++ Winds of Fortune Spring 381YE ++ The Price of Experience


The drums were whispering, soft and low, all around the clearing. The council met in a rough circle, their backs to the fires where the other orcs sat. Some sat on logs, some stood, but most sat or squatted in the dirt. The chieftan stood in the middle of the circle, bearing the Heartwood Staff in one hand and a crumpled vellum scroll in the other.

“The messengers have done their best, but the news is not good.” He said without preamble. “The Navarr no longer wish us to be here.”

A rumble passed through the circle, but nobody interrupted.

“They require that we leave Therunin, and trek across their Empire to the far north - to the cold mountains - there to be consumed by the orcs of the Imperial tribe.”

One of the councilors spoke, her voice flat.

“The orcs of the Imperial tribe do not want us. They are not of our tribe. It is known.”

The chieftan nodded. It was known.

“They require us to submit to their tribal spirit. They require us to abandon the Forest. They require us to embrace the ancestors of the Imperial people.”

An angry rumble now, a sussuration of whispers.

“They will give us a year, and then they will no longer offer us sanctuary from the Druj.”

He spat as he named the tribe of tyrants, the people of the scorpion. Many of the warriors outside the circle did the same, as did a few of the elders.

“They say that there will be no more charity. We must pay for our place among them with magic and trade goods.”

One of the elders stood up and addressed the chieftan.

“We told them we would fight the tyrants with them? Protect their forest from the people of the scorpion? Trade with them - trade our knowledge of the Druj and trade meat, furs, and wood with them?”

“Yes. The totem speaker told them all this in Autumn.”

The elder sat down again.

“What choice do we have?” asked the chieftan. “The totem speaker says that there has been no reply from the south, but we must move. We cannot stay here. We cannot return north, we will not dimnish and we cannot fight. What choice? We must move.”

At that moment, a new figure stepped into the clearing. Flanked by four warriors, the orc moved with a casual confidence, her face hidden by a midnight blue cowl. As she walked, her staff jingled with silver bells.

“There is … another possibility,” she said calmly, smiling toothily beneath the hood.

More orcs - this time in Therunin. The orcs of the Great Forest tribe appear to be on the verge of making some sort of decision. There’s things the Empire can do, and things they might do, and things they can’t do … but you can learn a bit more about them here → https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Price_of_experience

Either way, with a “final delegation” heading to Anvil it looks like things are going to come to a head one way or another.

#theytookourland, #nobodylikestheDruj, #Easiertoforgiveanenemythantoforgiveafriend