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Mathas Adventure, Part 1
Mathas woke up in the darkness of the cave. His friends had already departed on their adventure, but he had his own journey to go on. The party no longer needed his services now that they were accompanied by other warriors, and Mathas could put his skills to use elsewhere. After all, he had found his purpose.
He had spent the night in the cave that had once been Barton's refuge from his vile curse, now empty except for the packing half-orc. Mathas strapped on his black and red banded mail, a process that took longer than it should've. On the road, he rarely took his armor off, and he'd been on the road awhile, so he was a bit out of practice. The mail was well made, but after so much use, it was becoming well worn too. The black finish had numerous scuffs and scratches that revealed the glinting steel underneath, just like the scars of the man who wore it. The warrior chuckled at this thought.
After strapping on his numerous blades, Mathas placed his helmet over his head, put on his ragged cloak, and shouldered his pack. The walk would be long, but the goal made the time worth it. He stepped out of the round stone room, saying his goodbyes to the enchanted door and making sure to avoid the hallway's numerous traps. His footsteps echoed off of the tunnel's walls, the only sound other than his clanking gear and the tapping of his walking stick. It had been a long time since he had heard silence like this.
When Mathas reached the entrance of the cave, he felt the cool morning fog and took in the sun's first rays. It was a picturesque morning in the mountains. The path down was not too perilous, and by the end of the hike down, dew still clung to the patches of grass that adorned the foot of the mountain. As Mathas headed westward to exit the mountains and reach the road, he clung to the north end of the path. He wanted to avoid the camp of dwarves who hated him for his heritage. His orcish father may have granted him the strength of ten men, but it also earned him the hatred hundreds.
The journey's ultimate goal lay to the northwest, in a small refugee camp, but to cross the river to get there, Mathas would need to follow the road straight north. He hoped to reach Shadyvale, a usually abandoned town that on occasion became the host to patrols of the Vampire Lord's orcish hordes. Even if it was full of orcs, Mathas would rather clear it out and sleep in a building than have to spend the night outside. Although he was acquainted with roughing it, he would never call it a preferred experience.
His speed of travel was far improved traveling on his own, especially since he no longer had a halfling traveling with him. The disparity in leg sizes between even an elf and a halfling was enough to slow a group's pace down, but Jerome was no longer an issue. His main concern was less with travel time, and more with the danger of the roads. These days, a caravan was just as likely to contain a pack of skeletons as a group of merchants. Fighting didn't take up much time, but it put his life, and his mission, at risk. Hiding was safer, but it took up a significantly larger chunk of his day. Neither was preferable at this time.
As he walked, Mathas strummed his lute. He had learned to play from his previous group of associates' bard, Raven. He had learned a lot from that party as a whole, though not all of the lessons were practical. Several of those members he had come close enough to to call friends, and the others were at the very least trusted acquaintances. The playing brought back other memories too. Other groups, friends dead or long gone, tragic consequences that had been his fault. Mathas stopped playing.
Before the sun had begun to dip to far, the wandering warrior had reached his destination for the day. Shadyvale lay before him, appearing empty, which was a sight that Mathas welcomed. The huts and houses that once stood proudly in the town were now in disarray, choked with vines, full of holes, and sporting rotten wood from cracked floor to caved-in ceiling. Anything was better than outside however, especially without someone keeping watch. Before he could settle down for the night, he needed to sweep the town for monsters or other possible enemies of any kind.
Mathas' sweep revealed nothing but a few rats and a particularly sturdy house whose chimney could still hold a fire. He lit some gathered kindling and soon had a rabbit, nailed with a dagger earlier in the day, over the fire. Long with the rest of the wine from his skin, it made an excellent meal to cap off a day of wandering. Hot meals weren't always available on the road.

Mathas stood on the precipice of a tall cliff, overlooking the village. He glanced behind him to see the raiding party he was to lead. His blood ran fast, pushed by adrenaline. A fire burned in him, a fire that would soon be reflected in the town below. He raised one of his blades, a green tinged orc-blade, and let out a guttural war cry. “Attack! Bring swords to their men and fire to their homes! Let nothing go passed over!”
The orcs behind him began to release shouts of their own, and the whole cluster began to pour down the mountain like an avalanche. Soon the village was full of fire and blood. The earth was soaked with the life of those who had worked its fields. Mathas brought his blades down on any he came across, and the bloodshed did not end after those who could defend the village were slain. Mercy was given to no one. Soon, Mathas stood in front of a small girl. His swords were wet with blood, and the crimson ichor trailed from the tips of his blades to the severed heads of a young husband and wife. The child trembled before him, and he went to bring his blade down upon her, as he had to so many before, but he couldn't make his arms move. Mathas' eyes were locked with the girl's, and in them he saw the fire, and he saw himself. A savage snarl occupied his face, and he was less a man and more a beast, terrifying those whose gaze fell upon it. And in that moment, it terrified Mathas. Until now, he had learned to ignore his conscience, and he even took pleasure in the pain he caused. But now he stood paralyzed, an awakening of morality halting his strike.
“Do it.”
The command resonated throughout the burning hut, its suddenness pulling Mathas out of his shock. That bellow could belong to only one man.
“Quit wasting time and bring your sword down,” directed Grishnag. “No son of mine will be killed in a raid because he took to long to slay an easy target, and a burning hut came crashing down on him.”
“I can't,” stuttered Mathas. It was the only reply he could muster.
“Then out of the way and let me do it. I guess you've got too much of your mother in you after all. Should've gotten rid of the bitch when I had the chance.”
Mathas gripped his swords tighter. A new fire burned in him. A rage directed only at the orcish warlord behind him.
“Come on boy, the day won't wait. We can discuss this when the raids over.”
Mathas' arms flicked out faster than another word could pass from Grishnag's lips. The scowl from his face changed to horror as he saw the swords return to their rest at Mathas' sides. Grishnag fell to his knees, and then came apart, his body separated by two clean cuts at the neck and waist

The wanderer awoke in a cold sweat. Something other than his dream had taken him out of his slumber however. Mathas often had that dream, but that was not how it ended. Something had pulled him from it, and whatever it was had been around awhile, and wasn't concerned with keeping quiet. This was partially intuition, as Mathas was very hard to wake up, and partially based on the noise coming from one of the other huts in the shamble-town.
Thankfully the moon was bright, as one of the things that an orcish bloodline did not grant the warrior was any kind of night-vision. However that did put him at a slightly larger disadvantage in the stealth department. A towering muscle-bound fighter clad in armor was not very quiet after all. But Mathas did the best he could, and slowly approached the source of the noise. Some rather loud clanking and thumping echoed from one of the other less-destroyed huts.
Mathas peered through the door, and was surprised at what he saw. A red haired woman, obviously flustered by something, was taking off her plate mail, and she was not bothering to be quiet about it. She was in such a fuss, that she didn't even notice the half-orc at the door. Even if Mathas' hadn't recognized her face, he would have known that temper anywhere. He stepped into the door-frame, an act which required him to stoop down, and quietly whipered, “Erin, what are you doing here?”
Suddenly a sword was flashed at his throat. The woman's green eyes lit up fiercely, something that would've frightened the average trespasser, but Mathas stood firm. Suddenly the tension in the woman's arm faded, and she lowered her blade. Her scowl faded to a smile, showcasing the beauty of her freckled face.
“I could ask you the same question,” Erin replied. “I haven't seen you in at least four years. Why are you skulking around ruined villages?” At this point, she resumed removing her armor, carefully removing the steel plates and chain.
“I'm headed to pick up a few kids that I promised I would take on as apprentices. Right now, I'm needed less as a warrior, and more as a mentor. Where is Hubbin?”
“I was going to ask you the same thing. I haven't seen him in awhile, and after the last group I accompanied, I need to rendezvous with someone sane.”
“You traveled with an adventuring party? Tell me about them.”
“Our time was brief, and I left after the group's cleric managed to get almost all of us killed. The only survivors of the event were the bard, the druid, and me.”
A look of curiosity crossed Mathas' face. “A bard and a druid?” he inquired. “Tell me about them.”
At this point, Erin had stripped away her armor, and she had begun polishing it, removing the scuffs from the day's travel. “They were half-elves. Sisters I think. The druid was the party's leader, though after the cleric triggered that trap, there wasn't much left for her to lead. The bard had a little dragon friend that followed her around. I think it's name was Coglin. I really don't know much else, I stormed off after that near death experience. I figured whatever quest Goldar sent me on, I was better off performing it alone than with those people.”
Mathas chuckled slightly. “I think we met the same group. Though its members were likely different when I traveled with them. They had no cleric when I was there. But surely the druid and bard were the same. Raven and Scarlet?”
“Yes. They must've been more tolerable for you?”
“Those two never caused trouble, but they traveled with a rogue who could be a tad trying at times.”
Mathas leaned in to clasp the paladin in a firm embrace. “Good to see you again friend. Will you join me in my journey for a ways? I could use a traveling companion, and we may find Hubbin along the way. I intended to search for him after I gathered the children, so perhaps we'll have better luck together.”
“I would be delighted, but for now sleep is in order.” Erin stretched out on the remains of a table and wrapped her cloak around her, shutting her emerald eyes.
Mathas began to walk out, turning his back to the resting paladin. “Of course. Since there are two of us here, we should post a watch. I'll take the first shift, as I've already managed to get a few hours of sleep.”
The night passed quietly, with thin wispy clouds drifting across the bright silver of the moon, fading into the dark and starry sky. Soon, the painting of night was replaced by the first brush-strokes of dawn, and the two adventurers set off for the next leg of their journey.
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Origins Part Three
(Note: This picks up from the end of part 2, not 2.5. 2.5 Takes place in the middle of part 2.)
I traveled many ears after that, becoming a wandering warrior. I took odd jobs, tried mercenary work, and as a result, never found a permanent home. Not that I was ready for one. I needed a purpose. During that period, the longest I stayed in one place was a year and a half.
I had just turned nineteen and was traveling near the town of Scarrick. There was a cart headed for town, and nearby was an entire troop of goblins, ready to mob it. I ran to help and began cutting some down,, but the group was much too large for me to fight alone. Whatever this cart held was worth a lot. Though the goblins couldn't do much harm at once, the group was of an overwhelming scale. Every goblin I struck down was replaced by two more. They would overwhelm me before I would even be able to break half of their number.
I continued to slash through goblin after goblin, but the mob was much larger than I had previously thought. The swarm was about to overwhelm me when I felt a rush of strength. My swings seemed to find their mark on their own, and the goblins looked sluggish and tired.
A man stepped forth from the carriage. He was clad in armor of blue scales, adorned with gold filigree. He had a fine purple cape that billowed behind him as he drew his blade, a glowing golden longsword that radiated power. He raised his shield, which bore a set of balanced scales, and set forth breaking the goblins' ranks. His sword was like a razor, and if I weren't accustomed to battle, the might of his prowess would have frozen me in awe. Soon after, a woman with fiery red hair leaped from the cart as well, and her battle fury seemed to blaze brighter than her hair. With renewed strength, the three of us mowed the goblins down.
After the skirmish, the man in blue scales approached me. "Thank you for your assistance," he said, quite cheerily. "I'm Hubbin Foxworth." He extended his hand, which I shook. He seemed very chipper for someone who'd just fought an army of goblins.
"Why are you speaking to him!" Cried the woman. "He's an orc, Cut him down!" She began to approach me, sword drawn.
"Hold Erin!" commanded the man. "Reach out with your mind. Do you sense any evil from him?"
"Well, no... But he's still an orc! He can't be trusted."
"Calm down Erin. That temper of yous will get you into trouble. You are not behaving the way a paladin should."
She chose to leave it at that. It sounded like they had had similar discussions before.
After she had settled down, Hubbin reintroduced himself as a paladin of Goldar, and the girl with him was Erin Winchester, his apprentice. I told him who I was, and he asked what I was doing out here. I told him my story and explained my search for a purpose. Hubbin suggested I travel with him.
"After all, you fight as fiercely as a red dragon," he claimed. I had seen Hubbin fight, and decided he probably knew just how fierce that was.
Hubbin had a family in Scarrick and he was going to be staying in the city for awhile. I met his wife and son, who was a member of the guard, and managed to not get into too much trouble. We trained, quested, and fought against evil, and for awhile, I began to feel like I had found the purpose I was searching for. At least, it was the closest I'd come to finding it so far.
During that time I commissioned a suit of armor. Black banded mail with pauldrons and and a helmet resembling dragons, painted red. If I fought like a red dragon, I figured I should look the part.
Eventually, Hubbin and Erin had to move on, and although we had spent a great year and a half, my continued presence would impede the long term work of a paladin. Eventually, my travels led me to Barton and the druid's party, where maybe now I will find the purpose that I seek.
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Origins 2.5
I and three others, including Folthar, were on a scouting run. Folthar and the two other warriors had been sent to learn from me, the tribe's strongest fighter- other than my father, of course. We were investigating a cave near our camp that seemed to have acquired some new occupants.
Peeking inside, we saw a troll slumbering next to a heaping pile of decomposing orcs. Now we knew what had happened to our previous scouting parties. After a brief discussion, we decided it would be safest to kill the troll in its sleep. I began to creep slowly forward, but Folthar shoved me aside. He ran forward, axe raised, making far to much clamor. He didn't even get halfway to the troll before his noise awoke the slumbering monster.
With a single sweep of its claw, the troll knocked Folthar's arm off, and it followed deftly with another swing that threw Folthar to the edge of the cave. As he began to bleed out, the lumbering beast rushed forward. It took a terrific chomp out of one of my companions, and tore into the others chest with a flashing swipe from its claws. I couldn't respond to any of this, the whole experience had me frozen still.
The troll tackled me and, my shield flew across the room. Thankfully I held a firm grasp on my sword. Slobber and blood dripped from the troll's teeth as it stood over me, ready to sink its fangs in. Time slowed down, and I reached for one of my fallen companion's swords, bringing both of our blades into deep slashes across the monster's chest.
It reeled back screeching as blood gushed from its chest, and I drew back as quickly as I could, entering a combat stance. I liked the feel of the two blades. The weight felt much nicer, and my stance seemed to come much more naturally.
The troll began to recover, its wounds slowly closing, as adrenaline began to pump through me. I rushed in swinging both blade wildly, my vision fading to red as I went into a berserk.
When I came to the troll was dead and I was panting heavily. I sparked a torch and lit the beast up. Folthar was still breathing, though his breaths were weak and shallow. The other two were dead. I added there bodies to the flames and carried my half brother back to the camp.
I slept for a whole day, passed out from the ordeal. After getting out of my tent I saw that Folthar had been outfitted with a weaponzed hook to replace his arm. It would ruin any chance for him to use a shield, not that he ever did anyways, but it seemed to suit him. Brutal, sharp, and menacing. I decided I would no longer be using a shield either. Two swords feel very nice.
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Origins Part Two
My mother died a year after my trial. The shamans said she was perfectly fine, she'd simply lost the will to live. I knew why. Fifteen years oppressed in an orc camp and a son you'd once been proud of becoming a murderer would do that. I felt ashamed. I knew she'd had hopes I would become more than that, and I'd let her down. I killed her. I decided I would honor those hopes. I would stand up to my father and stop this tribe's raids.
I confronted my father, chief Grishnag. I told him we were doing wrong, that this tribe could change its ways. We had killed my mother.
"I know you loved her!"I said. "You kept her alive unlike your other trophies. You treated her better than most of your wives, and she was a prisoner! And now she's dead..."
"Maybe I shouldn't've kept'r," he growled. "She seems to 'ave made ya soft. No son of mine will be spoutin' that kind of trash. No whore is worth givin' up the glory of battle, boy. Now you know that speakin' out against yur chief is a punishable offense. You'll 'ave to be punished..."
I took fifty lashes to the back that afternoon. In the Mountain Claw fashion, they were tightly grouped. You couldn't have scars from punishment taking up all your space for battle scars.
The shame of public humiliation hurt more than the whip, and together they far outweighed the shame I felt about raiding. After that, I acted as an orc is supposed to. I killed, raided, burned, and slaughtered, and I definitely made use of that leftover room for scars. In a battle with a town's mage I received a large burn on my back. I a few scars on my face in a knife battle with Folthar. He wished to steal my place in line for leadership. He connected with two slashes. I got in ten before he surrendered.
(Note: Mathas Origins 2.5 takes place here. This will be posted separately, as it's fairly long and is really kind of it's own anecdote. You may go read that now, if I've posted it yet, or you may keep in mind it takes place here and read it later.)
When I turned seventeen, my life changed drastically. Our raiding party went on raid like normal. We set the village ablaze, and it stood burning, bodies covering the ground, and blood soaking into the dirt. And I looked into a child's eyes.
We were in her home, the building beginning to catch with flame. She was frozen with fear before me, her parents laying slain before me. I had my sword raised, but I too stood frozen. I couldn't strike her down.
"Kill her." I heard Grishnag command. He stepped in slowly, and the girl began to whimper, her eyes flooding with tears.
"Cut 'er up! Get moving!" my father shouted.
"S'wat I was afraid of." He spat. "Ya' got too much a the woman in ya'. It's made you soft. I shoulda' gotten ridda' her before you even popped out." I gripped my swords more tightly. I could be berated, but I still felt ashamed about what had happened to my mother, and I couldn't have him stand there and insult her.
"Move outta' the way!" he roared. "I'll git'r myself."
I blacked out for a moment. All I saw was red as my blades flashed. The girl cowered in a corner. Grishnag's torso fell from his waist, and his head rolled as it collided with the ground.
"Come on." I said as I picked up the girl. It was too much for her at this point, ans she had winded up fainting.I rushed out of the burning village with her. Dropping the girl off quietly in a nearby village, I began a long career of wandering.
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Origins Part One
I am Mathas Legion-Breaker. I am a half-orc born to a beautiful human mother, Rea, and a powerful orc chieftain, Grishnag Legion-Breaker. He had brought my mother home as one of his "trophies" from a raid, but unlike most of the women he took, he kept this one. I don't know much about m mother's side of the family, but the Legion-Breaker's are one of the most powerful clans in our tribe, the Mountain Claws, and for the past two hundred years, all but one chieftain had been a Legion-Breaker. It's said our line holds the blood of trolls, ogres, giants, and great orc warlords. Some even make the claim that Salphem, the first Legion-Breaker, had a half-dragon son. But most of the claims about our bloodline are just legend.
I'm strong like my father, but not dumb like most orcs. My mother always claimed I got that from her, but my father said I got it from him. "The Legion-Breaker's best feature," he called it. "A chieftain's brain! Smart enough to be the tribe's shaman, wise enough to know there are better options, and brave enough to lead the tribe into battle." Whoever I got it from, there's no doubting that I got my dad's ugly mug.
Even though I'm only half orc, my father groomed me from a young age to inherit leadership. Well, maybe groomed isn't the right word. Orc life is not exactly glamorous, and power is not exactly inherited. More like, taken through to the death combat when the chief's son surpasses him in power. Anyway, since I could pick up a sword, which is pretty young for an orc, I was prepared for battle. And though the sword was my primary curriculum, the pen did not go ignored. My mother taught me to read and write the common tongue. I never learned to write in orc. Only shamans and priests have that privilege in our tribe.
The first noteworthy event in my life came when I was fourteen, the orc's age of manhood. On the appointed day of the year, all of us that had come of age that year were prepared to go on a raid to test our mettle. This included me and my half brother Folthar. I strapped on some leather armor, took up a sword and shield, and was ready to head out. We traveled with a band of experienced warriors to a nearby village, and razed it. We burned it to the ground and killed everyone except for those who were take for trophies. When we returned, those of us who had proved ourselves received our warrior's bands, red tattoos that circled our right arm, signifying our status as soldiers. Those of us from powerful families also received our clan marks. I felt proud as the marks were applied, beaming as my father praised me and Folthar, but then I saw my my mother. She was silent and sad, and she didn't speak to me for several weeks.
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