Flash Friday 15/11/2013: Weapon of Choice (Part 12)
“State your business,” the orc in the guard tower said.
Dennis expected no less from orcs. While human beings tended to want to preserve the nature around them when they settle in a new location, orcs did the total opposite. It wasn’t orcish whatsoever to not have a few seemingly-neverending burning trees, tar pits and skeletons littering the area, and this camp was no different. Its sharpened log walls and crude make was no different, either.
“I am here to avenge my mother and father’s death,” Dennis said. “I seek the warlord.”
“Ha! Then you challenge Gal’grub himself, I see. Such ambition from such a small creature.”
“I’ve been through a lot,” Dennis said, viciously understating, “and I don’t mean to be turned away now. Open your gates, or I will be forced to siege your outpost and burn your walls to the–”
“Whoa, whoa,” the orc said. “What the hell got into you? I just said you might have a hard time with the warchief, that’s all. Gosh, and you got so mad as well. Back in my day, heroes knew their Ps and Qs.”
“Well, you’re not letting us in.”
“Well, you never asked. Jeez Louise, you go around committing arsons to front doors before you knock on them? Go on, go in already.”
Dennis raised an eyebrow. “So we can just walk in without a fight?”
“Sure. You have an appointment, after all. Unless, of course, you try to cut the queue. Then I’ll personally come for you. Some people just think they’re above the rules. Downright rude, that’s what I say.”
The gate to the encampment opened.
“And don’t litter either,” the orc said as the party entered. “Use the bloody bins.”
Dennis wasn’t expecting this. Granted, he didn’t know how he would siege an orc encampment in the first place with a feather, a cat, a damsel, and an unarmed brawler, but he figured something would work out. Turns out, in Fate’s little sick and twisted ways, it did.
He kind of wished they put some effort in, though. As he walked down the path in the camp, with orcs on either side giving friendly nods of approval and even some waves, he kind of wished he did have an epic battle to his goal. It was sort of like fighting all of the students in the dojo to become the best fighter ever seen, and the master coming out, giving him a pat on the back, and offering him a pint down the pub. Anticlimactic, to say the least.
Still, Dennis and his crew followed the helpful arrows that pointed their way to ‘reception’. Each sign was spelt in a different way (none of them right) and they were painted in what Dennis hoped was red paint. They lead him to a small hut, into which he entered.
The layout of the hut was a little strange. There was a female orc behind a counter, talking to another human. She had make-up on, but given her orcish features, it was like putting face paint on a bulldog.
“Whatcha here for, sire?” she said.
“I have an appointment for one duel at sunset with a shaman.”
“One duel? Let’s see here.” She flicked through her logbook. “We have two here, one with an additional monologue added into the service.”
“That’s mine,” the man said. “Should be under Sir Peters.”
“Right you are, then, Sir Peters. Your number is seventy six. Take a seat. And who’re you?”
“Dennis,” he said. “With adventuring party.”
“And what’re you in for, love?”
“A fight with a warchief.”
“Holy quest, royalty-ordained mission, or vengeance?”
“Vengeance,” Dennis said. “Both parents.”
“Right, let’s see here. Vengeance, vengeance…ah,” she said, pointing at an entry. “Dennis. Fighting one Gal’grub over death of parents. We might be able to move you up a slot, as the hero that had a booking to die by his hand as part of a legacy phoned up. Poor sod caught a cold. Rotten thing to happen before a quest. Anyway, love, your number is seventy seven.” She wrote the number with the suspicious red paint on a little wooden chip. “Should be about two hours or so.”
“Two hours?” Edmond spat, jumping up onto the counter. “I’ve been stuck with this party long enough. We get attacked by a bandit who wants our money, get taken around a tour for a crypt, and have to incapacitate a bard who can’t take a hint, and you want me stuck with these lunatics for longer? I demand you change that number before I lose my marbles.”
The orc receptionist gave the cat a stern look. “Fair enough,” she said, painting a ‘1’ at the start of the number on the token. “There you go, dearie. Perhaps leave the hairball behind next time, or else I’ll use an old method of finding out if there’s enough room in this place.”
“There’s no need to swing anything,” Dennis said, taking his token. “Thank you, regardless.”
The party turned, eyeing up the row of seats that acted as the waiting line. The main problem was trying to find a good row of seats that wasn’t directly next to something that looked like it would smell to high heaven. Every so often, someone in the chairs would look down the line at a very bored-looking orc at the exit of the reception. He was holding two boards that made up the number ’39’.
“We might be here for a little while,” Dennis said. “I hope you lot have something to occupy yourselves with.”
“Well, I already found the magazine rack,” Samuel beamed, showing Dennis the copy of Orcy Women’s Monthly. “This one promises fashion tips.”
“I’ll see if I can bite the receptionist’s toes when she’s not looking,” Edmond said. “Teach her a thing or two.”
“I’m going to go punch something and see what happens,” Livia said, leaving the hut. “I need to relieve some stress.”
Dennis sighed. He’d make a great babysitter at this rate.
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