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Rallii by Valkaneer
Rallii
Rall, began as the farthest outpost of the once widespread Palanian Empire that existed briefly after the fall of the Golden Empire of Bordel. Palania, was a Timroan settler city in northern, Jopper, that extended by sea to the Jagged Coasts of Tozencet, just northeast of Lake Himal. But the life of that empire was cut short by northern raiders who burned, Palanos, to the ground and severed the link to Rall's virgin colony in the Norwilt.

The trade port fell into disorder and piracy in the "Age of the Hundred Hordes", becoming a sort of heathen melting pot in the wild lands along the coast between, The Flat's, westward, to the Ulna and Orin rivers north and south. It wasn't until the reunification by Orou and his son Bredon King, of Gunru and Alliandor, that the bandit guilds were remade into the now famous Republic of Rall. Republic rule was not new in that age, it was a relic government that had existed long before, Bordel, and which had allowed his popular expansionist empire to take shape.

King Bredon, took the ancient writings and drafted a charter to give powers to the many bandit dukes and robber barons, eventually establishing a retro governmental form of the original Drutopian League in the Norwilt.

Since then, the republic has been many things. Praised and cherished as savior, a wicked political rival to the ancient human-elf alliance that has existed for three millenniums. They helped liberate the Kasmor from the Norr's, founding the city of Syrris on the ruins of that Dwarfish stronghold. Before that, they had honorably aided the alliance in the slaying of the eighth great devil in the land.

But ambition, greed, power struggle, and plotting are deeply rooted in the cultural fiber of the republic, and they have gained more powerful allies in recent ages from the Epican Orient.

They are a Priman cult, devoted to the Light Freer in principal, Gwart, in times of war, but seldom remember the rest of the pantheon, nor the first races of the world. They prefer to look over them, and through them, to see the future men could build alone.

This has created a friction with the royalty in Gunru and the, Delver Crown, not likely to ever mend unless Rall herself atones.
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Dorali by Valkaneer
Dorali
The root word; "Dor", is believed to be directly linked to the elder homeland of Gwart-Hal-Dor. The "i" at the end is a human corruption of the Elfish double "ii", which places it in the realm of ownership of a particular group or tribe. It's the "al" in Doral, that has thrown linguistic scholars on Epica for generations. But the Dorali culture's vast extent as an expansive breed means it could have originated in any hundred or more locations with a thousand or more languages over the ages.

Doral, is the human incarnation of the, War God, Gwart. Given a human face, so to speak, Doral is the pagan equivalent deity, sharing many of his aspects. He is symbolically a smith, who uses a hammer in battle, and is associated with the forge. Dorali smiths take great pride in crafting mighty weapons of war.

The divergence of the pagan theme is in his ties to the storm and his hobby as a wood carver and teacher. If asked who is Doral, a Dorali will point to the sky and likely say, "the storm".

The root word, for "land" has become "storm" to the culture over many hundreds of years. So we can say with certainty, Dorali, are the "People of the Storm" the "Storm Tribe", at least to themselves.

They say he carved "Ash" the first man from an ash tree, and "Elba" his mate from an elm. He planted the first oak as for the use of men and taught the first tribe his secrets of fire, steel, and drink.

Storms are believed to have become rooted in the popular mind during the "Dread Crossing" of the "Second Darkness". When the undead arose, many peoples took to the sea to escape slaughter. The Dorali sailed northwest to found Halladim Norda. The Frozen Sea, is notoriously stormy with high waves, heavy gales, and constant distant thunder. This must have played a role in the development of Doral.

He seems to have been infused with the major aspects of all the Powers of Light as one central fatherly figurehead.

There are many subcultures in the main Dorali family, but all of them are the same basic society. Be they true Nordic, Norrish, Jutish, Dorbrankish, Athelinga, or Jurgankish religious holdouts. The binding portion of their culture is the Storm God's ordinances.

They are pagan pirates largely, subsisting on a mixture of farming and raider life where petty royalties rise and fall in constant internal wars. But they are not without codes of honor were due. If a rival is strong and obviously able to defend against a raid, it will be more likely approached with offers of trade and alliances.

If weak it might be enslaved entirely or settled as a conquest in lowly, deserving servitude to the Storm Tribe.

Kill many of them in battle, and the honor in fighting will mean you fight them for hundreds of years for revenge sake, as they honor your valor with equal combat, and seek equal blood debt.

That said, many of the greatest godly kingdoms of the world had their start as pirates fiefdoms. Not all respect the good virtues of charity, open battle, and oath holding the Dorali live for. Nearly all fear their long-ships, as the reach of their arm is great, and army smashing is their greatest pastime.
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Breeoem by Valkaneer
Breeoem
Breemen, the glue that binds all the races of the Norwilt into one people.

Originally natives of Lund, before the conquest of the two pirate brother's Cleomar & Cleobrant, they were Lundite free peoples at peace with nature, the gods, and their land. They became the slave cast of the Norrish overlords who would settle the Dwarfish Rages.

It was for sport the day the thanes blessed the gods in a new land and set the Breeoem thralls free to run into the open wilderness of New Elmon. The thinking was; "Run off little men! We will hunt you again someday!"

But the Gwartallanii culture devoted itself to it's first love of battle and martial skill at arms. They would become a fiercer breed than the highlander's.

Their greatest hero tale is of, "Oroaker Wolfclad". And they often cover themselves in wolf skins for war to evoke his spirit.

Called the "smallmen" since the old days of Halladim Lunda, this is not so in recent years. Decades of rapine from Norr raiders can't pass without the tall burly traits of the thane lines carrying over into their genetic stock.

Today, the Breeoem tribes are varied and plenteous, and just as-feral-as they were the day their masters unlatched the collar! 
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Gwartallanii by Valkaneer
Gwartallanii
"Gwartalla", means; "House of Gwart". The word derivative was first used by the elves to describe the Delver race.

"Gwartallanii" is; "Gwart's Brethren" or "Brotherhood of Gwart's House".

If you ask the Apuan city states in the lush east of Drutopia, the word simply means; "Savage".

"Who was the first to forge the deadly blade. Of blackest iron his soul was made."

The men of "Gwart-Hal-Dor"; "Gwart's Highland's", were the first men to conquer other tribal lands beyond their native Dry Hill's. They followed the war god of legend, having been evangelized by the dwarf race.

In an age when copper was just giving way to bronze weaponry, the Gwartallan "Hillmen" used simple steel bladed dwarf swords to found the first of many empires on the human home continent.

From this root many offshoot cultures would arise, but in certain places in the modern era. One can find the same breed living unchanged, still loyal to the clan, to war, and to honor.
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King's Stand by Valkaneer
King's Stand
Mighty, Black Wing, king of Elmon, flies high above the carnage of the final battle that would claim his life.

He passes through the veil of clouds choking the light out of the world, and for a moment is bathed in the blessed light of the first moon.

It charges him, renews his vim and fire, fueling the rage that will soon be unleashed on the seven devils.

The rest is legend....
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Valkaneer
JDK
Artist | Professional | Literature
United States
Showcasing my art, and my writing on various subjects, but centered mainly on my books. The 'Epica' series.

Book 1: Epica: The Ballad of the Nwyrrin
Book 2: Epica: Sons of Teren
Book 3: Epica: The Red Lady
Book 4: Epica: The Fall of Gunru

One out and the others completed and set for publication.

Get book one here: www.createspace.com/3423974

Or if you have an Amazon account? Just go to: 'Books' & put in; "Epica: The Ballad of the Nwyrrin" to get it! :)

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Interests
Cernd, braced for the impact on his dwarf buckler! His poise in the face of the towering monster was admirable! A huge grayhaired minotaur swinging a Damaran warhammer!

A simple enchantment of the weapon increased it's potency and it would throng off the steel round shield like a gong! This was one in a series of ten strikes bent on ending the human warrior, but just as the last, this one struck home and bounded back off the recurve of the finely made shield! The Shades own magic having made it more than an ornamental wall-hanger!

"Naagghh!!" he roared as the blow landed!

The nimble man span with the hit and threw out his ax as he came around! The head hit home on the monsters knee as it wailed in pain!

A moment later an arrow tore into his eye, and the thing fell dead before the taxed barbarian!

"Well fought!" Yunda stressed to him as he offered his hand to right him.

Cernd was shaken but angry and ready to fight on!

"Where did the chief run to!?" he asked the half-orc as he used the warriors powerful forearm to hoist himself from the cavern floor.

Yunda, didn't speak, he just extended his ax in hand in the direction of the cave opening.

The young fighter stormed out of the cave like a lion! He cast all danger from mind in blind fury, meaning to join up with his fearless leader!

He found Grynhunder there just beyond the low hill outside! His left arm flying upward to uppercut the chin of a mountainous brute! His other hand swift to lock on the spear thrust of a second attacker who meant to impale him as a third struck him with blunt force about his side!

"Lion!!" the mighty, Cernd, bellowed as he flew in to brain the forth beast that was flanking his chieftain!

That blow was hard and true! It tore into the snout of the halbard wielding monster and shaved the flesh off it from eye-socket to nose!

In agony it raised back holding it's face as an arrow sank into it's chest just below the ball of the shoulder! A second hit it's center-mass which had Taan hawk feathering, confirming that both archer's were now on the scene picking targets!

"Kendrick! The witch!" Grynhunder shouted as he looked back to see the Shade exit the cave.

The cleric across the ravine cast another spell, healing the minotaur he'd just maimed!

"She thwarts us, hinder her!" the lion roared!

The wizard, occupied briefly by an attacker of his own, didn't hesitate, he went right into his next casting, a spell of holding soon held the priestess fast! She paused mid-chant, trying to cast another spell, her hands out in front of her like a living statue!

Ignoring her, Yunda's charge met another minotaur in stride! His great ax of the Gray Land connecting across it's bare chest!

The thud was proceeded by a gushing sound that came with a flow of blood! This one a bit smaller with horns that belonged to a juvenile. He span hard to tear the ax free of it's chest, and caught another young monster across it's shoulder!

The huge white beast who Grynhunder fought, then becoming enraged beyond anger, kicked him in the chest with a mighty hoof strike, and he flew back up the incline!

It then lowered it's horns and charged right for the half-orc warrior as he tried to extract his axes head from the ruin of the dead minotaur!

When it struck him, he screamed in torturous pain! A cracking pop, was heard by all on the place of slaughter! Alignak, drew his bow back and fired swiftly! The arrow ripped through the monsters hip and caused it to halt the stomp that was meant to crush Yunda's head underfoot!

The next blow was landed by the powerful mage, who's acid arrow tore into the great creatures spine, putting it on it's knee's!

As Grynhunder bashed the skull of the only female ox person, he turned and threw his family hammer at the last of them, who was writhing over Yunda in pain!

When it was struck the wool white brutes limp body fell to the ground hard and didn't move! Jin Yu, then took aim on the still immobile cleric. His arrow struck her in the neck, followed by the one that pierced her breast just above the heart, and his third that sank into her belly where the liver should be!

Alignak, added to that deadly trio with another one just for good measure! It flew in to lodge in her chest on the other side! The Tuigan bow caused deep penetration that saw the head sticking out behind her!

When the spell wore off, she fell lifelessly to the ground, and the party breathed easy...

The lion ran to Yunda's side, where he would uncork a healing potion to mend his broken back.

Cernd, drank one from his own bag, to repair a few broken ribs.

*****

Lanalan, rode into town abreast of his best five. The six thieves cast a long shadow over the streets of Immilmar. It had taken a year to cross the, Endless Waste, as guests and guards in a Shau Lung caravan.

Then a five week holdover at the edges of horde land, as the Rashemi army checked the train for smuggled goods and outlaws wanted by the Wychlaran. They had only come into the North Country officially three days ago, and were already busy about their errand after gathering fresh horses.

The Smith's Quaater, was smokey and noisy, but quiet in terms of guards. The shops were not easy targets, with fierce guardians inside watching the wears, but it didn't matter. They were here to treat with the locals, not to setup a guild or any criminal enterprise. Any road, hardly a one kept eyes on the streets, because strangers were a common sight.

"What does this woman look like again?" one of the rouges asked.

Lanalan, was unusually chipper this hour, so his usual snappy attitude was curbed in favor of a strait answer. "She had a scar from forehead to chin, as I hear it, you can't really miss her." he replied.

"Then I think I see her." the roguish woman returned.

"Ah, then let us greet her, and be off to Mulptan before the morrow." the lead thief brightened.

"Jhuild dues on the othlor's lips, from frosty wild's where the rabbit nips, a belly brine of, three fire's, lit, dancing nigh she rolls her hips, to woo her laddie, the more she sips.." the rouge spoke under his breath as he parked his steed beside the scared woman, standing near a famed forge.

"Lanalan?" she asked.

"That would make you, Ruta? I believe.."

"So, you brought your whole troop?" Ruta, the way scout, asked.

"They go with me in all I do. I never bring them, they insist on traveling with." he jested, as the rouges all chuckled silently.

"Come with me. Tie your horses here, they will be safe and watered." the mysterious warrior woman directed them in a heavy accent.

They came to a bridge and noted the mighty citadel at the center of town. In passing by it's north side they saw a stately lodge hall built to be a hold for one of the warrior guilds of the city.

The feel of modern squaller covering ancient greatness was all around. For that was truly what this city was in his mind. Ancient advanced crafts fallen delapidated under the refuse of the new culture that squatted on the ruins of the past. It reminded the half-elf so much of home...

"Is that fabled, Huhrong?" he rhetorically asked in snide, already knowing the answer.

The ranger hardly looked back over her shoulder. "You know your locations, good thief." she toyed back at him.

"I do try keep a bearing, ere I tread." he returned with a laugh.

In a few minutes they had walked into the market, where the stink of hung fish and butchery blood was potent. The rouges, now used to the relative fresh air of open steppe life each took out a handkerchief and held it over their noses and mouths.

"Forgive the smell, we are nearly there." Ruta promised.

"Blackstone House.." one of the thieves read aloud on the sign outside the inn.

"I hope they have gambling." another jeered.

Once in the spacious tavern below the inn, they crammed into a booth and ordered a few bottles of fine ale.

"No Jhuild for the fierce, Mistledale Rouges?" Ruta joked.

"Ha, ha! It's been years since that accusation was hurled our way! Ha, ha!" Lanalan warmly received her words!

"And no, your spiced wine is unsettling to our gut, we tried some in the east, the after effects were less than happy." he confided.

"So then, how found you the Golden Road?" Ruta asked.

"Perilous..but then..my fellows and I bear the same distinction!" he began in bragging manner! "forty Taan tribal bows at our side and we can be even more so! We even took in an owlbear hunt while we were at it! Have you need for claws and feathers to make fetches with, dear miss?" he playfully insulted her question, her culture, and her profession all in one cleaver quip!

"Hm, hm, hm..." she controlled her laughs as she drank her peoples favorite spirits. Not wanting to waste a single good drop of the expensive beverage.

"Are you ready to tell me why the, Tsui Tong,  has requested my talents?" she cut to the onion.

"Well, that's a touch assumptive, my pet... The Tong have their motives, but for me the errand is more pleasure than business." the rouge boss winked.

"What pleasures could tempt a man to leave the opium dens of the east?" she smiled. "Surely, Kai Shan, had plenty of lovely dolls for a pampas little man to play house with?"

"You'd think so," he returned. "stranger though, everywhere one goes in Kao Shan province, the name; Ruta of the Vrul, seemed to be on every man's lips."

"Ruta Dyernina, by marriage, of course." she corrected.

"Ahhhh.... yes, yes, of course..so, we know much of the other's pasts. But not the reasons for this present meeting?"

"Imzel Haan, is not one to set a treat between other's without cause." the ranger replied.

"I agree, so it must be that we were gathered in secret with an even greater secret in the works." Lanalan deduced.

"Mistress Dyernina?" a page girl then interrupted them. "A letter for you mistress." the delivery girl said with a bow, presenting a small scrap of paper face down on a serving tray.

"Our next contact?" Lanalan asked, a long pull off his flagon following his words.

"This is in the Selûnite rune. There are very few who can read this script. It must be from her." Ruta confided.

"Shall we retire to more private settings, to hear the story of it?" the rouge suggested.

"The wine cellar." she said as she stood up from the booth to stride hurriedly to the steps leading down. On her way she tossed a silver coin to the keep, and he waved them all by with no questions.

"Out, we need privacy for a moment." she told the tavern girl as she came in.

They young lady set the mugs she was busily cleaning to the side and shut the door behind her as she exited.

"It says; there was a conflict in the north lasting several months, hobgoblin's fled south into the outskirts of Nathoud. Smoke rose high from the Giant Pass, and many Chif and Tark refugees came into Nathoud, or went further into the Sunrise Mountain's. I suppose they were headed to Citadel Rashemar." Ruta related.

"That is bothersome." Lanalan signed.

"You know something about this? The peoples of the north are not civilized by most folks standards, but they are peaceful, and have strove to tame the Pass for decades of it's wicked humanoid tribes. If you know anything about what befell them, please say so!" she angrily insisted.

"I will only say I might know. For I have equal reason to doubt my own hunch." the thief replied.

"I did not come into the east by the usual routes. I was brought in by sea. The voyage was not uneventful either. We raided an island to pay for passage." he honestly responded.

"An island?" she puzzled. "You six rouges?" she began to question.

"Oh, no, there were many more booking passage!" he cut her short!

"How many, who?" she asked.

"Well, let's think...there was a half-orc, a few Sossrim who made the treck east after we made landing. A band of Orcish families, Ulutiun tribals, there was even a great verbeeg pseudo-giant! Uh..and a clan of Uthgardt and Reghedmen barbarians.." he swiftly recalled.

"Did they go west?" she wondered. "What? Is there something more?" she read in his eyes.

"A mage..a powerful Shade, by the name of Kendrick. A well known villain in, The North, below, Ten Towns. But he hid his lineage well from the already magic fearful lot." he said somberly.

"A member of the shadow race... God's... Is he trying to flank the Thayan homeland? Or is he rouge?" she pondered aloud.

"I know it of a truth having seen something of his true nature on the journey. I only tell you this because you seem highly concerned. I'm not one to lie to an ally, nor cast an untruth on a former companion's character, I have been the victim of falsehood many times myself and detest the activity strongly." he began. "and that presents the next truth I must offer you in regards to the company I left on the shores of, Taan." he went on.

The honorable thief proceeded to give the fully accurate accounting of the raid on the Iluskan isle, and spoke of the good Grynhunder tried to do.

"Grynhunder, tried to spare them any great loss and to prevent any bloodshed. In the end they forced our hand and we did kill a great many, loosing some of our own to the madness as well." he finished.

"So, this strange tribe might not be to blame?" Ruta asked.

"I'm not saying I know anything for sure, but I saw nothing in my time with them that would suggest evil intentions. That leader...he was of a rare breed. Thought they were taken in by the power of the mage as we sailed into, Yal Tengri. He enchanted their weapons and arms, and they sealed some pact of mutual support. I wouldn't put it past a Shade to beguile them once they were friendly, or to cast a spell on the leaders to sway the other's." he stated.

"We have to go to, Nathoud. Our mutual mistress resides there this year. You want in on the wine smuggling action here, then you will buy that right by serving the Rashemi cause." Ruta extorted.

"I had a feeling you were in the know about our true cause. But I do not find it as much a chore as you may think. I'm curious now to learn if the barbarians were so weak willed that they faltered in principles for a minor Shadovar lordship. The coin we secure for the Tong will simply be a well earned bonus." the studious rouge winked.

"You will be a fine addition to the scouts on the march, I will meet you in three days in, Nathoud. I must ride first to Citadel Rashemar to alert my general, after I get Imzel's commission from the, Iron Lord." she ordered.

"We will pass the time with drink in, Mulptan, and meet you in Nathoud on the third morrow hence." the thief agreed with a regal bow.

*****

Obalda, had planned to summon more of the dead resting in this former battlefield, but the charge of the fierce Uthgard warrior came so suddenly and dealt great damage to her champion with his first strike! She was forced to abandon the casting and began her healing spell! The six skeletal warriors she sent into the tunnel had been blown back out  in chunks by the powerful fighters duel hammers!

White One, staggered under the flurry of those two hammers! A ribs shot, became a chin strike, and a shoulder crusher, led to a thigh breaker! There was no following the powerful flight of such swift hands!

Istros, ran in with a spear to try and aid his, lord chief, but the smaller advisory was in truth, a titian! He changed form to allow for the new attacker, and used his arms to both shield and strike like a master of warfare!

Grynhunder was twenty five now, his prime as a man and a fighter! At nineteen he had taken the caverns and slain the Baylor keeper of the Dwarven death chamber! The years had done nothing since, but harden his arm and make him much stronger!

Cernd, was just seventeen back then... He was a man now and a greater fighter than most of his kinsmen. That's saying much of his prowess! For the Uthgard and Reghedmen are all mighty warriors!

He was blocked coming out of the passageway as his dashing leader flew out of it and past waiting attack!

Rigozus, struck at him with his Damaran hammer from the side of the entrance! The able man only barely lifting his shield to avoid death! Instead he flew back, his feet weren't planted for the surprise attack, he rolled over to greet several more hard hammering blows in kind!

As the rest of the party were blocked from exit, Grynhunder, had to call on his rage, and use every ounce of his skills to brave a tripple attack, by the minotaurs! Zia, joined the two already trying to kill him! Her blunt club was even allowed to connect a few times, just to avoid more deadly blows!

Istros, the weaker of the three was trying to spit the little battler through with his spear, but the nimble barbarian was no dunce with that weapon himself, he'd trained as a tundra hunter in his youth, not only in it's use, but in avoiding it's dangers!

When the lanky minotaur stepped near to thrust hard, the barbarian twisted around with blinding speed and broke the shaft, the assault, and poor Istros' sternum!

Dablosa, was already on the charge with his haldard at the fore! He dashed in from the exposed flank, only to be intercepted by the raging, Cernd!

The man's first move was to deflect the blade that might have lodged in Grynhunder's spine! His next strike with a Dwarven ax raked him about the snout, in a gory flaying of his flesh! Dablosa, could do nothing but grab the open would as it gushed with blood! He was then slain by a number of arrows as the archers joined the battle from a distance!

Napoca, was on the outcrop behind the party and leapt at them from above as they made their way out of the cavern! The Shade, span round to set him ablaze with a streaming spell of fire, as sure as if dragons breath were unleashed upon him!

As he died, Blaesus, joined him, having left the Winter Maid's side, to rush up the hill and close on the deadly rouges! But foolishly, for he was riddled by seven arrows before he fell at, Jin Yu's feet in a heap!

The priestess of Auril could only focus her magic on healing Daizus! He was the only chance in defeating the imediate threat posed by Grynhunder! She cast a greater healing spell, but before it took effect, she was treacherously seized by the magic of the wizard on the hill!

Yunda Dungar, had stood by all the while to defend the trio on the hill from melee combat! Aside from the skull splitting death blow he'd landed on the burning, Napoca, he had't been much of an issue! But he ran in with zeal as the two brother's charged up the slope to follow the drastic example of courageous, Blaesus!

They weren't at all prepared for the power of the comparably little fighter they would meet, as both Zia, and her mate looked on in horror at their children's demise!

First, Brasus, then, Tarbus fell to the half-orc's skillful ax! Zia, near to death herself, used her last strength to renew, Daizus! Who then promptly cast back the mighty Uthgard in his way!

In blind rage he stalked after the orc blooded bastard, and struck home with  force enough to break an elder pine in twain! He died shortly after that, weeping over his children's corpses, but happy at least one of the mighty troop would never walk again!

Grynhunder, cut down his mate with no compassion as she too cried over the slain! In his hard mind was the image of a woman fat with child, (like his own) and the evil of a blade piercing her womb! He spat upon the bitch as she passed!

Last to fall was the cleric...

She was neither happy nor sad to see her warband's end, neither was it a shock that those who murdered her lover could deal such a blow here.

She only wept from the pain of the arrows lodged deep in her body, and a single icy tear of joy fell as she did, sound in the knowledge she would no longer have to live in a world without her beloved Baylor.

It was a good day to die....

*****

On the fringe of the steppes, a hill tower of wood timber construction stood as the only fixture for miles. Behind this low hill rose the high's that began the ascent into the true Ice Rim's...

But on this day, only a single young warrior was left at station, for the dozen normally set over this watch had traveled west to the moot grounds. For word was, a grand slaughter of their kin had happened in the southern pass, and talk of war was in the air.

Acco, was a young man, a Tark by birth, but like many in this land, he had been taken in by the Osi as a boy. A giant raid had stolen his kin, and he'd wandered the northern hills lost.

Raised an outsider, he was beat up a lot by Osi boys, and made tougher by their mistreatment. His youth was spent earning approval, until he at last earned it as a trusted warrior and guard. His eyes were keen and his wit sharp as a razor, a perfect watchmen.

It was for the best, for though the Osi had been bled and threatened in the northern borderland's for years, they would find favor with this strange new breed headed their way.

Acco, knew nothing of such blessing's at the time. When he awoke from a monentary slumber at the edge of exhausted sentry duty, he sprang to his feet and gripped his spear tightly!

"The horn!" he instantly thought!

He took up his peoples cultural instrument and blew out long and loud, the four notes, of warning with the tall bronze horn!

Then he gathered the bow and an arrow from the many stocked at his feet in the parapet, as a train of around fifty people of all descriptions came to rest below him! A runty sort of giant, among them, his greatest cause for concern!

The arrow whistled through the air as he let fly! Juru, had to move his leg out of it's path or be struck!

The youthful man put on a hard scowl as he began to address the strange intruders, but it turned swiftly into a look of shock, as Odval's return shot struck the timber beside his head!

"Peace, boy! We mean you not hurt!" she shouted up to him, as she came forth to speak for her clan.

"P..Peace?" he stammered. "And why do I see goblin's and giant's in your ranks!?" he reasonably asked her.

"I know we look it, but we are not raiders! We come as friends from far to the east! We carry in trust two treasures of your kin!" she spoke in the little of his tongue she knew.

"Show me these trinkets! I will judge how our tribe views their worth!" Acco bravely returned!

"It is a cool day, the winds from the glacier breezy, and the like are of a delicate condition! Is it not enough to beg your trust, when we could easily destroy your single man perch!?" she reasoned with him.

"I'm coming down!" the fearless Tark, shouted in vim!

It was such a bold move that the orc leader, and Odval regarded one another with a nod of impressed suprise.

"If he's the rule and not the exception, then his tribe are a noble breed, in deed." Beonator leaned in over Juru's shoulder to say.

"Where are these treasures you spoke of?" the brave man beckoned as he came near, allowing the clan to see what an Osi thane was on close.

His light brown hair was long, in twin braids down to his belly, which meant it was much longer upbraided. He wore a coned helm of bronze, and carried an oval shaped shield that he planted before him holding the rim at his hip, a firm grip on a longspear likewise planted in the slushy earth beside him.

His trousers were plaid, woven of sheep's wool, as was his long sleeved tunic with a banded ring pattern. A golden torc neck collar and bracers of brass decorated his person. On his hip, a longsword of strange but well crafted design. His face had white an blue lines of warpaint smeared on his left cheek in ritualistic manner.

He was quite impressive, if a little short...

The Huntress, led the alert warrior to a small sled that was pulled behind two larger ones stocked with furs, foods, and arms. In passing, he took note of the many young and female members of the group.

When she reached the sled, she threw back a bear hide, and the druid sat there cradling the little girl.

He was puzzled briefly, but soon caught on to the situation. "Grandfather?" he asked leaning forth to address the old man.

It was a common name in the culture, all elder men were called grandfather, even if unrelated.

"Yes, my son, you can believe these good people. They have risked much to bring us this far. Please deal kindly with them." Ullio greeted him.

The warrior put his hand on the old man's head, and pulled back the wrappings on the girl to reveal her lovely face.

He then closed the tarp again in full understanding of their frail need, and nodded at the rouge woman beside the sled.

"Come, I will see you to a good campground over yon hill." Acco spoke, a squinted regard lifted towards the menacing verbeeg on the other side of the baggage train.

"Indebted." she thanked him with a nod.

It had taken eight days with periodic rest for the less fit to travel. Even with all that slow struggle on the trail, the clan had still put eighty miles behind them. A good rest in modestly kept borders was welcome.

*****

Braka, gathered his kin and set them towards the north. He then walked out before them, as he began to speak. So that all could look on the distant but steadily rising peaks as they talked.

"The bones have been read. Myrkul, seeks new death. Grummsh, is indifferent. And the wily god of these men is brewing for a battle. A war is coming, brethren, and time has come to ask our own souls, where we stand. It has been a good life in the company of men. But you know what lies in those mountains. They can not know, and so they seek other men, thinking on visions of a new homeland. What say my kin, of this matter?" the aging chief begged of them.

"We should be truthful, and tell the human's what's there." Brag, suggested.

"You, my brother, you would share such unfriendly news?" Braka asked in respect of his truest warrior.

"I'm evil, always have been, always will be, but not without honor, honor is all we have to keep any order in life. It is for honor's sake I would tell, for honor has always been offered to us by, the Lion, and his people." he explained.

Then stood one. An elder of small standing, but beloved of the, Yellow Teeth. When he offered a word, all offered their ear.

"Brag, is our best. A warrior slaying the greater of our foes for forty years nigh!" he began.

"ROOAARR!!" their agreement sang throughout the hills!

"If he says a thing, we know it to be truth from his heart. For he is a fighter and not given to great thoughts on philosophy. His words are of easy use and strong. If he would honor our alliance, I would back his call, and noble, Braka, who has led us well for many years." he ended.

"And if we held our peace?" Juru asked.

"Ahh, young Tusk Raker, I hoped you would come to our council meet!" Braka greeted the late arrival.

"I was near enough to hear all that has been said. I simply kept the edges to be sure none of our curious human brethren came to listen as well. Having heard it myself, I'm glad none are out there." he greeted in kind.

"You seem apprehensive of this meeting." Braka stated.

"I am." Juru answered. "Seven years at the turn of winter, and we have never held a council amongst ourselves. Grynhunder, is far away. Is that why we speak privately at last?" the young brave scolded his chief.

"Take care, pup. I don't mean to cause any rifts in the clan. I simply meant to include all of our kind in the decision I thought to make alone. And if I did tell this thing, it would be to Grynhunder alone. Do you not think I have that much of a backbone?" he corrected.

Juru, nodded. "You are a warrior. In every action you have always shown your spine. But a warrior is tested every day. And it take but a moment for a lifetime of courage to run down a leg like water." the fearless younger orc returned.

"You are a great orc! You dare whatever danger might come!" Braka smiled.

"ROOAARR!!" the rest agreed in unison!

"But you wound me needlessly. I am not being overly cautious or cowardly. I asked you all here to let you know eye-to-eye, that I mean to tell a thing that might offend or even break our seven years of peace with our human friends. In what way have I shown you I'm being dense or cowardly?" he questioned.

"I said none of those things. I said what I have learned from my human brothers, and uncles, and no more." Juru replied. "If you hear it wrongly, or answer of your own thoughts, they will be telling. I believe you, when you say you are only thinking of us all. But also know, if Grynhunder were here, he'd insist on being here for this meeting, or you might never have called it at all." he answered.

"You don't even know the burden your elder's carry. How can you think at all to wonder at my actions or the timing of my summons?" Braka questioned.

"You are right, chieftain, and you are the only father most of us have known in life. So I'd ask of you as both, to share this secret with those of us who were not born in this land. So that we can judge ourselves what the cost of knowing will be." the well spoken brave answered.

"How can I argue with that." Braka agreed.

He then looked a certain orc in the eyes. A skinny elder, all knew as; Targil. He was lore keeper, and older than most of the, Teeth.

The lanky but still able orc came to the fore to speak as the youthful mobs about, Juru, gave him their silence and respects.

"We the elder's, were born to Blood Iron nation, of the Troll Vales, for the Yellow Teeth tribe, not forty miles away." he said pointing north west.

"Born thrall to the horde which gathered us in force to send us to make war on Many Arrow's. We were herded forth onto the ships of the ice giants, and kept in holds in cages next to trolls, and wolves who would rip off limbs if we strayed too close." he began in remorse.

"We made landing on several small isles where we were encouraged to butcher every soul with a spear in our own backs. So that by the time we arrived in Icewind Dale, we were half starved, easily prodded, and merciless to all those we fought." he went on.

"I need not tell you how much greater a warrior people the Reghedmen are, but we fell on bands of dozens, and thirties, and fifties, and would kill all in our path before we ever came near the enemy we were arrayed to fight." the telling continued.

"But we were bred of such evil, in the pits of Troll Vales Mine. Plucked from the breast in many cases and given picks to chip at the stone. It was hell, but made us strong of arm, weaker of mind then you fine orc's who we all encouraged to think freely, and boldly." he explained.

The orc's began to look  on their elder kin with better understanding, as the keeper kept recalling the hardships of being born lower clan fodder.

"Before the round up that saw us taken across the sea's, we were herded under the Ice Rim's south of, Sossal. Young orc's all, we were unleashed on the many of our kind, who dwelled there." he explained.

"Thousands ran in, thousands charged us, all of us younger than thirteen winters. It was the proving war, that saw only the strongest survive. But to those who did, we knew it was all blind luck that we were not among the fallen. It was waste for the sake of honoring ancient brute customs!" Targil spat in anger.

"We were fit and lean when we were taken onto the giant's ship's. but hundreds died in the sea raids, fifties died after that from a lack of sleep and food. So tightly packed we were, that hardly a place to lie down was found. We fought to be in the fore of the cage order so we might get a scrap of food, those behind became even weaker and died." the bloody tale went on.

"How mighty an army would have come before Many Arrow's of we had not done their work for them because of the cruelty of our masters?" he finished.

"That's the truth of those mountain's. For it was not to honor allies or to sack lands in, the Spine, that we died. It was simply the means to free the land of us many, for the few lords who would remain. They are there now, they rule there now, and we are nothing to them but unwanted dregs, nor will they look kindly on our human brothers." the wise orc historian ended.

Juru, couldn't believe it. He had held his race in higher regards all his life. Now it was related to him by his own that the human idea's about them were right. They were monsters, bred of monsters, and only the lesson's taught by the Uthgard had made him any different.

"Tell no one. Not even, Grynhunder." the young orc suggested.

"You think so little of them? That no compassion would help them decide?" Braka asked.

"It serves no point but to divide us." he reasoned.

The other's kept talking on the best course even as the spirited orc turned and left, leading most of the young braves away with him.

Braka, alone watched him go, taking his words under serious advisement.

*****

On the west side of the watcher's hill, Clan Verbeeg, rested in a tightly packed ring of yurt and lean huts, with a great central fire at the midst.

They rested and ate hardy as those who could, spoke to the young warrior who had offered them his hospitality.

But he stood with a true ear, gathering the thud of horses running over the high's.

"Sit easy, and be not wary." he spoke to the orcess, Chancha, who was the better linguist of the group.

"What's that?" Beonator asked as he crushed her close under a hide blanket.

"He hear's something, but says not to be concerned." she translated.

The weapon thane went to the westward end of the camp and waved his hands as a group of thirty heated warriors rode up on short sweaty horses!

They shouted to him at first, but he calmed them rather swiftly. They looked at the strangers, casting suspicious looks at, Gag, and the many orc's. But in a short while they turned to ride off in the direction they'd come in from.

He came back to his place near the fire and settled their nerves by addressing the orc maiden.

"Good men...the best riders of our moot. This post is set up to guard against Taangan raiders. We only have a few horses and horsemen to our name, but they are the fittest to meet cavalry." he explained. "They go to give word of your arrival at the gathering. We will reach the place in two days if we start early tomorrow." he finished.

Chancha, related his telling to the leaders, and they nodded lazily, the weary, Odval, drifting off to sleep once the threat was assuredly out of mind.

"Take some rest, friends. We will be going hard upland on the trail, but will be fed and bedded when we reach the gathering." Acco promised.

"I hope the chieftain makes it safe by his own road." Chancha spoke to Beonator, once the rest had fallen to sleep under Gag's sleepless watch.

"He met the enemy. He fought them. He killed them." the budding cleric sensed.

"How can you tell?" she asked him.

"See the distant storm across the plains?" he whispered to her, cheek to cheek.

"Yes." she purred.

"Tempos, delights in the fight, and flashes because of the victory." he explained.

"Hm, hm..are you sure it's not just a storm?" she teased.

"Well..it is, but it's never just a storm." he smiled.

"My kin say a storm means, Grummsh, is angry..but you read your own gods happiness." she shrugged. "It makes sense, but only when men and orc's are at war." she sighed.

"These years, Grummsh, has found a place in, Tempos', hall. Be sure, my love." Beonator spoke softly with a kiss beside her eye.

"It is so, my brave...yes..let it be so..."

*****
  • Mood: Unheard
  • Listening to: Evolving Opinions
  • Eating: Little
  • Drinking: Water

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:iconbitsweet:
BitSweet Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2015   Digital Artist
thx for 50th llama! :D now its albino Llama Emoji-66 (Orly) [V3] 
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Valkaneer Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2015  Professional Writer
Kewel!
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ingeline-art Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2015   Traditional Artist
Thanks so much for faving -
that means so much for me!
Ingeline-art cologne ;-) (Wink)))Heart Heart Heart 
Make a wish by ingeline-art
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alwasebeautiful39 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Do you remember the me I forgot?
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:iconvalkaneer:
Valkaneer Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2015  Professional Writer
I remember you. The self-conscious, under-sexed, self-mutilator, who believes in and loves, God, but hates humanity at large, whilst not seeing the majority of it's faults and living under the auspice forgivness for all mankind. Somehow seeing the rainbow's even when the world is up to it's neck in crap.

I reacall you, your either droning dire or optimistic poetry and our debates on matters of faith.

How are you?

:hug:
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BATTLEFAIRIES Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015
Thank you for Favouriting! This means you can now ask the Djinn ONE question --> 'Ask The Djinn' stamp by BATTLEFAIRIES <-- clicky clicky
The Djinn will answer truthfully and to the best of her considerate abilities.
Have fun (and come back often)!
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Valkaneer Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015  Professional Writer
lol, uh, okay!

:)
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Blades-123 Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for faving.:)
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Valkaneer Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2015  Professional Writer
You're welcome. :)
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Calio4 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2015   General Artist
Thank you so much for the fave! :D
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