Orcs were widely known not just for their love of fighting, but also other barbaric things such as raping, pillaging, and not so surprisingly, burning things down. At least this is what they had become known for on the continent due to their once proud civilization falling into the dusk of history and their kind devolving into brutish brigands, cannibals and other atrocious labels which were placed upon them. Of course, these were the labels the so called civilized races had placed on them and they were somewhat true.
However, most had forgotten that the Orcs had a once magnificent past on the continent and were not always tribal savages. This was a golden age for the Orcs which had been led by the powerful bloodline of their species, the High Orcs. They were smarter, stronger, and more capable than the average Orc and were boosted by the strength of their bloodline.
Grobak was one such Orc, although he had grown up in one of the savage tribes of the Orgren Steppes and had grown accustomed to their culture and general way of doing things. He wasn’t aware of his people’s once glorious past or the refined mannerisms of the more cultured. He was a proper Orc, or at least what was considered a proper Orc in the modern times.
“Kill the men, capture the women!” Shouted Grobak as he gave orders out to the Orcs by his side.
“Can we eat them?” Asked one of the burlier Orcs who was one of Grobak’s lieutenants and a peak Intermediate class being.
“No, master said we can’t eat Human meat. He says it makes us weak, and stupid. We need to be more refined, whatever that means.”
“Hmph, didn’t we leave that Human!? Why do we need to listen to what he says?” Asked another one of the Orcs with contempt.
Grobak became visibly angered, turned, and smashed the butt of his axe into the Orc’s face.
“Don’t ever speak of our master again, the next time you do, I will kill you.”
The Orc who Grobak hit was easily floored by the attack to his face and he couldn’t speak. He rolled on the ground in pain and his nose had been broken. He couldn’t say anything due to the pain but Grobak was satisfied.
“You forget yourselves. We serve the master, he is not just some “Human” do you understand? He is our master and even more, our god! Anyone who says anything else… I will kill without hesitation.”
The Orcs shrinked back in fear and quickly grunted in obeisance. They were clearly afraid of Grobak’s wrath and he had beaten them enough that they didn’t dare talk back although some still had slight misgivings about serving a Human. In their mind, this Aleks was not a god at all. He didn’t have the aura of a god and they hadn’t seen anything godlike about him. Nonetheless, they didn’t argue with Grobak.
“Don’t forget, you are all branded with a slave mark. Anyone who mentions anything about the master, will die! Now, go! Kill those barbarians and take their women as an offering to the tribe! When we return to my tribe, I will challenge the chief for leadership of the tribe and we will gift the warriors with these barbarian women. With that I will gain their loyalty and admiration!”
The Orcs didn’t dally any longer and immediately charged towards the barbarian encampment they had come across by chance. Although there were very few trees and the grass was too short to hide in, the Steppes were relatively hilly and in some areas, were extremely mountainous. This made it easy for the Orcs to hide from the sight of the barbarians and being that it was late at night, visibility was obscured. The barbarians had no idea of the hundred or so Orcs which had found their camp by accident and only became aware of them when they were spotted by the lookouts.
However, It wasn’t a large barbarian camp and the barbarians were little more than savages themselves. They were in some ways similar to the Orc tribes and the Orcs and barbarians often fought. They both had their small and large tribes which ruled over different areas of the Steppes. Small tribes like this wouldn’t have sophisticated weapons and armor, but instead more primitive weapons and little armor to speak of. The larger tribes would be a force to be reckoned with however, as they often traded with the dwarves or even those from the Human nations. They had much more resources and wealth in order to obtain better equipment and they were often stronger with many intermediate and even a good number of advanced class beings.
The Orcs no longer needed to hide their presence and emitted loud growls and other battle sounds as they charged into the small barbarian encampment. They numbered a few hundred, but most would not necessarily be warriors. There would also be children, the old and non-combatants. Even if they were to take up arms, it would be a simple matter to kill them. These Orcs were not necessarily the most powerful of warriors among those on the Steppes, but they possessed sufficient strength and had been trained within the slave camps of Kordusk and eventually worked their way into the arenas. They were all upper Intermediate class beings and some had even reached the peak. It was more than enough to quickly slaughter the warriors of this barbarian tribe.
Grobak didn’t bother to participate in the fighting and only looked on. No one but he knew what he was thinking and no other knew what manner of being was watching from within him. From within, the powerful ‘Astral Soul’ of Aleksandros observed silently. His body was still within the military camp his people had set up outside of Kordusk and they had yet to leave the vicinity of the city although the expedition was soon to begin. He wished to understand the Steppes better with his own eyes and had used his ability to travel alongside Grobak. This was also a means for him to remain in communication with him and to help guide him for the mission that Aleks had set for him.
It wasn’t his command that had ordered Grobak and the Orcs with him to attack this group of barbarians. Nor did he say anything to halt Grobak’s actions. He only observed and would occasionally offer guidance, but as he watched the carnage inflicted upon this small tribe by the Orcs he couldn’t help but be engrossed in some of his more tragic memories. He had seen such scenes a thousand times. He had been the victim of such and at other times the instigator, although in reality those lives weren’t truly his. His soul was a mere passenger along a jaded road that was not of his own choosing. As such, he felt no guilt or regret for the events of those lives which he considered not his own.
However, the screams of the dying, the wails of the women as they were dragged across the grass and dirt, and the horror in the eyes of the old and young alike filled him with a slight sense of remorse. He wasn’t a murderer in his original life. He was a man that had followed rules, most of which he had placed upon himself. A rigid and lonely life that was absorbed in his own world of creativity and ingenuity that only he alone could exist in. He was a prisoner of his own design, but in a sense he could still be considered free.
But it was all a lie. Existence is a lie, a lie fueled by ignorance. The truth, is cruel and unjust. Here, and everywhere, the strong prey upon the weak and the weak are fuel that strengthen the powerful. It is a vicious cycle I am too weak to change. If I were to call myself a hypocrite, perhaps it would be true but even in light of such a truth, I can only walk down this path with steady footsteps. For at the end, lie my only path to redemption. I must become that which I hate. For in that abyss, in that darkest night, I saw with eyes unblemished… myself and my sin. It stared back at me with judging eyes, and it was then.. at that moment, that I became that which I abhor.
A lone carriage rumbled and slightly shook along old cobblestones. It was dark, and the moon was still prominent among the night sky. There was a certain solemnity to it, as if the morning bowed to the majesty of the dim moonlight. A young girl gazed into the starry sky from a window of the carriage, her long blonde hair flowed gently to her side. She was beautiful and radiant and her skin, which was the color of snow, gleamed with the light of the moon. She was like an enchanted being, one which did not belong in this world. Her movements were gentle and calm, and her eyes were like sparkling sapphires.
Her heart was restless and as she looked gently into the night, she felt no comfort there.
“Are you certain that the demon which inhabits my brother’s body is there?” She asked to someone within the carriage even though she continued to look outside the window.
“There is no certainty, only speculation. You should know very well how tricky that demon is. It even fooled you didn’t it? What we do know, was that it was here and now it isn’t. There are some… traces of its passing and the Night Fury insists it has head towards Kordusk. It makes some sense.. Seeing as such a large event is taking place there currently. Although, we should also expect to find nothing. Either way, we can’t keep wasting time here.”
“Just remember.. If we do find it, I will be the one to take its life.”