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21 Flamerule 1372 (Late morning) - kronk9
21 Flamerule 1372 (Late morning)
We get some horses from friend of Wulgar, leave Greenglade while sky still pink.

It long ride to Olostin's Hold. Kronk not say much. Mostly think about Thralia.

Kronk not want to see her again. Or maybe Kronk does. Maybe Serd right. Kronk afraid of Thralia. But Kronk not afraid of anything, right? Kronk big, strong, fight things. Hurt things. Kronk win when he hurt things.

But Thralia not something to fight. Not something to hurt. But Kronk hurt her anyway. Not even know how. And seeing her again--

"You know, if I had me a copper for every time ye got a stupid look on your face, I could pay for another wand right now."

"What?" Kronk dazed.

"I said you look lost in thought there," Serd say. "Always a risky endeavor." He grin. "Care to share?"

Kronk shrug. "Thinking about...her."

"What a surprise. Not sure you want to see her again, I bet."

"Yeah." Serd always seem to know things.

"You don't have to go, you know. Jaree wasn't mad at you, I'm sure she can find another keg to tap."

"Serd go alone?"

"Well, of course." He pull out sword with a flourish. "How would it look for the greatest swordsman in the Silver Marches to stay out of an epic battle?"

"Like he know he just use greatest swordsman line to bed barmaids," Kronk sneer.

"True enough. But one has to keep up appearances, after all." He put sword away. "None of that means you have to go with me, Kronk."

Kronk shake head. "They need me. They not know what Ugurth like. How he think."

"And you do? You haven't seen him since you were fourteen, and he was just a lad. You thought him dead."

"Still know what he was like. Ugurth...they only have him to make heir. Fill head with stuff about how he important, powerful, pure blood. He would rule all Orc tribes. He..." Kronk fall silent.

"He what?" Serd ask after while.

"In our tribe...we very rich family. We have other orcs for servants. They called servants, anyway. Really, they slaves. They not paid, they not free to leave. They are beaten if not do what they told.

"Mother not want to nurse child. She not nurse me because I not hers. But when she have Ugurth, she not nurse him either. They get servant to do it. She young orc girl, her daughter killed in raid. She nurse Ugurth, and when he not need nursemaid, she look after Ugurth and Kronk. Her name was Verra.

"She treated like other servants. But she nice. Nice to us both. She see how parents treat Ugurth, try to make us tough, and she give us something else. When Kronk not get food, she sneak some of her own to me. When Ugurth get hurt while training with weapons, parents want to leave wounds, toughen him up. But Verra bind his wounds when they leave.

"Parents worship Yurtrus, teach us rites for his disciples. When Ugurth is nine, parents make him perform first sacrifice. We all there: father, mother, Kronk, father's brothers, uncle Krusk. Whole family must be present for ritual. It sign of respect.

"They show him room full of slaves, all bound, all with bags over head. Kronk not recognize them. Ugurth look over the slaves, he point at woman. Clerics pull her from crowd. She start to struggle, but she not strong enough to fight clerics. They tie her to altar, she crying and whimpering through gag, but clerics not care.

"They take blade, make cut below throat. Up and down, toward chest, not deep, just enough to bleed. Then they bring Ugurth up, put vial of black liquid in hands. He raise it over cut, get this look on face like...like...not know. She still crying out. And he pour stuff in vial on the cut.

"Dark stuff fill up the cut. For minute, nothing happen but she tense up, like in pain. And then...and then her blood start turning black around wound...and dark lines like spider web spread out from cut across skin, covers whole body. She scream again, worse than before, and begin to writhe, and then make noise like she need to throw up, but she still have bag over head, and then her back arch up, and she make awful, awful sound, and..." Kronk shrug. "And then she not struggle anymore."

Kronk look back at Serd. We riding over ridge. Path narrow, so we go slow. Serd close eyes, lower head. "Yurtrus' Mark. The plague of one." He raise head and nod to self.

"After ceremony, we all go up to alter, and one of the priests remove bag over her head." Kronk sigh. "And it Verra.

"Kronk turn to Ugurth and say, 'You kill Verra. She take care of us. She nurse you, and you kill her.'

"And he turn to Kronk and look me in eyes and say, 'I know. She tried to make me soft.' And then he walk away."

After moment, Kronk add, "When Kronk look to parents, they nodding to each other, smiles on faces."

We not talk for while after that. Sky is very blue, only a few clouds. In distance, Kronk think he can see hawk. His wings are beating very slowly, and he soar over land like all of it--trees, animals, people, us--is his. He know everything that happen there, and not care.

We ride for few hours, go west of Everlund. Soon we going up ridge over Evermoor Way, not far from Olostin's Hold. Kronk turn to Serd.

"What we do when we get there? We need plan."

Serd ahead of Kronk, get to top of ridge first. "Well, I think our best bet is to ride right in and do whatever damage we can."

Kronk get to top of ridge. "You call that plan? Serd supposed to be master strategist!"

"Aye, I'm that." He point over ridge. "And I'm smart enough to know when strategy will get us nothing."

Kronk look where he pointing. Smoke fill sky over Olostin's Hold.

Current Location: Outside Olostin's Hold
Current Mood: worried worried

1 comment or Leave a comment
dandycat From: dandycat Date: May 22nd, 2007 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
"Parents worship Yurtrus."

Trust me on this one. I'll show you Saturday.
1 comment or Leave a comment