SMOKE AND FIRE
THIS URUK’S END
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“Lizten up! After our surrenda’ against da gazat, we are handin’ a prizona over to da stouts. Initially it was Korgahk’Gorkil, but after Skalp’s actions in da warzone, the stout King asked for him personally to take Korgahk’s place! Skalp blahs we march at dawn.”
“Everyash, behind mi. Mi flats today.”
Skalp stood outside of the Dwarven capital, the rain above pelting against his shoulders and his back. If it were not for the ingredients inside, the chrome warpaint slathered across his face would of been torn away. Behind him stood the Uruk, including his brothers, the boila boys; that of Eyeboila and Brainboila. Many of them had watched him fight alongside them in the Gazat-warzone. They had watched him as an ambitious child, they had watched him rise to the throne of Krugmar and take Rexdom, they had watched him sit upon said throne and his realm prosper. Now, they were here to watch him die.
It was then, awaiting the dwarven forces to come retrieve him for his execution, that Skalp’s daughter Nakita looked to him.“Latz wuz da bezt popo evur. Latz wuz nub alwayz deyre in bodi but latz waz deyre in thoughtz.” Skalp moved to answer: “Agh mi kould nub have asked for a more honorable daughter, Nakita. Rulg, for everythin.”
Then, dwarven messengers emerged from their cave, demanding the Uruk entered their abode. After a while of bickering, Skalp and a few others from his entourage entered the dwarven capital. Their throne room was large, and the Grand King Utak sat and watched the unchained Uruk enter; his own peoples sitting at his sides, eager to see the altercation. For a moment, silence cascaded across the hall’s walls, then Utak spoke.
“Yeh will beh Ironcasted ehn put up as a statue as a remoindah tuuh errehone w'o wishes t'a risk da lives o' deir people fo' 20 000 minae, dis is da most merceh ah'll show tuuh yeh, allowehn yehr tale tuuh live on tuuh remoind da people o' Krug o' deir actiuns suh dey willnae maek da same mistake again.”
Outcries of joy came from those dwarves around. Some flew insults of ignorance, trying to incite a rage within the Uruks, others conjured up naught but a stoic stare, their respect for their previous adversaries keeping them silent. Fiil’Yar, she who educated and raised Skalp, attempted in reasoning with Utak;
Though the dwarven king had tasted blood, and naught would quench his thirst for more.
Skalp stepped forth, his mind awash with memories and thoughts. He knew this was the end, he knew his life was forfeit; but he did not fear. In fact, a sense of tranquility beamed through his heart. His maw opened in reply.
“This Uruk that stands before lats does nub fear flat. Mi has faced it many tiks before. Mi have created agh ended life, agh mi am apologetic for nothing. Da Ancestrals welcome mi, agh Krug smiles now upon mi. Mi wished to flat with the sun on mi back; but mi faith in Stargûsh'Stroh will allow me to flat with da fire of da starz above in mi throat!”
Then, the Goliath charged forth. He had one chance, one card to play before the end. His hands moved to grasp at the boomsteel flasks resting at his waist; lofting them up and projecting the drinks of fire towards Utak. They spun and circled, rotating in the air before erupting at the Grand King’s feet; conjuring forth a shockwave of flame and shrapnel. The room’s air soon filled with a mixture of smoke and screams, as the Boila Boys charged forth to tackle at those near Skalp. A dozen swords unsheathed as chaos ensued and the legion jumped into fray, hoping to slay the three uruks in the pit.
Skalp unsheathed his own cleaver and twirled about, swinging it madly like a frenzied mammoth. The blade’s edge came across many a dwarf, slicing their arms or breaking their ribs; though none could touch him. “Lo there! Mi peeps mi momo!” Skalp continued as his blade arced throughout the air; painting with blood as he garnered visions of the afterlife. Eyeboila did the same, kicking and thrashing wildly. “ Lo there! Mi peeps mi popo!” Brainboila would cry in rage as an axe stuck to the back of his skull, splitting his face in two as if a cake; and promptly he fell to his knees. Skalp looked across the field as twenty dwarves raised their arms to three uruks. He thought of Fiil, his mother, of whom raised him since he was young. He thought of his brothers, who he had raided alongside. He thought of his kub, Nakita, who’s childhood he had missed due to war. He thought of his lifemate, Ugrad, whom had always been at his side. Then, his maw erupted in a final boisterous roar as charged at Beowulf. “ Lo there, mi bruddas agh sistahz, lat's call mi to mi home; agh mi will answer!”
The human’s sword cascaded forth towards Skalp’s chest as he charged. Unbeknownst to those around, however, Skalp donned ‘Explosive Dreams’, that of a low density boomsteel cuirass. As the blade crashed into the Uruk’s chest; sparks screened into the atmosphere. Next; was the flame.
All those who had fought were thrown backwards in an explosion of goliath proportion; shrapnel and bone splintering across the hall. The explosion killed many a dwarf; and injured many more. The Rex who had fought a moment before; was now but a cloud of ash swirling in the air.
Skalp’s brothers were dead too, what remained of them lying strewn across the hall’s floors; their dismembered limbs intermingled with dwarven ones. A canvas of blood, gore and flame decorated Utak’s throne room. The Grand King was lucky enough, saved by Uldraek and pulled from the blast’s fray whilst Korgahk’Gorkil the Dishonorable shielded the dwarven king from the shrapnel’s sting.
However dead Skalp was, his name lived on. Snawt escaped the Underrealm’s fiery grasp, soon returning to Krugmar and living to tell the tale of Smoke and Fire, this Uruk’s death.
That was all Skalp saw. It was like this for what felt like many days after his explosion. Eternally his thoughts pondered the possibility that the spirits had never existed at all, that they were a cheap trick written up to inspire his brothers to die valiantly. Then, a verdant green light beamed infront of him. With each step he took towards it, it felt as if his limbs grew constricted and the area around him squeezed into his sides. He kept marching, however, and soon found himself crawling through a tight space towards the light; crawling still, his sides scraping open via the darkness of which felt to him like ashen rock.
Finally, his hand reached the light; and he pulled himself out of the ground. Around him was a wasteland, the realm of Apohet, the Gundâr Broshan. It was blackened stone, with canyons and cracks littering the ground, toxic green fumes circling and exuding from said holes into the air. It was from one of these holes he came, and he saw others, too; grasping and crawling their way into the Ancestral plane from the green fog, or falling back into it towards the Monk’s temple.
Though, amongst those crawling themselves into the afterlife, was his two brothers; Eyeboila and Brainboila; reunited in hell. They had offed themselves in the explosion to accompany him in the journey each ork knew since they were a child; that to the Gates of Kor, where the spirits would decide if they were worthy of entering Stargush’Stroh.
Their journey was long, or was it quick? It was hard to tell in Apohet’s realm, for there was no sun to warm their cold, and no afternoon meals to sate their hunger. Nonetheless, they lumbered on, occasionally seeing the dishonored hunters, the souleaters, eyeing the journey on the horizon. Soon enough, however, the gate of Kor appeared in the distance.
As the trio neared, the masses at the gate seemed only to multiply. Thousands if not millions of dead walking silently without a word towards Doraz agh Kor, a behemoth gate nearly a kilometer into the air. Rwo giant foxes; the spirits Ragnir and Tor, chased eachothers’ tails infront of the gates, playing to see if life or death would win.
The silence was deafening. It seemed the gate waned; as if Stargush’Stroh itself was breathing and alive. With the next blink Skalp gave, everyone else vanished, as if they were never there. It was merely him, Ragnir and Tor.
The two foxes crawled towards him, their teeth bared and their eyes ablaze with hunger. They circled him, occasionally snapping their fangs towards him in feign assaults; though some sort of shield blocked their attacks. They were debating Skalp’s worthiness of entering the Ancestor’s halls.
After many a moment, both foxes withdrew, and went back to playing anticlimactically, leaving Skalp in confusion. He looked back, the gates were still closed. Nothing happened for what felt like hours, and the realization of his situation dawned on Skalp. It was silent, and his denial into Stargush’Stroh was obvious. He had, after all, burned down shrines to conjure motivation for the Stargushob. The lost souls wailing before the gate started to materialize once more, and Skalp’s thoughts were clouded with bitter ideas of rejection; though he maintained a stoic demeanor.
Then, a warhorn blew. And the gates blew asunder, flinging open with a loud roar. At the centre, stood what seemed to be an aged Uruk, green in complexion. His white beard grew down to his chest and his veins popped as if they were filled with Daemon’s blood.
The uruk infront of Skalp was taller than he had ever seen, stronger than he had ever seen. Even their gaze filled Skalp with the urge to turn about and run, and their breath pulsed the ground to tremble;
Skalp knew who this was, Krug himself, whom had come to welcome him home.
He stepped forwards, sending his skull forth in a headbutt and embrace to the allfather. After decades of trial, pain, wars and raids; death and life, blood and gore, Skalp had finally been allowed into Stargush’Stroh.
+ Notable Lesser Ancestral: Rex Skalp’Raguk the Skary, the Young, the Uniter, the Altruist; a Rex that united the orcish clans under his banner, and famously died wearing a boomsteel cuirass whilst blowing Urguan’s halls to smithereens. Known for his intelligence and ambition.
My mother told me