It was all so… incredibly textbook. I still don’t know what went wrong. Replaying it now in my head, I still can’t tell. I drew my dagger and stepped before the party so that our ally could heal. From there things… should have been easy. The human stands back up, the dwarf gets back in front. We dispatch them together and then we all share a drink.
Instead, in such a short time, I see Grond chase after that cursed, cowardly goblin of his. I should have recognized that as our only saving grace running off, but at the time it was strictly combat. Such little time could be paid to Grond anyway, such was the butchering of Atbur. Just as I’ve got my eyes full of orcs the bloody human grows and starts to move. There was nothing I could do against all of the orcs, all in unison – I had hardly raised my dagger to defend when already Atbur was slain.
Imagine that. In one moment I’m stepping to defend an ally, and with the very next step he’s already fallen. I’m ashamed to say that I’m less concerned with his death than I am the fact that it could have just as easily been me. After all, the play was flawless. Everything was done right and still he was killed, and not just that – it happened instantly. In one, veritable instant. If that can happen on a perfect play, I shudder to imagine a play that’s gone horribly awry.
Say, for instance, a halfling and an elf up against three orcs, with one ally dead and the other one traipsing through daisies. By all rights those orcs should have killed me, but instead I’m scratching personal notes to a backdrop of rowdy drunks and overpriced honey mead. I owe it all to that elf Varnel, and I’d be a liar if I said otherwise. He got me out of there alive, and I’m in his debt. Then again, I know he’s just as indebted to me.
He said that he needed some time and so I bought him some. It wasn’t bold and it wasn’t brave, it just happened. I held out my dagger and stood in their way. That battle I sidestepped and parried more than I had any right to. I fought tooth and nail and I gave no quarter – but how much time did he need? It was all I could do to avoid one more blow, to buy just one more second of time. After a couple of volleys I wasn’t sure how much more time I could give him.
I was really starting to get nervous when the wizard finally came through. The sound of his bowstring was lost in combat, but the tremendous crack his arrow made was music to my ears. I hardly had time to realize one of the orcs was dead before the elf loosed another arrow. A standard shot made the most phenomenally powerful, dense impact I’ve ever heard, and it felled the second orc instantly. I still disbelieve the strength of that spell, and I’m ashamed that I originally doubted the elf’s abilities. A mistake I will not be making again.
It’s a shame that the last of them turned tail and ran. Sitting here now I remember a few more curse words that I could have thrown after it – fat lot of good that does me. It’s just as well. We did have our friend to take care of. Poor Varnel, he was more shaken up about Atbur than I was. He wanted to make damn sure those blades of his got back to his family. And you know, I hope that they do find their way back. It’s a nice touch, I think.