Gash Nosebrass looked at the pieces of flesh before him, as delicately pointed as they were savagely maimed. Elf ears, so soft and supple that they could only have come from a noble of some means. The orc warchieftain jabbed a finger at them. “Tell me of this, girl. How came you by these trophies?”

“In battle, of course!” laughed Thundra. “I told him that if he surrendered all of his valuables, that he would not be harmed. He declined my generous offer, so I took them anyway. He gave me an earful about it.”

“Well-put!” Gash laughed. “What do you say, boys, do we allow this slave-girl to keep her trophies and join in our revelry?”

There was a resounding round of cheers from the orcs and half-orcs in the tent, to which Gash raised his own stein in approval. “Who am I to argue with such a crowd?” he said. “Tell me, girl, you look familiar. Did I perhaps kill your father?”

“You might be my father for all I know,” said Thundra. “But I know for sure that you’re screwing my sister Stormy.”

More raucous laughter from Gash’s fighters, and the warchieftain himself displayed a wan yet dangerous smile. “Ah yes,” he said. “One of the fairest slaves we’ve taken on in some time. Hopefully she’ll bear me some handsome sons for the troop, eh?

“I’ve always found her to be unbearable myself,” said Thundra.

“Tell me something else, Stormy’s Sister,” continued Gash, still with that dangerous half-smile. “My boys tell me that elf was wearing heavy armor. How did you kill him?”

“With this, of course,” Thundra said. She took the great axe out of the oiled rucksack in which it had been lying and displayed it to the warchieftain. “I call her Samaxetha.”

Only about half of the assembled band got the joke, but those who did chortled at it mightily. “And where,” said Gash softly,”did you acquire Samaxetha? Slave recruits are sent into battle with spears, no? Less to lose if you’re killed.”

“I stole it from one of these louts,” said Thundra proudly, encompassing the whole party with a sweep of her hand. “I forget which one.”

“Then, aren’t you tempted to use it on me, your enslaver?” said Gash. “Surely the thought must have crossed your mind.”

“My plan is to bide my time, work my way up within your ranks, until I’m strong and untouchable. I’ll work so that I never have wobbly knees from going hungry, the way I was before. When I’m that strong and useful to you, I won’t need to kill you to get my freedom. You’ll give it to me yourself.”

“Oh, will I?” said Gash.

“Because you know that eing strong and having large amounts of gold is the answer to living a good life, just like me,” finished Thundra proudly.

“Ha! Very well then.” Gash broke into a more genuine smile now, apparently satisfied. “Boys, whoever owned that axe before, it now belongs to Sister-of-Stormy here. Go on then, slave-girl, have merry and revel in your victory. Take those ears and wear them proudly around your neck. And when the revels wind down tonight, Mugh,” the warchieftain gestured at one of the men beside him at the head of the feast, “see that Sister-of-Stormy finds her way to my tent. She lacks the supple fairness of her sibling, surely, but she has piqued my interest and will do for the night.”

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