"This isn't right," the elven maiden said looking thoughtful, "this isn't right at all. When I met the two of you, you still had your eyes Grall."
Grall bit his lip to keep from asking what she meant. "It matters little," Grall said, his patients running thin, "show us the God orb."
The elven maiden sighed and turned around to face the statue. "It lies in wait down below," she pointed to the stairs that had appeared from beneath the statue, "it rests in my crypt. I give you permission to enter and take the orb to use for the benefit of your race."
The elven maiden began to disappear, like a candles flame flickering out in the moon lit night. "Wait." Grodak shouted, he had remained quiet while Grall spoke with the elven maiden, but he could remain so no longer. "Please, tell me your name."
The pale ghostly figure turned to Grodak and caressed his cheek. "My name is Xierma." The ghostly figure vanished along with her words.
"What is this?" Grodak shouted in confusion as he held up a broken green orb. "Is this supposed to be the God orb?"
"It's what's left of it." Grall said, he could see that the magic that the orb once held was now a small fraction of what it should have. "Someone must've tried to use it's magic, someone who wasn't of our race."
As Grall spoke, everything became clear. The elves, in desperation, used the magic that the orb held. What reason did they have to do such a desperate act?
"How are we supposed to get Talengars treasure now?" Hopelessness resounded in Grodaks voice.
"The same way we were going to in the beginning, brother." Grall began to wonder around the crypt, looking in each room. "The orb isn't what was needed to access the door, it's the magic signature."
Grodak looked at Grall with a puzzled look that made Grall sigh. "Everyone and everything have different signatures, like how every blacksmith has their own way to create metalworks."
Grodak nodded his head in understanding. "So, we can still enter Talengars vault with this?"
"Yes." Grall said rubbing his temple as a headache started to come on.
"Then," Grodak said with a smile, "we have what we came here for. Let's head back to the scar now."
As Grall and Grodak left the crypt and headed towards the gates, Grodak paused for a moment and looked back at the statue where Xierma stood watching longingly.
"Grodak," Grall said as he stood in front of the gates, "we can return later, right now we are on a time limit."
Grodak nodded his head without taking his eyes off Xierma. Gralls thoughts went into the past, to the time he spent with Her, the only woman he ever loved. He remembered how she would look at him the way Xierma looked at Grodak, how she would caress his lips with hers, the feeling of running his fingers through her long flowing brown hair, and how she would scold him after every hunt.
Grall felt a small twinge and brushed the memories back. "She's dead now," he said to himself as he wiped a blood-stained tear from his cheek, "no point in dredging up those old memories."
Grall looked back at Grodak who had now turned to face Grall, and in silence they exited the elven kingdom. They had no problems making their way through the trees this time, they parted as soon as Grodak approached, because of the broken orb, no doubt.
Three days after their visit to the elven kingdom, Grall and Grodak arrived in the scar. Little word was spoken between the two on the way back. Grodak felt strangely heart broken and Grall, not knowing what to say, did not want to make matters worse.
As they entered the scar, they immediately went to Talengars vault. Once there, Grodak held the broken God orb up to the door, a green light shone like that of the statue and the doors opened without a sound. Inside the vault laid mountains of gold, jewels, and priceless artifacts.
Neither Grall nor Grodak rejoiced upon seeing this. They both wanted to open these doors so that Grodak could receive Talengars blessings, but instead was greeted with gold.
The next two days Grodak did not leave his home. Grall had stationed some men in front of Grodaks home and ordered them to not allow anyone to disturb him.
The morning of the third day, just as the sun started to rise over the heavens, Grodak entered Gralls office.
"Why haven't you mobilized our people and moved them to Whitewater?" Grodak asked as he slammed his fist onto Gralls desk.
Grall looked up from his paperwork and crossed his arms. "And do tell," Grall said irritated, "how was I supposed to do that when you, their chieftain, locked himself in his house?"
"You are my second-in-command," Grodak yelled, "you knew the plans and didn't act upon them."
"I am only the 'second-in-command' by name, and name alone." Grall said standing up so that he was face to face with Grodak. "I don't know if you noticed, but the tribes don't take kindly to those who were banished. Who would listen me? I have had a hard time controlling the spies under my command, let alone several tribes."
Grodak reared back his fist and slammed it into the desk, shattering the wood and sending papers flying. "Make them listen." Grodak shouted as he grabbed a piece of the desk and threw it against the wall, further destroying it.
"And become a tyrant?" Grall asked now screaming at Grodak. "Just like Myren? You must not remember what father did to him to end his rule."
Grodak let loose a loud primitive roar as he slammed both of his fists onto the stone floor, knocking loose sever pieces. Grodak fell to the floor covering his face with his hands, quietly sobbing.
"What's wrong with me, Grall?" Grodak asked, his quiet sobs turning into tears as he tried to hide his face.
"Love." Grall said, as he watched his brother turn from a mighty warrior and into a crying toddler. "You fell in love, my brother."
Later that day, Grodak had managed to gather all the tribes together and began teleporting them to Whitewater. Grodak, after Grall had suggested, sent the soldiers first so that they could clear out any remaining undead.
Two uneventful weeks passed, the orcs had expanded the territory under Gralls guidance and established a working community. Grodak, unable to rid himself of the loneliness he now felt every second of everyday, had decided to travel now that he knew his people were safe.
Grodak rode snowball, his white raptor he had obtained from a traveling merchant, up to a strange stone archway. "What do you think snowball," Grodak asked, snowball was the only company he had since leaving white water several days before so Grodak would often talk to his new mount, "is this the stone structure the elders talked about? I wish we could just ask Grall but he's taking care of Whitewater."
The beast remained silent but Grodak could've sworn snowball gave him a look that said, 'why are you asking me.'
With a sigh Grodak dismounted the raptor and approached the stone archway. As Grodak approached, the runes etched into the stone began to glow as a blue, almost water like, substance filled the archway. Grodak reached his hand forward to see how the blue water would react. A jolt of electricity shot through Grodaks arm, sending him crashing to the ground.
Grodak quickly picked himself up and stared at the stone in anger as the blue faded. Grodak clenched his fist but stopped himself from striking the stone and took a deep breath, calming breath as he tried to translate the runes etched into the stone. He was thankful he had borrowed books on ancient runes from Imps library, for he was able to translate enough to find out that a word of power must be spoken.
"Mirenra." He whispered to himself to confirm the pronunciation. As Grodak spoke the word the stone arch way began to vibrate as green water filled it.
"Stay here, snowball." Grodak said as he once again tested the strange water with his hand. This time, to Grodaks surprise, his hand disappeared. A small chuckle echoed in Grodaks throat as he stepped through the archway with excitement and found himself standing in a meadow.
Grodak turned to look at the archway and found it empty. Standing on the other side, though, was a young elven girl with fiery hair that flowed down her back freely.
"Who are you?" The girl asked, she peered up at Grodak quizzically.
"I am Grodak," Grodak said feeling a strange sense of familiarity from her "and who might you be, little one?"
The girl giggled and hid her face bashfully. "My name is Xierma, princess of Elysia."
Grodaks breath caught in his throat as he tried to speak. "Xierma?" Grodak said as he cleared his throat. "Will my princess," Grodak knelt to her level so that she wouldn't have to constantly look up at him, "where are your parents?"
"My father died in the war against Dasari," Xierma spoke with the air of royalty befitting her stature, "as for my mother, she is in the castle. Do you want me to take you to her?"
Grodak smiled, even though she had yet to become the woman he had fallen in love with he could see the sparks of her in her child-like self. "Yes," he said standing up, "I would like that very much, Xierma."
Xierma ran pass Grodak and headed towards towering wall just passed the meadow, Grodak followed, a smile on his face. As Grodak entered through the gates he found Xierma standing in front of a white stone pedestal. Grodak approached the pedestal and as he came to a stop, he repeated the riddle he had heard the day he first met Xierma.
"Hope." Grodak said with a wide smile. "The answer, Xierma, is hopes and dreams. Remember that for one day you may have to ask a wary traveler and his blind brother this riddle."
Xiermas watched Grodak, wide eyed, for a moment before turning her gaze to a white castle that scraped the sky. "My mom is in there." She said pointing, Xierma then grabbed Grodaks hand and began to pull him towards the castle. "Come on. Come on. You want to meet her right?"
Grodak laughed and allowed the small girl to drag him along. As they approached the castle, Grodak noticed several elves staring at him. Grodak wondered for a moment why they stared but then pushed it out of his mind.
As Xierma dragged Grodak into the castle, the sounds of merry cheers could be heard as people talked and glasses clanged. Xierma hadn't seemed fazed by the sounds and hurried Grodak into another room.
"Momma, momma, momma." Xierma shouted in excitement. "Look, I made a new friend today."
An elven woman who sat at the head of the table looked up from her glass of wine and smiled as she picked Xierma up, holding her close. "A new friend?" She said sweetly, eyeing Grodak with a strange interest. "So, it worked."
"What worked?" Grodak asked, his hand slowly reaching for a knife he had on his belt.
"The gate, of course." The woman seemed thrilled at Grodaks question. "We built them so that those of the future could come back in time."
"What was the purpose of doing so?" Grodak gripped his knife firmly and readied himself in case these elves turn hostile.
"For knowledge, of course." The elven woman put Xierma down and walked over to Grodak. "Come with me, orc."
Grodak grunted but did as the elven queen requested and followed her to another room.
"I want knowledge about the future." She said as soon as the door was closed behind them. "About the wars, kingdoms, diplomats, everything." As she spoke, she drew closer and closer to Grodak until their bodies we're almost touching.
"Why should I give you any information?" Grodak ask, he had already slowly begun to draw his knife out of its sheath. "What's in it for me?"
The elven woman laughed and began to circle Grodak. "What do you, a strong warrior orc, want?" She said as she ran her hand along his shoulders. "Gold? Power? Or maybe you would like." She started to take Grodaks hand but before she could a booming voice interrupted her.
"Grodak," the voice said as a large figure suddenly appeared in the room, "my child."
Grodak, instantly recognizing this figure as Talengar, stepped away from the elven woman. "My God, Talengar," Grodak said as he fell to his knees in worship, "what is it you wish of me."
Talengar placed a hand on Grodaks shoulder. "Rise, Grodak." He said, his booming voice echoed throughout the room. "There is no need for formalities between us, for you are my chosen child, the one to lead my children when I am gone."
Grodak stood silently and allowed the radiance of his God to wash over him. "I came because I sensed your presence in this time. How is it that you came to be here?"
"I walk through an elven archway and it led me here." Grodak spoke slowly, trying to prolong the inevitable.
Talengar smiled, then he reached into a sack he carried and produced a bright green orb. Grodak realized what it was the moment he laid his eyes on it, Talengars God orb.
"My child I give to you the last gift a foolish old God can give to one of his children. I give you my orb, it contains my magic inside. I ask of you to mold this orb into a horn when you return home and blow into it three times."
Before Grodak could say anything, he found himself back in the fog, the orb in hand.