It's been a very long while I haven't posted anything here. I've had a long period of unproductiveness for various reasons, but now I finally found the desire and courage to get to work again. So I'll endeavor to post more often, whether it's to share some of the stuff I wrote or to comment on other people's creations, because man are there some really talented people on this forum, and I want to be a part of it. So there. Nice to meet all of you (again).
Anyway, I'd really like to hear what you guys have to say about this piece I wrote a while back. I reread it and edited what I found blatantly awful (after all, I did write it something like 5 years ago), but I'm sure it still needs a lot of work. So, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts if you have any!
The earth shook as a flaming rock crashed on the watchtower of the outpost, destroying its weak wooden structure and wreaking havoc all around, rumble showering troops of both sides. The human siege war machines were spreading chaos amongst the orcs, their projectiles ablaze setting fire to sections of the outpost and warriors alike.
Brog cursed humans and their technology once more and bellowed at the goblin artillery crew for them to man their machines faster and respond on time. He rushed at the nearest pack of enemies, rallying isolated grunts on his way, barking and threatening them with ominous chores and fates if they ever dared to refuse. He and six other orcs thus clashed into a good dozen of human footers who awaited them behind their high shields. The latter found themselves overcome anyway; the charging orcs bashed hard on them, hurling themselves beastly at the humans. Several of the defenders were knocked down and trampled, while the rest were promptly slain by axes and swords. Brog's scimitar thus sundered a nineteenth head in this battle.
Looking around, he noticed one of their three trolls had crippled one of the human war machines, near the southwest grove. The mighty creature was in a delicate situation though, as enemy spearmen were dangerously closing around it. Only a handful of orcs remained by its side, as a good lot of the band had fallen protecting the troll while it was focusing on destroying the siege machine. In the south the main body of the human forces, which he evaluated to be a good five dozens still, confronted theirs, at least a dozen less. He had learned from Jagal the shaman that the great Gash'orog had fallen on the front-line in the early moments of the battle, by far the fiercest. That made him, Brog Drom'dam, the rightful new leader of the outpost of Harkshog. But he did not care so much for leadership of a place which now was very likely to end up burned to ruins.
In the east, all orc forces had been wiped out and humans were now marching toward the oriental wall. They were now reduced to a modest three dozens, enough to worry Brog, but not enough to make them an immediate menace for the outpost. Archers were still on the eastern wall, the mightiest of Harkshog, besides two catapult crews that were yet to strike the enemy with hefty rocks and other deadly rubble. His harsh scolding of the crew close to the main gate made Brog quite confident that they would not fail to their duty, but he had no real certainty for the other goblin artillery crews. As a general rule, he had no special faith into goblins. They usually were supposed to be directed by orc guards, but in such critical circumstances, he had forced himself to believe he could trust those ludicrous munchkins, needing every orc able to bear arms.
He spotted a group of spearmen busy finishing off wounded enemies lying prone on the battleground.
“Ye gob-scum get yer arses over here or I'll give 'em to trolls as delicacies!” he bellowed in their direction, infuriated. The grunts around him roared with laughter, which only irritated him even more. “Ye better watch yerselves too or y'all suffer far worse a treatment, so shut up!” he thundered. Their bright mood died instantly, and their attention was brought back to the battle for good when a strayed arrow came whistling and buried itself in the chest of one of them. The fatally wounded warrior fell to the ground with a hushed sigh of agony. Brog's rage was complete.
“Damn y'all fools, gods have yer asses to lash and burn! Pull yer wits for good and be orcs!” he bawled, kicking the posteriors of those too long to set in motion. In no time they had all packed into a fair-sized band―almost a score―and, under their leader's curses, they charged like demons in a frenzy of roars that rose forming a rolling battlecry toward the enemy.
The fight was harsh and deadly. Many fell on both sides and, for a long time, there raged a terrible maelstrom of blood and metal where cries of fury and agony rose as tokens of the savage determination to prevail that shared orcs and humans. Brog's band's berserk charge had shaken the human troops and rekindled the morale of the orcs who had been on the brink of giving in face to the enemy. But they were outnumbered all the same, and it was now obvious they were about to be swept over if nothing was to be done. Brog was contemplating such a grim possibly when he felt the earth shiver under his feet. The tremor soon turned into a violent shaking which came with a rolling thunder. Suddenly a deafening rumble boomed and a blinding flare flashed on his left. He staggered, his vision blurred for a time, realizing he was covered with splattered earth. Progressively recovering his sight, he could see a messy gap of churned up soil and crushed bodies amongst their enemies. A handful more were running about afire, screaming and gesturing in agony. All the orcs hailed with roars and cries of victory the goblins' tricks which, for once, had proved worthy.
He cursed most resentfully the shameless recklessness of the humans and poured the horn of ale on the modest grave they had been able to give Gash'orog Drom-man'hak, Trollkiller He Who Sunders All, veteran warrior of valour of Oruk-Og. When he was done, he knelt before the wet earth and drove into it a thick, short stake of carved wood. The words engraved in the tongue of the orcs of Oruk-Og said:
We sons of Ga
Born in her womb
In her bosom returned
Passed on in peace
Slain in torment
Dead and alive
Her children still
He drew his scimitar and ran his thumb along its edge until blood flowed down the old blade. Then, using his thumb as a brush, he traced the character of Ga on the carved stake. A weak smile stretched his parched lips.
“Be at peace, brother,” he murmured with a croaky voice.
“I'm sure he shall,” said Kardash pensively. “Though I'm not certain he wants to,” he added grimly, “given the situation.”
“How do you mean?” Brog asked, not bothering to turn back to face his lieutenant.
“As I know him, he would have wished he could remain among us all, as harsh as life is these times. He would have continued to fight for Oruk-Og and all orc tribes and kingdoms. That he now wants, I say.”
Brog stood up and sighed, letting his gaze stray over the lands afar. Gash'orog's grave had been dug on heights that overhung the outpost and which they called Ushod-Gokh, the Heights of Old. They stretched on many miles northwards from the outpost which marked their limit south, with the Valley of Fays running from southwest to northeast. Across the valley rose Mor'Gash-Og, the Mount of Blackfire, towering the outpost grimly.
“Of his present wish I can say nothing,” he said. “But I fear you are right about calling these days we live grim. And I cannot get my heart to foresee any betterment.” He cast his gaze full south, toward the sky, reddening now as the sun sank slowly in the west, beyond Mor'Gash-Og's gloomy figure, ash-and-bone sharp cliffs and peaks arrowing skywards.
“Captain,” started Kardash. “If I may say, I think you should press the King to do something. This attack is nothing like the skirmishes humans have accustomed us to. There will be others of that ilk, I wager...”
“You wager?” Brog interrupted sharply, turning back at last to give his lieutenant a stern look. “And what does you wager should incline us to do? To launch a counter-attack?”
“Aye, captain,” Kardash said. He had come short of faltering and breaking in the middle of the last word, but he plucked up courage and, holding his superior's stare, he spoke slowly again: “I believe Oruk-Og must strike back.”
The ghost of anger flickered in Brog's eyes for a second, but it disappeared as soon as it had come. Instead sadness darkened his face and pulled a wry smile across it.
“And where?” Brog asked quietly. “Where should our troops strike? The human lands? Attack their empire?” He motioned weakly at the mountains behind him. “March on every city we encounter till we reach their most mighty strongholds? And you expect the King, or any other sensible orc in all Oruk-Og and beyond, to do such madness? You wager the fate of Oruk-Og here.” He snorted, as if to himself, and grinned. “No, Kardash, you don't want this, and neither does any other orc.”