The lament of farmhand Geist: The intricacies of a dead body



Master is home again. But I’m afraid … all my parts are afraid. Master is not smiling when she sees the plants we planted and tended, she doesn’t play with Dog. As us, Dog is also nervous. Why is Master not happy to be home? Is this not her home – it’s where she used to smile, to play with Dog. To play with us (and sometimes with herself, but I’m – we are, I am – not allowed to speak of that; Master said “some things are too private to scribble down in death runes, Geist, don’t ever tell people about my screams”).

I don’t understand. Of course, I’m a simple geist. Maybe I’m not supposed to understand. I know Master was happy but now she’s not. She cursed me when I prodded her shoulder; “damned you, monster! Damned!”. I was just trying to give her a cauliflower that I had tended. My palms, they ones belonged to a human named Terry, liked how a fresh cauliflwoer, ripe and free or worms, felt. Had it not been for Terry the Palms I wouldn’t have made it. But the flower grew, carefully tended. Wit hthe waters of the Valley and Terrys gentle touch – ooh, how they itched when my muscles were to harsh! – it grew, and prospered. My muscles are … many people. But they have grown to like each other. Tinkerbell, the gnome muscle, and Pearce and Sabina and Mary and Moravian and Illathiel – many muscles.

Fun fact (for a Scourge): Children tend to be better muscles than adults. Child muscles adapt quickly whereas adult muscles fight the dark necrotic magic rendering them twitchy and useless. Tinkerbell, Pearce and all the other muscles in my – our! – body is therefore childlike. They are smaller, yes, but muscles can be stretched. After a while they grow accustomed to the constant pain of strain. Yes, yes, I know – I’m a monster. I Am A Monster. But monsters have feelings too, you know.

We’re afraid now. Thoughtful, afraid, nervous. Twitchy. Kagrosh the Knees – tendons and bones, Kag was a very strong orc – are more shaky than usual. Kag don’t often shake but now, every time Master looks at us, Kag shakes. It’s like Ebony the Elbow (Ebony was a human once, a very distressed human, deep in drink, I will tell you why in a moment). She’s always had the shakes. But not like this. I can hardly stand up straight. Kag is afraid. We are afraid.

I am scared.

Now, Ebony, you see … She was not a happy girl. When Lordaeron fell she welcomed death. Her soul welcomed it. Her body – well. Bodies are entitled to a fight. Even though her mind had given up – rotted by poverty and abuse, she only slept when she was drunk – her body fought. Ebs have told me, in the way my parts speak to me, how she fought. Tooth and nail! It took more than a dozen skeletal champions to put the drunken bitch down (her words, not mine, she always called herself a bitch; Ebs wasn’t a very happy girl, you know). In the end her body was cut up. I think I met her legs in Icecrown but I’m not sure. Abominations don’t retain a mnemonic sensibility in their parts, not like geists. We are smarter than most Scourge, you know. We are a sum total of residual memories of many.

Most of my parts are afraid now. Master don’t smile. She growls when we come too close. She doesn’t care for what we’ve done; the cauliflowers, the motes of harmony, our stories of how we threw an ancient mogu shin bone all across the field and Dog just sped away catching it in mid air. Even old Hillpaw laughed and told us we were “allright for dead people”. The pandaren have grown used to us. Why – I can even go to the market alone without anyone running away, screaming.

While Master was away I took care of a cub, you know. Lia, her mother and father had been killed in a Horde raid on a settlement not far from Halfhill. Kor’kron Horde, not the “real” Horde (Loom Twinhoof, a tauren, has a farm not far from us, he explained why the Horde killed pandaren; I know Masters sister put an end to the Bad Orc In Charge).

Lia didn’t mind my smell. After a while. Once I managed to hide it with some pretty heavy stuff – mogu perfume, amazing stuff! – she said “You smell like an old lady”. I fed her (I had to learn how too cook; cubs don’t eat maggots) and I taught her useul things. Like …. oh … like how to rip the throat out of an enemy with your teeth. Or how to jump really high (Lia couldn’t jump very high but she’s a fully living one but she did try). Or how to tell if a stranger is a friend by looking at the darkness of their eyes. Useful stuff, you know.

Then a Halfhill family took her in. I think it was for the best. A cub should have living foster parents, not an assortment of body parts who in sum total is – me. Geist. But the Featherbottom family like me, and Lia like me. She even like Master and Master like Lia. So all is good. Except …

Master don’t smile no more. She just sits there on the porch staring at her blackened swords. I tried to clean them for her but she caught me by the neck and hissed “never ever wipe the blood off the blade!”. Then she told me to fuck off.

Later that night I heard her crying.

Why is Master so sad, now? I don’t know – and when I don’t know it makes me scared. A geist need to know. That’s why we were created. We jumped up far, far … Very high. We perched and listened, and watched through our only eye (wich indeed is two eyes but it’s a lot of mechanics and things a geist don’t understand in the helmet). We are spies.

The other night I jumped to the roof above my Masters room. There’s a crack in the roof – no one knows it’s there. I spied on Master. If she ever finds out she’ll go crazy, probably kill me, but I had to know. We had to know – why is Master sad? I watched and listened. I saw and thought. Then I snuck away, as silent as a shadow. Geists are like that, you know. It’s the sum total of us all; many parts, all working together to be as silent as possible if needed. Now I know. I think I know. I’m not sure. But I think I know.

Master is dead.

She just didn’t know it until now.

I will tend a carrot extra carefully. Because I think … well … if a dead one, like me, made up of many dead people all crying and screaming in my mind, if I can do it. Grow a carrot.

Maybe Master can feel alive as well.