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 Post subject: Re: Between A Tree And A Hard Place
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:58 am
Posts: 168
Kaeevanrash reached the burial site momentarily. And there, just as he had hoped, was the Ghostpaw’s spirit. He had seen the wolf alive enough times to recognize it now, but its appearance had changed. It was much larger, and its coat no longer needed Mu’sha’s blessing to shine, for it now had a glow of its own. Kaeev knelt in reverence.

The wolf spoke before he could, the voice deep and reverberating through the shaman’s body. “Hail, chosen of the Earth Mother. I am glad you have come.”

Kaeev quickly answered. “And I am glad you came,” he said, referring to their many meetings previous as well as this one. “I would not have escaped without your aid. I thank you.” He shook his head as he looked at the ground, mentally recollecting his ordeal and having terrible imaginings of how this all might have ended had this now-spirit not intervened. The shaman looked up, asking, “Do you have a name, Spirit?”

The wolf spirit gave a soft and slow nod. “Among my pack, I was called ‘Swift Moon’. And, the aid ultimately was not mine to give.” The wolf began to pace back and forth like he had when he and Kaeev had first met, his luminous eyes more piercing in their gaze than they ever were before, never straying from the shaman. “There were few forces in this land whose ears were not filled with your cries of agony. Your prayers to the Earth Mother did not go unheard. She answered, calling upon the Ghostpaw to find you and do all that we could to ensure you return to your post safely. I knew you were the one She spoke of when you spoke to me in your mind.”

Kaeev frowned and shook his head, the memory of their last meeting still fresh. “Swift Moon,” he said with remorse in his voice, “Your life came to an end because of me. You could have fled--”

The wolf cut him off. “No,” he said, also shaking his head as he stopped pacing and sat. “Had I left you, it would have been your end that day, and I would have failed the Earth Mother’s charge. I chose to stay.”

Kaeev lowered his head, his eyes going back to the ground again. Notwithstanding the assurance of Swift Moon, the heavy burden of guilt remained with him. In fact, it only grew heavier, for he did not feel worthy of this boon given him. He had been negligent in his calling as a shaman in the past several months he had been in Ashenvale. He had not called upon the Earth Mother for help or guidance regularly as he had been taught to. Not, at least, until this ordeal was suddenly thrust upon him. The shaman began trembling, hiding his face in his hands as he tried to fight against the lump that welled in his throat.

The shaman then felt the wolf’s muzzle under his chin, making a lifting motion to raise his head up. The wolf continued to do this until Kaeev stood. Their eyes met, and the wolf briefly pressed his muzzle against the shaman’s--that friendly gesture again. “Kaeevanrash,” said Swift Moon with a slight sigh, “You did your best in this affliction. I have not come to you to condemn. My death--rather than yours--was my choice. I died doing what the Earth Mother asked, protecting--saving--one of Her People. There are few greater honors to be had than that.”

Kaeev sniffled and wiped his eyes, but he nodded assent. “Your work in this world is far from finished,” continued Swift Moon. “Though you might have wandered from your path for a time, the Earth Mother in Her compassion set Her hand to show you the way back. And you chose to come that way, as difficult as it was.”

The wolf spirit repeated his emphasis. “You came back, and thus you will be blessed. That, my friend, is why I have come.”

Swift Moon lifted a paw, which was nearly as big as Kaeev’s own hand, and pressed it to the shaman’s chest. “Though I am dead,” he said, “I am not gone from this world. As you had our aid in your trial, so shall you have it when called for. You shall have the spirit of the Wolf to hide your identity and hasten your stride. Remember this gift and use it well, to escape danger and come swiftly to others’ aid, even as the Ghostpaw did for you.”

As the wolf spoke these words, Kaeev felt a cold, but calming feeling sweep over his whole body. He drew breath sharply at the initial sensation, instinctively clasping the wolf’s paw at his chest with a hand, but he soon relaxed.

His vision began to blur with the wolf’s parting words. “Go, now. Remember this trial not for its toils, but for a witness that the Earth Mother visits Her own in their suffering.”

Kaeev’s vision continued to blur until it went dark, and he awoke with a start at a distant howl from outside the hut in which he rested. He looked around in the dim light, and could faintly see how everything was in its proper place again. He could even see the same robe hanging in the place he found it in his dream, and the banter and footsteps of patrolling guards could be heard outside.

He winced as he propped himself up with one hand, the soreness that was once gone having returned. Now he really was awake, left to now ponder on what he had seen and heard. As he sat there, musing on the words and the gift given to him by Swift Moon, he looked down, and saw that his free hand was on his chest, as it had been when the vision concluded. He looked at the hand, still unable to see whether or not the paintings were still there.

But something was different, this time. The guilt and the shame that he felt, like some heavy burden on his back, had been lifted from his shoulders. It was the peace from his vision that remained, now. It was as though he could now literally feel in his heart and mind the words of comfort and assurance that Swift Moon had spoken to him. At this, Kaeev’s emotions overcame him again, and he poured out his thoughts of joy and gratitude to the Earth Mother whom he worshipped, and whose will he would represent anew. He had reawakened to a new sense of his shamanic duties, and with renewed determination recommitted himself to follow and honor the Earth Mother once more. As Swift Moon died doing what the Earth Mother would he live.

There was just one other thing he needed to do.

 Post subject: Re: Between A Tree And A Hard Place
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:58 am
Posts: 168
Kaeevanrash had done as Stoneaxe had asked of him, leaving Splintertree Post the following morning and making a stop at the Warsong Lumber Camp before continuing on to Orgrimmar. There, he delivered the original copy of the map with a letter with Stoneaxe’s seal to his superiors. The orc’s superiors were pleased with the news, and allowed Kaeev to keep Stoneaxe’s letter with their own seal in addition as proof of his permission to return home. There was still plenty of the day left when this task was complete, and so Kaeev spent this extra time exploring this new orc city. Tauren visitors were not as common then, and so it seemed like many merchants took note of his presence and eagerly sought his attention in hopes of him buying their wares. Kaeev didn’t have much money, and so purchases were left to necessities like food, water and a place to stay the night.

He didn’t have enough money (and perhaps not enough courage) to try flying one of those wind riders back to Mulgore. He’d have to walk home, first to Razor Hill, and then from there past Far Watch Post to the Crossroads, and then by Camp Taurajo to get to Mulgore. It would be a long walk that would take a day or two depending on his pace, but that was all right too. Long walks were nothing new to him.

Through passing gray clouds, rays of the following mid-morning sun streamed across the desert coastal landscape now known as Durotar. There was a trace of humidity in the somewhat salty air, but it wasn’t felt too often thanks to the occasional breeze. Kaeev breathed a satisfied sigh as he left the city of Orgrimmar through its main gate to behold the land. It felt good to hear the sounds of the hustle and bustle of the city fade and give way to the sounds of the land and sea. The breath of wind through the canyons and the caress of the waves on the nearby shore were like voices to the shaman.

The shaman was in a good mood. Enough, that he couldn’t help but ask out loud, “How are you today?” as if the wind and waves would verbally answer him. They didn’t, but that was all right. He was in such good spirit that he felt like he was walking a few feet above the ground. Yes, he was going home. Yes, he had carried out what he had been asked to, but those things weren’t what made him the happiest.

The shaman took another look at his open hands, the old paintings on them having become new. Among his things he had picked up at the lumber camp were the tools and powders needed to repaint the markings on his hands. That was the one last thing he felt he had to do. Now, the streaks of blue and gray on his hands and wrists were rich and bright in their color. As he examined them, the sun briefly broke through and shone in the area where he stood. He squinted as he looked heavenward, and smiled as he shielded his eyes. In his heart, he knew that Her eye was watching, and approved.

The real source of his happiness was the truth of what a white wolf in Ashenvale had told him, both literal and implied. He was a shaman of a people blessed and favored by the Earth Mother, and that meant himself too. He had forgotten Her for a time, but he had not been forgotten. And now, he had evidence to show he would not forget.

His eyes then leveled to the road, and with a grin, a whoop and a shout, he took off in a run down the road.

The road to home.

The End

((Thanks to everyone for reading. I hope you enjoyed this, and am grateful for you all putting up with my long delays in getting this done. I couldn’t have done it without some encouragement (and prodding) from you all, and I hope to continue to write more in the future.))

 Post subject: Re: Between A Tree And A Hard Place
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:09 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:58 am
Posts: 168
((BONUS, IPA exclusive!! ...Okay, seriously. I like listening to music a lot, and it often helps me in my writing. So, I thought through Youtube I would share several of the tracks that gave me some inspiration when writing this story. Hope you enjoy these too.

City Lights, from the game Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation

The Evil Wing of Gale, That No One Can Catch, from the anime Read Or Die

Prince Caspian Flees, from the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Hanging & Escape, from the movie Plunkett and Macleane

Rescued or Not, from the game Halo Wars

Finale, from the game Halo 3: ODST

Sadness, from the game Phantasy Star Universe

Return to Zero, from the game Rockman Zero 3

Beginning of a Dream, from the game Chrono Cross

Small Moves, from the movie Contact

and Finale, from the movie TRON: Legacy.


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