The Shadow Clan Chronicles

Imlo the Druid

UP: Catskills

    First Meeting

It was with much trepidation, nay, rather a fear of losing my very life, that Ijourneyed south of the Abbey in Yew to undertake the latest assignment given meby my superiors: to meet with those known throughout the land as the Shadow ClanOrcs, to observe and record all that I learn of them, that a true and unbiasedaccount might be published. I took little of value along, knowing that myjourney might cost me the ultimate sacrifice, of which I was, and am, willing topay in search of truth.

Before arriving at their Fort, I was accosted by those they call "shardies"..that is, as I soon learned, those Orcs who refuse to submit to them or worshiptheir deity. Fending them off was no easy task, as I am a simple healer,scholar, and poet.. and, to my thankful amazement, the Shadow Clan Orcs whom Iinitially met were quick to mete out death to their rebellious and hostile kin.

Far from the content of some reports of meetings between the orcs and humans, Iwas not immediately attacked and slain. Yet I remain convinced that such isalways a possibility, especially during times of conflict, when their suspicionsof trespassers may be removed by the removal of the trespassers themselves! Nay,in fact, I was treated rather cordially, if not welcomed with open arms. Theirlanguage is not easily understood by the novice ear, being a somewhat brokenform of that which we speak. The gutteral tones are obviously more readilyexpressed through their rather hoglike mouths. Meaning, if not words, can bediscerned if one takes time to listen closely.

I gave bandages to several warriors as a gesture of friendship and waseventually introduced to one of their leaders, an Orcish Lord of someimportance, whom I shall not now name, to whom I explained my mission.Surrounded on all sides by these fearsome warriors, I expected, and bracedmyself for, a rather brutal death. Instead, I was not only spared, but permittedto make inquiries into the very nature of their deity, Shakh Buurz, and learnedsomething of their animosity toward the "shardies" who continuallymake war upon them. Their Lord maintained quite confidently that they werecompletely self-sufficient and needed nothing from us "humies." Hethen gave me permission to remain outside the Fort's confines, to move amongthem freely, without harm by them. I was much relieved, even elated, and Ithanked him accordingly. My time being short, I took my leave of them andreturned to the Abbey to record this whilst it was fresh on my mind. Along theway home, however, I posted a number of "scouts" to give word to me ofanything they learned that might be happening wherein the Shadow Clan wasconcerned.

Warning Sent

A week or so passed and I made my way down to the Fort again. One of my"scouts" (of which I will elaborate no further) had informed me thattwo large groups of "shardies" had migrated south and east of the OrcFort and had intentions of attacking it. I hastened on my way and gave aninitial warning, and then went to confirm the report. Finding it factual, Ireturned and warned the few members of the Clan assembled there. They appearedvery self-confident. I found a good spot from which to observe the forthcomingbattle and hid myself completely. A few hours later the grunts, howls, andfootfalls of many "shardies" and their allies: ettins, trolls, andtamed dire wolves, reverberated among the trees of the forest all around me. Theattack was on! It appeared the first attack slew a few of the Clan Orcs andforced the others to retreat. Then their Fort quickly filled with "shardies"and their allies. All seemed lost for the Clan until, out of nowhere, two braveClan Orcs appeared and began slaughtering the "shardies" milling aboutinside the Fort. Soon more Clan Orcs appeared, perhaps ten or twelve, includingsome who could wield magic, and counterattacked! They slew the "shardies"to the last, and reclaimed their Fort. But all was not done. There was a finalassault made, and the remnants of the two renegade Orc groups clambered over thewalls and down the ladders to engage the Clan Orcs in a final battle to thedeath. I arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and noted the bodies of theirmany victims were piled high within the confines of their Fort. The Clan Orcswere victorious! I, therefore, write this in testimony and tribute to theircourage, military sense, and fortitude, things oft left unmentioned by those whohate them, but have not come to know them as I have.

From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online, Tuesday, August 1st 2000