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Iceshadow

--by Golth


“Quickly, the beast is close.”

The snow was coming down hard. With the winds picking up it would cause a white out that would rob the orc scouting party of their one and only opportunity. It was wounded, a trail of red marking the path the beast had taken. Jerkik managed a remarkable shot that landed on the beast, a blessing from the spirits no doubt. The beast had stalked the clan for nights, stealing away with it’s victim in the cover of darkness. It was a creature they had never encountered before, and the local humans of Alterac called it the Iceshadow.

“Rezkram, the snow…” started Thundall, a grizzled orc who was missing an eye. “…these whelps aren’t going to last long if it attacks us in the snowfall.”

Looking out at the vast mountains around him, Rezkram’s breath trailed in the air as he took in his surroundings. They were more than a day away from the valley were the Frostwolves had stopped to try and settle.

“We’ll look for another hour and then…” Rezkram paused, failure hinting at him. “…and then we’ll make camp for the night. We’ll go back when the snow slows.”

Nodding, Thundall turned and relayed the orders of their captain to the rest of the party. Rezkram was a respected warrior, who had earned many scars in his campaign under their Chieftain Durotan.

“Stone Guard!” yelled one of his scouts, the young Jerkik, who was still impressed with Rezkram’s former rank. “…We’ve lost track of the blood!”

Rezkram’s gut told him they were in danger. The beast couldn’t have disappeared into thin air as the stories implied. No, the beast was in wait, they were now the ones being stalked. Rezkram gave a low guttural roar, a traditional warning to the rest of the orcs nearby that danger was about.

“It undoubtedly is using the snow to it’s advantage…” Rezkram called out, slowly making his way to the protective ring of orcs. “We’ll circle up, backs to each other and make our way to the bluffs, perhaps we can find solid ground to fight it on…keep your wits about.”

It took about thirty minutes for the orcs to find the safety of the bluffs, their eyes watching for the creature that rode the snowfall like a shadow. Rezkram had to hold his hand several times, wondering if those were really eyes watching him from the falling snow or just his paranoia of the creature that was somewhere out there.

--

Golth paused as he brought his gaze from the small journal. He looked up into his uncle Thundall’s eye as his own eyes widened. The young orc whelp’s jaw dropped.

“You were being stalked by the Iceshadow? How big was it? Did father strike the first blow? How many orcs fell to it? Where out in the mountains was it? Was it this axe that…” Golth started, a list of questions coming from the young orc child.

Thundall gave a deep laugh at the inquisitive child’s questions. A quick jab to Golth’s shoulder simmered down the questions as Thundall motioned to the journal.

“Keep reading whelp.”

--

Jerkik was the first victim, the Iceshadow dropping from the top of the bluff to snatch up the orc before he could run back to the safety of the party. Rezkram had tried to keep the impatient orc from venturing too far from the group, yet the brash orc wanted to face the enemy openly like a “true orc” should. It didn’t take long for the rest of the party to slowly get picked off. They had underestimated the beast, they were in it’s playground, it’s world. It probably allowed them to wound it, to lead them away from their village, where it could toy with them as it pleased.

“Looks like we’ve met our match old friend…”Thundall sighed, looking back to Rezkram who followed his back with both his axes drawn out. “…might as well face it in the field…live up to Jerkik’s foolish view of war.”

Rezkram stopped, snorting as Thundall turned back to face his captain.

“What’s this giving up again?” Rezkram scoffed, running a hand over his sweating brow. “…Back on draenor, we took out that troop of Draenei didn’t we? When you said it was impossible?”

Thundall, despite the obvious danger lurking around him, burst out in laughter.

“If you prove me wrong in this, I swear I’ll teach your boy how to be a proper warrior then, make sure that your crazy ideas don’t taint him.”

Rezkram grinned back at Thundall. “I’ll take you up on that bet.”

--

“Oh oh!” Golth sputtered, excitement overcoming him. “Is that why…”

A low growl and another jab from Thundall interrupted Golth’s sentence.

“Shut up and read.”

--

It followed them for a day, finally coming out to face them when the blizzard was at it’s strength. The beast was impossibly big, how it could hide in the snow was unearthly. It had came toward Thundall first, who managed to evade the worst of the beasts attacks, but managed to knock the fight out of him with a well placed blow to the torso. It would have finished him off if not for Rezkram. The orc launched him self up the Iceshadow’s back, cleaving a large wound in the creature’s back. Clawed hands found him quickly and slammed the orc into the ground with a spine shattering crack. Coming down to finish the orc with it’s maw, Rezkram hurled his axe with the last of his might into the Iceshadow’s face, splitting apart it’s skull and flying cleanly through.

--

Thundall watched as Golth digested this latest bit of the story. He could see the tears welling up but the Orc child tried his best to stifle them. Thundall silently commended the orc, the boy had courage to put up a brave face despite the reminder of his loss.

--

“It is with great sorrow we pass this body on to the spirits…” Drek’thar announced to the gathered clan, standing before the burning pyre that held Rezkram’s body. “…he fell protecting our clan, killing the Iceshadow and giving his life so that we could live in safety. The name of Rezkram will carry with it Iceshadow, so that we will always remember in our history the sacrifice this proud orc made.”

When the body had finished burning, Drek’thar eventually made his way to Thundall’s hut. The wounded orc lay in his bed, fresh bandages around his torso.

“Lok’tar Ogar, Thundall.” Drek’thar said, sitting on a stool by the door. “I see you’ve been treated.”

The silence hung in the room for what seemed forever. Finally, Drek’thar broke the silence.

“I am taking in the children for now, Rezkram had mentioned that he wished I would tutor them in shamanism when they were old enough…”

Thundall turned his gaze toward Drek’thar’s. His eye was red, though no tears marked his face.

“His children…I promised…I‘d take care…”

Nodding, Drek’thar handed Thundall Rezkram’s axe, the one that had slain the Iceshadow.

“…it is what the spirits will…Thunderlord…” Drek’thar replied.

--

Golth looked up at Thundall who now stood before him. The orc sneered at the small orc child before him.

“I’m going to teach you to fight boy. Your going to learn the path your father intended you to know and your going to bring honor to your father. Your going to grow strong and show that bastard’s spirit that old Thundall taught you right. You got that Golth?”

Standing and wiping his eyes, Golth stared back into the older orcs one good eye.

“Iceshadow” Golth replied stomping down his foot. “Iceshadow so that nobody forgets what my father did!”

“Very well then…Golth Iceshadow!”

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