Campaign of the Month: June 2012
The Tale of Grakis
The Tale Of Grakis
All hail and merry meet, most gentleperson.
Tather hither and mark mine lyrics well.
My words are weak, their condition worsen
Should they strive to reach thee where you now dwell.
I wish to impart a tale of dark art.
One of orcs and a sorcerer’ own hell.
Let you dwaddle not, come to this here part,
lend me thine ears and take rest for a spell.
hold you scholarly arts o orcs and such,
And hath thee studied in sword-play with these?
Aye? Then thou must knowest of Grakis much,
And I, would pupil thee, should seek to please.
But thy countenance proclaims lack of wit,
And thy face furrows as all reason flees.
So come and sit thee here, thy troubles quit,
And I’ll start upon mine fable, if you please.
In time since past and lost in history,
There wert an Nokolai with whom a wyrm did mate.
Cause for this union lies in mystery,
But what came of it, is a most dark fate.
An orc called Grakis, wert foully begot,
From his dragon’s blood, tricks he did create.
Soon his foes did fall and were left to rot,
Whilst his desires grew and none could placate.
The dark one’s Art blossomed with each campaign,
Of the noble Bitori blood, Grakis did drink.
The crimson in elf and gnome fell like rain,
While the vile orc’s troops coursed each to the brink.
Villages and keeps wert doused in scarlet,
While slave chains closed upon them link by link.
The girls wert raped like some tawdry harlot,
The boys maimed and left in rivers to sink.
This carnal debauchery would not cease.
The country cowered while the gods’ views strayed.
Men prayed for respite, a holy release,
Yet no angel came, as peace wert unmade.
But the dark practice of Grakis wert seen,
By a god, who upon the living preyed.
Lord of Destruction, this most vile being,
took solace at the violence so displayed.
From this loathsome Lord, a messenger sent
To tutor Grakis in unholy Art.
In seeking to have the orc’s motives bent,
This god felt that love would justice the part.
He chose and elvish maiden, fair in face,
Who knew how her ill-conceived role must start.
Thus, Nimurael, the fey, so used her grace,
With one audience she won the beasts heart.
None, who saw the elf woo Grakis still breathe,
But legend speaks of her beauty most well.
Her dances would set a man’s blood to seethe,
Her songs would make a heaven out of Hell.
Her dark charm’s strength, challenging Bitori steel,
Would bring tongues to blade, ere her secrets tell.
Thus afore Grakis, she did spin and reel,
And t’were little wonder in love he fell.
So now firmly bound by love’s mithril chain,
The fey one counceled the sorcerer’s ear.
The destructive god, through her, revealed pain
That wouldst befall those, gentlefolk hold dear.
“My Love,” quotha the elf, “I know a spell,
One that would bless thine foes with naught but fear.
Thy troops wouldst know strength, like fiends from hell,
Lightnings from thy foes would no longer sear.”
“Nimurael, my heart, you hath piqued my wit,”
Grakis so replied, “I would ken much more.
How come you by this trick, thou now hath spit?
For such boons for mine orcs, where lies the chore?”
Nimurael, nonplussed, cooeed well to her leige,
“I serve a power, dark as a night’s black shore,
It’s he, who wishes a successful siege,
Upon those souls, where peace was gently bore.”
“This power, this other, love you him so?”
Grakis raged, in jealous form, “Who is he?
Speak, oh false love, of this I must now know,
Or crushing thy throat is how I’ll end thee”
“Peace, gentle Grakis, quench thy hot fury,”
Numurael soothed, “Let thy rage quickly flee.
I serve he who judges, without jury,
He who destroys all, is who claims me.”
“Thou wert so chosen by him for thy skill,”
So quotha Nimurael, “and waste thou laid.”
He wished to grant thee boons to aid the kill,
And so I came unto thee as thy maid.
In troth, my dear heart no longer is mine,
It hath done treason, it hath foully played.
It now crosses a straight and faultless line,
Not to this god, but to thee it is laid."
Grakis, so beguiled, gave her words full ear,
She revealed unto him, the spells in need.
And so taught, the orc gathered generals near,
And began the dark ritual with all speed.
Whilst he wove his Art and called his power,
Nimurael delivered the onyx seed.
Each orc cut his arm and blood did shower
On the stone, whilst the spells ended the deed.
Infused with each general’s crimson life,
The onyx stone began to throb and beat.
Yet unknown to all but Grakis’s wife,
The ceremony was not yet complete.
To finalize this forsaken rite,
One task more, one final chore they must meet.
A thousand souls torn from warriors at night,
Eternally bound to the onyx teat.
However, power coursed and ran from the stone,
And the orcish host reveled in its gift.
Their actions had quickened, their might had grown,
Their blood was fortified, spells set adrift.
The army rallied and called out for death
As the moon rose through clouds, its light did sift.
Grakis addressed the horde with misty breath,
“We shall war to the north, ere the spells lift.”
Thus, the phalanx moved, the troops embolden
By the new found magic that coursed within.
The god, to who the elf wert beholden,
Angered, wishing for slaughter to begin.
He spoke his displeasure to Nimurael,
Accusing her of betrayal and sin.
She sued for peace and patience without fail,
“Tis but a fortnight, then mark our blades’ din.”
The Dark Lord saw well the orcs’ vile intent,
Hunting for death, their prey a large walled town,
Granted a day for one thousand souls sent
By the pale light of the moon streaming down.
Nimurael, fearing the Dark Lord would take
Her love, her king’s powerful onyx crown,
Implored Grakis to attack, ere day would break,
And murder all men within the walled town.
Grakis spoke at this odd act, “What say you?
We hath come some leagues this way, now we rest.
Yet, thou sayest nay to me, like a shrew.
What hath pricked thee to this poorly wrought test?”
“My love,” cried Nimurael, “Had I been quick,
Had I spoke all I knew, I’d served thee best,
And would had thee complete thy godly trick,
By killing thy men whilst they in their nest.”
“Thy wanton tongue speaks of murdering men,”
Grakis burst forth, “Whence doth such madness lie?”
“Tis not madness, but acts that should have been,
To complete the spell,” began her reply.
“Beneath the silvered light of the moon,
One thousand souls of soldier’s blood must die.
It is this act that would grant the thy boon,
No longer on my god would we rely.”
Enraged at her words, Grakis crushed her throat.
“If thy god wishes for one thousand dead,
I’ll send thy betraying spirit to dote
On him, and hand his other priests their head.”
Grakis bellowed the call to orcish arms,
Stirring the fatigued troops from their bed.
As the orcs marched, the town sounded alarms,
And soon the walls were painted in blood red.
In time the orcs breached the town’s wooden gate.
They fell upon the guard with bloody skill.
The onyx stone, at each death, pulsed its rate,
As if celebrating each orcish kill.
Grakis unleashed his own maelstrom of Art,
As if some dark hunger he had to fill.
The defenders were deftly torn apart,
Whilst the orcs ignored any magic ill.
The town stood upon the brink of defeat,
When a youthful priest of the god of light
Strode forth and stood twixt the hosts to entreat,
A parley, a meeting to stem the fight.
“I am Stahl,” quotha the golden haired priest.
“What cause have you to give war this cold night?”
Grakis spat, “I am orc and dragon beast,
I need no cause to butcher, priest of light.”
“So, babe, get thee gone, else I’ll lay thee low
With mine magics, thy youthful life will end.
I fear no god above, nor devil below,
And with this onyx talisman, I’ll send
All who stand against me within this field
To their earthen beds with a violent end.
So step down, else taste the power I wield,
And no longer this town will thee defend.”
Now, some say that the radiant god heard
The beast’s speech and bristled that chilly night.
Perhaps, the god of destruction marked each word
That Grakis spoke in the midst of the fight.
For as the vile orc rose the onyx stone
To call forth its Art, and the priest to smite,
A curious thing occurred, the moonlight shown
Grew greatly ’til it blazed with holy light.
The godly rays struck the orcish host blind,
While Grakis froze, with the onyx in hand.
A dull sound filled his ear, a voice in his mind,
“Fool, madman, most arrogant grain of sand.
Think you a notable challenge to me,
A god, the Destroyer of all the Land?
You slay my handmaiden, a gift to thee,
Thou should be well burned with a traitor’s brand.
You bandy about the Destructive Heart,
As if it wert some bauble, some luck charm.
Thou speaks ill epitaphs of godly Art,
In thy madness, thou no longer fears harm.
A most foolish mortal, to speak so brave,
You wilt be punished with that in thy arm.
I’ll give thee the power that thou doth crave,
But the cost will be thy own spirit’s harm."
Whilst the proud Grakis statued on his ground,
Stahl, the youthful priest, wert struck with moonlight.
Its daytime glow, silver streams danced around
The priest who knew not of Grakis’s Plight.
Stahl, garbed in the celestial habit,
Called out to the sorcerer in the night,
“Art thou frozen, like some frightened rabbit?
See thy doom, thy end is in clear sight.
“I am so blessed with my gods glowing touch,
That my heart fills with his holy power.
So I now stand before thee and thy crutch,
I abjure thee fiend. Come let thee cower.”
Thus, so presented, Stahl unleashed his gift.
Striking Grakis in a golden shower.
The orc’s form relinquished his soul to drift
Over to the pulsing onyx flower.
With a cry that only a spirit could make,
A brilliant flash blinded all who could see.
Neither orc nor man, of war would partake,
As men mourned the dead whilst the orcs did flee.
Stahl, full of spleen, strode midst the orcish host,
In search of the charm, which brought war to be.
Yet his efforts, form gate to watchman’s post,
Proved naught but vain chores in the orcish sea.
Thus, after cursed invaders hath left,
And the wounds of the town were made to heal,
Stahl chased the orcs south, to justice the theft
Of the Heart of Grakis, his spirit’s seal.
In time, the youthful priest gave up his search,
And established a town ruled by his zeal.
Stahl watched the south, from within his church,
For signs, that orcish tribes once more congeal.
It’s said the onyx heart is lost to all,
And that Grakis wert naught but a vile dream,
To scare those who become proud ere they fall
And destroy any counted in their team.
But, I truly believe the heart still beats
And that the spirit of Grakis doth scream.
And should any chance upon orcish feats,
Mark them well, they may be more than they seem.