It had been decades since the sundered tribes of the orcs had been reunited but the old stories were still told and retold with relish. This story especially was one favored by the children.
The wise women hushed them all before she began…
The mighty Bodan stood at the front of the ‘Broken lance’ army and surveyed the scene.
Never in living memory had so many orcs stood together.
Not just the ‘Broken lancers’ but also the ‘Blood-bottlers’, the ‘Meat-drippers’, the ‘Flesh-lump-eaters’ and the ‘Bone-crunchers’.
Aurelius the wise had divided up the armies into ten groups, each led by a different chief or general.
Bodan’s group was over a hundred orcs. All eager for battle.
The opposing dragon-borns were on the other side of the accursed blue screen of death…
An evil magical barrier that killed any that passed through.
Bodan looked at the massive, black metal box he had pulled with him.
Much taller than the biggest of orcs and just as wide.
Only Bodan’s bloodlust could match that of the creature held captive within.
The most ferocious creature ever to live.
A creature that would kill you, as soon as look on you.
Before ordering his men to release the crazed owlbear, he organised himself to be tethered to the creature by one of the ten-foot long metal poles used to control it.
Once free though, the huge creature lunged at Boden but Bodan didn’t flinch.
Because of the long metal rod between them, neither could reach the other.
He would have been pushed over but instead he took the impetus and charged instead at the blue barrier.
It was over a hundred feet away but on he ran. Pursued by the screeching owlbear.
The Black-cloaks atop the nearest stone towers did nothing.
The Dragon-borns behind the shimmering screen did nothing.
Bodan ran until he was within touching distance of the crackling field.
The Owlbear though, frustrated by not being able to reach Bodan, ignored the intangible light barrier and barreled straight through it.
The lightning field crackled but did not stop the mighty beast and it slaughtered two of the scaled Dragon-borns before they could even recover from their surprise.
Straining his powerful muscles, Bodan dug in his heels and directed the, now frenzied, beast towards the other stunned Dragon-borns.
Dozens went down before the howling Owlbear finally dragged Bodan through…
The lightning field crackled and primal energy coursed through Bodan’s thick skin.
Expecting to die, Bodan released his berserker spirit. He didn’t even notice that he was still standing.
Mighty Axe swinging, the savage Bodan was lost in his fevered dance of death.
Standing back to back, the mighty Bodan and the psychotic Owlbear cut a bloody mess through the Dragon-born ranks.
None could stand against them.
On seeing their leader survive the magical energy field, all his waiting orcs charged forward.
The Black-cloaks rained lightning and thunder upon them…
But on they ran.
The wretched Kobolds threw so many javelins at them, that the sky turned dark…
But on they ran.
But when they ran through the barrier…
These orcs were brave but most of them lacked even a measure of Bodan’s toughness. His resilience in the face of unwinnable odds.
More than half their number fell to the evil Dragon magic but on they came, throwing themselves at all enemies.
In the midst of them all, covered in blood, Bodan found himself panting with exhaustion. All his enemies lay dead around him and only the sound of the growling owlbear behind him broke the eerie silence.
Locking eyes with the amber-eyed monster, held out of reach by the metal pole connected to his waist and the creature’s neck, Bodan unfastened his belt.
As it fell to the floor, the wild, Owlbear understood that it had been freed.
With a screeching howl the huge Owlbear blinked twice, turned and tromped back, seemingly unfazed, through the blue energy field and headed back toward the forest.
Bodan still felt the link they shared though.
No longer a link of chain and steel.
A link of understanding, ferocity and mutual respect.