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Lok'Tar, My Strength
#1
((I hope my musings of in-game events prove to be entertaining. The day-to day activities of playing WoW have always been a great source of enjoyment for me, especially when put into a narrative context. Comments are welcome.))

The pain was unimaginable. As his claws tore through my armor and drew stripes of glistening crimson from within my flesh I understood how this magnificent beast had come by the name "Rake".

I held his head firmly within my two shaking hands while he raked furiously at my arms, chest and face. He fought viciously for both his freedom and to end the life od his challenger. The taste of my own blood was nothing new to me, but never have I allowed a beast to have such unchallenged freedom to attack me. I strained furiously to hold his piercing eyes and maintain my own concentration, looking to force my will beyond the blood-rage in his dilated pupils and to travel deeper into that place where I could draw submission from him. By Thrall, the pain...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"You have learned much in a short time" said Thotar. I stood before him with a submissive Scorpid in tow, the last of the beasts I was to train to learn fully the ways of Beast Mastery. "You have passed 10 seasons now without having made a single visit to the White Witch of the Grave. You may have the fire of a great Hunter within you."

I held his questioning stare, trying not to let a telling smile pass upon my lips. I did not fool him.

"Pride will kill you. That death may come in the form of your quarry, but it is the poor decision of pride that is the end of many an able Hunter." His eyes travelled my full of my height and came to rest upon my eyes again. "Before I pass on to you the skills required to keep a hunt-mate, I would know which type you will seek."

My throat was still parched from my last task in the hot sands- and this did not make it any easier to reply as I croaked out a single word in reply:

"Rake".

His stare took on the impact of an iron rod, and I felt as though his eyes were probing deep into my very essence- is this what it feels like to be a beast with a Hunter attempting to tame you? His warning of pride took root within my mind. Was this folly? Of all the worthy beasts around the perimeter of Razor Hill, was I a fool to attempt a journey overland to the City of Cattle to seek this most rare of beasts? For a moment my will faltered as his stare continued it's assault upon me. My own gaze began to fall when I remembered the words of my Night-Elf savior, the Druid that won my freedom from a perverse mage out of pity: "Your story is what you make of it. No man or creature can determine for you where your foot shall fall. This is not pride, child. This is the path of the Hero. It is what shall set you apart from the peons of your own people. Pride considers no others, the Path considers others, then sets the course accordingly."

My resolve returned and my eyes roe to meet those of Thotar once again. "Yes." I said. "The Rake."

The iron of his gaze melted as a grin tore upon his lips with an unbridled pleasure. "Good. He is a worthy prize for any Hunter. He will serve you well, for you have learned well. Make a name that is worthy to pass over the lips of Thrall himself! Pass through the mother city on your way to Thunder Bluff and seek there the remainder of your training. A pet is no good if you do not have the skills to keep it."

With this, he clapped my shoulder brusquely and bid me Lok'Tar.

The trip through Orgrimmar was swift, as I moved with the energy born of anticipation. With the required stop at the city-trainer there, I was ready to make the journey down the Gold Road and ultimately into the lair of my quarry.

My throat was still parched as the merciless sun above reveled in its' searing strength, but there was quarry at hand- no time to stop for mere refreshment. My legs were swift, my arms strong, my aim true and my arrows as sharp as my resolve. Today, I would master the Rake!

I enetered the grasslands without incident, tracking the various beasts along the way. I thought to take down a trophy tiger, much stronger than myself, as I saw it prowling about the base of an imposing tree in the distance. Surely I could take it. My skills are honed sharp as my own axe... Surely this would be a challenge worthy of a Hero.

"Pride." came the voice of Thotar. "Yes," I mumbled to myself as the bloodlust passed- "this is pride. I will not fill the belly of a tiger today." I saluted the tiger's strength and continued onward. "Another day, brother tiger."

I entered the grasslands where the Tauren dwell. I made my way swiftly along the Eastern rim of the mountain range that encircled their homelands, then cut cross-country as I caught the smell of a lion scrape carried by the breeze.

There he stood- the Rake. I secured a blunted arrow and nocked it to the sinew of my bow. My hand trembled as I set to release a concussive shot. He is magnificent. Suddenly, the wild mane of his great head flared as the wind shifted and his nostrils flared with the intake of my own scent. Our eyes met... I released my shot and he was upon me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A claw catches my cheek and snaps me from my drifting thoughts. "NO!" I scream within the confines of my own head- "Concentrate you fool!"

Although weakened by his merciless assault, I renew my grip upon his attacking head and push my face even closer to his snapping maw. His might is an even match for my own broad muscles, but his will- by Thrall! I cannot break the strength that drives this beast! I feel my life slipping from me and I know that this lion will either be mine or I will be a meal for him to break his fast. In a final, urgent effort, I pull his head to mine, forcing his eyes before my own and in a moment YES! I am there... I have found his heart and I speak to it:

"Brother Rake, join me. Be my Brother and grow strong with me."

As quickly as it began, it is over. His expression softens and I feel his frame relax in my grip. He steps to my side as I release him and he brushes against my bloodied thigh as he releases a furious roar- as though his own pride is exploding in a final protest of rebelliousness before he slumps into submissive obedience and I slump wounded to the ground beside him. He i still in the rebellious first stages of the Taming, but he almost seems worried about my wounds, the very wounds he caused moments before. He utters a short, low growl and I feel an abrasive tounge lap my cheek. I tend to my wounds, but only after tending to the wounds and the hunger of my new beast.

One limping journey later, I am again in Razor Hill standing before my Hunt-Master. After much disbelief and congratulation I am asked a question:

"What is his name, young Bull?" asks Thotar, beaming with an open-toothed grin that would have mothers sending their children indoors for protection.

"I have found my strength" I reply. "His name is Lok'Tar."
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