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How the Cutefase Troll Lives

 
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destron



Joined: 25 Aug 2007
Posts: 262

PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:09 pm    Post subject: How the Cutefase Troll Lives Reply with quote

((So we've all heard about the cutefase, the one attractive female troll face that almost every player seems to choose. We've heard the criticisms and defenses, the accusations of Mary-Suedom and the stories of pretty, pretty troll princesses beloved by their entire tribe.

What's always gotten me was the fact that the cutefase just doesn't seem like it'd be attractive by troll standards. Frankly, the cutefase looks human, and what troll wants that?

With that in mind, here's a story I wrote from the perspective of a cutefase troll living in Orgrimmar. This is the first half; the second half will actually tell the story about the retaking of the Echo Isles from her perspective.

Normally I try to avoid writing more fanfic than I already do. I ended up writing this after my computer broke down, preventing me from accessing my other stories (and unfortunately, I still can't get Microsoft Word to work, meaning I can't access the Scratched Nerve story I started earlier, meaning that Scratched Nerve won't be updated this month). Anyway, I had an excuse to write this, so I did.))

*********

"That withered old crone! Nothing you give will rest her spirit, foolish girl. Her kind aren't deserving of respect or remembrance. Let her starve as a hungry ghost. She turned into wasted blood after Naj'gan died, just like you'll be wasted blood for the rest of your days."

Daj'yah bit her lip, a sharp retort poised on her tongue. The lanky priest howled in laughter, slapping his bony knees from where he sat, his painstakingly mutilated visage made demonic in the shadow and firelight. Daj'yah clutched the tiny amulet in her robe pocket, a panther carved from kodo bone, making a silent prayer of protection as spirits swirled in the darkness of the temple, her hungry mother among them. In her other hand she held the pouch of incense, only a few feet away from the temple brazier.

"I must pay my respect, Bhag'lo," she said, hating the tremble in her voice. "Vad'yah was my mother true, mad though she may have been. I've got the incense, all I ask is that you let me throw it in."

"She birthed you, another reason to forget the old hag. You come to the temple alone, Daj'yah, you who are a both a witch and a girl? I speak with the spirits of the dead, and know they spit on you for this presumption. Send someone respectable, next time, and I will consider it if the gifts are to my liking. For now, go, before my wrath falls upon you."

Daj'yah withdrew, livid eyes fixed on the cackling priest as she backed out through the low door and into the warm desert night. Lights spread out before her as the merchants closed shop and the artisans finished up for the day, selling to a last handful of tardy customers. Her shoulders held high she walked along the raised wooden paths, past porters weighed down with goods and over the reed canoes struggling through the filthy water towards their berths. Smoke from open-air huts carried the smell of spiced pork and fresh cassava, mixed with the wet stink of rubbish piling up along the stilts of the smaller huts, a contrast against the webwork of copper pipes under the homes of great warriors and headmen.

Without a word she walked up the rickety steps to her home in the Darkbriar Lodge, bowing her head in respect to the holy skulls of wizards past propped up on poles outside. Taking a tallow candle from the threshold table, a spark lighted at her fingertips and spread to the wick, revealing the cluttered interior. Shelves sagged under the weight of Gurubashi codices and translated Lordaeronian spellbooks.

"Is anyone here?" she called out.

No answer, her voice lost in the sounds of the city. Satisfied, she sat down at a table and put her face in her hands, letting the tears flow.

*********

"Ah, Daj'yah, darling. You should not be so hard on yourself."

Easy for you to say that, with men from beyond the tribe wanting your hand in marriage.

She smiled in response.

"First thing you need to know is, you're not ugly. Not really. I've seen plenty worse than you getting fine husbands, good at the hunt and good in the hammock. You just need to fix yourself up."

Daj'yah couldn't help laughing at her cousin, whose brow sloped back till it resembled a jaguar's, graced by tusks thick and gleaming.

"You're not hearing me, Mala'ha," disagreed Daj'yah. "My tongue's as sharp as your nose. I need a husband who can take all that and still want me."

"For all your books, Daj'yah, you're still a little girl when it comes to love. There's no man who wants his woman mocking him. Men have big muscles but fragile little hearts, and they won't love a girl who doubts them. Just how the gods made us."

"And the gods made me to know many things and not be afraid to tell others. I take after my mother, perhaps."

"Put those thoughts of your mother out of your head. I do not know what she was thinking, not marrying again. Think how much bigger our tribe could've been if she got another husband!"

"I am sure my two or three unborn siblings would have really made us an unstoppable force in the Horde."

"There you go again, Daj'yah! Here, you need to have fun. I know you can do it, I know you want it. Here, I am thinking I can make you look like a goddess. Give me tomorrow and you'll have big brave hunters throwing themselves at your feet."

"I am not a goddess, so why should I look like one? I should be telling the priests about what you're saying," laughed Daj'yah.

"Men are easy, look right and they'll do anything. You do not want to be your mother, Daj'yah. Every day you get a little older. Wait too long and no man will ever want you, and the womenfolk will think you're bad luck."

"They already think I'm bad luck!"

"Because you act like you have it. Come on, I'm trying to help you. Remember the fun we had? Give me a chance."

The fun we had, and Daj'yah instantly thought back to the rain-lashed jungle clearing so many years ago, her mother crying alone in the dark, the contempt of her tribe crushing down on her bent back. Only Chieftain Sen'jin's wife, Daj'yah's fertile aunt, spared her mother from banishment. Mala'ha and her siblings took shy Daj'yah as their own, putting shells in her hair, dressing her up like a broken doll, and giggling at her soft face and small nose. No one else so much as looked at her in those days, but those little things let Daj'yah know the tribe still counted her among their own.

"I am sorry, Mala'ha. You're right, I spend too much time alone. You can make me look like a goddess tomorrow."

"Excellent! Then we'll go out and see what we can find, huh? Old trick I learned, get a hen, full-grown, and cut her throat. Let the blood rest on your belly through the night, put some in your hair. In the morning, wash it off your skin but keep it in the hair. The spirits of desire will go into you, and then pull in the eyes of men."

"I know the ritual. I wrote an entire book on Darkspear symbolism," said Daj'yah, momentarily forgetting her audience.

"Symbolism?"

"Oh. That's a Common word, it means the study of what colors and animals and other things represent to a tribe. Like how a hen is a sign of fertility."

"That's just the spirits, Daj'yah. I don't know what this symbolism has to do with it. Put such silly things out of your head, you and I are going to have fun tomorrow!"

*********

Daj'yah decided that she definitely didn't like the smell of hen's blood. She resisted the urge to shave off all of her tangled and bloody red hair and simply endured the stench as the morning warmth crescendoed into the afternoon burn.

She submitted to Mala'ha's ministrations. Her cousin came into the Darkbriar Lodge at noon, a mad smile on her face. Everyone turned to admire her sleek and athletic body as she strode proudly through the libraries and studies, the wizards there still men for all their magic.

Dropping the curtains on the door leading to Daj'yah's tiny room, Mala'ha began her art, strong hands moving with speedy perfection. She applied soot on Daj'yah's cheekbones and under her wide green eyes, urging her to squint to enhance the effect.

"My eyes are going to get sore doing this," she complained.

"Ah, no one said it was easy being a woman."

Mala'ha spent an hour on Daj'yah's hair, straightening it and then tying it so it fell around her face like a hood, making her features hard to see.

"You need to look mysterious. Do it right, and the men will drive themselves mad with wondering."

The tusks were the worst, and Daj'yah gasped with pain as Mala'ha scraped them with a whetstone.

"Don't be a baby. You've got tiny little tusks, so you need to make them stand out."

All through the ordeal, Daj'yah thought about the books she wrote and read, everything that she knew, and wondered why she put up with Mala'ha. The ache of loneliness proved reason enough. Few read her works or listened to her words, even her closest colleagues doing little more than nod when she spoke. Until she added to the tribe, until she proved she was not barren, her thoughts would be those of a little girl who did not know her place. Who cared that she lived and breathed the currents of magic, when tradition was older still?

Her cousin added the finishing touches, putting a net of twine and bright clay beads on Daj'yah's scalp, drawing white stripes on her cheeks to make her face look longer. Finally, Mala'ha brought out a small and colorful robe, telling Daj'yah to tie the belt tight around her slender waist, enough to suggest wonders without revealing her utter lack of muscle tone.

Mala'ha handed Daj'yah a polished brass mirror, a wicked grin on her face.

"Take a look!" Daj'yah wondered if the twinge of doubt in Mala'ha's voice was just her imagination. In the reflection her face receded into the shadows of her stylized hair, the tusks almost gleaming. A real beauty, she thought, so long as the light is dim and the beholder drunk.

"I look beautiful," she said, trying to sound confident. She flashed a smile at her cousin.

"You sure do! Now come on, let's go out to the Boiled Bone. Sure to find some interesting fellows there, yeah?"


Last edited by destron on Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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destron



Joined: 25 Aug 2007
Posts: 262

PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The round wooden hut called the Boiled Bone belched out smoke, perched on stilts at the edge of the Valley of Spirits next to the dusty canyon road where orc warriors patrolled under the hot sun, enduring the calls of dried meat vendors. Polished crocolisk skulls gaped from the rafters, urging customers to bring appetites equivalent to such worthy beasts.

"Ah, one thing I do miss about the old island. Lots easier to get a man in those days, just cook something and give it to him when he came back from the hunt. Now there's so many trolls everywhere, many of them strange to our ways," sighed Mala'ha.

"Doesn't that give you more choice? Not much to choose from on the old island," remarked Daj'yah, feeling more self-conscious with each step.

"Most men are the same, just get a live one and you'll be all right," she laughed.

Daj'yah rolled her eyes, feeling her body shrink into itself. What was she doing? She didn't like the Boiled Bone and its eternal stench of spoiled palm wine, the drunk clients and their ridiculous boasts. Mala'ha expected her to find a man here, of all places? She wished she was a heroine in a Lordaeronian comedy of manners where suitors pursued their loves with grace and poetry, expecting a fine lady able to appreciate it. Daj'yah almost laughed; she knew those novels didn't reflect the reality of old Lordaeron. But it was fun to believe.

She grimaced as the stale air wrapped around her face like a sponge, an evening crowd already filing in. Two old trolls with Skullsplitter markings slapped bone dominoes on the table by the door, the sharp percussion still audible over the laughing flirtations heard elsewhere.

"This isn't such a good idea," muttered Daj'yah, her eyes adjusting to the darkness.

"None of that! Sit yourself down and have a drink. I swear, I've never seen someone as nervous as you. Have a little faith in yourself!"

"Lacking faith in myself isn't the problem," she said, as she watched a young Darkspear chug down a keg of banana beer. Her life's endless longing dissipated in that instant, the way it always did in such situations. She knew it would return all the stronger once she went home.

"They'll like you fine," Mala'ha scoffed, completely misunderstanding what Daj'yah meant.

Mala'ha bought two mugs of palm wine to the grimy table, along with a coconut shell filled with sticky rum. She poured most of the sickly-sweet drink into her cousin's palm wine, Daj'yah recoiling in alarm at the sight.

"You need to ease up! This helps. Always does." Mala'ha downed the rest of the rum in a single gulp.

A withered Bloodscalp with a kettle drum in hand ambled up to the bar, wrinkled hands pounding on the hide. He wore wooden bracelets studded with tiny metal rattles that jangled against the wood, the sounds creating a fierce and steady heartbeat for the proceedings. Almost unseen in the shadows, a younger island troll began blowing on a brass horn, the seemingly aimless rhythm dancing in between the beats. Daj'yah noted the valves on the horn, a hint of Forsaken or Sin'dorei influence.

Maybe I should mention that to him, considered Daj'yah.

She didn't. Beside her, Mala'ha began clapping, her sculpted body swaying to the rhythm. Troll men chuckled in appreciation, whistling at her to get fierce smiles in return.

Daj'yah scowled, her cousin's sudden generosity explained. She chided herself for the thought; Mala'ha alone had been kind to her, the possessive and bullying kindness an older sister might feel for a wayward younger sibling.

Night wound on in the Boiled Bone, words and notes slurring as the palm wine flowed. Admirers flocked to Mala'ha until the creaking hut seemed to tilt to one side. She returned their entreaties with clever barbs, the crowd reeling with laughter and desire. Daj'yah continued to sit, her drink untouched. Sometimes Mala'ha motioned for her to rise but she refused, not knowing what to do.

"This fine lady here is my cousin, Daj'yah. Silent like the hunting jaguar and ten times as fierce, too much for you puny whelps," she sneered.

"If we wanted a jaguar we'd be dancing in the forest right now! But we're here, with you!" bellowed an inebriated warrior.

"If you were in the forest right now you'd be in some monster's belly for sure."

They laughed and clapped to her every word.

Finally, a young warrior who looked as if he'd come right out of his mother's house sat down before Daj'yah, the smell of fermented bananas clinging to his pores. He wore a tousled blue mohawk on his scalp, the hair starting to droop in the sweaty air.

"So who's the quiet one, eh?"

Someone who knows better than to talk to fools.

"Daj'yah, like my cousin said."

"Ah, I'm already forgetting what she said. I like it more when women talk about me. I'm young, sure, but strong in the arm," he boasted, flexing his admittedly well-muscled right arm.

Pity you can't say the same about your brain.

"But this arm isn't the only place I'm strong."

Thank the Loa, I was worried the left arm didn't match.

"That's good," said Daj'yah.

The warrior blinked, and then look to the ground.

"I guess I didn't say that very well. What I meant—"

"I know what you meant," she interrupted, partly to spare him embarrassment.

"Oh. Look, I don't know a whole lot about women, you know? I mean, I just go by what my brothers tell me. So maybe you could tell me something."

"I don't know much either. Maybe you should ask my cousin."

"Ah, I wouldn't know what to say. I mean, if a real lovely like you isn't interested, I doubt she'd be."

He got to his feet, defeat writ large on his face.

"Wait! What's your name?" asked Daj'yah.

"Ven'ghol. My father was Hoto'jan, he died fighting the murlocs."

"He must have been in a different village from me. Um, very brave of him though."

"Everyone in my family is brave. You see it even in the babies."

He seemed to waver in the hot air, and Daj'yah's heart caught in her throat. Suddenly the dense room seemed to press in on her, the heat thick enough to kill.

"Let's go outside."

Jumping up from her seat she went to the door, too afraid to look back and see if Ven'ghol followed. She feared her heart would burst, her head spinning from a single sip of the mix, a primal song in her veins. The cold air of the desert night washed over Daj'yah, her blood still running hot. She seized up in panic when she heard the bare feet on the walkway behind her, and she turned to see Ven'ghol, lean and strong in the torchlight.

"It's a good night. Good for many things," he said.

"For sure."

Leave. Now.

She stayed rooted to the spot, not sure what to say.

"Don't be shy, Daj'yah. You and I both want some fun, eh?"

He moved forward, his uncertain gait belying his confidence. Arms outstretched, he reached towards a strand of Daj'yah's hair, plastered by sweat to the side of her face. His smell flooded her nostrils, alcohol thick on his breath. Her eyes darted all around, not sure where to look, her hands fluttering useless by her sides.

And then, anger. Anger towards the drunken fool leaning in, and to Mala'ha, and to the whole damned world that had no room for her. Her pride, the one thing she had for herself, flared up at that moment and she turned away.

"Wait! Let's see if you really want me."

"What?"

He watched in confusion as she knelt down by the water, dipping her hand in the foul stuff and splashing it across her face. Daj'yah flung the beads to the ground and threw her hair back. Running back to the door of the Boiled Bone she pulled the torch from its sconce and held it up next to her face.

"This here is what I look like, Ven'ghol. They say I could have human blood in my veins, with my ugly round face, my tiny little tusks! You want to kiss this?"

"Fine by me," he muttered.

"And then you go back and tell your friends about this ugly lonely girl you had fun with? You know nothing about me!" Can you love me? Can you? I want you to, but can you really? her mind shouted.

"Yeah, and I don't want to anymore! Crazy woman!"

Daj'yah slammed the torch in its place and shoved Ven'ghol out of the way, storming back to the Darkbriar Lodge alone, thoughts of arcane fire burning in her mind.

*********

Mala'ha yelled at Daj'yah all through the morning. She went through all the old threats, that word spread and how no one wanted some foolish maiden who acted like a withered crone, too arrogant for hunters who deserved better than her in the first place, how she brought bad luck and mocked the ancestors with her silly ways, how she knew nothing about trolls despite being one.

Daj'yah absorbed it in stoic silence at first before the bitter apologies tumbled out. She turned her eyes to the floor as she asked forgiveness, hoping tears didn't drop from her moist eyes, lips curled in anger. Mala'ha was her elder, and needed an apology no matter how wrong she was. Sure, word traveled, but no one cared in Orgrimmar where trolls came and went every day. Mala'ha's soul still lived in the village, in a way that Daj'yah could never understand.

But Mala'ha was right too. A wizard she might be, but Daj'yah was just a woman, simply one with an extra use before she entered motherhood, something that looked less likely by the day. As Mala'ha and her peers learned the ways of women, learned the age-old dances and recipes and seductions, Daj'yah was taught in the ways of magic, cloistered with her mentor, Gu'jomb, the Old Man of the Jungle. None of the mages knew how to live in the tribe, not really. But most were men, and for them it did not matter.

A curdled feeling of uselessness gnawed at her heart, the despair that came from years of isolation. She remembered the cruelties of Mala'ha, how she only defended her when some other child began throwing stones or pushing her in the mud. Mala'ha didn't want anyone else to play with her favorite broken toy, even as she teased Daj'yah with the hand of friendship when no one else did; her, the neglected daughter of a hateful mother.

Daj'yah used to hate her mother. Over time, Daj'yah began to understand the strength she'd unwittingly taught her. That since no woman could rely on a tribe's arbitrary rules, she had to carve her own through power. Her mother never found that power, but Daj'yah did. Instead her mother hid in madness and contempt, spitting and screaming at how no man could match her dead husband. Either way the lesson was the same: that no matter what rituals the tribe shared, what enemies they declared, each and every troll stood alone.

Daj'yah spent much of her time in her room, the four walls a world unto themselves. The books she'd written and designed lined the small chamber: spellbooks that made magic accessible, primers on literacy that had taught a generation how to read, treatises of troll history and arcane lore. Among them the Lordaeronian and Stormwinder novels she read when the world grew too brutal, and she craved to visit a realm where beautiful sorceresses won the respect of kings and knights errant.

A rap on the wall woke her from her musings, and she turned to see Uthel'nay at the door to her room. She bit her lip at the sight of the awkward troll, his spindly legs too long for his body.

"Daj'yah, is everything all right? That cousin of yours seemed ready to kill."

"Ah, don't mind her."

"I don't," he laughed. She still heard the shyness in Uthel'nay's voice. A mage like her, he also had never learned the social rules of Darkspear life. He'd started his studies at an earlier age, before the tribe landed on Durotar, and under a much crueler mentor.

He held a clay cup in his hand, filled with black coffee the texture of sludge. They'd known each other since Daj'yah followed Gu'jomb to the city, their alienation like a mutual beacon. Somehow it never blossomed into love. She'd have given herself to Uthel'nay once, but his retiring nature put an end to that. Daj'yah always fancied that Uthel'nay would marry a fine and beautiful huntress one day, like in those old legends about clumsy yet lucky youths who ended up leading villages. Her heart thrilled at the thought of their happiness, how Uthel'nay and his wife (always named Hana'ka in Daj'yah's imagination) would bring more young trolls in the world, how they'd let Daj'yah care for them, perhaps instruct a few in the ways of magic. A family forever together, Daj'yah in its loving orbit.

"Old Vol'jin had a meeting last night, I don't know if you heard," said Uthel'nay.

"I was... busy, last night. What's the crafty old man up to?"

"Taking back the Echo Isles."

Daj'yah's mouth dropped open in shock.

"Why now? Who needs those old islands anymore?"

"Orgrimmar's changing, Daj'yah. Vol'jin sees war ahead for the orcs, bloody fights with no end or reason. The world turned real bad after Wrathgate. If we live here, we march where they march. Farther out though, we can do what's right for us."

"He wants to leave the Horde?"

"No! Just be a bigger part of it, not a runty faction led around by the orcs all the time. He's got some real canny sorts backing him up on this. Len'lo's singing prophecy of a new Gurubashi Empire, and Denjai sees us getting stronger and wilder than ever before." Uthel'nay laughed again. "Trolls aren't much for being consistent, I'm guessing."

"What do you think about this?"

"Might not be bad. Might be terrible. Too early to say, but it will mean lots of mages. It'd be a good way for a troll to make his mark."

"And he's really got his mind set on this?"

"Everyone does, it's going to happen soon. He's calling up all the killers and hunters grab their spears and do battle. Mages too, me among them. I need to find someone who'll take care of Aja if I die; praying real hard that I don't. You've seen her, she'll be giving birth real soon."

Ah, Uthel'nay, if you've ever been my friend let me take care.

"That she is. I want to see you be a father too," said Daj'yah.

Uthel'nay left soon after, going to greet an ambassador from the Quel'thalas Magister's College. Daj'yah would have loved to see Uthel'nay marry a true beauty. Instead, he took the hand of a woman as ugly as Daj'yah, yet sweet and kind in all the ways she was not. She shook with disappointment at the thought, angry at how the tribe overlooked her, and knowing full well why they did. But how could she be kind? No one ever taught her how, no one ever gave her the chance. The tribe gave her nothing more than the solitude that justified her life.

All at once, with a certainty she'd never felt before, Daj'yah decided to help retake the Echo Isles. If a future could be built there, it would be one where her hand took part in its creation. Speaking in whispers, she vowed it on her mother's memory.
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Amaunator



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
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Location: Belgium ... innocuous but intrepid!

PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I think you know of my love of the trolls and your storywriting, so I'll say as little as possible here: Shocked

I eagerly anticipate the next part!

(Look at me, I sound like a groupie... Razz)
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Farsider



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
Posts: 913

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A travelogue spinoff in the works, perhaps?

One could wish.

Nicely done, of course. Made me feel sorry for Daj'yah, and angry with her at those she has to deal with. The characters and the way their situations played out rang true and felt real, and I don't know what's better than that.
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