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Topics - Tarkah

The Campfire / Reprieve
July 02, 2019, 12:03:48 AM

The sun was setting on another day in Zuldazar, coloring the mists and low clouds in blazing ruddy hues and striking reflections from the sides of the great pyramid that made the enormous structure appear as if it was glowing with a bright inner light.

Down among the various stalls, huts and tents that formed the shanty town that sprawled on the lowest terrace of the city the traders and crafters were closing up shop and preparing to head back to their homes and enjoy an evening’s rest. Or, well… ‘Shanty town’ to the eyes of the native zandalari at least.
To Atar’ka, the heavy wooden beams that made up the frames of the structures here and the thick, rich cloth that draped them was far removed from what she would consider squalid. She was inside one such storage tent, putting materials and tools back in their correct places to await the next day when they would be needed, and ancestors but she had been in houses that felt more flimsy. As she closed the lid on the now full storage chest she stretched her back and rolled her neck to try and relax them a little before pushing the heavy flap to the side and stepping outside to find somewhere to sit and quietly watch the city.

She still felt strange being here, out of place, but she supposed that the Horde’s alliance with the people of this city as well as the recent upheaval of the city's invasion had lowered many barriers and allowed the presence of people like her outside enclosed areas. Some of the zandalari had even been happy to accept her as an extra pair of hands and allowed her to watch and learn from them. To them, she was probably just another Horde face who had showed up on their streets. She didn’t see a point in contradicting them. For allowing her this chance, she had to give the Horde at least some credit, though she kept well clear of any soldiers she saw moving around the city.

Looking around from the stairs leading to the higher tiers where she’d found herself a seat, she could see across the bridges towards the Zocalo where she assumed the Red Blades were still camped, though she was too far away to see any figures. Or perhaps they had moved out again? She would have to find out at some point. If it meant keeping her distance to the war however, she was happy enough to leave it be for a while longer.
Staring out into the middle distance as she felt her thoughts drift, she snuck her hand into her satchel to retrieve a stone the size of her palm which she idly started to flip end over end.
The stone was mostly smooth, with no stains or cuts on it other than a large three-pointed mark carved into it which had been filled in with red. A well-kept item to be sure, and clearly designed with a purpose in mind, but more so from being tucked away safe and unused than from being used carefully.
If they had indeed left already she could ask them and find out. She could… But not yet.
Pushing the stone and the thoughts back in her satchel again, she scanned the surrounding terrace in an effort to try and spot her companion instead.

Rosha was somewhere nearby, she assumed, either busy with worrying at whatever her latest foray into the surrounding tents and stalls had landed the inquisitive wolf with or she was chasing after the small lizards that seemed to infest the entire city, stealing whatever they could fit in their tiny jaws. The other day, she could have sworn she saw some of them run around with items looking uncannily like weapons held up between them…

She had become as used to the wolf’s absence these days as she was to her company, which had been a strange realisation when it hit her. She hadn’t realised how used she had gotten to Rosha sticking to her like a shadow, at times to a point where she was grateful to have out-of-reach spots to retreat to, and now the lack of a presence at her knee could feel oddly lonely at times. She didn’t mind though, as it would have been impossible to get through any of the work she was currently doing with her companion bumping into her or jumping at loud noises as she once would have. She was glad to see that their work together had payed of, and that Rosha was cured of her stunted confidence and leaping at the chance to explore and sate her curiosity on her own. Perhaps the many hours of saddle and riding training had played their part in the changes as well. Trust had come easily once they both stopped keeping such close tabs on each other, and counted on the other to take care of themself.

Spotting a flash of gray fur on the far side of the terrace, she decided her rest was up and got back on her feet. As she started to head over in that direction she couldn’t help but wonder just what she would find her companion’s catch of the day to be, and if she would have to deal with any trouble because of it. She would rather they could head out on the roads outside the city than exchange glares and grudgingly spend her evening mending or replacing something for a furious owner.

The Campfire / A strange new world - Irkha's story
June 04, 2019, 04:32:38 PM
Silence never seemed to settle in this place.
Not that it ever does in a place of life and wilderness, but here was somehow different.
The swamps were dark, infested with shadows were the boughs of the mangrove trees bowed low over the murky waters and the precarious bits of land making up what few usable paths still existed.
So much of it was filled with decay, and in many parts lurking death. There was almost a feeling of the land itself lying in wait for the unwary, to pull you down and smother you, much like the things that hid in the deeper waters.
You expected silence in a place like this, as there seemed to be precious little alive to even make any sound.
But the invasive buzzing of insects, the strange echoes and cries that carried across the water-logged lands from somewhere deeper in the swamps, too distorted by distance to pin-point, together with the occasional sound of something unseen slipping into a murky pool hinted at the true nature of this place.

But despite that, she liked it here. She knew Father would have liked it as well, but those were memories she tried hard not to touch on. Instead she focused on the reason she found herself here in the first place.
They had told her to watch, to find things to watch. So she did.
Gladly, in fact. It was a good reason to be away from them and left to huddle in the shadows instead.
She liked shadows. Where you had shadows you had good nooks to call yours. In most cases, at least.
They had told her to watch. They hadn’t told her they wanted to know what she saw.

Besides, there was enough to do with simply staying alive to worry about what they might or might not want. She might like it here, but the swamp didn’t like anyone. She was fairly sure of that.
Already, she had learned to stay away from any water. It wasn’t worth drinking in the first place, and even less worth loosing body parts over. Which made surviving that much harder, although there was no shortage of things to eat. So long as you ate the right things.
And the less said about the pale people that made their home here the better. They were different from the ones she remembered from home, taller and stronger, but if anything they looked even more dangerous.

That was then, and this was now.
The time between those two points were a blur at best. A blur that she was now trying to trace her way back through as she peered out from within the tent where she had been resting for over a day now at the ruins that surrounded them. She could see the orcs, and others, go about their business around camp. She still wasn’t sure what to think of them, as many of them made her uneasy. They looked wrong, most of those she had seen at least, and their manners were...strange.
Still, they had freed her and fed her. She was glad to be alive.
And not just her alone. A sudden flash of white against the dark and drab surroundings showed where a familiar figure moved around camp with the others. Skint.
She knew next to nothing of the white orc, but their shared time in captivity had formed a strong bond of its very own kind. The frail orc would have stood out anywhere, and even more so in this place. Just like she had done on that cart…

...which she had been following since earlier that day, when the footfalls of the beasts pulling the cart and the creaking of its wooden frame had alerted her to its presence. She didn’t know who any of the three figures riding it were, and what their business might be, but it was a strange enough sight to make her follow it.
After all, she was supposed to be watching for things and this was too curious to pass up.
The two figures sitting towards the front were from the tall people of the lands to the south, but otherwise didn’t attract her attention too much.
The one in the back of the cart however was an orc, but who’s white hair and pale looks were unlike any Irkha had seen previously.
She was watching from the top of a nearby tree when the cart abruptly lurched to a halt and listed to the side as one of its wheels got caught and sank into the mud. Spotting the figures emerging from their hiding places all around, Irkha breathed in sharply through her teeth. Sure enough, this was a trap and not an accident!
Thoughts racing as she weighed her options soon gave her the obvious answer: She couldn’t just sit and watch.
Descending the tree and racing across the ground brought her up behind on of the ambushers who crumpled from a stab to the side, another flopped to the ground from a cut across the lower calf. If she could distract them enough to break their circle, perhaps there would be a chance to escape!
She kept moving, not daring to stay in one spot for a second more than she had to. But the third figure she approached must have noticed her anyway, as it turned on her and lashed out with its spear. She tried to force her way closer, but the spear came for her once again.
She broke away, looking for somewhere else to run… when something cracked hard against the side of her head and then again just above her neck.
Color exploded across her vision and she tried to move, but her body wasn’t listening. Instead she could only watch as the ground rushed up to meet her before everything went black.

The time in the cage was just a vague memory to her, more impressions and feelings than actual images. The pain of the bindings eating into her wrists and ankles. The bars closed in around her and the bruising and pain as she tried in vain to squirm and force her way out between them. The feeling of someone crammed in close together with her. She had felt naked and cold, exposed and horrified as she realised that they had taken her furs away. Father’s furs.
She was glad now to not have been alone in there...

She woke with a start, staring around wildly before she remembered where she was. Still in the tent, still wrapped in the borrowed furs, still replaying the memories.
The furs smelled of their owner, but a night spent wrapped up in them had gone some way towards making them feel at least a little familiar. She hadn’t spoken to any of the orcs of this strange group since the night of their rescue but the one who had helped and fed them, Zi’tani, felt like someone she could trust and so Irkha trusted her smell by extension.
She was kind, and she looked...right, unlike many of the others.

She knew she had to leave the tent eventually. If nothing else to find food. But for now she just wanted time to catch up with the world around her, even if just a little. The rest would just have to wait a little longer.

The Campfire / Gone hunting
October 11, 2018, 09:13:25 PM
A small story taking place at the outset of the ritual hunt in Kavara's honor undertaken by the clan's glorious and skilled hunters!  >:(
...And also by at least one orc who doesn't have the first clue how to hunt in the first place, but who resolves to give it a shot anyway.  :-[

The evening sun was well on its way to set as she left the rocky cliffs above Razor Hill behind her and headed west, its last light touching of the reddish dust and rock formations and making the landscape glow in earthy warm colors.
The others must be far ahead already, most likely out on the Barren plains themselves as they all had wolves to carry them. There was no use even attempting to catch up to them, and no point in doing so even if she could.
They would be pursuing their own prey, planning their own hunts with no other pack needed apart from their beast companions.
A plan and a companion...two things she was utterly without, never mind the actual skill at the hunting craft.
Running at a light sprint in order to cover as much ground as possible while there was still light in the sky to go by and vaulting the smaller of the pools of stagnant water that dotted the ground between her and the river ahead, she found herself questioning the wisdom of her choice to be here. Despite the thur'ruk's words on all orcs being born hunters and how the spirits would look favorably on honest effort and a will to do better, her old ingrained thoughts on skill and craft insisted that surely a poor attempt with no results would in some way be an insult to them. But, she reproved herself, it would be far worse to turn back now. Giving up, proving that she lacked will...
She cut of her own line of thought with a snarl and directed more effort towards her legs instead. Up until a few months ago, she might have backed down and made excuses. But not now. It was time to prove that to herself if nothing else. Prove that mastery was not a requirement to learn.

The river was coming into view up ahead, the wooden bridge spanning it only visible as a dark outline in the dusk but still enough of a landmark to use as a heading. Normally, her first thought would have been to stop at the small encampment on the far side of the river and set out again in the morning, but that was no longer an option.
Luckily, she could expect to find enough trees along the river and the cliffs leading up to the plains whos crowns would serve well enough as a camp for one night. As her boots met the timber of the bridge she slowed to a halt, taking the time to catch her breath and check her pace as to not appear in the encampment at a full run and arouse attention. Striding up and down the curved spine of the bridge and through the mostly sleeping outpost she set out to find her camp for the night. As expected, she was not long in finding a tree tall and wide enough to accomodate her and she soon found herself nestled into the crook of its boughs where she once again turned her thoughts to the day ahead.

No companion, no plan, no skill of craft... The only thing in her power to change was how she chose to approach the attempt, how she planned to achieve anything in the days to come. That meants focusing on what options she had and what was in front of her. A smirk found its way onto her face at the thought. That at least, she was good at.
She had no bow which, Ancestors help her, would have been no help even if she had one. Unless the prey had a very specific sense of humour and would laugh itself to death as she fumbled her shots.
She had no spear to either throw or hound prey with the advantage of distance on her side.
And she had no illusions of sneaking up on prey unnoticed or setting a trap.
The dagger at her belt was the only tool or weapon she had and she would have to find a way to make it count.
That left deciding what prey she would seek to corner and attempt to bring down. Thinking about the different beasts she knew made their home on the plains, she was left with few enough options there as well. Hyenas, lions and raptors would all have no trouble besting a lone orc with a blade, let alone rip out her throat or tear off her face.

A soft thread on the dry grass below her abruptly tore her from her thoughts as she tensed up, trying both to not give herself away and to catch a glimpse of what was moving below. The tree blocker her view however, and she had little choice but to remain still until the owner of the steps had moved away far enough to not be heard any more.
Letting herself relax and slide back into her previous lines of thinking however, a very simple realisation dawned on her.
If a dagger and patience was all she had, there would be no use to go out there and seek prey that would outclass or outrun her.
All she had to do was wait for the prey to come to her instead, and make the most of her chance. She remained awake for a while longer, listening to the nightly sounds of the plains and watching the stars above before rest caught up with her.

I found myself writing this in a way very different to how I've approached writing previously, so feedback is very appreciated to gauge how it turned out!
I haven't written anything in a long while, which might have something to do with the random change in approach, but its one I found to be much more comfortable compared to previous attempts.
The Campfire / A matter of confidence
May 05, 2018, 08:45:34 PM
The plains lay silent, wrapped in a cover of night under a starry sky.
A wind was blowing in across the land, rustling the trees around the scattered oasis, a wind that for once wasn't filled with heat and dust but instead carried faint traces of the spring that was breaking in the more fertile lands to the south.

On the topmost level of the watchtower overlooking the Crossroads, Atar'ka exhaled and watched the pale cloud of smoke drift away northwards on the wind. This was the fifth night that she had come here since the great and final battle with the usurper Worza, now that she had the time and more so the freedom to do so at will. The tower no longer held a captive orc and her guards nor was it at risk to be the target of unnatural infiltration attempts, which finally made it hers again to use as a place to sort out her thoughts. And ancestors knew there was enough of those for her liking...

The clan's month-long meddling in the kolkar clans' civil war had been a welcome distraction, something to focus her attention on and leave the thinking for later. After all, there is no time to let yourself sink into thoughts when you have pressing  things such as flailing hooves or thrusting spear-tips to keep your focus on.
Pushing them aside did not make the questions and doubts disappear however, which by now had piled up to form a loosely balanced heap in her mind. Trying to remove any one pebble from the pile threatened to upset the tenuous balance and set it all tumbling down to bury her unless she found the right one to remove first. In short, she had no ancestors-damned idea where to begin, and so she found herself coming back up to the tower for another bout with her own thoughts again and again.

Having something to focus on helped with the thinking, even if the small smouldering glow from the rolled-up leaves pinched in her hand was far from what she would have prefered. Nothing was as good for staring into as flames or hot coals, but setting a campfire at the top of a watchtower was simply not an option.
She would have to find at least some answer soon though, sort out her mind, or a sneaking suspicion told her that the accursed pile would collapse all on its own regardless. But being stuck in indecisiveness frustrated her, and the frustration was getting in the way of sorting out her mind. She felt trapped, which did nothing to help matters.

Leaning forward to look down at the sleeping outpost and exhale at least some of the frustration in a sigh-like snarl, she made a decision.
It was time to look for answers outside her own skull for once.

Perhaps not the most informative or riveting read, since I find it difficult to avoid being vague about details and exact reasons when writing about on-going things for whatever reason, even in inner monologue :S Perhaps time for a flashback-piece...
I mostly wrote this piece as a way to help myself figure out a thought-process that I'm currently trying to navigate Atar'ka through, but as has often been said before:  "More stories!" so I uploaded it.

I'm still struggling with increasing the overall length of what I write, but for what its worth I'd be happy for any and all feedback!
The Campfire / A wandering orc's tale/s
December 15, 2017, 02:23:59 AM
Advance warning, this is several stories in one thread!
I will probably try to collect most things that I write here in this one topic for the sake of keeping the total number of topics to a reasonable amount.
The starting point is the outset of the reboot campaign, and covers what happened during it from one orc's point of view. And also whatever ends up happening afterwards!
The Campfire / Stealing Away
December 14, 2017, 08:36:21 PM
A New Hunt, Alone

The Horde outpost of Razor Hill had seen more quiet days than this.
Apart from their own numbers, a large mob of orcs from various groups had descended upon it during the last few days, turning the fortified crossroad into a crowded and noise-filled place.

Luckily, the Red Blades had had plenty of time to settle in and claim enough space for themselves since they first arrived some eight or ten days ago.
Much had happened since then. The hunt had come to an end and many answers had been found, giving rise to no few new thoughts that needed getting used to. The tribe was a clan now, with an ancient heritage rooted in the Old World that had been revealed to them by its guardian spirits, the very same spirits who had aided and guided them throughout their recent travels and search for the answers they now held. Most of the orcs present that night had sworn oaths in words and blood before these spirits as they embraced a new family, a new pack. Others had taken their leave now that the hunt was done, citing other paths as being theirs to walk.

And now, so was she. Atar'ka grunted as she reached over to grab her pack to begin filling it with the small amount of things she called hers. Moving still met with resistance from her bruised ribs even if the shaman, Mazhga, had done much towards mending them back together. Thinking about how she had broken them in the first place, she could only shake her head at her own foolishness. Had she honestly believed that she could stop or slow the boar, or had she just been too blind and slow to avoid it? At least life seemed to see fit to allow her to live and learn. Perhaps time she started listening… Just how long life would remain this forgiving was something better not pondered or tested, she felt.

Not staying put was another sign of her lack of wisdom, leaving for another hunt so soon and on her own was even more so… Perhaps she simply -was- foolish. But she had to go, there had been enough waiting, enough lingering.
She had set out to find orcs that she considered close, back when this had all started, before stumbling across the Red Blades. And they had to be found, their safety made certain.
Feraleye had offered the aid of his people when she told him of her plans to leave, hinting at a restlessness among the orcs to be moving once again, but she had refused him. A welcome and generous offer that she felt honoured by, yes. But this was for her to see to alone.

The small pile of tools and supplies was gone, tucked away into the leather pack and leaving only one item on the burrow's stone floor. The colors of Redblade. She had found herself taking them, rather than admit openly that she had been one of few orcs not to take the oath that night. One day she would come before the spirits again, but she would not insult them by offering oaths that had to be set aside in favor of other ties. She had not worn the tabard once however, something that sharp eyes no doubt had spotted by now, which made it a flimsy attempt at subterfuge in any case. Bloodpaw especially she expected full well to know, seeing how he had been there when she asked to speak with the chieftain alone.

A glance outside told her that dawn was close and that it was time to leave. Fetching a charred piece of wood from the night's brazier and breaking it into more useful pieces, she sketched a message on what paper she could find and left it on top of the folded-up tabard.
She might be stealing away before the rising sun roused the others, but stealing what was not hers to keep? No.

Besides, she intended to come back for it.

A piece to cover and explain an IC absense for the next couple of days, even if Atar'ka herself neglected to do so. xP
Still not overly sure where I'm going style-wise, but its an attempt none the less.