“There he is!”
The cry was in orcish–Avoy went for his pack where the dagger was stashed, but an arrow landed right where his hand would have been if he’d been a bit quicker. Avoy froze–he’d been in worse situations before, but not many. He wasn’t going to be able to run his way out of this one, and whatever the dagger had done to him, his body wasn’t ready to fight its way out either.
The orcs crashed their way down into the ravine and pinned him down in the mud, grabbing his sack and digging through it until they found the dagger and hollered in celebration. “Thief,” one of the orcs muttered in Avoy’s ear, “Don’t worry, we’ll take you back and put you to good use…” Avoy’s stomach turned a bit when he realize the thing poking against the small of his back wasn’t a weapon–but the orc’s cock hardening as he bound Avoy’s wrists behind him with twine.
Of course, that wouldn’t be a first either. Avoy tried to make a deal with the orcs–he’d happily be their little pig down in the ravine, if they wanted that, provided they let him go. They could have the dagger, he didn’t care one bit about what happened between them and the monastery, so long as he could keep his life, and a bit of his dignity. The orcs just laughed at him, and then hauled him back up the steep slope. Pushing him along, and returning to the camp.
And so, Avoy found himself right back where he’d started, in a large tent full of pens, really–clearly designed to hold a much larger number of prisoners than it currently possessed–which was two. Avoy in one cell, and in one a short distance away, an orc. The guards left, and Avoy moved over to try and talk to the orc–only to discover that it wasn’t an orc, not really. He was talking to the monk that he had seen in the ritual the night before–apparently, getting cut apart by that dagger hadn’t been as fatal as Avoy assumed. Instead, he had…changed. Changed in the same way Avoy had, with his short contact with the dagger–although obviously changed…further. As far as he could tell, the young man was a full grown orc–though from his speech, his mind was still intact, though…he was terrified of…something. He kept babbling about some medallion–talking about what had happened to the knights that had been captured with him, how…how they were gone. Avoy didn’t know what to make of it, but he didn’t have to wait long to find out.
The guards returned, and with them, was the shaman–but no chief. If that wasn’t a sure enough sign of who was really in charge around here, then nothing would be. “Ah, the little thief,” the shaman said, “I was wondering how long until those filthy humans down in their little castle would come poking their noses around here, and try and see what the fates have in store for them soon enough.”
“Look, it was just a job, alright? I don’t have a stake in any of this–if you have a better offer, I’ll tell you anything you want to know,” Avoy said, “Hell, just…just fix me, and I’ll do anything you want.”
“Oh, I know far more than you ever could about what’s going on here,” the shaman said, and came close to his cage, “Those little monks down there–for years, they’ve been stealing our young men, twisting them, turning them into their little slaves with their so called white magic. Well no more,” the shaman said, and pulled the medallion off his head. Avoy found himself following the stone, green like the dagger, but…not quite the same. The shaman laughed, and Avoy pulled his eyes away from it–obviously, some sort of mind magic of his own.
“Pity, it only works on orcs,” the shaman said, “and half orcs. But good enough for our use here,” the shaman turned to the other cell, where the monk was, and the new orc’s gaze was drawn right to it. Avoy told him to look away, but it was too late–the shaman began whispering something to him, the medallion growing brighter, the monk’s eyes filled with a green glow, and when it ceased–they released him from the cage. He greeted the orcs with a traditional greeting, and was taken by one of them out into the camp–just another warrior now, ready to demolish the human monastery below, and take revenge for what they had done.
“Now, that brings us to you. Shouldn’t have touched the dagger–you know. Not good to play with things you don’t understand. Still, this is a fine opportunity for us, in a way. The curse on you will lift in in a few more hours–and I’ve been meaning to…experiment a bit. Now, be a good little orc and keep your eye on the stone, right where it belongs.”
Avoy tried to resist–he could feel the human side of him trying to pull away, while the orcish part of him drawn deep into the crystal, into the shaman’s words, absorbed. The human side couldn’t fight the pull, and found itself sucked away as well. It was like…falling asleep, almost. He could…hear the shaman, planting something in his mind, something he couldn’t quite hear, couldn’t quite know. Then, the voice was gone, but he was still asleep. Then, he was awake–but he wasn’t in the cell anymore–he was in the forest.
He tried to recall what had happened to him, but everything was slipping through his fingers faster than he could hold onto anything. He’d…escaped, right? Yes–he’d fled and…and the monastery wasn’t far from here. But he…he couldn’t go back there, could he? Not looking like…like… He pulled a mirror he used for sneaking through tight hallways out of his pack, and was relieved to see his face looking back at him. His real face–a human face. It had to have been a dream, of course. He…he would go back, and he would report what he saw. And then…and then he would know what to do, after that, something told him, in the back of his head. He would…do what needed to be done.
That night in his room, he opens up his pack, and there, he finds the dagger. As soon as he sees it, he knows what he has to do–what he was sent here to do. A new mission. A better mission. For the clan. This–this is not his body. Not his true body. Merely…a disguise! Yes, it…it’s time to return to…to his true form. He runs the dagger along his arm, tracing the lines he knows, feeling the daggers power flowing into him.
Here’s the next poll! What happens next?