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Bane of Orcs - A Begining

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posted on Jan, 30 2013 @ 04:29 AM
I have always been a fan of fantasy literature. I do not consider myself to be a great writer, but this is my first go at writing in a genre I love... so please be gentle. But, by the same token, if you have constructive criticism to offer, please don`t hold back.


Hrothgar was alone, wounded, among the trees. Good company, as far as he was concerned. He listened to the sound of the wind blowing between the now nearly barren limbs of the mighty oaks, and he smiled. He inhaled deep - he had always loved the smell of fallen leaves in late Autumn. It reminded him of harvest festivals, good drink and good food. It also reminded him of the magical time he had spent among these very trees with his wife, who had died birthing his son, leaving him a wreck of a man. But the unconditional love of his child, and the sweet memories of his late wife helped him overcome those dark days.

Mixed with that happy scent, however, was the sticky scent of blood. Some of it was his own, but much of it once belonged to his attackers.

Delirious from blood loss, Hrothgar felt that today he was meet the Great Ones.

He remembered the stories the elders had told him and the other boys in his village’s sod-roofed longhouse, which served as communal hall, school house, courtroom and place of worship.

According Old Ogden, the the oldest and wisest among his village’s elders, there are three Great Ones which inhabit a land above the clouds. Their true names are unknown to all but those who meet them after shedding their mortal body, but Old Ogden called them The Mother, The Father and The Shade.

The Mother and the Father created all that which is beautiful, and much of that which is not. They crafted the land and the sea. They sprung forth the totality of animal and plant life. But still, they felt that something was missing. And so, while The Shade looked on jealously, The Mother and and The Father set about creating man and woman. The Mother and The Father taught man and woman to coexist, to procreate, and to thrive in a world harsh and unforgiving by design.

And thrive they did, for generations. Man harnessed the element of fire, using it to ward off predators, warm their hovels during harsh winter nights and to cook the meat provided by the land. Later, man began to use the fire to clear forests for planting crops, and later still, man began to raise their own beasts for meat, doing away with the need to set about on risky hunting journeys.

Man’s success angered The Shade, who hated them as the adder hates the mongoose. As far as The Shade was concerned, the menfolk were too smart for their own good. They were beginning to shape the world just as The Great Ones had many years ago. Forest was turned to pasture, the timber from the forests had been turned into their homes. But The Shade’s animosity ran deeper than a great oak’s roots. He had been alone since the beginning, since before the light sprang forth. The Mother and The Father had each other, but The Shade had been forever alone, and coveted The Mother’s hand for himself.

And so, one day, The Shade set about to destroy the menfolk. Using The Mother and The Father’s animal creations against them - combining mud, hogs and even captive menfolk, he created the Orcish race to be man’s foe. The Shade instilled his Orcish creations with his own animosity, his own hatred for Mankind, and his own will to see them destroyed.

But man proved more resilient than The Shade had ever imagined. Though stronger and larger physically, the Orcish lacked man’s affinity with nature - his ability to use the land to his advantage, and seemingly fade into the background.
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posted on Jan, 30 2013 @ 04:30 AM
The Orcish had superior numbers, and clad in their armour black as the night’s sky, with sharp tusks protruding from their cheeks and flesh the colour of a red deeper than blood, they presented a formidable foe. The manfolk had superior steel and superior wits, but in pitched battle, they were no match for the seemingly endless waves of Orcish axemen.

And so, as mankind so often does, it adapted. They avoided pitched battle wherever possible, and instead their warriors travelled in small bands of 15-20 men and women - armed with crossbows, gleaming steel axes and a variety of small knives. The most successful among them carried swords inlaid with gold and precious jewels, imported from across the sea, but these were not the norm. Their armour was light, compared to the Orcish variety, but they were faster and deadlier in a hit and run ambush. A company of well armed humans could ambush and route an Orcish force numbering ten times as many.

For thousands of years, this war of attrition waged on. The Mother and The Father mourned their fallen children, and welcomed each into their loving embrace. Eventually, in the face of a smarter enemy, and taking heavy losses, The Shade recalled his Orcish horde back to the deep caves far to the south from which they had initially sprung. They remained there for generations still, forgotten by all but the scholars and the Elders, who passed the stories onto successive generations of people.

For Hrothgar, these tales were just that. Everybody but the Elders knew that Orcs didn’t exist. And while he respected Old Ogden as much as he did his own father, he didn’t buy into the idea that one of The Great Ones would seek to obliterate human kind.

That was, until he was set upon by a pair of Orcfolk while transporting his goats to a market in a neighboring town. To get there from his village, he needed to pass through the Dread Bog, the name of which was no coincidence. People were known to be lost there - some say they were swallowed up by the thick and deep mud after losing their way on the path. The Elders, however, insisted that the Orcs, who had fled thousands of years ago, had returned and were taking humans captive.

Hrothgar left his village with his goats early that morning, because the trek to Rich Man’s Folly, the nearest market town, would take eight hours. Hrothgar vaguely remembered a funny tale behind the market town’s name, but couldn’t recall it. His teenage son, Garthon was nearly a man now, and had readied the goats with ropes and collars for his father’s journey to the market. The plan was to trade the two goats for a young cow and some flour.

Hrothgar bade his son farewell, and set about the winding road leading from the village. At the edge of the forest just outside the villages defensive ditch, the goats stopped. Refusing to budge, until Hrothgar gave them a solid yank, careful not to injure the animals. Reluctantly, and with some effort on Hrothgar’s part, the goats began to take tentative steps forward.
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posted on Jan, 30 2013 @ 04:31 AM
Perhaps there’s a wolf, he thought to himself.

It was not unheard for them to stalk this forest, there was an abundance of prey there. But there were no forest creatures to be seen or heard on this day.

After some time, a sound caught Hrothgar’s attention. A twig broken underfoot. He had been walking for an hour, and had nearly reached the Dread Bog.

Wary, Hrothgar unsheathed the razor sharp dagger he wore at his hip.

Raiders, he thought, probably from a neighboring village. He would not - he could not - allow them to take his goats. But Hrothgar was no warrior - he was a simple farmer. He knew how to handle a knife, his people were taught as a matter of course, but he had never taken another man’s life.

He did not relish the thought.

Just then, just meters from the point where the treeline ends and the Dread Bog begins, a pair of the fiercest creatures Hrothgar had ever laid eyes on set upon him. He fought valiantly, but the odds were against him.

He thrust his dagger into the throat of the nearest Orc, feeling the sickly rush of the creature’s hot blood spray his hand to the rhythm of the creatures fading heartbeat. While one of the pair was now surely dead, the beast’s partner thrust a crude spear clean through Hrothgar’s chest.

Our hero fell, having slain one of his Orcish assailants, and waited for death. In the meantime, his surviving attacker grabbed the leads tied to the goat’s necks and made off into the Dread Bog, leaving the goats no choice but to follow at speed, lest they be dragged along the uneven trail.

Hrothgar mustered the strength to maneuver his broken body to a large oak tree, and leaned his back against the base. He had never thought in his life to see an Orc, had never even believed they existed, but now his fate was to die by one.

Ambushed by Orcfolk, he thought. Either Old Ogden was mistaken about their preferred strategy of pitched battle, or the beasts had learned. Adapted.

Hrothgar was unsure of how long he sat there, leaning against the tree, his strength fading as the blood wept from his wound. It was surely a mortal injury.

“Father!” Shouted a distant voice, a vaguely familiar one. A moment of sudden clarity.
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posted on Jan, 30 2013 @ 04:32 AM
“Garthon,” Hrothgar croaked. “Orcs.” His breathing was laboured, and he felt his time was nearly done. “Og.. Ogden was ri-” He winced with pain as he attempted to shift his weight against the tree. “Was right.” Hrothgar motioned toward his bloodied dagger and the slain Orc.

“Take the head, and my dagger. Warn the others. I’m not long from death now, boy.” His voice was little more than a hoarse whisper. “You go back now, send the Elders to collect me and bury me with your mother..”

The boy was incredulous. He refused to leave his father. Garthon stayed with his father until his eyes glazed over, and his spirit returned to The Mother.

Garthon seized his father`s dagger, and savagely beheaded the dead Orc, all the while cursing The Shade and vowing the destroy every living Orc and The Shade himself.

The Mother and The Father watched on with approval. This young man was special. They had seen his fury toward the Orcs and their creator, and it matched their own. From that day forth, they decided to aid Garthon in ridding their world of The Shade and the Orcish foe.
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posted on Jan, 30 2013 @ 04:33 AM
If you read it though, I hope you enjoyed. Again, this is my first stab - so to speak - at the fantasy genre. This is just a simple story I wrote on a whim over the course of about an hour and a half. I would like to expand on it and refine it in the future, but for the time being it is what it is.

posted on Jan, 30 2013 @ 05:56 AM
reply to post by Monger

You should try publishing it on Amazon, like myself.

You might get a contract. You never know.

posted on Jan, 30 2013 @ 06:01 AM
reply to post by galactictuan

I may well look into doing just that. To be a published author has been a lifelong dream of mine, but I feel that I need to refine my technique a little bit first. I didn`t even know Amazon published short stories.

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