Ever since the war in heaven, when they created by the Fallen to wage their war on Eletreus, Orcs have been a pestilence upon the land of Thane. But in the broken Kingdom, one Orc above all builds an army and has ambitions well beyond its shattered borders..
His name is King Gurak the Malevolent, and before he was King, he was a powerful warchief in his own right. He and his band of savage followers absorbed or defeated all the other local warbands, and driven by pride and curiosity, it was Gurak who dared to enter the forbidden ruined city of Acregeddon, known these days as the ‘Dark Harbor’.
Driven by ambition, and called by voices only he could hear, Gurak entered the fallen palace, sneering derisively at his cowardly generals, who stammered and protested to enter – for even to these hardened and sadistic Orcs, the ruin ahead of them reeked of death and impending doom..
Alone, and in the half light, he wandered the crumbling hallways, and his eyes narrowed at the sight of Thanes faded glory. And it was in this moment that he could not shake the distinct feeling that he was being closely watched, yet he could smell nor see any living thing here, and a chill went up the Orcs spine..
“Come closer..” a woman’s voice whispered.
He looked around, but could see nothing at first. And then, out of the darkness, a throne made from the skulls and bones of the dead came into view. And staring at him, sitting on the throne, was a pale, scantily dressed human woman with the coldest, cruelest eyes that he had ever witnessed.
At first he snorted, and drew his viscous cleaver, a savage Orc blade that had served him well over the years and claimed many a head – and began to advance on her. But she laughed as her reply, and then regarding him coolly.
“You know, I have killed for much less than that Orc..”
“Who the hell are you?” he growled, fear replaced by anger. “I am not afraid of you witch!”
“Oh, if you knew who I was, you would be Orc.. But right now, who I am and who I represent is not important. What is important, is that you are here.. I have been waiting..”
He stopped his advance, still gripping his blade, and titled his head to the side. “Enough talk. Get off the throne woman. I am King here!”
No sooner had he uttered those words than he suddenly felt an immense pressure on his chest, and he struggled to take a breath, but to no avail. Gasping, he fell to his knees, his sword clattering on the flagstones.
He heard a second voice over the sound of the blood pumping loudly in his ears. A strange and disembodied voice, echoing and seemingly coming from and reverberating around the ceiling, speaking in an old dialect of Thanish that he could barely understand. Something about ‘is this the best one?’ and some corrupted insults hissed at him with barely controlled hatred.
Now turning blue, he looked around in desperation to break the spell that was about to consume him, and saw a disembodied woman’s face with black pools for eyes – a face beautiful, yet twisted and malevolent, the two wicked women watching him dispassionately as he felt his heart begin to sputter and he grasped at his throat, desperate to draw breath.
“Sadly my queen, he IS the best of his kind. Which is not saying much – but he will do..” the first woman replied, and at that Gurak was suddenly able to breathe again and gulped down the air greedily like water in the desert.
“Pick up your sword” the woman commanded, and Gurak obeyed, but stood ready to use it, his face snarling and contorted with rage.
“See my Queen. He has spirit! He wants to fight. He wants to kill. Isn’t that right Orc?”
Gurak had no reply, but instead just started down the figure before him.
“You want to be a King, do you not? But by yourself, you will surely fail, Orc. We can help you succeed. We can make you powerful beyond your wildest dreams – if you will but submit to our will..”
“Who are you woman?”
“It does not matter, and you are beginning to test my patience.. If you are wise – and a King should have at least some modicum of wisdom, you will realize both the situation you are in and the opportunity that is in front of you. Or perhaps, you are just another stupid Orc..”
He growled deep in his throat. He knew that they had him, the disembodied one could stop his breath, and there was no doubt that the flesh and blood woman before him was also a powerful warlock, and did not look like an easy fight either. He was fast, but the ghostly ‘Queen’ was faster. He was angry, but also cunning. And so his mind began to tick over the possibilities.
“So, what can you offer me then? I am a King, and I came here to claim this throne, not to serve it. But I am also a mercenary, and if the price is right, perhaps we can make a deal..”
Only the heavens know what Gurak would have chosen had he understood the ramifications of making a deal in this forbidden place.. Perhaps his general has been right after all. And exactly what transpired in the conversation that follows is a haze to him, and not a story he has told to any other.. He remembered everything up until the point of him saying the words ‘make a deal’ – but the details of the deal he cannot recall..
Nor can he recall much more than a vision that delighted him – for he saw himself and his armies spreading out across all of Thane, crushing the arrogant colonists and leading an army of tens of thousands of battle hardened Orcs North to Silverleaf.. That and a few words..
‘What would you give for this?’
Those words were burned into his brain. Like the scar on his arm. If he did not have it, the memories of cutting himself for her, letting the blood run down to drip heavily upon the floor were also like some kind of surreal dream..
He recalls hearing the incantation, feeling the room spinning, feeling power and darkness running up through the wound into his chest, the other hand gripping his sword feeling it pulsate in time with his heartbeat..
And the next thing he knew, he was all alone in the Throne Room.
The blood had dried in a brown stain on the flagstones. The two witches, one long dead, the other very much alive, had vanished. And he had changed..
Now the Sword he held it his hand guided him, strengthened him, made him truly feel like a King. And so, he seated himself at the Throne – and began to laugh.
His grasp on the reigns of power was completed. No other Orc could rule as long as he sat upon this throne. And soon, he vowed, the world would know him and his armies.
Soon, they would all bow down to Gurak the Orc King – or be destroyed..