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The Shadow Clan Chronicles
First Meeting 

It was with much trepidation, nay, rather a fear of losing my very life, that I journeyed south of the Abbey in Yew to undertake the latest assignment given me by my superiors: to meet with those known throughout the land as the Shadow Clan Orcs, to observe and record all that I learn of them, that a true and unbiased account might be published. I took little of value along, knowing that my journey might cost me the ultimate sacrifice, of which I was, and am, willing to pay 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 worship their 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 I initially 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, I was not immediately attacked and slain. Yet I remain convinced that such is always a possibility, especially during times of conflict, when their suspicions of 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. Their language is not easily understood by the novice ear, being a somewhat broken form of that which we speak. The gutteral tones are obviously more readily expressed through their rather hoglike mouths. Meaning, if not words, can be discerned if one takes time to listen closely.

I gave bandages to several warriors as a gesture of friendship and was eventually introduced to one of their leaders, an Orcish Lord of some importance, whom I shall not now name, to whom I explained my mission. Surrounded on all sides by these fearsome warriors, I expected, and braced myself for, a rather brutal death. Instead, I was not only spared, but permitted to make inquiries into the very nature of their deity, Shakh Buurz, and learned something of their animosity toward the "shardies" who continually make war upon them. Their Lord maintained quite confidently that they were completely self-sufficient and needed nothing from us "humies." He then gave me permission to remain outside the Fort's confines, to move among them freely, without harm by them. I was much relieved, even elated, and I thanked him accordingly. My time being short, I took my leave of them and returned to the Abbey to record this whilst it was fresh on my mind. Along the way home, however, I posted a number of "scouts" to give word to me of anything they learned that might be happening wherein the Shadow Clan was concerned. 

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 that two large groups of "shardies" had migrated south and east of the Orc Fort and had intentions of attacking it. I hastened on my way and gave an initial warning, and then went to confirm the report. Finding it factual, I returned and warned the few members of the Clan assembled there. They appeared very self-confident. I found a good spot from which to observe the forthcoming battle and hid myself completely. A few hours later the grunts, howls, and footfalls of many "shardies" and their allies: ettins, trolls, and tamed dire wolves, reverberated among the trees of the forest all around me. The attack was on! It appeared the first attack slew a few of the Clan Orcs and forced 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 brave Clan Orcs appeared and began slaughtering the "shardies" milling about inside the Fort. Soon more Clan Orcs appeared, perhaps ten or twelve, including some 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 final assault made, and the remnants of the two renegade Orc groups clambered over the walls and down the ladders to engage the Clan Orcs in a final battle to the death. I arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and noted the bodies of their many victims were piled high within the confines of their Fort. The Clan Orcs were victorious! I, therefore, write this in testimony and tribute to their courage, military sense, and fortitude, things oft left unmentioned by those who hate them, but have not come to know them as I have. 

Published: August 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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