Some of you may have spotted a new Orc hanging around Hammerfall. Some of you may have tried to talk to him. Perhaps even punch him. And if thats you, he has probably called you a bloody kid, accused you of having no respect, then asked you 'politely' to get out of his sunlight, and to rub ointment on his bad back.
Who is this Orc? Where did he come from? And more importantly, why does he have no teeth?
The Following story will answer none of those questions, but is, lets face it, a good read. The Concept was first Imagined in Terry Pratchetts "The Last Hero" And if you like this, said book can be found in most good bookstores. Or, if you don't like reading, theres a comic version also available.
For the Goblin Armament Mogul, it had been a Bad day. To start with, his breakfast had come thirty five seconds late, resulting in another maid’s road to the Job Centre. Then he had found out his stocks had dropped by eight points from the previous night, which was never a good sign. Then he had found out his mother had passed away peacefully in her sleep, and, more importantly, hadn’t left him –anything-. Yes, it was a bad day. Mind you, he had experienced worse. He lost 50% of his company to a hostile takeover from the East Azeroth Trading Idiots, a loss he had worked hard to recover, placing his own money in the companies’ vaults for a bailout option. Going public had also helped him out of that spot. But the big losses weren’t the only bad thing to happen to him today. His company – his company had been the target of a violent and cruel burglary. Eighty of his best mercenary guards had been ruthlessly slain, and the bastards had made off with twenty tonnes of Extra-dense Seaphorium charge, concentrated into a single high explosive barrel. And to add insult to injury, his eighty guards had been murdered by five men – no, five pensioners.
The Mogul threw a vase at the wall.
“I shtill haven’t losht it” the old Man said, patting the barrel that they had fastened to the back of his friends wheelchair. “We got the payload, now to reshcue the Prinshessh.”
The five figures were sprawled around the sole source of light in the entire region, a raging campfire. The one who had just spoken, the leader, was standing downwind of the smoke, cackling. He was a withered old Orc, more bone than muscle, dressed in thick cloth armour that resembled a very badly made Blademaster kit. On his face was a white beard that stretched down to his waist, which he had tucked into his rope belt, and his back was hunched over. In his mouth not a single tooth remained. Of his friends, only one other was an Orc. The others consisted of A Tauren, a Troll, and, in the wheelchair, a withered Sin’Doreai. The Leader had tucked his Blade into his belt, and on his back was fastened a thick wooden staff, which he used more for helping him walk than fighting. In his hands he held a hunk of raw meat, and a frothing flagon of ale.
At first glance, anyone would think the group was hardly a Threat. A few even laughed when they saw them, what insane sort of Hero would still be in business well over the age of retirement? At this point in their train of thought, most of the various mercenaries bandits and guards the group met might start to think that perhaps they were wrong. Probably because at this point, they were dead. The fact of the matter is, for someone to have survived so long, doing what they did, would have to be bloody good at it. The Silver Warband – as that’s what they called themselves – were now minus one number. A third Orc, whom the other two orcs had known since well before the First war, had passed away naturally in his sleep. Naturally, this angered the other members of the Silver Warband, as there is Nothing Natural about a Natural death if you are a Hero. Naturally, this brought them out of retirement, as they left their various wives, mistresses, offspring and, in the Leaders case, clan, before re-uniting and setting out on a glorious quest that would get them all killed in the natural fashion – violently. This brings us to the sixth member of the group present, a terrified looking Blood elf that had been previously huddling out of sight behind a rock, cradling his lute.
There was nothing Heroic about this Elf. He had no Muscles. He had no sword, axe or sharpened stick. He had no scars, no wrinkles, no silver hair. He still had all his teeth. He had spent the numerous hours since his kidnap being mistaken for a girl by the other members of the Warband, because he had no facial hair, a sign, the others argued, of femininity. One had even tried to bed him. He also had absolutely no idea why he was still alive, nor what the Warband actually wanted of him. So he just sat, hugging his lute, and ignoring the raw meat he had been given. After all, this must be all a bad dream.
Following the crack of dawn, the Silver Warband Broke camp. The Elf, who had been dreaming of a girl, was pulled along violently, his hand firmly grasped by the huge old Tauren Bull. The front of the Column was taken by the Withered Blood elf in the Wheelchair, which the Second Orc was pushing The Tauren and the Elf was following, and then the Troll, while the Leader was taking the rear. The Troll, who was incidentally the oldest and kindliest of the Warband, was trying in Vain to explain to the Poor Elf Bard why they had brought him along.
“Rear rrykng ro resthcue a rrrrrrrrincesss”
It might be worth noting that the Troll didn’t have a tongue. The Tauren was translating for him.
“He said we try rescue Princess.”
“Reeeit be reeeadly rraneroush, we eeeeet leif”
“It Bad task, we die yes?”
“B-b-but why do you need me?”
That was the Elf.”
“Rooo need to rrrrrriht Rraaaaaarg!”
“We need you to write our Saga”
“Yesh Boy. We Brought you along sho you could Write the epic Shaga after we die.”
That new voice was the Leader, who had just butted in to the conversation. At this point the banter became almost un-understandable, as one of the conversationalists had no tongue, one no teeth, one was terrified out of his multi-coloured pantaloons, and one had the brain capacity of a drug addled Gnoll. With Teretts. But, for the purpose of this story remaining fluid, we will skip forward to the point in the conversation (Which had now become an argument) where the Elf (Who is incidentally also a Bard, forgot to mention that, which is surprising as its vital to his role in the story) finally sums up what he has learned.
“So… You have kidnaped me, and taken me away from my job, my family, and my friends, so I can accompany you on a suicide mission, to rescue the Princess Myzrael…”
“You do know that’s already been done right?”
“Exshactly! But each time the Prinshesh hash been re-shackled to the shtone shard that imprishoned her Shoon after! But we have a plan… we will deshtroy the shard completely, removing all chanshe of her re-imprishonment! Itsh a good plan”
He was right. It was a good Plan.
“No, it’s a great plan.”
It was only a good plan.
“But… but… she’s only been re-imprisoned because she’s insane! Some sort of Earth elemental or Titanic watcher or something! Beside, the explosives needed to destroy a powerful shard like that would have to be… Enormous!”
The Leader just patted the Barrel strapped to the back of the Elf’s wheelchair, and grinned.
“We got exhploshive Kid”
“Theres no trigger on that! No fuse! The Blast would kill you all Instantly!”
“And that, Kid, ish why we need you. Loadsh of Heroesh die, but we want to die sho shpectacularly, we will be talked about for decadesh to come! And no-one getsh that privalage, by the time they’ve finished shmoking, another layabout comesh along to replashe them. But not ush. Kid, we want you, to write, our shaga.”
This was followed by a long pause. The Leader looked excited. The Other Orc was grinning like a Northshire Cat. The Troll was beaming, the Tauren was standing slack jawed, and the other Elf was asleep. The Bard just looked shocked.
“You know I’m a poet right.”
If the first pause was long, this one was a lot longer. So long the first pause looks short, but that wouldn’t’ve justified the length of the first pause. Lets just accept that they were both long pauses, but this one was longer. Right?
“I’ve never written a saga.”
“You idiot! You nabbed ush the wrong bard!”
“Well how was I supposed to know he wasn’t a real Bard?”
“I am a Real bard!”
“We have to go back.”
“We can’t go back! We’ll have to ushe thish one. Kid, you’ve never written a shaga before right? Well we’ll teach you, okey? And if you can’t, we’ll kill you and find another bard on the way.”
That pretty much settled it. The Warband didn’t want to go back, and the Bard didn’t want to die, so everyone was happy, and so far, no-one had died.
Well, eighty people had died, but they were mercenaries and, it’s a proven fact, mercenaries don’t have feelings. So technically, no-one had died. Oh, and then there was those people in the bar where they had found the Bard. And that traveller who didn’t speak loudly enough for the Withered elf in the wheelchair. And then there were those Forsaken, but they don’t count as people, because their dead.
So no-one had died. But, knowing the Silver Warband’s track record, that was soon to change.
The way is shut,
It was made by those who are dead
And the dead keep it.
Skeleton in the closet.