The saga of Urghor (Part II)
THE WORLD OUT THERE
Sailing the seas of Inneath was like breathing fresh air for the first time. When Urghor lived in Granada, he used to look at the sea as the blue walls of his cage. But once he joined the Malapiccas, the sea became the blank page on which to write his own saga.
Despite Tancredi being clearly fascinated by the untamed Orc, he did not save him the heaviest apprenticeship he could imagine. Urghor endured hard work, pain and suffering, without losing his defiant smile: Tancredi put him on the front line and the Orc tasted every dangerous situation in which he stumbled as if it was wine.
Urghor's combative enthusiasm and adventurous spirit were so weirdly contagious that his comrades started to act even more boldly than their standards, and soon he became the darling of the whole company: two years after he left Granada, the Orc gained the respect of the Malapiccas and, after being ceremonially tattooed with the company icon on his chest, he was officially adopted as a full member.
The banquet in his honor lasted three days and, after hundreds of bottles of wine drained to the last drop, Urghor and Tancredi made a promise: together, they would conquer the world.
THE PAMPLONA UPRISING
5 years after his departure from Granada (for an Orc, this is a considerable amount of time!), Urghor and the Malapiccas were hired by the admiral Jeremy Ducón to help the Bluecoat garrison stationed in Pamplona to quell the riots made by local workers against the last economical measures promulgated by the Aerarium. The High Minister, in fact, signed a measure that increased the tax on export for all those islands that once belonged to the Spanish Crown.
Despite protests and riots rising up in many of those islands, in Pamplona tempers run high due to particularly harsh conduct by Ducón, who did not hesitate to use military force to combat the riots.
Officially, the Malapiccas were hired to escort the Admiral himself and protect the military harbor, in which was anchored the legendary Capricorn, one of the most famous galleons in the Second Government's navy.
However, when Tancredi and his comrades landed in Pamplona, the local situation was on the verge of just blowing up and the Malapiccas were sent to the frontline to help the Bluecoats against the angry civilians.
In Plaza de Toros, the fuse was finally lit: two thousand workers managed to break through the barricades, occupying the local barrack.
BURNED TO THE GROUND
Ducón's reaction was that of a ferocious beast who got hit in its pride.
He saw the conquering of the barrack in Plaza de Toros as an open challenge to his authority and decided to punish the rebels with an iron fist.
While the Malapiccas were busy, holding the line in the northern district of the city, three garrisons were sent to reclaim the barrack and bring the rioters to justice.
However, surrounding hundreds of men, armed with the weapons found in the barrack, led quickly to a real, bloody, siege.
With the entire city out of his control and dead bodies everywhere, Ducón fell into madness and commanded to bomb Plaza de Toros. With one voice, the cannons of the harbor and even those of the ships anchored there erupted with contempt against the city itself.
The resulting carnage and destruction were indescribable. For hours the mouths of fire screamed a blind justice 'till Pamplona, its buildings, and inhabitants were silenced.
As soon as the fog cleared, Tancredi, Urghor and the few Malapiccas who survived the devastation looked around incredulous: Pamplona had been barely burned to the ground.
Without exactly knowing what did happen, they went to the port to join their fellow comrades who remained on the Triumphant Boar.
However, when they finally arrived at the harbor, what they saw went against all their predictions: their comrades were handcuffed and Admiral Ducón in person and his soldier were waiting for Tancredi with guns in their hands.
Ducón knew he had to find a scapegoat the second after he commanded his soldiers to open fire: you can't just destroy a city and hope that the highest circles understand.
For his luck, Tancredi and his belligerent comrades were the perfect actors to interpret the role of the monster, whether they wanted it or not.
Ducón publicly accused Tancredi and the Malapiccas of all the carnage that happened and declared them under arrest.
Tancredi knew he had no hope to get out of that situation alive.
He took off his black helmet and he gave it to Urghor.
That black helmet was probably Tancredi's most precious treasure, Urhor didn't remember ever seeing the man without it. It looked like a normal helmet, shaped in the fashion of old Spanish soldiers. It was dented and blackened, as if it had seen the flames of hell, and managed to come back.
When Urghor looked at it, he noticed a small writing chiseled inside.
"Ultra auroram, insula aurea".
Urghor was taught to read by Malapiccas, but that language was unknown to him.
Tancredi, then, asked the Orc to give its helmet to his daughter in New Rome.
"Her name is Galatea, she must be 14 years old now. I never met her.
Tell her the truth."
Then, Tancredi drew his sword and opened an escape route to his fellows, jumping on the Bluecoats like a wounded lion.