Memories of Connor's Adventures

Orlando the Adventurer pulled a Scimitar from beneath his Robes and smiled...

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Short Fiction: The Expendable


“Load the next one.” Gregor the Engineer waved to the crew of the Catapult and they began winding the engine back. The Engine ropes seemed to strain under the pressure until they locked the mechanism.

“Locked Sir,” Jerod the Knight had been promoted sideways by the Baron to Siege Engine Crew so he didn’t really like it here. Gregor let the hostility of being ordered about by a Peasant slide.

“Bring me another Kobold.” He waved to the beast-handler. The Kobold straining at its rope was under no illusions – he didn’t want to be hurled at the side of a Keep either. The last had – for the grace of god and a slight cross wind at the last moment – struck the wall of the Tower keep full on. The Bloody pulp had left a stain on the white wash on the stone wall before falling into the moat. Of course the next would be different. It had to be.

Thog had other plans. As he was loaded in the cupola of the catapult by the Knight who had referred to his now deceased fellow Kobold as a ‘smelly little bugger’, he contemplated his options. The saw blade hung from a twine around his neck. Unfortunately the last to try a runner had been cut down and returned to the Catapult. Thog looked at the Stain on the whitewash.

The Knight was still leaning over the Hook that was attached to the Rope used to draw the catapult back and Thog had heard the Leader of this siege crew speak the word often enough - all he needed to do was get it right.

 “Fire!” The crew let fly before they had realized their error. The Hook hurled the Knight ahead of the kobold who he had been placing in the Cupola. Jerod the Knight screamed. Gregor the Siege engineer could only watch as Jerod bounced off the edge of the tower and descended into the courtyard – the scream of a man in great pain. The Kobold on the other hand had landed short – on the battlements. Alive and well he ran along the stonework evading the soldiers who had turned to look at the Knight who had dropped in on them – the bloody mess still alive and screaming. No one noticed as the Kobold reached the ropes of the drawbridge and began sawing with the tool he had been provided. A guard was alerted to the sound of the saw on rope and turned on him.

“Kobold on the Ropes!”  Thog dropped over the edge in search of a location under the cover of the stonework where he could cut the ropes without being killed. The Saw cut furiously into the ropes as the Soldier above him could do little more than swing his spear blindly in the night attempting to swat Thog with what amounted to a wooden pole.

The Ropes of the Drawbridge gave way and the heavy timber barrier dropped across the watery impasse and Thog was dumped into the foul ditch below.

On the Hillside the Baron screamed:

“The Drawbridge is down!”  His horde of rabid warriors shocked and surprised by what they had just witnessed seemed to have not heard a word.

“Attack!” Baron Holdove pushed his commander forward and descended the hillside toward the now open invitation in a storm of Metal. Men inside seemed to panic. The bridge was down.

Thog didn’t really want to stick around. He had seen Human Battle before – the last one had landed him in his current predicament but he couldn’t just leave the rest of his Kobolds to these humans.

On the Hill a half-dozen Kobolds were being handled by the Beast Handler who seemed more interested in the Siege of the keep than his job. Having settled on a plan Thog pulled himself out of the muck and dodged his way between the legs of the Warriors now colliding on the Drawbridge in conflict.

Malvo the Squire tripped over the Kobold and was almost trampled by the warriors who pushed him aside. He looked around at the diminutive beast he had come to grief on. It was the Kobold who had been catapulted in and cut the ropes on the Bridge.

“Sorry Sir! My fault entirely,” That act of insanity had in Malvo’s mind earned the little fellow a ‘Sir’.

“As you were young Knight...” The Kobold did his best to replicate the voice of the Baron to the open mouthed surprise of the Squire. Thog ran on up the Hill and left the Squire to rejoin the battle.

If there was one thing Thog had proven skilled at in his years in his Kobold Tribe it had been Mimicry.

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