Dreamweaver Chapter 193 Part A
Just outside the dwarven southern fortress (above the Abyss Shaft) and capital of the Southern Province.
I twisted my blade in the orcs gut and did a backspin kick sending its dying body into the dirt using chi amplification. The longsword I’m wielding glowed white hot with elven fire as its enchantment, which also strengthens its durability for complex moves like this. It was one of a few pieces that left proof light elves once lived on this planet. Light elves, that are now mourned and extinct. Even the dwarves agree that light elves are gone.
What I can’t figure out is why the dwarves are so happy about that. They try to hide it but people notice, but then they get quiet real fast when you ask anything about that.
Sweeping the blade right and left two more orcs are burned easily enough, as the purifying fire from the blade kicks in to finish them off. Then I kicked another way before it could grab me, where it’d been sneaking up.
That was closer than I liked on the timing but I wasn’t caught sleeping on my alertness like he’d thought before he threw away his little shit vile life. I spat on the corpse, and then mashed my heavy boot on his dead ass face feeling the bones and cartilage crunch.
Without breathing a sweat, I’m charging to make short work of these little night raider scum.
“Lyra…I’m…sorry…I fell asleep while on watch!” one of my apprentices cried pitifully. His nose and eyes are running with tears of remorse, because he’s bleeding to death with a poisoned gut wound. That is seriously one of the worst gut wounds I’ve ever seen. An orc had buried a full metal mace spiked ball just under his sternum so hard that the kid is clearly not going to make it. Half of his guts are shredded also from when the big orc had yanked the spiked ball out causing more tissue damage.
My other two apprentices are working hard to get prepared and put up a show of defense. They both have circular shields and swords like mine, since that’s the favored style I taught them; except theirs aren’t enchanted.
“Sleep easy kid. Just rest, you earned it,” I said while closing the kid’s eyes. He’d fought pretty hard but his technique and skills had been neglected for too long to really make it in the end. I actually wanted to scream at him and tell him what a fucking traitor he is for falling asleep on watch, but when someone is dying you don’t want to have them come back as ghosts with unfinished business.
That and… he’s already dead; another fool that died fighting orcs.
But what does that make me? I should retire but somehow I keep getting drawn back into conflicts like this.
“Dammit! That’s the fourth apprentice this quarter,” I said trying to hide the anguish in my voice. I’m going through them too fast. These are supposed to be bad ass elite or nobles’ kids wanting an edge in life; or that are the top of their classes in normal fighting and adventuring schools that get scholarships to go become an elite knight that’s the top of the top.
But they can’t do that when they are dead. And the top brass don’t listen to me when I tell them things are hard enough in keeping people alive that we actually need a mid level apprentice program between the newbie program and the field apprentice program. This is basically because the orc and goblin invasions of this world basically are taking everything and raping the land. Whole kingdoms have vanished in the last five years that were huge.
This was also why I slept with my armor on. It’s kind of disgusting and I wish I could bathe more but times were bad and I’d had plenty of times were I had been snuck up on in the dark and it’d saved my ass. I don’t even know when I’d last worn a dress.
My remaining two apprentices are now on either side of my shoulders as they’d walked up.
And we’d lost three more mercenaries in this night raid too. Those mercenaries and the apprentices were all Vyskland Empire people that had travelled with me all the way here acting as my bodyguards. It’d taken us months to get here.
We couldn’t bury the bodies because the orcs were coming back with reinforcements. Plus, they’d take the bodies in the night to put in their stew pots anyway. Orcs have a thing for human stew recipes…and I don’t mean our cookbook recipes, but the real thing human stews.
Already there is too much time lost here. Then it would take more time to figure out where we were because the road signs and villages were all burned down. Our guide who grew up in this area didn’t even know where we were for like two days straight and we’re just praying he can remember the landmarks that can’t be burned down. Then he died too, and that was about a week ago last Thursday; also from an orc raid.
We’d set out with a full company, that I’d paid for myself. Though I did get some subsidy cash from the government as a payment to make sure I didn’t die and so they could front 50% of the bill. But they weren’t doing that out of their own free will and choice. For one thing, they are trying to give me incentive to come back still and work for them; this isn’t any charity on their part. They were doing it for pride and so they can claim they are sponsoring an intercontinental campaign again, which is unheard of in times like now, and similar to a mini crusade but now more than half of us are already dead. Oh yeah, and because I was one of the squadron leaders under the generals head knight commanders which were under the Lord Knights, under the General in that order of rank. I did that having worked my way up under them for years. It sounds like I’m really still a peon but I’ve come a long way and being a squadron leader is actually high up from the peons, considering everyone above it is a royal or noble family connection somehow.
The Vyskland Empire is one of the only human kingdoms that’s not in some way losing territory right now. But that’s only because we’re meaner than shit, and learn bloodshed as our national knight country policy from twelve years old and up.
Even the dwarves were rumored to be having tons of orc problems lately, so the rumors say. I heard a rumor a few days ago that one of their province capitals is under siege and not doing so well. And now here we were in the edge of the dwarven territory.
I think this is close to their Southern province or inside it but I can’t be clear with my guide dead.
“Seven orcs dead to our four,” Edouard said with an accent. He has a little moustache that he’s always playing with. I keep telling him it’s ugly and looks like rat fur though, but that just makes him want a bigger moustache so I’ve given up on it. He’s just being stubborn.
“That’s not bad,” my other apprentice Jules said. Jules is a young golden blood kid with spiked hair compared to Edouard’s darker hair. He’s also a nobles kid and that pisses me off so I make him work for it, but Edouard has to work harder too in the end since he’s not a nobles kid.
“The hell it isn’t. We wouldn’t have lost anyone if this twerp hadn’t fallen asleep on the watch,” I said angrily.
“That was a bad mistake,” Edouard said calmly without losing his cool.
“It’s hard to stay up at night though,” Jules countered.
“No it isn’t…”
“Be quiet. The orcs still haven’t left,” I said.
I unsheathed my sword again. Sure enough it’s glowing again, showing orcs nearby. Maybe this is their second wave? Rumor is this enchant is used by light elves on dozens of worlds and is one of the oldest enchants known in existence. But I’d also stacked a burn enchant over it that was compatible with it, which burned orcs that I even grazed the blade against but didn’t harm others.
“Shit,” Edouard stiffened and got ready again.
“Are the mercs still battle ready?” I asked.
“I’ll make sure they’re up. Form a perimeter!” Jules cried out. He didn’t need to say that actually but it doesn’t hurt. They were already moving back on their own to their lines. My mercenaries are all running and shouting to get to a defensive hedge.
“That was clever really. They wanted us to relax, thinking this fight was over when it was just the beginning,” I said.
“Eh? Beginning? I thought we’d done well,” Jules groaned.
“I hate that they are getting smarter,” Edouard muttered.
“Smarter or just getting more help from others?” I countered.
He shut up.
“Let’s do this!” I cried out.
“Boss, how can you remain so calm? I’m trying to not panic even. And that last run they outnumbered us by so many. It was hard to not feel scared but you act like it’s nothing,” Edouard said to me quietly.
“Staying calm is just part of it. I’m seething with the desire to gut their little bitch asses,” I countered.
The orcs new battle lines are already charging at us. Damn they look impressive and scary even. They are tall and their faces filled with expressions of murder, with weapons that are already bathed in blood and gore as this huge wave is coming towards us.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Even I’m trembling, because that line is like way bigger than ours. I can hear some of the younger mercenaries whimpering and crying openly.
“Shit, that looks like a whole army,” Jules said with an obviously scared tone.
My mercenaries would run if they could, except I think we’re surrounded and cut off with our backs to a box canyon. They also know that there’s a kill for fleeing clause in their contract, meaning if they run I’ll cut them down on the spot. Even though they are paid to fight they aren’t paid to do overwhelming numbers, but there’s really nowhere to run to.
“Damn it. We’re so close to the dwarven city fortress gate,” Edouard said.
“Really? I didn’t see it,” Jules said.
Are we really that close?
“Yeah its right there. See they’ve got one of their flags on the mountain top. That first flag is for the dwarven nation, and the other one under it is the southern capital’s colors,” Edouard said.
Damn. He’s right. If we can just get out of here.
It’s just two miles from here. But we’d gotten trapped, not realizing that there was already an orc encampment around it stretching out over the plains above ground that surround this mountain. Actually if we’re right next to it, that explains why there’s so many orcs.
“Let’s do this,” I said working up my battle spirit.
Even for me, having studied and worked hard at fighting techniques my whole life orcs are still a challenge.
The wave of orcs hit us like a hurricane. Instantly tons of the mercenaries are swept away like grass in a tsunami.
I ducked under a mace attack, and countered with a kick to the balls. Then deflected a few other strikes aimed at my head. My longsword would have gone through his gut right now but I’d already had to parry the blows of the two other orcs with him. And to do that I also had to shield spatter that one orc in the face with my buckler, which just made him angrier, but he won’t be using that eye of his for a few years. Its three orcs versus me, and my apprentices have two on them each. And others are trying to just stay standing up.
I can hear them crying out trying to avoid dying, but they are already getting cut up. Orcs are strong even if they don’t have much in the way of armor.
“There’s too many of them!” I hear the mercenaries dying and crying out while they are getting wounded.
Finally our group has maybe 14 or 15 left alive out of what was at the beginning a full mercenary escort and the orcs are still crashing over us like a wave.
I refuse to go down this way. I will make it out of here.
“The mercenaries aren’t going to last long,” Jules said while shaking me out of my thoughts and he’s cutting off an orc’s arm with his own magic blade.
Jules’ father was rich. So he had an advantage in some cool toys, but in actuality Edouard had better techniques and skills overall but less well equipped. And with both of them far below me, but both of them were better than their peers. Edouard was about two years older than Jules.
I yanked my sword out of the third orc’s heart, just in time to parry the two others.
Jules then screamed from an orc bashing his shield so hard that he’d almost dropped it in pain. Somehow he’s hanging on while Edouard is covered in blade, having killed two orcs already. The scream was more from frustration than any maiming. He’s just a drama queen. He struggled more than Edouard in some ways because he’s had to overcome the ‘silver spoon’ syndrome that he grew up with.
It’s not fair that he’s ahead of me on kill counts because he only had two opponents.
“I’m coming!” he screamed to me.
“No! Save Jules first!” I said.
Jules is getting overwhelmed. The orcs going after him were also stronger. Jules’ superior gear had attracted worse predators in other words. If Edouard doesn’t reach him fast, I’ll only have one apprentice left.
After deflecting two more blows I chopped a knee of an orc so quickly and with such force that the whole leg is hanging by an inch of flesh while it’s screaming. That then gave me leverage to go after two more coming at me, which I also played dirty on. I’m trying to also keep other orcs from sneaking up on me from behind and the sides.
Who cares about knight chivalry! Winning is all that matters. I’m a decorated knight and understand that concept. If you live and they die then you can say, ‘fuck them’ when you’re done. So in order to combat dying while young I fought as dirty as possible.
When the orcs got close to me, I activated the secret magic switch on my buckler that I’d had a mage install before leaving. Super hot tar shot out into the face of the closest orc burning his face and eyes were it had hit him before he could close them. He’s screaming on the ground now, while I concentrate on the others.
That was a nasty trick I could use once per week, because it had a slow recharge time but it scared the shit out of anyone fighting me when they saw it because it was a ‘horror’ blow. Who wants to have your face and eyes melted in hot tar bitch?
Yeah fuck that, orc whores…
With a jumping power strike I swiped my burn enchant sword through the neck of the next orc.
Already there are a lot of bodies piling up around me, and my kill count has gotten past Edouard’s easily.
Good. The apprentice shouldn’t surpass the master.
I tripped one orc with a feint and kick to the hip while burning two others. Then I sliced open another’s neck with a lightning fast strike. Now that I have cut down on their overpowering me I can begin to work easily cutting them down before they reach me.
Edouard and Jules are finally working together like they should have. They have been stubborn about learning that in order to compete with one another. They wouldn’t accept my teaching them that they go farther together than in competition. And it’s been three years of them doing that crap.
Finally they are learning it now, because the orcs on this continent are more coordinated and have better leadership. But it’s almost too late. I don’t know if they will survive this mess.
Then more mercenaries started to fall.
One, then two more, then four…and their lines are starting to break. A whole slew of them just went down. The orcs polearm line is advancing in a long line of like twenty of them together.
The men are screaming to rally to survive but there are like two polearms charging at them per man.
The line is definitely going to collapse even though these are good mercs. These are experienced veteran mercs that weren’t cheap too.
I killed two more with easy. Then my sword splits the gut and all the way back into the spine of the orc clipping its spinal column. Its legs go out from under it as it’s paralyzed and screaming. It still tries to bite me so I crush its windpipe.
Jules and Edouard are alive but both are bleeding a lot.
They can’t keep this up. They aren’t able to keep up with me still.
I wish we hadn’t gotten ambushed like this. There’s nowhere to run. Right now I’m wearing a helmet and armor that disguises my figure but they could notice soon, if they see how slim my chest and arms are. And because I’m a lady, if I get captured the orcs will surely try to have their way with me in a fate worse than death. I wonder if I should…
No I can’t do that…I have to go down fighting.
Two more mercs just died and the rest are getting bowled over.
In the fighting that follows we whittled them down and I made it over to break like five pole arms in quick succession saving a few of them from dying.
“Lyra! If…if I don’t make it, I want to marry you!” Jules screamed.
“Screw you, I told you I’m going to die in the field asshole!” I shut him down.
If we live I’ll punish him for that outburst dearly. I thought I heard Edouard snicker but try to cover it up, but then he’s distracted by fighting again.
“Hmm, you look like you could use some help,” a girl’s voice said.
What the fuck? That sounded like it came from above us? What?
“Huh? What?” some of the mercs are confused.
The girl’s voice is coming from above us. Yeah, I’m sure of it, as I glanced up and then slit two more orc throats.
Both sides are confused at the witch girl standing above us like forty feet up.
“Help!” Edouard cried out while desperately trying to keep an orc off himself. Jules follows up with something similar, but it got cut off when he took a fist strike to the teeth.
Ouch! Jules is going to need dental work after that.
The battle rages while calmly the girl above is watching us.
What is she like fifteen? I’m not sure what her age is because witches are a different race; as a whole they look a bit younger and slimmer than humans do but still look somewhat like late teenage ages. But they are pretty easily spotted by their hats and clothing styles, having their own style different from but not entirely unlike human mages. And witches tend to throw out magic like its candy, having some of the largest mana cores in this planet except for maybe fairies or water nixies.
“Help us!” I cried out while I was still fighting.
Just then I got a bloody nose. I think it’s broken but I have to keep fighting or die and can’t worry about it right now.
“What’s in it for me?” the girly voice asked above us. She’s smiling at us, the little puke. But I can’t piss her off even though I’m annoyed.
“Um…we’ll help you maybe? Or …we can help each other,” I said pleadingly.
“Well what if we don’t want the same goals?” the witch said while floating in the air.
That’s odd too. I couldn’t get a good look at her before because I’m more worried about the orcs in front of us but she has two cats hanging from her belt that are tied up from neck to tail that are still struggling to get free.
Who is she?
“We can work it out please! Um, also we have unique skills that you don’t,” I said.
“Promise? Well what you said could be true, though I don’t actually need some meat sacks to follow me around. I also don’t trust humans for obvious reasons” she asked cautiously.
“Please we’re dying!” some of the mercs cried out. That fellow in particular was bleeding out his neck and would soon be dead.
All around us the cess pit of orc and human blood continues to churn while I cut down more orcs. Four more were dead from my blade, with five more maimed but my allies will soon be gone.
Jules is trying to limp away, after dropping his sword. And he’s dazed and unable to fight with a head wound I think. Near him Edouard is still going strong but has four orcs advancing on him. He’ll die with that many. He can’t handle more than two but he’s trying to save Jules.
“We’ll help! Please!” I said again. I hate this pleading stuff. I’m supposed to be a damn royal knight. I can’t take this it’s too shameful but if I don’t there won’t be any men left.
“It’s a deal!” the girl laughed.
Then just like that she opened her bag.
“Run!” one of the mercs said. He’s looking fearfully up at the air.
I looked up to move out of the way just in time.
Huge big ass boulders that are over five feet in diameter and probably weigh several tons are falling out of the girl’s bag as if it’s nothing. Not only that, but she’s dropping them like their gravel spilling from her fingers. When the boulders hit the ground you can feel the aftershock of tons of weight crashing onto the ground that gives you vibration tremors. Within like three seconds vast groups of orcs exploded like crushed grapes as a whole string of the boulders crushed them all, at least for those at the front line.
But both sides are in full retreat and full panic now while screaming to get away.
The hell…?! I was almost crushed too.
“Oops! Sorry about that,” the girl said when three mercs were also crushed.
“Fuck, you almost killed us bitch!” Jules said shaking a fist at her. But then Edouard punched him in the face and managed to shut him up.
The fuck is he doing, trying to egg a witch against us? Rule number one, has always been don’t piss off someone stronger than you. I’m going to whip his ass later for being stupid.
“They were already dying…,” I managed to stammer. Well two of them were…
The girl flew over and the four orcs going after Edouard and Jules began to run.
They are all screaming for mercy as this girl dumps more of those huge mountain boulders on them with perfect accuracy out of a side satchel with a long handle that’s over one shoulder.
In seconds the orcs are gone. They think we tricked them back I think. Since the orcs are too scared to approach us we can now talk to her.
And there’s that pointed hat she’s wearing. I swear it’s got a witch royal symbol on it that I’ve seen before but I’m not good at non-human heraldry. She is definitely a first class witch, not a kid.
Shit. We just made a deal with a monster didn’t we?
“Uh, what’s your name again?” I stammered trying to be polite.
The girl frowned, “You can call me Lottie’s Right Hand. But my true name is Lula, ‘General of the Far Right’ of the Witch Council.”
“Sounds like she made that up,” Jules guessed.
“Sh-shut up, I did not.”
“Nice to meet you Lula. How may I serve you,” I bowed formally like I would when meeting the royal house.
"Now, let's get down to business. I'm currently looking for someone..." she said it with a greedy expression I'd seen on some nobles.
Uh oh...what the heck am I doing.