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2017/07/26

When an Orc Loves a Woman - Chapter 8


*Note* - It has been a while since I've posted anything about WaOLaW. I had a good number of chapters written, then I lost them so I grew a bit disheartened because of all the work I lost. But yesterday I got some encouragement from an unlikely place so I thought I might dabble back in. This was a fun chapter to write with some Orcish thrown in.*

            Under normal circumstances, a hand on the shoulder meant ‘brotherhood’ or ‘friendship,’ but in Crag’s heightened state of distress and confusion, his immediate reaction was a blindly swinging punch.  His curled fist connected with the other orc’s forehead, the sound of which echoed across the alleyway.
            Crag was prepared to swing again, but the other orc stepped back with his hands up, implying peace.

            They spoke in orcish.

            “Urh…,” Crag breathed heavily.  “Urh a orc.”  “You…, you are an orc.”

            “Ah!” the other beast replied.  “Ksist numer orcs.  Ay srch fur urh sins orcs lerr dy parking lot.”  “Yes, there are actually many of us.  I’ve been searching for you ever since we heard about the killing in the parking lot.”

            “Dy, loks?”  “The killing, where?”

            The other orc let his hands lower.  “Loks ur peer gdom.  Urh human butch.”  “Where you arrived in this realm.  The human you cleaved in half.”

            “Urh tak?”  “Who told you?”

            “Butch shw news,” the other orc said.  “Humans ches shw fur njo lerr, television, njo the news.  Human frm dy peer.  Nah, axe.”  “It was on the news, the box that humans watch for entertainment and information, the television, plays the news.  The body of the human you killed was found.  The weapon was not.”

            The other orc wore rough fabric, blue lower coverings, pants, Crag remembered.  They had two pockets on either side above the orc’s thighs and two pockets on the backside.  His shirt was a black button up which barely contained the orc’s massive chest.  The other orc wore a wide brimmed black hat which could be easily pulled down to shroud the orc’s face if necessary.

            “What is your name?” Crag asked, lowering his fist.

            “I am Teej of the Metallord Clan.  If I remember right, you are Crag of the Rockshadow clan.”

            “You knew of me?”

            “Yes, your ascension to Chieftain of the Rockshadow Clan was widely told.  Your predecessor taught you well.  You united many of the clans in the great city of Cheeyeeglu.”

            “You said there were many of us.  What do you mean?”

            Teej’s grin would have made the hair stand up on the backs of most human necks.  “Come with me, Chieftain.”

            Teej walked quickly through the small streets behind buildings.  The occasional shrill sounds of polices’ horseless carriages filled the air.  Teej did not flinch.  Crag couldn’t help himself.  He wasn’t afraid, but if the devices gave the small humans the courage to face someone the size of Crag, there was no doubt they held a destructive power.

            Crag spoke to Teej as they walked.  “The ‘polices’... what are the strange, small metal weapons they carry?”

            Teej said, “They call the weapons, ‘guns.’  Guns have the ability to pierce even our strongest metal armor.  A few of us, as newcomers to this realm, have fallen to the power of the gun.  Since then, we try not to draw a lot of attention.  Something you have not yet learned, someone has given you clothes to blend in.  That will work for now, but you will have to learn how to use your mannerisms to get by.”

            Crag grunted.  He wasn’t used to worrying about how much attention he drew.  He was a Chieftain, a proud warrior.  He grunted again.

            The orcs turned down a paved street, farther from the sirens.  The buildings here were further apart, but not by much.  Green grass separated the buildings.  Sometimes short, wooden walls provided shrouding from the closest buildings, but not much else.  Crag predicted he could run through one of these wooden walls, were he attacking one of the buildings.

            “What is this place?” Crag asked.

            “This is what the humans call, ‘the suburbs,’” Teej said.  “This is where most humans live.”

            “These are their dwellings?” Crag scoffed in disbelief.

            “Yes.”

            Crag almost laughed.  “They could barely protect anyone from a Torxanian storm, let alone an invasion.”

            Teej chuckled.  “That is true.  Luckily for them, there are few bands of marauding ogres for them to deal with.”

            “Ugh,” Crag said.  “Always hated those ugly ogre bastards.  Strong as giants, but not a brain among them.”

            Teej stopped, looked at Crag and patted him on the shoulder with a laugh.  “Come Chieftain, we’re almost to our home.”

            The home Teej spoke of was green and slatted in a smooth material Crag didn’t recognize.  There were three stone steps which led to a stone platform stretching an orc-length in each direction from the door.  Actually, there were two doors, one was glass, one was wooden.  Teej pulled a small key from his pocket.  He opened the glass door and stuck the key into one, then two locks to open the door.

            Five other orcs sat in the first room they entered.  All were dressed in some version of the human clothes Teej wore.  As they entered, the other orcs grunted with dismay of the new arrival.

            “Nutha orc,” one grunted.  “Ay beco xhaust wit da wizard sportin orcs hur.  Beco fol.” “Another orc? I’m getting tired of the wizard sending orcs here. It’s getting crowded.”

            Teej snapped at the orc.  “Dis urh Chieftain!  Crag uff Rockshadowclan.” “This is your Chieftain!  Crag of the Rockshadow clan.”

            All of the orcs stood.  They examined Crag.  The one who spoke stepped forward and moved the hood from Crag’s head.  He grunted in surprise and immediately knelt to Crag.  “Plogees, Chieftain!  Ay no sual urh.”  “Sorry, Chieftain!  I did not recognize you.”

            The other orcs knelt to Crag.  Crag was used to the respect, but he didn’t feel he deserved it.  “Uhp!  Ay no ffrence den urh.  Da wizard sportin ay hur.  Ay no urh perior.  Ay urh qual.”  “Rise!  I am not different from you.  The wizard sent me here.  I am not your better.  I am your equal.”

            The orcs stood and one by one, they hand-clasped and embraced Crag.  They introduced themselves to Crag.

            O’osa of the Yellowhand clan.  He was the darkest brown of all the orcs and held the deepest voice.

            Chon of the Slingshot clan.  He was the thinnest of the orcs.  His voice was almost human as were his bodily dimensions.

            Azzta of the Bloodwater clan.  His skin had a reddish tint to it.  Also, his left tusk was broken off.

            K'lin of the Rockshadow clan.  Crag actually remembered K’lin from Cheeyeeglu.  There were so many orcs there, but K’lin was one of Crag’s higher ranking warriors.  He was covered in battle scars, latticed over his arms and, as Crag remembered, his chest as well.

            Ma'ant of the Boulderthrow clan.  He was the largest of the orcs by a full head.  He nearly had to stoop standing in the main room.  His hair hung down to his waist.

            Crag grunted in approval.  He said, “Ay gony urh hur.  Tu, ay apy urh hur.  Numer orcs hur, ay no meself.”  “I am in pain that you’re here.  Also, I am happy you’re here.  With so many orcs here, I am not alone.”

            The ceiling creaked.  Then the stairs followed suit.  Heavy steps started down them.  In Common, an older, deeper, orcish voice said, “Have we found another orc?  I hear a new voice.”

            The new... old orc wore a purple robe and no boots to cover his wrinkled brown feet.  Age emaciated him, but his elderly body still held more power than a human could have ever handled.  His hair was long and grey, past his shoulders.  His irises were a faded red, but the sockets framed the eyes without a hint of lost intellect that sometimes struck older orcs.  His nose was broad.  His lips and chin sported vertical folds from tusk to tusk.

            Crag recognized him almost immediately.  It was a face burned into his memory from his puphood.  It was a face he would never forget for as long as he lived, even shrouded with age.

            His father, Goor, former chieftain of the Rockshadow clan.

I am looking for a few Alpha Readers. These folks will read WaOLaW as I write the chapters to offer their feedback, to ask questions about the characters, and to generally offer words of encouragement. Nothing too extensive.
If you are interested, email azrieljohnson@live.com with subject line: "When an Orc Loves a Woman - Alpha Reader" and we'll work things out.

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