((Described as played-out in-game, with a few random changes for story-flow, such as conversations being made more eloquent, removal of random spammy events, and a bit of backstory, etc))
In seasons past, a young troll with one tusk carved in scrimshaw sat each day on the shores of the Echo Isles, catching fish and feeding them to the crabs that scuttled about the sand. The young troll enjoyed these days, lounging about with not a care in the world, except the occassional storm whirling in from the deeper ocean. But Time has a way of mixing up the most harmless of plans, and soon the peaceful solitude would end for good.
It began slowly, with a few other trolls and orcs making their way to the isles in order to...how did they say it?...Save us from Zalazane?....preposterous!
Nookni had always enjoyed the apparent tranquility of the isles, and Zalazane might be a bit eccentric, but so were most shamans who dabbled in the arcane arts. Why the stories were full of Shamans and their mysterious voodoo quests to tame the very elements.
Who was he to fault a Troll like Zalazane from helping to quell the berzerking rage that cursed his tribes, and unite them in complacent peace?
But then it started within his own spirit....a sort of wanderlust...a yearning for a bit more than lying in the sun and feeding the crabs.
So one day, Nookni followed a small group of Orcish 'invaders' and secretly used his own bow to lob a few arrows towards one of the voodoo priestesses who had slighted him for being lazy recently. Among the invaders was an orc carrying a small firearm, and the efficiency with which it cut down his kinfolk made Nookni smile in a curious sort of amazement.
-"Per'aps der is more out in de world I be missin'?"- Nookni whispers to no one in particular, then shrugged off such thoughts and sauntered to the kitchen as the orcs were swarmed and struck down by the many others in the village.
- * *
Days passed, then week, and the attacks became more frequent. Orcs and other Trolls, and even a few of the larger Tauren would swim ashore looknig for trouble, and were often either cut down quickly, or left soon enough after stirring up some trouble.
But Nookni increasingly found his own interest being drawn to the continued strife.
He had picked up a small blunderbus from one of the invaders, and had swam ashore to Sen'Jin village where he saw hundreds of others passing through.
Some appeared to carry only meagre possessions, as he himself packed, but others were arrayed in finest clothes and armors, the likes of which Nookni had never seen. Hammers, Axes, Swords, and Staves crackled with arcane power from the backs of a few visitors, and the sight of them cut through Nookni as deeply as a knife guts a fish.
-"I jus' gonna HAVE to get mi one of dem t'ings!"- he cackled, rubbing his hands in greed-filled awe.
And so Nookni struck out, with not a word to those of his village. A rough gun at his side, instead of the bows and spears so favored by his kinfolk. And a vision in his heart, to one day, wield a great sword, calling fire and shadow down upon his foes, while beasts of the wild stand at his side in battle.
- * *
A few seasons passed, and Nookni walks along the darker roads of Silverpine Forest, a red crab scuttling by his side.
-"You know Kayrab"-, the troll whispers, -"I t'nink we gonna be one step closer to de prize soon. You stick wit' mi and we gonna do great t'ings indeed!"-
-"Who would be t'inking dese Bonehys and the like would be so good ta us? Why after dat Warlock helped you an I wit' de humans in de keep.."-
Nookni shrugs with a slight chuckle. -"Why I tellin' you dat, Kayrab? You know dat story!"-
-"What luck we have, Kayrab... Firs' we meet de Bonehy man, den we get introduced to his friends. And dese 'Amicus' be pretty friendly to us so far, right?"-
-"I almos' feel bad 'bout de loss of dem odder folks. But I don' blame them really. Bonehys t'ink different from us Trolls, and, and de Orcs too."-
-"Jus when t'ings lookin pretty good too. I got me a pointy knife, a few nice patches to strengt'in me armor, and a nice formal-like Guild meeting with such tasty drinks served afterwards!"-
Nookni frowns in irritation as a bear wanders too close to the road he travels, and charges him. After a few short blasts from his gun, that particular distraction is taken care of, and he returns to his one-sided conversation. The Crab at his side, says nothing except for the clatter of shell along the path's stones.
-"But ya know Kayrab, the head bonehy made some good points. History lessens are good an' all, but he gotta stop livin in de past."-
-"If all dese folks be leavin, den we jus' have ta be stayin! I wanted to get a bit of power and skill with dese bonehys and friends, but no imagined dat we could get inta a good seat so quick..."-
At this point, Nookni chuckles to himself and continues silently down the road, wrapped in his own thoughts, and oblivious to the other bears prowling dangerously across his path....
-"Hey dere, Old Leatherface!"- The troll with one scrimshaw-carved tusk called out across the fire, -"What be bringin' you here tonight?"-
-"None of your business"-, grumbled the dour-faced tauren, loudly, yet with a smirk, -"And leave me alone from now on. I don't know you, and I don't want to."-
The troll chuckled, -"Now dat is no way to greet a friend, mon! Don' you remember me, Nookni? We had a bit of fun in da Warsong Gulch jus' last week. And you inspired me to my newest plan...so did you bring da t'ings I asked you?"-
Without a word, the tauren tossed a rough wooden box across the fire, aimed for Nookni's head.
The troll only chuckled softly as he caught the box clumsily and set it down in the firelight, flinching slightly as one of the rusty hinges broke with a sharp snap.
Inside, wrapped in blood-stained linens, was a collection of small daggers and knives. Some in serious need of repair, but others marginally well taken care of. A few of the daggers seemed remarkably small, as if made for a child's hands.
-"Dis be good, Denahi. Not many, but I be startin' small and workin' my way up to the good stuff. With dese blades I'll help get da younger folks in dis village trained for going to war. And prepared if da war comes lookin' for us first!"-
With a snort, the tauren stood, -"I am only doing this because I owe you for shooting down that gnome mage the other day. My debt is considered over! And DON'T be spreading any stories about the name Denahi! I don't trust you trolls, and would prefer to keep this little business out of public eye. We are through..."-
The rest was lost in a string of muttered curses as the tauren turned and faded into the darkness beyond the firelight.
Nookni smiled, and counted the small bundle. -"Twelve daggers? Well I just asked for ten. Guess I'll have to pay de moo back!"-
Taking a few silver coins from his packs, the troll wraps them in one of the linen scraps from inside the dagger box and hands it to a large red crab by his side.
Pointing in the direction Denahi stormed off, he says to the shelled creature, -"Kayrab, I wan' you to take dis to de tauren. He won't want to be talkin' to you, so jus' grab his hoof. Dey tough, so be good and' sure ta get his attention."-
Nookni begins to polish the worst of the daggers, only pausing to look up as a faint roar drifts across the winds...
Between towering palms, and blanketed by the sound of a party raging across the beach before him, Nookni stood. His crab, Kayrab, skittering close by his feet as if afraid of the constant Drum-and-Dancing noises. It was obvious both of them would have preferred to be anywhere but the village of Sen'jin village at that moment, especially with a group of murlocs causing trouble along the nearby beach.
-"It be alright, Kayrab", the troll smirked, -"I don' like dis place any more den you do, but Denahi said we gotta meet him here, more secret-like. Everyone be distracted by odder t'ings, and no one notice two more Trolls restin' by de fire here..."-
Suddenly, a small cart appears along the road to Orgrimar, pulled by three Tauren. A good number of eyes turned towards the cardt, as it became obvious it's owners were battle-worn and in serious need of another bath.
-"Who is dat?"- the Nookni asked over the crackle of the fire. -"What dey bringin?"-
-"Denahi's crew,"- a red-haired troll shouted back. -"Dunno what he found, but rumor say it's big. First good bundle of the year taken from dem Humans, not just trinkets...serious treasure. De rogues be pretty happy when word come in, he must have struck lucky!"-
-"Move it!"- barked someone nearby, and Nookni stood to get a closer look at the new arrivals.
-"Moove it!"- repeated the young tauren leading the small cart, cracking his whip in the air. The motley crowd parted reluctantly, rapidly closing in again behind. Nookni managed to position himself in the cart's wake, following it to center of the village.
Denahi Rift's company, which appeared to have only consisted of the three blood-stained and battered Tauren this time, were beginning to unload the cart, while Denahi looked with a grim smile towards the iron chest setup in the center of the village.
Much to Nookni's frustration, and no doubt that of the other onlookers as well, the nature of the scavenger's find was not at all apparent from casual inspection. Most of the items being loaded into the cart were small, nondescript strongboxes, accompanied by a few larger canvas-wrapped oblongs.
Nookni grinned wickedly and said a few soft words to his crab-companion, who scuttled off towards the back of the Tauren's hooves, then called out to his furry friend:
-"Hey, Denahi! Wha's in de boxes?"-
The tall, aging Tauren did not give the slightest acknowledgment, continuing to unpack his belongings.
-"Look heavy, whatever it be"- Nookni muttered to himself, watching one of the scavengers wrestle one of the canvas bundles out of the cart.
Grunting, the Tauren tried to heft it onto his shoulder. The bundle slipped, and the scavenger made a grab for it as it slid back, catching a handful of canvas. Quick as a flash, the ropes holding the bundle snapped, and the contents clattered to the ground, one lying close to Nookni's feet. Kayrab scuttled over towards it, as if to grab it with his claws. Denahi's head snapped around and his eyes blazed with fury.
The crowd went still for a moment, at least ten pairs of eyes all fixed on the things which glittered against the gray fabric. Even Denahi's other workers stopped in their tracks and stared.
It was a sword, or more accurately, a bundle of swords, but one stood out enough to make all the others non-existant. And the crowd leaned forward subconsciously as Kayrab idly picked it up and waved it in the air as if comically wielding it against a foe.
The blade gleamed with an almost shadowy light. Its hilt traced with tiny whirls and spirals, reminiscent of the Void itself, and the hilt wrapped in dark leather, stained by years of bloodshed and battle. Yet the blade itself was unmarred, perfect as the day it was forged. No crack, or dent could be seen along the razor egde.
Denahi was cursing the tauren who had dropped the bundle, but Nookni couldn't hear him. The troll with one scrimshaw tusk heard nothing for the next few moments, except a rushing of deep water in his ears, and the faint whisperings of some fel spirits.
The crowd rushed forward, towards the crab who had then dropped the strange blade. Someone ran into Nookni from behind, knocking him to his knees. Then they were past him, blocking his view of the sword.
The dreamy un-silence stopped, and Nookni stood back up, laughing as a grin split his face. -"Finally, finally! Dis be it, right now, I knew it..."-
Pausing to concentrate on his lifelong pet, Nookni felt the familiar wave of connection take over his body, as he entered the mind of his crab. He saw the crowd approaching, and willed Kayrab to once again pick up the sword and swing at the nearest target.
A small influx of shadowy power surrounded the blade, then lept forth to consume the unfortunate Troll who had just reached out to grab the weapon from the creature's claws.
-"Clear off,"- Denahi's voice boomed through the shimmering air, as a small shriek died off on the winds where the other troll now lie wimpering.
In a matter of seconds, Nookni was all that was left of the crowd. He staggered as his mind snapped back into his body, raised his head and climbed back to his feet, brushing dirt off his knees.
Denahi was standing over the crab, fists clenched at his sides. The ground beneath his feet was cracked, and slightly cratered, as though struck by a massive hoof.
The older Tauren cast a dark eye around the area before relaxing and stepping closer to the troll. -"Jakor, get out from under the damn cart and wrap the thing back up,"- Denahi snapped at the young tauren who had dropped the bundle.
-"Falong, get the other bundles out of here, and then go find that innkeeper. I'm going to need a drink!."-
Denahi's second man gave a curt grunt of acknowledgment.
Nookni wasn't paying attention to Denahi, his accomplices, or the onlookers who were slowly starting to recover from the initial shock, and once again drifting closer to the troll. Nookni's eyes were on the darkly-shining blade. He walked slowly forward, stopping a few paces away from it.
-"Nookni"- Denahi addressed him, voice neutral. -"What exactly do you think you're doing?"-
-"Sometin' like dis be part of some bigger treasure, right?"- Nookni asked with a sly grin, -"You might be needin a bit more help with dese t'ings."-
-"Are you saying you want to hire on with me?"- Denahi raised an eyebrow and smirked.
Nookni tore his eyes from his crab, who had picked up the blade once more and was toying with it in an alarmingly lethal-looking fashion, and looked Denahi square in his eye. He put on his most ingratiating grin. -"Yeah, I guess I be doing jus' dat..."- he said.
-"Absolutely not!"- said Denahi. -"In case you hadn't noticed, Nookni, you're a liability to any group you are a part of. You and that stupid Crab of yours! At least the other hunters I know have useful pets. Not something you fished out of the tidepools, and stinks up the area like a dead fish..."-
-"Now you wait jus' a minute..."- Nookni started, as he made some unusual motions towards the crab, as if to punctuate his next words.
-"The reason is...is that you don't really care about making money, or helping the Horde. You're obsessed, Nookni,"- Denahi continued, -"and it's not with treasure. I don't know what it is, since you seem to change your whims as quickly as the tides, but whatever it is, you feel like you've got to get 'something', and until you do, you'll keep on taking stupid risks."-
Nookni stared at the aging Tauren for a minute, then burst out laughing. -"Well, den, Let me say de one t'ing on my mind now is getting dat sword. How much?"-
Denahi frowned, and looked over his shoulder as other scavengers hauled the last of the mundane bundles off the cart and into the nearby huts. He turned back to the troll and sighed -"I bring these weapons here every other week, so that you can take care of that Hex-bringer troll out on the islands, and yet you still don't understand it is more than a business transaction! We all do things to help the Horde, Nookni. Now I'm taking it to the witch-doctor there so he can figure out what sort of shadow-power is...."-
The Tauren stopped suddenly, another flash of anger crossing his face. -"Hey! Where did that crab go?!!" -
-"You gotta watch dat worthless fishy-pet better."- Nookni cackled, as he dashed off towards the beach with the spirit of a cheetah energizing his legs. -"I'll make sure he don't be using it against anyone but de humans you stole it from!"-
And with that, Denahi snorted in anger and smashed the side of his cart, before regaining some semblance of control and muttering. -"Damn you, Nookni! When will I learn!"-
Seasons had past, and Nookni's face was seen less and less around the more civilized sections of Kalimdor. However, from time to time, the spirits whispered his name, and those who were closest to him knew that he still wandered the realms, instead of some more unfortunate fate.
-"Lets go Kayrab"- Nookni smiles, as he tossed another crumb of spiced bread to his companion and set off once more across the jungle.
-"Strangletorn supposed ta be where I can find more clues about de Shadowy powers of us Trolls. But so far de only trolls I really be speakin to are de ones who want to throw spears and spells in our faces!"-
-"De folks in Amicus be causin troubles. De council folks are leaving. And we've been searchin dis place for what feel like years, and no leads outside of some big temple we can't hope to sneak into quite yet...but we gotta keep lokkin I suppose, Kayrab. Dere be something out there, I just know it...."-
Nookni stopped suddenly, as yet another of the jungle's many cats could be sensed prowling close by. Nothing to be seen yet, but the years of hunting had taught Nookni that eyes were not the only senses to use when trying to avoid an unfriendly foe armed with tooth and claw. Kayrab scuttled a short distance away, then scrabbled back to his master as the cat lept from the undergrowth.
In an instant, hunter and hunted sprung to action. Kayrab growled a burbling growl, distracting the panther, as Nookni reflexively tossed a fire-trap to the ground and ran to one side.
As the panther hissed in pain from the sudden flames, the troll had already drew his gun and called upon the spirits of the scorpid to bless his ammunition with venomous enchantment. A short series of *Bangs* and *Booms* filled the air, then silence once again settled around the two...but the troll was not finished.
Sensing danger still nearby, Nookni's sword found itself firmly in-hand, as the troll scanned the area. A berserking rage still filled him, something unusual after such an easy fight, and the sword flashed against leaf and vine.
With a squeal, the crab who followed his master unfailingly throughout his many hunts, turned and scuttled away. The motion drew Nookni's eye as surely as any prey, and he swung the sword again, seeing nothing but a blur of red before him.
Shadowy flames danced along the blade, and blasted out, striking the crab's back. Then, flashed again.
With an anguished howl, Nookni suddenly realized his actions and cast his weapons to the ground. A look of horror and confusion on his face, he chanted a few small prayers and sighed with relief as the cracks on Kayrab's back mended before his eyes.
The troll looked out over the expanse of jungle, torn between an unquiet rage in his heart, and a desperate sadness at himself. These periods of sudden fury were becoming more common, though he could not understand what would make him turn against friend or foe alike...
All around, now that the crash of battle had past, birds once agains struck up their songs, and the everyday noises of the jungle pushed away the silence. There were no answers here, it seemed. At least not ones that appeared worth this cost....
-“Destroy them all!”-
Nookni turned from the small hammock he was in, and stared angrilly around the small inn. Breath coming in short shallow bursts, he slowly relaxed and realized it had all been just a dream.
The jungles of Stranglethorn had surrounded him, full of hidden dangers, and others much more visible if you knew where to look. It was not an overly friendly place, but that suited the Trolls mood just fine. He was walking along the path, just crossing a bridge over some small stream, when the air exploded in flame.
At the opposite side, stood a mounted Dwarf, horned ram snorting his displeasure a the trolls mere existance. Then the Drarf had raised his hands again, and the otherwordly fire surrounds it’s fists before flying into Nooki’s chest with a strangely silent impact.
Kayrab lept to his defense, and was blasted into fragments of shell and blood before even a moment passed.
Pain and fire filled Nookni’s vision as bolt after bolts of flame pushed him off the bridge into the dirt, yet strangely again, no sound.
Looking up through the smoky haze, this Troll saw more dwarves arrayed on the bridge like sentinal stones. Stocky, solid, and all enveloped in shadowy energies. For a minute they stood there, gathering their power while the pain slowly faded from Nookni into the numbness of a berserking rage. Then, helpless as a frightened prairie dog, Nookni watched as the Dwarves, as one, unleashed their spells upon him.
“Destroy them all!” Nookni shouted an instant before his certain doom…then found himself awake and shaking his fist at the inn’s walls.
He was glad that he did, too.
He had been in pitched battles before, and faced lethal danger, but did not really wish to experience the feeling of his body being blasted to shreds by arcane fire. It was only a dream, but a dreaming death is still as frightening as reality, when still held in slumber’s grasp.
Yet, Nookni was getting used to the dreams now. It was, he supposes, one of many side effects of war, these Nightmares. But it still didn’t make waking up any easier.
-“Perhaps a bit of fishing be good for clearing dese night-frights”-, the troll muttered to himself as he gathered his belongings and tossed a few scraps of bread to the crab nearby. -“Ya…Le’s go do that, Kayrab. I’ll jus’ be leaving this sword here, so it won’t be getting in de way of de fish.”-
With careful intent, he laid his weapons under a cot, making sure to carefully wrap the one sword surrounded by blackly flickering light and an unhealthy orange glow. Picking up his fishing pole, and emptying out his bags of unnecessary items, Nookni then jogged outside to find the nearest Windrider.
Laughing carelessly as the fresh salty air whipped around him, the troll smiled for the first time in a few days. Gazing at the landscape rolling below him, Nookni made note of a few promising fishing holes, and checked once more in his packs to make sure he brought a few shiny baubles along.
Then, as he resecured his packs and took the reigns of the flyer, his hand unconsciously brushed the darkly glimmering sword at his hip, and the smile faded....