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Anca and the Death Knights
#1
Some time ago...

She no longer worried about the blood coming from her little nose, nor the swelling that closed her left eye. She hurt too much. The cries stopped, too. Her breathing only came out in quiet little whimpers. But every now and then, the plated fist would strike her again, and words would be shouted at her, words she couldn't understand and were getting harder and harder to hear.

--------

The four metal men crushed the wagons of the caravan, setting them ablaze with green fire. Some of the travellers, they cut down. Others, they cast into a great net, entangling them together. The little orc girl peered at the scene from the thick underbrush. She'd hoped to scavenge from the box that fell from the back of a wagon some yards back, but the metal men had attacked the caravan before it had gotten a safe distance further down the road. Now the girl could only watch as the large, black boar tried to nudge her deeper into the brush. But she couldn't stop watching, wishing she could help the poor people. If she could, maybe they would reward her with some food. At least, that was her thought before one of the metal men, who had moved out of her view amidst the slaughter, stepped right beside her and grabbed her at the scruff of her neck. The pig, jumping to her defense, was swatted away as she fell into the net.

--------

Some that had been in the net were killed, some were chained as she was. The place was dark and smelled bad. Around her, people were cowering or threatening, pleading or dying, crying or shouting, and all in words the girl couldn't understand. But then, she didn't have words, herself, so wasn't able to answer her tormentors even if she understood. And there was no food. Only the shouts and the blows. She had been scared since first seeing the metal men, but had only been crying since the fist broke her nose. It must have been at least a day ago, if there had been a way to tell time in this place. And the tears had almost run out.

Now and then, someone would call over the huge man in the shiny blue metal. He would speak to a prisoner, the prisoner would cower and babble, and the huge man would raise his hand. A glow of strange light would surround the prisoner, then he would be set free. The girl wanted to know how she could be set free, too. But the people wouldn't listen to her when she would make sounds. They would hit her again. But it was important, she knew, because sometimes the people wouldn't call over the huge man. Sometimes they would take a big knife and stick it in a prisoner, and the prisoner would cry out and stop. They would just lie there. The girl didn't want to be one of the people left to lie there.

--------

The other people in the net were screaming and crying, and the little orc girl couldn't work herself free. The others were all pushing and shoving as they tried to get out of the net, so the girl would get tangled again almost as soon as she would work one limb free. When she could, she would throw a knee or elbow to try to stop from being pushed, but to no avail. A glowing door of light opened in the middle of the road, and the metal men pulled the net and all the people through.

--------

One of the people approached the girl but didn't hit her. Instead, it knelt down before her and looked her over, grabbing her chin and turning her head side to side. It spoke to her in that deep, hollow voice, like the bottom of the old well in the forest. It spoke again, and the girl knew this was the moment: if she could answer well, they'd make the glow and unlock her chains, but if she didn't, she'd lie on the floor forever. But she didn't know the answer, as she didn't know the question, and she had no words of her own. Instead, she met the knight's eyes, deep under his cowl, and simply stared.

The man in blue approached, grasped her neck with one hand, and lifted her from the floor. He, too, looked into her eye, and she could do nothing but look back.

--------

"Well?" asked Razuvious. "What do you think?"

"Strange magic around her," answered the Baron. "But you say she won't answer?" The Instructor shook his head, looking over the girl as she barely struggled against the hand at her throat. The manacles at her wrists were gone, but she barely had the strength to lift her arms. But her one eye stayed fixed on those of the man holding her up.

"If she won't answer, then waste no more time on her. Magic or no, she's not worth it."

The Instructor threw the limp body to a ghoul, which caught her roughly. "Get rid of it. Throw it out with the other bodies." The ghoul, though loyal and unwavering, was of course not good with following instructions more complex than "stay," "come," or "kill," and only fixated on the "throw it out" part of the command. It scampered away and pitched the little girl over the edge of the platform, and it fell long to the ground below.

--------

Sunlight. And wind. She blinked in the light and let herself feel the breeze. It was good. Until she crashed through the tree branches.

--------

Snuffletusk felt the girl calling to him, and didn't hesitate. He ran through the green portal right behind the shadowy humans. He gored at the leg of one again, and got a kick to the ribs in return, sending him flying and breaking some of the bones in his chest. When his head cleared, the people and the little girl were all gone. He could still sense the girl, though, calling to him in his mind. But there was no way to her. She was somewhere up in the sky. And no matter how much he limped around these strange hills, he couldn't find a way to her. But still, he tried.

--------

She could scarcely believe she could feel worse than when she was chained and being beaten. But here it was. The world wouldn't straighten up, going all swirly whenever she would move her head, and her limbs wouldn't move where or when she tried to move them. But the sound of grunting, as if through the little waterfall in the stream, came through. Her little hands reached up to grip the ridge of hair at the boar's spine, and she was dragged away, deep into the brush. Her grip didn't falter even when she passed out, and the boar didn't stop walking until they were well away from that evil thing floating in the sky.

--------

Anca sat at the table in the great hall. The shoulders of her armor made a seat lifting her high enough off the chair to reach the surface of the table comfortably. Coranda left a little plate of brown and white cookies beside her, with a mug filled with freshly crushed grape juice. Some of the Tribe sat at the table, eating, or writing, and others gathered around the fire pit, deep in conversations. The hammer and anvil could be heard in the distant Forge, and the bustle of the evening had died down to a low murmur. Snuffletusk snored deeply, lying on the floor underneath her feet (he wasn't usually one to stay in the hall proper, but he'd recently bathed and had a stomach-full, so had decided to nap right at the table instead of in the honeycomb tunnels). Anca busied herself with her new picture book, sounding out words to herself.

A few of the Death Knights stood together near the main door, in conversation with the Shieldbearer and a few other Tribemates. Now and then, Anca would raise an eye to watch them, but would look away if any of them looked as if they might meet her eye.

She didn't want to meet that knight's gaze again. The one time was enough.
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#2
Now noting, for people who haven't seen it in the RP, Anca's attitude toward Death Knights.

Anca will not look any of the Tribe's Death Knights in the eyes, instead looking down and away. She usually clams up when one addresses her, even if she was in a rather manic phase right before being addressed. She does not accept things offered to her by Death Knights unless pressed by another member of the Tribe, and likewise will not thank the person unless pressed to do so. Anca will not remain alone with a Death Knight, and will always stand closer to other Tribemates than to any of the Death Knights. She has been this way since the Death Knights were first accepted into the Ironsong Tribe.

She does not, however, speak out against Death Knights in the Tribe, nor speak ill of them, nor does she discuss with other Tribemates why she has these non-interactions with the Death Knights. It is not a passive-aggressive stance she holds, nor is it fear. It is a silent wariness.

Comments or questions about the story are very welcome, as are interactions in guildchat at appropriate times!
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#3
OOC:
I had noticed Anca's reactions to Death Knights in the past. I noticed it again at moot this Thursday. I was curious but decided not say anything.

This story answers my curiosity. I really enjoyed reading it!

Thanks,

Stalk
Stalkinghoof, 85th level Tauren Hunter
Krinar Cloudcleaver, 85th level Tauren Warrior
Zerthis Waterwalker, 85th level Orc Shaman
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#4
((Very nice indeed! I had figured it was something vaguely along those lines, but I was never sure. Cora doesn't know anything except that Anca sometimes gets quiet, and then hugs her and feeds her until she feels okay again. Seems to work for most Tribemates, actually.))
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