In the City on the Run
After a long and treacherous journey, I find myself with my companions in the big city hiding from my half brother who is hunting me. We were staying at the compound of my uncle who was once an official of this city. All guests of the city are required to wear a guest pass and must renew that pass every 4 days. We headed out together to go to the city watch to renew our passes when we were attacked by a band of brigands. The attackers were warned that they were out matched, but moved on the party with violence. I used my skill with sword to dispatch several of the villains and even with a sneak attack from behind, all but a couple were severely injured. We took two of the attackers back to my uncles compound and questioned them.
We discovered that they were paid by my brother to trap us into confronting him at a local tavern. We decided not to fall for the trap. As we went to get our guest passes, we met a hill dwarf that we became friends with. He gave us a lot of information regarding the origin of the magic item that we possess a part of. We learned about Centaur Island that has a teleport ring that will send us back to the main land once we get there and we head there by ship in order to enlist the help of the centaurs in the struggle against the Dark one who seeks to enslave everyone.
When Shawn Shatum was child, he spent a lot of time wandering the hills and woods around his village, getting to know the lay of the land quite well. Teasing and the increasing threats from the village children caused him to spend more and more days alone. On his eighth birthday, exploring the caves to the east as he often did, he happened across an orphaned worg pup. He cared for the young dire wolf, visiting the cave every day with game and fish he caught that morning.
The day came, a couple of years after he found the puppy, that Shawn’s cousin on his stepfathers side, Lin Magad, was leading a hunting party and encountered Shawn riding his now grown worg. Lin was enraged by the sight of this unholy freak riding such a monster. He ordered his dogs and fellow hunters to attack! The worg quickly killed the smaller dogs but Shawn was thrown and the worg killed by the hunters arrows. Shawn was chased down and beaten nearly to death by the young men of his own village. In fact they would have killed him if not at that moment an orcish shaman cast a series of spells that saved his life. He witnessed the powerful shamans act and before he passed into unconsciousness, Shawn realized that he felt more than just hatred for orcs: That this orc at least, had saved his life. The last thing he heard was a thick orcish voice uttering “Oc Ashag”. This would become his new name. He awoke alone in the woods with his wounds bandaged and realized that he could no longer live in his village. Waiting until nightfall, Oc Ashag, with a new sense of destiny, crept back to his mothers house.
After explaining to his mother what had happened, she gave him a large sum of gold and directions to the school, Ecol, where he would spent the next ten years of his life. He had her assurance that she would tell no one of his whereabouts and would allow the others in her village to assume that he had been taken by the orcs and probably killed.
Lin Magad, who had survived the orc attack, is certain that he saw the shadow of Shawn Shatum sulking out of the village under the cover of darkness. His fear and hatred of his half cousin and of all orcs greatly intensified.
Oc learned many things during his years in Ecol. He had an affinity for magic and swordsmanship as well as a natural skill with animals. In the months before he was required to leave the school, he began to develop a keen interest in learning more about orcs and their ways. He learned that his name comes from an ancient mystical orcish dialect not known to exist in the new territories. It is a reference to a mythic shaman/warier and literally means “Worg Rider”.
The Giant Slayer
It was a quickly conceived plan contrived under desperate circumstances. The giant had already killed many villagers and livestock. The remaining people of Shatum were hiding like war refugees, scared and hungry. The four friends had traveled for over a week to determine the extent of the damage caused by the belligerent monster. The head of the village, mother of Shawn Shatum, had managed to survive the attack by holding up with a few of her attendants in the same cave that Shawn had raised his worg pup. Shawn’s stepfather had been killed in an earlier attempt to defeat the giant. There was no report from any of the other villagers.
During the discussions of plans inside the cave, the scream of a horse being killed was heard from outside. After quietly waiting for all of the sounds to subside, Da went out to investigate. With her keen tracking ability she discovered that the giant had dragged off one of the horses and the other had bolted. Oc’s guard dog, Shebl, had apparently followed the giant.
Following a brisk hike to a nearby cliff that convinced the adventurers that the idea of luring the giant off of it was not easily executable, a new idea was inspired.
Perhaps it was divine inspiration from the goddess herself that caused Kurin to exclaim, “how ’bout we trap it in a building and burn it!” And Oc replied, “Yes Kurin, and when the massive beast smashes his way out of the building, I will be there to drive my steel blade through its heart”.
“More like its kneecaps if it’s really twenty four feet tall.” Robilus chimed in.
Led by the half orc warier, Oc Ashag, the group headed south east in the direction of the Shatum palisade. About half way there they came across an abandoned farm house. A quick examination revealed that this may be the perfect place to lay the trap.
“Arrrrrrrarrgg!” The guttural compliant echoes off the surrounding hills as the giant scratches furiously at the painful welts covering his body. In frustration he rips a small tree out of the ground and swings it at the barking dog that has been pestering him since the last horse he took. It seems like eating is the only thing that distracts his attention from all the nasty bites. And it’s not just the burning sores, it’s the constant ringing in his ears and waves of nausea. If only he could find more to eat to make it stop for a while. After throwing the remainder of the tree at the dog and missing, he thinks he notices an interesting smell on the breeze.
He raises his bulbous protruding proboscis and flairs his nostrils to the wind. Something is cooking and whet ever it is he must have it.
His massive feet and six foot stride crush through the under-brush, followed closely by the persistent dog. After several miles, the smell of roasting garlic grows steadily stronger. Just before reaching the edge of the woods he stops and sniffs the air. A human is nearby, maybe others too. Fortunately for a human, a dwarf and a half orc, the wind shifts directions and he doesn’t notice them hiding in the hollow beneath a massive tree trunk. The beast proceeds more cautiously towards the now visible farm house.
Kurin has been waiting on the porch of the house all afternoon, tending a small campfire in the front while the garlic shed in the back burns
At last he thinks he hears something. Could it be a dog barking?
“Hey, did you hear something?” he called into the woods. No response.
“you still out there?” a little louder.
“Oc, I think I hear your dog!” The dwarf shouted.
Oc Ashag and his two companions remain silent. If they had not heard the barking earlier they may not have found cover soon enough to avoid detection. The massive 9 foot tall creature passed by and followed the sound of Kurin’s voice.
Kurin strained his eyes to peer into the dark woods. From the darkness, a round river rock about the size of a melon whizzed towards him. He had enough time to turn a bit to the right as the stone smashes into his left arm, knocking him back into the house.
The giant smirked and gave a congratulatory grunt at his excellent aim and wondered about the flavor of dwarf.
The blow had completely knocked Kurin unconscious. It took him a few seconds to regain his senses and when he did he realized that the creature was nearly to the house. He had practiced escaping out of the small window in the back of the house. The compound fracture made it a bit more difficult this time. Next, he sprinted to the burning garlic shed, grabbed a burning branch, and ran back to the window. The giant was being more cautious and didn’t enter the building until Kurin insulted his mother and threw the burning branch into the prepares pile of kindling near the window.
With a smash the giant’s club crushed the wall next to the window Kurin was at. Kurin took a stone from his pocket and said a few words in an ancient language. The flames in the house suddenly increased and the brightness became intense.
At that same moment Oc Ashag and Da had sprinted to the house. Robilus the dwarf remained hidden in the woods on the lookout for other possible threats. Da grabbed a handful of burning branches, and Oc with his orcish strength, pushed a large bundle of branches in front of the door. With the help of a flask of oil, the mass of combustibles became a burning barrier to the only exit from the building.
Kurin cast his spell again and the giant struck the wall again, this time knocking the dwarf backwards.
Seeking to be out of the flames, the giant headed to one end of the building and attempted to smash his way through the wall. Finding it too difficult and now ablaze from another spell from Kurin, he made a charge for the front door. Da ricocheted a couple of sling stones off of his forehead as he dove through the flames. Before he could move again, Oc Ashag pierced the foul creatures heart with the tip of his sword. It was dead.
Da tended to Kurin’s very serious breakage while Oc and Shebl ran back to the cave to get help from his mother.
“ I have destroyed the giant!”
There was an Initial look of shock and disbelief on the faces of the few refugees in the small cave. Oc remembers the days, years ago when these people, except his mother, looked upon him with fear and disgust. What must they be thinking now? They gathered around and asked if it was true. If he had really saved them from this horrible threat? For the first time in his life he felt admiration from these common people.
“ Yes I have destroyed it! But now my friend is badly hurt. The bone is coming out of his arm. Mother, can you help him?”
“I may be able to. Let’s go.”
The only one in the cave who didn’t join in the questioning about the giant was an elderly woman sitting with her arms crossed. This was the senior attendant to Oc’s now deceased step father.
The bleeding was stopped and bone re-set, but Kurin would need time to heal. In the week that followed, Oc lead the remaining villagers and his companions in repairing the breach in the outer wall that the giant had created and in finding others of the village that were still in hiding. Work was begun on repairing the damaged grain silo and to bring back what live stock could be found.
In this short time it was like the past was forgotten. Oc had a new found respect among the people of his home town. Most of them anyway. It was strange at first, especially for the older villagers who knew him as a child. The younger ones looked to him as a hero. He was the orc that saved their village. The giant slayer.
Seven days after the giant had fallen, Oc left his companions who were organizing a work party to rebuild the forge and kiln area that had been heavily damaged (Kurin was still in recovery and could only help by drawing out plans and giving instructions). He knew of an outcropping near the river that may be sheltering more of the townsfolk. As he returned from a successful trip, he noticed dust clouds coming from the area of the road. He decided to cut through the woods back to the palisade to avoid whatever was headed to the village.
Approaching the outer wall, Oc counted at least a dozen well armed, mounted men in uniform guarding the front gate. One among them, not in uniform, seemed very familiar to the half orc.
Deciding to avoid detection, Oc pulled a small colorful stone from his pouch. He held the stone above his head while making soft clicking noises with his mouth. With a slight glow, the stone turned to a liquid and drizzled over his body. The next second he was clinging to the side of the wall. With the ease of a spider, he climbed over the six meter wall.
Once on the other side, he hid in the shadows until one of his mother’s attendants came by. When he approached her, she didn’t recognize him and let out a startled yelp. After she calmed down, he asked her what was going on. She explained that this garrison of troops from Vaneer had come and that Oc’s half brother was leading them.
He told her to go inform his mother that he was here and to come see him. As she left he noticed several of the soldiers in the courtyard pointing out defensive positions within the palisade.
A couple of minutes passed and he heard the voice of his half brother shouting and the stomping of armored boots.
“He is here! Shawn is here! Find him! Find him NOW!”
Seeing this as a bad sign, Oc took another stone from his pouch and cast another spider climb spell. When he reached the top of the wall he heard his brother’s voice again.
“There he is… on the wall… GET HIM!” An arrow sizzled by as he slipped down the other side of the wall.
Oc went back to his old worg cave to wait. He had an idea that his mother would look for him there but not his brother. After a couple hours he noticed the figure of the same attendant.
He followed her into the cave and this time the surprise really caused her to scream. She told him that his mother and friends would meet him at the ferry and that he should avoid being seen.
When he got to the river, he found the small group waiting for him. Da, Kurin, Robilus, his mother, …and Theo, the senior student from the school who had given Oc information about giants before they left!
“Shawn, your brother has brought troops to defeat the giant. He heard the news and came as quickly as he could.”
“Not quick enough I’d say” Oc replied curtly
“the thing is Shawn, now that your father is dead, Sheiiz sees it as his right and responsibility to run the village as he sees fit.”
“And that’s not the worst of it. Your cousin, Lin, has convinced your brother and many others that you are the one who brought the giant upon us and they want to put you on trial. You must leave immediately.”
“Mother, this village is no good any more. Come with us and leave this mess to Sheiiz.”
“I cannot. There are many here who depend on me. You must go on your own.”