Prologue: Defense of the Wall Part 1

More than anything, he missed the taste of Treestride Wine, a wine he could only describe as “rich”.

It was powerful, as far as wines go. A single bottle was capable of rendering a hundred men drunk for a week. It was also incredibly expensive. The fermentation process took eighty years to complete, required a highly skilled mage, and depended on the bark of Sunstrider trees, of which only forty nine specimens existed.

Alas, the orcs had burned every one of those trees down. Life would never be the same. Woe.

He supposed he should be a good husband and miss his wife the most. Or perhaps a good father and miss his daughters the most. He hadn’t been home in almost six months, the youngest was probably walking by now. And he had missed it.

But they would still be there when the Alliance won the war. There would be no more bottles of Treestride Wine. Woe.

Shouts on the horizon.

The orcs were starting their attack.

Thalorien Dawnseeker sighed. How he hated those mongrels. Every single time he started a fresh pot of tea, they attacked. Without fail. Woe.

Oh, and of course they represented a terrible threat to all life on Azeroth and his country and family and so forth or something. That went without saying.

Still. Tea. These leaves did not grow just anywhere. In fact, they came from a specialized farm situated very close to the Sunwell, imbuing a certain pleasurable sting to the aftertaste, provided the tea was brewed in-

“Azeroth to Thal, wake up son, we have a war to fight, and last I checked only Stumps had actually killed an orc with a teacup.”

Thalorien sighed again. Uther the Lightbringer was the first, oldest, and arguably most powerful paladin, and was also his direct superior. Tragically, he did not care for tea.

“I am merely contemplating the sheer audacity of these orcs. Have they no care for decorum? It is eleven in the morning, a time once held sacred for finely brewed tea and delicious pastry.” Thalorien said. “Stumps, at least, knows of what I speak.”

Stumps, the pointiest dwarf Thalorien had ever seen, grunted in response. “Git yer elven arse up an’ kill some feckin’ brocs. Then you kin sit down and drink some tea with ol’ Stumps!”

Bizarrely, Stumps was a tea fanatic. The very idea of trimming his eyebrow beards was insulting, he had a vague notion of what bathing was, and spat to say hello. Yet the dwarf adored everything about tea. Even the fragile cups. His knowledge rivalled that of Thalorien, and though the elf would never admit it, actually brewed far better tea.

Stumps didn’t care when he drank it, however. Anywhere, no matter the time, was tea time. The horror, the horror. No respect for tradition whatsoever.

He pushed himself to his feet, gazing forlornly at his abandoned teapot. “Any indication that the orcs learned from yesterday’s rout?”

Uther shook his head. “None. I assume they think they have us trapped here. We can’t retreat from here, but our defences are absolutely impeccable. As long as our trebuchets have ammunition that is.”

Stumps grunted then spat. “We git two days wortha big rocks left, Uther. We cannae hold forever.”

A brief grin tugged at Uther’s face. “We’re paladins. We’ll hold forever if we must.”

Stumps spat, grunted, then spat again. He added “Aye, that we will, commander.”

There was no need to dress for combat. Preparation consisted of grabbing their weapons from wherever they happened to be resting. The paladins slept in their armor, if they slept at all. Magic weapons, magic mounts, the ability to fight for literally days without tiring; the orcs were right to fear the mighty paladin.

Thalorien retrieved his sword with a gentle reverence. His hand closing on the hilt, he whispered, “Hello again, old friend. Come, more war awaits us.”

Stumps shook his head. “Yeh really shouldnae talk to yer sword. ‘S’unhealthy.”

“This blade is far older than I, Stumps. Forged by dragons untold thousands of years ago. It has a name and will of its own. I feel it only appropriate to grant it the same respect of any other living being.”

Stumps rolled his eyes. “Elves.”

“That’s High Elf to you, mister dwarf.”

“Aye, that goes without sayin’.”

Uther cut in. “You talk to your axes Stumps. What was it you called them?”

Stumps glared and spat. “I… no, tha’s different, it… Bah, whatever, there be brocs to kill, let’s git to it.”

“Defensive line, form up!” Shouted Uther. “We hold! Trebuchets! Archers! Fire!”

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12 Responses to Prologue: Defense of the Wall Part 1

  1. “Eyebrow beards” /snarfle

    Little known fact: the teacup is, in fact, one of the last weapons an assassin must master before being able to claim the title of Master Assassin. The final weapon is unknown to any outside of the secretive sect, but the next-to-last is rumoured to be a small, somewhat decorative trivet.

  2. SpiritusRex says:

    Good read.

    I’m not anywhere near the writer you are, Rip, so offer you the following as a VERY humble suggestion. I like the way you’ve interwoven the loss of trees to destruction by the orcs and the introduction of Thal (and a glimpse into his mind); however, the story then progresses into the importance of tea to both Thal and Stumps. Perhaps instead of the loss of the bark producing trees and its impact on Treestride wine, your introduction could focus on a certain tree that produces a certain tea that Thal likes and how the orcs have destroyed it – maybe even on a divergence of opinion on the value of certain teas to each of Thal and Stumps (you know, a friendly rivalry, if you will). I dunno maybe a common theme through the story.

    Ah, fug it, I hate to give even a minor impression of criticism so I’ll shut up and just enjoy. Again, welcome back and glad to hear that your doing at least a little better.

  3. Plyrx says:

    For some reason, when I heard “two day’s worth of big rocks”, I immediately thought of the scene in the Lord of the Rings when the trebuchets in Gondor used bits of rubble from the city as ammo. Would that apply here?

    • Euripedes says:

      Closer to a hybrid of Gondor and Helm’s Deep. I explain the fortress in far greater detail a few posts from now, it’ll be more obvious there.
      Though, really, it’s not directly based on either of them. Just hard to write any fantasy fiction involving elves that doesn’t invoke Tolkien at some point.

  4. Reechter says:

    Long time since last. Can you explain why he calls them “brocs”? At first I thought it might have been some amazing typo, but when he repeated it I began to suspect it’s a pun on bro and orc. Possibly Crocks. They surely look as bad as an orcs footwear would.

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