As orcs go, Fud
and Grindek were not the most intelligent of individuals. As
they looked down from the tree to which they so desperately
clung, this fact did not escape them. It wasn’t easy being
told by most orcs that you were less intelligent, especially
when the message was usually delivered by a sharp blow to the
head, but actually realizing that you were less
intelligent was proving to be far more disagreeable.
Fud and Grindek were orc bombers. Science was
painfully new to the clan and bombers were chosen very
carefully. Most were chosen to continue the profession because
they were more intelligent than the average orc. After all,
not every strong thinker in the clan desired to become a
power-user. Bombers had a new and difficult job to perform;
one that was very risky. Almost daily a bomber was killed in
the line of duty from making a mistake while mixing his
ingredients or by accidentally dropping a bomb or, on more
than one occasion, by testing his product for flavor and
Fortunately for the clan, most of the
bombers killed by their own mistakes were like Fud and
Grindek, orcs so incredibly stupid that other orcs made fun of
them. It took a special kind of painful ignorance to get their
job; the kind of utter idiocy that could actually make another
orc shake his head sadly and groan. Only these special, these
chosen few orcs had the qualities for the most dangerous job
in the clan. Fud and Grindek, and those like them, were known
as the “bomb-tryers”.
To say that the job of a
bomb-tryer was pointless was not entirely true. The real
bombers of the clan did on occasion decide to experiment with
their potions in attempts to create better bombs. The real
bombers were also too smart to test such things themselves. As
a result, the clan leaders created the new position of
bomb-tryer. The leaders’ job included assigning the position.
Complete fools like Fud and Grindek usually accepted the job
with great excitement.
Today, however, was becoming
more exciting for the pair than they had planned. What was
supposed to be a simple afternoon of throwing new bombs at
things and making them explode had become a nightmare. Far
below, in the grass, a number of huge insects chattered in
clicks and squeals as they looked upward into branches where
the orcs dangled from their fingertips. The ants did not seem
“What we do now?” Fud asked in orcish.
“We wait for when big bugs go away!” Grindek replied
Below, one of the Solen stuck the tree
violently with his arms. It watched as the orcs above dangled
helplessly. Fud was sure the creature was giggling at him.
“Me think bugs not go away.” Fud whimpered as he
struggled to maintain his grip on the branch above him.
“Why you run up in tree?” Grindek grumbled as he
gripped the branch.
“Me run?! You run up tree! Me
follow you up here!” Fud yelled.
The tree shook
violently again to the blows of the Solen below jarring the
two orcs. Nearby a large hole in the ground seemed to be
producing more and more of the giant insects. Fud and Grindek
each reestablished their grip on the branch and looked at each
“Me follow you up in
tree, Fud!” Grindek yelled back at his partner.
follow you first! You the dumb one!” Fud snarled back.
Again the Solen smacked the tree and watched the two
green meals above dangle like pine cones.
dumb!” Grindek’s patience was wearing thin. Ignoring the
current danger below him he brought his leg up and kicked Fud
in the stomach with a grunt. Fud responded with a kick of his
own to Grindek’s middle. The two began trading wild kicks as
they hung precariously from the branch.
stared upward in stunned silence.
As the two orcs
continued bruising each other, their brains again failed to
remind them of danger. Huge experimental bombs designed by the
master bombers hung from each of their belts. As they kicked
and kicked the bombs, created to do little else than destroy
the user in a glorious and entertaining explosion, slowly
began to loosen and slip. It wasn’t until one of the bombs
fell from Fud’s belt that the two stopped and took notice.
As if time had slowed, they watched the large bomb
tumble through the air, end over end, narrowly avoiding each
branch of the tree on its way down to the ground. The Solen
also watched it fall; their heads moved to follow it on its
descent. Finally the bomb reached the ground and the world
became a flash of bright light and deafening thunderous noise.
Moments later, Fud blinked. He was wrapped around one
of the branches of the tree, hugging it tightly. Looking
around he saw Grindek near the very top of the tree, swinging
like a pendulum on the highest branch. The two orcs looked at
each other, then toward the ground where bits of Solen still
lay smoldering in the blackened grass.
loud crack echoed through the air. The tree shook. Slowly, but
with great determination, it began to fall to the earth.
Grindek clung with all his might to the limb, as he watched
the Solen hole rapidly approaching him. With a great crash the
tree struck the ground sending Grindek flying directly into
the dark cavernous portal.
With a thunderous roar that
shook the ground and rattled Fud out of the branches of the
fallen tree, a huge plume of fire and ash erupted from the
hole, now Grindek’s tomb. . Too stunned to be frightened, Fud
stumbled to the smoldering hole, now slightly larger than it
was a moment ago. Through his dizziness he could see burnt
bits of Solen below. Strangely, the charred Solen seemed to
draw closer and closer. Fud began to panic. The Solen were
dead! How could they move? Through the confusion a blanket of
strange relief settled over him when he realized, “Oh… ants
not get closer… me fall in hole!” With a thud he painfully
landed in the soft dirt at the bottom of the hole, still warm
from Grindek’s bomb. Luckily his new bomb did not imitate
This was strange; he was inside the ant
hole. Ants had been coming out steadily until Grindek... until
Grindek’s bomb had fallen in! The new bomb was useful, and Fud
still had his to show the others! Fud was now a good
bomb-tryer! The other bombers in the clan would be impressed!
Fud happily scrambled out of the hole back into the sunlight.
This was a good day. Fud was alive, he was now the
head bomb-tryer, and he was on his way home to brag about it.
He was in such a state of bliss he hardly noticed the huge
winged shadow closing in behind him. The next day a party of
orcs discovered a dead ancient wyrm with a large blackened
burst of soot where its head should have been.
From the Britannia News Network - The Journal of Ultima Online, September 19th, 2002.