IMW: Horns of the Moon
Iron Moon War: Subchapter 2: Horns of the Moon
Twelve tribes all under one banner, their largest flags were those of the Iron Moon Tribe, waving black with a thick white moon on it. A crude version of the Toten Banner honestly although surely it was orc made in every way.
Blood Claws, Six Eyes, Blind Ember, Gold Bears, Bent Bow, Ebon Pantera, Split Tongue, Black Dagger, Jagged Maw, Broken Noose, Gutter Pride and Azuk’s home tribe the Cracked Moon.
The Orcs were a wall of muscle and armor, those thin frail orcs that once had been a hallmark of their werewolf forces were nowhere to be seen. Banners whipped in the wind all around then, a hundred tattered versions of the twelve tribes markers. They were in no lines, just a ragged front of a mix of warriors who were itching to fight or run. On the flanks were the lighter troops, smaller orcs, and the menacing worg cavalry. Few wanted to fight against an orc on the back of a huge bone crushing dog. Worgs were one of the few natural predators of Heavy Drafts and while not common in the interior of Helios anymore, in the wild lands and open plains they were a constant menace.
The orc numbers were huge, but in the face of the gathered Helian force, they surely had no hope to win.
The Helians were a uniform disciplined line of faceless armor and resolve. While markedly smaller than an orc, they made up for it with numbers. While they didn’t have the numbers they did at the start of the campaign they far exceeded their foe. But that excess didn’t mean a sure or easy victory. These were the remnants of the prior battles, veterans all, and then the hardest and toughest troops that were reserved to protect the last orcish settlement.
Azuk rode out ahead of his army on the back of a mottled brown Worg that looked to be bigger than the rest. He was in armor that fit him well and was a consistent look. He was surely their leader just from that small detail. He was flanked by three more orcs on worg-back, they were not as put together as him but they were strong and older. They trotted to the middle of the battlefield and waited.
“Azuk, I hope you know what this means.” Tajud Six Eyes spoke through the grill of his helmet. His tone was gruff but held a halo of sadness.
“It means out people get to live, it means a victory for them.” Azuk said as he undid the chin strap on his helmet and pulled it off to reveal his face. He would need every ounce of himself to converse meaningfully with the Helians.
“You will have no victory in this Azuk.” Ogug Gold Bear spoke up and quieted his Worg who was drooling heavily as the Helians trotted up to meet them. The animal was bred only for war and its prey was walking willing to them. Ogug slapped the creature on the top of its head with a gauntleted hand and it yelped and quickly quieted down.
“I did not do this for glory or a victory for myself, Gold Bear. I did this so that our children can live.”
Five beings walked out to meet the Orcs, Knights from Mazlan, Worden, Vansen, the Lord Commander of the Expedition, and then one of the Toten Leaders. They were a stark contrast to the three orcs. The Knights were resplendent in their armors that matched perfectly and fit like a glove. The Lord Commander held the Helian flag on the end of a lance although he stabbed the butt end into the ground before strooling up to meet the Head orc. While Sivian had argued she she should negotiate as this was technically Vansen land, but she was shot down and the Lord Commander was given the honor.
“I know some Orcish, or I can have a translator brought up.” The commander said.
“Azuk understand. Speak little.” He waved away the translator. “Azuk Bargulg. Chief of Iron Moon.”
“Oh. Lord Commander of the Expeditionary Force, Lucas Ambercut” He clanged his fist against his chest.
“Azuk, make terms. Iron Moon, leave. Ride Boat to Bronze Water, stay there.” The two other orcs scoffed under their helmets. “No more death.” He added.
The Lord Commander looked surprised, shocked to hear those words from the orc. He had expected to trade insults back and forth and then start the fighting. They had not even planned really for a surrender. He folded his hands against the saddle horn and thought for a moment. A battle like this, a victory would cement him in history. They would sing about it forever, but he could end the war now without risking his own men, without having to shoulder the loss of life victory in combat would mean
He looked over his shoulder to his other four companions. The knights were all in helmets save for Sivian who did not betray her feelings, and stone face stared ahead at the orc army beyond. She would take the deal, a helian life saved is victory.
“You cannot accept this, many toten were lost.”
“Shut your mouth” Sivian snapped at the toten representative. She looked over to the woman and frowned deeply. “This is not your place to speak, you are only to be seen.” She saved the Lord commander from having to chastise the Toten figurehead, she was no one who held any real sway but was the representative for The Mother.
The Lord Commander sighed deeply. “We can accept these terms, although...you will forfeit yourself. Leave all weapons and goods. If this is amicable we can speak further on this surrender.”
“Azuk understand. Azuk Agree.” He nodded his head and looked back to his generals, then to the Helian.
“Azuk give him up in sun rise.”
“That is acceptable.” The Lord Commander smiled.
Azuk touched his forehead, then his mouth then his chest. “Blesings of the six.” His speech was crisp in that statement, and the gesture was the same as someone who had been educated by the church, someone pious.
The lord commander thought for a moment, and clanged his fist to his chest. “Horns of the Moon.” He said in the orcish tongue, although his speech was not nearly as good as Azuk had been with the Low Helian.
The two groups turned and trotted away from each other.
“Is that acceptable Toten? You will have your flesh as payment.” The Lord Commander said.
The Toten representative remained quiet and picked up her pace, trotting away from the group on his slick black horse. She was off to relay the news to her people.
Azuk arrived at their line and looked down at a small orc. “Summon Ushug.”
“The war is ended. There will be no more fighting. Back to Ijud’hol, we pack to leave across the sea. We could not hold this land, but we will leave with our lives...and you will leave with your honor.”
He trotted forward and the orcs parted from him, letting him pass. There were a few angry faces but more that were relieved.