Tale of Two Clans (book)

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A Tale of Two Clans (The Tiger and Knife Clans)
Hagynn Atkyn

They sat quietly in the corner of Sand Spit Tavern, both sipping quietly and slowly from dark ales. Trog looked around furtively, then reached over and tapped his younger brother on the arm, "Well, this would be your first time with a raiding party. Do you want to join us?"

Ortug sat quietly, peering into his ale, not daring to look up. "Well, say something," demanded Trog.

"I don't think I'm ready and I'm not sure it's a good idea", blurted Ortug.

Trog rolled his eyes, "Look, you can't back out now. The plans are practically finalized. We know that she leaves the Crossing every third week with a delivery of merchandise in the company of them dim-witted guards, stops off to see these horrible little Dwarves and then heads on over to Dirge."

Wetting his throat with more ale, he continued, "Now she's always hiring them hopeless humans. We have managed to bribe a couple of them, but the rest of them, well..they'll just be outnumbered."

Trog chuckled and drank more ale. "So we'll grab the merchandise and sell that. Then we'll ransom the human female for a hefty sum. That dolt of a father must have the money to pay for her. Anyway, are you with us Ortug?"

"I'll think about it," came the sigh and the response.

Several hours and dark ales later and after much cajoling and rehashing of plans (for planning is not a Gor'Tog forte), Ortug finally agreed to participate in the raid.

"Good!" declared Trog, "Now don't forget your pigsticker!"

Someone standing a good several hours later in a dark alley close to the tavern might have heard the following conversation.

"This ain't right Ortug, we're raiders, not ambushers. Time's right for a change in leadership and direction."

"I know Havor, but the truth is I don't want to ambush or raid! I just want to enjoy a peaceful life with Resomba. I'd rather be a farmer."

"Perhaps if the raid fails, Trog's leadership will be rethought. Well I'll try and think of something...."

Two days later, the raiding party of the Knife Clan lay in wait along the Northern Trade Route. Lacking the necessary patience to ambush, stalk or wait long periods of time, the Gor'Togs frequently stood up and stretched. "Get down you idiots!" hissed Trog. "The whole point of an ambush is not to be seen!"

The wait was not a long one, a half day's ride out of the city, the wagons carrying Suza Cormyn's wares gradually snaked over the incline and through the valley.

"Be sure to wait for my signal", rasped Trog. The steady clunk-clunk of the wagon wheels drew closer and closer. All of a sudden, Havor leapt up with a shriek of "Kyeeaah!", brandished his heavy iron hammer and sprinted down the hillside towards the wagons.

"Gaaa!" screamed Trog. "Havor, you dolt! I'll have your tongue for this! Follow him!"

The twenty or so Gor'Togs leapt from hiding and pursued their rash counterpart down the hill. The skirmish (for battle implies resistance from the caravan guards) was all too brief. The few guards that chose to fight were quickly introduced to either Havor's hammer or the favored weapons of his brethren. Suza Cormyn and her wares were captured all too easily.

A definite swagger in his walk and animation in his speech, Trog proclaimed the ambush a superb success.

"We just got a couple of things to take care of first." On a nod from him, several of the raiders grabbed and restrained Havor.

"You, you beserking madman have disobeyed me for the last time! I will have your tongue. And I don't expect to ever see you again, unless you want me to bury your hammer in your skull."

The shameless deed performed and Havor laid low with a crushing blow to the head, the rest of the Gor'Togs left him to die and set about moving the wagons off the trade route and into the woods. Ortug was entranced by Suza.

"Don't just stand there gawking at the female, Ortug. Give us a hand!" shouted Trog.

The goods from the wagons stripped and bundled up and Suza well bound, the raiding party sought out a quiet spot in the woods to discuss their next venture and start the tales exaggerating their exploits of the day. Finding a large willow tree set in a clearing, they opened their skins of wine and started to eat their bread and cheese. More than somewhat flushed by his endeavors, Trog started trying to compose a song to capture the day's events.

"We is Gor'Tog, we is mean.
We stole enough goods to outfit a queen.
When next..huh?"

Out of the surrounding woodside were charging six or seven tall barbarians, the first of whom was carrying some sort bone. Ortug who had managed to avoid combat in the initial skirmish, had seen and had enough. He threw down his short sword and ran deeper into the woods. The battle between the barbarians and Gor'Tog raiding party raged for twenty or so minutes, by which time fifteen of the Gor'Tog had been slain, yet three of the tall strangers still stood and fought. And how they fought! Trog, no longer favoring the odds, had seen enough and followed the same route as his brother.

The rest as they say is history, or rather local and recent history. Ortug and Trog were the only ones from the Gor'Tog raiding party to escape the carnage that day. Ortug was so appalled at the greed and blood lust of his brother that he split from the Knife Clan, took several like minded people with him and formed the Tiger Clan. He still maintains a deep mistrust of Humans, but was so impressed with the wealth, power and respectability that Suza displayed, that he set up the Tiger Clan to trade with The Crossing. The clan provides produce from their farmlands and items from their craftsmen. Ortug, his wife Resomba and the recent addition to their family, son Grob, have become very wealthy as a result.

For all of his failures, Trog still heads up the Knife Clan. Given the lack of survivors on the fateful day, he was able to throw enough doubt into the rumors that he had ran from the battlefield and hold onto his leadership. Still believing that one of the Gor'Tog' greatest strengths is their ability to bash things, Ortug has also organized a group of guards that can be hired out for caravans.

And what of Havor? Wandering over the hills to that one small slope where the milkweed grows, Neesa stumbled across a bleeding hulk lying in the grass.

"Havor, is that you? Who did this?"

She set down her bag, looked at the plants and herbs that she had available and started to treat his injuries.

"Havor, I need to find some snakeroot to stop any possible infection. I'll be back as quickly as my legs will carry me."

Havor survived his dreadful wounds and joined the Tiger Clan. Although he is now well established with a wonderful reputation as a blacksmith, he has vowed (or in this case communicated through sign language) his intense hatred for Trog and his personal desire for revenge. His day will come.