A leaf was slowly falling towards their face.
It was golden, three-tongued, and burning with fire.
Last one wasn't hyperbole.
It was all sort of their fault.
But then, everything always was.
That's why everyone called them Slag.
The trees hadn't always been on fire, but they had been on fire before.
That had been their fault too.
Being the smallest Ork in a tiny Orkin village, reporting to a tiny Orkin warlord who somehow believed he had the brass balls of a god, Slag wasn't exactly well cared for.
Their name was their job. They were an Ork, after all.
The blacksmith beat the metal, made the weapons. Tossed the slag in a pile.
Molten metal twisted and smouldered, and Slag would grab it by the handful, and toss it into a cauldron of water, and when that was full, kick it down the hill into the dumpsite.
When the dumpsite was full, Slag would summon the demon, who would demand some strange price, then vanish with the lot.
The demon's prices weren't helping their standing with the rest of the tribe.
Slag craned their neck, looking up at the red fiery, and rather horned creature, "Say again?"
The deep earth-rumbling voice laughed, "I want you to sing! Sing like a girl! Like a tiny little human girl!"
Slag winced, "I am a girl, demon." 1
The creature blinked in surprise, "You? Little squelchling?"
Slag shrugged, "I'm a girl. I don't got tits... I ain't pretty. But I am."
The demon winced, "Figure out which god cursed you little girl... After you sing."
Singing? An Ork?
The demon would go, and she'd be blamed there was no room in the dump, and then the Orklord would be in her face. Again.
Then threaten to marry her to his son. Again.
The demon laughed, "Last chance, little orkling."
She coughed nervously, and then a squeaking voice emerged, singing a quiet rhyme she'd overheard one day.
Something about stars and diamonds. Humans were weird. 2
Unfortunately, her voice was less like a starlet, and more like diamonds scraping across sandglass.
The demon shreiked and disappeared back into their realm.
Without the slag.
She winced, glancing towards the village, "Orkcakes."
A hand like iron clasped her head, "Slag."
She smiled weakly up at her father, and at his one eyes staring out from a bushy grey beard. 3
The warrior released her and spoke gruffly, "Was that you singing, again?" 4
She blushed, looking down in shame, "The demon's price."
The old man groaned and reached for a whip on the wall, "Please tell me he took the slag."
"I don't lie, father." She answered. 5
He winced and glared at the doorway, unravelling the whip, preparing to hit the next person who came in. "Go to you room, Slag."
"It's my honour." She crossed her arms, pretending not to notice that her chest didn't show any bigger, "I want to defend it."
"Now, Slag." He growled through his tusks.
She turned and moped away into her bedroom.
She couldn't fight, all she could do was listen to the glorious blood-curling screams as the emissaries dies. 6
Slag picked some metal from beneath her fingernails and flung it into the wall, pinning a fly by one wing. 7
It wasn't fair.
She wanted a real fight.
Why did boys get all the fun?
The guts and the murder?
All she got was... Slag.
An axe blade broke through her wall briefly, before being pulled back quickly, followed by a strangled sound.
She rolled her eyes and flopped onto her straw bed, staring at the ceiling tiredly.
Humans made life look so simple.
Find a man, get pregnant, take care of the litter until you died.
Just cooking, singing and cleaning.
She licked the edge of her tusk, yawning. This was going to be another, she must get married because she's useless argument with the Orklord. Which would inevitable lead to my son is too stupid, fat and ugly to possibly get married, and then... Ew.
She didn't want the bastard.
He certainly wanted her though, all drooling and slurping.
She wanted to be a Knight. 8
That was it. All of it. Her only dream.
A glorious warrior, protecting the weak, hunting the monsters that pray on people in the dark. 9
Her sword would have a name, and glow with power when evil was near. 10
She would yell out it's name, and light up the dark.
Then she'd kill the bad guy, cut off his head, and ride home with it, and stake it to her wall. 11
Really? Wow. Never would have guessed... But orks are always hard to apply gender to.↩
Understatement. What other species looks around themselves in wonder and decides blowing stuff up is the best way to get something out of the ground?↩
Stories on exactly how he lost his eye vary. Most involve a dragon, a bet, and a gallon ale. And perhaps a wet, old sock.↩
Oh gods. She'd tried to sing before? Had birds died?↩
Not strictly true. She did lie, but only about unimportant stuff. Like what she wanted for dinner. Or what job she wished she had. Or who she wanted to marry. Nothing big.↩
It's an Orkin thing. Send some messenger to die when your upset with your opponent, and then turn up when their bloodlust was sated. Good way to not die.↩
She was a practiced hand at this now. Sociopath, or bored teenager? Let the public decide! Blast her in this week's Orks magazine!↩
... Should someone tell her human knights usually hunt down orks?↩
So... Hungry orks. Seriously. Someone should tell her.↩
So, it would always be lit up. Because you're on Ork, girl.↩
Oh geeze. Are you the hero, or the villain, Slag?↩