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Old 04-17-2007, 12:26 PM   #376
Child of the 7th Age
Spirit of the Lonely Star
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"Can you handle a wagon?"

Azhar looked up puzzled at the question Lindir had posed to her. "A wagon?" she echoed.

"Yes. Have you ever driven a wagon before? Could you harness up a brace of horses to a good sized cart?"

Azhar frowned, reflected a minute, and then replied. "I think so. I did not have to work in the fields. But the overseers often asked me to run errands and bring out loads of supplies."

"Good. Get one of the other men to help. Have him bring along his horse. Walk over to the far side of camp. You'll see the slavers' wagon sitting near the campfire. I was going to use it to convey the supplies back to our main camp. Now it will serve a different purpose. Hitch up the horses and start driving west. I need you to return to the others as quickly as you can. Once you're there, speak with Athwen and Dorran to explain what has happened."

Lindir stared off in the distance, as if searching for something, before turning back to explain, "The plain truth is I can't answer your questions. I don't know why these orcs are here. Orcs travel in gangs. That's how they live, and that's how they are controlled. It's easier to influence a mob than someone standing off by himself who's able to think on his own. Sauron and even Morgoth before him made sure that none of the orcs ran off to grab anything of their own. Being an orc means blindly following the group. You have to keep your mouth shut and do what you're told. You can't think too much and never, never separate yourself from the gang. Some Elves used to say there was a tiny bit of goodness left even in orcs. A few orcs still dreamed of having lodgings of their own out in the wilds where they could hunt and fish and thumb their noses at the bosses. Not a very lofty dream, mind you, but better than going around the countryside slitting throats. But I never met an orc with that dream, and, I do know orcs don't go roaming on their own." Lindir again stared off in the distance as if he was trying to find something.

"What does this mean?" Azhar prodded.

"Either these orcs were separated from their band and are looking for a second one to join, or they are the advance party for a large military troop making its way to or from Nurn. If they don't report back to their troop, the whole band will flood this area to find out what's happened, looking for blood. Orcs are lousy trackers, especially on a plain like this. They are as likely to stumble over to our main camp as they are to come towards us."

"Tell Dorran and Athwen these things. Tell them we must bring the two camps together. I thought of having us ride back and just desert this place. But this camp is better stocked and can be more easily defended than ours. Our best chance for safety is here. Have Athwen put the most severely wounded in the wagon. The rest must walk. Have them start tomorrow morning. They must not delay any longer than that."

"They're not going to like this," the girl objected.

"No, I don't suppose so. Athwen will be understandably concerned about having to move the wounded and the others so quickly. And Dorran..... Dorran will not be pleased that our new camp will have a pit full of living orcs. Be that as it may. I will not run through a sleeping man or orc when I have no declared war against him. As to getting further information out of these orcs, I have my doubts. I am not prepared to torture them, though I will try to put the fear or Mordor into their hearts. Orcs have strange beliefs about elves and perhaps we can use that to our advantage. But for now, we must get the others here. Run now, be careful, and may you come back safely."

Last edited by Child of the 7th Age; 04-20-2007 at 10:25 AM.
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