Chapter I: FrostwolvesEdit
The young orcish warrior stood on the hill, the braids of his black hair fluttering in the wind and gazed over the frigid landscape ahead of him. He wore heavy furs to protect him against the cold, with only portions of the brown skin of his face visible. There was only snow and ice as far as he could see, and the occasional white wolf, the frostwolf, after which his clan was named. But was that all? No, there was something else, a figure in the distance, approaching quickly. Now he recognized it: a worgen of the Death Glacier tribe. The homeland of the Death Glacier was far away from Frostwolf lands. What could be so important that they would come here?, the warrior wondered. Suddenly, the creature had gone out of sight. The orc started scratching his head, when the worgen crashed into the snow beside him, a terrible bite wound to his side, and a small piece of worked stone in his right palm. The worgen reached out his hand towards the orc, almost as if he wanted to give him the stone, and then collapsed from loss of blood. The warrior picked up the stone.
The escapade had attracted several other Frostwolf members, who started gathering around the scene, including Marneth, a junior shaman with a holier-than-thou attitude towards almost anyone not his superior amongst the Frostwolf shaman, and always dressed in the most ornate robes he was allowed to wear. He immediately went to the dead worgen and the confused warrior standing next to it.
"Well well well, what do we have here?", he said in a mocking tone. "Looks like you've killed a worgen, Nitor!"
"Of course I didn't!", the warrior said angrily. "Don't you see the bite marks? Do you think I bit him to death or something?"
"Well, that wouldn't surprise me, warriors are so brutal. No grace and subtely, like us shaman. I'm sure Cerrdyre would be so proud of you."
"Do not blaspheme against the War God, Marneth! I don't blaspheme against Nahdrikon, do I? I only wish you would pay the same respect to the warrior caste as you do to your precious spellcasting brethren!"
There was heavy tension in the air between the two orc. Indeed, most people were now looking at the confrontation instead of paying any attention to the deceased worgen. At least until a female orc, with flowing black hair and dressed in simple black robes, and flanked by two sword-wielding orcs in heavy black cloth armor approached the snowy knoll.
"Tell me now, what is the meaning of this?", the female inquired.
"I... I... I...", Marneth stuttered. "I am sorry, high priestess Ras'dana! It was never my intention to stir up trouble!"
"I don't care about your silly grudge with the warriors, Marneth! I want to know why there is a dead worgen at my feet!"
"I am not sure," Nitor said to the priestess. "But he had this in his hand," he said, and gave her the stone. Upon seeing the stone, priestess Ras'dana immediately snatched it from the warrior and placed it against her forehead. The stone flashed green with arcane power, and it seemed to transfer the power into her. After a few seconds, she took the stone from her forehead and gave it to one of her aides.
"Summon the council!", she exclaimed in a loud voice. "Immediately! This is a matter of the gravest importance!"
Not much later, the orcs of the Frostwolves were all gathered together in the huge tent that made up the town hall of the Frostwolf home. On the round wooden stage in the center stood the three most important characters amoung the Frostwolves: Ras'dana Amolit, high priestess of Ihna Gerymos, the Hex Goddess; Anogath Ishdulam, a tough-looking male orc in red, spiked armor, high warlord of Cerrdyre, the War God; and Celdoriuth Magath, a thin male orc in green-dyed leather armor, high shaman of Nahdrikon, the Nature God. There was much noise in the tent, but with one smash of his huge morningstar against the floor, Warlord Anogath silenced all voices at once.
"HEAR ME, FROSTWOLVES!", the warlord bellowed. "WE HAVE RECENTLY LEARNED OF A PLAN TO CRUSH OUR PEOPLE!"
The audience gasped. Priestess Ras'dana flinched from the shouting, and Shaman Celdoriuth stared down towards the ground for some reason.
"IT IS THE VILE WORGEN OF THE ICESPEAR TRIBE, LED BY THEIR LEADER MOKHER AGRUNAVID, WHO THREATEN US ALL! THEY HAVE ALLIED WITH MANY OTHER TRIBES, SUCH AS THE DARKFUR, AND CRUSHED THOSE WHO OPPOSE THEM, SUCH AS THE DEATH GLACIER, AND NOW THEY HAVE TURNED THEIR FOUL SNOUTS TOWARDS US!"
Many orcs lifted their weapons up above their heads and roared.
"WE MUST STRIKE AT THEM BEOFRE THEY CAN STRIKE AT US!"
Now the tent erupted in loud war-cries and the banging of weapons against armor. Even the shaman and sorcerers joined in eventually. There was no doubt about it: the Frostwolves were going to war.
As he was slipping out of the tent, Nitor was approached by priestess Ras'dana.
"H-high priestess!", the orc stuttered. "W-what can I do for you, mistress?"
"I will get straight to the point: I know that you are not very fond of the high warlord, Nitor of house Elringavath."
"W-what are you speaking about, priestess? M-my d-devotion to w-warlord A-anogath is a-absolute!"
"Do not attempt to fool me, Nitor. The Goddess has given me enough insight to discern the truth. I know what happened to your family. The tyrant needs to be brought down from his high wolf. I want you to slay him, Nitor, slay him, and make him pay for what he has done. Done to us all."
"What do you mean?"
"Horrible things. I do not wish to speak of it. All I wish is for you to put him down, once and for all."
"I understand, high priestess."
"Please call me Ras'dana. I am not your superior. Promise me now that you will kill him!"
"I promise, and I would rather defile the Red Colossus than to betray this promise, high pr... Ras'dana."
Chapter II: Wolf HuntEdit
Mokher Agrunavid walked through the burning ruins of what had once been the home of the Death Glacier worgen, with a heavy, serrated axe in each hand. He was the glorious leader and unifier of the worgen, but he was not entirely worgen himself. He was the offspring of an Icespear worgen warrior and an orcish woman of the Orcus tribe, the greatest of the orcish tribes. Therefore, he looked like a worgen with a ruddy coloration of his half-long fur, and a shorter snout than his canine brethren. The savage appearance disguised a military genius, a conqueror who had singlehandedly led his tribe to victory over the "lesser" worgen. He had grown up as a sort of outcast amongst his tribe, with only his father, a few worgen loyal to him, and his orcish mother, who had escaped from her family, devout Ihnaists, to live amongst the worgen, with which she felt a kinship.
When a new worgen ascended to the position of Icespear chieftain, one who had no love for anyone of orcish blood, he had Mokher's father and his servants executed. Mokher's mother narrowly escaped the maws of the executioners, and hid her newborn son amongst the Darkfur tribe. The Darkfur chieftain accepted the boy, but denied the mother's plea for sanctuary. She was then left all for herself in the wilderness, and that is as far Mokher Agrunavid knows of his parentage.
When he had grown up to become a highly capable warrior, Mokher returned to his original tribe and challenged the elderly chieftain to a duel to the death. The half-worgen, half-orc outcast won the duel, and became the new leader himself.
Now, with carnage in mind, the Icespear chieftain mounted his armored frostwolf steed, pointed his right hand forward, towards the Frostwolf lands, and shouted "CHAAARGE!"
And an army of worgen followed him.
Out from the mighty wooden gates of the Frostwolf home marched a great war-host, armed to the tusks, with the mighty warlord riding in front of them all. Just behind the warlord and in front of one of the large portable shrines, each holding a sizable red statue of Cerrdyre, the war god, rode Nitor. His head was full of thoughts: did he really have the guts to kill the Conqueror of the Silverplains, his own direct superior? How would he do so without being found out? And why did something seem wrong about this whole worgen-killing buisness? Something was definately wrong... Of course! The high shaman, Celdoriuth! He seemed awfully nervous at the meeting. And where were all shaman in the host?
He was just going to warn the others of his suspicion, when he suddenly heard a loud crash. He, and all other warriors, turned around towards the village, to see the east wall come crashing down under a massive onslaught. The high shaman had betrayed them!
In the village, the grand tent buckled and fell from a hundred claw rakings. Mokher's frostwolf savaged the chest of an orcish woman, while he himself struck down a priestess with a vicious blow from his two axes. His worgen lieutenants had savagely mauled down a significant portion of the population when the soldiers returned. It had now turned to a full-scale battle, orcish morningstars clashing against worgen talons and axes.
The fighting had gone on for several hours when the leaders of both sides finally caught up with each other. Warlord Anogath entered the supply tent which Mokher was pillaging, and the two immediately jumped at each other's throats. Anogath took a swing with his mighty mornigstar, but Mokher was there to block it with his axes. Mokher then took a slash at the warlord's legs, but he jumped away, and lifted his weapon high for a killing blow, when suddenly high shaman Celdoriuth entered the tent and struck him in the back with his spear.
"You traitor!", the warlord exclaimed. "You are a disgrace to the world!"
"Sorry, old friend," the shaman said calmly. "But I now realize that we orcs are of no more use to this world. There are powers greater than we can imagine out there. Mokher Agrunavid has realized this, too, and therefore I allied with him. In this world, only the strong survive."
Celdoriuth was just about to thrust the polearm to finish Anogath off, when an axe whirled in through a gash in the side of the tent and struck the surprised shaman straight in the head, killing him instantly. Only a mere second after this, Nitor walked in through the same gash. During this intermission, Mokher took the time to escape.
"You, grunt Elringavath!", the warlord said harshly, but with a dimnishing voice. "There is still time! Get one of the shaman! Quickly!"
But instead of getting help, Nitor took the spear and finished the high shaman's work.
"Sorry, warlord, but a promise is a promise, after all."
Amd then the young warrior walked out of the tent to behold the carnage. The Frostwolves had won this day, but most of the warriors of the tribe were now lying on the ground, either dead or crippled, and two of the three tribal leaders were dead, killed by their own tribe, in fact. Nitor grinned at the thought. But wait, where was Ras'dana? He immediately went off to look for her.
In a small tent near the gates of the village, high priestess Ras'dana Amolit stood facing away from the opening, but still very much aware on who had just entered with a serrated axe in each of his hands.
"Are you going to kill me?", Ras'dana inquired. "If so, do it quickly."
"Do not worry," the half-worgen, half-orc said in a triumphant, mocking voice. "You will not feel a thing. You will not feel a thing, mother."
Chapter III: Exodus into the WildEdit
With their village razed to the ground, the orcs of the Frostwolf tribe had no choice but to find another place to live in. Only a day after the massacre, the Frostwolves had set the blood-soaked remains of their former home in flames, and were on their way to locate a new homeland. With their leadership eliminated, the orcs had chosen the unlikely couple of Nitor Elringavath and Marneth Ardos'an to lead them, believing their rivalry would only serve to strengthen their resolve. Of course, neither the warrior nor the shaman had any high thoughts about this.
It was the third day of their journey. The Frostwolves had chosen to travel north, towards the lands of the great Orcus tribe, in hope of seeking refuge there, but the road was long, the weather harsh, and the beasts fierce.
"I don't think you have any idea of where we are at all!", Marneth said in an annoyed voice to his co-leader.
"Of course I do!", the warrior responded in a similar voice. "Look, there is the Mountain of Wrath, right?"
Nitor pointed at a huge mountain in the distance.
"And there is the entrance to the Outer Districts, right?"
Nitor pointed to a sizable stone gate in the ground not far from his location.
"Well, yes, but don't think for a second the "Grand Empire" will let us stay with them! They're dangerous! And evil! And, besides, I hate spiders..."
"Stop your whining, Marneth, I have no intention of begging the Imperials for help. But perhaps we can send you as a "gift" to them just so they won't ambush us later..."
"Alright, I won't. Anyway, we are running low on supplies, so we need to get to the Orcus as fast as possible. I am fairly sure that we are near."
"I am inclined to believe that you are correct. Look there, isn't that a typical Orcus frontier outpost?"
"Indeed it is. They must have expanded a lot recently. Come, let us go there!"
And so the orcish host went forward in a (relatively) quick pace towards the Orcus outpost. They were near their final destination.
"You can't do this! You have no right to keep me here!", the orcish warrior, bound at his wrists and ankles and lying on the floor, exclaimed. "Don't you know who I am? I am Kirend Ardos'an! Commander of this outpost! Next in line to inherit the Hammer of the Ardos'an! I demand you to release me!"
"Of course I know who you are, you insolent puppy," Mokher Agrunavid annoyingly told the bound orc. "Why do you think I let you live? Hostage, bait, or fresh food for later, influential captives are always interesting to have. Plus, you have all the security information we need."
"Who are we, exactly? I've only seen you. And by the looks of it, you don't need allies. You took out the enitre elite guard youself!"
"Flattery won't cut your bonds, but if you want to know, I will tell you. And by the way, elite guards? New recruits fresh from the academy, more likely. The only real opposition I met was you yourself, and all I really had to do was to shout "Look behind you!", and bash you unconscious with the flat side of my axe."
"It still hurts!"
"Shut your maw, mongrel! I do not understand why you "mighty warriors" ever let cowards join your ranks. But that is not the point. You wanted to know the identities of my associates, right?"
"My "associates" are vile and horrible beings from beyond time and space, abominable entities ancient when time was young! You would be wise not to stand against them."
"That is all you will know of that. Now, let us prepare a surprise for our "guests"."
"Guests? What guests?"
"Haven't I told you yet? The Frostwolves! There was a small accident involving me destroying their village, so now they have to move. And they're not far from here now! The fools, believing this outpost to be a safe haven."
"The Frostwolves, huh? Hey, my youngest brother is a member of that clan!"
"Well, how good for him. Or not. Definately not. Heh. He will, of course, perish, along with all the others."
"Look, mister whatever you are, you may have taken out my guard, but surely the Frostwolves have some warriors left, and shaman, and sorcerers. They will be more than a match for you."
"You would be completely right, if not for ingenuity of my employers. You see, I have a certain "device" that will help me put an end to the Frostwolves, an artifact of great power. Do you really think I would have come here without a plan?"
"How should I know? For all I know, you cold be a deranged, delusional lunatic."
"That's taking it one step too far, Ardos'an."
Mokher then proceeded to lift one of his handaxes, and swung it down in a wide arc towards the captive. The strike instantly severed the warrior's right arm, and resulted in a loud, high-pitched scream from him.
"That's right, you coward!", Mokher said gleefully. "Squeal like a wounded pig!"
The half-worgen warlord then took up the severed appendage from the floor, and took a large bite out of it. Kirend Ardos'an then passed out, both from disgust and loss of blood.
"I think I might have use of you, my mutilated adversary," the warlord said thoughtfully, and then dragged the unconscious orc out into the cold, among the half-eaten corpses of those warriors he had so recently slain.
As Nitor approached the outpost, his sensitive orcish nose smelled something. The smell of blood, the smell of death. And there, just a short bit from the warrior, in a pool of blood, was the mutilated body of an orc, with his right arm missing. Nitor immediately rushed forwards towards the body.
"He's still alive!", he screamed to his companions, especially Marneth and his shaman. "But barely!"
Marneth, as fast as he could, channeled spiritual energy to heal the most grievous wounds of the wounded one.
"By Nahdrikon!", the shaman exclaimed. "This is my brother! I haven't seen Kirend in years! What happened here, brother?2
The newly healed orc, who was still quite groggy, could nothing but mumble incoherently. The Frostwolf leaders tried to make him say some words of what had happened, and after quite some time, they succeeded.
"Brother Marneth, is that you?", Kirend Ardos'an said. "Do not enter the outpost! It is a trap!
At the very moment Kirend divulged this information, the ground shook, and two tall pillars rose out of the ground between them and the outpost. The pillars were made of metal, and each of them carried a crystalline sphere on top. When the pillars were at full height, vicious lightning started streaming between the spheres. From the middle of the electric current, a savage bolt of electricity shot out and burned three orcs in the Frostwolf caravan to ashes. The Frostwolves quickly reacted, and began a counterattack against the conductors. The battle raged on, shamanistic magic and iron axes clashing against the harnessed power of a thunderstorm.
On the roof of the highest watchtower of the outpost, Mokher watched the carnage unfolding. At his left side stood a mysterious black-robed individual, like a very tall and lean male orc, his head shrouded by a black cloth mask.
"Are you having fun with my gifts, Mokher?", the robed man inquired in a foreboding, otherwordly voice.
"Oh yes," the worgen hybrid said gleefully. "The machine is quite a plaything. The orcs will die now, guaranteed. Wait, where did you go?"
The robed man had disappeared without as much as a trace.
"Typical of him to just dissapear like that!", Mokher said, annoyed, before he proceeded to climb down the tower. But the moment he reached the ground, it collapsed beneath him, entrapping him in a traphole. Above him, at the edge of the hole, appeared two spiderlike creatures, but with semi-humanoid torsos.
"Is this him?", one of the creatures asked the other.
"Yes," the other answered. "This is Mokher Agrunavid. Just the man we needed to apprehend."
"Good. You go help the others bring down the curious machinery pestering those orcs. I will take care of this mongrel."
He turned to the prisoner in the hole.
"Mokher Agrunavid, you are hereby arrested for the murder of orcs under the protection of the Nerubian Empire, and the unlawful overtaking of a facility possessed by the aforementioned orcs. You will be taken to Nax'Orien to stand trial before the Council of Orcus. You have no right to remain silent, so I suggest you start talking, you weakling."