Hasan saw nothing above beyond the pit’s rim, but the jangling, noisy progress of a band of orcs could be confused only with the ways of goblins. In either case, Hasan wanted to be on level ground with them. “Up, up, up,” he urged. “Defend the rope, we have to get out of here!” He pushed those climbing the rope forward, trying to help as many up as he could.
Stephan hastily accepted the statuette back from Hasan. A nod of thanks was all he could afford before following the Prince’s advice, and was the first to scramble out of the pit.
He saw Miklos come up the rope behind him as he heard the approaching orcs’ armor clank as they started to maneuver through the ‘teeth’ at the entrance to the spider’s cave. “Blessed Halav,” Stephan blasphemed at the unpleasant thought of more battle. He genuflected the Halav sign telling himself to later repent to a greater degree for having muttered His name out of frustration.
Drawing his sword and hefting his shield into place, Stephan tried to assess the approach of the orcs. How close were they? He glanced around the chamber looking for advantages. See a pile of slag, he alighted on top, making sure he had good footing, so as to have a height advantage. He was, additionally, poised to the side of where the orcs would likely enter, giving him more upper hand.
Feldard agreed with Hasan’s assessment of the situation. Better to be fighting the orcs on level than to be trapped below. The dwarf impatiently waited his turn on the rope and clambered his way up as quick as his bulk would allow. It was by no means graceful or quiet but with the help of the others he managed to make it over the ledge of the pit before the orcs were on scene.
Miklos silently cursed. The orcs would be in the cavern before they were all up the rope. Feldard rose from the pit, and Miklos gestured toward the tunnel where the marching was coming from. He silently drifted to the right, flipped his book open and prepared a sleep spell. He gestured to the dwarf to take to the left.
Feldard moved away from the pit edge and pulled out his crossbow loading it as swiftly as possible. He’d likely only get one shot with it .. but the dwarf was quickly learning to take the advantage in a battle where ever and however it presented itself. A quick check assured him that his axe was easily at hand once the bolt was away. Feldard waited crossbow already in position.
Hernane sighed with frustration, she knew the orcs would be back. She hoped that they had not found Tekaryon and that he was safe. She quickly clambered up the rope after Feldard and crouched down beside him, pulling out her handaxe. The last encounter had unnerved her, what a chaotic situation however facing orcs in battle was something that she could make sense of. Let these orcs come on, she would give them cold Dwarf iron. She glanced at her companions, and noticed that everyone apart from a few minor scratches looked healthy enough. She could not help but admire the way that they all took up the best battle positions depending on their specific skills. Feldard has done well training this group she thought to herself.
Miklos suggested the center ground to Hernane with another gesture then continued with his study.
It was always difficult holding a read spell in his mind under pressure, still the battle at Sukiskyn had steeled his mettle, and he prepared as best he could awaiting the shadows of the orc guard before he released his incantation.
When the first of the party of orcs emerged from the stalactite/stalagmite bars, Miklos released his spell. He only caught three of them. It seemed the orc scouting party numbered eight, which left five orcs to contend with.
The humanoid warriors threw their spears, targeting the dwarves and mage. Stephan leapt from his ambush position, cutting down one of the them from behind before it could execute its spear throw. The orc party now numbered four.
Miklos cursed again as he saw that his spell was not as effective as he had intended. Then his eyes grew wide as he saw two spears headed his way. He awkwardly attempted to duck and roll away. One of the weapons pierced his calf muscle.
Feldard released his crossbow bolt. A miss. Damn! He glanced to his former betrothed. She too was struck by one of the spears, but it was only a scratch.
The orcs drew their swords. One turned to face Stephan and three charged toward the others.
Maruc hauled his bulk up the rope, the armour slowing him down. The sounds of battle spurred him on. With relief, he elbowed himself to the lip and watched the dwarves charge forth to meet the orcs. The priest grunted as he brought his knee over the edge and crawled heavily to his feet. He swung his shield from his back, loosened his flail and smiled as joined the fray.
Hasan was the last to scale the rope and he did so quickly and with fluid grace typical of an elf.