Marcus’ mailed fist crushed a shambling zombie’s head; his swinging flail’s chain wrapped tightly around a second creature’s throat, and with a jerk he severed its head. His heavy armor was more than a match for their gnashing teeth and fumbling hands. The greatest armament amongst the horde was a club with a nail through it. As another one of the undead crumpled into a heap, Marcus felt a rising sense of doom welling up inside of him. The armies of the dead had been engaging his forces en masse over the last three weeks, but again and again he repelled each attack. Astur, the lord of the dead and king of the North had sent this army, along with a magical winter which had only begun to vex Marcus.“He’s going to starve us out, plain and simple!” Yelled Klimt over the tumult. Marcus glanced at the burly orc, armored in shining half plate and emotionlessly slashing left and right with a battle axe. The orc moved with powerful, fluid motions, pushing foes with his shield and lopping off heads and hands with deadly precision. A bear roared through the mob, a zombie clenched in its maw; Flavish, an orc druid had long ago ceased casting spells. Instead, the druid rode his bear, slashing wildly as the beast trampled over the moaning horde.“So what do we do? Abandon the fortress?” yelled Marcus with a sardonic smile.
“They’ll just follow us to the end of the world and shove us right off.” shouted Klimt as he drew closer to Marcus. The two began to fight in tandem, with Klimt shielding Marcus and Marcus attacking. Both of them had been a field since dawn, and the sun was reaching its zenith. Both were getting tired, but neither wanted to stop fighting. Every creature they felled was one less they would have to slay later, and one less their compatriots would need to worry about.
“Are we done yet?” yelled Flavish over the din. He was carrying a spear topped with a still wriggling zombie hand. His bear snarled viciously; she was hungry, and the undead flesh didn’t taste half as good as the sort that stayed dead.
“We’ll head back for the fortress. This is enough for this sortie. Let Mugluth’s troops come out and play.” said Marcus, resigning himself to the fact that he didn’t possess the unending strength and vigor of the dead arisen. “Sound a retreat, and make sure none of those bastards get in. I still don’t like this set up. Astur needs to send something at us quick, or I’m going to get bored.”
Flavish pulled a war horn from his belt and let it resound deeply three times. The small army of orcs, elves, and hobgoblins that were fighting throughout the field began to regroup into phalanxes to start the slow retreat. The giant doors of the fortress yawned open as Karn, a red skinned hobgoblin from Kutal led a charge out of the gates. some 200 horsemen followed the unarmored hobgoblin as he howled, waving his broadsword above his head. Likely, Karn had been pacing all morning, waiting for the horn to sound. He was a battle-crazed lunatic, and war was his only sustentation. Behind the cavalry came several hundred orcs on foot with spears and iron armor. Marcus’ legion walked from the field as Mugluth’s orcs took to it.
Mugluth rode a powerful looking warhorse and wore a crown on his head made of dragon’s teeth and iron. He had the legendary sword Lolor sheathed at his side and a proud, defiant air. He looked more like a king of men than a king of brutish orcs. Mugluth saluted Marcus as Marcus completed his evacuation of the field. He looked at his weary men and felt their fatigue run into him like a ravaging stream of lethargy. With his war done for today, all that was left was a bed, some preparation of spells, caring for his weapons and armor, and then the field again. His head bowed with fatigue, he walked up the long stairwell that lead to his apartments.
He pushed open the door to his room and nearly collapsed under the weight of his armor. He tugged at the straps and let the plates fall. Throwing off his sweaty and soiled clothes, Marcus headed for the tub of hot water that a servant had been commanded to fill upon the horn’s sounding. Marcus immersed himself in the water and let himself relax…