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Derecho

Derecho: Raptor Red

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*** The Mad must've been let loose on a retarded field trip to the Brokenspear Tavern... ***

Spoiler

 

Leyujin stands at attention and salutes.
You wave at Aaren.
Aaren waves.
[Tubz]: scadoodle
Tubz shoos you away. Be gone pest!

[Derecho]: Be bitin me.
You make a rude gesture at Tubz.

[Tubz]: toss my hairy salad
[Tubz]: lvl 93 scum bucket
Tubz threatens you with the wrath of doom.

You cackle maniacally at Tubz.
[Derecho]: I be not hearing that particular insult before. Ya be funny mon.
Aaren blinks.

[Shokkra]: The shit is going on with you fuckers.
Aaren looks at Shokkra.
Aaren shrugs.  Who knows?

[Tubz]: you can fill my tight little hole cum guzzling dumpster slut
Saytyr grabs her head and sighs.


[Derecho]: I be standing here mindin me own business and dis cow be spouting off at the mouth.
Aaren covers her face with her palm.

[Tubz]: i got a gang bruh
[Orcsmack]: bish
[Tubz]: we gonna ram ur butt
[Orcsmack]: with guldans stick
[Hamektok]: Lat olog am eh...
[Hellgob]: can i go first
[Tubz]: get in line
[Hellgob]: hang on let me get "big" for you
[Hamektok]: nubgruk
[Tubz]: i saw her first
[Hellgob]: there we go

[Saytyr]: Dis be bad. Ja go! Leve 'er be!

[Derecho]: No, ya be running along now wit ya friends.

[Tubz]: nou
[Tubz]: ez
[Tubz]: WHOA!
[Tubz]:  " MAN SLAYER "
[Tubz]: As in
[Tubz]: like

Saytyr waves off the tauren.

[Hellgob]: yep
[Hellgob]: thats right
[Tubz]: sex orwut
[Hamektok]: Ug
[Hellgob]: ofcourse
[Tubz]: yesss
Hamektok sniffs the air around him.
[Hamektok]: UG!
[Tubz]: aaren looking for some salad tossing
[Tubz]: ???
[Hellgob]: aye'
[Saytyr]: Dontcha be makin me call da Wydo on ya.
[Hamektok]: HOOWAH SHADOWCLAN!
[Hellgob]: HOOWAH!
[Tubz]: dafuq is a wydo

Saytyr points at the bat.

[Tubz]: Oh
Aaren raises her eyebrow inquisitively.
[Tubz]: im into bats
[Tubz]: <3
[Hamektok]: Flap'n bat

[Aaren]: Loud assholes.

[Shokkra]: Can't fuckin' expect shit else from the mad.

[Aaren]: Least they give up easy enough.
Aaren looks at you.

Saytyr sighs again. "Why I be wit dem, why..."
Derecho ignores Tubz.

 

*** ...so Derecho buys her drink and takes it elsewhere to enjoy. ***

Shokkra grunts.
[Derecho]: Hi dere

[Shokkra]: Hey.
Shokkra eyes you up and down.

[Derecho]: Did ya be thinkin to get drinks for yaself before leavin da bar?

[Shokkra]: Nah. Good for now. Drink after I fight.
Aaren tilts her head to the side.

[Derecho]: Oh ay
[Derecho]: WHo ya be fightin?

[Shokkra]: Alliance tonight.

[Derecho]: Be picturing that bull's head on a few o dem for me, okie dokie?

[Shokkra]: ...what?
[Shokkra]: OH.
[Shokkra]: Right, yeah.

[Derecho]: And be punching him hard.
You cackle maniacally at Shokkra.

[Shokkra]: Sure thing.

[Derecho]: Who ya be?

[Shokkra]: Shokkra Deathrage, Guardian of Sanctuary. You?

[Derecho]: I be not havin shuch fancy titles. Just Derecho.

[Shokkra]: Aka'magosh, Derecho.

Aaren smiles a little and nods. "Aaren."

You greet Aaren warmly.
[Derecho]: Ya be fightin too elfie?

[Aaren]: Nah. Not tonight.

[Derecho]: Ya can be sittin here by me den.
[Derecho]: Ya got ya a drink?

[Aaren]: Yeah, I always got a drink.
[Aaren]: Drink's better too when it's quiet, like over here.
Aaren looks around at the fog covering the ground, but she refrains mentioning it.

[Shokkra]: Prefer places where I can fuckin' see my feet at least.
Aaren quietly snickers to herself.

[Derecho]: It being better than wit sourpusses like dat oder guy.
[Derecho]: What, ya be fearing they run off witout ya?
Aaren grins wickedly.

[Shokkra]: I weigh these fuckers down too much. Wouldn't get very far in the boots.

[Derecho]: Best not be falling in any deep water holes

[Aaren]: Plate and water don't sound like friends.
You cackle maniacally at Aaren.

[Shokkra]: Bah, we get trained to swim in fuckin' plate.
Shokkra flexes her muscles.  Oooooh so strong!

[Derecho]: Be f-fallin to da bottom like ya be an anchor.

[Aaren]: Well, always a use!
Aaren taps her foot on the ground a couple times before sitting down.

[Derecho]: Ya be fightin alliance all of de time?

[Shokkra]: Eh, gives me shit to do. Good training.

[Derecho]: May it be I be doin dat after I get de idea o tings better.

[Aaren]: I don't really fight much myself. But I never stood on the front line either.
Shokkra grunts.
Aaren points to Shokkra. "That one just gets mad when people hit her." She follows her comment with a snicker.

[Shokkra]: Like any normal fuckin' person.

[Derecho]: Ya be gettin mad too bitty elfie! It be hurtin
[Derecho]: Want me be showin ya?
You cackle maniacally at the situation.

[Aaren]: I'm always mad, though!

[Derecho]: Really?
[Derecho]: Why dat be?

[Aaren]: Probably. That's what I hear, anyway.

[Shokkra]: You mean bitchy, Aaren.
[Shokkra]: I'm always angry.

[Aaren]: Same thing!

[Derecho]: No no NO
[Shokkra]: Bitchy's more elf-y.

[Aaren]: Hey, I know this one troll that's pretty bitchy!

[Derecho]: Who be?

[Shokkra]: Oh yeah? Who?

[Aaren]: I ain't shayin any names. Then they'll find out and come try to cave my face in.

Shokkra snorts.
[Shokkra]: Coward.

[Aaren]: I'm not a coward. I'm shmart.

[Derecho]: Hmm
Aaren grins wickedly.
[Derecho]: Ya be sayin anyting ya want. It not like words be sticks an stones, ya be knowin?

[Shokkra]: Yeah, coward.

[Aaren]: The words are harmless until the wrong people hear them.
Shokkra snorts.

[Derecho]: People be offended by every stray word flying in dere ears, may it be dey should stuff dem full of cotton balls.

[Aaren]: Oh I don't give a fuck about people being offended. Sometimes they just want to act on it and I don't feel like dealing with it.
[Aaren]: I got enough bullshit to deal with, enough people to watch my back around.

[Derecho]: Let dem be tryin!
You growl menacingly.

[Shokkra]: Most of 'em are good at it.

You peer at Shokkra searchingly.
Aaren shrugs.  Who knows?
[Derecho]: Ya be tinkin like an orc.

[Shokkra]: Well I am a fuckin' orc.

Aaren quietly snickers to herself.
[Aaren]: A damn good one to pay some gold and throw at your problems, sometimes.

[Derecho]: I be knowin! Always so fixed on de enemy ya be seein right afore ya eyes. Ya be missin da rapta dat come at ya from de shadows.

[Shokkra]: If a raptor comes from the fuckin' shadows I'll throw it at the fuckers in front of me.

You smile at War Raptor.
You cackle maniacally at Shokkra.
[Derecho]: If ya be livin long enough to be seein it.

[Shokkra]: That's what the damn armor's for.

You eye Shokkra up and down.
[Derecho]: Relax mon.
[Derecho]: No raptas be huntin ya here.
Shokkra grunts and rolls her shoulders.

[Aaren]: Beasts, demons, what else have you been killing lately?
A sly smirk spreads across Aaren's face.

[Shokkra]: Eh, my liver.

[Aaren]: That one'sh easy though.
[Aaren]: Maybe the rest of it too.
Shokkra shrugs.  Who knows?
Aaren peers at Shokkra searchingly.
Aaren shrugs.  Who knows?

[Derecho]: Ya be lookin bitty. What ya got to be drinkin hard enough to hurt ya liver for? Ya don't be regeneratin like I be doin.
Aaren waves.
You wave goodbye to Aaren.  Farewell!

[Shokkra]: Just a joke. But mostly firewater, slammers, Blackrock Ale, Cherry Grog, Nitro-Fuel.

[Derecho]: Sure ting, but why?

[Shokkra]: Helps take my mind off shit mostly.

[Derecho]: What ya be avoidin wit ya mind? May it be talkin can help just as good as da drink.

[Shokkra]: Crushing stress. The threat of mortality. Normal shit.

[Derecho]: Ya not be likin de idea of d-dyin someday?

[Shokkra]: Not anymore.

[Derecho]: Ya be not likin de idea anymore, or ye be meaning not anymore like it be okay now, it don't be botherin ya anymore?

[Shokkra]: Don't like the fuckin' idea of dying anymore. Glorious death in combat seems... not worth it.

Derecho snorts.
[Derecho]: Death be not glorious.

[Shokkra]: Sure as hell is sometimes.

[Derecho]: May it be the act dat got ya dere was, but dyin itself be lonely and just bad, mon.
[Derecho]: I can be seein why dat be a reason for drinkin

[Shokkra]: Yeah.

[Derecho]: But everybody dies, okie dokie?
[Derecho]: Why worry?

[Shokkra]: Too many people I care about. I want to live, with them. For them.

[Derecho]: Well den, what da spirits ya be doin gettin drunk den? Knock it off, pour it out, and go get to bein wit dem! Dumb orc.

[Shokkra]: Well I fuckin' can't be with them every fuckin' second of my life and when I'm not I think about all the crazy shit and start drinking again.

Derecho mimes crying.
[Derecho]: Oh boohoo!
[Derecho]: I be so sad I can't be findin new friends to be fillin me time wit, so I be so sad I drink meself to my death dat I be so scared of!

[Shokkra]: Oh fuck off. I get enough of this shit from other fucking people. Last thing I care about is some random fuckin' troll's opinion on my damn life.

[Derecho]: Well ya either be wantin ta fix it, or ya not be. Not like one random troll bitty gonna start spouting wisdom ya be listenin to if ya don't be wantin to hear it.
[Derecho]: I be hearin way worse tings to be drivin moods low, any how.

[Shokkra]: I get all the fuckin' wisdom I need from every other self proclaimed philosopher.

You cackle maniacally at the situation.
[Derecho]: I not bein any philo what ever.
[Derecho]: I just be talkin.
[Derecho]: Just be words, mon.

[Shokkra]: And giving out advice like everyone else.

[Derecho]: Ya want be confirmin a rumor for me?
[Derecho]: Oh ay. I can be shuttin up.
[Derecho]: Me momma be sayin I talk too much.
You shrug.  Who knows?

[Shokkra]: Might be.
Derecho stays quiet for a long while, sipping her cocktails, but it's quite obvious she's itching to open her pie hole.
[Shokkra]: That doesn't mean you have to completely shut up.

[Derecho]: Okie dokie.
[Derecho]: Well be tellin me true- dere really be like a legion of demons comin for us all?

[Shokkra]: Yeah.

[Derecho]: And den
[Derecho]: Hmm
[Derecho]: Ya be Sanctuary, ya said. Ya really be gettin fought on by dat odder guild? I be forgettin which

[Shokkra]: The Grim? Yeah, almost a year ago.

[Derecho]: A whole year ya two been goin at it?!

Shokkra laughs.
[Shokkra]: No no, almost a year since we made a treaty.

[Derecho]: Oh
[Derecho]: So dey be playin nice like now?

[Shokkra]: No. Just not open warfare.

[Derecho]: I be hearin bad tings, mon, and I not be knowin what all to be believin
[Derecho]: Hmm

Lupinum points at Shokkra.
[Shokkra]: My turn?
Lupinum nods at Shokkra.
[Shokkra]: Attune me bitch.

[Lupinum]: Make me proud, you worthless, dried gronnsack.

[Derecho]: Oh ay!
[Derecho]: It be de voodoo peeper.
You grin wickedly at Lupinum.
Lupinum blinks at you.

[Shokkra]: I always fuckin' do you fucking piece of shit.
Lupinum snorts derisively at Shokkra.

[Derecho]: I sorry I be makin her grumpy I tink.

[Lupinum]: Her?

[Shokkra]: I'm always fuckin' grumpy.

[Lupinum]: Took the words out of my mouth.

[Derecho]: She be fighin better dough, most like.
You shrug at Shokkra.  Who knows?
[Derecho]: Ya be havin any advice for a bitty troll den, afore ya be l-leavin?
Lupinum blinks at you.

[Shokkra]: Kill shit quick.

[Lupinum]: Keep your tusks sharp?
You salute Shokkra with respect.
[Lupinum]: That's a thing you people do, right?
You cackle maniacally at Lupinum.

Shokkra salutes you with respect.
[Shokkra]: Mok'rah, Derecho.

[Derecho]: I be strikin like a rapta soon, don't ya be worrin none.

[Lupinum]: Like a raptor?
Lupinum giggles at you.

[Derecho]: Tell ya friend. She be knowin

Lupinum raises an eyebrow.
[Lupinum]: Alright. Stay safe.
Lupinum smiles at you.
Lupinum turns on his heel.

Edited by Derecho

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The form is sleek and powerful. I feel like I can run forever. I can leap with barely a twitch of the large muscle groups in my thick legs. It won't even take effort to easily clear my own height. My eyesight is sharp, my earring is slightly better than before, but what is really astounding is my sense of smell. I can  nearly taste the fel taint on the air. It offends me to know it, but this area is where my prey is hunting. I can taste her too. She is sweating beneath that metal armor. It is hot here, and she is encased in a plate shell like a shore scuttler.

My brothers and sister wait with me in the shrubs. We are of one like mind. We've never hunted together before, but it doesn't matter. I'm the leader. I'm the boss, and they know it. They know what I want. 

We hunt.

I watch Shokkra from the vegetation, but she is a hunter too. She leans over her newest kill, wiping fel blood off of stone-axes and sniffing the air for more of the Legion's whelps. She can sense she is no longer alone, but I'm certain she has no concept in her head to think it might be me out here. She expects demons, and demons don't hide. Demons don't stalk.

I wait, motionless, to see if anyone else is with the orc. She is very strong, and I am not. I have my team, but even they will not save me if I make a mistake now.  All the demons need to have been dealt with. I can't risk a fight on two fronts. The orc must be alone. There is no point if she has friends too, out of sight somewhere. My nose tells me there are not. My friends are poised all around, watching and waiting too, for the signal. They are ready to hunt.

Shokkra scans the area around her, snapping her head from side to side quickly, looking for demons. There aren't any. She sniffs the air again and snarls. "Something's not right..." She has the proper fear for the target of a raptor pack on point.

I slowly step out from the bushes. The beads and feathers tied at my elbows swing with each step. My claws are wicked-sharp. My teeth are deadly points and they channel saliva. My mouth is watering in preparation to taste blood. My balance is sure, head and tail swiveling in perfect harmony. I am a predator. I was made for this.

I stare Shokkra down. Air waffles in and out in short bursts through my nose, pushing and pulling scent particles into the sensors lining my snout. I smell the blood on those axes. I smell the demons laying dead. The orc notices me immediately and slams her fists against her chestplate, growling and issuing her challenge. She stomps and spits on the ground, waiting for the charge. 

She acts like any hunter defending her kill, and it raises the bloodlust in my raptor heart. I roar back. I'm hungry. I'm always hungry, and though the demon smells wrong and the taste of fel is vile, my stomach grumbles, wanting it. I'm drooling behind my lips. Shokkra looks at me looking at her fallen prize. She watches me take one step toward it. 

I can tell she is sizing me up. I am scrawny, even in this form. Perhaps she is thinking that I'm suffering from a few ill-fated hunts in the recent past and am simply desperate enough to try and steal her kill. If she is, she's not far wrong. Will she do the smart thing? Will she let me have it? She's not going to eat it... I stare at her, watching. She also looks delicious. She smells delicious. I'm so fucking hungry.

She's not smart. Shokkra howls savagely and charges at me, slicing her axes through the air towards the obvious threat. I roar in reply and leap to engage in the fight with my jaws leading. I try to avoid the axe-claws of the orc prey to catch the limb behind.

Shokkra snarls as I clamp onto her arm with my mighty jaws. The orcess slams her body forward at my bulk with her free shoulder, trying to throw off and possibly puncture me with the bones adorning her shoulderplate. She's obviously misjudged. I am a scrawny raptor, but I am still dense cords of muscle, and bottom-heavy. I outweigh her. Her attempted shove does manage to alter the aim of my powerful feet, which is good. I would have hooked my talons in the edges of her armor and simply torn. I'm not sure if I am strong enough, but I'd have tried to rip her in half so that I could bury my snout in her soft warm innards and feast.

That's not the plan. I still knock into her, just not with the offensive strike intended. I can hear a few clacks from the bushes. My team is upset at the fumble, but they have not been given leave to move. They chafe at the wait, anxious. 

Shokkra grunts as the wind is knocked out of her falling form, my weight bearing down on her.  The warrior stabs her helmet's horns forward at my neck while simultaneously arcing her unencumbered axe at my leg. She's a formidable opponent to be sure, attacking even from her back! 

My teeth slip on the slick surface of her metal shell as she tries to leverage against my grip. It's good. It lets me see the horns coming and realize that I am in mortal danger here. It lets me tamp that hunger frenzy back down deep inside and lock it away where it belongs... at least for a while. 

I snarl as the ax claw rips at my leg. Fury replaces the void of food-need. Immediately after clearing Shokkra's swiping horns, I dive back down, returning to attack with my maw and little arms both. Chompy chomp! I want to tear her head off. My leg hurts.

Shokkra roars as the deadly raptor maw fixes itself on the front of her helmet. My breath huffs, making her eyes water in reaction to the terrible and fishy odor. She's afforded a rare view of the inside of my mouth. Her damned shell protects the soft flesh beneath from the worst of my claw strikes and gives her the chance to swing a raging blow against my other side.

My thick hide means the awkward blow glances off, but it was a really hard strike that bruised, even if it didn't cut as intended. It knocks the wind from me. It doesn't matter. I have my prize locked in my jaws and now it's time to rip the piece off.

I retreat with my mouthful, which... turns out not to be the skull of my prey after all.... I am lost temporarily in the raptor mind's confusion when it realizes Shokkra is not in fact dead. It is intelligent, but still on a lower order. 

I chomp the helmet a few times in my jaws. The oral stimulation, the tang of the metal taste, the strange sharp feel of the edges pressing into my tongue and the roof ridges of my mouth helps refocus me. I remember what I'm doing. I remember that I'm not really a raptor. I'm a druid in a raptor's body. I'm teaching, not hunting.

Shokkra sneers wickedly as she watches me gnash the helmet. There is no bone to crush to reach the tasty in the middle. She climbs to her feet and charges forth again at me, her ax claws a whirlwind of death moving towards my flesh. I leap back, retreating from Shokkra. Then I spit out the helmet and roar. She copies me, screaming right back. Still she comes.

I take one ax solidly to my shoulder as the warrior wades in, but then she's right there. Right where I knew she'd be. The large muscle groups in my thick legs barely twitch. It takes almost no effort to clear my own height. 

I leap up and kick the shit out of the orc with both feet. 

Shokkra wasn't expecting this maneuver at all. She flies backwards a good distance to thud against a tree. She shakes her head from the daze and reaches a hand to touch a cut along her neck. My talons had caught and ripped, but though there is a lot of blood, it is not spraying. I missed the artery. Good. I'm not trying to kill her, I remind myself. I'm trying to teach her. It's time for the lesson, I think.

Edited by Derecho
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I growl, my stance low and sure on my feet. My head is down with my tail held higher. Its a defensive sort of stance, ready to receive another attack, but not obviously as aggressive as before. If this was a real fight over the rights to feed on the demon-kill, this would be surrender. I'm bleeding from the shoulder wound. I keep the little arm on that side tucked close. I make sure to exaggerate a limp on the wounded leg as I take two steps backward, retreating.

Shokkra wins. The warrior can let me go on my way. She can let this fight end now. Yes, I tried to steal her kill. She wasn't going to eat it anyway- this I know. But I have watched this prey for some time. She can't resist the bait I present. I appear wounded. 

She fixates, like she always does. Shokkra grins, cracking her neck. She takes a step forward off the tree and stomps her feet again, getting herself pumped back up. Howling ferociously, she rushes forward again. 

I cannot say I am disappointed. I knew this is how it would happen, or else there would be no need for a demonstration. Still, I wish I did not have to do this. I watch the orc charge in and raise my head to her. A rapid clicking noise issues from my throat as I give the signal. It's a sound not yet heard in this fight, but the orc cannot recognize it's significance even now. Halfway to me she throws her left axe and without breaking the pumping action of her legs pulls a knife from her boot to use in it's stead. She continues to charge with the dagger's point pinned towards my throat.

Shokkra 's eyes go wide as two other raptors burst from the bushes. She skids on the dirt as she plants her boots, stopping her charge at me and instead trying to assume a defensive stance while the other predators launch themselves at her. She holds her dagger close, tip now pointed towards the raptor on her right and edge of her ax towards the other. I have to give her credit- she reacted fast to the new dangers presented.

My packmate on the orc's ax side leaps first, going high with a bite and an attempted grasp and tear with it's arms. The other raptor dives low biting for Shokkra's legs.

Shokkra slams her dagger to the hilt into my brother's back as he absolutely tears into her legs, armor and flesh rending. The orc ducks low -or falls opportunistically, I can't quite tell, as fast as it happens. My sister's jaw snap high. Shokkra drops her axe, placing her hands and arms against the raptor's underside and then she strains. The orcess heaves, trying to throw my sister over her shoulder at a nearby tree.

My brother screams as his spinal cord is severed from the decisive stabbing. He lands in a grotesque pile-up, now useless and slowly dying, unable to move. My sister is again heavier than the orc expected. Instead of sailing through the air, she pivots, plowing face-first into the ground. Her momentum propels her onward and she flops all the way over, tail slapping with a heavy thump into the dirt. She wheezes, but immediately starts scrabbling to regain her feet.

Our dying teammate whines pathetically, and goes completely ignored by us. I stare at the orc prey. My sister levers herself upright. My head dips low again, as I advance slowly, growling. 

The noise is not needed. Shokkra makes her own. She snarls through the pain of her torn up and bleeding leg while the dying form of a raptor encumbers her form. She just reaches her ax and pulls it towards her, kneeling as she adjusts her grip on the haft. She stares at me and shifts her place by my brother's body for him to act as some sort of shield for her left side. 

Still, the orc has not yet learned. The enemy in front of her eyes is not the one she should be concerning herself with.

My third brother lands squarely on Shokkra's back, completing his pounce. His weight drives the orc so suddenly forward that her heads snaps back violently. Surprisingly, this doesn't cause the instant black-out I expected to see. She's still aware as she slams forward onto the ground. Her legs crumple underneath her as they shoot out and she drops her ax. Her head pounds against the ground and her eyes suddenly glaze, unfocused. 

I merely continue growling, though I don't know if her ears can hear anything but a dull ringing from within. She manages to focus one more time, seeing me and my face, before her body succumbs to the traumas just inflicted. Shokkra's eyes roll back as she becomes unconscious.

My sister sprints in for the kill.

I leap to intercept her, clicking rapidly. I call off my friends, but they aren't inclined to listen any more than I was in the heat of the moment. They ignore me. My shoved sister pivots to bare her teeth at me. She's ready to fight for the kill, and she knows I am weaker than she. They both know.

I am not a raptor. I'm a druid. I shift to the troll and shout.  "APAPAPAP!" I yell at them to pull their attention away from Shokkra. "Be listenin now! Oh ay!" I insert myself between Shokkra and the raptors. They are highly annoyed and barely seem controlled, but they grudgingly obey. I showed them the reward waiting for them in their pens back in Ashran. All they have to do is recall. 

They do. Both of them blink at me. They bend to sniff their fallen brother as they pass him, but there is no remorse. He was obviously weak. Nature culls the weakest, leaving only the strong behind. They turn their eyes to me one last time, then both of them disappear with a rustling into the vegetation all around. After a moment, I am left alone with the living prey of our hunt... and my stomach rumbles in the silence.

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My teeth pierce green skin easily. Slight pressure is all it takes, then my tusks break through the surface. Liquid oozes beneath my lips, filling my mouth with it's glorious flavor. I love this part. I bite further, feeling flesh sever cell by cell as my teeth invades the spaces between. My jaws meet close enough... I am impatient. I rip the rest away.

I suck at the hunk in my mouth, swallowing it's juices. Savoring it. There is something wholly satisfying in the act of eating. You have to eat. You have to consume the fruits of the earth and the flesh of your fellow beasts in order to survive. That's how it works. But does it have to be so damned pleasurable? Eating is better than sex. Eating is best DURING sex....?

... Nah.

I chew slowly, feeling how each mashdown of my teeth squeezes yet more liquid from the fibers. My tongue slides over and around the pieces that break into being as those chompers work their breakup magic. I risk biting down on it, but the feeling is too exquisite to resist. Surely a tongue is the most powerful sensing tool in a creature's arsenal. Sight and hearing are important, yes, but I have seen animals survive with cunning in the absence of one of those. I have never seen a creature who could not eat survive on it's own. Even smell is just a function of tasting the air.

I swallow. My tongue slides over my teeth, feeling their texture slightly smoother from the act of chewing and rubbed clean from the biting off of the mouthful. I go in for another bite.

With my mouth thus occupied, with my senses alive in the experiencing, it's hard to focus on the letter in front of me. What do I write to the leader of Sanctuary? What words will properly convey the reasons for what has happened to their prized fighting orc?

I end up sitting a long time with my mouth empty and my stomach full to bulging before I am able to craft the answer to that question. I seal the letter with a smear of sap from the tree I lean against, and then I waddle slowly, uncomfortably full, to go and find a mailbox.

Ants soon swarm over the spots where I had eaten my meal and dripped juices, but they are disappointed. There is not even a speck of apple left for them.

Quote

Mailed to Julilee,

Your orc warrior learned an important lesson tonight. 

She learned that fixating on the visible enemy in front of her eyes leaves her vulnerable to the dangers lurking to the sides... and behind. She learned that armor alone is not protection enough against this ignorance. 

She lives, but you should retrieve her soon so she does not freeze. Find her in the northmost cavern of the Shivering Trench in Frostfire
... before the wolves do.

Quote

A note in Shokkra's helmet:

Never fix your attention so hard on the enemy in front of you that you fail to see anything else.
Armor can't protect you from blindness. 
OPEN YOUR EYES. Claim your song.

War is coming.

((Interested in getting involved? Join the Derecho storyline group!))

Edited by Derecho
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((This discussion occurred sometime during Legion Invasions, after Broken Shore, and is included as a bridge to Derecho's 2nd attack.))

Derecho eyes Shokkra up and down.
[Derecho]: "Where be ya demon poker stick?"
[Shokkra]: "Taken from me on the shore. Waiting for the assault to reclaim it."
Derecho gasps at Shokkra.
[Derecho]: "Ya be jokin. Ya playin?"
[Shokkra]: "Armor got shredded by an infernal exploding into me. Dropped my axe, got picked up by the val'kyr and taken to the medics."
[Derecho]: "Ya be fuckin serious.... of all de... Didn't somebody know to be grabbin it! Like any body? I been tinkin it were important, but oh no, let's all be just leavin de ting lying around..... De FUCK"
Derecho seems rather upset about this.
[Shokkra]: "Demon probably has it. I'll kill it and take it back."
[Derecho]: "Where be hitting de infernal?"
[Shokkra]: "Hit my tits."
[Derecho]: "How ya been letting it get ya den? Weren't ya payin no attention? Or ya been too focused on some odder ting in front o ya face to be seenin a bigass ball o FIRE?"
[Shokkra]: "You've clearly never been in a warzone."
Derecho sneers.
[Derecho]: "I be knowin how ta dodge. Dey be comin from the fel-damned sky. Not like dey be hard to be seein! An dey shoosh down wit noise an everting!"
[Shokkra]: "When you're surrounded by other demons, an the sky will be the last thing you focus on."
[Derecho]: "Ya, if'n I be ready to be a ghost. Ya... ya been dumb.
[Shokkra]: "That's what the armor's for."
Shokkra grunts.
[Derecho]: "'Dat's what de...' YA BE FUCKIN STUPID!"
[Shokkra]: "What's your point?"
[Derecho]: "Wat ya done need de medic fo? Huh? 'Dat's wat de armor's for' *mimics* De armor done protect ya? Done it?"
[Shokkra]: "Because if it weren't for my plate I would have died. Got knocked out, a broke a few ribs, scraped up a bit."
[Derecho]: "Oh dat been makin it all okie. Ya been not dyin dis time, so we be callin it good."
[Shokkra]: "What would you suggest?"
[Derecho]: "Bein less fuckin dumb. Dat be wat. OPEN YA EYES. Be payin attention, orcie."
Shokkra grunts.
[Derecho]: "BAH! Wastin me own air, I be. Ya..."
Derecho points at Shokkra.
[Derecho]: "Ya gone be dead quicker den me."
Derecho snorts derisively at Shokkra.
[Derecho]: "Dumbass"
[Shokkra]: "Doubtful."
[Derecho]: "Shut de fuck up. I be done talkin. Ya ain't been learnin NUFFIN."
Shokkra grunts.
Derecho jumps through the waterfall, shifting, and flies away.

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A person needs a truly kind heart to be able to take in abuse and turn out, not a continuation of the cycle, but a transformation. There are folks who can suffer, day in and day out, and they weather it. They'll absorb, like little sponges cleaning up the world. These people are rare. I might have been one of those, once upon a time. Eventually, though sponges stay too long above the waterline. Eventually the purest filters become clogged and tainted. The prisms fracture, and the light they shine may still be pure and colorful, but what use is a rainbow in the dark? Perhaps those people are outliers. Rare freaks of nature that should never be. Eventually, abnormalities in nature either become the norm as the rest of the world evolves to match, or, far more likely, the beautifully unique are murdered. They don't belong, and what stands out is vulnerable. Kind hearts wither and die, or are swiftly cut out.

This I have learned. Experience is the hardest of teachers.

So it is that after Baalthemar's partner was allowed to abuse me, I'd had enough. There are times I can still take it and absorb. There are times when I shrug off the injustices and can ignore. This was not one of those times. He'd taken a decent and calm day and turned it to something ugly. He stole that from me. More precious than any material thing, that thief Nathandiel robbed me of peace. He annihilated it. After Tahzani had delivered me safely away from it all, and after I fail over and over and over again to catch the fish that he'd promised were plentiful, I've had enough. The void of tranquility left behind quickly fills with the default fury. It rages in me, building like thunderhead clouds buoyed by the hot winds below.

My initial inclination is for revenge, but it won't work. Nathandiel's is not a face I recognize from my dreams. I could go through the trouble of crafting a doll, surely, and waste my time to prove it, but always before my assumptions have held validity. It will take time and precious energy to track him, much more to exact a satisfying conclusion to the conflict he has initiated. I will wait for a better opportunity.

I ponder instead all of the of names in my vendetta list. I cannot sit still, there must be a passing on in the cycle. Violence begets violence, and I am in the mood for the blood that has been denied me. I scroll through their faces until my mind's eye rests upon one in particular. This one can easily be transferred guilt for the ruining of my day in proxy for the one I cannot touch. This one is deserving of a hard lesson.

Tahzani was right about one thing. There is plenty of shrubbery in the place he took me, with tough, malleable stalks that bend rather than snap off easily. I have to use a stone tool to saw off the pieces that I want. The dry grasses here in this place provide easy bulk, and their sawtooth texture lends well to the creation of a wall of interlocked fiber without the need for weaving. In no time at all I have the materials for a doll. The success of this endeavor has a satisfying speediness, when my quest for fish to eat was such a frustrating failure. It feels right, to be working toward this goal. 

The offhanded nature of Tahzani's outspoken suspicion weighs on my mind as I tie knots to give my effigy form. His accusation wasn't one, in the sense that he hasn't summoned a squadron of guards to haul me away to some tiny terrible lockup for the good of the community at large. He has not struck back for causing his woman suffering. This leads me to assume that perhaps he, too, is fishing, and failing. Perhaps he has taken too many cues from his mate and is trying to play mind games.

Does he know I stabbed T'suro, or doesn't he? Does he know I made Lilliana sick?

I get the sense that, rather than being prey squarely in the crosshairs of the hunter's aim, I am merely treading on ground seeded with his traps. He knows the quarry is near, but not quite where, or else I feel I'd be running for my life instead of being set down alone in prime doll-making territories.

Perhaps the confrontation earlier that ended in beautiful blood leaking out had angered him. I can only assume it was inter-guild fighting again, for who else but me would dare target a Grim? Perhaps Tahzani does know I am the mysterious hexxer, as he named me, but seeks to guide my efforts. Perhaps, as he said, he is okay with what I'm doing.

The hunter's field I tread in is unfamiliar, but even now I have generally good prey instincts. I sense the traps, but not the full shape of them. He may have proclaimed approval for my actions, but there is no way of knowing if he meant my own attacks. Perhaps he spoke of how I did not fight back against Nathandiel. Maybe he is trying to show support for the scavenger. My intuition tells me this isn't so. I believe he is trying to bait me into a word or act of confession. That he might be paying attention, though, is a useful thing to know. Never let your prey be aware they are hunted.

 

He knows I like dolls, hmm? I clamp the root end of a grass stalk in my teeth to pull gently, cinching the knot held tight beneath my thumb. This doll is plain, just like the prior two. I set it aside.

I scrounge in my pockets for my craft supplies. A small pile accumulates from my efforts. Feathers, bits of hide. Scales. Tiny teeth from a variety of smaller vermin meals. The one pocket I delve into is still damp. My questing fingers pause, feeling the moisture, and I withdrawn them tinted red.

Blood.

The cloth I'd attempted to sop up Khorvis' blood with was sodden, and had lain here secure for a good several minutes before the elf had bypassed all my thrashing to retrieve it. I bring my fingers up to my nose, inhaling deeply of the faint copper smell. A moment later my fist is in my mouth, all three fingers, as I suck at them. Delicious. I pull at the pocket I'd found, eying it's shadowed depths.

Wouldn't that be a good way to mindscrew the bartender right back? I quickly loosen my belt and peel off the strappy britches, letting them turn inside out. I plop bare-assed onto the hot red hardpack of Durotar's ground, intent on the many flaps sewn inside my clothes. There! The stained lining is easy enough to find. Impatient, I bring the fabric up and simply impale a seam on my tusk, then tug downwards, hard. Fibers stretch, strain, then rip. The wet weave is weaker than the stitching itself, and I'm left with a layer of lining with only a thin strip stitched to it's edge. The pocket is ruined, but I have what I want. 

The soaked fabric is already nearly in my mouth. I cannot resist. I swivel the patch, poking it between my lips and sucking. My own spit rehydrates the fibers, my tongue pushing and pulling in an attempt to get the flavor from the threads. The hint of life is poor substitute for drops of the real thing. Frustrated, I push the stupid pocket wad back out and unhook from the tusk that ripped it. I wring the cloth, twisting viciously over the plain grass doll, letting the fluid seep out and fall into it. I spit too, for good measure. Damn that Nathandiel. He called me a thief, but he's the one that took.

A moment of smoothing, a moment to rearrange and calculate. I get to work, poking the thin grass reeds through the fabric root-side first so as to not fight the sawtooth texture. I sew a crude dress, reminiscent of the dark color of the one Lilliana actually wears. The Tahzani doll gets a worse outfit, nothing more than a bit of hide rolled around it like a kilt. The details in that costume are solely in the tiny teeth braided into a tiny harness. I never claimed to be a master craftsman.

Tahzani wants to see dolls? He'll get dolls.

I survey my handiwork, satisfied. I redress and tuck the pair into my gloves, leaving the last figure woefully lying in the dirt. It's head is overlarge, the grasses discolored where I'd wet it. I rock up onto my feet to scoop up the pitiful thing. I sniff. I smell the hint of blood, overlaying the essence of my own old sweat and the flavor medley of past meals eaten from my spittle. It's a faint aroma, but it's enough.

I cradle the doll to my face as I have with all the others. I croon to it, letting the magic flow with my breath. The doll receives an identity from my will alone. The link is established. It's getting easier and easier to do. Soon, I wonder if I will even need a physical object to act upon. 

I unfold to my full height, scanning. Before Deathwing broke the world, raptors used to be plentiful in these parts. Now there are only elementals confused and warring against each other. Crocolisks roam the soggy marshlike shore. Somewhere, I know the reptiles I want still track these lands. I clutch the featureless doll in my fingers and shift to the bat. 

It doesn't take long to spot a roaming team of my favorite hunters. I swoop low, antagonizing them. They have a kill shared between them, and do not appreciate the harassment. The bat's leathery wings are agile. I dive-bomb them again. Three times. As I narrowly avoid their snapping jaws at the apex of their leaping reach, I open my claws.

Shokkra's doll plummets into their midst.

The raptors fixate. Already angry, they are not stupid. They know in a moment that the thing is not alive. They alternatively snuffle, investigating. It smells like food. It smells like prey. The alpha female bites, tasting it. Irritated then to discover my scent deception, the raptor tosses her head, shaking the doll. Her packmates are happy to help. A game of keep-away-and-chase quickly obliterates the fragile creation. Fragments of Shokkra filter softly to the grasses after the doll is torn apart. Game over, the raptors scan the sky for me, perhaps wondering if I will gift them with another toy, or another opportunity for chase. 

I'm no longer there. With the destruction of the doll, I'm winging away toward Orgrimmar. I follow the very faint trail of magic as it seeks the target. I don't want to miss this.

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I find the orc rather easily. She's in a poor location high above the Valley of Honor, overlooking it beside a waterfall that has carved out it's path over millennium of flowing. Sound is deadened here. Left of the orc warrior, water crashes into broken bits of rocks collected and snagged at the edge of a fluid leap. The rounded chasm curves behind, high rock walls echoing with the thunder of a smaller fall leaking from the mountainside. The spiked roof of a watchtower butts up to the chasm, but otherwise, there is nothing up here. Perhaps that is why she chose the spot.

The orc is hunched, knees pulled up to her chest with her arms overtop. Her head is buried against them. From the looks of her, she might be crying? I have no way of knowing that she is the one that stabbed Khorvis earlier, nor would I care if I did. I lack a single ounce of sympathy. I land at the top of a stone column to watch.

It takes only a moment. 

As Shokkra sniffles, an emerald shimmer manifests in the air behind her. The image of a sleek raptor coalesces from nothing, then solidifies. It's blue scaly hide is a vibrant contrast to the red banded rocks, a clash of my favorite colors. Unlike a real animal, this one has singular purpose, and as soon as it's formed it begins stalking to enact my will. If I am the alpha, this is the beta. I decide to name it Blue. A male, if I don't miss my guess. Yellow slitted eyes stare ahead at the lone prey. The muted scratch of a talon on stone is the only warning Shokkra has, and even that might not be heard over the rush of water. Blue hunches in range, muscles bunching in preparation for the leap.

The orc warrior groans, sounding pained, but her instincts are good. She rolls to the right, over the axes laying on the stone beside her. Her weaker hand tucks a dagger into the sheath at her belt line. She prepares for combat, but is surprised when she lays eyes on her opponent. For a second, all the orc does is blink stupidly.

Abandoning surprise tactics, Blue lowers his head and growls, advancing slowly now in the gaze of his prey.

From my place high above, I can see a second raptor shimmer into being. This one is an orange male, lingering to the side behind Shokkra's periphery and not yet moving. He waits. The darker scales along his back blend well with the stone he spawned in. Blueish stripes serve to break up his silhouette near the water's edge. He is not hidden by any means, and yet, motionless, he can remain unseen.

Shokkra has not learned. The warrior gets over her surprise quick enough, and charges directly at the threat presented. Does she not remember at all how this works? 

If a raptor could smile, that might be the expression on Blue's face as the orc charges him. His legs flex, hopping his bulk backwards a bit. Shokkra keeps coming on, already swinging before she's in proper range to strike. Blue roars, and his second, I'll call him D'Eltah, explodes into motion.

Shokkra's blades are an arcing whirlwind of death as they strike at Blue and all around her. She wastes momentum and energy in wild swinging like that. Blue takes two solid hits among all the glancing blows as he avoids the orc. A vicious switchback crunches his eye ridge and slices across his vision. D'Eltah leaps from the side right as Blue snaps back at the orc's ax-claws half-blinded. The orange torpedo leads with both feet like a monk, twisting sideways for a better angle in the attempt to hit and grab his prey. He's a bit high.

Shokkra is barreled over by D'Eltah, his feet grasping for purchase. Claws rend deep, through the orc's plate shoulders and leather harness. She takes the hit and rolls with it, letting the ground absorb some of the impact and jar loose those talons. She twists, and D'Eltah's grip, though punishing, is weak enough that she pulls free as his bulk rolls further. Shokkra immediately stumbles back to her feet, placing her back to the river as she watches the raptors.

The warrior is bleeding profusely. 

In her battle-haze, it hasn't quite registered, but I saw the strike. Like the attack on T'suro, this victim is wearing armor which is useless to her now. Raptor talons pierced without hindrance. Both raptors look amused, the first one sadistically so with that injured eye swelling shut. Their expressions echo my own gleeful grinning at the success of the spell. 'That's what the armor is for', hmm? How soon until the orc realizes that her precious protection is worthless? She cannot rely on the crutches of her heavy plate and sheer fortitude of will. The proud orc will learn to open her eyes, or she will die.

My pair of teachers have evolved and been molded by generations of successes to excel at the task of feeding themselves. They communicate. They trust. They work together to outsmart and overwhelm prey both bigger and stronger than themselves. The people of Azeroth could learn much from the lower forms of life they so often scorn and dismiss. 

My teachers turn and stalk Shokkra.

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The orc holds her ground. The grim line of her lips is evidence that she's had enough of raptor games. She could call for help, but doesn't. She's an orc, and this is only two raptors, for now. What if I had thought to magic a whole pack of animals? Would she still stand and fight then? She watches, her back to the river and to the rock face of the wall behind it. Both threats to her are in front, heads bobbing and weaving slightly as they advance growling, looking for weakness in their prey.

The third raptor appears, like an echo of the first, to Shokkra's right. It steps from thin air along the banks of the water's course. This one is also hided in blue, with bands of mottled green marring the surface of the skin in a similar fashion to the way the moss on my own skin grows. This raptor could be considered the smallest of the three, female, and she is skinny. Instantly, she becomes my favorite. My Ekko. Her ridged head is lowered. She takes a slow step, calculating. I love the serious viciousness I can see in that gaze. Ekko means business. Ekko is here for blood.

The pair of raptors in front continue to bob and weave slightly, growling, looking for an opportunity. They are distractions, but the new arrival is noticed, this time. Shokkra shifts position as she spots the female. Her back now faces the cliffs at an angle.

I am rather elated at this. She learned! I could cheer. I remain still, my belly pressed flat against the hot rock of the column and I don't make a sound to betray my position. Instead, my raptors cheer for me. All three straighten, standing up tall on their legs. They emit a few glugging chirps each in a small chorus of them. Shokkra does not understand. She squints at the reptiles, and her confusion is clearly painted on her face. What the shit are they up to?

She's wasted an opportunity, perhaps. She could have attacked while they were up, taken advantage of their open posture and higher tipping point. She doesn't. She's given me an opportunity though, and I don't waste it. The orc has learned one lesson. It's time she got the point of the other.

Blue lunges for Shokkra! Shokkra is only a second later to react, lunging herself in what I feel is more of an instinctive action than a calculated one. One ax arcs towards Blue's head while the other cleaves lower towards his leg on the blind side. The raptor tries to snap Shokkra's arm in it's jaws. He never even sees the other weapon. Shokkra screams as her arm is clamped onto, his jaws going through the tough leather wrappings and glove as if nothing is there. The ax to his leg hits true and embeds. Blue whelps in pain as well. Their voices briefly mix before lungs expel their volume.

Shokkra yanks backwards, trying to free her lower ax from where it's stuck in Blue's leg to try to free it. The raptor assists. Blue tosses his head like a frostwolf with a dog toy, trying to thrash his prey into weakness as well as loosen whatever claw had hold of his leg. His packmates watch intently from the sidelines, looking for openings of their own in which to join in.

Shokkra cries out in pain as skin and muscle are ripped apart by the thrashing. Bloody white bone is visible underneath Shokkra's glove as her own weight is yanked around. Meat separates. The orc slides in that toothy grip as her flesh becomes unanchored. Desperately, Shokkra strikes her freed ax at Blue's other eye, hoping to blind the creature.

With his jaws already occupied there is no way to dodge that even if he could see it coming. Shokkra's blade cuts. Blue roars! The raptor jerks as his jaws open involuntarily. For a moment it looks as if he will hurl the orc right at D'Eltah. 

Shokkra flies over to the side, but something snags. Instead of a beautiful arc to D'Eltah, the warrior ends up in more of a spike to the ground. The orange male leaps anyway, having anticipated the throw. Shokkra tumbles in the rocky red grit and dirt, but quickly rolls to her feet to face the threat. D'Eltah looks almost disappointed. He wanted to play catch! 

Shokkra's right arm is extremely hurt. Blood seeps from the gruesome wound more and more as the seconds pass, creating a dark puddle beneath her. Ekko stalks. If her brother doesn't act fast, she's going to intervene. The littler female sniffs the air, waffling in the scent of Shokkra's blood flow. Shokkra shuffles to prevent being flanked. 

Blue has stumbled sideways down the incline to the river. He's hung and leaning on a scraggly scrub bush. The unsteadiness of his stance indicate to me that something terrible might be happening inside that skull of his. His head hangs low, wavering, sightless. He's done. I gesture, willing the gorgeous hunter away. His form begins to evanesce.

D'Eltah launches himself forward at Shokkra. He keeps low, stout legs propelling him fast and smoothly. His prey roars with immortal orcish fury. He returns the challenge with his own voice. They clash.

 

Shokkra is ready for him. She smashes D'Eltah's toothy maw aside and rains blow after blow of pure hate down on him. Her single ax swings are counterbalanced by the ruin of her other arm. The limb slings dark droplets. The orc in the midst of a bloodfury enacts her will without regard for something as trivial as pain or the weakness trying to creep in as her lifeblood seeps out.

D'Eltah never does get his head back in line to attack. The warrior follows ax blows with vicious kicks, beating him down. His thick hide protects him for a few seconds, as the orc is too furious, too wild, to land a solid strike between the tougher dorsal scales. D'Eltah's neck runs red from several shallower slices before he realizes his own peril. He did not expect a crippled target to be so vicious. Where did she summon the strength?

Then Shokkra's ax hits and sticks. The orange male had been trying to turn away. Her blade wedges between scales and vertebrae as D'Eltah topples. The orc doesn't relent. Disarmed, she follows the reptile as he plows into the dirt. Her foot descends with a sickening crack to his ribcage. Her fist hits against his thigh after she narrowly avoids being gutted by a desperate kick to try and heave the angry green woman away. She grabs for her ax.

Ekko leaps! Shokkra recalls the third raptor and tries to spin to face little blue female, but she's not fast enough. The raptor's maw bites into Shokkra's plated shoulder. Teeth sink in deep, not hindered at all by the seeming protection of metal armor. Shokkra screams again. She tries to heave her weapon at Ekko's bulk as the hunter's momentum drive the both of them off D'Eltah. The ax glances off. 

They land hard in the dirt. Ekko stumbles. Her heavy foot lands heedlessly on her prey as the raptor tries to keep her balance. Shokkra gasps for air as the raptor's weigh settles, and a series of pops sound in succession as ribs begin failing. The reptile shifts weight back off her prey. She tightens her jaws slightly, reaffirming that her hold is good. She tries to pin her prey so that she can release the grip of her jaws.

The second scythe talon on Ekko's foot sinks deeply into the center of Shokkra's chest. The smaller dew claw pierces the point between neck and shoulder where armor should be protecting the warrior... but isn't. The orc yells hoarsely. With grabbing her knives out of the question, Shokkra instead fumbles at the soft underside of Ekko's neck and attempts to shove the point of her weapon in. There isn't enough room to get any strength behind a swing even if her wounds allowed the movement.

Ekko chomps down viciously in an attempt to discourage whatever this prey's thrashing is about. Her teeth are on the wrong side, and this does nothing to disable. Shokkra grunts with the pain, but shoves harder against the axhead. 

Something gives.

Ekko jerks upright, stepping back, but doesn't release her jaws. The orc is yanked upwards. Her ax falls away from blood-slickened fingers. In a moment, there will be a thrashing just like Blue did, only this time the technique would be fatal. Shokkra doesn't wait dangling in the raptor's mouth for it to happen. The warrior swings and locks a knee behind Ekko's neck, giving her the angle she needs. Her hand slides along the sticky surface of tough hide. She finds the tear and jams her hand into the hot hole. 

Ekko starts to shake her head, but it's too late. Shokkra seizes anything she can get her grip around. The raptor gurgles and gags, her maw hinging open, and staggers several steps toward the waterfalls plunge. Two swipes fail to dislodge the cling-on throttler. Shokkra then straightens her hooked leg and pushes hard with the other, giving the best shove she can manage while holding the insides of the raptor's neck. She drops down in a swing before losing her grip on the slick stringy mess she'd yanked loose. She flops to the ground, rolling perilously close to the cliff's edge.

Ekko hacks, spattering the stone with dark spray. She pulls in a garbled breath, only to choke and expel it back out again in another cough, struggling to breathe. The little female staggers, drowning, and catches sight of Shokkra lying there. The raptor uses the last of her energy to lunge for the orc. I cannot tell if she hit and took Shokkra with her, or if the orc rolled over the edge on purpose and Ekko merely fell on the precipice and followed. They both disappear.

I stare, somehow transfixed. They're gone. The chasm is empty. 

After a moment, it occurs to me to look to the pond down in the Valley of Honor. A small figure lays there in the shallows. She must have been very lucky to avoid the rocks and land in deep water. How had she managed to swim with those injuries? Maybe she'd held her breath and merely pushed along the bottom. Slowly, Shokkra emerges from the dark water spreading around her and crawls toward some unknown destination. Perhaps her guild maintains a base here in the city and she's hoping for, of all things, sanctuary.

Edited by Derecho
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