Chapter 1: To Save a Life
Mind, body, and soul. These are the three powers that govern our world. Some manipulate others into doing what they see as right, others force their ideals onto the world refusing to yield to anyone, and for the rest, the world is but a monster from which no one can escape.
As an Orc my life is different from a human’s. We are simply one being under the same flag, it has always been that way. Those who could fight fought and those who could not, bred new orcs that could. We share our burdens and we share our strengths; our last name is our clan. We do not except help from outsiders, we do not involve our selves in other’s war, and we do not save another orcs life.
To die is an honor in the orc clans as it means the stronger ones will prosper in weak’s stead. So why? Why in the middle of battle did I reach into a wyvern’s mouth to rescue a fellow orc? Was it because he was one that came from my womb? Orcs do not feel motherly love as humans do. We breed to make new orcs and that is all. So why? Why would I risk my strong body for a weaker one?
Gretchen: (Awakes surrounded by trees) W-What happened? I know that my body is strong, ugh, so why do I feel so weak? M-My arm, my right arm where is my right arm!
She slowly stands to her feet and starts walking in a direction.
Gretchen: I just need to move. Keep fighting, keep fighting, agh! (she falls to her knees) Is this where I die? I…no…I have to…I have to keep fighting. No matter what, I won’t concede even to my last breath. I will die, fighting to live!
With her right arm missing and several cracked ribs and open wounds, Gretchen keeps stumbling forward fading in and out of consciousness until she finally collapses. Everything grows black as she fades away one last time. Surely this is the end, unless.
Her eyes flicker as they start to open on two small girls on either side looking down at her with excitement in their eyes. To Gretchen’s right, an elf with goggles on her forehead and a long brown pigtail sprouting out one side of her head, she looks to be a young mechanic of some sort. The girl across from her is a human who looks slightly timid with eyes that glow purple through her light blue hair. There’s a glimmer of relief in her excitement as she speaks up first.
Leonie: She’s waking up!
Kyra: See, I told you it would work.
Sylvain: (From behind them) Girls give her some space.
A tall brown-haired elf steps forward. He’s much older and seems bulky, not like a doctor, more like a blacksmith. In fact, his apron looks rough and his hands even more so. In contrast his voice seems soft and caring yet stern.
Sylvain: Take it easy now.
Gretchen: Where am I?
Sylvian: Kyra, Leonie, can you two wait outside?
Kyra: what? but dad...
Leonie: Mr. Ortiz shouldn’t we stay nearby in case something goes wrong?
Sylvain: (puts his hand on her head) It'll be fine Leonie I’ll only be a minute; you girls can wait just outside, and I promise I’ll call you if anything happens.
Both girls: Okay.
The door shuts behind them as Gretchen gets a better look at the room. Tools decorate the wall and the stone floor is covered in ash. This is a workman’s table, used by blacksmiths and engineers.
Sylvain: (sigh) So what’s your name?
Gretchen: It’s Gretchen…did you, save my life?
She looks down at a mechanical arm in place of the one she lost.
Sylvain: Well, that human girl is Leonie, she kept you alive. But that arm there is my daughter Kyra’s handy work. She’s quite the mechanic.
Sylvain’s voice becomes more serious now as if interrogating Gretchen on her motives.
Sylvain: So, what were you doing before you came here?
Gretchen: We were hunting wyverns along the eagle peak mountains. One grabbed hold of my arm and tossed me, I think. When I came to, I didn’t know where I was, just started walking.
Sylvain: Yeah well you walked a pretty far distance, over 300km with a missing arm to a small town just outside the city of Anvil. In case you didn’t know that’s in the opposite direction from the orc tribes. I’m sorry but it all seems too unbelievable to be the truth.
Gretchen: It’s the truth, I just got lost is all.
Sylvain: Whatever the case, (tosses coin bag to her) I want you gone...tonight.
Gretchen looks to him with a glare of distrust but knows his suspensions are understandable. She nods her head as Sylvain nods back in agreeance then turns to the door.
Gretchen: One more question. Why did they save me?
Sylvain: Because they’re naïve.
He let’s Kyra and Leonie back in as they rush to Gretchen with a smile. Gretchen overwhelmed by confusion can’t help but smile back.
Later that night Gretchen leaves the coin bag on the table and under the cover of night fleas the forge. At the edge of town, she finds a strange looking carriage driver with long white hair partially tide back. He looks to be slightly younger than Sylvain, his left eye green and his right eye hazel. He stands to greet Gretchen with a bow revealing dark tattered robes and a gold ring on his finger.
Driver: Headin somewhere my lady?
Gretchen: Yeah, but I don’t have any money.
Driver: Well then perhaps we can make a trade. I’ll get you where you need to go as long as you tell me the story behind that arm.
Gretchen:(ponders this for a second then climbs in) A wyvern ate it.
Driver: Ah. not well versed in story telling I see. But that was how you lost your arm. I’m more interested in your new one.
Gretchen: Apparently, I went the wrong way and ended up here. I thought I was dead but then woke up to two little girls staring at me. One saved my life and the other gave me this arm. I think their names were Leonie and Kyra.
Driver: Ah the Ortiz girl, I know all about her and her little friend. Leonie is a magic user, she has a lot of magical power, but her parents never really taught her how it works. Kyra on the other hand, poor thing, grew up in a family of powerful magic users but has no magical power whatsoever. Brilliant girl, she knows everything thing there is to know about magic though can never cast it. But where one is weak the other is strong thus making the perfect duo always growing stronger together. You’re one lucky lady to have been found by them.
Gretchen: Lucky? I’m not familiar with the term.
Driver: Ah yes you orcs tend not to believe in luck. It’s simply something good that you weren’t expecting.
Gretchen: Why did they save my life?
Driver: Kind spirit and naive I suppose, they saw you were hurt and in need of help, so they helped you.
Gretchen: Kyra’s father also called them naive, why do you call them that?
Driver: They’re young and believe everyone to be a good person. To put it bluntly they trust people too easily. Maybe they just wanted to be your friend but given the reputation that orcs generally have around Anvil I can see why Mr. Ortiz wouldn’t want you around them.
Gretchen: Friend? I'm not familiar with the term.