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Giants, and Dragons, and Orcs, Oh My!
Icy wind howled through the mountain pass. Helick Stonecleaver and his fellow frost giants concealed themselves among the rock. The fifteen foot tall giants' cold blue skin, white hair, and gray clothing allowed them to blend into the snow, ice, and rock on the peak over-looking the pass.
General Stonecleaver surveyed the area as the sun rose behind him, content his six soldiers remained hidden in the shadows, even from his own eyes. The experienced warrior hand-selected these giants from the elite 100 soldiers under his command. If this was to be his last mission, as Queen Sappira promised, these were the men to see it through.
The old general felt for his great stone sword and clutched the hilt, the familiar grip comforting his anxiety. The sun rose over the mountain peak, revealing a band of dozens of pale-skinned orcs. The general noted the muzzled young dragon, smaller than a mountain bear with scales white as the snow, with its wings tied down by thick rope.
While the frost giant leader still enjoyed obliterating the nasty, troublesome orcs after years of war with the fast-breeding pests, the dragon remained his focus. Wild dragons caused considerable trouble for the frost giant kingdom. Formidable opponents, a single adult dragon consumed the same food, treasure, and territory as a clan of giants.
Whatever their intentions for the beast, the orcs could not be allowed to keep a dragon in captivity. Helick and his men planned a quick assault: slay the subdued dragon first, and kill as many fleeing orcs as possible.
The boulder hurtling through the air at Helick and his men changed the plan.
The experienced warrior found cover as the rock slammed into the mountain below his position. Helick looked back out and saw two more rocks flying toward him. He ducked back as he glimpsed the heads of two frost giants behind the orc troops beyond the crest of the path.
Questions raced through Helick's mind. Why were fellow giants assisting the foul orcs? Had he been double crossed? The general pushed the thoughts away.
“Prepare for battle,” he roared as he again grabbed his sword.
The orcs yelled back in reply as a number of them charged the pinned down giants. Two more rocks blasted the mountainside.
On his command, Helick Stonecleaver's most trusted compatriots countered the oncoming charge. They threw rocks and unsheathed swords, clubs and axes. The well-coordinated warriors tore through the lead orcs.
Boulders continued to fly in, knocking back and slowing the giants' offensive. The orc horde swarmed the seven warriors and overwhelmed them.
Helick, knocked down on his back, swatted away orcs as they rushed in on him, stinging him with their spears and swords. He knew his men lay dead or dying, their mission failed.
Orc cries of triumph turned to shrieks of terror. The general watched as orcs fled all around him.
The wounded general lay bleeding in the snow as the yells and shrieks of battle subsided. He willed his broken body and started to rise. A bloody claw, missing a talon, pressed down on his chest with unnatural strength, pinning him to the ground.
Helick lay helpless as the dragon rose its head above the giant's own. Helick glared, refusing to let the monster see fear in his eyes.
The dragon stared back, measuring up the wounded giant. It nodded its head, as if in thanks, then backed away from the general, spread its wings, and flew away. Its parting roar echoed along the pass.
Helick Stonecleaver looked at the carnage left in the dragon's wake. Slaughtered orcs littered the ground around his fallen comrades. The general forced himself up to look for survivors and answers.