All Aloft, All Alow
"We know them Outlaws want revenge for the death of Robin le Carpet" said Kommodore Deffgit, then in a quieter aside to the grinning one-eyed Pirate. "Well done Fishgutz, that was a sure blow you delt 'im." He continued in his normal slightly-too-loud voice.
"But we ain't gonna just sit it out an' wait for them to come to us mates!" The assembled company banged their mugs of grog on the inn table in assent, with murmurs of "Aye!" and "Too roight shipmate!"
Deffgit drained his mug and looked around the smoky room. Their clothes were not up to the Ogresun's usual level of grubby opulence and most of them were nursing bruises, sprains, burns, minor cuts and quite a few arrow wounds but they were in good spirits: The rum was probably a major contributory factor in that though.
"We've spread a rumour that the old merchant district is rife with unfound bits of Bloodfane stone and we a fairly sure the Chalons will be on their way to search the ruins tomorrow at first light." said Deffgit in a conspiratorial tone "We will lie in wait for them in a warehouse on the north side, and get the hop on 'em when they is least expecting it!"
The Ogresuns cheered and ordered another round of grog.
~ ~ ~
High above the street the yellow dress of Mademoiselle Marianne fluttered in the autumn breeze. Salty Ogbad shaded his eyes against the sun and squinted up at her as she drew back her bow and loosed an arrow off at the Kommodore's group, away to the east. With as much stealth as they could muster Blind Fug and Bad Hook scrabbled up the crumbling wall to the upper floor of the Wall Tavern, a ladder lay between the tavern and the roof upon which Marianne was perched, Salty rushed up the stairs.
In mere moments the maiden spotted the clambering Orc deckhands and pelted them with arrows: Bad Hook blamed Fug for making too much noise and started ranting at the unfortunate greenskin. Chuckling, Salty appeared at the top of the stairs and stepped out onto the precarious horizontal ladder. The wood creaked with his, not inconsiderable, weight but held fast. Marianne backed away up the tiles and aimed an arrow at the big Orc. Salty got half way across before the young woman loosed her dart; it hit him in the thigh and he cried out with anger and pain, clutched at the arrow protruding from his leg and shifted his balance too quickly. Waving his arms in an antic fashion he pitched sideways off the ladder!
Wyrdtoof and the Kabin Grots tiptoed through the ruins on the eastern edge of the merchants' district. A strange interlocked web of wooden walkways and gang-planks had been assembled in this locale and the Goblins scampered up into the scaffolding – Wyrdtoof stayed on the ground and peeped around the corner of a shattered wall.
A Bretonnian archer had chosen a particularly lofty position amid this tangled timber and he commanded a wide field of view. The Goblins presented difficult targets though and while Wyrdtoof unleashed (inaccurate) gouts of green fire at the man while the Kabin Grots made their way towards him.
Dread Pirate RogUrtz sprinted the last few yards towards the bowman, swinging a belaying pin in one hand and a piece of decking with a nail through it in the other, and screaming blue threats as he ran. After a very brief struggle the bowman went down and RogUrtz tried to give him one final blow for luck. The prone archer fended off the club and kicked out at RogUrtz, catching him in the belly and knocking the wind out of him: RogUrtz tumbled off the gang-way and landed heavily on the cobbles below.
Kommodore Deffgit, Fishgutz and Lubber Lugsnaga pounded along the roof timbers of the shambles, straight into the heart of the merchants' quarter. Ahead of them a couple of Outlaws barred their way but the three of them together barrelled into the closest, knocking him down and giving him a vicious kick on the way past. They chased on after the next bowman through a hail of arrows from a band of Outlaws who had heard the shouts of their companions and come running. Fishgutz got nervous and hung back while Lubber ran on, straight into the point of a barbed missile and fell.
With a scream and a heavy thump Blind Fug slipped and fell from the ladder between the tavern and Marianne's rooftop roost. Luckily he landed on his head, so no significant damage was done. He rolled onto his back and sat up, clutching his skull and moaning.
Deffgit was about to make a leap across a gap in the broken walkway when he realised that his warband was once more seriously depleted. With a disappointed sigh (and the realisation that the really needed some firepower) he called for the retreat.
~ ~ ~
Salty Ogbad woke up in the darkened circular stone chamber of the fighting pits. He groaned and dragged himself to his feet – he'd been here as a spectator far to many times to be confused about what was going to happen next.
A burly Pit Fighter emerged from a metal grating opposite him and drew shifted the weight of his cutlass and boarding axe in his hands. The Pit Fighter shouted and ran towards him. Salty took two great strides forwards to meet the attack then suddenly stepped sideways, swung his axe upwards from behind him. The blade caught the Pit Fighter a glancing blow to the ribs and he stumbled.
The big Orc Pirate turned on his heel and thrust his cutlass sharply into the Fighter's back, drawing a great spout of blood and a cheer from the watching crowd. The Pit Fighter dropped onto one knee and clutched at the wound in his back, Ogbad stepped closer and waited for a moment – the Pit Fighter glanced sidelong at the greenskin but Salty saw what he was planning before the man moved a muscle, he had seen this fighter play the same card just weeks before and already had his measure.
As the warrior span up from his crouch, twisting in the air to bring the point of his blade up into the Orc's throat, Salty shot out a heavy booted foot and stamped on the man's ankle with a sickening crunch. At the same time he punched him square in the throat with his axe-hand.
Even the normally blood-thirsty crowd were sickened by the gory sight that followed. Ogbad beat the warrior senseless and beyond in a frenzy of blows that continued well after what was required...