((The following stories were written beginning in April 2006. Most were written by Anaja, but some parts were written by Robozk. I have indicated who has written which parts.
I'm also always looking for more folks to RP with! See the OOC notes below if you might be interested! ))
Anaja's character sheet can be found here: Anaja Peltskinner
The Old OrcEdit
(written by Anaja)
"Surely my mother did not mean -this- orc?" Anaja whispered to herself as she watched him from the shadows. It didn't seem possible. The stories didnt match. Scratching her head, she emerged from the shadows of the Hall of the Brave. She sighed and headed to the mining trainer to learn a new skill, still contemplating what she'd seen over the last few weeks.
It had been nearly a month since the young orc had ventured into Orgrimmar, and in that time Anaja had been watching him from a distance. Gathering information and making her own observations. He seemed to be well respected among her fellow Horde, but she had observed another side of him. She had seen him a drunken fool. She had also observed, what seemed to her, a broken orc. Defeated. Lonely. Haunted. This was not the stories her mother had told her of this orc. The stories her mother told were of bravery, courage, honor. And lately there seemed to almost be a madness about this orc. A restlessness that could not be quenched.
Anaja was confused to say the least. She knew there had to be another side of him she was missing. Something she hadn't noticed yet. Or perhaps he was keeping this unseen side of himself hidden for whatever reason. At least that's what she hoped.
"No, no! You smelt the ore like this!" For the fifth time, the gruff miner sighed and snatched the ore from her hand and proceeded to show her how it was correctly done.
"Okay, okay! No need to get so worked up, I think I got it now." Anaja concentrated on the ore and temporarily let go of her thoughts of the old orc. "There. That better?" she asked as she handed the fresh bar of copper back to the miner.
"Its about time!" sighed the miner again. "Now get out of here. I don't want to see you again before a fortnight is over."
Anaja grabbed her new mining pick and smiled as she heard the miner mumbling something about not getting paid enough to train the young ones these days. She was just emerging from the hot miner's building and was heading back towards the main part of town when the orc that was in her thoughts so much these days, and the very reason she came to Orgrimmar, ran by on his riding worg with his owl flying close behind. She felt the breeze of their passing and watched as they headed towards the Drag. She sighed. "Get ahold of yourself girl. You're a warrior! You should have more courage than this!" Anaja chided herself.
Several times now she had tried to gather the courage to approach him, to tell him her story, to let him know who she was. Each time, when she saw the intense look in his eyes, she faltered and told herself that tomorrow she would talk to Robozk.
Anaja looked at her trainer with a blank expression. "A bow? For me? I'm a warrior! What do I need a bow for?"
"Well you could use a gun, I suppose, but personally I've always liked the feel of a bow in my hands." the trainer replied.
Anaja was still confused. "Why do I need either? Why can't I just charge in and bash them?"
"Because, young orc, sometimes it is wise to be more subtle than to blindly rush in. A bow, or gun, will do that. It will get the attention needed without bringing more than bargained for. Usually." the patient warrior replied. "Now here, take this training bow and this new string. Find yourself a quiet corner and learn to properly string it. I've taught you all you need to know for now."
Still unsure, Anaja took the bow and string. She made her way to the roof of the bank. Her quiet corner wasn't so quiet, but she liked the vantage point. She was able to observe others and gather information from that spot. She settled down at her favorite spot and took out the string. Looking at the bow and the string and trying to remember what the trainer had shown her, she set to work. Her first attempt was pitiful. The string was far too loose. Sighing she took the string off and tried again.
She tried several more times, getting more and more frustrated. "Curses! I'm a warrior not a hunter! What do I know about bows?" Just as she was finishing her last attempt, she spotted him.
The old orc was slowly making his way to sit on some rocks in front of the bank. Anaja looked at the bow then back at Robozk. She took a deep breath, "I guess now is as good a time as any." She made her way down from the roof and gathering her courage, she cautiously approached the old orc.
"Excuse me, sir. Would you mind checking my bow to see if I've strung it correctly?" she nervously asked.
Robozk chuckled and agreed to check the bow for her. Looking it over he told her she had done well enough, but it was a little loose still. He took out a much nicer bowstring and re-strung it for her. When he was finished, Anaja took the bow and thanked him. She was beginning to lose her courage and not knowing how to say what she wanted to say she proceeded to head back to the roof of the bank.
"No, no, not yet," she mumbled as she walked away. Robozk overheard her.
"Anything the matter, lass?" he asked.
"No, I don't think so.." she nervously replied. Then something seemed to take hold of Anaja and she walked back to the old orc. Looking back she's not sure if it was courage or stupidity. Whichever it was, it was too late now. She told him everything. She told him how she had found a letter. The letter her grandmother had written to her mother several years ago. How her grandmother claimed that Robozk was her mother's father. Her grandfather. The letter didn't offer much detail or proof. But it's all Anaja had. She had no family left other than what this letter said. But that bit of information she didn't disclose, at least not yet. She would tell him, eventually, that several months ago members of the Alliance had attacked their home in Ashenvale and killed her parents. She had been away that day and had returned home to find the lifeless bodies of her mother and father. And it was because of this that she had discovered the letter when she was sorting through their things a few weeks later.
Anaja handed the letter to him so he could read it for himself. She wasn't able to gauge Robozk's reaction to the news. He seemed to be shocked of course, but after a few minutes he didnt seem so surprised after-all.
"Do you believe the letter?" he finally asked her.
"There was a time I wanted to believe, yes." Anaja replied.
When her mother was alive she was always talking about Robozk, the great Hero of the Horde and what a great orc he was. Anaja could never figure out why she made such a big deal over him. But after finding the letter she realized why. And to think she still might have family left! Anaja was both happy and nervous. She'd never know why her mother didn't seek out Robozk, but she would. She'd find him. What else did she have to lose after-all?.
"But now, after watching you lately. I'm not so sure." Anaja continued.
"What do you mean?" Robozk asked.
"Well you seem to have encountered some dark times recently, on more than one occasion. I've no wish to add to that." Anaja lowered her head, then raised it looking directly into his eyes. "But if there's anything you need, please ask." She tried not to look too needy, but she feared she wasn't doing a very good job at hiding her feelings. It had been several lonely months for her after the loss of her parents. "But for now, I'll leave you alone." It was hard for her to say that to him, but she needed to give him time. Let him take in the information and decide for himself if he believed it or not.
She made her way back to the roof of the bank to gather her own thoughts. There she watched him ride away on his worg. It wasn't until he was out of sight that she realized that Robozk still had her grandmother's letter.
(written by Robozk)
"You're my mother's father..."
He frowned for a moment as he sat in his tent. The girl had surprised him, that was for sure, but the more he thought of it, the more he knew it was entirely possible. How many women had he been with for a week, or a month, and never seen again?
He opened the crumpled letter. It did seem like the woman in question, this girl's grandmother, was dead certain that the old orc was who she said he was.
The orc furrowed his brow, stroking his chin and braided beard.
"Could it be true? Hrm... it -could-... is it? That's the question..."
He couldn't tell at this point, and he knew of only one way to find out.
(written by Anaja)
Anaja had just returned to Orgrimmar from her training in the Barrens when Robozk spotted her. She had briefly paused to rest at the spot where they had first met the day before when he approached.
"Mind if I have a seat?" he asked.
Startled, Anaja jumped up, "No, of course not, sir." She continued standing, not sure what to do until Robozk finally told her to have a seat again. She finally moved over and sat a short distance away. Now it was her turn to be caught off guard. She certainly hadn't expected to see the old orc again so soon.
Not sure what to say, she said the first thing that came to mind. "Sir...I believe you still have something of mine? My grandmother's letter."
"Aye, lass." he replied as he pulled the letter from his pack and passed it over.
Anaja asked him what he thought of the letter, if he thought it could be true. He told her that it's possible, but it was a long time ago. He had asked why her mother had never sought him out. She couldn't answer though as she didn't know herself. She told him that she wished she could ask her mother, but it wasn't possible now.
An uncomfortable pause came until Robozk asked her to tell him about herself and where she now lived. She told him she lived wherever the night found her, which was true enough. Since she had started her training, she hadn't really thought of a permanent place to live.
She told of the attack by the Alliance and how her parents had been murdered. A deep anger had started to rise in her as she told the story. She mentioned how the vengeance she sought often fueled her training. Robozk told her to use the anger, but to be careful as it could consume and control her.
He asked if she had any leads on the attack, but she could only shake her head. All that she knew was that it was a small band of probably ten or so Alliance led by a gnome. She hadn't been able to gather anymore information due to her training. She had wanted to pursue it further, but a worried friend cautioned her against it. He had told her to seek training first so that she could take her vengeance without being killed herself. Robozk agreed with the friend's advice. And to Anaja's surprise offered to check into any attacks that had happened lately.
She thanked him, and not wanting to talk about herself anymore, turned the tables on Robozk, asking him to tell her about himself. He shrugged, saying there wasn't much to tell. He talked of fighting for the Horde, being a General, and past regrets. To Anaja though, it seemed he lingered on the past regrets and a lonely sadness came over him.
Perhaps she had been wrong about him, about her observations of him the past few weeks. She had thought him a madman, crazed, a drunk. Now she was beginning to see otherwise. She had been right about the loneliness, however, as she herself was lonely.
They continued talking into the night, slowly getting to know each other. It wasn't much to be sure, but it was a start. The hour was growing late and Anaja knew she had an early start for the next days training, so she excused herself.
"Sir? I think I believe again..." Anaja told Robozk before she left to find a spot to sleep for the night.
"In..?" he asked.
"My grandmother's letter." she quietly replied before slipping away.
(written by Robozk)
The orc stayed there for a moment, watching the young girl walk away from him. He was deep in thought about all the possibilities her existing meant. He didn't know how to take the news yet, but he wasn't about to straight up deny that it could be true...
If it is true, does she expect me to act like a grandfather to her? How can I even begin to know how that's supposed to work?
The old orc hesitated.
Does it even matter if it's true? This girl sought me out after her family was killed... I'm possibly the only person she even considers family...
He frowned, standing and calling for his riding worg. He had much to think about, that was for sure.
Does it even matter if what she says is true...?
The old orc awoke, alone in his tent. He sat up sleepily, the only thing covering him being a set of thin, grey cloth pants.
It wasn't uncommon for him to want for a woman's company when he awoke... but this was different. A completely different emotion was working it's way into his thoughts. He frowned, rubbing his hands on his face to wake himself up.
"You're just lonely orc... go to a bar, have a few drinks, it'll pass..."
The old man walked -- limped his way to the nearest watering hole, taking off his small layer of clothing and proceeding to bathe himself. In a way, he was trying to wash what was troubling him away...
The war was eating at him, he hadn't heard from the elf he used to call his own in a long time, the troll he had felt so comfortable with had gone for some time; and now this. This girl who claimed to be his granddaughter.
Does it even matter if it's true? She's alone... her family was killed, and she decided to come to me in an effort to grab onto -something-. Besides... what if she is right? What if what that letter said was true...? Could I live with denying her?
So much for washing his troubles away
(Written by Anaja)
Anaja sat cross-legged on a small hill in the Barrens, her new bow held carefully in her lap. She had just received it from the orc, Regthar Dethbane, as a reward for bringing him fifteen centaur bracers. The task had not been an easy one, as a bit of singed hair and new bruises, some rather large, attested to. Most of the centaur she had come upon or killed lacked any bracer at all or if they had had bracers were shredded beyond recognition. It had taken her the better part of the afternoon and evening to collect all that were needed.
Anaja winced as she recalled the battles with the centaur, but smiled as she looked down at the Orcish battle bow she now possessed. She pulled some bowstring out of her pack, the kind she had seen Robozk use, and started stringing the new bow. It was beginning to get easier stringing bows so it wasn't too long before she was finished to her satisfaction.
Ignoring the pain she was in from fighting the centaur, she ran to the Crossroads to buy a wyvern flight back to Orgrimmar. She was eager to show Robozk the new bow. She didn't want to bother him unnecessarily, but this was something she was proud of. She had worked hard the past few days trying to master the bow, much to the chagrin of her warrior trainer who was beginning to regret giving her the first bow. Deep down, possibly so deep Anaja wasn't even fully aware of it herself, she wanted Robozk to be proud of her too.
When she arrived in Orgrimmar she started checking his usual hangouts. She checked the tavern, and near the bank. Not finding him, she set off for the Hall of the Brave as her next stop. He often remained after a battle, talking with the Battlemasters or simply just resting, recovering from a hard-fought victory. It was here that she found him. He was resting this time...almost asleep from the look of it, with his owl, Munin, keeping watch nearby.
Anaja cleared her throat, "Sir?"
Robozk opened his eyes and blinked, "O! Lok'tar, Lass."
"I don't mean to bother you, but could you possibly take a look at the new bow I just received?"
Robozk smiled at her and agreed to look at the new bow. Anaja proudly handed it over to him. He took it, carefully looking it over, pulling on the string to test. He gave a slight snort of surprise and told her that she had done well.
Anaja's smile widened, "Truly?"
"Aye. You could still use a bit of practice, but it's done well enough." he replied as he handed the bow back.
Anaja had a silly grin on her face, all the new bruises and time spent killing the centaur had been worth it. But not wanting to leave just yet, she idly asked, "So how have you been?" It was a dumb question and she could have smacked herself for asking it, but it was too late now.
Robozk sighed, "A bit tired."
"Have they been letting you get your rest?" Anaja asked with a look of concern.
"Rest?" Robozk laughed.
"Oh! I didn't mean it the way it sounded!" Anaja looked abashed as she inwardly chided herself for making it seem he was too old to be doing what he was doing and needed more rest than some of the other, much younger orcs.
"Nay, lass, I have all the rest I need. I just haven't been sleeping well at night." he replied.
"Have you seen a priest? Maybe they could help you?" Anaja innocently said.
"Bah... it's not physical, lass." he replied, almost sadly.
"Oh." Anaja blushed.
Still not wanting to leave him just yet, another awkward silence came between them before Anaja thought of something else to ask.
"Why did you become a hunter? Why not a warrior or a mage?" she asked.
"I was a warrior. But after being injured I wasn't able to wear or carry the armor and weapons of my former profession."
"Ah. I see." Anaja hadn't known that. Her mother had never mentioned it...perhaps she hadn't known as well. It gave her something to think about. "Well, I don't mean to keep you from your duties. I just wanted to show you the new bow."
"Duties? I was just getting ready to turn in for the night."
"Aye, I need to find a spot to sleep for the night as well." Anaja said. "Goodnight, sir. And sir? Take care of that leg." Before he could reply Anaja ran out of the Hall to find a comfortable spot to sleep.
(written by Anaja)
"Anaja, I know you've been excited about using the bow lately, but I think I've given you the wrong impression." sighed the warrior Sorek. He knew this was going to be hard for the girl, but it needed to be done. She was a warrior and needed to learn some hard lessons.
"What do you mean?"
"I'm sending you to Krang Stonehoof at Bloodhoof Village in Mulgore. He will take over your training. Now go on with you." Sorek gave her a gentle shove towards the Hall entrance. He watched her leave and sighed again. He had grown fond of the girl, her eagerness to learn, and yes, even her stubbornness. Inwardly he hoped his old friend, Krang, wouldn't be too hard on her. "Bah, you're going soft, fool." he commented to himself. "She'll be fine."
Anaja headed to the Wind Master to catch a flight to Thunder Bluff. She was a little confused by Sorek's decision, but she figured he must have a good reason. She'd miss him of course, he was the person that had given her her first bow. She chuckled as she remembered. How much things had changed since then. Robozk didn't seem as scary to her as he once did, and if she wasn't mistaken, he even seemed a bit happier. Certainly happier than that first day several weeks ago when she had spotted him in Orgrimmar. She was continuing to get better with the bow and her warrior's training was coming along nicely. She had even fought a centaur earlier in the day and had only received one new bruise! Yes, she thought, things were finally looking up. The grief she felt for parents was still there, but it was getting easier, or so she had convinced herself.
She finally arrived in Mulgore and after talking with a Bluff Watcher was given directions to Bloodhoof Village and Warrior Trainer Krang Stonehoof. She arrived at the Warrior's circle just as he was starting a new class. She held back, by the tents, watching as he instructed the young Tauren.
"Now that's a big Tauren." she whispered to herself.
"Aye, that he is. Best watch out around him."
Startled, Anaja turned around and saw another young Tauren. "I'm sorry, didn't mean to offend."
"No offense taken! He -is- a rather large Tauren!" laughed the young druid, holding out his hand. "Hello there! My name is Duskstarr, but everyone calls me Duskie. Welcome to Mulgore!"
Anaja smiled as she shook Duskie's hand. "Thank you. My trainer in Orgrimmar sent me out here. Said Krang here was going to take over my training."
Duskie whistled. "Be careful around him. He's pretty strict. Do everything he says and don't talk back. Well...at least that's what I've heard from the warrior's training under him." cautioned Duskstarr.
"Thanks for the advice." Anaja replied. She thought a moment about what Duskie said. Surely he can't be all that bad. He looks kind of cuddly to me.
"Well time to get back to my studies! Good luck!" Duskie clapped her lightly on the back and trotted off.
She watched him go still thinking about what he said when a gruff voice addressed her. "You must be Anaja. Step forward girl!"
Startled again, Anaja ran forward and saluted Krang. "Yes, sir!" How does something so big, keep startling her, she mused. Then before she could stop herself, she laughed out loud.
Krang snorted. "Something funny, girl?"
"No! ...Sir!" replied Anaja, terribly embarrassed by her outburst.
"Hmmph" snorted Krang again. "Well come on. Let's see what a puny greenskin like you can do."
Anaja had to jog to keep up with the large Tauren as they made their way onto the plains of Mulgore. Krang abrutly stopped and pointed at a lone wolf in the distance.
"That one will work. Now show me what a warrior does."
Anaja pulled out her bow and took careful aim at the wolf. Before she could let loose the arrow, a roar came from behind.
"What are you doing?!" bellowed Krang. Before she could react, he grabbed the bow from her and with an easy twist of his hands broke the bow in two. "You came here to be a warrior not a hunter! I told you to show me what a warrior does! Now charge in there!"
Anaja stood there for a second, dumbfounded, not believing what she had just seen. Her bow. The one she had worked so hard for. The one she had proudly shown Robozk and had seen him smile at her. Now it was broken, lying in pieces on the plains of Mulgore.
"How dare you! That was mine! You had no right to break it!" Anaja yelled at Krang. She grabbed the pieces of the bow and ran back towards Thunder Bluff. Behind her Krang was ordering her to stop, but she didn't care.
Halfway to the Bluff she remembered the crystal in her pouch. Stopping, she took it out and clasped it in both hands. Within seconds she was in Orgrimmar. She kept on running...straight to Sorek. She was furious! In her anger, she didn't even notice Robozk standing outside the Hall. She stormed past him.
"It's all your fault, Sorek!" She yelled as she came up to her old trainer. She angrily threw the broken bow at his feet. "You sent me to that miserable Tauren!" Glaring angrily at him and fighting back tears, she then turned and stormed out of the Hall.
Sorek sadly watched her go, but noticed Robozk had followed her in. They nodded at each other. Robozk turned and headed back out to find the girl.
Angry and stricken, Anaja had run out of the hall, but she didn't go very far. She didn't know where to go at the moment. In a matter of seconds her world was turned upside down again. Then she heard a familiar voice behind her.
"Are you alright, Lass?"
"No." sniffed Anaja. "That stupid orc sent me to a trainer in Mulgore."
"And..?" prompted Robozk
"Well, he wanted to see what I was made of so sent me out to fight a wolf. When I pulled out my bow to get it's attention, he went crazy! He grabbed it out of my hands and broke it! And said I didn't need to be using a bow." The words came rushing out of Anaja and she was finding it hard to keep back the tears.
Robozk put his hand on her shoulder, trying to comfort her. "Lass... I can get you a new bow if you want."
When Anaja felt his comforting touch, it was more than she could bear. She turned and grabbed onto Robozk, burying her face in his long grey beard and letting the tears flow. The bow wasn't the only thing that had broken. For months now, she had been holding it in, trying to be brave. Anger had been fueling her training and vengeance on the people that had killed her parents. Now the grief was setting in, and it had only taken one simple act to open the wall she had put around herself. The bow she had worked so hard for and the one that had given her the connection she so desperately needed. She felt lost again.
Suddenly she realized what she had done and pulled away from Robozk. "I'm sorry, sir. I don't mean to be this way."
"No, I understand." Robozk looked at her. "Lass, when you lose something you cherish....everyone breaks a little inside."
"But it was just a stupid bow!" She hated that he was seeing her this way. She needed to be strong. She was a warrior after-all! What did a silly bow mean to her anyhow?
(Written by Robozk)
The orc blinked, shaking his head slightly as he saw his supposed granddaughter throw her weapons at her trainer's feet. He shared glances with the orc warrior, and then nodded as he left the Hall of the Brave.
He found Anaja crying outside, and did what he could to comfort her. It was awkward for him, but he did his best.
He told her to go seek out his former trainers, and learn to use a bow from Hunters. In a way he wanted to see her follow his path... a warrior turned hunter.
When she left, he was able to think to himself. He was beginning to look at her like his own, even if might not be true. It was welcome company to say the least..
(Written by Anaja)
It was late evening in Orgrimmar and Anaja was sitting on the rocks in front of the bank, her eyes closed in thought. Someone was at her usual vantage point above the bank so she had opted for the rocks instead. She could hear the hustle and bustle of the young city. People going about their business, checking items for sale at the auction house, friendly chat with one another, and even hot debates regarding the Alliance. She took it all in and then slowly filtered it all out until she was only left with her own thoughts.
She had a lot to think about. The afternoon had been a trying and emotionally draining time for her. And she was still embarrassed by her reaction to Robozk's comforting touch. She hadn't meant to fling herself at him like that. But at that moment, when she felt his touch, something inside her had snapped and all she had wanted in the world was to be comforted. She sighed. How very un-warrior-like that was. She needed to be strong. She couldn't afford to look weak.
She slowly opened her eyes. There before her sat the old orc. She hadn't expected that. "Oh! Sorry, sir, you caught me unawares." Anaja rose from the rocks.
Robozk smiled at her. "Feeling better, Lass?"
"Yes, I think so, sir. Thank you for asking," Anaja replied relaxing a bit and sitting down again. "I spoke to the hunter trainers as you suggested and one agreed to further my training with the bow."
"Good." Robozk nodded
"But I'm afraid Sorek is disappointed in me." Anaja lowered her head.
"I've spoken to him. He's afraid you're more disappointed in him."
"No, I've calmed down since then. I'm seeing things a bit more clearly, but it hasn't been easy."
"Perhaps he did it to make you choose" continued Robozk. "You follow the path of the warrior, but are happier with the bow, it makes you proud. Perhaps he saw that in you."
"But I'm a warrior...it's what I've always thought I had to be...ever since that day my parent's were killed."
"Did I have to be a warrior? I was for most of my life. After my injury, I couldn't carry my weapons and armor."
"But you had no choice.." interjected Anaja
"Aye, Lass, I did. I could have forced myself to continue to focus on great weapons, even without the armor, but instead I picked up a bow and forced myself to learn it. It came naturally to me."
"Are you saying I should follow the path of a hunter, sir?"
"I'm saying you should decide for yourself, lass. But don't think you -have- to be a warrior."
"You've given me a lot to think about, sir. Ever since that day, I've thought of only one thing...vengeance. I thought a warrior was the best path for that vengeance. But now...perhaps not."
"There's more to life than vengeance, lass." cautioned Robozk.
Anaja sat quietly, contemplating Robozk's words. Could he be right? Was she wrong? The warrior's path had felt the correct way to go when she first came to Orgrimmar. Sorek, despite his misgivings about her attachment to the bow, was pleased with her warrior training and had often commented on her techniques. She could feel how her muscles had become stronger, firmer since starting her training. Did she want to give all that up? She had a lot to think about indeed.
The next day Anaja spent most of her time with the hunter trainer, Xor'juul. The troll hunter had been the only one willing to teach her. The others had just brushed her off telling her to go back to her own trainer, they didn't have time to waste with a warrior. But going to Sorek was the fartherest thing from Anaja's mind. She couldn't face him again...not just yet.
Xor'juul had set her to work on feathering some arrows stating that one must first have the arrow before one could use the bow. She chuckled and after watching him feather a couple, got to work herself. All this was new to her, as she had usually just bought arrows from a merchant instead of making them herself, but she found it came easily to her and oddly enough relaxing. She spent the better part of the day, feathering arrows, before Xor'juul finally pulled her aside and gave her a few tips on the bow. He was pleased with what she could do so far with it and saw she had much potential.
It was evening before she finally left the troll hunter. She still was not up to facing Sorek so she headed to her spot on the bank's roof to feather a few more arrows, hoping this time the spot would be empty. Much to her surprise she found Robozk and an old female troll together near her vantage point. Robozk introduced her as Trinda and Anaja noticed he was in rather large spirits as he spoke of Trinda. There was something obviously going on between the two, but it wasn't her place to pry.
Soon after their introduction, Trinda excused herself, but not before mentioning Robozk as Anaja's Gramps. This confused Anaja. Was he telling people he was her grandfather. Did he believe? Her heart leapt at the idea. Was he finally accepting her?
After Trinda left, another troll wandered up. Robozk introduced this young troll as Meelas. Anaja noticed that Meelas was also a hunter and felt an immediate connection to her. She was certainly friendly enough and had tossed a crystal to Anaja saying to call on her if Anaja needed anything. Anaja smiled as she caught the crystal and tucked it into her belt pouch.
After Meelas left, Robozk and Anaja sat together on the bank's roof, each deep in their own thoughts. She told him she had spent most of the day with the hunter trainer, Xor'juul. He had smiled and nodded. Soon however, Robozk was summoned to battle in the Gulch, but before the summons took hold he told her he would return soon. He then knelt in front of her and gave her a quick hug. Before Anaja could react, he stood and vanished, the summons to the Gulch complete.
Anaja sat there, not knowing what to think. This orc...Robozk, the one she was so reluctant to approach just a few days ago, was beginning to mean more to her than she thought possible.
Soon Robozk returned, true to his word. They had been victorious in the Gulch. The Alliance beaten back for one more day. They sat again in quiet silence. This time it wasn't the awkward silence from just a few days ago, but a comfortable, knowing silence.
Soon however, Robozk spoke. "Lass..."
"Yes, General?" Anaja replied
"First off...If I were to consider you family, I'd prefer a different way to address me... 'General' and 'Sir' are far too formal."
"Sorry, sir.. I mean.. uh well, what would you have me call you?"
Robozk shrugged. "I don't know..."
Anaja thought to herself...did he want me to call him Grandfather? Was he ready for that? Was he beginning to see himself as such? She wanted to call him Grandfather, but she had gotten so used to calling him, sir or General, that she wasn't sure she could call him anything else. She was certainly conflicted at the moment.
Again they were lost in their own thoughts, watching the activity below them, when he finally spoke again.
"I was curious, lass. Would you take my surname?"
Anaja gasped...completely surprised. "I...I would be honored, but are you...sure, sir?"
He shrugged. "I don't know, I haven't decided yet. But if I do become sure, lass, I'd expect it."
Anaja nodded. "I understand, sir. I would gladly take your surname then....when you're ready."
Anaja sat there a little dumbfounded by his request. Was it too much for her to hope for? Was she dreaming this? Had he been drinking tonight? She was more than a little stunned and giddy with happiness.
And in that one moment. She reached a decision. One that would change her life even more.
"Sir, I've been thinking. It's time I had a talk with Sorek." Robozk nodded and Anaja continued, "Things have become clearer to me, thanks in no small part to you. I believe my path lies elsewhere, and not one as a warrior."
"Aye..?" said the old orc.
Anaja smiled, confident in her decision, "I wish to become a hunter, like you... Grandfather."
(Written by Meelas)
It had been a long day for Meelas, in recent days she almost lost her best friend, her raptor Tani, to her worst fears. She spent hours tending to the wounds Tani had received from the Demon. She was heading to the bank to get more bandages and salves from her stores when she heard familiar voices. Only took a moment for her to recognize them, the voices belonged to Robozk and Trinda, and another she didn't recognize.
Soon she found them on the rooftop bank, Trinda was just leaving but a simple hello was all that was needed. Next to the General was a young orcish girl about her same age, she felt a connection with her, but she didn't know why.
Robozk introduced Meelas to the young girl Anaja. She liked her already and pulled a moonstone from her pack and tossed it to her.
"Dis beh a moonstone, I cin 'ear ja if ja talk to it. If jo need meh, jo go' meh ja?"
With that Meelas said her goodbyes and thought a bit, on the young girl and the general. She was getting rather attached to Robozk, not in a romantic sense, but as a father figure. Robozk had always been there for Meelas if she needed a friend or some advice on the bow. If Anaja was indeed his Granddaughter, she will have to get to know her better.
Meelas wandered to Sin'jin Village where Tani lay silently, half asleep still with the potions and enchantments to mend his wounds and burns. She applied what salves and bandages she had and leaned in a corner to sleep. Thinking on the future and what it held.
(written by Anaja)
Anaja knelt behind a rock in the hot sun of Durotar. Just off in the distance one of the many dire boars that inhabited the land was rustling in the brushes for food. The young orc looked at the half-rotten piece of fruit she clutched in her hand. The smell coming from the rotted fruit was making her slightly nauseous and she hoped her target wouldn't be as repulsed as much as she was.
She began slowly making her way towards the boar, carefully trying not to make any sound when he suddenly raised his head, sniffing the air. Anaja paused, then slowly crept forward again when he went back to snuffling in the brush. She was just a few feet from the boar, when he suddenly froze, looking directly at her. Anaja held out the fruit and made soothing noises. The boar sniffed the air again, unsure what to make of the young orc holding the object that was filling his nostrils with a sweet smell. He took a few tentative steps towards her. Anaja held her breath, afraid of scaring him off. She continued holding the fruit out in front of her and slowly started moving forward to meet the boar. Once they met, he quickly snatched the fruit from her hand and trotted off a few paces from Anaja to eat. When he was finished he turned and looked at Anaja, almost inquisitively.
Anaja chuckled, "I'm sorry fella. That's the only piece of rotten fruit I had." Remembering the jerky she had in her pack, Anaja carefully opened it and pulled out some dried meat. "How 'bout this?" She again offered the boar the food. He came straight to her without hesitation, and this time carefully took the pro-offered food without running off with it. Anaja stood and walked off, looking back to see if he would follow her. He did. Anaja was elated. It worked! She had made friends with a boar as the hunter trainer in Razor Hill had instructed!
As she made her way back to the trainer to show him her success, she reflected on the past couple of days. They had been very busy for her. She had talked to her old warrior trainer Sorek and informed him of her decision to follow the Hunter path instead of the warrior. At first he almost seemed to be sad, but had then quickly congratulated her saying she was making the right decision. She had left the old trainer with a promise to visit him as often as she could.
Xor'juul, her new hunter trainer, wasn't surprised at her decision and had just given her a knowing chuckle. The other trainers, however, were still a bit dubious about this young warrior, turned hunter. Xor'juul had taken her off to the side and told her she was being sent to Razor Hill to learn from the hunter trainer there. He informed her that Thotar would be teaching her about the aspects of beasts and how to tame them.
But when she had arrived in Razor Hill, she had immediately been sent on an errand to Sen'jin Village. There she had run into her new friend, Meelas. Meelas had been at Sen'jin to check on her injured raptor, Tani, who was recovering nicely. And much to Anaja's surprise, Meelas also had a gift for her. A new bow. Anaja had been deeply touched by Meelas' gift. She had not had a chance to replace the one the Tauren warrior trainer had broken. She promised her new friend that she would use it with pride.
Anaja, lost in thought, finally arrived back in Razor Hill. She was confident as she strolled to Thotar, eager to show him the boar. Just as she arrived at the trainer, she belatedly noticed the boar she had befriended was no longer with her.
"I'm sorry, sir. He was with me just a minute ago!" Anaja frantically looked around, calling the boar. "I promise I was successful!"
Thotar snorted then chuckled. "Aye, Lass, I know ya were. I saw him following you as you came into the village. I think the loud noises here must have scared him off."
Anaja let out a sigh of relief, worried that she had already failed at something as simple as befriending a boar. Thotar smiled at her and told her she had done well. He had given her instructions to befriend two more creatures of the land before her work would be done there.
Anaja set off towards the coast, a surf crawler her next objective. She thought it odd that he would have her tame a surf crawler, but it wasn't her place to question. Soon though she was back in Razor Hill, triumphant once again. Her last objective was a scorpid. This one gave her a slight pause. Scorpids were nothing to mess around with as they could be quite vicious when provoked. It took her some time and a few stings from the scorpid's tail, but again she marched into Razor Hill successful. Thotar remarked well on her progress and finally sent her back to Orgrimmar.
Anaja was just leaving the hunter trainers in Orgrimmar, content and happy with her progress as a new hunter, when she spotted her friend Meelas, chatting with the General and his friend, Trinda, by the Hall of the Brave. She strode up to them to say hello. They chatted for awhile until Anaja got the distinct impression that Robozk and Trinda wanted to be alone. She nudged her friend and whispered.
"You think we should leave the two of them alone?"
Meelas agreed and told Anaja to come with her, she'd buy her a drink. They both excused themselves and made their way to the Tavern. Once they arrived, true to her word, Meelas bought Anaja some mead. It was the first time Anaja had tasted mead and at first she wasn't sure she liked it, but soon enough the mug was empty.
It wasn't long before Robozk also entered the tavern and took a seat near them. Meelas and Robozk were chatting so didn't notice Anaja taking the opportunity to grab an abandoned mug of ale from the next table over. She quickly downed the ale. It wasn't long before she wasn't feeling well and her head started spinning slightly. A look of concern passed over Robozk's face.
"How much did you give her, Meelas?" he asked.
"Jus da one." Meelas replied.
Just then a strange troll burst into the tavern accusing the General of leading her brother into a false war and trying to get him killed. Robozk and Meelas stood trying to make sense of what the Troll was saying. Anaja didn't hear all they said, her head was spinning so, but one thing she knew, someone was threatening her grandfather. She leapt to her feet.
"What's this? Are you threatening the General?"
"Anaja! Sit down!" Robozk snarled at her. He put his arms out restraining Anaja from getting closer to the distraught Troll.
Meelas trying to defuse the situation, started speaking to the troll in their own language and carefully led her out of the tavern.
Anaja sat back down, not wanting to look at Robozk. He just stood there. Suddenly, another commotion was heard outside the tavern. Elves. Shouting and running through the city. Maybe it was the drink or the heat of the argument with the troll, but something inside of Anaja snapped.
"Alliance? In the city?!" she exclaimed. She jumped up and ran out of the tavern. The Alliance destroyed her home once and killed her parents. She was not going to allow that to happen again! Robozk and Meelas called after her to stop, but something deep inside of Anaja was pushing her onward.
Robozk also came barreling out of the tavern in search of the Alliance. Despite his injured leg, Anaja was finding it difficult to keep up with him. So as he searched inside the city for the two Alliance rogues, she headed to the main gates of the city. It wasn't long before she felt the cold touch of a dagger enter her back. Everything went black. Fortunately for Anaja, a priest was nearby to revive her and heal her wounds. She was fully awake by the time Meelas and Robozk found her outside the gates.
Meelas desperately tried to get Anaja to go back into the city while Robozk continued the search for the rogues, but Anaja wouldn't listen. Frustrated and near tears, Meelas kept after Anaja, worried that something bad was going to happen to her. They met up with Robozk, and Meelas tried again to convince Anaja to come into the city. Anaja still refused. Robozk glared at Anaja and told her to go. Anaja hung her head, but stood there stubbornly. She had to do this. Meelas then turned and stormed back into the city, unable to convince her friend to come back in to safety. Anaja called after her to stop, but Meelas ignored her.
Robozk had run off, having spotted the rogues again. Anaja sighed as she watched her friend go, and then turned to find her grandfather. She finally saw him. He was headed back towards her and the gates of the city.
"Did you get them?" she asked as he approached her.
"Aye, I got one, the other ran off." he replied. "Anaja. We need to talk." He motioned for her to sit. She reluctantly complied. "You have got to control it. Don't let your anger get the better of you."
Anaja sighed. "I will try, sir." She could hear the slight disappointment in his voice. She then knew what needed to be done. It was time. Becoming a hunter wasn't the only transformation to happen that day.
(written by Anaja)
Anaja stood in the doorway of her old home near the Warsong Lumber Camp. It had been months since she had been back. She looked around the small building that had once served as her home. She saw the broken pottery that still lay on the floor, some tinged red with old dried blood, she saw the cobwebs that were now covering her father's engineering tools in the corner. She sighed.
Seeing Alliance in Orgrimmar the night before had rekindled her bitter anger and hatred over what had happened. She had thought she was getting a better handle on it, controlling it, letting it recede. She snorted. Who was she trying to fool. It was time to embrace that anger and use it. It was time to be strong again. It was time to stop the crying and be the orc her father had wanted her to be. The young orc turned and left her old home, never to return. A deep anger was quietly taking hold of her and calmly promising that vengeance would be hers. Soon.
Later that day, notices could be found all over Ashenvale: "Wanted: Any and all information regarding the murder of the two orcs, Anela and Sorkaja, in their home near the Warsong Lumber camp this past winter. The murderers were led by a Gnome. If you witnessed this or have information please contact me, Anaja. I can be located either at Orgrimmar or at the Crossroads in the Barrens. I can offer no gold for your assistance, but know that you will be aiding a fellow member of the Horde against the murdering Alliance."
Anaja stopped at the Splintertree Inn to rest before heading back to Orgrimmar. It had been a busy day and a bite to eat would be a welcome respite. Earlier she had questioned all of her old friends at the lumber camp and a few had given her leads, but nothing definite had come of her investigations.
As she sat in a dark corner of the inn, a strange troll approached and quietly slipped a note onto her table. Without saying a word he moved on as if he had not seen her. Anaja blinked and then carefully unfolded the note. It was from someone called Kaphik, who after seeing her notices pledged to aid her. She nodded and a slight smile crossed the young orcs face.
Anaja finished eating and tucked away the uneaten bits into her pack to save for the trip back. On her way out, she stopped to check her mail. Perhaps another had already answered her notice. She smiled for the second time as she read the letter from Dmitri of the Frostmane Tribe. "Well, that's interesting. I'll have to ask Meelas about this Dmitri." she commented to herself. Anaja carefully folded the letter and slipped it inside her pack. She hooked the pack over her shoulder and headed out of the Post. She smiled as she thought of the offers of help. And lost in these thoughts, Anaja didn't notice the large white worg that had begun following her as she headed down the path to the Barrens.
A New FriendEdit
(written by Anaja)
Anaja strode through the familiar Ashenvale forest after leaving Splintertree Post. She was hiking back to Orgrimmar instead of taking the wyvern, preferring this time, a long walk. Plus it would give her time to hunt and possibly salvage a few pieces of hide for some new armor. Armor that she hoped she could convince the General to make for her.
Thoughts of the General made her pause. Would he accept what she had done? Would he understand? It didn't seem to matter at this point, but she wasn't about to tell him. Besides, it was already done, the notices posted all over Ashenvale. She may be young and inexperienced in a lot of things, but something deep inside was pushing her.
And this feeling... it was also starting to bring back memories she had tried to forget. Memories of her life before coming to Kalimdor. Memories of the horrors she witnessed in the internment camps of Hillsbrad. She had been much younger then, but even that hadn't stopped the humans from putting a sword in her hand and ordering her to kill. At first it was nothing more than sheep and pigs, but then they had moved on to other things...things she had tried to befriend, like the camp's dog. Training they had called it. Anaja shuddered at the memory. When they had been freed from the camp and had made the long voyage to Kalimdor, Anaja had promised herself that she would never again pick up a sword. Her father had not been pleased however. He had told Anaja that it was in her blood to be a warrior. That's what orcs did. She had stubbornly refused, until that fateful day. The day her parents had been murdered.
Anaja shivered again at the memories. She had been so lost in thought, she wasn't even aware, until it was too late, the bear that had just crossed her path. Startled, Anaja stumbled, trying to retreat back a few paces to draw her bow. The bear charged. Anaja dropped her bow, and quickly tried to scramble to her feet, grasping for her axe. But before she could feel the touch of her axe, the bear was on top of her. Suddenly out of the corner of her eye, Anaja saw a flash of white fur leap onto the back of the bear. Distracted by this newcomer, the bear reared, trying to dislodge the large worg from it's back. It was all Anaja needed. She grabbed her axe and with a shout, she swung at the bear. The axe soundly connected with the bear's head and with a roar of pain, the bear fell, the white worg still clinging to it's neck.
Anaja stood there, breathless, looking at the dead bear. Her heart was still pounding from the surprise and fight. She glanced over to the worg, blood still dripping from it's muzzle. Their eyes locked for an instant, but as suddenly as he appeared, he leapt over the bear and was gone in a flash. Anaja wasn't sure what to think. She had never seen a wolf quite like him in Ashenvale before, but nonetheless she was grateful for his help. She took a deep breath, the adrenaline from the moment fading. She drew her knife and set to work skinning the bear. The hide would make for some nice leather scraps once cured.
Once she was finished, she packed up the hide, and set off down the trail...this time more aware of her surroundings. Before long, she came to a small lake and decided to stop to wash the bear's blood off her hands and axe. As she was setting her stuff down, she saw the white worg again. He had followed her, or so it seemed. He stopped a few feet away and sat down, looking at her.
"Well, what do you want?" Anaja asked the worg. Was the bear's blood attracting him to her? Was he hungry? She took some dried jerky out of her pack and tossed it in the worg's direction. "Sorry, fella, that's all I have." The worg looked at the dried meat that landed near him, looked back to Anaja, then without so much as sniffing the meat, got up and ran off. Anaja chuckled. "Okay, so you don't like dried meat, I guess."
Anaja finally finished cleaning up and was soon on her way again back to the Barrens. She was in much better spirits. The rush she felt during the fight with the bear and her subsequent encounter with the wolf at the lake had done much to ease her troubled thoughts and memories.
It was dusk by the time she had made it to the Crossroads. She stopped briefly to check her mail again. Not finding anymore offers of help, she stopped by a merchant and bought a few haunches of meat to take back to Orgrimmar. Meat bought at the Crossroads had always seemed to taste better than the meat back in town. Maybe because it was fresher out here, she thought.
Her pack well loaded, she headed out of the Crossroads towards Durotar. Just outside the gates, she saw him again. The white worg. He was lying on an outcropping of rocks. When he saw her, he sat up, this time however he didn't run off.
"You are a persistent one, aren't you?" Anaja chuckled. "Maybe you'd like some fresh meat this time instead of the dried stuff?" Anaja reached into her pack and carefully took out a haunch of meat. She slowly approached the worg. He continued to sit there. She laid the meat on the ground just in front of the rocks and backed off. Suddenly he jumped down and in a swift gulp, swallowed the meat. He sat again, licking his lips, looking at her. Anaja laughed heartily that time. The worg just cocked his head at her, but didn't move. "I'm not going to give you all of my meat, but here's one more." Anaja took out another piece and tossed it at the worg. He quickly caught it in the air before it hit the ground. Anaja smiled at his reflexes.
Suddenly she realized the time. If she was going to get back to Orgrimmar tonight, she had better get moving. "Well you take care, fella." she told the worg as she turned to leave. The worg got up and followed her. She stopped. "Are you sure you want to be doing that?" she asked the worg. He just looked at her. Anaja smiled again. Looks like she had found a new friend today.
(written by Anaja)
It had been several days since Anaja had returned from Ashenvale. There were still no new leads on her investigation, but she wasn't giving up hope yet. It'd come, in time. Her grandfather hadn't mentioned the notices she had posted so either he didn't know or he didn't care. Either way...as long as he didn't try to stop her.
The white worg was still with her. Surprisingly, he had marched into Orgrimmar with her that night, never showing fear or flinching at the noise and activity in the city. From that night on, he had never left her side and she welcomed his companionship.
Anaja's days seemed to pass in a blur. Her training was keeping her busy and Xor'juul had even suggested she talk to the Battlemaster. Perhaps some exercises in the Gulch would be of benefit so she took him up on his suggestion. They must have liked what they saw as she had soon been promoted to Scout, and she wore the Scout's tabard proudly.
She and Meelas were growing closer, sharing each other's dreams, hopes, concerns and fears. Having someone like Meelas in her life was all new to Anaja. She'd never had a sister, or brother for that matter, and she was finding she liked it very much. Certainly Meelas wasn't a blood sister, but that didn't matter. She had become a sister nonetheless.
Anaja had even met some of the people in the Night Vanguard. Some she liked right away, the tauren's Roshanar and Ehawe immediately came to mind, and some she wasn't so sure about. The Priestess Suadela had given her a lot to think about to be sure. She had met the priestess late one night after having been introduced by Robozk. He had soon after, however, been summoned to the Gulch, leaving her alone with Suadela. And Suadela had taken that opportunity to question her without mercy, after Anaja expressed interest in possibly joining their ranks.
Despite the encounter with Suadela, Anaja was still interested in finding out more about the Night Vanguard so was allowed to observe one of their initiation ceremonies. It had been....interesting. It was being held in Thrall's chambers and she had quietly slipped inside and sat off to the side to watch. A strange orc of the guild, named Morotar, had noticed her and took the opportunity to introduce himself. He was an odd sort, but had been the only one to go out of their way to be friendly to her. They had quietly whispered to each other during lulls in the ceremony. Once the ceremony was over, she had slipped out the back. She'd have to give the Night Vanguard some more thought.
Her days had continued more or less the same. She had had a couple of interesting encounters. One was with an orc rogue named Kantorek who had taken an unusual interest in her it seemed. She wasn't sure what to make of him.
The other encounter had been with a tauren warrior called Mordac. He had gifted her with armor, weapons, and bags for her vault. She had been shocked and flattered, but had politely declined his offer. He had insisted saying that he saw she fought with honor and should be rewarded.
The most surprising of events that had happened, however, had been the night Robozk had given her his surname. They had been sitting, chatting near the main part of town when he suddenly got up and told her to follow him. He had said nothing more, and when she inquired where they were going he had just said to Thrall. She had no idea why he was taking her to see Thrall, but she went obediently nonetheless.
When they arrived and before they went in, he told her his intentions. She was stunned. Ever since he had first mentioned the possibility of taking his surname and the closer she had gotten to him, she had been hoping one day it would happen. That one day he would be certain. And that day had come. He had said although he'd never have proof, he wanted it to be true...felt it true...she was his granddaughter.
So in front of Thrall, Robozk Peltskinner, had given Anaja his surname. It was made official by Vol'jin who took her insignia and inscribed the words on it. And Anaja in turn, had pledged to make Robozk proud and to carry his name with honor.
Nocturno and UjandaEdit
(written by Anaja)
The next day Anaja had been eager to put the new weapons and armor that Mordac had given her into practice. She had left early for Ashenvale and her ongoing investigations. It was going slow, but she had been able to find out some more information on the attacks. To her surprise, it wasn't just one gnome responsible, but a few. So today she would be spending her time around Astranaar to see if she spotted any.
Unfortunately, by the end of the day, and many dead wolves and giant spiders later, she had spotted no gnomes. And having narrowly escaped notice by the guards of Astranaar, she decided to return to Orgrimmar to work on some new engineering schematics she had acquired.
She was walking through the Drag when she noticed another young orc and his worg companion. He was rather striking in appearance and his worg was the blackest one she'd ever seen. She smiled at him as she passed, but didn't stop, eager instead to speak to the goblin engineer.
She was just leaving the engineers, having just learned several new schematics, when she spotted him again. The orc she had noticed in the Drag. He was standing just outside, trying to look incospicuous. She smiled. Had he followed her? She decided to introduce herself.
Soon after, the two orcs were heading back to the tavern in town for a drink. Anaja had figured why not, he seemed like a nice orc and she -was- rather parched after talking to the goblin engineers.
They arrived at the tavern, took a seat, and with drinks in hand, got to know each other. She learned that Nocturno's clan had been destroyed four years earlier and he had no leads on the culprits. He didn't even know if his clan was dead or alive. She had immediately accused the Alliance of course, but he only shook his head, saying he wouldn't accuse someone without proof.
That lead to a discussion about the Alliance. Anaja had explained her feelings on the matter. It was the Alliance that was the cause of most of the horde's troubles. Always attacking villages, killing innocent people. Nocturno had just cautioned her about letting her anger consume her. She assured him it wouldn't. Instead she was using it. And she hadn't meant to be rude, but she had commented to Nocturno that if he had used his anger, perhaps he would have found out by now what happened to his clan. His only response had been if he had, he likely would have hurt an innocent, and that was something he couldn't have lived with.
Anaja thought for a moment, "I understand. I do not wish to harm innocents. That wouldn't solve anything"
"But you would if you hate just anyone on the Alliance. Hate those that hurt you, not those purely of a race." Nocturno looked at her.
"I only hate those who deserve it..those that attack innocent villages...those that invade this city to only cause havoc and kill the weak. Those are the alliance I hate. Not the innocent children asleep in their beds"
"And what of our own that attack their homes? Can we say we do not have the blood of their children on our hands? Or the blood of their parents?"
"It's not something I would condone, no. And it's not something I seek."
"But we are just as guilty as they are."
This gave Anaja pause. Were there those of the Horde that did the same? Did the Alliance see us as murderers, just as she saw them? She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. Why was she letting this orc she just met affect her this way?
Suddenly she spotted Trinda and wanting to change the subject called out to her. She introduced Trinda to Nocturno and they exchanged pleasantries. Trinda did the same in return when one of her tribemates joined them. She introduced, Ujanda, her right hand man.
"What are you two up to?" asked Trinda, looking Nocturno up and down.
"Not up to much...just chatting over a drink. One drink, that is." Anaja quickly replied.
"Does 'Bozk be approvin' of yuh dabblin' in de spirits?" Trinda smiled at her.
"Well...he didn't tell me not to...at least not that I remember. Besides, I just had the one! Or was it two?" she looked at Nocturno.
"Two, and her senses are no less the sharper." replied Nocturno, taking the queue.
"Ah, Trinda...dey all gotta learn sometime." interjected Ujanda.
"Well den... I go pretend I didn' see nuttin'... Dat way, no one go be in troubles." Trinda chuckled and smiled at Anaja.
"Bettah here, now, in frunna you, dan in some alley somewheres, wit' some shady ol' troll." Ujanda continued. Trinda just cackled knowingly at him.
"Trinda, have you seen the General lately? Seems I've seen less of him since he retired from the army."
"General Robozk? He's aroun'. We...uh..." Ujanda stopped himself mid-sentence. "...we had a chat." Then Ujanda suddenly realizing what was said, "...wait, what? Ya da General's gran'daughtah?"
"Aye, I am." Anaja quietly replied.
"Oh! Well, pleased ta meet ya den!" He stood and bowed at Anaja.
Trinda then answered Anaja, "Aye, I seen 'im. Jus' since retirin' he doh really stay in de city as much." She gave Anaja a knowing grin. "Well, dis ol' Troll has to buss it outta here.... tired like hell. Stay good everyone, sleep calls"
"Goodnight, Trinda, take care and it was good to see you again." Anaja called after the old troll as she made her departure.
Ujanda turned back to the two young orcs once Trinda left. "So, enjoyin' da world at large?"
"Me? I've been spending a lot of my spare time in Ashenvale."
"Ashenvale, hey. Nevah liked it dere. Too many damn elfs." Ujanda commented. "What's in Ashenvale dat calls ya?"
"Um...nothing important." Anaja replied trying to avoid the question.
"..oh?" Ujanda smirked at her. "C'mon. I won' tell."
Anaja peered at Ujanda, "You talk to the General though..."
Ujanda began chewing on a haunch of meat then motioned with it. "Occasionally. We ain' friends. He's da General. An' I'm a soldiah. I like ta make sure tings is okay, dat's all."
"I've just been doing some investigation that he might not approve of." Anaja gave in, perhaps Ujanda could help her. "And Honestly, I'm not sure how the General would react....I've just been playing it safe nonetheless."
"Ooh. Inta what? Lotsa stuff in Ashenvale needs investagatin'."
Suddenly Robozk appeared in the door of the tavern.
"This is a personal matter..." Anaja replied before she noticed her grandfather.
"Ah! General! Glad ta have ya here. I was jus' speakin' to ya gran'daughtah."
"Oh! Hello sir. I didn't see you." replied Anaja, clearly startled and somewhat alarmed that he might have overheard her speaking to Ujanda about Ashenvale.
"Lok'tar lass... saw your wolf outside, figured I'd come say hello."
"I was jus' introducin' her to da drink." smiled Ujanda. "Makin' sure she got 'er first hit in a safe place."
Robozk let out a hearty chuckle. "First... She managed to get drunk a week or so ago." Ujanda didn't seem to hear what Robozk said.
"So, Anaja, continue." prompted Ujanda. Anaja just glared at him.
"No, please...I'm intarested in knowin' how ya met yer wolf." then he winked at her.
"Oh.. that.." Anaja coughed.
"Yeh. Dat." he smiled at her.
Suddenly she realized that Nocturno was still sitting next to her. In her startlement of seeing the General she had completely forgotten to introduce him. "I'm sorry. Sir, I'd like you to meet a new friend. This is Nocturno." Robozk gave Nocturno a careful look then nodded.
Anaja continued her tale of how her wolf found her and came to her rescue that day in Ashenvale. As she was talking she noticed Robozk lean against the back wall and start to nod off. He looked tired to her. Just what had he been up to now that he was retired? Surely he shouldn't be this exhausted still? Nocturno must have noticed her concern as he put a comforting hand on her shoulder.
Ujanda bought her and Nocturno another round of drinks. Suddenly Robozk got up and excused himself, claiming he had something to take care of. Concern passed over Anaja's face, but she didn't try to stop him.
Without missing a beat, Ujanda continued on, asking Noc about himself and commenting on the number of hunters around these days. He bought more drinks for them all.
Anaja wasn't so sure she should be drinking this much, but the General hadn't said anything and since Ujanda seemed trustworthy enough, being Trinda's right hand man and all, she figured why not. So the drinks kept coming. The conversations were all over the place as only drunk conversations can get. Nocturno and Ujanda even burst into song at one point, although Noc stubbornly denied doing so. She chuckled at him. She was beginning to warm up to this young orc she'd just met.
Soon, however, she wasn't feel well, the room was starting to spin. Ujanda gave her a knowing smirk and suggested she just lay down. She did as he suggested and the room did in fact stop spinning when she closed her eyes.
"Dere ya go...jus' have... ...a little lie down...Ya be fine... Feel dat shick, in ya guts?" asked Ujanda.
Anaja groaned. Nocturno reached over and absentmindly stroked her hair, trying to comfort her. Suddenly she sat up again. "I need to get some fresh air..." She got up and stumbled out the door. Ujanda and Nocturno followed her. Ujanda in his drunken state got seperated from them when they made their way outside, so as Anaja found a corner to throw up in, Ujanda was yelling his fool head off asking where they had gone.
Nocturno came up behind her and put his arm around her. "Are you ok?"
"I'm not sure." she groaned.
"I know where we can go to rest." he replied.
Just then Ujanda found them. "Oh. Hey. How'sh tings? Oh, I know what I gotta do." Ujanda looked at them. "Don' move." Then he was off again disappearing into the auction house.
"Now what is he up to?" asked Anaja. Noc just shrugged and sat down, feeling dizzy.
Ujanda came stumbling out of the auction house. "Are you sure you're Trinda'sh right hand man?" inquired Anaja.
"Psht. Course I is..." he also sat and shook his head vigorously.
"Do you do this often?"
"No. Jus'...teachin', ish all."
"What am I supposed to be learning again?" Anaja sat down next to the them.
"Ya gotta know what wrong is, befo' ya can avoid it. Remembah how ya felt? Dat sick in ya guts? Dat's what booze does to ya. Gets ya all dizzy an' makes ya shick. 'S fun, shometimes, when ya in a safe place. If not...bad tingsh can happen."
"I thought I learned that already." replied Anaja
"Mmm...head's clearin' up now... Well...dat was da point."
Feeling unsteady again, Anaja leaned agaisnt Nocturno. He smiled at her and put his arm around her shoulder.
"Now...Anaja, tink 'bout dis. Imagine ya'sh out in Ashenvale. An' shome point-ear softskin jumps out from a tree. An' ya havin' trouble standin' on ya own two feet."
"My worg will protect me!"
"An if dere's two elfs? Or five?"
"Then we'll kill them all!" Anaja nodded.
"Liquah'sh fo' da right place an' right time. -Dat's- da point. ...I tink." Ujanda scratched his head. "...yeah. Yeah, dat makes sense. Right place, right time. Follow me?"
"Where we going?"
"No no. Do ya follow what I'm sayin'. Like, if ya relaxin' in da inn, wit' ya gran'dad, drinkin's okay. If ya out an' about, survivin' on ya own two wits, it ain'. Know what I mean?"
"Oh right! I think I do." She was still a little woozy from the drink, but she was beginning to undertand what Ujanda was trying to say.
"Alright. Well......jus'...trust me. Ya learn mo' as ya grow. Jus' remembah dat...right place, right time. Say it wit' me. Da right place..."
"Da right place." Anaja repeated, mimicking his accent.
Ujanda cocked an eyebrow at her. "...an' da right time."
"...an' da right time."
"Good. Feelin' a little sharpah?" Ujanda snapped his fingers in front of Anaja's face, then Nocturno's.
"Oh.. yes!" Anaja jumped and nodded. "Got it!"
"Alright. Why don' you kids go have a nap. Ya feel bettah when ya wake up. I'm tinkin' 'bout a nap, meself."
"I think Noc's already asleep." Anaja flattly replied.
Ujanda let out a hearty chuckle. "Well, le's get 'im moved somewhere mo' comfy den."
"Hhmm? Wha?" Nocturno snorted awake.
"Noc, c'mon. We gonna get ya asleep in da inn." Ujanda lifted Noc to his feet. "Up, c'mon."
"Not the inn." replied Nocturno. "Too crowded there."
"Well, we can fin' sometin' else."
"I was going to show Anaja a place."
"Are you sure you can walk, Noc?" Anaja asked. Nocturno nodded at her.
"Oh...why don' ya go fo' a walk 'roun' da city, first. Shake off da cobwebs." Ujanda suggested. "Ya all back in ya heads?"
The two young orcs nodded to Ujanda in unison.
"...alright. Go get some air, take a walk." he replied and sent them on their way.
Anaja looked to Nocturno. "Well lead on...some rest will do me good tonight." He smiled at her and turned heading towards the Drag. They made there way to the Valley of Honor before Anaja said anything. "Where we going?"
"To a room with a view." Nocturno glanced back and smiled. They finally got to their destination in a part of town Anaja wasn't familiar with. It was a tall tower and Nocturno lead her to the top.
When she came out at the top of the tower, Anaja's breath was taken away. The view was incredible. A room with a view indeed. She could see the cities' bonfires on the edges of town. The waterfall in the distance and the stars in the sky. And best of all it was quiet up here. The noise and din of the city but a distance thought.
Noc smiled at her. "I thought you might like it."
"Aye, I do, indeed. It's beautiful." Anaja suddenly felt very tired. She sat back against the wall and closed her eyes.
Nocturno sat in front of her, looking at her. "Anaja..."
She opened her eyes and looked at him. "Yes?"
"I'm very happy I met you."
Anaja smiled. "I'm glad we met too. You have been fun to be around."
Suddenly Nocturno took Anaja's hands in his and kissed them affectionately and respectfully.
Anaja gasped slightly at the kiss, not expecting it, and unsure what to do.
He let go of her hands. "I...I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that."
"No...it's ok... It's just been a long time since..." Sudden thoughts of her friend back in Ashenvale came flooding back to Anaja. The first one she'd been with. He was the one who had encouraged her to come to Orgrimmar. It had been such a long time since then, and he'd never once sought her out, not even when she had returned to Ashenvale. That had stung a little. And now here was Nocturno. Someone she had just met. She liked him well enough. There was something about him she was drawn to, but she wasn't sure she could be with him...not yet at any rate. "Nevermind." was all she could think to say to him.
"If you are not interested in me like that, I will take no offense and let it be." he replied.
"Like that? No...I wouldn't say I'm not...it's just...we've only just met." Damn it, here was someone willing to be a friend, perhaps even more, and she was avoiding it because of what? Someone in her past? There was something about this orc... Nocturno. Why couldn't she just embrace that..and him?
"Yes, you're right. Let the road lead us where it may." He smiled at her.
She nodded at him, feeling like a fool. "Come. Sit back here and enjoy the view with me." He moved to join her. When he was settled she carefully rested her head on his shoulder, hoping this small sign would be enough for him. She wasn't ready yet, but perhaps one day...one day she would.
The next several days found Anaja spending more and more time with Nocturno. They had become fast friends, and yes perhaps a just bit more than that. The speed at how close the two had become somewhat alarmed Anaja, but she shrugged it off. She was enjoying his company and the tenderness and affection he showed her was definitely something she sorely needed.
Thoughts of her old friend had quickly vanished. If this so called friend had been any friend at all, he would not have left her hanging. He would have sought her out. No, her time for waiting was over. Noc was here, eager and willing to be more than a friend. It was time she stopped looking back and move forward. And besides, Nocturno made her happy. He'd even awakened something inside her besides the grief and anger she had been feeling more often than not lately.
To her surprise, after spending the day together running errands and tasks in the Barrens, he had professed to her that he wanted to claim her as his own. His companion. Not a lifemate...not yet, but a companion. Someone to spend his time with, his desires, his needs. Anaja had been surprised by his offer, but it had only taken her a moment to agree to it. As she hugged him, her thoughts unwittingly traveled back to her old friend, the one that had abandoned her. She quickly dismissed the longing thought as she and Nocturno sat holding each other in the starry night of the Barrens.
(written by Anaja)
The next day, Anaja was eager to find her grandfather. She wanted to tell him about Nocturno and what had happened. She checked Orgrimmar and the Crossroads, but not finding him at either place she suddenly thought of his home in the Barrens near Mulgore and took off in that direction. Sure enough, when she arrived, he was sitting outside with Nidhogg coiled nearby resting.
"General! I was hoping to find you out here." Anaja ran up to him, gave him a quick hug and sat down next to him.
Robozk quietly looked up and smiled at her. "Lok'tar Lass."
"You've had a lot of people worried about you. We haven't seen you around much." Then she saw that look in his eyes again. "And you seem a little restless."
He only shrugged at her.
Was retirement not going well for him? Surely he had a lot to look forward to now that he wasn't constantly being called into battle. What was wrong with him? Maybe it was too soon for him to leave the war?
"Have you thought about going back in? To fight?" she asked. "You seemed more alive then." Anaja peered at her grandfather, trying to gauge his interest in her question.
He chuckled, "Heh...when I was in combat, I was forced to be -alive-. When I was given leave... my body finally told me that I was an idiot."
"Bah. You're not an idiot. I've seen you fight. There aren't many who can match you."
"I've been fighting on borrowed time..."
"Don't say that, Grandfather...." Concern was growing in Anaja. "There's still a lot of kick left in you."
"Aye, in one leg."
Suddenly Anaja had a thought. She knew there was still some fight left in the old orc. She knew he was more than capable of victory on the battlefield still. She got up, walked off a few paces and drew her bow. She took aim at her grandfather and released an arrow at him. She knew his armor would protect him and it did...the arrow bounced harmlessly off him. He just blinked at her. She pulled another arrow from her quiver, and soon after another arrow was flying in his direction. "Come on!" she shouted at him. "Show me what you've got!"
Nidhogg raised his head from all the commotion. He watched the two orcs for a moment then realizing Robozk wasn't in any danger, lowered it again closing his eyes in sleep.
"Lass. What are you doing?" He continued to shrug off the arrows hitting his armor.
"Trying to show you there's still some fight left in you!" she yelled back at him.
He sighed at her then picked up his bow. He readied one arrow, took careful aim, and released. The arrow hit Anaja like a brick wall and she was knocked to her knees. He had used a dull arrow of course, but it stung nonetheless. She knew there was going to be a large bruise there tomorrow and chuckled.
"See! I knew you still had it in you!" she smiled at her grandfather.
He smirked at her. "What? That I had it in me to shoot my own granddaughter?"
She smiled warmly at the orc who had become her grandfather. "I may be young...and inexperienced in a lot of things, but one day... one day... I'll give you a run for your money. And I want you to be here to see it!"
"I'll be here, I seem to have a problem with dying."
"Good! Because I don't want you to die. Not after I just found you. And I want you to be happy. If you're unhappy with your retirement...if it's not what you thought it was going to be. Then talk with the Warchief again...talk to Thrall."
"No, no... I still volunteer here and there, but that's it."
"Ok, General, fair enough. I won't mention it again." Anaja sighed. She hated seeing him this way. Perhaps her news would cheer him up. "Sir, I have some other news. Do you remember the orc I introduced you to the other night? Nocturno?"
Robozk nodded, "He didn't say much."
Anaja chuckled, leaned in close to her grandfather and whispered as if someone might overhear. "I think he was a little scared of you." Robozk just looked at her. "Anyways.." Anaja's voice returned to normal. "We've been spending a lot of time together these last few days, and have become very close. I've become quite fond of him, and he of me."
"I'm glad you've found some company then." The old orc smiled slightly.
"I want you to be as happy as I am, Sir."
"I've had my happiness, lass..."
"Had? Don't you think you deserve more?"
"I've come to realize that whether or not you deserve something, doesn't mean you get it."
"But it doesn't mean you can never have happiness again either."
Robozk nodded at her, but worry gnawed at Anaja. Why was he in such dire spirits when he should be living life...a life free from the war?
Another thought came to Anaja. She'd get him smiling before the day was done. Suddenly she reached over and through the gaps in his armor, tickled him. He blinked at her. She tickled him again. He snorted, got up, moved a few feet away, sitting down again.
"I'll get you to smile yet." She smirked at him.
"Not like that you won't." he retorted back to her.
"What? Not ticklish?"
"No, it just reminds me of these twins I knew ages ago..." Robozk let a sly grin pass over his face.
"Twins?" Anaja wasn't quite catching the meaning. Then it hit her. "Oh! Twins!" She blushed profusely. "Right. No more tickling."
Anaja looked at her worg companion, who had been watching the exchange. She gave a slight nod and looked in Robozk's direction. The wolf leapt to his feet, trotted over to Robozk, and proceeded to give the General an ear bath.
"Anaja..." Robozk sighed. This time it wasn't quite the sad sighs of earlier, but more of a long suffering sigh. "Get your wolf off me."
Anaja snickered at the sight before her. "Oh, alright. C'mere." She patted her leg.
Once the wolf was safely out of reach of Robozk, she sat down next to her grandfather again. She wrapped her arms around his large one and leaned her head against his shoulder. "Ok...I promise, no more tickling or ear baths."
Robozk smiled at her, but then grimaced as he stretched out his bad leg.
"Does it hurt that badly?" Anaja asked as she watched him.
"Aye. I doubt I'll ever recover. Young bones, heal fast. Old ones.. they tend to take awhile."
Anaja nodded and gave the arm she was still holding onto a tight squeeze.
The two orcs, one young, one old, sat in quiet silence, lost in their own thoughts. Some moments passed before Robozk spoke again.
"I think I'm going to buy a boat."
"A boat? Where are you going?" Anaja asked, looking a little concerned.
"Go out into the ocean for some time, toss my communication crystals overboard. Just fish, drink, eat...whatever."
"Can I come?" Anaja asked.
"I'd have to buy a bigger boat."
Anaja laughed. "I'm not that big!"
"No, but I don't want you sleeping on top of me." Robozk smiled at her.
"It'll be fun! You can teach me how to fish! We can have our own little adventure." Anaja hugged her grandfather. " So. When do we leave?"
"I guess...as soon as I buy a boat."
(Written by Robozk)
"I'm going to buy a boat, go out and fish, eat... whatever."
I'm leaving lass, going to spend my last days doing something simple that'll make me happy.
"Can I come?"
"I'd have to buy a bigger boat..."
No lass... you can't come where I'm going, you have your life to look forward to, I have mine to look back on.
"I'm not that big!"
"I know, but I don't want you sleeping on top of me."
Please don't make this harder than it is.
"It'll be fun! You can teach me how to fish! We can have our own little adventure." Anaja hugged her grandfather. "So. When do we leave?"
"As soon as I buy a boat."
Whenever I am sure you'll be taken care of here.
The old orc turned and looked out over the barrens, watching the sun set. He felt amazingly close to the girl, but he needed some time away. He needed to be gone for a while... and if he died when he was gone so be it. He needed to make sure she had others to be with... and this news of her and some orc boy made him relatively happy. Robozk didn't know the young orc, but Anaja seemed happy.
He let Anaja sleep in his tent that night, he opted to sleep just outside in the cool night air. Nidhogg was ever aware, though the serpent looked like it was asleep as well. The old orc didn't sleep well, he hadn't in some time. His leg was killing him, he could feel the muscles and nerves warped and distorted around the shattered pieces of bone that existed in his leg. It throbbed, as it had been for the last few days. The old orc was good at hiding the pain... no one around him knew just how bad it hurt, just how much he wanted to never walk again.
In the morning he awoke before dawn, cooking some breakfast for his granddaughter and leaving it for with a letter of apology for him not being there when she woke. He went to bathe himself in an oasis, then travelled north as he usually did when he awoke. The cold of Winterspring numbed much of his pain.
(Written by Anaja)
Anaja woke early the next morning eager to help her grandfather look for a boat. She was excited about the fishing trip and just knew this was something that would bring the General out of his slump.
She was somewhat alarmed to find that he was not there when she awoke. Instead she only found a note and breakfast waiting for her. The note was fairly noncommital, just mentioning the breakfast and that he would see her later. Still there was something that worried Anaja.
"Surely he won't leave without me?" Anaja asked her wolf. But the wolf just cocked his head at her and gave a short bark. Anaja smiled at him, reached into her nearby pack and pulled out some meat. Together, the two enjoyed a quick meal before heading back to Orgrimmar.
Meanwhile, in an unknown location in Ashenvale....
A hooded, shadowed figure slowly raised a glass of wine to his lips, paused, then sat the glass down again. It was too early for drink he thought to himself. He must watch that. He'd been drinking more often than not lately due to the failure of his men to carry out simple orders... at least that's what he kept telling himself.
Interrupting his thoughts, a messenger appeared carrying a note. After reading the note, the hooded figured slowly smiled to himself. "So the girl still suspects nothing?" he asked the messenger.
"No, M'lord. As you can see from the notice, she still believes the Alliance killed her parents."
Good, good. At least something was working in his favor. Now if his men would just find that damnable boy who was witness to what had happened.
"And still no word on the boy?"
The messenger started to fidget and swallowed noticeably. "No, M'lord." He started to back slowly towards the door. "We have men everywhere looking, but it seems he's just disappeared into thin air."
Damn them. He was surrounded by fools. He looked at the glass of wine. Then cursing under his breath he turned on the messenger again.
"If the girl's vengeance doesn't get her killed, you have your orders. I don't want what happened before to happen again."
"But sir," the messenger having found some courage somewhere, "Why don't we kill her now?"
"Because, you fool, too much has been seen already or have you forgotten that?" If looks could have killed the lack-wit messenger would have been dead before he drew another breath. "If the Alliance can do the job for us, with no one the wiser, then that's all for the better."
The messenger nodded then bowed his head, sweat breaking out on his brow. "M'lord? I.. I... have more news." he stumbled over his words, fearing what this news would do to his master. "It seems the girl has found a new friend. A male friend. They seem to have become intimate. And he seems to be filling her head with nonsense about the Alliance. They were overheard talking, he trying to convince her the Alliance wasn't all that bad..."
Why...why must things be this hard?! He swore under his breath. This task had started out so simple, and now... "Watch him. If things go too far, you know what to do. And this time," he looked the messenger dead in the eyes, "Don't fail me." Then with a wave of his hand, "You're dismissed."
"Yes, M'lord!" The messenger bowed low and practically fell in his haste to leave.
When he was finally alone again he quickly downed the glass of wine. He filled the glass again and downed that as well. Who cares if it was early, he needed it. He was surrounded by fools and it seemed like no one, but himself could follow simple orders anymore.
(written by Anaja)
Anaja sat on a hill overlooking the bay of Ratchet. She was numb. She still clutched the letter from her grandfather. The letter which was still damp from her tears. It had been a few days since she had last seen her grandfather.
"You promised...." she mumbled to herself. Her heart was breaking. She had come to love the General dearly and had finally found family again after being alone for so many months. She had been looking forward to learning from him, to be the best hunter she could be. To be something he could be proud of.... to follow in his footsteps.
"How could he do it? Why did he do it? Did I disappoint him that much?" Her worg companion just whined softly at her and began licking her face. Deep down she knew it wasn't disappointment in her, but the thought crept into her mind nonetheless.
It seemed everyone was abandoning her. Meelas had not been seen in days, which worried her. Nocturno had become mysteriously absent, when she needed him most. And then there was Trinda. The old troll seemed to have gone a little daft from the news of the General. Was that why she was acting crazy and declaring war on the Forsaken? Trinda had even carved the General's name on the Memorial as if he were dead already.
"He's not dead yet, Trinda!" Anaja yelled at the water, fresh tears forming in her eyes. "He's not dead yet..." she repeated quietly to herself between the sobs that had begun again. Beside her Ice gave a loud bark.
Suddenly she had a thought. She gave her wolf a quick hug, wiped the tears away, got up and headed towards Ratchet. On the way to the docks, she ripped the Scout's tabard off and tossed it in the grass. She wouldn't be needing that anymore. She approached the goblin that seemed to be in charged.
"I hear you sold a boat to an old orc recently."
The goblin looked at her and smiled slyly. "I've sold lots of boats, girlie."
"You would remember this orc. He walked with a pronounced limp and had a wind serpent companion."
The goblin sensing an opportunity for more money, chuckled slightly. "Aye, perhaps it's ringing a bell. My memory isn't what it used to be though, ya know." He tapped the side of his head with a grubby finger. "However, for the right price, I'm sure it could be jogged a bit."
"How much will it take to get that information and the direction he went? Oh, and how much to buy a boat for myself?"
The goblin looked at her carefully. "I'm not sure you have enough money for that, girlie."
"I'll get it."
The goblin laughed. "I'm sure you will."
"Stay here, I'll be right back." Anaja turned to head into town. She'd get all of the stuff she'd been saving out of her vault and sell it. Surely that would be enough.
"I ain't going anywhere." The goblin called out to her, laughing again.
Anaja made her way to the bank, gathered all of her belongings she wouldn't need for the trip, and proceeded to sell it all to one of the local merchants. After it was done, she had several gold coins in her possession. She headed back to the goblin on the dock.
"Well that didn't take you long, girlie." The goblin smiled and eyed the gold coins in her hand.
"Here." She handed the coins over to the goblin. "Is this enough for the information and a boat?"
"Well… it's enough for the information, but a boat is gonna cost you a bit more." The goblin turned the coins over in his hand.
"More?!" Anaja couldn't believe it. That had been more than enough. She sighed as she remembered she was dealing with... a goblin. "How much more?"
"I'll let you know next time you bring me some more of this." He flipped a coin in the air, smirking at her.
Her wolf growled at the goblin. "Easy... We're not going to get a boat from him that way." Anaja put a hand on the worg's back. "I'll get you the coin you want, just save a boat for me. I'll be back soon, I promise."
Anaja turned and headed out of Ratchet towards the Crossroads. Where was she going to find more gold? She needed to find it quick before her grandfather got too much of a lead on her. She wasn't going to give up on him. She wasn't going to let him die alone. Not now. Determined to get the coin anyway she could, she bought a flight to Orgrimmar with the little coin she had left. She had a few people to find.
Unbeknownst to Anaja, a figure in the shadow of the nearby hut had been watching her exchange with the goblin. He smiled as he watched her leave, then stepped out of the shadow.
"A boat trip, eh? A loss at sea... Yes... M'lord will be most pleased with this information. This will be even better than having the Alliance take care of her." Grinning wickedly he headed to the goblin to make a deal of his own.
(written by Anaja)
A few weeks had passed since Anaja had spoken to the goblin about the boat. It had taken her longer than she had wanted, but she finally had enough gold for the boat, or so she thought. Trinda had kindly leant her some gold, even though she had her own troubles to worry about. She had even given Anaja a new dress. It was a lovely black dress and looked nice on her, but Anaja wouldn't need a dress where she was going so had stored it safely in her vault in Orgrimmar. The rest of the gold had come from a complete stranger. He had approached her wanting her to complete some simple tasks for him. She had jumped at the chance after hearing the amount of gold he was willing to pay.
Worried, but eager to begin the trip, she headed from the Crossroads to Ratchet. It was late afternoon and the sun casting long shadows on the ground. She had decided that she would set sail first thing in the morning, but she wanted to finalize the purchase of the boat today, before that damned goblin raised the price. She only hoped that she would still be able to find her grandfather.... that it wasn't too late.
She didn't know the first thing about sailing a boat, but how hard could it be? And because of that, she had been secretly hoping that Nocturno would offer to come with her, but she still had not seen him. She was more than a little annoyed with that. How like it was for a male to get what he wanted from her and then just leave? Well... she'd not wait around again for someone.
Frustrated by her thoughts of Nocturno, she decided to stop by the Inn in Ratchet and check her mail one last time before heading to the docks to purchase the boat. Maybe Nocturno had sent word? However, what she found waiting, shocked her. It was a letter from her grandfather:
I have returned. I apologize for leaving without telling you. I could not take you on my trip. I need to know you alright…I have encountered the evil that is the scourge armies, and I must know you are safe.
Emotions flew through Anaja, and she slumped to the ground. First the elation that he was safe and home again! Then anger and hurt at what he had done. His broken promise. She quickly penned a letter back to him.
Why should it matter if I'm safe?! You weren't concerned to let others know you were safe...
I was terribly hurt when you left like that. I sold most of my possessions to find out where you went, and was just about to purchase a boat to go looking for you.
Maybe that's what I'll do after-all. It suited you well enough…maybe I'll go on a little fishing trip of my own!
After the letter was sent, Anaja felt a little lost. The anticipation she had built for the trip had been deflated. Should she really do it anyway? Buy the boat and take a trip of her own? Everyone else seemed to be going on trips without her. First, it was her grandfather, then Meelas and Nocturno. What else did she have to lose? Beside her, her wolf whined softly and laid his head in her lap. She reached down and caressed the soft fur of her companion. "At least I know you'll never leave me right?" He looked up at her, and gave a small bark. Anaja smiled and hugged the white wolf.
"Well, let's go see about buying that boat." Anaja got up and started to head towards the dock. Her worg just sat there, not moving to join her. She looked back and called to him. "C'mon, let's go." She patted the side of her leg. Ignoring Anaja's call, the worg did something that he'd never done before.... he growled at her.
Shocked, Anaja paused, "What's wrong?" He barked at her then ran into the Inn. Anaja laughed. "I do believe you're scared about going on this boat trip!" She followed him into the Inn and found him sitting next to a very nervous Innkeeper.
"Is…is…this your wolf?" The Innkeeper asked, trying to put distance between himself and the large white worg.
"Yes, he is." Anaja tried to keep from laughing again. "I'm sorry, he won't hurt you. He's just a little scared about our boat trip I believe."
"I see." The Innkeeper coughed nervously. "Are you here to purchase a room or not?"
Anaja looked at her wolf who didn't seem like he was moving anytime soon. "I hadn't planned on it. I was going to sleep on my new boat tonight."
"Then could you please remove this wolf from the premises before he scares away customers?"
Anaja smiled at the Innkeeper then looked at her wolf. "Come on, you heard the nice goblin. You need to leave."
Anaja then turned and walked out of the Inn, heading towards the dock. The worg ran after her, grabbed her leggings with his teeth and planted his feet, preventing Anaja from going any farther.
"What has gotten into you!" Her leggings still in his mouth, he growled at her again. "It's almost like you don't want me to buy the boat." He let go of her leggings and barked at her.
Anaja laughed. "Ok fine! I'll give it till morning since it's so late today, but tomorrow I am buying that boat!" The worg just looked at her, but Anaja could have sworn that was the first time she'd ever seen a smug look on a wolf before.
The late afternoon had turned to dusk and Anaja found herself sitting along the shore of Ratchet again. Her worg companion was sitting nearby watching her closely. She breathed deeply taking in the warm, salty air, letting it fill her lungs. "Better get used to that. We'll be breathing that a lot in the coming days." The worg just looked at her then lay down, resting his head on his paws.
She smiled at her friend, then set about making camp for the night. She had decided to sleep out in the open instead of giving her hard earned money to yet another goblin. When she was finished and her supper cooking over the fire, she sat down again, leaning against a rock. She looked out over the water and sighed. Should she really go anyway? Her grandfather was back. What would it prove to do this to him? But yet, he had done it to her... She shook her head and rubbed her temples. Part of her wanted to go, to get away for awhile. But part of her wanted desperately to see him again, to make sure he was truly back and safe.
With these thoughts in mind, conflicted though they were, she heard the approach of a familiar kodo. It was the General, her grandfather, Robozk. She knew the sound of that kodo anywhere. Her heart skipped a beat. She wanted to run to him and throw her arms around him, but the stubbornness in her stopped that. Instead, she just sat there staring at the water. She could hear him dismount and come closer.
"Lok'tar Lass. Thought I might find you out here."
An uncomfortable silence seemed to come between them for a moment. Tears started forming in Anaja's eyes and suddenly she was on her feet. She ran over to him and started beating on his chest, the tears flowing freely now with anger and hurt behind them.
"How could you! You scared me! I thought I had lost you forever." She sobbed as she continued pounding on her grandfather's chest. "Family sticks together! Through the bad times, and the good!" Robozk closed his eyes, sighed deeply and let her vent. Then just as suddenly as she began, Anaja stopped pounding on his chest and instead wrapped her arms around her grandfather, holding onto him.
Robozk embraced his granddaughter and whispered, "I am sorry..."
"I almost bought a boat to go after you!" sniffed Anaja. "Where have you been?"
"Out to sea, Lass. I was dying and I didn't want you to see me like that."
"What did I say about family? Family sticks together, and I wanted to be there for you."
"You were there for me, as much as you could be." He hugged her tightly. "Lass, I'm back now, and I promise I won't ever leave you again."
Anaja wanted to believe him, wanted to trust him at his word. But what if something else happened? She wanted to question yet another of his promises, but instead all she said was, "I'll have to accept that then."
Robozk let out a long sigh. "I'm so relieved you are safe..."
Anaja pulled back slightly from their embrace, looking at him. "Why wouldn't I be? I can take care of myself!"
"I'm not afraid of them!"
"Aye, I know. That's why I fear for your safety."
Anaja suddenly realized he wasn't wearing his eyepatch. "Sir, your eye! What happened?"
Robozk smiled at her then stomped his left foot, shaking his leg effortlessly.
"And your leg! I thought you said it couldn't be healed?"
"I died, Lass, but there was a priestess near who was able to bring me to life. The power of the spell... it did something. If she had not been there..." He trailed off, not wanting to finish the comment.
"Then I'm glad she was able to help you." Anaja smiled. "And really, sir... I'm glad you're back. I missed you so."
"You're my family, Lass, don't think for a moment I didn't worry about you." Robozk hugged his granddaughter tightly again.
The two spent the rest of the evening together, slowly catching up. Robozk told her about his trip and the stowaway. Anaja had been slightly annoyed with herself that she hadn't thought of the idea of stowing away on the boat, but then she hadn't known he was going to take off like he had either. Anaja shared with him her troubles with Nocturno, or more pointedly, her lack of contact with Nocturno. And later, they even had another duel. He soundly beat her again, but this time she could tell he had more fun with it than the last time she had challenged him.
During one of their quiet times, Anaja softly asked, "Sir, where do we go from here? What happens now?"
"Now, I train you." Her grandfather replied.
"You mean it, Sir? You'll really train me?" Anaja almost couldn't believe it. Before he had always been so tired and in pain, but now... now he was like a new person. Oh, she could tell he was still the same person; still the same grumpy, rough old coot he'd always been, but there was something new about him. Perhaps that priestess had healed more than just his body?
"Aye, I will."
"Thank you, Sir!" Anaja hugged him again.
Yes, Anaja thought, it was good to have the General back. Perhaps she wouldn't buy that boat after-all.
The Mor'shan OutridersEdit
"Hah! That's great!" Anaja laughed loudly as the giant bug she had been fighting keeled over suddenly. Her worg companion, Phantom, gave a sudden confused bark and jumped back from the smoldering bug. He barked at it a couple more times then trotted back to Anaja, where he proceeded to bark at the smoking contraption she was still holding.
"Isn't this the most incredible invention, Phantom? And I made it!" the young orc exclaimed to her companion.
Phantom just growled at it then trotted a few paces away before lying down with his back to her.
Anaja laughed. "I swear, Phantom, you are the silliest worg I've ever seen." She walked over to the worg and patted him on the head. "Don't worry, boy. I'm not gonna replace you with some gnomish device." Phantom just sighed deeply.
"Here, maybe this will appease you," Anaja said as she withdrew a large strip of smoked meat from her pack.
Phantom raised his head, sniffing the air. He sat up, staring at the strip of meat.
"I thought so," chuckled Anaja. "Not even you will turn down food."
She tossed the piece of meat to her worg which he deftly caught in midair. He stood looking at her expectantly for more.
"Oh no, that's all you get for now."
Anaja suddenly sighed deeply. "We've got a long trip ahead of us. It's time to head back to Orgrimmar."
She and Phantom had been away for a few months. They had been sent out to the wilds for their training as well as a few paying tasks picked up from various people. Now it was time to return for payment of the tasks and to speak to her trainer again. Not to mention she needed to speak to the engineers to show them the new schematics she had discovered and of her decision.
Her thoughts turned to her grandfather, the General Robozk Peltskinner. She hadn't seen or heard from him in weeks. He had been true to his word once he returned from his boat trip, he had taught her the ways of the hunter, but even with that he had encouraged more formal training from the hunters in Orgrimmar.
Anaja was both excited and nervous about seeing her grandfather. She had overheard someone talking in Gadgetzan about him and how he had reactivated his old unit, The Mor'shan Outriders. She was a little concerned that he hadn't tried to contact her to tell her the news himself. A lot had changed in the past few months. Did she embarrass him now somehow? Knowing she had promised to support him if had ever decided to restart the unit, was he now reluctant to have her be a part of it?
Doubt gripped Anaja. She tried to make him proud of her, working hard in her training, trying to be the best hunter she could. Was that not good enough?
Two days later as she and Phantom walked under the huge gateway to Orgrimmar, doubt still nagged at her. Her first thought was to head to see the hunters and engineers in the Valley of Honor, to get that out of the way.
As she rode her riding worg past the small pond in the Valley, she spotted him. Her grandfather was talking to three elves. And they were wearing his colors! Elves in the Outriders?! Annoyed, she kicked her mount, urging him faster. Hopefully he hadn't noticed her as she quickly ducked into the engineer's shop.
She ignored the goblins, having more important things on her mind all of a sudden. Should she go out and greet her grandfather, interrupting them? No, that'd probably annoy him. Instead she chose to walk casually out of the shop and head towards the Hall of the Brave. She sat down just outside the Hall, watching her grandfather, patiently waiting for him to finish.
Phantom had other ideas, however.
He took off towards her grandfather before she could stop him. She watched nervously as Phantom nuzzled and licked his hands then came running back towards her. Shortly thereafter her grandfather followed, coming in her direction.
"Anaja!" her grandfather smiled. "It's good to see you're well." He hugged her.
"Hello, sir," replied Anaja, returning the hug. "I didn't want to interrupt you, but Phantom had other ideas." She glared at her worg who was happily wagging his tail as he watched the two of them.
Robozk chuckled, "Aye, I thought I recognized the wolf."
"Sir, why didn't you tell me you had re-activated the Outriders?!" Anaja exclaimed suddenly.
"Anaja, I didn't know where you were or where to send the letter." Robozk replied bemusedly.
"Oh," was all Anaja said, embarrassed by her outburst and previous thoughts. "But Elves, sir?" she asked, quickly trying to change the subject from herself.
"Aye, Elves." he replied, picking up on her meaning. "The Warchief advised it would be in our best interest to allow the Elves to be a part of the Outriders."
Anaja just snorted in annoyance.
Ignoring her annoyed indignation, her grandfather continued, "Come. I'll introduce you."
Before she could protest, Robozk had started back towards the three elves still standing near the pond. She could do nothing, but follow, gritting her teeth.
"Outriders," the General began, "I'd like you to meet my granddaughter, Anaja." He turned to Anaja. "Anaja, the Outriders, Peredor, Marcellinus, and Quelia."
"Hello." Was all Anaja said.
The elves greeted her, with one commenting on Phantom being a frostwolf.
"He found me in Ashenvale, I doubt he is a Frostwolf, seeing how that is far from his home." She quickly replied to the elf, trying to prove him wrong.
The other male elf chuckled and said something about the spirits working in strange ways or something to that effect, but Anaja wasn't paying attention to him. The talk then continued on about Outrider business, and after a few minutes, Anaja moved to sit near the edge of the pond.
"Anaja?" her grandfather inquired when she sat down near the pond.
"I'm fine, sir. Just letting you finish up with your elves."
"His elves?" remarked one of the elves in indignation. "We're not his elves."
"You're part of the Mor'shan Outriders, are you not?" replied Anaja, a small smirk crossing her face as she looked out over the pond, refusing to face the elf.
"We are a part of The Mor'shan Outriders, of which he happens to lead, but we are not his elves."
Anaja didn't say anything. Let the elf think what he likes, she knew better.
Ignoring Anaja, their talk continued when one of the elves asked the General if he'd like to get a drink.
"Thank you, but no. I no longer drink. But feel free to get a drink for yourself while I catch up with my granddaughter." Replied the General as he walked over and sat down by Anaja.
"Well, I do believe that was a dismissal," commented one of the elves.
Anaja smiled at the comment, amused at their dismissal.
As the elves wandered off, Robozk sighed. "Anaja," he began, "whether we like it or not, the elves are part of the Outriders now."
"I know." Anaja lowered her head then lifted it again looking at her grandfather. "Sir?"
"If you'll have me, I think I'd like to be a part of the Outriders."
"Even with the elves?" he smiled at her. "I will expect you to hold your tongue around them, and accept that they're a part of the unit."
"Well, I'd like to think about it for a few days if I could, sir?" She wanted to be a part of her grandfather's unit more than anything, elves be damned, but she didn't want to appear too eager.
"Of course," said Robozk.
Shortly after, Robozk stood, pulling his granddaughter to her feet. He gave her a hug. "It's good to have you back, Anaja, but I need to catch up with the Outriders, there's some things I need to discuss with them still."
"It's good to be back, sir." She smiled at her grandfather. "And, of course. I still need to see my trainer anyway."
The two hugged again, then each went off to their destinations.
It had been several days since Anaja had returned to Orgrimmar. She had visited the goblins and informed them that she'd be following the gnomish schematics she had discovered, and wouldn't need their training anymore. They had tried to talk her out of it, fearful of losing the training gold, but she had insisted. What a better way to get to know the enemy, she had told them, than learning how to make the strange devices they were known for. They disagreed, but stopped hassling her about it.
She still had not yet approached her grandfather about joining The Mor'shan Outriders, but today she had decided it was time. She found him in the Drag of Orgrimmar sitting astride his great kodo.
"General?" she began.
"Lok'tar, Lass," he greeted her with a hug.
"Sir, if you'll still have me, I have decided that I would like to be a part of The Mor'shan Outriders."
He smiled at her. "Remember what I said the other day about the elves? I will expect you to hold yourself with honor and to treat the elves with respect, no matter what you may think of them."
"Aye, sir. I will try my best."
"Take this communication device and attach it to your hearthstone. And if you hear a loud piercing cry from a young troll girl, just ignore her."
"Sir?" she asked, confused about the comment regarding the troll.
"Welcome to The Mor'shan Outriders, Anaja." He replied as he slipped the unit's tabard over her head, ignoring her inquiry.
"Thank you, sir. I will do my best to make you proud of me," said Anaja as she proudly ran a hand down the front of the tabard.
Beside her, Phantom gave a loud bark, wagging his tail.
It had only been one day since the grandfather of the adolescent orc, Anaja, had accompanied her through the Dark Portal and introduced her to his home world. At first, she had been awestruck at the sight that opened up before her when her journey through the Portal ended. The sky, unlike any she had ever seen before, was the first thing she had noticed. She had stood staring up at it, trying to make sense of the floating chunks of rock that defied gravity, and of the strange energies that still streaked across the sky.
Her grandfather had called to her, snapping her out of her wonderment. He motioned her over to where he stood near the top of the stairs to the Portal.
"Welcome to Draenor, Anaja," was the only thing he had said. There hadn't been any joy in his voice in welcoming his granddaughter to his home world, and she had soon discovered why.
The words had hardly been out of his mouth, when Anaja had gasped in alarm at the sight below her. There were strange, terrible looking beings attacking the forces of the Horde and Alliance alike. Some she recognized as demons she had seen back on Azeroth, the others, however, she had never seen before. Her grandfather had quickly confirmed these new beings were indeed demons as well.
She had drawn her bow and had begun shooting at the demons, eager to help the forces fighting below, but her grandfather had stopped her saying the forces already there would take care of it. He had told her to report to Thrallmar, the Horde outpost in Hellfire Peninsula, if she wanted to help.
Anaja had been both saddened and excited. Sad because of what she now saw for herself, the desolate place her grandfather's home had become, and excited to hopefully help restore this broken land. When she had arrived in Thrallmar, she had rushed about talking to all of the ones in charge, and they had been all too happy to give her grunt tasks to complete.
She had even met a strange Tauren at Thrallmar, who after some exchanged words, introduced himself as Rokosha. He had just snorted at her enthusiasm, warning her that she'd soon not be so eager after she had been in Hellfire awhile. She had told him she wasn't worried or afraid, and she would do her part for the Horde. He had just shaken his head and sighed at her.
Late that first night in Hellfire, Anaja had fallen into a deep sleep after completing several exhausting tasks for the orcs of Thrallmar. Little did she know then that things would soon change for her in ways she never would have imagined.
The red-skinned orcs were hungry. They hadn't eaten in days it seemed, other than the rotted meat sent their way from the Citadel. They were restless and eager to hunt, but had been ordered to stay their post along the Wall.
Today, however, luck was on their side.
A large grey worg was seen galloping nearby. Riding the worg was one of the green skins from the nearby fortress of Thrallmar. They knew not to attack the green skin unless provoked as doing so usually brought more green skins down on top of them, but the worg….they hadn't been told not to attack one of those.
A few of the red-skinned orcs nodded to each other, all having seen the worg. Perhaps if they killed the worg and waited long enough the green-skin riding it would leave the fallen beast to them. They would have fresh meat at last!
The larger of the fel orcs, drew his bow and released. It struck true, deep into the worg's neck. The small green-skinned orc female tumbled over the worg as it fell. She rolled to a stop, then rushed to the beast's side, crying out.
As the red-skinned orcs heard her yell, they looked around fearful the cry might bring more than they bargained for, but no other green-skins could be seen.
Then to their surprise of good fortune, another large white worg came from no where to join the green-skinned orc. They'd eat for a week now! But before they could draw their bows on the new worg, it charged them! The green-skinned orc also attacked, yelling in a blind rage as she fired her bow.
The fel orcs hadn't counted on this. They only wanted meat to eat. And to their astonishment the green-skin and its worg were stronger than they appeared. Two of them fell, arrows piercing their skulls, while a third had the white worg on top of him, chewing on his face.
Some of the red-skinned orcs used this attack by the green-skin to their advantage. While the she was busy fighting the others, they moved around her and started to drag the dead grey beast towards their camp.
However, the green-skin wasn't fooled. She noticed and gave a piercing yell then redirected her attacks. There was more of them though, and they were soon able to force her into retreat.
Thoughts of killing the large white worg were quickly dismissed as the dead one was brought into the camp. Here was meat that didn't bite back.
Their victory didn't last long though when the green-skinned orc renewed her attacks. As some kept her busy, the others carried the carcass farther away.
Suddenly however, a large and powerful green-skinned orc with a great black bird appeared, yelling at the smaller green-skin. He joined the fight when she ignored him, and after killing a few more of the fel orcs, he finally dragged her away, back towards the Thrallmar fortress.
The red-skinned orcs that were left alive, ignoring their fallen and gloating in the fact there would be more meat for them, headed back to their camp.
Tonight, for a change, they would eat well.
(( And this is where I left Anaja. So far. I'm now playing Anaja quite a bit again and there is still some unfinished business to deal with involving the mysterious fella in Ashenvale and the as yet unnamed friend from there as well. So if you'd like to be the villain or the friend, or just a new person in Anaja's life, drop me an email in game!
If you might be interested in the Villain role, I envision him as being part of the Horde, most likely either Blood Elf or Undead.))