Time Out

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Time Out

Post by Sadok on Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:52 pm

Time Out

((A mediation on the nature of change, in terms of WoW, Defias Brotherhood, OotRB and Sadok as a character.))

I was stood in the Valley of Strength, my arms folded defensively, trying to absorb some of its ambient excitement as locals bustled back and forth. I had been in a melancholy, almost miserable mood as of late — doubting my purpose in the tribe, worrying about my mate, and growing increasingly irritable and eccentric. I had achieved so much, and yet it could all be lost in a moment. Only memories would remain of my fulfilment, and memories are poor company in a time of solace.

I snorted, shaking my head. I had to find some way of distracting myself, of breaking the vicious cycle of negativity and insecurity. My thoughts scattered on the wild wind, and brought me back to the first time I had walked these sun-baked streets.

Orgrimmar was different then, and so was I.

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The morning sun shone through the arid canyons nestling the city. In the Valley of Strength, far-flung travellers patronised the auction-house — the only such facility on Azeroth available to the Horde, unless you were brave enough to try and trade with the dwarves of Ironforge. Aspiring heroes of the Horde loitered on the roof of the district’s bank. I did not understand this strange custom, but then, there was much about the city I found unfamiliar. I had not set foot on Kalimdor in three years, by my count.

We strode casually through the streets, my travel-companion Vileclaw and I, having no particular business to attend to this morning. I wore a coarse hooded cowl and ragged robes, for I was still unused to the blinding heat and oppressive sunlight. Vileclaw wore a dark tunic with finely-embroidered red stitching. We looked an unorthodox pair, and a grunt soon stopped us. “Warlocks belong in the Cleft,” he stated matter-of-factly. Vileclaw smirked crookedly. “We are orc magi,” he claimed grandly, seeming to forget that both of us had trained for barely a couple of years and had a decidedly limited grasp of arcana. The grunt laughed heartily, moving to smack Vileclaw on the back. “Orc mages, har-har! As likely as elves joining the Horde, that!” He let us supposed warlocks off with a warning.

I was no warlock, but then again, I didn’t feel particularly orcish either. My “home”, if I had any, was still across the waters in the dusty libraries of the Magic Quarter, but Vileclaw had convinced me to visit the burgeoning capital of our Horde. “Our names will be known across this city, and across this Horde,” Vileclaw assured me with a wry confidence, as though it had long since been decided. I had a tall opinion of myself, but I still felt very small and insignificant in this great city. “We shall see,” I replied.

He wasn’t even looking at me as we spoke, his wandering gaze instead having fixed upon a rotting dragon’s head, which was casting a long shadow across the Valley of Strength. Some said it came from a lair in the murky marshes far south of these lands, where humans held their lone outposts in this land. I did not know if that was true. But humans, and dragons for that matter, were far from the first thing on the mind of Orgrimmar’s commoners.

Orgrimmar seemed to grow with each passing season, or so it was said, and its populace’s demand for basic victuals and supplies far outstripped what the desert around it could provide. Durotar’s farmlands had yielded little but lean pork, over-ripe cactus apples and gnarled wood — not enough to feed or house a nation, and so Orgrimmar looked outwards. With the tenuous peace of recent times, a range of exotic wares were flooding into the city, the merchant class swollen and opportunistic. As we sauntered through the cool, shady Drag, I took some time to linger — to the annoyance of my restless companion. “What’s your rush anyhow?” I snorted. “It’s not even noon, and it’s going to get hotter before it gets cooler. Let’s stay a moment.” So we did.

Before us, a tired-looking elderly orc trumpeted his wares, stood behind a rickety stall with various dried fruits. “Dates, figs, nuts!” he proclaimed, before adding: “Dates, figs, nuts!” He would repeat this three-word mantra as long as we were in earshot, and no doubt continued to extol the virtues of dates, figs and nuts until night fell. I wondered if he dreamt of dates, figs and nuts, or of old glories instead. He looked to be in his twilight years — I doubt he sold dried fruits in the Dying Times, or when the Old Horde razed Stormwind to the ground. Maybe he did, I was not there.

Across the way, a slender orc bartered with a tiny green man (a goblin, as Vileclaw informs me) who flaunted a battered case of gleaming gemstones and cheap-looking rings in one hand and a dripping wax candle in the other. A trollish street-busker tunelessly thumped a kodo-hide drum with a chipped femur-bone, wailing elegiac gibberish in whatever language it is his people allegedly speak. A primitive hut had a hand-written sign hanging from the open passage (Orgrimmar had few doors), reading “Do Not Disturb”. Vileclaw gazed within discretely, and grinned from ear to ear as if privy to some inside-joke. “An orc in his bare feet with a rope around his neck. Coward.”

In the nearby alley, a shy and provocatively dressed she-orc approached an off-duty grunt lazily lounging in the shade. She looked young and hungry — still a child by some orcs’ estimation, but her profession was clear by her expression. She smiled thinly and winked at the grunt, but he looked the other way, as if she did not exist. The female huffed and tugged on his harness, but he shrugged her off. She cried: “These toothaches are killin’ me! If ah don’t raise some coin somehow to git ‘em looked at, ah’ll be toothless one day, I vow it by Thrall!” I started to feel a sense of discomfort watching them, so we walked on.

Ashenvale lumber was piled high in the Valley of Honor, the spoils of the Warsong marauding far to the west. As the sun beat down and rusted cranes soared overhead, peons paced back and forth, their foreman yelling angrily at them. “Peons,” Vileclaw mused aloud to himself, “disgusting creatures.” I nodded silently, as if in agreement, but I had no disdain for the peon caste myself. I may have ended up as one myself, if I had stayed on Kalimdor, and was deemed unworthy for anything but drudge-work.

This seemed to be the quieter part of the city, and for once, the hubbub of locals going their way receded as I could hear the distant clink of hammer against anvil, and even further away, the cawing of sea-gulls. Then I heard a weak moan from behind me, and turned to see a sunburnt orc with peeling skin and two charred stumps at his knees, laid in his own filth and excrement. My sense of smell had begun to fail me as of late, but even a faded scent was offensive to me.

“Spare a copper for a proud warrior of the Horde, lads?” he begged, clasping his grubby hands and wringing them. Vileclaw was unamused, measuring him with a cool glare. “Look Slitherblade, it’s a proud warrior-beggar,” he sneered. “What was more recent, old orc — your last battle or your last bath?” The beggar looked indignant, but looked down submissively to his stumps and grumbled wearily. “I’ve had everything taken from me,” he grunted. “My homeland, my legs, my mate and two daughters… my honor. I did not choose… this.” He bowed his head, looking rather miserable.

Vileclaw smirked, his teeth sharp like razors. When it seemed as though as was about to respond, he simply strode off from the foul-smelling beggar, shaking his head in amused disbelief. I followed. “Seems like everywhere you turn, there’s another hard-luck story that you’re going to hear,” I said, not entirely sure of how to feel. Vileclaw cackled gruffly: “Hard -Luk- story, ha-ha! That’s what I like about you Slitherblade, quick wit and keen mind. Just like me.” I sometimes wondered why I spent so much time with Vileclaw, but it was true — iron sharpens iron, and he was a cunning and perceptive orc himself, despite his occasional cruelty.

We passed a wooden poster-board and I decided to read the notices. There was news of battles in the Warsong Gulch or Alterac Valley. Accounts of adventurers’ exploits within the Blackrock Depths or the Molten Core. Details of skirmishes and campaigns between Horde and Alliance organisations I had never even heard of. Starseeker Sentinels. Mistrunner Tribe. Holy Lightbringers. The Old Lordaeron. Dragonblood Conclave. The Alliance Watch. Second Gurubashi Empire. The Arathi Nation. Orcs of the Red Blade.

Vileclaw grumbled at the latter name, and shook his head. “I’ve heard of them,” he noted drily. “Their Matriarch Akesha, she claims to recruit orcs from all sorts. All Clans. But you and I would never belong, what they want are pack-members, team-players who shut up, do as they’re told and like it. We’re free-thinkers, we have no master or Matriarch, we do as we want.” I found it hard to disagree with him. I was shy and somewhat withdrawn, but I was not submissive. I had learnt in the internment camps not to trust warden or fellow orc. Even though I enjoyed Vileclaw’s company, I did not trust him — I knew I could expect to be sacrificed or discarded if fortuitous. If an orc doesn't put his own interests first, who will?

___________________________________________________________________________

As the rustling palm-branches swayed in the warm breeze, I found myself returning from my distant memories to the present. I realised that I had long since come to view Vileclaw’s words on that distant day as false. After all, I had joined the tribe he so deplored once. But obeying orders is not a sign of weakness and facile submission. It is the opposite. We do not run with the tribe because we have to, but because we have chosen to unite and because we are stronger together. It is this philosophy that binds clans and tribes, but it is also one which justifies the building of cities for mutual benefit. A Chieftain is not a master, and a disgruntled, proud free-thinker cannot build a settlement like Orgrimmar, he can only destroy it.

And so, much as Orgrimmar found itself rebuilt and reforged under a succession of Warchiefs, all the old names and organisations had fallen or faded away. I was only dimly aware that the Gurubashi still eked out an existence somewhere in Stranglethorn, but besides that, only the Red Blade tribe had still survived. I couldn’t help but struggle to grasp why. The Red Blades were no stronger than most of those groups, no larger and certainly no wealthier. But then, I had rode with the tribe for over four years now, and many orcs within it had faded away also. Good orcs like Mazguul and Regorn. Strong orcs like Gnash and Tazok. Tenacious orcs like Morgeth and… Vashnarz. I was no better than any of them, and yet I had endured also, for reasons equally inexplicable to the Red Blades’ longevity.

I gazed about the new buildings in the Valley of Strength, and decided I would go on a walk to retrace our steps. Vileclaw may be gone now, but his companion on that day endures and the city we traveled still stands.

Orgrimmar is different now, and so am I.

Sadok

Posts : 275
Join date : 2011-05-03
Age : 24
Location : York, UK

Character sheet
Name: Sadok Sharptongue
Title: High Blade Thur'ruk

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