Yari Tate watched the Orcs march towards him in the thousands as their strange wailing music screeched through the air. He turned to one of his men, ‘Go tell the commander what is coming.’ The Tate soldier acknowledged the order and rode off south as Yari turned back to the Orc army.
‘What will you do?’ the Human next to him asked. Yari shrugged his shoulders, ‘Retreat most likely. An army under Queen Alexandria and Lord Dampierre are marching along the coast. We lack the troops to hold the castle. Best to make our stand in our city.’
The Human shuddered, ‘I guess I will have to come with you then. The Queen will not accept traitors.’ Yari could only shrug again, ‘It all depends on my commander, and your Lord de la Cerda.’ Yari felt pity for the Human. He had only served his lord and had been a great help to him during his time in his lands. He knew his fate if the vengeful Arcadians ever got their hands on him and his lord. He had chosen to help the Elves in this war, and he would pay for it.
Yari saw a group of a dozen Orcs break away from the main force and come directly at them. They were running with great speed, unburdened by heavy packs or supplies. Their black clothing beneath their leather army made them look quite fearsome, but they were too far away to cause any problems at the moment. One of his soldiers saw them as well, ‘Sir, they seek to drive us off.’
Yari agreed, ‘Let them, no point in fighting now.’ He turned his horse and rode south and his men followed. The Orcs in black hollowed at them in disgust. They were hoping for a fight and Yari was happy to disappoint them. They rode to the next rise where a farmer had planted a line of trees. They rested their horses in the shade as Yari took out a telescope to watch the Orcs again. As they watched the pipes ceased playing and the sound of thousands of boots marching filled the air.
Suddenly a single Orc was heard to bellow and was met with the smashing of armour and arms together. Then in a single unified voice the entire Orc army yelled out and repeated the clash of arms. They began to sing a song that Yari did not understand, but it gave him goosebumps and made adrenaline pump through his veins. He calmed himself and turned to the Human, ‘What are they singing?’
‘The War Song of the Dragon,’ he responded, ‘It is a prayer, a challenge, and a inspiration for the Orcs.’
Yari nodded, ‘I have heard of it, but seeing it in person is quite a sight.’ He looked back at them as they neared the end of the song and the whole army broke out in howls, like thousands of wolves calling to a full moon.
‘What did they say? Do you know?’ he asked the Human. He nodded, ‘We have heard it many times, though I have never heard it sung by so many. It opens with a call by one to the Dragon. The rest smash their arms as you saw to call his attention. They then declare ‘War’ and smash their arms a second time before the song starts. My Orc is rusty and I did read a better translation in my days at the Academy.’
His brow wrinkled as he thought to remember the words, ‘It goes, ‘Dragon who soars on wings of burning glory! Your rage sends foes to a fiery grave! Give me the courage to face my enemy! And the strength to rip them limb from limb! Let this prove my worth so that when darkness comes, and demons stand before you, I may stand by your side in glory! Hear my shout Dragon and grant me victory!’ They then hollow as a final call to the Dragon.’
Yari was impressed, ‘That is quite a song. This Dragon is it Tsuyo-Sa?’ The Human nodded, ‘Yes in a sense. The Orcs believe they were delivered from demons who enslaved them by the Great Dragon. Some think it may have been Idaina Ryu, but no one knows for sure.’
They stood in silence watching as the pipes once more started up, screeching their horrible sound. Yari turned to see that the horses had cooled down and signaled to his men, ‘Mount up! Two of you stay watching the Orcs. Report any deviation in their course. The rest of us ride to Castle de la Cerda to see what the commander orders.’
Mounting up Yari rode with the Human scholar next to him. ‘I will see what I can do for you to join us on our march to Tori no Ichii.’ The Human nodded in thanks, ‘I thank you. I don’t think my lord has any hope of joining you. Not after so few responded to his call to arms.’
Yari knew that Lord Pedro de la Cerda was a dead man walking. The only question was who would kill him? The Elves he allied with and now would abandon? His vengeful Queen? His own knights seeking to save themselves? Or perhaps the Orcs who wished to prove themselves to their Dragon? Looking over his shoulder Yari took one last look at the Orc army as he rode away. He knew that if he ever heard the War Song of the Dragon again it would mean his death was near, and he did not wish to die at the hands of such warriors.
Forgive us Tsuyo-Sa, he prayed in his head, for we have betrayed you and now you send your wrath upon us, giving us the death we so rightly deserve.