Vrucroac: Savior in the Snow
Vrucroac (Vruk-rowk), an Ogre from Broken Maw, found himself in Whitethaw. His red skin barely visible through the layers of White bear skins he had made into a hard leather armor. he stepped out of his cave he now called home. The snow was waist deep, even though it was summer time in this part of Terminus. Compared to other Ogres he was quite small, but even so in his youth he had bested other Ogres in his tribe who towered over him. Which had left the elder’s quite surprised when he took the path of the shaman.
Looking back he had been very proud in those days. He proved just as wise as he was strong and was making progress to become a strong spiritual leader of his people. However, he was banished all the same. His people were on a never ending quest for power, one which he believed a waste of resources and of great detriment to his people and their shared history. This opinion he shared loudly, and often, earning banishment from all he'd known.
He had wandered for a long time, yet never alone; his spiritual companion Eisha (EE-sha), a bear spirit, had never left him. So, even through all that he had lost the ancestors had not abandoned him. One day he would return to his people once he had gathered proof of his beliefs and the leadership had either been replaced or grown wiser. However, it would be a long time before the current leader of the Broken Maw Ogres would be replaced.
To current matters, Vrucroac needed to find food. He had eaten breakfast before he had left the cave, but needed to find more meat for his next meal. His cave was set on the side of a mountain overlooking a forest of pine trees that had proven to be ripe with game, and some fresh hot water springs that provided him with water to fill his skins with. He grabbed his hunting bow, and attached the sled to Eisha, and they both set out for the forest.
The path down to the forest was rough and perilous, which is why we liked it, but it was slow. However, He knew exactly where to go to find the game he needed so the hunt was easy and done before the sun had reached its half way point in the sky. So, he decided to go to the springs to fill his skins with water. A fog started to set in as he was wandering through the snow covered forest. When they reached the pools Vrucroac removed Eisha from the sled, and grabbed a couple of the empty skins. When they crested the ridge to the pools Vrucroac saw the fresh remains of a camp. The tent had been big enough to house 2 people in it, and they had left in a hurry because the fire was still smoldering. The footprints in the snow headed west, and Vrucroac decided to follow them to determine if they were friend or foe.
Vrucroac found himself out of the forest and alongside the mountains. In the distance he could make out two humanoid figures. Both of them were Archai, one male and one female. As he closed the distance, he noticed the female had skin like white stone with beautiful glowing purple energy across it. She carried a backpack on her shoulder and the male was pushing a sled with all their supplies on it. This was not the first time that Vrucroac had come across the Archai in these parts and while cautious he found them to be a noble people with strong warriors and very accepting of other races, even an outcast Ogre like himself.
He approached them slowly and made sure they saw him coming before getting to them.
“hail, stranger.” He said as well as he could in their native tongue.
The male met him first. He was tall with gray stone skin with blue energy lining it, he had plate armor covering him; he was clearly a warrior with his hammer on his belt and his shield strapped to his back.
“Hail, what is your business here?” asked the warrior sternly.
“I live around here, and was hunting in the woods nearby when I stumbled upon your camp, and was curious, forgive my intrusion.” replied Vucroac. “What brings you here, warrior?”
“We were advised by one of our shamans to make the trip to a nearby shrine of our people.” the warrior replied.
“What for?” Asked Vrucroac.
“That is our business, friend.” This time it was the female that spoke. “We wish no harm to you, Ogre, but we will not hesitate if threatened.”
“I apologize, I see I have overstayed my welcome. I will be on my way.” replied Vucroac.
“What have we here?” Asked a sinister voice.
All three turned, and up on a nearby ridge stood a human wizard in a dark red cloak with a rose emblem on his it. Vrucroac started to regret not bringing his staff with him.
“Hail, human.” replied Vrucroac. “I might ask you the same thing.”
“Oh, Me?” asked the wizard. “I’m here on an errand for the Black Rose, you see there is an Archai shrine nearby that had a certain treasure my master needed.”
With that, the two archai looked at one another. “What did you do?” They both asked.
“Why, took the treasure, of course.” replied the wizard. “Oh, and destroyed the shrine as well.”
The male archai drew his hammer from his belt and his shield from his back. The female took off her back pack and wrapped it in blankets on the sled. Then revealed a staff of her own, and casted a summoning spell and a fire elemental developed in front of her.
“Oh, come now, there is no reason for that.” cackled the wizard. “Boys…” From behind the wizard a group of 15 men appeared from behind the ridge. Each carried weapons, some carrying shields and some carrying tomes, but everyone of them had the dark red colors and the rose emblem as their badge.
“Get the bag, and get out of here” whispered the warrior to the female.
“No! I'm not leaving you here on your own.” the woman replied stubbornly.
“ahhh , good…a fight.” the wizard said menacingly. “How about you, Ogre?”
“I'm not as strong without my staff.” the Ogre said to the two Archai, “but, I have your backs.”
“Thank you.” said the female Archai. “Sorry for earlier.”
“With individuals like these around, I don't blame you.” Replied Vrucroac.
The fight began all at once. All but the wizard attacked from both sides, but the warrior and fire elemental were quicker. With a burst of flame from the elemental three of the black rose attackers lit up and were on the ground screaming until the life left them, and Eisha had the attention of the other four. The warrior on the left flank was heading into eight enemies. Vrucroac summoned a fog around the bigger group and the warrior disappeared into it, taking out his adversaries one by one. Eisha and the fire elemental were handling the right flank, so Vrucroac started casting his banes on the confused enemies on the left flank. They seemed to have everything handled, until the wizard entered the battle.
Out of nowhere the female archai burst into flame. She let forth a dreadful scream and fell to the ground. The fire elemental dissolved as she fell. Vrucroac started to cast a boon to heal her, but before he could the wizard interrupted his magic and started casting spells at him. Eisha had the last three on the right flank retreating and came to help Vrucroac with the wizard. The warrior continued cutting down the other flank until there was one left. The warrior turned to face him, his opponent took off his mask and started laughing as he disappeared into shadow. The warrior looked around, but was unable to see his opponent. Vrucroac was too distracted by the powerful wizard to help.
The Rogue appeared in front of the warrior and then disappeared again into shadow. The warrior was doing his best to predict where the rogue would pop out next, but was struggling. The rogue landed a shot to the underside of the warrior’s armor slowing him down. The next time the rogue popped out the warrior was close to landing a crushing blow but the rogue dipped underneath the mace just in time. The rogue landed three consecutive shots to the ribs of the warrior and blood spat out of his mouth involuntarily. Vrucroac was able to find some breathing room as the wizard was attempting to conserve his mana, and got a small boon off that would heal the warrior momentarily. That's all he had time for however and he had to focus on protecting himself from the powerful wizard again. The rogue reappeared, and the warrior was able to slam him with his shield taking the breath out of him. As the rogue tilted over in agony the warrior brought his mace down hard. Eyes, teeth, and brains spewed out from the impact, and covered the snow. the warrior turned his sights on the wizard, and was able to charge at the wizard. However, The wizard saw him coming and in a swoosh of flame all that was left was the warriors mace.
It was just Vrucroac and the wizard. Vrucroac could feel his blood starting to boil and let loose the fury that his people are known for. His eyes turned red, and his muscles bulged. Before he charged he cast a bane on the wizard and the wizard’s life essence started to ooze forth from anywhere it could. The wizard screamed in agony as Vrucroac charged; he grabbed the warrior’s mace but before he could bring the blow down the wizard teleported away. The warrior was gone, there was no bringing him back. Vrucroac rushed to the side of the female Archai. Vrucroac started casting a boon to attempt to heal her.
“It's too late, Ogre.” she said in a weak voice.
“I have to try.” replied Vrucroac.
“There is something more important right now,” she said, staring at him to let him know how serious she was. “Get my bag.”
“Do it!” She demanded.
Vrucroac walked over to the sled and picked up the bag. Once he did he heard a little whimper come from the bag. Inside was a small baby Archai. His skin was a dark gey with long white hair flowing from the top of his head. No signs of the energy that usually permeated from the others of his kind was visible.
“He is to be a shaman.” said the archai woman. “You are the most powerful shaman I have seen and would be proud if you taught him what you know.”
“What about his people?” asked Vrucroac.
“We were the last of his people.” replied the Dying Archai. “They attacked our village before they attacked the shrine. Without you here we wouldn't have stood a chance against these attackers. Please, take him and teach him all you know. Save him…” With those last words she was gone.
Vrucroac spent the day performing a proper burial for the Archai woman. Her purple energy had faded away shortly after she died, but she looked at peace. After he had piled the stones around her, Vrucroac said a prayer and asked his ancestors to take her and show her the way to meet her ancestors in the afterlife.
The small Archai buy was on his mind the entire time Vrucroac completed his task. Whether this was the right path, how to take care of a child that was not even of his race, whether the path of the shaman was really this child's future. All of these questions raced through his mind. Vrucroac went over to the small child and laid him down on his parents sled. He sat down and began to meditate on the situation.
As he meditated his ancestors spoke. “You have a choice, Vrucroac.” they all said in unison. “If you leave this child, you will leave behind a powerful friend, but you will achieve your goal, and will be a leader in our society, however you will not be happy with the results. Our people are destined to go down the path they are on no matter who is leading them. If you choose to take the child, you will be proud of the person you help raise and teach. He will surpass you in time, but he needs you to become what he is destined to be.”
“The ancestors have spoken.” whispered Vrucroac to himself. He hooked Eisha to the sled left behind by the Archai, layed the child on the sled, and headed home. He doesn't know what the future hold for him and this child. All he knows is he must trust his ancestors.
I love the story. And thanks for putting pronunciations in here. That always helps. And the bear is awesome.
A couple opinions for you:
I can't tell who is telling the story. Is it an omniscient narrator? It seems to be. But reading through there were a few parts that felt like it was the narrator from Winnie the Pooh series from the 80s. To fix that, it feels like it needs a bit more detail. Tell me what they're thinking, what they're doing while they are talking, just a bit more detail.
AND proof, proof, proof. Just needs a readthrough to catch errors. Goes a long way.
Great job Breakout. I have to find out what comes next bud. Keep em coming.
Thank you Benonai!!! definitely look for more to come from Vrucroac and the child ;).