And now we come to 2014 🙂 I’ve posted quite a few shorter excerpts from Shard, but I thought I’d post some from my World of Warcraft fanfiction, The Healer’s Curse, which I wrote on my 50k Day One (so the whole thing is a bit wordy). These are the only parts that will ever see the light of day, so feel privileged! Bit of background for those of you who don’t play WoW: Edethra (on the cover) is a troll restoration druid (healer). Death knights are people from all races who died, were raised to life and enslaved by the Lich King, and who then rebelled against him. They are not popular in the lore, however, since they did play a big part in killing thousands of innocent people before they broke free from the Lich King’s hold. Blood elves = high elves who were corrupted by arcane magic and who still use it but don’t let it control them (oversimplified explanation, but oh well). Durotar = desert land where the orcs, tauren, and trolls come from. Orgrimmar = capital city of Durotar. Vol’jin = leader of the trolls and the one who eventually overthrows the orc warchief. Pandaria = the misty, hidden continent where the previous expansion took place.
“In the meantime, we need to find you a good horse. Come with me. Can you ride?”
“I can ride raptors, so I imagine riding a horse will much easier,” Edethra replied.
He could not help laughing at that one. “Yes, the raptors. Mangy little beats, are they not? Yet one does grow to love them. In any case, yes, a horse is much easier to ride, or at least it was for me. Some trolls find the sudden calm unsettling. Then again, a horse is a good, intelligent creature. You can trust them while you are riding; if they do not want to go forward, it is a bad idea to make them go forward, because more likely than not there is a threat lying in wait for you that the horse can sense.”
“Always listen to the horse,” Edethra summed up. “I will remember. I have heard that they are highly intelligent, but the only horse I ever really saw was Kilthael’s hellfire steed, and he was too terrifying for me to get to know.”
“One of my friends. He is a death knight.”
He raised an eyebrow. “You are friends with a blood elf death knight? How curious. Although I have heard that I that you druids have a particular affinity for them. Why is that?”
“I think it is because they are a manifestation of nature, just we are. Death is natural, after all, is it not? Why should we be afraid of it? So I think we druids have an affinity for them because just as we demonstrate what nature is like and how she thinks and acts and does, so do they. In any case, they were once people, just like all of us. It is not their fault that they were forced into submission by the Lich King. And I know that there are still many who serve him, but almost none who have had the chance of leaving his service have stayed with him. Is that not true?”
“Yes, you do bring up a good point. But still, I am not sure I could ever really be friends with one.”
Edethra smiled knowingly. “Then you do not know what you are missing. There is much to be learned from those who have been dead and who have lived to tell the tale.”
Finally she took a deep breath and, gathering the reigns, she urged the yak forward, and it made its way down the golden red slope toward the village she had adored so much once in her youth. As she neared the village, she could tell even from a distance that they noticed her, and continued to notice her. Some children had been playing outside the spiked fences of the main gate, and they stopped to stare at her wide eyed. Several adult trolls and one orc had been having a somewhat heated conversation by the guard post, and they, too, stopped what they were doing and turned to look at her. No one seemed hostile, but all seemed curious and in wonder.
Edethra rode to the small stables just inside the main gate, where several raptors were tied up. When they saw the yak they strained at their leashed like wild dogs, yapping and growling, snapping their drooling jaws at the animal. The yak, however, who was at least twice their size, merely stared at them with half closed eyes and made little snorting noises. Edethra dismounted and went to the stable hand.
“Excuse me,” she said, and the troll stared at her for a moment before replying. She knew her accent was greatly changed from the usual troll accent; she had been in many places and spoken to many different kinds of people, different races, even those in the Alliance, and one cannot experience so great a variety without being affected by it in some way.
“Hello there, mon,” the troll finally responded. What can I do for ya?”
“I need to keep the yak here for now, until I know what my plans are. Do you know how to take care of these?”
“Aye, mon. I jus’ came back from Pandaria myself. I can care for him, ya.”
“You?” she asked in surprise, and with an unexpected sense of relief. This bothered her a little; after all, Sen’jin was her home. She should feel relief just to be back here. Shouldn’t she?
Aye mon. Dey sent me over der to do some fightin’ but I wasn’t much good at it, so here I am.”
“I see. Well thank you, then. Can you tell me where Vol’jin is? I understand I am meant to meet him.”
“Certainly mon. But don’ be spreadin’ it ‘round that he’s here. Some of dese orcs shouldn’t know too much, if ya catch my drift.”
Edethra frowned at him and for a brief moment they exchanged a mutual glance of understanding and shared knowledge. Trouble was brewing. Even if Sen’jin remained peaceful, Edethra had passed through Razor Hill to get here, and the unrest there and in Orgrimmar, not to mention in Pandaria, was not only tangible, but obvious and out in the open. They had to be careful now. Edethra nodded and followed the way he pointed, but walked slowly so that the few orcs standing around would not notice anything odd about her behavior. They did take note of her, but in the same way that the trolls did, and they seemed more in admiration than anything else, staring at her armor and especially at her staff with the strange, swirling mist it carried with it. She ignored them, however, her opinion of them tainted heavily at the moment by things she knew had nothing to do with them. Nevertheless, she walked past at her leisure, looking around at everything.
She did notice with some interest that she was not the only returned warrior here. Several others stood around – and not only healers like her, but of all classes and specialties. Warriors, paladins, hunters, rogues. There were not many, perhaps twenty or so that she could see, and they stood in shadowed areas. Some wore armor, and some wore tunics and leather that were still out of place, being in the style of Pandaria and certainly not of Durotar or, indeed, any country whether in the Eastern Kingdoms or Kalimdor. As she walked past they nodded at her in acknowledgement, and some seemed to recognize her and gave a little bow. She acknowledged each of them in turn, and finally came to the little hut where Vol’jin was apparently staying in concealment.