Some character's names are changing from their original denotation.
Crag = Krag
Teej = Tej
This note will be removed when the changes are applied to all entries on this blog.
text marked with italic tags are meant to be in italics and will be so in the final, publishable draft.

Chapter 1

    Lightning snapped overhead as Dionne strode to her car after work. She wasn't proud of the nights spent in Louie's Booty Palace, but it put her kids through school and now it was her turn. Her son, Andre graduated two months ago and her daughter, Niya already had most of her way paid. Both kids were on the right track and Dionne wanted the same for herself. She wanted to run a business, not like Louie's... a bookstore maybe. Moon shone overhead which was enough light for her, but clouds rolled in a little too fast and the light above her red Honda burnt out again.
    "I'll have to make sure Louie takes care of that before tomorrow. I have enough problems with creeps following me to my car without giving them ideas about a dark parking lot with Brown Sugah." Brown Sugah was her dancer name, not the most original, but most of the time her clients didn't care what her name was anyway.
    Creepy Toby was one of her regulars and standing next to her car. He was creepy, sure, but he had never expressed any dangerous tendencies. This, however, was troubling. His white skin shown in the quickly clouding moonlight.
    "I told you already, Toby," Dionne said. "We can't have any contact outside of the Palace. I'll dance for you all you want in there though."
    "But, I want more, Dionne," Toby said with a slight lisp.
    She never told him her real name.
    "Toby, you need to go. Arnie! Help!"
    Toby rushed forward with a white cloth in his hand.
    A crash of lightning hit the pole next to Dionne's car crashing the pole down onto her car and startling Toby. What could only be described as a void opened up next to the fallen pole. Running out of the void came a huge, hulking, man... thing.... Dionne didn't know what to be more afraid of, Creepy Chloroform Toby or whatever this was.
    The man beast had a huge axe in his hand and screamed in a low rumble that vibrated Dionne's heart. His brownish skin matched her own and there was a lot of it. Not only was he easily over seven feet tall, he looked to be at least twice as wide as Toby as he stomped his way forward, at first not comprehending that something was different.
    He swung his axe hard and it cleaved Toby's midsection. Dionne jumped back as the axe swung, but was still covered in blood as she hit the concrete and her heels kicked off of her feet.
    The beast stopped running and smelled his axe. He growled and turned to the woman on the ground and sniffed at her. His sonorous voice said, "Human."
    Dionne looked up from her position on the concrete. She saw Arnie, the bouncer, half running towards the two of them.
    "Arnie! Stop! Get away!"
    The giant man-thing hefted his axe and ran towards the bouncer. Dionne, against her better judgment scrambled up to her feet and ran after the man-thing. She could walk well in her heels, men from miles around wolf-whistled and cat-called. Without her heels she could challenge the best sprinters from the local high school. She caught up to the man-thing. She jumped and wrapped her arms around his shoulders as well as she could and her legs on his waist. She slapped the chloroform cloth napkin onto his extended underbite. His bottom canines protruded from his lips, they were pointed, but not sharp. She held onto his head with both hands as he struggled to a stop.
    Arnie trotted to a stop as the man-thing dropped his axe and lost consciousness, crumbling to the concrete.
    Dionne was stuck beneath the giant's massive body. She sighed in relief and looked up at Arnie who was no small man. "Can you help me up please?"
~ * ~
    Crag of the Rockshadow Clan dreamt.
    The last thing he remembered was the muddy, bloodless battlefield. Years before, when Crag was a pup he watched his father, the Chieftain Goor, walk into the mists to this battlefield, never to return. The orcs on that day met with the Grand Wizard Set and his army. Orcs and Humans were lost on that day, many to death, but many to a fate said to be worse, dissolution.
    Crag grew up as the Chieftain's son and it was by blood rite he would one day assume control of the clan, if he could take it. His father's best friend, Asus, took control of the Rockshadow Clan and lead it competently for years. The clan was one of the few in the area that could read Common and Asus made sure that his warriors were not only powerful, but intelligent. He encouraged outside of the tent thinking and diplomacy in lieu of intertribal squabbling. Only when all other methods were exhausted did Asus resort to battle.
    Woe to the enemies of Asus when they could not find another way to resolve differences. Orc, Human, Elf, Centaur, Dwarf and all the other races of Torxania knew to avoid battle with Asus of the Rockshadow Clan at all costs.
    Crag was his best student. When Asus finally grew too old to hold his position, he knew Crag would be a worthy successor. As by rite, there had to be leadership by combat. Asus fought as hard as he could and left Crag with some remarkable scars, but was defeated. To leave Asus alive would be insult, so Crag took his head with respect and in honor bestowed the head to his family to bury while the body was offered to the gods as sacrifice.
    Crag lead the Rockshadow clan with the same strength and intelligence as his predecessor and the idea of literacy and intelligence bled into other neighboring Orcish clans. Soon the Bloodwater Clan and Yellowhand Clan joined them to build their first city of Cheeyeeglu. It was not only the greatest Orc city, it was the first of its kind and brought respect to the Orcs as a race. But strife in Torxania was inevitable.
    The Grand Wizard Set was still present and still had a distaste for Orcs. Emissaries were sent to Cheeyeeglu to inform the Orcs they would need to pay tribute to the Wizard or the city would be destroyed.
    This kind of insult would not go uncountenanced and Crag led his force to battle in the ancient battlefield to fight for the pride of his race and the loss of his father. His forces ran towards Set's army of Humans. The ground rumbled. Crag saw the first few bolts of lightning hit some of his comrades, but he kept running forward. He slashed his way through Humans in his way. He dodged more than the normal Orc. He nearly made his way to the wizard who did not appear at all troubled.
    "Just like your father," the wizard said.
    Crag raised his axe in anger and ran forward. The last thing he saw was the lightning enveloping him.
    The world around him changed.
    Crag's eyes snapped open to a headache. He looked up and tried to move. He felt straps, many straps holding him down. There may have been chains included. He struggled and roared.
    Dionne ran into the room. "Hey, hey, hey, hey, quiet down Mister, you'll wake my kids."
    Crag's wide eyed glare was an arrow into Dionne. Dionne's motherly protective glare was equally powerful and Crag stopped struggling and roaring. He sighed in resignation, but was as angry as ever.
    Dionne closed the door behind her and sat down next to the man-thing. "So, let's start. Do you speak English?"
    Crag growled a little. "Do you speak Common Tongue?"
    Dionne said, "Well, I don't know what that is, but I think we understand each other. If I let you go, will you behave?"
    Crag grunted. "I am no dog to behave at a master's feet."
    Dionne said, "You might not be, but if you want a chance to get up and take a piss, you better not break anything."