Northsilver Crossing, Liam's Journal

I am kneeling on the floor of the tent in which we have been sleeping moments ago. The air is filled with the unpleasant smell of too many people. Sweat, wet clothes, alcohol, old food. I wish we could sleep outside but this is an encampment full of humans and we are at war with the orks. Not a good place to wander at night as a half-ork. The way people have been looking at me when we entered the camp made me realize that most of them would not hesitate to kill me. Some are scared.
Most of them show plain hate when my orkish features give away my heritage.

Stay focused! No time for wearing my armor. “Wake up brother, we are under attack!”. How can
Sygvard keep sleeping with the battle noise just outside out tent? A faint smile runs over my face.
Whatever he does he does it with almost zealous determination, even sleeping. The moment I am
sure that he is awake I signal to my wolf, Fluffy, to stay then I push myself past Aramelle the wizard who is blocking the entrance to the tent. I can feel that Fluffy is confused and I am afraid he will attack some of our own man if he feels threatened, so he better stays in the tent until I can figure out what is going on.

I step outside the tent and instantly feel better: Even though the sky is cloudy, I can see the moon and plenty of stars which illuminate the camp. The cool wind carries the ever present stink of humanoids but also a distinct smell of grass. I love these plains. It is a shame that this army is destroying this area with its presence, but the plains will heal quickly. I feel how a single-standing large blade of grass brushes against my naked leg while I move into the open. Amazing how this small plant could survive while almost everything around it has been tread to oblivion by the feet, hooves and wagons of this army.

Stay focused! In front of me I see several humans struggling against Ork raiders in dark clothes. Red eyes full of hatred stare from faces that have been painted dark to make the attackers blend into the shadows of the night. Some of the Orks are running towards us. My right hand is holding the large wooden shield that I made 2 weeks ago from the wood of an oak tree close to our farm. I like this tree very much. Just like me he does not belong where he grew up: Surrounding our farm lands are pine tree woods for miles and miles. This Oak tree was a freak of nature, like me, like that single blade of grass: a survivor against insane odds. I’ve been playing in this tree as long as I can think back. Fell out of the tree several times as well. It only feels right to take a piece of my home with
me.

Focus! The orks are approaching. I tighten the grip around the wooden club in my right hand. I
made this club myself as well. From the same tree. I can feel the texture of the wood and memories of climbing the tree fill my head. I wish we could have stayed home. Even if it is as cold as yesterday, with the sun shining, it would have been a perfect day to climb the tree all the way to the top and watch the animals in the vicinity. Just a few weeks ago a squirrel has started building a nest in the tree. She already accepted my presence and was even willing to share a pine cone with me. I can’t remember what I did with that pine cone. Did I take it with me? I hope it is not at the bottom of my backpack… if it is still alive, I will plant it somewhere as soon as I have a chance to do that.

FOCUS!!!! The spellcaster gestures at one of the orks and mutters some words that I don’t
understand. I feel a surge of power and the hair on the back of my neck starts to prop up. The
nearest ork slows down and looks a bit disoriented. That is the right moment. I start running
towards that ork. Left shoulder facing front, holding my shield in front of me as if I wanted to bash him down with my whole weight. I see how he braces himself against the impact, he lowers his
stance, shoulders move forward and the spike on the top of his axe is pointing right at me. My club is behind me, I hold it as if I were dragging something heavy behind me. I don’t want the ork to see my weapon. Not yet. 10 feet away, 2 more strides … 5 feet, get ready … Just a moment before I crash into the ork I rotate my shoulders and my arms flail: My shield impacts with the ork’s axe and pushes it out of the way. My club races forward in a long circle. It works! The ork is surprised, his eyes widen as he realises that he is to slow to evade my weapon then just a moment before I hit him in the head he closes his eyes. SPLUT! A thin dark-red spray of blood fills the air as my club beats the ork’s face into a pulp. He collapses instantly like a puppet that has its strings cut by invisible scissors. He will not raise again, I am sure of that.

To my left I can see the Halfling: He struggles with his crossbow, throws it into the bushes and then darts away. He reminds me of a Fuccali, a raccoon that I befriended 2 winters ago. I saw the
halfling drinking and gambling earlier today and decided I don’t like him. Maybe I have judged to
fast, he seems to still preserve many animal instincts. Then I see him raising from the bushes with his crossbow pointing at one of the orks. Just like Fuccali would stand on his hindpaws when he came across a peculiar smell that was worth investigating.

FOCUS! I turn around, as I hear Sygvard’s battle cry while he is charging into melee to aid one of the human soldiers who is fending off two orks with a halberd. Fluffy followed him out of the tent and is standing at the entrance to the tend looking confused. Too much noise, he can not see me, but he must have felt my aggression when I was attacking the ork. I whistle to get his attention and start running towards the orks that Sygvard is attacking. I know that Fluffy will understand this and come to my aid. We have been hunting together and with his help I managed to track down and kill several wild boars this winter. The mild winter 2 years ago made it very easy for the boars to find foot and recently their population was getting too large. They started to come to the farm lands more and more often in search for food. I had to intervene to restore the balance and my aunt was very happy that we managed to add some meat to our meals. We even had enough meat left to sell it in the small village which lies about ten miles north of our farm. I could not go there, since Sygvard was in Mirabar and the villagers would not trade with me or even talk to me if my brother was not around, so my aunt sold the meat that day.

AAAAAARRRRGGHHH! Strong pain floods over me and drags my attention back to the present as
the ork in front of me buries his axe deep into my left shoulder. PAY ATTENTION! FOCUS! I push
the axe away with my shield. It hurts as hell but I manage to get a few inches away from the ork to ready my self to attack him. Before I can even raise my club Fluffy jumps forward and sinks his fangs into the throat of the ork. Fluffy is pretty heavy for a common wolf and easily takes the ork down to the ground with his weight. Maybe I feed Fluffy to good? The ork drops his weapons to grab Fluffy, but the amount of blood that is gushing from his throat and the gargling sound that he makes when he draws breath make it obvious that his attempts will be futile.

I lay a hand on my wounded shoulder and start to gather my concentration. For a second I close my
eyes to concentrate on the grassy smell of the plains which surround me. Then I whisper the words
in druidic that focus my power into the healing spell. The pain fades as broken collarbone, torn
muscle and skin heal within the blink of an eye. For a moment I wish to dwell in the sensation, I
feel high from this feeling of being one with nature that I get whenever I cast a spell. I open my eyes and realise that a few seconds have passed. Sygvard is already running towards another group of enemies. I did not even have a chance to see if he was injured or not. I count 8 orks, but Sygvard does not hesitate to through himself into battle. Fear rises in me. Fear and anger. I can not let him fall in battle. I can not loose him! Mother would be devastated. She would never forgive me. I feel my orkish temper taking control of me as I follow Sygvard. A sound leaves my mouth more howl than scream as I am joining my brother in battle. My vision narrows and everything seems to become a reddish touch. I feel my saliva running down the side of my mouth. Control yourself. This is not you. You are not like these orks. But the voice of reason in my head is not loud enough. I want to see our enemies blood flowing, want to feel their bones crushing under my club, want to see them running in fear or dying by our hands…

I am sitting by the river, washing the blood off my weapon, my shield, my clothes and myself. So, much blood. I feel ashamed. I keep telling myself that we had to defend ourselves, that this is the natural order: Survival of the fittest. But I know I am lying to myself. I don’t feel ashamed for killing these orks, I feel ashamed because it was giving me joy. Should I talk to Sygvard about this?

I cannot. He is the only one who sees me as an equal. He respects me. He loves me as a brother. He sees the human in me. If I tell him how I felt, I will lose that. I need to find a calm place to meditate. So, many people around here. I need to get out of here.

Northsilver Crossing, Liam's Journal

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