Unbeknownst to the Celn wayfarers and the elite command that decided to found fort Akra, a small yet brutal and vicious tribe of orcs and orc kind inhabited the caves and tunnels that fissured their way along and inside the hills that wound through the Akran valley. The tribe was known as the Bol-Vur, and although they did not live below the fort of Akra permanently, their god did. At certain times and in certain seasons, the orcs thus lived in the caves, doing as their Lord bid them. To appease their god, they mined and searched for what he asked them to find.
And all toiled in that labor, or made others toil at the end of a whip. And none intended for that to change. for what the Orc Father wanted, the Orc Father would have. And it was a dirt-ridden existence’s purpose to give it to Him. To bring him that which he desired.
In the tribe, there was one among them who however did wish for a change. And in fact, he was in wait of an opportunity. He was much more than a slave, although the sting of the whip and the blunting of the club felt the same. He had been a victim of a Celn ambush, and for whatever reason, instead of being thrown over a cliff, he had been taken to work in the Celn blackrock mines outside of Lessina. He had come to understand their language, their culture. In what could only be described as irony, as a slave, he learned of the kindness of the humans in Celn lands. But his luck would one day run out, as a new order by the established clergy in Lessina declared slaves an embarrassment to the Realm’s order. And thus was he released.
And thus was he captured by the Bol-vur, who could no longer recognize his Orc-speech as their own, his scent that of theirs. And most importantly, his kindnesses as Orc-kind.
He had plotted and planned for it to happen, but a slave in the orc pits of the Bol-vur does not have much hope of escape. His name was never uttered by his masters, for he was a slave and orc slaves were only given commands. He however was known to himself as Revack and he would have known nothing more than that as well. For Revack means revenge, to him and when he was able to utter it for the first time, killing the first of his many foes, they would know that HE was revenge.
He never understood why he took the orc-child under his wings. But he did. Side by side, he helped him to mine, helped him to avoid the whip. Side by side at night, he taught the boy secretly the ways of the Celns, their words, their “kindnesses”. He considered him kin, the only kin he would ever have. And then one day when the orc father declared Revack’s own kin to be the Bol-vist. the new Orc Father to be, he knew he must abandon hope. To any other this would have been a great gift, but to Revack, it was not. How could he watch all that he had taught the boy disappear in the Ceremony of Darkness? How could he watch the boy become the will of slavers, incarnate? To Revack, it was a death sentence for the boy, even as it would give him years beyond what any orc could hope for. It was a death sentence to him as well, and so with hope lost, he resigned himself to dig, to dig, to dig. Nothing more. Nothing less. In that time, he welcomed the whip.
But then, the offering was brought to the Orc Father. And he, Revack, was chosen to guard them.
The orcs threw Theros into the cage, where he fell upon Ares and Gerrell. He would have winced, but he had stopped wincing, moaning or screaming after the last of the beatings. He, like he imagined the others did too, had told the Orc priests everything they wanted to know. He didn’t know how much they would understand, only one among them understood the common tongue, and he wasn’t very good at speaking it. He also didn’t know what they would do with the information, or who would care how many soldiers Akra held when it wasn’t full of ravens cleaning the skeletons of these soldiers’ bones. But somehow it seemed important to this small band of orcs. It didn’t matter. He was broken. And broken things have a way of giving up what they keep in the inside.
He looked around and saw written upon his now comrades faces, resolution. Resignation perhaps. Outside the cage, highlighted by shadows from the bars, came the bright orange glow of the ceremony. They were not the only sacrifices. But they were most likely the best, and for that, they would be the last to feed the dreaded Orc Father. At least that was what he understood while being beaten. That was what he imagined the screams were telling him, when another victim was removed from the cages and taken into the orange glow. Again and again.
When Camouflage had been taken, the others navigated their way up the shoreline, over the ghastly debris. In the dark, they tripped and fell over the skeletal remains of whatever the roc hadn’t found alive, or perhaps whatever the river had washed there over the endless time the river had flowed past. They had found tunnels, twisting and turning, and then had found a mine. When the mines dead ended every time in the direction they had hoped for, they decided to try a new direction. They were hungry, starved in fact, and had lost most of their equipment to the river. Time was their enemy now.
Before long though they came across an orc encampment. Gear, food, everything they would need. Like thieves in the night, they crept among the sleeping orcs, and never noticed the watcher.
They fought for their lives, but they were overpowered, and captured. Trussed up, and brought to the place of the Orc Father, the place of ritual and ceremony. Everything that could be taken from them by the orcs was. Even what they knew. And now, their god would take what remained. Their light. Theros knew not why they would want his. The flame wanted it not anymore.
To feed the god with their very essence, was their last chore. The last chore they would ever need to do. Then, thought Theros, they could rest.
‘They’re coming!” screeched Gerrell to the others. He had been able to loosen his gag, being so little, so that he could form a few words. ‘They’re coming for us next I think,” he whispered.
Ares was about to ask Gerrell what in the light he’d like him to do about any of it. He had been tied up to the point he wasn’t able to wiggle, move and even breathing was difficult. The orcs had found him an interesting victim, and hadn’t quite known what to do with his arms and legs and his many joints.
“Dave,” called the voice. “Dave, I am here with you. Do not be afraid.”
Great you son an orc-mother, thought Ares. Just great. I am here with you too, and as soon as I get out of here, I’m going to throw you over a freaking cliff!
He tried to turn towards the orange glow. He wanted a chance to bite or scratch or spit at his enemy one last time. But instead of an orange glow, he saw a black sillhouette, outlined in orange. It drifted closer, oblong, and then he realized it was a head and shoulders. Strange things were sticking outwards from all directions as though it had spikes. Maybe it’s the Orc Father himself, come for me, thought Ares.
And then he heard the voice.
“You rat dropping mass full of maggots and corn kernels!”
“Camouflage!” he nearly yelled. “How in the…”
“We ain’t got time for that you pre-pubescent bag of excuses. Why haven’t you made your way out of this here perdickament yet, son?”
“I…I…,” stammered Ares. “I don’t exactly have a weapon or a way out, Camouflage!” The black outline grew closer and suddenly the cavern light revealed the face of Camouflage indeed. He was still covered in blood, hi eyes blazed anger, his mouth snarled, and all around him, stuck to his skin by grizzle and gore were feathers. Huge feathers.
“What the Ketian night do you call that resting next to your leg, son? Are those eyes you have in your head or have I mistaken your asshole and vaginal opening for the front of your face?!”
Ares looked down and there indeed lay the cursed sword. “Dave. You didn’t think I’d leave you in your greatest time of need, did you Dave?”