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Lost Son of the Broken Spine

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Lost Son of the Broken Spine

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:11 am

My name is Tumek. Doctor Tumek. son of Chieftain Kroghut, Son of the Broken Spine. I was born twenty seven years ago in the foothills of the Mindspin mountains. My tribe was the Broken Spine orcs. They are well known in this region.  

These are the facts. I write this with neither pride nor shame. These are my roots. It’s where I come from. I was one of them, but never truly ‘one’ of them. I was a half-blood.

Inferior.

Weak.

Such was life in an orc’s world. The strong rule, the weak serve. My father, was the chieftain, but that afforded me no comfort. Quite the opposite in fact. I do not know who my mother was. Undoubtedly a slave or prisoner taken on a raid. As with most who claimed Chieftain, Kroghut had many females, orc and others. He had many offspring and I have many brothers and sisters. Family however is not the same to orcs as it is with humans. Most slaves only survived long enough to bore their master, then they become food.

Half-orcs are bred for a purpose though. The human blood makes us weaker than true orcs, but we are also smarter… cleverer. If things go well, we can advance to lead troops with guile in place of brute force to devastating effect. Should we survive that long.

We are bred for intelligence, but orc society does not value intelligence. It is a frustrating conundrum. Nor does it value potential. Nor does it value threats… Survival in orc society is tenuous at best.

Cold blooded murder of each other is forbidden under pain of death and torture. Even orcs have SOME measure of order. Though it’s usually whatever the chief decides at the time. Executions are common though. As are Challenges … and duels… and of course accidents. Training is difficult. For those of lesser strength it is nearly impossible. Many half-orcs never see adulthood.

There are other threats though. My own intelligence was noticed early on, and I was placed with the shaman. Magra the Mad.

I learned much from Magra, too much perhaps. I started my lessons around age seven, though birthdays were not the kind of thing celebrated. War. Strength. Viciousness. Destroying one’s enemy… these were the celebrations of my youth. When father and the others returned from raids with a horde of slaves, captives and food. Many of the humans were all three.

Magra was a leader. He wasn’t the strongest, but he wielded power. He knew his weaknesses and worked them into strengths. More than once I caught him manipulating Kroghut into some military matter. I suspect he had eyes on the Chieftain… but not the strength to challenge.

I bear many scars from those years. Some from Magra, some from father, others from anyone
I crossed paths with. Grugak once took a piece of my right ear for moving too slowly. Some tattoos and brands I accepted willingly to prove my worth. A mistake that ended poorly.

As I was saying, I learned much from Magra. He was my first exposure to chemicals and reagents. I found a natural affinity for them and was blowing things up before too long, much to the delight of my less sophisticated brethren. There was power there for me… I was soon experimenting with combinations that Magra never imagined.

I believe I scared him. Which was a stupid thing to do on my part.

In orc society there is a line that survivors must tread. Be strong. Be powerful. Gain what passes for respect. Be weak… and die. What they don’t tell you is this…. Become TOO powerful or be seen as a threat? You die for that too.

My escape came when I was about 16. Magra was a shaman and while he knew much about herbs and reagents… his main power was the divine power of Rovagug. Myself, I was a poor student in that regard… but it didn’t matter. The time came when he decided that it was better for me to be gone. I overheard him muttering prayers to bless my sacrifice, and I fled. Sacrifice is a completely different thing then murder of course.

One advantage that I had over my full blooded  brethren was my daysight. They are creatures of night and despise the day. A quick explosion and fleet feet on a blessedly sunny day and my escape was successful. It wasn’t easy by any means, and I felt certain I had traded one death for another amongst the mountains.

But I did not die. I made it to the human town Trunau.

I’m not sure what to say about Trunau. It’s a quaint little town that struggles against the inevitable. It’s city is held together with stubbornness and more guts than brains. Trunau is an oasis of civilization in the midst of a desert of chaos. Metaphorically speaking that is. I was concerned when I arrived at their gates. This settlement was a legendary prize amongst my people. ‘Manhome’ it was called. Blood rivalry that fostered such hatred it was hard to describe. The orcs hatred of Trunau was no less than Trunau’s hatred of orcs. Still, I was cold and hungry and doubted my ability to survive the wild much longer. Besides… where else could I go? The Broken Spine tribe was horrible… but it wasn’t unusual. If I even made it to Urgir, the closest to civilized that Belzken orcs got… life wouldn’t have been any different.

So cold and hungry I arrived at their gate, and with less discussion than I expected, I was admitted in. Half-orcs it seemed were not unusual, and an unfortunate by-product of the blood feuds. My kind was accepted here, as long as we were useful, and some even held positions of authority.

There was a serious culture shock my first few months. For a change I was bigger than many others, but force was frowned greatly on.  Fortunately Sanja was there. She was a half-elf archer the likes I had never encountered. She could see past the rough upbringing and saw me for who I could be. I regret that it required so much patience on her part, but before long I was integrated into the city. Patience that was only matched by a kind heart. I abandoned the orc ways and embraced my human side.

As I’ve stated before, my strength was never in battle. Where Sanja spent much time protecting the walls and hunting.  I found myself a different purpose. Trunau needed warriors, they battled attrition as much as they battled orcs. Unlike my old home, they valued brains here as well. While I may not be a warrior, I could repair and restore their other warriors to battle.

Doctor’s are a rarity out here. They’ll have a few stop by for a few months… but the bloodshed tends to drive them away, or they die. Same with Clerics. We have a temple of Iomeda, but spells are limited and wounds are not. There is plenty of work to go around here. Finally I was valued for my own particular strengths.

After a year, Sanja and I were married. It was a peculiar pairing for sure, and there were more than a few jokes about what our children would be like, but neither of us minded. We made a happy family. She was a follower of Erastil totally devoted to preserving the community. An expert hunter, though I myself had forsworn eating meat. One more attempt to help me abandon my orcish ways.

I rarely leave Trunua. My studies and experiments kept me quite busy. I eagerly awaited each trade caravan’s arrival. Many of the regulars and I had arrangements to collect some more uncommon reagents. Many months I found myself going without. Occasionally, Sanja and I would venture out with patrols and I would collect what I could myself. One such trip has been burned into my memory.

It was a clear autumn day about four years ago and our group was roaming the foothills of the Mindspin mountains. I didn’t like being away from my experiments, but Sanja was able to keep me distracted. I found some particular flowers I hadn’t noticed in this region before. Collecting samples, separated me from our patrol, but it had been quiet.  That’s when I heard Sanja cry out. Startled I noticed three orcs leaping out in ambush. Sanja was set upon as we tried to rejoin the patrol. I tried to help, but she was too close to use my explosives… She was too close to use her bow.

I carried a greataxe, but it wasn’t my prefered choice. Still, the training was there. I fought to come to her aid, but as I have well documented, I am no warrior. I fought for all I was worth to save my wife, but in reality she was trying to save me.

I heard a sickening crack as her bow was snapped in half by a particularly brutish orc. Easily twice my size and with three scars across his face, I’ll never forget that face. His ally stripped my my axe away from me and tossed me to the ground like a child. I heard Sanja slam to the ground as well, and saw three-scar rip a chunk of her lovely brown hair with a sickening sound mixed with screams. Then I felt the sting of an axe and lost consciousness.

The only thing worse than the realization that I was about to die, was the realization that I did not. The next thing I saw was Henry, another of our patrol,  kneeling next to me and pouring a potion down my throat. Struggling to my feet I noticed two orcs were dead, killed by the returning patrol. Neither of them had the three scars.

The pain of walking was nothing compared to seeing the remains of my wife. She had fought for life, but an archer without her bow… She didn’t stand a chance and she knew it. Seeing the bloody hopeknife told me all I needed to know. She knew where to cut as well as I did, and she had robbed the brutes of their prize. Henry and the others tried to console me, but knowing ‘it could have been worse’... is slim consolation indeed.

I was a changed man after that day. While never particularly jovial… I focused on my work and socialized less and less. Once I had worshipped the Sezelrian fire god of knowledge and now I focused more on the direction of Irori.Though not the way I hear most do.

I was weak… I was Inferior. Just as I was when I was with Broken Spine tribe, I had failed when I needed to thrive. Irorians believe in self perfection. Making yourself the perfect version of you. He is also a god of knowledge.

That was my decision. I would use my knowledge to make myself better. Stronger… Faster… just BETTER.


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Colin Marcus
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Posts : 1800
Join date : 2009-09-19
Age : 40
Location : Impresk

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