Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Orgrimmar Thief - Part 3

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.

The Orgrimmar Thief - Part 1
The Orgrimmar Thief - Part 2

The first few weeks we spent in Orgrimmar were like a wish come true, a wish that I didn't know I'd had, or even wanted.  Ormok was a gruff, but good teacher, and I was quickly settled into my bunk where the other apprentices slept and stored their belongings.  It was strange being apart from Orna, but she too, as a new apprentice had to fit into her new life, and we still saw each other every second or third day, though we were far apart in the city.  I spent most of my time in the Cleft of Shadows below the city, learning about poisons, sparring and feinting - Orna spent most of her time high above the city, learning to care for and train Wyverns.  She only had 2 apprentice brothers, and Orna already knew more than most, from our time at Camp Taurajo.  I had 6 apprentice brothers and sisters, and it was a little embarrassing to be a bit of a curiosity, having come from Camp Taurajo.  The other apprentices wanted to hear stories of the battle I had witnessed, and I had told the story of our killing of the alliance soldier a dozen times already, but none of my apprentice siblings had been blooded yet, or seen battle.  I wanted to tell them that battles were not always glorious, and that victory came with a bloody price.  However, I did enjoy being around other children, and though I, at age ten, was neither the youngest nor the oldest, and it was comforting to hear that I wasn't the only orphan amonst them.  Four of us were orcs, two of them she-orcs.  The remaining two were both boys, one a troll, and the other a goblin.

Gul'da and Zuluhek were twins, brother and sister, from a family with a strong affinity for the fel arts.  Gulda told us how disappointed their parents were when neither she nor Zuluhek showed any affinty for the fel or the elements, especially with their names.

"How do you think it makes me feel," she lamented to us one day over our evening meal, "to be named after one of the GREATEST warlocks in orc history?  And to have NO fel affinity!  If father could've, we would be disowned for sure."  She stuffed a chicken wing in her mouth, her next words lost as she tried to talk with her mouth full, and then dissolved into coughing as she choked on her food.

Zuluhek laughed, as he pounded her vigorously on her back.  "Well at least Gul'dan wasn't the WHACKED.  I'm very tired of hearing that word in association with MY name..."

"Whacked?" asked Vis, the troll boy who was our eldest.  "Whatcha mean by dat, mon?"

"Zuluhed the Whacked was once a Chieftain of our clan, the Dragonmaw clan.  He was a great sorcerer, in the time of the Burning Legion," said Zuluhek. 

"Ahhh, I ain't got much of da Mojo either," said Vis, as he wiped his mouth with his hand.  "Dis be da only path for me. Me Ma and Da's spirits watch over me now, and they'm tell me dat Shirvallah will guide me."

"You talk to your parents?" I asked, intrigued.  "In the spirit world?"

"Deir spirits will always guide me, mon," Vis said to me.  "We trolls no burn our dead like ya orcs.  Without bodies to tie dem to da mortal world, da spirit will drift confused and lost.  Foreva."

"Do you eat your dead?" asked Greda, wide-eyed.  She was the other she-orc apprentice, and the youngest of us, and the most gullible as well.  Her father Horthus was a reagent seller, and she was the only apprentice who lived at home.

Vis pretended to jump at her, hands held up, claw-like with his mouth agape, as if to eat her.  She squealed and shuffled backwards from the group, laughing.  Vis laughed, and then, sobering said, "Da Voodoo way is to bury da body, maybe in pieces, so dey cannot be brought back as undead.  Da old way was to sacrifice da corpse and cut it up, so dem hungry spirits come to da body and get distracted so da new spirit can get away in peace, mon.  Sometimes dem Witch Doctors cuts da eyes out so the spirit can get out of da skull more easy."

It sounded abhorrent to me, but it was fascinating, how different Troll beliefs were to my own.  Images of my own mother's mutilated corpse came back to me, and I wondered if her spirit was lost now, with no mortal body to tie it to the world, if the Trolls were to be believed.

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It was late, and I was heading to the Kodohide Leatherworkers for a new set of gloves before I went to meet Orna, when I saw something that changed the way I viewed the big city of opportunity - forever.  Something so small and commonplace, that I doubted that most people had even thought twice about it.

A hulking tauren paladin had cornered a bedraggled looking troll thief who was near some of the supplies.  I watched in horror as the skinny troll fell to the ground from a single cleave from the paladin's sword, blood spraying across the supply barrels.  The tauren kneeled over him, rifling through his pockets, removing a Horde Infantry Ration.  I rushed over to the fallen troll as the paladin strode purposefully away, without a backwards glance.  I wanted to yell at the paladin, to stop, to look behind him at what he'd left behind but my voice caught in my throat - the paladin could have turned and cut me down next.  I knelt beside the fallen troll.  He looked only a little older than me in age, and I was shocked to see his chest moving as he struggled to take a gurgling breath.  I lay my hand on him, wishing now, more than ever, that I was blessed with some healing ability, to ease his pain... but I was training to be a rogue, not a shaman.

"Men...do..ka...." he coughed, spraying me with droplets of blood, as I took his hand.  "Sister... hungry... please...."  Blood continued to trickle from his mouth, as he exhaled his last breath, and his eyes gazed unseeingly towards the sky.

I stepped back, wiping his blood from my hand onto my worn leather pants.  What did he mean?  Mendoka?  Was that his sister?  I looked around, the passers-by walking past the dead troll, seemingly oblivious to the gruesome scene.  Dead bodies were commonplace in Orgrimmar, and the corpse collectors would be around to pick him up soon enough.  Carts of the dead were often seen wheeling through the streets about four times a day, their contents laden with dead alliance who had dared to venture into our city, or those that had found the days too hard to bear, and taken their lives by plunging from one of the various vantage points across Orgrimmar.

I left the troll's corpse where he lay, and headed back towards the shop.  Morgum crafted all the clothing for Ormok's apprentices, and the scarred orc clapped me on the shoulder as he told me how to prolong the life of the leather so I wouldn't have to keep coming back for new gloves. I thanked him profusely, swearing I would look after my new gloves as if they were my last, and he laughed at me, his brown eyes crinkling as he said, "Boy, I was young once.  Don't make promises you can't keep."

I walked out of the store, my mind turning back to the dead troll.  What was he trying to say to me?  Unconsciously, I had turned back towards where his body fell, instead of heading back into the Cleft of Shadow, and as I rounded the corner, I saw two dirty young trolls, crouching over his body.  I paused, wondering what mischief they were up to, and then I saw one of them brandishing a small, crude blade, and they were stabbing at the trolls corpse.  My mind fired into action and I ran towards them shouting, "Hey, stop!"

Like nervous rabbits, both trolls turned and bolted, though the smallest one bared their teeth and hissed at me just before they darted into the bushes in the direction of the Goblin Slums.  I went back to the corpse to see what they had done, and noticed that both of his eyes had been gouged out, and his thumb was missing.  The conversation from the other day with Vis flashed through my mind, and I realised that those younglings had been trying to ensure this troll's spirit was free to enter the spirit world.

I felt a slight sensation of movement behind me, and instinctively I swirled and grabbed the space at my back hip, my hand closing around the wrist of the young troll who had hissed at me.  Startled, he dropped the gloves he had tried to pickpocket, and with reflexes as quick as a snake, sank his teeth into my hand.  I yelped and out of reflex, threw the child against the wall - he weighed very little, and looked half starved - and the child collided with the stone with an audible thud and slid down to the ground into a stunned heap.  Only a second passed before he shakily tried to stand up and run away.  Whisking up my gloves from the ground with my sore hand, I grabbed the child by the throat with my good hand, and pinned him against the wall.  Tucking my gloves back into my pocket, I sucked on the teeth marks the child had left on my hand and narrowed my eyes at him.

The child's eyes were spitting fire, and his hands were at his throat, trying in vain to dislodge my grip.  However, a small child troll is no match for an older orc in strength, and his struggles were futile.  He hissed at me again.

"You tried to steal from ME!" I said, my voice hardening, as I shook the child.  The child seemed to grow more and more belligerant.

"Mendoka, hungry, bad orc!" spat the child, resuming struggling once again.  "Mendoka seen you with Dayata after he died.  You no let his spirit out.  Now Mendoka no food and no eat!"

Mendoka?  I stared at the child, whom I could hardly recognise as a female from her clothing and shaggy cropped hair.  So this was... the sister of the dead troll?  As the pain in my hand lessened, my heart softened.

"Mendoka, I will give you food if you promise not to fight me, and not to steal from me again,"  I said.  I reached into my jerkin and pulled out a small piece of beef jerky, and her eyes lit up.  She stopped struggling and looked up hopefully at me, and her hands dropped from my fingers.

"Better."  I said.  I eased my grip around her neck.  "Now, I'm going to let go and you can have this..."  No sooner had I let her go, her nimble fingers snatched at the food and she started to eat, like the starved waif that she was.

"You da good orc," she said, as she nibbled on the beef jerky.  "Can you help Mendoka's friend too?"

As I looked into the round, orange eyes of the troll child, my heart sank as I wondered what I had gotten myself into.

6 comments:

  1. Finished those dailies so I got my reward. I loved this part especially. Orgrimmar really lives in it and it's how I imagine it would be if it were alive.

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    1. I feel chuffed you think of my tale as a reward :D You are such a sweet friend!

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  2. This story just gets better all the time. What *has* Regnar gotten himself into, indeed?

    Loved the bit about the cart coming around to collect dead alliance raiders and the people who'd fallen to their deaths -- one does indeed see those sorts of corpses around Org all the time :P

    I also enjoyed the bit about the twins named after warlocks -- poor kiddos.

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    1. Thank you Kam! You know, I think they should have something like that wandering around. After all, how do those bodies magically decompose like that? :P Must be some amazing anaerobic bacteria out there!

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  3. Ggg children taking care of smaller children. Pow, right in the feelings! I'm eager for moooorrreeee!

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    1. Aka how did I miss this comment! <3 <3

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