No country for old mons

February 23rd, 2015 by Zundra · No Comments · Character development, Events


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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.”

The mons of the Ai’loa glanced at each other while the Mossflayer Witch Doctor began to ruminate on his experience of terrible prose. “Almost de worst. Y’see, dis one mon, he had a poem dat went… ‘Spear tips be red, murlocs be green, chu got a smell dat be quite obsce-” an’ mon, he didn’t even finish ‘e just started screamin’, mons. Worst poem evah.” After a few seconds he sighed heavily. “O’course ah was burnin’ ‘im ta death in me cauldron at de time….”
Zalaashi murmured in defence of his art. “Wudn’t dat bad.” He kicked a stone.
The old mon shot back. “Et was disappointin’.” The cold, cool air of what was once called Lordaeron seemed to whistle in agreement through the stone courtyard. Suddenly the Witch Doctor pointed at Jen’roku. “Okeh den, dis one. Dis lankeh one. Wha’ was chu name again?”
Jen’roku cleared his throat. ‘Mah name be Jen’roku, mon.’
‘Jen’roku, eh? Mon, ya gon’ entertain me instead. Ya lookin’ spry, see dem big wanderin’ stitched up monstahs? Big sons o’ bitches.’ Jen’roku glanced behind him to see the abominations of Undercity roaming the courtyard in a seemingly purposeless patrol. ‘Yessah.’
The Witch Doctor continued. ‘Ah bin’ tryin’ ta get a phial o’ de secretions from dese disgustin’ tings. When dey run de fuckin’ droppin’ dey guts like mad. Ya get me some o’ dat stuff? I give ya me secrets.”

Zun’dra turned to the Antu’kan, placing a hand on his shoulder out of encouragement. ‘You be fine, Jen’roku. Loa bless.’ The scribe shrugged his shoulders and turned on his heels in dramatic fashion. ‘Well, guess ah be off den.’ Behind him, Zalaashi and Fa’simba were barely able to contain their sniggering. Jen’roku was quite obviously not an athlete, nor was he a mon in poor physical form. But with even a cursory glance at the group, it was obvious that he lacked the lean athleticism of the prophet and the solid mass of the Drakkari warrior. Even Fa’simba, a small Vilebranch spearman with an eye patch and crooked tusks, looked to be more adept at fulfilling such a task than Jen’roku was. Zun’dra curled his hands into fists as Zalaashi gave voice to the obvious humiliation that was playing out. ‘Dis fuckah got a wick’t sense o’humah.’
Jen’roku sprinted out of earshot, his eyes busily appraising the size and speed of a lumbering monstrosity nearby. He could scarcely keep up with the terrible speed. As he huffed and pushed on his untrained legs, he wondered how on the Loa’s good graces it could be that a sewn-up bag of animated meat trimmings could run so fast. Finally the abomination slowed to a saunter just before a bush teeming with flowers: an unusual sight in a place such as this. ”Beeeeergh. Pretty”, it roared. Jen’roku seized the opportunity and with a quick flick of his wrist produced and held out an empty phial under the massive creature’s bursting seam. After a few short, unpleasant-sounding gushes, a thick, green goop filled the phial to the brim. Jen’roku began to sprint back over, but was clearly exhausted by this level of exertion. He slumped to the ground before Zun’dra, who grabbed the phial and held it up above his head triumphantly. “Ma boy, ‘e came through. Now ya gotta uphold’ju end o’ di bargain, Moz’feri. Ya secrets, ya gon spill dem or ah spill dis phial.”

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Moz’feri was a Mossflayer Witch Doctor of ill-repute, known by rumour to be in possession of an enviable set of talents. What brought him to Forsaken territory was not known to prophet Zun’dra, who had risked valuable time in deciding to hunt him down. Yet so far the group’s attempts to cajole him into sharing his knowledge were failing, and Zun’dra was losing both his patience and his temper.

The old Witch Doctor had seated himself on the cold stone and had begun to play a game of dice with himself. “Mmmm? Oh. Uh, dat worth nottin’ ta me. But et was fun ta watch ya boy try ta chase aftah dat…. ting.”

Zun’dra dropped the phial, smashing it in a rage. He had been patient and respectful. He had not threatened to use force. But he could see that Moz’feri would never show him or any of the other Ai’loa the same courtesy. He dragged his thumb across his throat to punctuate his newly changed mind. ‘Mon, I keel ya an’ take ya head wit’ out a second tought. Don’ be pressin’ me.’

Moz’feri sighed into his chest, as though Zun’dra’s threat had now become a palpable one. ‘Okey, okey den.’ He produced a small charm from a pocket inside of his robe and lifted it up for display. It was a small, head-shaped object that alluded to the likeness of a mon with both of his eyes gouged out. The real source of Moz’feri’s power was exposed at last.
‘Chu be wantin’ …. dis, so, so badleh. But’chu gotta give me a good reason. So. Startin’ left from right. Chu each gon’ give me a good reason ta part wit’ et.’ The sly old man dragged a pointed finger in an arc through the air, stopping when he reached Zalaashi.

The Drakkari made a fist with his left hand, holding his right hand out as if to present the fist. “How ’bout dis?”
Moz’feri leaned in closer to humor Zalaashi and his dependably violent response. He examined his hard, sinewy fist with mock intrigue. “COMPELLING! But…. eh.”

Jen’roku stepped forward. “Ah be appealin’ ta ya compassion, ya desire ta see a better tomorrow for our kin. Deez mons all come here ta support di prophet. He fightin’ ta get di old ways respected again by di young
Trolls. Surely ya can appreciate ya knowledge helpin’ in dis?’ Just as it was customary for the Drakkari to resort to violence, Jen’roku of the Shatterspear tribe stuck to his own tried and true method: diplomacy. His brethren nodded and grunted enthusiastically at the sentiment, but it was not enough to persuade Moz’feri. “Ah can’t believe ya be tinkin’ a mon like me got anytin’ resemblin’ compassion buried inside o’ dis chest. A compellin’ reason it be if ah be a different mon, but… eh.”

Zun’dra roared. ‘Chu be givin’ di charm to be, if it indeed be di source of ya powah, or ah gonna watch you die slowly.’ Moz’feri gave him a bemused look. ‘Ya gon’ let me live, dat be nice o’chu…. but it be a weakness.’ He slowly stood up, kicking his dice out of the way. ‘Blessed ting, why ya gon let anyone live when ya want what dey got, eh? Hah! Compellin’, but… no.’ The last word was delivered with a forceful coldness that suggested even Moz’eri himself was growing tired of playing his own game. He pointed at Fa’simba. ‘Last chance’.

The small, moss-coloured Vilebranch scalper looked up, quiet withdrawal etched upon his face. “Mon, ah juss wanna get de fuck out o’ dis stinkeh hellhole o’ a city. So juss be givin’ de prophet wha’ he wantin’ an’ ah can go home an’ get me feed on. Ah be starvin’.”

Moz’feri looked genuinely intrigued. He slumped his shoulders and leaned in, hands clasped as if expecting urgent news. “Wha’chu gon’ eat?”
Fa’simba’s belly rumbled audibly, as if trying to give voice to its stake in the conversation topic. The Vilebranch mon clasped a soothing palm over his abdomen. “Does et fuckin’ mattah to ya?”
Zun’dra whipped his head around to glare at his subordinate, his mask creaking with the silent rage building inside the usually laid-back older mon. Fa’simba coughed. ‘Uh… Okeh, ah gon’ eat a fuckin’ raptor egg an’ fry et up all nice like, right? Den ah gon’ add a side o’ leafy greens an’ drizzle et in some honey, den ah got dem rib racks from de boar I slain dis mornin’ an’ ah baste et inna de rest o’ de sweet stuff, an…’ Fa’simba went on and on describing his culinary goals for the day. Each of the mons were tired, hungry, and restless with tension. None of them failed to salivate as Fa’simba described what sounded like a veritable feast. Moz’feri in particular could not stave off the thought of it. He leaned in closer to Fa’simba. “Ya gon’ save some o’ dat fo me?”

“Fuck no, fuck off an’ get’chu own.”

In an instant, Moz’feri felt a terrible anger seep through his old bones. To be sleighted in such a way, to have been tantalized and then taunted, his hopes dashed, and to have lost at his own game… his ego withered and his hunger burned him. At least he now felt unburdened by the end of the game. Now that it was finished, it didn’t matter that he couldn’t say he won. He intended that they should all die. His eyes glowed a terrible green, and his hairs stood on end. The charm floated from his hand several feet above him in the air. As it hovered, he murmured words of control in an archaic dialect and three spirits materialized in response, their hazy forms lifting straight from the sodden earth.

Jen’roku cursed under his breath. “Always gotta do everytin’ di hard way.”

Zalaashi pulled a rusty old hatchet from his plated belt, and hurled it at Moz’feri. “Take dat, joo trickin’ sack o’shit!” The old man dodged, but the charm faltered and dropped a few feet in mid-air. Zun’dra dashed around Zalaashi and dropped a crude totem upon the soil in a desperate attempt to placate the summoned spirits. Moz’feri laughed as the totem bore no effect; the ghostly figures encircled the group and began to move in. Jen’roku stepped in, raising his hands and calling upon his own gifts. ”Like ya gonna get rid of me wit’ some fake apparitions. Ah have worse ghouls trapped in mah skull, mon.” With a deliberate flick of his wrist a bolt of white light pierced through their spectral opponents. The Drakkari worked quickly to pin Moz’feri down with his swift limbs, and Fa’simba lunged to collect the falling charm perfectly in his outstretched palm.

As the dust settled from the skirmish, Moz’feri’s glinting eyes dulled and his unnatural powers waned. He looked up past the Drakkari who held him down and saw the prophet’s fearful mask staring back at him.
“Now give me a good reason why ah should nuh keel you, Mossflayer.”
The old mon’s eyes went glassy with pain and the terrible sting of his own humiliation. Yet he had one tool left in his arsenal. “Mngh. Joo gon’ haftah decide. Di charm ya so keen on be cursed. Keel me an’ di charm needin’ a new host. Don’t keel me? Den ah be huntin’ ya down til ah get et back.”

The prophet demurred. What choice could he make? He wouldn’t bear a curse for little benefit, but he did not wish to seem weak in front of the group. Fortunately, Jen’roku piped up before he needed to.
“Show Mercy, Zun’dra… no need to keel him, he fearful enoff of us.”

And so the prophet appeared to acquiesce, but not before delighting in allowing Zalaashi to remove Moz’feri’s fingers. As the mons of the Ai’loa sauntered off victorious, Jen’roku looked up and noticed the rain beginning to fall, drenching the befouled and sodden earth. He reflected upon the acts that they had committed.

Surely, this was for a purpose.  Only he didn’t know if he wanted to know any more.

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