The boisterous and arrogant warlords often take all the fame – or infamy – when Orcish tribes march to battle. They scream the loudest, swing the biggest weapons, and decorate themselves with the most garish trophies imaginable, yet it is rare indeed for a tribe to survive without shamans, for those are the spiritual leaders of the Orcs. At times, shamans and witches like Liburga are the true power behind a brute’s throne.
Born sickly and frail, Liburga’s survival in the harsh world of Orcish culture was a true miracle. And though she was never the strongest child, she had cunning and charisma aplenty to balance her weakness. Furthermore, her innate ability to channel the magic of the spirits made her valuable to the tribe. Soon as she could walk and speak, she gathered a posse of sycophants, admirers, and ambitious youth who followed her every footstep and obeyed her every word. It was the first time in her life that Liburga felt the intoxicating taste of power.
Years passed, the tribe warred with its neighbors, raided and pillaged, but never truly grew beyond its borders. Young as she was, Liburga understood that her people could survive on those meager scraps no longer. Change was needed, yet how could an untested weakling of a girl go against the chieftain? No, force was not an option for her. Fortunately, Liburga was far too intelligent to attempt a hopeless coup and instead set in motion a plan that would take a decade to complete.
As an apprentice to the tribe’s shaman, she was privy to many secrets and intricacies of local politics. She learned. She bided her time. Most importantly, Liburga groomed a figurehead that she could hide behind – a young Orc warrior by the name of Dhar. He was mighty but gullible and eager to let his ‘friend’ handle matters that could not be bashed with an axe – a perfect tool for Liburga to wield in her schemes. She ensured Dhar triumphed in the tribe’s annual warrior trials through guile, either sabotaging or intimidating his rivals. She sought to put him in charge of the raids that were bound to succeed. In the end, it was Liburga’s insidious whispers that pushed Dhar to challenge the old chieftain when he was strong enough and gathered support among the tribe’s youngbloods.
That may have been Dhar’s undoing, but once more Liburga arranged everything in his favor: she had mixed manticore poison in the sacred warpaint that the chieftain was anointed with before the duel began, and his strength waned under Dhar’s onslaught. To the onlookers, it merely seemed as if the warrior had grown too old and frail to hold his own in battle. And as Dhar delivered the mortal blow, Liburga’s victory was complete. With the hapless new warlord wrapped around her finger, she was free to rule the tribe as she wished, and she would not let her kin squander their potential on petty pillaging. In time, Liburga hoped, she would lead them to glory unseen since the golden age of the Orcs. In time.