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The outer wall of the house was starting to burn. “We’ve got
to get him out of here before we do anything!” Tarn shouted.

Logan shook his head. “I’ve got it under control, Tarn.”
The big priest took his holy symbol out from inside his
tunic and started chanting. A mighty wind began to blow
across the room. At first, the flames began burning brighter
with the increased air flow, but then Tarn realized that the
wind contained water as well.

Amazed, Tarn stood back and watched as a wall of
water blew against the wall. It’s like he conjured up a storm
inside the building! Tarn was truly impressed, as after a few
moments, the flames begin to die out. Logan turned toward
the farmers, whose expression was even more awestruck
than Tarn’s. “You’ll want to make sure that stays out,
friends. Now, where’s that rope? I want our friend here tied
up before I heal him.” He pulled a chair to the center of the
room as Tarn retrieved a small coil of rope from his pack.

Logan pulled the badly burned orc upright, tied it to the
chair, and began chanting the words of a healing spell. The
orc shuddered as his burns began to heal up, and Logan
stopped. “I haven’t healed him fully, but he isn’t suffering
as much now. Hopefully the pain he is experiencing should
keep him compliant. Let me wake him up.” He touched
his shoulder and murmured another short spell. The orc
jumped slightly, his eyes darting like a caged beast, and
started babbling in orcish.

Logan barked at him in his own tongue to be quiet, but
the orc continued to curse at him, and even spat in his face
before Logan hit him solidly with the back of his hand. The
dazed orc quieted down and Logan said, “Good. Now that I
have your attention, maybe we can get somewhere.”
The orc moaned piteously. “Why you not kill me, pink-
skin!? Why you make me live like this! Kill me now, that I
might meet Grummish with my honor left!”

The cleric simply looked at him, shaking his head. “I’m
afraid your honor is already gone. You have been defeated
by humans not once, but twice —and one of those times by
a female!” He nodded toward Nyla. “Tell me what I want to
know, and maybe you can redeem yourself.”

The orc rolled his eyes and spat on the ground. “Lying
pink-skin! All you pink- skins ever do is lie! You have less
honor than a gnoll pup! All of you! I will tell you nothing!”

Logan shrugged. “So be it. Then I will leave you here,
and let my female use you for her… amusements.” The orc’s
eyes bulged out, and he began squirming, trying to free
himself. Obviously Logan’s taunt had struck a nerve. Logan
made a show of turning to leave, and the orc squealed in

“No! Please, just kill me, pink-skin! Don’t leave me with
a... a… female.” The orc was squirming now, his distaste
apparent to all. Logan turned away from the creature, and
Tarn saw a hint of a grin on his face.

“So, you fear dying with no honor! Pity you have none
left to lose. All that you have left is the hope of a warrior’s
death. Well, you will not have it. You are not worthy of it.
You are a coward, and a failure, defeated twice by pink-
skin, and now you are at our mercy. Tell me what I want
to know, or I’ll leave you with the female. She will not be
generous with you, and can be very… demanding.”

The orc shuddered. “No! Don’t leave me with her! You
pink-skin put clothes on your females! Treat ‘em like they
was real people! It ain’t natural!”
Nyla didn’t understand everything being said, but was
slowly catching on to Logan’s tactics. She ran one finger
across the warrior’s shoulder and up behind its ear.

The captured orc moaned softly, and then whimpered.
“You leave me nothing, pink-skin. If I not talk, you leave
me as toy to your female. If talk, you release me as outcast,
never to rejoin The People, but live only as dog! I talk on
one condition, dishonorable pink-skin. Tell me that you will
send me to Gurmmish with my honor intact.”

Logan shot a glance at Tarn. The former knight
shrugged. “Your call.”

Sighing, and wanting to avoid what he thought the orc
was hinting at, but unsure of what else to say, he hedged
his bets and replied, “I offer you my word, warrior of
Grummish. Now tell me, what clan are you?”

“Broken Claws.”

“Who is the chief of your clan?”

“Grom Ten-Kill. ”


“Uggh. Yes, Ten-Kill. He once kill ten pink-skin warriors
with single blow of his axe. He great warrior, lead our clan
and several others.”

“Others? How many others?”

The orc put up both hands and extended his fingers,
and began to drop them one at a time. “This many!”

Great. Logan watched him begin to raise and lower
fingers at random. An orc who can’t count. Big surprise!

“Why does your chief wage war on the pink-skins?
“It is our way. You are weak, children of sea god. We are
people of Grummish. We Take What Is Ours!”

Logan rolled his eyes. “Okay, why did your chief attack
this village?”
“Draw out your fighting men. Lead them across great
river, where chief meet them in battle, destroy them, then
chief move onto bigger prey!”

Logan and Tarn exchanged worried glances. “Meet
them? How many warriors follow your chief?”

“Many as sands on river bank. Many tribes follow Ten-
Kill! If go very bad for you now, pink-skin! We Take Back
What Is Ours!”

“What exactly do you mean, ‘take back what is ours?’
“Ten-Kill take back our lands from pink-skins. He fight, rule
other tribes. Many tribes now follow him! He great warrior,
blessed of Grummish. He now fight pink-skins!”

Tarn looked at Logan. “We’re getting nowhere with this.
We know that his chief rules many warriors. Find out what
you can about his chief’s plans for Alec.”

Logan nodded. “You said that your chief planned to meet
the humans across the river. Why do you mean? Some sort
of trap?”

The orc bobbed his head up and down excitedly.
“Warriors set trap for pink-skins. We give you false victory
here, then flee across river. There chief wait with warriors.
They kill you pink-skins. Then we come back!”

Logan looked at Tarn. “Does that answer your

“Yeah. It tells me Alec is still a fool, and now we have to
see if we can go save him from his own stupidity before it’s
too late. See if he knows anything about that demon.”

“What do you know about a Soul Stealer? Did your chief
summon one to help him?”

The orc squealed in terror. “By Grummish, no! Orcs not
summon such a beast!”

Tarn broke in halting orcish, “Well, someone did. We
meet shaman from Steel Blades Clan. He say someone
summoned one, and it kill your people and ours.”

Spittle flew from the orcs mouth, and he thrashed
against his restraints. Tarn was worried that he would
break his bonds, but they held fast. “You lie!” he shouted.
“People of Grummish know better than to do such a thing.
You pink-skins maybe stupid enough to do so, but not us!”

Logan got down on the floor again. “I think you’re lying,
greenback. I think you know who summoned it. I think
you’re trying to deceive me!”

The orc actually looked surprised. “I tell truth! I try
to reclaim my honor! Why I lie? You kill me now, I face
Grummish as warrior. I lie, he send me to deepest of hells
as liar and coward! ” Logan turned and started to walk
away. The orc began screaming at him. “I tell truth! I do
what you ask. Now kill me like you promise! Kill me now!”

Tarn looked at Logan. “Logan… I think he’s telling the

“So do I.”

“Then you have to fulfill your end of the agreement.”

“Do I? But that’s barbaric!”

Nyla looked at him also, sadness in her eyes. “Yes, you
do. You gave him your word, Logan. Besides, if we let him
go, and he does manage to hook back up with his clan…”
Logan’s sigh nearly shook the windows. “I suppose
you’re right. I’ll do it, I’ll do it. Just… Let me do it alone,

The others nodded and walked out of the building,
taking the farmers with them. The Orc continued to bellow
curses and obscenities at the cleric, until, suddenly, the
companions heard Logan swing his axe, and then all was