Monday, 18 July 2016


Following them was easy.
As long as he stayed out of the wind and stopped them from picking up his musk then they didn't have any idea he was there. Just like his Da had taught him when they were hunting.
The two Orcs blundered through the woods for a night and a day, bickering and muttering and complaining about their lack of food.
Scrot wanted to know as much as he could about them and the first thing he found out was that they weren't used to being in a wild forest. They were obviously from a town, the trees and the noises scared them, confused them on at least two occasions the one with shoes screamed at some random noise and ran off in a panic with the other grumping and grunting after him. They were wary of being followed by the men from the battle but were so out of their depth that a regiment could have sneaked up on them without their knowledge.

Scrot listened to their conversations as he followed.
He learned that they were part of the company of Gring the Great and had indeed been recruited from a town, Droptun.
They had joined up to make their fortune in the invasion of the the lands to the north east, where the men had settled and built their stone homes.
It seemed that the company of Gring the Great had been part of one of the 3 great regiments in the centre of the battlefield, not the one lead by the High Head One, but one of the others. The two Orcs had been near the rear of the regiment so hadn't seen the calamity that befell the front ranks but they certainly felt the panic that sent them fleeing the field.
Scrot had seen it.
He tried not to picture it.

The Orc with the shoes called the other one, Fraggit.
Fraggit was shorter then the other one but was more bullish and confident. He tended to order the other one around. He only called the other by his name once but it sound like Yessil.
Yessil was scared of nearly everything but was fairly well armed with blade and a shield as well as a bow and a sheath of arrows. He was tall and wiry and had lots of teeth that stuck out of his mouth at odd angles, making an odd kind of pattern that only made sense when he closed his mouth. He wore a battered old bronze helm on his head that had holes in either side for his ears to fit through and a small central crest, going front to back. His clothes were worn and muddy but took the form of a long shirt and a doublet over which he wore a rusted metal breastplate with a pair of ragged trews that reached to his knees.
Fraggit was just as skinny as Yessil but was shorter with an elongated mouth and a large pointy nose. He had one large tooth that stuck up from his lower jaw and nearly disappeared up his nose when he stopped talking. He was armed with a nasty looking long-axe and carried his shield and blade strapped across his back. His boots looked as if they were made for someone else, someone bigger, most probably a man. He wore a long shirt with a mail shirt over it and a large shaggy mantle over his shoulders. His helm was a plain steel cap with a nasal. One ear was chewed and raggedy at it's end.

Scrot wondered what he should do. He could leave them to their fate in the woods. They didn't know the route out of the place which was the only reason that he had followed them in the first place. He could shoot them but he felt that was a little harsh as they had done him no harm. Or he could confront them.

He decided that was best.

He worked his round them and got into a position in front of them where they would come upon him as they stumbled through the trees and undergowth. He took out his blade and readied himself. He knew that they'd pick up his musk before they reached him and they might become nervous and charge him before he'd had a chance to talk.

Scrot stood with his feet apart and tried to draw him up to his full height. He wanted to look like he knew what he was about, to fill the two Orc's with awe as they saw him astride their path. He heard them wading through the green. Coming closer. His guts knotted and turned, he was sick of his innards giving him grief! He was an Orc for Lug's sake. He was supposed to be brave!

Friday, 8 July 2016


He woke with a snort and a squeak.
He tried to jump up but only bashed his head on the top of the root cave. His helm clunked dully against the wood, cutting the bridge of his nose as it was pushed down.
Scrot lay on his belly breathing hard. He tried to make sense of the place he found himself in. He had found it during the night but it looked very different in the daylight that struggled through the knitted canopy of branches and leaves above him. 
He tried to quiet his panicked panting so that he might listen to noises of the forest that gently assaulted his ears. Creaks and rustles washed around, birds calls stabbed at higher registers. As far as Scrot was aware, they were nothing to be scared of. He lay still nonetheless and tried to out wait the normalness of forests chatter. 
A crunch. A snap. Plants being swept aside. More crunches. Footsteps? Metallic jangles.
Scrot felt the fear return to his empty guts, his eyes flicked about in his skull, hoping that to sight the source of the noises to give him an advantage before it spotted him. 
A loud thump.
"Shut your meat hole! I smell something"
"You didn't 'ave to 'it me"
Another loud thump and the sound of metal scraping against metal. 
Scrot's panic roared in his ears, his heart beat so hard that he was convinced the owners of the voices would hear it. 
Above the din of his organs he could hear the rustle of dry leaves and grass being moved by clumsy feet. 
The footsteps drew closer. And closer. 
Scrot saw four feet and the calfs attached to them suddenly in front of the root cave in which he cowered. One pair of legs were wearing a pair of roughly made and worn out shoes with the toes of one foot poking out displaying the yellowed, pointy, claw-like toe nails. The other wore what looked like a pair of leather boots with his spindly green-brown legs sticking out the top, like a pair of saplings planted in old pots. 
They were Orcs. 

Wednesday, 6 July 2016


The craws had stopped their noises.
Scrot realised they had been a constant since the battle had ended. After the clang and the crash, the screams and the roars all that was left was noise of the craws.
He thought of a childhood song that he'd learned as a pup. A song about the three craws stealing your eyes if you didn't go to sleep.
Scrot stood up and, slowly, as silently as he could manage, took a step towards the edge of the wood. He put out a hand to steady himself on a tree and hissed as his mail shirt rustled.
He scanned the gloom for signs that someone or something had heard his movements. He held his breath.
He gathered all his bravery and, with all the care his could manage took another step forward. Again he paused to listen. Still nothing. Another step and he would be clear of the stinging plants and about to step into the field. He closed his eyes and inwardly scolded himself. He was acting like a pup. He took another step. And then another. And then another and then he was walking across the field.
He kept himself low and walked with his blade held warily in front of him as if it's very presence would stop anything from happening to him.
He moved his head from side to side, hoping to be able to see his doom approaching if it chose to. His helmet scraped at his skin but he took comfort form the little protection it offered.
He kept moving. He knew there was little chance of him being spotted, the remains of the smoke still haunted the field and the moon was only in one of it's measures but it was of little comfort to him.
A hand grabbed at his ankle.
He squawked in fright just before his jaw smacked into the ground. His blade flew from his hand. His scabbard thwacked and his mail jangled as he rolled arse over tit.
He struggled to all fours and scrabbled in circles for his blade, the only thing that made him feel safe.
He couldn't find it. The panic screamed in his ears. He muttered and whimpered and wondered why he hadn't been struck down. He felt like he was going to shit in his trews.
His hand brushed metal.
He grabbed the blade.
But it wasn't his blade.
It wasn't a blade.
His suddenly curious fingers mapped the surface of the metal. Scrot realised it was a helm. One with a metal crest.
A memory burst, unwelcome, into his head.
The three survivors who had followed him towards the woods. He had laid panting and panicked in the stinging leaves and watched as they tried to gain the safety of the treeline. A shout and a noise like rocks falling down a muddy hill and the men had appeared. They were high off the ground, sitting on top of snuffling beasts whose legs pounded at the dirt and rent huge divots out of the stubbly field.
The three scraps squealed in terror and ran in a frenzy away from the men on their beasts but they were not fast enough. The long spears that the men carried ended the lives of their hysterical victims amongst a tumult of cries and squeals. The men jeered as their beasts stamped on the bodies and they wandered away in triumph.
The bodies had lain in the scrub of the field until Scrot had disturbed them.
His stumbling fingers felt the cold metal end and cold skin start and he fought hard to hold back a cry of anguish mixed with powerlessness.
He sat with the body for a moment more and finally shook his head free of his stupidity.
He needed to move.
He struggled to his feet and put one foot in front of the other and took a step.
Scrot cursed himself for his forgetfulness and started his search for his blade again. After only a couple of moments he found it, cutting his finger on the barbed blade and cursing as softy as he could manage.
He again struggled upright and headed in the direction he thought was the right one.


The field was lost in the smoke, like some ashamed god had thrown a blanket over the events of the day, drowning the sights that were strewn across it in a choking fog so that he could pretend it didn't exist. It did though. Scrot knew it did. And he knew what had made the fires that gave birth to the lazy rolling smoke. He shut his eyes and shook his head, hoping the memory would drop out of his ear. It didn't. He lay in the stinging plants at the edge of the wood and strained his eyes trying to make out figures. His mind played tricks on him, he saw shapes of warriors and then companies and then nothing.
He was scared.
He struggled to keep his heart from ripping a hole in his chest.
He was alone.
He hadn't been alone since he'd joined Calrag's company.
Now that all those faces he'd travelled with were gone he realised how far from home he was.
Panic welled in his chest he fought to think of something else.....his mind jumped to the others from home that he travelled with but then he thought of the way they died and the panic heaved in his gut, his eyes watered and his throat burned, his mouth filled with saliva. He struggled up onto all fours and puked out all that he had in him. It felt like his insides were desperate to escape from this place, with or without his outsides. He buoffed and he wretched while all the time desperately struggling to keep quiet. He considered his head and his guts were having their own mighty battle and weakly wondered which would win. He thought of the shame of being found at the edge of the battlefield having puked himself inside out.
Scrot collapsed into the stinging plants and and panted like a hound.

Scrot opened his eyes.
Something was tickling his ear.
He slashed at it with his blade.
The plant fell to the floor, it's gentle play destroyed.
It dawned on Scrot that he'd been holding onto his blade since before the start of the battle and his grip hadn't loosened once. His fingers ached but his Da would be proud. He'd never dropped his blade just like the old shit had taught him. He didn't know where his shield was though, he looked around, half expecting it to be within easy reach like it had been every morning during the march.
It wasn't.
He looked out across the field. The smoke was still billowing from the fires that he couldn't see but the colour had changed. The smoke was red. Scrot's mouth hung open in shock.
What art could turn the smoke red?
He scrabbled to his feet and backed away from the edge of the wood and he saw that there was a centre to the colour, like a fresh scarlet bruise.
The realisation sunk into his head and he sighed.
It was the sun setting.
It was only the sunset. He'd never seen it through smoke.
He sat down again and decided to watch glowing spot till it was dark. Then he would move in the same direction that it had gone because if he knew one thing he knew that that would lead him home.