Through our brothers’ eyes

February 27th, 2015 by Zundra · Character development, Events


Zun’dra’s scheme had backfired on him. As the fetish of Moz’feri oozed a a vinous haze a few feet from him in the dirt, he struggled to both catch his breath and snatch it back up in his grasp. He cursed under his breath as weakness snagged his muscles like a net. ‘Jen’roku’ he snarled ‘should not have failed.’ The prophet struggled to his feet after what seemed like hours.

He could not hear the others, but he knew that it would take them even longer than he had to gain consciousness. He stumbled through the dark swamp scrub, cursing and swatting at hostile fauna every few feet. Why had Jen’roku failed? The prophet believed that he could force a change, but the pain of desiderium burned too hotly in the young Shatterspear’s heart to be overcome. Forcing himself into Jen’roku’s memory had indeed done as Darioush warned – it had splintered off a piece of his mind, and it was now trapped. Trapped in the mind of a mon who would likely sooner kill him than return it to him.

Zun’dra sighed. He’d made a choice to better the mons. Not that it pained him terribly to have made such a choice, but he persuaded himself that it was altruistic to some degree. They would be better off, he thought, facing off against inner turmoil before facing the difficult path before them.

Darioush resisted violence in an emotive scene involving his dead mate. Though there was no love lost between them, he’d made peace with the reality of her actions. Zalaashi had passed with flying colours, which was the greatest surprise to the Prophet. He didn’t think that the simple, brutish Drakkari would have given much thought to reacting with aggression, but then Zun’dra was now beginning to learn that he should expect to be surprised.

He wheezed as the thought of Jen’roku stung his mind again. But this time, resolve welled up and smothered his desperate thoughts. He too, would be put to the test. It was time to return to Orgrimmar and be judged.

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No country for old mons

February 23rd, 2015 by Zundra · Character development, Events


The burly young Drakkari mon scrunched his face up tightly as he looked down at the ground. After a few moments, and some considered pauses, he spoke up with wavering confidence.

“Birds fly.” A pause. “…grass grows…”  His face contorted even more as he searched his mind for what he thought poetry to be. After a few moments his expression burned with frustration,  and he abruptly gave a solid finish to his masterpiece.

“Sun shine. An’ bruddah, I hurt peopah.”

A deafening silence fell briefly over the group. Zalaashi was a strong and capable fighter, with an even temperament, if not a little dull-witted at times. These qualities made him a dependable warrior, but certainly not a poet. The old mon stood quietly, as if mentally appraising each line of Zalaashi’s poem. Suddenly he stretched upright and let out a deep yawn, the kind that signified he was anything but entertained.

“Ah must say, dat be almost de worst poem ah evah heard.”

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The Loa have their way.

April 27th, 2014 by Zundra · Events, Guild storylines


Night swept the cool sea air to where the sisters and brothers of the Ai’loa formed their numinous circle. Their torches burned brightly, hungrily, as if mimicking the roaring appetites of several mons and womons present.

The Antu’thraze emerged from the night’s horizon with their feast in tow – the sisters Shi’nazzi and Shi’bemba, naked, blindfolded, wretched, and damned to the perdition of the other side. No loving embrace awaited them. No welcome, no respite, no peace. The sisters had stained the mortal world with a hubris so wicked that they had forfeited any right to a restful death.

Kogi, the younger of the newbloods, held his breath. “The spirits…They’ll tear them apart. Like raptors would a fowl.”

Dzivah winced. Their power was palpable, even delectable. Her mind lingered back to their interrogation only days earlier, where after much coercion it was revealed that instead of fulfilling Dambalah’s wishes, they had stolen the secrets of the very mon they were entreated to destroy. They flirted bravely with profane majicks and twisted secrets. She coveted it all privately, but feigned righteous indignation when her mate dragged them closer to the group for all to see.

Her father stood up, his hoarse old voice breaking the stiff silence. “Ohiska. Jenroku. It be only through your final efforts that these two souls be meeting Bwonsamedi’s good side. They gon’ need mo’ than that, though.”

The Antu’alor and the Antu’kan stood up, cradling goods and fetishes for their last rites.

“You can’t go like this. Here, put dem on.” The Antu’kan punctuated his soft speech with outstretched hands that clasped modest clothing. He had acquired it especially for the two women, so as to restore what dignity he could to them. He assisted them both to get dressed and wiped down any lingering injuries as Ohiska recited the blessings of Lukou and traced the veve in the sands encircling them.

Dzivah spied the Primal rolling his eyes. He was eager to mete out justice and didn’t see the point in ceremony or mercy. As the two priests stepped away from the sisters, his eyes widened with the fervor and delight of a child who realizes it is his turn to play with a toy he desires most.

The Ice Troll swung his massive blade theatrically down and let it hover just far away from Shi’bemba’s throat that her terrified reflection stared back at her, shaming her, mocking her for her failure to show courage in the final moment. She bit her lip and closed her eyes. She knew she had to pay. It was a good death for someone who deserved worse, she thought.

Drek’tal grunted as he lifted the blade high and brought it back down, cutting her head swiftly and cleanly from her body. Audible gasps came from the crowd. Some murmured further prayers to the Loa.

Shi’nazzi’s face contorted with anguish at the sound of her sister’s demise. It stirred a fire in her that life could no longer nourish, for death was seconds away. The futility of her empty rage caused her whole body to involuntarily sag.

The Primal was cruel, having not forgotten this sister’s attack that robbed him of a finger. He intended to delay death without being blasphemous. The blade came up and just as Shi’nazzi thought her cold, quick death was imminent, the Primal ran her through the chest, not quite fatally cutting her. Shi’nazzi roared with a mouth full of blood and imprecations. She focused all of her remaining thoughts on anger, on revenge, on spite. Drek’tal brought the blade down finally on her neck and her head rolled away from her body. The crowd gasped as her brutal, hate-filled physiognomy glared up at all of them from the dirt.

The High Priestess crossed her arms, looking away from the sight. As Vosu’jin and Ohiska took the bodies away to be cleaned and adorned for the altar offering, her father approached and put his hand on her shoulder.

“The Loa have their way, daughter. You’d be wise to forget it.”

Her breath hitched in her throat. A father’s intuition, no doubt.

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A scribe without an arm.

March 25th, 2014 by Jenroku · Character development, Events, Guild storylines

The city air left a bitter, coppery taste akin to blood in the scribe’s mouth. As the sun beat down, he and the prophet Zun’dra made their way to the Valley of Spirits to meet with the rest of the group. The High Priestess had contacted them via totem, sounding more agitated and out of sorts than usual. Jen’roku could not help but wonder as to who would summon the Ai’loa, and for what purpose? Certainly his previous experience with this strange band of Trolls had left him to always err on the side of caution, but as so many of his new family delighted in pointing out, Jen’s heart was as soft and easy to melt as butter. His apprehension and defenses were flimsy at best. If the call for help was genuine then Jen’roku, the Antu’kan and servant of Dambala, would answer.

As the two Trolls approached they found Dzivah, Ohiska, and Drek’tal in the midst of heated discussion. Upon seeing their leader and the scribe approach, Dzivah could not help but customarily lash them with her fiery tongue.
‘Ah, there ya two be. Dzivah be wonderin’ if ya ever gonna grace us wit’ ya presence.’ Jen’roku grimaced but Zun’dra merely spoke as though her barbs were insignificant.
‘For what purpose do ya summon us all here, daughter? Surely it be of more importance than ta display your infamous temperament?’ Drek’tal, the massive ice Troll, couldn’t help but guffaw at the expense of his mate. The High Priestess had every intention of continuing her verbal barrage when a voice, gravely and distorted like someone speaking through a mouthful of sand, spoke from behind them.

‘Ai… Loa. I.. be seekin’ ya.’

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The totem of Zir’week

March 15th, 2014 by Zundra · Events, Guild storylines


The sapphire glint of Saph’ira’s arcane eye flashed and faded as soon as she felt her icy attack fail. Emboldened by the weak gesture, the enormous bat looped around for another assault whilst dangling the High Priestess in its claws. Dzivah could be seen roaring and kicking, but to no avail: The bat Queen of the brood of Zir’week was not about to let go of her valuable prize. She swooped over the group and blasted them with a sonic screech so deafening that Laikah fell to her knees and vomited. Ohiska traced the veve of Lukou on his arm and prayed, his ears aching too fiercely to fight.

Seeing Laikah fall stirred aggression within Jenroku; a dormant force that he wasn’t aware resided in him. He leaped to his feet and shouted a cry so impassioned that his entire body dispersed into an angry, shadowy vapor. He then launched his own attack at the Queen, unleashing a shadow into the air that pierced the mighty beast like a nail. She howled in agony; thousands of tiny screeches from her terrified clutch echoed around the canopy in sympathy.

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March 5th, 2014 by Zundra · Beginnings, Events, Guild storylines


“Daughter, take my hand! Now!”

Zun’dra reached his hand up in almost pliant submission to the terrified magi. Her wet hair wrapped her face and shoulders in an undignified grip. Her body shook. In one hand curled behind her back snuck a fine dagger, the hilt of which she anxiously fingered.

“Dzivah! Come take papa’s hand!”

The shouts and pleas of her brethren began to fade to sibilant whispers. She lost the sense of her mate standing by her side; her flank seemed vacant and quiet.

The mercury hot river bled out of its banks and kissed her toes. Bon’odom’s ripe red moon cast its glow over everything, even their shadows. She closed her eyes.

Mother. It ends now.

She took Zun’dra’s hand and fell into his embrace, her cheek thudding against his shoulder. The older Gurubashi man brought his other arm around to grip her shoulder tightly. As he looked up at the sky to see the red disc preside over their gathering, he felt the wet sting of steel come between them.

Dzivah trembled, looking straight into the mask to meet the eyes of the man she had just stabbed. Her father. His grip went slack and he fell back into the white waters, tears she could not see stinging his eyes.

“Am… am I too late!?” he cried.

He could not swim or struggle. Defeated, he let the water take him deep, to where the spirits of the white lake rushed to fill him, to breathe into him and resuscitate him. This was their demesne, and they had been waiting for him. He looked up, breathing quietly in the depths and saw her. His daughter’s mother, in all of her former beauty, high above the lake. He feebly raised his hands and knocked his mask off to look at her fully. Her voice was so splendorous and elysian that not even the several feet of water between them could distort her ineffable majesty.

Dzivah looked up, stunned into catatonia by the sight: her mother, brilliant in white and with an aureole of the red moon crowning her head. She spoke of gifts, of dues, and of responsibility:

“Dzivah. High Priestess. Guide the Ai’loa in prayer. Learn from your father and from them. Satisfy mighty Dambala, and grow his family large. To aid you in this task, I will join my spirit with yours, and can be birthed at any time to empower you in your hour of need.”

The newly anointed High Priestess felt her courage return, and she dropped the dagger in the red sandbank. “High… Priestess…Ai…loa” she murmured, testing the words in her mouth. After each and every Troll present was addressed and given their own spiritual tasks, her mother’s voice began to fade.

“The Ai’loa must claim their rightful place in the world, and help restore the severed connection between our people and our ancient customs. Go now. And remember, children of Dambala, the Ai’loa…. who loa bless, no mon curse.”

And with that, her spirit passed again into the Lake, and Zun’dra emerged: coughing, spluttering, and begging for aid.

He had been right. Her father had carried out only her mother’s wishes, and not his own. He had led them here to be tested in the Vale by Dambala, and they succeeded all trials put before them. They had earned their first gifts. But there would be many, many more to claim.

“Let us return home. For now.”

Jenroku limped towards Dzivah and nodded emphatically. “Yes…. High Priestess.”
She looked at him, and then the rest of them. “…who loa bless..”

Several voices broke the Vale canopy. “No mon curse!”

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A done deal.

March 1st, 2014 by Zundra · Character development, Events, Guild storylines


“I use t’be a fisher, Zun’dra… Dat was how I be raised t’hunt, in de early days on da isle.”
 “Wha’ be di biggest ting ya ever did catch?”
“De biggest ting? I catch a sea-snake, once! Big as de boat I was in…”
“Ya remember ‘ow yu did et?”
“Gave it de biggest hug I could… Put mah arms aroun’ its neck, an’ put me daggah in its gullet! Give de head back to de sea, tho’… Be t’ankin’ de spirits for de catch. De rest be tanks by eatin’.”
“An’ ‘Ow did et taste?”
“Like blood, an’ salt, an’ guts… Like de sea when it angry, an’ de beaches fill wit de fish. It taste good…”
 “Sea creatures neva’ bin me taste, Vosu’jin. Must be samting ta do wit di sea havin’ bin treacherous ta me people fo’ centuries.”
“P’haps… De sea hold many secrets. More nasty den not.”


Ohiska eyed the older Gurubashi male, his brow beginning to slightly sweat under the mask. “So I suppose there’s something you require?”

“You be an astute mon, Ohiska. I be calling upon you to deliver a favor unto me.” Zun’dra approached him, the heat of his body more palpable than usual from only inches away. “Nothing untoward, I be assurin’ you.”

Ohiska flicked his ear in minor frustration. A deal was a deal, but he would have wished to stall for more time. With no conceivable exit, he grit his teeth. “Of course, I do indeed owe you. What is it that you require?”

“The time of Bon’odam be approaching, Ohiska. And the prophecy points to Bon’odam being pivotal. It be recognized on the Gurubashi calendar of old, but perhaps unknown to you younger Darkspear.” From his knapsack he pulls out a phial, the edge of it clinking audibly against the bone rattle hanging from his belt. “This be the favor. You must encourage her to drink. She trusts you.”

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Try to wake up.

February 21st, 2014 by Zundra · Character development, Events


Laikah’s vision shifted and she found herself laying comfortably on her side, a cool breeze amiably sweeping her sweaty, matted hair from her face. She curled her fingers into a fist to test her strength. So far, so good. Gone now was the shrill sound of vine cracking and twisting underfoot, the chittering of creatures borne of cruelty, and the dark and oppressive haze that stung her eyes and mouth. She tilted her head and saw Ohiska, curled in the recovery position and groaning slightly from the discomfort of being jolted awake. She couldn’t tell how long they’d been laying here, but she guessed comfortably that the most they had been gone for was forty eight hours.

She sat up, her breath hitching for a moment. Were they really here? Or was this part of the nightmare, still? She sniffed the air: pine dust, earth, stag excrement. These were the smells of the waking world. She clambered to her feet and went over to assist Ohiska.

‘How are you feeling?’

He rolls over and pulls Jikkul-Kra from his face.

‘Like a great weight has been lifted.’

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Ebiru and the mask.

January 18th, 2014 by Zundra · Character development


Laikah shuddered awake, all four of her toes twisted in the agony of nightmare. Her chest heaved a few times before she could settle it, reminding herself that she was awake and safe. She sat upright and deeply inhaled the sea air as if wafted in through the open tent. The Isles twinkled in the distance, a satellite of hope and reassurance. Collapsing back onto her bedroll, she stretched her arm out to claw for her herb pouch. Bloodthistle, Stranglekelp, vinewort… she rubbed them into her fingertips and let the numbing properties soothe her further.

“Your Nightmare has a hold on all things. All things that breathe and live. So you can’t rely on them for protection. All these herbs? Useless in the Nightmare. Half my brews? Worthless. You’ll have to rely on what does not live.”

She allowed her memories to catch up with her, now that she had been comforted. Her mind drifted to earlier that day, to Ebiru. He seemed unenthusiastic about Laikah’s conviction as to Ohiska’s illness, but then cast his juju so fiercely into Fa’simba’s Rushkah that she doubted he could merely be humoring her. His chants and pleas had followed her to sleep and still hummed in her ears upon waking.

“You’ll have to rely on the land and the air and the sea… and the dead.”

Everything about the ritual had unsettled her. The way the cauldron bubbled, the way the sea fought with palpable agony to expunge the magick being committed on virgin seabed. The way the sands seemed to choke and cough. The way the water cooked and shouted in mouthless anguish,

“Ten thousand bones before me, Ten thousand bones yet to come. By my bones, now, I call this mask a true one! Give me shadow! Give me great and deep and dark shadow!”

She recalled the way Ebiru held up the Rushkah, an eerie eldritch glow swarming it like a hiveful of madflies. She had beseeched Ebiru for his help, but had she brought Ohiska into further danger by doing so? Her eyes stung and her mouth was dry. How long has she been asleep? When had she last eaten? She’d spent days worrying so much for Ohiska’s wellbeing that her own had started to suffer.

“Jikkul-Kra will serve you for as long as it wills.
When that day comes, you will make a choice.”


Jikkul-Kra. A choice…

Laikah rolled partway off the bedroll and threw up. What little was in her stomach smelled fetid. But there was no point worrying about it now. The dawnlight had begun to creep over the hills of Durotar as if to gently remind her that this was all the preparation that they would be allowed. Ohiska had stopped living, and merely begun to exist. His face was sunken and his form had cast no shadow for months. Soon, his soul would sound no echo. He would be hollow. He would cease.

Today, the ritual would go ahead. She’d save him, or die trying.

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The Facemaker.

January 13th, 2014 by Zundra · Character development

Fasimba_Rushkah_001Laikah wasn’t above pushing someone, physically or otherwise, to receive her help when she thought they were in need of it. Ohiska had proven to be a reluctant charge to the ageing Darkspear woman; He picked at the meals she prepared for him and balked at the tinctures she brewed for his health. Exasperated, she dragged him to the Wyvern’s Tail in the hope that someone else could convince him to trust all that she was doing.

When they entered,  the aroma of several species of meat immediately bloomed in their nostrils. Smoke stung their eyes and quarreled with their vision. The scene was noisome, almost intimidating. Garralous Goblin patrons fussed over menu items before a lethargic old cook. Orc men laughed uproariously over a game of dice in the corner. A lone Tauren man was stamping his hoof over a rug that had been set alight. The two Darkspear trolls brushed past the excitable limbs of drunken adventurers as though they were in a dark, liquor-soaked forest. Laikah motioned with her elbow when she finally spotted him. “There. let’s take a seat.”

Fa’simba crouched over a low-set table with his knees buried in sad, withered cushions. He suckled on a barely lit pipe, eyes glazed over as he watched the same tired scenes. When Laikah approached, his face molded from boredom to relief. “About time. This be him?”

“Aye, this be him. You two get acquainted, I be ordering the meals.” Before Ohiska could protest, Laikah began to gesture wildly in a mad pantomime of urgency. She was convincing enough for a runtish Orc waiter to notice, bypassing two other tables full of hungry patrons on the way over to her. Ohiska sat in quiet frustration as she repeatedly butted a finger into the Orc man’s chest and made very clear what was to go into the broth. Fa’simba leaned in closer to distract him. “So. Laikah here be telling me a little about you, Ohiska.”

Ohiska folded his knees up into his chest defensively. “That matters not. Who be you?”

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