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Fighting for Food

Fighting for Food

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Published by Brandon S. Pilcher
Set in a fantasy world populated by orcs, humans, and elves, this is a story about a human warrior who chooses to fight for elves to feed his people, but faces a moral dilemma...
Set in a fantasy world populated by orcs, humans, and elves, this is a story about a human warrior who chooses to fight for elves to feed his people, but faces a moral dilemma...

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Published by: Brandon S. Pilcher on Sep 22, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/22/2011

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Fighting For FoodBrandon PilcherChollo dreaded the moment he and his hunting party had toreturn to their village, but since the hot savanna sun had nowstarted sinking towards the western horizon, he knew it wastime. He had let the people he led down again, for today neitherhis arrows nor those of his hunters had struck any game, as hadbeen the case in the last six days. The local waterholes' dryinghad driven the herds away to greener pastures. Chollo was usedto such migrations, but with the past few rainy seasons being someager, the animals were spending less and less time in hispeople's territory. Meat was now a rare luxury that he would notenjoy tonight. Instead he would dine on his wife's sorghumbread, and even that reminded him that the harvests had beenshrinking too.It was with heavy hearts and remorseful frowns that thehunters returned to their cluster of mud huts. Everyone else'seyes were on him, undoubtedly hoping that he had broughtsomething back. They would be disappointed. To see his people soscrawny and skeletal filled Chollo's eyes with tears. Mostpainful of all was the sight of his wife and two children, a sonand daughter who both resembled twigs.Joining his sympathy was shame for his failure to slaketheir hunger pangs, and then there was a tinge of anger towards
 
the people's ancestors for their lack of compassion. Why hadn'tthey blessed him for so long? He wondered whether he should askthe village shamans that question, but then he vividlyremembered how they had desperately sacrificed a young woman toappease the ancestors. Chollo didn't want his wife to suffer thesame fate.Strange metallic trumpeting sounded over the villagers'chatter. Chollo's heart began to throb faster. Was this somekind of animal he had never heard before? Had the ancestorsheard his people's prayers at last? Chollo hoped so as he andhis compatriots rushed to the village's central plaza.The sight that greeted them was indeed spectacular, but itwas not quite what he had expected. Trotting into the plaza fromthe village's front gate were three large animals that lookedlike big zebras without stripes. Atop these creatures' backswere the strangest men Chollo had ever seen. Two of them hadtheir bodies covered with glistening iron plates while theleading third had a crimson silk cloak over a green, gold-embroidered tunic. If their clothes weren't unusual enough,their physical appearances were even more alien. Their skin waspale instead of black like Chollo's kind; their hair was long,straight, and pale yellow instead of black and crimped; theirfacial features were so narrow that they looked pinched; andtheir pointed ears were so long that they pierced far out of
 
their hair.At first Chollo could not imagine what these mysteriouscreatures could possibly be, but then he remembered the storieshe'd heard as a boy about strange little white men with pointedears from the far north. What were they called again--elves?Whatever, he was so rapt with incredulous attention at them thathe could not blink.The red-cloaked elf dismounted his animal and struttedtowards the crowd of villagers before him. Chollo noticed thenthat the elf was much shorter than any man he had ever seen; thetop of the creature's head would barely reach up to an adultwoman's nipples. Yet for all the stature he lacked, the elf'sgrin spoke of smugness, as if he somehow thought himself betterthan his human hosts."Greetings from the Luminous Elven Empire of Caerlynea," hebegan to announce with a strong foreign accent. "I am Dennigan,an emissary sent by Her Imperial Magnificence, Empress Bethany.I presume this village belongs to the Nkanja tribe?"“Yes,” Chollo said. “And I am Chief Chollo. What brings youto our country?”"It is to our understanding that your people's land and thehuman lands in general have suffered from a horrible drought andfamine of late, and we would like to address this."The once silent crowd replied with murmuring among

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