Dere is always bein decisions to be made – whe’er we be likin dem or not.
Jin’aya stormed out of Sun-Rock Retreat, seething with anger. She grabbed the reigns of her raptor and leapt on his back with seemingly no effort despite his great height. She dug her heels into his sides and set off at full pelt towards The Barrens. Now what was she going to do? She cursed under her breath at once more being homeless and tribeless.
There had been whispers on the wind for some time, the clan was dying, the leader was without strength, the leader cared not for his own people, he was too cowardly to face the generals challenge, he had claimed his birth-rite without earning respect. Rumor and suspicion had spread throughout the ranks of the clan, there was no faith anymore, no security no trust, its members met in quiet corners and discussing the possibility, that the Earthfury Clan could fall.
...Earlier that day
Hrisskar had sent the villagers to seek safety in Orgrimmar, those too young or old or weak to fight had been told to flee.
As the villagers reached the Stonetalon border a tall troll had arrived on her raptor, her shock of red hair was matched by the blood that coated her blades. She wore the colors of the horde military and looked tired. As she approached the crowd she had peered at their number, and had clearly not seen who she was looking for.
“Where be da chieften?” she had roared at the crowd.
One of the villagers spoke up “He is at the valley with Ergoth and the warriors… the insects..” his voice faltered under the trolls glare.
“Da champion ha’ fallen. “ She said simply. Turning from the crowd she swore harshly in her own tongue and charged off along the path towards the mountains, her raptor kicking up dust behind him.
A few of the villagers watched her leave before turning their backs and continuing their slow drudge towards the Crossroads.
...the day before
Jin’aya was perched on a hill above the Gulch watching the battle below her. Elves versus the assembled Horde. Anansi, as usual, was in the thick of it. Jin’aya smirked as a lone elf ran from the main battle, Anansi closing in on her. Jin’aya grasped her bow and fired at the elf bringing her to her knee’s, grinning at the screams that echo’d across the valley as Anansi claimed her kill.
Suddenly Jin’aya heard someone moving behind her, climbing up to her hiding spot. She grasped her Eagle-headed blades firmly and crouched. The intruder was just on the other side of that tree, she spun around and pressed the newcomer to the tree, blade held to their throat.
The young orc blinked in fear and dared not even speak. Jin’aya realizing it was one of the peons sent with a message released him.
“Wat ya be wantin?”
“Huntress Jin’aya, I bring word from Stonetalon, The insects have attacked, the villagers have fled. The Champion has fallen.”
Jin’aya cursed quietly, she turned to the young orc with a sigh. “I not be tankin ya fer dis news. Ya’ be getting t’ da command outpost. Ya be tellin Cap’in Shatterskull dat I ha’ gotten sum tings t’ be sortin, I dunno’s wen I will be returnin.” She looked at the young orc as he stood there “Wat ya be waitin fer? Get movin befo’ I be getting’ Anansi ta be gi’in ya sum encoragmen’!”
The young orc almost fell down the hill in his attempt to get away from Jin’aya. She watched as he ran for the barrens border before returning her gaze to the battlefield. She whistled loudly for Anansi, before untying her raptor from his tethering post and climbing on his back.
“Yah!” she yelled, urging the raptor as fast as he would go, running for stonetalon, running to see what she would find.
…some days before.
“Do ya be belivin in da Loa?”
Jin’aya sat by the fireside of the Atal Loa’s camp and peered through the smoke at the troll she now knew as Vin'ji. She paused for a moment thinking carefully, declaring that she did not, in a camp full of believers, within their homelands, would be a very stupid move.
“I do not be knowin.” She answered simply. A dark look crossed Vin'ji’s face.
“An’ der I t’ought we had a sistah who ha’ no’ be forgettin her roots.”
It had been many, many years since she had been with her own kind. She had not learned much of the Loa as a child, her time had mostly been spent fighting with her family, they did not want her to dishonor them, to take up the bow and fight, she was to learn to cook, and sew and pray, and accept her place as a female of the tribe. When they had travelled to the Echo Isles some members of the tribe had mockingly called her ‘Jin’ as she had worked to control the raptors. “Dat ‘Jin’aya’, da leader o’ da red, Oy! Great Jin’aya! How be da raptors t’day sistah, dey bein loyal subjec’s?” they would laugh hysterically at their own joke. Not long after Zalazane took over the Echo Isles, Jin’aya had left her people, and not been back since.
Jin’aya raised from her thoughts looked at Vin'ji. “I sai’ I not be knowin, not I not be belivin. Do not be takin me ignorance as disrespec’. I be willin t’ listen an’ learn.”
Vin'ji paused before saying “But yous be Eartfury, dey not be approving o’ dis”
“Der be no harm in listnin” Jin’aya smirked, showing off her sharpened teeth and prominent tusks.
She sat and listened as Vin'ji began to talk.
Sometime later Jin’aya left the camp, as the moon was rising over Stranglethorn. She headed for the solitude of the coast near booty bay, knowing in the morning she must start making the journey back to the barrens and the front line at the gulch.
Living and working amongst the orcs for the years following leaving her tribe had started to affect how she thought of traditional trolls. ‘Cannibals’, ‘Savages’, ‘Beasts’, ‘Monsters’ these were the words bandied about. Canibbalism had been stamped out in the Darkspears that had joined the horde, they described themselves as ‘Enlightened’ trolls, no longer embracing the dark ways of ‘Black Majik’ and voodoo.
And yet here she had spent an, enlightening, evening sat with a group of those traditional trolls, and they were no more brutal than the orcs. They had told her the history of her people, of her gods, and of what was expected of her. And for the first time in a long time she felt, right.
She thought about the Earthfury, and how she had promised her backing to the General should he challenge the Chief. But if the rumours were true then the clan would not be surviving with either leader. Hrisskar had been conspicuous by his absence and the clan itself was almost seeming to split between two faction; Those who swore their loyalty to the Chief and those who swore their loyalty to the General.
She settled down on the sand beneath the stars, thoughts swirling through her head. “Stop bein daft Aya,” she grumbled at herself “All o dis be no’ wort’ tinking about till sumting happens ‘tween da general an’ da chief. In da mean time ya be an’ Eart’fury, an ya be stayin dat way.”
Jin’aya slowed as she reached the edge of the valley and surveyed the carnage below. Nothing was moving. Bodies of orcs, trolls, tauren and insects littered the valley floor, so many dead. Amongst them she could see the massive form of Ergoth, curled around the blade that slew him. Besides him was the corpse of something she had never seen before, it was neither insect nor humanoid, yet at the same time, seemed to be both.
She shook her head and continued searching. After some time she accepted that the chieftain had not perished here.
Turning her raptor around she headed back along the path towards Sun-Rock retreat to see if she could discover what had become of the rest of the clan.
Sun Rock was deserted. Belongings that were too heavy to be taken had been discarded as the people had fled in preparation for the insects assault on the valley.
As she entered the great tent there was blood spatter on the floor. She looked up to see a Tauren leaning against the once great war-drum of the Earthfury. He had his hand clasped firmly to the side of his waist and he was coughing and spluttering.
Jin’aya knelt down beside him.
“Warrior,” she looked at him questioningly, wondering if he could hear her, he was clearly not long for this world. The tauren opened his eyes and peered at her.
“What do you want from a dead tauren, troll?”
“Ya, not be bein dead yet, an I be needin ya t’ be answerin sum questions before I be letting ya pass on.” Jin’aya smirked to herself, knowing that as she was no shaman or witchdoctor, there was very little she could do to stop him passing on.
“Where be da chief? Where be da rest o’ da clan"
“The clan is finished. The chieftain has left us. We have lost Stonetalon. Our champion has fallen. The Earthfury is no more. The council has decree’d that the villagers shall seek refuge in Orgrimmar or whatever settlement they chose.” The tauren paused for a moment and let out a deep, hacking cough. “Of the survivors, some may follow the General Torakk. The Chieftain says you must find your own paths now.”
The tauren stopped speaking as coughing took over, blood seeped from his mouth with each cough.
“Where be da General now?” Jin’aya tried to shake the tauren for an answer, but in fact barely moved him.
“Who knows, little troll, who knows anything. Leave me in peace sister, it is to late for me.”
Jin’aya stormed out of Sun-Rock Retreat, seething with anger at the stupidity and waste of life. She roared in fury at the damned mess everything was in. She grabbed the reigns of her raptor and leapt on his back with seemingly no effort despite his great height. She dug her heels into his sides and set off at full pelt towards The Barrens and beyond to Orgrimmar, hoping to find some of her clansmen there and get some more information.
“Now Aya,” she said to herself as she rode “Now ya mus’ be tinkin o’ da tings dat were bothrin ya de ot’er night. Do yas remain loyal t’ da general, an fight on da front line o’ warsong gulch. Or d’ya be speakin t’ da Atal, an be gi’in up da battlefields? Yas be gottin sum decisions t’ be makin whe’er ya be likin it o’ not.”