The Third and Final Part:
The orc walks into the inn, multiple heads turning to look at him. Most of them turn away almost immediately when they see the scowl on his face.
A fire in the center of the bar glows brightly, lighting up the merry faces of its patrons. Towards the bar itself, solemn guests sip down their worries. Tumble approaches the bar, and the woman washing out a mug is almost startled at seeing Tumble.
"Don't be afraid, I'm not here to kill anyone in this bar. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow." Tumble says.
"What do you want to drink?" The barmaid says, clearly put off by his try at humor.
"Errh, I'll just take some beer."
Within a moment the barmaid slides Tumble a nice, cold beer. The large orc gingerly takes a sip of the beer.
A commotion towards the back of the bar gets Tumble's attention.
A balding, rough looking mercenary in steel plate armor sits at a table with what appears to be someone of noble blood. Or at least someone with a lot of money, judging by his fine robes.
"I did the job, now I want the rest of my pay." The armored man says.
"Well, maybe I'd pay you if you did the job right. Kill the foul scum, leave no witnesses, burn the place down and plant the Rattar bodies."
"I gave that scum the death he deserved, but killing a harmless old man, the targets widow, and innocent children? I think you're the real scumbag here. No one is going to give a shit about a dead marauder. Now pay up."
"Hmph, a simple mercenary with morals, now I've seen it all. But you won't be seeing your payment."
The finely robed man storms out of the inn, while the mercenary instinctively reaches for his sword. Only to find it's not there, as the guards must have confiscated it. The sell sword mumbles something about being ripped off before downing some alcohol.
"Looking for some work?" Tumble asks.
The balding mercenary looks surprised.
"What kind of work?" He asks.
"By noon tomorrow I'll be taking Grolig the Red Handed's life." Tumble says.
The mercenary lets out a short laugh.
"Are you mad? He'll eat us for breakfast."
"So...that's a no?"
"Uh, what's the pay?"
"One third of the bounty, and a commission on whatever loot we haul back."
"How much is one third?"
"1,600, and after that it will surely be double that, at least." Tumble says.
The mercenary sighs and wipes his forehead.
"That's a lot of gold. Fine, I'm in. We'll either earn a nice lump sum or an early grave. By the way I'm Lance, some call me the pulverizer."
"Tumble, Hero of the War of Scourge."
"Oh, that Tumble," Lance says,"weird name for an orc."
"Get some sleep, we ride at dawn."
With that the orc rents a room for the night, finally getting to take off the heavy black armor.
"Ah, nice to be rid of your for tonight, my shell."
Tumble stretches and finishes downing his beer. As he sits on the side of the bed, he pulls off his shirt, examining his many scars by the candlelight. Tumble runs his fingers on an especially large scar near his abdomen, where Scourge's claymore ran him through.
The scar still burns sometimes, probably some obscure effect of Scourge's power. The orc lays down, resting his head on the soft pillow. Breathing slowly and steadily, until he drifts off to dream about long gone friends, and better days.
Tumble bolts upright, gasping and looking around the room. His body drenched in a cold sweat.
"Damn, nightmares again. When will they ever stop?"
The orc gets up and dawns his armor, today is the long awaited day.
Going out to the inn, the first thing he notices is that it's almost empty. Everyone is probably hung over, although he sees the mercenary. Lance, was his name?
"You showed up, let's go." Tumble says.
They make their way to the front gate, and approach the guards. One by one the guards bring out the duo's weapons. As Tumble finishes tying his hammer to his horses saddle, he glances to Lance. The man puts a wicked looking mace to his hip, and he cradles a spear in his arm as he rides his horse.
A few hours later, Tumble and Lance are riding through the woods. The breeze gently blowing by them, the leaves swaying as their crescendo descends upon their ears.
"Northman's Watch shouldn't be too far from here." Tumble says solemnly.
As they ride into view of the impressive outpost, the clouds eclipse the sun. Northman's Watch comprises of two towers, with a bridge in between, the large structure straddling the raging river below. The smaller portion on the left, seems to have a few guards.
"There's a few on the bridge too." Lance points out.
Tumble scans the area, no sign of Grolig.
"Where are you, you coward?" Tumble mumbles.
The pair approaches the smaller tower, and the sounds of the bandits shouting can be heard. A couple of them take positions on one of the catwalks.
The pair quickly ride their horses behind a couple large rocks. Each untying their bows from their horses. As Tumble tries to peer out, an arrow flies overhead. Several more follow.
Tumble motions for Lance to go around, to which he nods. With a grunt Tumble unleashes an arrow back, the bandits laugh as it goes nowhere near them.
Tumble soon hears a yelp, and cries of anger from the bandits. He peeks out to see Lance shot one of the archers, and their attention is focused on him. Tumble takes careful aim, before letting go of the bowstring with a twang. The projectile soars through the air, landing in the side of the other archer. He would have normally survived that, but unfortunately for him he fell off the catwalk.
Tumble lowers the visor on his helmet and grabs his hammer from the saddle. With a roar he charges the bandits coming out from the tower gate. The bandits, intent on surrounding :Lance, startle when they see Tumble.
Before they know it, Lance sticks one in the neck with his spear. And they are soon stuck defending from blows from both Lance and Tumble. A woman bandit snarls at Tumble notching her bow, and lets it loose as Tumble charges, the projectile bouncing off his armor.
Tumble swings the hammer, the resourceful bandit rolling under it and drawing her knife. She tries to plunge the knife into a chink in between the armor on Tumble's leg. He simply moves his leg so the knife bounces off the plate, instead of piercing the chainmail.
Another bandit comes in swinging an axe, but Tumble catches the hooked part on the hammer handle, and flings the weapon from his hands. With a roar Tumble slams the hammer into the poor man's skull, a sickening crack resounding. Another, better armored bandit comes in swinging his flail. Tumble takes a few steps back, trying to dodge the vicious swings.
The chained ball of death swinging back and forth, high and low. As it is about to swing by again, the orc slams the hammer head into the ball, and with that same momentum brings the bottom of the shaft back into the bandits face. The man falls to the ground with a cry, which is silenced as Tumble slams the hammer onto his face.
Tumble and Lance group up, a nice pile of dead bandits beneath them.
"Come on lady," Lance says,"get out of the way."
The woman bandit only howls in rage,and more of her bandit friends come out to help. The woman swings two swords in a whirlwind of fury, almost running a blade across Lance's throat. Tumble runs in, deflecting a few blows, before kicking the woman square in the gut. As he is about to finish her off, some Lizar swings his axe down at Tumble. He uses the shaft and barely stops the axe from caving his helmet in.
With a grunt Tumble pushes the axe away, and turns the nail of the hammer outward. Piercing the Lizar's skull with one clean strike. As Lance guts some poor bastard with his spear, the woman's sword skids across Tumble's plate armor. He brings the hammer shoulder down on the sword, pinning it onto the ground. He slams the shaft forward, breaking the woman's nose.
She cries out in pain and staggers back, and with a roar Tumble lifts his hammer, ramming the pole end into her eye socket. The woman screams and writhes in pain, before falling.
The mighty orc hears a crackling sound, and turning around he sees someone in black robes come running out behind the other bandits. A sick smile on his face. Before Tumble can do anything there is a flash, and he cries in pain as the lighting jolts his body. The orc tumbles to the ground, writhing in pain.
Looking through his visor, the orc stares into the callous eyes of his killer, a sinister grin on his face as electricity sparks between his hands. All Tumble hears is a huff, and a sigh from the mage as a large spear pierces his chest. His face is peaceful as he falls, the shaft protruding from his corpse. The bandit group is demoralized by the mages death, and Tumble and Lance tear through them.
The pair fight their way through the first tower, eventually making their way onto the bridge. A nice amount of bandits guard the entrance to the next tower.
"Grolig! Grolig! Come out and face me, you coward!" Tumble yells.
The bandits all look among each other, not sure of what to do. But within moments you see a looming figure pushing past the bandits. Tumble breathes out sharply as he sees his foe, covered in scars and with a snarl on his face. Although a little bit shorter than Tumble, the orc cuts an intimidating figure. His right leg still has a limp though.
"I see you haven't had to amputate your leg yet, I must not have cut deep enough." Tumble says.
"It's nothing compared to the punishment you will face, traitor!" Grolig says.
"Traitor? You're the one who decided to kill anyone who disagreed with you."
"The council were foolish, unwilling to see the truth. They had to go, to make way for the new."
"And where did your crusade get you? Living in a lice infested hole in the ground, eh?" Tumble says.
"They just couldn't see, you couldn't see. Damn it Tumble, we were brothers in arms once. More than that, you were the only person who I gave a damn about. And you turned on me." Grolig says.
"No, I did what was necessary, you murderer. And now, I'll do what I should have done that day on the mountain."
Grolig sighs, and prepares his axe.
"No quarter." Grolig says.
"No quarter." Tumble says.
The two roar as they charge each other, Grolig predictably raises his axe, and starts to bring it down. Tumble puts his hands on the lower end of the hammer, swinging it out at Grolig's legs, as he steps to the side to avoid the axe. The shaft trips Grolig, and as he falls his axe falls off course, creating sparks as it skids across Tumble's shoulder plate.
Tumble grunts as he steps to the side and lifts his hammer, and brings it down. But Grolig rolls out of the way and leaps up surprisingly fast, and rams the shaft of the two handed axe into Tumble's face, pushing his helmet off.
"I haven't seen that face in years, my friend," Grolig says,"how we've changed."
Grolig's demeanor goes back to it's usual rage as he swings the axe at Tumble, who responds by slamming the hammer full force into the axe head. Both of them grunt as they push in this contest of strength. But ultimately the weapons scrape past each other, the axe head forming cracks.
The Red Handed practically foams at the mouth as he charges Tumble, who probably looks similar as he rushes in for an attack. Grolig pushes the deadly hammer away and swings for his enemies neck, luckily the axe blade only scratches Tumble's cheek.
But Grolig swiftly pushes the bottom of the axe shaft into Tumble's throat, causing him to sputter, and in the same motion brings the axe up to crack the heroes head open. Tumble barely dodges, the axe running along his breastplate, as he rams the hammer into Grolig's side, knocking the wind from him.
Tumble gets ready to charge as Grolig stumbles back, once again swinging the mighty hammer. Grolig holds his side with one hand, and his axe with the other. He desperately tries to deflect the blow with the axe, but the hammer only smashes into it, breaking the axe blade into pieces. Grolig leaps back to avoid a killing blow, using the remaining axe shaft as a staff.
Grolig manages to deflect a couple of Tumble's blows, whacking his knee and causing him to buckle. With the same momentum Grolig savagely brings the other end into Tumble's face.
Tumble almost falls to the ground but catches himself, but Grolig is too quick and jabs the shaft into the back of Tumble's head. He grinds the shaft into Tumble's head as he lies on the floor. The orc sneers as Tumble cries out in pain, trying to push himself up.
Wincing, Tumble raises his armored fist.
"Sorry." Tumble says.
He slams his heavy fist into Grolig's toe, who cries out in pain and almost falls. Tumble springs up, tackling his friend. The two orcs erupting into a frenzy of brutal punches and elbows. Tumble pushes Grolig into the stone floor, landing fist after fist into his face. Grolig cries out and pushes Tumble off of him, and rolls on top of him. He slams his forearm into Tumble's face. Grolig's face screws up into an insane laugh as he pummels Tumble with his fists.
Head spinning, the orc can only see stars as fist after fist hit him. Surely this must be his end.
But, out of nowhere Tumble punches his enemy square in the stomach. Grolig lurches forward and Tumble plants one right in his jaw. Tumble pushes Grolig off of him.
He begins to walk towards his hammer, as Grolig stumbles up and lurches after him.
"Come on, where are you going Tumble? We're not done fighting." Grolig says.
Tumble grips the hammer, and spins with a mighty cry. The hammer crunches as it contacts Grolig's face. The orc falls to one knee, as Tumble hits him again. The orc falls weakly to the ground. Tumble stands over him and readies the hammer for the last strike. But he stops as Grolig gets to his knees.
"What are you waiting for? End it." Grolig says.
"I.....can take you in, you could face a trial." Tumble says.
Grolig shakes his head and spreads out his arms.
"No. Grikalai awaits." Grolig says.
"I'll see you there, friend." Tumble says.
Tumble swings the hammer for one last mighty blow. Grolig spins around almost in a three sixty as a savage crack resounds from the blow, and his head hits the stone walkway. Tumble stands there, expecting Grolig to get up and keep fighting, or to say something smart. He doesn't. He just lays there, crimson pool spilling out from his head. His eyes rolled up, and tongue almost lolling out of his mouth.
Tumble pants out a sigh.
"It's over then."
The rest of the bandits flee, seeing their leader defeated.
Tumble picks up the body of Grolig and hoists him over his shoulders.
"Where are you going?" Lance asks.
"To bury him."
Thanks, I appreciate the feedback. I do see that it could have flowed a bit better though.
Well I just finished reading through all three parts of this, and I have just a few notes that I'd like to share.
The first part was the weakest, because nothing really happened in it. Sure the writing was good, and the dialogue was solid as well, but there wasn't much keeping me interested in reading it. It was just some random orc riding into town.
The second part was better. It had much more characterization, and even just the addition of several more characters. (Some of which I thought were going to be expanded upon, but weren't. That was a slight disappointment.) The chapter was him going to the King for work, but then being led to a bounty board after the conversation. That made me take a second glance at it. Surely if Tumble just needed some work, then he would've just gone straight to the bounty board instead of going to the king. Other than that, this part was fine with the dialogue being my favorite portion of it.
The last part was, uh, interesting. It was massively different from the other two parts in that this part had a ton of fighting scenes, and while the scenes were written well, there were a lot of them. By the time I got to the last fight, I was kinda pooped out on reading fights with the only thing keeping me going being the relationship between the two combatants. Even that, however, didn't come across to me to well. The bond they had seemed highly superficial, and the ruthless bounty hunter character you had built up to this point offering him a trial was quite odd. If you wanted the bond to have been deeper and made the reader feel a tad sad, then you should've started building the fight up from the very first part.
All in all, it was a good story, but it wasn't great. There was a minimum requirement met for this to be an all around solid story, but nothing took it to the next level. I imagine this could be taken to that next level, however, if you fixed up a few minor mistakes and then expanded upon character relationships, and built up the plot a little more.
Nice job Corgi. Despite my criticisms, I did enjoy it, and look forward to whatever you put out next.
Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. I will admit, when I started writing this I hadn't planned on Tumble and Grolig having any relation ship, but by the time I got around to finishing it I had thought about them being friends at one point. So yes, their relationship doesn't seem fully fleshed out because, well, it really wasn't haha.
I will have to take great care to flesh these things out. Once again, thanks for the feedback Ebon :)