Brandyl watched his adopted daughter Plum as she planted the next season's harvest. Such an innocent lovely child he thought. A full-blooded elf, her jet black neck length hair framed her warm brown walnut skin. Her deep-set golden eyes smiled at Brandyl when she saw him watching her.
"It's time father," Ogrul said.
"I know but, she's an elf. What if they don't except her?" Brandyl said.
"And what if they do," Ogrul said. "But we'll never know, she'll never know. You should at least let her live with no regrets."
Brandyl knew his son's words were true.
"That's very sound advice." Brandyl smiled he was so proud of his son. "When did you become so capable." Brandyl playfully punching Ogrul in his arm.
Ogrul chest seemed to rise a bit and he stood just a little taller. But when Brandyl walked away Ogrul grabbed his arm and rubbed it. Though his father was growing old he still hit like a warrior. But he would never tell his father that.
The sun had already sat when Plum returned home. Brandyl anxiously waited for her. When she entered he took a deep breath and thought for a moment, maybe he shouldn't say anything. But his son's words echoed in his mind.
"Sit," was the only word Brandyl manage to say.
Plum could see the uncertainty in his eyes. And felt a nervousness coming from him like never before.
"What is it? What's going on?" She asked.
"Plum my child my... daughter," Brandyl said. "I realize now it is not my place to stand in your way."
Brandyl slowly lifted his head to meet Plum's eyes.
He handed her a long tattered old brown cloth tied in the middle.
"I probably should have given this to you a long time ago," Brandyl said.
Plum carefully unwrapped the old cloth.
"A bow," Plum said.
She studied the bow carefully, the tips of the bow were pure silver with elegantly engraved markings. The wood that made up the bow had a greenish tint to it.
She pulled back on the string and it had a powerful stretch like she had never felt before.
"This bow... where did you get it?" She asked unable to contain the excitement in her voice.
"It's a master-crafted elven bow," Brandyl said. "In all my years I've never seen a more power elegant weapon. I picked it up last time I was in Orrin Serine."
"Orrin Serine, the elf city," Plum said. "That was over three years ago. You've had this bow that long."
"Plum, it's time for you to join the hunt," Brandyl said.
Plum couldn't sleep, It's time for you to join the hunt. Her father's bow was the only thing going through her mind. She held her father's bow and wonder what the hunt would be like.
Since she had become of age she begged Brandyl to let her join the hunt but all those years he had refused, leaving her behind year after year despite her protest and now that she was sure going to Dimmore, going to the hunt. It terrified her.
The journey to Dimmore itself would be long and tedious and she had no idea what to expect. She was excited, nervous, scared and unsure.
Plum tried to open her sleepy eyes but they were heavy for lack of sleep. She thought she may have been dreaming. Her father would never allow her to join the hunt.
"Plum!" Brandyl called. "Are you ever going to wake up. It's not like you to sleep in. It's a long journey to Dimmore we should set out before the sun is high."
Plum eyes widen, it wasn't a dream.
Plum trailed behind Brandyl and Ogrul, she wasn't as tall as her six-foot eleven father and her six-foot-nine brother. Plum was only five foot five. But she promised herself she would not be a burden to anyone, especially to her father she wanted to prove to him that he did not make mistake allowing her to go to Dimmore.
It was midday when Plum, Brandyl, and Orgul caught up with Dura her mother Ugor and her father Wurgoth.
"Plum! What are you doing here are you heading to Dimmore as well?" Dura said.
"Yes," Plum smiled big.
"Huh, Brandyl finally decided to let you go," Ugor said low enough not to let Brandyl hear. "Why? your not an orc there's nothing for you there."
Plum smile faded, Ugor never liked her, none of the orcs did. But Ugor was just more vocal about it.
"I still don't even understand why Brandyl chose to adopt you anyway. You're not an orc. You'll never be an orc. You should go and find your own kind. It's worse enough that Brandyl took you in now he seeks to defile the hunt by bringing an outsider. It's no wonder the Battle Axe horde has become a laughing stock to the rest of the orc clans" Ugor hissed.
Wurgoth quietly snorted agreeing with his wife's words.
"Mother!" Dura called.
Ugor rolled her eyes at her daughter and walked ahead of Plum, her husband followed. Plum watched as the two caught up with her father and brother and played nice with them. Ugor or Wurgoth would never say those things to Plum within earshot of Brandyl.
"Don't take it personally," Dura said defending her mother. "She didn't mean it."
"Yes she did," Plum said.
"Well," Dura said, surprised at Plum's blunt response. "She isn't lying, your not an orc. An outsider could never know the proud or strength of an orc."
Plum rolled her eyes, she knows she not an orc, she doesn't need everyone constantly reminding her.
"So," Dura asked, changing the subject as if she didn't just insult Plum. "What is your reason for joining the hunt this year."
Dura glanced at the bow Plum had draped over her back with curiosity.
"You don't plan to hunt with that."
"No, no," Plum quickly replied. "I know I'm not strong enough to hunt as an equal with an orc."
Plum blushed and nervously twiddled her thumbs. "I just want to find a mate."
"A mate!" she repeated with shock.
"No orc is going to marry you," Dura laughed. "Above all we orc value strength even the shortest orcs still tower over you."
Dura's words though harsh rang true. Dura herself was definitely beautiful even by orc standards. Her body perfectly toned just enough to make out her muscles.
Her facial features were more human than orc. Her green skin, flawlessly smooth and blemish-free. Her black hair was silkier then other orcs in the clan and she had amber eyes a feature of... other races. But the Battle Axes boasted that they were the most pure-blooded orc of all the clans. Sure, Plum thought.
"Even I just barely manage to steal the gaze of Chieftain Urim. But only for a moment." Dura bragged.
"Chieftain Urim?" Plum asked she had never heard of him.
"Chieftain Urim leader of the Blood Horde the strongest orc there is!" Dura's voice slightly rose at Plum's ignorance.
"Even you should know who he is. Other races fear him and orcs respect him. There isn't a single female orc not trying to win his favor. But too bad for them," she smirked. "The Chieftain only has eyes for me."
"Well I hope it works out for you Dura," Plum said.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Dura said.
"Nothing, I just hope things work out for you is all," Plum said.
"Again your ignorance is astounding even though you've lived among us all your life. Once I marry Chieftain Urim our clan will be absorbed into the Blood Horde clan and we can then begin to regain our pride." Dura said.
"Pride," Plum said. "What about love, do you even care about Urim?"
"Love!" Dura shook her head in disagreement. "A foolish elven sentiment. We orc do not marry for love. We marry for power."
"But for all that power anyone can take it with the right of challenge," Plum said.
"The right of challenge is a fair fight allowed by orc laws. If my mate is defeated then he is weak and no longer worthy of me." Dura said.
Harsh words Plum thought even coming from Dura.
But Dura's words did make her think, in the orc world strength is king. She wanted a mate a husband and children. She wanted a good happy life but would that mean she would have to choose between strength and power, over love?