Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Grim

Grim awoke with a start. His head was pounding. He shouldn't have had so much ale the night before. As always, he had probably overslept. He'd be late, getting to the mines.
     The pounding in his head was still bad, but it didn't explain the shouting coming from outside his tent. It wasn't just shouting, there were screams and the ring of metal on metal. The sounds of battle.
     As soon as his brain processed the information, Grim jumped up and out of his tent, wearing nothing but a loincloth. His muddled mind cleared as he viewed the scene of carnage. humans were attacking the females and the broodlings. He had to do something.
     Grim had forgotten his battle axe in his tent, but that didn't mean he was less of a threat. The grayish green skin of his arms was thick and taut with muscles. Orcs were strong beings, even as little broods, but working in the mines, chipping away at the hard mountain stone, had made Grim even stronger than most.
He saw a human on a horse, raising a bloody sword to strike down a broodling. Grim would hesitate no longer. He ran off in a sprint and dove at the human, knocking him from his horse, to the ground. The human looked dazed from the fall and was surely in pain, with Grim's weight pressing down on him.
     Grim grabbed the fallen sword and turned to the broodling who had grabbed a spear. The brave little fellow wanted to fight, but with the other grown grunts at the mines there was little hope. "Run. Gather as many as you can and run to the mines. I'll distract the humans."
     The brood looked at him defiantly, he really wanted to fight. Grim gave him a stern look and then the little one gave up and nodded that he would obey. The brood gave a shout of alarm as a human came running towards Grim yelling something or other about a Captain Bron.
     Grim got off the human, who had passed out, and strode towards the one coming at him. A brutal slash with his sword almost cut the human in half. Now Grim had two swords.
     The broodling was still watching him with awe. "Go, dammit! Run and save the others." The broodling nodded and ran off.
     More humans came running at him. Grim roared in fury and cut them down. Striking with the sword in his left hand and then the one in his right. One of the soldiers managed to slash his arm. The pain only made him angrier. He buried one of the swords in the man's skull.
     Another soldier came at him with a spear. He was careful and poked at Grim from a distance, always jumping back when Grim tried to engage. The fight ended with Grim taking a spear wound to the leg and the soldier taking Grim's sword to the chest.
     Weaponless Grim searched for his next foe. The rage of battle was upon him and even though the wound in his leg gave him a slight limp, he was itching for another human to kill.
     He saw a trail of females running from the settlement with their broodlings in tow. He ran towards the edge of the settlement to block the path of any humans who might try to follow.
     The sights he saw made his blood boil. Tents and huts afire. Dead females who had tried to protect their young. Dead broodlings, barely thirteen summers old, who thought they could fight like berserkers. Dead Orcs all around.
     Five humans were following the females. Grim had to stop them. He grabbed an axe from a dead broodling's fingers and attacked. He hacked off one soldier's sword hand, who fell to his knees screaming. He knocked another aside with his free hand, before the human could strike. The third soldier slashed at his chest. Red blood ran down Grim's stomach. He roared in pain. Anger reaching new heights within him.
     Grim hauled his big axe and felled two men with one stroke. The axe remained in one of the bodies as they fell away. The soldier he had knocked aside lay on the ground, but he raised his sword and slashed Grim's thigh, before Grim's large fist knocked him out.
Two wounds to the same leg made his limp a lot worse. He grimaced in pain as he faced the last human. The man only had a dagger, probably having lost his sword during the fighting. He circled Grim cautiously. Anticipating an attack, Grim waited and quickly grabbed the human's arm when it came.
Grim tried to twist the blade aside, but it still cut a deep gash in the skin of his ribcage. He still had ahold of the man's arm though and he pulled him close so that he could bite into his neck. It tasted horrible, but Grim's large tusks left a grievous wound behind. The soldier collapsed, trying to scream, but only gurgling his blood.
The females and broodlings had made it far enough. Grim was panting from exhaustion and blood loss. He wouldn't be able to fight much longer. He had done what was necessary to give the others a chance to escape. That's all that mattered.
Another human on a horse rode around a burning hut and spotted him. Grim didn't know if there was much he could do. The man had a spear and was riding straight at him. Grim couldn't fight any longer, but his warrior instincts still reacted to threats. As the spear thrust came, Grim dodged and grabbed the rider, throwing him off his horse.
Grim didn't much like the beasts, but he would be faster riding it than he would be limping after the others on his bad leg. With the last of his strength he straddled the horse and rode off. Leaving the burning settlement behind.

10 comments:

  1. So orcs and humans speak the same language?

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    1. Good observation. :)
      I haven't put too much thought into the Orc language yet. They definitely have their own, but they (or at least most) can understand and speak to humans. However, very few humans understand or speak the Orc language.
      I'll keep this in mind and will try to bring forth more differences in language and customs between the two factions as the story progresses.

      Congrats! Your comment was the very first on my blog. ;)

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    2. How would you know? They haven't talked to each other yet.... I thought from the terms and concepts Grim thought in that they must be quite different.
      Plus, everyone knows that Orcs have a grunt-y kind of language that is very hard for humans to grasp, duh!! Seriously....

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  2. I had written a whole thing, but the site ate it and has not spit it back out again... Sigh. At any rate:

    I like the action, it gives you a good reason to keep reading even though you don't know the characters much yet. I suppose the pace will have to slow down eventually, but for a start, it's a good choice.

    Beeker's comment about language is good, and I'd go into a little more detail. While the language is the same, there are different nuances (Orcs calling their children broods, for instance) - why limit them to the lexicon? I would suggest making them distinct in more ways, much like the elves in the Lord of the Rings seem to be more "flowerly" in their expressions than humans.

    There's some character depth there, obviously only surface-deep for now, but it's early yet. I like that Grim and Bron are clearly different characters, but at the same time I can "sense" a capacity for mutual understanding (and perhaps some kind of grudging respect for one another down the line, always assuming they live that long).

    Good choice to make the Orcs less monstrous, but don't overuse the "I protect innocent children" trope too much - it gets tiresome. Find new ways to show that Orcs have very human-like traits, it'll help readers empathize. Also, don't make the humans simply evil (you haven't, but if the "monsters" are the good guys, the temptation might be there). Loads of shades of grey are much better than a black-and-white distinction between good guys and bad guys.

    My main point of criticism is this: Don't let the plot dictate character actions. For instance: If the Orcs are as intelligent as it seems, why on earth would they have a camp near a mine (which is an important source of revenue, wealth and security for anyone) and not fortify it in any way? No guards, no walls, nothing? It appears to me that your need for an attack on the camp and the opportunity to show Orcs as capable of being good and noble (both of which are plot-driven) overrode the necessity for having characters behave in a logical manner (the inherently character-driven decision would have been to fortify or leave guards, or something of the sort). This is a trap 24 often falls into - don't follow their lead.

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    1. I agree with Tom on the action/pace bit and I think the first two chapters already work with lots of grayishness (yeah, I know it's not a word), which I like very much since I never cared much for stereotypical "good guys/bad guys".

      I completely disagree on the main point of criticism tho. I think it would be an easy option to apply human reasoning or human standards to a race so completely different. Actually, I'm even gonna go further and call it "western" reasoning and standards.
      In my head it made perfect sense that the camp was unguarded; maybe they are the predominant species in these parts and don't usually get attacked, maybe they have a completely different kind of logic (or none at all).
      We don't know anything about this universe yet and I think the challenge for the author will be to create it in a way that is more complex than "humans good, orcs bad, oh and there's a princess too".
      That doesn't necessarily mean it has to be very different from fantasy worlds we already know nor that it has to follow the common concepts of humans or orcs.
      I'm hoping for engaging characters mostly. I'm not so much on the "epic battle" side of life, but if the characters are intriguing I will read anything ;)

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  3. It's true, I may be expecting to see something already which simply hasn't been explored yet. But I do want to see some context. Maybe my thinking is very western in this regard, but as this is where I grew up and live... Well, you get the picture :)

    Thing is, we don't know how different Orc culture is in this particular story, but I expected them to act in a certain way because they mine ores and minerals. May have been a leap on my part, but I'd wager that most readers are more like me in this regard (read: simpler ;) ).

    "maybe they are the predominant species in these parts and don't usually get attacked, maybe they have a completely different kind of logic (or none at all)." This, ultimately, is true, which is why I need to be more patient. But I do want those maybes to become a bit more concrete. Which is maybe the way I should have phrased it in the first place :)

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  4. "But I do want those maybes to become a bit more concrete." Me too!!!! :D
    Write, Kai, write faster!

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  5. This is exactly why I decided to make this blog. I want you guys to throw out ideas of your own and to criticize or wonder about why things are the way they are. That gives me the opportunity to react and add more context to the story.

    Whenever I write stuff, all kinds of things go through my head. Some things evolve and are included in the writing, some things are forgotten and lie abandoned on the side of the road. You are like my little helpers who collect the abandoned ideas and add some of your own. :P

    With the help of your comments more of the knowledge you seek will find its way into the posts that are soon to come. ;)

    Thanks guys!

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  6. When you say "little helpers", do you mean minions? Please say yes.
    Also your blog asks me to prove that I'm not a robot. I find that offensive.
    On behalf of robots everywhere, I'm outraged.

    I think I'm having too much fun with your blog :D :D

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    1. Let be known from now on that all my blog-commenters shall be called my minions! I like the sound of that. :)

      Can't do anything about the robots being offended. Must be a google/blogspot thing. Don't know why they are so robocist (robot+racist :P ).

      Anyway. Have as much fun as you like. The more my minions post the more attention the blog will get. That's what I'm hoping for at least. :)

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