- -By Nadir and posted on the Blizzard Earthen Ring Forum 6/1/06
On the Eve of Battle...
Nadir sat in a hut of the Frostwolf Base Camp, her back leaned up against the wall. Tonight they would push for the dominion of the Alterac Valley, once and for all. The Warchief would be pleased if they succeeded--it was once his home. Nadir herself was here to work as a combat healer, being trained in both fighting and healing. There were few of the Horde who were not fighters--an ongoing battle worldwide against the Alliance ensured that there were few that battle did not touch. The ever-looming threat of the Scourge also ensured that. No one was safe from them.
All around her, things were quiet, as people passed to and fro, intent on their duties and preparations. Here and there there were an odd couple sharing a private moment between themselves--it was all too likely that someone would meet their end in the battle today.
Nadir herself had no one to have one of those moments with, thus her contemplation. She held her hands to the fire, trying to keep herself warm. Alterac was chilly this evening--a place of snow that never left. A veritable winter wonderland, though at a cost.
She gripped her staff at the base, and began running her fingers along the grains, tracing her fingertips along the carved patterns. It'd been her own conceit to carve symbols on her staff every time something of note happened in her life. While it wasn't valuable in magical power, it was all too easy to focus her healing along it--she'd had it so long.
Her eyes closed, and she thought back to the time she'd first come into her own as an fully grown adult among the Horde...
Nadir stood before the great fire at the center of the camp. Figures from all around gathered around it. The horns of Tauren, long ears and tusks of Trolls. Green skin glinted against the firelight for the Orcs, and here and there throughout the gathered crowd was a Forsaken or two. The night was a hot one: The sun had beat down all day long. The sands were still warm underfoot.. Those that were going without shoes stepped carefully. The sparse, stunted shrubbery of the Oasis they'd gathered at was around them all. And Nadir?
She paced along the fireside, like a white ghost amongst the vibrant color of the people there.
Food and drink were being passed amongst the people present. Loud, riotous laughter could be heard as the winding down of another day commensed. Drums were produced, and dust rose amongst them as the feet of the more physically adept of them began dancing in time to the beat played. The drumbeat thrummed through her veins as she joined in the throng, her own bare feet stamping time.
Calls for various dances came raining through the crowd, some more vehement than others. It was at that moment that a single high pitched note sounded, heralding the start of a memory that touched her mind. And with that memory, she stood before the crowd, her body suddenly boneless with her movement. Dust was raised as her feet hit the ground with each step. In her mind--a child's memory, was one of her village around a fire, much the same as this.
The women were dancing. And so it was that Nadir began moving as they did in her memory, her cloak held in both hands as a scarf as she turned, laughing as her eyes met another's in the crowd.
The dance ended like that. Red eyes were staring back at her own. Nadir grew uncomfortable under the orc's watchful gaze. He smiled. A faint, pink flush grew on her cheeks as she looked away. She withdrew into the crowd, quickly masked by the growing shadows. The music continued, but the moment was over. She returned to her own camp, sitting down amongst those she called her own.
It hadn't been the last time she'd see that Orc, either. He figured fairly prominent in her life, though at a distance. Eventually she'd joined with a merchant's guild: The Winds of Fortune. She rose among the ranks, and was now currently one of the main buyers and sellers. Even more: She managed the hard to obtain items that were rather risky to obtain.
She was also of high standing amongst the Steamwheedle Cartel. Her life as a priest, and more, as a trader made her neutral, and could often be seen passing back and forth in the Goblin Cities.
And eventually, everyone came to her guild at one point or another. Her life was a busy one, leaving no time for personal time--something she preferred. The Orc, on the few occassions she did see him were cherished. More time would be good, but she was happy with what she had. Maybe eventually something would happen, or not. One never knew. In the meantime, she had friends, and her guild, whom were close as family. There was little that didn't pass through that she didn't know about. Whole years passed, and she never once thought of the passage of time, until she realized she was approaching middle age with nothing to show for it except her friends and family.
...Still more time had passed, and nothing changed. Nadir stood up. It was time to begin. She walked outside, and gave a sharp whistle. Her Raptor was nearby. She leapt up into the air and settled into her saddle. Her legs wrapped around its ribs tightly, and she clicked her tongue--the Raptor began sprinting as she raced to join her comrades. As a force fully twenty-five strong (others were left running supplies and protecting their base), they ran for the nearest graveyard, solidifying it as theirs as they began to lay siege to the Stonehearth, where Balinda marshalled the field forces for the Alliance.
Sweat beaded on her face as she began healing everyone in sight, and came near her. Eventually, a sort of guard formed around her. A thoughtful Hunter set a trap at her feet, and two rogues were continually watching the Troll Priest as she drew deeply into reserves of healing she'd never known she had. Her eyes closed, and she sat down, drinking some water and resting. Stonehearth had been destroyed. They would move on soon. It was then, she abruptly realized that people were beginning to leave. Nadir raced for her Raptor, leaping up on it as they rode like the hells northeast towards one of the Alliance outposts.
They began whittling them down, tower by tower, all of them working as one unit. They'd fought together before: The teamwork was there. Eventually, hours later, she laid her eyes on the Stormpike Graveyard. It'd been destroyed, and was theirs now. Her eyes looked to the west: There lay the domain of the Stormpike, and deep inside was Vandar Stormpike himself.
A call for all hands to lay siege went out, and everyone appeared. They'd stripped their defenses to nothing in an all out offensive strike against the blasted Alliance. The Horde marched as one to the ramparts, flowing into the towers. The Archers were cut down as they stood, and still the battle raged. They fought their way to the Relief Hut, and made it their own. Now they had a base of support--fighters rushed in a steady flow as they threw themselves at Vandar Stormpike's very door.
And eventually, it gave way. A great roar went out amongst the Horde--the day had been won. Alterac was theirs--at least until resistance grew once more. Nadir sat inside the relief hut, walking along the wounded, caring for their hurts. No one went without pale fingers on them--she was busy. It was night time before she took a rest. She took a cup of tea, and stared up into the moon that shone down on their Victory bonfire... the dancing had begun.
Some things never changed. She sat there alone, in silence.
This takes place after Alterac Valley, Fray Island, base for the Winds of Fortune. Areks is an orphan that Nadi has chosen to foster.)
The two of them walked through the park to the large clearing. Nadir dropped a bag she'd been carrying, and the two of them started running apart. The ball flew through the air, and Arecks raced after it as fast as his 6 year old troll legs could carry him.
It was a good day, and the two of them were tossing the ball back and forth for awhile when Arecks sat down, staring up at Nadir.
"How come my Mommy died?"
Nadir froze. She figured this question would come sooner or later. Thankfully, she'd been ready. Still, it wasn't an easy question.
"Well.. Your father hit your Mommy. A lot. She never fought back, and she was hurt very badly."
Tailored to a 6 year old understanding, but very blunt. Nadir wasn't one to hide things from anyone, even a child. It was best he understood now, so that it couldn't hurt him later on in life.
"Can I learn to fight?"
A long drawn silence. It was obvious Nadir didn't want to expose a child to violence, or the capability for it. However, he'd already been exposed. What did you do? You tried to make a happy medium.
"Arecks. Can you promise me something?"
"If you fight.. Only use it to protect someone. Like your Mommy. Or me. Or yourself."
"What about the guild?"
Arecks nodded in agreement.
"Alright. I'll teach you one lesson today. But no more. This.. Is how you fall."
Nadir stood up, then dropped to the ground, using her long and heavily muscled areas such as the behind, the forearms, and the legs to break her fall. She also rolled.
"Why should I learn how to fall?"
A good question. Nadir had asked the same thing when she was the same age in school. She gave the same answer to him that she'd been given.
"Because. If someone tosses you one, you need to know how to fall, and not get hurt. It's good for a lot of things."
For awhile, the two of them practiced falling down. Arecks, being young, learned quickly. Children his age were like sponges for information and knowledge. Nadir would teach him well.
He pointed to the bag, and Nadir walked over to it. She pulled out a long, very thick staff made of teak, which was capped by over a foot and a half of razor sharp steel. It was dual edged, and the tempering made the steel glow almost blue when the sun struck it.
"That? That is a naginata. It's a polearm. It allows a smaller person to fight a bigger person."
"But you're priest. Why bother learning to use a weapon?"
"Well, Arecks my dear.. One day I could be entirely without an ability to cast a spell. It'll be my weapon that saves my life, and not the ability to use magic. In the end, we're always going back to the basics."