The Beautiful, Deadly Dance of Blades


"Gotcha, ye smellin', overfed cretin!" the dwarf cried even as he let go of his axe, the dwarven missile spinning end–over–end before burying itself into the poor orc's back to the sound of a log splitting. The creature stopped abruptly, as if he'd just remembered something, and then simply fell to the ground, quite dead.

The dwarf, his fiery red beard billowing in the wind, jumped and punched a furry fist into the air, letting out another cry of victory, and a call to his brethren to follow his lead. Soon enough dozens of dwarven missiles sung in the air, before, inevitably, they came raining down hard upon the fleeing orc band. Panic broke out among the orc ranks; the creatures tripping, scrambling and scratching their way forward in a frenzy, trying to put as much distance, trees and flesh between themselves and their dwarven pursuers. It was every orc for himself. But the following dwarfs more than matched the pace, their short, strong drumstick legs beating furiously on the uneven ground, inevitably closing in on the terrified, stumbling orcs.

With the orcs' number cut down in half and his dwarven band in a dogged pursuit the dwarf smirked crookedly to himself, showing off several missing teeth, and tucked in his long, red, braided beard into the front of his pants. He slowed and snorted loudly as he came up to the first creature he had felled and unceremoniously yanked the axe free, wiping the weapon on the dead orc. Within seconds he was overtaken by dozens of his trailing kin, but rather than picking up the chase he simply stood there, staring down on the dead creature.

"King Bruenor won't approve" a grumpy voice sounded from behind him. The voice belonged to a round dwarf with greying hair, trudging slowly up to the scene, his chest wheezing as he moved. The old dwarf stopped next to his fellow kinsman with a small sigh, staring down as well.

"Bah, he isn't approving much a' all lately, that one" the fiery red-bearded dwarf answered with an, if possible, even louder snort followed by a frustrated kick to the limp body.

"'Sides, he don't even need to know" he continued with an obvious wink. The grey dwarf only chuckled at that. And the other one joined in once he saw the turn most of the dispersed orcs had taken; a sharp curve to the right, away from the uneven woodland to a rocky formation of cliffs. "Oops" the grey one said which had the other dwarf laughing all the louder.

Urut–Gar the Orc knew he was doomed. Those damned dwarfs sure were faster than they looked. He had chosen to swerve to the right, following a beaten down path leading to some stony outcropping, in what he knew was a desperate attempt to shake off his dogged pursuers. What he hadn't thought was that most of his kin would follow him. But Urut–Gar did not waste time looking back, only stealing a hasty backward glance when he heard the occasional whistle of an axe in the air and the following thud of a kinsman hitting the ground. Knowing it was only a matter of time before their deadly dwarven pursuers caught up to the few remaining orcs, Urut–Gar jumped into the rocky bluffs, scratching down as many stones and pebbles in his wake as he could in a frantic, futile effort to slow his followers including his kin. Every orc for himself, he thought even as he took a giant leap clear of the stone boulders hoping to land in dense undergrowth, where he could lose the dwarfs easily. But Urut–Gar ended up gyrating wildly in the air, trying desperately to reverse momentum as the ground disappeared below him and he found himself a hundred feet airborne.

Somehow the orc managed to grab a handhold of a small, jagged, jutting shelf of rock, spraining several fingers in the process. Trying hard to hold on tight to his only chance of survival through the severe pain in his hand Urut–Gar slowly, painfully started pulling himself up. Only to find a handful of his kin already standing there, several dripping blood from multiple cuts and bruises, all of them weaponless. Huddling on the ground, cradling his right hand, Urut–Gar knew they were all doomed when the first dwarf face popped up and became visible between the rocks up above. It must have been a strange sight indeed, five or so orcs standing jostling together on a spit of rock, utterly defenseless. Soon more and more faces materialized out of the rocky formation and he cursed himself for indirectly leading his band to a, literally, dead end. But the dwarves made no move for the exposed orcs. The few remaining orcs cast uneasy looks between themselves. What were the dwarfs waiting for?

Orders, Urut–Gar knew. A couple of stones fell over the sheer drop as, suddenly, a dwarf form appeared through a crag, sporting the fiercest red beard Urut–Gar had ever seen. As there was no doubt that this was the dwarven leader and given the simple fact that they were standing on a knife's edge he thought to parlay with the dwarfs. Getting off his knees and striding forward with what he hoped was a worthy expression on his face Urut–Gar searched urgently for one of the few Dwarfish words he knew.

"Peace" he started to say but no sooner had the syllable left his lips before he felt the sharpest pain he'd ever known. Urut–Gar looked down and saw the hilt of a dwarven axe protruding from his abdomen and, with a look of confusion, he dropped to his knees. He looked up and saw the dwarf with the fiery red beard standing firmly with his empty throwing arm outstretched, screaming soundless orders. Urut–Gar the Orc did not hear them or the sound of his fellow kin dying beside him for he knew he was dead.

Only some forty or fifty feet up above on a similar niche three dark forms witnessed the spectacle down below.

"Quite a rout" one remarked almost casually.

"Surprising, since I've never coupled dwarfs with efficiency" replied another.

"Bwahaha" laughed the third.