Saturday, November 14, 2009

About the Troll Wardens: A Story

"Badoon! ya mind ya mama! Get ya booty back to da village before dark ya hea, boy?" The young troll waved his hand absently as he dashed out of the hut with hunting gear in hand. There was no way Badoon was going to miss hunting boars on such a fine day. He could hear his mama calling after him with instructions for his 'safety.' Badoon rounded the hill and came to the passage between Razor Hill and Orgrimmar. The canyon is made from huge red stone spires and plates that joined  together to create a canopy above the road. Several varieties of creatures inhabit the area. Badoon's quarry were the boars that wander near the Orgrimmar walls, the horde capital city.

The tall, lanky troll made his way along the canyon pas with ease. As he came to the end of the canyon, the delicious smell of cooking meat and roasting vegetables stopped him in his tracks and set his mouth to watering. In a side passage, Badoon found tracks, though they had been poorly covered, he followed them to a cavern. The young troll recognized the cavern. Trolls and orcs believed it was haunted.
The sound of humming floated from the cavern. That and the wonderful aroma of food made Badoon's mind. No ghost cooked and hummed. He crept to the cave's entrance with care and peeked in. There was a large orc sitting comfortably by a roaring fire. The grizzled orc was tending his food and humming a happy tune.
"Well?" The orc spoke in a baritone voice without looking up from his task. "Are you going to come in or just stand there drooling on the stone?"
Badoon turned to run as a dagger whistled between his feet. He stopped trembling, fearing his death was coming next, when the orc spoke more softly.
"Come oan boy! Let's have food and a chat."
Badoon turned back to the cave. The orc was holding a full plate out to him. "I'm not going to hurt ya, boy." The orc beckoned him over with the plate and set down on a mat before the fire. The young troll started toward the fire when he recalled his manners, ha backed to the entrance bowed and laid his bow and knife at the entrance. Badoon sat by the orc and took the plate after saying a prayer of thanks to the spirits for the food. The orc chuckled and nodded his approval.
"Yar a fine lad. Good manners even when yer scared." the orc ate his meal in silence, all the while watching the young troll. When he finished his food, the orc put he place aside and leaned back against the cave wall, he took out a long pipe and lit the already packed bowl  with a twig form the fire. He sat there studying the boy, smiled and nodded to himself as if having decided something.
"Do ya believe in fate, boy?: the orc asked Badoon.
Badoon nodded "Ya, mon! Da spirits dey work da ways o' da fate. Dats what me mama say."
The orc nodded. "I'm Veerek. I am a shaman and," He paused "I am a Warden."
Badoon's mouth dropped open. A Warden! He had heard tales of the band of fighters in the village. They were said to be peacekeepers by some, rebels and trouble makers by others. He had heard that they were strong warriors who put fear in the hearts of the evil everywhere.
"I see you heard of the Wardens." The orc's eyes gleamed in the fire. "Good!"
Veerek and Badoon spent the rest of that day together talking. Veerek was fascinating, kind and wise. Badoon had never met anyone like the old orc.
Veerek had traveled so many places, seen so many things and fought many foes. The old orc explained to Badoon that he was back in his homeland of Durotar to spend his last days in peace.
As evening approached, Veerek bade Badoon goodbye and the boy left the cave reluctantly, with the promise to return. After that, Badoon spent everyday he could with Veerek. The young troll was an eager student and the orc and enthusiastic teacher. Veerek taught Badoon about history, philosophy, shamanism and fighting. He taught the boy about the Wardens, the fiercely loyal fighters, defenders of good.
After a time, Badoon asked Veerek for permission to bring a friend. Soon many of the young trolls of the village of Sen'Jin came to spend time with the charismatic orc.

Drassa, Badoon's little sister, was sitting on the porch of the hut when Badoon came out in a huff. His mother had ordered him to stay home with his sick sister, while she went to a meeting of the village elders.
 "But Ma!" Badoon whined in the tone that only an adolescent can manage, "I hafta go to da canyon wif me brodders! Ya kno dat!"
 His mother held up her hand indicating silence and he slumped to the porch next to his sister. The woman was the law and that was the end of that.
Drassa to his hand in her small one. She looked up at him with her teary eyes and too pale face.
"I sorreh, Baddy," She sniffled and coughed, "'tis mah faul ya no get ta go."
Badoon smiled at her and hugged his little sister. "Doancha be frettin, lil' Drassa, I go leyta." He tickled her gently and she giggled.
A short while later, Badoon was stringing his bow when Drassa cried out. She had fallen from the porch and her arm was sitting at an unnatural angle. Badoon had a split second of panic and then all the training with Veerek came to him. He placed his hand over Drassa's arm and chanted softly. He moved the arm back into position with only a small gasp form Drassa. She lifted her head from the ground a bit to reveal a pool of blood. He placed his hand over her head and closed his eyes. He could see the wound in his mind. It was more than he could heal. The young troll lifted his little sister and placed her in the large wheel barrow they used for the hay. He wheeled his little sister as carefully as he could and made his way toward Veerek's cave. By the time he reached the cave, Drassa's breathing was shallow and she was deathly pale. Upon seeing them, Veerek rushed from the cave to help Badoon bring Drassa in. They placed her on Veerek's blankets and the old orc scurried around muttering and grabbing flasks, jars and other strange items he had laying neatly about. Several hours later, Drassa was sitting up smiling and gnawing on a chicken bone.

Drassa recovered from her injury as well as from the wasting disease that she had been born with. Their mother never knew the true reason for the recovery and, thus, considered it a miracle of the spirits.

Veerek taught and shaped the minds of many of the young trolls from Sen'Jin village. The children became shining examples to their community. The Spiritual teaching of the shaman and the philosophy of the Wardens molded the children into fine young adults. The parents and elders of the village were unconcerned by the orc, most of the children kept him a secret and the others were thought to be talking about an imaginary play friend. The children's behavior was sufficient for the parents to be happy with whatever play had made their children better, happier people.

One late summer afternoon, Veerek was sharing a meal with several of his pupil, when a bedraggled dwarf wandered into the cave and collapsed on the floor. Veerek shooed the youngsters from the cave as he tended to the exhausted dwarf. The trolls watched from the entrance as Veerek and the dwarf spoke in hushed tones. After a time Veerek summoned the youngsters back to the cave and introduced the dwarf as Olfan, also a Warden.
Olfan answered a battery of questions from the curious trolls in a broken orchish with a heavy dwarven accent. Olfan told them of battles being fought in distant places, of demons and of new alliances. He spoke of the other wardens and their current leader, Endryel. The young trolls listened in awe as Olfan told them of the Wardens work in re-uniting the horde and alliance wardens. The trolls felt a shift in their own teachings of the enmity between the horde and the alliance and came to see the value in friendship.

Soon excited talk of friendship between horde and alliance was overheard by the adults of the village and a council of elders was convened. Any of the trolls' concerns about the orc flared into hatred, any improvement of their children was dismissed behind the deep seated hatred of the alliance faction. There were lines they could not, would not cross.

The young trolls of the village were called before the council to denounce Veerek and the teaching of the Wardens. Holding hands and standing tall and proud, the children and young adults of Sen'Jin village stood as one. Not one of them would relent. They believed that the Horde and Alliance can coexist peacefully.  The elders and parents were outraged. The elders declared the children outcasts and traitors. Parents flung rocks at their children. The youngsters battled their way out of the village, even so, bodies littered the village square. The trolls of Sen'Jin village had murdered their own blood.

An unconscious Badoon was carried from the village by his comrades followed by shouts and stones thrown by their own parents. The group of youngsters made their way to Veerek's cave where they found him and Olfan butchered. The Elders had sent a group to kill him during the meeting. The once tidy cave was in shambles.

The group moved on, leaving their mentor and friend for fear of being followed. They made their way to the barrens in hopes to find the Wardens whom Olfan had told them were camping near camp Taurajo during a summit meeting between Endryel and a Tauren leader.

Drassa had been in the hills gathering herbs during the fateful meeting. She was walking home with her basket when the first rock struck in the back and sent her sprawling. A mob of angry villagers surrounded the girl and beat her into unconsciousness. they left her for dead. Drassa awoke late in the night injured and bleeding with the shouts during her beating still rang in her ears. They had been banished. With the last of her strength, Drassa dragged herself to the nearby corral and with a mighty effort and some magic Veerek had taught her she pulled herself on to a raptor and took off into the night.
Drassa, too, sought the comfort and guidance of Veerek, only to find his body and trashed cave. The tracks, for she had learned to track from the hunter Olfan, lead away and toward the Barrens. Drassa pointed her raptor after the tracks and collapsed on the mount's back.

A lone troll slumped over a raptor's back let out a ragged breath and slipped to the ground and unconsciousness. A dark figure eased over from the shadows of the late afternoon, bent over the troll. She was still alive.

The warmth of a fire, a soft blanket...purple hair...sleep...water, so thirsty....pain...sleep. Kind soft hands, soothing salves...sleep.
Drassa opened her eyes, it was night. The warm light of a fire, the smell of cooking meat, a figure near her turned and smiled.
"There you are," the elven woman said in a soft, melodic voice.
Drassa tried to speak but the elf gestured her to calm and silence.
"You've been healing for some time now, be still. I have some broth here." The elf sat next to Drassa and spooned warm broth into her parched mouth.
"wuh...mmmfff," Drassa tried to speak but found rocks in her throat.
"Shhh now," the elf soothed her. She placed her hand on Drassa's chest, closed her eyes and the familiar warmth of the healing touch flowed into Drassa. She smiled and nodded her understanding. The elf smiled back warmly and spooned more broth into Drassa.

Drassa learned that the elf was Endryel, the Warden she had heard about from Olfan. Poor Olfan. Endryel had found Drassa, on the verge of death, on the side of the road to Crossroads.
"It was very close, Drassa," Endryel said. "I wasn't sure I could save you. But your young and strong. Everything will be alright."
"No evertin'" Drassa sighed, "Mama try ta kill me." Drassa looked away tears rolling on her cheeks.
Endryel stoked the fire with a stick and nodded sadly reaching out to squeeze Drassa's hand gently.

The other young trolls had made it to the barrens and had found the Wardens' camp. Badoon had been frantic to find Drassa and search parties had been sent. Badoon and the others had been at the camp being tended to by the Wardens. Luck had put Endryel on that part of the road that night or she would never have found Drassa. They had been in their camp for two weeks with Endryel tending to Drassa.
"Ya saved me life, Missy." Drassa said as they packed the camp preparing to join the others. Drassa dropped to her knees in front of Endryel and hugged the elf's legs.
"Ya saved me! Wardens save me again!" Se repeated crying into the leather pants. Endryel blushed deeply with embarrassment then put her hand on Drassa's head and cried too.

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