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All that glimmers

Started by Tagrok, December 07, 2019, 09:50:11 AM

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“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.”
Gul'Thauk Tagrok Valorwind


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