|Guild||Second Gurubashi Empire|
The current Emperor of the Second Gurubashi Empire.
Chapter one: Childhood and the leaving of Home
The freshly laid snow crunched under foot as the two small Troll boys ran between the trees. One appeared very young, the other only a few years older. The older one was dressed in red and white woollen robes and furs, his blue hair tied back in a small pile. The younger one looked much scruffier, his hair a spiky silver mess, wearing little more than small furs and brown wool. The younger one stopped suddenly and looked up at the burning sun in the sky. The “Eye of Dambalah” he had been taught. He began to stare in wonder when suddenly his brothers voice cracked the silence “Tziak! Don’t stare at the sun! You’ll go blind!” Tziak brought his gaze down to look at his brother and grinned “Sorry Cai’jian. Where are we going again?” “To look for dwarves” His brother, Cai’jian, replied with a smile. Tziak smiled and nodded, not questioning his brothers ruling and so off they ran through the snow. The two boys weaved in and out of the trees, laughing and playing. “Over there!” Cai’jian called, pointing to a small cave on the side of a large ice-hill. Tziak bounced with anticipation while following his brother. “Shh!” Cai’jian called behind. The two boys came upon the small entrance and Cai’jian dropped to his hands and knees. “I’ll go first” he said and began to crawl through the entrance. Just as his brother slipped from sight, Tziak heard a growl. He spun and spotted a wolf, less than ten paces away. Tziak gasped and tried to step backwards, losing his footing and falling on the cold, hard ice. “Cai!” he cried out. The wolf began to slowly walk towards him when a piece of bone hit it on the nose. It snarled, but was hit again. “Get away!” shouted Cai’jian. Tziak turned to see his brother standing at the entrance, bones held in one hand, throwing them with the other. The wolf yelped as a piece of bone hit it in the eye, a few flecks of blood spraying across the snow. Cai’jian gripped Tziak’s hand, hauling him upright. “Come on.” He said and began to walk towards the village. Tziak smiled weakly, following close behind.
Tziak and Cai’jian where the two sons of a village Witch Doctor. Their mother worked by merely gathering food and sowing clothes and furs. The eldest son, Cai’jian, was born with exceptional gifts. Divine powers sent from the God Dambalah. From a very early age, it was believed in the village that Cai’jian would grow to be a powerful, well respected priest. Tziak, the younger son, on the other hand was born with very little talent. He wasn’t blessed with the ability to interact with spirits, or control nature or even fight, like some of the recently born Trolls in the village. He grew up with the expectation that he would become a cattle herder. As time passed, and they grew into their teens, Cai’jian and their father began to have more and more private lessons. Tziak on the other hand become closer to their mother, working closely to the land.
(Many winters later) The blizzard raged outside the cave where the trolls had lived. Inside the small wooden huts, deep within the icy walls a gathering of fur-clad trolls stood. They stood in a large semi-circle, with one troll in the centre who seemed to be addressing the left. Dressed in the robes of a priest and bound in hand-woven fur cloaks, he seemed to command attention. “Today, I leave the village” Cai’jian said, his cloak waving very slightly in the small wind which had managed to filter through the cave. The other trolls cheered with respect towards their chosen priest. None of the other Trolls knew why Cai’jian was to leave. Only that it was “on important business”. Not even Tziak, who stood wrapped in leather and fur, knew where his brother was headed. Tziak stepped forward, a large staff-like stick in his hand “Farewell, brother” he said with a smile “I hope we’ll meet again soon”. “We will.” Cai’jian said, so definitely that it made his brother smile. Cai’jian turned and began to walk away, towards the exit of the cave. The rest of the trolls waited behind in the village, save Tziak who followed his big brother all the way to the entrance. The wind and snow howled outside, creating a thick white moving curtain at the entrance. Cai’jian turned to Tziak and smiled “We’ll meet again. Through blood, fire and death” he said. Tziak looked slightly confused, but nodded as his brother walked off into the snow. “Blood, fire and death…” Tziak mused. That was a strange thing for his brother to say…
A year and a half later, Tziak found himself wandering the icy fields of a mountain looking for one of the goats that had gone wandering. He sighed, seeing no animals in sight. The snow crunched under foot and it brought back memories of childhood, playing with his brother between the trees. A small smile crossed his face when suddenly there was a crashing sound in the distance. Tziak picked up his pace, turning a walk into a jog, then into a run as he sped towards the source of the noise. Just in the distance there was a cliff. As Tziak finally reached the cliff, he peered over the edge. Snow fell over, tumbling down through the air and landing in a dwarven mining camp. Tziak frowned. There was another loud crash- an explosion from a dwarven mining team- that caused the whole side of the mountain to shake. Snow began to flow down from the peak like water, gathering momentum quickly. Tziak looked up at the impending avalanche and gasped. He abandoned his staff in the snow, let out a yelp of terror and began to run full speed down the mountain and away from the avalanche. “d**n dwarves!” He yelled, but the snow was gaining speed faster than he was. Within moments, the snow was upon him, catching his heels and causing him to tumble down. The cold, crushing ice swallowed him, cutting into his skin and freezing him so cold he thought his blood would cease to flow. Swallowed by the blistering cold, his vision began to darken until finally he could not see at all. Only the cold sting of the snow let him know he was still alive. Young one… Tziak tried to speak, but couldn’t open his mouth. He thought he had heard something. Do not fear the cold. I am with you…We are with you… Tziak frowned and struggled to break free from his frozen prison when suddenly a strange sensation washed over him. It was like warm water, filling his body. All of a sudden he felt himself rising. Rising up through the snow, as if being carried. The sunlight burst into view as Tziak emerged from the snow and ice and rose into the air. A great frozen snake arched its head up out of the ice, Tziak sat on top looking dazed. The serpent melted away, leaving the shivering Troll above his frozen prison. Tziak opened one eye, then the other and smiled, knowing he was alive. As he lay in the snow, he was surprised to find himself laughing. The snow felt different under him. It was still cold physically, but spiritually it felt warm and welcoming. Tziak stood slowly and suddenly feeling very warm, discarded his cloak in the snow. He smiled, and began his long walk home, the snow giving its frozen kiss upon his flesh wherever it touched.
From that day, Tziak found his near-death experience had brought him slightly closer to the Spirit world, but mainly the Spirits of ice. He could not see them, and heard them rarely…but he knew they where there. He could feel them. He trained as a Frostweaver in the village then for half a year, learning how to ask the frost spirits to manipulate the cold. It was then that a strange foreign troll came into the village. Coming from the lands far to the east, this Troll brought with him news of the rise of a new Empire. Rumours only. Talk around the Orc City. He spoke of one “Emperor Vishnah Atai Hakor”, who was to unite the tribes and reclaim the lost land of the Trolls. He spoke with such passion and such zealousness that it made Tziak’s heart rise. It was then that Tziak had made up his mind. He was going to travel east, to the land of the orcs, and find this God-like Emperor. With very little ritual, Tziak packed away some food and wrapped himself in furs. Turning, he began to walk down the trail from which the stranger had come. Suddenly, he thought of Cai’jian and his leaving. He wondered where he was, and thought over his last few words. It was only with a few days travelling that Tziak managed to climb aboard a ship heading to the eastern lands.
Chapter 2: A new land, and a new Home
The ship pulled in to Sen’jin village, its stop before heading up to deliver supplies to the Orc city. Tziak smiled as he watched the village come into view. He had been on the boat for over a week now, sailing across the ocean and then up the eastern coast of this new land. As a small wooden bridge was lowered onto the beach, Tziak viewed the village carefully. It was small, only a few huts and shops, but it was Trollish. Tziak smiled. Although he did not recognise the Darkspear tribal symbols, he still found the similar painting styles and materials used for buildings comforting. He jumped from the boat and landed on the warm sand. So different from the snow he was used to. He peered up at the sun, the same sun he had looked at so many times, except this time it was much warmer. The blazing heat seemed such a contrast that it made Tziak take off his cloak and hood. As he walked into the village, he saw two trolls arguing. One was dressed in red attire, a flame symbol painted above his masked face. The other was wrapped in blue robes. As Tziak approached, he could feel an aura of cold emanating from the one wrapped in blue, and a strong sense of fire from the one clothed in red. Tziak slowly came closer and he realised that they where discussing the Empire. The Second Gurubashi Empire and how it was to be founded this afternoon in “Orgrimmar” by Vishnah Atai Hakor. Tziak questioned the two trolls about it, and managed to strike a conversation between the three of them. The one in blue was female, though she never told Tziak her name; she was a frostweaver, like himself. The other, dressed in red appeared to be quite a young male, much the same age as Tziak. He was a Firecaller, or so he said, and called himself Drazul. Walking with these two Trolls across Durotar, the three made their way towards Orgrimmar, where they could meet Vishnah. Within the hour, Tziak could see a great city on the horizon. Smoke bellowed from its great walls and the sounds of cheering and fighting roared through the air. Drazul turned to Tziak and flashed a quick smile “We’ll meet again, frostweaver. I look forward to it” and with that, the red-clothed Troll ran off towards the city with lightning speed. Tziak turned to the female frostweaver, who did not smile and merely walked away. Tziak continued to stare in wonder as he approached the great city. Other Trolls, Orcs and Tauren all moved past him heading towards the big city. Suddenly, Tziak heard a voice. A recognisable one above the din of strangers “Brother!” Tziak smiled, hearing Cai’jian’s voice. Ahead of him, under the great arch-like entrance to the city was a familiar troll wearing priest’s robes. “I told you I’d meet you again, brother” Cai’jian grinned. “I have spoken to His Highness, Emperor Vishnah about you” Cai’jian spoke slowly, he seemed to be inspecting Tziak. “He is waiting to see you”. Tziak was shocked. He had not expected to meet his brother, let alone find an audience with the Emperor so quickly. Cai’jian led him into the city where Tziak once again watched in awe, as the make-shift city unfolded itself before him. The smell of smoke and blood filled Tziak’s nostrils and made him grin. Down in what appeared to be the centre of this part of the city, beside a large tree, Tziak saw a large gathering of Trolls. Cai’jian began to run, and so Tziak picked up the pace to follow. Soon, the two reached the crowd of Trolls, who seemed to be waiting for something, or someone. Cai’jian grabbed his brother by the wrist and dragged him through the crowd and up a small hill. There Tziak saw a ring of Trolls, all surrounding one whom Tziak could not clearly see. “Emperor Vishnah, this is my brother of whom I spoke to you about” Tziak smiled weakly as he was thrust forward into the presence of greatness. The ring of trolls parted, and there stood a very tall troll, clad in shining armour. Suddenly, there was a sharp pain in the back of Tziak’s leg as he felt one of the Emperor’s guard kick him in the knee. “Kneel” was commanded by the obscenely muscular troll carrying two swords. Each sword looked to be bigger than a man, and stained with more blood than a man could possess. Tziak knelt down and felt the eyes of the Emperor upon him. “You wish to join the Second Gurubashi Empire?” Vishnah asked. Tziak nodded slowly, then felt cold steel pressing against his shoulder. “Then welcome to the Empire.” Tziak smiled as he stood. He felt somehow…different. Connected. It was over so quickly. Then, the large guards of the Emperor pushed Tziak back down the hill, down into the seething crowd bellow. He looked up and saw Vishnah raise his hands, shouting something unheard. There was a great cheer that went up throughout the gathered Trolls “Blood, Fire, Death!” they cried. Tziak couldn’t help but laugh at the familiar words, and then joined in their ecstatic shouts. The crowd had begun to move, towards a large tower. Tziak followed the rest, looking slightly confused. Up the tower they rose, until he was forced to cross an unstable looking bridge. Tziak was unsure of where he was walking. He only knew that he followed Greatness. The Emperor stopped, and so did his guard. He stood on a stone in the water, calling out a grand speech while a great number of trolls knelt down. Tziak was among those who knelt down, cheering at the end of every speech and swelling with pride. The Emperor introduced another troll to the crowd. A very old Troll by the name of Meezil Kree. He was the Empire’s High Priest, and preacher of the god Dambalah. Tziak looked at him closely and was filled with dislike. He didn’t know why he disliked this High Priest and it made him worry…
Many months went by in the Empire and Tziak grew to think of the Empire as a new hope. His powers had grown slightly as a frostweaver, though not very much. He found himself weaker than the other trolls, though it didn’t seem to bother him very much. He had begun to make acquaintances with the mages of the Empire, finding their destructive skills the only ones near to his. The priests could not wield elements. The shaman could fight with their hands. The mages could destroy in a blink of an eye. Tziak could not do any of that, only ask the frost spirits for help, but he found the company of the Magi enjoyable and their knowledge quite revealing. He began to think of his gift as “Magic” granted by the spirits, and much in his life was good. He was a nameless face in a mighty Empire, and he was content. His brother, Cai’jian had risen to become an Emerald Rider. Chosen by the High Priest Meezil Kree, he acted as the Rider of Water. Tziak still distrusted Meezil and his Emerald Riders, however, if his brother was to be one, he would have to accept their superiority. It was within a few weeks that Tziak was to see his brother rise yet again, to become one of the Atai Guard. One of Vishnah’s personal guards. Chosen by the High Priest and the Emperor. Tziak was proud of his brother. That’s what he told himself.
Chapter 3: The First Step
Tziak fought hard for his Emperor, silently beside all the other Trolls. During battle, he did not slay as many foes as the others, but he protected the Emperor with his life. It was during this great time of war that many crusades where launched. The Empire was claiming its territory and letting everyone know who the Lords of the Vale where. “Blood! Fire! Death!” they roared, marching through the jungles. The alliance had learned to fear the Gurubashi. They had learned to listen for the cries in Trollish, signalling the approach of these death-bringers.
Tziak turned his head sharply to the right and snarled as he saw the approaching human warband. The humans had gathered a group to try to fight the Gurubashi patrols. There was an archer, a healer and a paladin with his two bodyguards. The paladin seemed to be in charge of the small, yet highly skilled group. “Keel dem!” Emperor Vishnah shouted out and the Gurubashi charged forward. The Beserker, Umkankik charged head first into the enemy, slicing the healer in half with his great swords. The Atai guard cackled manically as blood sprayed all over him. The paladin in the human group watched in horror as his healer was torn to pieces. Tziak leapt forward, asking the spirits to freeze one of the bodyguards. There was a quick flash, followed by a muttered thanks by the Frostweaver as the bodyguard lay covered in thick ice, frozen to the floor. Emperor Vishnah stepped forward and began to battle the paladin, exchanging blow for blow as sparks flew between their blades. The Atai Guard had begun to maul the other bodyguard while Tziak was still pounding the frozen one with shards of ice. A grin swept across Tziak’s face as the frozen human finally succumbed to death. Tziak suddenly spotted the archer aiming an arrow at the Emperor. With a bestial roar, Tziak left infront of Vishnah, summoning an ice-shield around himself to deflect the arrow. Vishnah looked down at Tziak and smiled, then nodded a small thanks “I’ll remembah dat, Tziak” he said. Tziak smiled.
Time seemed to move quickly in the Empire for Tziak. He didn’t normally socialise with other people, due to an obvious lack of Trolls in his village however, he found himself surrounded by many. These brief interactions coloured his day, making the time move faster. Tziak had begun attending the meetings of the Magi. He found their intellectual conversations quite amusing and soon he participated in the events held by the Spellweaver Zaul Ka’Zahn. It came as quite a shock then, when the Spellweaver decided to resign not only his position, but from the Empire entirely. Outside his hut, the spellweaver had placed a note detailing this and asking for willing candidates to come forward.
Tziak walked past the hut slowly, thinking of his time with the Magi. He laughed very slightly to himself as he inspected the Spellweaver’s door. There had been a command to stick a personal symbol on the door if you wished to become the next Spellweaver. So far, there were no symbols. Tziak thought about applying to become Spellweaver, but he was unsure of his abilities. He was a frostweaver, not a real “mage”. In the end he decided to put his name on the door, since no one else had. He scratched a symbol into the door, indicating “Frostweaver” and wrote “Tziak” under it, then nodded looking satisfied. “Perhaps I may finally rise through the ranks…” He said out loud, walking away from the hut.
“Tziak!” He heard behind him. It was a female’s voice. One he had heard before, though not one he was too familiar with. He turned around and gasped slightly, then bowed deeply as the Atai Guard Voulan strolled towards him. “Ya hopin’ ta be da Spellweavah?” Voulan asked, looking at Tziak. He shrugged lightly, then only replied with a small nod. He wasn’t too sure he liked Voulan. At the mage meetings, she was always teasing him. “Good luck ta ya…ya’ll need it” Voulan smirked then disappeared in a flash of light. Tziak groaned, shook his head and carried on towards Orgrimmar.
Several months later, Emperor Vishnah called for there to be a grand meeting where he would announce the new Spellweaver. Tziak grinned inwardly, since he was the only one who put his name forward. He had already begun forming plans as to what the Magi of the Empire could do.
Tziak looked around himself, eyeing all the other Trolls. They had all gathered in the Arena for the meeting. A nervousness rose inside him as he stood in the great circle of Trolls surrounding Vishnah. Around Vishnah stood his Atai Guard, glaring angrily. Tziak began to tap his staff gently on the floor out of nervousness. Umkankik, the unofficial leader of the Atai Guard shot his glare at Tziak, who stopped suddenly and gulped. “We come ‘ere today ta announce da new Spellweavah!” Vishnah shouted out “Aswell, as one more promotion!” The crowd cheered, but Tziak was too nervous to raise his voice. “The new Spellweaver is…” Vishnah said loudly. The entire crowd seemed to lean forwards, eagerly awaiting Vishnah’s decision. “Voulan!” cried the Emperor. Tziak gasped. He was meant to be Spellweaver. He was the only one who seemed to care. Tziak growled slightly, but clapped none the less. A bubbling jealousy rose inside of him as he watched the female come forward and kneel before Vishnah.
Unworthy...Young one...Not Yet...
Tziak looked around at all the Magi who was cheering and clapping wildly. Tziak felt an anger towards them, but it quickly subsided.
“Now! For da othah promotion…A Frost Troll from Dun Morogh; A Frostweaver and a loyal soldier of da Empire” Vishnah said slowly. Tziak’s ears pricked as he heard this. He looked up at Vishnah, who was staring straight at him. “Tziak! Kneel before me if ya wish ta be one of ma Atai Guard” Tziak smiled widely as he walked towards his Emperor. He knelt down on the dirty, bloodied floor and felt the Emperor’s sword on his shoulder. “Rise…Atai Guard, an’ defend ya Emperor to ya dieing day” Tziak rose and turned to look at the crowd. Each Troll surrounding him saluted all at once. Tziak smiled, then quickly straightened his face. He was an Atai Guard now. He mustn’t appear soft.
Chapter 4: Behind the mask of the Guard
Tziak revelled in the new-found power of his rank. Trolls bowed to him when he walked past, even if Tziak secretly knew himself that they could easily best him in combat. He had taken to dressing in ceremonial robes, carrying a large sword in one hand. The sword itself looked brutal. The blade itself was long and thick, covered with carvings and dried blood. Tziak himself knew that the blood was from animal sacrifices to Dambalah, but to the unknowing Trolls of the Empire it appeared menacing. Whem in the view of the public, Tziak acted as the Atai Guard should. Trolls who spoke out of place where bashed across the face with the blunt side of his sword. Trolls who spoke back to him where usually jumped by two or more of the Atai Guard. Fear filled the air when he walked past. When he was by himself however, Tziak had a different attitude. He would sit down in his hut and meditate or smoke peacebloom from his pipe.
“Protecting the Emperor is tiresome…” Tziak spoke softly to no one in particular, blowing out a small cloud of smoke as he did so. A warm feeling covered his body as the effects of the plant washed over him. “Ya, it is at times” said a voice from outside. It was the Spellweaver, Voulan “Can I come in?” she said. Tziak took another breath through his pipe, then called out for her to join him. He had been seeing Voulan a lot lately, due to his need to protect the Emperor and his council.
Tziak looked Voulan up and down. He couldn’t help laughing and he didn’t know why. “What’s wrong?” Voulan said. She had become a lot friendlier towards Tziak lately. Tziak shook his head and mumbled “nothing”. They sat in Tziak’s hut and had a conversation for hours on end. They discussed matters of the Empire and the Emperor mostly. After a couple more pipe-full’s, Tziak began telling Voulan of his time at Home. Dun Morogh, as it was now called by the rest of the world. She smiled as she listened, but didn’t speak much of herself. Tziak was growing to like this female. She was nice to talk to, he thought in his smoke-filled mind.
A month had past since then, and this time was rather uneventful for Tziak. The emperor had slowly become more secluded from his Empire. He rarely spoke at meetings, leaving most of that up to High Priest Meezil Kree, whom Tziak kept a close eye on. He still didn’t trust that priest, though Tziak had to be careful not to voice his opinions. Even as an Atai Guard, the High Priest could still cause a lot of pain to Tziak if he chose. It was then announced at the next meeting that the Emperor was to go away on some business with the goblins. When asked if the Atai Guard where to accompany him, Vishnah said no. This worried Tziak slightly. “Why wouldn’t the Emperor want his loyal guards around?” Tziak mused to himself. Tziak shook his head. Suddenly, the High Priest Meezil glared at Tziak. Had he heard Tziak’s thoughts? He looked worried and walked off, tapping his sword softly on the floor as he went.
Within the hour, Spellweaver Voulan had called a meeting of the Magi. They where to arrive at a house in Orgrimmar, above a weapons shop. Tziak had decided to attend for two reasons; he had come to be accepted into the mage community, but he also had a duty to protect the Spellweaver.
Tziak entered the house at Voulan’s side. His gaze travelled slowly around the room where the magi had sat in a large circle. He knew a few of them reasonably, but none he would really call his friend. “We are here ta strengthen our mage community” spoke the Spellweaver. Tziak nodded slowly. He was the one who had suggested the idea; speaking about their past and a little of their present. Tziak paid little attention, mostly watching the entrance or the window, looking for signs of danger. Suddenly, someone caught Tziak’s attention as she stood. It was a fellow Atai Guard whom Tziak did not see enter the house. “My name is Shalkis” she said slowly and eloquently. “Im from Dun Morogh- a Frostmane.” Tziak turned to watch her and a smile graced his face. She was the first proper Frostmane he had seen in his time in the Empire, except for Cai’jian and himself. Her words seemed to be lost to Tziak as he watched her gracefull movements. She spoke of her life in Dun Morogh and of a Dwarven attack but Tziak was more interested in the way the light sparkled on her light blue skin, her hair twisting from side to side as she made elaborate gestures. Tziak watched closely and smiled even more as tiny flakes of snow fall from the folds in her robes.
“Tziak!” he heard suddenly and he snapped out of his amorous state of attention. “Yes?” Tziak replied, turning to look at Voulan who was glaring at him. “We’re waiting for ya…tell us about yaself” She smiled.
Tziak began to tell his tale of Home, of the avalanche and his joining of the Empire. He stole sly glances at the Troll with whom he had been so captivated as he spoke, flashing the occasional smile. He wasn’t sure if she was paying attention or not, as she seemed to be writing in a book. He smiled again none-the-less and continued his tale.
The days passed without the Emperor’s guidance and slowly the Empire grew agitated. Some Trolls began snapping at each other, more frequently than usual at least. The Atai Guard where called to keep the aggressive trolls under watch.
“Wha da ya tink ya talkin’ to?!” roared a blade-wielding, painted troll. Tziak glared at this Troll who spoke back to him when told to kneel. “We have been sent by the council to shut you up…you’re causing too much hassle” Tziak said slowly, eyeing this aggressive one up and down. “Hassle?” the Troll laughed coldly “There’ll be more dan ‘hassle’ soon enough…” “Feed ‘im to da boars!” roared Umkankik. Tziak inspected his unofficial superior closely here. He was much taller than many of the Trolls Tziak had ever seen, carrying a two-handed sword in one hand and a giant mace in the other. His hair was tied back and matted with stale blood and sweat dripped from his muscle-bound body. Scars pitted the Berserker’s arms and chest which he seemed to display proudly. The sight of him usually made Tziak tremble, but he managed to keep his composure this time. The Berserker moved suddenly and Tziak snapped from his close inspection just in time to see the head from the insolent Troll being cast aside by the mighty hands of Umkankik. “’Ey der, Tziak…keep a bettah eye out next time, ya?” Umkankik grinned foolishly at Tziak “Dat Troll could’a ‘ah ya head clean off”. “He didn’t strike out at me” Tziak replied. “So? ‘E could’a…Bettah ta get ‘im first before ‘e gets ya” Umkankik laughed loudly. Tziak smirked slightly and nodded. “Come, the High Priest wishes to see us”. The voice came from behind Tziak. It was female and Tziak recognised it instantly and smiled. He turned to see Shalkis and flashed a smile at her. For once, she smiled back at Tziak. The two stood looking at each other smiling like fools for the briefest of moments, before the silence was broke by a rather unromantic voice. “Ya comin’!?” yelled Umkankik, waving his hand. Tziak blushed slightly casting his gaze to the floor and began to walk towards Umkankik.
They Atai Guard soon arrived in Stranglethorn Vale; homeland of the Gurubashi Empire. They where told to meet with the High Priest outside of the encampment and so hurried so as not to anger the great voodoo priest. Within minutes of leaving, they saw Meezil sitting on a ridge above them, surrounded by his Emerald Riders.
“I am to be in charge in the Emperor’s absence.” Meezil spoke clearly, his expression hidden behind a large wooden mask. Tziak glanced from side to side, watching the reactions of his fellow ‘Guard. Umkankik growled quietly. Unusually quiet for the Berserker. Was he afraid? Tziak thought to himself. The other Atai guard shifted uncomfortably but did not say anything. They served the Emperor, not the High Priest…but Meezil was a hard troll to argue against. Tziak’s gaze travelled across from the High Priest to his surrounding Emerald Riders. Standing amongst them was Cai’jian. The Rider of Water. Tziak didn’t know what exactly the Emerald Rider’s did with Meezil. He was not permitted to ask. All he knew was that the Emerald Riders where crusaders of a sort. Fighting for Dambalah and the High Priest.
“Well…?” Meezil’s cold voice echoed around the trees, awaiting an answer. One or two Atai Guard nodded slowly. Tziak remained silent. He noticed that Umkankik stayed silent too, glaring angrily at the High Priest. The High Priest waved his hand in dismissal of the Guards. Tziak turned sharply and walked away quickly wanting to get away from there as quickly as possible.
Chapter 5: Corruption
The day after meeting with the High Priest, Tziak was travelling through the rocky valley known as the ‘Thousand Needles”. Anger coursed through the Atai Guard. He wasn’t supposed to serve Meezil. Just the Emperor. Something was wrong, Tziak thought. He growled loudly, not knowing what to do. He was confused greatly. If he stood up against Meezil, he would be killed…but it was his duty to say something. Suddenly, Tziak heard a cold laughter behind him. He turned quickly, drawing his sword and pointing it straight at the person behind him. Tziak gasped slightly, seeing the angry red eyes of the High Priest glaring at him from behind his mask. “How dare you point that sword at me!” Meezil growled. Tziak slowly let his hand drop back down to his waist, but he kept the sword held tightly in his hand. “I expect an apology…” Meezil said slowly. Tziak could tell he was smirking. “Forgive me…High Priest” Tziak spoke slowly, a slight patronising tone in his voice he did not mean to show. “Kneel and say that!” laughed Meezil. “I…” Tziak hesitated “I only kneel to…to the Emperor…sir” “What?” Meezil asked, sounding slightly shocked. Tziak steeled himself. He was determined to stand by his loyalty now. “I said I shall only kneel to the Emperor.” “Insolent guard…that is all you are. A mere guard. You defy me?” The High Priest sounded very angry and a small shiver ran down Tziak’s spine. He could almost feel the anger resonating from the voodoo priest. Tziak turned his back to Meezil, so as to keep his composure as fear gripped him and began walking away. “You dare walk away from me!?” Meezil roared. Suddenly, a voice shot through his head. It was the High Priest, sending a message to the whole Empire. “The Troll Tziak is to be killed. Emerald Rider’s, I trust you will do your duty?” Tziak thought of Cai’jian and frowned. Cai had been commanded to kill Tziak. He wondered if his brother could go through with it when a searing pain swept across Tziak. He glanced behind him to see the High Priest casting some sort of spell. Tziak yelled and began to run down further into the valley, trying to escape the priest. Soon, Tziak heard faint cries of war in the distance and the clicking of claws on stone echoing around him. He turned quickly, trying to lose the pursuing raptors on the rough stones and began to climb a natural slope up one of the large stone spires which gave the valley its name. He glanced down once quickly to see several robed figures dismounting and beginning their ascent up the slope. Eventually reaching the top of the stone spire, fear gripped Tziak. He had no where to go. He looked from left to right and only found the edges of the spire, leading to certain death if he was to fall. Then from the corner of his eye, Tziak spotted the mask of the High Priest looming up from the slope and onto the spire. A cold laughter accompanied Meezil as two of the Emerald Rider’s followed close behind. One carried a long spear, the other a brutish looking axe. The axe trailed along the floor causing a horrid grinding sound. “Running from me, Guard?” Meezil spoke slowly. “You can’t do this…I am of the Emperor’s Guard. I am of the Atai Guard! Assaulting me is an assault upon the Emperor” Tziak managed to stutter out. Meezil said nothing and merely gestured for his two followers to advance. Tziak looked down and saw he was at an edge. Adrenaline pumped through his body but he fought the urge to fight them. He knew he would die. With another quick glance backwards, Tziak looked up at the sky and spread his arms out. All of a sudden, he fell backwards off the edge of the spire and was rushing through the air. The wind blew his hair infront of his face and whipped at his eyes. He cried out in shock as he fell, then whispering almost silently he said “Catch me.”