Welcome to Guest. Please log in or sign up.

May 29, 2024, 11:40:42 PM

Recent

Shoutbox

Razaron:
2024 May 14 17:54:07
The website has never looked better!
Zakarah:
2023 Dec 29 21:06:51
I think Rashka.exe has stopped working.
Rashka:
2023 Dec 28 20:49:43
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA... A.
Realyn/Eliff:
2023 Jul 22 22:17:06
Such shouty people in here, gosh.
Rashka:
2023 Jul 20 01:42:16
Remember to shout your lungs out every once in a while!!
Kozgugore:
2023 Jul 08 17:30:53
Shouting here to make sure everyone knows that I'm still here!
Ootah:
2022 Jan 24 23:27:52
Wow I can't believe I remembered my password!
Razaron:
2021 Dec 18 15:37:28
<dances>
Vraxxar:
2021 Nov 10 12:24:52
Remember to check both ways before crossing the plains!
Vraxxar:
2021 May 22 14:10:40
I too am testing the shoutbox for non-nefarious reasons.
Kozgugore:
2021 May 22 13:55:49
This is me testing the shoutbox, because shouting is a great stress relief and it would be a shame if it doesn't work.
Rashka:
2021 Mar 25 03:38:20
IM SHOUTING SO HARD RIGHT NOW YOU GUYS.
Claws:
2020 Nov 20 00:14:09
Ice cream for all
Realyn/Eliff:
2020 Oct 09 09:49:55
Happy Anniversary!!! It's party timeeee!
Vraxxar:
2020 Sep 24 12:39:42
Oh god. The warlock found the shoutbox!
Gashuk:
2020 Sep 23 16:42:21
THE SHOUTBOX. Omg. This was like proto-Discord.
Vraxxar:
2020 Aug 23 09:36:02
*Grabs a camera to record what happens*
Nakobu:
2020 Aug 22 16:24:43
*prods shoutbox*
Razaron:
2020 Jun 16 10:34:12
<dances>
Vraxxar:
2020 Jun 05 13:32:27
Swedish Pagans?
Members
Stats
  • Total Posts: 33082
  • Total Topics: 3067
  • Online Today: 211
  • Online Ever: 440
  • (January 13, 2020, 10:14:59 PM)
Users Online
Users: 0
Guests: 160
Total: 160
160 Guests, 0 Users

Welcome to the jungle!

Started by Srelok, November 29, 2018, 01:16:42 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Srelok

preface

Coming off the ship ferrying in reinforcements for the war effort Srelok was overwhelmed at the Horde war machine as it was on display in the harbour of Zandalar's Capital, Atal'Dazar. The sheer amount of ships and troops was quite impressive, forcing him to shut himself off emotionally as he led his wolf through the crowded docks. Zandalari trolls and Horde forces bustled about on urgent business or were peddling their wares as he entered the wide plaza. He spotted several absolutely enormous reptillians trudging along, some recognisable as Direhorns, others unknown to him. His wolf, a moody bitch named Sharpfang was having none of it so he tried to soothe her with his mind. As usual, she resisted him, this time making it even harder as he tried to shut off the rest around him. Uneasily, he made his way deeper into the city.

"Ah, ya be lookin' for de embassy den," a Zandalari he had asked for directions answered him. "All 'Orde business be dere. Ya need ta follow de steps up ta de Great Seal."
Srelok thanked the troll and rode towards the steps of the great pyramid the troll had indicated. He made it up multiple tiers, occasionally listening to orating trolls espousing their respective Loa before he was stopped by a large female in armour.
"Wat be ya business 'ere, orc?" He decided truth would get him further.
"I need to visit the embassy at the Great Seal. My mate has gone missing on this continent and I need information to start my search.
She seemed to think it over a second.
"Ya'll be needin' more den information. Ya be needin' a miracle. Much of de island be in a state of war after de Blood Trolls invaded de city."
"You were attacked? That is troubling news. May I pass though?" the troll shrugged and stepped aside, apparently caring little for his quest.

He reached the top of the pyramid a while later. It was massive, topped by a huge stone circular Seal. It was broken and seemed useless. The tier he was on was guarded by Zandalari and Forsaken in heavy armour. This must be the place. Heled the wolf to a stables, then proceeded inside..

"Azguh, you say? Doesn't ring a bell." The Forsaken he was directed to seemed to care little as well. Probably because his troops were still cleaning up the signs of battle at the Embassy. He'd seen many signs of recent struggles on his way up. Apparently the battle had been fierce and desperate. Bad enough to actually rally several Loa themselves to the fight. They'd lost several Loa too, including one called Rezan.
"She was a halfbreed orc. Messenger." his voice softened mildly.
"Hrm... Let me make a few calls. Maybe someone heard something."
"That would be appreciated."
"You can wait nearby or see if you can make yourself.." he peered at Srelok's left leg, the one that clomped strangely and which had a limp, "useful to our allies."
It was a clear dismissal. Srelok grunted and went in search for a place to sleep.

After several hours the Forsaken had him tracked down again. He looked annoyed too. Clearly empathy and compassion were foreign words to him.
"I managed to track down some information for you but I warn you, she's more than likely long dead."
He said this in a gloating manner stirring up Srelok's anger.
"Just spit it out, dead one." that wiped the grin of his face, but replaced it with cold anger.
"Mind your tone grunt. Or the Blightcaller shall hear of your insolance..."
"I'm not a grunt, meatbag. I'm a shaman of the Red Blade." He seemed unimpressed, but moved on to his report.
"It seems your halfbreed was stationed in the jungle outside Dazar'Alor, to the north. In the path of the Blood Troll assault. as I said, an excersise in futility."
Srelok merely grunted and began packing his meager belongings and finding his discarded armour.
"Did you hear me?"
"I did. But I take no word for granted until I see a body."
"Suit yourself. But I can't spare troops to mount a futile search party."
"I travel faster alone." he snorted at that.
"A cripple with light armour and nothing but a spear. We'll not meet again." with those words he stalked off.

Srelok stood at the northern edge of the city, staring into the dense jungle of Zuldazar. He nudged Sharpfang, and set off in search of his mate..

to be continued...

"If you could pour pain into a mold of an orc and then cut off its foot to piss it off, you’d get Srelok." Gulrok Ragehowl

Okiba

More! more! more!

love me some Sre-sre insights!
Okiba Spearbreaker - Nag'Ogar and Warrior Monk of the Horde
"Strength, Discipline, Mastery."


Srelok

#2
Chapter 1

The camp was completely in ruins. Even finding tracks would be impossible due to the devastation. Grimtide sat back in his saddle, Sharpfang fidgetting beneath him. She was uneasy too, but that might have been more about the eyes he'd felt following him for a while now..
"I know... We should get moving. Have some patience."
He dismounted, patting her neck and ruffling her dark brown mane. Then he moved to the middle of camp and prepared to search in a way most orcs had never been able to...

He sat in the middle of the ruined camp. Curiously enough there were no bodies. Only bloodstains. He closed his eyes and opened his mind.
The effect was immediate as he felt the battle raging around him. The Horde forces gave as good as they had in the face of such overwhelming odds. He forced himself to focus through the carnage raging around him, the despair as the Blood trolls sept out of the trees and the steely determination with which the defenders faced this threat. The pain as each warrior fell, one by one. And was dragged off by the enemy troll... Until he found the ones he was searching for. The blunted intellect of Xynu, Azguh's rather.. Special.. Warpstalker.
And Azguh herself. Her presence brought an aching sense of loss to his chest. He hadn't seen her in so long and now it felt like she was standing right next to him... Only she wasn't. Just an echo, an imprint of her passing.
He focussed everything on her now, seeking out her thread of consciousness in the melee. Following her path through the battle led him to one certainty: Azguh hadn't died here.

A low, threatening growl sounded behind him, jarring him from his concentration. He opened his eyes and looked behind to see Sharpfang stand behind him, heckles raised and glowering at another reptilian. Quadrapedal, but moving with the grace of a hunting cat.
Damn.
He grabbed his spear and dropped into a fighting crouch, hoping a threat display might be enough. The creature dropped lower, shoulders moving and legs bunching in a typical move, ready to pounce. Sharpfang mimicked the move, orc and wolf both refusing to back down.
It happened so fast Srelok barely had time to register the pounce itself. The creature moved like lightning, pouncing toward Srelok and ignoring Sharpfang, until she threw herself inbetween, trying to push him offbalance and going for the throat in one move. In the same instance Grimtide stabbed forward with his spear, impaling the reptile through the chest. It dropped like a brick, but was still alive. For a while. He pulled out a dagger from his belt and approached the creature. Kneeling beside it, he touched its mind. It recoiled slightly, weakening fast. He put a hand on its head and mumbled.
"Thank you, mighty hunter, for your sacrifice. Through your death I can live, and through your death I will gain your strength. Rest easy now, knowing you'll not be forgotten."
And he stabbed it through the heart. Ending its suffering.
He now had provisions, and started skinning the creature and preparing the meat.
After cleaning the bones he packed them in his saddlebags and rolled up the hide for future use. Maybe he could barter with it, though from wgat he saw in the city the Zandalari seemed to prefer gold. There was so much here... Even taking into account weathering and the general age of the golden ornaments, he judged these trolls to be wealthy beyond imagining... Though he had seen garments and tenrs made of saurian hides. So who knew. For now he wasn't planning on forsaking his teachings of using everything of a kill...

He shifted his wolfmask a little so that it sat properly. He eyed up the large tree. This should do, he hadn't seen many tree dwelling creatures and he needed to rest for now. Tomorrow he'd continue his trip in the direction he'd sensed Azguh was headed in... Away from the city, further north. He began climbing until he reached a height where he felt safe.
There he unrolled a map he'd bartered from a merchant in Atal'Dazar. It showed the continent, and he quickly located his approximate location. Estimating distances he guessed he'd need to travel at least all day to get to his next destination and possible location of Azguh, within what was ominously scribbled on the map as 'the swamps of Nazmir'...

to be continued...


"If you could pour pain into a mold of an orc and then cut off its foot to piss it off, you’d get Srelok." Gulrok Ragehowl

Gashuk

GASP! Srelok is going to Nazmir before Gashuk gets there. Bring me back a baby Crawg please!
-Gashuk, Son of Garrak-
"When the ashes fall and the green winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives."

Srelok

Chapter 2

The thing about jungles, as Grimtide realized when he woke up, was that it rained. A lot. He was drenched and shivering in the downpour. In fact, it was so bad he could barely see a hand in front of his face and had trouble holding on to the branches of the tree he was in. 'Precarious' didn't begin to describe it...
The moment the rain began to lessen was the moment he noticed another problem. About five feet from his resting place the tree was being devoured by a huge creature. It was bright green in coloration with orange fin-like webbing on his neck and body and a head bigger then he was. For all it's huge size though, it was docile and appeared mostly curious about the green-skinned thing it had found in the tree. A Brutosaur, he'd heard the Zandalari call it. He reached out with his mind to feel what the creature was like. It barely acknowledged him as it continued feeding after a few moments, it's curiosity sated and it had decided he was not a threat. To be fair, it was so huge he couldn't imagine what could bring it down... Its mind was interesting though... Far from being a dumb brute it was surprisingly observant and quick-witted. Srelok smiled as he maintained his emotional bond with the creature for a while while it fed. After it had had enough it lumbered off and Srelok released the bond.
Good things come from this place too, not just murderous trolls....

He was forced to admit that his previous assumptions about the Zandalari were very wrong. He'd assumed all were like the ones the Horde had encountered in Pandaria and before that in other places of the world. The ones he'd met here were cordial at least, and polite at times too. An advanced civilisation, not just dumb cannibals. The more he saw of their ancient city and homeland, the more intrigued he was becoming.

Sharpfang and Srelok moved along the road further north, eyeing the devastation the Blood Troll assault had left behind. Here and there Zandalari work teams were still busy clearing out massive saurian corpses, Direhorns and Devilsaurs among them. Seemed the Blood Trolls had brought in the big guns then.. This was not exactly good news for his quest obviously. What the fel kind of chance would Azguh have on her own in Blood Troll infested swamplands...?
He shook his head.
"Don't think like that," he grunted softly to himself. She was still alive. He'd know if she wasn't.

By nightfall he was ready to find a new shelter. The tree hadn't been the most succesful idea, so he went in search of a cave this time. It took him a while to find anything useful though, as this part of the land seemed to be mostly grassland and overgrown hills and some overgrown ruins.

Eventually he found something approximating an actual cave. It appeared deep enough at least. It also appeared occupied. Gripping his spear Srelok approached the cave mouth and was greeted by a low hiss. Definitely not a snake. It sounded like a Ravasaur...
He extended his mind as he had with the Brutosaur and was greeted by a wave of defensiveness and pain. He moved in closer to investigate, entering the cave proper.
Crouched on the ground, ducked down in a defensive position, was the raptor. It was wine-red with a crest of orange feathers around its head and the tip of the tail. A pair of suspicious amber eyes stared back at him.
Grimtide projected a sense of calm and willingness to help. He lowered his spear to the ground, then, adopting an open and non-agressive posture, he slowly moved closer to the admittedly majestic creature to examine it. Her, he realised as his mind made contact with hers. He crouched besides her, talking softly in a low, calming voice.
"Mok'ra, beautiful huntress. You're hurt. Let me help you..." He was answered by another hiss, this time more one of pain and uncertainty. She clearly did not trust him. As he looked her over he realised why not. In her flank was an arrow. One clearly of orcish make. As he reached out a hand to remove it, she snapped her mighty jaws at his hand in warning, followed by a hiss of a more menacing nature, warning him off.
"I mean to help, not hurt..." His low voice and calming aura seemed to mollify her slightly, as she stopped hissing at him, but her eyes never left his hands as he very calmly continued to move toward the arrow.
"I need to get this out, lest the wound would fester. Let me aid you, oh mighty huntress..." In response she puffed up her feathered neck in a threat display, but again her hiss sounded more uncertain. The two locked gazes then, Srelok still projecting his aura of calm and murmuring reassurance, she keeping her feathers ruffled in an attempt to appear bigger.
Thus they remained still for a few minutes, untill the Ravasaur relented, smoothed her crest and lay back. Srelok noticed with mild satisfaction the animal had decided to trust him. For now.
He took out his surgical kit and went to work, making sure he hurt her as little as possible. She made a few squeeks of discomfort but only once did she hiss and snap at him, that was when he pulled out the arrow. She never actually bit him though, as she clearly realised he was helping her.
Murmuring a spirit blessing over the wound even while using more mundane methods of disinfecting it he was quietly amazed at the strength of the animal he was treating. She was all corded muscle and sinew. A sprinter, a master of the quick kill.

When he was done he sat on the opposite end of the cave, giving her all the space she might need. The Ravasaur silently watched him as he sat down to rest, a few clicks escaping her throat as if she was wondering what he was doing.
"Sleep now, rest your weary body. Tomorrow you shall hunt again."
And with those words he fell asleep, unheeding of the dangerous animal he shared a cave with.

When he awoke, he was alone, the Ravasaur had left.

To be continued

"If you could pour pain into a mold of an orc and then cut off its foot to piss it off, you’d get Srelok." Gulrok Ragehowl

Okiba

Okiba Spearbreaker - Nag'Ogar and Warrior Monk of the Horde
"Strength, Discipline, Mastery."


Srelok

#6
Chapter 3

Humid. Hot. Foetid.
Three words decribing the swamps of Nazmir perfectly. Fly-infested too...
Grimtide made these observations as he rode a heavily panting Sharpfang, pausing every half hour or so to allow the wolf rest and drink. This place was not made for furry animals...
Several hours into the swamp he came across his first real signs of trouble, which surprised him considering a Blood troll army had moved through the area not too long ago. He travelled through a set of ruins as he couldn't manouvre around it and found a few dead Zandalari. The bodies had been desecrated. Worse, it hadn't been long ago...
He ducked further into the ruins as he heard a disturbance outside.
Oh crap...
His spear in hand he quietly led Sharpfang deeper into the ruins, hoping to find another way out. All the while he was mentally kicking himself for being a fool. It was so obvious, how could he have missed the trap? For a trap it was, he could feel the menace and cruelty coming from his pursuers in waves. Blood Trolls.

"I'm fucked, this is it..." It was no more than a whisper to Sharpfang. All he dared. He was still aware how close his enemies were as he looked down a doorway into the deeps of the swamps. It was a way out of the ruins, but he couldn't see into the gloom how deep it was.
An arrow thwacking into the wall next to him made his decision for him and both orc and Wolf made a dash outside, into the gloomy fug of the swamp.
Into the unknown.

The fall was not deep, twenty feet at best. But he landed awkwardly and twisted his ankle. The prosthetic gave a sharp warning crack too. Not good at all... Sharpfang noticed and dragged him by the arm, teeth digging into his flesh. When they were out of arrow range Sharpfang stopped, allowing Grimtide to mount up so they could make some speed and hopefully an actual escape, unlikely as it sounded.

The blood Trolls were in pursuit again, judging from the growls and roars behind him they had found mounts. And they were fast. Thrown spears and arrows whizzed past, every once in a while one got stuck in his cloak or bounced off his armour. One arrow had burried itself in Sharpfang's haunch, hobbling the wolf slightly, but desperation gave her speed. And his own desperation gave Grimtide the inspiration to call upon the elements, something which had grown harder in recent months after the Sword came down and he'd nearly died.
Chanting to the heavens he called down the lightning, causing at the very least some panic and with luck a few deaths on his attackers, though he dared not look back. He grunted as he heard screams of agony from behind him though.

After things had quieted down some in the wake of the lightning storm he slowed Sharpfang down. It looked like they were in the clear but they moved on cautiously. He also needed high ground so he could see where they were. He had a feeling they'd been turned around during the headlong chase. But first he needed a rest and so did Sharpfang. So they continued their weary trek through the marshes, oblivious to hateful black eyes alighting on them still...

Srelok didn't dare taking any of his gear off, though he had attached his mask to his belt so he could drink and feel some fresh air on his skin. As he'd feared they had fled in directly the wrong direction, deeper into the swamp instead of sticking to Azguh's trail which had pointed west, toward what his map had labelled Vol'dun. That was an issue for tomorrow though. Now he and Sharpfang should get some rest.
This thought was the last he had before chaos erupted around the clearing they occupied. They were surrounded. No way out.
Something heavy and hard hit the back of his head and he collapsed.
The last thing he saw was a spear being driven through Sharpfang's head, then darkness overtook him.....

To be continued....

"If you could pour pain into a mold of an orc and then cut off its foot to piss it off, you’d get Srelok." Gulrok Ragehowl

Okiba

Noes not the Sharpfang wolfie  D:

Y u do dis Sre?!

(Keep 'em coming!)
Okiba Spearbreaker - Nag'Ogar and Warrior Monk of the Horde
"Strength, Discipline, Mastery."


Srelok

#8
Chapter 4

Naked in the dark, trussed up. Sacrificial fodder.
That's how Grimtide saw his situation. They'd taken everything from him, his weapons, armour, even his prostetic and necklaces. This had hurt him most. One was the proof of his om'riggor after all and the prayer beads he'd inherited from Devilstep were among his most prized possessions. Not only had they proved themselves a good focus for communing with the spirit of Fire, they were a constant reminder of mortality. Others might view this as morbid, but that's what they were to him. And the amethyst on a string Emberheart had given him was a focus that helped him channel the swirl of emotion that always moved around and through him. The thing that made him other.

After a few hours alone in the dark they came for him. The blood trolls dragged him from the tent. The bag over his head shifted but it remained dark within. He'd have stood and walked proud if only he had two legs. Around him trolls chanted. both male and female voices, though interestingly the male voices carried traces of submission and fear. He remembered hearing about blood troll culture. Females were dominant, the males subservient. Interesting, but no more. They worshipped a being known as the blood god. Chanted around him he heard the name 'G'huun.'

He was forced to his knee at last, the bag pulled from his head. Before him stood a pair of barely dressed females. Most of what they wore was jewelry. His jewelry. The one holding a sacrificial knife was wearing the prayer beads, the other the Ametyst and a ragged cloak and that was pretty much it. The knife wielder turned her black eyes on Srelok, a sneer on her lips.
"Ya be feedin' G'Huun now!"
Grimtide had heard before of the term 'seeing red' but had never experienced it. Now though, after everything he'd been through and the pain he'd sufferd since coming to this island, everything he'd lost...
A haze came over him as he stared at his belongings so unceremoniously draped around another's neck. Had he had two feet he'd have surged to them and started murdering them. As it was, the surge of strength in his limbs was enough to tear his bonds and free his arms. As the blood trolls soon learned, even a one legged orc on his knees was a menace....

Clearly the spirits had not abandoned him. As he surged forward he grabbed the knife wielder's wrist and snapped it. He now had a knife of his own. Hopping on one foot he charged forward and, still lost to his feelings of hatred and loss began laying about him.

Eventually of course, he had to flag. Cut and sstabbed, leaning on a stolen spear, he was surrounded by blood-mad trolls again, now intent on his death immediately instead of ritually. He glared ahead, no longer caring at that point, until his eye was drawn by a pair of amber orbs glinting in the shadow.
And in that instant, like knew like.
The Ravasaur that burst from the overgrowth and began murdering trolls was instantly familiar to the injured orc. It was none other than the crimson huntress he'd healed. Had she come to his aid...? Renewed strength flowed through him as from the other side of the circle surrounding him came roars and hisses of more ravasaurs and shouts of war. He recognised the accents immediately as Zandalari.

"Ya need rest. Dey nearly had ya killed." He shrugged as he sat up. "There's something that needs doing first." Hopping on one leg and leaning on a spear he wandered through the dead, collecting his belongings. There were of course things he couldn't find. His armour and weapons had been stripped from him where they captured him, laying somewhere in the marsh, rotting away with Sharpfang's corpse. The necklaces where easy to recover. The prosthetic though... That seemed just gone. He had no memory of where it was. He felt the loss keenly. Wildbranch had sung it into shape for him in repayment of taking the leg. It was enchanted to repair itself. He wished he could find it but there was no trace of it.
The two Zandalari who'd saved him followed him with their eyes. The male was clad in golden armour and carried a massive sword, the female, Tze'na, had shapeshifted into a raptor whilst fighting. She'd introduced herself as a Raptari. The male, Quet'zill, had introduced himself as a former Prelate. They were out here hunting blood trolls. Their eyes thus on him, he approached the ravasaur.
"You have my thanks, mighty one. I suspect our debts are thus paid?" The female blinked once, as if answering the question, then made a sound in her throat, and turned around, disappearing into the wildgrowth once more. Srelok felt her stay nearby though. He hobbled back to the waiting pair of trolls.
"My quest is not yet over. I need to get to Vol'dun. Can you help me?" Quet'zill stared at him a few seconds before answering.
"Wat be ya quest dere den? Ya be hardly in any state ta travel."
"My mate was driven there when the blood trolls attacked Atal'Dazar. I need to find her.
"If she be dere, she be dead. Best let it rest." He said it not unkindly, as if sympathetic.
"I can't. Not until I see a body."
"Den we best get ya some armour, can't be walking around in a loincloth...."

to be continued...

"If you could pour pain into a mold of an orc and then cut off its foot to piss it off, you’d get Srelok." Gulrok Ragehowl

Okiba

THE LEG!

I'll grow you another! BIGGER! STRONGER!

MORE LEAFY!
Okiba Spearbreaker - Nag'Ogar and Warrior Monk of the Horde
"Strength, Discipline, Mastery."


Srelok

#10
Chapter 5

The travel to Vol'dun lasted two more days. They had to be careful even though Grimtide was no longer alone. Two Zandalari, a cripple and the prelate's mount were still considered easy pickings. Srelok travelled along with Quet'zill on his direhorn, Tze'na loping along usually in raptor-form. The two filled him in on Zandalari lore as they travelled through the marsh. Even in his injured state and through his exhaustion he was rivetted as they explained the loa to him.
"Gonk is de loa of de hunt, shape-shifting and de pack," Tze'na explained. Quet'zill remained silent. They had just explained about his formmer loa, Rezan. The loa of kings, who granted patronage to king Rastakhan and had granted him long life had been killed in Zul's uprising. As it was explained to him Srelok began to understand the calamity that had befallen Zandalar before he came. And Azguh was trapped in all of that.
"So, Gonk is who you call to for success in tthe hunt? We have a spirit for that too, my clan. We call her Kavara. A wolf."
"It seems your clan has thair own loa den. Interesting..."
"Not sure if they're loa. We have several Wolf spirits we worship. All the loa are different creatures yes? I have never seen the wolf spirits myself though. And you have no wolf loa either."
"Dey be dere," Quet'zill answered. "Dere be many loa, many not powerful like Gonk, Paku and Rezan. Dey be de minor loa, house spirits and such."
Srelok nodded. He rubbed the stump of his leg absently. It itched in the damp air, and he sorely missed his prosthetic. This made him fel even more like a helpless cripple. Quet'zill continued.
"I can't say if all de wild spirits be loa, but ya clan spiriits be soundin' like it. Moving on, we have Bwon'samdi, de loa of death..."
They continued their careful lecturing while Quet'zill whittled away on a piece of hardwood. Tze'na shifted back to the shape of a raptor and scouted ahead of the Direhorn, so they had advance warning. This place was Devilsaur territory. As Srelok listened, he became aware of eyes following him, a primal presence nearby. He perceived no threat though..

Vol'dun was a wasteland.
It was a sandy, dry expanse of windblasted emptiness dotted with ruins. In the north, far off in the distance Srelok saw a large building in the form of a striking serpent, thunderclouds wreathing the top, occasionally striking the building itself with lightning. A near constant rumble of thunder sounded in the distance. As Grimtide scanned the surrounding area he as sure he sensed her. Azguh. He directed the trolls and the direhorn to the west, deeper into the desert. Quet'zill looked at him with a hint of concern in his faintly glowing eyes.
"Ya realize she may be dead? Ya quest isn't certain ta end in victory, friend Grimtide..."
"I'm aware," He answered grimly. "But I'd never forgive myself if I didn't try. She's my mate. The partner of my life, and she'd do the same for me.."
"Yes, ya explained ya were saved by her on many occassions. I'd like ta meet her."
"You will. And she'll be fine..." But even though he refused to accept the possibility, in his heart he was beginning to wonder if he was insane. Looking at this desert after the humid swamps....
"What happened here..?"
"De great war against de Black Empire. Here the snake loa Sethraliss sacrificed herself ta stop a rampaging monster, Mythrax. But it was not enough ta save de land itself, which over de ages withered and died.. The Zandalari now use it ta send de exiled ones. It be also de home of de Sethrak. Serpent people. Pray ta ya wolf spirits we can escape notice by dem..." The companions fell silent, readying their weapons as they moved deeper into the desert.

They were nearly a day into the desert when the skies turned nearly black and a hostile wind started blowing, forcing them into hiding in a rocky outcrop. Srelok had been to places like Tanaris and Uldum enough to know the signs of a sandstorm.
Working together they managed to get the direhorn into shelter, erecting a tarp to shield them from the sand. Tze'na gave him a hide cloak he could wrap around his face. He noticed it was the same material as the hide he'd skinned back in Zuldazar. Huddling against the direhorn they settled in to ride out the storm, unable to even speak. The fury of Vol'dun was too great even for that, so they sat together in silence for what felt like hours.

When the wind died down enough for them to speak again, night had fallen. Srelok had even slept a little through everything, tired as he was from all the excitement, his injuries and the general worry he'd felt the last weeks. When he awoke again, he saw Tze'na preparing a simple meal while Quet'zill was still working on whatever he'd been carving. It was now nearly complete, and Grimtide saw it was a peg leg. Nothing too fancy, there was no foot attached, but Quet'zill had carved in some Zandalari decoration, similar to how his tusks had been carved. The bottom was fitted with a brass cap. Or was that...? Grimtide looked closer. Gold. The top was crudely finished with a pice of hide that would allow the contraption to be strapped to his leg. He caught Srelok looking.
"Ya lost one leg, dis be de best I can do right now, but if we find ya mate I'll finish it. Dis should help ya stand as we search. It will be hard though in dis sand ta walk." he gave the replacement leg to Srelok, then helped him fit it. As he stood, he sensed something nearby again. A second later, a wet growl sounded above him. The sound was familiar.
"Will you keep following me even through a sandstorm, Ruby huntress?" The ravasaur leaped from the rocks and turned to eye him. She seemed.. nervous. The two zandalari stepped back, while Srelok stepped forward on his new leg.
Their eyes met and held. Understanding passed between them before the raptor approached, placing her head nearly against Srelok's forehead. Tentatively, he reached up and stroked the feathers behind her head.
"Welcome then, Ruby.. Let's see if we have some food for you."

As morning came, the two trolls eyed the pair sleeping next to eachother. The orc and the ravasaur. Quet'zill silently remarked that it seemed Gonk had blessed the orc. Tze'na could only agree, though they would never mention this to Grimtide, who they let sleep. He needed the rest...

A while after dawn, they were all awake. The direhorn was grazing on some tough plants nearby, the raptor was curled up around Srelok, and the trolls and he  were eating what Tze'na had prepared the night before. What was left of it. After a while Ruby lifted her head, sniffing around. Srelok looked around too, he yelped when a pincing sensation suddenly gripped his arm. Ruby hissed as Srelok stood. His arm felt like it was stuck in a vice. Teeth appeared around it, then eyes above them. Then, slowly, a creature coalesced around his arm. First a head, then it roiled into existence like a smoke cloud, the rest of the creature appeared, It was a deep purple with bright green markings, nearly as bright as its eyes. It was tugging on his arm still, like it was trying to drag him. The trolls seemed alarmed, Ruby was still hissing. Srelok just smiled.
"Hello Xynu. It's been a while."

To be continued.

"If you could pour pain into a mold of an orc and then cut off its foot to piss it off, you’d get Srelok." Gulrok Ragehowl

Srelok

#11
chapter 6

Xynu was, as some clan members put it, a bit special. The closest Srelok came to an explanation was brain damage taken long ago. The warp stalker was Azguh's companion, meaning she couldn't be far off.
He'd let go of Srelok's arm when he realized Grimtide was following him, the rest trailing behind, Ruby staying close. She seemed to not trust Xynu, for which was amusedly grateful. Even he had trouble trusting the creature.

They travelled for a good hour through the sandblasted landscape. The going was hard on Srelok as his peg leg kept sinking into soft patches of sand, but he persevered through sheer willpower, seeing his quest near complete. He could sense uncertainty from the trolls, who seemed apprehensive of what they might find.
At last they reached a shallow cave, where Xynu turned around, staring vacantly at Grimtide, before turning his head to look at the cave. The meaning was clear.

Srelok never hesitated in going inside. This was it. He could feel her inside. Her presence was weak but definitely there. She was alive after all. He limped inside.
Inside there was a small space, in the middle the remains of a campfire and to the side a bedroll. Tucked half under the blanket was his mate. She looked thin and haggard, her blueish green skin darkened and almost purplish with sunburn. She seemed unconscious, maybe having fainted from hunger. He knelt next to her, examining her injuries and the state of her equipment. She was unarmed and missing most of her armour, probably having shed it to stay light and on her feet in this weather.
Grimtide prepared his kit to clean her wounds and bind what he could, then felt a presence behind him.
"She lives? I guess she really be something den.." Tze'na appeared at his side, performing her own examination.
"She needs medicine and a lot of care but I'm sure she will survive. We should make camp here though. I'm sure we can't move her yet." Tze'na nodded and went back outside to help Quet'zill in setting up camp.

It was an hour after dusk when Azguh woke. Her faintly glowing eyes, so reminiscent of her draenei parentage opened a crack, then widened as she saw Srelok.
"You... Came for me..?"
"Always, my love. You know that." she eyed him over, examining his new gear and the fresh bandages.
"You're an idiot... But thank you. I never thought to see you again.."
Srelok helped her drink a little, then told her of his adventures getting here. Afterward, she was silent for a while and Srelok thought she'd drifted off again. Then: "You deserted the Clan, just to find me?" he smiled sadly.
"Aye, I didn't want to waste resources and potentially lives for my selfish quest. So I came alone. I left a note for Feraleye and Steelheart, so at least someone would know where I was. I brought only Sharpfang, but the blood trolls killed her.. He was silent a moment as he finally let him feel grief for losing his companion.
"I'm sure if I let them Vraxxar and Rhonya would have joined me, but..."
"But you were afraid to lose them. You sentimental fool." She said it with a faint smile, a hand resring fondly on his.
"Aye... Well, at least now you can tell everyone what a heroic orc I am." He grinned broadly, relief flooding him as she seemed more herself again.
"Go sleep. We'll head back to Zuldazar tomorrow if you feel up to it."

The next morning she was well enough to travel on direhorn-back.the trolls elected to walk so the orcs could ride, the animal companions loping alongside Tze'na. In this state they were able to make good time out of Vol'dun back to the pass leading into Nazmir, though unfortunately they had attracted attention...

"Get ta cover!" Quet'zill shouted at his mount, who obeyed without question as several snakelike creatures poured from between the rocks. Sethrak they were called. Quet'zill had talked about them a few days ago. They wielded weapons seemingly made of glass. Grimtide spotted swords and staffs with a glass sickle on both ends. About five attacked the trolls, three more broke off and headed for Srelok and Azguh. She was not yet well enough to fight... Grimtide pulled his spear from his back and leapt off the mount into the sand, barely staying afoot as the peg leg slipped again. The foremost Sethrak charged in, seeking to exploit his weakness. It was rewarded with Ruby's talons impaling its chest as she leapt onto it. Srelok used the distraction to free himself and launch at the second snake. With a swift strike he decapitated that one, then together with Ruby they felled the last one. He picked up one of the glass bladed staffs and walked back to Azguh. She took it with a grateful nod.
The trolls had dispatched the rest of the Sethrak though Quet'zill had taken a few deep cuts. Those glass weapons were sharp indeed... The troll didn't seem too bothered though and indeed seemed to already be healing.
After this latest distraction they rested a little while before finally leaving Vol'dun behind, back toward civilization.

to be continued...

"If you could pour pain into a mold of an orc and then cut off its foot to piss it off, you’d get Srelok." Gulrok Ragehowl

Srelok

Epilogue

Their return to Dazar'alor appeared to Grimtide a momentous occasion though there was obviously no fanfare. He'd done it, Azguh was with him and he'd even made new friends. Not bad for an antisocial recluse...
In the days since leaving Vol'dun Azguh had steadily grown stronger again, though she was still thin and exhausted, but Srelok no longer feared for her life.

Entering the city Grimtide was overwhelmed once again with the sights and sounds of Zandalari civilisation, though it worried him to see so many Horde forces in between. They were scurrying all over, not just near the Great Seal. And they all seemed in a hurry.
Not his problem, or his first priority though. That was getting Azguh to safety and get back to the Clan.

The Forsaken officer who'd first met with him when he just arrived stared wide eyed at the group as they approached. Srelok hung back a little as the two Zandalari loomed over the undead. And being nearly twice his height, loom they did. Azguh approached after them, arms crossed over her chest, her gaze flinty. Grimtide eyed him from a little further away.
"Fool's errand indeed. Meet Azguh."
"So... you succeeded after all. Good for you." The forsaken struggled to keep his tone light under the heavy scrutiny. "I knew you could do it."
"But you had no troops to spare. Because it was sure to be fruitless. And suicidal." Quet'zill raised an eyebrow at the forsaken.
"Have ya no honour in ya bones?"
The forsaken seemed to shrink even further. Then Azguh opened her mouth.
"Well, I see the value you place in your messengers at least. I'll be headed back to Orgrimmar to recover. Maybe have a word or two with my direct commander. About the situation here." And with that, she walked off, the rest following her. Leaving a very miserable Forsaken.

They stayed in the city a few more days to recover before their boat home. In that time Quet'zill finished the prostethic leg as promised and Srelok and Azguh dedicated time to learning what they could of the Loa and Zandalari culture.They both also visited the Horde quartermasters to have new armour crafted and supplies replenished. Eventually though it was time to say farewell to the trolls and the island.

Time to head home. They stood on the deck of the ship, flanked by Ruby and Xynu. Quet'zill and Tze'na were already disappearing into the crowd. Azguh leaned into him and Srelok put his arm around her. Time to head home and beg forgiveness.

"If you could pour pain into a mold of an orc and then cut off its foot to piss it off, you’d get Srelok." Gulrok Ragehowl