Hey guys, this is the last chapter to the first part of Gralls and Grodaks adventure. I’ll be honest, up til this part not much interesting has happened story wise but hopefully yall enjoyed. I’ll be bringing out part 2 of the series in a few weeks so please look forward to that.
Grodak sat across from Imp, waiting for Imps response to his story. Grodak felt strangely nervous, he wasn’t sure if what he did was the right thing and hoped Imp would agree with him.
Imp remained silent for a while; his thoughts played on his face as he was trying to decide how best to speak. “I do not like the way you went about it,” Grodak moved to speak but imp raised his hand stopping Grodak as he continued, “but, I see where you’re coming from. At the same time, Grall made a mistake, one that you, every king, chief, or leader are destined to make at least once or twice. It’s good that you were able to resolve the conflict with few deaths but if it had turned out that the threat was real, and you didn’t act, you would be in the middle of an unwinnable war.”
Grodak slumped back into his chair feeling defeated. He had realized he had overreacted as soon as he called down but stuck it out believing himself to be right. Now, with Imps input, he realized he wasn’t right.
“So, I was wrong in banishing him from Whitewater.” Grodaks voice held great sorrow, he felt as low as a pile of dung.
“The choice was yours in the end.” Imp spoke softly and assuredly. “You felt he may make the same mistake a third time and wanted to protect your people from such things. That in itself is a leader, putting the needs of the many over the needs of the few. He may hate you for this, after all he sees it as you made the choice, and he’s right, you did make the choice to attack and followed it at his suggestion, but you also had the choice to wait and see how it progressed. From what you told me, he told you everything he knew.”
Grodak sighed, Imp was right, he had all the information but because Grall felt the need to be prepared…. No, that’s not right, Grodak had made the choice and all Grall did was provide the advice and follow through with his orders.
Grodak put his face into his hands. The feeling of despair hit him like a ton of bricks. The feeling of not knowing how to fix his mistake drove him mad.
“Now if we are done here,” Imp said, his voice sounded impatient and he appeared to be ready to fly out of his seat at any moment, “I need to find Grall and get back the God orb he took.”
Grodak looked at Imp quizzically, he couldn’t believe that his brother had stolen something from one of their own. “When did he manage that?”
“Right after I spared Milindars life.”
Grodaks eyes widened, he couldn’t believe what he heard. Imp, one of his most trusted friends, had spared the life of his greatest enemy.
“Why did you spare him?” Grodak asked, his anger rising as he spoke. “Why would you spare the creature that killed Tyril?”
“I believe he was being controlled by someone else.” Imp said as he readied his magic to teleport at a moment’s notice if Grodak tried to harm him.
Grodak opened his mouth to speak but stopped as a trumpet blew, and he heard his soldiers running and screaming. His commanders barking orders and the beat of drums drew Grodaks eyes to the window where he saw an army of undead marching towards Whitewater. At the head stood Milindar, dressed in heavy armor and welding a two-handed blade.
Wreag and Grall encircled one another, their weapons at the ready. They watched each other for the slightest sign of movement, hesitation, or distraction that gave them an opportunity to strike. This was Gralls final test, his graduation from being weak and depending on the Shadow World to a full-blown warrior. This was what he needed to be able to move about the world and keep everyone he cared for safe.
Wreag paused in his steps and charged forward going for a straight death blow. Gralls threw oathkeeper up, catching Wreags blade. they stood in place, both pressing against the other, challenging their strengths against the other. Grall, thinking fast, moved his blade slightly, allowing Wreags blade to slide down his, close to Gralls neck, before twisting his blade in a jerking motion, locking Wreags in the swords hand guard. Grall then moved the two swords, using Wreags own strength against him, to slam the blade of Wreags sword into the ground.
Quickly freeing his sword, Grall pointed the tip of the blade to Wreags throat and stood there in triumph. He had just bested the strongest orc in history and came out of it alive.
Wreag, to Gralls surprise, let loose a hearty chuckle. This was the first time Grall had heard such joyous amusement from Wreag, the orc who gained credit for being the most stoic orc of all time.
“You are the second person to have ever beaten me.” Wreag spoke swiftly, in a hurried voice as if he had somewhere else to be. “I’ve taught you all that I know, now it’s time for you to take your training and build upon it. As for me, I must get ready. The call is approaching.”
“The call?” Grall asked, he was curious as to what kind of call Wreag would be referring to that would force him to answer.
Wreag smiled, as he pulled his sword out of the ground. “You will know of what call I speak of soon enough. You will need to leave soon, so that you may fight the battle that is upon us, I impart upon you this trinket.” Wreag handed Grall a small round device that had runes carved into the surface and a small button in the center. “When you press the button, you may call upon every orc here at once and we shall act according to your will.”
Grall smiled as he tucked the trinket away, in his pocket. He knew not when or where he would need such a device, but he was grateful to have it all the same.
“Then,” Grall said, a bit of sorrow in his voice, “I shall leave, for now, and return once the battle has finished.”
“There is no need for you to return,” Wreag said, his smile ever present, “you have already finished your training here, I have taught you everything I could.”
“I know.” Grall spoke quickly, feeling the twinge of the material plane pulling him away from the Shadow World. Grall could have stopped it if he wanted, since Wreag had given him the permission he needed to come and go as he pleased, he had no need to wait until he was forced. Grall allowed himself to be pulled back into the material plane and found himself standing on a hill overlooking Whitewater as an army of undead, led by Milindar, attacked.
Grodak rushed out to the banisters, barking orders for the orcs surrounding the walls to open fire on the undead. He moved through the ranks checking everyone to see if they were good to fight. When he was satisfied with how his men looked, he walked to the gates and lifted his sword up. The sword felt heavy in his hands, heavier than usual. As he looked at the blade, he felt a strong sense of disappointment in himself. He hated going to battle and every time he held a blade, he felt like he was disappointing those who trusted in his protection.
Grodak shook himself, clearing his mind and forcing himself to focus on what was happening. A battle was about to start, and he needed his mind cleared while he fights. Grodaks hand instinctively went to the green horn that hung at his waist side, remembering the words his God told him.
“Blow this horn three times when you return.” Grodak thought about doing now, not knowing what it would do, but thought better of it. It was a God item and should only be used in extreme cases.
Wasn’t this an extreme case? Grodak thought, he lifted the horn up, untying it from his belt. He had seen the hordes of undead that clawed at the gates of Whitewater and knew that he might not be able to fight them all, but a part of Grodak relished the challenge of attempting to do so. Grodak sighed as the logical part of him chimed in, it might be fun, but as long as he holds a blade in his hand, he is letting his people down. It would be best to end this quickly.
Grodak lifted the horn to his lips and blew in it three times. As he lowered the horn, he expected something, anything to happen. Nothing. The dead still clawed at the door, begging to be let in and his men were still outnumbered.
Grodak heaved a heavy sigh, some God item, he thought as he lifted his sword ready for the fight ahead. Grodak looked to the battlements, the civilians had already been relocated to the innermost wall, where they would be safest, and opened his mouth to speak.
A horn, from the other side of the wall blared out three times. Grodak shut his mouth for a moment then looked back to the battlements. “What’s going on out there?”
The orc that stood closes to Grodaks line of site, had turned pale. “The elders,” he stumbled out, “they suddenly appeared after you blew that horn and are attacking the enemy.”
Grodaks eyes widened in disbelief, the horn had been used to link the material plane with the Shadow World. “Open the gates.” Grodak shouted, his voice full of excitement.
The guards replied in kind and soon the gates were rising. The gate had just barely lifted off the ground when seven skeletons squeezed underneath it. Acting in haste, Grodak swung his blade, destroying three skeletal skulls and began to move forward. As the gate opened wider, more undead moved in. Grodak, being quick on his feet, began destroying the undead that came through.
Grodak rushed out of the gates, destroying any undead he came across, and came face to face with Milindar.
“So,” Milindar said, his helm hid his face but Grodak could tell by how he spoke that the Casarn was smiling, “it is you that is brave enough to face me.”
“I’m not here to just face you, Milindar,” Grodak spoke as he caught Milindars blade with his, “I’m here to kill you.”
Milindar began to laugh, it was a sickening sound, the sound one hears only in their nightmares. “You?” He said, he was obviously underestimating Grodak. “Tyril couldn’t defeat me and you think you can? Someone who had to be protected by Tyril?”
Grodak smiled, he knew he was being underestimated and could use it to his advantage. He had changed a lot since Tyril gave his life protecting Grodak, and Talengars blessing would help him destroy this monster.
“How about less yap and more fighting.” Grodak said as he swung his blade down onto Milindars.
Grall used his connection to the Shadow World to move about the battlefield looking for Adrian. He finally found him fighting with several undead and treating them like they were no threat to him. Grall grabbed Adrian and pulled him to a safe location away from the battle.
“Adrian,” Grall said, “I need your help to stop this.”
“What?” Adrian said disoriented, the forced movement had jarred his mind and he wasn’t sure where he was. “Bro, what happened? I was just fighting some skelly’s then I’m here?”
“I grabbed you and dragged you away from the battle.” Grall explained, using as little words as he could. “I need your help to put an end to this.”
“But,” Adrian said, still confused, “Grodak and the army of orc bros are doing a good job at that.”
“Yes, will,” Grall continued his explanation, “I may not agree with Imp too often, but he was right about one thing. This is all an orchestration of someone else. That someone being the God of death.”
“Ok,” Adrian spoke in excitement, “cool, bro, but how do we find the God of death?”
Grall pulled out the black God orb, and, holding it out to Adrian, spoke quickly. “This is how. I need you, someone who has experienced death before, to take hold of the orb.”
Adrian shrugged and reached out placing his hands on the orb. A bright light shot out of the darkness and they found their selves in a dark expanse.
“So,” a voice spoke out of the darkness, “two little rats have decided to pay me a visit. Intriguing.”
Grodak fell to the ground, blood from a small cut above his brow blinding him in his right eye. Milindar, a few feet away from him, knelt on the ground panting.
“This isn’t going as easily as I thought it would.” Milindar said, his voice shook with exhaustion.
Grodak smiled, he had been giving it all he could and didn’t know how much more he could take. “You’re better than I thought as will.”
“At this rate,” Milindar said stumbling to his feet, “we both might pass out from exhaustion before the battle is through.”
Grodak laughed as he stood back up on shaking legs. “That’s true,” he said, “but, I will still have won. You won’t be able to hurt anymore of my people for a while.”
Milindar scoffed and readied his sword. “Would you be happy with that?”
“No,” Grodak said, “I honestly wouldn’t be.”
Milindar threw his head back and laughed, the sound sending shivers down Grodaks spine. “If that’s the case,” Milindar said as he locked eyes with Grodak, “then how about we come at each other with all our strength. One attack will decide who wins.”
“Sounds good to me.” Grodak held his sword at the ready. He watched for Milindar to move, just as Milindar watched Grodak. The chaos of the battlefield faded to the background; all thoughts disappeared. This was the final act. If Grodak failed, then it would mean his death.
The two stood poised for a moment, to them it felt like hours, in reality it was seconds. Milindar was the first to move as he took two mighty steps and swung his blade in a downward arch. Grodak moved in and went to strike Milindar.
Blood spewed forth, a death cry echoed out, a body fell to the ground lifeless. Grodak, who had received a cut along his chest, stood over Milindars impaled body. The battle had ended and Grodak looked to the heavens and let loose a savage victory roar.
As Grodaks roar is heard in the battlefield, several roars respond in kind as the orcs worked together to push the undead back.
Grall knelt on the ground next to Adrian, both panting from exhaustion. “Are you done?” The god of death asked, his voice calm, cold, and calculating.
Grall thought about everything they tried against him, they attacked head on, double teamed him, attacked from either side, even from above and below, but none of their attacks connected. They couldn’t even get him to move from the spot where he stood.
“Adrian,” Grall said in a light whisper, low enough that Adrian should be the only one to hear, “I’m going to take him to the Shadow World and once-“
Before Grall could finish, the God of death was standing in front of them, a wicked smile on his lips as he grabbed Grall and Adrian by the throat and lifted them up.
“Take me into another realm?” He said with a light chuckle. “We can’t have that happening, now can we?”
His smile grew more sinister as Gralls vision blurred for a moment before finding himself looking into the God’s face at a different angle. The God then tossed the two of them on the ground with a sinister laugh echoing out.
“Why don’t you give it a try now.” He said, his voice showing some strange amusement.
Grall felt wrong, his body seemed smaller then before and his sight had somehow been changed. Where before he could clearly see that this was a dimension meant solely for the God, now he could not see anything but the god himself. Grall looked over to Adrian and gasped in surprise.
The god hadn’t just made Grall feel off, he had switched his body with Adrian’s. Grall, feeling weak in the knees, stood up. This wasn’t the time to worry about such things, as he looked to Adrian he quickly spoke.
“You should be able to feel the Shadow World connecting you to all planes of existence. Use it to send him there.”
Adrian turned his head to Grall, a look of worry on his, on Gralls face. Grall felt a pang of guilt as he knew how hard it was to get used to his eyesight, but he pushed anyways.
“Adrian.” Grall said as he lifted Adrian’s sword ready to defend him. “You must do this.”
Adrian nodded and Grall could tell he was searching for the connection, the pull that would send him into the shadow world. Grall turned his eyes to the God and readied Adrian’s sword. Grall began to take a step forward when he heard a loud yelp of pain. He turned to find that Adrian’s legs were gone. Severed from his body by some magical means.
Grall turned back to the God, he could not contain his anger as he shouted. “What did you do to him, you bastard?”
Grall tried to shadow step, cross a gap of fifteen feet in an instant, to the God, but fell to the ground. Pain shot up his body and as Grall looked down he saw that his legs, all the way up to his pelvis region, were gone.
The God let loose a blood chilling laugh. “I didn’t do anything.” He said, the joy he felt from watching them evident in his voice. “You did it to yourselves.” He laughed again, as Grall dragged his body, Adrian’s body, over to where Adrian lay glaring at the God in anger.
“I’ll tell you what,” the God said in a sickening sweet voice, “I’ll let one of you live, but the other one will be sent to the void. No spirit realm or Shadow World for you. It’s straight up death.” The God ended his sentence in a shout. Grall realized, the thrill of watching them kill each other was his source of amusement.
What choice do we have? Grall thought as he looked to Adrian, his one and only friend. “Adrian,” Grall said, a smile on his face, “kill me.”
“What?” Adrian shouted, the shock of Gralls request had caught him off guard. “No, if anyone should stay alive it’s you.”
“No,” Grall said, his voice trembling as a tear slid down his cheek, “this is what I want. To die and be with my wife, in the depth of the void.”
Grall took Adrian’s hand that held oathkeeper in it, a grim amusement came over Grall. To think that in the end, his life would be ended by the very blade he had trusted his life to.
Adrian tried to fight Grall, tried to plead with him to not do it, but Grall wouldn’t listen. As he placed the tip of the blade to his throat, he gave Adrian, the friend who had become a brother to him, one last smile before plunging the blade through his throat.
No, Adrian thought, why is it that everything I love always die. As Grall pushed the blade into his throat, Adrian’s vision changed. He now looked down at Gralls lifeless body, impaled upon his own sword. Tears streamed down Adrian’s face; this was not what he wanted. Adrian turned to the God who watched on with enjoyment and stood up, having his legs return along with his body and charged at the God.
“I will kill you, you son of a bitch.” Adrian shouted; his sword flashed down striking the God but doing no damage. “How dare you take my brother away from me.”
The God laughed and made a small motion, throwing Adrian several feet away. Adrian stood back up and let out a scream as he charged back in and swung his blade at the God’s head, only to have his blade snap, sending him flying back again.
Adrian stood up, panting as the exhaustion hit him hard. He stumbled forward and fell to his knees. The tears clouding his eyes as he struggled to stand.
A strong hand reached out and gripped Adrian’s shoulder, a panic voice spoke but Adrian couldn’t hear. His eyes shifted from the God to his friend, his brother that laid on the ground lifeless.
Grodak and his army managed to finish off the remainder of the undead off with ease thanks to the efforts of the Shadow Elders and Imp, who arrived with his tower shortly after Milindars death. Grodak walked up to the head of the Shadow Elders and held out his hand.
“I am Grodak, chieftain of the United Orc Tribes, king of Whitewater.”
The Shadow Elder took Grodaks hand and when he spoke, he spoke with power that reverberated off the buildings. “I am Wreag. It is a pleasure to meet you Grodak, Talengars chosen.”
Grodaks eyes widened, when he was little, he used to sit around a fire with his little brother and listen to tales of the mightiest orc to ever live. Now, many years later, he was standing in that very orc’s presence.
“You may not want to stay her long,” as Wreag spoke, his body began to disappear, “your brother needs your help.”
Grodak was about to ask what he meant but the orc was gone. Thinking on his words, Grodak pulled out the stone Imp gave him and spoke quickly. “Imp,” he said, “is there any way for you to track down Grall?”
“As long as he isn’t in the Shadow World, yes.” Imp replied, his voice sounded frantic.
“Track him down and send me to his location.”
“Ok,” Imp replied, “it might take a minute to do so.”
“Hurry.” Grodak shouted into the stone before throwing it out of frustration.
A few seconds later Grodak found himself standing in a dark place. As Grodaks eyes began to adjust he noticed Adrian kneeling on the ground, crying. Grodak put his hand on Adrian’s shoulder and leaned down to speak with him, but everything he said fell on deaf ears. Adrian just stared straight ahead, his tears never pausing.
Grodak followed his line of sight and gasped as he saw Gralls body lying on the ground, impaled by his own sword. Grodak turned to Adrian about to ask what had happened when a sinister laughter interrupted him.
“Isn’t this beautiful.” The owner of the laughter said. “The older brother came to protect his baby brother.” The laughter echoed all around Grodak. “To bad you’re too late.”
Grodak pulled out his sword and tried to find the source of the laughter, but no matter how hard Grodak tried, he couldn’t find the source. It was almost like someone was missing with his five senses.
“Show yourself.” Grodak shouted, his vision blurring. “Come out and fight me.”
“Fight you?” It said, the laughter intensifying. “You can’t even see me, yet you want to fight me?”
Grodak cursed under his breath, he knew the source of the laughter was here, but the question was where. Just as Grodak began searching again, a hand grabbed Grodaks shoulder. Grodak spun around to find Grall standing there, only it wasn’t Grall. It was what was left of him after he was killed.
Grall fell into a dark pit. It felt like he was falling for eternity. He knew he should fight it, stop the darkness from taking him. Yet he wanted nothing more than to be taken by the darkness.
One word laid on his lips, just as it always laid on his mind. One word, one name, he rarely ever spoke of it, but now he wanted to cry out the name so bad.
“Grall.” A beautiful voice that sounded like the chorus of a song rang out around him. “Open your eyes, my love.”
Gralls eyes fluttered open, standing before him was a beautiful elven woman, her long flowing brown hair brushed against his skin. “Leah?” Grall asked, he reached out a shaking hand to touch her cheek. “Is that you, my love?” Tears freely flowed down Gralls cheeks as he embraced his wife.
“Yes,” Leah spoke soothingly, rubbing Gralls back as she spoke, “but my love, it is not your time.”
Grall held Leah close to his chest, pressing his cheek against the top of her head. “I do not care if it is my time or not, my love. I chose death to be with you.”
“My love,” Leah said pulling out of Gralls arms so that she could look him in the eyes, “what I mean is that, you do not belong here, my love. This is the edge of the void, where all souls must go to be reincarnated.”
“What does this mean for us?” Grall asked, he already knew the answer but didn’t want to say it himself.
“It means you must return to where you belong.”
Grall smiled and hugged Leah, the tears he cried dried up. He knew she was right, he needed to return to where he belonged. He belonged with his people.
“Don’t worry, brother.” Shadow Gralls voice sent shockwaves through the ground. “We have this.” Shadow Grall let go of Grodaks shoulder and stepped forward, the whole of the Shadow World behind him.
“No.” The laughter had stopped, and a sense of panic now entered the voice. “No, this can’t be. How were you able to get here?”
Shadow Grall lifted a golden trinket that had runes carved into the side and smiled. “Not even death can keep me away from this party.” As Shadow Grall spoke, the Shadow Elders charged forth and began to attack the God.
Grall stepped forward and lifted a shadowy hand, Oathkeeper materializing out of the aether. He moved swiftly into the fray just as an elder was flying through the air. The God let out a wild, almost primitive scream of anguish.
Grall moved in to take one of the elders places, pausing only for a moment when he saw the once proud God. He had continued to fight back, blood, his own blood, now flowed down the back of his hands. Flesh showed red where his fingernails once were, cuts were visible all along his hands.
Grall looked upon the God with disgust. The least the God could do was die with some dignity. Grall lifted Oathkeeper and, in a swift motion, brought it down on the God.
The nightmare had ended, the world was now free from the gods grasp. Grall felt a small sense of satisfaction as he reached up to touch the bandage.
“I am finally free.” Gralls voice sounded just as he felt, small.
Grall turned his gaze to Grodak and Adrian, who stared back in disbelief. A small sad smile crypt its way to Gralls lips as the shadowy figure that sustained him and held him in this plane of existence began to disappear.