It was bitter for David. There was nothing he could do. At least his friends and the few familiy he still had were alive. But free them? That was impossible. He had to go back to Jerumala. He had no idea where else to go. But there would be orcs there soon. He was sure of that. The leader of the orcs had sounded too confident of victory. Maybe there was resistance against the orcs? But how would he find it? The best place to find it would be in a larger city, David thought. Then maybe he should go to Arch Seva. But that was far. And what if he met orcs? Would they all be as mild as these? He had to try it, David thought. Jerumala first, and then the great city of Arch Seva, where he had never been.
After two more hungry days in the forest, he had arrived at the edge of the village of Jerumala. For just under an hour, he waited in the shelter of the last trees and took a good look at what was going on in the village. David could make out no orcs, and the few villagers he saw seemed completely unconcerned about going about their daily business. They were still as clueless as he had been just days before. None seemed aware that orcs had conquered the land and would soon subjugate their village as well. Judging by the position of the sun, it was about an hour before noon when David set out and walked toward the village of Jerumala. The first person to see him was one of the merchants from Arch Seva, his name was Finn. Only a few days before they had been sitting together in the tavern getting drunk. Now Finn looked at him a bit startled and surprised.
“David! Back so soon? You look… pretty beat up. Did some critter attack you?”, Finn asked him.
“No, Finn. I’m afraid not… I’m from Bala,” David’s voice faltered.
“And you’re back already? What’s wrong with you?” Finn asked, startled.
“I…”, David swallowed. “I saw orcs.”
Finn looked at him with wide eyes and an open mouth. “What, orcs?! A scouting party?! So far away from the front lines? That can’t be… You’re pulling my leg, David! You can’t be serious!”
“Yes, I do, unfortunately. And not only that. They…”, David swallowed hard. “They took Bala.”
He saw the horror in the eyes of Finn the merchant. That’s why he quickly said: “But nothing happened to them! They have to work for the orcs, but the leader said nothing will happen to them…”
David slumped. When he spoke out about what had happened, he began to realize it.
Finn still stood stock-still. “No, David, no. It can’t be… We would have heard something. From Arch Seva. Or from anywhere else! No!”
David mustered the last of his strength, looked up at Finn, and said, “It’s true. And they will come. Please, tell the others. I can’t take it anymore.”
David’s eyes went black and he fell into a woolly, grateful swoon.