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A Day Of Truths - Krinar's Tale
#1
Pyanfar settled on a comfortable, speckled fur beside the hearth fire in the inn, ink well set to one
side, quill in hand and a blank sheet a parchment before her. She tapped her chin, then started.

Dear, Mercini. I hope this letter finds you well. Are you still stationed in Zul'Drak? I've
moved to a lovely little backwater place called Camp Mojache.


The priest smiled. Backwater. She liked that word! Pyanfar liked backwater. Backwater
places were rough hewn, and stark. Honest places with honest people.

She dipped her quill and continued.

We've kept busy. Krinar and I are helping the locals and learning the lay of the land.
Though I must admit, I am a bit worried about the Old Cow. He seems taciturn as of late. Well,
more taciturn then usual.


She lifted her green eyes to the Tauren in question. Krinar was sitting on one of the inns
few chair, sword laid across his lap and honing stone in hand, running it over it's already perfect
edge. He'd been honing that damn sword all night. Soon enough he would whittle it away to
nothing!

Pyanfar dipped her quill again.

If he wasn't such a thick bottomed brute, I'd kick him in the arse to get some answers
from him. But if his rear quarters are half as thick as his skull, it would be a gnat bite on a Kodo.


Krinar shifted, catching her attention. He was putting away the honing stone -thank the
Light- and then taking out his oil cloth -again- and fussing over his armor. Again!

"That does it!" Pyanfar announced, slamming her quill down, though the sound of a
feather hitting fur was hardly a proper emphasis to her temper. "What has you so damn moody,
Old Cow?!"

The oil cloth never stopped it's methodical stroke over Krinar's helm.

"Don't call me, Old Cow," he hurrumped back, not answering her question.

"I'll call you a thousand worse things if you don't tell me what's got you more sour then a
lemon!"

There was no answer.

So be it!

"I shall dub thee, Krinar, cow a the long face. Or how about dull horn, to go with your
dull wits? Oh, oh, how about Krinar the coward, master of the art of fleeing?"

"Enough!"

The roar alone was enough to roll Pyanfar back, but what made her cringe was the look
of hatred leveled at her. She tried to meet his glaring gaze, but couldn't. She had, admittedly,
been kind of mean, and the point was that she was trying to get him to talk, not to make him even
more tight lipped.

"Yeah, I guess that last one was a bit much," she admitted softly, rubbing a hand
nervously along the back of her neck. "I'm sorry, Krinar."

The Tauren glared at her a minute more, then huffed, and looked away, staring at no
point in particular.

"No... You are... right." The voice was small and quiet, unlike anything Pyanfar had ever heard from the hulking
warrior.

"Right?" The Bloodelf frowned, feeling something... some undefined anger that Krinar
would ever really believe she thought of him as a coward. He was anything but!

"Coward? You? Please! I feel bad enough for saying something so stupid, now don't
give into my deluded ramblings by agreeing with me," she huffed, then frowned when no
answered came.

Damn. Damn, damn, damn.

Pyanfar put her quill into the ink well and set her letter aside, moving a kneel beside the
great Tauren.

"Krinar," she said softly, resting a hand on his armored knee. "You know I am as much
your greatest admirer as I am your greatest nuisance, but above all else, I am your friend. What
has been troubling you so?"

Brown eyes lifted to her dolefully, then away.
"It is my own burden," he rumbled.

Oh, that was her Krinar.

"A burden shared is a burden halved. So please, share. You know I'll tell no secret of
yours."

The Tauren drew in a deep breath then heaved it out.

"There is no secret, only history," he said lifelessly. Then reached out to touch her hand,
mindful of his strength. "An anniversary is upon me. One that makes my heart.... ache."

Pyanfar nodded, and settled down, silently letting her friend know she was ready to
listen.

Krinar did not really acknowledge her, but continued. "In three days hence is the
anniversary of my... family's death."

Krinar's family? Pyanfar knew nothing of Krinar's family. Never had he mentioned it,
being so tight lipped about his past that Pyanfar had finally chalked it up to being a taboo subject
to discuss such things with a non-Tauren. She had simply put it out of her mind as one of those
great, unsolvable mysteries.

"I'm sorry that you lost them," she offered, sincerely.

The Tauren shook his head. "I did not lose them, they were taken from me. A bitter
lesson for me to be taught." Krinar drew a breath, then continued. "My parents were Shamans
and as such, I was raised in the art of herbs, and scripting and the joy of art simply to create
beauty. I reveled in these things, though my parents felt I should learn more... practical things. I
was born with the gift of strength and speed and they encouraged to learn to use the sword and
shield but I scoffed their wisdom. Such things... I felt they were for others to learn. Beneath me.
I wanted to devote myself to the arts, to herbs, to more... ennobled studies. I was a fool!"

Pyanfar frowned. What was wrong with learning to use herbs, and to do art? She liked
such things. She herself was attempting, emphasis on the attempting, to at least learn some of
the jewel crafting art of her family.

"I don't see anything wrong with these pursuits, Krinar," she said at last, puzzled.

The Tauren snorted, shaking his shaggy mane in disgust. "It is not the skills that were
wrong, it was the way I pursued them. I scoffed at the wisdom of my elders, at their desire for me
to learn all the arts of my people. Those that use the mind, and those the use the body. The
Earthmother does not give us our gifts lightly and she gave me strength, and speed and I
ignored those gifts to pursue what I wanted, and not what was best for all."

Krinar grew still, fiddling with a tiny braid of hair that always hung at his belt. It was two
colors, this strand, white and brown weaved tightly together and capped in gold.

"The Earthmother does not abide by us abusing our gifts. Or.. neglecting them." He
heaved a sigh and continued. "I went on with my life, following only the path I wanted to travel
and in time, married. Her name was Lorell. She was... beautiful."

Pyanfar felt her heart clench at the longing in her friend’s voice. She'd never imagined
Krinar married. He'd never seemed the.. domestic type.

"Her parents did not approve of our joining. They felt I was too.. I think your word for it
would be, flighty, to make a good husband. But Lorell had her own mind and accepted my
proposal all the same. We were married and wandered the plains as my people did, moving as
the seasons dictated in the Earthmother's great cycle of life. In time we had a child." A wisp of a
smile came to Krinar's face. "A boy. Stubborn, like his mother. Demanding like his father."

There was silence as Krinar drifted away into memory. Happy memories of a time long
before he’d ever had the misfortune of running into a certain feisty Bloodelf. Pyanfar waited with
a priests patience, having no desire to draw him out of his revere. He smiled so little, her Krinar.

But the smile died. Time had never stopped in the Tauren's mind and came to a point of
darkness.

"We were camped on the planes, in the spring," he started again, voice haunted. "I made
ready to look for herbs in the late morning. The guards were not happy with this. They chided
me for my foolishness. The Centaurs were reported on the move and I was a fool to be thinking
about leaving the camp. But," another heavy sigh, "but I insisted on having my way, once again
ignoring the wisdom of those more experienced then myself, and I went out in search of my
beloved plants."

The Tauren’s fingers curled into a fist as his eyes pinched tight against a deep, private
pain.

"Krinar, you don't have..."

"No, let me speak," he interrupted in a rasp, then continued as if she hadn't spoken. "It is
a memory burned into my heart. The faint sounds as I returned some time later. It was nothing
at first, just strange and random noise but as I ... I came closer... I heard the screams. Above
the clash of weapons, and the shout of the warriors I heard the screams. The camp was under
attack. The Centaurs were this evil swarm, swooping in, striking, falling back."

Krinar's eyes opened to look at the far wall. "I ran, senselessly, into it all. I ran for my
tent, screaming for Lorell... my Lorell," his voice caught and the muscles of his arm corded, the
balled fist clenching tighter. "I arrived just as she fell. She'd been protecting our son with a tent
pole and her sheer, magnificent will. I... I saw her run through and I felt anger for the first time in
my life. Real anger. I swung on the Centaur with all my strength and rage and... and I missed.
My blow so clumsy, so laughable that the Centaur could all but dance around me as I tried and
tried to strike the bastard born back. I threw myself at him, swung at him and kicked, and he
laughed at me. Laughed as my wife's blood ran red on his blade!" The clenched fist lashed out,
slamming onto the solid oak table beside his chair, the wood cracking beneath the titanic blow,
though neither the strike or the sound of it seem to touch Krinar at all. "He laughed!"

"I'm so sorry, Krinar," Pyanfar whispered.

Krinar looked to her, then away, the epitome of heartache. "It got no better. The
Centaur struck me down. I laid there in the dirt, dazed as... as he took up my son. He smiled.
That... that... He laughed... laughed as he... killed him. The laughter stopped at last, not
because of me, but because of the warrior that had cautioned me on my foolishness earlier. The
Centaur did not smile at his attacks, did not bat aside this warriors blows, he fell to them. His
name was Thunderstomp, I learned later. I remember the look he gave me as I sat there beside
my dead wife and son. It was not a look of pity, nor disgust, but that of one looking on a fool. Of
one who has seen another waste a precious gift."

The life seem to drain out of the Tauren with his words.

"As I wasted the precious gift of my family."

Pyanfar frowned up at her large friend. Thought a moment before speaking, choosing
her words carefully.

"I might not understand, being a Bloodelf, but... how are you the cause of your families
death? The Centaurs killed them."

Krinar was quiet of moment, then let out a huff. "Yes, the Centaurs were the cause of
their deaths, but I believe it was a lesson taught to me by the Earthmother. So many times in the
path of my life I was pointed toward another way, a different direction. Time and again, in ways
small and large I was urged to use the gifts the Earthmother gave me and every time this offer of
wisdom was made, I turned away from it, determined to set my own path. The lesson the
Earthmother taught me that day was that by neglecting the ways of the warrior I neglected my
family. If I had but taken the time to use the strength and speed she gifted me with to learn to
wield the sword and heft a shield, then those moments would have been repaid ten-fold in letting
me avenge my wife, and defend my son. As it was..." Krinar shook his head. "As it was, I was left
alive and they were left dead. I swore on that day I would no longer walk my own path, but walk
the Earthmother’s. I would learn all there was of the sword and shield. I swore to never again be
a victim, incapable of defending myself and others!"

With that, the Tauren grew silent. Drew in a deep breath and let it, taking up his oil cloth
and again working on the forgotten helm, niggling out imaginary spots of dirt. Pyanfar watched a
moment, frowning. Then she spoke.

"If that is a lesson from the Earthmother, it is a harsh one, I think."

The cloth stuttered for a moment, then continued.

"Yes," Krinar agreed softly. "A harsh one indeed."

Then, just for a moment, the warrior looked over at her. "Thank you for listening, my
friend."

Then his eyes were back on his work.

Pyanfar smiled slightly and rose, touching his shoulder.

"Whenever you have need, my friend," she said, and went back to her forgotten letter,
crumbling it up and drawing out a fresh sheet. She paused for a moment, watching Krinar in his
studious work, the warrior once again all things stoic and grim, but... she knew. The burden
shared was the burden halved.

Dear, Mercini, she started again on the fresh piece of parchment. Krinar and I are doing
well here in Camp Mojache. How are you?
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