“That must be the chief’s tent, there!” Exclaimed Beor in an excited whisper as he pointed down at the largest in a chaotic cluster of hide tents in the snowy foothills below. Bleached skulls, severed hands and other grisly tokens taken by the orcish raiders became horrific decorations hung upon the tents, a reminder of the savagery that the monstrous raiders were capable of…
“Obvious choice,” sniggered Oxkar at Beor’s side. “Of course the chief would own the largest tent!”
Splintered groups of savage snow-orc raiders had been fleeing deeper into the north for days now… Many of their raiding bands were smashed in days past by the mighty Silverhide fist of war. Two semi organized orcish armies were also defeated soundly in battle. The true might of Great-orc Grimor Bonecracker’s forces had not yet fallen upon the north, but the orcs had already tasted a plentiful bounty of defeat. Stragglers and beaten survivors were still trickling further north, the majority rallying beneath the Great-orc’s strongest chief, Rasknag ‘The Black’.
No doubt Rasknag sought to muster what forces he could while there still existed time, thought Beor. The chief knew that the Silverhide’s were on his trail, mopping up the scattered remnants of a broken army… He would regroup with Great-orc Bonecracker as swiftly as possible. The Great-orc himself had hidden his hordes somewhere amongst the frozen peaks of the icy mountains and if Rasknag reached him, then the Silverhide clan would need to commit more warriors… Beor for one, did not intend to allow the orcs opportunity to marshal their forces. This was war… Rasknag’s forces had been whittled down to a hair’s breadth, with only a small troop of his hardest and most formidable warriors remaining. They were being joined and strengthened by fleeing orcs daily, but Beor intended to remedy this very quickly.
Rasknag’s orcs had set camp in the northern hills at the foot of the icy mountains, bathed in the looming shadow of jagged snow capped rock and icy ledges. It was on one of these iced ledges that Beor and Oxkar concealed themselves, some 50 feet up, spying like eagles from upon high with their keen vision. The camp had been thrown up in haste, Beor thought. Whether the orcs were aware of it or not, the hills did little to mask the presence of their crudely erected tents, or block the rising plumes of arid smoke, climbing loftily into the frozen skies from a dull handful of orcish camp fires. There were only 4 uninterested and sullen looking sentries standing guard, one at each corner of the encampment…
“There do not seem to be many sentries, brother,” noted Oxkar quietly. “Share your thoughts, how many blue-skins?”
“There can be no more than 50 of them here.”
A number easily annihilated by Beor’s Khorrn unit, 10 strong… But would Kerchek allow it? He held command of their unit… 8 Khorrn in total had been assigned to the campaign against the blue-skins, each set to duty by the esteemed Blademaster, Andurin. Andurin had ordered that all Khorrn stay hand and regroup at ice-rift crag after completing their respective scouting missions.
No attack was to be launched… But immense opportunity presented itself below Beor, clear as day… The chance to destroy a seasoned orcish general, striking swiftly and efficiently at the vital organs of Bonecracker’s hordes… Frustration mounted within, as he knew that there was only one man who could overturn Andurin’s orders not to attack, and that man like most of their kind was as stubborn as a bull…
The Khorrn leader was permitted to sanction an attack if necessity or great opportunity demanded it. The reason had to be a worthy one, or the consequences would be grave… Was this not an opportunity of worth? Of course it was.
“Sneaking down there at dusk would prove no challenge to us,” mused Beor. “We could easily slay the 4 sentries and kill most of the other orcs before they have time to rouse.”
“Sneaking is not really my style,” protested Oxkar, his face creasing in mock offence! He scratched at his strawberry blonde mohawk and cracked his neck noisily. “I like a foe to look me in the eyes before I take their life.”
“Even if we charged in with our weapons and claws flying, our khorrn would make short work of this lot,” Beor assured his shield-brother. “Think of how this could affect the war effort! The elders may even allow us to undertake Blademaster training…”
Oxkar chortled and shook his head. “I fear I do not share your enthusiasm for becoming a Blademaster so early, brother. There is still a lot yet to learn before such thoughts. YOU attempt to manoeuvre above your station too soon!”
“Let me hazard a guess, you heard that from the mouth of Blademaster Andurin?” Retorted Beor, fighting the grin that threatened to wrest control of his jaw from him but failing miserably.
“I often wonder if it would be wise to agree with him…”
Beor grinned wolfishly. “Of course you do! You know I attempt only what I feel I must. We will return to Kerchek and tell him of what we found here. I will urge him to sanction the attack.”
“And if he refuses? You know he will refuse…” Oxkar pointed out.
“Then I will challenge him in a trial of strength and will,” answered Beor calmly. “I shall challenge him for leadership of the Khorrn.”
Oxkar blinked in surprise…
“Kerchek is our leader, our khorrn brother. He is a strong and valiant man, one of our own. How do you feel about that?” Asked Beor carefully, powerful eyes of hard slate demanding his shield-brother’s attention.
Oxkar sighed heavily, his lips twisting slowly into a resigned smile. Large emerald eyes blazed brightly with the conviction behind his words;
“I stand with you, brother. Always.”