((WR - March)) Let's go camping


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One day, on a crisp Autumn morning, an apple cart bound for Silvermoon detonated. The blast tore the bridge it was crossing over into rubble, killed the driver, obliterated five hundred gold worth of produce, and threw a nearby orc into a tree.

"How do ya like dem apples?" The medic had joked when Gunheya awoke. The fact that he could not manage a laugh struck the orc as monumentally wrong. The horrible bruising was easy enough to mend, the damage to his mechano-hog far less so. But in time it could all be fixed, he had mended broken equipment and recovered from a broken body countless times before.
Yet that day stuck with the young orc. His hands began to shake whenever he held a gun and the usual calm he had when wiring his explosives disappeared seemingly overnight. He had survived, but the steady hands required for so much of his daily life had not. Day by day, it only grew worse until even the scream of steel upon steel as blades clashed was more than the limb could handle.

"I don't get it." He muttered dully to his glass one night. He had been trained in swordplay since he could grip his first toy sword. He was in the prime of his life, he had seen more buildings detonate and had long lost track of the ammo he had wasted on his enemies, but now the very thought of the gun in his bag sent a shiver down his spine. "It's like i'm afraid of life itself."
The idea only dug its roots deeper in his mind as time passed. Every wagon was given a wide berth, the shooting range was avoided, and the engineer's workshops that he frequented stopped seeing his face entirely.
The shame of his fear only grew until the final humiliation struck in broad daylight. With his mind on the letter in his hands he managed to ignore the wagon that passed by far too close for his liking. When a crack in the road caused it to bounce, an unsecured crate crashed to the stone beside him. There was no thought to his action as he dove into the protective shadow beneath the nearest building. With his hands shaking and heart pounding, he could only stare forlornly out into the public and the surprised expressions that quickly melted into mocking laughter at his cowardice.

It ended for everyone eventually, the life of conflict and danger. His Mother had chosen it when he was conceived, Saurfang chose it when he decided to gamble his life for his beliefs. His mind had decided that he had taken one blow to many and now his brain fought its own war, a battle between survival instincts and the desires of high higher brain, risk versus reward.

In the end, his shame won and  panic lead the way. Get away, his mind demanded, get away from it all.
There were unspoiled, unsettled stretches of land in the Barrens, far from the settlements and goblin operations. Places that were quiet, where his hands stopped shaking and the only worry he had was the weather and what he would eat that night. There were no carts that far away from the road, there were no bombs hidden just out of sight, and the only gun for miles belonged to the quillboar who barely knew how to use them.

Peace had never appealed to him before. He always needed chaos to focus a mind that refused to settle down. His hands needed to fiddle with something, a problem to work out or something to assemble and complete. Pain became a substitute for the usual mess of his workshop and the demands of his job. Hunger, aches, wounds that he was forced to handle without a proper healer. Survival took the place of an ingrained desire to tinker, but never fully as what few materials he had were used for the ease of his life. Electronics had no purpose, blasting powder became a distant memory. The basic structures of wood and rope took precedence over the complicated machinery he had spent his life working on.

It did not take long for him to be found, yet one look at the man had his friends reconsider dragging him back. He needed the quiet, the chaos of industry replaced by the slow change of the shifting natural world.

Days became months and as with any place that grew, his camp soon drew unwanted attention. Adventurers approached with interest in tasks to earn themselves better equipment or money. They came to him, hoping that he needed something and eyed his belongings with shameless greed. On occasion, the extra arms were welcome. But more often than not as more visited, poking around his things or even sleeping in his space became a weekly event he found himself checking his belongings not for signs of theft, but for dangers left behind.

Staying in one spot too long invited too much attention.

By the dawn of the next day he was already moving, a pair of coins rattling impotently in his coinpurse and his pack laden with supplies. The next oasis was at least a week away on foot, likely he would have to pray for rain or drain a plant root. A skill he had never even attempted until his time away. The prospect, surprisingly, did not disgust him any longer. Many practices he thought himself above became a daily occurrence by then. The natural world hardly cared for what made you squeamish after all.

All wounds eventually healed, but time and care were the only way to ensure that they healed properly. It was unclear if he could ever return to the front or to society. Survival came before it all, and the simple life without responsibility save for seeing the next day was far more comforting than warm rooms and soft beds. No amount of gold could buy him peace of mind.

 

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