"Faster," the putrid Orcish Overmaster screamed, "or I’ll snap all your worthless necks in half!"
A whip cracked out over the heads of some hundred grimy, green and panting Orcs. Each and every one retracted and winced with the snap, but quickly went back to their work hammering and pounding the thousands of wicked red-hot glowing swords scattered about the room. Massive furnaces lined the walls, and for every piece of weaponry that exited their searing embers, three more were thrown in. A thick corrosive smoke hung in the air over the disgusting figures, obscuring the amazing architecture above and around their heads in the great Orcish citadel of Jil’Vug.
Only thirty years ago, the ground they now stood upon was a beautiful Elvish settlement, nestled sweetly above the ground in the ancient treetops. Tiny innocent almond-eyed children had played and frolicked here deep into the summer nights. Now their blood and bones fueled the great Orcish war-machine. Each and every blacksmith smiled the cruelest smile at the thought of lifting such a frail quarry above their head and crushing them in a spray of gore like the dry and worthless twigs that they were, then feasting upon their flesh.
"Vug’Krush will not be happy with your lack of effort!" he screamed again.
The very mention of the great Warlord’s name sent every Orc in the room into a frenzy. Most eyes grew wide with fear, some covered their ears and others began to whimper softly, for the great and terrible power of Vug’Krush the Hellspawn was known all-too-well by these Orc tribes, "The Uniter", as they called him; an all-powerful Orc of monstrous size and even more formidable strength. Most had never seen the great warlord with their own eyes, but those who had glimpsed upon their most worshiped commander brought back tales of horror. They spoke of an Orc more akin to a giant, twelve feet tall, with blood-red eyes and the flesh ripped from the side of his face, leaving only finely-polished skull where his cheeks and forehead should be. Krush wore the skins of his most formidable enemies as breeches; King Cassius of Larg, High Warlord Bhat of the Doomfist Tribe and the Troll leader Kama’Kun. His chest armor was a ferocious piece of jagged metal that fit his massive frame perfectly. Foot-long barbs covered every inch of the breastplate, and if one were to inspect close enough, one would find the rotting flesh and organs of his past victims still lodged between some of the spikes. On his head he wore a cage of metal, magically grafted to his jawbone and eye sockets.
If his visage wasn’t enough to cause even the most ferocious fighter of the Orcish horde to wet himself, then his weapon would do the trick. Strapped to his back was a blade six feet long that emitted a sickly acidic-green aura, illuminating and outlining the horrific image of Krush. Down the length of the blade were carved runes of ancient Orcish magiks, and, when Krush swung that blade and cleaved into his enemy, the runes would activate, unleashing a blast wave capable of ripping the very bones out of a victim’s body, leaving the poor defender as nothing more than a pile of skin and muscle.
"Bah!" one puny Orc grumbled to his partner in the corner of the room, clearly unimpressed with the threats of the Warchief, "Krush is nothing! I could wring him dead with my very hands!"
"Don’t say that you fool, Grug!" his horrified partner whispered, barely able to contain his fear of being heard.
"What? Are you afraid of that mangy beast, Krush? Have you ever even seen the bastard?" Grug asked.
"Watch your tongue! You’re new here, and you don’t know what happens to people who speak ill of the master! And no, I haven’t seen him, but I’ve heard enough to know that he could kill everyone in this room right now if he wished, no matter how many weapons we had!" Grug’s accomplice whimpered.
Grug looked at his friend in disbelief. Never had he heard an Orc cower in such a pathetic manner, especially towards another Orc. Where Grug came from, when you felt one of your tribesman was superior to you, you challenged them to a duel to the death. Grug had never lost a duel before, and was damned sure his pride would not be hurt by any other Orc, no matter how powerful others said he was.
"You are weak, friend. You have lost your will to fight. You are no better than a sniveling Elf!" Grug scoffed.
The other Orc simply shook his head and went back to hammering.
"Fine! If this fool won’t remember what makes him an Orc, will anyone else in this room?" Grug cried out.
The banging stopped and a silence filled the air.
"Who here still has a spine?" yelled the enraged Orc, glad to see he had everyone’s attention.
"Quiet, fool! Back to hammering everyone!" the Warchief screamed, incensed at such traitorous words. He cracked his whip in Grug’s direction, expecting to hear a scream of pain as the barbed-tip ripped into flesh, but instead all he felt was a slight sting in his chest. The Warchief looked down to find three tiny daggers sticking out from his heart. He suddenly felt very weak, and fell to a pile on the floor, dead.
Down below his perch, a very jubilant Grug laid spread out on the floor. Clearly his nasty little daggers had found their mark.
Grug urged the other smiths in the room to join him with a triumphant cry, "Come my brethren! Let us go and make waste to this supposed ‘leader’ of ours! Nobody can control the Orcish tribes!"
He grasped two newly forged-swords in both hands and began to back his way to the door, beckoning for the others to take up arms and follow, but none of them moved. The workers simply stared at Grug with disbelief and horror, unsure of what to do about the dead taskmaster and this defect from the great cause of Vug’Krush.
"What? None of you shall follow me to slay this beast that you call your ‘master’? No Orc shall ever have a master! Don’t you realize that?" Grug screamed louder than he had ever before, rage splayed across his face, grimacing with the pain of seeing thousands of years of pure breeding turned into a farce, as his brethren slaved over furnaces and groveled like pitiful dogs at the very mention of this "Vug’Krush", this joke of a leader.
Through his screaming, Grug was unable to hear the massive wooden door creak open on its rusty hinges behind him. He continued to yell, tears streaming down his face, falling deeper into the passionate cry for his kinsmen to follow him out of slavery. Only when he saw the look in the other Orc’s faces did his speech grow softer and less violent. In every set of eyes he saw a greater fear, something terrible, something indescribable. The Orcs in the room shuddered and whimpered, and Grug could see a massive shadow cover the ground around him. All was silent. Even the once omnipresent hiss of steam pouring forth from the furnaces seemed to recoil back into the glowing embers and quiet itself.
Grug’s muscles tightened. Every hair in his body stood-up on end. Deep in his puny brain, something clicked; an inherent warrior instinct ingrained into every Orc, a switch, that when flipped, brings a terrible bloodlust to the body of the warrior; a desire to kill, which blocks out every other emotion. Grug was ready to kill his quarry. He was ready to demolish the figure behind him. Slowly, he swiveled around to face and hopefully eradicate whatever it was that had encroached upon his moment of glory.
The figure was black, blacker than the blackest night in the blackest corner Illidian; twelve feet of demonic energy, nothing but a ghostly mist in the air. There were two eyes which seemed to hover atop the figure, crimson and furious, perfectly spherical and perfectly disgusting. Within the orbs swirled a viscous liquid that reflected the meager light playing upon them and made it seem as if they contained a sea of blood.
Grug dropped his swords and fell to his knees.
Vug’Krush the Hellspawn stepped into the room, the furious furnace light illuminating every curvature of his horrific figure. Twelve feet tall and in full battle-gear, the leader of all things violent raised his terrible zweihandler into the air. Krush looked straight into the eyes of the quivering, pitiful Grug, and down came the sword. A wave of perfect pain and pleasure washed over the proud but insolent warrior, and he felt every bone in his body tearing its way from his skin. He was going to join the gods of war. He was happy. His bones blasted in every direction, a thin spray of red mist following, splashing upon Vug’Krush and the other Orcs in the room. Bliss was the last emotion Grug felt as his brain melted inside his skull, and then he was Grug no more, just one more Orc that had made his stand against the unstoppable Vug’Krush and found his death quick and painless.
All eyes shot to the floor and each Orc dropped to their knees in reverence of the great warlord who now stood amongst them.
"Rise!" Vug’Krush cried, his unbelievably deep voice, as if magically amplified, shaking the very walls of the forge-room.
Some whimpered, some cried, some trembled, but all stood up straight, with as much spine and dignity that an Orc could muster.
"You have toiled long and hard in the name of the Bloodgut and all that which is glorious on the battlefield! You have shown me you are loyal to carnage! You have shown me you are willing to devote everything within your puny bodies to me!"
Vug’Krush drew himself up to an even more massive size, puffing his chest out and raising his arms to the sky.
"So tomorrow it comes! The dawning of a new era is upon us, brethren! Tomorrow we march for Draenth!"
A monstrous cheer rose from the crowd of petrified Orcs. They knew that their years of toil and work and planning were soon to come to fruition. They knew that their great leader would soon show them the way to true glory. They knew the glory of the Bloodgut tribe and the relentless Vug’Krush the Hellspawn would be known the world over.
They knew that in only a few short days, the great Elvish city of Draenth would lie in ruins.
WRT310 Creative Writing, Fall 2005