What about a quest? O’ the usual sort: the kind with treasure boxes full o’ gold’n’jewels, and a trunk full o’ beautiful virgins—eyeless in me case, god forbid they see me horribly disfigurement and scream whilst I tarry a fortnight at their nether regions with me thick white teeth and moist snaky lips? Aye, ye ask: what about a quest, indeed.
I will tell ye straightly, for, in god’s eyes, there were no treasure boxes nor no eyeless virgins at the end o’ this, me mighty quest, having foolishly undertaken at the behest o’ Orcious Badmanius, who in his olympic wisdom and easy charm, did deceive and connive to burden this orc, yours truly, one Orcman Orcman, aye, to travel the Mountains o’ Gore’n’Ick and, once through, unburden the inner cavity o’ a particularly nasty cave o’ its diamond-encrusted ball cap.
I was not the first to attempt such a dangerous adventure. And if ye not heed me words and warnings—o’ the sort that will water ye eyes and make ye wish to cut off your ears for the hearing of’t—then neither will I be the last.
How I came upon the clever raconteur, that wily skin’n’bones and his devilish disposition, Orcious Badmanius, was upon me usual walk at dusk, just after suppertime—wherein I’d eaten a stew replete with boiled rabbit bones and filed-down wolf teeth and, it goes without saying, the flesh o’ manbabes, and washed down with a cup o’ blood mead—and, though these walks were on most night without incident, I was perhaps more buzzed and bewildered than as was me custom.
Hence, the surprise attack!
From out the bushes like a she-lion, glistening’n’golden, thrusting forth lashing tongue and poisoned paw, snapping big juicy gums and wild-eyed, came Orcius Badmanius!—or no, mayhaps ‘twas me who, in me daydreamery and making shapes o’ the clouds, had stepped into his path, aye, and jarred the old orc from his slumber there upon the mossy stones o’ the Rotted Heads o’ Yummy Fleshy Men Gardens, and perhaps ‘tis true too, that I nearly stuck him in the throat with me pointy armor, falling as I was.
(Ye will see, listener, which o’ the previous paragraph is the truth and which is falsehood. Aye, ye will see.)
Here, Orcius Badmanius awakes and, awaking as orcs will, in an ill humor, proceeded to curse me name and family. “Alas, alas,” I called to him. “Do not curse me name nor me family, for at the end o’ this season I must fight the yummy fleshes and I, being an orc and ruthless as any orc ye will ever meet, do want victory o’er me foes.”
Orcious Badmanius stopped raging but did something far worse in return: he began to weep. ‘Tis not a thing orcs do, ye will no doubt know. But he was an old orc and, despite weeping be o’ the weak’n’sickly’n’stupid, there’re times when I had seen me grandorc shed a tear: just the one, lest his soul be cursed to roam the Land o’ Yummy Fleshy Men eternally. Ye see, a tear, fallen at just the right moment, can be a thing o’ beauty, but this, gods, this was gross.
The old orc was going on in his weepy manner about which something I could not catch the words o’. I said to him, as politely as one says to an orc as weak as a cornstalk, “Dear sir, I’m afraid I know not what you’re saying. If ye could please slow it down and quit with all the blubbering’n’sniveling, ‘twould make the whole process a pinch easier, thank ye.” Orcious Badmanius sniffled once and took hold o’ me shoulders, fingers splayed around the pointy spikes.
Here, I will relate to ye the tale that mischievous evil orc gave to me:
“Ye strong, well-oiled orc, please accept me apologies for both cursing ye and your family and then, in me weakness o’ character, a weakness I dare say I shan’t be holding to again, for weeping upon your freshly shined boots. But if ye must know why ‘tis I cry I will tell ye, for ‘tis the saddest tale ye will ever hear.
Me youngorc from me daughterorc’s brood, went missing the night before yesternight. Ye know how it is, I’m certain: young men full o’ blood mead and blood lust, go a-roving to the land o’ men to make a name. Me youngorc, lad by the name o’ Orcorc, set upon just such an adventure, leaving as he did wearing a diamond-encrusted ball cap me own grandgrandorc had sewn and encrusted: a family heirloom, o’ course, worth its weight in, well, diamonds, to be sure.”
Orcious Badmanius almost started weeping again.
“Alas, alas,” said he, “Orcorc did return to us a broken’n’burdened boyorc. The gods-be-damned men tortured and burned his flesh crisply and poor Orcorc’s brains turned to mush. What’s worse: he returned without the diamond-encrusted ball cap.
“If only, if only,” said the shrewd deceiver, “there was an orc brave enough to bring back the diamond-encrusted ball cap from the Mountains o’ Gore’n’Ick where it hath been left.”
Perhaps it was the blood mead buzz or the way the sun at dusk glinted off me shiny armor or perhaps ‘tis simply in orc makeup to quest for gold’n’jewels’n’such, but I readily accepted his offer to find the diamond-encrusted ball cap. Especially once I’d heard the reward. Said Orcious, “A full twenty-five percent o’ the diamonds encrusted thereupon the ball cap, good sir.”
What I did not know and—even now I cannot say with certainty—what Orcious Badmanius did not warn me o’: the clown-sweater warrior-jester. He said nothing o’ the Crusher.
I set upon the journey forthwith. Getting out o’ the orc vale was easy and I simply climbed o’er the green hills and through the foggy ruins. Then, me quest began in earnest.
I knew it would be dangerous: an orc alone in the Land o’ Yummy Fleshy Men. Every orc goes alone at least once in his orclife, but, alas, I was an orc with a belly and o’ an age that spoke o’ slowed reflexes and more nights by the fireside, picking rabbit meat off me ax blade, relating tales to me kin o’ yesteryear.
Me legs burned and me tummy rumbled. The journey to the Mountains o’ Gore’n’Ick was uneventful: green pastures and farms where many a fairy tarried in their magical way; the buzzing lands where insects toil; the fruiting forests o’ fungi; the mighty sick-blue ocean where I upchucked many a meal a-voyaging.
And then! In the distance, the peaks covered by clouds o’ soot’n’ash, awaited me destiny: the Mountains o’ Gore’n’Ick! I performed an orc dance on the boat’s deck to the surprise’n’joy o’ the crew. Everyone clapped and someone brought out a flute.
The ship came to shore and I was unloaded with much adieu and set upon me way toward the fiery black rocks. Ye may be asking if I was scared. And to ye I say, with gusto: No! An orc is never scared. An orc will jump into a pit o’ slithery poison snakes and the snapping jaws o’ a panther if it be for gold’n’jewels or a beautiful virgin. Aye, I tell ye, we will do the dumbest o’ things for a pocketful o’ shiny or soft, yummy skin. Or, in this case, a diamond-encrusted ball cap.
The way was rough’n’tumble. Footholds were few’n’far between. I dropped me hand-chalk early on and ye know how hard it is to grip rock with these heavy thick bear paws.
Using me orcsense I at last came to the cave where Orcorc had dropped the diamond-encrusted ball cap. The sky was black’n’red’n’fiery and lava o’erflowed the dark rocks and mountainsides.
Me ax was in me left hand, me shield in me right. Something about the place seemed wrong. I took several deep breaths and reminded meself: Orcman Orcman, ye are an orc and ye are frightened o’ nothing.
I had time only to think it when the thing came crashing upon me. ‘Twas a beast no orc had ever seen before and lived to tell of’t. A winged feline with a ten foot horn upon its head, huge scratchy paws with nails extended, crazy glowing yellow eyes, and a ferocious mouth full o’ razor-sharp teeth. I tell ye: ‘twas a pegasus and a cat and a unicorn: a unicatasus (+/- dimensionality). A thing o’ myth’n’mystery, shrouded in the musty pages o’ orc lore, half-in’n’half-out o’ this world, the very beast that won men their yummy fleshy lands!
And riding atop the mythical beast was a man wielding a spear. But not just a man wielding a spear: a man in a clown sweater. Screaming for orc blood. Could it be, thought I, in the moments before the spear came crashing upon me shield, the warrior-jester? The hero o’ legend? The Crusher?
I had not time to think but only to act. The spear crashed against me shield and the blood lust o’ orcery overtook me.
The Crusher landed several blows and scratched’n’chipped the beautiful wood o’ me shield. I, alas, thrust me ax with the fervor and fury o’ an orc battling two hundred men but could not even glance the beast or the warrior-jester. Soon I was breathing snot from me nose and me breath was fire-hot. Me legs, sore and bruised as they were from climbing rock faces, went numb and became akin to jelly. Me wielding arm, thrusting’n’parrying, burned’n’ached. There wasn’t much for a poor orc to do.
‘Tis here the Crusher got the best o’ me, I’m afraid.
Spear cut through wooden shield and through me good body armor and I did feel its shiny sharp tip pierce me insides. Felt it turning as the Crusher hefted and lifted me from the ground and blood was slithering all along me body and pooling on the ground and me guts were, o’ course, churned like butter.
I asked o’ him one question—the one’n’only question an orc had ever been able to ask. Said I, “What?”
The gruesome pinwheeling o’ me insides abruptly stopped. Before me the great gelatinous yellow eye o’ the unicatasus (+/- dimensionality) glowed’n’watched. The Crusher looked upon me too and said, in a voice little more than a whisper, “I am that which ye lust for and which ye fear most.”
I said, through gritted spearing pain and blood gurgles, “There is no diamond-encrusted ball cap is there?”
“Fool orc,” said the warrior-jester. “There is no Orcious Badmanius.”
I was flung from the Crusher’s spear—the unicatasus (+/- dimensionality) cackling like something not o’ this world, for which it was not—and me guts sprayed the air and splattered amongst the rocks like cold magma. I lay in a heap, discarded, me bones broken’n’bloodied, me skin curling in lava, though, I confess even now, I felt nothing o’ the searing molten river or the charring black rock.
So ‘tis here I rest and curse Orcious Badmanius, the sly trickster, and the warrior-jester and the howling unicatasus (+/- dimensionality) as these, me last breaths, issue forth from collapsed windpipes and lungs into thin ashy air, as me heartbeat does sloweth. O what power hath lust! O what power hath a quest! The doom o’ orcery!
Aye, the doom. But—what is this? Moisture upon me cheek? Just one tiny drop. What could it be but a single tear.