Broxigan

Meeting with the Raven

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The salty air drifted through the town lazily, providing a nice gentle breeze across the goblin settlement out on the eastern edge of the Barrens. The goblins hurried to and fro, tending to their usual duties, unaware of the orc, who sat huddled up against one of the large rocks near the edge of the coastline, his cloak drawn tight around his malnourished body. His hood was drawn, shadowing most of his features, though those pale gray eyes stared out blankly over the calm waters, his mind wandering far from where he was physically.

It had been a few days since he had received the few replies from those who he reached out for. Two of them seemed promising enough. But, he knew their types. Dark, evil magi who would quickly turn on their employer at the drop of the hat for their own profit. It was one of the major reasons he avoided doing such dealings with most of their kind. But hell, he was desperate. At the end of his rope. As if at any moment, he would just break from the pressure the voices were putting on him.

The voices. Broxigan couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought of being RIGHT back where he was, so many years ago. Voices constantly bickering, yelling, growling, whispering. Voices that would keep him awake for nights on end until he just passed out from exhaustion. And even then, they continued. And it was a repeat, now. Though this time, he felt he knew his torturers. And he willing allowed them in this time.

Broxigan had thought, by this point, he had enough control of his mind and body that he would be able to commune with the elements by his will. And he had, for quite some time. But the elements, they raged. Something wasn’t right. Something was wrong. They fought, regularly, but not like this. And they pushed beyond his mental barrier and dove right into the hole that was left behind before.

He sighed, holding the notes from two of the possible help tightly in his bandaged right hand. He would only have to put up with them for a little bit longer. And then either he would be left with his own voice....or all voices cut out permanently.

He had grown to cope with that death would be the easiest way out. A cowards way out. And it begged him daily to just drive a blade through his chest and end it. But damn it all.

A small chitter and beep drew his attention over to his left, where the mechanical creation, Vee, bounded up to the orc, climbing up the cloak and settling on his shoulder.

“It’s being delivered?” Broxigan asked and the squirrel beeped once. “Good. I suppose all we do now is hope and wait to see if she comes, right?” The squirrel beeped once more.

“Yeah...I am sure she will. She is the only one who would listen...”

Evanthe,

I need to meet with you as soon as you receive this. I will be at the inn in Ratchet. Ask for Vondr’grar when you arrive. I need your help on some...very urgent issues.

-B

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Evanthe stepped off the gangplank, mindful of the salty air and the undercurrent it carried, a scent she couldn't quite name but which always pervaded the goblin towns. The aroma of avarice, she mused, not for the first time. Above, dark clouds roiled the sky, ominous and full, the air heavy with anticipation of impending rain.

"How very fitting," the elf murmured. She drew her cloak tightly around her slight shoulders and started towards the inn, levitating just enough to maintain a small cushion of air between her feet and the dock below.

How long had it been since she answered the summons of another, and so willingly? Evanthe was keen to ignore such directives and pleas for either amusement or spite, and yet here she was, in Ratchet, at the orc's beck and call. An image rose in her mind's eye: A floating island high above the rolling hills of Nagrand. The orc, listening intently while she spoke of her deepest self. Only for you, Kiki. Only for you.

She entered the inn and approached the bartender, curtly interrupting the goblin's greeting.*

"I'm here for Vondr'grar."

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Broxigan was just a few feet away, sitting with his back to the entrance, cloak drawn tightly around him with that small squirrel perched on his shoulder. And when he heard the elf’s voice, he shivered slightly. He couldn’t remember how long it had been since he spoke with any of his friends. Especially Evanthe.

The goblin pointed towards the huddled, covered form sitting at the table nearby and at that same moment, Brox turned to look over his shoulder, pulling his hood back as he sighed, “You have no idea how good it is to hear you, Evanthe.” With the cloth pulled away from his head, it became obvious that the orc was practically a shell of his former self. His cheeks were shallow, deep lines beneath his eyes, gaunt with some sort of ailment. He was stressed, that much was obvious.

He kicked out one of the chairs on the opposite side of the table as he turned to lean upon the top of it, pushing his cloak to the side, both index fingers passively tapping away at the table top. “You know I wouldn’t bother you if it wasn’t something very important, right?” he said, turning his gaze to a spot just inches infront of his arms.

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"Kiki, " the elf began, her voice fading as she took in the sight of the emaciated orc. She let his question hang in the air, unable to take her eyes off his gaunt visage. Yes, of course this was important, she could see as much. He was haggard and worn, a mere shade of what he once was.

Evanthe sat in the offered chair.

"You look terrible," she said bluntly, her voice absent its usual mocking tone. "Tell me everything."

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“Where to begin,” he echoed absently as he shook his head, bringing his left hand up to run across his scalp and through his hair. “I am an idiot,” her muttered simply. The orc lowered his voice and spoke down into the table. “To be frank about it. I screwed up. I messed up. Again.”

He paused a moment before continuing.

“I am not sure if you remember just how I went blind. Rather, the reason. Spirits, foolishly toying with Shamanistic practices of old. Attempting to commune with ancestors and spirits. I ended up opening myself to something dark. I was troubled deeply with them consistently. Day and night. Sabachthan and a few others helped me by proxy. I ended up blind and free of the turmoil in my mind.

I abandoned all practices of the shaman ways that always fascinated me for years. I thought I had more control. I had dug deep into scrolls and spoke with many skilled shamans. I picked it back up, as you may know.

But here I am, again. Full circle. I hear the voices again. But it isn’t the same as before. The voices I hear now are the elements, Evanthe. Wind, fire, earth and water. And they are in complete chaos. I have tried everything to cut myself off from them. Salves, elixirs, voodoo practices. But they will not shut up. They try to tempt me. They try and control me. They scream. They yell. They fight.

I disposed of my totems. I left the lands of Feralas where I used to consistently speak with them. And they were calm for so long. But recently...

I opened a door I cannot close. Again. And I am afraid that I just might break this time and give in. It’s not like I can go through what I did before. Not that I would trust him again, but Sabacthan is gone. I can’t do this again. I have nothing left to give up in exchange for silence. What would they take next? My hearing? My voice? Then what would I be but a pathetic lump.

A blade has never felt like an exit. Not before now. And I need help...that’s what I wrote for you,” he said, tailing off as he swallowed tightly. He let the silence linger a moment longer before he reached into his cloak and pushed two letters to the center of the table. “But I am looking. And I would feel better if you went with me. I don’t know how much you dabble in the forsaken arts now a days, but I know you have knowledge. One of the very few of them I trust. And I want you to go with me to meet these two people. I hope...I really hope they can help without killing me,” Broxigan said, skirting around the heavy details. “But at this point, it is the only exit I have. And I have nothing else to lose. You are the only one I have spoken to in so long. And now, having been exiled from the Horde...”

He shook his head once again. “The nearest one is out in the Barrens. They said they would like to meet by tomorrow night. And I would forever be in your debt if you came along.”

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"Mmhmm. I remember the cause of your blindness. How foolish you were to trust Sabachthan, and how very foolish you were to exclude me from the proceedings. I'm so very glad you've learned this lesson, if not any others."

Evanthe smiled ruefully. She had offered to help the besieged orc, but he put his faith in that silly, rotted charlatan instead. His eyesight was the price he paid for his mistake.

"And yet here you are, putting your faith in untested practitioners. At least you've learned your lesson not to go alone. It's been such a long time since I dabbled in demonology, but I remember well the tricks and methods of those that do.

"I'll go with you tomorrow. I'd quite like to have an orc 'forever in my debt'."

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"Forever in your debt, huh? If it will cure me of this affliction, I will do just about anything," he said with a slight grin as he reached out and pulled the notes back to him, pocketing them beneath his cloak. "I am going to turn in for the evening. I will meet you outside tomorrow, all right?" He stared towards the elf, smiling some as he then sighed, pushed himself from the chair and made for his bunk for the night, trudging along as though his legs weighed a hundred pounds each.

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