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A testament frozen in time.... from Ra'rhuk's blog

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In my death.... there was a life that mattered.


Breath… it comes easily for the living. Yes, at times it is a struggle, yet given time and effort, eventually breath comes to fill the lungs. In the course of the current of life it ushers forth in one's blood to replenish what had been lost. It is not of conscious thought that the living breathe, but of reflex, an instinctual need. In a desperate attempt of survival there is simply an urgent need to, a desire to, a passion that drives us against all resistance to take... that... breath. Breath eventually comes again, or the living die....


The first memories I have of my life are that of my mother’s face. Not the subtle soft youthful beauty, but the wizened risen scar that the back side of my father Zor'atus's bow had made in it’s stead. That act had etched a hard line across her high, and proud cheek bone. Her tresses were like the spun silver of spider silk, shrouding her face in shimmering veil, giving her the nickname Krena the white. The shades of blue of her skin were of glacial lake ice, yet softer some how with warmth behind the confines of flesh. Her eyes were cloud covered grey softness in tone, and the feeling of coarse strength of will in the callouses of her hands. That scar that my hand stroked over countless times in a childhood fondness that would never fade, had been in my mind that day. That scar upon her features was a sign to me, that no matter what gouge this war caused on my frame it was to erase that scar, all scars, to bring back peace and prosperity. Not only for her to prosper, my father, and what was left of my siblings, our people, our tribe, our empire, our hearts and souls lay with the loa to see us through. Many of our warriors on the front lines had such romanticizing visions of fondness of our families, our homeland, to get us through those darker days, to have something to dream of, to hold onto to give us the semblance of hope.


There was numerous debates amongst us, great divides amongst the people, yet commonality within our course. As with all nations, might had made right, and the corruption was an infestation that went all the way to the highest sources. This illness was tainting all sense of trust, in every class. There was political intrigue, just as there was power hungry individuals, greed, and brutality. So as our warriors bled out onto the snow, while, they, the ones in power were the only ones profiting. Our personal fights were fruitless, pointless, in the coming shadow that cast it's intent in our direction. We all were very young, foolhardy, and blinded by the propaganda. Betrayal… There was betrayal on all sides, within, and without. Homes were divided, we argued more amongst ourselves, than with those in Gun'drak proper that were continuously making laws to suit their own instant gratifications, and to fulfill their greed filled desires. Vaguely we warriors were made aware of the depths of corruption that drove our marches to their whims, to their own profits, and gains, be it of rank, or that of a ill winded intent, that our marching feet and drums sounded. As we in our mind were blinded to our own ambitions, either for glory, family, or to avoid the famines that struck our sanctioned quarters.


Costs were soaring, not only in the numbers that fell to the way side erased by many means, but in gold. No one could afford enough winter wheat, or water poppies to make bread. Our crops in Drak'sotra began failing when the blights, and the plagues began, as rats became more numerous. The other wild life began to flee the surrounding regions, these beasts in which we fed our family’s with. Farther, and then later even farther were we driven to be invading distant reaches to hunt, just to survive. The rich surrounded by the idols donned in gold, growing in their wealth at our workers expense, the pyres burnt in their honor and glory, as their people declined into ruins. In the capital they only gave the youths of our generation one option to provide for our families to fight the oncoming dark. Whispers of ill cast omens were spread as rampant as the illnesses themselves, the priests and prophets, began to regulate and dictate when the old gods and loas could be worshiped, how, and when, to the point the temples too were practically withheld from the general populace guarded by hostile guards. The discord ran rampant, as did growing fears. Those fears amongst the populace rose from speaking one's mind out against those in power to the point of abundance that whispers, that even the loa themselves could not sort out the prayers.


I was seven seasons old when I first left home to train, only to come back periodically during my education. In my mind at that time I would do my family and ancestors proud. I already knew my stances from watching my older brother’s, from learning from my father how to survive as a head hunter, as well as to how negotiate politics and the warrior code from my esteemed uncle. I was more apt with a sword, and with my brother Zor'din at my side his specialty was axes I felt confident in my stride to face anything. As I grew, so did my aptitude, as well as did my capabilities to defend what was ours. We were in a place of high rank because of my father’s status, and because of other high ranking influences within our extended family. We had everything, the best armor, weapons, food, women, but we were not completely blind to the suffering around us. We trained, we raided, we were rewarded in praise and more, for most of our lives. Arrogant, brutal, strong, and always vibrant in our lives.


Over time, as I returned home my mother’s voice told me I was farther from her then I had ever been. My brother’s and my mind had became militant, and the political intrigue our people carried was not ours. We could not see things as my father did, he seemed ruled in fear of what others in higher ranks may think, while we in our youth feared nothing. Our solutions were simple, and no longer held the compass of the heart that those at home had. Tales of honor, tales of glory, our voices sang out in triumph, as we defeated foe after foe. We were only blinded by the fact that winning battles, did not win wars. However, we were soon upon the battle fields covered in our own people’s blood before we could blink. Within our leadership there was betrayal, behind their spoken fealty, our loyal guardians were selling out their own. Our enemies had multiplied, as our numbers had dwindled. Our battle cries were cut short too soon…


Zor'din and I were eventually sent one of our younger brother’s by the name of Kor'akk to look after… A strange one, too imaginative, too confident, and cocky for his own good. As we all were… as we all were once. Since he was to be in our regimented unit, we had gave him all kind of hell, worse then we would with any other new inductee. He did well, for being too young. They all were coming into the ranks younger and younger, being rushed through their training, as it was getting worse, the losses were becoming too heavy. We had our laughter, we had our stories, we had a past that was given to us that we continued onward with retelling it to him to occupy the mind in those darker nights. We were well seasoned by this time, nineteen, or twenty winters, and having the scars, and the mentality to prove it. While our younger brother was sheltered, favored by both parents that coddled him from reality. He was skilled, but the reality was not yet present in his eyes. The reality we all were going to die. By this time Zor'din and I knew it, we had seen it, and may have even brushed against the spirits themselves a few times, just close enough to hear the whispers of fate… but the least we could do was to give the youth enough tools to survive on his own while we had the time. We looked after each other as it had been taught, as it had been in our nature. We were family, we were brothers in arms, and by blood.


As our lives and long marches drew us onward we had lost many friends, fellow warriors, relatives, priests, and prophets, gods, and home. We were soon to become a lost nation forever buried under the snow, we felt the doom descending upon us. We just did not know what manifestation it would take, and how individually personal it would become for each and every one of us. That these moments together would not only tie us all together in the pages of history, but to erase us as we knew ourselves as well. What we knew, what we felt, what ambitions, and desires we had from life would be twisted and ripped from our grasps. Rations were becoming scarcer, our meals consisting of stewed rat flesh, replacement gear was taken off the dead, and here they were sending boys into the fray, mere children. We, the keepers of the dead world were to take on watch over these innocent souls that couldn’t even carry their own weight in gear. Some died of starvation on our marches, some fell ill and were to be burned by our torches out of mercy when we could afford to spare it. We carried on, carried on as the world crumbled under the Scourge, the plague, the blights, the nerubian, and our very own people.


The aqueducts were broken, the paint faded on the etched stone walling, the war drums silent, the paved roads our ancestors built cracked, and yet my father could still find reason to gamble at the amphitheater. He too was a broken male, every time we saw him he was worse, every time we went home there was less home, to come home to. So, we did not frequent our returns as much, as the reception home was becoming hollow. We, including our young brother, stayed away for longer periods of time. The debates at the hut had turned ugly, and I could no longer view my father as a honorable male. Although, I knew it was breaking my mother’s heart, I could not stay in his presence lest I shed his blood. I could not do that her, or any other part of my family that stayed there, while there was so little time left. That urgency was strong, so strong we warrior sons knew the end was coming, that little hope remained and, yet, our warnings fell short of touching their hearts. They could not see as we were seeing, and no matter what, they held on hope. Even though both of us, Zor'din and I tried to convince them to make the exodus with the others as the Zandalari had offered, in the end this was their home, as it was ours. They could not leave the only world, and the way of life they had ever known.... in our way neither could we.


So the day came, as if in a cold rising crescendo...


We awoke with that sensation on the frost laden air, as if the trees with their cold branches shuddered out our coming doom, before our march even began.We entered a village, much like many we had came across on the border lands. The smoke, the cries of anguish that my soul had become numb to as the females, children, and elderly infirm wept, sick in their huts. They posed a great threat to the privileged that hid away in their estates. We were to purge the village with fire, that merely was our objective when we came across infestations. It was simple, something that one did not over think, as they were orders that were to be followed. Given the order, Zor'din and the others set off to do just that, to gather what valuables there were, and to set the rest on fire. I too was about to depart, when young Kor'akk grabbed my arm and began to argue with me, pleading with me not to do this to the women and children that were merely awaiting their warriors to come home to defend them. Hysterical and at every angle he had tried to win me over to see his reasoning. Those very same angles my own heart had once argued the first time I saw how horrific it was to murder my own people. I tried to justify it, as it had been justified to me that it was necessary, or the illness would spread. As soon as the words were leaving my mouth, I knew how defeated, and in ruin all our worlds had become. Our dignity, our codes all had been stripped from us during this long course, we were as barbaric as the world would see us. It was his eyes that moved me to recall my own turmoil, the way he looked to me with so much trust on the line, the type of trust only a child would carry.


As we argued in a heated debate, my words stern while my young sibling pleaded with all the desperation there was in his short life, when the smoke began to flow from the smoldering huts that would soon engulf in flames. The scent was strong of the dried grass, and hide covered huts, that gave the cold air a pungent and, yet, at the same time a sweet smell, much like the incense burning at the temples. A cleansing fire, one that would ease the worries of the high ranking, and return the discarded belongings to the temple grounds. The smoke eased a slow waltz towards the overcast sky. A light flurry of snow seemed to embrace and guide the rising smoke upward towards the break in the clouds. While the snow flakes themselves began their caressing dance of brilliant white against the landscape of muted reds. For a moment, all was silent, the weeping melded into the sound of lapping flames becoming one sound, as the foot falls of our fellow warriors were just dull vibrations that rumbled on the ground. Standing there all I could see was my young brother's face. In his eyes danced the reflection of the flame engulfed huts while staring into my very soul to do something, to do anything, to stop this chaos from unfolding....


One of the members in our mob regiment shouted breaking me out of that stagnant moment of silence, with two words. “ Plague bringer!”


The announcement of the shambling dead, with festering boils and rot, that could infect on contact. Another shout of a dire, and then came the filing in of other ghouls, but we had not expected the shock troops as well.....


The village had been almost decimated before our regiments arrival, the Scourge should have been long departed. Instead, we had brought them back with the fires the regiment had lit. In essence the Scourge had been waiting for us in ambush, awaiting for the arrival of the warriors to come to protect their families. I heard my brother Zor'din’s battle cry amongst the sudden outburst of chaos and sounds. That sound of his roar so familiar, I would recognize it anywhere. Soon his cry was followed by the clashing of steel upon steel, as I knew the sound of his weapon as well as my own, I would not leave him to defend himself alone in that oncoming wave. Yet, I left young Kor'akk alone, standing there in shroud of smoke, cold, and possibly to his own death….Kor’akk had been in battles before this day, but nothing as this.


I should have never left him standing out in the open alone. He had reeked of fear, and that would have been a magnet to our foe. Yet, I had ran to fight this Scourge, to join my other brother in his plight, as we had done together many times before. Zor'din was as seasoned as I was, he could handle his own, yet with this oncoming tide of Scourge, my instincts were to have my brother's back as we had been trained as we had lived all these years side by side. As Zor’din fought he had made a fatal mistake, knocking off the helm of what he battled revealed the most heart stopping sight we had laid eyes on….I stopped short in my trek towards the on going struggle, staring at what was before me. In all that time of fighting, of battles, I had not tasted fear so strongly in the back of my mouth as I had in that moment.


Suddenly I was overcome with the memory of vibrant paint upon the etched pillars in blue, purple, green, burgundy, gold, the capital stone walks were littered talandra’s rose petals untouched by the ways of warring. Triumphant roars, a dowry of raptors, of gold bijou coins, song, drums, and the gong tolling the hour the champion of Har'koa took my aunt as a mate, and I had witnessed it. I had been a part of the ritual, the revelry, the feast, the moment. We had a place at the table as my uncle proclaimed he would honor my father in providing his remaining sons, Zor'din and I, the best in education, as well as in all other matters. He respected us, he found a place in his home for all of us as if we were his own sons. He spoke of the old stories, the old gods, the loa, the battles he fought, taught us with a patient yet stern hand and with humor. We looked up to him our benefactor, we helped his family the best we could in what means we had in return. We could have never repaid him, or our aunt, for what wealth that had been granted us. He was not of blood, yet, he had extended us every opportunity because to him we were family. He had done all this for us because of morals and values that were soon to be archaic, and then no longer present due to the times. We were family, he had been at our first proving trial, he came to our exhibitions in prowess and education. In those golden spun years of prosperity he was more a father to us then our own, a viewed brother in spirit. We, although young and reckless had done our best to gain his approval in the manner in which we held ourselves in the same standards, and tried to achieve the level in which he had seemed to succeed. He had been suddenly lost to us, as was our wealth, as was everything the day he betrayed the priests in defiance to their will. We had not expected to see him again. We had not known reasons as to how, or why, he had been killed…. only that all of it was cut short, and a name that had became as hushed as a whisper within the falling snow of shame, rather than one that had been sung in rejoice. It was a face we two brothers, would never forget.


Kor'akk looked to me as I was frozen in that moment of time staring at the Scourge before me. “ What was it? " That small child like voice had asked, not recognizing who it was before us that had me frozen in agony.


I could only answer in one word, that had a razor sharp edge to it. ” Raji'din. “


The Scourge did not replace the helm. As I willed myself to finally run forward to face this pale reflection of a male I once knew as family, my brother Zor'din was suddenly beheaded before my eyes. His hot blood splattered against my face in the swift slice of his own axe that was used against him. I ran with my weapon drawn with such vengeance in me, with that determination, and will that all my people have carried since the time we were pursued all the way to these frozen lands. I moved to strike with all my years, with all my young hopes, ambitions, aspirations, and very dreams behind it. I swung with all my memories, my suffering, and all that had been lost, from my brother’s blood hot against my face, to the sounds my mother’s soon to come wails. It was my last move, my last roar into the abyss of all those that had ever betrayed me. I was looking into the eyes of my oblivion as I felt the cold hand of my death come closing in, crushing the very air from my neck. I no longer saw my uncle, I no longer saw anything that was behind or before me, the colors of this life began to fade and I only knew one thing!


I had to breathe!


So easy it was to breathe while living…. a struggle at times but every breath was worth it…


” Last words? “ The sneer and echoing voice of my death spoke centimeters from my face.


As I stared into the hollow glowing gaze of my death's embrace, my words were choking on the taste of hot iron and copper that filled my mouth, as my mind raced.


So hard to breathe…. Where was my weapon?! Where was Kor'akk?! Run! My mind was trying to make sense, while my body tried to fight with every ounce strength, and will, to just breathe. Kor'akk… I saw him in my peripheral vision standing there terrified. Zor'din was gone, the others were gone, all our brothers, cousins, our home, our gods they were gone. In my mind nothing was left, but this terrified boy, not even the memory of mother's scar could bring comfort for what was being suffocated out of me in such torment.

” Spare…. him…“ I barely managed to croak out through the blood that had bubbled out of my straining mouth in my despair.


My answer, was a brief vision of my brother Zor'din's axe hurdling through the air towards that arctic hare innocence of youth, while the sound of my own bones cracking, and ligaments ripping under extreme pressure deafened my hearing. Then there was merely blackness. I thought death would be a shroud that lifted, and the great bear Rhunok that I worshiped all my life would welcome me home. That we would hunt the wilds together, fish the running rivers, I would learn of all of life's mysteries, and know the truth of all things. I would be home with those of my ancestors. That all those prayers, and all those tributes paid in those hopes of an afterlife would come to fruition. Yet, what I had faced was nothing, a seamless nothing, a cold darkness that ended my life with a snap, and a twist of my once uncle’s wrist. Gone from me was that world, of family and fealty, gone from me was that world....

I had thought that nothingness was the worst thing to befall me. I was so very wrong. Fates were entwined, even after death… legacies are gone, but not forgotten. My fate became as one of all those that had fallen before me, as I was brought before our new master…. There was nothing but torturous suffering, in my afterlife.


I returned…. Altered from my vibrant life, altered from my cares, my loves, my ambitions, my personal truths. I no longer had personal meaning, I became a tool to wield in service once more, yet for a darker agenda.


There are those such as I, that consider my state lucky, as I retained all memory. I recall my mother's smile, my recall of my sense of loyalty, the scent of sweet rose petals on the air, the vibrant colors of sight, the life I had lived as they were not as privileged as I was to have a single memory of their lives before their risen state. My state of mental recall, my sense of undying fealty, served me well amongst the Scourge, a king was just another king after all, they rise, they fall, their designations differ, yet their directives were unquestionable. I recall as much as my life as I did my torment, it shaped my blade, my steps forward, to offer those fallen as I was to have their purpose to serve. As I moved through the ranks I was stationed in various places, at times I was a shock troop to instill fear into my once people that would recognize my face, as they met their end. At others times I was an officer to select what dead would be suitable to raise from the grips of their ancestors. I met many before their passing as much as I had met after their passing from one state to the next. I worked with those of the same condition as I, both, on field of battle, or as a mere guard. My duties at first were like all other's a test of my capabilities, my desires to serve, and my loyalty. My existence was empty, hollow, with no purpose save one, to be the instrument of my liege.


I served as it was intended, on the front lines of a planned attack I was confronted with three words that planted a seed of questioning in my mind.


” I spared him… “ The voice I had to come to recognize as one of the assigned officers of my cavalry regiment manifested briefly besides me in battle, only to fade within the masses. I had lost the fellow death knight from my sight when the siege ensued, never to encounter him again amongst my time under the lich king's rule.


Time passed as it does, with ticking of the clock, the rise and falls of waves, and kings a like. I had been freed of my binds, and yet, I unlike some others that share my condition, I did not regain all parts of what constructed my once living self to be as I once was, it was lost to me. I cannot feel as those that can have displayed, at times I had thought it senseless to have emotions such as empathy, compassion, love. It is easy for me to feel irritation, a need to cause suffering, and pure agony in others, I feed off these negative emotions, it fuels me, it gives me purpose. Yet, I would trade my memory, my thoughts, my countless victories, and defeats to feel that depth as I had while I was alive, to see their colors beyond the muted blues, greys and whites that have become my current world. In all these years amongst the living, I can appreciate their laughter, their joys, I can appraise the value of life, and yet, get no closer to it than before the fall of our king. I had found my living breathing brother, far from our homeland, he was not the hare eyed youth, but much older than I was upon my death. I thought finding him well, alive, healthy, happy, and prosperous would stir that purest essence of what it meant to feel alive to the surface of what I am, to be truly free once more. It did not. I am the same. I am limited... It is not out of want that I lack in these emotions the living carry, it is out of the lack of capability to expand that far beyond what I have become. I would give almost anything to feel that bond of brotherhood again. It has been pointed out that perhaps, my current professions and occupations that I carry is a means of my way of attaining it. I guard, I protect, I carry a sense of duty and loyalty to my charges, even if I believe it is an act that is simply tolerated, or an act of obligation it is my way to regain fulfillment in that hollow space within. That the action of guarding alone playing out time, and time again, in almost a ritual like manner is my regard of the importance of that bond. I cannot fathom if the statement is a true surmise of my intent, or not, as I do not feel it to be as this, regardless, it doesn't make it not so. I will allow those that carry emotion, carry their assumptions as well, as that is their burden to do so, not mine.


Breath... It doesn't come easy for the unliving... It has to be done with conscious thought, with a will behind it, a purpose, an awareness of one's environment, and those in it, or else we forget what it means to be living.


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The Wall

Shari'Adune Forestsong
May 22
((Lovely writing.))
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By Ra'rhuk
Added Feb 22

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