The journey to Wrothgar turned out to be more pleasant than I expected. Kurog continued to be a fun and exciting companion. If anything, his mood grew even lighter the closer we got to the land of his birth. Along the way, we talked of many things, including Kurog's hopes to change some of the more oppressive and restrictive traditions of his people. "We should build great cities, cosmopolitan communities with places of learning and culture," Kurog said. "And cuisine. Lots and lots of cuisine. It's so much better than food."
When we finally crossed the border into Wrothgar, the mood among Kurog's company of Orcs turned somber and more serious. They knew the stakes of siding with Kurog against their clan chief and were prepared to deal with those consequences, but that didn't make marching toward possible doom any easier. Kurog, on the other hand, maintained a jovial, even childlike, glee. He had prepared for this moment his entire life, and he was ready to leap head-first into his destiny. I was afraid for him, but I was also honored to call him my friend. And, if I may be so bold, just watching Kurog riding tall and proud atop his horse made my heart beat a little faster. I guess I was a bit smitten with the charismatic Orc warrior.
At some point Kurog must have noticed that I was staring at him. He gave me a dazzling Orc smile, winked, and said, "Once I become chief, you could be one of my wives. Consider that an open invitation." I turned away, hoping he didn't see how flush my face had become. I didn't know if I should laugh or scream in angry mortification at such a ludicrous idea. But by the time I gathered my thoughts and turned back to confront him, Kurog was holding up one gauntleted hand. "From here," he said, "I go on alone."
Chief Bolazgar waited for Kurog. Four large, hulking Orc warriors stand beside the chief, their angry gazes locked on the younger Orc. And beyond them, it seemed to me like the entire clan had come out to see what was about to occur. "Are you going to grovel before your chief and beg my forgiveness, Kurog?" Bolazgar sneered. "No, not today," Kurog replied cheerfully. "Today, I challenge you for leadership of the clan."
Even from a distance, I could see that Chief Bolazgar was shaking with rage. "How dare you?" he bellowed. "Do you think you can best me in fair combat? Do you?"
Kurog shrugged. "As a matter of fact, I know I can best you. You've grown fat and weak while I've been fighting wars in distant lands," Kurog proclaimed. "In fact, I'm not sure there's going to be anything fair about this combat."
With a scream of pure hatred, Bolazgar drew his weapon and charged. In stark contrast, Kurog calmly unsheathed his sword and stood his ground. Then, with an economy of motion, he blocked the clan chief's initial, clumsy attack, and followed that with a single, devastating swipe. Bolazgar's head bounced three times before it came to rest against the boot of one of his honor guards.
The field was silent for a long moment. Then the first call went out, "Long live Chief Kurog." The rest of the clan took up the chant as each member, in turn, dropped to one knee before the powerful Kurog. He smiled. "Today begins a new day for the Orsimer!" Kurog proclaimed. "I will lead you to glory! On this, you have my word!"
And it was clear that I wasn't the only one who believed him.
|The Chronicles of King Kurog|
|The Chronicles of King Kurog, Book II||The Chronicles of King Kurog, Book III||The Chronicles of King Kurog, Book IV|