Paradox Metaphor
Chapter 25 -- Skirmish
by Steve Donohue

As Grak and his orks prepared for their assault, they heard a low whistle coming from the road. That meant there were others coming. Grak opted to wait and see who they were before he signaled the attack. He and the others waited nervously for these new arrivals to come into view.

Finally, four men rounded the corner and entered the stable area. They walked quickly across the grounds as if they were sure there was nothing to fear. Grak smiled; killing these fools would be easy; they didn’t even expect an attack, so the ambush was almost sure to be a success. He waited until they entered the building, then signaled the attack.

"Are you the scoutmaster here?", asked Dave.

"Yes, who are you," asked the rather bewildered looking man, "and do you know what’s going on around here?"

"We’re not entirely sure ourselves, but it seems there are evil forces at work in camp, and they may attack you here. We’d like you to come back with us to Beaver Creek Cabin where we can all be safe, warm, and dry together."

"If you don’t know either, then how come you’re dressed like that," asked the man.

"We’re just trying to adapt to fit with whatever we’ve found. So far, we’ve found some orks, and we’ve killed a few. We think we can keep you safer at our cabin than you’ll be here."

"That seems reasonable," replied the Scoutmaster, "because a few of my boys are pretty badly shaken up, and some of them are starting to change. Maybe the ones that change will be able to help you."

"That sounds reasonable," nodded Dave, "Why don’t you go ahead and pack up your food and personals and we’ll head over to our tavern, Beaver Creek. We’ll wait out here for you."

The Scoutmaster rallied his young charges and they were quickly inside packing. Dave ordered Dickson and Nick to take a quick look around the grounds and see if anyone was lurking about still. He and Brian helped the scouts carry their gear to the waiting carriages once it was packed. The Scoutmaster just kept shaking his head in disbelief. A few of the boys had begun changing too and their gear was changing with them. Scout knives were becoming swords, jackets were becoming armor, and the boys seemed to be getting stronger and more confident by the moment.

Grak realized the end was upon him. He had to either attack now or retreat, since the humans would discover them any moment. He decided to opt for the attack option and he quietly signaled his men to ready their bows. As his arm swung down, eight arrows whistled through the air and into the two approaching humans.

Nick shouted in alarm as he and Dickson suddenly found themselves under attack. He fell to the ground and rolled towards a tree stump; luckily, he had only been grazed by the arrow. He looked over his shoulder and saw that Dickson wasn’t so lucky. A pair of arrows pierced his chest and Nick could hear a faint sucking sound as Dickson gasped for air. Dave reacted by moving the kids behind the coach and into the building. The orks leaped out from the trees and charged forward towards the group by the coaches. Dave unlimbered his sword and prepared for battle.

Suddenly, the charging orks slipped and fell, sliding headlong into the wheels of the coaches before coming to a stop. Dave jumped from the corner and lost no time in killing the first of them. A moment later Brian entered the fray, his face a mask of hate. The orks rallied and began to fight back. The two warriors changed to a back to back formation almost instinctively as they confronted the six remaining orks. Outnumbered three to one, the fighting was difficult and the two of them were hard pressed.

Luckily, as the odds were looking grim, two of the scouts fell onto the orks from behind with their short swords. The two beefy orks were as much stunned as wounded by this attack, but it was all the opening Brian needed to slash one of them open wide. The other wounded ork turned to face this new threat and suddenly the fight was more even.

Dave feigned a blow at the ork on his left and quickly lunged straight ahead to kill the one directly in front of him. One of the ones facing Brian suddenly sprouted a small arrow from his throat which then disappeared. The ork fell over dead, leaving three orks against the four swordsmen. The two scouts worked together well and were able to kill the ork confronting them. The last two threw down their swords in surrender, but it was too late. Brian switched to a two-handed grip on his sword and slashed first one and then the other.

"Hey, they surrendered," said Dave, clearly offended at Brian’s decision to ignore their surrender.

"They were the enemy and they deserved to die. They probably killed my brother Dickson and this is a fair price".

At the mention of Dickson, Dave moved to see how he was doing. Nick was bent over him and had pulled out the arrows. He was applying direct pressure to the wounds but he wasn’t sure it would work. The scoutmaster arrived and took a look.

"I’m a Red Cross Instructor", he explained, "let me take a look at him."

He bent over Dickson’s wounded body and began examining the wounds. He sent Brian off to find his first aid equipment and he applied a sterile dressing to each wound.

"He’s hurt bad," announced the Scoutmaster, "he needs medical attention soon or I don’t think he’ll make it."

Dave wasn’t sure they could get medical attention anytime soon, but he figured getting everyone to Beaver Creek was still the best thing to do. They packed up the carriages and carefully loaded their wounded friend into one of them. They hitched the horses and set off for Beaver Creek at a good pace.

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