Grodak walked down the line of orc soldiers, his footsteps heavy with emotions. This will be his first battle with humans, the anticipation of battle ate at him. Grodak didn't know what to expect, if it was the scar, he would be able to predict all their movements, but now, in an unknown Land, he found himself at a loss.
Grall stood at the head of the group of a hundred orcs, his spy's right behind him. He could see the concern on Grodaks face that mirrored how he felt. Gralls spies had been feeding him intel throughout the day, the kingdom of Ronstadt wasn't preparing their army's for war. Did they take our kingdom as being that weak, Grall thought, so weak we would give up without a fight?
Grodak walked to the front and turned to his soldiers. "We received a threat of war." Grodak announced, his voice boomed in the cool morning air. "A human kingdom sent us a messenger yesterday morning telling us to either leave or be killed." Grodak chuckled a bit, his laughter lightened the mood and put the soldiers at ease. "They even went so far to call us filthy. Will," Grodak began to pace back and forth in front of the group, making his voice louder, "I say, if you want war, then war is what you get!" The orcs let out a loud war cry in response. "If you want war then we will give you war, but not on your terms. Oh no, not on your terms." Grodak stopped at the head of the army. "If they want war then I say we take the fight to them. Attack them while they are weak and vulnerable. Make them see that we, the filthy orcs, will not just lay down and die. We are not some pathetic small animal that scurries about hiding in holes. We are warriors, we are to be feared. We are orcs!" As Grodak finished his sentence he raised his sword up high for all to see. The orcs erupted with cheers as they stomped their feet and let out cries of war.
Grall smiled and, when Grodak mounted his raptor, leaned in to whisper to Grodak. "You should've been the general of the army to begin with."
"Shut up, Grall." Grodak said, his emotions playing havoc on his face. "Did you send your spies to block the passageways?"
"Yes," Grall said, annoyance in his voice, "they are posing as bandits as to not be discovered."
"Good." Grodaks low voice quivered. "Let's get going, we need to attack by tomorrow at dawn."
Grall nodded and silently followed Grall as the army began to move through the early morning hours and late into the night, only breaking to rest for a few hours on the outskirts of Willow woods. A few hours before sun rise, Grodak led the group through the forest, the trees parted to make way for the group, just as they did when Grodak and Grall made their way to the elven kingdom.
As they reached the other side of the forest, the sun had begun to peak over the horizon, Grodak let out a battle cry as they charged the defenseless gates, easily breaking through. Alarms began to blare as the group charged through the town, only fighting when necessary.
Grall broke off from the group as they entered the gates, taking only a handful of spies with him. The goal of this endeavor was simple, Grodak creates a distraction while Grall and his spy's charge their way to the castle and finds the king. Once found and captured, have him call off his men and have a diplomatic talk with Grodak. At least Grall thought it would be simple.
The kingdoms fortification proved to be greater than anticipated, the kingdom had soldiers stationed at every turn and blockades that would prevent them from moving any further at points. Grall felt that this might be an impossible task as he ran on the roof tops, leaving his dead mount, killed from an arrow, behind.
Grall made a quick motion for his group of spies to dismantle a blockade that was in Grodaks way. Grall moved through the city, dodging left and right as arrows passed by, and came to the second innermost wall. The gates to the wall had been closed just before Grall could get there.
Cursing under his breath, Grall grabbed a nearby rope and, after a few moments of skirmishing, tied the guards up and knocked them out. Grall made a quick motion to his spies to watch his back as he opened the gate to allow Grodak through, but one of his spy's stopped him and pointed in the distance.
A plump man wearing fine clothes and a crown adorn on his head was riding a horse towards them screaming for the soldiers to stop. Grall paused for a moment then turned to look down at Grodak who was fighting off several men at once.
"Grodak," Grall shouted over the fray, "I think the king is heading here to greet us."
"Good." Grodak shouted back as he pushed back against the humans. "Get the gates open then."
Grall turned and opened the gates, allowing Grodak and the remaining orcs to make their way inside. As soon as they were inside, Grall jumped down and helped pry the humans off the orc soldiers.
"Stop fighting." A voice shouted from a distance. "I command you to stop."
Grodak pulled back from the fray and, disarming himself, approached the king as Grall and the orc soldiers held the humans back. Grodak stood out in the open as the king neared him, pulling on the reins to slow his horse.
"I am king Thomas, king of Ronstadt." Thomas proclaimed, his voice breaking as he tried to catch his breath.
"I am Grodak, king of Whitewater." Grodak spoke with the authority of a king.
"Yes," Thomas said, "I heard what happened to Tyril. It's a petty. He was a just and noble man, even saved my life once or twice."
"We came here today because we received this," Grodak pulled the piece of parchment the messenger had left out of his armor and handed it to the king, "and followed him back here. Our reports show that he has yet to leave so we naturally assumed that he was one of yours."
The king read the parchment; his hands began to tremble in anger. "I did not send this," Thomas said as he rolled it up and handed the parchment back to Grodak, who placed it back inside his armor for safe keeping, "but, rest assure, if he is here I will find him and he will pay for these transgressions against another kingdom."
"Good." Grodak felt oddly calm as he spoke. "I would like to set up a date for us to form an alliance, if that is to your liking."
"Of course," Thomas said with a sigh of relief, "let's retire to the castle and hammer out the details there."
Grodak nodded his head and began to follow the king. Grall saw Grodak leaving and began to follow. "Grall," Grodak said, a hint of anger in his voice, "take the soldiers and go home."
Grall, knowing better then to argue with Grodak, did just that. The trip back would take two day, so Grall ordered the men to gather supplies and be ready to march in an hour.
Grodak caught up to them after the first day, just as they were setting camp. Grodak walked up to Grall, his footsteps quick with anger, and grabbed him by the scruff of his shirt lifting him into the air.
"You were wrong!" Grodak screamed, his face beat red. "Once again you had our men kill innocence because you didn't take the time to find out if the information was correct."
"The information wasn't incorrect." Grall gasped out as he struggled against Grodaks grip. "I sent three spies' after him and they all reported the same thing."
Grodak threw Grall to the ground, hearing this did nothing for his anger. "Oh, so this was just a mistake?" Grodak screamed, he had enough of Gralls mistakes. "Just like what happened to the Mursan tribe."
Grall, coughing, stood up and looked Grodak in the face. "What I did to the Mursan tribe," Grall said rubbing his neck, "I did because the elders told me they needed to die, just like how you were the one who ordered us to ambush them, so do not put all the blame on me."
Grodak, barely able to see through the haze of anger that clouded his eyes, grabbed Grall and slammed his head into a nearby campfire. Grall felt the intense heat burn his skin as he freed himself from Grodaks hold and tried to flee. Grodak pulled Grall back to him and slammed Gralls head into the fire several times before throwing him on the ground.
"Get out of here." Grodak said as he took the hot poker and held it as a weapon. "Do not ever let me see you again. You are here by banished from Whitewater."
Grall sat on the ground for a moment in silence as what Grodak said set in, then he began to laugh. "Again?" Grall said through the laughter. "Your banishing me again, and this time it's because of your decision."
Grodak raised the hot poker as if to strike Grall but found a dark shadow in front of him brandishing a sword that looked like oathkeeper to his throat.
"I'll leave, Grodak," Grall said as he stood, "but this time, I'm cutting the ties that bind us. We are no longer brothers."
Grodak was about to say something but Grall was already gone and Grodak found himself standing alone his anger vanished and all he was left with was a sense of loneliness.
Grall stood in his tower holding the black orb. He had thought about the possibility that the owner was the one responsible for the note but couldn't rule out another kingdom. Now without a doubt, he knew the last remaining God, the God of death, was the one responsible for it. Grall stashed the black orb away and turned around to take one last look at the place he had spent so much time in to make Whitewater better.
"Fluffles," Grall said as he heard the soft sounds of padded feet hitting the wood, "take good care of Grodak for me."
As the last word left his lips, Grall allowed the shadow world to take him. As Grall stood in the darkness looking around at the orc chiefs that surrounded him, he said simply one thing. "Wreag, I want you to train me."
Imp walked into his library, the place he kept all his important treasures, and sat with Dorothy, Imps first robotic companion, and best friend, as he browsed through his collection of books he obtained from other towers. As Imp tried to decide which book, he should crack open he couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing. Something important.
"Dorothy," Imp said, "can you look at these books and tell me if anything is messing?"
"Of course, sugar." Dorothy replied as she scrolled through her catalog of what should be present, coming to a stop on a single object. "Uh oh." She said as she realized what it was that went missing.
"What?" Imp asked almost scared to learn what it was.
"Uh," Dorothy said as she hesitated to tell Imp, "this is what went missing." She opened a metal flap revealing a monitor with a picture on it of the missing item.
Imps eyes widen in disbelief before narrowing in anger. "Dorothy," Imp said as he stood up, "I'm heading to Whitewater."
Before anything else could be said Imp vanished leaving Dorothy alone.
Grodak stood in the empty tower that once belonged to Grall, wondering if he had perhaps acted too hasty in his banishing of Grall. It was already too late to change it, but Grodak couldn't help but wonder.
Imp appeared next to Grodak, appearing to be in a hurry. "Grodak," Imp said, his voice impatient, "where is Grall?"
Grodak shook his head, he had enough to worry about now, he didn't have time for Imps nonsense. "I'm not his keeper," he said in a gruff voice, "why would I know where he is?"
Imp took a step back, he had seen Grodak angry before, but this was new. Grodak looked almost as if he would tear Imp to pieces if the wrong words were spoken. Swallowing his worries, Imp pressed on.
"I need to speak to Grall," Imp continued, not allowing his voice to waver, "he took something important from my tower the last time he was there, and I need to get it back before it falls into the wrong hands."
Grodak sighed, it seemed like no matter what he did, or who he talked to, Grall was always present in some shape or form. "I do not know where he is, Imp," Grodak spoke, the venom in his voice almost suffocating, "but he is not in Whitewater, nor will he ever be in Whitewater."
Imp flinched as Grodak spoke, he felt as though a blade was to his throat. Ever persistent, Imp pressed on, he needed all the information he could get. "What happened between the two of you?"
Grodak let out a sigh, one that he felt had been building up since he had to leave Xierma in the fog, then sat in a chair he had prepared for himself. "Imp, sit down," Grodak said as he waved over a maid, "I will tell you what happened over tea."
Grall laid on the cold hard black surface of the Shadow World, panting from sheer exhaustion. He had been in the Shadow World for maybe a day in the material planes time, but, to Gralls satisfaction, time moved differently in the Shadow World. A day in the material plane equaled hundreds, or maybe thousands of years in the Shadow World. Time Grall used to train his body to become as strong as it could under Wreags guidance.
Wreag, the strongest orc to have ever existed, had once fought against hundreds of Casarns and defeated them, all by himself. It was needless to say that out of every orc in existence, he was the one who could train Grall to become the strongest, stronger than even Wreag himself.
"Is that all you got, Grall?" Wreag shouted as the orcs surrounding Grall backed off. "We have been at this for a long time and you have barely made any progress. Do you not want to become strong? Do you want to waste away on the battlefield as your brother takes all the glory?"
Grall looked at Wreag with hatred in his cold black eyes. Grall knew he had to do what Wreag said without question, but, just as Wreag pointed out, in the time he has been in the Shadow World, he has made little progress. Grall bit the bottom of his lip, little progress is still progress, he reminded himself as he pushed his body up into the front leaning position.
"I am not giving up." Grall said through clenched teeth. His muscles hurt and, thanks to Wreag, the Shadow World was no longer healing his wounds. "I will never quit."
Wreags lips twitched into a smile. "Good." Wreag said as he motioned for the orcs to continue.
Hours later, Grall laid on the ground, bruised head to toe. He clutched the black orb in his arms and his thoughts drifted to the events that led to him retrieving it.
The day after the orcs arrived in Whitewater and the day Grodak had set out to find the stone archway the elders had spoken of. Grall had received news from one of his spies that they had discovered Milindars hideout and rather than bother Grodak, who needed to discover himself on this journey, Grall contacted Imp.
"Imp," Grall said over the stone, "I need your help to infiltrate Milindars hideout."
Imp, hearing Gralls words, teleported himself to Gralls tower. "And why do you want to infiltrate his hideout?" Imp asked, his voice sounded suspicious of Gralls motives.
"Isn't it obvious?" Grall asked, annoyed at the suspicion. "To kill Milindar and prevent a war from unfolding."
"Why do you wish to kill him?" Imps questions came rapidly, almost as if he didn't hear Gralls answers.
"To prevent a war." Grall answered, he felt like he was being tested to see if his loyalty lay with Grodak or not.
"But," Imp said, "what if he doesn't want war, but peace instead. If you killed him then you would have killed an innocent man."
"He is the one who first destroyed Whitewater," Grall pointed out, "the one who has allied with necromancer's, and the one who killed Tyril."
"All of this is true," Imp continued, "but, what if he was being controlled by someone?"
"Then by getting rid of him, we have taken out one of the controller's puppets and a threat to the world." Grall rebutted, he hated the questions and felt that he shouldn't have to answer these questions, Imp was smart so he should already know the answer to them.
"I see," Imp said, "if that's the case then I will go with you and while you are making your way into his hideout, I'll be speaking with him."
"So, you're going to talk to the enemy?"
"Is he the enemy," Imp asked, "or is he just an unknowing pawn in someone's game."
Grall stayed silent, to him it mattered little if Milindar oversaw his actions or not. What did matter is that he was a threat to, not only Whitewater but the world as will. Grall knew Imp wouldn't see it that way and instead decided to just allow Imp to find out on his own. It mattered very little in the end because Grall had planned to blow Milindar and his hideout into the void.
Grall sighed, he knew Imp would need to see his face as accepting of his proposal and hear him agree before he would help. "Ok," Grall said, the sound of defeat in his voice, "you're right, he may not be the threat, so I'll let you talk to him and decide. If he comes off as a real threat then I will kill him, just so you know."
Imp smiled and tapped his staff on the ground, creating a large magic circle beneath the two of them. "Good."
One moment they were in Gralls tower talking the next Grall found himself outside of a large towering structure. Dark clouds hung low stopping the light from entering. This was definably a high-grade evil villains lair, Grall thought as he looked at the dying plants.
Imp had already left, leaving Grall alone. A smile spread across his face as he snuck in and hid a bomb on one of the support pillars. Grall knew that there was no need to worry about collapsing the building, this was a void bomb, a bomb that instantly sends everything in a two-mile radius to the void, and there was no way Milindar would survive.
"What are you doing?" A voice behind Grall asked.
Grall sighed and turned to face Imp who stood there watching him. "You may think there is good in Milindar, but I do not. I don't trust him, even if you think that he is being controlled, it's best to just get rid of this threat before it gets worse."
Imp looked at the void bomb, it had already been activated and once activated there was no stopping it. Imp looked back to Grall, anger clouded his face. "It's just too bad I already figured you might pull this," Imp said, revealing that he had thought ahead of Grall, "so I already told Milindar that he should leave."
"You, what?" Grall shouted, his anger almost getting the better of him. "You warned the enemy of our plans you traitor."
"Correction," Imp said as he stamped the butt of his staff on the ground teleporting himself and Grall back to the tower before the void bomb went off, "I told him of your plans."
Grall started forward but found himself unable to move as Imp tapped started to send him back to Whitewater. Seconds before Grall teleported away, he noticed a black orb on Imps desk and recognized it as a God orb, but which, he had yet to discover.
As soon as Grall arrived back in his tower he called for Fluffles. "Fluffles." He waited a moment until he heard the familiar sound of padded footsteps on the wood above him. "There is a black orb in Imps tower, most likely a God orb. I want you to head there, join up with the spies I already have stationed there, and bring me back that orb."
Fluffles purrs could be heard for a moment, confirming that he would do as Grall wished, then silence.
Gralls mind came back to the present as he heard Wreags voice shouting at him. "Are you planning on resting any longer. I said get up. It's time to get back at it."
Grall groaned as he stood up, the pain from his training had lessened after a short rest, and turned to face Wreag, ready for more.