Brigand Five: An Unflankable Story

Chapter 10: Half Baked

Alone on the battlefield, Chief Tym is furious at his comrade's betrayal. He continues slicing at his foes as they surround him. Othfir and Geandur join the attack, trying to bring down the raging chieftain. Seraphina flies off towards the silos to assess the screaming situation. Morningstar spots a cowering dwarf and a couple trembling swordsmen and goes to sort them out. He determines that Chief Gora cast some sort of enchantment on them before peacing out. Arradon finally reenters the fray, having gotten fed up with dealing with Balas and the Tanivese archers. He wastes no time in firing on the massive orc, planting an arrow in Tym's throat. Spotting a familiar opportunity, Othfir hammers the arrow through the chief's neck and finally killing the towering monster.

Meanwhile, Seraphine has discovered three orcs setting fire to the three silos, where the screams are coming from. She uses her celestial presence to try and intimidate them into stopping, but only one orc rides away fearfully on his worg. The other two set their silos ablaze and run to the other side to spread the flames. Seraphina flies after them and releases a wave of thunder, launching the two remaining orcs off their mounts. The arsonists collide with the silos, dying instantly. Unable to sustain her magical wings, Seraphina lands and conjures a juicy steak in the distance to distract the riderless worgs.

The fire is quickly enveloping the two silos. Othfir, Geandur, and Arradon dash towards the scene, the dwarf shouting for the reinforcements to hurry after them. One after another, the two barbarians collide with the door of the center silo, the hinges’ screams joining those of the trapped halflings. Seraphina runs to the unburnt silo and spirals her way up the staircase around it; meanwhile, Arradon takes the third silo and fires a force arrow into the silo’s padlock at point blank range. The resulting wave of force destroys the lock and hurls the elf backwards to the ground. Othfir uses his hammer as a battering ram to finish off the door to the center silo, while Geandur goes to assist Arradon. While a crowd of terrified, and in some cases burning, halflings burst forth around Othfir, Seraphina ties her rope to the stairs and lowers it into the other silo. Unfortunately in her panic, her knot was poorly tied and she watches her rope slide into the silo and disappear from view.

Geandur pulls open the doors to the third silo and finds himself felled by an avalanche of corn. While the corn begins to burn, he realizes that the halflings are still trapped above the corn and can’t get out. Seraphina assures the halflings in her silo that they’ll be alright and runs back down the stairs. At the same time, Othfir is on Halfling-extinguishing duty, using his new thick jacket to put out several of the fiery halflings. Geandur pulls himself out of the corn and ascends the stairs to his silo. Arradon moves in to replace him and start shoveling out corn, but loses his footing and falls into the cooking kernels. A quick game of musical silos is played, as Seraphina moves to the center silo, Othfir moves to the corn avalanche, and Arradon runs to the unburnt silo. All the while, Geandur has tied his rope to his waste and is impatiently dangling the end of it to the halflings within. Unfortunately, they cannot hold their footing on the slowly sinking corn and they cannot get ahold of the rope. As he pulls up the rope, shaking his head, Seraphina uses her frost ray to extinguish the flames on the center silo. Arradon uses another force arrow to blast the lock on the untouched silo, this time ready for the thrill of being thrown back by the wave of energy. Othfir yells at the reinforcements to hurry while he shovels handfuls of corn out from the silo.

Before long, the flow of corn turns to a flow of halflings and everyone is back on extinguishing duty. Finally, once the halflings and silos are no longer on fire, the heroes, reinforcements, and horrified citizens make their way back into the town. Cleanup and consolations fill the streets. The barbarians begin burning the orc bodies, Othfir swiping Tym’s top hat as a souvenir before rolling his huge corpse into the flames. Arradon finds a young halfling consoling her brethren and asks what happened before they were locked in the silos. She relates the surprise attack that the orcs sprung, leaving them no chance to get word out for help. She heard them talking about making Mossington a base of operations centered in the town hall. The elf gives her his well wishes and gathers the heroes to head to the town hall.

Before they reach the town’s largest building, they run into Balas and the rest of the Tanivese archers. Seraphina immediately goes off on the leader of the bowmen and before Balas can truly protest, Geandur gives him a hearty sock in the jaw and knocks him out cold. Willander laughs at this, telling the heroes they’ve all wanted to do that for ages. He then apologizes, explaining that Balas was set on waiting for the orcs to come to them instead of advancing. The archers join the rest of the town with the cleanup while the heroes enter the town hall. The main chamber appears to have been set up for a feast. Ale is splattered around the room, food litters the floors, and chairs lie from corner to corner. The horror hits them when they realize that orcs had also been feasting on the halflings themselves.

The heroes post a few of the swordsmen outside to keep any halflings from seeing the carnage while they clean up the chamber. However, the remnants of the orcs’ brutality is too much for Seraphina and she finally succumbs to the overwhelming amount of bloodshed. Geandur leaves her his flask of whiskey and while her wails echo around the hall, the other heroes go outside to meet with a trio of halflings that have come to speak to them. The young woman who Arradon spoke to is there, along with an overall-clad farmer and a weeping woman with curly grey-brown hair. The young woman explains that weeping one is the mayor's wife, now a widow after the orc invasion. Geandur gives the mourning halfling a hug while the other two halflings address whether or not they should stay in Mossington, since it may not be safe anymore. The young woman, Dyla, thinks they should leave, but the farmer seems content to stay in their town. The heroes give them encouragement, telling them that they will get through this tragedy with the help from their allies, Tanivas and the council. This seems to put Dyla at ease. The bawling of Seraphina cuts out momentarily, when she drunkenly transports herself to the astral plane unintentionally. A minute later she returns, still immensely tearful, and the heroes escort her to the town's inn. The innkeeper was another casualty so the heroes make themselves comfortable. However, comfort remains elusive as the orcs have raided all the food and ale in the building. Othfir curses the existence of every orc in the universe as his hunger screams in fury.

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