LEGENDS OF DARKSHOM: Birth of the Brothers

The Orc Gods of Eclipse

copyright January 10, 2005 Christine H. Rietsch

The tale told is simple and in the tongue of the orcs--so it's translation to our common language may seem disjointed and alien. This is what is given to all children raised within the orc culture and society. Ones who grow outside of it are unaware. The orcs feel they are the first people of the world--and this story reflects the birth of their main dieties. For those unfamiliar with the Dungeons and Dragons setting--a Malar Panther is a black jaguar with a coat mottled with red. It is a magical cat.

The forming of time brought forth our people. We were much like the animal.

The first birth of the orc was from the womb of the black and red malar panther. She was Cheera. She was beautiful, female, and feline. She would move as a shadow beneath jungle canopies and her muscles rippled beneath the ebony and blood red pelt. In the darkness her yellow eyes were like citrine stone. Our Singers to this day are pierced with those stones in honor of the mother of our people.

Cheera was one who could walk as a woman. She was dark, exotic, and enticing. As a panther she was unique and alone—so she walked as a woman to find a suitable mate. Her only choice came from those of dragon blood—for no peoples had been born yet.

A barbarian found her bathing in a stream. She was dark amidst the blue waters—the falls were a cascade behind her. It mimicked the cascade of her midnight hair. She turned to see the man who was tattooed with many honors. His head was shaven as a chieftain’s son. He shone in the daylight as a dragon’s flame and she was taken with him. They came to eachother. She had never been touched and he made her into a woman. She became his woman as his seed became hers. Her innocent blood was his. In passion her eyes were as blue as the sky.

Their sighs were as the wind’s breath—moans as the howl of the woods. Animals came to watch the conception of the people who would become their guardians in respectful silence.

For many shifts of the moons the two stayed with eachother. Day and night they explored the other. They would bathe sacred places with warm waters and scented oils. They devoted to each other. He built her a lodge and in it they dined together on the white stag he caught with his bare hands. It’s heart she ate raw that he fed her morsel by morsel. She washed his feet.

She had shown him the creature she truly was—the great cat. He was startled at her beauty, then became the great red dragon before her so she too would know the truth of him. To each it mattered not. They still could not part.

Yet his people beckoned for him. A battle drew near. He wanted her with him but both knew the people would not understand love for a dark cat. She was heart broken but with honor she let him go. Such was the way. They shared furs once more in a forest glade.

She never saw him again. Once more she became the pard and wandered the world. As she did so she hunted. Hunting grew harder as she grew heavy with cubs.

Cheera found a cave. Within she birthed a litter of 5 cubs. Two were more powerful and could walk upright. They looked more like the barbarian who made her woman—yet they bore fangs like her. They were a mix of dragon and beast. These would be the first peoples of the world.

The cat smiled with pride as the two tore and ate their weaker siblings. This was the way of strength and survival. Already her favorites proved stronger than the pure animal.

They suckled at her teats and grew. She had yet to show them to hunt, but always she brought the best roe deer. Other times she would test her prowess and bring them the ancient dire bear. With them she shared the honor of the kill—the same as their father did with her. All three would eat of the heart while it was still warm.

One day Cheera prepared them for their first hunt. They would follow and watch her take down the great bear named Ursus.

They never got out of the den.

Deamons from the inside world poisoned by the god Cohen found their way to the surface. They were drawn by the smell of power and youth.

They were like a quake of the land—into the den they tore. Cheera blocked the path to her cubs with her great bulk. Her sons watched as she became like the fangs of the dragons. Deamon blood sprayed her hide like stripes. Soon her colors were muddied with blood and gore.

Some of it was her own. Still she fought. Her roars became the thunder of the storms. Her power waned but the creatures fell. She would not let them kill her young.

The battle raged for days. In the end she had slain the beasts. Her claws ripped open deamon chests. She tore out the hearts and gave them to her cubs. In her dying breath she bade them to eat. In the darkness death passed over her brilliant eyes. She was no more.

Her cubs mourned. They mewled as cubs do trying to wake her. It could not be done.

A black scorpion heard their cries and came into the den. Both cubs were ready to fight to protect their mother. The scorpion bade them “be still”. They did so.

“You must honor your dead. Learn from her. Take her power and make your people grow strong!”

The scorpion was gone and they knew what to do.

They took their mother’s heart and split it between them to eat. Her spirit would become theirs. Her strength would be their own. They painted her blood on their naked bodies and declared themselves orc—meaning the word ‘war’.

One son named himself Tezcatlipoca. The other named himself Pohagnhut.

The first chose to honor Cheera as he witnessed. She fought to the end of her life for her cubs—the new people. Because of her they survived. She provided for them. Her word was honor—not filled with empty promises. She had been fierce and beautiful.

These were the lessons learned by Tezcatlipoca. He vowed his children would know them.

Pohagnhut looked at the body of his mother. He saw the den in it’s dire straights. In his eyes she was stronger than the deamons, but he felt she needed to be avenged. The heart of her that he had eaten coursed through him. He would be the most powerful of the hunters. There would be no greater predator.

These were the lessons learned by Pohagnhut. He vowed his children would know them.

The orc brothers built a pyre for the Black Blooded Pard. Her ashes rose with the flames to the sky. Dragons soared above, and the spirit of the one who fathered the orc sons roared to her spirit in greeting. He too had died in battle. Together they flew to the Great Hunting Grounds.

The orc brothers parted that day to spread the word they had learned.

copyright: 1/10/2005 Christine H. Rietsch

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