The Chains that Bind

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Stealing a ship

A single human frigate awaited the king's order to push off. It was separated from the rest of the navy in order to surround the island from another side. The crew was dragging cannons up the loading ramp and having idle chatter as they worked.

"These cannons will allow us to bombard that island before the elves even know that we are attacking them!"

"Aye, we'll make wrecks out of the bath toys they call ships!"

"Alright you landlubbers! Gather up your sea legs and get those cannons loaded!" A human in knight's armor and an admiral's hat waved a sword around and shouted to the group of human knights massed on the dock "Load up onto the ship!"

The Knights turned and marched rank by rank up the loading dock and into the ship.

"Admiral!" A shout came from the crow's nest "Enemies sighted!"

The Admiral snapped a spyglass up to his eye and turned to face the sea scanning the horizon for elven or pirate sails. "Rubbish, I see nothing!"

"They're coming from land sir!"

The Admiral spun and began barking out orders "Knights form a shield wall, get our spearmen behind! I want cannons trained on them!"

A crewmember ran up to the admiral's side "But sir shouldn't we cast off?"

"We need to wait for the order from the king! We hold them off here!" The Admiral shoved the crewmember towards a cannon. "Now man that cannon!"

Kol's face was grim and his daggers were out as he led the small group towards the human frigate. The Orc Captain walked alongside him with his hand on his sword hilt, and he turned to give a reassuring smile to Caewen.

"Stay close to me, and remember what I taught you"

Caewen was about to protest that two hours of training with a wooden blade didn't qualify her for this, but she simply nodded and squeezed the hilt of her dagger, praying that she wouldn't have use it.

Kol smiled as his thirty thieves and mercenaries walked alongside him, all ready to follow him on their biggest caper yet, and probably their last. Despite all that had happened they stood with him, and they would continue too.

"They see us!" The Captain's words didn't even slow down the advance of Kol and his men who simply drew their weapons.

No one cringed when a cannon turned and aimed itself at them, and no one cringed when the knights created a shieldwall.

Kol gripped the hilts of his daggers, already sighting weak points in the knight's armor where a dagger could easily fit.

The Captain drew his sword letting the rage he had held in for so long boil to the surface.

Caewen drew her dagger and took a breath to calm her trembling nerves. She felt more confidence at the feeling that the only friends she had in this world were fighting with her, and she suddenly looked towards the task ahead with a glimmer of new hope.

The thieves and mercenaries marching behind their leader held their weapons in tight fisted hands, each one crushing a bit of fear as the cannons tracked their movement forward.

"Ready…" Kol whispered poising to throw his first dagger.

"Ready…

NOW!"

With war cries and whoops Kol led the charge towards the human ranks, letting his first dagger fly. The razor sharp blade whistled as it traveled through the air and sailed towards its target.

The blade buried itself into the chest of a knight and he fell breaking the wall.

The Captain charged toward the break in the wall, sword held high and a war cry on his lips.

The two cannons fired with massive booms and the group scattered as the iron balls zoomed past them throwing up clods of dirt.

The knights slowly advanced, attempting to close the break in the shieldwall, but they were too late.

The wave of thieves and mercenaries crashed onto the shieldwall and pressed it apart engaging the knights in duels.

The Captain charged towards a knight and swung his sword downward wincing as the knight's blade parried his strike. He ducked a return swing and jabbed upward but his blade was turned aside by the knight's shield. The knight swung the shield and bashed the Captain's chest. He stumbled backward in an attempt to regain his footing and barely parried two more quick swings. He rolled away and stood blocking another swing, before giving one of his own, locking blades with the knight at the edge of the dock.

Both fighters pressed on their blades, hoping to throw one another off balance. The Captain smiled and twisted his wrist breaking the lock and knocking the blade aside. He leaned backward and kicked the knight in the chest knocking his foe backwards and into the water.

Kol hurled another dagger at close range and it tore through a knight's arm. The knight held a two handed pike and swung it directly at Kol groaning at the pain that flashed up his arm. Kol leapt away from the swing and drew another dagger; He spun to avoid a jab from the pike and hurled the dagger.

The weapon slashed the knight's unarmored neck and he collapsed gurgling his last sound on the wooden dock.

Kol seized the pike and used it as a pole to vault himself onto the human ship.

The human admiral spun and drew his sword as the crewmembers charged forward. Kol spun the pike and rushed forward.

The lucky crewmembers were struck by the blunt end and collapsed to the deck with bumps and bruises, and the unlucky ones were slashed by the spear end and fell bleeding to the deck. Kol knocked the last crewmember overboard and dropped the pike.

The Admiral rushed forward with his sword out and Kol drew a dagger. He leapt backward attempting to get enough space to throw it, but the admiral kept himself close attempting to use his sword.

Caewen ducked through the fighting attempting to keep close to the Captain. she held her dagger in tight, but unconfident hands, and she made sure she was never alone. She stood off the side during the Captain's duel with the knight, and smiled at the plop that was the knight hitting the water.

She peeked over the edge of the dock as the Captain moved off to another duel; the knight's body was nowhere to be found. She was about to call a warning when the water exploded and the knight's arm gripped the dock, as he tried to pull himself up. Caewen dropped her dagger and instead grabbed a plank of wood.

She swung the plank three times hitting the knight in the head. She kept swinging the plank and the knight grunted as his grip loosened. He tried to grab his sword, but a wild plank swing knocked his hand away.

Caewen swung the plank with all her strength and knocked the knight back into the water. She took several deep breaths and took a moment to smile at her accomplishment. I actually beat one of them! I might stand a chance once the big battle starts.

Caewen turned to see that the battle was winding down, and most of the human forces were dead or unconscious. She looked up to see Kol fighting the human admiral on the boat, and he was jumping and flipping trying to get out of range of the sword.

Kol ducked another slash and jabbed his dagger into the admiral's wrist twisting it painfully. The admiral screamed and yanked his bloody arm free as Kol hurled a punch, knocking the admiral back and into the water.

Kol smiled as more of his agile thieves clambered up the sides of the boat and began to look at the cannons.

"Wow, so those are cannons huh?"

"Cool, I wonder how you fire them."

"It's probably easier than you think, this one looks loaded"

The thieves wandered to the loaded cannon like children, and examined it with quick fingers and fast eyes. The cannon was aiming at the dock, and the thieves fast minds quickly figured out how to fire the weapon.

"We just pull this chord and….."

BOOM!

The cannon fired and the cannonball smashed into the ground near the surviving human forces, who quickly turned and fled.

Kol turned to his men and smiled slightly at their actions, but that smile turned into a look of alarm as one of them shouted "We have company!"

The Captain turned and held his blade high, ready for more human forces to charge towards the boat, but what he saw caused him to drop his blade in disbelief and shock.

The company turned out to be several dozen orcs, trolls, minotaur and other monsters. They were led by five orcs who were wounded and covered in battle scars, but they were recognizable.

The Captain was looking at five, and possibly the only survivors of the massacre at the camp. "How…." The captain shook his head. "How did you…."

Caewen was still in shock as the memories of the slaughter washed over her. She closed her eyes and shook her head trying to free herself of the memories, and smiled as better memories entered her mind once an orc asked her "Are you alright?"

Caewen nodded and the orc returned his attention to his captain.

The orcs smiled and gestured to their companions "We managed to play dead and we escaped from the battle."

The Captain stared at the orcs and still seemed to be in shock as they continued.

"What you didn't think we were the only orcs to inhabit this world? Your deeds have gotten around boss, and we've been gathering an army for you."

The Captain smiled "Thank you guys, but I don't know if we will be coming back from this battle, so if anyone doesn't want to come, they don't have to."

The orcs actually burst out laughing at this statement and they began walking up the ramp and into the frigate, nodding at the thieves who seemed to be uncomfortable with their new shipmates. The orcs also began to investigate the cannons and the thieves showed pride as they explained how the weapons worked.

The Captain smiled as Caewen walked up next to him. "Glad to see the orcs back here."

The Captain squeezed Caewen's shoulder and led her into the ship "We are going to end this war, I promise you Caewen."

Caewen couldn't explain it, but she saw something in the Captain's eyes that gave her nothing but hope. She suddenly knew that she wasn't going on a fool's errand, but she was going to be a part of history and be a part of the team that either ended the war or died trying, and she wasn't afraid at all.

Kol smiled and turned to the small, but hopeful crew of monsters and thieves. It was odd that these would be the labels that labeled the heroes of this war, because without a doubt, this crew was made up of heroes.

"Push off."

The sails were quickly unfurled and several minotaur used long rods to push against the dock. The human frigate then began its long journey to the Elven Island and to the end of the war.


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