Just the previous night, an expedition of men had marched to the gates of Fornost, also known as Dead Man's Dike, and assaulted the guards in an attempt to dispatch the front lines of the enemy host. But the orcs knew of the attack, and countered the surprise, slaying many and taking several more captive, only to be tortured and help captive until death. Among those taken was their captain, a man of Trestlebridge called Captain Trotter.
Brengeth and Thrundrid had ventured with the company, and now vowed to retrieve all those captured. All the survivors of the horrific skirmish had retreated to their camp in the Greenway for safety during the night. As dawn broke and the sun peaked over the hills to the East, Brengeth woke the warriors for a briefing... whether they wanted to be or not. "Greetings warriors of Trestlebridge! You may be thinking that last night's battle was but a mere nightmare, but I remind you that it was all too real. Your captain is being held captive, along with many of your brothers, sisters, and allies. The enemy cannot be allowed to claim more of your town's lives! Muster to ME, and I will be your captain. I will reclaim the lost, and wipe the North Downs clean of the tainted orcs and dead!"
"I'm never going back there, sir! My brother was slain before my eyes! You cannot take me back there!", a young soldier exclaimed. Suddenly, several other voices rang out in resistance. It wouldn't be easy to get these men to quiet down and fight for the common good.
"I cannot promise your friends back, but you must at least try!", responded Brengeth. "It is by your own free will that you follow your allies and myself back to the fortress of Fornost, but is it not worth attacking the stronghold? They will return to slay the rest of your family in time. My nephew Thrungol defeated many orcs here and helped push them back, but soon your enemies will return and attack all of you at your very homes! Now... would you rather fight the enemy at their homes, or defend to the last in the centers of your city, drenched in blood?". Without warning, nearly every man in the group rose up from his or her spot and cheered Brengeth on, and quickly ran up to the captain, throwing their arms up in spirit. A few had sulked off and obviously were not fit to fight after their hearts were nearly destroyed the night before, but the majority stood by the captain and minstrel. They were going back.
* * *
Hours of walking the town of Trestlebridge later, the small company of twenty had grown from surging amounts of volunteers to a size of seventy! So many men-at-arms and civilians had felt so strongly about their cause(and at hearing that their beloved Captain Trotter had been captured) that nearly the entire town(that is those who could fight; the elderly and children did not prepare for the battle) joined Brengeth and Thrundrid's force! In...