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Wednesday, August 27, 2008
18.104.22.168. The Animorpher - Part 6
Meanwhile, the tide of battle turns in favor for the orcs. They are still too strong for the halflings, three champions and an animorpher. Carolyn, for instance, is overpowered by two orc grunts in close combat. Learning from experience, the orcs don’t give the sorceress any opportunity to cast a single spell. They only give her internal injuries, quite severe but not deadly thanks to her aura and protection. Andreas, on the other hand is always assisting Carolyn, though he is defensive almost all the time. Hernan is also overwhelmed. Ze’bog and Chugal attack him ceaselessly, adding more injuries to the one he got from a sleipnir. The animorpher Dejan Pavlovic in wolf form fights most fiercely versus three dire wolf riders, killing one wolf and gets bitten by two others. Suddenly, a voice echoes loudly throughout the battlefield and Windy Hills. ‘STOP THE FIGHT! FELLOW TRIBESMEN, RETREAT! MIGHTY BARUDAN! PLEASE STOP!’ In the Windy Hills far away, sensing that its master has lost, Barudan hides inside its rocky shell like a turtle, refusing to fight anymore. Petra the Leviathan is wrestling the behemoth and releases its Serpent Hold at once. ‘Hmm? It’s over already? Just when this fight starts to get exciting. You stop fighting when there’s no reason to continue the fight. That’s a wise move, Barudan.’ Petra decides to keep a distance from Barudan, watching it with full alert until it goes away. ‘We’ll continue this fight another time, then.’ Back in the village, Father Andreas and Chiel the micha are tending to the injured champions, halflings and Dar’gum. The Warchief is still weak, but he’s recovering due to the effect of Viavitali spell. He speaks feebly to Andreas. ‘Thank you, priest, for saving my life although you know I massacred the halflings.’ Andreas reacts, ‘I do this not because Prince Alexis told me to. It’s been my duty and calling to save lives, friends and foe alike. Besides, I still remember you spared our friend Robert’s life in Enia’s Sanctum, so you deserve the same treatment. Anyway, you still owe us an explanation. What is your reason to attack and kill these halflings? Is it just to claim the greaves?’ ‘There are two. The first is, the halflings refused to surrender it to us. The second... Gather your friends here and I’ll tell them too.’ Andreas immediately does so. Some Ekinmor villagers also come near Dar’gum. They come for one obvious reason: to avenge their slaughtered kin by killing this orc and chipping him into pieces. However, the wise village elder prevents them, saying. ‘Let’s hear for his reasons first. It’s extremely important. After that, it’s up to you.’ The other halflings obey, most unwillingly. ‘Go on, Dar’gum, tell them,’ says Alexis. Dar’gum begins, ‘Our Khan*) received word that the Light Side is going for the Arsenal of Light and then they will conquer Gremion. The orcs were once allies of the Dark Side, so Gremion is the fist target. To prevent genocide, we must seek out a new land to live in and prevent the Light Side from getting the Arsenal. Only in Ekinmor we can do both at the same time. So, I’m acting under orders of the Khan.’
(* Orc Khan = Khan: Supreme leader, elected by the Chieftains for unification of tribes to become a nation).
Carolyn asks, ‘Tell me, from whom did your Khan get the information?” The orc replies, ‘I don’t know. The Khan wouldn’t tell me, but compelled me to obey. If I fail, our tribe will be banished.’ Andreas says, ‘Oh well, choices are grim under a Khan like that. So now, your tribe is automatically banished.’ ‘Yes,’ says Dar’gum sadly. ‘All the death we’ve caused, our fallen comrades, are for nothing.’ Alexis now speaks, ‘Hear me, Dar’gum. I have a solution. The city of Celc has became ruins since the First Crusade, and ever since no one in Arcadia wants to live there anymore, thinking that the city is cursed. You and your tribe may reside there and rebuild the city, under conditions that you and your tribe will never attack people anymore, and your tribe will help defend Arcadia if Thalag’dhegan minotaurs and any monster attack.’ ‘Sounds like a fair offer,’ says Dar’gum. ‘A fine place to make orcs more civilized, just like I aspired. Free from the Khan’s tyranny. I accept your offer, Red Prince, if you too are true to your words.’ Alexis replies, ‘Don’t worry. My father always listens to my advice. I’m sure you will be accommodated. We’ll arrange the technicalities there.’ ‘Very well, then. Now I’ll go and take my people to Celc. Thank you, wise Prince. We will also pay our debt to the halflings on grounds of commonwealth and prosperity.’ The village elder comments, ‘At first, we half-hoped that you and your tribe will perish and that’s still not enough to repay your blood debt. But think again, fellows that revenge is not always the answer. No good will come from war, even if it’s to defend our own country. If the orcs can become more civilized and peaceful, the blood of our brethren will not be a waste.’ The Ekinmor Elder forgives Dar’gum in spite of the villagers’ protests. He also takes out a carved wooden box and hands it to Alexis, saying, ‘Because you’ve defeated our enemy, the orcs and their champion, you may borrow the Greaves of Diligence. Use them well, and don’t forget to return them to us here.’ Alexis opens the box and stares at the Greaves of Diligence in there, gleaming white light, so pure and sacred. His face looks serious and determined when he says, ‘Yes, I promise with all my heart.’