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Library: Nameless Pt. 1

Books

Author: Brillo
Date:Jan 3 2002

     Desperation.

     The fearless armies of the mighty Orc-Lord have cut us off from
civilization for nearly a month. They seem more than content with the idea of
holding back and waiting us out. Very much unlike any other orcish assault our
people have witnessed. Let me elaborate a short history.

     A mere generation ago, our nomadic people grew tired of wandering the
lands and set up our home in the bountiful plains between the relatively
serene, despite it's name, Forest of Darkmoor and the rocky and barren hills
and mountains to the north of us. The soil was full of life and vitality. It
has seemingly been given a magical gift of life for our crops, and for this we
thank the gods. Between the blessed plentiful harvests and the abundance of
wildlife in the forest to our east, it had supplied our people with an
excellent life indeed. Rumor has it that deep within the forest lies an evil
presence, but we need never go more than a heard-shout within, anyway. 

     All was well for 'near a decade. However, around that time, we began to
notice missing people and herd animals. A few isolated disappearances occurred
in the first year, a few more in the next. Not enough to suspect anything
other than accidents. Whether it was a pack of wandering wild animals or a
simple misstep while exploring the mountains, it was hardly a reason for
concern.

     As the years passed, the disappearances became more and more common. We
were able to determine that they always occurred to herd animals that strayed
away from the pack, and less often to curious children or adventurous adults
exploring far to the north.  Still never more than isolated incidents. At one
point we sent a small exploration party but they never returned. Perhaps they
grew tired of small town life? At this point we started to suspect something
odd. The city walls were made stronger and taller, but there was still no
reason for widespread panic.

     One dark and rainy day, the King's stableboy went outside the city gates
to take the King's stallion to graze. Unfortunately he had slipped on a puddle
of mud and let the reins loose. The stallion bolted toward the northern
fields. The boy did the smart thing, and informed the guard immediately of the
situation. They sent a small patrol to pursue it. 'Tis always safe to have
numbers, and it was a wise choice indeed. 
     Though it was getting dark, the expert rangers tracked the horse to the
edge of the rocky land to the north and they pursued. After some time, well
into the treacherous terrain, they came across bones and tattered clothing
lying around in a few rock gullies. Upon close investigation they appeared to
be human bones. What abomination could cause this? Some animal perhaps? It
must be some smart animal, because the bones were in a somewhat organized
pile, the rangers determined. Alert was raised and they were prepared to kill
whatever animal would dare to attack, intelligent or not. They continued to
track it deeper into the mountainous and hazardous lands with a mission,
despite their nervousness. After all, facing the mighty Tiamat himself might
very well be easier then explaining to the King how they lost his prize
stallion.
     Crossing over a short peak of rock, they glimpsed the horse being led off
slowly across the rock by 2 hairy and dirty creatures. ORCS! Imagine the
horror. The sweet land in which we lived, was inhabited by those filthy swine!
The head guard let out a loud curse and the archers fired over the heads of
the orcs. Warning shots, of course, to not injure the fine horse. Both orcs
turned at the sound of the shout and saw the arrows coming. One orc let loose
a surprised grunt and the other released the horse as they both fled.
     The horse was retrieved but now we had bigger problems. Those blasted
orcs, foul disease of the land we too close. If they didn't know that we had a
city to the south, they did now. We could only speculate that the orc
migration had gradually moved southward as the winters grew more and more
bitter in recent years. The mountain range to the north had held them for
awhile, but this natural barrier would not hold them now that they knew of us.

     The first invasion occurred mere days later at twilight, a mere 200
strong army with a bloodlust. They obviously underestimated us. It was a full
moon and the light from the sky gave our archers a good view. They took down
most of the orc invaders before they even reached the walls and the ground
troops eliminated the rest of them with relative ease. Though they fought with
a hunger and rage unmatched, our superior numbers overwhelmed them. We even
caught the fleeing orcs along with their leader and displayed his head upon a
pike at the foot of the mountain, as a message. Perhaps that was not such a
wise choice this time, we may have made them even more angry.

     After that it became dangerous to even go to the fields without
bodyguards. The orcs would take anyone they could, farmers, women, children,
anyone. And the fate of those taken... let us not even think of that horror.
From the tops of he city walls we could see the movement of those damned orcs
high atop the mountain range. It was apparent that they would invade again,
and this time with far greater numbers. We feverently trained and prepared for
war. Our town walls were stronger than ever, and our soldiers were in the best
shape that we could expect at such short notice. Additionally, morale was high
from the previous victory so we were prepared. Although we suspected that we
would eventually be outnumbered. Messengers were sent out to Babylon, our
nearest neighbor possessing great strength, with requests for help. No word
had come back from them, either the messenger was intercepted on the way
there, or on the way back. Let us hope for the latter. We can only hope for
the best, but the road to Babylon skirts to the side of the mountain and may
be already in orc hands.    

     The second invasion came 2 weeks later. Although our scouts counted
thousands of orcs at and around the mountain base, they sent only 500 in a
rush attack at twilight. It was a cloudy and rainy night and our archers were
less effective. Our drawbridge held firm (thank the gods for the orcs' lack of
creativity.) The moat was helpful, though. The orcs were so disorganized by
the time they started to climb the walls, that we were able to kill many
before they reached the top. Only a few actually made it into the keep and
those that did, were dead before they hit the ground. Mostly falling from the
top of the wall with several mortal wounds. But still, we felt that we were
being toyed with. The bulk of the orcish horde were standing back beyond
archer range, watching... Their new leader literally towering above them.     
   

     Anyway, back to the siege. The new leader of the orcs, a massive and
strong monster by the name of Fend-or'c had intelligence far surpassing that
of ordinary orcs. For the first time, the orc legions have been content to
maintain a siege on the city, instead of letting their instinctive impatience
and hunger for human flesh get the best of them.      
     Our supplies are dwindling, we gravely require reinforcements and our
hopes are slowly dying. Sending another messenger out will certainly be a
suicide mission, but it may our only choice. I fear this most of all, for I am
the fastest runner and have ranger training. Both skills will certainly be
required, assuming one can get through the orc blockade surrounding our city.

     Weeks have passed and food is gone. We have resorted to eating the horses
and what we can scavenge outside the gate when it is very dark. Even the
rogues and thieves are helping out in gathering what little they can at the
darkest of night.
     To my worst fears, they have decided to send me out to Babylon. A
distraction would be made tonight on the other side of the castle that would
hopefully allow travel unnoticed to the woods. It is our only chance.

     The moment of truth is here, 20 guards are sent out in an attempt to
assassinate that foul Fend-or'c. Of course, chances of success are nearly
zero, but if one of the archers can get off a lucky arrow... Well, no real
chance of that. As the charge begins, I am sneaking outside the east wall.
Half the orcs on my side of the castle move to cut off retreat of the brave
men on the suicide mission. As they cross the plane of view, I make my break
at half pace, treading quietly and bowing low. The untended crops and weeds
have been left untamed as of late, the only advantage I have. I am nearly to
the woods when I hear a loud grunt behind me. My heart drops and I break into
full pace. As I look over my shoulder as I enter the forest, I see a dozen
orcs moving to intercept me, and they are moving fast. My only hope is that my
knowledge of the wilderness will allow me to keep in front of them, and I do
not tire before them.      

     Running deep into the forest, the orcs were relentless in their pursuit.
I had been running for what seemed like hours, in an almost meditative state
as I pushed my food-deprived body well beyond its limits. I was tiring rapidly
but the crashing sounds from behind constantly reminded of the pursuit.  The
forest was growing darker and more sinister looking, but apparently the orcs
were too stupid to be afraid. Desperation pushed me onward and onward into
darkness and danger.     

     Pressing through a very sick looking thicket of bushes, I ran right into
a tall hooded man dressed in black. I fell to the ground momentarily as he was
hardly affected by the collision.  I have been waiting for you, he said with a
dry and sinister voice, looking down at me. Confused at this and short of
breath, I beraggedly tried to explain that I was being pursued by crazed orcs
and that we needed to get out of there fast. He calmly offered a solid hand to
help me up, and as I prepared to run again he did not let go. The grip was
unbreakable and after a moment of struggle, the desire to run was strangely
gone.      
     As the orcs charged through the brush, one could see the bloodlust in
their eyes. There was obviously no reasoning possible with them. However, with
a wave of one hand a silvery shimmer erupted from the old man's hands, toward
the orcs, and the pursuers froze in place.  I was speechless at this display
of power, but extreme exhaustion had me lingering on the brink of
consciousness anyway.     

     He tells me that his name is Coren, and that he has been in these woods
for hundreds of years, as the keeper of the sacred Tome of the Dark Gods which
never leaves his hand. He used to be an adventurer, but as he got older and
his allies in the slaying of mystical beings died, he had to abandon the
adventuring life and came back to the same woods where he received this
'gift'. Here a new scholar would be trained and eventually take the accursed
tome as he did once before. It has come time to pass on the task to a younger
one capable of learning the dark magicks and to spread its evil across the
land. Apparently, I had been chosen for this dubious honor. Still speechless,
he invited me to his abode for food and rest. I was too tired to protest even
if I had wanted to, so I followed. As we walked away, he wiggled a finger
toward the orcs, and from the corner of my vision, I watched them flash
bright, then black, then only a pile of dust remained where each orc had
stood. What have I gotten myself in to?, I thought.     

     I awoke some time later in what appeared to be a dark cave. A candlelit
altar dominates the area and it emits an odd pale green light. These are
definitely not ordinary candles. Bookshelves with strange looking books with
odd symbols line the other wall, and jars of things both wondrous and
unimaginable, find residence on shelves in the far wall.
     Still shaking, I tell him my name and tried to explain the story of our
people and the orc invasion. He listened with a grim and silent expression on
his face until I finished. I will take care of the problem, he replied, In
return, you will pledge your loyalty and accept your place as the next
guardian of the tome
     I did not like this, however I knew that I would never make it out of
this sinister forest, dead or alive, if I did not accept. Dooming my own, and
my people's existence.
     I reluctantly agree. My mission was clear and I would do anything at all
to complete that task.

     After an odd magical meal, he gathers a few mysterious items from a
shelf, and leads the way outside. With a wave of his arms the air around us
turns gray and misty. A thick fog forms around us and the soft ground below us
turns to stone. When the mist clears we are standing back at the city, atop
the walls. A crowd quickly gathers below and gasps of surprise fill the air,
but when they see me, all is quiet. We have an ally here, I tell them, hoping
with all my heart that it was indeed true. As I turn back around, the man in
black is already at work.
     With flourishing arm movements the evening sky turns black with menacing
clouds forming at an alarming rate.  The moon is engulfed by a rolling
blackness and the clouds above the main orc horde begin to glow. Brighter and
brighter the glow becomes. The orcs began to skitter around like ants in the
rain. Even the towering form of their leader stands out, looking toward the
sky.
     Suddenly a huge bolt of light erupts from the sky. Nearly half as large
as our city, a ball of light descends upon the orc horde in a blinding flash.
The orcish cries of pain are heard even from here, and hundreds of lightning
bolts subsequently pelt from the sky at the invaders as the remaining orcs
flee back to whence they came. Only smoke and charred bodies remained in the
circle in which the main blast hit. 

     Then, as quickly as the clouds appeared, they began to dissipate. Leaving
a beautiful starry sky to light the battlefield. There was a huge area of
nothingness where the main blast hit. From here you could see that not even
plant life survived within the circle. Only the smoking, charred bodies of the
orcs remained and even a larger body could be discerned within the circle, the
foul leader of the orcs, Fend-or'c. The stranger had saved the city and the
city celebrated.

     I am now on my fourth year of my studies and I feel my soul slowly
slipping away to the Dark. My only consolation is that I am still allowed to
visit my people from time to time, but my aging seems to have been slowed
dramatically. In time I know that my family will be gone and I will remain
youthful. The foul orcs have gone away. We have ne'er seen or heard of another
orc in the area again. 
     Aye, my soul be damned, but for my people I would do it over again, any
number of times. My master has become very weak and will not be long for this
world, and I now keep the damned book safe. One thing for certain, I know that
my adventures have just begun.


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