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Subject:The Ancient Chronicles, Vol. 3
Date:Sat Jan 24 19:46:48 1998

Well my young friends, I can feel the cold breath of death closing in around
me at night while I sleep.  My time here is short indeed, but there are many
more stories that I must share.  Tales that should not be lost simply because
one old and useless orc goes to the Great Pillaging and Feasting beyond. So,
once again, I take up pen and elfhide and do my best to record tales from when
the world was young.

This story is of an orc whom I never met, but was always one of my heros.  An
uncle of mine, who also bore the name of Avcom.  Avcom Mk. 1, to be exact.  In
his honor, I was called Avcom Mk. 2.  He died a year or so before I was born,
and its the story of his death that I want to tell.  Some still remember it,
and will attest to the deeds of the day.  If there is any justice, the cowardly
folk of Bree remember it too.

Now Avcom (the original) was what you might call a ...strange... orc.  The
runt of the litter, he was always smaller and weaker than his siblings.  Despite
this, he set out to become a warrior like the great Mogrash or Cavalier, two
of the biggest and nastiest orcs ever to roam the lands.  He trained himself in
the ways of the warrior by beating up on anything smaller than himself.
Unfortunately, very few things fell into that catagory.  Bugs, bats, and if he
were very lucky, baby trolls who'd wandered away from their mothers.  Over the
years he grew bigger, but was still the smallest and weakest of any hunting
party he managed to join.  The other orcs, not wanting him to slow them down,
and having more exciting things to kill than another orc, left him behind most
of the time. To keep himself entertained, he became an explorer.

These were the days when the orcs made their home near the ruins of the Last
Inn, right underneath the home of a luckless ranger and his family.  The Old
East Road choked out and died long before coming near to the home of that
abomination named Elrond, and Avcom knew it intimately.  He watched the Gods
secretly as they dug out the warrens that are now home to the Trolls.  He often
snuck around the swamps east of Bree where the mewlips roam free.  He roamed
everywhere.  All the isolation and the lonelyness tore at the fabric of his
mind however, and soon he was trying play mumbletypeg with bears and would spend
hours talking to the walls.

It was a sad state of affairs, and his siblings were thinking about putting him
out of their misery for good.  But then one day, something clicked.  His mind
was still off wandering around lost somewhere, but his body and muscles started
picking up some of the skills of a true warrior.  It helped take down the great
Setanta (as told in an earlier volume of the Chronicles), and was seen harrying
dwarves and hobbits in the Shire once.  With a few more years of training, he
could have become one of the greats, a Berserker to be thrown against the gates
of the strongest city.  He learned some of the tricks of the legendary Rogue,
an orc who could terrorize Bree by night, yet escape the best laid trap set to
catch him.  He even learned the art of fighting with a whip, the classiest, if
not the most dangerous weapon around.

Before he lived up to this promise however, his mind snapped completely.  As
the story goes, one evening he filled a sack with several pots of elf stew, grabbed a stick from the logpile that guarded the Orc Cave's secret rear entrance,
and trotted off towards Bree, yelling "Sancho, my lance!"  We have no idea what
he was talking about.

Alone, he snuck down the Old East Road, right up to the gates of Bree.  Outside
each gate, both the East and the West, he left a pot of Elf Stew, then he went
back to an old cabin he'd found nearby.  He rested there during the day, and
come nightfall returned to the gates.  Once again, he left a pot of stew at
each, but then he called out as loud as he could.  He screamed out a challenge
to the defenders of the town, daring them to take him on.  For most of the
night he yelled, and the cowardly citizens of the town yelled back, but none
came out to face a lone orc.  Have I mentioned that he wasn't in his right mind?
I thought so.  You see, he wasn't simply challenging them to a fight, he was
challenging them to a fistfight.  No weapons, no armour, no spells.  Just one
on one.  Eventually, a party of six or seven heros who went by the name of The
Boot Boys came out to defend the town, right near daybreak.  Each one had twice
the skill and experience in war as poor Avcom, but he didn't back down.  Unlike
the cowardly whities of today, the cowardly whities back then had a little bit
of backbone.  As they approached, Avcom stripped himself down to nothing,
tossing his weapon (a fraying whip) and his battered leather armor into the
weeds.  He emptied out his sack of elf stews, and stepped back to the crossroads
to fight.

As an interesting side note, I have it on good authority that a minor scuffle
broke out over the stews, as many young whities fought over who got to keep and
eat them.  And they say that orcs are bad!

One of the Boot Boys stripped down as well and stepped up to the crossroads,
while the rest formed a loose circle around the fighters, both to keep the other
Breefolk from interfering, and probably to kill Avcom, should he somehow win.
As the sun climbed higher in the sky, the doomed orc charged.  Fists swinging,
he dove at the whitie, running right into a boot that was coming at high speed.
From then on, the two pounded on eachother mercilessly.  Avcom fought with
everything... teeth, fists, knees, feet.  The fight lasted well into the
afternoon, but there was never any real doubt as to who would win.  Only a mad
orc would fight in the day, only one with a deathwish would fight against
someone with twice his skill.  Avcom's broken body was dragged into the forest,
and left for the wildlife to devour, while the whitie was carried off on his
comrade's arms to a celebration in honor of his glorious victory.

Avcom was an orc to be pitied, and one to be admired.  A young snaga, my father,
witnessed the whole fight from a secret hiding place, and brought the news back
to the caves the next night.  None there believed it, they couldn't imagine
anyone, not even the greatest of them, challenging a whole town alone.  They
couldn't imagine anyone with so little sense of self-preservation that he
wouldn't run and try to save himself when things began to look grim.  But my
father knew the truth.  And so did The Boot Boys, of days long ago.

Well youngsters?  Will any of you one day hear the call to action, and remember
this tale?  Its easy to be brave when you're the biggest and strongest, but
even the little ones can make you proud to be an Orc!  Strength is fine, magic
is handy, but to truly distinguish yourself, it helps to be just a little mad.

  -- Avcom Mk. 2, the Ancient Orkish Loremaster  (semi-retired)
(in honor of his 172nd birthday)

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