From across the sun scorched arena, Yun’ki gazed at the imposing figure sitting on a throne of giant sun bleached bones. The figure took several large gulps from his horn, bright red wine dribbling from the corner of his mouth.
Suddenly, the figure flung the horn to the side and roared at the melee below the raised dais. Yun’Ki, returned his eyes to the brawl himself. Down in the arena two of the largest Orc’s Yun’Ki had ever seen smashed into each other, a storm of steel and fangs as they each tried to kill the other.
A slash here, a parry there, then – an opening. With a tremendous war cry that shook the very earth, one of the Orcs brought his great-sword down upon his foe and cleaved him in half.
Yun’Ki howled with the rest of the clan as the victor raised his arms and basked in his victory. After a quick victory lap around the edge of the arena, the champion returned to the center and knelt by his opponent, muttering a brief prayer to the warrior gods. He then dipped his hand into the pooling blood, drenching it, and then anointing himself with a bloody hand print across his face.
Yun’Ki had never been a large or strong Orc, but that day he knew he wanted to fight, to share in the glory of his clan and bring honor to his family. so he approached his father in the early morning several days later.
“Father.” he said, Almost too quiet, he wasn’t sure his father had heard him. But as his father finished his work, he turned to his son.
“Yes, little one?” his father asked.
“I want to train. I want to fight with the clan-brothers and bring victory for the chief” he spit it out so fast; he was sure it didn’t even make sense. But his father paused for a moment and thought.
“You were a sickly Orc. Smaller than your brothers and clan-brothers… no. You cannot fight. not like the others.” Father said.
“But.. but I want to fight…” he tried to finish, but his voice trailed off and tears began to well in his eyes.
Calmly and with care, Father knelt beside Yun’ki and wiped the tears and said, “Don’t. Warriors don’t cry. They fight.”
Fighting back a sniffle, Yun’ki looked his father in the eyes, confused, “But you just said I can’t! -” his father cut him off.
“No, I said you cannot fight like the others. You might fight a different way.” he said.
Blinking back the tears, Yun’Ki asked, “Then how?”
With a heavy thud, the axe wielding Orc slammed into the ground as the air rushed from his lungs and his grip on the axe loosened.
Yun’Ki was on his opponent in a flash, dagger in hand and pressed tightly to his foe’s neck. a crimson drop of blood appearing on the blade.
A loud bang came from behind him, then another. As the blood rush faded from his mind, Yun’ki recognized the sound as that of his master’s staff, thumping into the wooden platform that circled the dueling ring.
“You have learned well, how to use your enemies own strength to your advantage. You progress well young one.” his master said. From below the wide brimmed hat, all Yun’Ki could see of the master was his yellow eyes.
Yun’Ki stood, and helped his opponent to his feet, begrudgingly, the defeated orc accepted and stood alongside Yun’Ki.
“Fighting is only half of the battle. Knowing where to fight, and when to fight, and when not to fight – are what truly makes a warrior.” Said the Master, turning to the small temple carved into the mountainside, the Master began walking up the twisting path, “Come, now we will learn how not to fight.”
A cool breeze blew across the cliff side and tugged at his masters robes and Yun’Ki followed him inside the temple.
After what felt like days, the battle was done. The Kishran Clan would no longer trouble the Yukgnath Clan, at least not until their children could replace the men lost this day.
That night, back at camp – General Vasog invited Yun’Ki into the war tent for the 3rd time since the campaign had started.
“You’re instincts were right, they never saw us coming.” Vasog said, clapping his meaty hand on Yun’Ki’s smaller frame.
Yun’Ki glanced at the table in front of him. a crude drawing of the region was laid out, and on it carved wooden token representing the two fighting orcish armies. The ones painted blue stood his his clan, the yellow ones, now laid on their sides represented the broken army defeated earlier that day.
“They were stupid, and they paid.” Yun’Ki grunted, and grabbed a horn of ale from a nearby slave.
“True, but you were smart enough to know where to attack. We need you, I need you. by the chief’s Order, I give you the rank of Warlord, and charge you with bringing our chief glorious victory.
“The Chief is a fat lazy drunkard, and a coward as well. But I will lead your armies”, and Yun’Ki drank deeply from the horn.
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