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The Cliff

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Fantasy Realm
Oskar and Amnestria go on a scouting mission for the dwarven armies, and find a horde of orcs hoarding slaves.


This is a tie-in to my pitiful attempt at a novel, A Broken Kingdom, and was an entry in the 500 Words Just Write Contest by AnarchyBlues. Since that was cancelled, I spent some time expanding and clarifying. It can serve as a prologue to the book, but can stand on its own as well.

Submitted: April 20, 2018

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Submitted: April 20, 2018

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Oskar lay in the dirt, peering over the edge of the cliff Amnestria had brought him to. He was the only other one in their group quiet enough to sneak up on the enemy – all that full plate and chainmail that the others wore always made such a racket. His own hide armor and Amnestria’s leathers were much more suited to this kind of work. The orcs had built a bonfire below, and the crackling of flames had covered any sound they may have made on the approach.

“I count twenty,” Amnestria whispered. She was watching the camp and the trees around their vantage point. Her eyes were constantly moving as she searched for any threats, and she tucked her long, golden hair back into the hood of the dark cloak she'd worn for their reconnaissaince mission. “More on watch, gathering firewood...let’s say thirty.”

Oskar nodded. Thirty. Easy.

“There’s more. Oskar...” Amnestria whispered, the disgust in her voice evident. “It’s harvest season.”

Oskar stared at her in confusion for a moment – harvest season? They’d only heard that term from the orcs once before. He snapped his gaze back to the camp, then slowly pulled himself forward. He looked straight down.

There were eight, huddled tightly against the base of the cliff, all young and fit. They would be. The orcs killed the old and infirm, only taking those they could use. The rock walls stretched out and curved sharply, a tiny box canyon. The prisoners were trapped. Oskar looked closely, and could see more details in the bright firelight.

“They’ve already collared them,” he whispered. “We have to free them now-”

We can’t. No – Oskar, listen!” Amnestria grabbed Oskar’s arm as he started to stand, yanking him back down unceremoniously. He glowered at her, smoothing his long, braided beard back into place. “They’ve started killing their captives when they realize there’s a rescue happening. We can’t help them yet. If they see us rappelling down the cliff they’ll start with slitting throats before attacking us. See the sentries? They have bows. We’d be filled with arrows before we made it halfway.” She pointed them out. One was watching the captives, while another kept a lookout all around.

“There’s a trail down the side of the cliff. It’ll take us about ten minutes, but we can make it quickly.” Amnestria tugged her bow back into place on her back, settling it tightly. “Your job will be to charge through the camp while we distract, get in between them and the captives, and defend until the rest of us can get through to you. Clear?”

“Amnestria, they have women down there! You know what they do to-”

“Oskar, we can’t do anything but get down there double-quick. Get through the front lines, get to the captives. Let’s go.”

“Ness...” Oskar gave her a mutinous look before conceding. “Fine. Let’s go before they start picking the prettiest ones -”

He’d glanced back down as he began to rise. That’s when he saw that there weren’t eight captives. There were nine.

She was small, still a child, hiding behind the others. That’s why he hadn’t seen her. Long hair in braids. Big blue eyes. Maybe about eight or nine years old. Pretty.

Oskar looked up in horror at the orcs drinking their swill by the fire, laughing and eyeing the captives. One stood, began to make his way over.

Amnestria had risen to a crouch. “The trail’s – Oskar NO!”

Her low voice disappeared in the wind blowing past Oskar’s ears as he leapt. He let his rage take control on the way down, the strength and endurance from the pure fury coursing through his veins would hopefully keep his legs from breaking-

He landed hard, the chains that always came with the rage whipping out from his flesh to wrap around his torso, the blood filling his eyes shading the campsite red. The orcs looked up at his abrupt appearance, confusion and fear filling their faces.

Oskar looked over his shoulder at the captives, at the little girl, before turning back around to the monsters that had come for them in the night.

“No.”


© Copyright 2020 K. Davis. All rights reserved.

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