Sozo peered over the bushes. After escaping from the dungeons in Falmor, he and his mishmash crew had run through the night. They’d tread the next day beneath their frenzied feet and another night had settled in. Overgrown and out-of-the-way paths were life to them, but around here even the narrowest trail eventually led to a fort of mighty Mythron. Now, in desperate need of provisions, that might not be bad news.
They’re sights were locked on a small wood outpost, with thick logs forming its impenetrable sides and heavy bars across the widows. On the roof, one soldier armed with a crossbow guarded the premises, glancing about every so often. Sozo advanced on the structure with Joshua, and Elshak, a trained assassin, while the others kept it surrounded. Their plan was all but rock solid, and Sozo ordered the no one be killed unless absolutely necessary.
A transport cart had stopped on the path in front, stacked with heavy bricks, and a weary orc unloaded them quickly under the bowman’s supervision. Apparently they were in the processes of improving fortifications, good thing they hadn’t started sooner. As the bowman turned his gaze back to his weapon, Sozo motioned for Elshak to move up behind the transport cart.
Elshak moved like a spider along the ground, but the orc laborer inevitably noticed him and stopped. Elshak assumed a crouch position and put a finger to his lips, “Shhh.”
He waited as the orc scanned the woods, then pointed toward the outpost and passed his hand across his neck. The orc understood returning to his task like nothing had happened.
The bowman stood up, but looked the other way. Sozo flicked two fingers to the right, commanding Joshua to advance across the front of the outpost, then rolled up behind the cart as Elshak slipped under the cover of a thick bush.
The orc hopped down from the cart bearing another load and gave Sozo a nod, the coast was clear. Signaling for the others to move up their positions, the grer hurried alongside the cart with his head low, stealthily picking off one of the bricks.
It wasn’t long before Elshak was pressed against the outpost wall, two steps from the front door. Brad had also appeared on the side of the fortress. It was a mystery how he got there, but being a master thief probably had something to do with it. Everything was set and Joshua crossed his fingers, it was up to him to initiate the final phase of their incursion.
Not wasting a moment, the former pirate jumped up and yelled, as he made a quick jab at the nearest horse. The animal bucked, crying out as it reared back, and its partner followed its lead.
The pair sped off, the cart bouncing behind them, but Sozo and Joshua took advantage of its temporary cover. Arrows whizzed over heads and more soldiers burst from the doorway.
Elshak let one knight pass then cracked the second on the back of the helmet, sending the man face first to the ground. Brad blocked the door while Sozo and Joshua rushed into the fray, but the bowman had taken aim.
“Dive!” Sozo screamed.
Elshak threw himself unto the rocky terrain and rolled. Still, the arrow missed by mere inches and the bowman was already loading another. Sozo tossed aside his scythe and sprinted forward. As the bowman adjusted his aim, Sozo whorled around with a strained grunt and let the brick fly.
Stone stuck metal with a sure thud, both man and bow tumbling from the roof. Sozo looked to the others. Joshua had subdued one knight, obviously he hadn’t lost his touch, and the orc laborer led the second back up the embankment with the soldier’s own sword. Then, Brad emerged from the outpost with something that got a cheer out of them all… Gold.
They raided the outpost, greeted by crates of food, gold, and clothing. Trusting their comrades to return with the transport cart, they took whatever two horses could manage. They found hand cuffs and bound the three knights that survived, then tied them together with a strong vine. The rest of the team arrived with perfect timing, some dumping out the remaining bricks while the others loaded up. Anyone who could ware the clothes available took some, leaving two knights without their armor. Weapons were loaded as well, but the helmets wouldn’t be worth their weight at the market.
This was sweet deliverance. Their journey, though treacherous, was no longer impossible, and they had recruited a new ally to help them on the way, the orc named Kobin. They praised Sozo for the victory, and set him atop the lead horse. A sense of unity was born that day.