Chapter 74: Blood on the Steppes (3)

The twin direwolves howled into the night. They ran amidst the tents and flickering shadows caused by the torch light. They could hear clearly the sounds of battle and the moans and screams of the dying. Orc grunts and shouts could also clearly be heard somewhere in the distance. The Orcs had somehow pushed their way far into the outer region of the camp and fires had started among the tents causing a chaotic scene to unfold.

Since the two brothers were werewolves, they had enhanced senses and could hear the distant shouts. They moved quickly on all fours like wild beasts and flew through the camp at incredible speeds. As they drew closer to the sounds, they could see many soldiers running about and beginning to gather into defensive formations. None of this mattered to them however. Their rage had already taken over most of their reasoning and the only thing they sought was the blood of their enemies.

It wasn’t long before the sight of battle entered their eyes and the scent of blood lingered in their noses. Numerous Orcs were fighting with their own elites who had been caught unaware and hadn’t had the time to properly equip themselves. They had only just heard the shouts and screams of battle moments before but hadn’t had the time to equip most of their armor and could only grab what they could without delay before the enemy was upon them. The fighting was intense and the Orcs temporarily had the upper hand despite being inferior in power to their elite soldiers. The Orcs were extremely aggressive and seemed to feel no fear as they collided with the soldiers in the camp. They didn’t even care for their lives, throwing themselves against the superior elite soldiers of the Northern churches.

The two twin direwolves suddenly jumped into the fray, tearing apart anyone who got in their way. They were already caught up in their bloodlust and it didn’t matter friend or foe, everyone who drew near to them was killed without hesitation. This was one of characteristics of werewolves which was of greatest concern when in battle. They would attack anything which wasn’t a werewolf like them. Their reasoning had already disappeared with their desire to kill overcoming it. There was no question that the two master class being werewolves were extremely powerful and all in the area fell swiftly until none remained standing. The werewolves breathed deeply as they moved their blood colored eyes to survey the camp.

The battle seemed to be over just as quickly as it had begun with tens of dozens of Orcs and soldiers strewn about. Blood and gore were splattered everywhere, it looked much like a scene of rabid animals who had torn their prey to pieces. Having calmed themselves, the two direwolf twins transformed back into their Human forms while howling wildly. Their stamina was exhausted from the carnage and they felt the battle was surely over. However, much to their surprise and after several breaths of silence, they could suddenly hear the sound of movement. They looked about the corpse strewn camp which had become a battlefield and what they thought were corpses began to rise from the ground alive once more. They looked to each other in shock before grabbing weapons from the floor near them.

“Could they be undead? Do these savage Orcs have necromancers? I thought their tribal beliefs didn’t allow for such magic? ” Asked Toran, one of the twins.

His brother Grigor shrugged and said, “They don’t look like undead…”

All of the Orcs they thought had died slowly picked themselves up and began to grin wickedly while waving their weapons. The two brothers were unsure of what exactly was going on, but they also noticed that some of the Orcs did not get back up again. Those were the ones which had been completely torn apart and dismembered. In the distance, they could also hear more shouts. It seemed that the enemy had attacked another part of the camp as well but they couldn’t leave this place with such a strange occurrence happening. They were soon joined by more soldiers which had formed up and were much more prepared than the initial soldiers which had been killed. They were being led by an officer and also had some clerics among their number.

“They might be undead, clerics cast your spells and see if you can kill them.” Shouted Grigor to the reinforcements which had just arrived.

One of the Orcs stepped forward as the power of the divine washed over them. These were spells from the clerics which were trying to banish or destroy what they thought were undead. However, their spells seemed to have no effect.

The Orc which had stepped forward laughed, “Your filthy spells will not work on us. Attack, kill them all!”

Grigor and Toran growled and the soldiers which had arrived as reinforcements marched forward and began to battle the Orcs. The two brothers watched carefully since they had regained their reason. The number of Orcs was not great, less than one hundred and they didn’t feel they would normally pose much of a threat to the elite soldiers who were now prepared to fight and had the support of clerics but something was strange about these Orcs who should have already died. They watched as the Orcs fought the soldiers and despite being stabbed and inflicted damage which should have normally caused death, they continued to fight as if they were immortal.

“Hmm, brother, these Orcs are too strange. The spells of the clerics didn’t work on them so they must not be undead, but then what are they?”

“I don’t know, but some of the Orcs we killed did not get back up.”

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“Right, It looks like if we completely dismember them, they might die for good.”

“Aye, then let’s get to it!”

The twins nodded to each other and growled viciously. They didn’t transform this time as they didn’t want to cause needless casualties and instead rushed towards the Orcs with their weapons. Being Master class beings they didn’t fear the Orcs even if they seemed immortal at first glance. They tore into them and with the help of the soldiers they made sure to cut off their heads and other body parts to ensure the Orcs never rose again. This seemed to be effective and even though it took longer than expected, they finally finished off all the Orcs. Elsewhere in the camp they could also hear the sounds of battle dying down. It seemed that the fight was finally over, but as the wolves sensed something they turned to look off into the distance. Their eyes turned yellow and they both stared somewhere far off where they felt a powerful and frightening presence.

They shivered, but not because of the cold.

The next morning, the camp had recovered from the disarray and chaos of the night before. The large camp had been raided in several places but the number of Orcs that participated in the raid were relatively small in number and had retreated almost as quickly as they had come.

“These corpses have no remnants of their souls. As you know, a soul inhabits a corpse for three days before passing on and it is during this time that resurrection magic can be cast. These bodies have no souls at all. The other Orcs which were killed in other parts of the camp were not impervious to damage like these were and there was nothing peculiar about their souls either.”

Just as Ragnir was discussing his findings with the clerics and mages by his side, a shout was heard from a soldier quickly rushing over to the group.

“Report sir!”

Ragnir nodded, “Go ahead. What is it?”

“Sir! A dozen or so soldiers have arrived from one of our subordinate camps. They were also attacked by Orcs and the entire army was wiped out! They are the only survivors.”

“What!?” The Archbishop said stunned, “How can this be? I already received word on other camps being attacked but the enemy only numbered in the hundreds and retreated quickly after taking casualties. Could all of this have been a diversion? Which of the subordinate camps was destroyed?”

Those gathered couldn’t believe what they were hearing. If this was true, then the Orcs had truly planned this out well. In order to wipe out one of their subordinate camps they had initiated night raids on several others causing a few hundred casualties in the process. However, if their goal was to divert the attention of the other camps while destroying one of them, this was a sophisticated strategy they never would have expected from these savage Orcs.

No wonder we haven’t encountered any tribes yet! Thought Archbishop Ragnir suddenly.

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