Tik didn’t need to turn to look to see what the orcs were shouting about. They had seen him. He bolted the opposite direction that he had come in this morning. He could not lead them to the others.
They had lowered themselves into the city this morning from the hills looming over it. Tik and the other scouts spread out in the area the orcs called the Valley of Strength. One of the first things Tik saw was a troll tied to one of the large wooden posts. She was dead, and arrows pierced her body in multiple locations. He thought the Valley of Cowards was a better name. Cages had been set up, and held a variety of prisoners, some already dead. Between two of the buildings some of the orcs were overseeing forced fighting between the prisoners.
Tik had been sneaking around some of the demolisher vehicles near what looked to be a blacksmith. He hadn’t been able to get close enough to tell. It was when he moved from behind one to another demolisher that the shouts went up. He hoped the others would have enough sense to make it back to their exit as he ran around the back of the large central building.
He had almost gotten to a corner to round behind the building when something hit him on the side of the head. He fell for just a moment, recovering quickly and scrambling to get back on his feet. He didn’t see what hit him, and had no time to bother with looking. He dashed around the corner and up a small hill to an open gate.
According to the maps he and the others had, this part of the city was called the Drag. He kept running. There was a set of stairs to an upper level. He scrambled around some crates sitting in front of the stairs, knocking some over as he ran by.
He reached up to feel the side of his head that was hit as he continued running. It hurt. It was wet. His ear bent at an impossible angle. He drew his hand away. Blood. He could still hear the shouts behind him. He reached and knocked over another pile of crates as he ran by. He then pulled up his leather vest, and tore off a strip of his undershirt. He tied the cloth around his head as he continued running. If the orcs were to catch him, it would not be from following a blood trail. He knocked over a couple of barrels at the edge of the path, lowering himself to the ground as he did. He let himself fall down to the lower path with the barrels blocking the orcs’ sight of him.
He held himself close against the building that he landed next to. He could hear the orcs pass overhead as he started to double back. The shouting above faded as the orcs moved further away. Of course, there were still patrols to avoid. Luckily, piles of crates lined the street here as well, and he was able to hide behind them as he made his way back towards the Valley of Cowards. His head was pounding with pain now. He reached up to feel. His emergency bandage had soaked through already. He carefully picked his path back to the spot where they had entered the city earlier.
By the time he got there, it was nearly dark. He was dizzy with both pain and hunger, but the rope was not there. Of course, the others had to raise the rope so the camp wouldn’t be discovered. He could wait until they came again, but it would likely be hours. He would run the risk of being found by one of the night patrols if he stayed here behind the building.
He noticed a small area under the building that he could crawl into. He knelt and started to clear away the dried weeds in the way when something tapped his back. He turned quickly, expecting to be killed by an orc’s axe, but saw the rope instead. He looked up. One of the others waved, and motioned for him to use the rope. Tik tied the end around his waist, and held his breath as he was pulled up over the orc buildings to safety.