The Shaman stretched his tired bones and shifted his weight to get more of his body into the warmth the fire was giving out. He was tired now, too tired to run with the tribe and fight and hunt with the other warriors and he welcomed this time in the evening when the younger orcs and goblins would come and sit to gather warmth in the shadow of the mountains. They all watched him expectantly, the eager looks in their eyes the norm as they waited for him to carry out his duties and tell them the tales handed down to him through the tradition of the Kin-bands. He took a deep breath and tried his best to look stern whilst hiding the slightest of smirks. He loved this time. It was the only part of his day where he was the focus, where he was the important one in the tribe. He let his memories drift back to the time that he was strong and favoured by the demons. He remembered the glory and the prestige that came before, the thrill of power that stepping through the Pyre to speak to the demons in their home felt like. Now he did not command the ear of The Four, now he only commanded the ears of the younglings and the infirm. But it was enough.
“Let me tell you of the mighty, the glorious, and the savage of our Kin-band. I will speak of the one known as the Face Eater. The ripper and the tearer, he who rose and made weaker orcs fall. I will tell you of his rise to warlord and the trail of blood that he left in his wake and I will tell of his present and what he faces in the future.”
The gathered orcs and goblins leaned forward and stopped squabbling. The story of the rise of the current Warlord of the Shattered spine Kin-band was one of their favourites.
“It was four years after the land changed and the fire rent the sky when the story of the orc known then as Ugluck began. Rising to be the leader of his war band by strength of arms he began a bloody campaign in the foothills of the mountains killing or absorbing smaller bands into his until he was in control of a large force of bloody handed and murderous orcs and goblins. They began to get a reputation for taking no prisoners and killing any who opposed them. Many of his band were brutal and enjoyed the thrill of torture and pain. Others simply revelled in the blood and war that came with being in the war band. For three years the Face Eater’s bloody followers cut a path through the kin-band territories. He ran with a band of fifty now and with his shaman, Gorloth at his side he set his sights on the north and the human lands. Travelling to the banks of the great river he forced his way onto a barge and paid for passage to the northern coast.
For another two years the forces of the warlord now named Ugluck Face Eater ripped and tore through the lands called The Southern Marches. He drew many goblins and orcs of the River Clans to him as well as many Haiesti who relished the chance to inflict pain and suffering on their previous masters.
The reign of terror caused by the Face Eater was brought to an end in the north when the call came to him through his shaman, Gorloth of news of a Great Naddam being held at the Demon stone in the centre of the Orclands. The warlord knew he must attend, especially as the whispers in the shamans dreams were of a new land called the Vale which was ripe for plundering and besides, it was the Great Khans will that it be done. Ugluck was strong and arrogant, but he was not foolish. He would not defy his Khan but before he went, there were things he knew he must do. The war band travelled back to the Kin-bands home in the northern foothills and there the Face Eater challenged the current chieftain, Varug Necksnapper. It was here that his Shaman counselled him not to fight the chief, fearing that to lose was to lose everything. Ugluck refused to listen and when Gorloth became insistent Ugluck flew into a rage cleaving the shaman of his feet and slicing his legs from his body. After throwing the limbs to his Haiesti followers he ordered his goblin wizards to cauterise the wounds and left the crippled orc by the wayside. Ugluck stormed into the tribes land and without a thought charged the old chief, knocking him to the floor and ripping his throat out with his bare hands. Bellowing a roar of victory the Warlord and new chief of the Shattered spine took his place at the head of his people.
Only then did the new chieftain call his strongest and most bloodthirsty killers to join him in travelling south to take part in the Great Naddam and win their place in the Vale expedition. All manner of orcs, goblins, Haiesti and even abominations marched under the three slashes that was the blood mark of the shattered spine kin-band. What they will find in the Vale is unsure but one thing is certain. If any are there to oppose them they will feel the bite and the pain that becoming an enemy of that orc brings with it.”
The young faces around the fire relaxed as the story came to a close. It had been no more than a month since the war band had left and they were desperate to know what was happening. He could see it in their eyes. One goblin stood and with a tremor in his voice said, “When will we know the end of the story Gorloth?”
The Shaman shifted again. The stumps of his legs were too hot now and he twisted them away from the fire. With a drawn smile he looked the goblin in the eye. “Soon little one.” The cripple shaman said, “And let us hope for our sakes that he is successful, for if he returns empty handed it will be us that suffer for it…”