Ug & The Dwarf, Chapter 1

Only 7 winters of age, Ug was a small orc with a large helping of human blood. A result of a night of extremely drunken revelry with a neighboring barbarian tribe after the combined efforts of the humans and orcs brought down a young white dragon that had attempted to take residence nearby. Of course due to the nature of such things the peace was short lived and the tribes took to fighting again almost immediately.

Living with his orcish kin, Ug’s life was never easy. Being one of the smallest members of the tribe he was treated as any other runt in a pack would be. Shunned and given menial tasks to perform, some which only women performed like taking care of his little sister Bukta. Chafed at first at the idea, Ug eventually grew to care for Bukta immensely. Like all good things in Ug’s life though, this was not to last.

The heat of the flames from the burning hut of his father singed Ug’s hair as he tried to get close. His little sister was trapped inside and was screaming for help. The big males of the tribe were busy trying to fight off the elves that had attacked in the middle of the day for no reason that Ug understood. Tears streaming down his face and over his undersized tusks, Ug tried vainly to shove through one of the burning walls, setting his hair on fire in the process. Diving into the wet snow, Ug was able to extinguish himself before too much damage had been done. Turning back to the hut, Ug watched in horror as his sisters screams were drowned out by the roar of the flames. Weeping into the snow, Ug did not see the blow of the mace that sent him into blissful unconsciousness.

Blinking through the snow and ice that had encrusted his face, Ug smelled the bodies before he was able to see them in the darkness of the night. The stench of charred flesh was overpowering. His entire tribe had been wiped out, his chief, the largest of the orcs lay in the middle of the camp, pierced by many arrows. Most of the womenfolk had died in their huts, trying vainly to protect their cubs. All of the huts had been set afire and the smoking remains did not leave any hope for finding anyone else alive. Fear beginning to course through him, Ug began to run.

Wandering for several days Ug tried his best to catch food but he had never been any good at stalking prey and he had always had to watch his sister while the other males had been taught how to set traps. Starving and exhausted, Ug climbed the valley walls to try and find a path that would lead him out of the valley and to a more southern section of the Cold Bone Mountains.

During his ascent, Ug came across a curious scene. A man dressed in a simple cotton robe was sitting cross legged on a boulder overlooking the valley. The boulder sat in a rocky clearing near the top of the valley slope. The evergreen trees were parted and it gave a fantastic view of the valley. For a moment Ug thought the man might be frozen solid because he spied the man for more than an hour and he did not move once. Thinking the man might be dead, Ug approached to look and see if he had any food or supplies he could use.

Treading carefully, Ug saw that the man was not dead but seemed to be asleep. He had a long stick across his legs and his strange robe was colored brown and had little designs of mountains simply embroidered upon it. He had long white hair that was tied back in an elaborate braid. His face was craggy and weathered; with a slight rocky look as if it had been turned to stone. A long white beard covered his face down to the simple belt he wore at his waist. His eyes were closed and he did not seem to hear Ug approach. Confidence building that perhaps the man was indeed dead, Ug bent down to take the small sack that lay next to the man. His eyes still closed and quick as a twisting snow leopard, the man’s hand shot out and grabbed Ug’s hand immediately before touching the sack.

You should not touch that which does not belong to you without permission,” the man said in a deep voice speaking Orcish, “young one.

Opening his eyes, the man released Ug’s hand and stood up. Getting a better look at him, Ug realized the man was not much taller than he but was very stoutly built. Thinking back to the stories that his elders had told, Ug realized the man was a dwarf.

"I thought you were dead." Ug replied in terror as he awaited the blow that he was sure would follow. His tribe had spoken of the ferocity and greed of the dwarves and Ug knew that this cruel dwarf would kill him for trying to take his bag.

"As you can see I am not," the dwarf said simply. “But am I truly alive? That is a question worth asking.

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