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Messages - Rhonya

The Campfire / What Comes After
September 21, 2021, 04:51:46 PM
Rhonya’s eyes moved to gaze over the sleeping faces in the hut, one by one taking in their appearances, listening to their slow breathing. Her lips parted slightly into a small smile as she watched them all.
She had begun building a few smaller huts right next to the big one. Sukeenah already had her own tent, but the cubs were growing so fast, the hut was certainly rather crowded. It was hard work, but she did it gladly.
The clan had moved on without her once more, but this time it had been by her own choice to remain behind. They would be fine without her, she was sure. Even so, a soft sigh escaped Rhonya and she shifted to stand up and move outside, the light breeze playing a little with the long tunic she was wearing.
It was dark, but out in the Barrens the stars were always there to lighten the night sky, so she could see well enough. Rhonya didn’t go far, merely a dozen meters or so before she sat down on a fallen log at the edge of the harpy woods.
The clan had been her life for many years now. Orcs lost, loved, found again, lost even more… At times the pain was almost too much to bear, but she’d always managed. Now however…
There was no one left for her to care about. Besides the Chieftain, her bloodbrother, she wasn’t that close anymore with any of the Orcs. Oh, some of it was her own fault, the past years actually her having been scared to bond again, as most of the times those bonds were ever so painfully ripped apart once more in one way or another.
Right here, she had everything. Her mate, her children, both her own blood and not.
Her memories of those she had loved and lost. Her herb garden and the people out in the Barrens here that came to her hut often enough with hurts or problems that she could aid with. Maybe it was time to settle down entirely, dig in her roots and grow.
Rhonya would visit, of course. Razor Hill wasn’t that far away, and hopefully the clan would keep using it as their anchor point for some relaxation.
But her path in the clan was over. As much as it hurt her.
The soft breeze blew through her long, long black hair, almost like a warm, calming caress over her cheek. She wasn’t alone. The spirits were with her, and she knew they were with the clan as well.
They’d be alright.

Crashing through the undergrowth came two grey feet, followed by the soft padding of a number of paws. One flash of orange and black, another of a muddy golden brown on the other side.
Breathe in, breathe out. Thundering down the hill in a billowing cloud of earth and foliage slapping her in the face, came Kyrazha, followed in her wake by a large but slender wolf and an enormous tiger. She doubled over for a moment after reaching the bottom of the hill, catching her breath. There was a wide grin on her sweaty face though, an almost unnatural blue-ish glint in her eyes.
“Let’s take a break, guys. Just a short drink.” she said softly before seating herself near a bush. Timur curled up around her back, his head resting on her lap. Vesa however, disappeared into a nearby bush, the rustling of the leaves betraying he was moving further away. He’d be back, she knew.
Taking a swig from her waterskin, Kyrazha closed her eyes a short moment.

This is what we were born to do, Stalker. Our pack. Our hunt.

I know, Striker. It feels good. Like home. But the clan…

You mean your oaths. They might conflict. But you are what you are, and you can’t fight it forever.

Kyrazha exhaled through her nose, opening her eyes again. Was this what was meant with the curse of the Varog’gor? Had it finally caught up with her, after years of serving the Chieftain faithfully, protecting him, willing to give her life for him? It should feel like failure. Like she broke her oaths to him.
But for some reason, she only felt something welling in her chest. A need for freedom, a need to go. There was no room for guilt. Only the feeling of the pack nearby. Her daughter, knowing she was safe and close by. Her bloodbrother and sister, she'd always be able to find them if needed. It was good, like this. She was home.
Timur made a soft, rumbling noise, almost as if he agreed with her in his own way.

Focus. Open your eyes and see. Feel. Hear.
Meri opened her eyes and kept her calm. She was standing barefoot on cold, grey rock. Around her rose ancient walls in a dome, the roof missing. Mist was creeping in, but it didn’t bother her. Her eyes looked almost entirely white, giving her an otherworldly, creepy look. At that point, she almost looked like a spirit herself, clad in white, her skin the ever pale grey color, her white mass of curly hair like a halo around her head. Behind her was an imposing figure of a Draenei, clad in long, flowing robes. His shape moved with the mist however, making it very clear he wasn’t a fully corporeal being.
Yet, he was there and he was visible.
Meri looked around with the white eyes. Arkaan was behind her, his presence like a burning in her back, a shining light in the corner of her vision. There were others. She was pulling them here, calling on them, hopefully able to finally grand at least a few of them peace.
She’d been training the past months with Arkaan, after making her will known to Nakobu. Meri wanted to learn more from the Draenei spirit, and she was only able to do so here, in the ruins of Auchindoun.
At this point she was no use to the Clan either way. Too uncertain, not able enough in her ways to safely help them and the spirits they might run into. Never had she been a center piece and never would she want to be. Her place was at Nakobu’s side, the only one who truly knew her and loved her, despite her shortcomings and mistakes.
And that feeling was mutual.
Slowly they gathered around her, blocking her from sight of anyone that might linger nearby, the mists thickening in the center of the ruins.
She’d set them free, one by one, as was the duty she put upon herself. As was in the power Arkaan was entrusting her with.
Deathspeaker, Spiritspeaker, Soulwarden, Soulwalker, Lightuser, Pale one… It didn’t matter how they called her. Meri would learn. And she would help them. She would help Nakobu find his place, wherever that may be. She would stay with him, and all would be well.

The mist closed. All was silent, all was white, all was still.
Odds & Ends / Re: Om'riggor Transcripts
March 25, 2021, 01:56:29 PM

I am Mazhga, formerly of the Frostwolves, now of the Clan Redblade. As I set out from Garadar, I took a moment to close my eyes, and feel the grass beneath my feet. It was as if I felt a tug upon my soul, drawing me westwards. It was nothing like the Elements' guidance, no this felt different, in a sense-.. I'm not quite sure how to put it, to be entirely honest.
Eitherway, I began heading westward. It must've been some thirty-minutes before I spotted something great nestled within a tree - it's grey-blue tail plume swaying gently in the wind.
A large Windroc, unlike any I'd ever seen before, easily quadrupling me in size.. I immediately knew this to be it, this was the great beast that I had to slay. One way or another. The how, on the other hand.. Well, I've never really been a big fighter, nor fan of heights, but I knew, I -knew-, that it'd be the only way for me to defeat my target; I would have to climb, and attack it in a surprise.

..So, I drew my knife from its sheate, and stuck it into my mouth so that I could climb with more ease. Now, I mentioned that I never really were a fan of heights, but it doesn't mean I can't climb.
My sister used to-.. Well, force me to climb when we were young, and if you hadn't already guessed, she was a bit of a bully back then, rough around the edges, although she usually meant well.
But, that's another story, so back to the actual story, as I'm trying to keep it short.
Finally having made my way up the tree, seemingly without drawing the attention of the great Windroc, I took the blade from my mouth. Already knowing I wouldn't be able to sneak all the way up on it, I took the carefully calculated decision to lunge at it.

As I landed ontop of it, it immediately went into fight or flight mode, screeching loudly as it wildly flapped its wings.
At this point I was trying to wrap myself around it, to restrain its wings, and stop it from taking off in flight - dagger still in hand, as I went for a straight stab to its neck.
..However, I had momentarily forgotten that windrocs have, well, legs, and it leapt off of the branch onto the ground, with me still upon its back, I bit into its neck to hold on, but also in an attempt to wound it, as I now had missed with the dagger.
We tumbled in the grass, and I held on for dear life. Several rolls, wing slaps, and scratches later, - yes, it got my leg with its talons, - I managed to plunge my dagger straight into its chest. Twisting the dagger its movements slowly came to a  stop, and after ensuring it no longer was moving, I rolled over onto the grass to catch my breath.
..After that-.. I 'tended' to my leg, it was really just a.. makeshift bandage out of my tabard.. And took my trophy, making my way back here.

Name given: Rimewind
Odds & Ends / Re: Om'riggor Transcripts
March 25, 2021, 01:52:46 PM

I am Akshahe. But a few days ago I was clanless, but now I hunt for the Red Blade! I wandered the plains a while looking for suitable prey. The windrocs were plentiful - no harm in taking one, I thought. I eyed the flock for some time. There was one - the largest one, an old matriarch, perhaps. I knew I wanted that one. But she was flying far out of reach, and my aim, one-eyed, is too poor to throw my axe so high. I had no time then to hunt anything else for bait, so I drew blood of myself instead, and smeared it on the grass. And she came! I waited long, almost gave up, but she scented blood, and she came. I charged, and she flew at me, talons out. We tangled - she gripped me in her talons, and then, when she was caught up in me and unable to fly off, I hurled my axe into her neck, and she bled.
When she fell from me I struck again to make it quicker. Death by bleeding is painful, and she deserved better for the fight she gave me! So I struck her, and then I hauled her here.

Name given: Embergaze
Odds & Ends / Re: Om'riggor Transcripts
March 25, 2021, 01:46:03 PM

Howday y'all my name is Bamm. Well I decided to run north west to see what I could find I had this old iron chain so welded this spike to it a decided to go out a lay a trap for somethang I dont know much about tradional weaponry so I figured it would be a dang ol hinderence. Anyhow. I saw a few Talbuk grazing in the distance from me figured it was as good as anything so I stopped and checked out the area. Sheer cliff to their left mountiany slope behind em so I could either attack from right or chase em and make em run to where I was currently hiding. So I began to dig a trench with said spike enough to possibly trip one! hooo'eee i thought that would dang sweet enough.
I dug down about a foot or so down and about 3.4... shiftire 3.6 feet across. About yey big. Enough i thought ya know shitifre?
But how to use this old chain to capture one i swang it around a few times trying to get a weight for it, figured it just wing it and see what happened!
Now all i needed to do was spook em enough to stampeed though the trap! Well i snuck up on em from the right, i guess the sight of me hollering and hooting at em naked as the day i was born worked! Boy howdy did they run. big ens lil ens all of em.
I charged after them hollering and a hooting swinging my chain and the a mighty yelp from this biggun with one horn! POW POW!! He stumbled then fell i was baring down on him he barely got to his feet again when i swung this chain spike first! i aimed to wrap around his neck and by luck it did.
WOOSH WOOSH! it wrapped twice tangling up him the spike so close to piercing his flesh i thought it was over then hoohah i gots him with one single pull i thought, but dang it if he wasnt ready to stop!
He took off! chain and me attached to him. Boy howdy did that hurt beening dragged like that 20 or 30 feet i think maybe more, but I saw a tree approaching so i scambled some what to my feet and threw  myself into the tree trunk!
BOOM!! I hit it so hard i was showered in leaves wind all knocked outta me, think i busted a rib. With all my might i held on to the that chain wrapped around my arm i though it was gonna snap.

The talbuk rearing and bleeting as the chain wrapped tighter! the spike which had been so close to its neck, connected penetrating i think a artery cause hoo'ee did the blood flow!
I crawled to it, i aint gonna lie to its prone bleeding body both spent, both exhausted. I looked into its eye dang spiritual i tell you what.
We had a dang moment!
I pulled the spike free and then stabbed it and tore it across the beasts neck, its eyes went dark and i was victorious. I think i yelled louder that i ever done did hooo'ee!!!
I cleaned my face of mud as best i could and smeared its blood across my face and snapped it single horn off. I'll gather its meat later! and thats my Hunt, shitfire that was fun!
Ah here i am!

Name given: Ironspark
Odds & Ends / Re: Om'riggor Transcripts
March 25, 2021, 01:19:00 PM

My name is Grazur, and I killed an ogre as my prey.
I advanced to the south, running as far as I could... Trying to see what animal I should kill.. There were talbuks, clefthooves.. windrocs.. but.. I couldn't bear killing them, though I know its part of the natural cycle, they had offspring to protect.
And so I continued, until I heard something near the oasis to the south, the rough and heavy laughter of an ogre. I don't have a personal hatred for ogres nor I had in mind killing him, but curiosity got the better of me as I stealthly investigated the commotion.
What I saw was that he was torturing a windroc in its last moments near one of the trees, playing with his nearly dead prey. That infuriated me, but I knew I couldn't exact vengeance with someone so strong like him so I thought.. I had the advantage that he didnt knew I was there and the fact that I was clearly much smarter than him. So I created a distraction by throwing a peeble in the opposite direction of the tree, he heard it and went to investigate, so I sneaked around through the tall underbrush and pounced on him with dagger on hand.
I was able to stick my dagger right into the back of his neck, he yelled in pain trying to get me out but his body was starting to lock up, I may have.. done some nerve damage. So I stabbed him again until he fell down prone, and so I ended his life and took his toe. I checked upon the tortured windroc and it had died with its wounds, I had to leave it there so that the local predators do their job but.. as I was about to leave I heard the smallest cries on the top of the tree, it was a nest...
So I ventured over and saw that there was one windroc hatchling left.. I know its not my place to interfere in the cycle but I couldn't leave it with good conscience so thats why I took it so I could nurse it to hopefully find a home for it.

Name given: Beastbrother
The Campfire / A Realm Unknown
February 28, 2021, 11:38:56 PM
The twisting magic swirled around and around, a noise like a wind howling in her ears. She had kept her eyes open for the first seconds but squeezed them shut quickly after, the twisting and turning combined with the flashes and sights making her nauseous. What was going on? Was this how it was supposed to go?
Kyrazha couldn’t hear the rest of the clan anymore. Something slammed against her, almost knocking her out. A second later she heard a loud snarl and felt fur brush against her, but when she opened her eyes it was all darkness. With a feeling as if she was being pulled inside out, a very sudden bright, blue light engulfed her and whatever had held her in its grip spat her out against something solid.

Heaving and gasping for breath, Kyrazha tried to get her bearing. However, her head was spinning, something wet and warm was running over her face and her head felt like it was about to split open.  So she lay there, breathing hard, just...feeling. There was something alike to grass under her, she could feel it with her hands. Odd smells penetrated her nose, but she couldn’t place them. One she knew. Blood. Her own blood.
There were sounds around her everywhere. Wildlife, the pattering of tiny paws, the sound of wind brushing through leaves.

Stand up, Stalker. We’re not alone.

Finally Kyrazha opened her eyes. Blotches of white and black danced through her vision and it took her a few seconds to be able to stand up. Even then, the world swirled around her. A low snarl sounded, coming from her own throat, a little too wolflike to be orc alone.

I feel you, Striker. You’re more clear than ever.

You’re in my realm now, little one. The spirit realm.

With a huff, Kyrazha focused, pushing the dark brown wolfmask that was on her head a little further back so it wasn’t blocking any of her sight. The world around her was dark, but the longer she looked, the clearer it got. Pinpricks of little glowing lights made themselves known around her, coming from the grass, oddly enough. As if that wasn’t weird enough, when Kyrazha looked up, she saw huge, twisted circular trees with bright, blue lights coming from them.
What was this place? Her back was close to one of the massive trees, pressing against it to help her keep her balance as she was still swaying unsteadily on her feet. So that was what she had gotten smacked into, coming here.
On her head she found a wound, right above her temple, hidden in the mass of red dreadlocks. It was still bleeding, but she wasn’t too worried about that.
She’d been warned she wasn’t alone. But looking around, Kyrazha didn’t see anyone. Or anything, for that matter. Grumbling, the grey she-orc reached for her bow that was luckily still on her back, together with her quiver and most of her arrows.

Up ahead.

Kyrazha stayed low to the ground. Anything in this strange land could be a threat. And she was alone, no sight of the rest of the clan here. Had something gone wrong in the ritual?
There was no time to dwell on it as a weird noise made itself known nearby. Kyrazha didn’t wait to see what it was, but moved in the other direction instead, away from it. She was in no condition to fight right now, unless she really couldn’t avoid it. The little lights in the plants threw her off a bit. Plants were not supposed to glow.

The world was strange, unknown. While being used to weird and unknown places, this one confused Kyrazha greatly. It took her a few hours to find a place where she could rest for a moment and felt relatively safe. Hidden between two roots of the large tree, she cleaned her head wound as well as she could with some water she’d taken from a small pond nearby. Even the water was strange, too clear, too clean. She had seen some traces of animals, but they appeared to be avoiding her as much as she was avoiding them. The only thing she’d seen were creatures like some kind of moths, high in the sky. She rested there, hidden from the strange world around her, alone.

A few days passed. Kyrazha found out there was enough wildlife here after all, if you knew where to look. Hunting wasn’t an issue, getting water was easy too. She had traveled further, but she had no idea where she was going.

No sign of the clan, at all. Nothing. No sign of Sharguul either. Where was everyone?
After a week, Kyrazha had determined there were towns here, of a sort. Or camps, was perhaps a better discription. Trees that walked, strange creatures with hooves and horns that certainly knew how to handle a weapon, but had kind, soft eyes. She kept out of their sight, though sometimes she felt as if she was being watched. But Striker was quiet, so she wasn’t too worried.

Another week of being alone. There were odd places here, patches of the woods that were dying, the places being tunneled by big, massive worms of a sort which most certainly did not look friendly. She was sure to stay away from those places. They felt utterly wrong to her.

More days passed, more days of fending for herself and surviving in this strange realm. She’d seen spirits, spirits of animals. But also the hooved creatures and a centaur variant, but wearing odd, wooden masks. The softness from their eyes was gone. She avoided them, too.

Until at one point something tugged at her. Something called to her. No, not to her. To Striker.
It was time to hunt.
Kyrazha found her quarry not too far away, in the camp she’d been keeping an eye on. The camp was crawling with the masked beings, which she had determined were not friendly, unlike their brethren who wore no masks. However, she was called to the edge on the other side, so she made her way quietly through the bushes until she reached the place. There was one hooved being, hunching over a dark shape…
Before Kyrazha could determine what it was, the being moved, its eyes focused right on her.
“You are mine!!” was all it snarled before it attacked, violently, jumping right into the bush Kyrazha was in. There was almost no time to respond as the dagger the creature was holding dug itself right into Kyrazha’s shoulder, pinning her to a piece of bark on the ground beneath her. She was stuck.
How had it known-?! No time. With an underhand movement Kyrazha pulled her own dagger from the bindings around her leg, kneeing the creature in the gut in the process before slashing out with the dagger. A lucky strike across the chest made the creature slump forwards enough for Kyrazha to bite at its throat and hold on until it stopped thrashing around.

Panting, covered in blood and stuck on the ground now with a corpse draped over her, Kyrazha snarled softly. Well wasn’t this wonderful.
With a snort she used her good arm to push the corpse to the side before grabbing the long, twisting daggers heft. Pulling it right out of her shoulder, she growled in pain, baring her teeth and clamping them together to stop herself from crying out. It wouldn’t do to get the entire camp on her head.
Looking around, she found some moss growing against the tree. A handful was enough to fill up the wound and plug the hole there, for now. It hurt like fel. She’d take care of it properly later.
First, that shape.
Moving over, Kyrazha became aware of a low snarl sounding. The creatures side heaving with its breathing. It didn’t look hurt, only dazed. As it lifted its head, Kyrazha knew why it had felt so familiar...
Wild knowing eyes met hers. She wasn't alone anymore after all.
The Campfire / Failure
February 16, 2021, 08:09:01 PM
The nights here were never really different from the days, all sense of time lost. So when Rhonya was sitting there on the edge of the camp, keeping her eyes on the two comatose orcs on the floor, she couldn’t help but slowly slipping towards sleep state herself. The monotone colors, no light changes, it made one zone out eventually. She was thinking about Rykana’s words, about trying harder and how she herself had responded. Exhaustion caught up with her before long and her eyes fully closed. Maybe she could take a nap, for a second…

The elven woods were as oppressing always. Some of the orcs loved them, but to Rhonya they were dark, secluded and slightly claustrophobic, the way the sky wasn’t even visible through the dense, dark tree tops.
The tribe was here on business, as usual. She had left Sadok and Sukeenah and the cubs in her hut in the Northern Barrens. There’d been some odd rumors coming from the woods, so the tribe had offered to investigate. Rhonya’s mate hadn’t felt up for it, so she’d gone without him. Which was fine, he could use some time with the children either way.
It was almost evening when the call came.

A voice, in her head. Sadoks voice.

“I love you. I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you I love you I love you iloveyouiloveyouiloveyouILOVEYOUILOVEYOUI--”

Rhonya was instantly alert. She reached back out to him, but there was no answer. Nothing. Instant fear gripped her heart as she dropped everything she was doing and yelled for Keren, her wolf. Sensing the urgency in her call, Keren ran towards her, unsaddled and all. Others of the tribe noticed Rhonya’s distress, but Rhonya wasn’t answering anyone.
One that followed her without question was Siyah’gosh, but Rhonya didn’t pay him any mind at first. She had to move. What was going on?

A green sky greeted her as Orc and Wolf ran as fast as Keren could go, Rhonya hanging on to the scruff of Kerens neck, clinging to her back. Rhonya looked up as they crossed the border to the Barrens. This sky wasn’t normal.
This thought was instantly supported by the feeling of the runic ward tattoo on her back activating. Which could only mean there was a high concentration of fel in the air.
Her hut wasn’t far. But the trip seemed to be taking hours, her ward burning on her back, sapping her energy to keep the fel from influencing her. There were.. things, in the sky. She paid them no heed.

Her breath caught as she rounded the corner into the patches of trees that surrounded her hut.
Or.. What was once her hut. Charred beams, the few remaining walls that were still standing were blackened and crumbling. The roof had collapsed and most of the furniture was burned and gone. The tattoo burned painfully now.
Without hesitation Rhonya threw herself off Kerens back, running towards the hut.
“Sadok?! Sukeenah! Skorm..?” She yelled, but there was no answer. She was trembling now, scenarios of her children and mate burning to death inside the hut in her mind. No. She had to focus.

Looking on the ground, the grass was blackened in a circle around the hut, as if something burning had fallen with great speed on the structure. But, in the grass, footsteps. Many of them. Both small and large, they made their way away from the hut.
So they’d escaped? Relief filled her. But why wasn’t Sadok answering her?

A soft sound could be heard from the hut. It was barely audible, a soft moan. Rhonya turned, her eyes going wide. She found a way inside the hut, climbing over fallen beams, burned up furniture, some threatening to fall on her as she shifted some things out of the way.
“Sadok!” She called out to her mate, before she saw him.

Only his torso was visible. One of the walls was pinning him on one side, a support beam had fallen over him on the other, crushing his legs. Blood streaked his face. One hand was stiffly held in a position as if he was holding something, but.. it was empty. On the floor nearby him she could see the ugly spiked mace they had kept in the hut for years. Mruth’gors scepter, the Scepter of the Shaman King.

He was still alive. Rhonya sped over towards him, tears filling her eyes. How was he even still alive? His face was charred, the wounds fatal, she could tell that right away. Yet, he breathed.

Their last moments were short. Some of the tribe arrived, but as they noted her distress and the fact they couldn’t help in any way, they left her alone. Only Siyah’gosh stayed, and talked to her.
Sadok would die. Nothing could change that. The beam on him was somehow the only thing still keeping him alive. If it was moved, he’d die instantly. But if they left him like this, he’d die a slow, agonizing death.
Sadok could hardly speak. But he noticed her there, her recognized her. He told her Sukeenah had escaped with the children. He mentioned the scepter, but his words were all jumbled up.
Rhonya was numbed. She held his hand, feeling… nothing. She couldn’t accept this…

In the end Siyah’gosh convinced her she couldn’t leave him like this, in his own way. She agreed… And the odd but honest orc slit his throat. Ended his suffering.
The image forever burned into Rhonya’s memory, never to forget, the pain never fading. If only she’d taken him along. If only she’d been there and not in the woods. If only she’d tried harder.
If only…

Images. Orcs, in her arms.
Her sister. Grogona. Someone found her corpse, brought it to the clan. In her arms, that trusted face, the spirit gone forever. Failed her.
Under her bloodied hands. A newblood...what was his name again? Kargush. Wounded in battle and she’d been too late. He died, her hands bloody on his chest, tears burning in her eyes. Failed him.
That burned face of her mate, making her promise to be strong… Failed him most of all.
Krogon, an arrow in his back, the poison spreading through his veins, the Chieftains knife kissing his throat and sending him to the Plains, under Rhonya’s hands. She’d failed him.
Makaroth. Blood brother. Warlock. Fallen from grace, seduced to return to his old ways, killed for betraying the tribe… failed him, her bond broken.

Failed them all. She didn’t try hard enough.

Nakobu, burning up right in front of her eyes. One moment he was there,  the next, he was gone. Failed him.
Thronk, getting carried over the edge, drowning, his suffering spared by an arrow-..failed him…

Failed them all. Their blood on her hands. She didn’t try hard enough. It was her fault. So many dead, because she failed, because she hadn’t been strong enough. Failure… failure…


She awoke with a start, touching her face. Something warm and wet was covering her cheeks. It took her a moment to realize she was crying. Her gaze found Nakobu’s form right away. She stumbled over to him, checking his pulse. He was alive… thank the spirits, he was alive.
Rhonya moved over to Thronk, doing the same. His heartbeat steady under her hand.

Wiping her face, Rhonya turned around, moving a little bit away from her clan. Rykana’s words echoing in her ears. “I did everything I could and it wasn't enough.”

Rykana had been talking about herself. But the words had hit home for Rhonya too, clearly. Her heart hurt.
These two were not dead. But they could’ve been, easily. She still wasn’t strong enough.
With a sigh Rhonya buried her face in her hands, hiding a little behind some of the bones. Steelheart, was her name. A name she often felt she didn’t deserve…
The darkness was absolute. There was nothing. No sounds, no smells, no light. Yet, there was something. A presence. Something there with her. Something approaching slowly, a light touch next to her ear, a brush over her cheek. And softly, a whisper. They had found her once again.

Meri shifted uncomfortably under the think blanket she was hiding under, curled up in a dark corner of the large Horde tent. The furs covered her from head to toe, blocking out all the light. She had retreated into herself for some much needed quiet, but it always found her when she did that. The Voids presence, never long behind as she tried to use it to block some of the chaos going on in her head. She had given in to it a few days ago, hopeful that it might give her some respite, but the scale had tipped too far.
It had taken Nakobu and the Light to bring her back to her usual balance. Something Meri did not want to repeat, because she had seen how much it had hurt him to actually use the Light on her in such a way. How it had shaken his very beliefs. So she pulled back, not giving in to those whispers this time, returning to the here and now.

The rest of the clan didn’t need to know her situation. Not more than they already did, at the very least. Right now she was only a burden, not functioning normally at all, despite her trying very hard. Nakobu had gone outside to discuss other things with the clan. He was still hurt. It wasn’t fair on him either, the fact she couldn’t even support him right now, as she should. He was her mate after all.

Meri slowly rose from the pile of blankets, reaching for the mug of cold water that was never far. Taking a few sips, the normal world came back to her slowly. Noises. Not only the camp around her, but voices. Pleas, cries of pain, despair. It was hard to untangle them into individual things, it was more a current passing by, hearing one thing only to have it whisked away and be replaced by three other voices. She knew they came from around her, and above her. The undead, tortured souls, the strange pressing sensation coming from that broken sky. The flashes, parts of beings ripped apart, but she could never focus fully on them.
It was never ending. This place was chaos.

If only Arkaan could visit her here. Often she held the bone in her hand that he had gifted her, thinking about their earlier talks, the lessons he had given her. The Draenei spirit was bound to Auchindoun however, so calling on him here probably wouldn’t work. If he even heard her through all this noise. Yet, knowing he and Nakobu always had faith in her, gave her some strength.

As she stood up and smoothed out her robe to go in search of some much needed food, she got some odd looks from the Argents passing by. They still didn’t understand. Some had tried to ask, but she send them away. They didn’t need to know either.
Reaching for her bag, she took out some of the dwindling supplies. A few potatoes, carrots, onions and other vegetables. She worked slowly, very slowly, concentrating hard to keep her attention on the preparations instead of getting drowned in everything in her head. It made her so tired…
The knife sliced through the potato easily. As she rose it to cut down again, she gasped. A pang of pain split through her head, making her cut into her finger instead of the potato, blood spreading over her cutting board. She didn’t notice it though.
A flash. Snow, swirling around. She felt Nakobu’s presence, for some reason. But also others of the clan. Echos of voices, worried, shocked. The half-blood calling out to the skies, to the spirits. She could hear him as clearly as if she’d been standing next to him.

Meri sat there, unseeing, eyes unfocused, blood slowly dripping from the cutting board on the ground. One of the Argents Crusade elves moved in her direction and worriedly gave her a shoulder a soft pat. “Miss? You're-.. You’re bleeding.”
No response, at all.
Looking uncertain, the Elf moved away to grab a few supplies to dress Meri’s wound, placing the now ruined food and board to the side, along with the bloody knife. Meri didn’t stir.

A river of souls. Flash. A city in the sky. What is it? Where is it?
Flash. A dwarf, alongside other deathwalkers. It didn’t make any sense.
Flash. Growling, a large, black wolf fighting for his life. Only there a mere second in her minds eye, but the image stuck with her.
Flash. An orc, dying. No, getting devoured, utterly. Next, another. Gone, no trace.

Meri hiccuped, finally snapping out of the trance. The elf was gone by now, her finger neatly bandaged, a soup simmering in her pot on her own small fire, the bloody potatoes cleared away. How long had she been out? What had she seen? They’d only been split second images and they’d come and gone so fast, she couldn’t make any sense of them.
A headache build up behind her eyes, fast and unrelenting, forcing her to hide back under the darkness of the furs in the corner, not too far from her little fire. The light hurt her eyes.
She heard others coming in eventually, but she didn’t move from her hiding spot. Meri couldn’t focus on the voices anyway, they all blurred together with the screams.

How long would she hold out, like this…? Meri didn’t know. But she wasn’t leaving. That was for certain.

Red Blade Records / Re: Kyrazha Throatrender
October 28, 2020, 11:44:55 AM
Much needed update done...!
The Campfire / Kosh'harg Dreams
September 19, 2020, 02:18:35 PM
Kosh’harg. A time of camaraderie, peace, celebration. Most of all, rest, a time to relax and simply enjoy each others company. Even more so for Srelok Grimtide now. He’d gotten so close to the edge a week ago that he was happy to be alive. Happy to even still be able to celebrate this festival with his clan, his family.
They were not done yet. There were still some things to do, but most of the danger had passed for now. For now, he could simply enjoy the celebrations.
Sinking back into his furs one evening, a smile on his lips as he fell asleep…

Pandaria. A land of hope and dreams since the Sha were defeated. They’d been living here for a while now, away from the clan. Not that she was really a part of them to begin with, but she noticed Srelok missing them often enough. He had a place there, a family, even so he’d chosen to go here instead with her. The outcast, the stranger. Being a half blood had never been easy. The clan accepted them well enough, but for many the feeling remained of being the odd one out either way.
The lands they’d seen were beautiful, recovering after everything that been done to them in the past years. It was a good time, together. Finally they had the time and chance to focus on each other, and only that.

Yet, things never stay the same.

It started in the Vale. Darkness fell over the land once again. But not a natural darkness. No, this was something else. A darkness so deep and corruptive that the land itself suffered, and everything inhabiting it as well.
A small seed was enough. They fled, but she felt her mind slowly starting to slip. Some moments she didn’t remember what she’d been doing just minutes before.
Slowly he watched her change. From that sharp, witty person to a hollow shell of what she’d been once. He tried to help her, desperate, his love, his life withering before his eyes. But it was all for naught.
She slipped through his fingers into madness, and there was no way to reverse it.

The cave. The ending of a bond made for life that lasted way too short. The last moments as she attacked all those dear to her, as they harmed her. Every wound he felt on himself, double as badly. Was it his fault it had come this far? They never should’ve gone to this place.
The life that faded from her eyes as she looked up to someone she didn’t know. Why hadn’t it been him? Why were the last arms she felt around herself not his, but a strangers?
Slipping, slipping, ever further into the dark.
Finally the voices were silenced, blessed quiet. No more promises, no more hurt. Yet she could still see the faces of them all. She’d still been in there, pushed away, but looking on as they came to murder her.

The silence didn’t last very long. A new noise made itself known, the world gone red. This should’ve been a new beginning. Panic gripped her in its ugly claws as she fell, kept falling. No! Where were the eternal plains? This wasn’t right!
Struggling, but to no avail. She was lost once again. From the frying pan into the fire, as one would say. This fire hurt more than anything else. She had no body to burn, so it burned her soul, her very essence.
Slipping, once again. How much time had passed? How much time of being in this agonizing pain, memories slowly fading away, burned away, until nothing was left…
Who was she again…? Faces swam in front of her mind, faces she’d once known, but who were strangers now.

Strangers. The last thing she saw again, before everything disappeared. Entirely. The pain, the noise...She.

Blessed silence.
The Campfire / Some Dreams Do Come True- Skint
April 10, 2020, 12:51:18 AM
Sitting on the pier was a slender figure. White of skin, white of hair, sticking out like a sore thumb in her surroundings. Even though she wore a light garb of green clothes, she almost shone in the light of the moons shining down on her. Almost ethereal, almost looking like a spirit herself.
Meri had taken some distance from Nakobu for now, while she was working on a few beads and small trophies to add to the necklace she made for him before. Things made from the talbuk they hunted yesterday. Together.

To Meri’s surprise, they’d both actually come out of the hunt mainly unhurt. Nakobu had a nasty bruise on his shoulder from a hoof hitting him, but that was all. Meri herself hadn’t been hurt at all.
Thinking back on it made her smile, her hand holding a knife, carving away at a piece of bone. They’d actually done it. So many clan orcs worried they wouldn’t manage, that they’d get hurt, Tagrok even saying he’d stay awake so they could call for him if needed.
And it hadn’t been needed. Meri and Nakobu had shown the clan and the spirits, they could hunt together, without any magic, bringing down their chosen prey.

Once, her former clan also thought Meri would never find someone. Would never do a hunt. They didn’t even allow her an om’riggor.
Meri winced a little at remembering this, looking out over the pond she was sitting at, down into the water, at her own reflection…

“Hah! So here you’re hiding, Skint! Mother was asking for you. Why she still does, no one knows.” The voice cut through the silence like a knife. Meri turned her head. She’d been washing some clothes in the river next to her clans camp, but apparently her brother had found her. Not that he acknowledged he was related to her. The shame.
She turned to see a large, brown skinned male in his prime. He was some five years older than her eight years at the time, muscle upon muscle, the pride of the family, the rising champion of the clan. Like her father now. His son was his pride and joy, his everything.
Hotur came striding towards her, his skin glistening a little from the sweat caused by the midday sun beaming down on his back.
Meri stood up, the wet shirt she was washing in her small hands. “I’ll b-be t-there soon, H-Hotur..” she said in a small voice, shrinking back a little as he came even closer.
“You better, she needs help with the beast we just hunted.” Hotur looked down on her, eyes narrowed as he looked down at her. His beady eyes moved to something hanging around her neck, a pretty, multicoloured shell she had found earlier that day on the beach, crafted into a necklace for her by her mother.
“What in spirits name are you wearing, Skint? Who did you steal that from?”
“W-what..? No one! I f-found it…” she protested, dropping the shirt and moving her hands to cover the shell. She started to tremble a little.
Hotur snorted. His hand moved. Meri didn’t even get time to respond before the back of his hand hit her face with a crack and she smacked on the ground, nearly ending up in the water. With a whimper she curled up, a hand on her cheek.
Hotur stomped towards her, leaning down. His hot breath tickled her ear as he spoke. “Liar. Always a liar, pale orc. You don’t deserve something so pretty.” His hand closed around the shell and ripped the necklace from her neck, turning it in his hand to inspect it.
“I’m sure Saggah will like this. A good gift for a strong mate. She’ll be mine one day.” Hotur turned around, starting to walk away.
“Not like you’ll ever know how that is. A mate. Phah! Who’d ever even lay eyes on â€"you-! A curse, that’s what you are. A curse on this family.”
And with those words, Hotur left her alone, her necklace in his hand.
Meri didn’t cry. She didn’t tell anyone what happened, even her mother who clearly saw the enormous bruise on her cheek when Meri eventually came to help her. She only smeared some salve on it and gave the small girl a hug before setting her to work.
Meri never asked about mates. About the customs. The hunt, the rituals. She wasn’t worth it, her entire clan always said. Who could love an abomination?

Meri blinked some of the tears away that now rolled over her cheek, her carving paused for a short moment. That had been her life, not even too long ago.
She looked over her shoulder, watching Nakobu move around the small abandoned village, busy with his own things. Meri couldn’t suppress a smile now, looking at him.
There was someone who had laid eyes on her, the first day he met her. Who had given her hope, a chance, and his trust. And eventually, he’d given her his heart.
Hotur was long dead. Her father and mother, dead. They’d never see their Skint getting mated to someone.
The only one she mourned for, was her mother. It would ‘ve been nice if she could’ve been here…
Meri wiped her arm over her eyes as Nakobu looked her way, worry on his face. She merely gave him a wide smile and a wave. It seemed to have eased his worries, for he waved back and continued carrying meat into the other hut, to smoke it.

Just a few days. Just a few  more days and she’d be mated to the one love she never thought she’d find.
Sometimes dreams do come true.
The Campfire / Journal of a Varog'gor
February 10, 2020, 09:40:10 PM
((A few small write ups I used as IC 'catchup' for our path of cunning events past weekend!))

Clan Redblade Journal, by Varog'gor Kyrazha Throatrender.
Wednesday, fifth day of month two.
Location: Krasarang Wilds, a small abandoned island close to the Cradle of Chi-ji.

In case of us not returning, I have decided to keep this small journal. Maybe someone will find it and send it back home, or at least will be warned of the dangers we might run into in the coming days.
Tonight we said farewell to those back in Razor Hill. Even though most was said already yesterday. Kargnar and Gul'rok made us packs of armor, simple weapons. Everything is light and black colored, it's pretty impressive what they made in the short time span they had. They really thought about freedom of movement and things having to be quiet. I'll distribute these packs tomorrow morning, so orcs can take out of them what they want to use.
We also have a crate of vials with light infused oil. I'm not sure how much it will help against void when it's on our weapons, but I figured it was worth a try. I'll need to remember to give everyone a few vials equally.
Right now we're on a small island, not much cover. I can hear the sound of wings, endlessly so, all around us. I presume they're mantid, but it's rather dark. They're not on the island at the very least, we walked all around it, but it's empty.
Something hangs in the air, like .. a current. Like how it feels right before a big lightning storm, heavy air, almost tingly. It's very unsettling.
I hope Vraxxar has some more clues on where we should be able to find Srelok, so we can prepare during the day and set off in the darkness of the night.
Also. I need to remember to smack some orcs when we get back. They apparently stuffed things into my pack that I didn't pack myself. Who'd take a plushie along to a thing like this?

Clan Redblade Journal, by Varog’gor Kyrazha Throatrender.
Thursday, sixth day of month two.
Location: Krasarang Wilds, a shallow cave behind a waterfall, north.

We found him.

We started on the small island, the air still heavy with the noise of wings, just out of reach. I knew Razaron Madeye and Nar’thak Strongarm were still in Pandaria. Or should be, hopefully safe still, so I reached out over the spirit link to them. Madeye answered, he was even pretty nearby, as luck would have it. He managed to find us.
Having distributed the vials, we set ready to leave.
It wasn’t easy. My back was already killing me, but the swimming across dark waters and climbing over branches and roots and through bushes didn’t help much. Yet, I couldn’t complain. Will not complain. This is my duty and I will bear it, pain or no pain.

Urzoga scanned the buildings of the Cradle. Just corpses, nothing else. No living, only the dead littering the inside.
We went north, closer to the temple, a place Wildmark had once visited Srelok, apparently.
The noise there, deafening. Wings. Mantid, everywhere. The temple is lost. Going in there means death.
We ran into a few but with some quick teamwork we dispatched of them.
Sidenote, don’t make Gashuk angry, he has a very nasty way of dissecting a body with portals. I won’t soon forget that sight.

Further north, animal footprints. We found Ruby, Sreloks raptor. She’s wounded, some void addled things even, but Urzoga calmed her and she lead us further to the waterfall.

We’re there now. We can speak freely, the noise of the water drowns out our voices from outside. Srelok is alive and awake, but malnourished.
Another small worry is the voices people are hearing. I expected it, coming here, but the reactions are worse than I thought. We need to be careful, also with one another.

The plan tomorrow is to talk to Srelok and see what we can find out about where Azguh might be. I don’t think he’ll leave without us at least knowing of her fate. And I can’t blame him. Wouldn’t we all do such for the one we love most?

Clan Redblade Journal, by Varog’gor Kyrazha Throatrender.
Friday, Seventh day of month two.
Location: Krasarang Wilds, a shallow cave behind a waterfall, north.

We didn’t make as much progress as I’d have liked. It’s starting to get dangerous out here, not only physically, but most of all mentally. A few got wounded tonight and we’re very much risking infections.
But let me start at the beginning.

Srelok wanted us to go to the place he last saw Azguh, a bunch of ruins not far from here, where she was supposedly helping others to escape from the temple.
The walk there was a risk, it involved many open spaces we had to cross. The ruins are Mogu ruins. We ran into two of them, the first one easily dispatched, but the second one gave us issues.
In the dark and in my confused state (The continued droning of the mantid wings is driving me nuts by now) I accidentally shot Varog’gor Madeye in the leg, actually breaking the bone underneath.
He managed to mend it partly, but it was a stupid accident which shouldn’t have happened at a time like this.
Binding two shorter ropes together from Urzoga and me, we managed to find a good place at the ruins to enter and used the rope to get up.
People were hearing the whispers again. Razaron even tried to attack Vraxxar in the back at one point.
This place is slowly driving us all crazy.
We found Xynu, Azguhs warpstalker. But the beast was purple, glowing with void corruption. Next to him a Mogu.
The battle wasn’t very long, but it was intense. My arm got burned with void magic. Others got hurt as well, yet luckily nothing life threatening.
Vraxxar managed to dispatch of Xynu before he could do too much damage. Seeing a loved companion like that fall in such a way after being so twisted and horribly corrupted by foul magic rose an anger in me. Both me and Shelar.

I managed to get behind the Mogu and kill it from up close before it even knew what was happening. It was weakened greatly already, luckily.

We burned the corpse of what once was Xynu and chose to go back to the cave behind the waterfall to lick our wounds and think up our next step.
Right now Srelok and Urzoga are out scouting, so hopefully they’ll have more news when they return.

It’s time to see how a void flesh burn reacts to being doused in light infused oil. I’ll have to either thank Nakobu or inform him it’s not recommendable. We’ll see.

Clan Redblade Journal, by Varog’gor Kyrazha Throatrender.
Saturday, Eigth day of month two.
Location: Durotar, Razor Hill.

We made it home. Barely. It was very close.

The night was very restless, I hardly slept myself. Mainly due to the others who continuously kept waking up, Razaron even walking away, Vraxxar screaming, fleeing into the bush before I could even stop them.
What surprised me most was Gashuk, who suddenly woke up, ripped open a portal out of nowhere and simply left without returning.

In the morning, Vraxxar was still missing. We waited until evening, but still no sign of him.
Tagrok appeared to be very confused, hugging his dagger of cunning. I offered one of our amulets to him. A last resort, they block out all outside and inside mind influences, but seeing we were using the link so much instead of talking, it would’ve also left him deaf to any orders. He refused.

There was one more place Srelok wanted to check. A cave, a little bit beyond the ruins we went to yesterday. If we couldn’t find her there, we’d be forced to leave without knowing of her fate. This place was getting too dangerous, especially now the one who was supposed to get us out had fled.
I’ll have a word about that with him later still, once I feel well enough.
We found Vraxxar. The road to the cave was eerily quiet and empty. We found him in the grass close to the cave, unresponsive to everything we tried. Alive, though.
I stayed outside. I’m not too proud of this moment, but I couldn’t risk it. I’d risked enough already. Trakmar would never forgive me if I’d gone into that void infested cave knowing even the air probably was filled with void residue.

So I watched over Vraxxar, while the others scouted the cave. They found her, but we were too late. She was already lost. Taken by the void, they were forced to kill her, grant her mercy.
The look on Sreloks face as Tagrok came walking out of the cave, carrying the wrapped up body of Sreloks mate in his arms, is a look I won’t soon forget.
I fear that pain, but I know it’s inevitable.

Not having any other way to go, we went north, to one of the nearby villages, hoping someone would still be left there to help us. We got extremely lucky, walking right into a evacuation organised by a group of pandaren mages who were gathering and portalling refugees to safety. They were surprised to see us coming out of the Wilds.

We’re back home now. Razor Hill. Yet, my mind is still there, even though I can hear Trakmar breathe beside me as I write this. I’m afraid most of us will need a while to recover. And I don’t mean physically.

The Campfire / Spark of Light (Skint)
January 04, 2020, 08:26:08 PM
“Hmph. Very well. Prove you have the stomach to walk the true path and I’ll let you kill those orcs. You got five others in ya cell. Kill them.”

The words so easily spoken by him chilled me to the core, even thinking back on it. The fear in the eyes of those Goblins in the cage with me, when I turned to look at them. One even dashed in front of another one, clearly trying to protect her from me. His mate, perhaps? Did they really think I was going to kill them?
It must’ve been clear on my face that I had no intention to do so, because the shadowy figure speaking to me didn’t believe me either when I said I wanted them alive, that they were much more useful to me that way.
One good thing, he didn’t return my bindings before walking away. Now I could stand and move around a bit, stretching my legs and looking around.

It was dark in here, barely enough light coming through to see anything. My hands found the bars of the cage and I felt them, before leaning against them a little. My cagemates stayed on the other side now, huddled together.
No surprise, seeing I just told our captor I’d twist their souls and make them obedient slaves. At least I bought them some time, even if they feared me now. It wasn’t ideal though, in a days time or so, he’d expect results and I doubted I could convince these terrified Goblins to play along with me and try trick him, but it was the only idea I had.

I feared for the clan. They’d probably come try and find me and the captives, not knowing what they were going to run into… Not much I could do from in here though.
My inspection of the bars didn’t result in much, besides my hands now feeling half frozen. The metal was too sturdy. I had tried the link as well earlier, but all that resulted in was a massive headache. Clearly spiritual things didn’t work too well in a void infested cave.
Sitting down again, I blew some breath on my cold hands. I eyed over the wounds that I still had. They’d stopped bleeding, but they stung and I was afraid frostbite would set in. There were several, crisscrossing my arms, even one just below my neck and one in my side. I couldn’t use the light in here, there was no chance I’d be able to call on it now. Plus, he’d notice and would probably come running back to bind my hands again.
So there was just one option left. Void could heal.. I had seen it done. It wasn’t nice, it wasn’t painless and it’d probably be a risk as well using it here in this place, but I didn’t want to be weakened too much by my wounds.

Inhaling deeply, I focused. Drawing on the power here was easy. It was everywhere. I just had to be really careful not to plunge too deep.
Darkness,  pressing feeling on my mind. Something, someone. Voices… Luring, powerful. I had to ignore them. Keep my head straight. Which was easier said than done.

You were beaten. Cast aside. Ignored. They wanted to kill you. You are an outcast, even now. Don’t you see? Different. Weak.

Were these my own thoughts..?
Pain erupted as my hand covered one of the wounds with the shadow held in my hand. Forcefully, the flesh started to pull together. It’d leave some nasty scars. I clenched my teeth, not wanting to cry out, tears appearing in the corners of my eyes as I pushed through with the shadowmending.

See, how it helps you. How good it feels to wield the power. Don’t you agree?

They were there, in the back of my mind. As long as I kept this connection, they’d be there. Louder, due to the dark force surrounding me in the entire cave. 
I fixed wound after wound, shutting myself out to the ever present voices, so alluring. But I promised Nakobu I’d never give in to them. A balance had to be kept. He had faith in me. More so than anyone else I’d ever known. He trusted me to keep the balance.
So for now I simply pictured the ball of light in my mind. Not calling it into being, but I kept it in my thoughts, a small spark in the midst of the darkness surrounding me while the last of my wounds closed into a messy, ragged scar. The pain would linger for hours, I knew. But it was better this way.

Thinking of Nakobu brought a different pain. He’d be so worried, probably freaking out, knowing him. Perhaps I could at least send him a sign… a sign I was still alive, and myself.
I held up one of my hands, palm up. Slowly, a figure formed on it. Small, delicate wings much larger than the slender body they were attached to. Barely visible legs and feelers, twitching. With a few flaps of the wings, the small butterfly rose and flew out of the cage, into the darkness of the cave, barely visible. Hopefully it’d reach Nakobu first, before anyone else noticed it and destroyed it.

Sitting back, I sighed. Exhaustion crawled up inside me. Combined with the pain, it was hard to resist lying down and curling up. So that is what I did, trying to find the most warm position, alone. My cagemates wouldn’t look at me. They knew I could use the very power they feared, that held them stuck now. That they would be sacrificed to, when he’d find out I had lied about corrupting their minds to show he could trust me to want to side with him…

Darkness. Pain… loneliness. But, that spark of light. Hope. They’d come for me. I had to believe they would… or else my mind was already lost.

Outside, a small and fragile shadowy butterfly braved the odds and made its way towards its demise, the brightest source of Light it could find in the town.
The Campfire / Full Circle
November 17, 2019, 12:24:10 AM
All I saw were tiny bright dots. Little pinpricks of light on a black surface, nothing else besides a small, bright little cork with a feather on it.
Suddenly the darkness rippled, distorting the image of the stars reflected in the dark water. I reeled up my line and pulled up the dark shape of a squirming fish.
Without any further ado I smacked the fish with a rock on the head and put it on a small pile of already dead fish next to me, before putting another worm on the hook and returning the line into the water.
As it settled again, the reflections returned. I stared at them, before looking up, peering ahead into the trees.
Nightly sounds I hadn’t heard in a long time surrounded me. Some birds, small bugs. The yowling of a large cat further away. Home, in a way still. This place would never really leave me. The good times, and the bad, all memories in my head now. So much had happened since I left here years ago, but now they all came back to me.

A hand reaching out for me. I was clinging on, barely. The noise, deafening, water surging below me, rocks falling down around me. The world had fallen from under me. The rock I was holding was slipping… my hands were slipping, my nails breaking because I was gripping on so tight. Three fingers wrapped themselves around my wrist and pulled me up, into the safety of two strong, slightly fur covered arms.

I looked back at the hut. It was still standing, surprisingly so. Maybe it was too close to Grom’gol for any Trolls comfort, so they left it alone. I was glad for it, it was good being back here.

Morning. I opened my eyes, sitting up and was greeted by something very furry and orange in my face, nearly knocking me back on the floor. Lians massive head bumped itself against my own, a deep rumbling coming from his chest. Laughter sounded from outside and someone walked in, slightly stooped over with a plate in his hand. Green hair surrounding his head, full of twigs and feathers. He handed me the plate with baked eggs and mushrooms. “’Ea’as!” he exclaimed in a cheerful tone, pressing the plate in my hands.

The place had looked abandoned when Tagrok, Tahara and I had reached it. No traces of anyone, no scents. He hadn’t come by in a long time, or I’d have known. It saddened me. I’d wanted to give him the news. But I hadn’t been able to find him at all the past years. I hoped he was somewhere safe and happy, or that at least he died in a good way, if he was dead. I owed him so much.

Running. Running so fast through the jungle, breathing hard. He was so close, I wasn’t going to make it-.. And out of nowhere, a green blast flew straight past my cheek and hit my attacker in the face behind me. He went down with a scream as the green light spread over him and somehow smothered the red haired Troll. I fell on my hands and knees, exhausted, right before the Troll who had just saved my life, once again. He laid a gentle hand on my shoulder while the screams of the dying troll faded behind me.

So many memories. Not all with him alone. But also with Trakmar, others of the clan. And now we were here once more, though only three of us now. I’d promised Tahara I’d show her where I had grown up. And now the clan was back in their homelands, I had decided now was a good time to keep to that promise and travel away for a little while.
Even if it was also due to another reason, for which I had brought Tagrok. It wouldn’t be easy for him, I knew that… Nor for me.
I scratched at the bandage Tahara had put around my leg, sighing softly. I was still nauseous too. But I had to scout, I had to look and find, prepare…

Reeling in my empty line, I stood up and gathered the fish in my arms. The smell didn’t do much for my appetite, but Tahara had wanted fish for dinner, so she’d have them. I placed them near the hut and started a small fire before gutting and cleaning the fish. Tagrok was scouting. Tahara was unpacking and preparing her bed in the hut.
I still had some time for myself.

Something small and furry pressed itself against my leg. A paw that looked way too big to go with the body it belonged to moved to snatch up some of the fish innards.
“’Ello, Vesa.” My hand reached to stroke the dark orange tiger fur while he stole a piece of fish and ran off with it. He’d grown a lot already since we had rescued him.
Funny how we’d come full circle. Back here, with a small tiger cub. Just no Qa’ajn. But a different kind of family now, which was also good.

After preparing the fish, I laid them on the rock table and snuck away, bow in hand. Tahara would find the fish eventually.
Time to hunt.
The Campfire / Passing On
October 15, 2019, 02:59:59 PM
((This happens the days Skint and Nakobu stayed a bit longer in Garadar, last week!))

The quiet was unnerving. Garadar had been so full. First Kosh’harg, the town playing host to all members of the Horde. Then we returned with many freed slaves a little while after, plus the clan itself was staying a few days more.
Now, some of the freed slaves had left to find their own path in live. Some still remained, settling in between the mag’har, getting used to daily life of a free orc.
The clan was gone for a few days now as well, ahead to the swamps. I’d seen them leave.
Nakobu was still with me, choosing to remain behind as well for a few days more. There was some business I had to take care of first.

I was sitting outside my tent when she came. A small figure, something you’d see moving from the corner of your eyes but if you turned your head, it’d be gone. I smiled. I had been waiting for this moment.
Very carefully, I loosened the bell from my belt and took out the cloth stuffing. I looked down at the beautiful item, running my finger over the rune.


Softly, I rang the bell. Once. And waited.
It didn’t take her long. In a moment she was in front of me, as if out of nowhere, reaching her small hands for the bell. She couldn’t touch it of course, but through the days I had spent with her, I learned she liked to pretend. So I held the bell for her, indulging in her fantasy.
The bell made her more clear to me. Drew her in, strengthening her hold with our world for a small while. Nakobu couldn’t see her. She’d been around him often, looking curiously at his clothes, his belt, pretending to pull on his beard and run away, silently giggling. I couldn’t hear her, but she made things clear to me by writing letters in the air.

Apparently her mother had taught her to read and write. Her mother, who was in Garadar now. Neza’s spirit had already appeared to me before we’d gone to Blade’s Edge, but as if by luck, we freed her mother shortly after. It had come to me to tell Tinith that her daughter had died, though. Nerves had been building a knot in my stomach though. It was all still so new to me after drinking the potion. Never before had I been in this position, having to tell someone their child was dead and I could see her.
I had told her a few days ago. She was hurt, of course. Shocked. Losing her child after being prisoner for so long, it was hard to accept. Yet, we’d come to an agreement. I would help her, I would aid Neza in finding peace. Moving on.

Neza moved around me, smiling, touching my cheek, my hair. I didn’t feel anything, of course.
“Hello, N-Neza. I have something p-planned for today. Will you come with me?” I spoke softly, looking at the ever moving shadows and wispy waves of smoke that made up the form of the small girl. She was most clear when she stood still, but she didn’t do that often.

Neza nodded at me, holding her hand out. I stuffed the bell again, hanging it back on my belt before pretending to grab her hand, just holding air. It was enough for her. I lead her towards one of the huts in the town, where Tinith was waiting for us inside.
Neza had seen her mother before of course, but she always turned very sad and usually disappeared not long after. I looked down at the girl.
“We’re going to see your mother. And I w-will talk to her.. for you. Do you think you can do that, N-neza?”
The orc girl nodded back up at me, but she looked sad either way.
I walked into the hut, greeting Tinith with a smile. “G-goodmorning,” I said softly while from the corners of my eyes, I saw Neza reluctantly following me inside.
Tinith turned around and looked me straight in the eyes. I tried to keep her gaze but I couldn’t, and looked away. Her brown eyes, always so full of hope whenever someone came in, hoping for good news from me. I’d have to break her heart, again.
“Goodmorning, Skint. Is there news? Do you want anything to eat?” she was already moving to grab me some food, but I shook my head a little in response.

“Tinith-.. w-we need to talk. I think I figured out how Neza d-died.”

The talk didn’t take long. Neza was there, standing in front of her mother, her hands positioned on her mothers lap as she was sitting on one of the crude chairs. Tinith looked confused and above all, angry. She was looking at me, not able to see her daughter.

I nodded.
“That’s what I understand from her. She’s afraid to talk of it, but she keeps pointing west and indicating something large. T-the only thing west of here is still the old ogre c-camp. Maybe she can lead us there, but I d-don’t think she’ll go without you.”
My eyes focused on the small form of Neza now, who had turned to look at me. She nodded silently to me before darting over and making the movement to grab my hand again. I looked back up towards Tinith. She was looking at my hand, half open as if holding something. She’d probably followed my gaze, which for her was staring at nothing. A look of longing was in her eyes and she smiled sadly before nodding in determination.

“Let’s go then.” She turned on her heels, grabbing a crude axe from the table behind her.

We made our way out of Garadar, Neza leading us. She was running back and forth, looking at a flower, a nice tree, dancing around her mother. But when we got more and more close to the Ogre camp, she stuck to her mother’s legs more and more, leading me by pointing the way.
Tinith spoke a few times during the walk. Asking me what Neza was doing. How we communicated. She never once doubted that I could see her. Never once asked me where or how I’d gotten these particular skills or how skilled I actually was with them. Which reassured me as well in turn.

Closer to the camp, we found it abandoned. Perhaps the large crowd of Kosh’harg and then the returning slaves had the Ogres move for a bit, so nearby Garadar wasn’t entirely safe of course for them to be. There were still some signs that there had been things here recently. Campfires not entirely washed away by rain yet, bundles in the huts, animal carcasses left behind. We stepped carefully either way.

Neza pretended to take my hand and lead me on into one of the larger huts. It was empty.
“Here? But there is nothing here…” Tiniths voice was soft, sad.
A noise made us all turn and the light in the hut dimmed as something massive stood in the doorway, blocking the sun from shining inside. Tinith instantly moved to stand in front of me, axe raised in both her hands. “Stay behind me, Skint!” She yelled as the Ogre stepped into the room, peering at us with beady little eyes.
“What you doing in my hut! I claimed, me, strongest!” he roared and without hesitation, attacked, holding a huge mace in one hand that was about twice my size.

I backed off. I had no weapons, nothing. But looking at Tinith standing there, I felt I had to do something. She was so weak still, so skinny from her long imprisonment, standing there with her axe lifted, her mouth a snarl as she avoided the massive mace coming down on the point where she’d been standing moments before. She was beautiful, so strong, so determined. But she couldn’t do this alone. I looked around, Neza nowhere to be seen.
Tinith managed to wound the ogre, a slash across the leg, but it only made him more mad. Roaring, he smashed the mace into one of the walls before bringing it down to Tinith again, smacking her to the side.
Damnit. I couldn’t just stand here doing nothing! But what could I do? My powers were gone. I’d broken the deal, I’d given back what I had. The Light-.. no, it didn’t work for me. Ever since that day, I had nearly entirely lost my faith in it.
Yet, there had been one thing I had done before.
Nodding to myself, I stepped forwards. The ogre was reaching for a hand to Tinith now, probably to try and end her.
“No! Come here then, you f-fat blob!” I cried, moving into the middle of the room. He turned, eyeing me with those emotionless eyes. And the club raised up…

I reached. Deep inside, something I had felt before. Something that had felt so good at the time. But also dangerous. A dark, spiky edge. I remembered. Auchindoun, the necromancer. How I had attacked it, not with soul magic but with something loosely connected to it, something tempting…
I reached for it again and let it burst forth from my hands. The club came down, but inches away from my face, it suddenly got blasted back by a dark, purple explosion.
It hit the ogre right in the face, making him fall. Tinith, looking surprised but alert, had just stood up again and wasted no time, jumping in with her axe to hack it straight into the fallen ogres neck.

She turned, and looked at me, eyes wide. She was silent, but I could see the surprise on her bloody face. What had I just done?
I could hardly answer that myself. There was no trace of the magic I’d used on my hands. Besides a light exhaustion and the fact it had just-.. felt good. So good..

Suddenly there was Neza, in front of me. She was pointing to the corner of the hut. Tinith walked up to me. Her nose looked broken, blood pouring down her face, but besides that she looked surprisingly fine. “Are you alright, Skint? I don’t know what you did, but.. Be careful.”
It was an odd warning and I just looked confused a moment before turning.
“Neza is pointing to here…” I changed the subject, walking to the corner. There, we found a bundle of furs, cloth and-..

Bones. Small bones, curled up in the corner. Neza looked down and tried to pick something up from them, something stuck in the skeletal hand, but when she couldn’t, she slowly faded from view, crying silently.
Tinith reached down, tears streaking her bloody face. “This-.. this was mine…” she spoke softly, lifting an amulet from the small hand. A carved bone circle with a hole in it, decorated with faded paint. Small wolves playing.
“I lost this the day I was taken, I remember.. Oh Neza, did you follow me? Did you try to find me…”
I didn’t know what to say. Tinith let out a wail, so full of anger, hurt and sorrow that I flinched. But after a moment she calmed.
“We’ll take her home. Give her the pyre she deserved all that time ago already, at the ancestral grounds.” Determined again, she very carefully wrapped the bones in one of the furs.
I couldn’t help but be amazed at her inner strength. Her determination, even after all the pain and loss and hurt, she didn’t give up, didn't break down.
“Let’s g-go back then…”

The ceremony was beautiful. I was asked to be there by Tinith. Some of the former slaves were there, supporting the female. One of the elder Shaman of Garadar lead the ritual. Neza was standing beside her mother through it all, her little arms around her mother’s legs. For a moment I saw Tiniths hand move to rest on Neza’s head, just an instant.
Maybe a trick of the light…
Neza turned. She gave me a smile and a small wave, before she walked away, towards the shining mountain of Oshu’gun, fading from view.

The day came that me and Nakobu had to follow the clan. We couldn’t stay any longer. I hadn’t told him yet what had happened, though I saw his worried looks often and how he had to hold himself back from asking. I needed some time to think it over first.
Tinith came to say goodbye, pressing the amulet in my hand.
“You helped me. And her. Thank you, Skint… I want you to have this. Maybe one day you can give it to your own daughter, if she is to come in the future. I have none to pass it on to anymore.” She spoke softly, with a small sad smile. I nodded quietly in return, keeping the amulet in my hands and later hung it around my neck.

They were still there. Flashes, shimmerings in the corners of my eyes. Many of them. I closed my eyes most of the way. Nakobu had told me there were paths coming up ahead I really did not want to see.
Not yet, at least. Maybe one day I’ll be strong enough.
To handle all of it.