The Adventures of Smirking: A Grot’s Life
Chapter 1: Spawning Ground
Chapter 2: Ork Kulture
Chapter 3: Heist
Chapter 4: 'Ere we go 'Ere we go 'Ere we go!
Chapter 5: Minesweepers
Chapter 6: Wot’s a Waaagh!?
Chapter 7: Waaagh! GorGoff
Chapter 8: First Contact
Chapter 9: Hunters In The Hills
Chapter 10: Waaagh! GrodMek?
Chapter 11: Da Big Gunz
Chapter 12: Waaagh! WazzBad
Chapter 13: One Grot In A Million
Smirking, Fuggit, Runt, Slaka, Nurd, Naff, Snikkit, Smudge, Unki, Fungrot, and Skab.
SkagNet- a tired old Runtherd formerly a BloodAxe Kommando
GorGoff NarGrim- the local Goff Big Boss
GrodMek RazNazz- a Bad-Moon Mekboy in the employ of GorGoff
SnazzGutz- a Bad-Moon Painboy in the employ of GorGoff
WazzBad NazzKop- A powerful Snakebite Wierdboy
GogGob- a very religious Snakebite ork and follower of WazzBad
UzKop- a Bad-Moon Flashgit. One of GrodMek’s cronies.
Chapter 1: Spawning-ground
The moons were shining through a gap in the treetops, the air was still but quite cool and the hum of early spring was about the spawning ground. Young squiggly beasts snuffled between the fungus outcrops and munched greedily on the slugs and caterpillars, eager to grow large enough to munch greedily on other larger creatures. Bright winged insects hovered over a bed of pungently scented flowers and were sucked within in the blink of an eye. A bright green, newly spawned grot eyed up these sucking plants with envy. Those bright winged insects did look tasty but they always flew away long before he could catch them.
He devised a cunning plan. Tearing the red funnel off the nearest plant he stuck his lips inside and drew a few practice sucks through it. His lips tingled and itched and the smell was almost overpowering but he was sure this plan would work. He lay on his scrawny little green back in a clearing a few paces from the rest of the plants and waited for his meal to arrive.
It felt like a long wait. He had gotten used to the smell but his lips felt like they were on fire and just when he was beginning to lose interest, there it was. A particularly fat and juicy looking insect was hovering heedlessly toward him, duped by his cunning disguise. As the bug got closer he squirmed and itched in anticipation; or was it the irritation of the funnel flower on his lips? The bug was nearly within sucking range when the over eager spawnling leapt up and made a frantic grab at it. Buzzing furiously to remain airborne the bug weaved clumsily between his grasping fingers until finally with a last desperate swat, breakfast was served.
The little spawnling grot sat on a rotting log and inspected his catch. The insect was shiny and blue and surprisingly weighty. It was dazed but still twitching in an effort to fly. He collected its many coloured wings in one green fist and yanked its only hope of escape away. Casually tossing the crumpled wings behind him he turned his victim over, looking for legs to pull. Grinning with malicious intent he plucked at each leg one by one. Finally he dangled the morsel above his gummy maw by its last remaining limb and devoured it with relish.
He burped loudly and smacked his lips suddenly realising how swollen they had become. He poked and prodded them painfully with a scrawny little digit and glared angrily at the smelly funnel flowers. The hungry grot took a cursory glance around the edge of the clearing, looking for an easier way to catch more bugs. Briefly he caught a glimpse of something strange; a pair of beady red eyes peering out from the cover of the trees. There was a rustle in the undergrowth behind him but the eyes were already gone. He blinked and rubbed his own eyes and was about to go investigate when suddenly the world went dark.
It was herding season. The spawning peak had come very late this year and the hunting had been poor. Old SkagNet was a runtherd and his herd this year was much smaller than last year’s. Now, so late in the season he knew pickings were slim. Despite this he had already captured more grots this evening than he had expected to find in the whole nights hunting. Unfortunately, the only grots left to catch in this spawning ground were the rejects; the weedy runts, the late developers and the wild feral-grots, but SkagNet was desperate. He needed more grots, of any kind. The more he could sell in town when the big-mek market arrived the more teef he’d have to buy better runtherd gear. His trusty grabba stick was irreplaceable but some of his other gear was showing its age. His old net was very worn and frayed and had already let slip his first grot of the evening: a slippery little sneak who he’d been stalking since sunset. He could hardly believe the little grot’s evasiveness, especially given the stock he put in his own hunting skills.
Once, a long time ago, SkagNet had been a Blood Axe Kommando, the sneakiest and most slippery of ork infiltrators; deadly squads of hunters and trackers who could operate behind enemy lines for months setting traps and sabotaging enemy camps. They wreaked havoc and destruction when the enemy least expected it. He had seen plenty of action and had the scars to prove it. More than that, he had the eye patch, the peg leg and more than one missing finger if any more proof be required. He was an old ork, worn out and almost toothless and now his Kommando days were a long distant memory. His old squad was disbanded and the new Boss, a Goff, didn’t like the old Blood Axe hanging around.
“Don’ Trus’ Ya!” He had complained. “Any ov you sneakin’, cowardly BloodAxe Boyz. Buncha Snivillin’ Grotz! Why doncha go an’ teach dem ta sneak!”
So here SkagNet was, teaching grots to sneak, and apparently he had nothing left to teach this one. Had it not been for the four other grots he had bagged already he would have felt redundant. He had come across each one while stalking his escaped prey, as if the little sneak had been using these other grots as decoys to distract him while it slipped away. He almost admired its cunning, as much as is possible for an ork to admire a grot.
The old runtherd’s sack was getting heavy and his old muscles needed a rest. SkagNet slung it casually in the bowl of a large tree root and sat cross legged before it. He secured a chain around a loop of protruding root, delved into the sack and removing his captives one by one, clamped them in irons. Four pairs of eyes blinked feebly in the moonlight as each struggled to comprehend its situation.
SkagNet considered each in turn noting their character before pronouncing his judgement. The First appeared to have been asleep in his sack and was just now awaking, not yet aware; it seemed, of anything else but the pale moonlight: A sleepy late developer.
Another had its tongue up its left nostril, eyes crossed inward following its own progress: a reject.
The third in line just stared back at him, with furrowed brow and clenched fists. It was small, even for a grot, but didn’t seem to realise this: a runt, if a feisty one.
The last and most recent addition to SkagNet’s herd had the most peculiar bright red lips which appeared to itch irritably and took up most of the grot’s attention with scratching them. He paused a little longer considering this fourth and most unusual grot. “Skrachit? Itchit? Skritchi… . Hmph!” Skagnet had used all these names before. They were common names for grots but this creature was decidedly uncommon. It smiled back at him with its ridiculous mouth, as if to mock his indecision. He grunted a sigh and resolved to come back to this one.
Leaving them chained to the tree, the old ork tramped off into the forest. His grots watched him go and when he was out of sight they began to argue.
“RUNT! RUNT! RUNT! RUNT!”
When SkagNet returned carrying an armful of broken branches and three limp squiggly beasts the row had escalated into a brawl. Fuggit was sitting on top of Runt pressing his face into the ground and taking the opportunity to taste inside one of his ears despite Runt’s furious squirming defiance. Slaka slept curled up in the bowl of the tree behind them and the other grot sat up on top of the root to which they were all chained most entertained. SkagNet threw a beast carcass in their general direction and sat down a short distance away. He began to crack and arrange his branches. The commotion of the grots died almost instantly and they all stood around the dead beast prodding and inspecting it. SkagNet glanced around to see four pairs of little red eyes staring at him expectantly.
“Squig” he grunted, indicating the dead squiggly beast.
The grots blinked stupidly and refused to understand.
“Nosh!” elucidated SkagNet. He lifted one of the other beasts and dug his five remaining teeth into its flank tearing out a mouthful of flesh.
“Gnosh.” he concluded before swallowing.
Fuggit got the picture immediately and the rest followed suit. Even Slaka seemed to be wide awake now and focused on the midnight feast. Satisfied with their progress SkagNet returned to his sticks and nibbled on a leg of squig while he worked. It was then that he caught a glimpse of a familiar pair of eyes watching him from the cover of the undergrowth. It was his prey, that sneaky little grot. He pretended not to notice and resumed his work. He’d teach that little grot a few lessons in stalking yet. He striped the longest branches of their bark in long fine stretches, and wound the bark strips into a rough rope. Using some of the bark rope he lashed the stripped branches together. By the time he was done the grots had eaten well and were happily bloated with indigestion.
SkagNet had constructed a wooden cage, a length of rope and a makeshift net; or was it a noose? He’d never been too precise with these things; it was a tangle of knots and loops and would suffice for his purpose. It was time to set some traps. He left the grots with a supply of unused sticks and short pieces of bark rope. They may have been watching him work and he hoped they might attempt some building of their own. He plodded off into the forest and was gone for the rest of the night.
When SkagNet returned the sky was pink with the coming dawn. He eyed his rabble of grots with weary hope. Runt was bound with bark rope and looking very displeased. Fuggit, his captor was sitting upon him, squinting inward at his own nose again which this time he was picking with a dry bone. Slaka was asleep and the other nameless grot sat amusing itself with the sticks that SkagNet had left for them. Without the rope to bind them together its attempt at construction had been pathetic. It welcomed SkagNet with the same irritating little grin he had received earlier. SkagNet sighed with dissatisfaction. If only it had shown some skill at construction, some inclination toward one use or another, a penchant for violence even. Yet still there was something odd about this one, and not just those stupid red lips.
“Gobgit? Grotgob?” Still the name eluded him. He paced over to the cage he had built earlier that day and deposited a body in it; Small and green and limp with a wild feral expression still hardening its unconscious features.
SkagNet considered his nights hunting. Five grots, some with promise,.. he caught his breath at a muted tread in the undergrowth behind him which ceased just as suddenly. He wrapped up his mental tally with a sixth on the loose. He slumped down against a hefty tree to sleep through the day, dreaming of the prizes his traps would yield come evening time.
As the noonday heat hung heavy on the sleeping camp a silent, sneaking figure emerged. Covered head to foot in mud and rotten leaves it stealthily approached the sleeping ork. Slaka, the only waking grot casually observed the figure’s progress. Slowly and carefully the interloper raised the ork’s left trouser leg and began unscrewing the blots holding his peg leg in place. With a final jolt the leg came free and the ork awoke. As SkagNet’s eye adjusted to the bright light of his surroundings it fell on the startled mud caked creature before him. It appeared to be carrying a large metal club. No sooner had he hefted himself upright when he came crashing down again face first. Now everyone was awake and though squinting and disoriented all eyes were on SkagNet. Slowly SkagNet began to understand. That metal club had looked familiar. He raised his head in time to see the thief turn tail and flee, dropping his heavy leg in its panic. SkagNet’s leg bounced on an attached rubber boot heel and landed next to the cage. The caged grot grabbed one end and dragged it in, pulling it free from the boot which would not fit between the bars. The other grots pointed and laughed as SkagNet dragged himself into a sitting position and cursed the noon day. The feral grot began thrashing crazily about its cage with the old ork’s leg bashing the wooden bars to splinters. Groggy and humiliated, SkagNet sat amidst the uproar. He shuffled over to the cage and waited for his chance. Then reaching in with one swift grab he took the grot by its throat and it dropped the leg with a heavy metallic thud. The wild grot grasped and bit and struggled as SkagNet retrieved his dismembered limb and fumbled to reattach it with his free left hand. Soon the grot went limp with asphyxiation, and giving it a final shake to be sure, SkagNet relinquished his grip. This was the second time he’d had to strangle the creature. It would not be tamed easily.
After a breakfast of squig meat and wild mushrooms he checked that his captives were secure. Runt was now free of both the bark rope and of SkagNet’s chains but he had not run away. He sat just outside of Fuggit’s reach teasing him pulling grotesque faces and crossing his eyes. In the harsh daylight SkagNet noticed for the first time that Fuggit hadn’t been looking at his own nose all this time. He was cross eyed. His marketable value plummeted. SkagNet grabbed Runt with his stick and slung a noose of bark rope around his neck. He jerked the grot away and led him into the forest to inspect his traps. Daylight or not he needed cheering up.
SkagNet was beginning to despair. He had plodded on along a circuitous rout leading back to the camp inspecting each trap along the way. A number had been sprung but held no captive. He suspected his prey had seen these tricks before. Another trap had caught a large squig which he had taken as small consolation. He and Runt had eaten their fill and saved the rest for the others. Runt was becoming adept at slipping out of the rope but still had never run. As they approached the final trap Runt spotted something up ahead and returned to warn the boss. SkagNet crept up to get a closer look and to his great relief found two grots at the one trap. One hung helplessly by an ankle some way above the ground and the other watched from below. The watcher was studying the trap and its victim, attempting to recreate a smaller scale model of its own, apparently with some success. SkagNet stepped out of his cover and approached the watcher openly. The watcher, seeing Runt following obediently behind considered itself in little danger. SkagNet lifted Runt and casually slung him into the new grot’s trap. As Runt hung upside down by one foot SkagNet retrieved his own captive. This new grot he named Naff and dumped him in the sack. The watching grot made a squealing protest as Runt slipped his foot from the grot’s snare and dropped clumsily to the ground. He got to his feet and hid behind SkagNet.
“Don’ mind ‘im” Said SkagNet to the other Grot. “E’s a slipp’ry fella. Can’t ‘old ‘im myself fer long.”
Satisfied with this explanation SkagNet set off for the camp. Runt followed and the other grot watched him go. SkagNet turned.
“Oi! Nurd!” he barked. You comin’ or not?”
As the heat of the day faded to a balmy dusk they made good progress back to the camp but returned to find it in uproar. The wild grot was free and was wrestling the other grots for the remains of last nights supper. Wielding a shattered rib bone like a small knife the ravenous little beast was leaping about and slashing at his chained counterparts. Fuggit, Slaka and their nameless grinning friend were blocking the prize from all sides and fending off their attacker with club-like sticks. Runt and Nurd kept their distance as SkagNet waded into the furore. He grabbed the feral grot by the scruff and it flailed wildly as he lifted it. Aiming a jab at his assailants face the grot stuck out driving the splintered end of its weapon into SkagNet’s nose. SkagNet yowled in pain. His thick ork hide was tough enough to take a jab from an angry grot but never the less, his nose was sensitive. He sulkily throttled the wild grot, again.
“Snikkit!” pronounced the old ork, staring into the grot’s fading eyes before its body went limp and he let it drop.
The other grots lay around his feet nursing their wounds. Slaka was unconscious but SkagNet was in no doubt that he was just asleep. Fuggit nursed a few scratches but was otherwise fine. The other grot stood pointing at SkagNet’s nose. That same cheeky smirk was plastered all over its face.
SkagNet grabbed him by the torso with one huge hand and raised him to eye level. He had it. He knew the perfect name for this sardonic little grot.