Below is the latest endeavor, a taste of where my head has been. Be warned that this story and the race and creatures involved is out of its usual, rich and complex context. Nevertheless, I felt it had more general appeal than many of my others, which only make sense if the reader is steeped in the lore of Azeroth.
And now...to share: How the Raptor Got Her Stripes
Though not shy, Moyja is reserved. She’ll laugh and smoke and tell tales with a body all night round the fire, but she’ll tell little about herself. She won’t say how her Da died or how the grief of it and her loneliness and fright afterward, though she was young and adaptable, nearly ruined her. She won’t tell what she and that boi, Deishi, did up in the red canyon alone. She won’t explain how an island girl, refugee in Sen’jin, ended up managing the wares and finances of a guild in Silvermoon. If she does talk about herself or kin, it’s always to another troll, Mai Mai for one, although she’s been known to waggle her tongue after too much rum.
When the troops at Stonebreaker Hold gather for stories, Moyja’s glad to share from the vast collection of tales in her head--just not those few she keeps to herself. Tonight she tells several, each in her turn. Only the single Tauren at the Hold, slow and dignified, rises to speak in his turns. The rest, orcs and trolls, sit relaxed and tell their stories more casually. This is the frontier, a forward base, so their storyfire is rough, just the smoker in the inn. Leaving the orcs to their rotgut, Moyja smokes instead. The Tauren, an elderly druid, shares the bowl and the mild pleasure of the herb with her.
Moyja’s last tale is old, one of the earliest tales she learned from her Da, one of those make-believe stories told to whelps. When it’s her turn, she passes the bowl to the Tauren to free her hands for the story-telling and pays careful attention to her orcish so all will understand her.
Way back when trolls live only undah da trees, some in da cool nort’, some in da warm sout’, b’fo’ Muddah Sun ‘dopted us, b’fo’ we build temples n cities, dere be a troll, Daki, who tame da first raptah n teach she ta carry ‘im. Dis raptah be da same coloh all ovah, ‘ead ta toe, capapie; pearly-silvah like moonlight.
When Muddah Sun lit da world n reveal da rainbow, Daki discover ‘e blue skin n ‘e golden ‘air like Muddah, n ‘e joyful wit’ da oddah trolls, who laugh ta be bright. Only t’ing make Daki sad be ‘e raptah, ‘lone o all da beasts, still pearly-silvah like moonlight. Daki’s clan, ridin’ on orange tigahs n pink n purple chocobos (‘member dis be long time ago), tease ‘e, ‘cause only ‘e mount pearly-silvah like moonlight.
“Daki,” say one, “Chu raptah so pale. Be she ill?” Anoddah jus point, slap ‘e knee n laugh. One, a pretty, girl troll, roll she eyes n toss she ‘air n look to a shmexy troll warriah ridin’ an orange-n-black stripe tigah. It be all more den Daki can bear (‘specially da girl).
Next night, aftah Muddah Sun paint da sky She second time, Daki mount up ‘e raptah, pearly-silvah like moonlight, n head fo’a secret place ‘e know, spot ‘e used t’go swimmin’ in da warm springs. Fact, da lost land where ‘e first find da raptah n tame she, Un’goro Cratah. ‘Course, lands different in dose days b’fo’ da Sundering n places close today, once distant. Places distant, sometimes toss side-by-side. I don’ know ‘ow fa’ o ‘ow long Daki travel, but ‘ventually ‘e arrive at da Cratah where watahs steam n black pools ooze. Parrots live ‘ere, b’loved by Muddah Sun, who paint dem ‘specially colohful.
Daki, b’sides bein’ a sensitive troll, be a great ‘untah, n ‘e got a plan to make ‘e raptah bright. Daki ‘unts parrots, lots n lots o parrots, red ones, blue ones, green parrots. When ‘e kill n pluck ‘undreds o parrots, ‘e coax ‘e raptah, pearly-silvah like moonlight, right into one o da black, oozin’ pools of ta’. ‘Ow ‘e get she t’do it, we never know, ‘cause she a girl raptah, fastidious ‘bout she looks. When she emerge, she not pearly-silvah like moonlight; she black n sticky, jus’ as Daki plan. One by one, ‘e apply da colohed, parrot feat’ahs to ‘e raptah’s sticky ‘ide, but ‘e not got enough o all one coloh. Lot of green ‘e got, so ‘e start wit it, but den ‘e add a row o blue, den green again, til ‘e raptah mos’ly green all ovah wit’ blue stripes, n a few pink n a few red, quite bright!
To set da feat’ahs, Daki ride ’e raptah t’Fireplume Ridge in da center o da crater, where ‘eat o da lava bake da black ta’ n feat’ahs firm to ‘e raptah’s ‘ide. No longah she pale, pearly-silvah like moonlight, n Daki start ‘e journey back ta da clan, eagah ta show dem (‘specially da girl) ‘e brightly-colohed n striped raptah.
In triumph, Daki ride inta ‘e village. She-raptah prance proud in she feat’ah coat o many colohs n waggle she tail jaunty as dey parade pas’ da troll girl, who look n look wit’ eyes gleamin’ like fiyah n fresh blood. When Daki offah da girl ‘e ‘and, she leap up on da raptah’s back n share ’e ride. Not long aftah, she share ‘e life, n dey make toget’ah a bambino, a li’l whelp.
Da raptah, turns out, come from Un’goro Cratah wit mo’e den feat’ahs. Inside she stable, she build a nest o straw n lay a purple egg ovah which she fuss wit’ great concern, ‘llowing no one close ‘xcept Daki. Aftah much anticipation by all, da egg finally ‘atch n out spring a tiny, male raptah, not pearly-silvah like moonlight at all, but emerald green wit’ an undah-belly o delicate pink n stripes o sunny yellow!
Evah since, raptahs born wit’ bright stripes on rainbow-colohed ‘ides, n trolls still ride dese mounts, who still waggle dere tails jaunty wit’ pride in dere looks.