The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 9: Exploding Things
The fragments of blown-out wall are followed by a large, orcish body sporting a burnt-looking hole in its midriff. The wall and body strike the next building. Some arrows fly out after it. Then some of the Indians we met earlier step forth cautiously. Our Sam steps out of the blasted area, with a small cask under one arm, and a flintlock pistol in the other hand. She is followed by more of our Indian co-belligerents. A door creaks open in the building that was struck. Four arrows fly through the crack, and a solid "thump" comes from within.
Sam puts down her cask to try to reload a second flintlock. She is obviously failing. Mandorak offers to reload it for her. She thrusts all the necessary equipage at him. His Knack of Tools works well, and he is soon handing her a freshly loaded pistol, only to find that she has turned away to throw up. In a moment, she returns to the vertical, and accepts the gun. "They're very tough," she says apologetically, picking up her cask again.
Elsewhere, Jakar Toka informs Eïr, "Others some kill." She points to the group of our people. "Maybe more in shed," she suggests, meaning orcs.
Mandorak is scanning the cupola for signs of enemy activity when Sam remarks, "I can only do this trick one more time."
He re-directs his attention. "What?"
"I only have one more cask."
"That's black powder? That's what happened to that orc?"
"Yes and yes. These guys are really good at this, y'know." She hands her cask to one of her companions, and pulls out another flintlock.
Mandorak tries to sneak up on the building that the arrows just shot into. He fails, but is semi-quiet as he approaches the door from its left. He leans forward to push open the door, and is entirely surprised to see Sam on the right side of the doorway. Through the door, in the far corner of the room is an orc with a hatchet. Mandorak shoots the orc solidly. It charges at him. Sam also shoots it. The orc falls to the ground, but remains conscious. Mandorak coats his head with ectoplasm.
Eïr slips up to what could be a slave building, and through the door, over the dead orc, to the inner door, where she lifts up the bar on the door. With a "BAM" the door flies open so that the tiny creature has to twist amazing to avoid being crushed, which she does. A dozen [ex-]slaves barrel through, still holding the table they used on the door.
Eric sees a group of Indians carrying casks, and a box. He goes up to the one carrying the box, and asks, "What's in the box?" The owner understands the gesture, and reveals the contents to be three flintlocks, two powder horns, etc.
Eïr watches as a stream of former slaves emerges from the building. She searches the downed orc, finding only a leather bag. She helps hand out the edged weapons from the anteroom to the passing throng.
Sam and Mandorak address another building. This time, they raise the bar on the door together, and the engineer gently pushes it open. Here, the orcish overseer is still alive. His back is to a pillar and he periodically swings his ax around at the swarm of slaves attempting to grapple with him. Sam aims, fires, and misses, hitting high up on the wall. Mandorak fires his grandfather's crossbow at the orc, hits him, and, alas, draws his attention. One of the slaves leaps for the orc's head, and grabs him in an effective leg grip. Unfortunately, another Indian also leaps up, but badly, knocking down the orc and his own friend. Someone else whacks the orc with a chair, which breaks.
Eric starts to build his paper grenades. Sam calls to the guy next to him, "Hey, Joe, c'mere." He trots over to her with his box. She starts to reload. Bavör, hearing this indication of activity, jogs over to that building. Mandorak tries to put ectoplasm over the orc's head, but fails. Bay slams him over the head with his new hammer, and the hapless Indian klutz tries again, and this time succeeds in kicking the orc in the jaw. The orc collapses.
Sam uncocks her gun. Mandorak takes the two guns from her, and… "Blam!" the gun goes off. "Oh. I wouldn't have done it that way," says Sam. "Neither would I," replies the dwarf. Bay enters the inner room, and urges the slave kicking the orc in the head to use his hammer. He does so, then runs out, yelling and waving the hammer. Bay picks up the orc's ax. Mandorak checks the side rooms, and finds a few more weapons. He offers another hammer to Bavör, who sticks it in his belt.
Eïr and Jakar Toka enter another building. Here they find a pair of organized orcs, armed with crossbows, and crouched behind an overturned table. Eïr aims her mace at the orcs, and casts a spell of pain on the orcs. Two crossbow bolts are fired – into the wall. Jakar Toka runs at the orcs, and throws two knives, one into the table, and one just over the head of an orc. Another Indian charges forward, and slashes the second orc with his knife.
Mandorak once again checks the cupola, and now sees that the giant crossbow is loaded, and is being aimed down the street. Bay joins him. The crossbowman fires, and one of the dancing ex-slaves is skewered by a massive crossbow bolt. "He's reloading!" observes Bay, darting out to recover his original warhammer off the corpse. Mandorak fires into the cupola as the orc is hauling back on the bowstring. He dodges, and the half-cocked bolt fires wildly.
As Eïr casts more pain onto the orcs, Jakar Toka dashes forward, tugs her knife out of the table, then crouches on the other side of the table from the orc. Little Eïr causes the orc more pain. He bellows. J.T. turns and stabs at him. He parries the blow, but she gets in a blow with her left fist. He goes down with her on top of him. The orc punches the floor, and the Indian princess stabs him.
Mandorak and Bavör head for another building, where the former has seen the outer door close. Sam comes up to them, "What are we doing next?"
"This building." Mannie pauses for thought. "Eric was making something with paper and black powder. That could be useful." Sam trots back, and brings Eric with his three paper grenades. They are ready to attack.
Meanwhile, Eïr throws more pain, and Jakar Toka stabs again and again. Both orcs are dead. Eïr searches, and finds two daggers, an ax, and a short sword, in addition to the original two crossbows. She hands the short sword to the clumsy Indian, the two daggers to J.T., and the ax to another Indian.
Mandorak has to fire into the cupola again. The orc ducks again. Mandorak settles down on the 'street' to fire, with Sam standing next to him, both guns at the ready. Eric and Bay get up against the wall next to the door. Bay TKs the door open, Eric tosses in a paper grenade, and Bay TKs the door closed. Eric triggers the "boom" and Bay whips the door open again. There are two orcs sitting against a wall here, one loosely holding a crossbow and the other with an ax dangling from his hand. Mandorak and the crossbowman exchange fire, and both hit. Mannie staggers, but stays up. Sam fires both guns at the same orc, who is no longer in any shape to re-cock his crossbow. Bay TKs his 'new' war ax into the other orc's chest. He collapses. Eric runs up to the still-conscious orc, and strikes him with his staff. The orc passes out. Sam, who lost her staff before the explosion, says, "Say, Eric, do you have another one of those?"
Eric tries to make her another staff from paper, but fails. "No, sorry."
Mandorak looks through the inner door with second sight, to see a downed orc, with its whip around its throat, and various Indians beating it with the remains of chairs. Mannie unbolts the inner door. He checks for weapons. There are several, and he hands them out at random, keeping the sheaf of quarrels for himself, and handing the spear to Sam.
Mandorak trots back outside, around the far side of the building, to catch a glimpse of the main building. A quarrel grazes his scalp. He sees a group of orcs with crossbows just outside the main building, and rolls back out of sight. Two quarrels hit the place he was.
He explains the situation to Bay, Sam, and Eric. Sam remarks that she's really good at blowing up the little casks. We decide to put a twist of paper in one of the big casks of black powder, TK it to the building, and set it off. We sign to the Indians behind us as to what is going to happen. We do that. Bay even rolls it up the stairs before it is detonated. There is a devastating explosion. Sam fires her new crossbow, and hits the first orc to move. The Indians and Eric start to charge forward. Another orc moves, so Mandorak nails him. He collapses. Eric dodges bolts, but some of his companions are not so lucky, or so gifted with Anticipation. Sam joins the charge.
Meanwhile, Jakar Toka, Eïr, and two Indians unbar another inner door. The door slams open, revealing a slavering orc. A chair slams into pieces against the back of his head. Jakar Toka throws her first blade into his sternum, one Indian swings his ax but is parried, and the other Indian hits him square in the armor, losing his weapon entirely. Jakar Toka throws another dagger, and this one takes him right in the throat. He goes down. She retrieves her daggers, and hands the short sword back to the guy who lost it. Eïr takes an interesting, heavy bag. J.T. takes the belt, and some more daggers. They search the two side rooms as the slaves in the inner room start to recover from their fright. There is only orc food in one room (ick!), but there are a few weapons in the other one.
Eric tosses a paper grenade onto the roof and detonates it. Boom! Sam spots an orc in the rubble, trying to aim for her. She shoots him first. Bavör hits an orc with his war hammer, but not hard enough to keep the creature from shooting him. The pain is sickening, but not incapacitating. Sam and Eric consult. Sam artistically leaps to the weakened roof, catches the paper grenade that Eric tosses her, and tosses it into the cupola. She steps back, and through the weakened roof. Eric detonates the grenade. Mannie shoots the orc who shot Bay.
People are now charging into the main building, including the J.T. and Eïr team. Another crossbow bolt comes out of nowhere and hits Bay. Again.
Jakar Toka is running like a gazelle straight toward the building. Mandorak shoots the same orc again. The orc screams and charges right at Mandorak, waving his crossbow over his head – and drops out of sight, as the floor collapses underneath him. Eïr heads for Bay to assist him. Eric enters the building, as an unhuman scream is heard. There is one knife-wielding Indian against an ax-swinging orc. Jakar Toka is on the back of a second orc, slitting his throat. Two Indians are taking down a third orc. Eric swings at the first orc with his staff. The orc parries the blow, but leaves himself open to the Indian. The former slave stabs him effectively. The orc attempts to parry again, but only leaves himself open to another stroke of the knife.
Mandorak stalks into the building, looking for the other crossbowman who shot his friend. He spots him with second sight, and drills him neatly. The orc goes berserk and charges at Mannie. Bay can hear what is going on, and manages to lever himself upright. He pushes the orc with TK, causing him to discharge his weapon back into the building and then falling down.
Eric hits the orc. The orc attacks the Indian, but misses. He is stabbed twice in return. The orc in the basement rallies, and comes for Mandorak again. The dwarf shoots him, and he falls down. Eïr hits him. Bay sinks back down, sitting in the dirt of the street.
There is a sinister, deep male laugh from the second floor, near where Sam landed. We hear the discharge of a pistol. Eric hits his orc again, and the Indian strikes the final, killing blow against the orc. Jakar Toka looks up from the severed head of her orc, and tells Eric, "Good fight."
Another sinister laugh echoes from above.
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.