Orcii.

Something I've been writing over the past day, and still working on.

This story revolves around two Orcish brothers who were abandoned at birth, after their mother's home and town was ruthlessly burned to the ground by an Elven army. It involves their struggle to survive and get work.

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4. Misthaven.

Huygen was first to awake the next day; He had high hopes for the next few hours. Misthaven was one of the many towns they hadn’t visited before, seeing as though they had spent most of their lives in a small shack off the outskirts of the Desert Ravine. Marog was still fast asleep, a very deep sleep-Almost like a trance. Huygen shook his head and laughed at his prolific snoring, and proceeded in kicking him in the side to wake him up.

‘Rise and shine, Marog,’ he said laughing. ‘Today shall be a good day.’

Marog turned over and met the sunlight. He squinted through his barely open eyelids.

‘By the gods, Huygen, it’s too damn early.’ He said, sounding frustrated. Huygen didn’t like his tone.

‘It’s never too early, especially when we’re supposed to be looking for work; now get up you half-wit.’ He said.

Marog groaned in protest and sat up slowly in his cotton sleeping bag, rubbing his eyes as he did so. Huygen was right, that day was to be good, the sun was extraordinarily high in the sky, lighting the monumental snowy landscape, and casting reflections all round. Both brothers gathered their belongings, weapons, spare clothes and paintings to given to them by small Orcish children at the last town they visited in hopes of finding work. The town of Misthaven was still 10 miles due north of their cave and if they were going to make it by midday, they would have to travel swiftly. There was already a problem, as Marog was undoubtedly one of the slowest walkers, which was of course going to make their journey much longer than originally planned.

‘You’re going to have to pick up the pace this morning, Marog,’ said Huygen, speeding off in front of Marog. Marog held his arms aloft in protest yet again and looked as if he was going to cry.

‘Oh come on, do we have to walk that quickly?’ he replied. Huygen stopped momentarily, then slowly turned road to stare at Marog.

‘Alright, fine.’ He said under his breath, and continued to follow Huygen. It was far colder than morning compared to the night before, even though the two brothers could see for miles-No fog in sight! They could just about spot Misthaven in the distance-It was one of the 5 Orcish towns in the realm; Humans and Elves didn’t seem to mix with Orcs, but it didn’t bother them much. Marog found himself watching his back a lot on their journey to Misthaven; as if someone was following them, watching their every move. He found it highly unsettling and decided to bring the matter up with his brother.

‘Huygen,’ he said, nervously. ‘Do you get the feeling we’re being watched?’ Huygen titled his head and listened carefully to the surroundings. He heard footfalls echoing in the mountains just above them-Footfalls that Marog wouldn’t be able to hear normally. Huygen stopped, but didn’t turn.

‘Up there,’ he said, pointing to a small group of rocks above them. ‘It’s an assailant; he’s been following us for the last hour or so.’ Marog looked up and saw a shadowy figure darting in between the rocks-A pair of distinct red eyes met his and a chill ran down his spine. Expecting that they would be on the end of the assailant’s dagger within the next few minutes, Marog began unsheathing his blade; He was stopped by Huygen, laying a hand on his.

‘No, now is not the time for conflict,’ He said quietly. ‘We must keep walking, mayhap; he will stay his blade for now.’ As much as Marog wanted to cut his throat, he resisted and took his brother’s advice for once. For the rest of their journey, they were still aware of the shadowy figure’s watchful eye; they could hear him laughing every so often, mocking them as they walked through the frozen wasteland. After a while, their determination to reach the next town proved useful in forgetting all about the assailant; it was as if he wasn’t there at all. Upon reaching Misthaven, the two brothers were surprised at how well organised everything was. Stalls and shops were neatly lined out and arranged in the marketplace, their owners smiling at anyone who walked by. The houses were quaint and very welcoming, as well as their inhabitants. They had never seen such a perfect Orcish town, bustling with life and happiness. Even the guards at the door greeted them with a smile and a ‘Good day!’

Before entering the town, the brothers checked thoroughly behind them for any signs of the assailant-Nothing.

‘Perhaps he’s given up!’ said Marog, sounding hopeful. Huygen shrugged.

‘Perhaps is the word here, he may be waiting to strike.’

Alas, they made their way slowly through Misthaven, taking in the sight, a hello here and there from the good folk. The town was perfectly, balanced; there were no rich, no poor, everyone was happy to help anyone that needed it-The two brothers were astonished at the townsfolk’s kindred spirits. It almost enlightened them. What the brothers really needed, was a drink, and a tavern just so happened to be in sight. A large, wooden sign reading “Mountain Tavern” creaked and cracked as it swung back and forth on the side of the tavern. Cheerful music could be heard resonating from within the confines of the tavern; they loved music, which made the tavern seem much more homely. The inside of the tavern smelt strongly of ale, even more so than the tavern in the last town they visited. A small group of men and elves were standing by the fire place. The two brothers thought it strange that humans and elves were drinking in Orcish tavern in an Orcish town; they didn’t mixed after all. They were all heavily intoxicated, some throwing punches, others bursting into song. They sang uplifting songs that were loud enough to deafen the entire town.

Over the Frozen Tundra’s gale,

We are men, we drink our ale!

We travel dangerous lands so bold,

To fill our pockets full of gold!

 

The two brothers laughed at their drunken actions; watching them tumble into tables and chairs, even each other. They sat down at the bar, each with a grunt, as their journey had been tough and restless.

‘I’ll take two pints of ale please,’ said Marog, smiling at the bartender. ‘And a third one for my brother, please.’ Huygen looked puzzled.

‘You’re having two?’ Huygen enquired, looking concerned.

‘Yes, why does that bother you?’

‘We’re supposed to be here to find work, not to binge drink.’ Huygen sounded frustrated.

‘What are two pints going to do?’ Marog said. ‘It’s been far too long since I have tasted ale; I’d almost forgotten what it tastes like.’ Huygen stayed quiet after that, taking frequent, tiny sips of his ale. It was coming up to 7 o’clock in the evening (as the journey to Misthaven had taken up most of the day) and the brothers began looking for a place to stay. A large, newly built tavern had been built on the other side of town, and they started making their way to it. The idea of staying in the tavern they had previously drunk at drove them insane. The men shouting, screaming, fights breaking out; no sleep would have been possible. From the outside, the tavern seemed reasonable enough. It was quiet and it almost seemed as if there was no one inside.

‘What brings you two here?’ asked the owner of the tavern.

‘We’ve come looking for a room for the two of us for the next few nights, whilst we look for work.’ Huygen replied. The owner behind the bar grinned, holding out a small room key.

‘For the nights you say you want to stay, it’ll be 30 gold coins when your stay comes to an end,’ he said. ‘I also happen to have work for you both too!’

The brothers’ faces lit up with the sudden realisation that their luck was once again turning round.

‘What does this work involve exactly?’ asked Huygen. The Orcish bartender led the brothers to a small pantry door and opened it, revealing the tavern’s food stock. All that remained was 4 loafs of stale bread.

‘Of course, I do have the resources to bake more bread, but that will require some time and I will have to get started tomorrow,’ said the bartender. ‘Of course, many will still be eating here for their supper, and I have no supplies of meat left.’

‘So it’s simple,’ began Marog. ‘You’re low on food supplies and want us to collect more for you?’ The bartender nodded and smiled nervously.

‘I’ll pay you also, of course,’ he said. ‘Shall we say 25 gold coins per day for the food you bring?’ Huygen held out his hand and shook the bartender’s.

‘You have yourself a deal, good sir, we will not disappoint.’ Huygen said modestly.

‘Please, greet me as you would a friend; my name’s Burli.’ The Bartender said. Huygen and Marog both bowed to Burli.

‘My name’s Huygen and this is my brother Marog, we’re pleased to make your acquaintance, Burli.’ They exchanged handshakes again, and departed from each other’s company. The room the brothers were given suited their needs perfectly-Two comfortable beds, lined with cotton, armour stands and storage chests for their belongings. The room was lit by one solitary wax candle perched on top of the mantelpiece, which certainly topped it all off. They slept well that night knowing that their journey had been successful.

They awoke very early in the morning, the sun was still rising slowly over the snowy foothills in the distance, lighting up the realm like a firework. Huygen and Marog spent a few minutes discussing where they would search for food first.

‘Local wildlife would be the best bet.’ Marog said.

‘Boars or Cows usually roam the outskirts to the back of the town, so we’ll had that way and see what we can find.’ Huygen said.

They both clothed themselves; Huygen draped his tattered black over himself as usual and held a spell book close. Marog meanwhile donned his Mithril chainmail armour, so strong that ordinary blades would normally shatter upon colliding with it. He sheathed his blade-The blade he found a few months ago whilst exploring a large cave with Huygen. This particular blade would glow a piercing white light when it came into contact with blood. He thought about selling it to a merchant for a modest price once, but thought against doing so when he proved it could slice through rock.

‘Well, here we go,’ said Marog. ‘It’s about time we got some real work.’ He smiled contently at the thought of money filling and overflowing in his pockets.

‘Now, now, let’s not be too hasty,’ Huygen said. ‘This kind of work is not to be taken lightly, as boars can be very dangerous.’ Marog scoffed and laughed.

‘So can I; I may look like a boar, but I can certainly outsmart one.’ He said with a chuckle.

‘Well, I don’t know about that.’ Huygen said, patting Marog’s bald head as he walked by and out of the room. He followed Huygen down the rickety wooden stairs of the tavern to find Burli cleaning pairs and pairs of ornate glasses.

‘Ah, my two new employees!’ said Burli. The two brothers bowed once again to be polite, and they began discussing their plan of action to retrieve food for the tavern.

‘Hopefully you know of the packs of wild boars and cows to the north of here? Burli began.

‘I do have knowledge of them, but I don’t know exactly where they are situated, so it may take a while to find them.’ Burli, looking very proud, then pulled out a map revealing all of the locations of the herds and their movements.

‘I’ve marked the areas where the packs tend to feed and graze, and I’ve also tracked their movements.’ He said. He handed it to Huygen, who began studying it.

‘Thank you, Burli, this will prove useful!’ said Huygen sounding relieved that he would no longer have to track. He wasn’t able to fully utilise his skill in tracking as his training on it had been very minimal.

‘You’re welcome; now don’t be too long!’ replied Burli. The two brothers left quickly, heading south as planned. They decided to take their journey slow, occasionally stopping to take in the sights the breath-taking environment had to offer. They hadn’t been this far north before and although the sun was shining, it just got colder and colder. Not long after leaving, Marog could see his breath departing his mouth like smoke. They both stayed silent during the trip as nothing needed to be said, apart Marog’s whining. ‘Are we there yet?’ he kept saying, but Huygen just ignored him and carried on observing the map and the surroundings.

‘Aha!’ said Huygen looking up. ‘We’re here finally!’ Marog looked up as well, after spending a few minutes observing the map over Huygen’s shoulder. The entire field in front of them was completely overwhelmed by boars and cows-What they were hoping for; pigs also roamed the area as well. They got to work, although Huygen didn’t like killing wildlife himself, he kept thinking about how money was up for grabs at the end of it all. An hour had passed by then and they had nearly gathered enough food to feed the whole town.

‘Burli will be happy,’ said Huygen laughing. ‘Mayhap, he will increase our pay!’ Marog roared after finishing a tussle with another boar and held it up by its broken leg in front of Huygen.

‘You disgust me,’ Huygen said. ‘Don’t tell me you’re proud of killing a peaceful animal like that?’ Marog laughed for so long that his sides began hurting.

‘Peaceful?’ Marog replied. His face looked serious now. ‘Given the chance, that thing would have torn my throat out with its tusks!’ Before Huygen could speak, he was interrupted by a loud rustling in the trees. Leaves floated down as the tree swayed back and forth.

‘By the gods, are you seeing this Huygen?’ Marog said, sounding startled.

‘Yes, and I really don’t like it.’ He replied. The tree swayed more violently, as if it was responding to Huygen.

‘If there’s someone there, show yourself!’ Huygen bellowed. Suddenly, as quick as a bolt of lightning, a smoke bomb struck Huygen in the face, knocking him out and enveloping the entire area in a thick cloud of smoke. Marog squinted to see Huygen lying there unconscious, before retrieving a hefty blow from a large boot to his back. He was knocked off his feet and landed a few metres away, clutching his back. He groaned from the pain that was pulsating throughout his body, and slowly got up.  

‘Whoever you are, face me like a man instead of playing your shadow games!’ Marog roared. He could faintly see a shadowy figure walking towards him through the thick cloud. This shadow man was wearing a hat that fell below his eyes; he lifted it to reveal them. His deep red eyes stared inside Marog’s mind, sending a shiver down his back. Marog unsheathed his blade and charged full speed at the shadow, and passed right through it. The vapour blinded him somehow and he felt two cold, scaly hands grab hold of his head. Images and memories were projected into his mind; he saw his birthplace, burning, being attacked by elven warriors and assassins. He tried to break free of the shadow’s grip, but the more he struggled, the more painful the memories got. He saw his mother, handing him and Huygen to another Orcish woman as the flames inside the house closed in on her. A dark, unforgiving voice echoed through his head.

‘You fool. You are weak, just as your mother was.’

‘You will lose EVERYTHING.’

Marog slumped to the floor; his energy had been completely drained. The shadow figure unsheathed a dagger and held it to Marog’s throat.

‘You disgusting creature,’ he said. ‘It’s a shame that you did not perish along with your whore of a mother.’ He laughed and spat on Marog. Before he could complete his task, he was sent flying as a fireball struck him in the side of the face. It was Huygen-He had forgotten about him. His hands and fingers made intriguing shapes as the smoke from the smoke bomb swirled around his hands. He clasped them quick as a flash and harnessed the energy.  He lifted his hand, pointing it in the direction of the figure and made him hover.

‘Who are you?!’ Huygen demanded. Even though it was daylight, the figure was still completely black, hidden under a magical veil. He spat at Huygen.

‘You pitiful oaf, put me down!’ he yelled. Huygen began closing his hand, and the figure’s bones began snapping.

‘WHAT IS THIS SORCEREY!?’ he hollered. Huygen swung his arm and threw him into the tree. Now he had to wake Marog up. He took out a small, clear bottle from his cloak, opened it and held it to Marog’s nose. His eyes shot open and he sat bolted upright. He stared at the figure slumped in front of the tree and wandered slowly over to him. Marog picked him up by the scruff of his neck and thrust his blade into his stomach. It went through him like butter and his breath left his lungs; Marog let him fall to the floor.

‘Ruthless,’ Huygen began. ‘I like it when you show no mercy; it is how you should be.’

Marog ignored Huygen’s sadistic talk and pulled a note from the figure’s pocket. It read:

‘They are staying at Misthaven now. Follow them and watch their every move. Wait until they are on their own, far away from the town and then you may attack. Do not fail me.’

Archmage Delond

‘Archmage Delond,’ Marog said. ‘He ordered the attack on our birthplace.’

‘I know,’ Huygen replied. ‘But why does he want us dead?’ Marog shrugged.

‘I wouldn’t know, but the note given to him told him to follow us.’

‘That means he was the assailant!’ Huygen said.

‘Precisely,’ Marog replied. ‘Who knows if the Archmage hasn’t sent another 3 assailants to deal with us?’

‘Well, that’s the idea, we don’t know,’ Huygen replied. ‘But whether he has or not, we will had to tread carefully from now on; he may still be watching us.’

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