The child sat at the window and looked through the transparent glass. He saw a few other children playing happily. They looked to be around his age, but he had never played with them, as their parents had warned them that he and his family were different. They didn't approach him if they could.
One of the girls fell while playing. She was a really beautiful girl with short, dark-blue hair that shone like a jewel. Her facial features were sharp. Though she was only around six, people could tell with one look that she would grow into a fine beauty. She was the daughter of the village chief. The chief was a decent middle-aged man who looked rather handsome and treated others kindly, and the girl's mother was the most beautiful woman in town. It wasn't surprising that their child also looked that beautiful.
The kid in the house felt a little sympathy for the girl that fell. He moved his body and wanted to stretch his hand out to help her, but he stopped a second later, seeing how far apart they were, not to mention the glass window that separated them. He couldn't reach her even if he wanted. So, he stopped his movement with a little disappointment and continued to watch quietly.
However, the girl seemed to have noticed what he was trying to do. She dusted herself off and smiled to the boy and seemed to mouth a 'thank you' to him. But as they were a little far apart, the boy couldn't see what she was saying clearly, and he couldn't hear her either.
The boy looked enviously at the other children, but there was no way for him to join in. He had tried many times with a smile to greet those children but failed at every turn. The friendly ones among the bunch would simply ignore him while the worse ones would stone him. The small scars on his forehead came from a stone thrown by the child of the village smith.
The only exception to that was the daughter of the village chief. While she wasn't particularly friendly to the boy, she would at least politely respond to his greeting with a smile. That was enough to keep the boy happy for the rest of the day.
The sky gradually darkened as the setting sun disappeared under the horizon. Soon, the parents of those children came out to call them in for dinner.
Even though the children were all gone, the boy still sat blankly at his window. He was far too bored and had mostly finished his chores for the day. The rest of his time was used to daydream at the window.
"Claudius, it's time for dinner." A woman with a shapely figure came out of the kitchen. She was dressed in a grey dress made from rough linen and a yellowing apron. It used to be white, but it had gradually shifted in color from use. Even so, it was far cleaner than the aprons of most other women in the village. The boy felt that while his mother wasn't a pure-blood human, she loved cleanliness even more than they did.
He wasn't considered a human at all. He was a barbarian through and through and his father was the barbarian king, strongest of them all. However, not long after he settled down, he heard that his father had died in the hands of that youth.
Claudius was quite sad about it for quite some time, but his mother kept consoling him and begged him to not hate the youth called Leguna. If not for him, they would've long turned into wolf droppings in the freezing highlands.
Eventually, Claudius calmed down. However, that didn't make him any happier. The villagers treated him like an outcast, his mother too. If not for the village chief's care, he felt that both his mother and him wouldn't be able to continue living in that place.
His mother had a name, Frenda Torimia. She wasn't his birth mother. The two of them had been cast out by their tribes due to their weakness and it was Leguna that took them under his wing and gave them a safe place where they could live. Claudius was someone who had lost his parents and Frenda had lost her husband and child, so the two of them formed a new family. They were now mother and child.
"Okay, Mother," Claudius said. His pronunciation was still a little off as he had less than a year of exposure with the common tongue.
That was one of the other reasons the children weren't willing to play with him. Why would they when he couldn't even communicate?
Dinner was a plain serving of eggs and bread. However, Claudius enjoyed it greatly and ate a lot. Thanks to his experiences, he was motivated to grow stronger and felt that it was the only way he would be able to survive in that world.
As such, Frenda changed his name to Claudius. It meant strength in the barbarian tongue.
But no matter his efforts, he wasn't able to grow stronger. He was still weak like a bean sprout. His constitution couldn't even compare to that of other children his age, much to his frustration.
A knocking on their door could be heard. Both of them were quite surprised. The village folk should be really against interacting with them, so there was no way anyone would come to them during the night.
Is it her? Claudius thought in anticipation. The only person who would visit them during this time would be the daughter of the chief. The hunters of the village had gotten some rather good catches lately and the chief would send his child to Frenda's to deliver some venison.
He put his utensils down and hurried to open the door. During the past year, he didn't have any contact with anyone but his mother. He really wanted another friend. He only wanted someone to talk to, no, someone to respond to his greetings was enough!
He wanted to grasp that opportunity to speak to her a little if it was indeed her.
But reality was cruel. The one waiting outside wasn't the cute girl, but a huge man.
No, his skin tone didn't look right. What kind of lifeform was he? Claudius could only see his knees and began to shake with fear.
"Claudius!" Frenda cried out in fear when she saw the giant.
He was huge! He was much taller than the door and had to bend down to get in. His huge face looked at Claudius with interest, but Frenda felt only fear. The face wasn't human or barbarian; it belonged to the race known to be even more violent than barbarians -- orcs.
"Come back, quick!" Frenda grabbed the dining knife in her hand and rushed to the door.
There was danger! She couldn't let Claudius close that orc! But the boy couldn't move. The orc exuded a kind of unmatched pressure which he couldn't bear. He could only look at the orc stupidly and lost all control over his body.
"I won't hurt you," the orc said when he saw Frenda ready to charge him.
His voice sounded surprisingly kind, it didn't match his appearance at all. With bravery she didn't know she had, Frenda shielded Claudius behind her and gradually backed away.
"How can I trust you?" she cried, her hands shaking.
Though she held her knife tightly, the giant orc didn't think much of that toy.
The orc scratched his thick, black, braided hair. Each braid as thick as an infant's arm. It was apparent that he had put great care into maintaining his hair. It looked glossy and full of life. After some thought, all the orc said was, "I know Leguna."
"You know Sir Leguna?--" Frenda relaxed some when she heard that name. "--Were you sent here by him?"
"Huh? That child? Sending me here?"
The orc rolled his eyes. It startled the two.
"Weird… Didn't lil' Ollie mention an amazing little guy?--" Oljharok gazed at the shivering pair. "--Did I come to the wrong place? Hey!"
"What?" Frenda shot back, knife raised again.
"Are you two the barbarians that brat saved? I think you're called Frum something…"
"Frenda!" she corrected angrily.
"Oh. It is you then--" When the orc was certain, he bent down to enter the house. "--I'll be living with you from now on. My kind is different from yours. I think it'll be troublesome if I stay in this human village, so we should move to the mountains. Don't worry, with me around, you won't starve. Oh, sorry, I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Kreighdon."Previous Chapter Next Chapter