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Za'karah: Fever dreams

Started by Zakarah, February 05, 2020, 12:26:24 AM

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The winds howled loudly between the trees, causing them to shake. The wood creaked with every breezy sigh, the branches bowing before the elements. Water startled to trickle down from the heavens. The clouds loomed eerily above, the sun forcing its last rays through them. Hidden below, safe from the upcoming storm, stood a settlement. A small bundle of buildings made out of clay were firmly placed upon the earth. The roofs were made out of thick reeds and roots harvested from the swamp, covered in a dense layer of clay and mucus to keep the water from seeping in. This encampment was the home to the Marshfurs.

Water tapped down upon the roofs in a steady rhythm. Vines had grown over the side of the huts over time, making them hard to spot from a distance. Within these huts, voices bounced off the walls. Conversations echoed around the encampment in hushed, orcish tongue.
“Za’karah, pay attention!” A voice rumbled.
A pair of blood-shot, wide eyes shot open. They belonged to a muscular female orc, seated in one of the huts. Her silver-white hair was falling loosely over her shoulders, making her look older than she truly was. Brown, scarred skin glistened, the oiled surface reflecting the light of a campfire,one of the only light sources within the encampment. She blinked her eyes in response, trying to once again focus her attention on the orc in front of her. “You’re not a pup anymore. Focus.” The voice snarled lowly, belonging to a fragile looking elderly orc sitting on the opposite side of the orcess. “Dabu, elder.” She grunted, ashamed of her dozing off during her class. “ If you want to learn what your path is beyond the ancestral knowledge of herbalism, you NEED to pay attention, young Spore Wolf.” The scrawny elder scowled her, his thin arms resting upon his crossed legs. He pointed a boney finger at one of the herbs in front of them, squinting his eyes. “Which one will bring you closer to the Ancestors, Zakah?”
Za’karah pondered his question for a moment. She knew it was a test. And probably a trick question.. But at the same time, one of these herbs had a potential to-- Za’karah shook her head. “None of these will truly bring you closer to the Ancestors, yet the leafs of the Siren’s song can grant someone visions in their sleep.” The female orc softly spoke, trying to sound sure of her words even though it was at a hushed tone. She looked at the male for approval, but his expression was unwavering. He didn’t spoke. Or move. Or even fill his lungs with air.

“ You are correct. Show me.”
He said, sounding anything but impressed. Za’karah froze as a wave of uncertainty washed over her. She reached for the herb that she thought to be the Siren’s song, and rubbed the leaf between her palms. She then took a deep breath of the deep, minty scent that released from the friction, before putting the leaf under her tongue, and layed down..

Sounds rang around her. What started as voices in the background that talked about their daily business, turned into soft, melodic whispers. Word by word it drew Za’karah in. Like tendrils wrapping around her and dragging her underneath the murky swampwater. She sunk further and further, and when she was completely under, she was surrounded by darkness. All sounds had disappeared. She drifted back upon her feet, to stand in this inky-black void. Before her approached a wolf. A stoic, strong creature with fur that seemed to light up by itself. Radiant, and powerful. Za’karah blinked her eyes as it walked closer. It almost seemed to float within the darkness surrounding them, but every step was one carefully calculated. A voice came from the wolf, but its maw did not move. It was as if she heard it directly into her mind. “ Seek. Discover. Grow.” Za’karah was overwhelmed with the words, her head pounding in anticipation. She tried desperately to link the words together, to understand it, but it was all but a flash in her mind. “ Do not seek logic. Seek to discover who you truly am. Seek, to grow.” It spoke once more, but the female orc could not move or respond in return. The wolf had closed in on her at this time, and they were only a few inches apart. “Don’t be the roots of the tree, that hide and writhe to desperately cling to all around them. Be the branches, and reach out. Step out of the darkness, into the light, Za’karah.” And with that last spoken word, its maw opened and devoured her.

Za’karah shot up, drenched in sweat. She rubbed her eyes wildly, her heart and head pounding at the same speed. Her eyes hurt, her head hurt..everything hurt. She looked around her, only to see a trail of blood leading into the hut. Za'karah gasped, sliding backwards as she frantically searched for her axe. Screams rung around her as the small village had erupted into total chaos. She barely had time to recover from her herb-infused dream that she got back on her legs, swaying because of the pounding headache. When her eyes truly adjusted, she saw the body of her teacher, the Marshfur’s Elder Amkan. By briefly inspecting the bloodtrail in the hut, she came to the possible conclusion that he tried to flee the hut, and crawled back in as soon as he was hit by..something. And eventually bled out. Za’karah was covered in bloodied handprints, a brief, yet dark vision jumping into her mind of Amkan scratching frantically at Za’karah, begging her to wake up.
The female orc’s limbs twitched as she took a better hold of the axe, and stepped outside. She couldn’t believe what she saw.
Multiple orcs, in a murderous rampage rushing through the village, mushrooms and roots sticking from their bodies. Their limbs twisted in horrible forms, and purple liquids leaking from their eyesockets. Some of them even lost their eyes, to thorns erupting from their very brains to pierce forward through their skull, leaving the eyeballs rotting instantly on impact. The smell was horrible, but the screams of her family and friends made her block out the horrific sight. Za’karah rushed forward to cleave into one of them, yet as soon as her axe hit one of them, he erupted into spores and gore, leaving her covered. Za’karah covered her mouth instantly in response, hearing the agonising scream of the mushroom-covered orc coming to his senses. “ Please, kill me. End it, please! Let it stop!” The voice begged, gurgling because of its own blood and purple fluids leaking from their ripped skin. Za’karah turned herself, only to see how many of her kin were being ripped open by thorns and root-like arms, infesting them with the spores and seeds from their bodies. 
It was already too late.
From the corner of her eyes she could see two of the abominations closing in on her, but all she could was run. “ Zakah, help me! HELP ME!” A desperate voice called out. Za’karah,who skidded to a halt, turned to see her sister on the ground being mauled by one of the infested creatures. “Razma, no!” She screamed out, rushing forward to help her, only to see her sister’s face being split open by the infested orc. Za’karah screamed out of both horror and anger as she rushed forward, cleaving her axe into its back, where it got stuck. The orc, pulsating with puss-filled growths turned around to look her in the eyes with his one, remaining eyeball. “Weak. Just like your grandmother.”
Za’karah’s heart sank, her mind just spinning when the familiar voice of the infested orc struck her into her very core. “F-father?”

A scream escaped from her maw, as Za’karah awoke from her nightmare. She was drenched in sweat, her eyes wide and her body shaking heavily. A heavy stream of tears rolled down her cheeks, as she sobbed. Za’karah wrapped another fur around herself as she looked down from her tree where she was sleeping, her body quaking in fear and pain. “ I..I should’ve taken more.” She softly whimpered as she desperately searched for her herb-pouch, pulling out a few leaves before hastily chewing on them. She still sobbed softly as she curled herself up into a ball, her eyes locked upon the horizon, where she saw a beautiful sky filled with stars. Below it was the now peaceful village of Razor Hill. Her eyes were wide open as she stared at the scene before her, chewing away at the herbs in her mouth, Waiting that they would carry her off into a comatose state for the rest of the night..