Zanick's Northrend Journal

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Zanick's Northrend Journal

Post  Zanick on Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:54 pm

Part One

From my training I've learned the stillness and watchfulness needed of a scout. For years I have tried to emulate the prowess of sacred Beth'ekk the Panther. I have learned to wait, unmoving, attentive, until the moment comes to strike. But no jungle-born panther would relish these frozen northern climes.

How can you move stealthily along a path and leave no trace when the very snow betrays your every footfall? How can you spy out the enemies' positions when frost clouds your spyglass and ice crystals coat your eye-lashes within seconds? How can you creep up upon your foe un-noticed when the snow crunches beneath your feet or else the ice makes every treacherous footstep uncertain?

Out on patrol the cold gets into my bones. It creeps upon me unaware. It robs my fingers of their nimbleness. Its icy claws drag at my feet. Its insistent chill wraps my mind in a frozen mist and slows my thoughts. It bites at my ears and makes my tusks ache.

I search for better fur to line my armour. I pull my cloak tighter around my shoulders. I shield my eyes from the freezing wind. I clasp my gloved hands close to my body to try to hold on to what little warmth remains in them, a distant memory of the last fireside. I sometimes wish I could cast some spell to keep me warm, as I have seen others do. But I have no skill with cantrips. My mind is not suited to magick. I learned that much when I was a youngling.

I yearn for the heat of the jungle or the sands of Durotar. I long for the bustle of Orgrimmar, it's noise and heat. Out on patrol I call to mind the smell of cooking that enfolds you as you walk along the Drag and the feeling of the cool water on your feet as you wade through the pool beside Darkbriar Lodge in the Valley of Spirits. My thoughts drift often to the familiar clash of arms, the ring of hammer on anvil, the whoosh of the forge bellows, and the snarls and roars of wolves and raptors in the Valley of Honour.

Orgrimmar was my home for so long I think of it most often. But my imagination also takes me to Sen'jin village. I imagine I can hear the gentle lapping of the surf on Darkspear Strand and the greeting calls of the villagers. Every day I wish I were in the shade and comfort of my uncle's hut, boar roasting on the spit, a goblet of junglevine and a plate of cactus apples.

I swear by the eight legs of Shadra that Northrend is no place for a jungle troll. The Drakkari are welcome to keep it for themselves. Yet this is the life I chose for myself. I decided to join the Warsong Offensive and play my part in battling the forces of our Foe. Should I give up? Leave the fight to others? What would happen if we all chose that easier path? I have seen the blight that the Plague of Undeath brings. I have seen the horrors of the Scourge. It cannot be left unchecked.

As an irregular I can quit whenever I wish. I choose to sign on for each patrol, each tour of duty. Not like the regulars, the grunts and their officers, bound by oaths and honour to serve until the fight is won or else they fall. But something drives me on.

All would be lost if our Foe triumphs. Then all the free peoples of Azeroth - trolls, tauren and late-comers alike - would eventually perish in that deathly grip. Hah! Reading these words I realise I must sound like one of the Warcallers that patrol our cities, recruiting soldiers to the fight. But thoughts of an end to freedom freeze my blood more even than the cold of Northrend could ever do.

Now it's time to set out yet again on another scouting patrol, leaving the safety of Agmar's Hammer in the grey dawn light. A line of leaden-footed travellers marching into the endless snowy wastes. Cold weather hoods hiding our faces, each of us wrapped up in our own thoughts.
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Re: Zanick's Northrend Journal

Post  Zanick on Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:55 pm

Part Two

Even though I've been at Agmar's Hammer for many long months I still find it difficult to mix with the other soldiers here. The regulars despise the irregulars, thinking us mercenaries, freebooters, less skilled and less committed to the fight. The warriors distrust the scouts and trackers, thinking that we shirk away from the hard graft of combat and suspecting that we lurk and listen, spy and report on all we see, even when off-duty. The veteran soldiers look down on the youngsters, believing that anyone under the age of forty is still an unblooded novice, still learning their trade and cannot be relied on. The males of course assume that the few women here are less able than they.

Within this company walk I - an irregular, a scout, a female, and of only twenty-something winters. And, what's more, a jungle troll - in their eyes that makes me savage, mystical, devoted to strange and ancient gods. Ha-haah! Is it any wonder that I have difficulties with them?

Some avoid me outright. Some try to taunt me. Some like to mock. Some deal with me plainly but give me not one finger's-breadth more help than they must. Some attempt to become over-friendly. (These quickly learn their error!) Some seem determined to trick me into showing my foolishness. Some show their dislike by putting obstacles in my way at every turn.

The newest recruits to the Warsong Offensive, the taunka, are full of eagerness to drive the Scourge from their homes. Around the bonfire one evening I explained to a group of these shaggy tauren about the dangers they would face if they ventured into the Pit near Icemist Village. I had scouted the entrance to the Nerubian's realm earlier that day and knew first-hand what dangers lurked there.

One young taunka warrior chose to take my words of caution as indication of a lack of courage. "You speak of wariness and preparation, troll." he said gruffly, "But you would not speak like that if you were a taunka. You know nothing of what it is to be driven from your home."

His sneering look was too much for me to just ignore. But his words were so foolish that for a moment I didn't know whether to strike him or laugh out loud. Around him the orc grunts exchanged knowing looks. Before I knew it I was standing right in front of him with my hands ready to draw my daggers. Fortunately for him the troll herbalist, Zebu'tan laid a calming hand on my shoulder. "This fool's not worth the effort." he said to me in Zandali, as he turned me round and steered me away from the group sitting around the bonfire.

Perhaps I should not blame the taunka for knowing nothing of the history of the Darkspears. The only trolls they have knowledge of are the savage Drakkari. But a murka like this would do well to keep his mouth shut in future. Zebu'tan or the orc grunts must have explained his foolishness to him. He avoids me now, looking shame-faced whenever he sees me and he will not look me in the eyes.
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Re: Zanick's Northrend Journal

Post  Zanick on Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:58 pm

Part Three

The encounter with the thoughtless young taunka was just a minor annoyance. Every day there are more serious situations to deal with. Whenever I face a new trial I call to mind my uncle's words as he taught me the skills of a butcher: "Choose the blade that suits the job." "Learn to cut with the grain, not against it." "Don't try to cut the bone, that will just blunt your blade; slice at the joint." "Remember, there is more than one way to skin a boar."

So I choose the weapon that suits the task. For some it is a show of strength. For some it is humour. For some I can deflect their attention with idle talk. For some I simply find common ground: a shared interest or a shared hatred. With others I appeal to their sense of honour. Occasionally a gesture of comradeship is enough.

With some, however, I meet nothing but bone. I find no way to avoid their distrust, suspicion or hatred. These ones I must either avoid or use a more determined approach.

I am reminded of the lessons taught to me by my trainer in Razor Hill, an orc named Kaplak. "Ev'ry enemy has a weakness, Zanick. To win, you must find that weakness and then exploit it."

It becomes a mantra. Every enemy has a weakness. Wait for the right opportunity. I have learned well how to apply this to combat. Against a well-armoured foe seek the weak points at the eyes, neck, armpit, groin. Hammer grip for accuracy and reach; spike grip for power. Blind him to gain time, gouge at the eyes to disorient him, stab to the kidneys to make him reel in pain, stab to the soft belly to finish him.

Memories of my early attempts to learn the art of fighting with daggers bring a rueful smile to my face. I can almost feel the sting of the many cuts I received when my thrusts went awry. The words of my very first tutor, the orc Rwag in the Valley of Trials, ring in my ears even now: "Swiftness. Balance. Judgement. These three things above all. The rest is timing and leverage."

But there's more to defeating an enemy than the fight itself. Much depends on manipulating the situation to your own advantage. More often than not victory depends on your own wise or foolish choices before ever you come to blows.

From Master Shenthul in Orgrimmar I learned how to expertly wield my two blades. But he taught me much more. "If your enemy is stronger than you, evade him. If your enemy is moody, annoy him. If he is resting, disturb him. If his forces are united, split them. If he is on good terms with his leader or his followers, make trouble between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected."

I must make good use of this teaching now, for I fear I have made an enemy here in Northrend . . .
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Re: Zanick's Northrend Journal

Post  Zanick on Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:59 pm

Part Four

Overlord Agmar seems to have been cut from the same cloth as Garrosh Hellscream himself. Aggressive, tyrannical, intolerant, obsessive. Determined to wage war at any cost. A brave warrior he may be, but I am less convinced of his wisdom in matters of strategy. Fortunately I rarely if ever have dealings with him, and long may it stay that way. I still remember the difficulties Ryleen had with this inflexible orc. That time she ended up in a cell.

My troop of scouts and trackers are usually given our orders by Captain Gort. This red-haired orc is fiercely loyal to Agmar and carries out the Overlord's orders to root out and execute traitors. But I have found him fair.

At times we carry out work for Senior Sergeant Juktok who directs the fight against the Nerubian jilliks that swarm in the Pit of Narjun to the west. This orc is a greybeard with more battle scars than most. His age may have made him ill-tempered, and he demands much of the soldiers under his command, but it is clear that he cares for the troops and finds ways to avoid unnecessary risks.

Amongst the grunts it is clear that some support the all-out offensive favoured by Agmar and Hellscream. Others cautiously show their disquiet, suggesting that Varok Saurfang offers the wiser counsel. None may openly express such opinions of course. Agmar would have their heads.

o0o

Yesterday Senior Sergeant Juktok ordered me to venture back into the Pit of Narjun. This time he wanted me to find and copy some inscriptions on the stonework in the deepest part of that foul nest. The inscriptions are not normally visible, he told me, but he supplied me with a flask of some special oil that will reveal the symbols. It seemed a strange task, but he was insistent that it needed to be done immediately, and by me alone as he could spare no other scouts.

It took me several hours to work my way stealthily into the depths of the Pit. Several times I came close to being discovered by the buzzing and skittering creatures that infest those halls. Eventually I reached the place that seemed to match Juktok's instructions. But no sooner did I pour some of the oil onto the stone than a half dozen green spiders cornered me. I was hard-pressed to fight them off without rousing more of the Nerubians in the areas nearby. The oil revealed nothing on the stone.

I crept away to another promising area, where stout columns flanked an archway. Again I poured the oil over the stone. Almost instantly three of the great wasp-like creatures droned directly towards me. With my back to the wall I parried their darting stingers with my blades until I could get in a telling blow. Two of the foul things I sliced and stabbed until they dropped, but the third jabbed its stinger deep into my side. A back-slash brought it down and I finished it off where it lay twitching on the floor.

The wound in my side hurt like a scorpid sting. I cursed the ja'da who had brewed this oil. It seemed to attract the Nerubians like wild raptors to a fresh kill. A healing potion stopped my head swimming, but the dull ache in my side was still there. This whole mission was a fool's errand and I vowed to tell Juktok so as soon as I got back.

By the time I stumbled back to Agmar's Hammer the deep dark of night had enfolded the fortress. I was more tired than I should have been, even after my exertions, and it seemed that the venom in the wound in my side was clouding my thoughts. I crept straight to my bedroll laid out on the top floor of the guard tower and fell immediately into a deep and troubled sleep.

o0o

This morning I awoke aching and covered in fear-sweat. My dreams had been full of buzzing wings and snapping jaws dripping with venom. No wonder I did not feel refreshed after such a restless night.

When I made my way down to the ground floor of the tower I reported for duty as usual to Captain Gort. He looked troubled to see me and did not look me in the eye with the same proud authority that he usually showed. He dismissively told me that the Spearhead Stalkers no longer had need of me and that I should return to my home. With that, he turned to leave.

I was dumbfounded. I caught his arm before he could walk away. "What does dis mean?" I asked. "I am dismiss'd?"

He only half-turned to me. "There are others who would have me go further, Zanick." he snarled under his breath. "Go home. If you know what's good for you, don't show your face around here again." He pulled his arm from my grasp and marched away.

In the courtyard I caught Zebu'tan's eye. The troll hunched over his table, studiously grinding seeds ready for one of his potions. He spoke in hushed Zandali. "I heard that the Warsong Blades have branded your guild as traitors." he said. "I'm sure Overlord Agmar has heard it too. Yesterday he had words with Captain Gort. The Blades carry a lot of influence, Zanick."

He noticed that I was holding my side and asked if I had been hurt. I told him it was just a slight wound that was slow to heal. "I suspect they didn't expect you to make it back at all." he commented. He offered to take a look at the wound, cautioning me that the Nerubians' venom can sometimes have long-lasting effects, but I was eager to leave the place. He nodded in agreement. "You had best leave now before Agmar gives Gort orders to arrest you on sight. Watch your back, Zanick."

There was nothing left to say except to thank him for his warning. I quickly scanned the barracks entrance, fearful that I might see Agmar and his guards striding out to confront me. But there was no immediate sign of trouble. None seemed to have noticed me except perhaps the dark-hooded orc named Torvus who brings messages from Warsong Hold. He is clearly Saurfang's eyes and ears. I put my helmet back on, pulled my cloak tighter around me and went quickly to the guard tower to collect my gear.

It seemed at that moment that there was no-one in Northrend I could turn to. No friendly face in that whole frozen continent, no true ally within the Horde who would not turn away from me. I took refuge in flight, mounted upon Ku'ura. Up amidst the cool morning air I gathered my thoughts.


Last edited by Zanick on Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Zanick's Northrend Journal

Post  Zanick on Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:00 pm

Part Five

It seems that the highest reputation of loyalty to the Horde, hard-earned over countless hazardous duties fighting in dozens of regions across this world and the Outland during the last few years can be overturned by a few words from the Warsong Blades. At a stroke, all my hard work to become a scout fighting for the Horde army in Northrend has been made worthless. With a word, those faithless orcs have robbed me of my life's ambition and of my status within the Horde.

Unless of course I denounce Ryleen and my comrades in the Heritage of Zandalar. That I cannot do.

What now is there for me? Can I return to Orgrimmar, the home that I have known for much of my life? Or will the Blades' lies have poisoned the minds of the authorities and the city-folk there too? If that were so, if I could no longer walk the streets of Orgrimmar with my head held high, then the world that I have known will very rapidly crumble around me.

Branded a traitor, my world will shrink. Only in Sen'jin village amongst my Tribe, in Antu'Rah amongst my guild-mates, and on Yojamba Isle amidst the Zandalari will I be able to freely live. I curse the Blades for their arrogance, their disloyalty, their dishonourable choice of what is politically useful just to maintain their Pact.

The Pact of Blood is aptly named. It has never brought security and mutual defence. It has only brought us obligation, conflicted loyalties, hard choices made in the face of thinly-veiled threats. Under the pretence of honouring the terms of this agreement the orcs find ways to excuse the atrocities of those that have made themselves our enemies time after time.

It seems an age ago that the Heritage and the Greywolves stood strong to oppose the treachery of the House of Sylvanas. In truth it was barely two winters ago, but those were different times. Where are the Greywolves now? No longer a strong voice amongst the Horde.

But what should be done? I should seek out a witch doctor, get them to foretell my future. I did that several times when I was a youngling. Each time I was told that I would do good service and that I would find my rightful place within the tribe, but that my far future is clouded and unclear. I wondered then if the seer chose not to tell me what he saw in the bones, or whether they had not the skill to interpret the signs.

I was truly a zizu then. But I am older and, I hope, wiser now. I should have asked Jimar to roll the bones for me. He was truly touched by the spirits. He would have told me the truth. But always something held me back. There was something other-worldly about Jimar that frightened me. Or perhaps I feared to learn about some grim fate that awaits me.

Perhaps that grim fate has already come to pass. Robbed of home, of position, of status. Outcasts from the Horde.

Enough! We cannot allow this. WE WILL NOT BE DRIVEN AWAY AGAIN.

It makes my blood boil just thinking about it. In fact, I find it hard to contain my rage at what has happened to my guild, my comrades and the reputation of the trolls in the Horde. All this anger kept bottled inside is making my head ring with pain. And I cannot be sure if it is the ache in my side or the pain in my heart that keeps me from restful sleep.

Vekk! If I could just think straight then I would know what to do. What have I been taught about dealing with a difficult situation? "To fight a strong enemy, use deception. When you're close, he must think that you're far away. When you're busy preparing, pretend to be idle. When you're ready to attack, you must appear weak. Use bait to draw your enemy to a place of your choosing. Deceive him. Then crush him."

By the stripes of sacred Shirvallah! I wish I knew what to do. How would the wise Zandalari counsel me? Let the great ancestor-spirits of Zandalar lend me their aid. Khar'vaxal the Cracked, greatest madcap of them all, lend me the blinding speed of your twin daggers. Renataki of the Thousand Blades, lend me your madness so that I may bring fear and pain to my enemies.

Enough! It's time to stop toeing around the skull-pile. It's time to get off my n'tamba and act. Time to prove that I am not just some fearful zizu. Time to prove that I have the d'zana to face our enemies. I need to stop writing this journal and do something.

It's high time that I found some way to set matters right. A troll's spirit is fierce and free. It's time to prove it. No foe, no matter how great a threat they may be, is impossible to overcome.


_______________

[ This was the last entry in Zanick's journal. I found it with her bedroll and other gear stashed on the top floor of the armoury near the main gate in Orgrimmar, where she always used to sleep.

For any that do not already know, just two days after these events Zanick apparently attacked one of the Warsong Blades, the orc shaman Nazrug, on the zeppelin going from Orgrimmar to Warsong Hold. It is not known for sure if she was killed in the fight or as a result of falling from the airship to the ground far below. But the result is the same and Zanick is dead.

I spoke to Zebu'tan, the troll herbalist in Agmar's Hammer. He was shocked to hear of Zanick's death. He had been worried about her because of the wound she got in the Pit of Narjun. He seemed to think that the Nerubian venom had something to do with her attack on Nazrug, but he refused to tell me more. Perhaps, after all, it is better to let sleeping wolves lie.
- Zakeiran, friend and long ago battle-comrade of Zanick]


Last edited by Zanick on Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:15 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Zanick's Northrend Journal

Post  Vypra on Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:07 pm

Truly awesome. I almost felt as if i were sat on Zanick's shoulder witnessing her trials Smile

Looking forward to more.

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Re: Zanick's Northrend Journal

Post  Ryleen on Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:25 am

Indeed, looking forward to the rest of it Smile
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