|Orngoth Artwork by the incomparable William J. Kenney!|
There were four undead mockeries of once-humanoid creatures with rotting, discolored flesh hanging from their semi-exposed skeletons. It was the foulest sight Forgulnak had ever witnessed. The creatures fed on the now lifeless husk of their fellow goblinoid.“Ghouls!” Forgulnak uttered loudly. The red of their eyes reflected in the torchlight as they were drawn toward the scent of fresh blood, turning to regard them. He could see their gray rotting flesh as well as their clawed hands now tearing goblin flesh from the bone and devouring it.The goblinoids collectively stood appalled by the scene, nauseated and frozen, trying to move. They could not. It was too late. The four undead creatures advanced with speed unparalleled on their newest prey that had foolishly entered their lair. The ghouls leapt at them, knocking them to the blood-stained, slick ground. The goblinoids remained paralyzed in shock, helpless and nauseated by the sight and smell of the devastation.Forgulnak finally realized the true horror of their situation. He tried to make his legs move, but was unable. Whether it was fear or something else that paralyzed him, he could not tell, as he felt the flesh being torn from his bones.The undead overran them and began to feast, completely consumed by their hunger…until one of them was suddenly crushed by the bulk of a gargantuan club.
Orngoth heard the shuffling and smelled a foul odor emitting from the alcove. He heard a goblin scream harshly as some terrible fate must have befallen it, but he could not see as it was beyond his line of sight. The other goblinoids made their way into the opening and disappeared around the corner, too.Several more screams followed. Something bad was happening, but he did not know what. He did know one thing, and that was that he had to get free of his manacles.He strained once more against the chains that bound his arms and hands. Again a few of the metal links weakened and began to buckle further. Another tug from his mighty arms bent the links once more. His muscles continued expanding and contracting in succession against the metal, his veins becoming more pronounced beneath the flesh of his arms. The metal groaned with protest under his might as the links twisted and reshaped themselves to conform to the half-ogre’s will, eventually giving in to his remarkable strength with several loud pops. He was suddenly free of his bonds and retrieved his massive club.It took Orngoth quite some time to squeeze his large frame through the alcove, but he managed, leaving the top layers of his flesh behind on the stone. The screams had died down, but the sickening odor remained. He saw them as he entered in the flickering torchlight.Ghouls!The undead creatures were so focused on their newest feast that Orngoth’s entrance had gone completely unnoticed.He fought back the disgusting aroma and did not succumb to its accompanying nausea as he smashed the first undead creature into mush with a mighty downward swing of his club. The three remaining anathemas moved quickly toward him. Orngoth’s fierce blue eyes had already run red with rage, revolted and angered by the sight of this purest of evils. Orngoth allowed the bloodlust to overtake him, not even trying to resist.His huge club came up over his head and he timed the next blow perfectly, almost knocking the ram-horned helm from atop his own head as he swung his club with ferocity borne of rage unbound and connected. The blow was so powerful that he simply crushed the ghoul beneath the impact, spraying bone and gore everywhere.As he started to pull his club from the remains, he was struck simultaneously by the two remaining ghouls. Biting and clawing at his already scarred and fairly tough hide, the ghouls pressed their assault. Orngoth howled in pain as the anger surged within him.Small pieces of his flesh were torn open by the fiends, but Orngoth didn’t even take notice now as his bloodlust peaked, driving him to acts of heroic proportions.He reached out and pulled the first of the two off by its neck and propelled it through the air to land hard against the stone wall. It hit with a dreadful thud. He watched as it attempted to slowly right itself, swaying considerably as it did.Orngoth grabbed the second one by its arm, nearly tearing it from its socket in the process, and threw it in the same direction as the first, with similar results. He roared fiercely, consumed by his fury, ignoring sense and sensibilities, wanting only to destroy his foe!The two undead charged him once more. He slid on the slick surface as he took a step, but regained his footing and dropped into a lower, wider stance.They closed the distance as Orngoth gripped the base of his weapon with both hands and swung hard. The timing of his spectacular swing connected with one ghoul solidly, crushing its ribs and liquefying them straight away. Then there was a loud crash that immediately followed the first. His swing had continued its momentum, crushing the second creature’s skull, hitting it with so much force, that it partially removed the head from the body.Nothing else moved as Orngoth stood victorious over the immobile creatures, blood-stained and angry. He roared in victory before remaining still for a time, allowing the bloodlust to fade.Eventually, exhaustion set in. He fell to one knee before squeezing out of the tiny opening once more and slumping to his rear on the hard stone. Breathing more slowly now, he contemplated what to do next, until sleep claimed him.
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