Uno The Red
This story was originally submitted to Mythic!
There are some that call them monstrous; others call them green demons from some dark nightmare turned real. That they are mindless creatures that mimic our language in broken and abrupt mindless babbles, and dress with tattered rags hanging from their enormous limbs.
My father is one that would tell you like everyone else, they are savage beyond kinship and loyalty. He tells me that if ever left unchecked they would devour the world and destroy all mankind. The last living breath would be choked out by its own green hands.
King Ghordath II was my father. His eyes had seen valleys and hills, villages and cities burnt down to cinders in endless struggles with the Orcs.
His dreams were haunted as a blacken swarm of green murder crashed though the gates. A huge gaping mouth would appear full of knife like teeth, waking him sweating and shaking.
My father's favorite game, one he commonly did after having one of his dreams, was an orc hunt. It was quit simple. He always kept a few orcs locked in the dungeon. There were no Orcish settlements for over two hundred miles, so he would pay handsomely to anyone daring enough to travel to their lands to bring them back as game to hunt.
I do not think my father ever had any hope that I would be like him. He would bring me on a hunt occasionally. Then had me watch as his dogs and mounted archers drove it to a clearing. Then, usually staggering, covered with dozens of arrows it would charge us.
My father would tell his guards to hold fast, that he would finish the struggling beast off alone, unless it had somehow avoided any mortal wounds. Then he and his men would simply cut it down with lances and swords.
It did not matter if it was young, elderly, or female. They all let out the same cry when they died. It was a pricing yell that always drove away the joyful smile from men that watched the things die.
My father said the orcs believed that one day an orc would come, avenge their death, and deliver them from the wasteland.
"That is who they call to, my son. This one whose skin will not be green but red!"
"So don't show fear or mercy to them or he will come, and all shall end."
In the darkness of some unknown dungeon, Uno slept. Sleep seemed to help him forget where he was, and forget the murder and decay of this place. His isolation had become lonely since they took the young pip named Tragos away. This morning things seemed busy.
The same splintered bowl was tossed into his cell every morning, spilling a fowl smelling rotten gruel across the floor. Insects of every kind appeared from cracks and small holes, and scurried cautiously then feverishly to the bountiful feast.
Uno let them eat. After a few undisturbed moments they seem to go into a trance nourishing themselves drunk.
Tragos had listened, not eaten what the humans feed them. There was no real worth in the gray moldy sauce they fed them twice a day. But if you left it there and only moved after they had started feeding, he learned you could catch a few of the large juicy bugs.
This had kept Uno strong, unlike the other two orcs he had seen the guards take away to some unknown, surely, foul fate.
Even as small and young as Tragos was, had kept on his weight. Uno thought maybe this would give him more of a chance to survive longer, to fight back, even escape.
It was hard to understand men, they talked much faster and did not save words with grugs as Uno called it.
Grugs were low tone speech that could travel for miles. To humans, they were mindless grunts of a lesser being, but one grug could, in the tongue of man, take over a minute to translate.
What Uno did come to understand is his time was coming soon , and whatever extra nurturance he could eat might make the difference between life and death.