Thursday, 16 February 2017

Of orcs, soap and the hardships of war (prologue)

Colour Sargeant Merric stood to attention outside the commanders vast H.Q. tent. The dry heat causing him to perspire, but not nearly as much as the news he had just had passed to him. The thought of facing commander Bragg during lunch was bad enough but telling him this was too much. 'ENTER!' came the bellowing voice, deep and thick from within the shady confines of the tent. 'AND MAKE IT BALLY GOOD, A MANS TRYING TO ENJOY HIS...HIS...STEWARD, WHAT IS THIS CALLED AGAIN?......WHAT!....WHAT! DON'T MUMBLE MAN I ASKED YOU A PERFECTLY FAIR QUESTION....WHAT....LUNCH, I JOLLY WELL KNOW ITS LUNCH YOU STUPID......OH, OH I SEE, HAUNCH, HAUNCH OF VENISON...WELL WHY DID'NT YOU SAY SO, PERFECTLY PLAIN....AH COLO..sorry, Colour Sargeant come in, come in what news from the patrols?'. Merric Stood neatly to attention and saluted his superiors. Old General Palboul dozed quietly sitting up on the daybed in the corner. Major Ichinar looked down his thin beak like nose at Merric for what felt like an hour, regarding him with the sort of expression one would reserve for a fresh stain on a new carpet before turning back to his food. Seated to his left was the vast frame of Commander Bragg, reclined while still sitting up at the richly dressed and fully laden lunch table on account of  his gigantic stomach pushing him away from the table. His mouth was completely hidden by his thick moustache which made him look not unlike a walrus reclined on a rock. 'At ease man at ease, no need for all that in here' Bragg shoveled another fork full into his mouth and continued 'you have news i hear, crushed the last pockets of the savages i hope, jolly good, jolly good, well if that's all a chap has two dessert courses to tackle so if you would be so good', Bragg waved his full again fork towards the door. 'Not quite Sir' answered Merric. 'Oh?' exclaimed Bragg placing his fork on his plate and sitting back further, hands on his ample gut. 'The scouts have reported movement on the frontier sir, some six hundred or so behind an advanced group at least one hundred strong headed towards us sir' explained Merric trying to stay calm. 'Oh come now Colour Sargeant you know as well as i these scouts like to exaggerate, gives them a sense of grander you know, i'm sure its just another probe trying to draw us out. Let the patrol deal with them'. 'I regret to inform you they already ambushed the patrol and killed two scout groups. The reports suggest they are only a day away'. 'Oh no Colour Sargeant' retorted Bragg 'that will never do, we killed two hundred in the first attack and scattered the rest. Where would Six hundred orcs suddenly come from?'. 'We cant  say sir but the report states four tribes banners have been sighted sir'. 'What piffle!' snorted Major Ichinar suddenly 'do you expect us to believe that there are more of the filthy creatures?, I signed the paperwork in full, we swept the area and found nothing. We are alone out here Colour Sargaent, i would bet my life on it!'. 'I'll say we are alone, there is not a single living thing in this blasted dust bowl' agreed Bragg 'why we ran clean out of fresh provisions last week, we have gone without a fish course for the last three days!, I had to tackle my soup with a dessert spoon just yesterday!, i suppose that's the hardships we must expect on active duty'. 'Quite so Monty' snorted Ichinar, 'they had the nerve to try to serve blue cheese on those horrid dry biscuits they give the common foot-sloggers!'. 'Sir if I may interject' attempted Merric 'we have a large army of angry vengeful savages baying for our blood that will be on the camp by dawn!, we need to prepare fortifications and set watches, we are greatly outnumbered sir and currently unprepared.....sir'. 'pish- posh Colour Sargeant' laughed Bragg dismissively, 'out numbered indeed, you forget we are the superior force, your average orc has yet to discover soap let alone sound military theory!, we have a greater knowledge, manors, strategy and don't forget BALLY GUN POWDER COLOUR SARGEANT!. Send out the troops to meet these animals in the field and give them a taste of the Guild Alliances' steel. Send them running back to wherever filthy holes they came from'.' The Guild want this land cleared and clear it we shall!'.  Bragg stuffed another fork full into his face. 'Sir if I may suggest' started Merric. 'COLOUR SARGENT!' bellowed Ichinar 'YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN A DIRECT ORDER. ORGANIZE THE TROOPS AND MEET THESE SCUM!'. Merric sighed, 'SIR YES SIR' he shouted, more then a hint of resignation in his voice. He turned and sloped out of the tent.

  Silence filled the command tent as the officers let the details of the report sink in. Bragg poked at his food, a worried look on his face. He looked over to Major Ichinar. 'Ichiny, you think th..' he broke off, seemingly unsure how to continue the question. 'do you think' he continued.........'do you think this bally meats gone cold?, STEWARD!....STEWARD! WHERES THE BLOODY PUDDING!!??!!'.          

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