The last bits of smoke from the pyre curled up into the sky as the fiery curves of the sun descended below the horizon.
“I’m not waking him up” proclaimed Bob, the tracker who’d been keeping watch over Smasha during his beauty rest. He figured the smelly Orc needed several months more, of uninterrupted, rest to ensure that his own face didn’t get smashed in to look like the Orcs.
“I’m not standing around with all this silly stuff waiting for him” replied Jenny, another tracker, who’d been sent into town to procure an unusual list of goods.
Rising behind them Face stood, a rare smile allowing his crooked, rotted teath to show. As the last vestiges of sunlight slipped from the sky a power seemed to wash over him, and he flexed his muscles, eager for the challenge ahead of him. “Did you bring what I asked for?”
Shaking in fear (Face Smasha, was not a morning person) they dropped fruit and assorted clothing at his feet. Neither of them thought this a good idea, but they weren’t inclined to say anything.
“Who goes there” shouted down the guard standing at the palisade wall.
“We’ve got a new girl for the King” called up Bob
“Unless he’s got enough already” added in Jenny with a tone laced with enough sarcasm so as to earn a jab from Bob.
Gazing down at the amply endowed woman the guards opened up the gate. It was dark, but they figured that his Majesty would have them crucified if they came between him and his earthly desires.
The crude wooden gate swung open and the two guards walked up to check out the woman who’d been brought in by the slavers.
Or, at least that’s what they thought was happening until the first one met a gauntleted back hand to the face. Startled, and overwhelmed by a horrible odor the second one started to back pedal, but not before the other hand glasped around his throat.
He clawed at the woman, trying to break free, trying to get air. A melon fell from her dress, and suddenly as the last gasps of air came to a stop he realized that this woman was… was… really ugly.
“There’s another fire, this one in the stables, your majesty”
“Very well, he wants to play dirty, bring the girl and her mother to me”
A pounding started at the doors of the great hall a few minutes later. His Grace chuckled, humored by the attempts to get through the 3" thick solid oak, copper braced doors. He wondered just how well the assailant would bloody himself trying to get through it.
It was at that exact moment that it shattered, splinters of every shape and size flying inward throughout the hall.
And there he stood, dominating the entrance at over 10’ tall. Waves of bulging muscles rippling down his arms. His Grace would have been in abject fear, but for the dress, and one smashed watermelon hanging loosely from his side.
“NOW” his Grace commanded boldly. Arrows and spells flew from the guard at arm standing behind him. They struck home in the soft cotton dress and wool stockings and a smile crossed his Majesties lips.
Cursing in Orcish, Smasha struggled to move forward.
“Ahhh, that’s my good man Suvius. He’s awful fond of holding people in place. Though I must admit, you’re stronger than most. Generally they can’t even curse.” Genuinely pleased with himself a chuckle rolled from his throat, slowly turning into a bellow of laughter. He enjoyed himself for a moment, then opened his mouth to order Face Smasha’s end when he came to two realizations, one more distressing then the next.
First, Smasha was not held, well, not by any spell, rather one of the arrows had pinned his dress to the floor. This problem was quickly resolved as the dress tore from him as he bounded forward. As the dress fell to the floor his unscathed, armor plated second layer fully revealed itself.
Then the second realization struck him. Face was not cursing at him, rather anything spoken, yelled, whispered, or even chanted in Orcish sounded like cursing. It was this last one that held the worst potential, for his grace had assumed Smasha a brute of the direct kind, gifted with unusual stature by his very nature. Instead he came to realize the true nature of the beast as Smasha’s spell pulsed over his body, accelerating his movements, and turning him into an elegant killing machine.
As the fourth soldier flew through the air his Majesty grabbed Adeline, Luke’s wife, holding a blade to her throat. Struggling against him Adeline knew Luke must have sent Smasha as the only way to get around his own ensorcelement. She also knew that she would surely lose her second daughter if she did not act quickly.
“Leave and I will let you and the girl leave alive” as he talked, his slippery tongue buying him precious seconds, he motioned to an aid behind him who struggled, desparately trying to understand new incantations he had just learned this morning.
“Save my daughter!” Adeline yelled. At that moment Smasha fully realized the cold, unwavering cunning of this man. He’d had no intention of letting anyone live. As the dagger slid in slow motion across her throat a portal, swirling in unstable colors opened behind him. Not content to kill off just his wife and youngest daughter he grabbed the little girl.
As life slipped from Adeline’s eyes a shadow fell across his Grace. Smasha had never paused to negotiate. Luke had told him from the beginning to expect even a moments pause to cause lost lives, but while Smasha was prepared for the trickery played upon him, his grace had not expected the cold merciless soldier before him. Instantly ready to accept sacrifices in the pursuit of even a marginal victory.
Smasha was surrounded on all sides by men at arms, ignorning Adeline’s lifeless body he’d charged full speed right into the most dangerous place possible. As they struck him from behind, and the sides, cutting his body with their blades Face took one might swing with his gigantic, 6’ long morningstar. It smoothly contacted with his Grace’s face, sending him spiraling backwards into the caster beside him. He tripped in mid sentence, interrupting the delicate incantation as the two tumbled through the open portal, it’s energy pulsating uncontrollably.
A dull explosion could be heard and a prismatic shower of lights erupted from the great hall. It could even be felt on the low bluff just outside the wall. Jenny dropped 5 copper shillings into Bob’s hand “I really thought he was going to make it”. Little bits of ember and dust settled down on them, and like two kids caught unprepared in a rain shower, they ran for cover, shielding their eyes from the ash with their hands.