17th Moonstone, 101, Early Winter
It all began with Addie MenacedCluster reporting that great dingoes had been spotted out in the woods. This truly seems to be a land of giants, and these beasts are no exception:
Given what happened the last time warlock merchants were in camp, I feel justified in being very cautious about the approach of any wild animal. Our front-line squads are put on high alert, and not a moment too soon, as while the dingoes keep their distance, a much more terrifying threat appears:
Forest nymphs, moving with uncanny speed, and straight towards the trading depot. While no threat by themselves, they’re more than an excuse for the warlocks to unlock madness once more upon our home.
They tear straight past our militia, but there is one orc that stands between them and the depot… Mahrgell OceanicUnspeakable, Miner and BowOrc of UnholinessSparked. The first nymph runs straight towards him:
Mahrgell steps in the way, raises his bow, and… uh…
The nymph frees herself, and heads straight past the traders. By this time our militia are closing in, but the warlocks and their pets have already spotted her. The madness seems inevitable as drowspiders start spraying webs everywhere:
CptCrunchy once again shows why he’s captain of our most elite bowsquad—The Hairy Poisons—efficiently taking down the nymph with arrow and bow:
But it’s too late. The guards that protect the orcish trading caravans have been webbed, and are unable to dodge whatever hellish incantations the warlocks have invoked:
CptCrunchy downs a second nymph with the help of a caravan guard:
My heart sinks as the warlocks continue to blanket the area in their destructive magicks; but at least nothing is on fire, and we have no serious injuries…
Oh wait, the caravan guard…
Moments later, all three nymphs are down, along with a few of the merchants…
As the flames continue to lick the trade depot, some of the animals break free from their cages and escape:
During the confusion, one of the giant dingoes must have ventured too close, as CptCrunchy’s arrow cuts deep into its leg, dropping the beast:
The depot is going to be on fire for a while, and it’s unlikely the warlocks can do any more damage. The front-line squads are directed to finish off the injured dingo and its lone healthy companion.
Despite the anticipation of combat, our morale is low from the third trade-depot fire in two seasons. But then, something incredible happens.
All heads turn to see Jaxy emerging from below… He’s wearing a platinum wolf mask, has decorated his throat in war-paint, and is absolutely buzzed on sugar. It would appear that he’s consumed a whole bag of the stuff:
Caring not for bow nor weapon, Jaxy bellows a defiant challenge, and charges straight at the uninjured dingo. A giant of a beast, it towers over him, but we all know what is going on. It is the way of our people to fight against insurmountable odds, to prove ourselves by looking death in the eye, to never show fear. It why the Taiga Orcs may be scattered, but we will never be broken.
Jaxy is showing us what it means to be truly brave. It brings honour upon us all to have such as Jaxy in our clan.
Jaxy ducks and weaves, and the thud of the giant’s missed blows can be felt through the ground. But it is not long before Jaxy sustains his first injury:
Ah, to have one’s blood shed on the field of battle! It is the dream of all Taiga Orcs, and the most assured way to obtain that greatest of honours—for one’s soul to pass from this realm and into the Fields of the Fallen, where one may fight and drink with the other great warriors of the land.
Jaxy’s dodging skills are incredible, but the great beast lurches and grabs him by the leg:
Time slows as we all turn to watch the fight. Even those still in camp can feel the thrill of battle calling to them, and listen in wonder to the great roars that emminates from the snowy trees. A moment later we see Jaxy’s true glory. Blood, deep crimson on the freshly fallen snow, his leg crushed mercilessly in the jaws of his foe; but Jaxy’s spirit is strong, and he delivers a mighty blow to his assailant:
Despite horrific injuries and incredible odds, not once does Jaxy flinch. Not once does he turn away:
Dominated by Jaxy’s ferocity and will, the beast loses its confidence and turns to flee:
Jaxy has turned pale from loss of blood, but his honour and bravery are unmistakeable, and his mood is fit for the occasion:
Moments later, Jaxy’s greatest wish is fulfilled. His soul begins its journey to the Fields of Battle. A deafening roar of celebration errupts throughout the camp, echoing from the distant mountains and reverberating in the valleys. The giant dingo that helped to guide his journey is dubbed Grithakpushara—CobaltFellowships—in honour.
Energised by the Great Fight, and already annointed in the blood of Grithakpushara’s fallen compansion, Gief, GnarFengYur, Theog, and CptCrunchy prove their glory in battle once more, though none can match that of Jaxy today.
The beast’s great skull shall be mounted in Jaxy’s tomb, so they may both continue to fight with honour upon the Fields of Battle.
This is a glorious moment, and it has done much to lift our spirits after the incident with the traders. Jaxy shall be forever remembered and celebrated as the First Fallen of UnholinessSparked.
As we return from the battlefield with Jaxy’s hallowed remains, there is another commotion around the smelter. The stars themselves must indeed smile upon Jaxy’s bravery today, for this is surely an omen that the return The Great Hunt is close at hand!
But first, we shall honour Grithakpushara’s flesh in a feast to celebrate the First Fallen!
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