossroads. His eyes flickered over his shoulder. “Now we pick a tunnel to follow.”

Anricwulf turned down to the right. “This one looks good.” Threz reloaded his crossbow, shouldered it and followed, dagger in hand.

Eruviel smirked and stepped around a bend in the wall. “Sure. Gotta start somewhere,” she muttered, stepping to follow.

Raigar looked to Eruviel and grinned. “Your friend has some spirit, I’ll give him that.” Drawing his knife once more he moved after them.

“That he does,” she responded with a quiet chuckle.

Threz glared at them. “You talkin about me behind my back?” he whispered.

“Never, Threz. Don’t you worry,” Eruviel quipped.

Raigar approached a line of weapon racks, but shook his head. “Not Dwarven.”

Threz looked around the cave. “Cozy.”

Anricwulf snuck up on a sleeping Brigand before bringing his sword through the robber’s chest. “What was that about Dwarves?”

“Not here either,” whispered Eruviel, quickly looking through a small, empty nook separated as sleeping quarters.

Raigar looked up to the others as the tunnel curved back around to make a loop. “We’ve reason to believe that these Orcs have a shipment of stolen weapons, crafted by the Dwarves of Othrikar.  That’s the last sort of weaponry that we need the Enemies of Bree to be wielding.”

Anric nodded. “Ah. Well that makes sense.” He looked around. “How many weapons are we talking?”

“Has Othrikar fallen then?” Threz scowled, “Or did the uh . . . Longbeards . . . do the selling?”

Hearing  the echo of steps emanating from the direction they had originally come, Eruviel stepped past the men as they talked, watching down the cavern, her bow knocked and pulled taunt.

Raigar shook his head. “We never did get a count.” He then turned to Threz. “Not sure. Though, I believe Eruviel found evidence that one of their trading routes had been hit — not by Orcs, but by men.’Which still begs the question of how they got into Orc hands to begin with.”

“Mounted men?” Threz ventured.

Raigar looked to Threz and shrugged, then glanced over his shoulder for Eruviel to answer. However, she had conveniently disappeared further down the tunnel.

“We could be dealing with Dourhand treachery,” said Anric. “Iwn a few to work alongside Orcs, and the northern lands are crawling with the filth.”

“It’s possible. I wouldn’t put anything past the treachery of the enemy.”

Threz gently unloaded his cocked crossbow and followed, loading a different bolt as he kept the weapon pointed in a safe direction. Moving up beside Eruviel he whispered, “Do you think the other mercenary is behind this? Estorn?”

Eruviel fit her arrow back into her quiver and bow back onto her back. Drawing her sword she nodded to the flickering of shadows back down the way they had came. “I don’t know. By Orome, I hope not,” she whispered back. “But we will have company if we don’t keep moving.”

Anricwulf walked up beside them, and Raigar by him. ‘Then by all means, let’s.”

Arriving once more at the crossroads Anric charged ahead, and Threz, glancing at Eru, followed. Eruviel and Raigar considered the third path, a few carts visible down the tunnel, but followed after the other two as the sound of a small skirmish drifted back. Jogging around the bend the man and elf arrived just as Anric pulled a javelin from a brigand’s chest. Threz wiped his dagger clean and turned to wait for the others. A dry smirk circulated through the group and they continued on down the passage down one bend then another till the tunnel opened up into a cavern, the facade of a forgotten ruin set against the far end.

“That’s interesting,” commented Raigar with an arched brow.

“Well, well. What is this?” Eruviel muttered curiously at the sight of the ancient stonework.

A brigand walked around the corner to walk out out of the ruins, but before any of them could react a javelin flew past to peg the man in the chest. The brigand could only manage a startled expression before he fell dead at the small flight of steps. “Hmm?” Anricwulf asked, approaching to collect his weapon.

Raigar pointed out the intricate engravings that decorated the structure. “The star of the North Kingdom. These ruins are Arnorian.” Raigar shoots a glance over his shoulder at Threz, obviously concerned for the man’s still healing wounds, but just then, the sound of voices up ahead seem to echo through the small tunnel.

Eruviel ‘s brow furrowed as she approached the arched doorway. “I’ve heard of this place, but it’s been a long time . . .” She stopped at the sound of voices, taking another silent step forward in attempt to hear better. Someone, or some thing, was in the midst of a heated discussion up ahead, and neither side seemed capable of coming to agreement. Yet their words were muffled from a distance.

Raigar hmmed softly. “Well then,” he whispered. “Lets go see who’s not so happy.” Drawing a second hidden dagger he proceeded up the steps, the others close behind. Responding the earlier sound of a body hitting the floor and orc rounded the corner only to have Raigar’s elbow smash into it’s face. The man’s hand clamped down on the beasts mouth as the other drove his knife into it’s throat. Pivoting around the man, Eruviel stooped to catch the orc’s crude sword before it could clatter to the floor. Threz moved past them to see if there were more and Anric padded towards a second flight of steps leading to a second level.

“Who is that? I don’t recognize the voice.”

Raigar looked to Anricwulf and shook his head. He didn’t recognize it either. “Might as well go ask ’em, eh?”

Anricwulf smiled. “Sounds good.” Drawing his sword he headed up the stairs.

Eruviel and Threz exchanged another look, the mercenary huffing a silent chuckle as he put his dagger away and once again took his crossbow from his back.

At the top of the stairs, a piece of rubble fell and clattered to the ground. The conversing parties haulted and looked towards the group, just in time for the man who had been bickering with an orc to take Anric’s javelin through the torso.

Fearful that they would loose a source of information, Eruviel flipped her dagger around in her hand, moving in as Anric attacked and cast the blade into the orc. The Orc had turned and made for the door at seeing himself outnumbered. It was nearly there when Eruviel’s dagger caught it square in the thigh, and he tumbled to the ground. But her efforts were in vain and Anric fell upon the wounded Orc, ending it’s life with a flourish of his sword.

Raigar watched Anric finish the Orc as he approached the impaled man with a dour expression. “Well then, he won’t be saying much,” he muttered, before kneeling to search the dead man’s pockets.

Eruviel had moved to the snarling, yet incapacitated Orc and frowned down at it. “Blast it all,” she muttered. Kneeling down she took the few pouches from the it’s belt and began to rifle through them.

Anricwulf raised an eyebrow. “I wouldn’t have expected him to say that much anyways. Besides, they’ll lie and weasel there way out of anything.”

Raigar nodded slowly. “Maybe so,” he whispered. He rose and pulled the javelin from the dead man’s body, and turned to toss it to Anricwulf. A boot kicked the corpse over onto it’s back. “He’s too rugged, and his clothing rough, to be from Bree. My coin’s on him being a brigand.”

Anricwulf caught his javelin mid-air. “My coin was on that from the start. I don’t know any Bree-lad who would willingly work with Orcs. Only Brigands and the like would deal with such brutes.”

Eruviel nodded. “That’s who I suspect had ambushed the Dwarves to get the weapons. Those we still have yet to find,” she added sullenly.

“Then it’s likely he wasn’t just working alone.” Leaving the corpse behind, Raigar strode towards the door. With an idle twirl of his sword he beheaded the wounded Orc before cracking the door open. “It leads to outside,” he whispered. Prying the door open, offering a shrug to the others before stepping outside back to the surface.

Eruviel slippped two of the Orc’s pouches into her pockets before she followed after Threz, closing the door behind them. Chaos reigned in the camp as mounted riders continue their onslaught of the remaining Orc forces.

“Well, that was fun,” Anric commented lightly as he stretched out his arm and took a breath of the relatively fresh air.

Raigar grunted. “No sign of the crates.”

Eruviel cleaned her dagger off on her black pants and slipped it back into it’s sheath as they watched the riders do their work. “Unfortunately. It seems we have more scouting to do.”

Raigar let a sigh escape. “The world is a far place to scout in search of just a few crates.”

Eruviel nodded slowly, glancing back to the hill behind them. “One down.”

 

(All dialogue taken from in-game RP and edited for tense and exposition.)

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