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Old 07-27-2006, 10:28 AM   #117
Child of the 7th Age
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Post for Imak

A small tent sat in the middle of the encampment, poised midway between the pit where the prisoners were kept and the area with the horses and donkeys where they'd searched for signs of an unknown assailant. While the rest of the men always set up their bedrolls under the open sky, Imak used the tent as a place to hold meetings, to sleep, and to store his personal belongs. The sun had risen above the plain by the time the captain of the slavers trudged wearily across the compound and threw himself onto his bed, hoping to get some rest.

He and the others had tried to track down the intruders for the past two hours. They had scoured every corner of the camp, and a small party had ridden out to inspect the open plain. None of these efforts had met with success. Imak had made his living by stealing from others: taking away their freedom and possessons. To have the tables turned, to be taken in by a trickster and thief, was a bitter pill to swallow. In all his years working on the plains of Mordor, this had never happened before.

Imak was sure he'd guessed what was actually going on. The slave camp had been large--over sixty men, women, and children. While most of the group had no horses, it was certainly possible that their leaders did. He and his followers had seen only the eastern fringes of the slave encampment; a few horses could easily have been tied up on the far side of the hill, an area with a tangled web of long grasses, bushes, and stunted trees that would provide heavy cover and a place for the animals to feed. The owners of the horses had probably sensed an easy target and actually followed them back across the plain, waiting in the darkness till the camp had fallen asleep. Then they had struck, perhaps at the time when the men had risen to argue about the snake. Uninterested in the fate of a few worthless children, the slaves had stolen two donkeys and a horse to make their own life easier. Imak did not doubt that they would be back sometime.

Restless and on edge, the gang leader forced himself to rise and, thrusting his head outside the tent, barked out an order that the camp's watch was immediately to be doubled to prevent any further mishaps from occurring. Returning inside, he went over to where his belongings were stored, pulling out a small jeweled flask that was filled with fine wine. He took a large gulp from the flask and then knelt down to have another look, just to make sure that nothing had been stolen. The first item he spied was the satchel containing his most prized possession: a curved blade of eastern origin kept inside a fine metal scabbard, all encrusted with rubies and emeralds. After eying the satchel with the scabbard sticking out at the top, he vowed to sleep with the sword beside him and to wear it at his waist the next day to make sure that nothing happened to it. In Imak's eyes, the weapon was worth as much as two hundred worthless slaves.

The instant he picked up the bag to hoist onto his lap, Imak knew that something was wrong. The satchel felt light, far too light to contain his prized saber. Opening the sack confirmed his worst suspicions. Although the scabbard still remained as a decoy, the actual sword was gone. Overcome with fury, Imak ran out in the center of camp, swearing that the slaves would pay dearly for what they had done. Hearing the voice of their enraged captain and used to responding quickly to his fits of temper, the men leapt from their bedrolls and gathered to hear what he had to tell them.

"We will ride against the slaves," Imak snarled. "Those thieves not only stole our mounts but the finest sword in this camp. I will retrieve that weapon and personally cut off the head of whoever did this. The rest of them will be dragged off in chains and taken back to the plantation."

"Gurug, come here." He jerked a finger at one of the men. "You will ride this morning to the slave camp. find out what's happening, and then come back. If the slaves are packing to move, we will strike at them immediately. If they dally, we will wait till the following night. There is much to do to prepare. We have the weapons to slay such a worthless bunch, but I did not expect to be taking back a gang of over sixty slaves. It would be best not to attack until we gather the brands, mend the shackles and neck collars, put up holding pens and enlarge the pit, and gather more food. Defeating the slaves will be the easy part. Getting them back to the plantation is another matter. It may have to be done in two batches. I will not lose my profits by having some collapse from hunger or escape after they've been caught, but I swear that whoever stole this sword shall die."

Imak's face grew red with anger as he bellowed at the men. "I will not be cheated of my prey. Go now, Gurug. The rest of you....sleep for an hour or two if you must. Then rise and begin your preparations. There will be no slackards here!"

Immediately, Imak withdrew into the tent. All thoughts of sleep were gone. He spent the morning fuming and pacing in circles, planning for the battle that would surely come sometime in the next two days.


Post for Makdush

When Makdush returned to camp about an hour after the other orcs, he brandished a new saber, a fine blade of eastern workmanship heavily inlaid with jewels. He had never possessed a weapon of this quality before, not even in the days when he had worked as one of Saruman's chief lieutenants. His eyes gleemed possessively as he drew out the weapon and flashily showed it off in front of the others.

"Keep your hands off my sword," he barked out to the orcs who had gathered to look at the weapon. He turned and glared at them with a jaundiced eye. "If I catch anyone near this, you'll be sorry you were ever born." Then he strutted over to his two Uruk friends, and the three put their heads together talking about something in low, hushed voices so that no one else could hear.

Last edited by Child of the 7th Age; 07-30-2006 at 03:10 AM.
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