** I’ve been known to play an occasional MMORPG or two. One I played for several years was called Everquest. One of my guildies (yo Underguild!) was a writer and wrote some pretty great short stories. She got a few of us to write a little fan fiction about our characters. Here’s Chapter 1 of my story about my Troll Shaman, Zhuol.
The Heyokah Doglegn, wearily made his way to the Grobb arena. Today was another of the games that amused some, but bored most.
As a shaman, his task today was to observe to see if any of the younglings could possibly have the guidance of their ancestors. It was hard not to be discouraged, as it had been more than a generation since one had been so blessed. The last of his students had met their fates at the hands of the cursed Frogloks and his revenge, while satisfying the rage of his ancestors, had not filled the void or eased his grief.
Shaman were both revered and reviled among the Trolls. Revered for the blessings that they could bestow upon an army and reviled for the suffering they could unleash upon their enemies. Doglegn had become used to it in these many years, the fearful glances, the pleads for help, the constant whining… He sighed and moved on.
As he arrived at the arena, people made room for him as he approached his booth and he was surprised to see an old friend awaiting him. “T’Belthis, it is good to see you my friend. What brings you here from the North?”
The Dark Elf spoke wearily, “Ah, Doglegn, so good to see that you are well. Innoruuk seems to have an interest in today’s proceedings, so I thought perhaps his High Priest should attend”
“Innoruuk?” The mention of the mere name brought most Trolls to their knees, but Doglegn was far wiser than that and only felt a momentary chill.
“It seems that much will be needed from this generation. Innoruuk has not chosen to show me what, only that there are ones here who are to be watched” replied the cleric.
As the two caught up on the events of their lives and of the world, the games progressed. Not all entered these games; those who did not were relegated to the minor roles of the city.
They were not so much games as they were trials of passage. If you were deemed worthy, you passed and would end up in one of the guilds based upon a number of factors, bribery often the most important. If you were not worthy, they did not bother with bringing you back from beyond this life.
As he always did, the Heyokah Doglegn observed the games though the eyes of the spirits. He could which of the young Trolls had their ancestors with them, which had been abandoned by them and, most importantly, which ones could ask them for, and receive, their help. He had not seen any worthy students in many years.
A roar from one side of the arena caught his attention as a young Troll dispatched five others who had allied against him, only to fall to a sixth’s treachery. Even as he died, he ran his sword though the chest of the last. “That one is worthy. The others, not so much”, mused the shaman.
“Who is that warrior there, Doglegn?” asked T’Belthis pointing to a young troll below them.
“His name is Zorx. His ancestors are with him and it has always been so. And it will continue to be so, for it is not in his nature to dishonor them.” Indeed, Zorx’s path had long been known
The Dark Elf pondered for a moment the reference to a Troll and honor. Trolls did have an honor system, of sorts. Most could not fathom it as Troll society tended to be self-serving at best. However, since revenge was encouraged, most of the serious in-fighting was avoided.
He had long suspected that the real reason the Frogloks hated Trolls was not the Troll’s allegiance to evil, but really because they couldn’t get their good-goody brains wrapped around what Trolls thought was honorable.
T’Belthis started to speak about his new recipe for Gnome crunchies, when he noticed the Heyokah had fallen silent, looking somewhat forlorn.
Doglegn spoke quietly, “I fear that my time is growing short in this world, old friend. My hope is running out on finding a new Heyokah apprentice. If that should occur, then I fear the time of the Troll in Norrath may be at its end.”
“Do not give up hope, old friend. Innoruuk will provide”
Finally, the last ten survivors were in the arena. Zorx was the odds on favorite, but the Heyokah’s vision was drawn to one of the others.
“Who is that you stare at, Doglegn?”
“An orphan, who has not said a word in five years. Someone who makes his way here by cleaning latrines and collecting mushrooms. Someone never noticed by any. It is most unusual for one such as him to even enter these events, let alone get so far. I do not even know his name or his heritage” replied the shaman.
Closing his eyes, he called upon his ancestors for sight. Something was strange, they did not come at first, but then the sight came. Slowly at first, then as a raging torrent that threatened to overwhelm him, Doglegn understood. The Heyokah had become complacent, allowing his grief to stagnate his communication with his ancestors. Only allowing him to see through the eyes of grief. Opening his eyes, Doglegn suddenly saw the world anew, and it occurred to him that the power of his ancestors was not limited to those he know, but was indeed bound by all that had come before. Instead of a small pool it was an entire ocean that could be harnessed.
Finally able to turn his attention to the fight before him, he saw the young orphan was surrounded by his ancestors, their power flowing through him at a level Doglegn had rarely been able to obtain himself.
The orphan’s ancestors were indeed helping him. He was moving much faster than his adversaries and his ancestors would attack those who came near. Indeed, one of them had fallen to the ground clutching his stomach as he became violently ill. Another shook, as he was barely able to lift his sword from his side as Zorx ran him through.
The crowd had begun to whisper “Heyokah” and a nervous quiet fell over the arena.
Doglegn became fearful and summoned his own ancestors to protect the crowd if needed. This was an untrained Heyokah. Wielding incredible, raw power. Power that was not controlled and could very well consume him and those around him. Most Heyokah like this one were either insane or dead to their own unbridled powers and pride.
On some level, T’Belthis realized what was occurring and began marshaling his own powers, but Doglegn stopped him. “To interfere is forbidden, not even the High Priest of Innoruuk would be spared such a transgression”, he said in a deadly tone. Without question T’Belthis regained his composure, his attention drawn to the two remaining combatants.
Both were tired, bleeding, circling. Zorx knew this was no ordinary Troll. An orphan with no training should have died long before he could have even entered this contest.
He had seen this orphan before, indeed had tormented him as was the custom. He also remembered that no one seemed to bother this one any more. No matter how painful the torment had been, the orphan had never made a sound. Indeed, though the orphan was wounded, the pain did not seem to diminish his will.
The orphan could feel the power that had protected him waning, his will to control it had become weak as he battled. He did not know where this power came from or what it was, only that it had allowed him to survive his grief, his rage. He knew this opponent was far more dangerous than any Froglok or any of the others he had fought this day. Sensing that to attack would be a mistake, he waited.
Doglegn saw the fluttering of control the orphan had over his ancestors and expected that it was over. Then he saw the patience the young orphan was exhibiting. Zorx was being cautious, too cautious, giving the orphan time to regain his will.
Suddenly, Zorx moved without warning, summoning his strength and closing the distance between the two at astonishing speed. There was a blinding flash of light and a scream of pain as the two disappeared from sight.
As the Heyokah was able to see again, he saw only the orphan standing. Zonx had been stopped scant inches from the orphan, the orphan’s ancestors overwhelming Zonx’s and holding him in place while poison ravaged his frame and the orphan’s club ravaged his skull.
The crowd grew quiet and fearful as Doglegn approached the orphan. He stood and looked at the orphan.
Stamping his staff on the ground, he said “I am Heyokah Doglegn. Who are you?”
Unable to control his ancestors any longer, the young orphan collapsed to one knee. Looking back at Doglegn with rage, he spoke for the first time in many years.
©2011 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and http://StrangelyDiabetic.com