My Sword Does Not Sing -- Zolotai

The stories and lives of the Grim. ((Roleplaying Stories and In Character Interactions))
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Duskheron
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My Sword Does Not Sing -- Zolotai

Unread post by Duskheron » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:24 pm

Northrend

Snow piled on the ruins of Zul'drak. White shapes stood out against gray skies for as far as Zolotai could see. Nothing moved, and besides the sounds of her mount's slow, rhythmic wing beats, the world was completely silent. It felt like death to her, and even Bwonsamdi's grinning visage knew better than to mock the corpses that lay beneath the snow in this place. Her father's spirit likely roamed here, somewhere.

Her mount struggled against a sudden blast of arctic wind, recovered, and began the slow, hovering beats again. He chuffed out a low grunt of annoyance as she kept him reigned in.

When Zolotai had made the decision to leave Zandalar, she had done so with the intent to visit several of the troll civilizations that she learned about as a child. Her loa was dead, and it had seemed fitting tribute to see that this was not the first time that this apocalypse had happened. When the Orgrimmar mercenary boards had listed jobs in Northrend, her heart had stopped, then leaped, then stopped again. Dreams she'd had when she was younger of travelling there and finding her father, alive and well, filled her head. A bitter and angry voice that her twenty year old brain labeled "adult realism" sneered at those dreams. But an hour later she had found herself waiting for a zeppelin heading north. And now she flew above the grand entryway to Zul'drak. The warring voices in her head were oddly silent.

Her mount grunted again. She leaned in and patted the neck of the beast in apology and allowed it to continue their journey in towards the Zandalari camp Zim'Torga where her new employers were stationed. The jobs given her weren't much different than most of the jobs she'd taken since leaving Zandalar. Collect artifacts, kill any local wildlife that had become over-populated, put to rest angry spirits. One of the professors had delighted at having an educated Zandalari to help her transcribe notebooks full of scribbled tanslations of Drakkari stone tablets to something neater and easier to read for other researchers to debate about meanings and portents. The part of her that had trained to be a talon of Rezan's might despised the hours spent sitting still, but her mind drank in the ancient words and stories. Afterwards she would spend at least an hour working her blades against a target dummy.

A week passed, and then a second. She fell into a strange routine where she would wake in a moment of panic from the weight of unfamiliar heavy blankets strangling her, then she would reach out for Rezan's blessing, his loved warmth and light no longer there for her to touch, and she would then remember where she was and instead of peace she felt...nothing.

An hour of martial routines, some food, then several hours of transcription. More food, then she would wander through a new section of the ruins, searching. The temples were empty, except for a stray archaeologist here and there patiently removing centuries of lichen and dirt and blood from some sculpture or tablet or altar. The part of her that attuned to her loa would sometimes vibrate as she passed through the snow-filled spaces, whether from ghostly remnants of the dead loa whose temple she visited or "THE Light" or maybe just her frayed nerves sparking randomly.

Sometimes she would find a lost spirit, but years of adventurers looking for buried riches had thinned them out. Near the temple of Har'koa she found the tracks of snow leopards and this made her smile. Har'koa's children lived, even if her people's civilization did not. Zolotai considered leaving an offering for the mother of leopards, attempt to contact her. She ran the conversation through her head:

Zolotai: "Greetins' holy mother o' leopards, Ah be wondering if yah remember seeing a Zandalari troll here about six years ago, my color hair, strong handsome tusks, sideburns, nose ring?"

Har'koa: Growl, hisss. *Drakkari mutterings* Growlllll!

Zolotai: "Oh, right, yah probably don't be speakin' Zandalari. Sorry ta bother yah."

Har'koa: Growl, swipe, spit!

Zolotai: "Ah be goin' now."

Zolotai decided against the offering.
WRA Grim: Duskheron Zolotai
WRA non-Grim: Snizi Whillem Naltis Celluna
TN Orphans: Druthers Sangjai Mortica Wrooth Villayna Pahr Tiskitai Belmire Bayou Waleron Visha

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Duskheron
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Posts: 830

Re: My Sword Does Not Sing -- Zolotai

Unread post by Duskheron » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:35 pm

Gundrak

The westward ruins of Zul'drak hadn't prepared her for the city of Gundrak. She'd seen the discarded piles of bones for altars at several of the other troll ruins she had visited throughout Azeroth, but none had really registered as "bones belonging to trolls" the way these did. Perhaps because they were relatively fresh, the unsuccessful frantic death throes of a dying civilization. The city of Dazar'alor could have suffered a similar fate if Zul had had his way. Or the Alliance. Hate and discontent flaired up in her again, but ashes didn't provide much fuel and the quiet returned.

When she found undamaged tablets she would take rubbings for the archaeologists back at Zim'Torga. But mostly she just wandered, searching for some sign that a Zandalari with large tusks and blue hair had been here.

She encountered more spirits here. Lost spirits, angry spirits, spirits who didn't realize they had died years ago. There were other dangers as well. Spawn of Sseratus slithered through the piles of bones. Cobras and vipers that somehow seemed to survive despite the cold. Elemental constructs patrolled the areas that remained clear of debris. She avoided most of them, and dispatched the ones who took an interest in her.

The largest piles of bones were near an altar to Akali. She stood in front of the pile, trying to guess just how many trolls had ended up here. She began counting skulls. Thirty skulls in this much area which was maybe only one twentieth of the pile, and there were three piles, and...

those tusks look different from all of the other tusks.

Wary of creatures lurking in the pile, she carefully pulled bones aside until she had cleared to the skull that had caught her attention. The skull was not attached to a spine and she didn't see a matching jawbone in the nearby clutter. Gently she extracted it from the pile and arranged it on top of her day-pack until it balanced upright. Stepping away she imaged the skull with flesh, and she thought it might be his tusks. She could see them in her memory so clearly, but this bit of bones looked nothing like her father. But the tusks! They were the right shape, and she could almost see his smile as his lips stretched around the tusks, if she squinted, and avoided those empty eye sockets.

"Father?" She touched the skull lightly.

She waited. She doubted. She searched the pile for more skulls but didn't find any obvious Zandalari ones.

She carried it with her and continued her methodical exploration until the darkness and cold sent her back to Zim'Torga. She hoped that if it wasn't her father's skull, that she wasn't pissing off someone else's spirit.

She spent two more days halfheartedly pathing through the ruins. She finished up the remaining transcriptions and agreed to carry the archaeologists notes back to professors in Zandalar. Bundling her few belongings, the skull, and the tomes, she caught a zeppelin back to Orgrimmar and took the mage portal to Dazar'alor. She dropped off the tomes to a grateful group of scholars and then rode out to her mother's home on the western shores.
WRA Grim: Duskheron Zolotai
WRA non-Grim: Snizi Whillem Naltis Celluna
TN Orphans: Druthers Sangjai Mortica Wrooth Villayna Pahr Tiskitai Belmire Bayou Waleron Visha

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Duskheron
Dreadweaver
Posts: 830

Re: My Sword Does Not Sing -- Zolotai

Unread post by Duskheron » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:54 pm

Western Shore of Zandalar

The shack was small but sufficient for one woman. Strings of salted fish hung between trees.

"Mother?" Zolotai called out.

She waited for an answer, then took the path down towards the sea. Her mother sat near two large fishing poles, both propped up against wooden railings. She was mending a net, but stood when she saw her daughter walking down the path.

"Zolotai?" A smile flitted across her mother's thin face.

Zolotai returned the smile, and then crossed the distance to hug her mother. "Are you be eating enough, Muddah? You be thinner dan a saurid's neck!"

Her mother pulled back and laughed, squeezing Zolotai's bare upper arm. "And you look to be eatin' a whole river beast daily!" She turned and began reeling in one of the poles, motioning Zolotai to grab the other. Together, they put away the fishing gear then they gutted the fish she'd caught earlier. Without a word between them, they then made their way back up to the hut.

"I got your letter about leaving Zandalar," her mother offered, breaking the silence and placing a cup of tea on the table between them.

Zolotai nodded. "I have seen many tings over the last many weeks since da fall of Rezan and Rastakhan."

"Like?"

Zolotai sighed. She wrapped her hands around the hot mug and stared into the steam. "I visited da ruins of Jintha'alor and Shadra'alor. The Witherbark and Vilebranch were not pleased with mah trespassing, but I made dem pay for dere rudeness."

Her mother chuckled.

"I flew over Zul'Gurub. I didn't land, though. Too many Gurubashi still livin' dere." She paused and took a long sip of the tea.

"Took some jobs up in Northrend for a few weeks. Transcribing for archaeologists in Zul'drak." She peered over the cup and saw the shocked look, the brief spark of hope, and the return of the look of reserved, bored, feigned interest.

Silence stretched. She hadn't worked out the best way to tell her mother about what she had found. After attempting to sip from an empty cup twice, she sighed and crossed the room to where she had dropped her pack. Carefully she brought out the wrapped skull and removed the wrap. Reverently, she placed the skull on the table, facing her mother, who had gone motionless.

"I found this." Zolotai whispered.

Her mother stretched out a hand and hesitantly cupped a cheekbone. She thumbed away invisible tears, while her own rolled down her own cheeks.

"He...He's finally come home." A sob shook her mother.

Zolotai crossed the room and hugged her mother. The two cried together until well after the sun set.
WRA Grim: Duskheron Zolotai
WRA non-Grim: Snizi Whillem Naltis Celluna
TN Orphans: Druthers Sangjai Mortica Wrooth Villayna Pahr Tiskitai Belmire Bayou Waleron Visha

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