— Veronica A. Shoffstall
A single day of freedom
Should be enough for me
Time enough to fly again
To soar and dive and sing
But I no more remember
The way into the sky
This cage has been barred too long
I flap but cannot fly
Failing, I return again
Retreating to my nest
Safely behind iron bars
(Surely the Horde knows best.)
Bright is the sun where she shines on the trees,
Warming the leaves as they dance in the breeze.
Cool is the water, gleaming far below,
Singing his throaty song, murmuring low.
Clouds scurry, scattering wide as they flee,
Chased by the wind as he roars from the sea.
Only stone sits quietly, and she still
Suns herself, stretching out mountain and hill.
Beasts call, trees blossom, birds and insects sing:
Night is gone, cold is dead—celebrate Spring!
[Context: I’m not certain, but I think this one might have been written in defiance of Nifa’s mood at the time, rather than a celebration of it.]
Yet together, given time,
they will wear the mountains away
into new valleys, canyons, worlds.
I am just as small, as worthless.
The difference is that I
am not given eons.
I will never see
whether or not
[Context: idek. Sad Nifa in rain.]
Some words, offered in kindness,
Never should have been spoken.
Some things cannot be mended;
They are meant to be broken.
Shattered pieces cut fingers.
Sweep them away and move on.
No point in wasting effort
On one who’s already gone.
[Context: An orc, the old boar referenced in a previous poem, makes Nifa cry again.]
What now is left of yesterday
But trinkets, words, and memories?
Nothing, only the dust.
What is there left for me to say,
But whispered words of memories?
Nothing, so now I hush.
What can I do but turn away?
I cannot live on memories.
And yet, I feel I must.
[Context: More dead mentor times? idk.]
[Originally told in Zandali at a storytelling night - Uzil’s Orcish translation is under the cut.]
Long, long ago, when the world was one, when the sky was not quite so tall as it is today and the rivers had just started to settle into their beds, the Gods created trolls. Though the Gods had many children already, each in the form of its parent, the trolls were still favored, for they alone were given some of the strongest part of every creature: the cunning of the raptor, the stealth of the cat, the hunting skill of the wolf, the strength of the bear, and so on. But this is not a story of the trolls. This is a story of their wayward children, and the misery those children wrought upon the world.
In those days, the Gods walked the valleys and stalked the forests, plain for all to see. They were many and they were strong, and all their children, beasts and trolls alike, worshipped them. The deer followed their father—for there was a deer-god then, the spiders wove their webs around their mother’s grove, and the great cats moved from shadow to shadow in their father’s footsteps. The trolls, though they worshipped all of these and more, yet had no one parent to call their own. So they lived in their villages, hunted in the forests, fished in the streams, and filled the air with chants and praises. All was well with the world.
Many generations passed, and not every troll was born strong. Some were stronger than the rest, yes, and considered greatly blessed, but others were weak and timid. The trolls did not know then, as we know now, to end those hopeless lives. Instead, they raised these weaklings as their own, letting them eat of the bounty of the tribe and sleep under roofs they did not help to build. These children grew, and as they grew, they ate more and more and grew more and more demanding and jealous of their brothers’ strength. At last, when it seemed that all would be consumed by their greed and laziness, the eldest of the trolls held a council, and it was decided: For the good of the tribe, these weak children must be cast out. So it was said, and so it was done.
But when is greed ever sated? These children hungered, and hungered more now that there were none to feed them. They were not quick enough to fish, nor were they strong enough to hunt, nor did they have the patience to grow crops. Instead, they were reduced to wandering, scavenging from the remains of the wolves’ and cats’ kills, stealing eggs from the birds and raptors, and gathering what fruits and nuts remained once the other beasts had eaten their fill. They would have died out in only a few years, had there not been one who took pity on them… or sought to use them for her own devices.
The Gods are the children of the earth, and their own children are many. The moon, the White Lady as you may know her, has but one Child, and it is barren. As the Lady watched the children of the Gods, night after night after night, she grew jealous. So it was that when the weakling children of the trolls were near death, she came to them, and showed to them a secret place, the spring from which the Gods drank and gained their power and vitality. They drank, then, as no mortals should, in defiance of their heritage, and they were changed. They were no longer children of the Gods now, but of the White Lady, and she laughed.
They named themselves for the stars, believing themselves full of a burning brightness, and set out to take the land from their brothers. But where they had begged and stolen before, now they fought and killed, and none were spared their greed nor their fury. They murdered as many trolls as they could find, pushing them from their villages and taking their homes for their own. They enslaved their other siblings, too, caging the birds and harnessing the cats, using them as weapons. And when some of the Gods attempted to resist the star-children’s new powers, even they were brought under their sway.
Even when all the land was theirs, for as far as they eye could see, still they did not rest. Great cities they built, of stone and trickery, and temples in which to worship their new mother. The trolls watched from a distance, but their strength was as nothing compared to those who had usurped the power of the Gods. So it was that they lived in secret, waiting for the day when at last the Gods would destroy these traitorous children.
That day never came. In the end, it was the star-children’s own arrogance that broke their empire, shattering the world. And yet, they still live, and so long as they do, the world cannot know peace again.
Smoke spreads above us.
Thoughts stretch below,
Searching for water,
Yearning to know.
Some die and wither.
Some turn to stone.
Some blaze with fire,
And one alone
Digs even deeper,
Til roots discover
A hidden spring.
I envy that strength,
That stubborn will
To question always.
Yet I am still.
My branches are stone
And cannot bend.
If they were able,
Would I move then?
Or—now I wonder
If I have tried.
When did I give up?
When did I die?
I focus my thoughts,
Question the stone.
What right does it have?
I should have known
I did this myself,
Let myself sleep.
I shove earth aside.
My roots drink deep.
Such a simple thing,
Yet I forgot:
Movement begets life,
And stillness, rot.
[Context: Nifa had been helping run a druid/shaman meditation and discussion circle. Best friend/SO’s comments made her think.]
I have not forgotten the taste of victory
Or the songs rising up from our celebration
Or the sound of laughter echoing through the trees
During those first few nights after the war was won.
We were Darkspear then, regardless of birth, of race.
Now we are Horde, and only memories remain.
[Context: Darkspear assimilation into the Horde, so soon after Zalazane’s fall.]