“So you're not the chieftain?” Drake asked once more following Sarah on foot.
“No, father is chief. Am just strongest fighter in tribe. Felt strong presence coming within territory, moved to stop it,” Sah Ul’ said slightly irritated.
“Tried, to stop it,” Drake smiled, casually putting his hands behind his head, “Sorry about your axe. But I had to make it clear you couldn’t win.”
“It is normal. In Mahk Rul normally lose life. Losing weapon is best.”
“That’s pretty brutal…. Is it normal to have duels often?” Drake asked casually.
“No. Duel used for serious matters. Duel between man and woman never happen often.”
Drake hummed, curious by her wording, “What do you mean by that? I assumed women fight just as much as men based on you being so strong?”
Sarah blushed, which took Drake aback. Seeing such a strapping woman who still had such feminine features blush put him on the back foot.
“Pushover…” Natto spat.
Shut up. I’m seriously awakening to something here…. I didn’t know green came in that color… Fucking, damn it… Drake cursed internally, Claire’s face flashing in his mind.
“Almost there,” Sah Ul’ pointed.
A small distance away an opening in the tall snow-covered plains grass came into view, the peaks of circular tents poking over the grass. Reminding Drake of certain tents he had seen in a particular game.
“Do you guys scream for the horde by the way?” he asked with a grin.
“Horde? Are but few hundred. Not horde,” Sah Ul’ said raising a brow, her small tusk poking out of her mouth.
“Ok that went over your head, that’s fine. You’re from another planet so you get a pass.”
“Nevermind…. Which is the chief’s tent?” Drake sighed.
“I take, follow.”
Drake resumed walking behind Sarah looking around at the gazes of the tribesmen he was quickly picking up. There were men women, elderly, and children all pointing and staring at him. The children looked to be curious, the elders scowled, and many of the men looked at him with fury-filled hate.
“Ah…. I see what’s going on. You’re pretty popular huh Sarah?”
“Don’t understand. Am chief’s daughter, the tribe is family. Tribe is most important.”
“That’s cute, so you’re the airhead earnest type huh?”
“Airhead? Don’t understand,” she grunted irritatedly, pointing to a larger tent that was adorned with more colorful paint and pelts than the other. The skull of a large animal or monster at the peak of it that Drake was unsure of.
“Nice digs,” Drake whistled.
“What are digs?” Sah Ul’ asked.
“A cool place?”
“It is quite hot inside here.”
Drake slapped his forehead, “Never mind.”
A few moments earlier, a runner made their way into the chief’s tent out of breath.
“What is it? Why are you so out of breath and rushed my child?” the older man asked.
The older man had graying hair, but it didn’t detract from the rippling muscles on his body and stern gaze that showed years of experience.
“Chief Rvul! A man…” he said, getting his breath, “A man- with your daughter, is entering the village!”
Rvul’s body tensed as he realized what the runner was saying. The only explanation for his daughter bringing someone into the tribe would be because she lost Mahk Rul.
That alone made the man stronger than anyone in the village. But Rvul gave a breath of relief, his daughter was still alive even after losing the duel. Not only that, she would only bring someone here that would not harm the tribe, of that he was sure.
“If my daughter is bringing someone here it is fine, she knows the responsibilities she holds.”
“Chief, you must be more cautious, bringing an outsider here, now? What if he is a spy or brings more to take us by surprise?” one of the other men inside the large tent asked concerned.
“As I have said, my daughter knows her responsibility to the tribe. Or are you saying I am wrong? And my daughter does not know her duty?” Rvul asked pointedly.
“O-ofcourse not chieftain. By the Mother, you are the guiding light.”
“Then we shall receive this man as a guest.”
Rvul waved the runner back outside after which the man gave a small bow. A moment later his daughtered entered alone.
“Sah Ul’, you’ve returned. I heard you brought a man,” Rvul asked.
“I have chieftain…. It is, complicated,” she answered.
“Complicated? Is there a problem? Does he bring war?”
“No, he has defeated me in a Mhak Rul and has spared my life. But he wishes to… It is better if he explains it although his tongue is still of a child’s, which makes him hard to understand.”
“It is fine, tell him to come in. I will see him happily.”
Sah Ul’ nodded and exited the tent once more, this time a man clad in armor Rvul had never seen across his body. The man’s hair was long, well past his waist, and left to freely move as he did. Across his body were also pieces of cloth that Rvul noticed were scraps of something larger. His skin covered in markings and scars. A noticeable one across the left side face and another on his right shoulder and side, the flesh slightly discolored from the rest of his tan skin from the old wound, exposed by the lack of covering.
But what shocked Rvul the most was the aura of the man, it sent his blood cold. His years of experience facing warriors in the wars they fought in the plains had honed his instincts well.
The man walked with a warrior's gait, his face seemed calm but Rvul knew he was taking in the surroundings, measuring up each and every person within the tent.
Sweat began to form on Rvul’s face as his mouth quivered, his tusks chattering ever so slightly.
“Get out!” he roared, then repeated himself when the other tribesmen in the tent looked at him confused, “All of you get out! Leave me with this man. Alone!”
He had known this feeling many times on the battlefield, the aura, the gaze, the breathless calm before the storm that was washing over him. It was something that eluded him all these years but here, in this tent. He knew it had found him if he made the wrong move or misstepped a word.
He gazed at the man, who stood there looking slightly confused at the tribesmen leaving the room.
[Drake Wallen Level 14]
Drake looked down at the Chieftain slightly lost in the conversation. He was able to understand the chief, Rvul, better than he could Sarah, but it was still apparent that there were things lost in translation.
Is he going to jump me or something? Drake thought.
“He is obviously being cautious. Look at his face, he is desperate to get the others away from you. And for good reason, this man obviously knows you are a bad influence,” Natto snickered.
Hey, I resent that.
The chief bent down and placed his head to the floor.
“I’m sorry. Have we offended?” Rvul asked, his shoulders shaking slightly.
“What?” Drake asked back surprised.
Rvul brought his head up slightly to look at Drake.
“Why have you come to our tribe? War? Woman? Resoruces?”
Now Drake was wholly confused, “What, no. Did Sarah not explain anything?”
“Your daughter. Sah Ul’, I fought her thinking she was the chieftain of this tribe. I have a quest in this area,” Drake said, continuing to explain the situation quickly.
After a few minutes, Rvul sat up, even inviting Drake to sit down by the fire that was inside the tent. Drake wouldn’t say that the old -yet very bulky and fierce-looking- man relaxed, but the conversation was going smoothly.
“You want to claim Rahk Tribe land for own?” Rvul asked seriously.
“When you put it like that…. Wow, that sounds so much worse….” Drake sighed, but nodded, “My quest requires this area and there isn’t any other way around it, unfortunately. I don’t want to displace anyone, but I may not have any other choice if you don’t wish to be under my jurisdiction for the time being.”
A switch seemed to be flipped in the old Orc’s head when Drake mentioned being under him.
“You wish to rule Rahk?” he asked, putting his hand to his chin.
“In a way…?” Drake answered pensively.
I’m getting a bad feeling about this one. Drake thought.
“You defeat Sah Ul’ in duel, we can not match you. This, I understand. Do you know meaning of defeating Sah Ul’ in Mahk Rul?” Rvul asked back.
The face of the old Orc changed into a wide grin.
“Then you must take responsibility,” he said, taking off his necklace.
Drake looked at it as Rvul passed it over to him. It was a leather necklace that wrapped what looked like tusks, all of mismatched sizes.
“What is this?” Drake asked unable to identify the item, meaning it was not a system item.
“Mark of the chieftain. You are now new Chieftain of new Rahk Tribe. You are Patriarch,” Rvul grinned, “You take Sah Ul’, protect her and tribe.”
“Clever old man…” Natto scoffed.
What is this about…? Drake asked confused.
“Moron, he is letting you take the position of leader.”
“In exchange for marrying his daughter.”
Wait, not cool.
“I can’t accept this. I have a girlfriend,” Drake grimaced.
“Now you have offended him, you dunce!” Natto shouted.
I don’t care! I can’t cheat, it hasn’t even been a few days! Drake yelled back.
“Do not be a fool, you need this area, and he is handing it to you on a silver platter! No one says you must cheat. You just have to get married! Royals do it all the time.”
I’m not royalty!
“Drake,” Natto said, her tone turning serious, “At some point, you will need more people here to defend the crystal, as well as the children and eventually your family. These people are a tribe of veteran warriors. Sah Ul’ alone is basically that oaf!”
Ew, don’t say that. What the fuck, now I won’t get that image out of my head for days….
I get your point, but it’s still cheating! I’m not that type of guy….
“There is no other choice if you do not wish to kill every other person in this area. Do you actually think they will let you just take their land and home willingly without the previous Chieftain's support? Or do you wish for this to end bloody?”
Drake clicked his tongue taking the necklace from Rvul.
“Are you really trying to pawn your daughter off on me like that?” Drake asked furiously.
Rvul surprisingly didn’t look offended, but instead smiled back at Drake.
“Men of our tribe, propose to their wives through Mahk Rul. Orc women only accept if man is stronger,” he explained, then looked at Drake with the eyes of not just a man, but of a father, “Sah Ul’ my shining star. She my world. Her life with with strong man was not possible. She was too strong. But you, win duel. And are strong, I can see. Her life, is in your hands, like rest of Rhak Tribe.”
Drake clenched his teeth frustrated.
“Do you really think your tribe is going to be ok with someone from the outside just magically becoming Chieftain?”
Rvul nodded, “Orcs only care about one thing. Strength.”
Drake grumbled, unable to come up with any more excuses.
I’ve been fucking swindled! Honey trapped! I want a do over! Where’s the delorean?! I need to go back to the future II, right now! Drake screamed internally.