Skald Shargram

Early History

A Bit of an oddity

From his early childhood, Shargram had an odd habit of breaking out into song whenever the mood struck him. This was unusual within northern Orcish society as they didn't place much emphasis on music as a culture. They had music, but it was usually reserved for ceremonial occasions or gatherings, and even then it revolved more around drums and chanting.   Shargram seemed to have been born with music in his soul, however, and he couldn't help but sing aloud the melodies which came into his head. His clan found it odd, and some even grew irritated by it, but his mother was a Master Weaver, and held great honour within the clan, so her child's oddity was tolerated. Over time people got used to it, and some even encouraged him to sing as they found it rather pleasant to listen to, and it often raised their spirits.  
I was bemoaning the loss of my favourite hammer the other day, and I heard Shargram singing in the goat pen next door, before I knew it I was thinking about how silly it was to be getting so upset over a hammer. I marched right down to Gevrath's and got myself one of those new dual-purpose hammers she's been making lately, best thing I could have done
— A Mason talking to his friend
 

An Orc at Heart

Due to the ongoing conflict with the Giants, all Orcish children in Paiaku are trained how to fight. Not all orcs become Warriors, but all must be able to defend their land and homes if necessary. During this training Shargram discovered that singing wasn't his only love. He revelled in the clash of steel upon steel, the rhythmic pounding of the hooves of the Battle-Moose his clan bred and trained, and the pure thrill of proving his prowess in combat. He soon realised that he wanted nothing more than to join one of his clan's mounted battle units when he came of age, to ride out with his fellow warriors against their hated foe.    
 

A Legend Grows

A Devastating Blow

Shortly after his thirteenth birthday disaster struck. While out on a training exercise in the woods, his group was waylaid by a small knot of scraggly ogres. During the ensuing battle Shargram found himself knocked to the ground, his weapon flung from his hand, and as the ogre who had attacked him raised his club for the killing blow Shargram let out a yell of defiance in the face of death. Shargram felt something unleash within him as he roared this final battle cry, and to his astonishment the ogre was stunned and froze for a moment, reacting quickly to this opportunity he snatched up his weapon and opened the belly of his attacker. Around him, the rest of his group finished off the remaining ogres and began to whoop and cheer at the success of their first real combat. Shargram's heart was heavy though, he knew he had used magic, and that meant the end of his dream of becoming a warrior.  
Magic amongst Orcs is very rare, and was even more so back in Shargram's day. Any Orc that demonstrates magical ability must be trained how to control it, and they are expected to use their ability to the benefit of all orcs. Often the Orc will travel to another country/nation to train under an experienced mage, with the expectation that they will return home afterwards. Most Orcs do return home, though these days some may take a little "detour" first.
 

Magic through Music

He discovered during his tutelage that music seemed to be the key to controlling and shaping his magical ability. He learned how to amplify the sound of his voice, and showed promise in the art of sound manipulation. The magic always seemed to flow better when the music struck an emotional chord with him. His tutor noted his ability to project his emotions with music, and how people around him seemed to react to it.  

Perhaps a Chance

Shargram cut his training short when he received word from home that the giants had launched a large offensive against the Orcish territories. His clan's territories were close to giant lands, with only one clan between them and the border with Dakatashk, and he knew his clan would need every warrior to help defend their lands. Against his mother's wishes, he returned home with dreams of great battles in his heart.   At first there was resistance towards him joining the war against the giants, but after a heartfelt plea and a reminder of his fighting abilities, a compromise was made. He could join, but not on the front lines, he was to ride with the groups who scouted behind their own lines to report on any enemies that had got past the defensive lines. He was to stay out of the fighting as much as possible.  
The story as to how Shargram and his band wound up involved in so many fights has never quite been explained. For a group explicitly tasked with staying out of combat and simply reporting on enemy activities, they saw their fair share battles. If it hadn't been for the fact that they won all of their encounters with no losses, they may have been questioned more thoroughly.
 
 

The First Battle

From his first clash with the enemy, Shargram knew he belonged on the battlefield. The noise of battle was like music to him, the clashing of weapons, the pounding of hooves and feet, and the roars and cries of the combatants wove themselves together into a melody in his mind. He began to sing along, amplifying his voice and adding it to the song around him. The words came almost unbidden to his lips, but he knew they came from his heart, and he knew they had power when he felt the stirring in his chest.  
At first I thought he had gone mad, affected by the fear the giants give off, and if the rest of the band hadn't all admitted to feeling the same, I may have thought I had gone mad also. But I'm telling you, whenever I heard his voice through the din my heart was filled with Hagan Daiku, and my body was renewed with vigour.
— Orc who fought alongside Shargram
  It was a hard and brutal campaign, but eventually the Orcs were successful in fending off the Giant invasion. Shargram and his war band returned home having won many great victories, and having earned much honour on the fields of battle. It was expected that Shargram would go back to his studies, but he fought hard to be allowed to remain with his warband. This latest push by the Giants may have been overcome, but he knew there would be others, there always was, and he felt his talents were best used on the battlefield.  

Legacy

  During the times when he was not out fighting, Shargram did what he had always done, compose and sing songs. He told the tales of his people: their accomplishments, their victories, their lives, and their deaths. He wrote these songs down and began to teach them to those orcs who showed an interest and talent. As his reputation grew, and people began to see the benefits of his talents on the battlefield, other Orcs who had magical talent came to him asking to be taught.   Eventually Shargram requested permission to create a new Society dedicated to training, what he had termed, Skalds, his request was granted and the Society of Skalds was formed. Those Orcs who had already trained with Shargram for years, became tutors and taught the young Orc recruits in the art of singing and composing songs. Shargram personally undertook the training of those who had magical ability, and these became the Battle Skalds.  
Skalds are now an integral part of the Orc military. In the last five hundred years since shargram was alive, magic among Orcs has become slightly more prevelant, and there are now about eighty Battle Skalds in Paiaku. This may not seem like a lot, but since a Battle Skald's abilities lie in enhancing the already prodigious combat prowess of an entire Orc war band, a little goes along way, as they say.
Species
Ethnicity
Honorary & Occupational Titles
Skald
Children
Presented Sex
Male
Eyes
Brown
Hair
None
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Green
Height
6' 11"

 

Paiaku

North of the Galatanath Mountains lie the vast territories of the Northern orcs. Covered in huge swathes of Taiga forest, which sweep down from the mountains, its northern most points end in frozen tundra which meet the North Sea. The Orcs of Paiaku have lived here since the beginning of time, according to them.    

A Constant Threat

The western border of Paiaku lies adjacent to the wild lands of the Giants, a place inhabited by monstrous creatures, and ruled over by the Giant-Kin. For centuries the Orcs have been engaged in a constant war with the Giants and their allies, as the Giants persistently attempt to encroach upon Orcish territories. Attempts at negotiating with the Giants have always ended in disaster, as they seek only to conquer and the Orcs are too proud to surrender.  

Battle Garb

This is what Shargram wore when he rode into battle with his war band. The wolf head was representative of the bond of the pack, and the howling song which they sang. The banner was a later addition, a symbol which was worn by all Battle Skalds to make them visible during combat as a rallying point and a sign of hope.  
 
 

Battle Songs

Shargram always claimed that the songs he sang in battle just came to him as he fought. The more in tune he was with those he rode with the easier it was work his spells upon them. The more he listened to the rhythm of the battle, and allowed himself to flow with it, the stronger the magic flowed within him.
I simply sing the words in my heart, words of what it means to be an Orc. I weave my music into that of the battle, and shape it to aid my companions.
— Skald Shargram
As his abilities grew, Shargram was able to weave impressive magics into his songs. Many of these songs he was able to recall later and teach to his students, but some were as fleeting as the moment in which they were needed. Some of his more famous songs which have been passed down are as follows:
  • Song of renewal - those companions who hear this song feel a surge of energy run through them, they feel refreshed and capable of fighting on for several hours more.
  • Ryntha's Rage - those companions who hear this song feel a surge of rage rush through them, they fall upon their enemies with a violent fury, though it is only short-lived.
  • Song of Challenge - The Skald's words ring out as a challenge to those enemies which hear his song. They are compelled to fight him.

  •  

    Ceremonial Garb


    Comments

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    13 Feb, 2022 05:26

    You have an awesome bard that was fun to read about. You had me at Battle-moose, and it was incredibly entertaining to read about the first of the Battle Skalds. Good job on the Hero Forge minis and your article formatting also.

    A new Challenge! Every Bard needs a tavern, and while Lone Gull may not be the resident entertainment, he did train the bard of Hell's Half-Acre.
    13 Feb, 2022 12:16

    Thank you! I love my orcs and it was cool to write a bit more about them.

    13 Feb, 2022 20:49

    Great article! I was feeling bad for him that he could not follow his battle passion anymore but it is great that he managed to work himself into it anyway. The little section about the amount of battles their group had in comparison to what there real mission was, was a fun addition as well :p   I like how he and his skills are actually kind of the precursor for big changes in Orc armies.

    Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
    15 Feb, 2022 19:38

    I set out to write a bard, and now I also have to add a whole new bit of lore to my Orcs, lol. Thank you for reading!

    17 Feb, 2022 14:34

    That is so great about these challenges they give so many new ideas :p I remember for the plant challenge that I created something that would define an entire region xp

    Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
    Eternal Sage AmélieIS
    Amélie I. S. Debruyne
    14 Feb, 2022 20:11

    Nice article! This is a fun character , and I love how he uses magical songs in battles :D Does he only sing and use magic at those time, or is he also fighting with more traditional weapons at the same time?

    To see what I am up to, my latest article is a choose-your-own-adventure story featuring a job interview to become one of the Dark Lord's evil minions :D
    15 Feb, 2022 19:41

    I guess it depends on the battle. If he has space to pull back and put full concentration into his magic, then he will for powerful effects. If the battle is tight, then he sings while he swings! Thank you for reading and commenting

    15 Feb, 2022 11:27

    What a great bard you have there! I love how he gets something like a battle fury on him when he fights, but it translates as a song for him. Also love that he and his band were ordered to stay as far as they could from combat, yet mysteriously ended up fighting so much. A well-written article and a great read! Wonderful work as always Laurawr. :)

    15 Feb, 2022 19:44

    Thanks, AP!! I had a lot of fun writing him. Yes, strange how battle just "found" them, tee hee.

    15 Feb, 2022 16:39

    I really like how the militaristic orc society is interwoven with magic, and how the desire and talents of this bard lead to a change of how they viewed magic. No surprise that battle music would appeal to the orcs! The formatting and organization are excellent, I loved the use of the sidebar for context. I'd have liked to know more about Shargram's perspective, he seems to be an interesting fellow and quite unique for an orc.

    If you have some time, I would much appreciate your feedback on my entry for Adventure April: Carbon Copy Paradise
    15 Feb, 2022 19:09

    I love the idea of Battle Skalds - I can just imagine the type of music that goes along with the clashing of steel and with the beat of hooves. :D

    16 Feb, 2022 18:36

    I really like your bard! I like how you showed the culture of the orks within this article. Combining music with battle is a very nice idea, and it's great to see how he found a way to be on the battlefield, while using his magic! I also really like the legacy you've added, and the impact he had on the ork culture / military.   Really great job!

    Feel free to check out my worlds, characters and original music here: SatriumHub
    Sage eccbooks
    E. Christopher Clark
    16 Feb, 2022 19:04

    Laura, this is great! Thanks for stopping by the stream to share it. As I said during the article read, I love all the hints at bigger parts of your world here and I love your use of quotes and callouts. So glad I got the chance to read this one before I head off on vacation.

    Check out Bü‘ükopo Oabü, my entry for the Rivers & Waterways Challenge
    19 Feb, 2022 16:07

    Battle moose :) Actually, those might be terrifying. This was a fun read, and I really like the different boxes you use throughout for quotes and explanations.

    - Hello from Valayo! Featured work: How to Write Great Competition Articles