Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Orcs of the Crimson Wastes

Shazdrakk Khan snarled at the war council as he dashed his clawed hand across the map scratched into the dirt of the yurt’s floor. Grunjir Khan, the ultimate ruler of the Crimson Wastes watched him impassively. “Yaaah!", Shazdrakk continued. "This talk of dwarves and elves and men and their strength, is just gas passing from the back end of a boar! The Orcs are the great strength in this land! We have the strength, the cunning and the tools of war! When I hear the whining of the weak ones in our ranks, I hear only the crunch of their bones, the sound of their flesh passing my lips as they feed my belly and my strength. Their flesh shall feed us as we go to war. And as we march there shall be blood and flames and the screams of our enemies. And we shall have their lands for our own!"

Much later, an illustrious sage of an as yet unknown empire would write “......and the orcish hordes poured from the Crimson Wastes to lay waste to the kingdoms around them. All trembled with fear as the larger and smaller goblinoid kin marched to war, with beaten iron weapons, armour, and brands of fire held high. Their number innumerable, the orcs swallowed settlement after settlement with violence in their hearts. A time of devastation had come to all……."

Friday, February 3, 2012

From the Vault - Part One

“Men are your castles, men are your walls....”

Emberfire gazed into the pool of water. Images and visions sharpened and faded, morphed and coalesced. Clarity was ever elusive. A wolf, no... a werewolf, sentient, malevolent. A city, in a far off land, in another world. A city in turmoil, a city of strife. A war cry of a soldier with loyalty in his heart. “Look out sir!” he cries! Now... a song, singing. No, weeping, getting louder, A shriek! Long and piercing.. A banshee's wail!

Emberfire stood back from the liquid mirror. “A task for my mind.” she thought “Clues to a mystery.... A lesson to learn?”

* * * * *

Jaime and the Everqueen were sitting at the high hall enjoying a goblet of wine.

Emberfire was describing what she had seen. “In the vision I saw a city in a far off land. Many factions vied for supremacy. The streets were laid out like so.” Emberfire traced out a pattern on the table.

“My Mother's city. Iapetus” said Jaime. “For as you know my queen I am not born of Ulthuan. My memory is clouded. I do not know how I came to be in this world and few things survive from that world. Some parchments and ancient scrolls belonging to my mother. Little else”

“Show me.” said the queen as she drained the last of her wine and set the goblet down with a decisive clink.

* * * * *

Emberfire sat at her table in her private study. The scrap of parchment in her hands was yellowed with age but still quite intact. She unrolled it carefully and began to read...

TO ALL THE NEW RECRUITS OUT THERE! RESPECT YOUR SUPERIORS!! This is for all the young’ns out there who have ceased holding on to their mothers skirt and gone off the bottle, who have decided to head for their favourite clan and are waiting in line to sign up, regardless of race, Dwarf, Orc, Human or other, heed my words!!

Now the biggest mistake you young’ns can make is not respecting your Superiors, for those who are really daft that’s your leader! I’m not talking about licking your leaders shorts at every opportunity, for that will surely gain you a hiding real quick! I’m talking about doing the right thing in the field of war. For those that survive their first few battles you will soon realize that you are either a notch above the rest or more likely your leader is competent in keeping his troops alive. Before the end of your second battle, one thing will become clear:


Now I can hear all you newbies going on about how mean and tough you are, but what are you going to do when you are ambushed by a horde of stinking screaming Orcs? (No disrespect to the Orcs but they do stink). Either you are going to wish that you didn’t stop sucking your mummies winker or you are going to look at your leader for help. Usually by this stage he would be slicing open a few bellies and right behind him will be your comrades rallying to his side. Once again you may survive another day! However a lesser superior would turn and run leaving his troops only to be stuck like pigs without even lifting their weapons! Oh the humiliation and shame, you would gain more respect if your mother strangled you at birth!

So listen now and heed my words! Ask any soldier that has seen a battle or two and they will let you know that what I’m talking about is referred within our ranks as the ‘Look Out Sir!’ Rule. Now this doesn’t mean that you run around the battleground screaming at your leader to look out, he doesn’t need a scrubber like you to give him advice! It means a great deal more than that. It demands sacrifice without thought and willingness to die for your Hero.

As you progress through the ranks after each battle, your leader will start to respect you more every passing day. Can you imagine the pride you will feel when his runner summons you to his quarters, to be told that he wishes you to stand by his side holding the brigade's banner or horn! Now that is something very few soldiers ever have a chance to do! With this promotion your leader is not only telling you that he thinks that you are a mighty fine soldier, he is letting you know that he trusts you with his life and that is exactly what you give.

As your brigade approaches the enemy it is well known that you will be peppered by dozens of bolts, arrows and if you extremely unlucky a barrage from war machines. This is the time when you as a front ranker return the trust your leader has given you. When you see the sky filled with missiles of all sorts raining down on your brigade, you as a front ranker must cover your leader from being hit. If this means that you end up hosting an arrow in your back then so be it! For the troops that put themselves in danger for their hero will be the first to drink from your leader's flask, a great honour indeed!

Even though you heroics may save your leader in the most dangerous of times, unfortunately if there are less than five troops including your Leader in the brigade then it is impossible to save him from hostile missiles.

Words of warning to those that think they can get away without protecting their hero. If you refuse to protect your leader just to save your own worthless skin, just imagine what your Hero will do once the battle is over! Trust me the sharp end of a bolt would be more welcome!

Luthaniel Carilliion Many Claw


The Smilers

(Written Kos Lesses - 2001)