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An Orc Alone; DNR
Topic Started: Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:44 pm (556 Views)
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The wind blew hard against the frozen plain, sharp as spears and ten times colder than the steel of a worg-rider’s lance. Riding on the waves none too distant from that frigid shore was small but very colourful ship, its hull adorned with a garish collection of freakish monsters of the sea, the likes of which a certain tribe of land-orcs had never seen; some of the creatures they could not even begin to describe. One orc in particular spat upon the ground, a sour look on his tusked face as he set his savage glare upon the finger-wagglers’ disgusting excuse for a sea-faring vessel. The sailors had settled upon the shore for a time not too long ago, seeking meat from the heavy-coated aurochs that inhabited this particular plain to complement their usual diet of fish, lobster, and other bounties of the sea.

Gortwog Draak-Fist hailed from an orc tribe that had learned long ago to trust magic about as far as a human could throw an orc. They had grown to hate it out of necessity, having once been frequently assaulted and eventually temporarily enslaved by finger-wagglers. They had won their freedom hard and at great cost, and they had come out far stronger because of it in the long run. Now, they were mostly called mage-killers. Once the Dragon Foot, now called the No-Mage, Gortwog’s tribe moved about behind him with little regard for the sea-folk beyond the occasional spit-and-glare that Gortwog had already given them.

He turned away from the sight. The fools had already been driven from these lands, yet they remained about for reasons unknown to the orcs. There must be something quite valuable here for them to waste their time - or perhaps they were simply desperate. Starvation had a way of driving men from the ocean quite swiftly. If the fishing was bad, there was hunting on land; but if there were mage-killers preventing you from hunting, there was no knowing what you might do just to stay alive and in relatively good health. So a silent stand-off had begun, the usually nomadic tribe pacing the Astendan ship and the Astendan ship pacing the orcs. Nobody spoke of it, but everybody knew exactly what was going on and fell in like soldiers on a march to war.

But Gortwog had more important things to do. He took his sickle-sword and began slicing up the meat that had just been given him. He had no family of his own, so all the meat he was given was his alone to eat. As he made a long cut, he couldn’t help but look up briefly at Darthog nearby. He sat there eating with his two wives and four nippers, and Gortwog turned away from that sight as well. Gortwog wasn’t particularly old, but neither was he particularly young. He was a mighty warrior and a seasoned hunter, one who had successfully journeyed beyond his tribe numerous times for their sake and his own. He had earned the name Draak-Fist because of the story he had told about beating a dragon to death; it had actually been a mountain drake, and he had used weapons rather than his fists, but the tribe was built on stories. They were more concerned with what was entertaining - and what prize had been hard-won - than what was actually true. He had hunted a number of mountain drakes and slain several finger-wagglers over the years.

Yet for all his prowess in battle and well-earned title, he was still alone. This wasn’t to say that he’d never been with a woman, of course. He simply didn’t have one that was his for the keeping. He couldn’t even really blame it on the lack of available women in his tribe. He didn’t know what the problem was, frankly. He could fight as well as any orc, far better than most humans, and out-drink a long-bearded dwarf or a pointy-eared elf with nary a care…but he couldn’t get so much as a single wife? Some of the men in his tribe had as many as three wives and a dozen nippers. Of course, Gortwog couldn’t care less about the miniature orcs that everyone’s loins but his own seemed to spawn on a regular basis. He did wonder what it was like to have someone give a damn about what he did when he wasn’t fighting, drinking, dancing, or telling stories, however.

Gortwog was not an attractive fellow. He knew that. But he didn’t get by on his looks. He got by on his raw power and his skill with his weapons. A glance at the worg nearby, who growled in response, reminded him that the beast got a share of the meat as well. It was different with Bloodback. Bloodback wasn’t an orc. He wasn’t a “pet”, either, as lesser races seemed to believe. Bloodback was his mount but also his constant companion. The two had been paired many years ago when Gortwog had opted to take the challenge, wrestling an equally young worg to see who was stronger. It had looked at first like the worg would tear Gortwog’s throat out, but Gortwog had suddenly gotten the upper hand - so to speak - and dominated the creature. They had grown, trained, fought, hunted, eaten, and slept together ever since.

But Bloodback was a worg. Bloodback was not a wife. As he set aside some of the meat for curing and moved on to cutting up the rest of his chunk, the blood running over his hands, he wondered: what was it that set him apart? What was it about him that made battle easy and everything else difficult? Yeah, he danced and drank with the rest of his tribe, but that was just a matter of habit. He’d grown up doing that. He fought beside them when needed, hunted with them when it was called for, and traveled with them because they were the people he knew. He had eyed a few of the tougher sex and even been with a few who had yet to wed. Yet every one of the women he’d been with had since found the husbands they sought. Perhaps commitment was the problem…but Gortwog was committed to Bloodback and to the No-Mage, so that didn’t make sense. No, commitment wasn’t the problem. The issue was deeper. He just wasn’t smart enough to figure out what it was.

Even Darthog had said something to him once or twice or thrice about finding a wife. But Darthog didn’t do much - not by orcish standards, anyway - and still seemed popular and outgoing and…what was the word? He didn’t know it. Whatever it was, Darthog was it. He was that. But Gortwog worked his bones like nobody’s affair, and yet he couldn’t get a single woman to want to stay with him after a night’s roll on the ice. Honestly, he didn’t even know what to say to a woman to get that process started. Certainly, he had seen what other orcs had done and heard what they had said, but none of it felt right in his head. Maybe he just wasn’t destined to be a husband.

A woman walked by his fire on her way to someone else’s and he happened to look up. She smiled at him pleasantly enough. Jarka wasn’t wed, but she was fine enough a woman to make for a good wife. Gortwog usually would have displayed a proud grin, mischievous and bold, but today he simply looked at her. She was gone in an instant, the moment passed before Gortwog could correct his folly. Perhaps if he had smiled at her like he usually did, she would have stopped. But no, she probably would not have. She was on her way to Kortnar’s fire, seemingly to speak with one of his wives. There was another lame excuse for an orc…but who was he to complain? Kortnar also had two wives, just like Darthog, and three nippers born of them. Gortwog shook his head and focused on his work, finishing up his cutting of the meat with which he’d been provided from the last auroch hunt.

Sighing deeply, he began cleaning and rubbing the meat for curing. It wouldn’t do to focus on something that didn’t seem to be important right now, especially since nothing would come of it. He was just finishing up the rub-down and was about to start hanging the meat when there was a commotion nearby. Apparently, some idiot had come far enough north that he had ventured into orcish tribal lands - and he was still breathing. Snorting in derision, Gortwog started hanging the meat up. He was almost done with that when the idiot human tentatively stepped forward to address him. Not only had he been foolhardy enough to come here, he had also apparently managed to live long enough to bring Gortwog…a message? A letter? What was this nonsense about, then? He wiped off his hands with a rag and took the letter. The man ran off, and Gortwog was left to wonder about the contents. He tore it open and read it.

A ball…huh.

He’d better have a chat with Porrak about this.
Edited by Gortwog, Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:14 am.
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