“You know, you really should talk to me.” Ramona said, pushing her face up between the bars of her cell to his.
“I don’t want to talk to you.” Angon grumbled from the floor of his own cell.
The pair had been sitting in prison for two days, going on a third. Angon had no way of knowing if his friends were even trying to get him out.
“You think they’re coming for you, don’t they?” Ramona giggled, and skipped a circle around her cell.
“Come on, be more talkative or this is going to be awful.” Ramona said.
Angon mumbled, “It already is.”
As Ramona gathered the hay on the floor to make a bed, Angon stared up at the small barred window. How he wished he could fit through there. But they’d come up several flights of stairs—Who knew if the fall would be survivable.
“Just tell me your name!” Ramona whined, stomping her feet from a laying position.
“Fine.” The forge said. “My name, is Angon… and I’m a forge… I don’t know who I was or am, or much of anything. My journey was to go to the north and enter Angel’s Outpost. My creator is said to be there, and I believe he will give me the answers I need.
My favorite color is green, I don’t like snow, I like the stars at night… and that’s all.”
Ramona sat up and stared, unblinking. “All I asked for was your name.”
Angon didn’t move, and continued to stare out the window.
“My name is Ramona Monkey—”
“Don’t care.” Angon said.
Ramona slapped her knee. “Well, aren’t you the rude one?”
“I didn’t ask your name.” Angon flatly stated.
The Halfling girl sighed and leaned back against he wall, staring out the cell door, and down the hall.
Torches were the main source of light in the halls of the prison tower, and something was strange about the way their light was reflecting.
“What’s this?” Ramona whispered, crawling on her knees to the door.
She held out a bowl made of reflective metal and attempted to angle it to see clearly. The torches were whipping about as if something were disturbing them. Wind? Or was someone moving rapidly, like in a fight?”
“Angon, I think someone’s taking out the guards!” Ramona said.
“So?” He grumbled.
“That means your friends might actually be breaking us out of here!” Ramona nodded. “They’re good friends indeed! Yes, they are!”
“Wait…” Ramona said. “The fighting’s stopped. But we didn’t even hear a sound.”
“How can you tell all of that?” Angon looked up, his yellow glowing eyes showing hope.
“Because someone’s coming this way; walking in a calm manner.” Ramona said.
Then when the figure approached, Ramona crawled back, picking up her bowl and holding it out like a shield.
Curious as to why Ramona was looking so afraid, Angon craned his neck to look out the cell and across to hers.
Standing, with her hands on her hips was a woman orc, with her hands on her hips.
“Who are you?” Angon asked.
The orc glared at the forge and shook her head. “Hold on, I’ll deal with you in a minute. First I have business to attend to with the Halfling.
Gonzeelda skins leaned up to the cell bars and whispered, “Where’s my Beauty?”
Lavina, Buster, and Gavin sat around the anteroom of the northern inn of Kendobul. A dozen mugs emptied of ale rested on their table; all of which but one belong to Buster.
“You’re going to drink us broke.” Gavin muttered, as Buster tilted his head back and down another mug.
“Please, Buster.” Lavina said. “We need you sober to help us think!”
The Belltower dwarf slammed his mug down and belched so loud everyone in the tavern stopped to stare.
“On with yer damned business!” Buster barked, causing them all to immediately turn away. “Now what were ye whining about, lass?”
“We need you sober to think!” Lavina harrumphed as a wench set down another mug.
“Dwarves think best when they’re drunk!” Buster chuckled. “Everyone be knowing that!”
“Drunk or not, I suppose, three heads are better than one.” Gavin said. “I sent a messenger to the Prince of Kendobul. All I can think is that he offers Angon a pardon once he hears our tale.”
“I say, we break ‘im out!” Buster laughed, and reached for the next mug.
“That would be diplomatically a nightmare.” Gavin shook his head. “I won’t have Lady Lavina getting mixed up in such a mess. Her father would never let her leave Windale again.”
“Just putting this out there, he didn’t let me leave this time.” Lavina shrugged.
“And we’ll deal with that small issue later.” Gavin grumbled. “I’m going to be beheaded for not sending you right home!”
“Let’s not fret, we’re all here! Together! A family once more!” Buster then giggled, and his cheeks were rosy red.
“One. We barely know you.” Lavina said. “And two. Angon is in prison!”
“Surely he can break himself out.” Buster shrugged. “You’d think that the brute has enough strength to bend bars.”
“Chances are he wouldn’t think to do it.” Gavin sighed. “But that’s probably for the better. Once the prince gets back to us…”
“Filthy, dirty orcs!” A flamboyant man’s voice cried out as he walked into the tavern inn.
“They’re always causing trouble, aren’t they?” Gavin asked the man as he approached.
“Who’s he?” Buster cocked an eyebrow.
The man had a bright pink turban, with pink and red robes, and wore gold chains around his neck. A strange looking elf indeed.
“Oh how rude.” The messenger crossed his arms.
“This is Michelle.” Gavin said. Then looked back to the messenger and said. “Michelle, this is Lady Lavina, and Buster.”
“Well greetings, and hello to you young firecracker.” Michelle took Lavina’s hand and kissed the back of it.
Lavina giggled, and Buster glared at the man. “Ain’t ye got a girl’s name?”
“No, it is very unisex I assure you!” Michelle scoffed. “Anyway, the prince has declined your request for an audience. He is very busy you, see.”
“Fetter!” Gavin hissed. “Thank you anyway, Michelle.”
“Now I will go out to face those dirty thuggish orcs again.” Michelle groaned.
“Orcs?” Buster asked. “How many?”
“Two.” He responded.
“What they be lookin’ like?” Buster raised an eyebrow.
“One is tall and thin, and the other is short and as fat as a cow, I say!” Michelle shook his head. “You wouldn’t be willing to do something about them would you?”
Buster pushed back his chair and cracked his large knuckles. “If it be who I think it be, then I have me some payback to be deliverin’.”
As the dwarf stalked towards the exit, Gavin threw down four gold coins and he and Lavina darted for the door as well.
“Oh look at them.” Michelle sang. “They look just like a family, I say!”
The two orcish ex-minions of Gonzeelda had just tripped a brightly dressed man, and made a huge scene out of it.
Budge still laughed and slapped Weiggs’ back. “Man with girl name fell on face!”
“Michelle unisex?” Weiggs laughed. “What that even mean?”
“No clue.” Budge chuckled.
For a moment both orcs stopped laughing and stood as tall as they could with their crooked spines.
“What we doing again?” Budge finally asked.
“Looking for mistress!” Weiggs slapped the back of Budge’s knee and caused him to nearly trip.
“Use the compass stone!” Budge’s eyes lit up.
“Wait.” Weiggs said. “You mean tell me we have compass stone!”
Budge nodded, pointing at Weiggs belt.
The short orc looked down and growled. “You know I can’t see belt bag!”
“Not my fault!” Budge shrugged. “Just use stone!”
Weiggs reached into his belt pouch and pulled out the small, sleek stone. He held it up to the sky and a blue laser of energy fired out towards the prison tower.
“She in that big building!” Weiggs announced.
“Let’s go!” Budge said, and the two orcs scurried off.
But standing just a few yards behind them was Lavina, Gavin, and Buster.
“Fetter!” Buster hissed. “If the bitch is in there with our friend, he aint safe!”
Lavina didn’t wait for another word to be said. Buster had told them all about Gonzeelda, the orcess rogue, just how big a threat she was.
Gonzeelda crossed her arms and stared at Ramona, who sat back in her cell, still holding up the bowl as a means of defense.
“I said, I want my Beauty.” Gonzeelda’s brows were furrowed, as she tapped her finger on her forearm.
“I don’t have it.” Ramona shook her head.
“Liar!” The orcess snapped. “I already checked the evidence chamber and found nothing! My Beauty wasn’t there!”
“You really should keep better track of your things.” Ramona half-smiled.
“I know you stole it!” Gonzeelda snapped. “Where. Is. It?”
“Don’t have it.” Ramona crossed her arms and shook her head.
“I’m coming in there after you, then.” The orcess said.
Gonzeelda reached into her hair and pulled out a hairpin. Leaning over, she began picking the lock.
“Angon, help me!” Ramona said, crawling over to him.
“What do you want me to do?” Angon muttered, glaring at the small woman.
“Beat her up!” Ramona pleaded. “I’ll do anything!”
For once, Ramona was truly afraid. She had nowhere to run, and no magic items to protect her. As soon as the orc broke into her cell, she knew she was done for.
“I can’t get out of my cell.” Angon said. “I’m sorry.”
The cell door banged open and Gonzeelda marched in and grabbed Ramona around the throat. The Halfling gagged and struggled for air as the orc lifted her up against the wall.
“I’ll give you one last chance to hand over beauty or I’m slitting your pretty throat from ear to ear.”
Angon stared up at Gonzeelda. “Let her go.”
Gonzeelda looked back at the forge. “I said I would deal with you in a moment, so shut up.”
Ramona kicked her feet about as she tried to get free, but it was no use.
Angon stood up, and turned towards the bars.
“I said, let her go.” Angon said, calm, but with a threat in his voice that had Gonzeelda’s attention.
“And what are you going to do if I don’t?” The orcess asked.
“I will do to you, what you are doing to her!” Angon said, stepping forward, raising his voice.
“Fetter.” Gonzeelda exclaimed. “You really think you can hurt me? I have more combat experience. I have superior reflexs and skills! I have—”
Angon lunged forward, shoving his hand between the bars and snatching Gonzeelda by her own throat. The orc was quick to drop Ramona, who crawled back into the corner. Her eyes pleaded for mercy as Angon started up at the beautiful, yet evil woman.
“Angon, don’t kill her.” Ramona whimpered. “She has a little girl with her somewhere.”
With that, Angon took his eyes off Gonzeelda—And that was a mistake.
The orcess drew a dagger from her belt, and slashed it across the underside of Angon’s arm. Mythril blood splashed the floor and he pulled back crying out.
Ramona darted for the door but Gonzeelda was there already blocking the way.
“You’re not going anywhere without giving her back to me!” The orc shouted.
She pointed the same dagger down at Ramona and backed her into the corner, where Angon could no longer reach.
A great roar came from the prisoner in the next cell, Angon. He looked up, his eyes now glowing red. The massive man grabbed the iron bars and pulled them apart.
Gonzeelda’s eyes widened as Angon stepped through and charged her. He slammed her in the bars and brought back his arm for a punch. Gonzeelda ducked to the side, and fell back into the wall. She looked around quickly and realized Ramona had made a getaway. She wasn’t about to let that happen.
The orcess for the cell door, but Angon grabbed her by her hair.
Pulling her head back, he snorted and spoke through clenched teeth. “You aren’t going anywhere.”