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231 Lives to fight another day...

 A few minutes later Perfect showed up, jumping down from a tree at the edge of the forest and striding toward them.

"Where's Mercy?" Perfect asked.

"Here," the assassin said as she appeared from stealth close behind Perfect, so close they were almost touching.

Perfect startled and yelped at her sudden appearance, the assassin just smirked like a cat who'd just scored a bowl full of cream.

Ralph chuckled at the Mercy's antics then turned back to Dave.

"So, let's talk. We need to figure out our next move. What do you want to do, bring in more manpower?"

Dave thought for a moment, "I want to send Perfect out to scout for a way around the orcs.".

"Sure, I can do that. But I'd like to borrow Spike," Perfect said, nodding toward the fiend.

"Okay, but why? He's not exactly what I'd call inconspicuous."

"It's safer to do a fast recon from the back of a mount. It's better to run away fast than to try to hide if we bump into anything we can't handle."

"Yeah, that makes sense." Dave walked over to Spike and scratched under his chin, "Okay buddy, I want you to take Perfect for a ride, if you see any monsters just run like the wind."

Lone, Fortress and Demeri got off Spike and Perfect mounted the fiend in their place.

"I'll be back soon. Let's go Spike," Perfect said and nudged the stag forward.

The fiend reared then galloped into the forest and his hoofbeats faded slowly into the distance.

"I hope he finds a way to get past the orcs, otherwise we will have to kite them one by one," Flanker said.

Dave shook his head, "Orcs always fight in groups. If we try to pull or kite one orc, we would end up pulling the whole tribe. It's going to be tough to defeat them without a numerical advantage."

"Mercy, could you assassinate the entire tribe, one orc at a time?" Lone asked the assassin.

Mercy shook her head, "The high orcs are tough and they have a lot of HP. At best I might bring one of them down to 30% of his HP before he could call for help. I'd probably be able to finish him off, but the tribe would already be alerted, I'd be exposed and vulnerable."

"Couldn't you just use your stealth Skills to get away if the orc calls for help?" Flanker asked.

"These orcs have very keen senses of smell, if I go into stealth, they'll scent me and sniff me out. I think that's how Perfect was spotted when he was scouting the tribe," Mercy said.

Lone leaned over and whispered to Dave, "Can I talk to you for a second?"

He pursed his lips but nodded and she led him a short distance away from the group.

"What is it, Lone?" he asked impatiently.

"A-are you angry at me?"

"I am not happy. What you did was unacceptable."

Lone's lower lip quivered and her eyes filled, threatening to spill over with tears.

"NO! You don't get out of this with a few crocodile tears."


"I said no! I don't know what to do with you, I'm so angry I can't make a decision right now. You tried to sabotage your own teammate and you endangered my quest to bring back the Undead, all for the sake of your petty games. Your actions were selfish and completely out of line," Dave shook his finger in her face, "No more fucking pranks, no more of your 'getting even' shit while we are in the Wilds. Or I swear to god I will never speak to you again!"

Zoe was stricken silent, her mouth open, unshed tears forgotten, panicked at the threat he'd just voiced.

Dave stared at her angrily then turned to walk away, saying, "I'm done talking about this for now."

The two of them re-joined the rest of the group, Lone following Dave slowly, a forlorn look on her face. The Players chatted with each other as they rested and waited for their scout to return, but Lone Arrow was uncharacteristically silent and downcast.

Perfect and Spike returned several hours later, the fiend appearing at the edge of the forest like a terrifying antlered ghost.

"That was pretty quick. What did you find?" Dave asked.

"Nothing good. There's no easily passage around the orc territory, we have to go straight through them."

"I don't understand. What did you find? Why can't we just take a detour around the orc territory? Even if it takes us longer than expected we'll get to the tomb eventually," Fortress said.

Perfect shook his head, "We would have to go through forested areas full of level 500 mutated tree monsters if we went in any other direction. Going through the orc territory is the course that is most likely to succeed, the simplest and easiest path that I found."

"So we have to kill our way through the orcs," Dave said heavily, stymied.

"How did you get to Urburg if it was surrounded by forests of mutated tree monsters?" Ralph asked.

Dave shrugged, "We were chased into a river by the dragon and we went over a waterfall. Then we just followed the river to the city. But we can't go back that way. Unless you can fly. And if you did fly it's likely the dragon would spot you, then you'd be off to respawn."

Ralph stared at Dave, not sure if he should believe his friend until he saw the TNT nodding in confirmation.

"What do we do then? Come back here when we've gotten higher levels? We can always use the gate to come back to this point you know," Flanker returned to the subject at hand.

"No. I'm not giving up on this. I can't delay that long," Dave shook his head. He stroked his chin, but finding no beard he shook his head.

"Mercy, you said you could take about 70% of a high orc's HP with your initial attack from stealth, right?"

"Yeah, but like I said, I won't be able to if the orcs can find me while I'm in stealth."

"What if we make it so they can't scent you?"

"What do you mean?"

"Let's set the forest on fire," Dave said.


"We set the forest around the village on fire. You go in and kill the chief while the other orcs are distracted by the fire. With all the smoke they won't be able to scent you, so you'll be safe while you're in stealth."

Mercy was silent for a moment, contemplating the idea.

"Can you do it Mercy?" Dave asked.

The assassin nodded slowly, "I think that will work."

"Perfect, do you have the exact location of the orc village?"

"Yeah, I'll share it with you, everyone open your maps"

Perfect marked an area on the map.

"This is the location of the village."

"Good. I marked seven places on the map for us to start the fires. One player per marker. We'll all set the fires at the same time. After we set the fires everyone make your way to this rallypoint," he marked another location on their maps. "Clear?"

The Players nodded back at him.

"If you have any questions or suggestions, now is the time. Otherwise we move out. Everyone use voice chat once we start. Let's go then."

They left Urburg and headed for the green-skins territory. When the players neared the location marked on their maps they spread out, filtering through the trees around the high orc village. Each Player had a torch in their inventory to set the trees and bushes on fire with. Dave hoped they wouldn't encounter any monsters as they moved through the forest. Thankfully, it appeared that the orc's kept their territory well culled of monsters. There were no monsters near the village and the party managed to reach their designated positions around the village without a hitch.

When Dave reached his position on the map, he hid behind a tree trunk and peeked around it. Two orcs were patrolling near him. Behind the two orcs were straw huts . Most of the tribe were standing or sitting around a large central firepit. The carcass of a monster roasted slowly over the flames, their evening meal. But he didn't see the chieftain anywhere. There was a large tent on one side of the the town center with two orcs guarding the entrance.

"Everyone in position?" Dave asked

"I don't see the chieftain, though," Perfect said.

"I just lost my visual on him, he went inside the big hut," Mercy said.

"There are two orcs patrolling near me," Perfect said.

"Me too, I've got an orc standing guard in my area," Ralph said.

"No orcs here," Flanker said.

"Same for me, there are no orcs here."

"Okay everyone, slight change of plan. You guys that don't have orcs patrolling or guarding near your locations will light their area on fire one by one to draw the guards away from the rest of us. Ralph, Perfect, we'll wait until the commotion starts then light our areas and get out as fast as we can."

"I'll go first," Flanker said.

"Okay, Flanker. Light it up."

Moments later, the orcs around the firepit were alerted by calls of alarm from some of the guards. They stood hastily, putting on their equipment and ran toward the area with the burning trees.

When the orcs were distracted by the first fire, everyone else began setting the forest alight one by one.

"INTRUDER!" one of the orcs screamed, pointing and alerting the entire camp.

The guards near Dave's hiding spot left their positions and hurried toward the commotion.

Dave lit his torch and set it to the bushes, soon the trees nearby caught fire and the flames jumped from tree to tree. The fire chased away the darkness of the night..

"Mercy, you're up," Dave said as he withdrew from the village perimeter.

He opened his map and said, "The rest of you guys, gather at the eighth marker.."

Dave waited for the party to gather. One by one they gathered around him. He could still see the village from his new position as he waited for the others to join him. The burning trees surrounded the village in a ring of fire. The orcs were trying to put out the fire before their village was burnt to a crisp. But because enemies had been spotted nearby they were unable to commit fully to the effort and let down their guard against intruders.

"Now what?"

"Let's wait for Mercy. If what Ralph said was right, then when this chieftain dies, the orcs will be without a leader to direct them and keep them organized. We can kill them one by one then," Dave said.

"But can Mercy do it?" Flanker was doubtful. She was just one player and there were lots of riled up orcs in the village.