Flash Friday 08/08/2014: Danger Approaches
The scout on the castle walls lowered his spyglass in horror. He had been trained to identify the enemy before the enemy identified the town. Today, his practice had come into play.
“What’s the matter?” another scout on the wall asked. “What did you see?”
“A stench most foul creeps in from the East. The tides of evil have finally began their march, and I fear nobody will be spared. Today, the Forces of Evil march upon our fair town, and I fear the fight will be long and hard.” The scout slowly turned to his friend with wide eyes, and muttered “orcs”.
Gyzub yawned in the day’s sun. Getting the food in was always a chore.
He waved to the gate guard, who gave a polite nod. Gyzub was always told that these outer towns were xenophobic, but these civilians had no problem with orcs. Which was handy, given their market was not to be missed.
Gyzub walked towards the town centre. In the distance behind him, he thought he could hear someone yelling ‘the orcs have breached the walls’. He hoped this was merely his imagination. He didn’t have the patience for a novice wall guard.
The meat vendor caught his eye before he did. “Ahoy, Gyzub,” he said, giving a wave. “Good to see you today.”
Gyzub nodded, admiring the meat hanging on hooks. “Good day for a walk, even though I feel like sitting around all day with a good book.”
“Even orcs need exercise. All this walking in the heat will do nothing but good for you, as long as you keep hydrated.”
“Aye.” Gyzub wiped the sweat off of his brow. “Anyway, I’ll take the usual. Thank you.”
Gyzub watched the butcher prepare the meat. He tried not to flinch as a man called out ‘they’ve breached the inner sanctum!’ somewhere to Gyzub’s right. It appears it was not just his mind playing tricks. Someone was, actually, being stupid.
The butcher broke the silence as he prepared the steak. “So, how’s the family?”
“Hm? Oh, they’re going swell. Little Muktuk has learnt how to walk and talk. She’s a real treasure. Wife thinks she’ll make a fine battlemaiden one day, and I won’t be one to argue with her.” Gyzub gave a chuckle. “Not like anyone can argue with her. She makes very good points with her battle axe.”
The butcher nodded. “I’m just glad we’re not against you guys.”
“We’ve got a bad reputation, but we’re not all barbarians. I’m sure we can all get along peacefully.”
From the corner of Gyzub’s right eye, he could see a guard come around from behind a stall, staring in his direction. The guard pointed at him. “They’re in the markets! The orcs are in the markets!”
The butcher shook his head in despair. “I’m really sorry about this. Some people are just not as tolerant as others.”
Gyzub shrugged. “Always a bad egg in every batch. Just so long as I get my steak, I can go home a happy orc.”
“Well, you’re in luck.” The butcher handed over the wrapped-up meat. “Prepared and ready for cooking. Saved you the best cut, for being a repeat and loyal customer. Always good to see you come every week.”
“It’s not like you make it easy, with your prime selection. If I come home empty handed, the missus turns me around and back out. It’s become a family tradition by now.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
The scout had abandoned all pretence of being subtle. He stood right next to the orc, his pointing finger inches from Gyzub’s face. “Oh gods above,” the scout yelled. “The orcs are taking our food and supplies! The town is doomed! Everyone, fall back to the castle, we can still fight them off!”
Gyzub swatted away the hand. “Do you mind? I’m trying to buy food here.”
The scout cradled the slapped hand with his other, a look of terror in his eyes. “We’re sustaining casualties! Where are the field medics?”
“You’re being an idiot. Stop it.”
The scout retreated back, a scorned look on his face. “Today, the orcs have claimed a dire victory over mankind. We have experienced a terrible reminder as to the nature of these foul beasts. Foul, evil orcs! See how humanity is on the balance of extinction due to these intrepid beings. But we shall prevail! We will fight back with equal strength and number, and show the foul tides the true meaning of valiance! For as we unite together with honour and courage, we can overcome any obstacle, fight any intruder, and push back any who dare to step within our bounda–”
A dull thwak of fist against face finished the scout’s sentence for him, sending him to the floor with a thud.
Gyzub dusted his fist on his shirt. “Can’t believe he said all that. I was right here, for sod’s sakes.”
The butcher peered over at the scout. “Hope he hasn’t put you off coming back, lad. The rest of us welcome you.”
Gyzub laughed. “Are you kidding? Next week I’ll bring the whole tribe down for a drink or two. Can’t wait to see his face then. Just make sure to keep your prime steaks for me when I return, or else I’ll really raid the place.”
“Sure,” the butcher said with a smile and a wave. “See you.”
Gyzub felt good about himself as he left. A day where an orc could hit someone and be supported for it was a good one.