(Note: Switching between the two names throughout is deliberate.)
Somewhere deep within Eglar forest, a small orc creeps through the shadows. She no longer wore the large, black cloak or the garments she had in Drache, discarding them in favor of tattered brown pants and a loosely-fitting, black, sleeveless shirt, a cord tied around her waist as a make-shift belt. These clothes were easier to navigate through the brambles as a cloak was likely to get stuck on thorns and whatnot.
It had not taken Mozaag long to re-accustom herself to life in the wild. For the majority of her life, she had lived in the forest. Sure, most of her time had been spent with her clan, but for the most part, she knew the woods well. This however, did not mean that leaving Drache had been a hard decision. She had become used to the security of not being hunted. Strangely enough she had made a few friends too. Taking a momentary pause of her movements, she stops to consider these people. When had she started to use the term “friend?” She shakes her head to herself. Not everyone she had met had been nice. Specifically, on her way out of Drache, she had met an elf who had not seemed too pleased to be meeting an orc openly on the road. “Vile, green-skin monster,” he had called Kara, reminding her of what she was. Well, he was right anyway. She presses her fingers into the dirt as she crawls on again, noiselessly through the darkness. She smiles at the cool, soft sensation the dirt brings her.
Of course, she can feel that cold, corrupted darkness that permeates the area. She doesn’t mind. A similar feeling of corruption has always been within her. While she could push it away, subdue it for a little while, it is ever present, slowly growing larger. A bubble about to burst. This is where she belongs.
As Mozaag continues to feel her way through the darkness, her fingers touch a tree root in the dirt. She pauses for a moment, gripping it in her palms. It is smooth and hard. She makes a mental note of the location, so that she won’t trip on it later. She lifts her hand again, placing it in another spot in front of her to feel something soft and slimy on the ground. She crouches low, inhaling deeply. It smells earthy, with a slight tinge of anise. Satisfied, she brings her head up again as she grasps the mushroom tightly, yanking it from the ground. She places it in the burlap bag looped on her belt. Glancing down at the now full bag, the orc decides that she has enough to eat for a while now. She weaves her way through the roots and plants back to her place of refuge. At present, she is using a large old tree for shelter. Specifically, Mozaag lives under the too. The roots of the tree are so large that the trunk of the tree hovers off the ground, effectively creating a sort of burrow underneath. Once inside, Mogaaz found that she had enough room for her large pack (which mostly contained books), and herself to curl up. The dark burrow felt warm and safe.
This night, rather than go inside, Mozaag reaches into her little burrow, fishing around for a moment before she pulls her hand out. In her hand is a candle, some matches, and a book. She pushes the candle into the dirt beside her, twisting as she does so to bury the end in the ground. When she removes her hand, the candle is held up straight by the indentation in the dirt. As she strikes the match, the forest around her lights up suddenly, a flash of brightness, then the light mellows to a dim flicker after the initial burst from the match. She reaches down, briefly touching the match to the candle. Another brief flash of light in the dark. She puts the match out, and opens the book.
Karadhra sits for a long time, her back against the tree, the book opened in her lap. She runs her fingers-tips down the smooth, dry pages. Books would be her only link to spoken language here in Elgar forest, as well as the only remaining tie to the civilization she had left behind. She sighs as she traces the letters under the pictures, slowly saying the corresponding words to herself: “Toddler, toe, toffee…”
Her mind wanders as she flips through the book, back to Drache where the books came from. She realized how much she liked the place. Yet, she had not belonged there, and she knew it. All (or most) of the creatures there had been living there together for a long time. They knew how to live together peacefully, or at least carve out an uneasy co-existence based on mutual interests. However, Mogaaz had been used to a life of treachery, stealing, and more often than not, murder. Upon coming to Drache, she did not see anything wrong with killing someone because they had something you wanted. That was the way life was supposed to be. It had been difficult, navigating the strange social morality that was the fabric that held Drache together. Here in Elgar forest, all she has to worry about are the creatures of the forest, the carnivorous plants, the werecreatures, the undead, the trolls and the like. Nothing so scary as having to navigate civilization and figure out social customs. The creatures here were like her: Wild, dark, and fierce. She fears them not. She is one of them.
(To be Continued...)
Outside the city of Drache lies a number of cities, towns and provinces of varying size and populace. Most of the people living outside Drache are natives who speak Arangothian and observe the native customs and rituals. Click here for a list Arangoth's locales, and here to view a map.
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