The Crimson Hand

The deeper you dig, the darker it gets…

Morlock's Choice

The ogre attack caught everyone by surprise.

Morlock dropped and rolled, drawing his bow and running for cover. “Dynamisk!” Larkin screamed. “Watch out!” Dynamisk turned, his eyes widening as a gigantic club swept him out of the driver’s seat of his cart. He hit the ground hard. Larkin leapt out of her cart, deftly sidestepping the ogre’s second swipe. If only she could get around them, trip them up a little, stab them from behind. The two ogres to her right were ganging up on Bokanon; it didn’t look good. Miro, of course, was useless; he hardly knew how to use a crossbow. “I’m not cut out for this,” she sighed to herself. A flash lit up the battlefield, and Larkin could smell the pungent odor of burning flesh behind her. She smiled. At least Dynamisk was giving them a run for their money.

Bokanon grunted as one of the ogre’s clubs hit him squarely in the chest. He heard several ribs crack. He wasn’t afraid of the pain (the Dark Prince surely knew that!), but he knew that he was terribly outmatched. Morlock—damn him—was nowhere to be seen. Drawing upon his pain, Bokanon bellowed, sending a ribbon of malevolent energy crackling along the haft of his greataxe. He savored the sound it made as it sliced into the first ogre’s belly, but his joy was interrupted as a swipe from the second nearly knocked his helmet off. Bokanon could feel the blood pounding behind his eyes; the end was near. “Morlock!” he roared, swinging his axe for what might be the last time. “Gods damn it! Where are you?!”

Larkin screamed as one of the ogres mashed Dynamisk into the ground, his hand still glowing with arcane light. She flung her daggers at the ogre in fury, watching them bounce off its tough hide. She drew another pair; flung them as well. They didn’t even faze the beast. She could hear the thud of padded feet behind her. “Morlock!” she sobbed. “For Gods’ sake! Why don’t you help!”

Miro had had enough of this. As he watched Larkin collapse under a final powerful swing, he made up his mind. You coward! You worm! You piece of meat! He screamed silently to himself. You did nothing! You sat and watched! You didn’t even try to shoot! He grabbed the reins and whipped the horses, hard. They were dead. They were all dead. He couldn’t die too. No, no. He whipped the horses again. And again. Not him. Not now. Gods, not now.

. . .

As the dust cleared, Morlock smiled. The ogres had run after the cart. What a stroke of luck. As he approached his fallen comrades, Larkin stirred at his feet. Morlock slowly knelt and quietly slid his blade into her chest. This job had proven much easier than he would have thought. He smiled to himself. Ogres. What a stroke of luck.

Sixty thousand gold pieces was a lot to retire on.

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The Crimson Hand

Anthros Campaign Setting Cpt_Tempesta