Recently I had the opportunity to interview an orcish woman named Kinyit, who grew up before the Horde existed. Due to her advanced age, she is unable to travel to Kosh’harg, but she did regale me with some wonderful stories about her childhood. She laughed like a little girl as she told this story about a children’s game. – Lib Feathers
No’ku rega was our favorite game – two teams trying to hit each other with a ball. Good training for warriors. We had no’ku rega tournaments at Kosh’harg.
I was in the Warsong clan, a little younger than Grom Hellscream. Grom was a no’ku rega champion when he was young – fast and strong and deadly accurate at hitting targets. Grom was also a cousin of mine, but that’s a story for another day.
That year was my thirteenth summer. The Warsong team beat all the other clans, one by one, like always. The only clan left was the Frostwolves. They weren’t such great warriors, but they knew how to dodge a ball. And they could hit what they aimed at.
I remember them standing there, looking like they’d rather do anything but face Grom. He’d put four players in the shaman’s tent in the last game alone – he hit that hard with the ball. So you couldn’t really blame the Frostwolves for being wary. Now, mind you, I’m not saying they were cowards – just cautious.
Anyway, their captain pulled her team aside and they whispered together. And then Grom grinned at them. He had the most wicked grin you’ve ever seen. Grom could call someone a coward just by grinning at them. The Frostwolf captain kind of growled but she said nothing.
Suddenly, Grom grabbed my arm – Grom always did things suddenly – and pulled me over to the team. I was on the small side, but my brother was built like a clefthoof. Grom pushed my brother away.
“We’ll replace our biggest player with this little runt,” Grom said to the Frostwolves. “Then you won’t be scared to play against us.”
Their captain narrowed her eyes. “We are not scared, Warsong. We’ll give you the first throw.”
So both teams took their places inside the ring scribed into the dirt, and the game began.
I could see why the Frostwolves were undefeated. Each of their first three throws hit one of our players, while they avoided the balls we threw at them. They moved fast and ducked even faster. We had to stay alert.
But eventually, all the players were knocked down except Grom and myself. Being so little, I was hard to hit. Only one Frostwolf remained – just an average sized orc, but he moved as effortlessly as water flows over pebbles. He had the ball.
Grom nodded at me. I knew what he wanted. The Frostwolf couldn’t get us both. He would try for Grom – the bigger target – then I’d rush in, grab the ball, and hit the Frostwolf. It wouldn’t be the first time Grom and I had used that strategy.
The Frostwolf swayed lightly on his feet, his eyes on Grom. Then Grom grinned at him. The boy didn’t flinch. He grinned right back, only his smile was steady and calm.
I almost laughed at how easy we would beat him. The game had been such a good challenge up to this point, I was sorry to see it end.
And then it was over. I never even saw the Frostwolf move. One minute I was smiling at Grom, and the next I was in the dirt, the side of my head stinging from the impact of the ball. Deafening cheers filled the air. Something was wrong. The Frostwolf boy stood in center ring, stomping his feet triumphantly.
I jerked my head around to where Grom had been standing and nearly lost my breath. Grom, too, was sprawled in the dirt. But how – ?! Impossible!
People told me later what happened. The Frostwolf kept his gaze on Grom, but all along, he had been aiming at me. He slammed me with the ball, which rebounded off my head and right back into his hands. Before Grom could move, the Frostwolf hurled the ball straight at Grom, and the game was done.
Grom and the Warsongs were furious. They accused the Frostwolf of cheating. Fist fights broke out everywhere. The shamans came running. They cast spells to calm us down and lectured us on the purpose of Kosh’harg, how it was all friendly competition. Somehow they silenced enough of the Warsong clan so the team captain could explain what happened. The shamans assured him that the Frostwolf had not cheated. While it was unusual to hit two targets with one ball, it was not illegal. They declared the Frostwolves champions and sent us all back to our campsites to cool off.
But for years afterward, anytime I wanted to rile Grom, all I had to do was mention that game. He always said that boy tricked him, and he swore he’d never let that happen again.
The video of this story, made by Fullcontroll ofthehorde, is available at: