So the story of Ravennah somehow got stuck in my mind. Now I can’t shake the idea of a dyslectic draenei who never got the hang of How To Behave. But you know what?
Ravennah is a smart girl. She just don’t know it yet.
– – – – – –
Sos been couple ostrange weeks, yakno.”
Ravennah raised her eyebrows, hopeful. However, Urk Gazbag had a troubled look. They sat on an old log not far from the tower, bathed in the ever present light from the holy font on top of the tower, listening to the closeby calls of plaguehounds hunting, and a long way away – the screaming ghouls of Plaguewood. As horrible as it was, the hill was a haven of solace and calm.
Urk sighed. Ravennah swallowed, hard, allready nervous. It was one thing facing off against an undead, no problem there. Just kick them hard between the legs, ram an elbow in the neck and split their rotting skull with the main hand sword before thrusting upwards with the offhand.
Writing was harder than fighting.
He held the diary in one hand, a cheap notebook she’d bought from a traveling worgen saleswoman. With his other hand he first scratched his head, then very carefully placed his index finger on a line and followed it, mouthing out words in soto voce. Then he sighed, gave Ravennah a tired look and sighed again, shaking his shoulders. He gave her the diary back.
“I’m considered to be a smart orc by some people,” he said. “I picked up reading like, well, like nothing, really. But honest to the Light, girl, you got me.”
“Whatcha mean – got ya?”
“Oh dear … ” He chuckled, raised his hand and waved, calling out a sharp “Carlin!”
Carlin Redpath, tempered by an untold number of battles, twitched and was halfway trhough pulling his sword when he stopped himself. Instead he sauntered over, shield on back. There had been trouble around the tower for quite some time, even though the Scourge was more or less defeated. Redpath was always on his guard. He was also a gentle man, given the right circumstances or the right company. He did have a hard time getting used to a dragon, shaped like a gnome, of course. Compared to Chromie, an illiterate draenei was almost … normal.
“Girl’s gone done it again she has.” Urk chuckled and punched Ravennah gently on the shoulder. “It’s her spelling, you see. Can you sort this out? Give him your diary, girl.”
“I wish you’d stop with that ‘girl’ stuff, greenie,” she said, a bit grumpy, and handed Carlin Redpath her diary. “It’s demuning it is.”
“Demeaning,” Carlin said, flipping the diary open. Then he scratched his head, gave her a short glance and smiled. “Well I can see the problem right there, soldier. You write the way you talk. That won’t do.”
“See, it’s a trick to spelling, you understand. You must always use more letters than needed.”
“And not very effective, I agree, but you know what? What if I … hang on.” He pulled out a small notebook from one of his pockets, a pen from another and then jotted down some quick words. Then he tore the page from the book and handed it to Ravennah with her diary.
“Read it,” he said. “Read it out loud, if you please.”
So she did … she tried … but honest to the Light she couldn’t understand a word of it!
“Daer … suldur! Red dis ot alood or ye be a green cabb’ge you are!” She looked up at him. “Whathefuck?”
“Darrowshire dialect,” he said. “It took me years to forget it but I can still do it, if I have to. Na dats sa’ spellun innit?”
“See? Dem blu gurls all noting dey not, innit so Urk? Wankers allofem!”
“I … ” Urk scratched his head. “Uhm … Loktar?”
There was a giggle somewhere behind them. A small giggle. They all turned. A gnome looked back at them with big, blue eyes. Then she giggled again.
“Chromie, yus wan try to teeesh da gurl soemthun?” Redpath said. He could barely control himself, the last words turned into a big grin. Then he burst out laughing, a bellow of a laugh that undoubdtedly was heard all the way to Maris Stead. Some gargoyle or another screeched in reply, as if defying the one thing that the Eastern Plaguelands had lacked for so many years: Laughter.
“My my, I’m probably one of the mightiest creatures anyone of you have ever seen and … You want me to teach a draenei to read and write? Ooh, Kairoz won’t stop laughing like ever if I tell him!”
“Give her a hand, will you? As pleasant this has been, I’m supposed to be on my way to Lights Hope,” Redpath said. “Meetings and meetings and more meetings. It appears that’s what war is all about these days.” He smiled, put a gentle hand on Ravennahs shoulder and nodded. “I do believe I might run into a relative of yours, girl. Come by, if you can. I’m sure m’lady Shuanna would love to meet you.”
“Ya not kno’ ma sis’ very well then,” Ravennah said. She lowevered her eyes, half ashamed, half angry. “Ain’t no love lostb etween us y’kno.”
“Well that’s something we have to remedy then … ” Redpath paused for a moment, then added in a thick Darrowshire drawl: “Innit?”
Ravennah smiled, she couldn’t help it. Hearing one of the greatest heroes of the plaguelands talk like a backwater farmer was just too much.
“I might come by then, sah!” she said and gave him a nod.
“Good!” With that word he mounted his horse, turned it around and, just before he left them, looked at them all and said: “the Light have mercy on you all!”
She flipped trough the pages of her diary and tried to figure out what they all meant. The words seemed perfectly fine to her. Well, okay, dairy was probably not quite right. She wasn’t tauren after all. But other than that … and then one spelling error after another started to come through. The mass of letters was nothing but a jumble to her eyes. It gave her a headache just trying to sort it out. She focused, pushed the headache back, but instead she started to panic, stress out. A few minutes later she was so nervous she couldn’t hold the book in her hands. She dropped it on the ground – then gave them all a terrified look.
“Sorry, din’t mean to! Jus’ ‘appened it did ‘onestly!”
“Amazing,” Urk said. He couldn’t help himself, he put a strong arm around her shoulders and pulled her into a long, strong but comforting hug.
“Well that’s something you don’t see every day,” Chromie said and laughed. “Orcs and draenei hugging. There might be hope for our worlds still, don’t you think?”
“I’m stupid,” Ravennah said and relucantly slipped out of Urks hug. “Soz but that’o it is, it is. Sis’ told me always, n’ guards in da Exodar. There’s always one and I’m the one, y’kno.”
“True, there is always one, ” Chromie said. “But you are not the one, my young draenei.”
“I’m pretty sure Urk is the one.”
“Hey!” Urk scoffed. “I’m not that dumb, allright!?” Then he looked horrified. “I, oh shit I’m sorry Rave I didn’t mean it like … Yeah Chromie’s right. I am the one. The one with a big foot in my mouth.”
“Yeah well,” Ravennah smiled. It was impossible not to. “I might not be dat good at talkin’, but yakonw wha’ they say, no?”
“I do not,” Chromie said. “What do ‘they’ say?”
“Sum people talk da talk but can’t walk da walk,” Ravennah said. Then, in a split second, her fist shot out and froze half an inch from Urks suprised face. “I jus’ walk da walk.”
“You also know your punchlines,” Chromie said. She raised a hand. “Tell me, draenei … Have you ever seen a ghost?”
Chromie snapped her fingers.