Friday, February 20, 2009

In Her Own Words: Wintergrasp

I'm a marksman -- markswoman, I suppose -- like my father. Sharpshooter. Occasionally, depending on the situation, sniper. Anyone who's ever faced me in battle could tell you that I've no great skill in hand-to-hand combat. There's a reason I hate fighting warriors and rogues so; anything that stays close enough to me to keep me from raising my gun or bow can best me without too much trouble.

Maybe that's why I've never taken joy in the physical effects of my enemies' demise, the way some of our fighters do. To a melee fighter, pools of blood and bits of bone on the ground represent the strength of their blows. To a spellcaster, scorched skin and tortured screams are a measure of their arcane power.

To a hunter, any shot besides the killing one is wasted ammunition.

So the swaths of red (and patches of blue, courtesy of the draenei) covering the snows surrounding the Wintergrasp Fortress evoked no emotion from me. The knowledge that we'd been victorious, yes, but I could tell that by the fact that we were standing in the fortress, and the Alliance soldiers were not. My goal in battle is not to cause pain -- it is to eliminate the threat against the Horde, whatever it may be. While I find little regret in the suffering of our enemies, I don't take particular joy in it either.

The laughter I heard from the campfire behind me made it clear I was in the minority.

"And then when you hit him! He squawked like a harpy!" Udiyvli clapped her hands excitedly. "Did you see his face when he spun around? Like a frightened little gazelle --"

"-- and he comes at me, and forgets all about the giant angry tauren he was just fighting with --" Lothloren was laughing, the tips of his ears bouncing as he gestured wildly. "And he's dizzy already from the poison, and then WHACK!" He swung his comparatively-slender arm in a meager representation of her shield slamming into the back of their shared opponent's skull. "You played him like a drum! It was beautiful!"

I hate fighting warriors and rogues, but they make excellent teammates.

"It was a paladin," I snapped jokingly, turning from the battle-scarred landscape and heading back toward the celebratory feast. "They're almost as powerful as they are foolhardy. If it weren't for the shaman healing you both up as soon as he pulled his sword back, he'd likely have taken you both down."

Campitor smiled warmly, proud as always of his contribution. "I do what I'm called to."

"And we appreciate it." Udi patted the other tauren's knee affectionately. "We all knew you'd rather have been hurling lava at them."

"Oh, I don't know," Campitor mumbled, taking a bite of bread. "Perhaps I'll follow Goetic's lead and start fighting with axes."

"He's an orc," Lothloren shrugged, taking a long drink of wine. "That's what orcs do -- hit things. Battle is a part of them, like magic is part of my people, even if I don't use it in battle."

Udiyvli nodded softly. "And the hunt is a part of ours, hunters though some of us are not." She looked to me, clearly expecting the trollish insight on the issue.

I thought about it for a moment. "And the loa for us," I finally said, sitting down with them and reaching for a piece of roasted mammoth. "We all talk to the spirits, even if not all of us wield their power."

I thought back to my first days in Northrend, long nights awake by a lonely fire, meditating for hours on end to try and reach the spirits of the north. I'd had precious little communication with them -- troll though I may be, I am no priestess -- but I managed to reach a bear spirit, slow and weary, as though it had walked the entire length of the continent to answer my meager plea. I offered it honor from a child of the South and the East, and thanked it for permitting us to tread in its home. I told it that the great evil which had infested its northern peaks had invaded our home, and that we had come to defeat it, to clean its blight from the world. The spirit did not go so far as to bless our assault, but it told me that we were welcome, providing we attacked only the evil we had come for and stayed our wrath from the North's own children. I vowed my own obedience, and to take the message to my people. The spirit offered its limited approval, knowledgeable of how little the spiritual guidance of a single hunter would count to the Horde, and then departed.

I have tried to contact it since then, to ask its guidance when confronted with its sons and daughters which have been irredeemably corrupted by the Scourge. I receive no answer.

"Your mother's a priestess, isn't she?" Lothloren poked me in the shoulder, talking around a mouthful of meat. "Is that kind of thing passed down?"

Usually so, I thought, looking at a nearly-healed wound on my forearm, at the half-Darkspear blood still seeping from it. Probably why I don't have it. "All depends," I replied, poking him in return. "All kinds of things can influence it. It's not our place to question who the loa choose to be their vessels. Besides, someone has to hunt food for the witch doctors to eat."


Anonymous said...

Very nicely written. I like that we're actually sitting here, listening to Jez tell the story herself. I could picture the fire, with everyone sitting around it - of course I may have scowled at their choice of victorious descriptions. To win makes me smile, to speak of the blood and slaughter does not. heh :)

I almost wish I had taken this route though with my story of Velanora. Instead it's more narative and third person-esque.

Areant said...

Nicely done, Jezriyah. Very descriptive, I felt like I was watching it happen rather than just reading words. Looking forward to reading more.

Anonymous said...

Very nicely written, I love her voice and thoughts. New here to the blog but very awesome.

Alihandra: As a marksman hunter, I find myself unable to disagree with much of what you've said. Baring the enjoyment of slaying others and the whole 'I'm alliance' bullshit...a shot that hasn't killed is simply wasted ammo and the only Horde or Alliance worth killing, in my opinion...are the annoying fuckers who can't speak in whole words.