Song of the Immortal Sky - Part 3
Know that Temur of the Monkhiir-Tenger did seek the hand of Tuya of the Gazaar-Eej in marriage. He sang the songs of his people and of his heart to her and she sang back his challenge - a chance to prove himself.
"Go to the lands that were once ours, in the plains north of the great Servos Jungle. Go and find the herds that we once tended and follow them as we once did. Go protect the horses that were - and will be again - our birthright. Guard them for seven days and seven nights and then return to me."
And so Temur did seek out brave Adepts he knew - little Zivilyn the shaman and great Rama the warrior. And they brought one they also knew to be brave - Daldorer the Faceless who knew the shapes and secrets of spirits.
Know that these four strode out onto the plains and did tell each other stories and made strong the bonds of friendship.
On the fourth day, they met a group of hunters and did with them the Rites of Introduction. The hunters were happy in the way that people are after facing a great grief. They spoke of nightmares and of a curse of failure, of even the simplest tasks turned impossible. They were rescued, they said, by a Questor who did not name himself but instead hid behind a strange alias.
Know that this Questor was a suspicious sort. One come from the village of Granok, which was a place unknown to Temur but well known to the Obsidimen Daldorer and Rama. Know that for the first time, Temur did see an Obsidiman grow angry. For Rama had seen this place and knew it to be wicked and evil.
Still, there was naught to do but caution these hunters, for they had after all been saved by the Questor and his people. They would not believe the words of four strangers, no matter how brave those strangers might be.
Troubled, Temur and his friends did travel to the plains where the horses run free. A flock of the bird-women did try to turn them aside with insults and filth and the sting of their claws.
Know that the bird women, called Harpies by some, were slain, their bodies left on the plain as a warning to others. Come not between an Ork and his chance to prove himself to his mate.
Temur and Zivilyn and Rama and Daldorer did finally come to the herd and they were pleased. The horses were strong and free and healthy. And, seeing Ayanga, who was loyal to Temur even in death, the horses were calmed and accepted their guardians.
In place where the horses grazed was also a watering hole. And in this watering hole were large-mouthed sharp-toothed four-legged serpents known as crocodiles. They lurked unseen and, when Temur drew too close, they did catch him with their toothsome jaws and crush the bone of his leg. Were it not for the heroism of his fellows, and Rama in particular, Temur would surely have perished.
Know that it was that sort of adventure.
Having defeated the crocodiles, the band followed the herd as it wandered, in the old ways of the Orks. And they made camp in the night and told each other stories of their people.
Know that their dreams were troubled. Know that Temur was haunted by dreams of teeth and of drowning. That Rama was haunted by dreams of the dead and of Grakor. That each of them in turn faced a restive, troubling night. Know that Daldorer was strong enough in himself to sleep peacefully.
Many of the days they had promised had passed. But two remained. And it was then that this band was set upon by Ghouls. Things of death and rot and poison. The band fought and was poisoned. They fought and were clawed. They fought though they were exhausted, though the ghouls came on, though the leader of these foul beasts made itself known. They fought through their nightmares and each, in turn, was certain that they would die that night.
Know that they did not.
They were battered, and bloody, and broken, but they persevered. Though some hidden adversary did curse them and sour their luck, they persevered. And after seven days and seven nights, as promised, the herd was safe.
Weary and worn, the band did return to Throal. It would be many nights still for Temur to recover from the terrible wounds of this quest and his leg would ache in the cold for the rest of his days.
Know that this story has ended. Know that this story continues.