Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Orgrimmar Thief - Part 1

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction.  It is based upon characters within Blizzard's World of Warcraft, however, their imagined lives are products of my imagination and not wholly based upon lore written by Blizzard.

Glory is for champions - the ones left standing at the end of a battle.  They are the figureheads of victory, to incite the masses, whip up a frenzy of bloodlust for a war well fought.  They're the ones who are good for the war business.  Plaster their faces on posters, and you'll have recruits lining up to join the fighting.

But what about those that fell in battle?  The fallen heroes.  Who really remembers our fallen heroes, except for the families they left behind?

My name is Regnar.  Sometimes I wish I wasn't an orc.  I wish I could have been a troll, or a tauren, so I could learn the ways of the forest.  Or be like a night elf and sleep for years in that Emerald Dream.  I bet they never get hungry in there.


My father was killed at Wrathgate.  He followed Saurfang the Younger and Bolvar Fordragon for the glory of the Horde.  Then he was killed by those filthy undead with their unearthly plague concoctions... and then his body was incinerated by dragon's breath flames.

My family originally hailed from the Crossroads, in the Barrens.  We grew up hiding from the constant Alliance raiders who enjoyed taunting our little town, poorly protected and open on all sides in the middle of nowhere.  Sometimes my parents took my sister, Orna, and I to Ratchet, and we would stare in awe at the ocean, imagining we were sailing on our own boat, far away from any raiders.  It was still a dangerous trip sometimes, because Razormane Quillboars, lions, hyenas and other wild animals would often be around.  Our father gave each of us a simple dagger, to protect ourselves, and even showed us how to use it.  Mother forbade us from using our daggers when sparring against each other, so we made blunted sticks of the same length to practice with.

Then, that fateful day came, and the recruiters came for the march against the Lich King.  Able bodied men, including my father, were called to battle. What orc does not want to fight for glory, for power, for the HORDE??  My mother wasn't a warrior, she was a herbalist - war was not for her.  She shed great tears when my father told her of his departure, and bade her stay to raise Orna and I to be great warriors.

We made our living selling her herbs to Hula'mahi. It wasn't a rich living, but an honest one.  Hula'mahi taught my sister and I to make poisons, and we used to pretend we were rogues, sneaking up on each other and stabbing each other in the back.  We even became really good at hiding ourselves, when a real rogue passing through our town showed us the basics.  We loved sneaking up on people, especially Apothecary Helbrim.  He was a sour fellow, with a ghastly smell.  We would watch him sometimes, brewing his potions.  He loved mushrooms and spores.  The only time he actually seemed "happy" was when we brought him a mushroom that mother had gotten from the Forgotten pools, and his eyes lit up - if dead eyes COULD light up.  After that, he would ask many of the travellers through Crossroads to collect more specimens for him.  But most of the time, he called us "little thieves", because Orna and I would practice stealthing and appear and disappear around him.

Ironic, how our playful games would be what saved us when we got older.  For are not all thieves just rogues who have fallen upon hard times?

When the news came back to my family about Wrathgate, it broke my mother.  She loved our father and had cried every night since he left, fearful and afraid he would not return.  My mother wasn't strong, like so many other she-orcs, but she did love us, in her own way.  She took to her bed after the news, and refused to eat for the longest time.  My sister and I would go herbing and buy food for her and feed her like a baby for those long wretched weeks.  But herbs were plentiful in the Barrens, and with our stealthy skills we were very adept at getting what we needed.  We probably made even more money than mother did on her own.  Orna had a large doll, and we hid the extra coins inside her and padded the coins carefully so they wouldn't make any giveaway jingling sounds if we dropped the rustic toy.

Then, a month to the day after the great cloud of depression descended upon my mother, it lifted, like spring breaking through the snows of winter.  We woke from sleep to her gently shaking us, a smile on her face.  It was the happiest my sister and I had been since father left for the Northrend, and we threw our arms around her, laughing as she cried all over us, saying how she loved us and how father would be so proud of how grown up we were.  I can still feel her warm hand on my cheek. She said we should all go and visit her sister, who had married Tatternack Steelforge, an envoy of the Warchief, who had been posted at a Camp Taurajo, to the south.  We were so excited, my sister and I packed everything, and even took the doll with all the money we'd saved to see if we could buy some new clothing.  Leather goods from Sanuye Runetotem were reputed to be some of the finest quality in the Barrens.


Our aunt welcomed us, and invited us for an extended stay.  There was no herbalist or apothecary in Camp Taurajo and mother's herbing and minor alchemy skills were enough to keep her busy, and earn us a good living.  It was here Orna and I came to know the Taurahe better, and they taught us about the Earthmother, and of the value of peace.  We had grown all our lives to value honour and battle and glory, and yet here, there was also honour in the respect for life and all growing things.

Omusa Thunderhorn, the Wind Rider master, took a fancy to us, and let us help him look after his wyverns.  We had seen Wyverns before, of course - Devrak was flight master in the Crossroads, but he was always very busy sending travellers on tasks for him to Orgrimmar, and had little time for curious orc children.  He never let us near his Wyverns, except to warn us away from their poisonous barbed tails.  Omusa, however, taught us to speak to the wyverns, and to our surprise, they could speak back!  We never knew they could speak, and Omusa told us a story of how long ago, when orcs first came to this land, an alliance was formed between wyverns and orcs after we proved ourselves in battle against the wyvern's sworn enemies, the harpies.  The wyverns themselves told us of how a bond can be forged between an orc and a wyvern, linking their minds as one and these duos form the best wind riders, and are often found in the service of the Warchief himself, and part of his personal guard.  Our young minds were captivated, and Orna especially was enamoured with the idea of being a wind rider, that she wanted to learn all she could about being a wyvern trainer or a wind rider.  Omusa laughed at her constant questions, and the day he first put her atop a wyvern and the wyvern walked around the camp, only reinforced the seed of determination that was already planted in my willful sister's mind.

Life was once again good to us.  But of course, good things never last, and the days of the Cataclysm were even darker than the days of our father's death.

The Barrens was torn asunder in the shattering.  Fires raged and the earth screamed as Deathwing made his flight across all of Azeroth, bellowing his rage and malice and destroying all in his path.  As the ground shook and the earth burned, my sister and I huddled with my mother and the Taurahe of Camp Taurajo, some of them openly weeping for the pain the Earthmother was feeling as the earth, her body, was violated, raped and beaten by this child who would have been, should have been, her protector.  From her wounds poured rivers of fire, and the skies remained dark for days from the smoke and ash the Destroyer left in his wake.

Fortunately, the camp itself was little harmed except for a few fallen tents which were easy to rebuild and erect.  But the relief itself was shortlived - for not long after that, our peaceful new home was visited by the ugly stain of war.  The Alliance, whom we hadn't seen for a while, came with a vengeance and a thirst for blood to the peaceful tauren outpost.

Orna and I were feeding the wyverns when we heard the first screams.  We were surrounded.  The sounds of battle rang in my ears, and Omusa urged us to flee with the others as he hefted his mace.

"I'll stay and fight with you!" I said, as I wielded my dagger.

"No, stay with the others, escort them north, away from the fighting.  I will stay here with the wyverns and cover your escape.  Go!"  And he shoved the two of us towards Yonada's tent.  Yonada was trying to cram supplies into a small pack.

"Alliance - they've surrounded the camp! What are they doing here? Why are they attacking Taurajo?" Yonada cried.

"Yonada, there is no time!  Take the children and GO!"  roared Omusa, as he turned to hack at an Alliance soldier who had appeared at the doorway, bloodfrenzy on his face.

Yonada turned to us.  "Get the other children, run!  RUN!" as she opened the back flap to the tent.  As we turned to escape, a second alliance soldier appeared in the main doorway, an arrow nocked in his bow.   Yonada screamed, as the barbed point pierced her chest, and then her scream faded into a gurgle as she crumpled to the ground.  As he went to draw another arrow, my sister and I threw our little daggers that father had gave us and they sank true into his chest and belly and then we turned to vanish into the rising dark of night.  

"Mother, mother!" cried Orna, looking wildly behind her at the camp that now burned.  Ironic, that it survived Deathwing's fire to burn now by the hands of our sworn enemies.

"She's out herbing, Orna," I said, grabbing her hand and running.  "She would want us to escape.  We must go north with the others."  I could see glaive throwers advancing upon the camp, mowing down the tauren who were trying to escape.  Their dying screams filled the night, and we ran to a nearby tree, and climbed to the top, knowing that stealth was our only escape and advantage now.  Tears continued to stream down my sister's face as she wept in silence, and my eyes stung as I saw all the fallen bodies in and around what was left of our new home.

When dawn rose, the smoking ruin of Camp Taurajo was all that remained.  The alliance had moved to advance towards Mulgore, and the only thing that moved amongst the burning tents were looters.  My sister and I used our rudimentary rogue skills to sneak back into the village to look for our mother, hoping that she wasn't amongst the bodies.


We managed to scrounge a shiny dirk and a fine pointed dagger for ourselves from some of our fallen tauren family, and Orna began to cry again as we came across Omusa's fallen, bloodied body but the wyverns were nowhere in sight.  Hopefully they had managed to escape with the others.  But our mother was nowhere to be found.  We went back to our tent, and we found Orna's doll, a bit singed, but intact, and we took it with us, the coins within hopefully still worth something.  We headed north, back towards the Crossroads, my sister and I.  Two young children against the wilderness.  Fortunately we had good foraging skills and we found enough to eat. It wasn't far to Vendetta point, where Jorn Skyseer, the leader of Camp Taurajo had managed to escape.  Our uncle, Steelforge had made it here also, but our aunt had perished at the camp.  Of our mother there had been no sign.

Orna and I filled our bellies at the campfire, but we knew that this could not be our home now.  The bitter and angry survivors were not the same tauren we had grown to love over the last few months.  They had little time for children, orc children at that, and were busy making plans with the Warchief and High Chieftain Bloodhoof about what to be done about this alliance incursion.  We spent a few days with Kirge Sternhorn, who was grieving the loss of his son and wife.

"I think we should go to Orgrimmar," said Orna, that night, as we lay on the ground, staring up at the stars.
"And do what?" I asked.  "We're too young to be soldiers, or even apprentices."
"There are always opportunities in the big city, my brother," said Orna, and she turned to me, her eyes earnest.  "Maybe I can train to be a wind rider, and be part of the Warchief's own personal guard!"
I giggled, as I shoved her back down.  "You're so smelly that no wyvern would want to have YOU riding their back!"
She punched me in the arm.  "YOU'RE so ugly that a wyvern might EAT you thinking you're a quillboar!"
"What about mother?"  I asked, my mirth dwindling as I returned to thoughts of our gentle dam.  "Shouldn't we go look for her?"
Orna sobered, and reached out to hold my hand.  "Look deep inside yourself, brother," she said, her blue eyes, large and liquid.  "Do you not feel it?"
I had been ignoring my heavy heart for days, hope had been giving it a false sense of buoyancy.  "You think she's dead?"
"She is with father now, Regnar.  It's what she would have wanted."
"But how can you be sure?"  I persisted.
Orna reached into her pocket and pulled out a blood stained herb pouch.  I recognised it immediately.  It was our mother's.  "Where...?"
"One of the tauren found it and gave it to uncle Steelforge.  He gave it to me soon after we got here."
"Why didn't you show me earlier?"
"I have been looking for her body, brother.  And..."  she looked sadly at the pouch.  "I found it.  What was left of it."
My stomach churned.  I wanted to speak or to retch, but no sound or bile could escape from my closing throat.
"I covered her remains, but you and I should go and burn her body.  It is the orc way."
The unshed tears I'd held for days, came unbidden, and rolled silently down my face.  I turned away from my sister as I wept for our gentle, sweet mother, who would never again face sorrow or pain, or suffer another day without her husband, our father.  My sister's warm arms embraced me as I felt her hot tears against my face as we both mourned our lost family.

Orna was right.  There was nothing left for us here.  At dawn, she and I went to the site of our fallen mother, her remains looked as if she had been attacked by a wild animal, or perhaps they had come after she had fallen.  We made a small pyre, and burned her, the orcish way.  There was no pyremaster to guide her spirit through loss of flesh, purging of weakness and conquering of the elements, so I prayed to the Tauren's Earthmother, to allow our mother to walk with the fallen tauren spirits in the afterlife.  When we made our way back to Vendetta Point, we bought passage on the first caravan bound for Orgrimmar.

(to be continued)

8 comments:

  1. Oh... my...
    Navi, this is already an amazing story. You've thought of such wonderful little details.

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  2. What a wonderful story, I'm glad you got over your reticence about posting your fiction. I'm looking forward to the next chapter!

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  3. @kam @TotA - thank you my friends!

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  4. I can't wait for part 2 now. I want to know how Regnar and Orna fair in Orgrimar.

    Ayelena

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  5. That was wonderful to read, can't wait to read more!

    Delaina_AT

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  6. @Ayelena - Thanks Ayel :) my brain is full of ideas and it turned out longer than I thought.
    @Delaina - TYVM Delaina :) I hope you enjoy the rest of the story (when I finish it)

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  7. Ok, I'm hooked. MORE PLEASE!!

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  8. Aka-chan I didn't realise you had replied! Thank you, from you, the great storyteller, that is high praise :D

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