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Lohd Runetotem

Ponderings

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Lohd relaxes against a wall in one of the larger buildings within Sanctuary’s garrison. The spot chosen is near the entrance, a large arc with sturdy walls of traditional Horde construction and without spikes. It is one of the few entrances in the entire garrison which he may pass through at his full height. Beside him roars a fire in a simple brazier identical to the others which are evenly spaced around the room’s perimeter. The space is cavernous and circular with only a few hallways branching out to offices, treasuries, or quarters to which Lohd can only speculate their contents and purpose.

Exploring the entirety of the garrison he calls home is something Lohd has yet to do and that suits him just fine. It is more fodder for his imagination to twist and smooth into venues of thought which occupy a great amount of his free time. The purpose of this open room he occupies is clear to him though: It is a war room with a table for planning and plotting at the back wall, opposite the entrance. Near it stands an intimidating Orc whom Lohd does not know, a Troll whom he likewise does not know, another Orc trying to converse with the first, and an annoyed Tauren woman several yards down the wall from them overlooking a map of Draenor. Their chatter provides a white noise for Lohd to focus his thoughts against and to keep away a frightening silence.

In Lohd’s large hand, an auto-pen quietly whirrs and vibrates. An extension is attached to make writing less of a hassle, which he appreciates. Marveling at the invention one of Sanctuary’s engineers gifted him, he watches it click and bob and spin as he adjusts the nib forward. A tiny dribble of ink forms at the tip and he smiles in delight, tail swishing and batting against his thigh as he opens his new journal.

The tome is simple. It’s bound in standard dark brown leather, has a red silk book mark hanging from its spine, and has some ink marks on the front along with his name. To a Human or Elf of average size it appears as a large tome reserved for magical formulae or something that requires tremendous space for information. Upon close inspection however, it contains Lohd's basic writing in a legible font of Orcish which is proportionate in size to the tome. One might wonder how a Tauren can grow so large or how many pages the book contains.

“1

My conversation with Shokkra last night sparked an interest in many things, such as the specifics behind her journeys and trials, or what she did in Ashenvale as a child, or how she felt about Orgrimmar. Likewise I find myself reflecting on where I have been and what I have experienced. I asked her what she does when there’s no one to talk to and she suggested writing. I value her greatly so here I am. Writing. What should I write about?

I asked how to start doing this to the man I bought this book from here and he said to just write anything. I am writing what he told me as I see wisdom in it. From his comment I see that uncertainty should not inhibit one’s action, no matter how .. . … . unnerving it seems at first. Now that ink is on paper though, I find that the old apprehension felt from a moment ago is childish and irrelevant. Why wouldn’t I write anything I want? I am the only one who can read this.

<Illegible scribbling and lines and ink blots>

I accidentally pressed the red button again. I need to ask if a larger version of this auto-pen is available to avoid that in the future. The extension to fit my hand is welcome, though I feel as if I am holding a feather between my fingers. It is a great test in dexterity to control my strength enough to not snap it as I did the first one. All that took was relaxing my hand.

I choose to write about my conversation with her.

She is Warsong. I respect that. She came to Azshara and Ashenvale first as a child during the Third War and was originally born during the second. I am glad her family avoided the internment camps thanks to the cave ridden hills. We did not linger long on that part and moved on to her time spent in the forests of northern Kalimdor.

Ashenvale, home to Night Elves, Furbolgs, Moonkin, and more; a truly staggering assortment of creatures are held within. It is no wonder the Elves defended their lands so fervently. It is also a wonder Shokkra did not get shot, wandering off into the woods as she did. She even encountered wisps! Did she not know they are the eyes and ears of the Elves? Luck favors her, and I am glad she was not killed.

It was my turn then. I spoke about my most recent Hunt, though did not go into detail. She seemed curious to my plans now that my Hunts are complete and I admitted I did not know. Sanctuary is my attempt to…reintegrate with society. I have been in the wilds for far too long. I also felt bad for letting her carry most of the conversation’s weight and told something of myself, something I have not told anyone outside my last mate, as a result: My goal.

I am closer now that I was yesterday and I am content with that. As long as I move forward and learn more about myself and the world, I may uncover where I am from. It is why the path of the Druid calls to me. All I can remember of my place of birth are high mountains and a great ocean. I believe I was still very young when I came to Kalimdor.

Our conversation seemed to improve her spirits.

At first I did not know what being stood up meant but I quickly understood after asking her. To extend one’s self to another to only be met with absence is infuriating, especially when it is toward someone I call friend. Is she not good enough to set aside or postpone prior plans? Can one not endeavor to complete unavoidable obligations quickly? Or even simply … send out word ahead of time? Anything?

No. Apparently this ‘Anok Deadeye’ could not be bothered to do as much. I hope Shokkra does not damage her fist too much on his dense skull.

It is strange, writing that, and re-reading that. My anger feels more distant, less intense despite it being a full day since that happened. Perhaps there is something to writing. Shokkra is wise indeed.

What else am I angry about?

Too much.”

Lohd closes the tome and stares at his name on the leather bound cover. His brow is heavy and thoughts are dark as memories and wounds long since passed boil to the forefront of his attention. Sorting through them, an urge to continue his writing pushes him to open the pages yet again, though a patience and familiar restraint pushes him to his feet. As he exits the war room, one of the orcs stops gaping at the Tauren’s size. Perhaps, Lohd thinks, he should stay at the garrison more often so that its inhabitants aren’t thrown off by him as much.

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“5

My friend, Tirien, arrived tonight; just moments ago, in fact. He is wounded and mentions leaving a blood trail to my residence here in Sanctuary’s garrison. I took care of that then returned to find him unconscious and bleeding more on my furs. I want to ask him how he gains entrance to this place unnoticed, even injured as he is.

The man tests my patience and should be thankful I am not of The Grim or any other Horde organization. I am surprised he trusts me, I suppose, since all I have done for him is offer shelter during his visits to Frostfire Ridge.

I have little knowledge of why he is here and do not wish to know, though I should tend to his wounds before that blood pool grows any larger. I was overcome with the urge to write when he fell through the window. I planned to write about watching Shokkra and Kex’ti duel earlier. I should also close and blind the window as well.”

Lohd sets the ribbon book mark and dusts a fine powder over the ink to dry it. Turning in his basic chair, he opens a simple trunk near his hammock; a single first aid kit with a tiny wooden totem in the shape of a crude wolf are among the few possessions he owns and takes up the majority of the container. With care, he sets the wolf totem beside Tirien’s head then tosses the first aid kit to the ground. He’ll need to explain the blood stain to Julilee at some point, since he is merely borrowing this remodeled storage room for the time being.

The re-purposed storage room itself suits Lohd’s needs. The ceiling does not restrict his height, the walls offer shelving for his meager belongings, the two main support beams are far enough apart for a full sized hammock (for him), there is enough room to move comfortably around, and the entire area only needs a few candles to be visible. Having a space for himself is new and relieves a stress he is used to in the wild. He now has a sense of a home, though temporary as it is. It is a place he can relax and watch his friend bleed out in the corner if that were his wish, which it isn’t. He closes the window and drops the leather blinder.

Tirien lays prone atop his usual bed of furs reserved for his impromptu visits. A slow expanding crimson pool shimmers in the soft candle light from the tall sticks set about the space. His dark leather armor of traditional Stormwind make glistens with sweat and melted snow; the latter falling off as Lohd unbinds the buckles. Seeing the additional layering Tirien has beneath the chest piece and shoulder guards, Lohd sighs. He wonders why the human hates the cold so much. For his kind he has more than enough hair covering him for warmth, though thinking upon it, does hair offer the same insulation as fur? Lohd ponders, halting his progress. A painful groan drifts upward, prompting Lohd to return to his work and peel the last bit of clothing from his friend.

The main wound is not deep, but there are several along Tirien’s front and right side. Alone, one would hardly worry about such an injury, especially one as stubborn and as hardy as Tirien, but such cuts tend to build for that very reason. A serrated blade did its job well in rending through his flesh. Within Lohd’s gut, a worry begins to tug at his heart. Maybe he should ask what Tirien is getting himself into after all? He thinks.

“Owwwwwww……” Tirien groans again, still within the bliss of unconsciousness, and again reminds Lohd that not every being has a Tauren’s constitution.

Lohd begins mending the worst of Tirien’s wounds with what little restoration magic he is capable of. The effort is draining and the wolf totem eases some of the burden, though his vision still blurs until the rejuvenation is complete. With the majority of the bleeding stifled, he besets bandages to the man. Gently he slips a hand under the small of Tirien’s back, lifting just slightly to ease the wrappings around. The room becomes stuffy to Lohd and glances to the window, wondering if he should prop it open. Delicately handling Tirien in this way brings to the surface his more private memories and he sighs in annoyance at their intrusion onto his otherwise steady hands and focus.

After the bandages set and the moment passes, Lohd replaces the bloodiest furs with his own from his hammock. Their size is enough to make Tirien’s rest comfortable as he relocates to his chair and table to resume writing in his journal. Occasionally he glances toward his friend whenever he tries to move or stir.

“I will ask what he is doing here on Draenor when he awakens. I feel that he owes me that much. Siane and I worry about him, her more than I. I will also see that his belongings are cleaned. I am grateful for the practice in applying first aid, however.

Tonight, Shokkra and Kex’ti dueled within the Garrison. I have not seen either fight each other, despite Shokkra’s boldness and Kex’ti’s illness. It is relieving to know they can defend themselves rather well, especially Kex'ti.

Shokkra showed great skill with her halberd, Drakognir I think is the name, though I do not know what language that is in. It sounds similar to what she spoke as we faced down the Dreadlord, Mr. White. Her fury channeled through her words and I felt them with such intensity that it bolstered my own resolve. It has been a time since I have seen such focused rage against one’s enemy, not since my brother brought the Elements to bear upon me. Having such a deep memory surface during battle proved useful in fueling my own anger. Having the same one boil forward now proves otherwise.

I have pondered on my brother since that time. I have avoided him even more. Should he find me, he will seek to fulfill what he set out to do that day and end my life.

If only he could have seen reason, my side, my perspective, Rho's...

Rho would still be here with me. He would still be alive.”

As the hour passes, Tirien stirs and attempts to sit up, drawing Lohd’s sorrowful gaze away from the pages of his journal. Lohd wipes his eyes and scrawls a last entry for the night.

“I will always love you, Rho. Rest well.”

Lohd blows dust onto the page, drying the ink before closing the tome. Taking his time, an empty gaze spans the room until settling upon Tirien as he sits up. Regaining his composure, Lohd puts on a smile and is thankful his friend won’t be able to see past the mask in his injured state.

“I see you are awake. Please do not test your bandaging. Water?” Lohd asks, grabbing a water-skin hanging from a fresh nail in one of the support columns.

“Hell. Yes.” Tirien replies.

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Wind has always been something of a mystery and marvel for Lohd. It dances, swirls, cools, and relaxes though also does it surge, twist, batter, and tear. In a way, he enjoys that contrast and sees it within all the elements, though for a reason he does not know, wind has always captured his imagination. On a brisk night in Warspear, such a wind of creativity and wonder flows through the barracks and huts, rejuvenating and soothing all within. It also provides an annoyance to write against.

Lohd turns his back to the wind’s greeting to better shield the pages of his journal. He has chosen to sequester himself within the treetops overlooking the main staging ground of Warspear just outside of the store houses and tavern. From his perch within the center, likely the only parts of any tree that could hold his weight, he sees people go about their business. Most stare at the weird Tauren in a tree, though Lohd finds their attention low on his priority when compared to his current activity.

“3.

I do not write much within this tome. I am not sure why, as whenever I do write, I am relieved and the burdens of my past seem easier to keep. I wonder, then, why do I find myself compelled to write at such odd times?

I meant to return to the Garrison and sleep, though here I sit within a tree. Perhaps I am nostalgic or perhaps the winds of fate guide my hand tonight.

My story to Shokkra and Dora enkindled such a fire from my past. While I have not forgotten a single Hunt, I do not relive them as vividly as I let myself tonight. It was sublime, succumbing to the nebulous tangles of memory and thought, like being caught within a storm front, only to find each howl and gale as one would find a long-known friend or enemy. I relived a moment of my past and articulated such as best I could to keep my form grounded and stable.

The story covered the last Trial on my path to Druidism at a much earlier point in my life. The task before me was to acquire a beast’s shape of a size larger than I. At that time, I had only acquired simple forms such as rabbits or coyote, though my talents and Shan’do pushed me further that I thought possible.

Within the Barrens, Zhevra were the only animal to which I could apply my teachings. I was young and ignorant, naïve and simple-minded, and they seemed the easiest to observe and comprehend. In a way, I was correct, though in another I could not have been farther from understanding and through that trial I learned my final lesson. I ---

I must be cautious. Reliving such a primal event draws too much of my focus away from myself. There was once a time where succumbing to such urges was encouraged, if only to see where the abyss lies, where chaos lingers, and where one’s identity is forfeit. Such an area I dare not return to and such an area I fear above all else.

I would like to write upon something else to ease my mind. I choose to change to Shokkra and her own upcoming Trial.

I have found what I think to be suitable prey for a Hunt, though not one which I am accustom to. This Hunt is about Shokkra, about identity, and about her discovering a glimpse of insight into her being through trial and task, I hope. Ritual tattooing of this caliber is reserved for those accomplished Druids who seek to attune themselves closer to their spirit animal or totem beast, much like I have. While not the complete Ritual, should this Hunt be successful I feel some of what troubles her will settle.

From weakness can come strength, though those who are without weakness are perhaps the most fragile.”

Lohd decides to cut his entry short as the wind begins to howl and writhe when the setting sun disappears behind roiling clouds. Early night blankets the isle. Sterile white replaces soft orange as lightning dances upon the horizon, sending slivers to and above the Horde outpost on the northern border of Ashran. This storm is common on such a young world, essentially the echoes of the ancient elementals that helped forge it.

He closes his eyes, welcoming the oncoming energy of nature at its most basic and integral representation, of forces out of his control that will collide and batter and clash. Despite his restraint, the recent dive into memory generates a powerful desire to become the beasts within, to see as they see, live as they do. All of those whom he Hunted fight to take control, though Lohd has one in particular in mind. Tonight will be one he will savor and one where he will, yet again, test his might against the fury of the Draenor Elements.

His journal secure, Lohd braces himself against a vicious gust as his pulse quickens and chest swells; the heart’s blood of past Hunts course through him with unbound tenacity. He gives enough of himself to that power and a grin stretches his muzzle, filling him with delight. Leaping into the storm his form alters to that of a hawk eager to ride the gale upward into the clouds. He must rise higher. He must fight harder. He must triumph and he must survive for unbeknownst to him, once the path he walks crosses that of another’s, his strength and resolve will be measured or found wanting. Again he changes form to one only powerful winds can support.

Within the skies above Warspear glides an ancient bird of song and story adorned with horns carved in Taurahe in veneration of the Earth Mother. Expansive are its wings and mighty are its talons and only through a flash of lightning does its massive form cast a silhouette to those who spare a glance up into the storm.

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