Warborne
rating: +19+x

Shut up. Stop bleeding and listen for a moment.

Orcs are naturally selected for their reflexes.

Consider: in the wastes beyond your city’s walls, a species prone to war is given a singular opportunity to evolve. Where rifts can swallow centuries as if they were seconds, certain properties are accelerated; the battles can last weeks to an outsider, but a full lifetime to a soldier. Spatial isolation forces groups into harsh environments, and mental acuity is a detriment to bloodshed.

So, orcs get stupider. And as they do so, their bodies compensate for a loss of ability by quickening reactions and heightening innate skill. Orcs become soldiers from birth, with a natural aptitude for any and all instruments of death. It gets so far that you can hand one a weapon never before seen on this continent, and within minutes they will be using it as if they were a master. Your mages’ bickering may have shredded the fabric of this country, but you’ve not seen war until you’ve seen orc war.

Consider also the fact that orcs do not strategize. Chieftains led the hoards, but now the hoards lead themselves – twenty orcs together will naturally march rank and file toward the nearest unfamiliar settlement. And, if said settlement has ballista on its balustrades, then the orcs don’t stand a chance. You'll tear them to pieces. And you do.

Eventually they’ll kill everything stupider than themselves, of course. Everything outside your walls. And since they don’t have the brainpower to learn from their mistakes, ten thousand generations will throw themselves into your defenses and emerge as perforated mincemeat. In the background of the carnage, the same reliance on instinct perpetuates conflicts which were already unnecessary, and orcs kill one another just as readily as they’d kill every last one of you.

But once it’s in motion, evolution is a difficult thing to stop. The orc keeps developing reflexes, maintaining its status as a hard-wired seeker of carnage. And its brain shrivels to nothing, until it's less than an animal.

That’s what you call them, correct? Less than animals? Just checking.

War is such a strange thing. It’s unnatural – it introduces pressures and motivations so far outside the norm that they’re unaccountable. It’s twisted, it’s artificial, and – as I believe you are witnessing now – it can strike without warning.

So. With fairly good reason, you call me an orc. And you wonder: “How can this orc be killing me? How can this orc have such intelligence, such charisma, such a command of tactics? How can this orc possibly have triumphed over man?”

And sir, you have me almost at a loss. Because you’re right; I do things an orc never could, because orcs have spent 300 million years systematically removing their own brains. All that’s left is battle-thirsty reflex; a continuously heightened instinct, the distribution of mind in muscle.

So by all means look at me, sir, and by all means see an orc. But know this body is dead and its mind is nothing. And know also that not everything is a mind.

I’m not the orc you see before you, and I never have been. I’m its pilot. The brain outside the brain, the mind in the muscle. I’m the instinct. Running hardwired, and hardwired to fight, and hardwired to win. And I’ve had a long time to work out what I want; 300 million years of slow domination over the conscious.

I don't want land. I don't want gold. I don't want glory, and I certainly don't want peace.

I want war, sir. And you are going to give it to me.

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