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EM Fiction: "A Quiet Bunch" by EM Kaz

Discussion in 'UO Pacific' started by EM Kaz, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. EM Kaz

    EM Kaz Visitor
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    This fiction is in reference to an event scheduled for Thursday August 12th, 2010 at 7:30 pm PST. Please check Pacific.UOEM.net for more details.

    Plotline Fiction
    This section will be used for fiction that is developed for certain plotlines and events. Sometimes these might be stories that actually reference things that have happened in-game, or on other occasions it will simply be a short story that relates to characters or locations that are related to a current plotline or event.

    "A Quiet Bunch"
    By: Kaz

    “How did I let you convince me that this was a good idea, Arthur?” Byron asked. “Especially with all that’s been going on.”

    “All that’s been goin’ on?” asked Arthur, fully aware of what Byron referenced. “Whatever do you mean, my friend?” he said in a sarcastic tone.

    With a deep sigh Byron abruptly halted his work and left his pickaxe posted firmly in the side of the mountain. The inevitable argument that he was about to have with his mining partner at least gave him a moment to rest.

    Arthur turned towards Byron and spoke through gritted teeth, “I’m not playing games with you right now. You know damn well what I’m talking about.”

    Arthur chuckled slightly, knowing that yet again he had aggravated his timid mining partner. “Oh, ya mean the Orcs? Alright, so there have been a few attacks on miners. Ya ‘spect us to stop working? Ya ‘spect us to –

    “I expect us not to be doing this in the dead of night when we can’t see them coming,” Byron interrupted. As he spoke he was becoming increasingly angry with Arthur. “I expect us to be doing this with a larger crew of miners and I don’t know, maybe not within walking distance of an Orc Fort?”

    “We’ll see’em comin’ Byron,” Arthur replied with half a smile. “They’ll have torches.”

    Byron was not amused at his partner’s attempt at humor. His face had gradually turned crimson red as he became overwhelmed with frustration. There had been recent reports of Orc clans targeting miners all over Britannia. Such reports had been spreading quickly throughout the loose fraternity of miners. All of the reports seemed to indicate that Byron and Arthur would be the perfect targets; a small mining crew, digging at a site far from a major city and worst of all, working in an area known to be heavily populated with Orcs.

    “Orc ain’t the quietest bunch either ya know. We’ll hear’em comin’. Arthur was obviously unfazed by Byron’s frustration. Instead, he continued shoveling piles of ore into the mining cart as he addressed each of Byron’s concerns individually.

    “First of all, we’ve always been a small crew. It’s always been you and I unless we are workin’ along side another group of miners. Secondly, you can run to Cove within minutes if ya get scared. Oh and lastly? Orcs are everywhere.”

    “Everywhere? Orcs are everywhere?" Byron replied. “There are plenty of places that we could have been doing this where there would have been far less of a risk. But instead we are doing this in the middle of the night in what you might as well say is the backyard of an Orc fort. I’m done arguing with you. You’re the genius, let’s finish this and get out of here.”

    Arthur, now upset, tossed his shovel to the ground. It made a loud clank as it struck the pile of ore at his feet. “You are ungrateful ya know that?” Arthur said, his voice gradually increasing in volume as he continued to speak. “We are doing this in the dark ‘cause I knew that no one else would be here. No one else bein’ here means a lot more ore for us. More ore means more money, genius!”

    Arthur was shouting now, his voice echoing clearly off of the mountainside. Panicked, Byron grabbed him by the shoulders and whispered to him angrily. “Be quiet you idiot! You are going to get us both killed!”

    Arthur laughed awkwardly, knowing that he had overreacted. “Well, not everyone’s been killed ya know? Some of them have just gone missin’.

    “Even worse,” Byron said as he yanked his pickaxe out of the mountainside. “Let’s get this cart filled and go.”

    “Glad to see you’re finally on board, buddy!” Arthur exclaimed as he slapped Byron on the back. “Oh and make sure ya fill out the minin’ log. I wanna remember which veins were ‘ere.”

    “I’ve done this before you know,” he replied.

    The two were only at work for a few more minutes before Byron heard a noise in the distance. To his ears, it was unmistakably Orcs. Arthur didn’t seem to hear it, or at least pretended as if he didn’t. “Alright, let’s go,” Byron insisted. “We’ve got enough ore the cart’s full.”

    “Full?” Arthur said with a huff. “Maybe by yer count. Not by mine.” He then gestured at an outcropping of rocks just above Byron’s head. “Pull them rocks down and see what’s in ‘em. There’ll probably be enough in there to fill the cart and then we’ll go.”

    As Arthur leaned over to shift a pile of ore around in the cart, a swiftly swung mace came crashing down upon the back of his head. It was followed by another bludgeoning blow that killed him, his limp body falling onto the mining cart. Byron turned to react, but it was too late. A club was smashed upon his forehead and in an instant he collapsed to the ground. He wasn’t dead, but his consciousness was fading from him quickly. His vision was blurred, both from the impact of the blow and because of the warm blood that was now streaming down his face and into his eyes. He could only discern the general appearance of the attackers, but there was enough that he could recognize them. Orcs.

    Byron tried to get his feet, but he was far too dazed by his injury. The little progress that he made getting to his feet was quickly thwarted by a kick to his chest. He laid there nearly motionless and could only listen to what transpired around him. Byron expected to hear the Orcs barking instructions to one another in Orcish, but instead he could only hear them grunting as they labored with the ore and rummaged through his bags. It seemed as if they had done this before. If so, he supposed, there would be no reason for them to communicate with one another. Still, it seemed unusual to him.

    He strained to speak, “Take it all. Take it all. Just let me live. My wife…let me go home to my wife.”

    He pled desperately with the Orcs, knowing full well that it was pointless. They would kill him, he was sure of that. Maybe he could make a desperate attempt to flee; maybe he could get away…

    “Let you live you say?” An unfamiliar voice spoke over the clamoring of the Orcs. “What is it that I would get for sparing your life?”

    Byron was shocked to receive a response, especially one that was so articulate. An Orc speaking Britannian so fluently? Something wasn’t right.

    “You…you are not an Orc,” Byron stammered.

    “I never claimed to be. Now, I suggest that you answer my question quickly,” the voice responded. “You have precious little time. You lay dying in a pool of your own blood. It’s bubbling from your head like a geyser. Again I ask you, how would it benefit me if I were to let you live?”

    Byron could see almost nothing now. Who was this speaking to him? What did he want? “You can have anything, my ore, my gold, anything! I’ll do anything, just let me live! Please!” he pleaded.

    The unknown figure chuckled. “You would do anything? Fortunately, you have said exactly what I wanted to hear.”

    Byron was both relieved and terrified all at the same time. He could hear the voice drawing closer as the unknown individual walked towards him. The figure bent down and clutched Byron’s forearm tightly. As the Orcs continued rummaging behind him, Byron was overwhelmed by an intense burning sensation in his forearm. He was in unbearable pain and the painful sensation seemed to slowly crawl up his arm and towards his face.

    “Wh-what are you doing to me?!” Byron asked desperately, barely able to speak.

    “Letting you live,” the voice responded.

    The sensation seemed to slither up Byron’s arm and then around his neck. He felt as if it was choking the life out of him from the inside. Before it enveloped him completely, he was able to ask a final question to the unknown figure.

    “What…kind of Orc…are you?”

    “As I told you before, I’m no Orc,” the voice responded. “I’m far worse.”