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 Post subject: On the Shores of Woofer’s Wallow (short story)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:22 am 
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Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 3:18 pm
Posts: 400
On the shores of Woofer’s Wallow in Thunder Bluff, Mingonashoba laid back against the grass and took in the night sky. He patted his kodo, Lumpkins, who nuzzled at the side of his face and snuffled hot fish-scented breath, courtesy of her dinner that Mingo had hauled out of the pond earlier in the evening. Mingo coughed and waved his hand in a fruitless attempt to clear the air of the smell of digested Longjaw Mud Snapper. He closed his eyes and spoke to Lumpkins as he slowly dozed off, "well, we did it girl."

It had been a busy week.


Mingo was stuck in the post-Winter Veil doldrums. January was typically a dull month as nothing exciting really happens, unless you consider packing up and organizing decorations for storage the highlight of your day. He knew an AAMS warehouse bear that might actually enjoy this sort of thing, but he wasn't about to visit their warehouse to talk about the ins and outs of box shapes and labeling techniques.

So he found himself aimlessly wandering the Tauren block of Orgrimmar, looking for something, but unsure what exactly that was. Overhead he heard a bird squawk, but paid it no attention, even as the squawking became more insistent, and louder, and closer.

Landing in front of him, the bird squawked and hopped vigorously, but Mingo simply shrugged, bewildered at what the feathered being wanted. In a blur of smoke and leaves, the bird transformed into a Tauren, and if you had asked a nearby guard, they would swear to you at that moment you could see the gears beginning to turn in Mingo's head. As the cobwebs cleared, Mingo finally recognized Ebonbreeze, a druid and fellow Ishnu Por Ah family member. After the joy and pleasantries were exchanged, Ebon had a question; she had recently returned from the Dream, and was eager to reconnect, so where was everyone?


Mingo motioned for the two of them to sit down alongside the road, just underneath a large totem. Mingo ran a hand through his mane and rumbled, trying to find a good way to break the news softly. There really wasn't a good way. He slowly and sadly explained to Ebon that the family they knew so well had faded away. The Ishnu, who had raged through the hellish heat of Ragnaros' lair, battled the frozen fury of the Lich King, and fought tooth and nail against Alliance raiders into Mulgore, had simply waned. It was hard to unravel why this happened, over the years some of the druids returned to the Dream, some left for the Hunt but never returned, others took their leave as families of their own beckoned. Mingo was unsure of much of these explanations, but it was the best hunch he had. Ebon asked if he knew the whereabouts of Redearth, the Ishnu's Matriach, and again Mingo rumbled as he shook his head. Redearth may be communing with the elements as Shamans tend to do, but like the others, Mingo had nothing he could offer. His hearthstone has been silent of any familiar voices for a very long time.

They fell silent, each with with shared sorrow and memories of friends and family gone. After a moment, Mingo made a simple comment that seemed to raise their spirits. "For years, it has fallen to me to carry the banner for us alone, but now there are two."


Later that week, Mingo was strolling through Dalaran, intent on paying a visit to the rifle shop just outside of the Violet Hold, when an AAMS messenger Orc ran up. She beamed as she produced a letter from her parcel bag, but that smile quickly faded as she looked at the address label.

"Are you Mingu.. Mangona.. ?" The Orc paused and looked at the letter again, furrowed her brow, then took one last attempt, "Mine go nar shoobaah of I shnew Por Ah?"

Good enough.

Mingonashoba nodded and took the letter from the Orc, who looked immensely relieved that she didn't have to keep trying to say that tongue twister of a name. She saluted and jogged off to wherever her next destination lay, while Mingo inspected the letter. Nothing ticking. Nothing hissing. Smells alright. It's probably safe.

It was a very simple letter, short and to the point. Mingo's mouth dropped open in shock as he read it. Gathering his senses, he grabbed his hearthstone and called for Ebon, relaying to her the contents of the message; someone named Ea'huna wanted to walk with the family. Nobody has spoken a word about Ishnu in years, and suddenly within days not only does a veteran return, but a message is delivered of a potential new traveler? Ebon said this was a sign that they needed to find new blood.

"I'm.. uhm." Mingo stammered anxiously, "I'm not sure what to do, I've never had to lead. I will need your help, Ebon."

That evening, while the two Tauren frantically discussed how they wanted to go about interviewing Ea'huna, Mingo penned a reply, directing them to meet on the shores of Woofer’s Wallow in Thunder Bluff the following night. And just in case another AAMS messenger finds themselves in verbal combat, he made sure to write down a phonetic spelling of his name beside the normal spelling.


Finally, the time for the meeting had arrived. As Mingo rode into Thunder Bluff on his kodo, he ran into his cousin Orrkin, a member of his extended personal family he saw off and on over the years as he grew up. The two branched off as they got older, with Mingo finding his way into becoming a hunter, and Orrkin following the path of the fist into the training dojos of the monks.

The two lost track of time as they exchanged updates on the family, and snacked on fresh Mulgore Spice Bread baked by Orrkin's mom. In between bites, Mingo realized he was going to be late, and so pleaded for Orrkin to come along as he filled his cousin in about Ishnu Por Ah, Ebonbreeze, Ea'huna, and their interview. Orrkin agreed as he brushed off the errant bread crumbs ejected during Mingo's plea, and the two hustled their way across the Bluff, Lumpkins loping along behind.

On the shores of Woofer’s Wallow in Thunder Bluff, Ebonbreeze arrived first and located Ea'huna sitting quietly. Mingo and Orrkin arrived late, finding Ebon tending to a small campfire and engaging Ea'hune in small talk. Mingo set up his fishing rod and cast a bobber into the pond, then settled down beside the campfire and looked at Ea'huna. She had white fur, something that many tribes took as a portent of change, sometimes good, but often bad.

"So, I think my biggest question right now.." A number of thoughts raced through his mind. Was she legit, some deep undercover Modas plot, a last ditch Legion attempt on Thunder Bluff, Abominus in his final form? "Ishnu Por Ah has been nothing but a whisper on the winds for ages, how did you come to find out about us?"

Ea'huna sat for a moment, and then talked about her time spent with the Druids of the Talon, and how many spoke well of the Ishnu. Ea'huna felt it was time to find her own way in her studies as a druid, and believed Ishnu Por Ah was where she needed to go. The conversation continued on, with Ebon and Mingo asking about her experience as a druid, how she learned to follow that path, and other such questions to learn more about her. A splash on the surface of the water signaled that a fish had taken the bait, and as Mingo fought to reel in his catch, he asked a somewhat unusual question, "Tell me about your family. Do you come from a large family, small? I myself was an only child."

Most all gathered had a blank look, unsure of what Mingo was intending to drive at. Ea'huna, still composed, answered that she has a good sized family, with plenty of siblings. Mingo nodded and fed the freshly caught Mud Snapper to Lumpkins. "Well, as you can see before you, this is all that remains of Ishnu Por Ah. We are a small family, so at times you may need to be self-sufficient." Ebonbreeze chimed in, "Yes, but we will help you whenever we are able."

Ea'huna understood the shortcomings, a bit concerned perhaps, but still confident. Mingo cast again into the pond, then looked over at Ebon and gave her an approving sign. He and Ebon stood up, and Mingo approached Ea'huna with a warm smile. "We would be honored to have you join our family." After Ea'huna accepted, her and Ebon continued talking about the finer points of the druid path, but Mingo turned to face his cousin.

"Cousin." Mingo boomed, "stand up and come over here." Orrkin stood up, befuddled, and did as asked.

"Listen, you know we're family, but I really think you need to be 'family.' We will need your fists just as urgently as we will need Sister Ea'huna's claws to regrow Ishnu Por Ah, and defend our people."

Ea'huna broke away momentarily from her conversation with Ebon, "Talons, actually."

Mingo chuckled and dipped his head, "Talons, right. Excuse me." He then clapped Orrkin on the shoulder, "Like I hear some of those naval goblins say, 'Savvy?'"

Orrkin thought for a moment, then laughed, "I follow. Yes."

Mingo proudly grinned and puffed up his chest, opening his arms to Orrkin and Ea'huna, "Well then. Sister Ea'huna, and Cous.. Brother Orrkin. I, Lorekeeper Mingonashoba, welcome you to Ishnu Por Ah."


Relaxing around the fire, Ebon informed their new travelers that work needed to be done before a ritual can be performed to fully initiate them into the family, and as the embers grew dim, Ea'huna and Orrkin took their leave for the night. Mingo and Ebon gazed quietly at the large center totem as they revisited the night's events. "You know," said Mingo, pointing to the little outcropping just below the flight master's station, "up there is where Mama Red brought me into the family. I had been travelling with her and others for months, through Azeroth, through the Dark Portal, all over. One day, we met as I was taking in the sights from there. She offered me a raven's feather and a home."

Ebon smiled and nodded, "It's a good memory." She sat up and dusted herself off, "We've got a lot to do to get prepared for their rituals, so I should turn in. Earthmother watch over you Mingo."

Mingo returned the parting and waved as she shifted back into bird form, squawking at him as she flapped away.


On the shores of Woofer’s Wallow in Thunder Bluff, Mingonashoba laid back against the grass and took in the night sky. He patted his kodo, Lumpkins, who nuzzled at the side of his face and snuffled hot fish-scented breath, courtesy of her dinner that Mingo had hauled out of the pond earlier in the evening. Mingo coughed and waved his hand in a fruitless attempt to clear the air of the smell of digested Longjaw Mud Snapper. He closed his eyes and spoke to Lumpkins as he slowly dozed off, "well, we did it girl."


In his dreams, Mingo found himself striding the flatlands of Mulgore behind a spiritual image of a wolf, retracing the steps he had taken ages ago as a young bull finding his way in the world. A thunderstorm rolled in from the east, lightning bolts flashing between sky and ground as warm rains fell. From these rains the wolf took on a hazy, fuzzy image of a Tauren, with fur as red as the earthen plains. Mingo stopped in his tracks, and felt butterflies in his stomach as he recognized the presence, "Red Earth, Mama Red, is that you?" The visage remained silent as winds from the storm picked up, whipping him with rain, and dust that smelled of the Barrens. "If that is you," he continued, "Ebonbreeze has returned from the Dream. We are trying to renew the family. Please, help me know what it is I need to do!" A massive thunderclap boomed, and the apparition spoke. "Ishnu Por Ah was my tribe and family when I really needed one. And I wanted that for all who joined. Of course, I'm leaving it in your hands. And since they are not mine to guide, I can't tell them what to do. Earthmother guide you, Brother." With that, the furor of the storm abated and the clouds retreated as quickly as it had arrived. Red Earth smiled warmly and waved at Mingo as her fur changed from red to black, then faded from his view.

On the shores of Woofer’s Wallow in Thunder Bluff, Mingonashoba shot awake from his dream. He looked down at his rifle, with the long black raven's feather hanging off the trigger guard. He still had no answers, but his dream, and his family, had given him a path.

We were around Gadgetzan, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.

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