Axes and Lightning: A Leader’s Path

“The humans are coming, and there are too many of them. We need to negotiate peace with them. We need them to see that we are more than just beasts.” The shaman paused. “This is why, from this day forward, you will not carry axes when there is no enemy present. Blood duels are banned!”

Part 3

Mage Illius and two other men stood within the top room of a tall, circular tower made of white bricks. The room had shelves lining the walls, each filled to the brim with books. Four windows, one in each cardinal direction, overlooked the city of Griffinrock. Moonlight filtered through these windows, landing on a blue orb sitting on top a black metal stand in the middle of the room. Little particles swirled around inside the orb, reminding one of a star-filled sky.

One of the men was peering into the orb carefully. “I see… Yes, this is the hogher village. I see… there’s a bunch of them gathered around a fire in the center.”

“Well, what are they doing? Are they preparing for war? Are they busy killing each other? What of it, Seer? ” Illius asked demandingly.

“Uh… no… they’re just sitting…” the Seer responded.

“Last time you were able to see them, they were busy fighting. They all had axes. Is there any indication that they are getting ready for war?”

“Uh, I don’t see any axes at all. They’re just sitting. Looks peaceful. Uh, should I let the king know about this in my report?”

“No. Say nothing.”


“You’re just a rookie. You wouldn’t understand.”

A sullen atmosphere befell the hogher village as the day turned into night. The hoghers had gathered around the center of the village again, although some were absent, and it was much quieter than usual. Some hoghers were still in their huts.

“I can’t believe Grimtar would do something like this,” one hogher muttered to his wife inside one of the huts.

His wife simply shrugged. “There must be some kind of reason for it.”

“He just wants to control us. He wants all the power for himself,” the hogher grumbled. “Besides, Argotha, this is just not our way. Hoghers are always ready for battle. Not like humans. Sitting around and playing games and drinking tea all day long…”

“Well, it is also our way to listen to the High Shaman,” Argotha replied. “Besides, Rok, there’s nothing we can do.”

“Well, I won’t stand for this…” Rok grumbled.

“Please, please don’t do anything rash…” Argotha pleaded. “You’ll get banished from the village. They already threatened Tangarth and Gartan with banishment, and they flogged Trakor for hiding a sword!”

“Hmph. First we can’t have any blood feuds, then we can’t have any weapons. Now he wants to limit our grog and demand we pick up trash. What next? Is he going to demand for us to dance in front of him like bards and minstrels?”

Argotha said nothing, only giving Rok a troubled look.

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