Chapter 45 -Brushfire!
As they moved towards the inn, the tree man stopped often and inquired of the trees for news of the orks. It seemed that while they had destroyed the tunnels, the trees had failed to keep all the orks contained; at least ten score had escaped to the north, though none knew what their plans were, it was clear that the tree man feared what they might do.
As they approached the inn, they began to smell smoke. The two scouts were happy, for they had not eaten in more than a day and were glad at the prospect of a warm fire and a good meal. As they hove into view of the inn though it became clear that something was amiss. Sleeping on the porch were the dwarf and ogre, and the inn behind them was dark and silent. The smoke did not come from the chimney of the inn, it came from somewhere else.
The tree man began running and the two scouts were bounced dangerously on his shoulders. He stopped at the edge of the porch where the ogre and dwarf suddenly leapt into action, ready to face this new foe. The dwarf shouted his battle cry and hefted his axe. He would have struck the tree man if not for Steve leaping into the way.
"Stop, this is our friend!" cried Steve and luckily the dwarf recognized him.
"So you say," said the ogre, "but he might be good eating just the same."
"My flesh it too tough for the likes of you Ogre, though I give you leave to try," came the reply.
Things were still looking dicey when the breeze picked up and the branches of the trees began to murmur. The tree man paused for a moment as if in thought and a sudden chill ran down the spine of the rest of the group assembled on the porch. The Ogre idly noticed that there was no breeze, but he wasn’t smart enough to make the connection.
"Fire!" cried the tree man, "the orks have set the woods ablaze and the fire spreads quickly. If they succeed, this wood will be no more and all these grand brothers of mine will perish. Help me, please help me."
"Just a moment" said the Dwarf as he disappeared inside. A moment later, he returned with a handful of humans. "The King has agreed to help, for if the woods perish, so shall we all".
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