Forty Seasons Ago
There was a skull shattering -CRACK- as a sunburst of light was followed by the haze of stars that seemed to swallow the edge of clear vision on Loqie's behalf. The next thing that registered was the pain, a dull throb of a thing that seemed directly bound to the thumping of his heart behind the cage of his ribs. His hands pawed at the ground as he slowly pulled his small frame up from its prone position. He heard the laughter from his assailant like a low drum that was out of tune intermingled with the high pitched ring the blow to his head had caused. There was a salty taste in his mouth and a warmth to his tongue that spilled over his lips and chin from there reality caught up with him; pulling itself out of slow motion at a disjointed pace.
He threw himself into a run, a scream of unbridled frustration breaking the ill-found amusement of the tauren youths ahead of him. Loqie tucked his head in and threw his weight into his shoulder as arms surrounded the tauren that'd felled him a moment earlier. Their conjointed impact forced the air out of his lungs amidst the crack of bone he heard beneath him. Tri-fingered hands grasped hard at the fur of the boy he held beneath him and with another scream he forced his head down and then threw his neck back. The depth of the action alone strained the muscles in his neck and along his bottom jaw as he ground his teeth together so that he didn't break anything off.
Blood bubbled forth in waves against the troll boy's fisted hands as he sat stradled atop the tauren youth, where nothing but silence came. Those around the pair were in just as much shock until the shrill scream of one of the girls broke all but their eardrums....
Loqie awoke with a start, the outcry to follow locked away in the depths of his throat as he had taught himself to do so long ago to keep from stirring people or creatures around him in the middle of the night. His breath came in panting waves that forced his nostrils to flare in time with the pounding of his heart so hard against his ribs he feared for a moment they migtht break from the onslaught. With a nudge at his bare side the shaman jumped again, though not as harshly as he had from his dream. The fire stoked mane of the cat he'd come to know as a companion soon coming into view before the beast uttered a faint mrrt of inquisition.
Loqie drew his knees up enough to practically butter-fly his legs in position beneath the sheet over him, body arcing he pulled his torso more completly into a seated position, arms coming to drape over the jut of his knees. "I am fine..." he said in a low grovel to the animal that continued to nudge him. The embers of his memory faded away into the black of his mind once more, lying in wait for when they could be stoked into the shaman's sleeping recall another night. He knew exactly what had spawned the newest series of his memories during his dreams though he dare not speak it. For to speak of such a thing would bring an absolution to things that he couldn't afford to withdraw from.... were he to bring said things to life.
With another thinly furred nudge at his side the troll sighed, turning his head in the small feline's direction "I do not believe you are as helpful to me as you would like to think..." Despite the dark look the shaman was given from the beast he ruffled the creature's fur and promptly threw the covers from himself. In the darkness he pulled on the looser weave of cloth pants and made his way to the open window where his companion joined him in the form of a feline pretzel around his ankles. Lithe arms crossed over the bredth of the trolls bare chest, the hard curve of a shoulder pressed into the open window edge and with a clearing sigh the troll's head followed. His amber-gold gaze flitted across the landscape lain before him while the moon in it's half-phase shone through the cloud of approaching storms... You cannot let this weigh on your mind as it does my son.... for it will surely swallow you whole. The soothing tones of his clan's matriarch came flooding into his minds inner audio sensory.
"Is that why you approved of my becoming a shaman? So you could chide me even in death?" His words were quiet, a whisper on the wind as he refused to turn to the voice and ghostly vision that manifested behind him. However with the resounding tongue-click of disapproval towards his words his eyes half-lidded with his downward glance "I can hear and see and feel so many things around me, within me and those who come to cross my path in life... and look what it gives me.. a world full of killing and spilling of blood that won't ever change."
"You have to put forth the effort to change it Loqie... without the effort you are right. None of it will ever change."
With a low sound in his throat he twisted to look at the visionary of his tauren mother behind him. "I did when I was younger and no matter how hard my effort I could not change the things that needed to be." The elder tauren snuffed a breath at him, edging closer, and keeping away from the moonlight as it broke through the window. "You cannot change what you are Loqie... "
"Neither can you." He rose up in tone and stature alike, "You cannot simply influence my mind and how I function with the forced recollection of memories in my sleep to -remind me- of where I stand amungst our people. If that was how you wished it, you should have made a venture -back- into the forgotten lands and returned me to those who share my appearence and apparent heritage. Just because you see where my heart and mind lie doesn't mean you can come from the depths of etheria and try to change my 'way' now."
"Loqie... all I wish is for you to honestly consider the actions and their consequences as you take them.. You are my son I f-"
"Then why would you question me now? My mind, my heart as I have made them up? As I have come to terms with them despite my differences to the contrary mother? I am but a Tauren moulded into the shell of a troll by your own doing. My own 'people' as it were are foreign to me, their lands, their beliefs... their entirity is a myth only recently made real in my mind. Now because I have an alterior purpose to your intentions for my life you are forcing me to question where and who I belong with?"
The tauren ghost striaghtened in stature, floating about the edges of the bed to close the distance between herself and the shaman. "You cannot see or know the things I have come to know in death.. nor can I honor you with a gift of such exclusive foresight." Ghostly fingers found the side of his face, forcing the skin beneath to pebble with goosebumps. "Consider in depth your intentions. Heart-strong as you have always been, allow the rationality and logic of your head to seep into your intentions before you lose your heart and soul alike to someone who could never return nor give the same to you Loqie. This is not a querstion of being... it is the matter of your soul's keeping.
Loqie quelled the anger that rose to his eyes, allowing the lids to close over their golden depths and with the action the ghost of his mother disapeared. With the reopening of his gaze the troll heaved a dark sigh, a burning sadness webworking its way through his veins as he turned from the vacancy of his room back to the open nightscape before him. His vision shifted to the motion at his leg, frame lowering just enough to surround the feline encircled there long enough to bring him to the usual perch at the troll's shoulder. Silently Loqie let his thoughts drift onto the night breeze as it blew across the way, his pressence remeining in the frame of the window until the approach of the dawn....
"I'm not sorry for the way that I am... nor the things I feel and whom I intend them for."
Of course to futher understand this troll and his upbringing... one might indeed have to venture a little further into his past.
Orphan of War: Part One: The Rain of Fire Edit
The whispered echo of voices were still there... and all she could do was run, feet echoing off the water, rock and grit of the mountainous ridge she was desperately trying to cross.. A ledge found would be given a hard shove and a growl of determined agitation as the troll Kahlae wrenched herself over the rocky lip. Muscles pulled, tendons strained and bones whined as all their limits were tested. Her body's landing was taken in stride, ending sometimes in a unremitting velocity, others in a duck and roll to dampen the shock of such callous falls off the rock surfaces, from the propelling limbs. Her hair clung to what it could, its binding remained nothing but a tattered and broken remnant of former taut glory leaving fiery waves to wash out from the winds momentum, like a curtain blown by a tempest of air. The fiery strands regroup, curl about and bounce over the structure of bare blue shoulders and sinewy arms only to be carelessly flung back as another growl; another jump... another defiance to death comes to pass. She doesn’t dare look back at her pursuers, there’s now need for she can feel the rumble in the ground behind her and the scent of arcane spells searing the air in attempt to catch her.
Towering above flats below, animals, creatures and humanoids alike are all forgotten as she rushes over them. However, some take notice with her scream being the catalyst for such attention, even if the vantage any are granted is nothing more than a shadow or blur of fire and black before it's gone.
A wild animal in the form of a troll, lost and trying to free herself. To run, to escape the pain, only to cause her body more. Muscles burn and joints snap hard into their places, pushed beyond their limits and more. The reddened stone cause raspberry patches to show at her arms, her knees and back; limbs from dying trees in their misplaced patches tatter clothing, tearing threads and rending fabric. Rocks bruise and welt the skin; all pull at the hair, yanking and keeping souvenirs. Selfish and greedy, each twist and turn has a different want, a different purpose. Ledges tear at the soft flesh of hands, break the harder curves of nails, stone wear out knees and edges scrape at the abdomen and ribs.
Nothing compares to the wounds that never show, wounds that run so deep they obliterate all sense of everything except survival. Not for herself, for her fate is sealed, but for the survival of that which is bound in a satchel to her chest.
The moon ahead of her, a blood tinged, cloud encased focal point for deliverance. She races harder, faster, the end is near, her spells are fading and her enemies are closing. Her throat bleeds from her screams, worn raw from her panting the crisp air and the arcane torments that bleed through her failing protective barriers. The heart pounds, beats, thunders in the chest, threatening to break the cage of ribs surrounding it. Its sound serving as a metronome to her pace, her hunt, her release and yet providing a calm for the child pressed so forcefully up against it.. The sound harmonized with her breathing, rushing pants that are etched with her voice, audible and helpless as her body begins to succumb to her enemy’s onslaught.
Her senses rise, she can feel it coming, the edge of her ramble, like a hunted animal knowing the end is about to come. You've done your best, run your hardest, but you can still feel the heated breath of the predator behind you rustling your fur and chilling your spine. A desperate act, a final thwarting, everything that you are is thrown into that last movement and the world slows for a few moments, this is it... you're either brought down screaming or you fly ahead, broken but alive.
The air was thin, and bitter enough to feel like a cold winter shower rushing over sweat clad skin. Legs kick, the body bends, arcs and twists in such a way to rival any gymnast, muscles snap tight, bleeding hands grip that last rung of solid ground, threatening to slip and plummet the body tumbling down to the dirt below. The world turns upside-down and the scream is drowned out by the beating thunder of wings as birds stir violently from the vocal torment provided. Legs curl, pulling momentum in, hands release their hold and the woman lands on two feet, lowering instinctively to the ground to dampen the blow and the ensuing crack of bone at the leg.
Nearly a story higher perched precariously on the edge of the rocky jungle cliff, the land below open, willing, and oblivious to the presence above. The body heaves, for breath, for beat, for blood, everything. With an anguish cry legs straighten, splayed fingers dragging over the ground, leaving their crimson trails before rising to cradle the bundle at her chest, unbuckling the clasp. Infantile fingers splayed across the dying woman’s face, slipping past blood caked lips before being tucked away behind the leather of the satchel.
Rock and stone would be his bed, dirt and grass the pillow. Broken words fell upon the child, secluding him in a spell of unseeing before Kahlae turned with a hobble. Staring across the ravine she’d transversed towards the group that were but a few yards away from the jump themselves.
The calm before the storm.
Silent, still, undisturbed.... though the tension builds, the electricity is there, her chest fills and her arms are lifted unconsciously, bleeding hands brought into fists before the scream.
A roar shouted into the air, the sky, into hovels below and people alike, left to linger, echo and die on the ears of anyone who'll listen. Joined in a symphony of thundering wings, arms tensed and flexed are cast widely, leaving the connecting body to shake with the threat of their very detachment. Birds are stilled in their surrounding spiral around the storm, fleeing animals cease to move, halted mid stride and people below who look up to the source are paralyzed into another's will. The stilling wave washes over the lands, leaving things at an apocalyptic stand still.... save the thing pursuing her.
The troll crouches then, not wanting to be caught not wanting to allow these traitorous beings the joy of the act. Her arms snap back as the balls of her feet force the woman into a death leap from the rocks ledge into the ravine. With the self-sacrifice the clouds rupture, torn apart.... bleeding their tears for the falling woman in a rain of fire upon her pursuers.
Xxryal turned her attention in a harsh pivot, the eruption that she felt down into her very being. Pale eyes searched the horizon as she raced up the small rock ledge that she often used as her own personal watch post. There she saw it plain as day. Animals were fleeing for their lives the quadrupeds fled in great herds from the Moon Scar ravine, while the winged swirled in a maelstrom of movement in such numbers as to appear like a cloud. She would never have believed the reason had she not seen it herself. The sky in the distance…. rained fire.
With a hearty call the Tauren encampment below her sprung to life, riders wrestled their mounts and without waiting Xxryal shifted with a crowning roar and hurried ahead.
Orphan of War: Part Two: A Path In The Earth Edit
"Here! I have found the cause!" Shouted one of the adolescent braves. Normally they would stick near the middle of a party, and at camp mind the Kodo... they tend to be rather overzealous at times. "I have found an elf!"
The tauren encampment had all but scraped the unknown victims to the assault of fire from their hooves in the past few days since they had investigated the area. The fiery-rain had subsided after nearly an hour and ever since the Tauren had been trying to decipher who and what either fell to the burning rain or drew upon such power to pull it from the sky. Any bodies they found were no more than husks of ash or piles of mottled bone shards; all of which disintegrated intoi misty powder when touched.
The scouts had made their way to the peak, rebuilt their camp for the night and sent a runner back to the village nearby with a call for a shaman. Perhaps with their particular knowledge and senses they could recount what happened in better detail than any one here had tried to do thus far.
That was nearly four days ago. Now the temporary settlement was getting antsy and to tell the truth a little worried. The pair of druids in the camp itself had heard voices on the winds, whilst hunters and warriors alike had begun to feel a growing uneasiness within themselves and their pets alike. When the shout arouse from the site near the blazon rain the entire camp practically woke or jumped to attention.
Xxryal had been on the edge of dreams when the flap of her tent was thrown asunder and a rough scrape of a paw pad pressed into her cheek forced her awake. Pale eyes opened, she was set nose to nose with her mate's pet Ilroth, his dark mane barely distinguishable with the shadows. Deep violet eyes narrowed on her before he let out a low chuffing sound in his throat and forcefully head nudged her to get up.
Every time he did that she had to resist the urge to head butt him back. With a small shout from outside she glanced away and then back.. only to find the tail end of the beast heading from her bedding. She quickly sat up, ignoring her armor and settling for her mace as she made her way out to the commotion.
"An elf! I've found an elf!" The cry was a hybrid of excitement and trepidation from the youth as he ran from the site back to his camp. "An e-OOF!" The young tauren smashed he had first into the chest of their party's leader, a hunter by the name of Daegan. It was rumored the tauren was next in line for their village Chieftain; and for good reason. That however was the least concern on the younger taurens' mind. His shoulders were taken hold of and the young boy was forced backward in the grasp of the elder. Dark eyes narrowed on him and the shift in Daegan's jaw was evident.
"What did you see young one." Daegan started, and when a huge gasp of a start came from the youth he soon added "Slowly... and in small detail."
The younger tauren started explaining how he'd managed to get to the fire site, even the rocks were still warm from the site. He spoke of a red hue and a ring of fire around a vacant patch in the earth a few feet away from the cliff edge. His explanation filled the ears of those who had rushed to meet the younger tauren with his shouts about an elf.
Xxryal got about half of it before pushing through the abundance of testosterone and then beyond, as soon as the boy had given proper directions. She heard the sharp outcry of her name in reprimand from Daegan but continued anyway. She followed the divots in the rock made by the younger taurens' hooves before a heavier set practically came to life before her.
Charred into the earth, blackened prints began to burn with a gentle glow akin to dying embers in a fire. Her grip on the mace tightened and she continued along, unbeknownst to her the voices and thunder of her clan mates faded into nothing. Her mind was set and the growing weight in her chest forced her fur on edge as an impending sense of deja vu trickled into her senses.
The rock beneath her hooves began to warm even greater than anywhere else her clan mates had found it and within a few seconds she saw the ring of flame the younger tauren had spoken of. Immediately she was on edge, her druidic senses practically driving needles into her brain with the sensations that began to plague her as she neared the ring.
A hand rose to shield her eyes from the heat she felt, while her very body inside and out felt the rage behind the flames itself. She caught a glimpse of movement from the center of the ring before a pillar erupted in front of her with a shriek that forced the tauren womans ears against her head and her feet back a step. Blazing eyes formed amidst that pillar before the rest of the flames seemed to stoke themselves to shape, still dancing and licking the air greedily.
Xxryal grimaced as her head began to feel as if it was being split in twain, the invading voice soon rattling around within it. “You are a strong one…” the feminine voice began as the pain began to ease. “Strong enough is the question..” Without warning a fiery limb struck across the druids face.
Daegan and the others had chased after Xxryal only to find a barricade of fire blocking their path around the bend. Asir, the younger informant, had said none of these things to him in his explanation and Daegan feared another fiery onslaught that would wipe his clan mates from the earth just as it had those who’d come here before. Those that attacked the blaze of a wall found their weapons singed or skin burnt for their efforts. Spells merely reverbed onto their casters like a mirrored surface while projectiles fell into ash on the other side.
After a few moments Daegan felt the rush of pain streak across his face and another lash out into his chest where his hand soon fell to. “Xxryal…” his voice came as a whisper as his bond to her began to weaken. His mind reeled at the possibilities that flew across his perception. She could be dying or outnumbered, she was alone and defiantly in pain but that was all he knew. The woman his heart belonged to ahead of him but unseen and the people his obligation belonged to behind him, just as confused as he. Daegan would give anything for her… He had promised her so many times that he would and now he was faced with the idea of breaking that promise. Of following through with something he had prayed every day for never to happen. Daegan had no idea of what it was they were to face out here, only that it was something in all his years he had never seen or even heard tell of before now. Who was to say the leader of those who fell days before weren’t placed in this same position and their leader had chosen the person behind the flames over the whole of his people?
Fingers dug into his chest as the pain there grew; welts began to form in places under his fur where Xxryal was struck and each blow fell deeper than the one before as a slow burning sensation began to creep into his bones. His teeth ground against each other and the press of his fingers nearly broke the skin as he pulled the hand there into a fist.
“To the camp!!!” He growled the words; through pain and anguish alike and with them the firewall erupted higher. “To your mounts! We need to warn others!” Those that heard the cry around him seemed perplexed; one of their own was behind that wall. Though when their leader turned from the blaze to retreat the look set upon his features set against the rage of fire behind him quelled any objection those around him held.
Xxryal would not be back and if they did not leave now, they were all sure to follow her path.
Orphan of War: Part Three: Voices on the Winds Edit
For a while there was only her and there was only him.
For a while there was only them.
And that was enough; the simple melody of lovers, though torn by sorrow and hardship, in their dreams and hearts they pictured a life together, even as the crying rang through sleepless nights and beliefs were shattered and spread upon the wind’s gentle tendrils. And at the end, they both had one thought: “If only we could be together a little longer...”
Four Years Later
Daegan strode slowly across the plain of Mulgore, the rise of Thunder Bluff stood out before him and only served to force more anger and sadness into his heart. Xxryal's family remained here, she had been the only one to follow Daegan and his clansmen so many years ago, wanting for forge her own path in life, not one someone else set out for her. In turn her actions had served to forge the end to her path in life.
Months had gone by, seaons had changed, and still there had been no word. No sign, nothing that Xxyral was still alive. There had never been another attack, the fire-rain had never spread beyond its point of origin. All of which seemed to serve as a downfall for credibility amung the elders as far as Daegan's leadership and competence were involved. In fact up until the recent summons from Xxylena's family the Tauren had seemed to lose everything of value in his life, allowing a void to eat its way into his heart, only to be filled with hatred, anger and sadness.
Obsidian hooves marked the ground, breaking grass and stem, the weight of his frame, and the burdens he allowed to settle into him reverberated from the planks of wood as he strode from the lift into the lower rise of Thunder Bluff. Dark eyes fell immediatly upon Xxryal's younger sister, Raethia.....
3 Months after the Firey Rain
He knew it could never last, but passion is so very hard to deny, and neither of them were strong enough to do that, despite the way the others looked up to the pair of them for support and a way to act in the midst of the suffering of their clan.
Earthmother knows he tried to fight it. He told himself that she wasn’t interested, and that she didn’t feel the same. But she did. Maybe this would’ve been eaiser if he had been right and if she hadn’t reciprocated his feelings. So many nights of suffering wouldn’t have happened, and his heart wouldn’t have been sacrificed to the torture that followed when she left.
Daegan found myself unsure of her emotions for him at times, and then would berate himself for ever doubting the things that she relinquished for him. He wished that she had been selfish, it would’ve been eaiser to hate her if she had been.
If he hated her, she wouldn’t feel this way, but every time he tried to force himself to loathe the being that she was, he found it impossible, and realized she was far to great a woman to have such emotions bestowed upon her entity.
He was young...certainly not the youngest in the group, but at least far younger than her. Naïve as he was, she still saw me, and loved me, with everything that she was.
And he saw and loved her. It was strange, as inexperienced as he was, he still knew that he needed her, in so many senses of the word need.
Daegan had needed Xxryal spiritually, to complete a soul and fill the empty loneliness that often plagued the tauren at night when attempting to sleep.
He needed her as a friend, to be an advisor and confidante. A woman wise beyond her years, when he would sit and stare at the campfire as he pondered miniscule dilemmas, for he could call them dilemmas with the problems that had haunted the Tauren lands for a thousand years, she would always have a kind and gentle word to help him figure out the solution. Granted, they weren’t always delivered in the gentlest of ways; often Daegan received them in the form of that ungraceful sweetness that one tends to find in six year old girls, she could still make me feel better.
And lastly, he needed her in the basest of ways, the animalistic desire that consumes men and turns their hearts blacker than a moonless night. To become one with her was always the most beautiful thing.
Their coupling had many personalities, sometimes being fast and playful; other times it was soft, slow and reminiscent of a lover’s serenade; and sometimes sweet and passionate to the point of being choking. His favorite facet though, was always when they lost themselves in the feel and beauty of one another; with sweet whispers of, “I love you,” and, “I’ll always need you; you complete me, my love.”
She once told me that that was her favorite type of love-making as well. He remembered the smile she wore on her face as she told me. It was the most exquisite thing I had ever seen.
She had smiled at him and said, “To be one with you...is an incredible feeling. I love basking in your scent and hearing you call out for me. It’s the most phenomenal sentiment to ever be experienced by a man. I adore feeling that you love and want only me; honestly, you should place these emotions upon another. I’m so unworthy of your affections that you bestowing them upon me is the most incredible gift that anyone could give me.”
In irony, though, he was the one that felt unworthy. To have such a great woman give him her very self, and pledge undying ardor unto his personage felt like a blessing from the heavens themselves. He frequently told her that she ought to return to the nirvana from whence she came, as surely she must have been a fallen angel to bless him with her devotion and companionship.
When he told her that late one evening as they struggled to catch their breath after satiating their desire for one another, she just smiled and called me her seraph.
A few weeks prior...
"I think I loved him from the first time I saw him; he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I don’t say that meaning that he was feminine looking, though. He had an exotic, quiet intensity type of allure to him. I still miss him sometimes, although I shouldn’t. Our time together passed, and I knew it would be unfair to ask for more, as much as I wanted to have it.
So I never did ask. But now that I’m looking back on it, and now that he’s gone, I find myself wishing that I had, because I keep realising there are so many things I left unsaid.
I know that he knew I loved him, but I wish I had said it to him more often. I usually reserved saying that for when we were making love, and for the last time I saw him, as he faded away. I whispered it to him from my heart as I had cried.
I assumed that he was okay with the rarity of my expressions, but you know what they say about assuming. I never realised what a good man he was…
Although there were a lot of happy memories to go along with the painful ones, the hurt of his departure overshadows the felicity of his presence in my life. The elation that singularly is accompanied by sorrow was worth it though. I’d gladly take a lifetime of pain for just one more day of joy between the two of us.
To dance the lovers’ dance with him just one more time would make me more exuberant than I had ever been before I had met him. To have his head rest on my stomach in the afterglow of spent passion as he pressed butterfly kisses to my flesh was pure bliss; to stroke his hair gently as I whispered my love for him was a unique euphoria that cannot be located again.
Her voice drifted over the wind, echoing from the depths of the cave she had called home these past few years, broken and dying... Her body was a mixture of healed scars and mended limbs, one hand had settled over her heart, whilst the other remained curled around the attentative youth she'd been protecting.
Back to the Present
Daegan stood in silent awe, surrounded by his beloved's family with in the depths of their tent, arms outstretched and great hands surrounding the frailer troll child that held the tattoo's of his beloved's face, etched into the child's bluish skin with a golden dust. Across his chest like a great sash was the belt of his people, denoting Daegan's own clan lineage and bound to his neck by a simple cord was the ring he'd given Xxyral so many years ago...
"Father?" In the silence the young troll child's voice rang out... only to be stolen away and carried on the wind.
For a while there was only her and there was only him.
For a while there was only them.
And that was enough; the simple melody of mother and son, though torn by sorrow and hardship, in their dreams and hearts they pictured a life together, even as the crying rang through sleepless nights and beliefs were shattered and spread upon the wind’s gentle tendrils. And at the end, they both had one thought: “If only we could be together a little longer...”
Orphan of War: Part Four: Reflections in the Water Edit
Asha opened her eyes. It was dark. The moon shone down around the group, into the soft grass, casting sliver onto her greyish fur. She heard distinct snores and murmurs coming from the others. She rose slowly, scratching her side and yawning strongly. Her brown eyes searched the area for a while, blinking heavily; she hated it when she got up in the middle of the night.
She stretched a little, before preparing herself to lie flat down in her nest of earth, hay and blanket and drift off once more. But before she did, her keen eyes spotted a hunched silhouette, still awake in the midst of the night. She squinted slightly to identify who it was. She saw the figure, drawing themselves in, arms wrapped around legs, staring down at the shallow pool in the middle of the low rise.
Asha sighed slowly as she understood. She knew it was him. No sign of fur on his bare, hairless body. Long firey hair bound into braids and twisted pretzels in a remnant of a mohawk hung all around his strong, muscular form. Strange characteristics as they were, his yellow eyes seemed lost as he gazed at the image reflected back to him. It was weird how his eyes always seemed full of pain.
Perhaps he thought that he was the only one awake. Maybe he thought that he was the only one in the world at the moment. She could see it in his narrowed brows, his discontented expression, and his wounded eyes. He was all-alone. No matter how much Asha had tried to comfort him, she could never make him forget that.
Ash let all of her breath out in a sorry sigh. She was always there to take care of him, to look after him, to make sure that he didn't get into any sort of trouble. He never listened, but that wasn't the point. She knew that she hated it sometimes, protecting him when she wasn't up to it. But she continued it anyway, because that's what best friends did. She felt as if she had to do it now.
She walked gently over to him, being careful not to awaken anyone else as she passed. He didn't look at her as she approached. It seemed like he wasn't paying attention, like he was in a completely different world. But that didn't matter. As she drew nearer, she could see the torture in his light eyes, and the anguish in his face.
"Hey." She simply greeted, finding herself unable to smile for a strange, bizarre reason. Loqie turned to face her reluctantly, his uniquly tattooed face unchanging. His voice sounded so crushed and miserable. He didn't return her greeting.
He merely adverted his attention, studying the tauren's reflection and the contrast of it to his own. She had the begining breech of white horns from beneath the velveteen coating that all tauren youth carried until begining puberty. His lips were forced apart at the sides, the boney piercing of his tusks finally growing beyond the thin line, their ends capped over with leather covers for the 'saftey' of others.
Her face was rounded, with soft circular features accenturated with s-curves and a run of silverish grey fur, mottled with darker grey splotches. His was sharp, angular, with an obtrusive nose that stuck out like a dagger and a chin that stretched out the feline semblence of his features. Instead of fur he had the gold brush of tattoos that mimiced a tauren mother dead almost seven years now.
Her eyes were deep and inviting with a russet hue that stood out against the palor of her fur and mane, silver braids spilling over her shoulders. His were piercing and yellow, like molten amber, a distractingly eerie contrast to his bluish skin and fiery braids. AS if that wasn't enough, the sheer length of his ears only seemed to top his 'disfigurement'. They were extremly long and came to a point. That feature alone had garnered the nickname 'Elfy'...
She was beautiful and he was ugly.
With a small growl he punched at the water with his fist, sending their reflections into a thousand different directions. "Why is everyone different?" he asked softly. Asha couldn't tell if he was talking to her or not.
She knew that he hated how that the others treated him. How Daegan treated him. They thought of him as an outsider. A threat to everyone. She couldn't imagine what was the big deal. Loqie wasn't like that. She knew. They didn't.
She shrugged a little. "Who knows?" but seeing the sadness in her friend's eyes, she added; "But sometimes, it's a good thing, ya know? I mean, not everyone wants to be the same, do they?"
Loqie sighed. "No." he admitted. "But why does everyone do this to me? If it doesn't matter if everyone is different, then why do they think that it's a bad thing that I am?"
"Hey..." Asha announced kindly. "Look. I'm always here for ya. At least ya still got me. I mean... you're a great guy. I know not a lot of people think so, but you're not what they want ya to be."
Loqie stared at Asha for a while, not really knowing what to say. He wasn't quite sure where to place his words. How can a few out of so many like who I am? He wondered. Why can some live with it, and some can't? He glanced away uncertainly.
Asha sighed as she witnessed her friend's disappointed face. "Don't worry." She told him, her voice filled with understanding; perhaps a little more than what she expected it to come out as. "If anytime ya have a problem, just come to me, O.K? I mean, that's what friends are for.... right?"
Blinking for a while, Asha wouldn't have noticed that Loqie had now shifted from his position, moving closer to her. Asha got a small chance to see his eyes before he placed his arms around her in a friend;y hug. She had seen that his yellow eyes were full of tears. Immediately feeling sorry for him, she didn't pull out of the embrace.
He had given her many hugs before, but she had always protested them, saying something like: "Eww! Gross! Don't get all mushy on me, O.K?!" but this time was different. Loqie was crying. He obviously felt very alone.
"Thanks." She heard Loqie whisper, his gentle, deep voice sounding a little choked. Asha was shocked to find tears entering her eyes too.
"Hey, don't mention it." She murmured, her voice sloping from her effort of trying to hold in her blubbering sobs.
She couldn't hold it in any longer. With a choked sob, she flung her furry arms around her friend's waist, breaking down completely. "Now ya've made me start!" she wailed, her eyes tight shut.
Loqie smiled a watery smile, gazing down at her. She really was a good friend.
"That's what friends are for." Was all he could say, crouching down to Asha and hugging her back. The two friends shared a quiet moment as the rest of the group slept soundly, unknown as to what had been happening. Loqie felt better all of a sudden. Maybe because he had realised something, something wonderful, whilst Asha had been telling him this throughout the night. No matter what happened, or what would become of him.
He wasn't alone.