eir’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
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.
Picture description. The
Losh-Oc orcs. Pic by
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
his 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 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 a few moments 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
‘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 nois -
to his ears it sounded like "Krou-ghh-cha"h
- 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.