Death of an elder

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Death of an elder

Post by Morgeth on Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:35 pm

Part 1 - The Murder

The sun has long since lowered its heated glare to take rest behind the frame of mountains, leaving the alone hut to lie in shadow. Inside it, however, several lit candles shed enough light to give a comfortable glow around the elder shaman that sits with a tiger's fur wrapped around her shoulders. In front of her, on a small table, stands the candles, along with a book and a bowl, that contains some pieces of dried fruit and meat.

Ulah's skin is wrinkled and dried, resembling old parchment, and even though her withered limbs are hidden within the thick fur, one can simply tell how the years has worn this shaman down to the brink of what any orc's body can withstand. A trembling hand is lifted, resting the tips of its fingers against the edge of the table, and the old female smiles to the vast array of memories surrounding this place. In such a short time, she has made the acquaintance of so many, and they have allowed her into their lives, and let her speak of things of the past, and of the present. It almost hurts to think, that she will leave them soon.

Outside of the hut, where scattered stars are barely able to penetrate the darkness, something stirs. Soft steps over a dried landscape make little to no sound, and within the protective shade, someone lowers down in a crouch to patiently wait.

The aged shaman leans forward, her fingers moving from the table to slowly turn the page in her book, to which she smiles. Eventually shaking her head, the old female cradles the flame of one of her candles, and breathes a gush of wind to kill the flame.

As if this was the signal he was waiting for, the one who previously waited outside, gets on his feet. This time, his movements know no hesitation, nor do they seem patient or able to hold any mercy. Efficiency, and maybe even some rush, guides his steps as he rounds the corner and enters the hut. A few quick steps bring him close enough for his hand to be able to grab a hold of the old, withered creature, and he lifts her from the floor, only so that his dagger can reach the side of her gut.

The silent killer grits his teeth as the sharp blade breaks the skin of the elderly orc, making its destructive path into the depths of her soft insides. His eyes close in remorse, as Ulah's own widen in surprise, but through the burning pain, she still manages to grasp at him, letting her aged fingers feebly dig into the muscle of a green arm.

"I always knew", the elder breathes. "I knew it had to be you, orc".
His gasp is louder than her own gasps for breath, and the hand without a dagger moves to softly cradle the shaman within his arms. The silent killer is unveiled, even to a blind shaman, who now stares at him as if she knows. As if she can see his green skin, his tusks, and the very guilt that paints his spirit.
"P-please, forgive me. I had to, otherwise they would have killed..", he pleads, as he slowly lowers the rapidly bleeding shaman down to her furs. Having lived with the pain of old age for so long, knowing nothing but aches to her body, it is somehow easier for Ulah to look beyond the coming of her own death, and view what actually stands in front of her.

"Child", her croon is soft no more, but carries the unnerving strain of life being drained away. Regardless of such things, the female retains her focus onto the other orc, allowing him only a brief respite before she speaks again. "I forgive you, because I know your reasons, and eventually you will have to forgive yourself. I.. I would have died regardless of this. Know that you spared me only a few more days of pain." The fact that she soothes him, or tries to do so, only seems to unnerve the orc that carried out the deed, and he sways his head, whilst small trickles of tears seem to make their way down his cheeks. Rough hands lift the sides of the fur, wrapping them around the dying elder, as to keep her warm in her last hour. The orc then straightens his back, wiping his face to his sleeve, as he turns away to no longer face the weight of his own work. His feet make short work of the walk outside, but once there he mechanically cleans his blade off with a simple rag, and sheathes the weapon once more.

As the killer makes his way from the hut, he keeps his eyes lowered to the ground, only so that his ears can be perked and respond to the nightly sounds. Thus it is easy for him to pick up on the whereabouts of the skeletal horse, as it is brought to trot up to his side. Atop the horse sits an emaciated figure; a forsaken clad in dark, light armour. She greets the orc with a leering grin, even tipping the brim of her hat at him. He plays with the thought on how easy it would be to simply rip her off her mount, and drive the dagger into her gut, finishing whatever life there's left to be had inside such a rotting pile of waste. Such dreams, however, are easily shattered by her coming words.

"Didn't think you had it in you, orc. Saves me the trouble of having to kill off your friend, however, and opens up for our little co-operation to remain unhindered." Tugging on the reins to her skeletal steed, the forsaken turns the glowing orbs that she calls eyes down to focus to the orc at her side. "You look a bit taken, greenskin. Haven't gone all soft on me now, hm? See, it was quite necessary. Can't have old seers looking into the future wandering about close to you, and.. well.." A little snicker departs from the heartless creature, and bony fingers click together in amusement. ".. it was kind of funny, making you do that. Boo-hoo, I'm a murderer! Haha! Orc-killer, even. I wonder what your tribe would do to you if they knew how you had fallen." The orc is forced to watch in silence as the forsaken continues to snicker and taunt him, knowing full well that he can do nothing to prevent her from doing so. In shame, he bows his head, but his feet keep up the pace beside her as they continue to move through the Barrens. Even in the light of this, his own dishonour, he has to keep on walking, because those feet move for the life of someone else.

Part 2 - Goodbye

It can be viewed as both a curse, and a blessing, to know of your own death. Ulah viewed it as the latter, because she knew that choosing the former would only compromise her own sanity. She argued, as she laid dying, that through all these wars, the camps, and the madness that had raged for so long, this was not a bad way to die. And even if it had been just that, then the importance of our days lie not within the day where we die, but the countless ones where we chose how to live. Even the pain from the wound seemed to falter, in the light of all of those years that she truly had lived, but the furs could no longer shut out the chill of impending death.

"I'll be with you soon", the aged shaman mumbled, assuring herself that regardless of her bodily solitude, that she could not, and was never, truly alone. It had been a comfort, throughout her life, that she would have those that would wait for her, and welcome her into their company, once she departed from this heavy shell. But her thoughts remained also with those who still lived, that would wander this earth when she was finally gone. She thought of Shazula, her beloved apprentice, and realised that it was for her that she still clung to this life; to claim a final goodbye. Such a feeble thing to do, when she knew full well that the youthful shaman would be able to hear her still, could she only bring herself to reach out to the spirits, when her body was no more.

Shazula was, however, not the only one on the elder's mind. She thought of Kozgugore, the troubled, but strong chieftain, who kept his pack together, facing these new times, whilst the past could never truly be fully left behind. Krogon, who had shared riddles with her, and reminded her of the old days, as well as to what lengths the orcs had pushed themselves in the past. In truth, Ulah could not keep herself from remembering Rayei's dedication, Rargnasha's mercy, and Garmegin's search for his past. She smiled to those memories, conversations lost in time now, and even though none of the orcs were present, the sheer images of them within her mind seemed to soothe the old orc, calming her breath to a less urgent degree.
Throughout her life, the winds had brought her many different things, and as a fresh gush went through the inside of the hut, the elder shaman smiled to herself. The winds, however, also brought the sound of naked feet pressing against dry grass; walking calmly at first, but soon running. Their urgency only increased as they drew closer to the hut, and Ulah could only imagine that the scent of her old blood was in the air.

She could but marvel as Shazula, her young protege, entered the hut. The presence of such youthful strength, despite the darkness of her green skin, made the elder somewhat proud. To have been part of a life like that, if only the beginning of it, was a special thing indeed. Regretfully, Ulah watched as her beloved apprentice's eyes were laid on her own figure, and how Shazula's features twisted into a mask of pained fury. A withered hand feebly stretched towards the powerful youth, as Ulah broke through the bloodsoaked cocoon that the tiger's fur had become, attempting to reach for the orc falling on her knees right next.

"Child", she whispered. "No time for tears, or anger. Hold me in my end, as I did you in your beginning."
The words snapped the younger orc out of her decline into a pit of despair, but instead of simply cradling her old tutor, Shazula bent down to press her fingers against the elder's side. Before any words could take place, however, the withered hand found its way to the muscled arm of the youth, and as fingers sunk into Shazula's flesh, the weakening voice of the elder spoke again.
"No time for water to aid me, nor any of the other elements. My body is spent, child."
For Ulah, the world regained a piece of its warmth, as the muscled arms of the other female reached down and cradled her in a loving embrace. Her fingers lifted, tracing the features, and the tears, that her blind eyes could no longer see. Shazula leaned down, her breath hitting the wrinkled, old features that she had grown to know so well throughout her life. Her voice, however, carried little of the strength her body still seemed to hold, as it broke with emotion at each spoken word.

"Elder, please. This was not the way it was supposed to be. If you are to die, then I will want to know who did this to you. I will want to claim revenge, to spill the blood of.." The young female's words were shushed down as she gritted her teeth, whilst trembling hands attempted to soothingly brush over the white mane that had spread itself around the dying shaman's head. A voice once powerful broke again, whispering down to the withered orc who - in truth - had always been the stronger of the two. "I will miss you, so much."

A daring, little smile crept up to Ulah's lips, whilst her fingers lowered to rest against her own chest. Her weakening eyes, only able to convey the sense of a slowly dimming light, finally dared to close.
"Waste not your time on revenge, my beloved Shazula", she spoke in a soft voice. "I have already forgiven the one who took only a few days from my life, as should you. And worry not, because for those like us, this is simply the shedding of a mortal shell. I will be there, in spirit, for you to talk to. A bond like this is never broken."
The elder stretched, and her fingers clenched tighter to her chest, as if attempting to hold on to something precious. Despite any efforts, however, she could not contain her own blood, as it slowly spilled out of her side, painting her apprentice with proof of what a deed that had been done. A deep, hopeful breath was drawn, and from a dying eye came a tear, as Ulah's dry lips broke the silence once more.

"My children. For so long have we been apart. My loved ones, come to greet me now, because in my last breath, there is nothing I desire.. more."
A shudder, and the three last beats of an old heart; Shazula felt it all. As life finally left Ulah's body, her spirit rising to meet with those that had past so long ago, the young orc began to sway her head. Strong fingers were lifted to clench around wrinkled cheeks, cradling them softly as the apprentice rested her forehead against that of her dead tutor. She wanted to beg her to come back, to join with the living once more, because in her heart, she knew that the world would need such wisdom once more. And who was she, to walk down the path of someone so strong and beautiful, when she was but a child herself? No, she needed Ulah, and despite the elder's own words, that it had only been a few days that had taken her away, Shazula could feel no end to her rage. She held no forgiveness. Ripping her head back, the female parted her jaws to let out a deafening roar; speaking to the world about her grief, as well as her now undying hatred. Her hands lifted from the desecrated body of her elder, and as she let the world of the elements and spirits view the blood of the murdered, so did the air hum in response. Its hum grew to a roar, matching the orc's in strength, and from the infectious anger winds were whipped alive. That night, a storm drew in over the Barrens. For patrolling guards it made for a nice excuse to stay within the safety of a warming inn, and for others it was a reason to rekindle old love. For Shazula, however, it was nothing more than a display of sorrow, as she crept up next to the body of Ulah and wept.
Wept for the only mother she had ever known.


((Death of my shaman Ulah, who helped Orcs of the Red blade for a while. Bit of a tough nut to crack when it comes to reading, but thanks to anyone who bothered.))
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Morgeth

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Re: Death of an elder

Post by Shaelyssa on Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:11 am

:( ! Absolutely and wonderfully written again! I loved the description in the beginning and actually, I loved everything about the story! I'ld love to see the storyline continued personally, perhaps from the perspective of Ulah's spirit? Would be interesting, I suppose - haha! Well in any case, I'm looking forward to anything new if it comes! :D

Psht - sentimental orcs! I never thought I'ld see that :p!
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Shaelyssa

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