|To live in peace
Author: Grummel PM
What happens when an orc wants to escape the eternal "kill or be killed" destiny of his race? - Setup may remind of Unseen Academicals, though I read that book only after starting this story. There will however be no football in it.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Friendship - Orc - Chapters: 11 - Words: 21,164 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 11 - Updated: 04-12-12 - Published: 08-12-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6230483
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Many thanks to Virtuella for comments and improving my language
War is over
Beleg had participated in the war, although his mother had insisted that he was too young. Due to his lack of experience the officers had mostly kept him in the back and so he had survived without winning much honour and uninjured too.
Although his family lived in the eastern parts of Ithilien, close to the mountains, he had not met a single orc since then. If he had his way it could stay like that for the rest of his live. His older brother Turin(1) had had a much bigger share in the battles and was already regarded an experienced fighter.
When they were ambushed, his brother had killed the first orc before Beleg realised what was happening. A few moments later he noticed with a mixture of pride and disgust that he had indeed killed an orc himself before he was blacked out by a heavy club.
(1) Their father wanted them to become famous warriors. Happy endings were considered subordinate.
The first thing he saw when he awoke was an orc looking down on him. He tried to roll aside to get out of reach but a stabbing pain in his head forced him to bent over and empty his stomach. When he was done with that he wondered whether getting killed would be a good way to get rid of his pain.
"Do not move so quickly, you will only hurt yourself."
Slowly, very slowly he turned his head. Even slower his woozy mind accepted what his senses told him: An orc was telling him not to hurt himself.
While the orc washed away the puke, Beleg looked around. He was kneeling on a fur blanket in what seemed to be a natural cave. So far as he could see there was nobody but himself and the orc in the cave.
"Here is water, you better drink something!"
His first impulse was to reject it, since he remembered having heard that orcs liked to use poisons. But after a moment it occurred to him that this orc could have killed him effortlessly, had that been his intention. So he took the water skin and since he actually felt quite thirsty, drank until his stomach told him he had to stop. Then he fell back on the blanket.
Suddenly he remembered what he was missing ever since he awoke: his brother! Where was he? Should he ask the orc? No, he might have accepted its water, but that does not mean he was willing to give away any information that might be abused.
Soon he blacked out again and unconsciousness temporarily relieved him of both his worries and his pain.
When he awoke again, the sun had set and an almost full moon shed soft light into the cave. His head still hurt terribly, but his mind was clearer. He noticed now that his head was bandaged. He vaguely remembered that something had hit his head during the fight. The effect reminded him of the whiplash he once had as a kid after he fell of a tree. This was a lot worse, but his opponent had tried to kill him, so he could still consider himself lucky. Or not, depending on the plans this orc had with him. Beleg wondered whether that one had taken him out.
He succeeded to raise himself into a sitting position and started to inspect the vicinity: The cave was now completely empty except for him and a small bundle lying in a corner that he could not identify in the weak light.
Where was he, he wondered, and where was Turin? When they had been ambushed, they had been almost half way between their aunt's village and their own. He did not know the way. Before he had always taken the long road around the hills. His brother had patrolled the hills with the rangers and had told him that three years after the war the short way through the hills should be safe, safe enough for two armed men for sure, and it were high time for Beleg to get familiar with it.
The entrance of the cave was overgrown with bushes, he noticed, the cave must be well hidden from the outside. The mere steepness of the rock around the entrance however told him that it was likely deeper in the mountains than the he had ever been.
Where was his brother, he thought again. He must be searching for him. He must, he screamed mentally, as if sheer desperation could summon him.
The next morning he was woken by a delicious smell and he saw the orc working with a pot placed on a small fireplace.
"Where is Turin?" The words came out before he even started to think.
"The black sword? Died long long ago, didn't he?"
The answer baffled Beleg so much that he could only gawp at the orc.
"You ask about your companion? He is dead too."
Beleg continued to gawp. When his mother had told him about the death of his father, she had taken so much time to get to the point, that he almost knew the truth before it was spoken. The direct statement of the orc worked the other way round: After it was spoken, the truth slowly crawled into his mind. When it finally arrived and confirmed his worst fear, the shock even overruled his headache. He sank back and started to cry before he could stop it.
"He can not be dead! I don't believe you. Why should I believe an orc anyway?" Despite his claim of disbelieve, tears were rolling down his cheeks. After a while his crying ebbed away into a sobbing and he felt ashamed for letting himself go in front of a stranger. When he was in control of his own mind again, he started to ponder on whether he actually should believe the news or not.
"Get up, you need to eat. Yesterday you puked out everything. You have to eat to recover."
"You just told me that my brother is dead and now you want me to break the fast with you as if nothing had happened?" Beleg replied angrily.
"Turin was your brother?"
Beleg concluded that he currently had no way check the truth of what the orc was telling him, but almost a whole day had passed since the ambush and his brother hadn't found him so far, so it may well be true. In any case he had to hear more about it.
"Yes he is. Or was..." he said with a sigh. "How did it happen and why am I still alive?"
"You eat, I tell. Starving won't help anyone"
Against his will the orc's concise sentences and practical attitude raised a quick smile on Beleg's face. So he slowly stood up, took a mouthful of water and threw a critical look at the pot. Its content looked and smelled like a stew his mother could have cooked for lunch. A terrible suspicion aroused in him:
"It is not my brother, is it?"
Another claim he could believe or not, Beleg thought. The orc surely was right in one point: his stomach surely felt as if he were starving. With an uncanny feeling he began to eat.
"Your brother was a good fighter, he saved your live. He killed all attackers, but he was deadly wounded. I watched the fight. When it was over, only you were alive. I carried you here and bandaged your wounded head."
"But why did you do that?" Beleg replied. "I mean: Why did you bandage my wound instead of killing me? I thought all orcs are evil."
"That word, evil, can you explain it?"
"You don't know it?"
"I know it. The Corsairs used it a lot. But what does it really mean? I do understand braveness and cowardliness, friend and enemy, but what is evil?"
"All I ever heard about orcs was them killing people," Beleg said without really thinking, while in the back of his still aching head his own voice told him that this hardly qualified as a definition.
"Can men be evil?"
"Corsairs are pretty evil too, I think"
"So enemies are evil, that's it? Can men from Gondor be evil too?"
Now Beleg had run out of quick answers and really started to ponder on the topic. That neighbour, who always picked on the children came to his mind. He might call him evil, but surely would not put him on a level with orcs. Then of course vileness indeed depended on the point of view. The Corsairs must have sworn and cursed a lot when Thorongil had burned their fleet.
"I am afraid, I can not really give you a definition of that word. But whether orcs are evil or just enemies, why did you help me, after I had been attacked by your fellows?"
"War is over!"