Chapter 37 - Birnham Wood
Harig and Polifroni lay hidden in a small hollow as the orks swept past, searching for them. They had been separated from the main body of the Kingís army and were now in dire straits. Though they were becoming able warriors, neither of them had yet grown to full power and they were certainly no match for the dozen orks who looked for them now. Down the hill they could see that the battle raged on, but even there things looked hopeless. The orks had regrouped and even now the forces of King Mark were forced to retreat.
After a time, it seemed the orks had tired of their hunt and were beginning to head back towards their caves. Steve and Zak decided the best course of action was to retreat from the battle and try to circle back towards the inn. They crept slowly through the brush and up the hills toward what would once have been the lookout rock. Arriving there, they leaned with their backs against the rocks and paused to catch their breath and get their bearings.
"Do you think the others made it?" asked Zak.
"Iím sure they did," replied Steve, "They had a lot more guys and with Jared and the rest their, they could certainly have cut a few of the"
"Hooom Hmmm little ones, what brings you to the forest this day?" interrupted a loud, but friendly voice. "Have you wandered off from the rest of the orks?"
"Orks!" replied Steve incredulously as he turned to face the source of the voice, "Why weíre no more orks than you are. In fact, if you donít take that back IíllÖ"
Steveís voice trailed off as he suddenly realized he was talking to a massive man who stood over fifteen feet tall. Strictly speaking though, it wasnít a man, for he looked more like a tree in the shape of a man. His legs were twisted gnarled roots that ended in long spidery toes. His arms were raised towards the sun and his head was crowned with a wreath of pine boughs. His eyes were the color of a pure blue sky and his skin was brown and weathered looking, almost like bark.
"Hoody Hoo" came the voice again, "I meant no offense, itís only that the woods seem to have got full of orks in the last few days, and they arenít my favorite folk. I had mistaken you for them until I heard you speak. What manner of creature are you then?"
"Weíre Scouts," said Steve, "Boy Scouts."
"Boy Scouts?," boomed the voice. "Hmm Hoom, that sounds familiar. I suppose I should take you back to my home before those orks come again, after all, this is no place for boys."
"We canít do that" the two replied at once. "We have to get back to the rest of our army", continued Steve; "theyíll be worried and besides, Scouts are loyal".
"Hmmmmm," droned the voice, "That may be, but the trees are alive now and they will not know you from orks. Best you come with me for now and then on the morrow weíll arrange to see your friends."
Seeing no alternative, the two reluctantly agreed.
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