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Krell

The rescue of the Darkspear Tribe
#1
Sreng clearly remembers the first time he saw the Warchief.

The night was an unnaturally stormy one, and the wind was whipping through the palms native to the Darkspear's homeland. Rain slashed almost horizontally, and the oppressive darkness of the cloudy, moonless night was occasionally punctuated by a brilliant burst of lightning. Sreng had been awake all night, huddled under his furs, fascinated with the storm.

Then the horns blew. The Watchers had seen something they didn't like. Sreng glanced over toward his father's sleeping-pallet, where the old troll was already kicking off his bedding and reaching for his spear. Sreng grinned to himself; he was living with the men now, and he would prove himself too if it came to battle. He took up his own stone war-axe, a gift from his recent rite of passage into adulthood.

Sreng's father, Kel'dun, narrowed his eyes at the adolescent troll and seemed about to rebuke him. But then he grinned. "Come on, boy."

As the two stepped out into the night, they could see other trolls emerging from their own grass huts, eyes shielded against the lashing rain. The horns continued to blow, and then the hasty, pounding footsteps of a watcher could barely be heard over the crashing thunder and pounding surf.

"Murlocs!" yelled the watcher. "At de post! Many of dem, an' dey got some kinda witch leadin' dem! Big, bad juju!"

Without hesitation, the warriors of the Darkspear tribe ran in the direction the watcher had come from. Brandishing spear and axe, they began to summon the berserk rage that was the birthright of their people.



Sreng twisted his body sideways just quickly enough to avoid the barbed bone tip of a murloc's spear. In a blind rage, he grasped at the thing's slick, slimy throat, held it at arm's length, and split its skull with his axe. The fighting had gone all through the night until a blue-grey dawn struggled through the heavy storm. The fish-men occasionally raided the villages, but never before had they stayed to fight for so long. Something seemed to be driving them onward. The fighting was pure chaos, with neither side able to gain a lasting foothold. Word filtered in from other parts of the island: ships had come, ships bearing humans. It seemed that the trolls' old enemies had found this haven even as far out at sea as it was, and were invading.



Day turned into night. Sreng was utterly exhausted. He and a handful of warriors lurked in the mouth of an old lava tube deep in the jungle. Kel'dun had lost an eye; it'd be weeks before it grew back fully. Sen'jin, the old shaman, muttered to himself over the fire, occasionally casting hallucinogenic herbs and fungi into the flames.

"We stay here tonight. Tomorrow, before dawn, we head toward de east. De spirits say dere be friends in de cove dere, an' we find anotha group of our warriors dere. We catch up wit' our allies, maybe take de big village back by nighttime." Sreng grinned tiredly at the thought of being able to get some sleep, and threw himself down on the floor of the cave.



Before sunup, Sen'jin led the small party of trolls through the jungle. As the hazy morning sky started to become visible through the treeline, the Darkspears became aware of the sounds of battle. With typical trollish disregard for personal safety, the group bounded through the trees and vines toward the beach. There they saw a small party of heavily armed humans, standing with their backs to a sheer stone outcropping, struggling desperately to fight off their foes.

They battled orcs. Sreng had never seen an orc before, though he had heard tales. They were not as tall as he had expected them to be, but they were strong, and fought with all the ferocity of the mightiest troll berserker. One in particular stood out: he wore heavy black plate armor and swung a massive warhammer, all while calling out orders in a powerful voice. Not only did the orcs obey his commands, it seems that the very elements did as well. As Sreng watched, he saw a jagged bolt of lightning tear through the human defenders.

Sen'jin hardly needed to tell his warriors what to do. They rushed the beach and hurled spears, axes, and insults at the humans. When the last one fell, the orc leader turned to regard Sen'jin warily. He raised his hammer in salute, and spoke a few words in orcish. Sen'jin smiled, and nodded. He turned to his small warband.

"Dis be Thrall, de Warchief of de Orcs. He be a great shaman, like Sen'jin! He says dat de island is bein' overrun by humans in de South an' murlocs in de North. He also says dat he gonna help us kill dem."
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