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Portent Alliance • View topic - The heart of the islands.

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 Post subject: The heart of the islands.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:32 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 8:17 am
Posts: 683
My first writing in the Warcraft universe. Be kind. ^_^

~*~

The raids were mostly symbolic at this point. The pathetic Darkspears had been driven from the jungle, holed up on the barrier islands like scared little mice burrowing under the tree roots. The southern jungle was no longer tainted with their weakness and cowardice.

But, Hal'ji reasoned, they were still there. Still alive and, if they had an ounce of true troll blood in their pitiful bodies, still surviving. Still feeling the fire of the sunrise in their hearts as they woke every morning. Still, even in their desperate straits, finding a reason to carry on.

Hal'ji smiled wickedly as he sharpened his axe. "An' dat's what we has left to take away from dem."

~*~

Jyoti was tired. Bone-tired, as her grandmama would have said. She'd been full of romantic notions when she married Zuele, but damned if married life wasn't a harder job than she'd signed up for. Being his forever made it more than worth it, but with him out on a hunting expedition with half the men in the village, she had nothing but cooking and laundry to keep herself company.

She gave a deep sigh as she brought in the last of her husband's clothes off the line, not bothering to shoo away the gulls that roosted on their home, that had helped give Zuele's line its name. It had begun with the birds along the Nazferiti, which had flocked to the huts of his ancestors. They had a bird-like spirit, that was for sure -- capricious, contrary and stubborn as the day was long.

The chores done and nobody to feed but herself, Jyoti untied the rope binding her long purple dreadlocks behind her head and found a couple of bananas and a piece of bread to eat. She smiled as she ate, tossing bites to the birds and watching the sun go down over the Great Sea. For the first time in months, she'd be asleep by nightfall.

~*~

Skullsplitter scouts had seen the hunting party leave that morning, and the entire group had slept most of the afternoon to be alert for the raid. "Gotta be full up to leave mah mark on dat temple tonight," one rogue hooted, gulping down a full cask of wine.

Hal'ji cackled loudly. "Oh I plan ta leave mah mark on somma dem ghosty-pale Darkspear wimmen," he howled, grabbing his crotch emphatically. The other braves laughed heartily, applauding.

~*~

A flock of gulls rushed from the village to greet the hunting party as they returned just before dawn. The invaders had already come and gone; food stores were emptied, supplies scattered across the ground, almost all the religious objects desecrated. A few huts had been set on fire, more for dramatics than any intent of destruction. With angry shouts, the men rushed back to their homes, fearing the worst for their families.

"Jiji--" Zuele nearly ripped the leather curtain from the doorframe as he burst inside.

She was curled around one of his shirts -- the one that she'd missed in the wash -- desperate for his scent. Slouched in the corner, with a gash on her forehead bleeding into her left eye and bruises on her arms, her own clothes ripped half to shreds.

Zuele was sure the shatter of his heart was audible.

"Oh mah sweet, mah angel, what have dey done..." He was on the floor beside her in an instant, cradling her close. They stayed there for nearly an hour before she found the heart to speak.

"Tall one," she whispered. "Taller den d'others. Red... those red, red eyes... and loud. So loud. He screamed so loud..."

"Is not loud now, baby. He gone now, ain't no loud no more..."

"No." She looked up, tears beginning to roll down her cheeks. "Stay loud, Zuele. Please... drown him out."

~*~

The Skullsplitters spent the rest of the day saluting themselves for work well done.

"One fer dere weak old men dat watched de island burn!" They threw back another simultaneous swallow of wine, cheering.

"Here's one fer a week o'huntin' te fill dere coffers agin!" More howls, more drinking.

Hal'ji stood up, chest puffed out, holding his cask high. "An' one for de little baby Hal'jis dere wimmens be raisin'!"

The gathered soldiers went wild, cheering and stomping. Hal'ji beamed proudly, before tossing his head back to drink.

~*~

Zuele and Jyoti's only child was 17 the first time she laid eyes on an orc.

Her parents had tried their best to keep her attention away from her tribe's place in the world, the events unfolding around them. Her father had nurtured in her the ways of the hunt, and her priestess mother had kept her well in touch with the spirits around her.

But Jezriyah was, if nothing else, keenly observant. She understood better than many adults just how dire the threat of invading murlocs was, and just now near the end had come for her people. And she understood -- especially in the wake of Sen'jin's death -- that these interlopers, this compact green people that had landed on their shores, held the final fate of the Darkspear tribe in their knobby little hands.

She sat with her back to the meeting hut, trying her best to understand the words being exchanged between Vol'jin and this foreign shaman, this Thrall. When eavesdropping proved fruitless, she turned her attention to the wolf that the warchief rode. If nothing else, she decided after a period of interaction, his mount was quite noble.

"Watch ya feets, dear," she heard Vol'jin murmur, as the two leaders exited the hut, nearly stepping on her in the process. She scrambled to stand, bowing reverently before both of them. As she looked back up, her eyes met those of the orc leader. He said nothing, but smiled warmly, giving her a gentle nod before following Vol'jin out to the central meeting grounds.

With that glance, for the first time in many, many moons, Jezriyah felt safe.

When Vol'jin proposed that the Darkspear tribe ally with this new Horde, her heart soared. After training all her life to fight for her tribe, she somehow knew she was finally being sent into a battle she knew she could help win.

~*~

Hal'ji felt his neck tense as the shouts spread. Invaders.

He wasn't quite old now, no, but his fiercest days were behind him. He had long since resigned himself to the use of throwing axes, hovering in the rear lines of battle.

He threw his armor on as quickly as he could manage, heading towards the coast to the cause of the havoc. Bastards from that cursed Horde, it looked like. Two orcs, and an elf... and, damn it all, a Darkspear. A hunter from his best guess -- she wielded a bow, and the scorpid in the melee seemed to be obeying her commands.

Despite his prejudice, Hal'ji tried his best to aim his blows where they were most needed. But as the female troll got drawn into the thick of battle, he couldn't help sending one shot squarely at the side of her neck.

The axe missed its intended mark but hit the side of her head hard enough to knock her helm away. She spun around angrily, reaching him in two quick steps and slamming into him with her shoulder. He tumbled to the ground; she reached back to unsheath a war-battered steel axe, staring down at him with seething disdain in her eyes.

Incredible, he thought. Dark blue hair, the shape of her face, those bright red eyes... she could almost pass for one of their own.

It was the last thought he had before her blade fell.

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