Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vyprania's Story: The Orc

Ratshag, the orc's name was. I found him in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Lower City run by a Goblin named Rokk. At least, it was his name carved in a board nailed above the doorframe. At the first table were two Forsaken, heatedly arguing about something in Gutterspeak. At the second table was a Draenei paladin, asleep or passed out. And at the last table was a large orc warrior, his back to the wall as he faced the door. At first glance, he did not appear all that remarkable. His armor and weapons were a mishmash of hand-forged, rewards from service on battlegrounds, a few pieces I recognized as being from Outland, but nothing to mark him as one of the heroes of Serpentshrine Cavern or the Black Temple. As I approached him, though, I saw the scars. Dozens of them, criss-crossing his green skin. His face, his hands, and his armor all showed signs of having undergone tremendous hardships, and survived. I began to understand what that priest meant when she called him an “unsung hero.”

“You must be Vyprania,” he said, standing and extending his right hand. His grip was firm, but not overly so. “Have a seat. I took the liberty of ordering the clefthoof fajitas – they's very good here.”

“That's fine,” I said. Since my dark rebirth, I'd found that my senses of smell and taste were greatly diminished, and I found all foods to be bland and nearly indistinguishable. I ate for sustenance, but never for pleasure.

“So Cayleigh's done told me yer story. Mebbe you can tell it to me yerself at some point, but first lemme explain a bit about meself and what I call Team Ratshag. Me, I grew up in one of them concentration camps over in the Arathi Highlands, after the second war...”

As I listened to him, I realized that, while he was not hiding some of the horrific details, he was definitely underplaying them, as if they were to be expected. One sister and an uncle killed by diseases, another sister crippled while working as a slave laborer, beatings, rapes, torture. It was the escape, and the journey across the ocean to Kalimdor, and his first meeting with Thrall that mattered to him.

About this time our food arrived, along with a couple of mugs of ale. It was a huge pile of sizzling strips of meat, onions, and peppers, and a tall stack of thin disks of flatbread. “Help yerself,” he said, scooping some of everything onto one of the disks and rolling it up.

There must have been four pounds of meat on that platter, along with everything else. “I don't think I'm that hungry,” I said hesitantly.

“Oh, no worries,” he said. “Take what you want, I'll have the rest.”

His narrative continued with his picking up an axe as a young man and Durotar and hunting down the wild boars which had been destroying the crops of his village. As it led to larger and more challenging campaigns again quillboar and centaur tribes, murlocs and nagas, and even elves and humans and other members of the Alliance, I noted that he took pleasure in establishing order, but never expressed any interest in revenge, even when fighting the humans of the Eastern kingdoms, possibly the same humans who had run the concentration camps.

When I commented on this, he shrugged.

"It's over," he said. "The past, I means. What's here and now is, ya gots thems what ya care about, and care about you. Ya gots thems what'll pay you fer ta do a job. And thems what be in the way of gettin' the job done; sometimes they's in the way just by bein' alive, and ya gots ta put they's arses down. Anything else, revenge or bloodlust or collecting ears fer yer own amusement, that just gets in the way of doing The Job. And that ain't how I roll."

I blinked in surprise. This was a very different way of looking at the world than I was used to. I found it appealing, almost seductive, in its simplicity. In its willingness to accept the world as it is, and move on.

"And do the members of your ... 'Team' ... see things the same way?"

"More or less. Depends on the person. Thing is, we's all square pegs what ain't found the right hole yet, and I tries ta at least give everybody a place where we can be thems what don't got our own place togethers. Have some funs, give encouragements, that sorta thing. Mebbe someday, if the world settles down a bit we'll finds our places, but we'll see. Psychlogifying ain't really me department."

A square peg. Yes, that was me. I hadn't fit in anywhere, not since the Battle of Light's Hope Chapel. The idea of having a chance to meet other outsiders, to not feel so alone, was very very appealing. And if they don't accept you, kill them all! screamed a voice in my head, but I tried to ignore it.

"So, anywho, if ya thinks ya might be interested, drop by the place next Friday night. I'll introducifies ya to the Team, and then we takes it from there."

Interested. Yes. I was definitely interested.

4 comments:

Khol Drake said...

I think Vyp will be sold once she tries DM's cookies. That girl can BAKE!

Avonar said...

I love hearing about Vyp and the insights into the orc are great. Getting to read this is great! :)

Kusamoto said...

With the amount of backstory Ratters seems to have pregenerated, his speech patterns, and his proclivities, I'm starting to think that he was originally a Shadowrun character translated to WoW. Nice read nonetheless.

Jason Benefield said...

I've loved the Vyp story from the first installment. Can't wait until she meets the Team.