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A sharp mind disturbed

Started by Nosh'marak, July 27, 2019, 09:33:27 PM

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Drip... Drip... Drip...

The water droplets fell one by one from the rocky ceiling, listening in on the otherwise unheard rhythm, and then falling. They fell a few feet, soaring through the cool air before making impact with rough green skin before slowly rolling off to fall another few feet, splashing against the pool of water below. An Orc stood atop a pole in the middle of said pool, balancing himself on one leg and keeping his head turned toward the ceiling, eyes closed. It was daytime outside, he could feel that much: he had learned to count the droplet's intervals overnight, keeping track of time and space despite his closed eyes and focused mind. To an outsider, he might very well have been a statue; his only movements being his chest lifting with each breath. The cave surrounding him was wide, only lit up by a ray of light from the entrance. The ray found its way through cracks in stone, soon settling on painting his upper chest with a vague yellow-ish tint. There was a tattoo, illuminated by the light: two black wolves, each leaping out to the sides from the center of his chest.

His ears heard everything around him. The creatures crawling in the rubble, the frogs perfectly swimming through the cool waters below, and the faint sounds of wood against wood outside the cave. The spar outside must have taken at least as long as his meditation, yet the Orc did not dwell on such things. His mind was as clear as the water below him; devoid of emotions and troubles, thoughts swimming aimlessly. Suddenly, a voice called out. And so the balance was shattered, and the heavy Orc found himself swaying on the spot before quickly realizing what was happening, and slipping down in to the cold waters below. He let out a grunt as he pushed himself up on to the edge of the pool, his eyes scanning his surroundings for the source of the clear yet oddly distant voice, not finding it no matter how much he looked. With a sigh, he grabbed his travel pack and wandered out of the cave, in to the bright light of the shining outdoors. The Jade Forest was spectatular this time of the year, the vegetation in full bloom. He smiled to himself, wringing the twin braids on his chin out and letting his bare skin glisten in the sun. He looked over toward the monastery grounds, blue eyes searching for the two other monks who had been sparring for the past day and some, yet his eyes did not find them. In fact, his eyes did not find anyone: the monastery grounds, usually swimming with activity, were empty. Not even the birds that usually chirped their happy and serene song were perched atop the lanterns and posts, the Orc's calm smile soon turning to a worried frown. He pulled his vestments on, covering up his tattooed chest, and hauled his travel pack over his shoulder before lumbering over to the gates.

It was a strange sight, not seeing young aspirants sparring in the courtyard or testing their skills on the various dummies around. Not only was it strange, but it was haunting, sending chills down the Orc's spine. Was he afraid? No, of course he was not; he was known for being courageous and strong. Was he worried? Most definitely. Something about this deviation from the usual had him worried, yet curious. With bare feet he walked to check every crevice and hallway of the monastery, even those that had been said to not be in use anymore. Yet despite his endless searching, there was not a single soul. He sighed, making his way to the training grounds once more to clear his now troubled mind. Monks should not simply disappear like this - It's not something you would consider to be natural. A rustle in the foliage caught him by surprise, perking his ears and freezing on the spot. He did not have his spear, but he was potent enough with his fists to tackle most foes that would be thrown at him. But then again, so were the other more experienced monks. He was strong, but by far not the strongest - how could he hope to defeat anything that had taken so many monks while leaving so few tracks?

A soft growling made him once more stop in his tracks and take a deep breath. He was courageous, but he was seldom first to strike. Soft steps behind him made him twirl around, ready to strike at whatever was coming for him, the Orc's heart now beating hard enough to feel as if it were shattering his ribcage. Yet there was nothing. No great beast, no monstrosity to gnaw on his bones, and no adversary to fight. All there was was a small print on the cobblestone, small enough to make the Orc have to kneel down to get a good look. He reached out a rugged and calloused hand, moving to touch the strange sign. He was not sure what it was; it reminded him of an eye, yet not as refined and soft-contoured as the Dalaran one. His hand halted just as it was about to touch the mark before he took to reaching out once more, even slower this time, to softly lay his hand over it. With his touch, the emblem crumbled, as did the ground underneath him, plunging him down to the dark below...

With a grunt, Rharok rose from the icy cold waters of the pool in the cave. In front of him was a familiar face: the face of his master and close friend. The auburn-furred pandaren reached out a friendly hand, one which Rharok gladly took, pulling himself up out of the water. His master gave him a firm pat on the back, the fur soaking up a few droplets of water still glistening on his skin. His next words were short yet sweet, containing a modicum of pride.

"Well, my friend. You seem to have finally found your path."

As the sun set over the plateaus in the forest, Rharok set out with naught but his leather attire and trusted spear, his feet carrying him toward the horizon. A new path had been laid before him; one that his brothers and sisters from the monastery could not guide him on. It was his path to walk, and only time would tell if he had to walk it alone, or if he would find new friends and allies to walk it with.
"Dogs obey and whimper, wolves carve their own path with a roar! Let the Alliance hear your cries for battle! Rrosh'ka Valokh! For the Blood!"