The Mystery of the Missing Orc Women by Larius

Of all the beasts that stalk the wilderness, none are more commonly feared than the orcs. They're bandits in the wilds and vicious soldiers in the cause of evil wizards, dragons, and warlords. The tales of orc attacks are so commonplace that there's no need to repeat the specifics here, instead I invite the reader to consider a question. In all of your travels, in all of the stories of orc attacks you've ever heard, in all the paintings of orcs in battle or at camp, in all the plays at the city theaters... I ask you this. Have you ever, even once, seen or heard any mention of orc women?

This question stuck in my head for some time until, overcome with curiosity, I determined to solve this mystery. There must be orc women, of course, orcs are but flesh and blood, and the male must have the female to reproduce after all. But where could they be, do they stay hidden away at camp, or off in the wilds?

The obvious first step would be to go up to an orc and ask him, but, as many a commoner has sadly discovered, if you talk to an orc he will expect coins or food in return, and if you give it to him he will expect more and follow you home... and the next thing you know, you've got an entire orc camp set up on your front lawn, keeping you up all night with war drums and demanding beer and pastries every Friday night. No thanks... I'll find another way, I told myself.

More subtle methods were needed. My first attempt to locate the "orcettes" was a complete failure, but I did learn a great deal about the treatment of wounds in the field.

I tracked one particular orc, a huge one-eyed grizzly-haired beast who locals called Krugugk Truzugz, which in Orcish means something like: "He who chews on the furniture." Krugugk had a level of sophistication uncommon amongst his kind. He spoke common, and even bathed occasionally; his chief must have recognized these refined qualities since he made Krugugk into the tribe's head spokesman and extortionist. That morning I followed Krugugk stealthily, intent on finding the main encampment.

Soon the trail passed a small farm and Krugugk stopped. I watched, hidden in the bushes, as he stripped off layers of cloth, leather, and armor, and then Krugugk stepped over the farmer's fence into the hog pen. I was annoyed at the delay. Of all the days, why did he have to take his yearly bath now?

The hogs looked curiously at him for a moment before reluctantly crawling out of their wallow. Krugugk didn't want company anyway, with yellow tusks jutting out of his mouth in a horrible wide-lipped smile he sank into the brown water.

I waited for what seemed like an eternity, as he scrubbed and grunted and thrashed about in that mud hole. The mud-bath seemed to break up his own encrusted filth so that green fumes bubbled to the surface and made the pig pen stink infinitely worse. With their heads hung low, the pigs watched sadly from a distance- I've never seen such depressed looking pigs, their wallow had been forever spoiled.

Just then, the farmer came walking down the path; I reached out of the bushes and grabbed his arm. He was startled- I tried to keep him quiet but he must have taken me for a bandit.

He broke free from my grip and ran toward his farm. I chased after him trying to stop him before he could disturb the orc. If there are two things I know about orcs it's that: 1) You don't feed them, and 2) You never disturb an orc taking a bath.

Too late... Krugugk sprang up with a furious growl, shaking filthy water off his bristly fur like a wet dog, his yellow beady eye narrowed and focused on the farmer and me running up the path. Shocked at the sight of the naked enraged orc; the farmer tried to immediately reverse direction and I slammed into his back. Both of us tumbled to the ground.

The farmer and I had just untangled our limbs and were scrambling to get up when something streaked through the air with a high-pitched noise and violently impacted a tree limb just above our heads. I looked up in horror at Krugugk, standing astride the wallow raised up to his full height; thick muscled arms extended overhead, huge callused hands gripping... something... pink?

" Run!" I screamed to the farmer. "He's Throwing Pigs!"

[]

Later that day, I took the long humiliating walk back to my village, with curious people all along the road coming out and asking their stupid questions.

" Larius, why's your tunic ripped off?"

" Larius, what happened to your leg?"

" Larius, why do you have a pig shaped welt on your back?"

I really hated these people, but in the interests of civil village life I just smiled, and mumbled something about falling off a horse, and limped on down the road. Sometimes a researcher's life is awfully depressing. I failed miserably that day, but I still remained determined. Soon, I promised myself, I would strike out again into the wilderness with a new plan, a better plan, with fewer dangers, and definitely no flying pigs.