Row upon row of orcish warriors stood in attention as they were inspected, barely sweating in the arid desert sun. They were lightly armoured, they had no armour to cover their body save a shield and a sword or axe. A chain was around their neck, showing to all their position as warrior slave. They had leather leggings a experienced commander knew those would not stop any arrow or even shrapnel. However what they lacked in armour they made up in scars, war paint and a look only experienced warriors had, those who had seen wars and the horror that came with it.
A large troll with a crown and decked in jewellery walked along them, inspecting each carefully as his cloak bearing a fox on a green field behind him waved behind him.
Beside him was another orc who smiled proudly at his wares as two similar orc warriors marched behind him. He was dressed as a wealthy merchant with a long white fur coat and like his client covered in golden necklaces and the like as well as a green mask shaped like a dragon's head. He held a whip behind him which he waved up and down as he moved.
"I can assure you, Lord Aziboo, that my warriors are the finest warriors money can buy." the slaver said.
"I heard that a lot when I talked to previous sellsword companies, Mr Gorvar." The troll turned to see the orc." So far all they've done was getting beaten by a bunch of zealots and leaving my patron high and dry."
Gorvar smirked." The difference between a slave and a mercenary is that a slave will die for you when ordered. Coin is strong but the mind is stronger. Also I am certain my warriors surpass any sellsword companies conscript from some back alley." A glint sparked his eye." A demonstration should suffice?"
The slaver stopped and motioned to two orcish warriors to his left." You two, step forward."
Immediately both warriors stepped forward.
"Fight to the death." Gorvar said. Both orcs nodded before they squared off against one a other. Quick jabs with a sword and powerfull lunges with a axe were deflected by shield or blade.
Aziboo folded his arms as he oversaw the sudden death match.
"My warriors immediately follow orders without hesitation, third generation slaves do not even understand the concept of freedom." Gorvar spoke as if he was a proud father." I had them trained from birth, put a sword in their hand the moment they could walk and had them bloodied when they were finished training."
A hard crash of a shield against a face made teeth fly and blood spill amongst the sand, Aziboo the troll stood unphased. "Bloodied against who? The Blight or....others?"
Gorvar gave a knowing grin before he focused back on the duel at hand.
The one who received a shield to the head was fighting with one eye closed, blood dripping from his nostril and mouth. But in his remaining eye Aziboo saw the old orcish bloodlust take hold. He charged forward and slammed his shield against his opponent hard, again and again and again. Splinters flew everywhere as his own shield broke before he jumped on the other fighter and pinned him to the ground.
The other fighter knew he was beaten but still tried to push his brother off. A stab to the arm from his aggressor's sword severed the last line of resistance. Now he looked more battered than his brother, staring death in the face. Yet he did not look frightened or angry or...anything. His aggressor roared in his face, his mouth a ruined visage of teeth and blood. He raised his sword to end it all.
The sword stopped when a crack of the whip hit like a lightning bolt across the sky.
"Stop." Gorvar commanded. And so the slave warrior did. It took a moment for the bloodlust to subside before he helped his brother up and both saluted their master." That will be all, go see the healer." They saluted again before leaving.
Aziboo frowned." You did not let one kill the other?"
The slaver frowned." Of course not, killing my own property costs money. Besides...you now know how far your soldiers would go for you when asked." He raised his whip." This is power, Lord Aziboo. Like I said, coin is strong but the mind is stronger."
A hour later both men were seated on a balcony of what once was a human villa that had been repurposed by the orcish hordes. The paintings of the human owners still hung on the walls, faded and covered in dust. Human furniture replaced by orcish rugs and pelts and torches. Previous occupants had once tried to make it a fortress, adding spikes and fortifications but once they found out the villa was built for leisure and not defence, they quickly abandoned further modifications.
Under Gorvar it regained some of it's luster, several statues with embedded gems were on display around the grounds showing orcish warriors in battle. Most of them were of a orc with a dragon mask, the largest of which was he mounted on a dragon as he wielded a axe and screamed at all those who would oppose him.
Aziboo assumed it was the slaver trying to overcompensate his value in the world by wrapping himself in a façade of culture.
A goblin servant held out a tray with goblets of wine which Aziboo took gratefully, the weather was getting unbearably hot. And yet the orcish slave warriors were still performing drill after drill in the courtyard as vicious sergeants yelled at them. Musicians were playing in the background as to drown out the shouting as a scantly clad troll female was dancing to it, a large brown serpent crawled alongside her as she did.
"I hope you like the wine, Lord Aziboo. It's from Wildriver Run. You're home I recall?" Gorvar took the other goblet and raised it." To your health."
Aziboo merely nodded and drank the wine. It tasted nice and sweet, a fruity sensation danced along his tongue. It did taste like the wine's back home. After several hours of being in his company, the troll found the orc slaver was a shrewd businessman. Using nostalgia and theatrics to dazzle his wares...his slaves. The slaves his friend Harold desperatly needed to win the war against the Children of the Light.
"Let us talk business." Gorvar spoke first." Normally a regiment of orcish warriors is about 300 gold. However, because you demanded the best of the best plus a boat to carry it, I think....500."
The troll sucked on his teeth, he only had about 600 to spend. "How much does my patron get for 500?" Aziboo asked.
Gorvar took a sip from his wine before he spoke. "A regiment and a boat."
The troll frowned." 500 is very steep, slaver."
"You asked for the best and I give you the best." Gorvar held up his hands." If you want something cheaper I suppose I could give you some of my gobo slaves. More suited as cannon fodder rather then actual warriors...."
"No, a regiment and a ramshackle boat is not worth 500. Not by a long shot." Aziboo frowned.
Gorvar opened his arms." Make me a offer."
Aziboo thought for a moment." I want the regiment, the boat AND two goblin regiments."
The slaver raised his brow." One gobo regiment and we call it at it 550."
"No, 500 or I walk." Aziboo placed his glass down." Your choice."
The slaver smirked. "Go ahead then, walk. Not my civil war that's at risk."
His smirk faded when he noticed Aziboo also smirked, showing his white teeth." Not my company that is going bankrupt."
The orc frowned. It was true, business was stagnating now most of the orc lands were combatting or were taken over by the Blight. His slaves needed food, water, his employees needed to be paid, his villa needed to remain looking nice and opulent and he needed to have the nearby orcs chiefs and elves on payroll. The last thing he needed was some elven prince riding in on his steed with an army to stop his business. Furthermore his enemies noticed his weakness and were moving in one him and his trade routes. Despite his talk of mind over coin, he needed the latter BAD.
He swallowed his pride and smiled." 525?"
Aziboo nodded." Agreed."
After the contract was signed by both parties, under supervision of a goblin Dealer, Aziboo left with his new army and transport back to Sanctuary.
Gorvar was twirling the contents of his wine glass as the troll serpent charmer rubbed his shoulders.
The goblin servants were clearing out the table in silence as the orc brooded, they knew better than to disturb their master when he was in one of his moods.
He was looking at the statue he had made to honour his ancestor and namesake, Gorvar the Dragon Rider. He was a hero of the First Blight, an orc who had lost his entire clan and family to the Immortals. Instead of throwing himself into a pyre or dying in battle, Gorvar the elder found a way to rise out of the ashes. He climbed to the nearest dragon nest and wrestled one of the wyrmkin into submission. For three days they fought until the dragon, whom the legends called Emberwing, named the orc his master. Together, rider and beast joined the orcs in battle against the Blight and did not only take his revenge but became a warchief, sired a new line of warriors and was named by the shamans as a avatar of the sun.
That was generations ago, now the old bloodline was all but spend. Only Gorvar remained, the head of a falling slaving company.
It could not end like this.
He had crawled up from slave to Overseer, he had schemed and plotted and killed to get this far. At the age of thirty summers he had come to a standstill and no amount of slave armies could change that fact.
He was of the line of Gorvar, he had dragonblood in him. This Second Blight was the perfect opportunity to rise to glory again but how...HOW?!
He inhaled deeply and caught the scent of the troll female. The smell of her sweat and scent enticed Gorvar,
It was frowned upon to lay with other races, orcs were meant to be kept pure from the other races like the sun had made them. But he didn't care, even if he sired a trollok.
He sighed and held the hand of the serpent charmer for a moment." I will need your full services later." he said. She merely nodded and continued her ministrations.
He leaned back and tried to enjoy his wine.
"Sir?" one of his goblin servants called. A crack of a whip later the creature lay on the ground, crying as he held her eye. Everyone, even the serpent charmer, jumped in the air and stepped away.
He shouldn't have reacted that way, but he didn't care. He knew that most of the gobos in his household were spies for the other crime lords, including the one he just struck. It would come back to bite him in the ass, but at the moment he didn't care.
"WHAT DID I SAY ABOUT BEING DISTURBED?!" the slaver cried out annoyed. When he did he noticed another goblin had entered the room. This one was not one of his servants. He was dressed like a pirate, a shit eating grin on his lips as he stepped over the crying servant." Lord Gorvar, I've come to bargain."
Gorvar raised his brow." Captain Lunatice....what are you doing here?"
The pirate took out a vial from his belt. Gorvar peered closer and saw the small vial had a sickly green glow around it despite it being encased in glass.
"Business, old pal." Lunatice replied." Your old boss still hanging around?"
The two walked down towards the wine cellar, the goblin servant from before in front holding a torch, where it was nice and cool despite the blistering heat above.
Kegs of wine were left and right of them, kept cool. But those were not the only things in there.
There was a hole in the ground where a lone figure moved in the shadows, the sound of flies buzzing around their ears. Moans and shuffling came from it, the sounds pitiful yet horrifying. As they came closer the light slowly revealed it's occupant.
The creature was once a orc, the green skin gone gray, the smell of black death on him and the ravenous look on hunger in it's dead eyes. Several bones and rotting body parts were strewn around the hole.
When It saw the three, it turned towards them and slowly shuffled over.
"Here he is, the late Boss Ushnotz, formerly of the Dragon Brigade." Gorvar said." Exactly where we left him." He looked down to see his old...colleague.
The pirate goblin nodded." Good." he uncorked the vial."Now, look at this."
Before Gorvar could reply, Lunatice tossed the vial into the hole.
The green smoke doused the hole as the creature looked confused around itself.
The orc slaver frowned." The hell do you thi-"
"Ushnotz of the Dragon Brigade!" Lunatice shouted." ATTEEEEN-SHUN!"
The creature froze for a moment, like a deer when it caught a scent....and then stood erect before saluting.
"Forwaaaaaaard, MARCH!" Lunatice cried and the Immortal....did.
The slaver blinked as the goblin servant gasped with disbelief as the undead orc marched around the hole, much like he did in live.
"By the sun...." Gorvar muttered." What was that stuff?"
Lunatice folded his arms." That, my old friend...belonged to the Undying."
"The who?" Gorvar raised his brow.
"The Undying, human cult that know how to command the Blight. Me and the Rat Pack managed to capture a lot of them. Stole some of their vials, figured out how they work....they haven't spilled the beans yet how to make it but....well, that is why I came to you." Lunatice nodded to Gorvar, a devilish look in his eyes." You know how to break people."
The orc slaver's mind went thousands of miles per hour. To be able to control the largest threat to Alundria, to have the dead fight for you...it would make him a hero. It would make him rich. Very powerful. On par with Gorvar the Dragon Rider.
But he kept focused." The Grand Alliance disallowed necromancy....what if they ask me how I got this research or these prisoners?"
Lunatice held up his hand nonchalantly." Tell them the truth, say you found a couple of Undying and made them tell you. Think about it, my friend. You have the way to stop the 100 years war against the Second Blight. You haven't been outside of Oasis much or it's to test your slaves but honestly. nearly every region of Alundria has been blighted at least once. The people life in fear, day after day. You could be a hero. You just need to find a way how to package it first."
Gorvar nodded. Quickly he picked up his goblin servant who dropped the torch as she squealed in pain.
"So can I give it commands as well?" Lunatice nodded to this. A cruel smile danced on Gorvar's lips as he dropped the female goblin down in the hall, in the middle of the marching immortal going circles.
"Please, no!" the servant cried." Mercy! I wasn't going to betray you my lord, I swear!"
"Tell that to the 300 gold I lost last month because of your treachery. Ushnotz, kill."
The Immortal stopped marching and immediately lunged for the goblin female. Her death screams filled the wine cellar as the sounds of something eating messily and breaking of bone slowly took over.
But by then the two others had left the cellar and were moving upwards again towards the light.
The orc pondered." And what does the hero need to do to get all of this?"
Lunatice smirked and gave his terms.
It was night time when he poured himself in another glass. Lunatice has left a hour previous with the arrangement made. The Rat Pack would receive a few more ships for their fleet and a safe harbour under Gorvar's protection, plus some coin. In return he would receive the Undying the gobos had caught along with any more of the green vials they had salvaged.
It was a good deal, he trusted Lunatice. Were it not for him, he would've still been a slave under Ushnotz and Lunatice still a prisoner.
As he drank his wine, the cool sweet taste that slid down his throat, he looked to the statue of his ancestor.
He was perhaps not a Dragon Rider like his ancestor, but he would be just as powerful...and just as feared.
"Master...." the serpent charmer laid down on his bed, the rugs of camels covering her modesty as she winked her finger to beckon him over.
The slaver finished his drink before he went back to his bed and kissed her deeply.
Now was a good a time as any to sire a new line of warriors. Be it orc or trollok.