The Cursed Tribe - Prologue

  • Prologue

    4E 180


    There is something sacred about midnight. Have you ever stopped for a moment and thought about it? A new day is just seconds away, the old one is coming to its end and all it needs to be reborn are few seconds. And when the moment comes, you don't even notice the difference. Because nothing really changes. The midnight isn't as magical as dawn or dusk, but it is still important.


    And this midnight was special. Yes, aurora was whirling on the night sky, the color of blood was replaced by the color of incadescent metal, then by the color of the rising sun. Nearly anyone would be enchanted by it, but not the hulking figure standing on the palisade. That figure was watching the dark birch forest. His – and it was really he – race wasn't known for appreciation of beauty, his armor with spikes and sharp edges clear indication of that. It was hard to determine its color, because it seemed that the armor itself merged with the night.


    A loud growl sounded from behind him, but he barely noticed it. He knew it was alright as long as he could hear growls but not screams.   


    "Is mother going to be alright, father?" sounded a voice from his right side. It was the voice of a young child, barely four winters old.   


    As he turned his head towards the child, moonlight reflected on his red eyes and revealed protruding tusks and red paint on his green skin. He threateningly growled and the child cowered in fear of an incoming punch, but the Orc's hands remained on the palisade.  


    "I am your chieftain, runt. Not your father," he said with anger in his voice.


    "But," started boy with hesitancy in his voice, "Shadbo is my mother and through her, you gave birth to me." He seemed to gain some confidence and looked with resistance in his eyes right in the eyes of his father. Yet when he saw those eyes of blood, he clearly lost that bravery and added: "Chieftain."


    The chieftain let out a quiet chuckle that sounded like cracking of rocks.


    "Come closer, Gularzob," he said and pulled a crate near to the palisade for the young boy to stand on so he could watch the forest too. "While it is true that thanks to my seed you're in this world, I stopped being your father once you came out of the womb. Listen to me carefuly now, Gularzob. We Orcs are fathers only in two moments. In the moment our child is born, we hold it, we bite the cord in two and we give the child back to its mother. We are fathers then and once we hand over the child chieftains again. One day you'll surely understand."


    The chieftain saw, in the corner of his eye, how Gularzob looked at him. "And what's the second moment, chieftain?”   


    Father-chieftain returned the stare. "That's when your son defeats you in combat and becomes the new chieftain. In that moment of death, when your guts prolapse from your body and you breathe blood instead of air...that's the moment when you’re a chieftain no more and become a father once again, for the last time. Being a father means life and death, boy. Remember it well, as I do."   


    Both went silent, and chieftain's thoughts were back at that moment when his father was dying with axe in his side and a new chieftain was looking down on his dying body. Had his father felt alone in that moment? Abandoned? The new chieftain certainly did. Something that was part of his life had died and new dawn for his tribe was coming. It felt exactly the same way as midnight, that moment when his father was dying. Only mere seconds, nothing more, and it was a new day. Yet nothing changed in that moment, dawn had yet to come.


    Yet again another growl sounded from the Longhouse. Shadbo was doing rather well so far. It was her second delivery – the first was Gularzob.   


    Giving birth to an Orc wasn't an easy thing and it usually involved a lot of pain and blood. It was hard to give birth to a child with tiny bone protrusions on their heads - if they had them. There was a saying among their race: “The Hearth-wife bears more scars than a battle hardened warrior.”


    So as long as his hearth-wife only growled, everything would be...   


    A loud scream cut the quiet night in half and the chieftain noticed Gularzob's wide eyes. Without hesitation he jumped down from the palisade and ran to Longhouse. He knocked down the door and went right to the chieftain's bedroom.   


    Shadbo was standing naked in the center of the room and Atub and Garakh were holding her hands to support her. Under their feet was a growing pool of blood.   


    "You're here. Good," growled Atub. "The baby cut her. Badly. Be prepared to-"  


    "Don't tell me what to do, wise-woman!" he snapped at her. "I know what to do." He dropped on one knee before Shadbo and prepared to catch the child. He had his hands covered with blood in mere seconds and terror sneaked into his mind. Is she going to die? And the baby too? It was possible that the child was already dead, choked with blood from its mother's womb, which it had cut.   


    "Just one last push, Shadbo," murmured Atub.  


    Garakh put her lips as close to Shadbo's ear as possible and whispered: "Malacath is watching. You can make it."   


    With a scream came the last push and the chieftain's hands were suddenly heavy. He cleared its mouth and waited. For a few seconds, that seemed like an eternity, there was a silence, but then a scream broke it. A child's scream. The chieftain raised the baby to his face. After a moment he raised his eyes to females and announced: "It's a boy."   


    Shadbo collapsed on the floor. "Is he alright? Yamarz? Is he alright?"   


    Yamarz looked at her with something that might have been sadness in his eyes. "Yes, he is."   


    "He..." she murmured with closing eyes. "Grul...mar," she said and she let out her last shaky breath. Yamarz gritted his teeth, forcing himself to remain calm. His hearth-wife...gone. Killed by his son. Was it fate or bad omen? Was it Malacath’s will? He looked at his wise-woman with expectancy.


    Atub laid her head on the floor and took the child from Yamarz's hands. "Grulmar," she muttered. "Cursed One."   


    "It's a name as good as any other. But what do you see, wise-woman? Can you see anything in his future?"   


    She looked into child's red eyes. "I see..," she said while still staring in his eyes, "a fall. A curse. I see that our lord Malacath takes great interest in this child." She shook her head and looked at Yamarz. "This child's destiny is extraordinary. But I don't know if it will be good or bad for the tribe."   


    Yamarz was looking at the boy – Grulmar – and his thoughts were spinning. Should he die with his mother? For killing her, he would certainly deserve it.


    Then he bite the cord in two. "The tribe needs every hand." He handed the child to Garakh and went out into the night. The females would take care of his dead hearth-wife’s body. It was really a shame, he had grown fond of her, but now he would have to look for another hearth-wife. Yet his tribe didn't have much to trade with, so there was only a small possibility that he could trade the little he had for a new hearth-wife. But he would find a way. His Longhouse needed a female’s touch.   


    The forge-wife looked at the screaming baby and murmured: "I hope you won't bring the end of this tribe, Grulmar gro-Largash."



26 Comments   |   Paws and 6 others like this.
  • Gnewna
    Gnewna   ·  April 21, 2018
    Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally getting started on this, very excite!
    • SpottedFawn
      Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally getting started on this, very excite!
        ·  April 21, 2018
      Enjoy! It's a very cool look at orc culture. :)
  • Caladran
    Caladran   ·  November 16, 2017
    Now I can focus on reading these! :D
  • The Sunflower Manual
    The Sunflower Manual   ·  January 1, 2017
    Was about to start reading Chasing Aetherius after finishing Straag Rod, then realised that I didn't know half the characters featured, so I decided to read your work from the beginning. I ought to just swear off sleep at this point.
    • Karver the Lorc
      Karver the Lorc
      The Sunflower Manual
      The Sunflower Manual
      The Sunflower Manual
      Was about to start reading Chasing Aetherius after finishing Straag Rod, then realised that I didn't know half the characters featured, so I decided to read your work from the beginning. I ought to just swear off sleep at this point.
        ·  January 1, 2017
      Well, Cursed Tribe is one hold for this moment and it basicaly introduces only Decimus and Grulmar a little bit. Chasing Aetherius is meant to serve as an introduction into Straag Rod too, so in my opinion you don´t have to read Cursed Tribe, but you can ...  more
  • Capricorn
    Capricorn   ·  June 5, 2016
    I can't believe I just now started reading this XD, I can't wait to keep reading, just wanted to give you two big green thumbs up from one orc to another :)
  • SpottedFawn
    SpottedFawn   ·  June 5, 2016
    That's one hell of a way to start a series, Karver. I expected no less from a tribe of orcs! Loved the line about being a father, it packs quite a punch (like any good orc).
  • Justiciar Thorien
    Justiciar Thorien   ·  March 15, 2016
    Well, I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong about him))
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  March 15, 2016
    Axe in the back doesn´t have to mean he backstabbed him. 
  • Justiciar Thorien
    Justiciar Thorien   ·  March 15, 2016
    The way he killed his father shows that he's probably not the most honorable Orcimer.
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  March 15, 2016
    Nothing really wrong with him here. He´s quite usuall chieftain. 
  • Justiciar Thorien
    Justiciar Thorien   ·  March 15, 2016
    For some reason I feel there's something off with this chieftane... The whole atmosphere in the tribe is so gloomy...