Birth of The Red Hand

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  1. For all intents and purposes it looked like a sleepy little village, not unlike the dozens Varn had already passed through to reach this far flung border of the empire... but he was finally close to his freedom. To a chance for a new life, far away from his former captors and their fanatical view of the world... But something about this village had him on edge.

    It wasn't anything obvious... It was a subtle thing. The so called 'lesser races' here were more numerous. They had a look of desperation about them, not the look of defiance that new slaves hold until their first beating, nor the look of defeat that everyone eventually takes on when they realize that there is no escape... No this was something else. Over the years he had seen it many times before in the arena... the look of a gladiator who had displeased his master... A gladiator about to be thrown to the beasts, the manticores, drakes, and all manner of vicious creature brought in special for just such an occasion so that the gladiator might make one last glorious spectacle to line his masters pockets.

    Such fear was not uncommon... but to see it on the faces of every person he walked past, even including the elves, dwarves and humans he saw walking the streets... That was strange... and not a good sign. In fact... as he watched the people of the village he noticed something decidedly odd. None of the lesser races were chained, or caged, or walking about naked as was so often the case in the central cities. They walked free, moving among the higher races without so much as a head nod in acquiescence to their supposed betters.

    He sniffed slightly and shook his head, moving for the local inn. There was something in the air here that he did not like, one night and no longer. He would stay just long enough to decide where it is he would go from here, buy some supplies and leave. A storm was coming... and he would be damned if he would let it catch him up in its raging path.
  2. Form inside the inn, the pure voice of an Orc too young for her voice to grow rough and gravelly echoed faintly. She was fresh-faced and still counted her time away from home in months, but she had enough experience to know singing for one's supper wasn't a simple matter. If she wanted a bed for the night (even a shared one), she'd need to impress the innkeep, who seemed to have seen his share of worldly travelers who had yet to become quite worldly enough.

    There was a harp in the main room, and though she had a lute and syrinx of her own she knew if she was going to wipe those smug smirks off the faces of the Elven hunters sipping their wine on the table to the left, she'd need to stay away from the rougher travelling instruments. Fortunately for her, the harp wasn't entirely unfamiliar. It had taken her a while to get it to tune and a little longer to warm up her fingers, but by the time Varn wandered in she was in the middle of the Nightingale's Lover, a simple but famed song in High Elven.

    She took only a short break before she launched into the Lay of the Maiden and the Stag, which was written in the Common tongue and far more familiar to her. During the course of the song a few more pennies trickled into her tips bowl, and she glanced up long enough to notice the innkeeper nod in approval. Unable to resist, her next piece was The Highwayman, and when she noticed his face darkening followed it with Dancing Bear to lighten the mood. Perhaps she stumbled a few times, and though her voice was sweet for an Orc it was an Orc's voice still, but by the time she stepped away from the harp she had a bowl of pennies and had won herself a meal and bed for the night.

    Young and inexperienced as she was, Viortu considered the tension pretty thoroughly dissipated, unaware of the storm brewing. "Anyone care to buy a girl a drink?" She asked the crowd, grinning. "I'm gettin' awfully thirsty and I'd hate to have to retire with the night yet so young."
  3. Varn walked through the doors of the inn, his instincts on high alert... But his vigilance did not last long. The lilting notes of a harp caressed his ear and made his mind wander from the strange atmosphere of the rest of the town... He had never heard one so close before. It had been so long since he had heard the sounds of music without it being filtered through the deep recesses of the arena or through the winding hallways of his masters compound... Not since his childhood, when the women of his tribe would sing as they worked and the men would play drums and flutes long into the night in celebration...

    In his years of captivity such simple pleasures had become foreign to him, and now the voice of the woman on stage was like a sirens call to his soul... Music is the stuff by which mans heart can be shaped or broken, and Varn listened to each song with rapt attention. His mind swung wildly from song to song as he imagined the struggles, loves, and adventures of those who might have songs sung of them... A small smile played across his face as his eyes closed contentedly. Maybe... just maybe... he would stay in this village a little longer than he had expected.

    His foot tapped along with the music for a time, only coming to a rest when he heard the singer come to a stop herself... Only then did he open his eyes and look, truly look, at the woman who had been on the stage. She was a striking creature... for an orc. The only times he had had a chance to see an orc female were on the rare occasions when he was pitted against one in the arena. Orcs, no matter the gender, were considered quite the spectacle and were often sent in unarmed to fight against other warriors... Varn had once faced 3 sword sisters of one of the local orc tribes single handedly... he had barely escaped that fight alive, let alone actually won.

    His experiences had given him a healthy respect for them... though he had rarely had the time to admire them back then. Now though... He looked the singer over carefully, noting her physique, her stance... As she moved and the fabric of her clothes pulled tight over her body he could see muscles, not as much as a full blown warrior might have but more along the contours of a dancer... It took him a moment to realize that he was sizing up her chances of being a threat and shook his head... The damned Brionans had even taken away his ability to look at people subjectively... Damn.

    He shook his head a little to clear his mind of his earlier thoughts and instead tried to look at her as something other than an enemy... This time he had to smile as he looked at her. Her body was indeed lithe as a dancers... Her walk had just a bit of feminine sway to it... Hair a fiery and wild red, framing her face. A face was,e was forced to admit, surprisingly cute with a light dusting of freckles crossing just under her eyes... And those eyes themselves... they seemed to capture him in their grip and would not let go...

    There was compassion in her gaze... happiness... innocence. It was almost too much for him to bear, yet he could not make himself look away. After a time he found himself drifting over to her, his body seeming to move of its own accord. When he reached her at the bar her earlier call finally registered and he gestured to the barkeep, asking for a mug of his strongest for himself and anything else that the lady might wish before turning to the young orc.

    "You play and sing well... I wish I had recognized more of the songs so that I might have enjoyed them more thoroughly."

    He gave her a weak smile, not used to making... smalltalk. His old master was a believer in isolation... each gladiator had his own cell and only came out of it so that they might train with the others... It made it nearly impossible for anyone to plan an escape, but also made the gladiators a less cohesive force when they were forced to fight together... The man had considered it worth the tradeoff... The problem now though, was that it meant that Varn had practically been sequestered for most of his young life, only being allowed out as an award for a good battle or when the master... rented him out to some of the more 'hands on' fans of the games...
  4. It was a strange scene they lay, the jaded human and innocent Orc. In most every situation, the rougher race were the ones who had seen the blood and gore and horror of the world, while the soft-skinned folk had stayed with their parents, oblivious to the terrors. In her case, Viortu had not been wandering long or far, and certainly hadn't seen half of what he had.

    Summing him up as best she could with her experience, she concluded almost instantly that he was some sort of fighter and more than a bit awkward in social situations, but nothing more. He was, she admitted quietly, rather well-built for a human male. He had perhaps a fingersbreadth on her in height, and a physique more streamlined and refined than the bulky, ape-like men of her own race. While she had no use for toothpicks hardly half her size, the young shaman had no particular attraction to a man who dwarfed her as did many of her own kind.

    "Tell me some songs you do recognize," She encouraged, trying to place his accent as she grabbed her own drink, a mug of mead. Sweet and not fermented as long as Orcish mead, it was delicious to her young lips, and she looked more than half a young girl with candy as she nursed it with great appreciation for taste. Though her own culture was first in her heart, the cuisine of practically all others was superior in most ways. Orcs had roast meat down to a science, but for flavor and quality they were not the ones to choose. Human meals tended toward delicacy and variety of flavors, many of which were still new and exciting to her.

    "Can't say I've learned every song, but I know a few. The Bear and the Maiden Fair, maybe?" She guessed, trying to hit upon some of the most well-known songs across all regions of humanity, within but especially without the Brionan empire. He didn't strike her as very imperial. "Or The Tinker's Daughter, perhaps? I've heard a few verses to that you might have not."
  5. Varn shakes his head slightly at her enthusiastic reaction to her mead, he had heard that orcs enjoy their alcohol nearly so much as the dwarves, but he had hardly believed it... now though? Just maybe... He took a moment to think back, his brow knitting in concentration as he tried to remember any songs that he might know from his youth, or even some of the more bawdy songs he had heard fellow gladiators singing in other cells before the keeper would come to quiet them... It took him a while, but eventually he gave the orc a small smile.

    "... The Horsemen Three. Its a song about a group of horsemen who wander the world in search of something important, what they search for changes from rendition to rendition. It was one of my favorites when I was young."

    He thinks on it a bit more before beginning to softly recite a few verses, his voice barely above a whisper...

    "The horsemen three
    Wild and free
    They ride the winds
    From end to end
    In search of home and country

    The horsemen three
    Wild and free
    From shore to shore
    For days and more
    They search for home and country

    The horsemen three
    Wild and free
    Never do they tarry
    Never do they weary
    May they find their home and country"

    His smile slides away when he realizes that that was his own rendition of the work... It showed far too much of himself than he wished to be known to anyone. His wish to return to his people... his knowledge that that was impossible... A sigh escapes his lips and he takes a swig of his own drink, whatever the hell it might be, and forced another smile for the orc musician.

    "Sorry about that... I've never actually sung anything before." He laughs a little at himself before continuing on," Sadly the only other songs I know are drinking songs... or dirges."
  6. She tilted her head slightly, eyes closed as she focused on the lyrics and tune. As far as playing went she had slightly clumsy fingers and her level of talent was nothing special; as far as memory went, well, she was quite a bit more skilled at memorization. Her sharp mind could pick up songs, languages, chants, and other important patterns by just seeing or hearing it once or twice. It was a useful thing for a shaman, though it set her apart in a culture of warriors and craftsmen.

    "Let me see if I have it right," She replied, repeating it back almost word for word. A few slight changes were made when her memory got a bit fuzzy, but it was, for the most part, an accurate rendition. "You don't have a half bad voice. Ought to sing more often. It's fun, you know. Nothing warms you on a cold evening night like a good song. And some ale or mead, preferably." With a little laugh she finished her drink, and headed back to the front, picking up her lute on the way.

    For the first songs, she had been content with the harp, but his song was much in need of a more casual instrument. Plucking the strings a few time, she launched confidently into the song, even adding a verse of her own. From that she took the place into a few songs everyone knew the verses of, and had the entire place joining her. In spite of themselves more people trickled in, escaping the oppressive atmosphere with song and drink, almost spitting in the face of the coming threat.

    When her fingers and voice were tired and she finally took her leave, Viortu found herself glancing around for the warrior she had spoken to earlier. He had caught her eye, though she wasn't exactly sure why... there was nothing about him that had struck her as being particularly special, yet his very aura seemed to draw her in, and she had learned not to doubt her instincts.
  7. Varn's eyebrows rose in surprise as she quickly recited back his rendition of "The Horsemen Three" almost exactly, although she did make a few changes and omissions throughout... but her voice was far better than his own. The song was quite simple he knew, but she had grasped it more quickly than he had thought possible, even going so far as to sing it in the proper tone to instill the most emotion. It was a song of encouragement and unity, and her voice alone stirred Varn's heart more than any of the Brionans long winded speeches and bothersome tirades that always started off the arena battles...

    He merely sat there, sipping idly at his drink as she sang a song of his people, and allowed a small smile to cross over his face... A genuine smile, one that he had not shown since his capture by the Brionan slave raiders so many years before. He closed his eyes to listen, but the song ended far too quickly... he should have thought up a longer version. He shook his head in embarrassment at her compliment, his voice was hoarse from the victory cries and chants he had done oh so many times... But still it made him a little happy... and he couldn't agree more with her outlook on ale and mead... in fact... He ordered another of whatever heavy dwarven brew their host had given him and began to sip at it as well, even as she finished off her drink and headed up to the stage without another word...

    He might have been bothered if it wasn't for the fact that the first song that she began with was his own, already modified to fit her preferences and probably the taste of the crowd as well... He lifted his mug to her and chanted along, at least until she switched to some more widely known songs for the benefit of the rest of the people in the inn... but he was still touched that she had started with his. His people's culture was lost when they were attacked by the Brionans, their camps and small villages either enslaved or spread to the 4 winds, and now that one of their songs had been sung in a Brionan tavern... he was sure it would spread. Whether it be the orc songstress or one of the patrons, someone would take it on, make it their own, and then take it to the ends of the Empire...

    He knew his fallen brethren in captivity would be stirred by the sound and would likely take up the call... the idea of the frustration that might cause the Brionans was delightful... He sat and listened to every song she deigned to play, that small smile never quite leaving his lips...

    When she was finally finished he grabbed another mead from the bartender and pushed his way through the crowd to her, certain that she would need some thing to revitalize her after such a long performance...
  8. As soon as she saw him coming with the drinks Viortu grinned, glad her performance was so well received. In a larger settlement she would be recognized for the mediocre-at-bes bard she was, but out here men didn't really recognize the skill or experience of who played so much as song choice, and the one thing she did have on her side was her memory.

    Seizing the opportunity when a young couple started heading for the door, she quickly sat down at the newly evacuated table, motioning Varn to take the other seat. It was a fairly crowded night, and there hadn't been an actual table open in a while and she didn't fancy taking a seat at the bar on that night. By this point it had been many hours since she'd last eaten, and a real chair with an actual back to rest against felt like heaven after leaning over her instrument- terrible posture combined with being a bit large for her lute, as most Orcs were, put plenty of stress on her back.

    "With all the drinks you're buying me, I feel I ought to know what name to thank," she laughed as he approached. "Have a seat, stranger, and let's talk for a while. I'm Viortu who is daughter of Omatur who sits within the Circle of the High Council of Shamans, and daughter of Gr'ndl who walks with her father's clan of Whitewater. I am in training to join the legacy of shamanism." It was a traditional and respectful greeting, the kind usually given Orc-to-Orc. Somehow, with this man, she felt the need to truly introduce herself as she would to a respected warrior of her own people. There was something about him, some aura or some trick of the mind, that commanded respect and made her want to look closer.

    Her curiosity had gotten her into trouble before and probably would again, but that didn't stop her from acting on impulse. What was the purpose of a walkabout if not to make mistakes and learn from them as well as the successes? She wanted to see and hear and taste and do everything that she could, so that when she was initiated and became a real Shaman she would be able to handle whatever the world might throw at her. Travelling the outskirts of the expanding Brionan empire in particular seemed important, as if their land-hungry policies continued the next major war would likely necessitate the uniting of all the scattered clans once more into the Orc Nation.
  9. Varn gave her a small smile and slid into a seat across from her, gently placing her mead so that she could reach it," Ach, forgive me. It has been some time since I have had to introduce myself properly." He chuckled reufully at that... Aye he had had no need to introduce himself... The announcers in the arena had done that for him... He bowed his head in greeting," My name is Varn Firebrand... Son of Damos Twoblade and Vilna of the Blackmane tribe. May the spirits watch over them."

    He had only seen the orc's traditional greeting once... when fighting a clan leader of one of the latest orc tribes to be beaten by the empire. The man had greeted him properly, and explained to him the proper way to respond before they were forced to battle... somehow the honor had touched him, that a great clan leader would acknowledge him as a worthy opponent... Not that it had stopped the battle or changed its outcome. At the very least it meant that this one thing was not awkward for him and he was able to respond quickly and with relative grace... though receiving such an honor from a shaman, even one in training, was far more unusual than getting it from an old orc campaigner.

    After a moment though he felt his stomach rumble, reminding him that he had not eaten since before he had entered the village, and that had been a few pieces of salted jerky. He gave an embarrassed grin and gestured to the busy barmaid as she ran about with a laden tray, trying to handle the influx of customers who had come to listen to Viortu sing her songs. When she came he ordered the days meal and gestured to the young... shaman across from him," Would you like anything?" He would have to save his curiosity until after the meal at least, but then he would ask why she afforded him such honor...
  10. The girl dipped her head respectfully in return, meeting Varn as an equal. It was a subtle game, for the words were the same in greeting a rival, a superior, an inferior, or an equal; the movement of the head determined the status given. Though Orcs were thought crude creatures by many, the truth was they were merely blunt with other races because the intricacies of their normal conversations went unnoticed. Humans used words to tell the truth; Elves used words to cover up the truth; Orcs had no compunction with words but body language was sacred.

    In truth, Viortu was not sure why she addressed him as equal, but it felt right. A full-fledged Shaman was below no one except for the High council, but she was still just a shaman in training. At her age, any true warrior should have been her superior, but Orcs did not submit to "weaker" races like men. It was a tough call to make, but it felt right, and it wasn't as though anyone was around to correct her.

    "Get me a shepherd's pie," She requested of the barmaid after a moment, hoping it would be on the house. She could pay for it, but would rather save her coin when possible. Winter would be upon her before she knew it, and either she'd need to find some place considerably warmer or she'd be paying plenty of money to stay with someone over the coldest month or two. That could get expensive fast, but it was better than camping out as she usually did.

    Once the woman had left, Viortu turned back to the warrior. "I must admit, I have never heard of the Blackmane tribe," She mentioned after a moment. "But I know little of human peoples."
  11. Varn chuckled darkly at that before letting a sad look cross his face," Aye, the Blackmane are no more. The same for the Twistedtails, the Leatherfoot and so many other tribes... I do not fault you for not recognizing them." It was a sad thing, the destruction of a nation... especially one so isolated as the peoples of the northern Steppe. With the many tribes split across such a vast area he was certain that some had escaped the Brionan purge, but still so few had interacted with his people before then. They were merely horse raiders and shepherds, they had little to trade and few arts to speak of so no one had really bothered them... but that also meant that their loss had gone almost entirely unnoticed by the rest of the world.

    Their culture... their customs... the names of their famous heroes... all would fall to the wayside, never to be remembered by later generations... He took a few more sips of his drink and then shook his head, dispelling those unpleasant thoughts. Instead he focused on this orc across from him, and the kindness she had already done him... at least one part of his people might live on. He gave her a genuine smile, flashing pearly white teeth," I must thank you for the song... It has been a long time since I've heard it from the lips of a decent singer."

    For some reason his eyes gravitated to those lips now... and then further to other assets... He was quickly interrupted however as their food was placed on the table... he hid a small blush by swigging from his drink and remarking on the pleasant aroma coming from the food," Gods this smells good... A proper meal at last." He hoped she hadn't noticed his look, but he couldn't be certain...
  12. She saddened slightly at his words, realizing now the spirits watched over far more than merely his own parents. He had seemed old enough (though she was admittedly a terrible judge of age among other races) that she hadn't imagined his entire people had been lost rather than just his parents. It was a sorrow she could hardly imagine, though she knew it for truth. A few far-ranging bands of Orcs had disappeared, swallowed up by the expanding empire, but they had mostly gone unnoticed. To lose so many tribes was a tragedy she could not imagine. Her mother's people, her father's people, the city of Blackrock, the mining settlements of the Bleeding Hills... she could hardly imagine losing as he had lost.

    "I did not realize..." She admitted softly, having no idea how to respond. No condolences or comforts could erase such sorrow, that much was clear. Perhaps she would give an offering to the spirits, to ease the souls of so many lost.

    The arrival of the food provided a convenient break, though she did notice how his eyes wandered, and flushed a bit herself. Sure, she had analyzed him herself, but it was strange to think about a man who was not an Orc in such a way. Though she had heard of such things, it was exotic enough to be borderline alien, and she wasn't sure if the thrill that went through her was positive or not.

    "It smells fantastic," She agreed. "Good food is easier to come by some days than good company, though I prefer to have both." With a little grin she cut into her pie, watching the steam waft up and licking her lips. A quick bite burned her tongue, but revealed it tasted just as good as it smelled.
  13. Varn smiled wryly and shook his head, it had been years since the fall of his people, and even before they had not been very well known," It is of no consequence, few knew of us." For a moment he tried to decide whether small talk was required... but hunger quickly ruled out any other thought. He dug in heartily, enjoying the food and the company, but he noticed that the crowd around them was becoming continually more restless... the peace and distraction caused by Viortu's earlier musical exploits slowly wearing off. Some were heading out into the streets once more, returning to whatever they might have been doing before they were drawn in by her music... The patrons were slowly growing rowdier and Varn had to grimace.

    "While the meal and company are excellent... The people around here seem rather... Worried."

    He watched in bothered silence as an argument broke out across the tavern and angry words began to fly, it wasn't long though before he had finished his food and placed his plate aside. He quickly returned his attention back to the orcish woman across from him. "Do you think we should find another place to talk?"
  14. By the time her stomach was full, her ears had also been filled, though not with anything nearly as nice as the food. Though providing a distraction was a fine and profitable thing, she had yet to learn that once the distraction ended, the negative emotions of those present tended to multiply. She had given them a brief respite, but now they were back in reality, with the Brionans knocking at their doors.

    But Viortu was an Orc, and a shaman in training, and felt more than a little bulletproof. "No," The young woman replied with a self-confident shrug. "We have every right to be here, as much as they do. Why let them ruin our time? I was thinking of staying the night here, in any case."
  15. Varn gave a hearty laugh at her audacity... A perfect willingness to deal with whatever these fools in their aggressive states might do... He smiled at her and gestured to the stairs," I was planning on staying here as well, though with all this noise I doubt I'd get much rest." He chuckled, but his attention was soon diverted as another bout of angry yelling began not very far away... It wasn't long before the meaty sound of flesh on flesh reached his ears and the angry shouts spread, a few vicious cheers mixed in as well.

    Varn's smile faded a little at the sound," A fight... Not too bad yet I'd guess." Suddenly the sound of broken glass alerted him... The fight was spreading. He looked Viortu in the eye and grinned," Never mind... Make that fight a full fledged brawl." Many more thunks and a lot more screaming, and suddenly Varn saw a dark shape flying through the air towards their table... He merely skidded his chair back a bit and flipped the table, wincing slightly as a villager smacked face first into the makeshift wall he'd just used to block the man from hitting Vi.

    "This may get nasty love, sure you want to stick around for it?" His own grin showed that he himself might be interested in a little fun here before turning in for the night... but he couldn't involve a lady if she didn't want to be involved.
  16. "Getting rest is possible in a human settlement?" Viortu asked jokingly, laughing as she took in the mayhem around them. Orcs were bloodthirsty when it came to combat, but they took peace and quiet seriously, too. The Shamans might have been fond of their drink, but if any drunken fool kept a wife awake at night, he would be regretting it before the sun rose. Humans didn't seem to follow the same rules- having taverns and houses next to each other struck her as being terribly uncivilized, but what did she know?

    The only thing worrying her was the delicacy of her instruments, so when the overturned table provided a decent amount of cover she stashed her possessions behind it, covering them further with her own chair for protection. That bag contained all her worldly possessions, and as long as it stayed intact, she would be okay.

    "I'm sticking around, all right. If these idiots think they're stubborner than a fire-headed Orc maid, they're going to learn otherwise tonight," The young woman added after a moment, shoving back a man who jostled her. She had an inch or two over a good number of the men, and her kind were known for their strength. As long as no one brought out any serious weapons, she was pretty confident in herself. "I might just have to beat some sense into these guys... they don't know when to stop, do they?"
  17. Varn chuckled darkly and shook his head, giving Viortu the point. Cities and villages were always loud and smelly, in fact one of the things he had first found strange about this village was the silence. When a pall falls over an entire village it is easily reason for worry, but this sudden flurry of activity might just bring back some of the usual liveliness of the people... At the very least it would make things louder as arguments would continue long into the night and the moans of those with broken noses, wrists, or other minor injuries would fill the air... He almost had to smile at the idea of such violence being good for the people involved but he couldn't help it. A distraction was just what these people needed, and as he ducked a flying chair he couldn't help but think It might be pretty good for him too.

    His shoulders popped as he rolled them, sizing up the crowd and throwing Viortu a cocky grin," Aye, good sense is what this lot needs... A well placed boot might knock some into them. What say we spread a little awareness among them for intorrupting a perfectly pleasant meal?" He really didn't wait for a reply, merely wading into the crowd and throwing a punch at the first man he met... A solid hit, an angry grunt, and Varn was moving on to the next combatant... A smile danced across his face.

    This was going to be fun.
  18. Viortu grinned, wading in after him, keeping her own back generally to his. As much fun as a good brawl was, being blindsided never improved one's day, and she rather liked the idea of a tall, strong man watching her six. It had been a while since she'd had any real sort of companionship- a good fight sounded like just the sort of peer bonding activity she needed right about then.

    "Y'all need to learn manners," The young woman grunted as she pulled apart two smaller men and thumped their heads together, sending both of them reeling. "Don't any of you inbred lot have mothers to tell you it isn't polite to fight where you eat? Get a damn pit, you savages." With fist and foot she laid into any who dared get too close, making up for lack of experience with her strength and size. Her elbows and knees came into play as well, and all things considered, she gave knocks more than she got them in both frequency and ferocity.
  19. Varn laughed as he waded through the crowd, Viortu close at his back. The few solid hits that landed on him as he swerved between the struggling bodies were shrugged off with a smile, leaving many of those the ex-gladiator fought disconcerted and confused. What kind of madman would enjoy a brawl like this so thoroughly? To Varn though this was like a coming home, after many weeks along the roads, no battle to be found, he had slowly begun to forget the teachings of the pits. Now though, will the blood spilled upon the tavern floor, it all came back to him. As a gladiator he had been taught to embrace pain, and he had learned his lessons well.

    With Viortu at his back Varn went at his opponents with a sort of wild abandon, weaving in and out of their reach to land blow after blow until they fell, and then moving on to a new target. Behind him he could hear the meaty thumps of flesh against flesh and the fiery haired orcs taunting. He grinned even more... The two made a good pair, even if they barely knew each other.

    It wasn't long before the roar of the brawl began to die down, many combatants already knocked out on the floor or limping through the doors in an attempt to avoid any more violence... All around the pair the tavern began to empty, save for a semicircle of moaning villagers, those too senseless or injured to pick themselves up. Varn took a quick glance around himself and laughed, many of those on the floor were ones who had faced either Viortu or himself. In retrospect a bad move on their part. He turned to the orc lass and raised a triumphant fist, a cocky grin on his lips," I think we can safely say we won that one eh?"

    (Sorry this is a really crappy post but I havn't slept much yet so I'm not thinking particularly straight atm XD)
  20. As a shaman, most of her training had not been on the training field, and this was probably the largest "battle" the Orc maid had ever found herself fighting in. Still, she felt her blood rushing and her adrenaline rising, and discovered the thrill of a good brawl. Perhaps it was a racial thing or perhaps it was the mead, but either way, she was enjoying herself more in the middle of the dingy human tavern than she had enjoyed anything since she had left her homelands.

    And the fact that there was a strong, handsome man at her back... well, that certainly didn't hurt anything. She had respected him just by his looks, but after seeing him fight, Viortu knew that she had judged him correctly. He was good- good as most of the Orc warriors she had met, better than some. And they worked well together, something that she had never experienced before. With others, she always felt either like an unneeded afterthought or completely overburdened. He took on the majority, but left enough that she felt useful, as though he truly needed her to watch his back.

    It was certainly enough to stretch a wide grin across her roguish features. "Say we won it nothing," Viortu seconded, raising her own fists in triumph. "There's a song to be made of this, if I've ever heard one!" Then she bothered to glance down, and sighed when she saw the number of bloodied faces and bruised knuckles. Then a thought came to her. "Want to make a quick bit of coin? I've got some skill with the healing arts, and if you'll be my assistant, we might have just created a job for ourselves patching these fools back together. A town this small probably doesn't have a resident healer or apothecary to get offended over it, neither."
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