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Magnus-Strindboem's avatar

To the Death: The Orc Shaman.

I did a bit more research and thinking. So while I do base my orcs on the basic concept Tolkien used - them being a forcibly corrupted race stemming of an original elven species with, this is NOT supposed to be Middle Earth.
Still for it to work, most of the relevant items of mythology would be in place, like the means of creation, their departed cousins, and the dark entities that created them but then were cast down.
But if the humans are the second children of the creator, and the heirs to this world, what are the orcs? The forgotten, discarded children? And if not forgotten, what could be their destiny?

So here a little dialogue between the Shaman and Milky (the same as here:To the Death: Bliss) shortly after she had been taken and brought to the hidden orc fort.

On the other day I was brought to the cavern entrance and led inside. There was no sign of Bitch and Kitten, but they hadn’t seemed particularly concerned. Without them, I probably have had a much more miserable time, but as far as I was concerned they still could be crazy, traitors or sluts.

At some point I got a shove and stumbled into the dark, and when got my balance back and leaned against some stone wall in the near dark, I became aware that my guards had left. There was a faint shimmer of light ahead, so I went on. A silhouette against fires, some rays of sunlight shining in shafts in the rock above, blinding in between the overall dimness. I must have expected something like a fat hag in the image of the male orcs, with crude features and flabby hanging tits, covered in dirt and face paint.
But the creature that jerked around to face me was some sort of delicate fey thing, smaller than me. There was something bestial about her, but not in the brutish way of the orcs I had met until now.

“I’ve waited for you, milky…”

Milky was their generic term for humans. She watched me, as if she was looking for some kind of reaction. I didn’t expect any courtesy or small-talk anyway. So I simply asked.

“What kind of creature are you?”

She giggled and flicked a toothy grin. “I ask myself often. You tell me?”

She spoke our language pretty fluent, as good as someone with a mouth full of sharp teeth probably could.  As I stepped closer I became aware how frail she was, and wrinkles and scars became visible on her pallid skin, despite her almost youthful look. Maybe I could overpower her?

“You don’t look like the other orcs. Well, somehow… but still.”

“Of course I look different. I’m a woman like you.”

I didn’t like the assumption to have something in common with her, even if it was such a basic thing. Maybe because it was such a basic thing?


There was some flutter in pitch to her voice. The distinct feeling that something was wrong with this creature grew on me. So my fate not only depended on some monster, but a crazy one, too?

“But what? What do they say about us among your tribes, milky? That we are hideous monsters?”

“About orcs?” Or did she asked about herself in particular?

“Yes. About orcs. Don’t lie.”

“Barbarians and brigands. Enemies. Monsters, if you want to hear it.”

“And about me?”

I didn’t get it. "You?”

She was looking at me as if I was stupid or dense. Who of us two had the crazy part?

“Nothing. I mean people think there are no orc women at all…”

She leaned close enough to smell her breath.

“Hunters come for us. We ask them, nicely. So my head is worth a bag of gold I learned. Is yours worth that much?”

I never heard of that. I didn’t know much of these things. A single gold piece would pay of all our farms debts and feed me for a lifetime. But why would she lie?

“I’ve never had anything but debt on my head”, I sighed.

“What is debt?”

“When you owe someone.”

I could see some saliva dripping from her fangs. Was it difficult for her to say our words?

“Like a blood price, when you kill someone?”

“No.” I wondered how I could explain it to some monster living in a cave. “The land I work is bound to a lord, and I owe him some of the food I grow on it.”

“Yes, the boys told me that there is a man who comes to punish you from time to time. So you might not like humans.”

Did it really look like that to them? “He didn’t punish me. He’s just collecting the rent. Sometimes I can’t pay.”

She gave me a look like I was bullshitting her.

“Whatever. I had three sisters. Your hunters took them. So maybe you rather owe me instead of giving dirty roots to a fat man?”

She gestured around.

“I haven’t left the sanctuary since then. Because if they take me, my tribe is dead.”

I refused to feel pity. This thing had me abducted against my will and for some nefarious purpose, probably. Maybe to some fate like Bitch and Kitten. But I could not resist to ask.

“What became of them?”

“What does the hunter do to the prey? Flay them and put the head on a pike.”

She shrugged and waved her claws at me.

“Yes, yes. War and fight. Just bodies. Still a bad way to go. Hurts a lot.”

I felt sick.

“You know, I told the boys that we have to learn from the humans. ‘They beat us’, I told them, ‘so watch them. Learn how they do stuff. So we can become strong, too.’”

She kept staring at me, as to see whether I actually understood what she said. Involuntarily I nodded.

“I know it’s much too late for that. I’m not stupid. But I’m not a beast. I can cry and be afraid, too. But no one left to cry at.”

She did that weird giggle again.

“And then something stupid happened. You understand? Stupid! Sometimes you have to be stupid, not clever.” She laughed, in a hysterical way.

“They boys brought one of your whelps. They thought she might be on of ours. Not so. Just a cripple. Her face was burnt and she could not speak, so she would not scream at the boys. They’re stupid like that. I told them. Master made fun of me.”

Master was the one leading the orcs that had caught me. The closest thing to a witty orc.

“Master said – Maybe we can learn to become strong from this cripple whelp?”

“So I think on what he says instead of be angry." The shaman walked around me, inspecting me. "Why is this crippled girl still alive? Can it be that she has some strength I cannot see?”

“That was Kitten?” I asked.

“Yes. Kitten. And I say to Master: ‘Take her to the hunters and teach her. If she cannot speak, at least she cannot chase the prey away.’ And you know what happened?”

Before I could even shake my head, she kissed me on the cheek. “That she did.”

I got a teasing wink. “That kind of magic doesn’t work on me. But I learned one of your secrets – she could just become one of us if we let her. It made me start to think…”
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PSK-Photo's avatar

Sehr cooler Charakter, wenn auch ich zu meiner Schande erst eine Katze assoziiert habe. :)

sodacan's avatar

You just don't see Orc women.... It's wierd.... Yeah like when the mythology was created, there wasn't much use for them maybe?....

Magnus-Strindboem's avatar

As far as the lore goes, there are some, even though there's even less talk about it than the private parts of victorian lady. They exist of course in generic fantasy, but the way they're portrayed in that won't fit with LOTR. So I assumed they might be pretty rare and with a stronger dimorphism.

Edheldil3D's avatar

Erst hab ich geglaubt sie ist eine Katzenfrau, aber das passte nicht zum Titel.

Magnus-Strindboem's avatar

Keine Ahnung... vielleicht miaut sie gelegentlich. Alles hab ich da noch nicht überdacht, in Bezug auf einen Kommentar weiter unten, was es mich angeht, könnten sie auch Katzentoiletten benutzen ^^;

JordieVerse21's avatar

This is getting really interesting. I would much rather live with these orcs, who judge the worth of each person according to their fitness, intelligence, and skills, rather than some abstract concept like "how much money they have" or "how good it will make me look if I marry them". By those standards, I'm worthless in my own society. In theirs, I might actually have a purpose.

Magnus-Strindboem's avatar

I think next I'll do picture with her and Kitten, since the latter didn't feature yet. I don't know if it works out, I don't want to overly portrait the orc culture as victims or 'noble savages'. Of course they're rational humanoids that will come to pretty similar concepts as humans under the same overall circumstances. But they're different, too, and it's fun and interesting to explore those situation, both in between and from the perspective of the characters involved.

They have their bad sides, but as you suggested above, some aspects can also be attractive - this is why the protagonists can relate to them despite being human or even, theoretically enemies. One of their main problems is that as a race created and corrupted to serve external interests, they have difficulties to build stable and healthy societies on their own. Most of their 'culture' had been forced upon them instead of their own creation, and in some ways the have less to draw on than humans at that point, even thought they are the older species. But I'll try and put some of this into some events and conversations, even though they may not fit into a real plot at this time.

OneOut's avatar

There are no attractive aspects to this. Anyone can go into the forest with only a box of boyara and become a downshifter, but I don't see many people willing.

No matter what people say, hardly any of them will want to sleep on bare stones and wipe their ass with leaves.

In a group of people, a hierarchy is always formed, if there were more of these orcs, they would have the same thing, then the orcs would begin to kill each other for gold, oil and women.

Magnus-Strindboem's avatar

Well, yes, but that is today.

Even though I didn't show it, of course they don't sleep on bare stones - compared to your average peasant, the orcs do quite ok when it comes to commodities, and the latter would have to use leaves for their ass, too. And of course they have hierarchies and they do kill each other off over issues, they're orcs after all. They're 'just as bad' as humans, but that's still better than 'plain evil'.

In some ways they're like native cultures, let's say in North America or the Far East of Russia during colonial/imperial expansion. Apart from a few items, they don't have much to gain from 'civilization', but can they resist it? They're on the verge of being wiped out. But contrary to history, orcs are different from humans, both from the physical, the spiritual but also the technological aspect. They are an old race, older than humans, and in some aspects they have the advantage, one of the reasons they are hunted mercilessly by some agencies.

So they're also an element of change in the overall configuration, and people are attracted to that.

OneOut's avatar

You mean they don't roast humans at the stake?

Magnus-Strindboem's avatar

That's a good question

The short answer would be they're as bad as humans, so they're as likely to do so as humans are.

So what is hinted at in the dialogue is that there were some bounty hunters that were caught trying to finish of the tribes few females, because that is an easy way to clean out 'orc-infested' areas. Let's say that those that were caught didn't have an easy time dying. But that goes for some orcs captured by humans, too.

That is something a 'good' or 'noble' race or hero in a story wouldn't do. But we know that humans (and orcs) are quite capable of this.

Even human heroes roast their cattle. They are different species after all - if you push them afar hard enough and build up enough hate, things can get really bad. Though with (some) humans trying to wipe out orcs in an overall genocide, things can't really get much worse for orcs.

Being different species means they have distinctively different setups when it comes to procreation, aging and death that certainly affects their behaviour.

They have also gone through some changes to be useful as cheap grunts for evil overlords. That does not make them evil per default, but again, their society will develop inherently different to that of humans.

I'll try to elaborate that a bit and put it up, just for fun and review.

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