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Author Topic: The tale of F'ash  (Read 10826 times)
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Alysse the Likely
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« on: 11 May 2004, 21:12:00 »

Attend now, and hear the tale of the man they call F'ash, the Crazy Man, the Kuglimz Bard who lived among the Losh-Oc.  Not only did he reside with them for a time, and learn their language, but he survived...and escaped.

The tale of F'ash

Chapter One

Heir’gor plucked the lute strings again.  There, that was a sour note.  Carefully he adjusted the string tension to the right pitch. The herd of Tirpans a short distance away twitched their ears, but they were used to the young Trk’matiu bard and did not object to his music.  

Vir’tiert, he thought, remembering the smile that sparkled in the big dark eyes and the golden voice that had caught his interest. Heir’gor was famed for his own spectacular vocal range, which spanned nearly four octaves, but Vir’tiert’s contralto was one of the loveliest, clearest female voices he had ever heard, and she was the subject of his current musical project.

The Bard chewed his fingernails. She’s unique; I’ll use a minor and set it for baritone range, he decided.  Intent upon his work, he did not notice when evening began to creep across the Oros.  He did notice when he heard the Tirpans neighing and the thudding of their pounding feet, getting closer and closer. Heir’gor sprang up and saw the Tirpans charging down upon him.

The frightened Bard clambered frantically to the top of a high rock.  From there he watched the Tirpans stampeding past in amazement.  The wild horses were normally calm, placid animals.  What could have frightened them so?

And then he saw, and terror gripped him.  The Losh-Oc were hunting.

Heir’gor tried to flee, but one hunter saw him, pursued him and threw its hunting spear.  It glanced off the Bard’s thigh, but was enough to make him stumble and fall.  The Oc was upon him.  Its fist descended onto his skull and the Bard knew no more.

*                *                *

Heir’gor awoke to a terrible pain in his head and a horrible noise, which sounded like a cross between a growl and a hacking cough.  He opened his eyes cautiously and nearly passed out again from the shock.  He was in a small dark space and there were three young Losh-Oc sitting near him, watching him with avid interest.  A larger one hulked nearby, benignly watching the youngsters, who were talking to each other in the horrific sounds the Bard had heard.  One noticed his movement and lunged forward.  Heir’gor recoiled and instinctively lashed out with his feet, knocking the young orc aside.  He blacked out for afew seconds from the stabbing pain in his head, which was not improved when the other orcs started to make dreadful screeching sounds.   Suddenly the Bard realized--they were laughing.

‘Well,’ the Bard thought, with the one rational corner of his mind that was not gibbering with absolute terror, ‘If I can amuse them, they may not kill me.  The Losh Oc only eat enemies who they admire for strength or viciousness, not someone who is funny but harmless, weak but interesting.’  Carefully, trying not to jar his head again, he sat up. As the small orcs turned towards him, Heir’gor uttered a hasty prayer to Lier’tyan and began to sing.

If he were not so desperately frightened, he could have laughed at the shock that was evident on their faces.   They stopped short and watched him with complete fascination.  The Bard sang for his life, first the dramatic “Theme of Arkan Delath”, but then changed to softer, more soothing songs.  The young orcs crept closer and gazed up at him with big eyed-wonder.  The adult watched with a horrendous grimace on its face.  No, not its, for the Bard suddenly realized the orc was a female.  And the grimace was an orcish smile.

When Heir’gor stopped singing, the three little orcs were sleeping.  The adult grimaced again, struck her chest, and made a harsh coughing noise.  Heir’gor watched her apprehensively but she simply repeated the sound.  Then he realized she was trying to tell him something.  He mimicked the noise—to his ears it sounded like “Krou-ghh-chah”— with an indescribable throat-clearing noise in the middle -- and was rewarded with a repeat of the smile.  Then she pointed at him. The Bard touched his chest and said, “Heir’gor”.  

“Hrrgorr!”  Kroch’cha repeated.  And thus began one of the strangest foreign language lessons in all of Caelereth.

Chapter 2

(2 weeks later)
Crash!
Heir'gor came instantly awake. The orc children were, as usual, up at an unearthly hour and ruckusing about. In some ways, they're very like human children, he thought. As a Bard, he had few illusions about "innocent children", having observed them behaving just like adults, only without the disguise of manners and social rules.

By now he had learned the orclings' names.  Though they had been born in a litter, orcs placed a great deal of importance on the birth order of their babies. The firstborn was H'rok, then there was Ph'ragh, and the last was M'ruk. The names translated loosely as Horse, Stone, and Fangs, he thought. He had figured out that young orcs had short names which would be added to as they grew older, with descriptive adjectives that suited. Kroch-cha translated to something like Good Female, due to the fact that she had had three male children, all of which had survived, and so enjoyed an unusually high status for a female orc.

He watched the little orcs playing. A loud grunt came from Kroch-cha, and Heir'gor decided to get in her good graces and take the children out so she could sleep. Maybe he could teach them some games that didn't involve jumping on him. ( Orc children had very physical games: Hunt the Tirpan, Kill the Enemy (any other race), and so on.)

He didn't know much Kh'omchr'om yet, but one could convey a lot with gestures. He rose and waved to the little orcs, indicating they should follow him. Mostly out of curiosity, they did.

Heir'gor decided to teach them an old Kuglimz children’s game called "Duck!" He found a ball (an inflated animal bladder) and beckoned to the little orcs. He indicated to them to stand some distance apart and then mimed throwing the ball back and forth, trying to hit the one in the middle.

“Throw the ball.”
“Barrrll?”
“Yes, ball. Throw!” Heir’gor tossed the ball at M'ruk, in the center. He dodged instinctively and turned on the Bard with a snarl. Hastily the Bard explained,
“Kroch, kroch!(Good, good!) That’s what you’re supposed to do.” He approximated an orcish smile by spreading back his lips to show all his teeth. The orcling was somewhat puzzled by this response, for he was expecting Heir’gor to cower in terror, but waited to see what would happen. Heir’gor tossed the ball to the other two. They quickly got the idea and started to play. Heir’gor sidled backwards toward the outskirts of the orc settlement, carefully skirting the orc cattle herders and their animals. He pretended to watch the animals for a moment. The massive beasts were, to him,surprisingly well cared for. He edged a little further past the fence. Maybe he could escape…

“H’mmrt!” (Oh no you don’t, or, lit. ‘You won’t!’) The sentry knocked Heir’gor to the ground, then leaned over, took hold of the Bard’s right foot, and squeezed. Heir’gor cried out as his bones cracked.

He crawled back to the cave, the little orcs following curiously. Kroch’cha took one look, picked him up bodily and carried him to the back room. Grumbling to herself in incomprehensible gutterals, she crushed some Alth’mon leaves together with animal fat and smeared the resulting paste onto his foot. This hurt so badly Heir’gor nearly bit through his lip from the pain, but then the numbing took over and he relaxed. Kroch’cha gave him a tea made from the same leaves to drink.

She took care of him in a rough but not unkind way for the next few days, and Heir’gor learned more about orcen healing methods than he had ever wanted to know. Kroch-cha did not bother to set the bones and the Bard knew he would have a permanent limp. But he was grateful enough just to be alive.

* * *
(7 weeks later)
Heir’gor huddled in a corner, hoping to escape notice. The orcs were celebrating again. He knew that meant bad news, and possibly more captives. His stomach twisted with nausea. He remembered the screams from three nights ago, when they’d caught the Ashmari hunter and given him to the young orcs for their amusement. He didn’t think he could stand it again. Not, he thought bitterly, that I have a choice. At least his music had saved him from a similar fate.

It had been 10 weeks. He had nearly been killed several times, and only his flexibility had prevented him from having broken limbs when one of the little orcs jumped at or on him. Though Kroch’cha had rescued him once or twice, generally she tended to watch her children maul him with what Heir’gor now recognized as an indulgent smile. Heir’gor was missing the top part of one ear. He had tooth and claw marks all over his body. He limped from the broken, and badly set bones in his foot. He was thin and filthy, unrecognizable as the handsome young bard Vir’tiert had smiled at.

He had learned enough of the orc tongue that he could follow some of what they were saying. It seemed that they had encountered a party of the Di’ory’el elves and had brought some of the remains back with them. It didn’t sound like any of those remains were still alive. He cautiously crept off to where the little orcs were fighting over a leg bone in the back of the cave.

“H’rimt na p’tyr!” (Stop that!) he growled at them, trying to get the gutturals right.

“K’mrrt!” Ph'ragh responded, which Heir’gor recognized as the orcish equivalent of “Shan’t!”. He sighed—this was their standard response to both him and Kroch-cha—and tried for a different approach.

“B’korraa?” he said invitingly. “ ‘Z’rovkya H’rok’ ?” (Music? ‘The Bearded Horse’?)

They dropped the leg bone and scampered towards him. They loved that particular song, which Kroch-cha had taught Heir’gor, and which he had loosely translated and set to his own language, since he could not sing in Kh’om’ch’rom without getting a very sore throat. He sang softly, with dramatic gestures, which the young orcs mimicked enthusiastically.

“The Bearded Horse!
It is strong, brave and fearless!
The Bearded Horse!
It has no equal!
The Losh Oc are like the Bearded Horse
They are strong, brave and fearless!
They have no equal!”

After he had repeated the song about six times, Kroch-cha intervened and dragged her screeching children off to bed, cuffing them about the ears as they squealed, “K’mrrt! K’mrrrrrrrrt! B’korraa rught!” (I won't! I woooonnn't! More music!)

Heir’gor slunk quietly back to the main cavern where the adult males were celebrating with a revolting drink called something like Yrr’la’h’rok, made from fermented Tirpan milk, crushed Alth’mon leaves and other mysterious substances he did not want to think about. He did not want to go there, but he was starving, and he could usually get some of the Kragghi bean stew at the hearth. At least he knew what was in that. He would not touch any meat prepared by the orcs, for, as he said to himself, “It’s not what you might be eating so much as who.” Although the orcs normally did not eat human meat, Heir'gor did not want to take any chances. Giving the celebrating orcs a wide berth, he helped himself to the beans.

Suddenly Heir’gor was struck by the realization that there was no-one tending the food. All the orc warriors were eating and drinking across the room and paying no attention to him. He glanced around quickly, then, heart pounding, reached for the shelf containing the herbs the orcs used for flavoring. His hand closed over a package of Alth’mon leaves.

*        *        *


Back in his corner, the Bard shuddered all over with reaction. He was nauseated with fear, but he was desperate. Hopefully they won’t notice the taste, he thought. Not only had he emptied the container of Alth’mon leaves into the stew, he had added some additional Kragghi sap to disguise the taste. The orcs liked their food spicy. Heir’gor was not sure how drastically the Alth’mon leaves would affect the orcs, but he knew healers used them to numb bodies. He reasoned that an overdose of that amount would at least make the orcs very ill, particularly when combined with the fermented drink they enjoyed.

He waited for what seemed like a long time. Finally, when there was no more noise coming from the main area but loud orcish snores, he crept out, past the females’ quarters and out a side entrance. He headed towards the latrines so as to have an excuse if he was caught. But his luck held and no-one saw him step from behind the latrine trenches into the Oro forest. The Bard looked up at the night sky. Oh Lier’tyan, Sur’tyan, protect your faithful child! He turned towards the south, and then his nerve broke, and he began to run.

Heir’gor did not stop running until he staggered past a small dell carpeted with Poeritt vines. Their aromatic scent was heavy in the air. The Bard stared at them for a few moments and then a tiny smile spread over his face. He moved carefully into the little valley, picking berries and crushing them between his hands, then rubbing them over his body. Then he continued southwards. When he was too exhausted to go on, he curled up under some bushes and fell asleep.

Something shoved him, roughly. Heir’gor jolted into awareness, terror surging through him and holding him immobile. He stared up into the long face of a small Tirpan, its large eyes wide and curious. It nudged him again, then lipped his shirt hopefully. Obviously, it had been attracted by the scent of the crushed berries he had rubbed over himself. Very, very carefully, Heir’gor sat up. He reached out a hand to the horse, gently touching its muzzle and neck. The Tirpan stepped back, but seemed unafraid. He wondered where the herd was, and then he realized that the little horse was an outcast. She, for the horse was a mare, was nor’sidian black from tufted ears to feathered hooves.

“Here, now,” the Bard said softly. “Come to me, my beauty. Come to me.” Turning his head to the side so as not to seem too aggressive, he rose slowly to his feet, murmuring softly. Cautiously, he approached her from the side. She turned to face him and Heir'gor froze, recognizing the wariness of that action. He looked away from her and made a soft nickering sound. She watched him for a moment then turned sideways to him, which indicated that she had decided he was not something to fear. The Bard stepped towards her, carefully moving alongside her body and then gently leaned against her. She responded naturally by leaning into him. Heir’gor silently gave thanks that the Tirpans were normally gentle placid animals. Perhaps, just perhaps, he could escape by horseback. He knew the orcs would be after him, simply from sheer outrage at his daring to escape. And he knew they would not allow him to live this time. He only hoped that he had slowed them down enough by poisoning their food.

On horseback, he would have a chance to escape. Tirpans were not particularly fast, but they could outrun wargs through sheer stamina, with enough of a head start. Carefully the Bard slid his leg up and over the little mare’s back. She jumped and snorted, then gave a little buck, but Heir’gor was on her back. She shuddered her coat as if flies were bothering her, then settled down, turned her head around and nipped at his leg. But the Bard was ready for that trick and moved his leg so quickly that the little mare's teeth grazed her own ribs. She awarded him what could only be described as a dirty look. Heir’gor smiled, leaned forwards and pressed his heels into her sides. He was a Kuglim—he could ride anything! “I’ll call you Beina’gor, (dark sister)’ he told the tufted ears. They flicked backwards as if to acknowledge his words and for the first time in nearly a season, Heir’gor laughed aloud

They headed east, towards the sea. Heir’gor did not want to even try to get back to his own tribe through the Oros, not with orcs on his trail. Nor did he want to fight his way through the Tandalas. The further away he got, the less likely it was that he would be recaptured. If he could get to the coast, he might be able to get passage on a trade ship. And with Beina’gor, he would not need to worry about finding water. Now that it was late summer, there would be food available as well. Finally, Heir’gor began to feel a tiny flickering of hope.

Edited by: Artimidor Federkiel at: 8/12/04 21:06
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Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #1 on: 11 May 2004, 23:56:00 »

A nice, interesting beginning, Alysse!

There are however a few problems.

- I would assume, that the orc kills him immediately, but he may be an exception, a paragraph or two about the thoughts of the orc not killing him, eventually later in the story, would help.

You are in the mountains of Oro, and I assume your bard is of an Kuglimz tribe (his song to Lier‘tan). However, in the mountains of Oro, or at least nearby, live only the Ash‘mari, and I don‘t think a Kuglimz bard would go there voluntarily not have the chance to do so, even if he wanted to.

Maybe you ask Drogo, where to place your story.

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« Reply #2 on: 12 May 2004, 09:13:00 »

I have to agree with Talia that it does indeed look promising and I can't wait to see where it will go.  I especially like the line, "And thus began one of the strangest foreign language lessons in all of Caelereth."

Besides, it is neat to have someone interested enough in something you have created to write a story about it :D
 

Just a few things though.  There is actually a lot of words already in use for the Kuglimz language and it is even set up with certain grammatical rules.  (That was a project I meant to finish up soon anyway)  When I get home tonight I will post up what I have under the language forum.  For example Ash'tiert actually translates into "yellow rabid" which sounds kinda like a disease ;)  


The Mel'vor tribe of the Kuglimz'ura (Plain Tribes) which is located in the far East of the Celeste Lowlands and the only tribe that has lands that actually border the Mountains of Oro, take a look at the Map Section of the Northern Sarvonia Section.  If you want to keep him of the Trk'Matiu Kuglim then perhaps he is just travelling the area or something of the like?

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Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #3 on: 12 May 2004, 19:45:00 »

Wait a minute.  Doesn't "Ash"  mean wolf?  I went through the Kuglimz entries pretty thoroughly and made a list of all the Kuglimz terms I found.  I meant for her name to be Golden Wolf.  "Mari" is the word that means rabid or crazy, isn't it?  Thus Heir'gor (Swift River)  takes on the nickname Fa'mari (Crazy Man)  after he escapes from the orcs.

I can send you the list I made if you like so you can correct it for me.  There were some things that seemed to have multiple meanings.

Later,

Alysse the Likely

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« Reply #4 on: 13 May 2004, 09:24:00 »

I would love if you sent it to me, I may have easily created more then one word for the same thing.  I'll take a look at it, and if you can possibly reference where you found it that would be perfect!  Thanks, I'll have to make sure that everything is more cohesive there.

**Just a quick note:  Mari is the term for Wolf based on the Mari entry in the beastiary section.  It is the most prominent wolf in Northern Sarvonia, Ash'mari (lit. is rabid wolf, though the usual noun adjective formation is skewed.  This is due to the corruption of the language by Santharians.)

Dirg'mystrume of the Helvet'ine Kuglim.  
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Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #5 on: 13 May 2004, 22:28:00 »

As promised, the list I made up.

KUGLIMZ LANGUAGE
       
‘        Separates phonemes of meaning
alth        Grass / plant
ash        Wolf
bei        Three
cone        Last
del        Summer
dirg        Leader / chieftain
fa        Man / male
fal        Tribe / clan ?
fei        Ring (n)
fird        Pick-ax
firot        To leave
*flejs        Meat / flesh
*fyr        Flame / fire
gor        Swift
gorp        Ocean
heir        River
ho        Animal / beast
jyrl        Horn
karvz        Tents
kuglim        Tribe
lier        Mother
lu        City
mari        Rabid / crazy
matiu        To be lost / to be abandoned
miev        White / pure
migaro        To return / come back
mur        Range of hills / foothills
mystrume        Battle / war / conflict
na        Sister
nul        Coat / pelt / fur
oriot        Light (n)
otorm        Snake
put        Blood
rarik        Season / time of year
rik        Flower
rou        Person
rouk        People (plural of person, “rou” )
sur        Father
taug        Feast
tiert        Yellow, golden colour
tog        Great / mighty
torik        Home
tum        To walk
turg        Rock
tyan        All / everything
ura        Nomad, nomadic ?
urg        Winter
vir        One / person / individual
wuk        Globe / sphere
yale         To burn
z        Added to end of noun makes a plural
zei        Camp (n)
       
* word that I made up since I needed those terms for my Tirpan Horse entry and couldn’t find them
       
I got most of this information from painstakingly picking through the Races and Tribes Forum, under the Northern Sarvonia Humans section, in the Kuglimz tribes.  In the Ash’mari section, Ash’mystrume is translated as “battle wolf”—that’s why I thought Ash meant “wolf”.  I apologize for my presumption in putting this together but I couldn’t find anything on the Kuglimz language and so assumed that its development was still in embryo.  I tried to do my research properly but next time I'd better check with you first!

Anyway, that's what I've got.  I'd love to dig into the Kuglimz language with you and I hope I can see what you've got soon so I can finish my story without making any more embarassing errors! (blush)  

see you later,

Alysse the Likely

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Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #6 on: 14 May 2004, 09:18:00 »

Hmmm... I'd suggest you take Ashz-oc, not Losh-Oc. Talia is right Losh-Oc have no interest in prisoners, at best slaves for the mines. They wouldn't be impressed by a bard and his songs.

Losh-Oc means "True Orcs", they regard any other species as inferior and wouldn't befriend them without risking to be considered weak. The name comes from the time of the Fall of the Mynian kingdom when the orcs pursueing the humans commited such a massacre among them that even their brothers, the "Ashz-Oc" were disgusted. Ashz-Oc means "noble Orc" because they consider only certain acts of violence and war honourable. While not fond of other races either they'd not kill them on sight and even prisoners are protected by their clan as long as they obey their captors, even with the prospect of releasing them at one point again.

btw: it's orc not Oc, Oc is just a suffix that marks tribe names. More or less any Orcish tribe considers himself the only true orc tribe.

Otherwise I'm curious how it'll continue. ;)  


Koldar Mondrakken, Knight of the Moonlight

Edited by: Koldar Mondrakken at: 5/13/04 17:18
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« Reply #7 on: 15 May 2004, 22:07:00 »

Thanks Koldar, but if you read the "Kuglimz'seitre" section in the Languages forum, you'll see what my reasoning was.  I deliberately chose the Losh-Oc because they are such nasty beasts and my theory is that the only reason Santharians would know anything non-military about them is that someone actually escaped to tell the tale.  So my bard would thus be one of the few people of Caelereth who actually has first-hand knowledge of orcish society "up close and personal", so to speak.  

I do try to do my research for these entries so that I know what I am talking about. I definitely appreciate all and any suggestions, however, in this case, I did chose the Losh-Oc on purpose.  But thank you again anyway and I will provide more in-depth information on the next installment.


All will be revealed in due course...;)


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« Reply #8 on: 26 May 2004, 05:36:00 »

Well, I'm curious then, why they didn't kill him immeditely, and how you solve the contradictions in their behaviour. They would never treat him in a friendly way and allow his flight, I assume. The bard could have gathered information abut them when staying with the Ash-ocs as well..  but let's see, with what you come up.

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Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #9 on: 26 May 2004, 20:46:00 »

Okay, here's part two, everybody!

More orcen/orcish? details as requested.

The tale of F'ash
(2 weeks later)
Crash!
Heir'gor came instantly awake.  The orc children were, as usual, up at an unearthly hour and ruckusing about.  In some ways, they're very like human children, he thought.  As a Bard, he had few illusions about "innocent children", having observed them behaving just like adults, only without the disguise of manners and social rules.

By now he had learned the orclings' names.  The eldest was H'rok, then there was Ph'ragh, and the youngest was M'ruk.  The names translated loosely as Horse, Stone, and Fangs, he thought.  He had figured out that young orcs had short names which would be added to as they grew older, with descriptive adjectives that suited.  Kroch-cha translated to something like Good Female, due to the fact that she had had three male children and so enjoyed an unusually high status for a female orc.

He watched the little orcs playing.  A loud grunt came from Kroch-cha, and Heir'gor decided to get in her good graces and take the children out so she could sleep.  Maybe he could teach them some games that didn't involve jumping on him. ( Orc children had very physical games: Hunt the Tirpan, Kill the Enemy (any other race), and so on.)

He didn't know much Kh'omchr'om yet, but one could convey a lot with gestures.  He rose and waved to the little orcs, indicating they should follow him.  Mostly out of curiosity, they did.

Heir'gor decided to teach them an old Kuglimz children’s game called "Duck!"  He found a ball (an inflated animal bladder) and beckoned to the little orcs.  He indicated to them to stand some distance apart and then mimed throwing the ball back and forth, trying to hit the one in the middle.

“Throw the ball.”
“Barrrll?”
“Yes, ball. Throw!”  Heir’gor tossed the ball at M'ruk, in the center. He dodged instinctively and turned on the Bard with a snarl.  Hastily the Bard explained,
“Kroch, kroch!(Good, good!)  That’s what you’re supposed to do.”  He approximated an orcish smaile by spreading back his lips to show all his teeth.  The orcling was somewhat puzzled by this response, for he was expecting Heir’gor to cower in terror, but waited to see what would happen.  Heir’gor tossed the ball to the other two.  They quickly got the idea and started to play.  Heir’gor sidled backwards toward the outskirts of the orc settlement, carefully skirting the orc cattle herders and their animals.  He pretended to watch the animals for a moment.  The massive beasts were, to him,surprisingly well cared for.  He edged a little further past the fence. Maybe he could escape…

“H’mmrt!” (Oh no you don’t, or, lit. ‘You won’t!’)  The sentry knocked Heir’gor to the ground, then leaned over, took hold of the Bard’s right foot, and squeezed.    Heir’gor cried out as his bones cracked.

He crawled back to the cave, the little orcs following curiously.  Kroch’cha took one look, picked him up bodily and carried him to the back room.  Grumbling to herself in incomprehensible gutterals, she crushed some Alth’mon leaves together with animal fat and smeared the resulting paste onto his foot.  This hurt so badly Heir’gor nearly bit through his lip from the pain, but then the numbing took over and he relaxed.  Kroch’cha gave him a tea made from the same leaves to drink.  

She took care of him in a rough but not unkind way for the next few days, and Heir’gor learned more about orcen healing methods than he had ever wanted to know.  Kroch-cha did not bother to set the bones and the Bard knew he would have a permanent limp.  But he was grateful enough just to be alive.

                  *             *               *
(7 weeks later)
Heir’gor huddled in a corner, hoping to escape notice.   The orcs were celebrating again.  He knew that meant bad news, and possibly more captives.  His stomach twisted with nausea.  He remembered the screams from three nights ago, when they’d caught the Ashmari hunter and given him to the young orcs for their amusement.  He didn’t think he could stand it again.   Not, he thought bitterly, that I have a choice.  At least his music had saved him from a similar fate.

It had been 10 weeks.  He had nearly been killed several times, and only his flexibility had prevented him from having broken limbs when one of the little orcs jumped at or on him.  Though Kroch’cha had rescued him once or twice, generally she tended to watch her children maul him with what Heir’gor now recognized as an indulgent smile.  Heir’gor was missing the top part of one ear.  He had tooth and claw marks all over his body.   He limped from the broken, and badly set bones in his foot.  He was thin and filthy, unrecognizable as the handsome young bard Vir’tiert had smiled at.

He had learned enough of the orc tongue that he could follow some of what they were saying.  It seemed that they had encountered a party of the Di’ory’el elves and had brought some of the remains back with them.  It didn’t sound like any of those remains were still alive.  He cautiously crept off to where the little orcs were fighting over a leg bone in the back of the cave.

“H’rimt na p’tyr!” (Stop that!) he growled at them, trying to get the gutturals right.

“K’mrrt!” Ph'ragh responded, which Heir’gor recognized as the orcish equivalent of “Shan’t!”.   He sighed—this was their standard response to both him and Kroch-cha—and tried for a different approach.

“B’korraa?”  he said invitingly. “ ‘Z’rovkya H’rok’ ?”  (Music? ‘The Bearded Horse’?)

They dropped the leg bone and scampered towards him.  They loved that particular song, which Kroch-cha had taught Heir’gor, and which he had loosely translated and set to his own language, since he could not sing in Kh’om’ch’rom without getting a very sore throat. He sang softly, with dramatic gestures, which the young orcs mimicked enthusiastically.

“The Bearded Horse!
It is strong, brave and fearless!
The Bearded Horse!
It has no equal!
The Losh Oc are like the Bearded Horse
They are strong, brave and fearless!
They have no equal!”

After he had repeated the song about six times, Kroch-cha intervened and dragged her screeching children off to bed, cuffing them about the ears as they squealed, “K’mrrt!  K’mrrrrrrrrt!  B’korraa rught!”  (I won't!  I woooonnn't!  More music!)  

Heir’gor slunk quietly back to the main cavern where the adult males were celebrating with a revolting drink called something like Yrr’la’h’rok, made from fermented Tirpan milk, crushed Alth’mon leaves and other mysterious substances he did not want to think about.  He did not want to go there, but he was starving, and he could usually get some of the Kragghi bean stew at the hearth.  At least he knew what was in that.  He would not touch any meat prepared by the orcs, for, as he said to himself, “It’s not what you might be eating so much as who.”    Although the orcs normally did not eat human meat, Heir'gor did not want to take any chances. Giving the celebrating orcs a wide berth, he helped himself to the beans.

Suddenly Heir’gor was struck by the realization that there was no-one tending the food.  All the orc warriors were eating and drinking across the room and paying no attention to him.  He glanced around quickly, then, heart pounding, reached for the shelf containing the herbs the orcs used for flavoring.  His hand closed over a package of Alth’mon leaves.

                  *        *        *


Back in his corner, the Bard shuddered all over with reaction.   He was nauseated with fear, but he was desperate.  Hopefully they won’t notice the taste, he thought.  Not only had he emptied the container of Alth’mon leaves into the stew, he had added some additional Kragghi sap to disguise the taste.  The orcs liked their food spicy.  Heir’gor was not sure how drastically the Alth’mon leaves would affect the orcs, but he knew healers used them to numb bodies.  He reasoned that an overdose of that amount would at least make the orcs very ill, particularly when combined with the fermented drink they enjoyed.

He waited for what seemed like a long time.  Finally, when there was no more noise coming from the main area but loud orcish snores, he crept out, past the females’ quarters and out a side entrance. He headed towards the latrines so as to have an excuse if he was caught.  But his luck held and no-one saw him step from behind the latrine trenches into the Oro forest.  The Bard looked up at the night sky.  Oh Lier’tyan, Sur’tyan, protect your faithful child! He turned towards the south, and then his nerve broke, and he began to run.

Heir’gor did not stop running until he staggered past a small dell carpeted with Poeritt vines.  Their aromatic scent was heavy in the air.  The Bard stared at them for a few moments and then a tiny smile spread over his face.  He moved carefully into the little valley, picking berries and crushing them between his hands, then rubbing them over his body.  Then he continued southwards.  When he was too exhausted to go on, he curled up under some bushes and fell asleep.

Something shoved him, roughly.  Heir’gor jolted into awareness, terror surging through him and holding him immobile.  He stared up into the long face of a small Tirpan, its large eyes wide and curious.  It nudged him again, then lipped his shirt hopefully.  Obviously, it had been attracted by the scent of the crushed berries he had rubbed over himself. Very, very carefully, Heir’gor sat up.  He reached out a hand to the horse, gently touching its muzzle and neck. The Tirpan stepped back, but seemed unafraid.  He wondered where the herd was, and then he realized that the little horse was an outcast.  She, for the horse was a mare, was nor’sidian black from tufted ears to feathered hooves.

“Here, now,” the Bard said softly.  “Come to me, my beauty.  Come to me.”  Turning his head to the side so as not to seem too aggressive, he rose slowly to his feet, murmuring softly.  Cautiously, he approached her from the side. She turned to face him and Heir'gor froze, recognizing the wariness of that action.  He looked away from her and made a soft nickering sound.  She watched him for a moment then turned sideways to him, which indicated that she had decided he was not something to fear.  The Bard stepped towards her, carefully moving alongside her body and then gently leaned against her.  She responded naturally by leaning into him.  Heir’gor silently gave thanks that the Tirpans were normally gentle placid animals.  Perhaps, just perhaps, he could escape by horseback.  He knew the orcs would be after him, simply from sheer outrage at his daring to escape.  And he knew they would not allow him to live this time.  He only hoped that he had slowed them down enough by poisoning their food.

On horseback, he would have a chance to escape.  Tirpans were not particularly fast, but they could outrun wargs through sheer stamina, with enough of a head start.  Carefully the Bard slid his leg up and over the little mare’s back.  She jumped and snorted, then gave a little buck, but Heir’gor was on her back.  She shuddered her coat as if flies were bothering her, then settled down, turned her head around and nipped at his leg.  But the Bard was ready for that trick and moved his leg so quickly that the little mare's teeth grazed her own ribs.   She awarded him what could only be described as a dirty look.  Heir’gor smiled, leaned forwards and pressed his heels into her sides.  He was a Kuglim—he could ride anything!  “I’ll call you Beina’gor, (dark sister)’ he told the tufted ears.  They flicked backwards as if to acknowledge his words and for the first time in nearly a season, Heir’gor laughed aloud

They headed east, towards the sea.  Heir’gor did not want to even try to get back to his own tribe through the Oros, not with orcs on his trail.  Nor did he want to fight his way through the Tandalas. The further away he got, the less likely it was that he would be recaptured. If he could get to the coast, he might be able to get passage on a trade ship.  And with Beina’gor, he would not need to worry about finding water. Now that it was late summer, there would be food available as well.  Finally, Heir’gor began to feel a tiny flickering of hope.


Alysse the Likely

Edited by: Alysse theLikely at: 6/23/04 23:00
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Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #10 on: 27 May 2004, 00:19:00 »

:clap

Good to read!
I had expected more description of his stay with the orcs though, he just arrived, and now he fled already. You say, he brings information back about them - describe it!


Apart from the problematics with the Losh-Orcs, it is said, that the Tandalas are impassable. No one crosses them, because there are not only orcs, but dragons and a lot of other dangers. If you want to come to the south, you take a ship.Why does a Kuglimz want to go to Nyemersis anyway, if his homelands are north of the Tandalas?

That a wild horse which lives in the neighbarhood of orcs doesn't run away, but is easily to ride, is a bit unlikely as well, isn't it? Look for a reason or let him put him some more effort in taming it. Waking up and finding a horse nudging his ear, which enables his flight is a bit far fetched, too easy somehow...

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« Reply #11 on: 27 May 2004, 10:17:00 »

Thanks for your comments!

I can add a few more gruesome details of life with orcs, but he actually hasn't just arrived, he's been there ten weeks.  Long enough to learn some of the language and to take the first opportunity to escape that presents itself.  (Wouldn't you?)

As for the Tirpan, it's not that close to the orcs, Heir'gor has been running most of the night.   And he doesn't smell dangerous, he smells tasty since he's covered with berry juice from the Poeritt vines  The mare's young, she's an outcast (and therefore lonely, since horses are herd animals) and by nature very docile and gentle since she's not in heat.  Heir'gor is a Kuglim, a race of people noted for their horsemanship.  His approach to her is called "horsetalking"  and if you read   "The Man Who Listens To Horses"  by Monty Roberts, you can see it is based on actual horse behavior.    So I felt it would be okay to have him tame her.
Should I elaborate on this for the story?

And finally, okay, I didn't realize the Tandalas were completely impassable. I couldn't find much information on trade routes, but  I assumed there would be trade routes to the south and that he heads for them since it's summer and he wants to get out of orc territory and near people as quickly as possible.  Going north would be sheer suicide since the Losh Oc would be on the alert for him after what he did and he doesn't want to die via the slow agonizing torture they would enjoy inflicting on him for revenge.

So I'll work on that.  Maybe I'll have him head for the sea and catch a southbound ship  or something.

Thanks again.  As I've said before, I appreciate all and any suggestions, even if I don't actually incorporate them ;)





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« Reply #12 on: 27 May 2004, 12:27:00 »

I read it over and am enjoying the way that it is going.  

The horse point makes sense, I guess it just maybe needs to be made a tad bit more apparent is all.  You don't need to say that the horse is an outcast and all that, since the reader would not know and prolly not care a lot.

Talia is right on the points of the Tandala, they are nearly impassable.  While it could be done, that would be considered an epic tale in and of itself.  As far as ship routes, the only way to do that is to hook up with an Artyrhonn elf as they control the sea routes.  But they are far to the West.  In the east with the Mountains of Oro you could only go East really.  North is another group of Orcs, North-east are the Injerin, South are Dark Elves and Ash'mari.  So, his choices are a bit limited.

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« Reply #13 on: 27 May 2004, 14:03:00 »

Alysse, I meant that you are going a bit quickly over these 10 weeks. The READER has just arrived with your hero and has to leave immediately.. Describe the ten weeks a bit more, maybe an event where he died nearly, what he discovered, a strange behaviour of the orcs or something like this.

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« Reply #14 on: 27 May 2004, 14:53:00 »

I still need to read the first chapter... Aaaarghh... Is there a shop somewhere where one can buy some time? :lol  


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