I probably owe an apology to Danie Ware. I started collecting the Adepta Sororitas short stories a year or so ago, but never got around to reading them. There’s no particular reason why, they just always seemed to find their way to the back of the list. With the approaching release of The Book of Martyrs it seemed NOW was the time. I probably owe a second apology because I started reading them out of order—there was no way I wasn’t starting with a story featuring the orks. Da Big Mouf, by Danie Ware, had me at title, subject, and execution.
‘Ere We Go
If I learned nothing else from Mike Brooks’ Brutal Kunnin’, it is that smart orks are the best orks. Da Big Mouf features an ork perhaps not as smart as Ufthak, but certainly with potential. The cleverly named Grimdak and his warboss Legmangla have been living the high ork life aboard a makeshift space hulk. Sure, there’s a mysterious warp vortex in the center mass, but that just keeps life interesting.
Through the tale Grimdak muses on the classic power struggles within the ork war bands and some of his more cunning ideas. He has big aspirations and fancies himself the most kunnin’, something which does pay off in the end. His narration is fun and smooth, and he does a good job of alerting us to the Sororitas without spelling it out.
The Sisters are Seen
We make a lot of jokes here about the Blood Angels and their chalices. In fairness, the Sororitas are equally obsessed with relics, something even the orks know. It only adds to the humor that Legmangla is 100% correct in his assessment of their presence, AND the revelation of the relic, which they don’t even recognize as one. When we put two and two together, it is far more satisfying than any chalice the Blood Angels might hunt.
There’s an oddly poetic symmetry to the orks and sisters that I hadn’t realized until this story. Both are well-armed and spoiling for a fight, both go in singing, and both enjoy glorious battle. The only thing missing from the story that I would have liked explored more is the orks’ thoughts on the sisters overall. It’s funny as hell that they know these people are always looking for relics. But one thing that separates the Sororitas from the Astartes is their passion. The “beakies” get angry, but are largely a dispassionate fighting force. The Sororitas are arguably as excited for a fight as the orks. It would have been interesting to hear more of the orks’ thoughts on this.
The story is, as with all things involving first-person POV with the orks, super fun. Grimdak’s sense of personal survival combined with his understanding of the world around him makes for a fun story. The sisters manage to be both a large and small presence and it works well. Their cunning in battle and ferocity does them credit when coupled with the orks. I’m glad I started with Da Big Mouf by Danie Ware before diving into the rest of the stories, because the world needs more orks.