The five men sat warming themselves around the large fire. Three snow hares were roasting on a spit and the aroma had their mouths watering. One young man was joking to another about a pretty girl he’d met in Ralspur and how he was gonna take her to the Spring Festival when they finished this rotation. The other made some comment about the ‘fire in her hearth’ and soon the whole circle was chuckling.
The leader stood up suddenly from his seat on the log and looked into the darkness outside the campsite.
The first thing the veteran Sargent saw were the massive off-white tusks reflecting the firelight as the ogre came out of the darkness at full speed. At the blood-curdling growl of the beast, Ridley, newly turned 14, came to his feet with his eyes wide in terror. The seven and a half foot blade crunched through his skull with a wet snap and exited his hip spraying blood outward onto the white snow.
Juff, the eldest of the ogres, charged into the circle from the opposite side and bullrushed Jonns, the youngest of the Watch team, directly into the blazing fire. He went up in flames, screamed and thrashed around for a moment or two before expiring. Tevaga brought down Corporal Dratt with two easy strokes and Gorth over powered and cut down Sargent Ingols in two exchanges of attacks.
In an attempt to distract the dumb beasts, Command Sargent Lan offered them the horses. It had worked one other time he’d come across ogres. They had happily accepted his horses in trade for some reason. Horse flesh is a prized delicacy among certain humanoids. He had often wondered if they ever realized they could have taken the horses after simply killing him. But he hadn’t waited around for them to come to any realizations.
Juff chuckled at the human’s pathetic attempt and responding in common said, “The fight is ours and ours alone.”
That was an unusual response for a big, dumb brute!
One huge stride closed the distance between the two. Juff feinted with a low jab with his left long sword and brought the right long sword across in a whistling cut at the man’s neck level. Lan dodged the jab and slashed twice into the ogre’s belly, but the second attack surprised him for the second time that night. The wicked edges of the beast’s blade cut through his pauldren and into the muscle of his left shoulder. The ogre dropped his weapons and grabbed his belly as he slumped to the snow.
Gorth came in hard at the sargent’s side driving his blade down with a series of ringing clashes. The impact of this brute’s cleaves were numbing his arm rapidly. He had to think of something…and soon.
Not soon enough. These were no ordinary ogres. They had outflanked him without him noticing. ‘How embarrassing is this,’ he thought as the other three ogres encircled him and began hammering away at him. Soon the attacks that slipped through got the better of him and he fell to the snow at their feet. On his back he watched helplessly as the dual-wielding ogre sat up and examined the pink scars criss-crossing his abdomen. His hands numb, he weakly withdrew his favorite weapon, a masterwork dirk presented to him by King Gundrik himself. His arm betrayed him and fell to his side dropping the etched blade into the red snow. Watching helplessly, Lan saw the Ogre’s muscles bulge and the blade descended. The world tilted awkwardly and the edges of his vision began to darken. The ogre took his dirk and put it in his belt, claiming it to the others in common.
‘Who will sound the alarm? Who will protect the people?’… darkness.
The world upside down.