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Library: The Story of Gratrah, the young barbarian risen to chieftain


Author: broetchen
Date:May 30 2003

This is a story of peril, courage, strength and honour. A story about a
man, a barbarian by the name of Gratrah, who lived in the desolate
highlands of the far eastern lands. Lived in a time long forgotten, the
time of the true nomads.  The wind-swept plains, the barren hills, those
were his home and there, Gratrah was born as the eldest son of the
Chieftain, destined to lead the tribe after his father.
        One windy day Gratrah, only a mere youth at the age of seventeen
but already a fearsome warrior, trained in the arts of maces, axes and
polearms, was patrolling the nearby lands of the barbarian tribe, as he saw
a rider in huddled in a black cloak in the horizon. Gratrah could
immediately see that the rider was not one for their kind, as a barbarian
would never would wear such sleek and sly outfit. The barbarian wardrobe
consisted of heavy furs and animal skins, decorated with skull necklaces
and beads. The rider in black had noticed Gratrah , too. The rider's
approach seemed not a hostile one, so without fear Gratrah drew closer.
'Why are you entering our lands, answer now or taste my mace!', he
inquired. The black rider threw back his hood and revealed his delicate
features. He had a long silvery hair, a bit pointy ears and graceful
glance. Gratrah had never seen an elf before, and even being a mighty
warrior of courage, was a bit dazzled as the rider's appearance. 'I am
Felianor, a high scout of the dark elves of the western highlands.', he
spoke. 'I come to seek allegiance to oppose a foe beyond apprehention, too
powerful for any village or city alone.', he continued with fire in his
dark eyes. 'The long-lost tribe of wolfmen, thought to be a mere legend, is
not a story anymore. I have seen them with my own eyes, standing about two
meters tall with fangs to shatter swords and shields, teeth to bury into
iron', Felianor explained as Gratrah trembled at the thought of fighting
these beasts. Felianor drew a breath. 'Once written in the chronicles of
the elves of Nimear, it is said that the wolfmen will return and elves will
perish unless they find an ally', he gazed at Gratrah appraingly. He
continued, 'Are you in great numbers? Are you to face this challenge side
by side with the elves of Nimear? As for it is certain, these foul
creatures will not stop at destroying us, they strive to lust on the blood
of men as they strive for elf blood'. 'We are three hundred brave fighters,
lead by my father, the great Chieftain Grurkuk', Gratrah announced bravely.
'Surely we will join a fight, a barbarian will never pass a slaughter. Let
us ride to our village to gather our horde, we ride before the sun rises to
tomorrow, we ride to battle together!'

        After a councial with the elders, the Chieftain, Felianor and
Gratrah it was decided, the barbarian horde was to swear an alliance with
the elves of Nimear.  Gratrah called a war cry to gather all the warriors
in the barbarian tribe together.  It did not take long as over
three-hundred fierce warriors stood in front of Gratrah, all dressed in
their battle furs and wielding their weapons; the barbarian great axes and
heavy mauls. Gratrah shouted 'Before the morning sun graces our beloved
lands, the hills and the plains, we will ride to WAR!'. The tribe shouted
in anticipation. 'We will be fighting beside the elves of the west, to face
the wolf beasts , claimed to be a legend, but now proven as true as the
desert.' The warriors listening were stirring, some shouting for blood.
'Now go get ready, we will ride just before the sunrise.' With this
command, the tribe retrieted to prepare ratios, fill waterskins and ready
their horses. Gratrah turned to visit his father's tent.  'My boy, now it
has come to prove you are a barbarian enough for the mission you were born
for.' the Chieftain sighed. 'I am a too old a man to ride beside you to
battle, but I trust you will do your best and be a great war leader',
Grurkuk continued. 'Father, you have taught me well, I shall not fail you',
Gratrah clenched the the hilt of his mace as he turned and he for his tent
to sleep a short and restless night's sleep.

        The next day's ride was not an easy one. The autumn wind kept
sweeping the plains, making the men weary. Gratrah enconraged the men,
'Remember, we are going to a FIGHT, a FIGHT is what a true barbarian lives
and dies for. Take a look at these the bare beauty of our homelands, it's a
last time many of you will. But there is no greater honour for a barbarian
than to die in fierce battle!' The group rode on, more silent but more
determined at the same time.
        After a half day's ride, the barbarian horde accompanied with the
lone elf saw movement in the distant horizon. Felianor, being an elf and as
perceptive as an elf should be , saw them to be the allies to the battle,
the elves of Nimear. 'Do you see? My people are ready for battle too!'
Felianor shouted, as the group of elves armed with slender scimitars and
strong longbows approached. After a few moments the two groups encontered
each other. 'Greetings, I am Belianor, the commander of the elvish forces',
said a tall elf riding in the head of the elven group. Gratrah introduced
himself with a proper barbarian grunt. 'Lead us to battle, the barbarians
of the highlands thirst for blood already!' he exclaimed. Belianor was a
bit startled at this crude attitude, but he understood; not all can be
graceful. He asked the barbarians to follow him as he turned the group to
ride southwest.
        Riding hard for the rest of the day, the troops finally settled to
rest for a few hours. A sort of a camp was formed, the elves and the
barbarians separated.  After all, who would assume they'd make friends
immediately. During the dark hours, Gratrah stayed in watch, he could not
sleep. In the dark of the night he could not hear a thing for hours. Then,
suddenly he hear a howling war cry! He jumped, shouted to alarm the camp
and in five seconds the barbarians were up and fighting. Five seconds, but
not a second too late; hoards of wolfmen were attacking them from all
sides. Gratrah swinged his axe and his mace in perfect harmony, crushing
bones, splitting skullss. The battle raged as horrific as war can be, men
died, elves died, wolfmen died. Piles of bodies on top of piles of bodies
and the ground washed red.  Gratrah got slashed in the left arm by a
ferocious paw of a wolf beast. Pain throbbed through his body, but still he
kept fighting on. The flow of the attackers seems unstoppable, but with a
barbarian frenzy Gratrah and the other kept fighting on. The elves were not
so trained in the close combat , ofter relying on their bows rather than
hand-to-hand arts. Elf after elf perished, although some of the best elven
warriors kept on fighting and surviving.
        After what seemed a life-time of battle, the attackers finally had
all been vanquished. Gratrah surveyed the battle field. He ran to help a
wounded friend, bound his leg with a bandage, ran to find more survivors.
They were not many, but they were alive. No more than two dozens barbarians
and a dozen elves survived. The grief of lost friends overhelmed Gratrah as
the frenzy of the battle subsided. He knew they were in a better place now,
and it brought peace to his mind. They had died warriors and a warrior
death is eternal life for a barbarian.

        The surviving elves and the barbarians burned the bodies of their
kin, leaving the foes to rot in the rising sun. The elves headed back
northeast , the barbarian to their homelands further to the east. After
Grurkuk saw his son return with a tenth of the numbers he left with, a
sadful joy rose in his heart. 'My son, you truely have earned the title of
the Chieftain, such a fierce warrior I've yet to meet', he greeted his son
with a tear in his eye. Grurkuk raised his trusted mace, which had served
his for decaded , shouting 'ALL HAIL THE NEW CHIEFTAIN , GRATRAH!'. The
remaining barbarians joined a hail , welcoming the new rank for their most
trusted warrior.