The Orcish Heptathlon

If I remember correctly I have already told you that I am about to write a book about the origins of orcs. Here is a short excerpt that deals with orc sports in particular.

Whenever two tribes meet this does not necessarily end in hostility. Fellow tribes usually celebrate their meeting with some competitive fighting, called the Glorious Games. Competitions might vary in form but the following is an often observed version:

1. Carry the family

This is to be taken literally. The whole family has to be carried over a set distance. Whether all members cling to the strongest at once or the fastest member carries each one separately is up to the families participating. Important is that only one member is allowed to do the carrying, no part of any other body must touch the ground. Childless monogamists are disqualified by rule and tribal honour. The number of family members is not as important as the overall weight of the whole bunch, so three really fat children count as much as six skinny ones, for example.

If I may be allowed a personal note here: The last time I entered into this special competition, I carried two of my wives on my back, the youngest child clung to my leg, and another tried to balance on my head. Unfortunately it covered my eyes with its arms and I stumbled into a river instead of reaching the finishing line, being not only disqualified but also very humiliated.

2. Toss the dwarf

This is a rarer category because it requires a certain amount of dwarves. As they usually do not volunteer for such usage of their bodies, a preliminary battle is necessary. Consequently, in areas with dwarf-shortage this competition is usually abstained from or alternated by using gnomes. You toss them as far as you can, it’s as simple as that.

3. Last orc standing

This is a competition that takes place almost every night around every camp fire, but as a part of the Glorious Games it becomes high-performance sport. Drinking till one drops normally is the final competition of the Games as all participants need some time to recover from it. It can last over a period of several days and has occasionally ended with complete extinction, because the whole tribe was incapable of dealing with any sort of enemy while utterly drunk.

4. Clubbing

This is not a fight one-on-one, but anyone with a proper club can participate. A proper club is defined by length and thickness, it must be half as long as the participant and as thick as his or her arm. Once you dropped the club, you’re out. Hitting anything else than other orc’s clubs results in immediate disqualification.

5. Hold the bridge

There are two versions of this competition:
a) one orc challenges a certain number of others and stands on a bridge (a suspension bridge is regarded more challenging and therefore more fun), the others try to get across. No weapons are allowed other than those natural to an orc, like tusks, claws, breath.
b) more interesting but rarely done these days is the version of literally holding the bridge. A wooden bridge is taken off the river, the orc that has been challenged holds it up between two quickly raised ramps, and the whole tribe has to run across it. ‘Crushed or Crowned’ is the motto of this one.

6. Three orcs in a boat

A river or lake is required, as well as a boat, floss or any similar means of transport. No weapons or any form of paddles are allowed. Three orcs get into the boat, only one is to step onto the bank on other side. This can be very tricky in regards to strong currents in the water and most orcs’ disability to swim. It is up to the three orcs in the boat whether they try to get rid of each other as soon as the boat left the shore but then might find it difficult to get across the water alone. Or they cooperate for most part of the distance to get the boat across and only moments before the opposite banks are reached the fighting begins. This is the most cunning of all contests in the Glorious Games.

7. Catch the meal

For many generations this was normally the second to last contest before the great drinking competition. It meant that every contestant would go on a monster hunt and afterwords eat it. The bigger the monster the better but not a single bone was to be left undigested. So the hunter had not only to consider the danger of the monster in order to get it but also whether he could eventually stomach it, literally. Many a strong warrior had been beaten by much smaller womenfolk with an enormous talent for feasting. In some areas this contest has been abolished due to the disagreement about what defines as a monster.
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