Chapter Nine Born to be Green
“Boss looks dead to me,” said the brutish voice of Skulldugger. He nudged the fallen orc over with his foot. The Orc’s eyes were closed and his mouth was hanging open stupidly.
“Oi! If you think Zag is beated, you got squigs for brains!” shouted the ever energetic Urk. He punched the black orc in the mouth.
Skulldugger wiped the blood from his mouth, his expression like two flaming eyes set in stone. “’Bout time, we taught you savages a lesson anyway!” He returned a blow to Urk’s forehead, knocking him over onto the floor of what had been a battlefield only moments ago. Skulldugger pounced on his opponent, pinning him to the ground and receiving another blow to the chin as he did so.
“Oi! Bosseses...es, that ‘umie that was in da tree?” asked an Orc in the middle of their fight.
“Yer? What about it?” Skulldugger asked, turning his head to look but before he could scan the tree, Urk had broken his legs free and now had them pressed against his chest. With a huff, Urk launched him before leaping to his feet.
“Well, he ain’t anymore.”
“isn’t anymore what?” Urk asked half panting for breath, half itching his head where the spider tattoo still resided. Skulldugger came flying back the other way quicker than Urk had expected and the both of them tumbled to the ground.
“I believe he means I am no longer embedded in the tree,” said a voice like an angry squig grating his teeth on metal. Urk looked up from beneath the heavily armoured Black Orc. It was the vampire, dusting his hands. So thats why Skulldugger had come back so quickly. The vampire had thrown him! “I’ll be taking my sword back now.”
“No you bloody well won’t!” Urk shouted, pushing the dazed Skulldugger of his chest. It was becoming a bad habit. Skulldugger came up quickly behind him. “Dat is Zag’s sword!”
The vampire made a face like he had eaten too much spicy mushroom, it crinkled up before he looked around himself in astonishment.
“Damn! That Orc’s idiotic parry as scattered the winds of magic. Fine I’ll settle this the old fanished way.” He retrieved a blade made from sharpened bone out of his cloak. It looked a little small and wimpy. “Now all I have to do is kill the strongest Orc here and the rest of you will scatter. So.” He paused with a dark smile. “Which of you two is the strongest.”
Urk and Skulldugger looked at each other briefly before they both pointed towards themselves. Seeing the other do the same, their fight broke out with a renewed vigour. Johann smiled. Too easy.
Johann scanned the battlefield. At least what had been the battlefield. Corpses and piles of bone littered it where his army had collapsed. The winds blew too weakly for magic and by extension, his army had crumbled. But apart from bickering greenskins and the restless massive spider they had brought with them, there was nothing.
“Dallan, you will pay for deserting me you coward,” he said under his breath. He reached down for his sword. It still lay clutched in the Bandit leader’s one hand. For a moment Johann’s attention was taken by the Spider which now stood swaying from left to right in rhythm to the strange feathered Goblin in front of it. When he looked back, he was faced by glowing red eyes. The surrounding greenery of the accompanying face butted him in his already broken nose.
Zag stretched and leapt to his feet while the vampire still reeled from the blow. Rolling his head to relieve a crick in his neck, he looked down at the blade in his hand.
“I don’t think so, toothy boy,” Zag snarled. He marched towards him as he said it and lashed out.
The vampire blocked it with his bone sword, before retreating out of reach.
“I may not have my magic or my army, but you forget, Orc, that the sword in your hand bows only to me so,” Johann said pointing at the Orc’s neck, “lets get back to where we were before the Goblin interrupted.”
Zag had forgotten about Snikt. Almost dying had that effect. How had the Goblin done all those unmorkly things? He’d have to pound the answers out of him later. No wait! What of Mork, or was it Gork? What if one of them had done it? He couldn’t beat up someone who was blessed by one of them. Fine, if he couldn’t hit the Goblin, the pale stickman in front of him would have to do. The stickman in question was still pointing.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Kill yourself!” The vampire’s previous arrogance had gone. He now had the look of a feral vicious creature, like a particularly uppity wolf or a Gobbo who thought he could get a knife in you when you weren’t looking.
Zag looked at the sword, then the vampire, then back at the sword. It didn’t move. He shrugged and began to march on the vampire. Johann backed away, stabbing and jabbing with his finger.
“Why? Don’t tell me you destroyed what magic was in there as well? Even an elven arch mage would struggle to unbind its power, never mind you or your flying Goblin.” The vampire shouted now, as though his words meant anything.
“Elves? Awful Loren! My ‘and!” Zag shouted back, quicken his pace. Seeing something out of the corner of his eye, he grinned and circled to the left, forcing the vampire that way.
“Whats the matter Otter-man? Your toys not working?” Zag goaded. The vampire struck out with unholy speed. Zag blocked it with an almost equally fast strike of his own.
The vampire attacked and attacked. His face peeled back to reveal mad fury, the cowardly human facade dropped in his moment of terror. But Zag, appearing like the calmest Orc in history by comparison kept driving him back.
“I need no toys Orc! I am immortal, I will not tire, whereas you will. And our current stalemate will rectify itself. And with you gone, your horde of beasts, creatures I will make sure never set foot on this world again when I rule supreme, they will scatter, and the sword will be mine again. Do you know its origins Orc, because I do-” He was forced to shut up when his back was forced against something. Something chitinous.
The Vampire and the spider turned to face each other in unison. The Arachnarok screeched in his face and the vampire took an instinctive step back. Siezing his chance, Zag launched a booted kick into his back sending him staggering forward. The spider lashed out with a barbed leg, which the vampire amazingly blocked with inhuman strength, only for a second to lunge at him and pierce through his stomach.
Zag legged it. Even he wasn’t going to get between it and its prey. The spider moved over Johann and back legs a whirl of movement span the vampire around and round, until all that was left was a white silky blob. A swarm of much smaller spiders, still easily as big as an Orc’s head, scuttled out and began carrying the cocoon away, back to wherever they came from.
Zag looked from the scene to his sword. He made a face. Why did human’s fight over swords so much? Especially this one. It was probably less killy than a huge choppa. Although, balancing it in his hand and taking a few swipes, he remembered how often he had used it and wagered it wasn’t by much.
“Oi!” A voice shouted to him. He turned to see Urk and Skulldugger walking towards him at the head of a mob of both savage and black Orcs. “Have you seen that ‘umie? He’s taken Da boss’ sword.” It was Skulldugger that spoke.
“As well as da boss,” added Urk. He then squinted his eyes and stared at Zag. “Wait. You are Da Boss!”
“I knew he wasn’t dead,”
“What? You were the git that said he was! I said he wasn’t.” Urk turned to Zag, “I said you weren’t boss. Honest.”
“I don’t care who thought what. I is back now, the hungry lookin’ umie is dead, and now,” Zag said, looking at the Spider and then at the woods surrounding the clearing, “we is going to go find my ‘and. Onward to Awful Loren!”
A cheer went up from the Orcs. Even a few Goblins joined in. Then one came up and poked Zag in the leg.
“Oi, boss. Where is Awful Loren?”
Orcs began arguing. Some said that way and others, this way. And pretty soon, a fight broke out. Zag looked at the riot and sheathed his sword. He grinned the only way an Orc can. He waded into the brawl and began breaking heads.
“It’s good to be green!”