Kish'ku Vuiltag Shaku
For as long as he could remember, this was the name his people called his father. A great honor to be so-called, they said. A praise to the gods for his father’s son’s birth. Vuiltag’s birth. His birth.
Vuiltag was a Grashat, a Greyskin, one of the few born every generation, destined for greatness. He was trained by the best warriors of his tribe. The axe came naturally, used to cleave his enemies in two. An inelegant weapon, used for brute force, something the rest of the warriors used. But Vuiltag was not a common warrior, he was Grashat, so he was allowed the sword and the flail. These were harder to use, requiring more finesse. That was fine with Vuiltag though, he knew there may come a time when he could not use his axe. He even asked about the bow once, when he saw some of his brethren going into the woods armed with them.
“Those are no clansmen,” his father told him, “Those are zanbaurs! Lul gijak-ishi! Men who failed their coming-of-age ritual are not allowed to be part of The Shaad – instead, they hunt for warriors, supporting the lufut but not participating. Afar Angathfark Vuiltag, you will not join them!”
Vuiltag was also taught things besides the path of the warrior. His father had been raised to Mik’tow status when he had been born, and Vuiltag would one day take his place on the Kish’ku’s council. Because of this, Vuiltag was taught the strategy of war. He learned of The Shaad, the forever-war that his people fought to defeat the stagnation of their race, to prevent the weak from holding back the strong, and to assure the survival of humanoids everywhere. Their work was never finished, and never would be, for the lesser races did not understand The Luul, the Weakness, as the orcs did. He also learned the tactics of war – the Pu Dibb, the Grakug Gajarpan, Rendas Dre, and all the other formations.
Finally, Vuiltag was also allowed to speak with Moot. Some called him “The Moot” for he was the only one any of his clan knew. Some even said other clans did not have someone like him. A unique individual, something Vuiltag had never heard of before.
Moot was what some called a “mystic.” He could talk with the spirits of the animals, summon the forces of nature into corporeal form, and even commune with the dead. Though he held no official position on the war council, many times would the Kish’ku defer to him for matters not directly related to The Shaad. This too was new to Vuiltag, for he had thought there was nothing besides The Shaad. He had no idea how wrong he was.
Moot taught him of the spiritual side of life, helping him to learn respect for those not of the clan. Yes, The Shaad and those that fought it were important, but so too were the hunters that supported the warriors, and the women in the Huush’naag. “It is fact that they failed to defeat a male in their coming-of-age ritual, but without them, the next generation would not be born. So too would the warrior find himself too full of lust to continue his duty if he could not slack it in these shapatklaf.”
Even those who were not orcs were to be respected – they all fought The Shaad, even if they didn’t know its name and purpose – Human, Elfman, Halfman, and all the rest. Vuiltag saw the wisdom of The Moot in this. “Though they are weaker than us that does not make them worthy of death. They all fight against The Luul in their own way, as we do in ours. And that fight, in all its forms, is sacred, and is not for us to interrupt.”
Moot also showed Vuiltag how to speak with the spirits. The water flows, the fire destroys. The sun heats, and the shadow cools. The deer is food, and the wolf the hunter. Simple lives with simple meanings, but still important, all supporting the cycle of things, supporting life. The lessons on the wolf were the greatest for Vuiltag, for the wolf supports all life even with his predatory nature. It takes what it needs, and rewards those best at the hunt, but so too gives to those unable to take part.
After all this learning, it was time for Vuiltag to fight for his place in the clan. He trained with his father, learning the Shaka family weapon, the spiked chain. He learned the technique of tripping his enemies and slaying them while on the ground. And then he was told who he would fight – Braka, the only other Grashat this generation.
Vuiltag was confused, Braka could have challenged any of the regular greenskins and easily defeated them, ensuring her place in the warrior caste. Instead, she chose him, the only male that could defeat her. Braka was an amazing warrior, managing to parry his chain, land shallow cuts here and there, and to even sunder his weapon, leaving him with only half a chain to fight with. But, in the end, this mattered little, for Vuiltag was more than a warrior, he was chosen, and that meant that he would be victorious!
Vuiltag pinned Braka to the dirt with her own axe. It was over. Braka would be a broodmare and Vuiltag a Mik’tow. He looked into the crowd watching their match. He saw his father, a tear of pride in his eye, and he knew he had lived up to expectations. He saw the Kish’ku, grinning with the knowledge of what this new weapon meant to the war effort, and he knew that his future was to be a glorious one. He saw The Moot, a thin lipped expression of vague disappointment… and he knew this was wrong.
He threw down Braka’s axe, and pointed up to the Kish’ku. Vuiltag saw Moot give him a nod out of the corner of his eye as he shouted a challenge. This was what he had been groomed for, to challenge the way his people lived their lives. The Kish’ku drew his sword, and leapt into the ring. Vuiltag fought as the wolf, with fang and claw, no need for manufactured weapons, raging against the embodiment of everything that held his people back. It was over before it even began, and the Kish’ku lay beaten and broken at his feet.
His father ran out onto the blood-soaked sand, screaming at Vuiltag. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. Why would he fight the Kish’ku? “Our people are meant for more than just luftu against the Zan,” he heard himself say as he picked the Kish’ku’s sword up from the dirt, “We must become part of the cycle, giving back to it as much as we take. The only way to destroy Luul forever is to teach all the rest of our ways, but they will not listen until they can trust us to not kill them.”
His father dragged the Kish’ku to his feet, and they left the ring, left the clan, and left Vuiltag’s life, disowning him as traitor to orcs everywhere. But it didn’t matter what his father said, for the people were already chanting his new name – Kish’ku! Kish’ku! Kish’ku! He wanted to rest, to bask in their admiration, to begin teaching them the ways of The Moot, but the fight had only just begun.
He helped Braka to her feet, and offered her the sword of the last Kish’ku. “You had no reason to fight me, and I will not waste you on the breeding house. You are my first Mik’tow, and you will also be my Opashai, my Wife, and the first of her kind in all of the clans! You will lead these lost cubs in my stead, for I must journey the lands of the other races, and teach them of The Shaad.”
“Kish” was an anomaly that the villagers didn’t know how to treat. He claimed to have come among them to teach that orcs and humans could live together and fight against the greatest enemy they all faced – The Luul. He suffered greevious injuries in the first major conflict with the Yuan-ti, and has been bedridden since being dragged back to town by his companions. The healers say he has physically healed, but has remained lost within his own mind, their force feeding of him the only thing keeping him alive.