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Topics - Tagrok

The Campfire / Oathbreaker
April 18, 2020, 06:27:19 PM
“I'm quite sure something broke in your mind after that time then, Tagrok. I never expected you to betray me. And especially not with something like this.”

Tagrok wakes by noon, lying on the floor whilst Smoke has curled up on his back. Not quite awake, the ever present dust causes him to sneeze - with the wolf jumping up in alarm before she notices that her idiotic companion is at fault. She stretches lazily and begins to pad outside, having smelled something. The orc gets up much slower, grunting in confusion at his whereabouts before the previous night comes back to him. "So much for asking..."

He could still remember her vividly. Armored. Proud. Stalwart. Just as the day he had met her. Often had he appreciated her direct, no-nonsense way of speaking - until she confronted him on his wrongdoings that night. She would not give them her blessing, would not accept his wish. And why would she? She died, angry and scared and probably cursing his name as she watched her only son die in her arms while he was away on another continent.

He stands with some difficulty, wiping away tears before he pats along his clothing before following Smoke outside. The area was still with the exception of a herd of clefthoof grazing in the distance. To the west were the ancestral ground, and merely looking at them seemed to darken the day around him. Before long, the trio of orc, wolf and boar make their way north towards the busy roads, passing by the ruins of Sunspring Post and the ogre grounds in the distance. He half expected one or two stray ogres to ambush him, but the trip was quiet, deserted even.

By the time Garadar comes into view, noon has given way to afternoon - the shade of the sky changing ever so subtly over the hours. Tagrok doesn't enter at once, instead turning to the right at the western gate to follow the way downstream. Cleaning himself up, he remains there for a few hours, looking over the plains of Nagrand. He eventually fiddles with his belt pouch, looking at a fang he had kept carrying with him for a few days. Near the top, an opening had been carved, with much of the tooth hollowed out in the process. He keeps looking at the fang, brooding over something until at last he sighs before lying down in the grass.

“You put that on yourself. You made the choice, break your oath and spend eternity with her, and never see me again, nor your son.”

"That's that, then. We tried and failed, Smoke." The wolf looks up for a moment, but still busies herself with something else while the orc continues speaking. "She will not give me her blessing and she'll make sure I don't see him ever again." He rubs his temples, grimacing all the while. "I was ready for the first, but... Not like this." Turning to his side, Tagrok looks at Smoke as he rests his head on his arm.

What now? The spirit of his former mate declared him an oathbreaker and Windwatcher was there to witness it. What would happen now? His oath to the clan… The oath he wanted to swear to Tahara. Would he even be allowed to take it? Or would they shun him for his decision to move on with his life together with another woman? Fel, would she even want to, or did Lokara’s words… Shuddering for a moment, he sits up and holds his head as he presses his eyes shut.

His eyes open in horror as he hears war drums.

“N… No, no… Nonononono…” He shakes his head almost violently, the sound stopping as soon as it came. “I’m done being that… That thing!” He spits the words out. “The potion worked. Meri told me so… This is just… Panic. Yes. I’m panicking.” Crawling over to the stream, he begins splashing water onto his face. As he does so, he stares at his hand - scarred many times, but with two distinct cuts across it - faded enough by now to just look like discoloured lines.

“And if she doesn’t agree, then I’ll take you anyway.”

Calming his breathing, he remembers the discussion of a few days ago, at the Throne of the Elements. The fire in those sandy eyes of hers, so completely unlike the rage he witnessed months ago. The clear worry on her face and determination as she tried to make herself believe in her own words.

With a growl, Tagrok gets up on his feet and wipes off the remaining droplets of water with his hands. “I didn’t even try to stop her when she spoke to you the way she did... What a failure. Oathbreaker and spineless, bah!”

The spirit of his love long gone was right with much of what she said. He was broken deep down, for a long, long time now. He might’ve picked up one or two shards and put them together to continue onwards these past few months. Even a clay bowl mended with mud will not return to the way it was before.

“I’m not the same orc that left for Northrend back then, Lokara. I meant everything I said before you and Karthok died… Before that part of me died with you, years later.”

But there was someone else who tried frantically to put him back together. There were others, trying to fill in the little cracks of melancholy, madness and self-doubt. All of them who put up while he tried to push them further away.

“I hope your shaman brings this back to your clan. The word of an oathbreaker means nothing anymore.”

No more words then, only actions. Isn’t that what Tahara asked of him? With that he turns to the two beasts, whistling shortly. “Smoke, Bacon! Get up, we’re heading into the village.”
The Campfire / Better
April 15, 2020, 07:18:16 PM
-Not all stories end on a glorious note. Some simply end, while the world moves on.-

Tagrok paced uneasily in his tower. Despite the hurt, exhaustion and sleepless night, he continued pacing. “Return tomorrow at dawn.”, Bloodmoon had said. He knew that he shouldn’t have ambushed the sorcerer at this hour, but he could not wait. Finally, all three ingredients had been collected and it now hinged on the sorcerer’s preparations.

He thought about Feathers, who had been injured the previous night - his wing crushed in the maws of the enormous darkwolf. Tahara sent him away, despite the bruising slowly darkening her skin from the impact of being smashed against a tree by the beast’s tail. He looked down at himself, hands balling into fists with an angry growl. Of course he had gotten away without so much as a scratch. This was his hunt, to save his own sorry hide… And yet everyone else but him had to suffer for it. Sighing, he made his way outside. Perhaps the fresh air would help calm him down.

Arriving at the bonfire, Tagrok spotted an orc in a curious getup walking away. The way of walking, how the other orc held himself… “Bloodmoon.”

“Valorwind.  Just the Orc. I've just finished speaking with the Varog'gor.”, Gashuk answered as he turned after being called out. Tagrok looked at the garb, nodding after a short explanation before Gashuk continued with what mattered. The only thing that mattered.

“As for you. I've finished. You brought me the core of a fire elemental. That was to purge your body from all remaining corruption and filth. You brought me a wolf heart slain under a full moon no less. That was to reinvigorate your orcish spirit and return you to your roots. And finally, you brought me holy water. An important addition to cleanse what is left, and to keep you pure in your new revived being.”

Tagrok could only nod as the other orc continued, voicing his own doubt to the potency of the concoction that he would have to drink.

“Your situation is delicate and unique. I cannot be certain, but for all the research I have done, I believe this to be the best course of action. You will never be the same after this. Do you understand?”

The thought sent icewater down his spine. He could feel the blood pumping in his ears, his hands trembling subtly as he voiced his question. “W-What do you mean... Is it going to mess with my head?! I had enough of tha-..."

The other orc was quick to alleviate his fears. “No, no. It will cleanse, purify and renew your spirit. You will reconnect with what it means to be an Orc again. A new Tagrok. A better one.”

Better. Who could possibly argue with that? He’d give anything to be free of this dark feeling. If he were to become someone better… What could possibly be said against that? He followed Bloodmoon to a lone hut near the river, looking towards central Nagrand. Another sunny day, a light breeze. Quiet and serene, it still took his breath away.

“This spot is special to me. Do you know why?” Of course he did not know. He knew next to nothing about Bloodmoon until he spoke to him because of his condition. But the other orc quickly continued. “This is where I first met Rhonya and when I first fell in love with her.”

He could understand that. Although for him, it wasn’t quite the first meeting. For him it was a solitary log, precariously sitting over a small lake in Sunrock Retreat. It was a night filled with words, with awkward silences and remembering the past. Of listening endlessly and wondering why some orcs have to suffer.

Tagrok shook himself to cast the memory away as Gashuk continued. “Now. Two of the reagents you have given me need to be consumed raw. The Elemental Core however would burn you through, so I've concocted a potion to help you consume it. “ he stated matter-of-factly as he drew out three items. A small bright orange potion. A linen package seeping the faintest hint of red and a small vial of water. “First. The Fire Potion. Ingest it, withstand the pain, and feel all of your anguish burn away.”

He looked at the potion before grabbing hold of it.  Raising it to eye-level, he peered at the bright orange liquid. One more look at Bloodmoon and he uncorked it to down the contents. "Well that wasn't so ba-..."

Fire. No, molten slag crawled down his throat, searing and cauterizing at once as he felt the concoction wreak havoc on his insides. A cough rattled him, he began to uselessly fan at his maw before dropping the potion vial. Grabbing his own neck, he sunk to his knees soon after. "S-Sears my.... Insides...!"

Once again, the blood in his ears rose to beat like war drums - but the rhythm was off, as if the drummers could not keep pace with one another. He thought he heard hissing and the clattering of mandibles somewhere - before he was pulled back to reality by the agony.

Groaning in pain and gasping for breath, he stared at the ground through bloodshot eyes. He could hear Bloodmoon begin some incantation, the liquid seemingly combusting anew as he did so. “Now consume the heart! Take it all in! Become the Wolf you were born to be!”

He managed a short, cut-off roar as the incantation was performed before his shoulders began slumping - drawing in air through rattling breaths, reaching out for the heart with a trembling hand.  Squinting at it through tear-glazed eyes, Tagrok didn’t waste time complaining and began chomping on the raw darkwolf heart with a frown, tearing pieces away. "Ugh... B-urgh... Ancest-..." The texture wasn’t the worst. Nor was it the fat coating parts of its surface. The smell. Darkwolf really wasn’t something any sane orc would want to consume. And yet he continued until the whole of it had been consumed and trying his hardest not to throw up - mostly because the thought of the vile potion going up again terrified him.

Something was happening however: He felt hungry, not just for food. For everything. He wanted to yell, to laugh, to eat and drink. To track and hunt. To stalk prey. To kill. To…

Bloodmoon continued without waiting for the kneeling orc, shouting: “Perfect! I can see the purification taking place! Quickly, finish the cycle with the holy water whilst the magic holds!”

Tagroks eyes widened as he looked down at himself, staring down at his... Paws? He looked up at  Gashuk, still trembling from the course of fiery liquid and wolfheart before nodding vigorously. "R-Right..."  He paused for another moment before realizing his new form was but a glamour. His hand tightened around the vial, removing the top and downing the liquid like an orc dying of thirst… The effect was almost immediate. Like a flood crashing into a burning village, the vile taste of the heart and the searing lava in his stomach ceased to be, with only a cool, refreshing feeling being present. Bloodmoon continued to incant, sweat beading at his brow, as the fatigue began to kick in. He fell to his knees as the final soft words of power were uttered; Tagrok shimmered in the light of his ritual.

He breathed heavily, blinking as his illusionary snout rose to catch sight of the ritual-light - the glamour fading as he did so. "D-Did this w-work..? Ancestors, I'm thirsty..." Still on his knees, Bloodmoon managed to ask him how he felt. Tagrok lifted his hands, looking down at them and remaining quiet for a moment. "I... " Balling his fists, he nodded slowly. "I feel... Rested. At my peak... By Sharguul, has the day always been this..." He squinted, looking around. "Vibrant..?" The robed orc chuckled at that. “Like you could run for a week?”

“... I think I could manage two…”
The Campfire / All that glimmers
December 07, 2019, 09:50:11 AM
“Bones mend. Regret stays with you forever.”
- The Name of the Wind -

The idea had come to him when he led the little group up towards the Shado-Pan monastery. There in the distance, still a ways below the ancient Pandaren structure - and past the Serpent's Spine - were the Townlong Steppes. He had looked at them, eyes widening in realization, knowing what he had to do.

A few hours after helping out the obnoxious Pandaren farmer, Tagrok settled down in Halfhill - opting to pay for a room at the Inn instead of bothering with the tent. The following night went by quietly, other than the occasional itching of his healing buttocks. A few hours before dawn, he stole out of the building, leaving a note with several heavily scratched passages. He finally opted for "Gon to hunt. Tag.", which would likely suffice for the recipient - if she’d notice the note tucked near his pillow. With that, he made his way westward, towards the great wall. With the Sha threat quelled, most of the mantid returned to their cycle while the rest were exterminated below Orgrimmar, making travel about as safe as it was in the rest of the known lands.

He finally reached to nearest access tower to the wall itself, convincing the garrison leader that he had no ill intentions, merely traveling through the area for the sights and occasional hunt. After that it was hour-long walks to the north, until the Steppes finally came to view once more. Standing there, frozen by the sight of the great Kypari tree, he wished he had taken her with him. Perhaps some other time, when he had finally fixed himself. He shook his head and dared to peer towards the southwest, where the Dread Wastes were lying. Shuddering in spite of himself, he seemed to still see the eerie glow of Sha corruption. There were more trees there. More mantid. More things that might influence him. No, he would give the Wastes a wide berth and stay on the Steppes. A few mantid or yaungol were nothing and he didn't plan on fighting unless entirely necessary.

Even here he took Smoke with him. The young wolf had barely left his side, except for the night of his Gul'thauk task. They had slowly become inseparable, although mostly due to Tagrok worrying about anything happening to her while he wasn't around. Now she was a pup no more, slowly growing more daring and, at times, aggressive. She would need an outlet and the quicker they'd hunt, the better for the both of them.

Grunting, he descended the stairs and stepped onto the westernmost area of the continent, keeping the humongous tree always in front of him as he and Smoke made their way towards it. He was fairly certain that he'd find the thing he was looking for. Perhaps it wasn't exactly the 'real thing', but this would be the best he could come up with before returning home to Kalimdor. The sun was above them by now, shining on top of the Steppes on this clear day. Away from the darkness of the Wastes and the writhing jungle of Krasarang, this was how he kept Pandaria in his memories. Reaching the base of the hill the tree sat on, he realized that it wasn't a hill, but merely the hints of the roots burrowing through the area surrounding the main trunk. He grunted and began turning his attention to the ground, narrowing his eyes as he searched for the barest of glimmers among the dirt and fallen leaves. "Just one… It doesn't even have to be that big. Something." There should be remains, rubble from the ruined mantid structures. He only required a sliver, a shard. A mere drop.

He froze as he heard an unfamiliar sound, dropping close to the ground and pulling the curious wolf with him. He waited, holding his breath as he scanned the area around him. A few meters from where he hid, it was standing. One of the yaungol, searching through the rubble of collapsed stonework. The yak-tauren didn’t notice him, merely grunting as it shoved aside boulders and, to Tagrok’s surprise… Sheets of what seemed to be orange glass, although they were too big to carry for a lone orc - and he clearly lacked the tools to render them down or break a piece off. He must’ve stayed there for about an hour, practically clutching the impatient Smoke to himself as the yaungol finally retreated. When the thing was finally out of sight, he let go of the wolf, who jumped around in her newfound freedom while the orc shook his head. “That’s it. First thing we do on Kalimdor… We train. You’re not a pup anymore!” A bark answered him, carefree as they come. “Fel me...”

With that, he approached the spot where the yaungol looked for things to scavenge, rolling some rocks away and looking beneath broken sheets the size of his companion. He knelt there, among the rubble, as he swiped his hands once again over the debris. “Come on… This won’t do… Too big… Too sharp. Ugly!” He growled, smashing his fist in frustration against one of the sheets - quickly shaking it in pain as he cursed at the hard material.

He remembered two flashes of red in the darkness of Kun-lai, followed by her face twisting from anger to exhaustion and guilt as she threw the consequences of his idleness straight at his face. <Can you just picture for a moment, us standing around your funeral and learn…> His jaw clenched, painfully revisiting the moment. It all went so well in Stranglethorn, after the suffering and doubts. <... and nothing else. Not until you’re better…> Smirking without humour, he shook his head slowly. “Hmph. As if… Over my dea-...”

He didn’t know why. Perhaps it was Smoke’s sudden jerk of movement out of the corner of his eye. Perhaps the growing shadow above him, or the rushing wind. Tagrok simply dove to the side, turning around in time to see a bright orange-coloured, crude blade dig into the spot he was just kneeling in. The yaungol roared in frustration, pulling the blade from the ground and pointing it straight at the orc. It didn’t speak, merely glaring at Tagrok as the orc considered his next move. He stared straight at the hostile warrior, his eyes eventually dropping lower as something glimmered near its neck. Nestled on top of fur and wrapped in a crude string of tanned leather, was a sphere of ginting orange. The orc’s eyes grew wide for a moment before the yaungol charged once more, with Tagrok diving past it as he drew Gul’nathor. Sudden calm washed over him, the barest of whispers hushing his panic as he dropped into a combat stance with the dagger in a reverse grip. Smoke was barking all the while, but the young wolf was likely too scared to attack the beastman.

They circled each other for a few moments, the yaungol charging again as Tagrok dropped to the side. One swipe of that blade and he’d die, he knew that much. But this wasn’t like the last few times. No ogre sorcerers. No old god minions. No plants with whipping roots. He smiled to himself. This was just some aggressive tribal warrior. He might die, but for once he was sure he could take on the enemy without worrying over the result. He ducked down, the sword cutting over his ponytail and he thought he heard it scraping across one of the bone beads. Anger flashed through him for a moment before he drowned it out, facing the brute head on. This time, he charged at the warrior in lockstep, waiting until the final moment to practically stumble to the side as the blade almost cut his side, scraping over the tabard and chainmail below. With a grunt, he whirled the dagger around and brought the pommel down with all his might on the back of the yaungol’s neck - and was rewarded with a sickening crack.

The thing collapsed then and there, with Tagrok breathing heavily for a few moments before he approached hesitantly, kicking the large warrior’s flank only to be rewarded with a gasp. “Still alive… Good…” He bent down and tore the necklace away from the yaungol’s neck, pulling the gemstone up to eye level as the warrior protested weakly. Smirking, he twisted the precious teardrop of amber out of the leather bondage and stuffed it into one of his belt pouches before he turned to Smoke. “Come girl, time to head back.”
The Campfire / Streaks of Silver
November 08, 2019, 10:04:06 PM
-- Roughly a week ago --

She had stirred next to him, barely a moment before he wanted to leave the furs. Quiet and unmoving, he just kept listening to her breathing and the flutter of wings. Hushed words he couldn’t really make out - at some point she did return however, lying down next to him. In the end, he simply rose some time later, put on his armor and left the watchtower. If she noticed, she gave no sign, no question asked.

Thinking back on it as he rode close to the Ashenvale border, Tagrok wondered why she didn’t stop him. He scratched idly through his beard as Bacon trudged along, squealing quietly as they entered the shade beneath the trees. “Quiet as ever…” he whispered to himself, eyes darting from bush to treetop and everything in between. Night elf presence had increased in the last few months after the attack on Teldrassil and the knife-ears’ newly found tricks, which turned their eyes black as tar. With any luck, they wouldn’t patrol the area or at least not notice him and the boar.

A few hours later the duo finally reached Splintertree Post, one of the few safe havens remaining for members of the Horde. He exchanged a few terse words with the grunts, stabling Bacon afterwards before heading into the Inn to inspect his gear. His bow had seen better days, especially after they were stranded on the hozen island - he would have to visit a bowyer at some point for some maintenance, but it would do for this hunt.

The daggers were ready for anything, although with the prey he was looking for he’d rather not find himself in a situation where he’d have to use them. Holding the black knife, he turned it in his hands, frowning as he remembered the last time he had used it. It was easy to say that something beyond his control made him strike Nakobu, but he still felt the impact in his arm - the moment he gutted the young mag’har without hesitation. He had spent hours by himself, wiping the weapon clean after Skint had left him alone. To his eyes the red tinge never really faded, the blade seemingly glistening from time to time. With a tired sigh he pushed the weapon back into place at his belt, checking his backpack and supplies once more before making his way towards the gate. Passing the guards, he pushed a folded note into the troll’s hands, muttering “If I don’t return by noon tomorrow.” and headed westward, deeper into the forest.

Time passed as Tagrok ventured off the clear pathways and into the undergrowth, looking for a particular set of tracks - something that seemed increasingly unlikely. Nothing around him suggested his quarry was in this area. Others of its kind were close, that much he could make out. The smell reminded him of Smoke. He heard them in the distance as the sun began to set, hidden above the trees. Unfortunately all the fur he was able to track down was silver. 

“That’s why I keep telling her, hunting isn’t something I… Hm..?” Something caught his attention and he approached a tree on his left, reaching out to pull some hair off the bark. “Black… Although this one seems to be getting on in years, going by the gray strands.” Frowning, he discarded the fur and thought the situation over. There might not be another opportunity before the clan returned to Razor Hill, and he had waited long enough. His mind went back to the day they left the Swamp of Sorrows. While the clan was rescuing Tahara, Urzoga had worked on the task without anyone noticing. With a frown, he realized the sting of annoyance at the thought of the quiet orc completing the tasks ahead of him. No, this was going to be his prey, just like the Wind Serpent he hunted for his Om’riggor - he could almost feel it.

He crouched down moments later, clearing away debris and leaves to get a better look at the ground. No tracks, at least none that would suggest where this particular wolf might’ve gone. Almost grunting in frustration, he stopped himself - instead taking a breath before crawling a little further. Some droppings, practically filled with deer fur. More hair on bark. Broken branches on a shrub, leading further south west. “This might actually be the correct way...” Those were the last words he spoke for a long while, instead following the tracks one by one, hopefully coming closer to his prey. The sun slowly vanished from the sky and with it, most of the visible tracks as Tagrok strained his eyes against the gloom.

And then he saw it, in a clearing near one of the lakes reflecting the dim moonlight. It was by no means anywhere near the size of a garn or even some of the bigger wolves he saw over the years. But Tagrok crouched there, almost captivated by the grizzled hunter. There were streaks of silver in his fur, which was otherwise completely black. The wolf sat there, drinking from the lake for a moment before it turned, its eyes locking on Tagrok’s own despite the orc remaining where he was.

With a grunt, the orc rose, knocking an arrow in one swift motion before letting it sail through the air. It missed the beast by a wide margin as it charged him - the distance between them shrinking rapidly. Tagrok stepped forward and out of the undergrowth as he aimed once again, the arrow finding its mark in the wolf’s back. Unfortunately for the orc, the beast was almost upon him and he had to drop the bow as he dodged to the side, scrambling along the ground as the black shadow darted past him.

Looking up while turning around, he noticed that the old hunter stared at him curiously, its head tilted to the right ever so slightly. Thinking about it, its maw should have gotten his arm at the very least as he dodged to its right. Blind, or at the very least impaired enough to favor his left eye instead. With a wry grin, he rose and grabbed his daggers. “Suits me just fine…” Standing sideways, as some of the knife-ears would, to throw the wolf’s aim off, trying to calm himself. To charge would just give his adversary a bigger target - and so he waited. Circling the orc as much as the clearing around them would allow it, the beast watched wearily. Surely it had come across orcs before, Tagrok thought to himself, but unlikely just a single one stumbling through the woods.

It was too fast for him, even with one lazy eye. One moment it circled him, several meters away and the next he felt sharp pain flare up on his right biceps as its teeth sank into him. He cried out in pain and reflexively bashed its head sideways with the pommel of his dagger, the wolf whining and dashing away into the undergrowth. Tagrok breathed heavily, squinting at his arm, but the darkness settling around the forest made it hard to make out anything. His eyes darted upwards, following the rustling of leaves as the wolf surely prepared another attack. This would have to end soon, one or two more bites and he wouldn’t be able to lift his weapons in defense, much less kill the hulking animal.

He straightened his back, standing normally now as he gave the wolf plenty of targets. Growling through clenched teeth, he yelled into the night. “Come on! Right there!” Silence answered him, the rustling of the leaves stopped and he felt a prickling sensation on the back of his neck. Then it broke through the vegetation, snarling as ran towards him with its fangs bared. The orc braced himself, raising his left arm protectively - and almost fainted as the beast crushed his gauntlet, piercing the flesh below. The sheer weight of the wolf took him down, head thrashing around as it tried to tear at his arm. He stabbed upwards, again and again, blinded by fear and panic. Finally, the thrashing started to slow down, stopping as the animal sunk down, wounds near its throat oozing hot blood. With great difficulty, he dragged himself away from beneath the lifeless body.

He sat before the old wolf’s corpse, leaning back and panting heavily as he wiped his mouth with the knuckles of his right hand. It came away bloody and he winced, the adrenaline fading as fast as it had hit him. And with that came more pain.

The next hours became a blur, bits and moments of clear thought before he finally found himself at the gates of Splintertree Post during the early noon. He still wondered how he had managed to haul the corpse onto the makeshift sled, dragging it through the undergrowth with a rope tied around his chest. Thanking the shaman that took care of the worst of his wounds, he prepared Bacon as best as he could before swinging himself onto the saddle.

Riding up to the Crossroads as the sun set, Tagrok immediately approached the leatherworker’s tent. He nodded to the orc and spoke a few hushed words before dropping a bag of coins into his hand. Leaving Bacon at the stables, he sighed, rolling his shoulder as he spotted Nakobu, Skint and a shady undead…

He remembers this as he sits quietly in the dark tower hut. She was sleeping, just the way she did when he had left. There had been a little wrapped-up bundle on his pillow. Carefully unfurling it, he reveals some sort of baked goods, perhaps cake. He smiles mildly as he looks down at her face before taking a bite. The taste reminds him of a star-lit sky, a beautiful forest at the crown of the world.
The Campfire / Prelude - Voyage
October 14, 2019, 11:41:55 PM
He felt his legs losing strength. The wet rope slipped out of his fingers as the world spun. He caught glimpses of the struggling Suzy, of Nakobu lying unconsciously on the deck, rattled by the waves. There, far away near the entrance to the lower deck was…

It began the moment they stepped through the Dark Portal. Clutching Smoke to his chest, Tagrok looked away from the rest of the orcs, one hand moving to cover his mouth. He squeezed his eyes shut, grunting quietly in pain as the familiar sensation returned. It was as if somebody raked the inside of his head with a dull knife.

Once everybody was accounted for, Vraxxar gave the signal to continue down the portal's stairs.
"I'll never get used to this'' said Okiba. Tagrok could merely grunt in reply as he tried to stay in the saddle. Hopefully they would assume simple teleportation sickness. Smoke looked up at his face, squished as she was against his chest. The pup whimpered, clearly feeling that something was amiss with the orc.

Wardrums sounded in the distance, slow and steady like the heartbeat of a mountain-sized predator. There was something wrong about the sound, something he couldn't quite pin down. He looked at the other orcs, yet none of them seemed fazed. Nodding to himself, he soon let go of the pup to have her sit on the boar's head. Smoke, lying prone, was looking at Tagrok with… Concern? The orc realized that the pup couldn't possibly understand what was happening but the sinking feeling in his stomach only increased as he watched his young companion.

Thankfully they had decided on letting Tahara ride alongside Kyrazha on Uurekh's spacious back. She had suffered enough in the past weeks and needn't see what happened at this moment. Tagrok recalled how he had felt the moment she was taken way, the rage at seeing her tormentors… The arrow she aimed at him without hesitation. No, she wouldn't be made to watch if he turned back into whatever he had been in Nazmir - at least if he had a say in it.

He had been naive. After everything that happened in Northend, he had scrambled to Bloodmoon for help, taking up the sorcerer's time in order to find a cure. Sitting around idly in Garadar during Kosh'harg and afterwards, he had put off the hunt for ingredients after the voices had stopped. With their return to Azeroth time might be running out at long last.

The drumming was pulsing through him once again, the hairs on his arms standing on end. Whispers flooded his ears, the language unknown, harsh and silky at once - but above all nauseating. They were joined by guttural growls and enticing promises, fear and pride welling up inside of him, fighting for superiority.

Shutting his eyes, the orc grabbed the dagger on his belt. The clan heirloom which had been bestowed on him by the ancestors, his sliver of hope before he was drowned. Everything went quiet as his fingers wrapped around the gronn-bone hilt, safe for a few familiar murmurs. He sighed in relief, opening his eyes just as they stepped over the border into the Swamp of Sorrows.

Until now. All at once the noise, the drumming and the whispers returned in force, coalescing impossibly into words that flooded his senses before he blacked out on the deck of the ship alongside the other orcs.

"There you are."
The Campfire / Bravado
August 14, 2019, 08:48:05 PM
Two months. It had been two months since Nazmir. Since he rejoined the clan. Since, as he noticed time and time again, he had other orcs he cared for. Purpose.

Two months. And yet  - it - was still there. Quiet, most of the time. But he still heard it, felt its teeth scrape right behind his eyes. Clicking its mandibles when he lost his calm. Like in Feralas, chanting. Incessantly. Through the night, demanding.

They knew, of course. Not that they would pressure him. The orcs had seen their own share of corruption, mind-altering spellcraft and void trickery. Still, he put up a front. Tried to, at least. Being snide and cynical without reason. He also knew that the ones familiar with him saw through his bravado. While others just shook their head in confusion.

He had said several times that he would look into it, consult the sorcerer about what to do. He had plenty of opportunity to do just that, truth be told.
Just the previous night, Bloodmoon had joined them in the inn. He could've asked him, a moment of his time to consult this orc. Yet he just sat there, listening to Wildmark and Nakobu talking about codes of honour and peons. This was the reason he simply stood up and hid in the back room without another word - probably leaving Chuckles mildly confused.

Only when the orcs went for their tents and hammocks, did he stop pretending. He made his way down to the floor as quiet as he could, looking momentarily at the monk sleeping beneath his own cot. He was sure Rharok was aware, but kept pretending to be asleep. Looking at Beastgrin's hammock, he was painfully reminded of his bruised neck and almost sighed, as he was prone to do. He stopped himself and left the inn.

He took a walk through the settlement, some of the sentries eyeing him suspiciously as he passed by. He didn't pay them any attention and simply left through the gate. His feet eventually brought him to the spot he had "trained" at with Throatrender and Beastgrin. The snow had obscured any signs of the scuffle and was lying undisturbed on stone and earth.

That chanting began again, intermingled with laughter. He bit his lip in frustration, fully aware of what would be coming.

"Too bad, we should've had you snap her little neck. Just as a reminder."

The Campfire / Archer's duty
January 08, 2017, 01:21:42 AM
I guess this topic will serve as an anthology of stories about Tagrok - should there be more. Without further ado, here it goes.

Rain - Not just now, the whole day. It kept raining ever since he arrived in this swamp, tracking the Red Blade all the way to the distant outpost of Zabra'jin in the Zangarmarsh. The tribe had moved ahead a few days ago, leaving him in Garadar to sort himself out. As he moved towards the gates of the outpost he remembered the days he spent seperated from them.

Even though he had never stepped into Nagrand before the orcs there were very forthcoming - as long as he pulled his own weight. He went on several hunts, restocking the food supplies with the other hunters and helping with menial tasks around the village. Some of the nights were spent in the watch towers, his eyes scanning the horizon for threats. The orc snorted as he recalled the day after their arrival, being chewed out by Beastbane for sleeping in one of the towers.

Everything went rather smoothly until two nights ago. The moon had already risen far overhead and he was sitting at the central bonfire, watching the mag'har orcs and occassionally conversing with them. Most of the time however, was spent staring into the fire and thinking back over the choices he had made the past weeks.

He had followed the Red Blade on nothing but a whim. Petty dreams about living in a tribe, of being connected to something else but life on the frontlines. Not that he escaped battles for long as he stuck with them - But he got a taste of kinship, even though he still barely understood any of them. And those he did start to understand were struggling with their own problems, keeping to themselves and seldom appearing at the bonfire as they did on most days.

A rasping voice interrupted his reverie: "Tagrok the archer, I presume?"

The orc turned his head to look over his shoulder, frowning as he spotted the owner of the voice. There, outside of the circle of orcs, stood a member of the Forsaken. Most of his face below the nose was covered in a black bandana, the necromantic glow in his eyes flickering from time to time. The undead was clad in nondescript leather armour, which failed to cover the jutting out bones and receeding flesh. The only other discernible item on his person was a messenger's bag, slung over his right shoulder, strap crossing his gaunt chest.

With a snort the orc answered: "That would be me. Who's asking?"

Inclining his head ever so slightly, the Forsken kept his eyes on the orc as he spoke again: "Corbinian Valford, Attaché to the Deathstalkers stationed on the Broken Isles." After he finished Valford pulled a scroll from his bag - A purple wax seal covered the parchment.

Tagrok's eyes widened for a moment before he looked at the broken sky and gave a grim nod. "So... Time to head back then?"