Collection of fiction written about Ursala by user:p3a. Being wikified and updated whenever she has time.
31st March 2008Edit
Ursala knelt down and examined the plant. She picked up a leaf and checked the underside of it for fungus - such fungus was not prevalent in Durotar, but it was always better to check anyway. Swiftly, and skilfully, she began picking the leaves off, one by one, and putting them into a container full of similar leaves.
Once she had picked all of the useful leaves off the silverleaf plant, she took a skin of water from her bag, and poured some of it onto the dry earth by the base of the plant. She knew that within a week its leaves would be back, ready for harvesting again. The herbs around here had grown used to not having much water; any they got produced thick growth within a relatively short time.
She'd never really had much reason to do anything other than this. She'd go out, pick herbs, potting them up and saving them for when she learnt to use them; then she would fish. Occasionally, someone in the valley needed a hand with something. It usually involved handling the local wildlife. With a club. She wasn't aversed to this, but neither did she enjoy it.
These things had to be done.
It was a principle very important to Ursala, and the reason why, she believed, Drauka has approached her with the proposal to join the Euthanatoi. She didn't understand very much about the Euthanatoi, but she knew that they understood that certain things had to be done. Her knowledge thus far hadn't proved very useful to any of them: she specialised in fighting boars and scorpions, only cast very basic spells, and only knew about the herbs in Durotar.
She was sure her knowledge would prove useful, one day. For now, she would just carry on doing what had to be done around here.
She knew there was a world outside. She just didn't have any reason to go there.
8th April 2008Edit
Ursala sat down by the Durotar coast, and took her belt off. It had several small cloth pouches clipped to it. She opened each one in turn, and gently tipped their contents onto the ground in front of her. She picked up the pieces she needed from the assorted pieces of cloth, cheese, bottles of milk, and other miscellany - a pestle, mortar, a couple of empty vials with corks in them, a now-empty hip-flask, a copper spoon, and three battered tins which looked like they were originally for bloodthistle.
She set each of these things in front of her, then rose, the hip-flask in her hand, sidling over to the water. Kneeling down by the gently lapping waves, she unscrewed the top and let the waves lap into it.
Once she was satisfied that it was full, she stood back up, and walked back to behind where she'd layed her equipment out in a semi-circle. She opened two of the tins - one had green leaves in it, like tea-leaves, and the other had white petals in it which seemed to glow in the moonlight. She took a pinch from each tin and placed them in the mortar, and began grinding with the pestle.
She gazed out at the sea as she did so, remembering only a few hours ago giving the same gaze to the horizon of the lake she was stuck in the middle of. She'd received the mysterious letter only yesterday. She had gone along to the Lordaeron lake on time on the pretense that it had to be done. She didn't consider herself a hero, by any stretch of the imagination.
She continued grinding the herbs beneath the pestle.
She'd never been around quite so many people at once before. She'd always followed orders when they were given, but nobody seemed particularly keen on giving them. She had been knocked out several times before being told to stay clear of the local gnolls. And that fight at the top of the keep, where there had been gas which had required the immediate evacuation of the whole building.
When she thought back, she realised how little she'd been interacting with people. Why did it even matter to her? People had never helped her much befo--
She looked down into the mortar. The herbs had been ground into such a fine powder that little clouds of it were flying up every time she moved the pestle. She sighed, and picked up the hip-flask, letting one or two drops of water fall onto the powder. She ground a little more, turning the green powder into a gently fizzing red paste as the now aqueous chemicals in the herbs reacted with each other.
Gremkarc had been interesting to watch. He commanded like a leader, and yet he denied such a position. He'd only taken advantage of it when one of the pink-skinned elfs, who she had to admit she didn't entirely trust, had refused to eat the maggots which had cured them of the respiratory diseases which were almost definitely caused by the gas they'd breathed in. She blushed - she'd remembered they'd found a body, and Gremkarc had said they ought to burn it. She'd been asked to flame-shock it, only to have to admit that she only had control over the earth.
Ssyl, she remembered, had been interesting, as well. A blind Forsaken with the power of healing. She'd taken charge of making sure everybody had eaten the healing maggots after the troll with the odd accent had helped reveal such a thing. Ssyl was not at all unkind, although she seemed to get a little irritated at Ursala following her to find where the letter had directed her to in the first place.
There had been so many there with so much power. She was not curious as to how it felt, but she was a little annoyed that the gnolls didn't outsmart them within an instant and knock them out without a second thought. She had only ever fought boars and scorpids, and the odd raptor - she'd never fought gnolls before.
She picked up her spoon, and scraped the now-consistent red glop of paste into a now uncorked empty vial. She filled the rest of it up with water, re-corked it, and shook it.
So many of the people there were so stressed afterwards. She didn't understand it. She'd had patience and faith in the fact that a cure would reveal itself eventually as to the respiratory plague which kept them quarantined on the island. Others lacked that.
She looked at the earth totem she possesed, lying forlornly among the rest of her belongings.
She'd have to go and visit the shaman trainer in Orgrimmar tomorrow. Yes. That had to be done.
22nd April 2008Edit
Ursala was leaving Durotar for the first time today. She'd decided that this was something which had to be done. She'd asked around, and was generally advised that The Barrens was a good place to go next, and, when she'd asked them what sort of wildlife prevailed there, they had told her that there were even some boars, scorpids, and raptors. Though, they'd also warned her about some sort of zombie that said "lol". She'd decided to dismiss that as a rumour.
She'd yet to find any scorpids. She'd seen some raptors, though. Their talons and teeth were much bigger than normal. So were they, actually. She'd been healing herself so much and so often in the last few hours against these new raptors that the positive side of her nature magic was flowing more loosley.
And now she was lost. And had been. For several days.
The Barrens, it turned out, was very, very big. She'd thought Durotar was big, before now, but there were always different gullies and farmsteads and at least rocks to orientate oneself by. Here, there was just grass. Oh, and giraffes; which she'd heard about, but never seen before - but they moved.
She couldn't find any herbs. This was a very bad thing. After this length of time, she had used most of the peacebloom and silverleaf already, and she'd only found one or two plants of the stuff. She knew what it was - there was too much damn grass all over the place that the useful plants had been largely pushed out. What little moisture there was, was already being used up.
Her crystal had stopped working, too. She'd been told it was forged from angry souls from a town around here somewhere (which she'd failed to run into thus far) - maybe said souls had got so angry at being forced to return to their dying grounds that they refused to deliver messages any more.
Actually, now she thought about it, she was getting quite thirsty, too. She'd left the river earlier on this day - which day was it that she'd last been in Durotar? She'd forgotten - and, whilst she was used to the sun, that didn't help with the growing sense of dehydration.
She'd heard, before coming out here, that there were what the Tauren she had spoken to had called 'oases'. She wasn't sure if it was an Orcish word or a Taurahe one, but it was one she hadn't heard before - and when she had asked, he had told her that they were small pools of water surrounded by verdant green trees. So, she began looking for them. Squinting around the hazy horizon, she began scanning for green - but all she could see was the same, monotonous, orange - gently blending into desert mirage, then into orange-yellow sky, lit by the sun (whose light was being choked, evidently, by the ambient dust). So she carried on walking...
...until... she saw a glitter of jade on the horizon. "There we go," she muttered to herself. She started heading in that direction - eventually, the glitter grew into a shimmer, shimmer grew to gleam, and, as the Tauren had described, rich, thick palm-trees like those found most commonly in Orgrimmar marked the existance of an oase. Wait, what was the singular of oases?... Oase [oh-ay-see] would do for now.
She approached the trees casually. This was her mistake, in retrospect. The slight rustling alerted her to this as being such a mistake - her keen ears picked it up with ease, and she looked up. She wasn't naïve enough to ignore it, even if she did know that she was probably naïve enough not to be able to fight it if it was hostile.
A face appeared from between the trees. It looked sort of like a particularly ugly pink orc, with a brown ponytail. From the chin downwards, the brown beard turned into a fine fuzz, like that of the tauren.
As soon as it saw her, it growled harshly.
"Okay! Sorry! Leaving now!"
She turned and ran for it. Unfortunately, she could hear hooves behind her. The Tauren had never warned her about cavalry! She grabbed a look over her shoulder - from that glance, she managed to assert that it was some strange sort of pinkskin-horse hybrid, with the humanoid torso fused to a horse's body. It had a very big spear. And it was following her very quickly.
She tried to run faster, but she was running herself out of stamina. Sooner or later, she'd have to give up and try and fight it. She didn't want to have to do that - she was rather confident that this was an opportunity to die permanently, one which she didn't want to take. How did one even fight humanoids? She didn't have a clue in the Twisting Nether - she'd never had to, in the past. She was friendly with all the sentient and eloquent beings in Durotar - i.e., the orcs and trolls - and avoided the rest.
Without warning, a spear shot past her ear. She didn't squeal or scream (those two things were for pink-skins) - but she did trip up, the momentary distraction preventing her from sighting the tussock of grass-weed in her path. She tried to pick herself up, but the centaur wrenched his spear out of the dry, cracked earth, pinning her by the shirt to the ground. She heard another pattern of hooves behind her - she was fairly confident she was about to die.
A new sensation. She supposed this was what people called fear. But then...
"Barad hir algos," said a - to Ursala's surprise, fairly high-pitched and very definitely female - voice. It was the hoof-sound behind her. There was a slight patter as whatever it was behind her dismounted - obviously not another centaur, then.
Ursala tried to twist to see who or what it was, but this resulted in her captor roughly shaking the spear pinning her to the ground, knocking the spear-head into her shoulder and slicing it open. She ignored the pain - she was used to it by now, the wound was nothing worse than the ones she'd gained from fighting boars in the past - and instead focussed on listening.
The centaur didn't seem to want to talk, really. It kept grunting in something which sounded like an ugly genetic experiment between Low Common, Taurahe and Nerglish - the female which Ursala couldn't see said something in... Common, it was, in a smarmy tone of voice.
Ursala flinched. She could feel there was dark magic there. There was momentary anticipation whilst said magic was coalesced by its user as to which direction it would be flung... and then a shadowy bolt shot straight over her head and into the centaur's humanoid chest. Its grip on the spear loosened - Ursala wriggled free as the thing collapsed on its side.
"Ash vos thor?" "I speak Orcish." "Ah... I'lo veld ewiddan tiras waldir..."
Ursala cocked her head at the pink-skin. It was very, very short - about knee-height for Ursala. It... looked...
She blinked. It had deep, deep blue hair (black in any other light) in double ponytails, and blue eyes which left something to be desired in the "shining like crystals" department - like she, Ursala, did. It smelt slightly of demon, though, but in the way which her clothes smelt of bloodthistle after she'd been around Silvermoon, rather than the way which a bloodthistle smoker smelt.
The short pink-skin sighed a sigh. Its voice was not only high-pitched, but childish. "Dana ko goth." It made some odd gestures. Ursala stared for a few moments, wincing every now and again when the gash in her shoulder twinged. It made the gestures again, slowly.
"Oh... you want me to sit down..." Ursala knelt next to the small thing. It went into its pack. It wasn't in Ursala's nature to either trust or distrust this thing - but she would die out here if she carried on on her own, as she was already feeling dizzy from both blood loss and dehydration. Casting a healing spell wouldn't help with the dehydration part at all.
It pulled out a dully glowing purple band of cloth, bound around itself so many times that it formed a bandage. Ursala held still whilst this strange pink-skin wrapped it around her shoulder - the pain numbing itself, and the light-headedness granting itself leave.
"I lars lu ne bor," said the short pink-skin with the black bunchies. "Me faergas noth me ruff, melka."
It - she - backed off, and began casting the dark magic again. Ursala shuddered involuntarily as a large demon-horse appeared beneath the diminutive woman, rearing up.
It changed languages as it said "Mik ok grum goten, Orc." Then it charged off on its warhorse.
Ursala would always remember the symbol on the tabard. Blue tabard with blue symbol - a semi-circle with the curve at the top with two horns, and then four legs at the bottom, with a blocked-in circle in the middle of the semi-circle. There were some symbols which Ursala recognised as Draenic, too.
So she was left, slightly stunned, stood in the middle of a rapidly cooling desert with a (now swiftly fading, as it had finished its task) magical bandage on her shoulder, from an unknown being in a guild which she decided, from that moment in time, that something which had to be done was for her to find out more about it.
6th May 2008Edit
Ursala munched slowly on the fish she'd caught earlier, not worrying or bothering about the mess it was leaving on her face.. It tasted funny, and it was raw because she did not know how to cook (and, let's face it, flameshock is a rather crude method of cooking - such a method as which she refused to allow herself to lower to, as she wished to maintain some dignity at the very least), but she really didn't mind any longer. She was just rather hungry.
She'd been in the Barrens for... she'd lost count. She really had. She'd never been this lost before in her entire life, if only because she'd spent the rest of her entire life in Durotar doing things there which had to be done. Oh, except that one time she'd left on the call of the little red talking crystal - which was malfunctioning and had been doing so for over a week now, along with her hearthstone - to go and help solve some problems.
She'd hardly helped there anyway, only become a burden about half-way through; and she was now loathe to ever leave Durotar again - if she ever got back there, that was.
After finishing as much of the fish as she could, Ursala set the bones down gently on the floor and, scraping dry earth up from around herself, covered the bones with the earth. She reached a little further and plucked a blade of grass from a nearby tussock, and placed it in the mound of dust.
After shaking the little red communications crystal - you never know, it might have worked - Ursala stood, picking up her bag-belt (which she'd set on the ground beside herself), and, clipping said belt back around her waist whilst doing so, gazed around the horizon to check for imminent danger and/or help - though, hardly expecting either.
Though, she reasoned, company - or at least, excitement - would be welcome. Desert got very, very boring...
16th June 2008Edit
Ursala supposed she was nothing special. So, she pondered: what was she to do?
Nobody wished her to complete tasks within Durotar any more. They said it was talent wasted. But she was loathe to leave her homeland again, and so she didn't.
She didn't possess any special skill. She wasn't the best in the world at anything; she was not a great storyteller, nor a great singer, nor a great herbalist or alchemist. She struggled to kill anything bigger than a scorpid, and she was no great scholar - her intellect had served her to do so far what she had willed it to do; that is, collect plants and grind them into weak potions. She had learnt a little magic, and how to bind small wounds - but she wouldn't be saving anybody's life any time soon.
She pondered some more. Why had her mind brought this subject to the forefront of her consciousness once again, and again, and again? She shouldn't mind being mediocre; people were clambering for jobs in more dangerous places, and she was not following them like a blind swine.
She wondered whether she was destined to stay her life here, or if some great happening would eventually move her life on and out of Durotar. She wondered whether it mattered.
She looked at her tabard, lying on the shore beside her where she had taken it off to dry after her swim. She pondered as to whether she preferred creating stories, hearing them, or being in them.
She did not know why she pondered this, but she did.
23rd June 2008Edit
Ursala - who didn't have a surname, and never did - was sat on the ground near the bonfire when she heard a commotion. She looked up sharply, and saw the same gnome as before, wearing the same tabard as before (plus some overalls, plus a silly, pointy, but very Gnomish hat).
In her city.
Being axed in the back by several guards, as was the human mage (who was wearing the same tabard) accompanying her. The two were being beaten pretty badly; they died, and Ursala watched as the guards dispersed, then several people disregarded the two corpses. The corpses then slyly stood up a few minutes later, after their spirits had completed their runs back to their corpses - and began running back towards the fire.
The guards noticed. The situation repeated itself.
Ursala watched the by-now badly lacerated, and - apparantly - immune to pain, gnome eventually light a torch from the Orgrimmar bonfire, and then run away, followed suit by the human mage.
And several guards.
Ursala blinked her eyes slowly at the pair, then shrugged, then began contemplating the existence of Spirit Healers.
30th June 2008Edit
Ursala sat just in the water of the coast of one of the Echo Isles, looking out at her homeland.
She looked down at her tabard, which was clutched in her hands. In her mind, she super-imposed the blue tabard which the gnome and the human had both been wearing - they were virtually the same.
She then looked at her treaty pendant, which was glowing gently underneath her shirt. Its symbol was that of the Horde. She looked back down at her tabard, and of the tabard in her mind's eye - they were all one and the same.
This was the name for which she had been given, by the inhabitants of the small red communication crystal she carried, in correspondance to her description of the human and gnome's tabards - 'blue, with a symbol akin to that of the Horde'.
She would have to speak to Drauka.
3rd July 2008Edit
An orc looked up at the listless copper clouds lingering just before the horizon. It was going to be a monsoon rain tonight. The relentless downpour lingered still, ponderously just out of existence, with the space where it was about to exist being prepared for its arrival by the slight hint of tin on the still and heavy air.
This orc was glad. The plants in this barren homeland of hers needed it.
Ursala, who had never had a surname, sat cross-legged in front of her knee-height totem. This totem was built and carved, sculpted and born, from this shaman's carving knife and her loving hands. Most young shamans from this area of the world undertook a quest to earn theirs, sculpted by a master - but she refused such an offer, and learnt to make one herself. Through this she bonded with her totem, and could channel her healing magics more strongly through it.
Such healing magics as she had been practicing and practicing and practicing recently; so she could heal her kind, and their kindred, and the Earth itself through which she could contact the Ancestors to which her life was pinaccle.
Now she called the powers of the Lightning down about herself, their static and yet flowing energy circling her form - and the rains came, with the thunder and lightning and the utter relief the Earth expressed to her. Ursala felt the ecstacy of the Earth and all its plants course through her: and so she sang out into the storm, her voice quickly drowned - or absorbed? - by the rumbles of the chuckling sky.
And there was the rain, and the sky, and the earth, and the clouds, and the voice and the tears and the joy.
1st June 2009Edit
Click. Click. Click. Click. Clk. Clk. Ckl. Cklcklcklckl--fwoomph... crackle, crackle. Burn. Sigh.
She really ought to learn how to do that properly, Ursala mused to herself; she watched the funeral pyre for the fish she'd just caught dance (it was almost laughing at her). It had been almost a year since she'd last visited the shaman trainer, but she supposed apathy had gotten in her way - it always did.
She was almost ashamed to go back there now; it would be an insult to the honour of the trainer, and it would be humbling to her - perhaps too much so. Perhaps, she just ought to stay where she was and make her living as she was.
Did the world have enough heroes, yet?
15th June 2009Edit
Ursala held the child in one arm and administered the medicine with the other. The concoction had been mixed in with something sweeter this time; the previous three times, the child had spat it out, although Ursala was reluctant to alter the taste. The baby would need to get used to it - it was a three-day course.
She handed the tiny orc, who was now crying, back to his mother. "Mix it with the sugarcane if you must, but here is the medicine for the next three days." "A thousand blessings, Ursala. Our children would be dead ten times over were it not for you." "You flatter me unduly, sister. It is merely medicine. I am only the one who happens to be here to give it to you - it is a coincidence. If it were not me, it would be another." Ursala stated this matter-of-factly, whilst packing away her equipment - a pestle, mortar, and a box full of little bottles and small pots of finely ground powder - into her belt pouches; one box to each. "Shaman, that is not true. There was a time before you were here when we lost a child. Your help ensures that the tragedy doesn't reoccur... please accept our blessings."
Ursala hesitated, looking the lady in the eye. She was serious. "Okay." She stood, bowed deeply, and left the house without a word.
As she paced back down the path to the sheltered rockface she preferred to make her tent against, she remembered the last time the couple had nearly lost a child. The father was an adventurer, gone for three-quarters of the year with visiting the family during the seasonal festivals. The mother and her three pups - a girl, the eldest, pragmatic and down-to-earth as she; a boy, a mischeivous ten-year-old with a temper; and the baby, male - made a living as swine farmers. They had three small fields, the furthest (and largest) with one border defined by a sheer rockface with numerous caves pitted into its side, and another by the sea. These caves granted remission from both the midday sun and the very rare thunderstorms which sometimes, as Ursala saw it, graced the barren land with their rainwater - provided the person couldn't get back to the farmhouse.
It had been one of those thunderstorms (the first in months) which had been the last time that family had called Ursala down to their farm. The mother had been sent into a panic, sending a message to Ursala by the small red crystals they held for communication, when her son had not returned from herding the swine in. They had seen the stormclouds hovering on the horizon and sent him to get them, but he had not returned by the time the tempest had hit. Ursala had approached from the inland side of the farm, rain bouncing off her mostly uncovered head (hair was impractical and therefore to be mostly shaved) and shoulders. She declined the towel she was offered when she got to the house, and pointed towards the fields by the distressed woman. The mother would not go herself for fear of finding her cub dead. Ursala had stepped out into the storm in her place and strode stoically across the fields towards the caves, where she knew he must be once she saw he wasn't in the fields themselves.
Ursala knew something the mother didn't: that there were quilboar in these caves. Each pit was actually part of a wider tunnel system where they could move freely. She thought of this as she checked the entrance to each of the caves, looking for the boy and his pigs.
They were fairly near the end of the field, close to the sea, which was raging with the winds that whipped around the landscape. The boy was huddled with their herd of about twenty swine inside one of the deeper caves. He had looked up at Ursala with terror in his eyes as she approached him before realising who she was.
"Hi." "Hello. Let us take you home." "Okay... I'm sorry, I was scared..." "Do not apologise. Learn."
Ursala helped the child stand and watched the back of the cave as he persuaded the animals out into the rainstorm - and spotted the movement just in time.
"Cub, hold still." The boy froze. The pigs snorted. Ursala glared to the back of the cave and slowly pulled something out of a belt-loop - a totem. She concentrated and brought the end to life with a small fire, functioning it as a torch.
The face of a quilboar came into focus, frighteningly close. Ursala was ready for it; the boy wasn't, and he squealed loudly. It began preparing an encantation, which Ursala put a stop to as soon as it started with a quick Earthshock. Wading through the writhing herd now panicking of pigs, she drew her mace from her belt and raised it high above her head. "Take the pigs back to the house," she instructed - calmly but firmly, over the chaos. There was a crack, then a thud - the quilboar crumpled to the ground, its head bleeding a little, as the orc cub fled with the swine into the field and rain. Ursala walked out after them.
She followed him back to the house, helped him pen the boars, reunited him with his mother, and left whilst she was still fussing over him. At the time, understanding the mother's irrational actions had not been important - it still confused Ursala, mind, as she was used to orcs being very down-to-earth. That family was by far among the more difficult to keep track of within the Valley, it had to be said, but it was part of the job - and, although nobody had told her to do this, and as much as she hated to admit it, it was important to her. It was just all these little jobs which needed to be done that weren't particularly heroic or great, that wouldn't be told for generations after, but that wouldn't be forgotten all the same.
As Gremkarc had said, somebody had to protect the home front.
25th October 2009Edit
((Some of these things are expressed in a way which Ursala would not be capable of. This is how her thoughts run.))
I did not fall asleep that night until I was on the top of the mountain beside the Shrine of the Dormant Flame, my back on the soil and my face to the thousand stars - fading one by one as the sun rose in the east.
And even as my mind slipped the reigns of my conscience and ran free into dream, the anger would not leave. It was not all mine, and it was not all from the fire - it was difficult to tell in which proportions each were, as they mixed and distorted under my grasp. An elemental stalked my dreams, or two - figments of my own imagination, nothing more, but significant ones. Indicators of what was important.
Then, as I was watching, I felt a burning on my back and in my feet, and in my heart. I was very much lucid of what was imaginary and what wasn't - and this was real. Join the dance, Ursala. And the fires were dancing - but as I took two steps forwards to join them, I woke.
The arid wind was whipping the Shrine as I sat, but the heat I felt was from within. Echoes of the element's words rang in my head as I stood - and fell, onto my knees, before standing again. I stared at the sky. The sun had been up for about an hour, but it was still low enough that the heat-haze shifted it before my eyes.
Join the dance.
And as I set off down the mountain towards the new day, I resolved to take the Fire's advice.
2nd November 2009Edit
Ursala did not feel well, today. She had expected not to feel well - but she had expected a fever, not... well... this. Although she did have a temperature, the most predominant fetures of this illness were her headache, thirst, fatigue and lack of concentration.
Understandably, this made treating the illness difficult. She struggled to concoct even the most basic of remedies in this state, but she had nobody to ask for help, so she had to do it regardless of whether it was easy or not. She knew that whatever temporarily threatened her wellbeing was not also life-threatening, so lack of any (admittedly, foul-tasting) remedy only meant that recovery would take longer, not that it wouldn't happen at all. She understood that she could not ask the elements for their help with this, although she did not understand why.
She did understand one thing for sure: she really, really should not have cast that spell...
18th December 2009Edit
The sharp powder nibbled at her forearms - which were entrenched in the stuff - but she ignored it. At the moment, Ursala had something more important than listening to her body's complaints about the cold. She thrust her arms deeper into the snowdrift, up to her elbows by now.
"Please..." she muttered, under her breath.
And when she was up to her shoulders in snow, almost lying down, there it was. Just at the very tips of her fingers, and very cold - but Earth was there, reassuring and steady. She grasped a pebble between forefinger and thumb and widthdrew her arms.
She shivered, but grinned - staring at the pebble. The pebble was cold, and frozen, but it was definitely earth. She'd had trouble finding it in the last few days, because everything was frozen here. Rocks coated in water. Normally, water was easy enough to work with and through, but here... what Ursala found difficult about Water was the amount of change it went through on a rapid basis, and the fact that this was frozen ought to have stopped the disconcertation. Only, there was something wrong. She'd seen it in the eyes of the elemental they met the other night. And she couldn't place it, but it made her hate.
She mustn't let that get a hold of her, she knew. Her job was not to be consumed. The hatred scared her, but she understood this as being a method of communcation from things beyond her comprehensio--
Something cold and wet on the back of her uncovered head made her jump. She spun around, standing and adopting an unpracticed defensive stance as she did so; relaxed, though, when she saw that it was just wolf and his nose. Dogtooth, was the name he was registered with, but Ursala nearly never called him that. She didn't need to have a name for him.
She tilted her head. He nudged the snow, then her hand. She grunted.
She made a slight gesture with her hand. Dogtooth gave her a look that was the wolf equivalent of a shrug, then padded back down the small hill to Everlook.
Still with the cold pebble in her curled-up fist, she looked at the goblin settlement. She could only see some of it from here - she was quite close - but she could see some of the Daggers, in their distinctive tabards.
The wind nudged her. She realised how much she was shivering. She'd probably better go inside.
20th December 2009Edit
She lay atop the mountain and smiled. Her back was on the ground, again - the Earth beneath her a firm, reassuring presence. It steadied her, making her sure of herself: confident, but not overly so, of her traits and abilities; her strengths and weaknesses; her firm points and her fractures. It humbled her, letting her see how small she was, but at the same time how much of a difference a small thing could make. How reassuring it was to know that mortal nuances meant very little, in the end.
She needed this. She needed it if she was going to get through tomorrow. Her new gift - Farsight - wouldn't help her with orphans. She did not get on with pups, but she did not want to upset Gremkarc. Even though she agreed with Watrus. She had seen the outfits, and they were demoralising. Demeaning.
It didn't matter. Patience.
Farsight... what she had done today was play with perception. It was unable to truly speak. The words had come from her lips, and her voice. This was as it was in her Ghost Wolf, only as her lips and voice were taken from her in that form (proficient though she was in it), she was left unable to speak as an orc. Maybe, with Air, with Wind, she would be able to project her thoughts through media other than sound, but--
Things would change. In time. Now, she would sleep.
30th December 2009Edit
I fell asleep there whilst the others talked. One request reached my idling mind.
"It has been a long time since I slept. Tell me a dream."
And I told her a dream...
Once. Once, there was a land.
And the land was bright, and as a land ought to be.
There was balance.
Things came and went. Beings lived and died.
And the Earthgiven were upon this land. They lived and died as the others did, but they - without knowing - maintained the balance.
Once. Once, a man came to the land.
And the man brought with him a thing.
He told the Earthgiven that this thing would stop them from passing on into death.
And as it gave the Earthgiven great pain to see their kin pass on, they told the man that they would use his thing.
And so they did.
And the Earthgiven ceased to die. And so, balance was disrupted.
The land was in great pain because of this. It tried to maintain the balance by taking the lives of the native creatures in place of those of the Earthgiven. There was little food. There was much anquish. The skies were darkening.
And it was an Earthgiven who went to the man. And he brought the other Earthgiven.
The Earthgiven told the man that they now understood.
And the man told the Earthgiven that he had taught them all he could.
And the Earthgiven gave the man his thing.
And the man took it, and left - as all things are wont to do.
Once. Once, balance was restored.
And the Earthgiven began to die, and there was much sadness.
But they accepted this, as there was one thing that the man had taught them.
And this was that sadness, and happiness, were a part of the balance as well - as much as coming and going, and as much as life and death.
...and I was told that she remembered how it was to live.
This was all.
2nd January 2010Edit
It was, in fact, not Harg who came with me. It was Cerk and Naudiz. We approached the Scarlet Monastery without further ado. I informed Cerk of my extra orders - to show, I had been told, brutality towards the enemies of the Horde - and he simply said that I ought to ask if I had any questions. He knew well enough that communcation through the language of violence was not my strong point. Although I could understand it well enough, I knew not its full vocabulary.
Naudiz found the silence awkward. I had forgotten that she could not hear me talking to Cerk.
We fought our way through the outer vestibules. Or, at least, Cerk and Naudiz fought their way through. I would have healed their wounds as they appeared, but they failed to do so. They were overpowering. They had been to Northrend; they had stood there and faced down the might of the Scourge in the crucible of the world. A place these Scarlets could only dream of travelling, be those dreams or nightmares. A place in which I, too, could only wish I was strong enough to support the Horde.
"Are... you being sarcastic, Naudiz?"
"Yes. Yes, I am."
It was after this that we came to the torture room. It was dark, and so it wasn't until I approached the stretching rack that I could tell what was making the smell - a still Forsaken man. He had been motionless for more than a day, dead for the second time. As I looked around, I realised what this room was designed for.
My thoughts were interrupted, however.
"Tell me... tell me everything!"
The words of a crazed fanatic. How he knew Orcish, only the Spirits knew. No matter: he wouldn't be speaking it for very much longer.
Naudiz fought with fervour. It was not long before her axe's edge found his neck. We did not bother to check his name - only to relieve his corpse of its weaponry. His replacement would arrive in a week, Cerk said.
I did not know how the instruments in the room worked. Sharp edges and ropes and straps and blocks and cold hard iron stuck out at odd angles and incidences that made very little sense to my unmechanical mind. Naudiz said that she knew, though. Was part of her training. Training for what?
That, she could not answer. Cerk had to say it.
"Befo' Light's Hope."
I realised the mistake I had made in pushing it, and dropped the subject.
We made our way through the torture chambers to the graveyard; there were no survivors. Ghosts posed no problems to Cerk's chained lightning. There was an open catacomb.
"If there is a necromancer down there," I said, "I would very much like to kill him myself. Would that be sufficient brutality for Chieftain?" The title replaced his name. It was not in addition to it. Gremkarc and Chieftain were two separate people.
Corpses fell to blade and Fire, but there was a special one. At the bottom of the catacomb, there was one with a dress on.
I put on my shield. I called Earth to my hand, and it arrived. It would let me use it as a weapon for this especially. With a silly grin on my face, I turned to the skeletal magician - be he necromancer or no, he had an air of authority about him that only boded badly.
I charged, and was surprised when my attacks amounted to more than wild flailing. Earth guided my right fist to the right places, and prevented my knuckles from taking damage on the skeleton's harsh bones. They broke, and he began to crumble. He was a spellcaster, his hissed words bringing arcane fire onto me - I was taking hits, but Cerk was healing them as fast as they were dealt. I could barely feel Naudiz' blue stare.
He was not dying. He had to die. I remembered the room, and the Forsaken there, and Naudiz. What the Scarlets here would do to Naudiz if they caught her. I knew how to call anger to my heart if the situation called for it, and I focussed it now into a slam. It was almost an Earthshock, reinforced as it was by my primary element as it was, but not quite - with a grunt, I had launched myself forwards. Head first, of course. My skull had connected with his sternum, shattering it along with his collarbones. This had caused his skull to fall from its precariously balanced position atop his shoulders. Skeletons don't work if you break them apart enough. His head smashed as it hit the ground.
He carried an orb, and shoulder armour. We took them both.
And we took time to destroy the torture room. Cerk said, once again, that it would only be a week before it would be repaired; I couldn't leave these horrible instruments in existence, regardless. Naudiz made good use of her axe. Cerk called Fire to help. We left nothing in tact.
A lesser being, I considered, would have kept the Scarlets alive and killed them with their own devices.
I hope this is the brutality that you wanted, Chieftain - because I have no more to give.
5th January 2010Edit
As it was, it felt to Ursala Earthwielder as though she were fleeing. Perhaps she was, from whatever was happening to Durotar. She would not wish to travel back there before she followed Gremkarc's advice and journeyed to the Wetlands. However, she had been sure that today - Wednesday - was the day she would travel.
Now, she knew she had been wrong.
It was not often that her first intuition was later contradicted. There were to be exceptions to every rule, and this was one of them. They were two ingredients away from having the cure finished. The choice the spirit wolf had spoken of was made: she wanted to see her clan well again before she left. Two sergeants, the Chieftain and goodness knows how many grunts... Spirits, the Den Mother's fury would be legendary if they were allowed to die. Watrus' indication of life had been reassuring, but brief. They still weren't sure how much time they had.
She could not stand to not know whether or not they made it through. She had to see this to the end. She could not bear the idea of coming back to Durotar after months of being alone with the wilderness in a new land only to find that not only was something still wrong with Earth, but that half of the clan - and half of the people she reluctantly cared for - were passed on.
She knew that such was life, and that life was balance. Thus, she knew that such was balance. She knew that she ought to be able to take such things in her stride with the knowledge that, as things die and break, new things are born and made. But in the same way, things heal and things hurt. And peace is taken... as fights are given.
Ursala remembered that she was an orc as well as a shaman. And she was aware of the mistake, for it was a mistake. She was going to have to fight for this.
9th January 2010 to 12th February 2010Edit
14th February 2010Edit
In her dreams, Earthwielder's fury smouldered at the back like a bonfire which had not properly been extinguished.
An Apothecary warlock had been sent, or had come, to Durotar. The reasons mattered not; because he had proceeded to lay not only the insult to the Elements of keeping a demon by his side, but the very tangible insult of calling two orc shamans demonspawn. Ursala had been one of them. It had ignited a rage in her she thought not possible. It had taken the sheer bright anger of four shamans to finally drive him and his obnoxious manner out of the Orc homeland.
And today, as well as that, she had learnt that Duskmantle was responsible for the disease that had given her the sore joints that had stopped her from being able to combat that Paladin properly. That had not only delayed the beginning of her journey, but had also interrupted it so rudely.
And it wasn't just that he was responsible for causing grave inconvenience to her person. The disease had nearly taken the Clan. Her Clan. The only one she had ever known. And she had seen this today - this development was driving her Chieftain up the wall. She had seen it too late, of course. She had already laid her own problems upon the man's shoulders. But what was done was done: and if Duskmantle had not been so selfish, perhaps Gremkarc would not have been so troubled.
He didn't need this. She didn't need this. Nobody needed it.
Nobody except the Apothecary, to their own twisted ends. The audacious broadcasts on the Buzzbox only showed this further, and pissed on the wounds.
And, in her sleep, Ursala's fists clenched. This would not do.
15th February 2010Edit
Wrap arms around the sturdy tree trunk. Legs, too; inch up it, slice by slice, higher and further until leaves brush your head. Though your arms hurt and your legs burn, do not let go. Do not borrow Earth's strength. Reach with one arm, leaving the other shaking against the bark, to take a pouch from the belt and rest it between the teeth. Rest for a while with it there, clinging to the high branch for what you're worth, then begin to take dry seeds from Durotar tree.
Put them in the bag, and let yourself fall.
Rub the bruises on your back. Stand, wobble, and tumble. There is a hipflask on your belt; drink from it for a short while. Stand again on trembling legs. Curse again on your birth. Walk, slowly, to the river. Fill the hipflask.
Do as before: find a place where there is nothing growing in the Earth. Take from your belt the small blunt knife and scratch a hole in the dust. Use the water to make it easier. Spend time. It needs to be a fist deep. Then, place a seed. Cover it with the Earth, and put more water there.
Say the words.
There are more seeds, and more to be done. Soon, you should go and wake Gulgrim. You did not sleep enough, and the sun is rising soon, but you have already broken a promise. You would return and pretend to have been sleeping, only there have already been too many lies.
Return to Razor Hill with seeds still in your bag. He is a shaman too, and he, too, asked much of the Elements. He, too, needs to make repayment.
Shake his shoulder gently, and hope today goes better.
24th February 2010 onwardsEdit
1st November 2010Edit
I woke with a start.
This was unusual. Even here in Netherstorm, I would normally be gently roused by the crashes and splits of the unnatural lightning striking the outside of the biodome, or by the disconcerting breeze which inexplicably blew through them. Today I was shoved violently out of my dreams as though pushed from the top of a zeppelin tower. The landing hurt just as much.
I tried to remember my dream, but the details faded like quicksand through my fingers. Not anger any more - no. Not anger. Raw passion. A nagging sense of familiarity, as though I'd had the dream before, although I knew that I hadn't. And no more scales. It was skin now - pulsing, sickly, veiny, sticky, ugly skin. I tried to focus on details such as what colour the skin had been, whether it had shown any details, even whether the entity to which it belonged was humanoid or not - but I could not.
I shook my head and yawned, stretching. Harg was beside me, fast asleep. The sun was no use here, so I looked at my buzzbox's base unit to see the time - it was late evening. Time was funny here in Netherstorm. Without the sun or moon to guide onesself by, one could go all day and then some without noticing the time pass. Perhaps somebody was about on the buzzbox channel?
I fitted the earpiece into my ear and turned it on, then immediately pulled it out again, letting it dangle from the base unit. There was shouting. If I had not been much mistaken, it was my mate's voice. I could hear the tinned voices squirting out of the earpiece even from this distance - arguing about something. I swallowed, turned the volume down on the base unit, and listened in.
Slowly, I paled. I turned the buzzbox back off.
Something was wrong.