Note:

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 13


            Crag walked in Dionne’s front door.  He explored the house as usual.  Confinement didn’t agree with him, but he understood the need.  He heard sounds of battle coming from the room of screens as he called it.  Growling, he moved quickly to the room ready to take on whatever danger he found.
            He found instead, Andre sitting with four other young human males and one human female.  They sat on the soft chairs around the room.  Three of them sat on the long soft chair.  The fattest one sat on the floor, stroking a tiny brush over something in his hand similar to how Dionne painted her nails before work.
            On the larger screen in the center of the room along the wall facing the chairs, Crag saw extraordinary action moves as someone who looked like an elf swung around a beast resembling an elephant.  The elf shot arrows into the elephant riders then fired arrows into the back of the elephant’s head.
            “Shit!  My mom’s boyfriend,” Andre said under his breath to his friends.
            Andre’s friends saw Crag and immediately lost interest in the action.
            “Dude!”  The fat one on the floor said, standing as fast as his bulk would allow.
            Crag expected adverse reactions to his appearance.  The humans of this world had limited experience with Orcs.  He remembered the back story Dionne thought of for him.
            “Apologies,” Crag said.
            Andre pressed a button on the apparatus in his hand.  The action and sound stopped on the large screen.
            Andre’s five friends stared.  One turned on the overhead light.  Crag blinked the change of light into his red irises.  His brown skin resembled Andre’s shade.  Crags hair grew stubbly on his head.
            “I am aware my appearance is unorthodox.  I have a severe under bite,” Crag said.
            The bulky male took a step toward Crag.  “Dude.  You are huge.”
            Crag nodded.  “Yes, I am larger than the average human.”
            “Crag,” Andre said.  “These are my friends.”  Andre pointed around the room as he named his friends.
            Kermit stood tall and thin.  He had large eyes behind glasses.
            Wrench wore a bandanna with black grease stains under his fingernails.
            Fish dressed bundles in an overcoat with long sleeves and a hood.  He proclaimed to always be cold.
            Rant, the female, stood about half as tall as Crag.  She wore spiked pink and blue hair.
            The fat male, as Crag regarded him, had the name Minion due to his desire to paint everyone’s figures before ‘Dungeons & Dragons.’
            Minion explained with a wet lisp.  “D&D is a game where you and a group of friends fight monsters and have adventures in a fantasy land.”
            “Hrm.”  Crag considered.  Having actually fought monsters in his life, he wasn’t so far impressed.  “Your names are not like most human names.”
            Minion said, “Well, Crag isn’t exactly heard every day.  Is it Crag like the rock?”
            Crag said, “Yes, I am Crag of the Rock–.”
            He stopped himself before saying his name as an orc chief would.  “Crag Rockshadow, is my name.”
            “That sounds like an orc name,” Rant said.  “Crag, chieftain of the Rock Shadow clan.”
            Crag smiled subtly.  “I am merely possessed of an odd human name.  Where do yours come from?”
            Kermit said, “They come from our D&D characters, conveniently based on ourselves.  Kind of amplified versions of ourselves.  For example, I took my name from Kermit the Frog and my character is a green skinned wood elf bard.”
            Crag nodded.  He recalled a similar elf he may or may not have slain in battle.
            Wrench said, “My character is a gnome inventor.  He doesn’t fight much, but is always building new contraptions for the team to use.  In my life, I work on cars.”
            Crag noted the necessity of goblins and gnomes for machinery.
            Fish said, “My character is a merfolk rogue who is always cold at least outside of water.  So am I.”  Fish chuckled.
            Rant said, “My character is a human paladin.  She has had to fight her way into a leadership position, but people learn to respect her after they catch her sword or her overly wordy explanations on various subjects like gods or monsters or whatever.”
            Crag resisted the urge to mention cleaving a paladin’s head in the battle before being sent into this realm.
            Andre said, “My character is a Halfling ranger.  He wields a slingshot.  He’s pretty good.  We call him, Andre the Giant Killer as he’s taken down more than a few on his own.”
            Crag asked, “How does this relate to your real self?”
            Andre scrunched his body uncomfortably.  “No comment.”
            Minion said, “I’m a half-orc from a proud clan of warriors, but I’m a healer.”
            Crag growled.  “You allow yourself to be called Minion?  An insult to your clan.”
            Minion didn’t back down.  “Minion means servant.  I get most of my life’s enjoyment from serving others.  I am graduating college as a psychologist.  I like to bring people to their healthy selves.  Also, my character has wicked damage dealing capabilities.”
            “As a proper orc should,” Crag replied.
            “What makes you the orc expert?” Rant asked accusingly.
            Crag wanted to tell the truth, but instead he stammered, “I-uh-have played other games with orcs in them.”
            “What kinds of games?” Minion asked.
            Crag said slowly, “The-uh-Legend of-Torxania.  I played an orc chieftain.  We built a grand city and the beginnings of an enlightened civilization.  The last battle I was able to engage was against a powerful human wizard Set who sent me to another realm.  I have been unable to return to my home world.”
            “Intricate,” Wrench said.
            Fish shivered.  “You know, D&D is kind of like the movie we are watching.  The Lord of the Rings.  It’s the story of a war between humans, elves, dwarves and hobbits against the dark forces of Saruman and his legions of goblins, orcs and uruk-hai.”
            “Do you want to watch with us?” Rant asked.
            “Certainly.”  Crag sat down next to Fish’s chair.
            Rant changed the DVD’s from the one they had in the player for Fellowship of the Ring disc 1.  Andre asked, “What are you thinking?”
            Rant turned.  “It’s only right that Crag start from the beginning.  I think the best way to welcome our new friend is with the whole saga.  Plus he’s super cute.  Anyone have a problem with that?”
            Andre grumbled in the corner of the room at first, but after a half hour he retook his seat and allowed himself to be engrossed with his friends.
            Nearly twelve hours later the last ending closed the third movie.  A transfixed Crag shook himself out of his stupor.  “That was a remarkable tale.  I did not appreciate the way the orcs were portrayed or treated by the uruk-hai.  Let one of those fools lay a hand on me and he would pull back a stump.”
            Crag looked at his new friends and coughed.  “So, this is what Dungeons & Dragons is like?”
            Wrench said, “Essentially.  Except, you imagine the battles as you fight them.”
            Crag nodded.  “I understand.  I imagine battle quite a lot.  Let us play.”
            Andre stood and stretched.  “Not tonight.  I think all of us need to get some sleep.”
            Fish, Wrench, Kermit and Minion took their leave.  Crag sat next to Fish’s former chair and Andre sat close to Rant.  Andre put one of his hands over Rant’s knee.  She didn’t brush it away.
            “Say Crag,” Andre started.  “Could you go see where my mom is?”
            Crag replied, “She is almost done with her work for the evening.”
            Andre said, “She might appreciate someone to escort her home.”
            “Arnie will be using his horseless carriage for her.”
            Andre insisted.  “Really Crag.  Isn’t there somewhere else you want to be?”  Andre made a couple concerted head jerks away.  Rant giggled.
            Crag sniffed the air and understood.  “Very well.  You wish to mate with the girl before your mother returns.”  Rant giggled harder.  Crag stood.  “May your pups be strong and wise.”
            Rant burst out laughing, holding her stomach.  Andre’s skin darkened in embarrassment.
            Crag walked out and closed the door.
            Rant sat back up, laughter still spasming her.  “So, you wish to mate me?  Sounds hot.”  Rant mounted Andre and pushed him into the couch.  “No kids… pups, though, no matter how strong or wise.”
            Andre lost all contempt for Crag in Rant’s embrace.

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