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"You useless, worthless..." Megdar paused, casting around for a suitable insult to hurl at her daughter. Trabyna bowed her head and steeled herself for what she knew was coming next. "Oh why didn't the Gods bless me with a son" wailed Megdar. "Why did they have to burden me with a useless daughter?" Trabyna kept her head down and stared at the floor, steeling herself against the rising anger that burned inside her; she didn't dare raise her head and look at her mother, she didn't think she'd be able to reign in her anger if she looked her mother in the eye.


Megdar took the burned meat off the stove and muttering and grumbling started to prepare a fresh meal. "Even the stupidest girl should be able to prepare a simple meal. How will you ever get a mate if you can't even cook? I'm going to be stuck with you for ever. If I'd had a son he would have brought home a nice girl who would know her place and look after me in my old age." Megdar looked around the room, "There's some fresh laundry in that basket over there; it needs to be returned to Ormak Grimshot in the Hunter's Hall. Just get out of my sight you sullen wretch." she spat. Trabyna, glad of the chance to get out of the house, hefted the basket onto her hip and fled the small house.


As her anger subsided she felt tears prick her eyes; she blinked them back furiously. She would not become the same self-pitying, moaning banshee her mother was! As the desire to cry abated the anger rose in her again; not just anger at her mother, Trabyna was angry at herself too. She would rather die than admit it to her mother but she despaired of herself too. She didn't seem able to do the simplest thing a girl should be able to do; cooking, sewing and the other things her mother expected her to learn seemed totally beyond her. It didn't help that her mother watched her, like a cat watching a mouse, waiting to pounce if she made the slightest mistake. The only thing she was good at was collecting and delivering the laundry that her mother took in to make a living. She was strong and lithe and managed the great baskets of laundry with ease; she hauled gallons of water every day and the muscles in her arms and shoulders were strong from hour upon hour of scrubbing white linens until they gleamed. She had a good memory too and could always remember what belonged to whom and when it was due to be returned to the customer.


Trabyna emerged from the Drag into the Valley of Honour. For a second the light dazzled her after the dimness of the Drag. She stood for a moment basking in the bright sunshine and felt her mood lift slightly. Not that anyone looking at her would have noticed; her face still bore the same solemn, closed expression it always wore. It would have taken an observant watcher to notice the slight easing of the tension in Trabyna's shoulders. Trabyna moved the basket to the other hip and set off through the valley towards the Hunter's Hall. She wondered about Ormak Grimshot; he must be a new customer as she hadn't heard of him before. He must have had somebody bring the laundry down to her mother's house in the drag as she hadn't been sent to collect it. Trabyna's strong legs carried her swiftly up the hill to the hall. Inside the hall there was only one Orc, the other hunter's there being Trolls, so it seemed likely that this was Grimshot.


"Are you Ormak Grimshot?" she asked, "I've brought your laundry" said Trabyna, setting the basket down against the wall. The Orc turned to look at her, "Yes, I'm Ormak. What's your name girl?" he replied. "Trabyna Foebane." Ormak looked curiously at her. "Are you kin to Gradash Foebane?" he asked "I didn't think he had any children." "Why yes, he was my uncle" said Trabyna. The Orc's stern face broke into a beaming smile "I'm very pleased to meet you Trabyna. I knew your uncle well, we fought together many times. He was a fine warrior." Trabyna smiled back at the hunter. "He was indeed" she said. Her face clouded with sadness "I miss him very much" she said quietly. Ormak shifted uncomfortably, consoling maidens wasn't his strong point and he hoped she wasn't going to cry. "I seem to remember Gradash had a younger brother" he said "This was your father?" Trabyna nodded, "My father was Gonai Foebane. He was also a warrior but he died of a wasting sickness shortly after we were interned" she told him. Ormak sighed "They were bad times" he said. "So" said Ormak "your mother is the laundress? I didn't catch her second name. Someone just recommended that I take my laundry to Megdar in The Drag. They said no-one gets linens as white as she does". He looked at the laundry in the basket, "It looks as if they told me true" he said with an approving nod. Trabyna stood a little taller "I do most of the laundry" she said "My mother isn't as strong as she was. She tends to keep house, I'm not so good at that sort of thing" she finished sheepishly. Ormak burst out laughing "No" he said sweeping her with an appraising glance "You don't look as if you would be!"


Trabyna bristled as Ormak continued to chuckle. "I didn't mean any offence" said Ormak, noticing her look, "It's just you look as if you'd be wasted keeping house". He looked thoughtful for a moment. "Have you ever thought about what you might do with your life, beyond doing laundry?" he asked her. As Ormak talked with the girl he was remembering that Gradash had spoken of his niece. The girl was fatherless and lived with her mother, who by all accounts was a bit of a harridan. Gradash had reckoned the girl might amount to something if her spirit wasn't completely worn down by the time she came of age. He worried about her and tried to visit whenever he could but that wasn't as often as he would have liked.

Trabyna flushed and looked at the ground "I don't seem to be good for much except doing the laundry" she muttered. Ormak tilted his head to one side and studied her "You stand tall and straight. You carried that heavy basket with ease; you obviously have strength in your arms and shoulders. Your legs look strong too. There's more to life than keeping house and catching a mate" he said. "Have you ever tried shooting a bow?" he asked. Trabyna was taken aback "er....no" she stuttered. "Would you like to try? You look like you could handle a bow." said Ormak thoughtfully. Trabyna nodded her head furiously, lost for words. "Meet me at the Ogrimmar Gate at 7, we should be able to get in a couple of hours before it gets dark" he said. Trabyna nodded again as Ormak started to turn his attention to a young hunter who had come seeking advice. As she left the Hall she heard him call after her "Don't come in a dress!"

That evening she met Ormak as planned. She'd managed to dig out an old pair of leggings and her mother had been horrified "By the Gods! Where do you think you're going dressed like that?!" she exclaimed. Trabyna glared at her mother "Ormak Grimshot said he would teach me to shoot a bow. He said not to come in a dress" she said defiantly. Megdar cackled derisively "Why does a laundress need to know how to shoot a bow? May the Gods protect us if your shooting is anything like your cooking!" Trabyna shot her mother a furious look and turned, fleeing the house. Nothing was going to stop her meeting Ormak as arranged, not even her mother's jibes. If she stayed to argue with her mother about it she might never get away in time. Trabyna ran swiftly down to the gate to find Ormak waiting for her. He looked her over and gave an approving nod "You'll do" he said abruptly. With him was a black wolf. The animal was obviously old, graying around its muzzle and walking somewhat stiffly. Ormak followed her look. "That's Teng" he told her. "We make a good pair" he continued "both old and stiff and not as quick as we used to be." Ormak chuckled as he led Trabyna out of the gate. She noticed that the wolf followed, without being called. Ormak walked with a limp that Trabyna hadn't noticed earlier. She could see that one of his legs was twisted and shorter than the other. "What happened to your leg?" she asked. "Me and Teng got ambushed by some Alliance scum". Ormak spat to show his disgust. "We managed to kill them all but not before one of them almost took my leg off. It was so badly smashed the healers were never able to set it straight. I can still shoot straight though, which is why I settled on becoming a trainer. I can't hunt like I used to but I can pass on what I know." Ormak paused for a moment, lost in thought then looked abruptly headed out of Orgrimmar. "I would have died if it hadn't been for Teng" he told her. "He held them at bay so I could carry on shooting from where I lay, despite being badly injured himself." Ormak cast a loving glance at the wolf. "A hunter's pet can make the difference between life and death if the pet is loyal and well-trained. A pet will lay down his life for you. He will love you in a way that very few, if any, people will." Ormak noticed something flicker in Trabyna's eyes and wondered about the absence of love in this Orc maiden's life.


The lesson went well. Ormak lent Trabyna an old pair of leather bracers he had brought with him. He showed her how to nock the arrow, pull the drawstring back and let the arrow fly. He made it look so easy when he did it but Trabyna's first attempts were disastrous. She looked despondent, her mother's taunts ringing in her ears. Ormak however, didn't shout at her or berate her for her stupidity. Every time her attempt to shoot the arrow went awry he patiently explained what she had done wrong and what she needed to do to correct it. He made little adjustments to her stance and every time she tried again he reminded her of all the things she needed to remember. Finally Trabyna managed to hit the target Ormak had set up. She felt a rush of elation and would have jumped for joy had not her natural reserve inhibited her. She turned, beaming, to Ormak who smiled back at her. "You're a natural" he told her. Trabyna laughed self-deprecatingly, "I don't think so. It's nearly dark; it's taken me almost 2 hours to hit the target." Ormak shook his head, "Trust me" he said "you were born to shoot a bow. When I first picked up a bow it took me the whole morning just to learn how to loose an arrow and I didn't manage to hit the target until the following day." Trabyna raised her eyebrows in surprise. "Mind you, maybe my teacher wasn't as good as yours!" he added with a wink. They both burst out laughing. "Come" said Ormak "Let's call it a day. There isn't much light left and I think we should end on a high note. My leg is tired and I could do with a strong arm to lean on, on the way home."


Once at Ormak's house he invited Trabyna to sit for a while and tell him about herself. She didn't have a lot to say about her mother. It was obvious that everything Ormak had heard about Megdar Foebane was true; in fact it was probably being generous to the woman. Trabyna had the air of a beaten dog about her yet behind that he could see a determination he found admirable. Of her uncle, Gradash, she spoke much more warmly, her face lighting up at the pleasurable memories. Trabyna had been only 2 years old when the Orcs were interned and her father had died just 2 years later; she could barely remember him. Reading between the lines Ormak got the impression that Megdar was eaten up with bitterness and self-pity. He scowled when Trabyna ruefully told him of her mother's desire for a son and her disappointment in her daughter. Over the years the only respite in Trabyna's life had been the infrequent visits by her uncle. On these rare occasions he had obviously taken care to spend time with the girl and tried to repair the damage her mother was doing. Ormak shook his head to himself; it was hard to understand such a mother. He thought with astonishment that any beast would take better care of it's offspring than Megdar did. Trabyna told him how devastated she had felt when news came of Gradash's death. It was obvious that she had had no-one to console her as she had grieved for the one person in her life that had ever shown her any care.


By Megdar's standards Gradash was a disgrace as an Orc. He believed that Horde and Alliance wanted the same basic things out of life, namely a safe home and the means to feed and clothe their families, and faced the same dangers that threatened them. Gradash believed that a truce between the Horde and the Alliance was the only way forward; that if they continued to tear each other apart they would weaken themselves fatally and be unable to face the other dangers that threatened Azeroth. Megdar hated the Alliance to the very core of her being, blaming them for her husband's death. She told Gradash that he brought shame on all Orcs for harbouring such beliefs. He wasn't welcome at her door and, in truth if it hadn't been for Trabyna he would have quite happily never set foot over Megdar's threshold. As the head of the family however, he had felt a responsibility to them both. Towards Megdar it was no more than duty but he had a genuine affection for his niece, Trabyna. It angered him to see the way that Megdar continually criticised the girl, although she toned down the sharp edge of her tongue when Gradash was around. Trabyna, as she got older, had longs talks with her uncle about his views on the world and came to see things through his eyes, although she didn't tell her mother this. The news of Gradash's death had been a hard blow to the young Orc.


Ormak looked thoughtful as Trabyna finished talking. "Your uncle was a fine Orc by anyone's standards Trabyna and don't believe anyone who tells you different" he said. He paused and then asked her "Would you like to become a hunter?" Trabyna looked startled. "It's not such a preposterous idea" he told her. "You're young and strong. You seem to have a natural ability with a bow, you run swiftly, you're observant and you go about your business quietly without drawing attention to yourself. It's a solitary life but I suspect that would suit you." Ormak smiled at her. "I think you would make a fine hunter. What do you think?" Trabyna looked flustered. "I never thought about it before" she said slowly. "Do you really think I could? I know nothing of animals or anything like that." "You'd soon learn" Ormak told her. He grinned, "Teng likes you, I can tell. Teng's recommendation is good enough for me. I'm sure you'd pick up the beast skills just fine. You have a quick mind." Trabyna didn't need to think about it for long. "Alright" she said, "I'd love to do it." Her face fell, "But what about mother?" "You leave your mother to me. Don't say anything to her about it tonight. I'll come and see her first thing tomorrow morning. You might want to go for a walk when I arrive".


The following morning Ormak arrived at their small house in The Drag. "Mistress Foebane, I wonder if I might have a word please? I need to talk to you about Trabyna". Megdar sighed and a look of irritation passed across her face. "What has she done now? That girl's so stupid!" Trabyna slipped quietly out of the house as Ormak had advised. Neither Ormak nor Megdar would ever tell her what was said but when Trabyna returned, Ormak had left and her mother was looking distinctly subdued. "You're to become a hunter" her mother said stiffly. "I don't know how I'm going to manage on my own." "I'm sure I'll be able to send you money" Trabyna replied. "Huh! That depends on what kind of hunter you make." Her mother stopped abruptly, as if biting her tongue. Trabyna suspected that her mother wanted to say a lot more on the matter but something was holding her back. "Pack a few things and go and see Ormak Grimshot, you're leaving right away." Megdar barely managed to say "Farewell" to her daughter. Trabyna suspected it was anger rather than sorrow at the leaving of her daughter that made the parting so constrained.


Trabyna made her way to Ormak who was waiting for her with a pack and some clothes. "They're not much," he told her "but they're better than what you've got. A friend of mine is going down towards the Valley of Trials; he'll see you get there alright. After that it's up to you. Let me know how you get on." Ormak smiled warmly at her, and then gave her a formal bow. "I don't know how to thank you" said Trabyna. "You can thank me by becoming a good hunter" said Ormak gruffly. "Now look sharp and get yourself to the gate. Padak Mrogdish is waiting for you." Trabyna bowed to Ormak then picked up her things and headed for the door. All of a sudden she threw them down and ran back to Ormak and flung her arms around his neck. "I'll be the best hunter you ever saw" she whispered then turned and ran out of the door grabbing her pack on the way.

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The author is in no way affiliated with Blizzard Entertainment.
This story is Copyright of Hulan © All Rights Reserved.

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