"; } } ?> "; } } ?>

Unrelenting Tide
Duncan winced as the local healer pulled the bandage tighter around his wounded arm. As he glanced down at the bloody arrow lying on the ground next to him, Duncan was reminded of his own mortality. The wound would heal in time, but he would have to fight without his shield for a while. As he listened to the healer's idle conversation and looked around the dimly lit room, he reminded himself he was lucky to even be alive after the last orc raid. Many of his fellow townspeople had perished trying to stem the never-ending tide of orcs. 

"They can't keep coming like this! How many orcs can there possibly be in the world!?" the young healer suddenly asked, changing the subject. 

A warrior laying next to Duncan, her head wrapped in a bandage, propped herself up painfully from her cot. "Seems there's no stopping them. There has to be a way to keep them from taking the town!" The warrior pounded her fist into her open palm as if to accentuate her point. 

"They don't seem interested in controlling the city, though," Duncan said, more to himself than to the others. "Can't stop a siege if the invaders don't actually try to take anything over. It's almost as if each wave is a separate group of orcs, running from something and just smashing whatever gets in their way, rather than some organized invasion with a purpose. I've heard reports from other towns that the orcs attacking them aren't actually making moves to take control either. Something's got 'em spooked, that's for sure." 

Another warrior joined the group, this one having just recently arrived from Britain. "I've heard that too. You know what I think? The orcs aren't the real problem... more like a symptom of something bigger." 

"Aye," Duncan nodded. "And whatever it is that's doing this hasn't shown itself yet. So for now, the best we can do is protect our homes and hope for the best." 

"That's hardly encouraging," the healer said, giving the Paladin a wink to let him know she wasn't expecting him to have all of the answers. Duncan smiled slightly for the first time in days. He knew the people of Cove needed him to stay strong and optimistic, but every band of orcs that attacked made it harder to keep his spirits high and his determination strong. He remained proud of his people, though, knowing that lesser men and women would have long ago fled along with the royal guards to the safety of Britain or Trinsic. As he looked around at the despair and carnage in the room, he silently vowed to himself that when he did find this unseen enemy, they would pay for the destruction their actions had wrought. 

As the group continued to talk, a series of explosions from outside rocked the building, knocking the injured warrior from her cot and hurling glasses and healing bottles from their shelves. Duncan immediately rose, much as it pained him to do so, and gripped his sword tightly. 

"Cannons!?" the young healer asked shakily, as she helped the injured warrior back to her cot, the fear evident in her eyes. 

Duncan waved his hand dismissively, trying to calm those inside. "Orcs don't use cannons, never have. They must have found some new toys." He pointed at the warrior from Britain. "Come with me." 

Both warriors carefully left the safety of their hiding place, warily looking for the new orc threat. 

Published: June 2001
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
© 2017 Electronic Arts Inc. All rights reserved.
Legal Information      Privacy Policy      Terms of Service
/** //