It happened while I was out hunting.
I was hunting stag in the mountain crags along with Vaunea and Aukan. We had tracked a herd to a valley and were preparing to ambush one when they came.
Violators, greenskins, desecrators, swinekin… Orcs.
They swept through the valley, driving the deer away. We were but three, as might as we are, we stood no chance against such numbers, and their group momentum would surely overtake us if we fled before them. We climbed, up into the trees, and watched them pass beneath us.
They were heading towards the village
No. no no no no no no no.
We chased them, but they outpaced us, caught up in their feral lust of wanton destruction. We barely managed to keep pace, the dust kicked up by their passage taunting us at the edge of the horizon, mocking us from each ridgeline as we followed them.
They reached our home an entire hour before us.
A quarter of that is all it took.
We came upon our home camp. It had been obliterated. Dead goliath’s lay everywhere, hacked and torn apart. Our dawncaller lay rent asunder atop our altar-block.
Vaunea began to weep, Aukan went to comfort her. I searched the bodies of the slain, hoping to find some survivor amongst the tattered frames.
I found only 1…
Our folk had made a good account of themselves, from my swift count it seemed that for every goliath that fell here today, they dragged down 3 of their murderer’s with them.
The orc was missing his leg at the knee. I questioned him thoroughly, pulling on the exposed bone on his leg whenever he refused to answer me.
This was desecration, they must be destroyed. The tribe of Orc’s called themselves the mountain crackers.
I left that orc to die, and returned to my fellows. They both appeared numb and in shock.
Aukan, prepare a tablet for any other tribes who come here. Let them know that we pursue, and will not return until every orc from this tribe of desecrator’s is slain.
Aukan objected, “Guhingir, there is no way the three of us can accomplish this task.” Vaunea was apart from us, staring off into the sunset, remained quiet. “we have no choice” I replied. “this act cannot go unpunished. We three must avenge our blood.”
Vaunea spoke, her voice quavering like an icicle about to fall from the roof of a cave at the end of winter. “they have to die, even if it means our deaths.” The woman was not a warrior at heart, at least not yet, she would have to learn to be stone hearted. “you can track them can’t you Aukan? You’re the best in the tribe after all.” She continued.
Aukan shifted uneasily on his feet. “I believe I can do it. We can even catch them eventually, they can’t keep that pace forever.”
“so we are agreed.” I said, taking up my hammer, which I had lain aside for the conversation. “Lead on Aukan”
And so Aukan began to track our quarry across the mountains, the trail was painfully obvious at first, the earth having been trampled beneath their feet. We eventually grew close enough to shadow them, to gauge their strength and their numbers.
They were many, and we were few.
So we watched, and we waited.
“aulak thala kaua gamala” - hunt the herd one animal at a time.
As night fell, they set up patrols, no more than 10 to 15 orcs each.
“Wheat before the reaper”, as I’d heard people of the lowlands say.
“a tiring stag before a goliath” we would say in the mountains.
We crept closer, our massive forms hidden within the shadows of our home. We waited until a patrol wandered in our direction, and we struck.
I stood from my concealment, and hurled my Harpoon at an orc. I had acquired the weapon during trade with some lowlanders; one man in particular smelled strongly of salt and told me the harpoon was used for hunting on a great expanse of water, called an “ocean”. He told me it was much bigger than any mountain lake. I had found the trader’s stories fascinating, but I prized the harpoon for its ability to bring down prey and allow me restrict their movements.
My harpoon caved in the Orc’s chest, pinning him to a tree. The remaining orcs milled about in confusion and panic at the sudden, violent death of a fellow, Vaunea began to rain arrows as long as an Orc’s forearm into the crowd, whilst Aukan and I waded in with our great hammers. We slew the orcs in seconds.
We faded back into the brush to wait for another band of orcs to come our way….
We harried the horde for some time in this manner, taking 10 to 15 orcs a night. Unfortunately, the orcs left the mountains, and travelled down onto the flatter lands. We could not help but give chase.
Many moons have passed since then. Both Aukan and Vaunea have long since fallen in battle with the orcs. I am the sole survivor of our tribe.
I will not rest until each of those orcs is dead.
I am Guhingir, Goliath, called “barbarian” by those who call these flat expanses home. I call myself “Avenger”.
My weapon’s and my very soul call out for the destruction of the swinekin.