The Orc's Tale

By Mark "Zezhian Dragonfang" Correia

Author's Note:

I have a grand respect for Dragons, but occasionally, there's a bad apple in the bunch... and this dragon is one of them. Orcs, on the other hand, have always been misunderstood and scorned since the very beginning. Being half-Orc, I can look past their obvious faults and see the good within the select few. Remember - ALL Dragonkind aren't scourges upon the land and ALL Orcs aren't dumb, war-like savages!

Last Revision: 6/6/96.

You sure dragon cave around here? Ah, yes... Me see it now. OK, put stuff down. You no joke when you say it big dragon.

Help me off with helm. Yes... Me know what me am doing. Now help me take off breastplate. Me CAN'T do it by self, me am missing right arm, remember? That better, thank you. Me can remove leg armour by self...

Why you keep asking that? Of course me know what me am doing! Me am going to kill dragon!

Yes... Without armour. (sigh) It look like me am not going to get any peace about this. OK... Me want to tell you story. Can you keep quiet for little while? Good.

Long time ago... about ten years... me was travelling with band of adventurers. We friends long time. We go through many trials. One day, we extremely bored in town and decide to go south. Me never forget that day. It was bright spring day. We travel long time to south; me think was three days, then we meet with creatures that me never see before or since. They big bear-like beasts. But they not bears, they have big beaks. They ugly. We fight them because they sneak up on us and attack. Me fight well, but bear-thing lash out with claws. Good clean hit. Tear arm off at shoulder. They also kill two friends. Other two drag me away from bear-things and manage to heal me with potions. Me never got back arm. We get away because bear-things eat dead friends.

The two that die... Names were Langorn... He elf, like you. He was tracker and hunter. Other was human, name Hieronymus. He brave healer. He believe in Obram. Me proud to call him friend. Please, remember them.

Our luck change from bad to worse. We set up camp far away from bear-things. Next morning, we surrounded by four manticore. We half- asleep and still in bad shape from bear-things. We try to fight, but we never hit them. Relken, a human, was first to die. He was great warrior. Me can still hear his scream cut short when his head left body. But he kill one before he die.

After that, me think me go into berzerker rage. It was all fuzzy for while, but next thing me remember all manticore dead. Me look for Arval, he elf too... he use magic. Me find him dead. Manticore rip his guts out.

Me only survivor.

Me wander for long time. Me find Brewer's Keep by will of Obram. Me settle down there and open tavern. Me put travelling days behind me. Me very happy there. But every night, me keep re-living the battles where me lose friends. Me hear the screams. Me see them die again and again.

But me am strong. One of my fighting mentors always say that. Warriors always strong. Weak warrior a dead warrior. Me live with all that for ten years. But, now that dragon attack town...

Reason me bring you is this - you elf. Me have always hear that elves are the "rememberers." Me know you no like me much... elves and orcs never known to get along... but for dead orc's last wish is to be remembered and looked upon with kindness.

Here... take sword. It good sword. It magic sword. Give it to someone who can use it well. Me am too clumsy with it. That sword save my life, but me am better off without it. No argue with me! Take it!

Thank you. You have wineskin? Good. Upper half filled with good wine. Lower half filled with poison. One drop kills. Dragon big... need more than one drop. Me am going to make sure it eat this... even if me have to take it down throat.

Me guess that it. Take sword, armour and clothes back to tavern. Tavern is yours now. No worry about me. Lifetime is short. How old are you? Twelve-hundred sixty-three? Me am only thirty-two. My father live to ripe old age of fifty-eight. You alive so long that you were probably one of founding settlers of Brewer's Keep. My life and this talk are probably like fleeting instant to you. Me want to do one last good thing in world before me die.

Me am touched. Me thought you would like to have one less orc in world. But see my way. Me am just average orc. Me am not strong, me am not fast, me can barely handle sword. Me wanted to do above average things. That why me become warrior. Me always hear of caravans that need protection from bandits. Me also hear that caravans go to far corners of world. Me wanted to see world, but life always full of struggle. Me go to seven mentors to learn to use sword. All not like me. They always say me am too slow and trip over own feet. Me struggle and practice daily and me just barely get novice rating.

Me always get evil looks in strange towns because me am orc. They call me evil and bad seed. They afraid that me am violent and brutal and eat children. Me am not like that. Me spend long time getting people to trust me. And when they hear me talk, they see that me am dumb and they not scared of me anymore. Me am tired of living like this. Me should have died ten years ago with only people that called me friend and mean it. Me am dead... and it only took ten years to realize it.

Remember me...

ME AM GREY. ME AM ORC. ME KILL DRAGON... And I was a lot smarter than people thought.

Go now, my friend. Tell my story and don't forget.

Hello, dragon. Sorry. Me did not mean to tap you on snout that hard. Yes, me know it not often you see naked orc. This? It wineskin. It a long walk from town. (slurp) Mmmm... See? Good wine.

Town you attack last week called Brewer's Keep. It nice town. It quiet town. Why you attack it?

Oh... you just move here and want to let tasty morsels know that you new ruler of area. That nice of you.

Me have deal for you. Me come here of own free will as sacrifice to you. Me want to... Why you laugh? Me am serious!

Well... me think you would enjoy idea of willing meal. Me already drink much wine. Me probably marinated by now.

Me will freely give you my life in return that you not attack Brewer's Keep, its land, its buildings or its people... ever. Me love town. Me love people there. Me not want to see more people get hurt. Me see too much death in lifetime.

Thank you, great dragon. Now, hurry up before me change mind and run. Hold! One other thing... me wish to die slowly in belly. No chew me. Me know how much dragons like idea of torture. Thank you, great dragon.

I'll soon be with you, my friends. OW! Damn acid! Can't breathe! The wineskin's dissolving quickly. Poison is released. You hurt my friends... Die, lizard. Die, you son-of-a-bitch! stings... I'm burning... the pain... Blessed be Obram... Goodbye, world... Goodb...

"The Orc's Tale" is Copyright 1994, 1996 by Mark Correia. This story may be freely distributed by electronic media provided NOTHING is changed or omitted (including this notice). Hardcopies are limited to single printings for personal use. All other rights reserved. E-Mail address: [email protected]

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