Chronicle of Gromok Vol. I-IV
The Chronicle of Gromok Hergom
I ink these words for fear that my once proud and mighty Ogres will forget the events I have seen in my long life. I am known at the time of this inking as Elder Gromok but I was once a soldier of little renown and status in the mighty Rallosian Legions under the command of Warlord Murdunk.
I was not raised to be an Elder of my fellow Ogres. My training was that of a soldier and I concerned myself only with the arts of warfare. It is with reluctance that I now bear the mantle of Elder and the cause of that reluctance is the same reason that I ink this tale.
I was stationed at the Fortress of Krithgor when the ogre magi first opened the portals to the Planes of Power. Plans were quickly laid and orders sent to our fortresses and troops in all corners of Tunaria. A large invasion force of Ogres, Giants, Orcs, and Goblins gathered at the newly opened planar portals. At the time I felt disappointed that my orders were to remain at Fortress Krithgor, that disappointment quickly turned to anger when I learned that the invasion failed, and although Warlord Murdunk survived our losses were great.
Some time passed before news reached the Fortress of Krithgor that a second invasion was being orchestrated. Rumors circled like hungry buzzards over a field of carnage concerning the plans for this second invasion. It was even said that Rallos Zek was to lead the campaign with Warlord Murdunk and the most renowned champions of the Giants, Orcs, and Goblins by his side. Once again my orders were to remain at the home front to defend the women, children, and elderly citizens of the Rallosian Empire.
It was not long after the invasion forces of the Rallosian Legions once again passed through the portals to the Planes of Power that the home front too became a place of battle, slaughter, and glory. Mortal disciples of deities opposed to The Warlord, Rallos Zek, attacked the citizens and fortresses of the Rallosian Empire on Tunaria. Our enemies fought valiantly, and the resulting battles were the most glorious I was ever to behold. My weapons and armor were stained with the blood of our foes, and our children and elders kept safe within our impenetrable strongholds. Messengers passing through the Fortress of Krithgor spoke of the victories of the legion units led by Rallos Zek, Warlord Murdunk, and the Generals Tallon and Vallon. It was said that the Rathe Council, the twelve rulers of the Plane of Earth had been captured and forced to Norrath where they were being executed by Murdunk and his Generals, that mountains burst from the earth where the gods fell and that the dying tears of the fallen gods formed a cold, deep lake between the newly risen mountain peaks.
At the height of victory it happened, I know not what fearful dieties are responsible, nor what ancient magics were unleashed on my people and our brethren races of the Rallosian Empire. I know only what I myself witnessed at the accounts of the other survivors of what is spoken of only as The Curse. The first signs I saw of the curse were angry shouts of ogre magi when the planar portals closed. Then the screams of those same magi as fire simultaneously ignited from within their bodies leaving only memories and ashes.
Shortly after witnessing the demise of the magi stationed at the Fortress of Krithgor a battered legion unit arrived at the fortress gates. The soldiers brought word of Murdunks dishonorable death, accusing The Rathe of cursing Murdunk to fall from a cliff at the site of The Rathes execution. They spoke of the disappearances of many great Ogre war leaders, including Murdunks tactician and strategist, Generals Tallon and Vallon, and even the Warlord Rallos Zek. This worn unit of soldiers was relieved of their previous duties by our superiors and stationed at the Fortress of Krithgor. A new Legion Unit was formed from the soldiers that had beens stationed there for some time, myself included, and we were charged with completing the duties of the reassigned soldiers.
Days passed swiftly for me as my legion unit traveled to various fortresses and battlefields. The sights revealed to us at each arrival to this day seem unreal. With the great military leaders and the magi dead or missing our fortresses began to fall. The Giants, also crippled with the loss of their magi, retreated deep into the wilderness. The Orcs became obsessed with greed and blood lust, dividing from the Rallosian Empire into petty clans fighting each other over the spoils of the war. The Goblins went mad cowering in the shadows and caverns of Tunarias frontiers. We returned after man months to the Fortress of Krithgor to find the once mighty stronghold reduced to rubble like so many of the fortresses we had visited on our patrol.
Whatever creatures had destroyed the fortress had not even spared women and children, their remains lay strewn about the stones that once formed the strongholds walls. This was when I gave in to my pride and accepted that the Rallosian Empire was no more.
Freed of any obligations of duty, the soldiers that accompanied me and I set out in search of a fortress that had not yet fallen. We traveled and fought for countless weeks only to be greeted by death and misery at each destination, what survivors did remain at the ruined strongholds of our once great empire often joined us in our search for sanctuary or at the very least a place to rebuild our fallen society. Gradually as we traveled across Tunaria, what began as a small unit from the Fortress of Krithgor became a large caravan of refugees. We settled in the Feerott Marshlands near the ruins of one of the Rallosian Empires greatest strongholds. A handful of capable warriors among us set out to the west in search of survivors at the locations of the Rathes executions and the death of Murdunk. Only two of the search party returned alive. They spoke of terrible devastation, Giants that were once allies of the Ogre people attacking without provocation, and of ferocious one-eyed giants that now guarded the valleys and canyons of the Mountains of Rathes Demise.
So it came to pass that the Feerott Marsh became the new home of we, the Ogre people. The men took on duties of hunting food in addition to protecting the women and children from wild beasts of the marsh. The women harvested and cultivated what forms of crops could be grown in the marshy soil. The children did nothing, and this instilled fear into our minds and hearts.
The children born to us survivors of the collapse of the Rallosian Empire were noticeably and frighteningly different than children of previous generations. This new generation of Ogres was for the most part hairless, only females showed any ability to grow hair and even then it was a thin and straggly. The flesh of the youngsters was of a paler complexion and warty and course, they suffered frequently from conditions that turned their eyes bloodshot, made their noses runny, and they often drooled incessantly. It soon became apparent however that these physical conditions were the least of our worries for they were still physically strong and enduring. It was their minds that concerned us the most.
The new generation of Ogres exhibited little to no capacity to learn all but the most menial of tasks. The youngsters proved to be incapable of understanding the written languages and they struggled with speech, often communicating in grunts and barely comprehensible babble. We were hard on the first few children of this new generation. We did not yet fully understand what was happening and placed them in dangerous situations or left them stranded in the marsh to fend for their own survival.
As time passed and our colony dubbed Oggok, a word that the youngsters could remember and enunciate, grew in numbers it became apparent to us adults that a great curse had been laid upon our offspring. Every child being born exhibited the same physical and mental characteristics of those first few of the new generation.
Gone were the days of the Rallosian Empire. No longer would there be heroic olive skinned warriors, their dreadlocks adorned with bones of their enemies, brilliant minded tacticians and strategists to ensure our victories, or magi to wield fierce magic and open portals to even the realms of the Gods themselves. I am old now, an elder of my people because I am among the last of the pre-curse generations. I leave these words that I now ink in the care of the most astute of the new generation Ogres, I pray that they will endure after I have gone to join Rallos in the afterlife, perhaps the Warlord will shed some hope on my despair and provide some answers as to why his glorious Empire has fallen.
---- Elder Gromok Hergrom,
former soldier of the Rallosian Legions.