The sun was ebbing away in Ashenvale. Dusk was falling on another day in the huge forest and the only noise that could be heard in Astranaar was the occasional grinding of the machines in the Warsong Lumber Camp.
At the Silverwing Outpost, guards were on alert. Having recently spotted an increase in the guards at Warsong the decision had been taken to be extra vigilant for the next few days so as to be ready if anything were to happen.
To the north a lone guard, Athalenda, stood watch. She was waiting for her partner, Verolyn, to join her on their watch. The footpath that lead to the East-West road through Ashenvale was a key point in the Silverwing defence. Every guard knew that it needed 2 to watch, but on this evening it had been unavoidable. Verolyn had been late arriving as she had been spying on Splintertree Outpost to try and find out more about the recent increase in Warsong guard numbers and had had to stay longer in the armoury as she was not properly attired for guarding Silverwing. Whilst the guards of Silverwing much preferred the leather uniform they used when gathering information on their neighbours, the facts were clear when it came to self-preservation and the need for metal to stay what would otherwise be a killing blow. Knowing she must keep watch as best she could while alone, Athalenda took up a less conspicuous position in the undergrowth of a nearby tree. She just hoped that if an attack were to come from the road that her armour would not shine through the cover that Nature was providing.
Not 10 meters away from Athalenda, unblinking eyes watched. Unblinking red eyes that, if you stared long enough, told a story or pain, anguish and hunger. They had been trained on the young elf as soon as she'd arrived at her post and the realisation that she was alone brought a wicked smile to the owner of the eyes. The devilish grin, made more disturbing by the enlarged canines protruding from his lower jaw. Now there was a glint in those same red eyes and a sneer appeared on his face as the villainous creature thought about his next actions.
Checking the blades on his axes and daggers, he started to move behind a tree and started to climb. Making sure to climb with stealth and care, his large green body could only have been made out by a careful eye and even then only from the direction of the river. Higher and higher the orc climbed until he reached the branch he had been aiming for. Climbing out onto the branch, with surprisingly nimble feet he proceeded to sprint to the end of the branch and then leapt onto the adjoining tree, the tree by which the elf maiden had taken her guard.
Collecting himself, once again his blood-red eyes gazed at the elf guard as she kept her watch on the forest. Then, even slower than he had climbed, Gurfang descended towards the unsuspecting elf. As he reached his attacking position, he steadied himself on a branch and tightened the grip on his belt on his weapons. There on the branch, clad in a loincloth and weapons belt, Gurfang bent his knees and dropped like a stone at the poor elf.
Athalenda heard a creak from above and turned her head but it was too late. 200 pounds of muscle-bound orc fell right on top of her, knocking her out cold.
Bouncing off his victim and rolling to his feet, Gurfang got to a crouched position and then looked around to see if anyone had seen him. With the coast clear, he proceeded to pull creeper vines from the tree he had just fallen from and used them to hog tie the elf.
Just as he was about to drag her away he heard the sound of approaching armour, of plate metal and mail rustling through the trees. Immediately, Gurfang pulled his quarry into the undergrowth and waited to see who was coming. His blood-red eyes gleamed as he saw another Silverwing guard approaching, calling softly in her Elvish tongue.
Drawing his 2 daggers from his belt, he readied himself as he let the Elf move past him.
Launching himself at the elf, with his right hand he hurled his knife at her and snarled with pleasure as it caught her in the side of the neck, spinning her around. However, whilst the Elf would be dead from blood loss in a few minutes she was not going down without a fight. As she sun and fell to the ground she rolled and drew her sword as she drew herself up again. Raising her arm, she swung for the Orc's head and anticipated the crack and crumple as metal met skin and bone
Only that meeting never happened. Gurfang, still in mid-flight at the Elf, had switched his remaining dagger from his left to his right hand and caught the deadly swing at the wrist, saving almost certain dismemberment. At the same time he drove his right hand for the Elf's increasingly blood-covered body.
However the elf still had her reflexes and grabbed the Orc's wrist and so they found themselves in a deadly embrace in which only 1 could survive but in which both could die. Matching strength for strength, power for power, the Elf surprised the Orc with how she was able to keep him at bay. However, with blood pouring from the deeply embedded knife wound in her neck, it was only a matter of time before she would succumb. But Gurfang refused to wait that long. Opening his mouth wide, he lunged at the Elf's face and bit her across her cheek bone and nose. Crunching through the bone, Gurfang got the faint taste of marrow in his mouth as he tore his teeth away from the Elf's face as he took her nose and right cheek with him. The Elf, no longer able to take the pain and keep up her struggle let go fo Gurfang's right wrist and he sunk his blade into her gut. Pulling her sword from her now weakened grasp and throwing it to the ground, he twisted the Elf around until her back was facing him. Then, drawing her close, he slowly started to pull his dagger up her body and gurgled in delight as he felt the body squirm at each new tear he made.
Spluttering blood, the Elf could not even raise her voice in warning to the other guards, not that it made much difference now as the knife blade reached her diaphragm and sliced it open. Suddenly finding herself released from the Orc's grip, she fell to the ground, face first. Gurfang viciously kicked at her ribs several times to turn her over and then sat on her pelvis. Drawing his dagger out from just below her ribs, the Orc drove his hand into her innards and then drew it back out, wiping the blood down his face and upper torso. Then he proceeded to stab the dying elf several times between her ribs on both sides of her chest, puncturing both lungs in his frenzy.
Then, as the Elf struggled for her last breaths, the Orc bent over and licked the gaping wound on her face and sucked deeply on the blood that met his tongue. Finally, he took hold of the dagger still in her neck and ripped it out as blood spurted into the air and the Elf's head fell to the side to confirm her death.
Grabbing the Elf by her hair, he returned to where he had dumped the limp but still breathing body of his other victim. Also grabbing her by her hair he dragged both Elves back to the road, face first, as he headed back to the Warsong lumber camp.
Athalenda awoke and tried to open her eyes. All around her was a haze of yellows, oranges and reds. Blinking her eyes, the haze seemed to lessen, but she could still hardly make out anything. She noticed that there were manacles of some design around her wrists, ankles and neck and that as she moved the chains that she was attached to jangled.
Taking a breath, she winced in pain. Breathing again, slower this time, she realised the source of the pain as it struck again. She had at least 2 ribs broken, probably from where the Orc had landed on her, she surmised. Then she noticed something else. She breathed again, this time through her nose, and the sensation that she got nearly overcame her. It was the smell of burnt flesh!
Straining her eyes now, Athalenda was now able to see vague shapes and as she continued to push herself those shapes started to become clearer. Finally, struggling between collapsing from the effort and throwing up from the stench, her eyesight cleared. And suddenly she wished that it hadn't!
She was lying in a room with a slightly domed roof. There were braziers all around the room, giving it a glow of yellows, oranges and reds. She saw a stone table about 10 yards away, from which she saw a hand dangling. It was that of her partner, Verolyn! Struggling to get to her feet, Athalenda tried to get nearer to her friend but found herself restricted by the chains, which she now saw were attached to the wall. She returned her gaze to Verolyn and softly called out her name. There was no response. She called out again, this time a little louder. No response. She was about to do so again when she noticed a wound on her torso, starting from just above her left hip and crossing her stomach to finally stop just below her ribs on her right. Then she noticed the worst thing of all, she saw that the weapon that had caused this damage was still imbedded, just below the ribs.
Athalenda bit back the tears as anger started to boil up inside of her. Her friend, her confidant, her partner in many a guard duty and her fierce ally in combat, was dead. Nothing in her life so far had prepared her for this moment as she struggled to deal with the emotions whirling around inside her. It was all she could do to stop herself collapsing in a heap of tears as it dawned on her that she might be next.
Sitting back down, she started to look around the room. She could still smell burnt flesh but she could not see where it was coming from. Suddenly, she heard footsteps. They were coming nearer and nearer, as was the smell. Then the source of both came into view. A huge Orc with flashing red eyes walked through an archway into the room and in his hand was something charred and fleshy. Her stomach churned in revulsion and her eyes widened with fear. It was the same orc who had landed on her.
He paused as he looked at her, then a cruel and wicked sneer crossed his face and he walked up to her. Taking a huge bite from the lump of flesh he held, he came to within a couple of yards of Athalenda and stared at her. As he took his bite, she was sure she recognised something about the meat but couldn't put her finger on it. Though there was an odd blue tint to the charred top layer of skin.
The Orc chuckled and then walked away, towards the table. Dropping the meat on the table, he grabbed Verolyn's scalp and proceeded to put meat hooks through both her shoulders and then brought her body up and attached the hooks to a winch system which he then proceeded to use to raise her until she was dangling with her feet just above the ground.
It was then that Athalenda realised what the meat was. As she looked at her fallen comrade, she saw what was missing. The Orc was eating Verolyn's right arm! Realising that the recent rumours of a beast preying on Elves was actually true, and not only that but it was an Orc, Athalenda could not control herself anymore and she let out a shrill scream of terror. The scream continued and the Orc was clearly annoyed because he grimaced and placed his hands over his ears. But the Elf could not stop, she was petrified. She knew what was going to be her fate and that knowledge shook her to her core. All she could do was shake and scream. The last thing she saw in her terror was a huge green fist swinging with pace and force towards her, then everything went black.
Athalenda awoke to find herself more restricted in movement than earlier. She also had a faint taste of blood in her mouth and the whole left side of her face felt like a stampede of kodos had run over it. She also had some trouble opening her left eye fully and the vision form it was slightly blurred. She also found her mouth full of a large knot or rope that was part of a length tied around her head, acting as a very effective gag.
Her shackles had been removed and in their place was thick, harsh rope. With it, her hands had been tightly tied behind her back at both the wrist and elbow. Her ankles were also tied tightly together. From her ankle and wrist restraints there were chains attached that kept her close to the base of the wall of the room she was in. Struggling to her feet, she tried to shuffle to see how much movement she had, but found she could only get a couple of feet before her chains brought her crashing back to the floor.
Resigned to the fact that the floor was the best place to be, if there was a best place to be, Athalenda looked around the room again. As her senses started to take in the stimuli from her surroundings, she started to remember what had happened that had led to her face being hammered by the Orc. Sniffing, the smell of burnt flesh was still in the air, though not as pungent as before. The room was still lit by braziers, which gave her no idea of the passage of time. Looking towards the centre of the room, she saw the body of Verolyn and the last foggy memories from earlier all flooded back into focus. Staring in horror at the poor body of her comrade, the shoulder stump showing bone stained red with a jagged edge where it had been snapped off.
Again, the sight of her friend's corpse in such a state caused her to cry out but all that came out was a muffled, high pitched sound and pretty soon the rough strands of the rope tickling the back of her throat were causing her to gag. Bending her head as low as possible, Athalenda took control of her breathing and had just about recovered when she heard a clinking noise getting gradually nearer. Fear gripped her once again, though she resisted the urge to scream out again, and she shuddered in terror as her captor entered the room and placed a selection of blades on the table in the centre, picking at his teeth with a large bone that was snapped at one end.
Seeing that his "guest" had woken up he turned and cackled, his mouth contorted in a wide and evil grin. Then he turned towards the Elf carcass still hanging on the hooks he had put her on earlier that day. Cracking his knuckles, the Orc picked up a knife with a serrated edge and stuffed it in his belt. He then walked straight up to the corpse and started to remove all the metal armour on the body, casting them on the floor as he did so. There was a loud crash as the breastplate fell, having been neatly pulled over the meat hooks. Then there was a clatter as the shoulder pads skittered across the floor and the plate leg guards and boots were soon to follow. Now she looked just like any other Night Elf in a cloth shirt, torn at the bottom where she had been brutally stabbed, and leather leggings.
The Orc then took the blade from his belt and proceeded to remove her remaining apparel, taking care not to damage the body. He then returned to the table and returned his serrated blade and then picked up a smaller, keener blade and returned to Verolyn. Placing the blade just below the sternum, he applied pressure and the blade sunk in smoothly. He then pulled on the handle of the blade and brought it straight down, going across the rough cut he had made during their fight and finally stopping when he reached the pelvis. Pulling the knife out he returned it to the table and then returned to the body. Taking a hold of the folds of skin either side of the cut, he gave a sudden tug and tore them apart, causing all the internal organs to fall out. Some, already severed from the body during the fight, fell straight to the floor while others just dangled from the hole they came from.
Athalenda felt sick again and threw up through her gag, collapsing as she did so. The Orc looked at her, cackled loudly, and then proceeded to rip at all the organs where they hung. A horrid, sloppy tearing sound was heard and then the intestines came free, followed by the stomach and kidneys. Then, reaching into the now gaping chasm, his sharp claws went up and in a sharp tugging motion came back out holding the heart. Athalenda, barely recovered from nearly choking on her own vomit, began to shake in fear again as tears streamed down her face. But all she could do was watch as the Orc reached in again and pulled out Verolyn's lungs. He then picked up all the internal (though now external) organs and dropped them in a cauldron that was placed by the side of the table.
Athalenda was feeling woozy as she saw the orc return to the hooked corpse and proceed to place his hand inside again. He then shoved his hand sharply upward, further than he had gone previously, and howled in delight as he found the head ripping off in his hand as it protruded from the neck. The Orc then brought the head over to by his captive and proceeded to crack it against the flagstone floor. As the Night Elf passed back into unconsciousness, the last thing she saw was the skull cracking like an egg and the Orc licking and sucking on the brain that was revealed inside.
She awoke with a start as she felt something cold and wet hit her. Groggily opening her eyes, she could make out the vague form of her captor walking away with what looked like a bucket in his hand. Turning her head back to her compatriot's desecrated corpse, she couldn't help but look at what the Orc had done.
The Orc, seemingly realising that Athalenda was awake, returned to his task. Taking the body from the winch system it was hung by, the Orc proceeded to remove the meat hooks from the body and let the gutted torso fall to the floor. He then took hold of the feet and drove the meat hooks through the gap between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone of both feet and then reattached them to the winch and raised the body up to the point at which the remaining arm was just above the floor. He then returned to his tools and took the small, sharp blade and proceeded to slice the skin on the torso from sternum to where the neck used to meet the head. He then grabbed at the point where he had cut with his left hand and started to pull the skin away to reveal the ribs. As he pulled he sliced down in between the flesh and the rib to cut the muscle attaching the two together.
Upon reaching the side of the body, the Orc then sliced the skin off and then proceeded to repeat the procedure on the other side of the torso. When he had finished this he took both slabs of flesh over the the fire, where a metal lattice was sitting above the roaring blaze. He placed them both on the lattice and then walked back over to his captive, picking something up from the table as he returned. Sitting down about a metre away from her, he brought Verolyn's skull to his mouth and proceeded to suck on the hole that he had created earlier. Athalenda looked in horror at the Orc, his wild eyes flashing red. But as she looked into the eyes of her tormentor she saw the flash of red simmer and fade for a brief moment. In that moment the Orc's face all of a sudden looked sad, almost mournful. He stopped sucking on the skull and dropped it as his body seemed to go limp as he returned her gaze. Then, reaching out with a slightly trembling hand, the Orc brought his hand slowly up towards her face. But then the moment was gone, the red flashed back in his eyes and the hand that had been so close to her face raked quickly and savagely over her left cheek, drawing blood. Picking up the skull with his left hand, the Orc licked the blood from the claws on his right hand and stood up again, walking back towards the table. He then smashed the skull hard on the stone top and cackled in delight as is broke in two, revealing the prize within. Grabbing the brains, he tossed them into the cauldron and then picked up his knife and returned to the body.
The Orc then spent the next few minutes going between the body and the fire as he cut and then cooked the meat, filling the room with the smell of burned Elf meat. Finally all that was left was a headless upside down skeleton, mainly still attached by tendons, with some of the bones having detached themselves during the process and lying underneath it as it still hung upside down.
The Orc then pursed his lips and gave a shrill whistle as a pack of hungry wolves ran in and immediately went for the bones. Some went for the pile on the floor, others went for the hanging skeleton and very soon they ran out after the lead wolf who had managed to run off with the majority of the bones still intact. The Orc chuckled to himself as he returned to his meat and started to take the first slabs off and dropped them on the table. He then sat on a stool and devoured his meal, staring intently at his Elven captive as his teeth tore into the cooked skin of her sister Elf. With a wicked grin he ripped another mouthful as his eyes flashed bright red. Athalenda looked on in disgust, her eyes drawn to the spectacle in spite of her revulsion. She kept on watching as the Orc fed himself on the flesh and muscle he had cooking over the fire until it was all gone.
The Orc then got up and made his way to the cauldron he had thrown all Verolyn's internal organs into, picked it up and brought it onto the table. Looking up above the table she saw a large wooden stake coming down from the ceiling. She then noticed that it was covered in dried blood. Realising that her time had come, she suddenly started struggling in her bonds but to no avail. The rope was too tight and the chains gave next to no room for movement and soon she was tired out with her effort as the demented Orc looked on in amusement. Then he jumped down from the table and walked out of the room. A few minutes later there was a long and shrill shriek from the corridor and about five minutes later she saw why. The Orc had another prisoner!
The Orc came in dragging a fair-haired High Elf behind him. Her hands were bound tightly behind her back at her elbows and wrists and rope was also bound around her shoulders and waist. Her legs were also bound at the knees and ankles. Her face, however, was left untouched and her mouth continued to emit the piercing cry that she had come in with. When he reached the table, the Orc promptly thumped the High Elf on the temple, dazing her. He then grabbed her, turned her upside down and tied her legs firmly to the large wooden stake, at the mid-thigh, knees, calves and ankles. He then tied a long piece of rope to her left arm and took the other end and tied it to a beam at the side of the room. Then he repeated the same with her right arm and tied it to a beam on the other side of the room. He then made sure that the left arm rope was tight as the Elf slowly regained consciousness. Seeing where she was and her predicament she was about to shriek again when the Orc pulled hard on the rope on her right arm, causing a scream of pain. Pulling harder, he heard a satisfying pop, followed by a louder scream and then another pop and another loud scream. Both her shoulders had been dislocated.
Tying off the rope, the Orc then placed the cauldron directly below the now whimpering Elf and picked up his blade with the serrated edge. As with his previous subject, he proceeded to remove all clothing. The knife cut through the leather armour with ease and soon there was a pile of torn and sliced animal hide by the side of the cauldron. Putting down the the serrated blade, the Orc then picked up a very thin and pointed instrument, very similar to a nail only slightly thicker and a lot longer. He then proceeded to stab the prone High Elf on her inside thigh on both sides, several times in the lower abdomen, in each armpit and then several times in the back and thighs. As he watched the blood slowly trickle out of the wounds he had caused, down her body, into her hair and finally into the cauldron, the Orc gave a maniacal chuckle and walked out of the room, leaving his latest victim to slowly bleed to death as his other captive could only watch.
"We are the ones that want to choose; always want to play but you never want to lose."