Sunday, August 27, 2017

Grim V

    "Today was a good day." Grim rubbed his aching shoulders, sitting around a fire.
    "When will you start teaching me to fight with a sword?" Kruzz raised his tusks. "I can't use a staff with two hands, so I thought a sword would be more natural.
    "Yes and no." Dax threw another log into the crackling fire, sparks flying past the trees of the near forest into the night air,. "A sword would be more natural for your one hand, but you would get too accustomed to a certain style of fighting. You would get set in your ways and wouldn't evolve if it felt too comfortable. It is my intention to prepare you for any situation and make you work for it. I believe challenging you is the right path for you to grow into your potential."
    "What our wordsmith is saying is that you never know when you have to fight and what weapon will be at hand. I've been in battles where I stormed into the fight with an axe and ended up with two swords. It's good to know how to fight with different weapons and especially how to fight against them as well."
    Grim emptied his waterskin, wishing it were ale instead of water. A memory of pain tingled along a scar on his shoulder. Most things could be used as a weapon if the situation called for it. A piece of a shattered clay pot had given him that scar right before he killed the mother wielding it. Right before he turned to her broodlings. He could still smell the smoke in the air, feel the sting of it in his eyes.
    "Grim?" Kruzz tilted his head and looked at him as if he were drunk. "You alright?"
    "Fine. I'm fine. Was just thinking about stuff better forgotten." Grim shook himself, scratching the still tingling scar.
    "You looked like you were far far away. Wait! What was that?" Dax turned and peered into the darkness.
    "I don't hear..."
    "Shh!" Grim quieted Kruzz to listen.
    He did not make a grab for his weapon yet. He only tried to hear what Dax had heard. It was possible that the know-it-all had better instincts when it came to this. He had spent years with the Elves after all.
    The fire crackled as all else was silent. Grim remained as still as Dax, a sharp glance at Kruzz told him to do the same. Another crack shot through the night, but it didn't come from their fire. It must have been a branch off in the woods.
    The three of them had set up their fire a bit further away form the rest of the settlement. Grim and Dax had taken charge of Kruzz's training and they liked to keep to themselves. Now they were on their own and didn't know what was coming their way.
    It could just be an animal or it could be a band of humans. Silently, Grim removed a short blade form his boot, the leather grip was smooth and comfortable in his hand, better than the rough grain of the wooden sword they had been practicing with, which he placed his other hand on. Dax already had his fingers curled around his staff and Kruzz was following suit.
    A rustling of leaves made Grim tense. There could be no mistake. Something was out there. Dax didn't hesitate and slid from the light of  their circle into the dark woods without a sound.
    More snapping of twigs and rustling of leaves meant whoever or whatever it was, was coming closer. Grim turned to have the fire behind him, to not be blinded. There was a shape coming into the gloomy light. It was huge, too big to be a human and definitely not an animal.
    It was an Orc. Grim's muscles relaxed a bit, but he held on to his dagger, just to be safe. It was a really big Orc.
    "Ho!" The Orc said and raised his giant hands. "By my mother's teats! You're Orcs."
    "So we are." Grim grunted. "Who are you? Where are you from?"
    "Name's Brock! Brogdah Clan! This the Turak settlement?"
    "Yes, it is." Dax appeared behind Brock, leaning against a tree.
    "Whoa. Where'd you come from?"
    "Just being cautious. There is a conflagration in the making."
    "Cautious? Conflagration?" Brock seemed to be tasting the words as he made the sounds for them nice and slow.
    "He means he was being safe. There's war afoot." Grim had been spending too much time with Dax. Not too long ago he would have looked just as dumbstruck as Brock.
    "Ah, okay. That's why I'm here actually, my Elder sent me. Gwarr is done with raiding. He wants to gather a horde and show the humans what we Orcs are made of."
    Kruzz leaned forward, brow furrowed. "What happened? Why would he stop raiding?"
    "Humans lead a cavalry charge against us and trampled many grunts to the ground. He's no longer out for revenge on behalf of the Griklog Clan and what happened in the mountains. Now it's more personal."
    "The Brogdah Clan was defeated?"
    "We had to retreat. Gwarr did't like it, but he said it was the best tactical decision. I would have kept on fighting, but Gwarr ordered us back, leaving some of the wounded behind." Brock balled his fists. "Now, I want revenge for my brothers more than ever."
    "But what does it mean for us?" Kruzz asked looking from Grim to Dax. "How will gathering a horde effect us?"
    Dax scratched the back of his head. "Gwarr will send messengers to all the clans and every Elder will have to decide if they will send their grunts to his aid or not. It will be like in the Great War against the Elves. There will no longer be a question of what this conflict with the humans will bring. If our Elder says we must aid him then that's what we'll have to do. Every one of us."
    Grim scowled and put his blade back into his boot. War. He knew it had been coming, but now it was closer than ever. He did not envy Worg's position as Elder, but was glad that it was not his own choice to make.
    He still remembered the screaming and the fear from so long ago. If it were up to him, he would not return to that life, but if he was ordered to go to war. Then so be it.
    At least, that's what he was telling himself.



  1. ""Cautious? Conflagration?" Brock seemed to be tasting the words as he made the sounds for them nice and slow."

    That is such a good line. I know very little about Brock, but this line alone already makes him so three-dimensional, I love it.

    It's interesting that Mr-Tough-Guy Grim doesn't want to go to war. I thought he'd relish the idea of being active instead of thinking and talking. But he seems to be changing a bit. Not enough to actually talk through his issues, as evinced by his "stuff better forgotten" line, but change nonetheless. Which is good - I applaud character growth.

    The chapter also moves the plot along a bit, which is always appreciated.

    1. Whoops. I took this post offline for a bit by accident, but now it's up again. And so is a new one. :)

      Finally, I'm replying to your comment. I've been busy with my novel and other stuff. I should be done with the first draft very soon and could send it to you. It still needs editing, especially the beginning, since I wrote most of it about six years ago and my prose have improved a lot since then.

      I'm glad you liked the way I portrayed Brock, I really liked that line as well. :)

      Grim was very one-dimensional when I started this story and I quickly realized I had to give him more of a backstory and character development, which I think is coming along nicely.

      Talking about plot, I've actually put some more thought into the magical spring and where it came from. This has led to more world-building and more plotlines for the future. I'm excited where this epic story could lead and think I could turn it into a series of several novels after a lot of editing. But for now, I'll continue on in this medium and will focus on other stories that I would like to see published one day. :)