"The wolf that stalks his prey is better off than the wolf that attacks."
It happened three days before the portals opened. Gorthok sat and meditated upon his throne in the great halls of Kahzor Kazaag, battle plans drawn with all the knowledge of human and mutant weapons gathered to them by the winds of Tempestus - or at least, all that could be heard from the surface. Secrets still laid underground, dull echoes of information that were indecipherable. Yet still, the Great Warchief did not stir in his tepid observation of what was before him. Even in this state, a quiet anger burned in his eyes, not quite breaking upon the horizon of thought, but merely idling there in his soul.
Krogar stood opposite him across the grand staging board of the encroaching campaign. His face contorted in obvious worry, the shaman did not speak either. It was on both their minds.
The Orcs would lose this war. They would lose any war they waged against the humans and the mutants, especially if they consolidated their differences for the briefest instant and united as a single fighting force. Although their initial stages of battle would be strong, it would escalate into a massacre before too long.
At last, Krogar spoke, "My Lord, my Great Warchief,"
Gorthok did not move.
"Surely we go to an honorable death if we fight, if we heed the call to arms the humans and mutants so desperately need like you have ordained. The elements are on your side. But I fear for the safety of our homes and children, our wives and brothers who are too old or sick to fight. If we provoke this many-angled behemoth then the consequences will be dire indeed. Our warriors of fighting age are able to withstand more than a few of the humans' nuclear blasts. Yet if they find Kahzor Kazaag, it will be the Age of Avarice all over again,"
"And do you not think I have considered that?" the Bloodstomper roared. "I have known of the human death machines. I know their cunning, and their desperation for victory. If they find that attacking our homes would be a suitable way for us to surrender then they will do it,"
The Age of Avarice burned a long trail of distrust and anger between the Orcs and humans. Even if the Orcs did not leave a mark on human history, it was surely the opposite. For forty long years the oil within Kahzor Kazaag was sought-after by dozens of barons, tycoons, and entrepreneurs. Many clans of humans came to the doorstep of the Orcs and attempted to drill either with or without their consent. The most harrowing experiences came when the Americans came, and seemed to want to make friends with the Orcs beforehand. They introduced games to their society, and gave the children candies from the surface. When they wanted to drill inside of Kahzor Kazaag, they were met with a friendly yet adamant 'no' - and then they simply disappeared.
Not even a month later, the Americans returned with armed men and tried to take the mountain by force. The same children they played their games with were butchered by automatic fire. Krogar himself, in defense of a handful of youths, took twenty large-caliber rounds to the belly. His way of shamanism was never used in open bloodshed, but these humans angered the spirits long before their attack on the Orcish stronghold, and therefore the winds of Tempestus were eager to tear them apart.
So ended the Age of Avarice, with the bitter and ritualistic killing of all the humans who entered Kahzor Kazaag on that day. They were friends once, and merely used the naivety of the Orcs to further their own agenda: if they could not buy or cheat the rights to the land, then they would force it out from underneath those who lived upon it. After all, the Orcs were merely subhuman. They had no rights anyway. They were not a strong culture.
At least, such is what the dead now linger upon.
Krogar pondered upon all of this as Gorthok spoke. He felt the wounds in his abdomen, scars pockmarking his thick flesh. The Great Warchief continued.
"Humanity will not change, Krogar. It will always lunge towards the next great disaster if at least one of their number count it amongst their blessings of profit. We need to at least remind them that this is not the way of life. We need to bring sense back to their world, to make them understand that there are greater things than just self-preservation and living. What is life if you just watch it go by? When you just purchase your grave and wait to fill it? No, life is much more than just money. It is about loving valor, becoming honorable, and feeling the burning rush in your heart as you die knowing you've accomplished something great,"
Gorthok stopped for a moment. He was now standing by Krogar, having been unable to contain himself in the throne any longer. His zeal carried him from the towering seat of power all the way to the other side of the room. He was visibly shaking with anticipation.
"But, if the humans and mutants are unable to see this, then I am willing to be one of their history's monsters if they would just put aside their differences for a day and live in harmony. That is my second greatest wish, for at least part of our large family would life in happiness. As a cousin I cannot understand the bond between such close siblings as humanity and mutantkind. They hate each other, but their capacity to understand and love is far in excess of mine. We are all a family, Krogar,"
He leaned onto the staging board, seeing the path he must take. Venezuela was the first target, the first empire he must sack. Divisions such as these were necessary to break down.
"And sometimes we need to slap some sense into our brothers, our sisters, and our cousins. Otherwise they will never learn the consequences of their actions."
Three days. Three days was all it took for the portals to become stable. How Gorthok wished they would take longer, or not at all. He feared for this moment, despite all the bravado and preaching about strength and honor. It would be the first step he would take into a dark pool he could not see the bottom of.
But he would not abandon his people in their time of need. A million warriors heeded his call, and were prepared for this moment. He shouldered the fear and anxiety, made it part of him, and took to the front of the column.
"Hear me, sons and daughters of Lorgoth!"
His voice, carried to every ear by the winds of Tempestus, was met with a resounding thud from the war drums.
"We go through this portal to our destinies! Burn and pillage without remorse! Humanity does not understand its own concept of diplomacy, so let them understand the Orcish way of thinking! Show them your strength! Victory or DEATH!"
As he turned and charged into the portal, he wanted to know what his destiny was. Is history going to remember him as a monster? As a subhuman halfwit who tried to conquer the world with axes and wolf cavalry? Or were there kinder things to be said of him? Of how he loved his human cousins, his mutant siblings, and wanted the best for them despite their unwavering political views? No, he thought. He shouldn't worry about things like that. Not now.
For he was still alive.
And history is recorded by those who are the victors.
"The wolf who closes his jaws fastest often opens them last."
Blitzkrieg - lightning warfare. The Germans adopted a brutal campaign against the British, changing night to day with burning salvos of bombs. Yet this term would come to mean something very different in the opening stages of the various Battles for Venezuela. Raijin, the elemental of storms, brought down cascading torrents of his spiteful energies down into the hearts of various settlements and population centers. Only then, under the cover of darkness and confusion, did the Orcs burst forth like a surging tide and burn all that remained, butchering warriors and taking civilian prisoners by the hundreds before scattering the rest. They never intentionally hurt passerbies or children, merely targeting and massacring those whose livelihoods were dictated by taking up weapons in defense of their homes or being - the soldiers, as well as those who blatantly fought back.
Only about ten thousand Orcs were estimated to be roaming throughout the countryside at this point, at least in plain sight. Where the others were, none could say, and Gorthok did not reveal their carefully camouflaged presence. And yet they did not make a beeline for the capital. Rather convincingly, it seemed they were intentionally cutting off trade routes, supply lines, and escape routes. While these consisted of easily-crippled highways and densely-forested roads, the main attack on the Shogun's seat of power did not come directly or by obvious way of intent.
Most of what the Orcs attacked were small villages, just enough to send a few remnants back to Ivana's palace in warning of the coming attack. Yet the honorable Orcs were not about to send children into the jungle alone, and so kept them amongst their families. At least this way they were reasonably safe from the ravages of war to come.
The anticipation and preparation ate at Gorthok the most. He was under the surface of that dark pool of water, and he still could not see the bottom, even as the sunlight faded into obscurity above him.
But this was already happening. He couldn't stop it now.