Great Ocean Plains
"Shields!" Taris yelled as several Oerkins charged up swinging massive cleavers and axes. The battle hardened troops quickly slammed their shields together, forming a wall against the Oerkin charge.
The men yelled at the Oerkins hammered against the shield wall, knocking a couple of men back and denting the iron reinforced shields. The rest of the troops quickly closed together to cover the gaps while others dragged the wounded away.
The shield wall barely ten shields wide flexed inwards as the Oerkins threw their full body weight behind their weapons, threatening to smash down the flimsy shield wall.
"Spears forward!" Taris quickly ordered the second line of troops to advance with their long spears. He next turned to the drivers and helpers armed with crossbows that hid behind the ring of wagons and ordered. "LOOSE!"
Twangs of bows string rang out as the auxiliary support fired their crossbows at the Oerkins who ignored the bolts slamming into their bodies. They parried at the stabs of the long spears and backed off, giving the shieldmen some breathing space.
"Form up!" One of the squad leaders yelled to the shieldmen and the tired men reformed their formation and pressed fore towards the Oerkins. Suddenly several thunderous roars and smoke burst out from among the Oerkins.
Almost immediately, the shields wall exploded, sending broken men and wood shards flying. The Last Company troops screamed in shock and pain while the spearmen at the back paused in confusion.
Taris frowned as he wondered what kind of spell was that and cursed himself for not bringing several mages along! He only knew a few spells due to him being a noble in a previous life.
He only knew several basic level 1 spells which were more than enough to get him out of any sticky situations. Knowing the situation will worsen if the men were unrallied, he rushed forward and yelled at the men. "Charge! Quickly! CHARGE!"
Despite confused and dazed, the troops responded to Taris's order and charged, their responses having honed over many battles. They leaped over their fallen comrades and yelled out a fierce war cry as they closed in to the Oerkins that were almost half a size larger than them.
Another sudden thunderous roar and smoke erupted from the Oerkin and men fell with bloody holes in their bodies to limbs flying off.
Taris gasped in shock at the power of the Oerkin, his mind unable to understand why they have such powerful magic. The survivors waived unsteadily as the sudden violent deaths made them pause. The dying and wounded screamed and thrashed about on the bloody ground made the battle harden men felt a tingle of fear down their spines.
"Bwahahahahahahaa!" The small party of Oerkins laughed at the expressions of fear on the soft skins. "Soft skins surrender! If not, you taste more Boom Boom! Bwahahahaa!"
Taris looked at the fear showing on his remaining men, last than half still standing while they barely downed a single Oerkin. "Hell!" He tossed his rapier down on the blood soaked soil and ordered the rest of his men to lay down their weapons.
"Hehehehe," The Oerkins laughed and disarmed everyone before herding them all together. They left the badly wounded and dying behind and with practiced hands, they noosed everyone together with rope in a human chain and tied the end to one of the wagons before whooping with joy and drove all the captured wagons away.
Taris could only curse their fate as they stumbled after the wagon, unsure of what the future will hold for them.
Tyrier cut off his engine as he stopped his dirt bike at the base of an outcrop of rocks. He climbed up the outcrop and removed his binoculars from his pouch and scanned the area. The rest of Claymore One parked their bikes and stretched their bodies as they rested while waiting for Tyrier.
"Seen anything?" Hitsu asked as he chewed some jerky. "It's four days and we haven't found any Orc merchants to rob!"
"Well, what do you know," Tyrier grinned as he focused his sights on a train of black dots in the distance. "We got a winner!"
"Really?" Hitsu chucked the remaining jerky into his mouth and climbed up the rocks with the others. Taking out his own set of binos, he scanned the horizon, "Where? Where?"
"There," Tyrier pointed in the direction where he spotted a train of wagons. "Looks like a kilometer or so out."
The rest looked at the where Tyrier pointed with their binos and the tiny dots enlarged into several wagons with dozens and dozens of people following the caravans. "Alright, let's keep an eye on them. I don't want everyone to watch them, I want two on watch and the rest to be resting."
"Once they stop for the night," Tyrier smiled. "We ambush them!"
Taris's throat was patched while his lips were cracking due to the dry weather. The amount of water the Oerkins doled out barely helped quenched his thirst, not to mention the dry rock hard bread.
The Oerkin stopped the wagons and herded the men together and tied the end of the line to another wagon. They started to prepare and cook dinner and one of the Oerkins came over with a bucket, handing out stale biscuits and a small cupful of water for each person.
Taris barely had the strength to chew the hard biscuit as the hard three days travel had sapped all his strength. But he forced himself to bite and swallow the biscuit as he knew he needed the energy to keep moving.
He thought he briefly heard the sound of distant thunder as he drifted off to a dreamless sleep as he laid huddled among the rest of the men, sharing body warmth.
"Check left!" Tyrier hissed softly to Team 2 as they advanced slowly towards the camp in the middle of the night with their night vision goggles down. He rested his cheek against his rifle butt as he and Team 1 advanced tactically forward.
Team 3 advanced towards the right of the camp and reported. "One, Three, two sentry spotted. Over."
"One, Two. One sentry spotted Two Omegas sleepers. Over."
"One to All, standby. Over." Tyrier replied as he and Team 1 swept the central area of the camp and spotted a sitting Orc and two other shapes sleeping next to the campfire. "I see one sitting by the fire, and two sleepers. Over."
A couple of clicks was heard in the comms as Team 2 and 3 acknowledged his report. Tyrier nodded as all eight of the Orcs's position were identified. "One to All, mark your targets! Standy by for take down. Over."
Tyrier gestured to the new guy Wolf to target the sitting Orc and they waited for the rest to be ready.
"One, Two, target marked. Standing by. Over."
"One, Three, On target. Ready to go. Over."
"One, to All, on three, two... one... mark!"
Wolf's silenced M2 tutted and the 6.5 mm bullet slapped the sitting Orc's head with a wet smack, knocking him off his perch.
"One, Two, two Omegas down."
"One, Three, Tango down."
"Go, go, go!" Tyrier whispered loudly and gestured the rest of Team 1 forward, his weapon covering the sleepers.
"Clear the camp, take out all the Omegas!" Tyrier ordered as he creeped up next to one of the sleeping Orcs and stabbed down swiftly with his bayonet into the muscular throat of the sleeping Orc.
The thick muscles barely provided any resistance as the honed blade pierced through tissues, tendons, and nerves. Tyrier stuffed the smelly blankets the Orc used to cover himself against the cold against its face as the Orc spasmed and struggle in suddenly surprise.
Soon the struggling Orc ceased his death spasms and Tyrier looked to see Tavel had similarily finished off the other sleeper. He gave a questioning nod to Tavel who replied, indicating his target was dead. Wolf had smartly kept himself in the shadows, his weapon sweeping the camp for further unexpected threats.
"All Teams, report?" Tyrier whispered as he wiped his blade clean against the blankets.
"Two, all clear, zero movement."
"Three, clear, but there is a whole bunch of prisoners and slaves here."
"Roger, sweep and check the wagons," Tyrier replied before he gestured the rest towards the wagons.
After several minutes, Claymore One regrouped at the campfire. "All cleared, wagons mostly carried trade goods." Altied reported.
"Eight kills," Loke said, "And about 28 men tied up back there."
"Leave them there, for now, we will settle them in the morning," Tyrier replied. "Clear the bodies before any beasts or monsters come sniffling for blood."
The rest nodded and split up to handle the dead Orcs before returning to the camp. "Alright, half on watch the other half get some rest," Tyrier said once they had cleared all traces of the one way fight away. "Make sure someone is always keeping an eye on the slaves."
Taris blinked his eyes rapidly as he woke up from the uncomfortable position he was laying on and as his mind slowly cleared, he wondered why didn't the Oerkins come as usual to kick them awake once it was first light.
To his surprise and shock, he saw a couple of strangely dressed and face painted barbarians sitting on the wagon tops watching them. "Who are you, people?"
With his cry, the rest of the men woke up too and they too were confused and surprised by the appearances of these strange barbarians.
Suddenly another one of those barbarians appeared between the wagons and took out a knife. The men cursed as they braced themselves against the strange barbarian, unsure what he was going to do.
The barbarian without a word tossed the knife at the men and sat down on the side of one of the wagons and waited. Everyone paused and looked at each other before looking back at the barbarian seated there in a casual pose. "Well, what are you waiting for?"
"You want us to fight among ourselves?" Taris's anger rose as he cursed at the barbarian. "We are not slaves!" He assumed that the Oerkins had sold them to these barbarians.
Tyrier rolled his eyes up and sighed, "No, what makes you think I want you to fight among yourselves? Its to cut yourselves loose! Idiots!"
Taris was dumbstruck as he heard the barbarian words. "Why would you want to free us after buying us from the Oerkins? What hidden motive do you barbarians have?"
Tyrier sighed again, "First we did not buy you, the Orcs are dead, anyway its up to you if you wanna stay tied up. Me? I am gonna get something to eat."
With that Tyrier stood up and walked off, heading towards the campfire.
Taris was confused, the Oerkins are dead? He gestured to one of the men, "Cut us loose."
The man nodded and sawed away at the ropes that bound everyone together. After everyone was cut loose, Taris gestured everyone to follow him as they followed the barbarian footsteps and entered the camp.
Taris noted that there were only seven barbarians in total, three were on the wagons acting as guards or lookouts while the rest was preparing some food on the campfire.
"Well, if you have any injuries, my guy here will take a look at it," The earlier barbarian said as the Last Company men stood uncertainly before him. "I also need some help from you guys to prepare food..."
Taris nodded to his men and the men gave out a yell of happiness and went off to help to prepare food despite being weakened. "My name is Taris Von Goldblum. I am the second in command of the Last Company."
"Sergeant Tyrier, of the One Hundred and First," The Barbarian replied while chewing some jerky. "How did you end up in such a state?"
"Damn Oerkins ambushed us!"