In Shadows: Fever


There’s a voice in her head. Actually, there’s two voices. She knows the names of both voices yet they’re displaced. A third voice, never louder than a whisper, keeps to the background.

They are talking about her injuries. She hears her sisters voice, the one who drove Akama off down there in Zangarmarsh, with a sword to his lower back and the growled “Try and turn around, Broken and I’ll run you through. Touch her again and you will Die!“.

Vassannah stirs, ever so slightly. She’s running a fever. Her brain is ablaze with memories and pain. Someone, she suspects it’s Fiona, has given her a tea. It put her to sleep, yet she stirs. Moaning. Mumbling. Squeaking, like the stuffed elekk she made herself one night, lost in memories as she returned to a world that once shattered.

She suspects the timelines are messing with her mind. What once were and what now is – all of it becomes as one in this strange new world. This world that Shuanna, her sister, calls home. Vassannah remembers a picknick, on the foothills of Lunarfall. From far behind them the sound of hammers against wood and stone, the voices of men and dwarves. In front of them the vistas of Shadowmoon. That’s when Shuanna said “We’re home, you know. Someone moved the sofa, but for all intent and purposes this Draenor is our home. The one we left.”

Vassannah smiled. As she smiles right now, tossing and turning in a bed, her belly full of Fionas calming tea. She said:
“This isn’t home, Shu. Home is nevermore.”

Shuanna is easily angered. They quarreled, the picknick was a failure. Vassannah plucked a sliver of pickled Nagrand cherry and then headed off, down towards Embari. There’s no shortage of eager men and women down there, curious about the taste, the smell, the feel of someone from “away”.

Embari is a small town. Being from “away” sets minds ablaze. Mostly with lust. Sometimes with hate.

She also hears another voice. In this room … as Fionas tea makes her spinning thoughts slow down, as the darkness of sleep slowly wash over her.

It’s the voice of the slave they rescued in Tanaan.

The slave, elevated to the status of Exarch. The slave, the same name as someone in Karabor before the orcs came … on the old world. The slave, who then was a chubby little stumbling fucktard everyone made fun of. The slave, who was the constant source of jest and laughter once the populars, and Vassannah was one of them, Found her. Poor stupid Yrel from Embari, a farmers daughter who knew nothing of the Light. Oh how they toyed with her! Poking and prodding and hiding her notes. Giggling and whispering and pulling her hair. Kid stuff.

It’s confusing. As if two worlds have collided. Different times. A faint echo of one time, pounding like a heartbeat inside her head. Another time, as a veil of memories she had hoped to forget, shrouded across time … through time … like fine lines of sand through a glass brightly lit of the past. The present. The other time. What happened to the stones she collected for the dragon prince?

He gave her wings.

The other time. The one that Vassannah, the one she once were, on another world. The one Vassannah that once locked a not particularly good aspirant named Yrel in a pantry because it was fun. When Vassannah was a popular girl. When she dreamt of Akama. When he was a fever not even her fingers could put out. The more she rubbed, the louder she screamed. Until fatigue made her fall asleep, naked, sticky, sweaty. Doodles of her and him in notebook after notebook. Sex is the ancient magic of all – but she’s not a mage.

She’s just cruel. As she once were. The pantry – a haunting shadow in her mind. Cruelty, perhaps something every draenei carries with her, deep within.

She remembers now, as Fionas tea slowly takes hold of her troubled, broken body. She remembers Yrels screams, ringing in her ears as the panic broke free in that locked, dark pantry. The shrieking words of “Let me ooouuut! Let me ooouuut!“.


Times change. Isn’t that what they say? Timeways colliding. She was shopping spices for a lovers meal one day, down in Embari. Just a few weeks after the wooden pallisade had finally been replaced with the garrisons stone walls as they are now. She passed by a giggling bunch of acolytes, out from school. Fingers stroking fine hexweave velvet, sumptous fur dresses. Someone in the giggling group calling out “Hey Vass wait! What do you think of this dress!?“.

Vassannah stopped and almost said “the color don’t suit you“. But the faces of those girls in front of her were not the faces of the living.

This were the faces of the dead.

She turned hur head then, there in Embari. She saw a young woman dash away towards a jewelry stand, yelling “Who cares!? Oh Liight! They got Blackstone necklaces!“. She watched her younger self run up to the jeweler and start to haggle. The jeweler was adamant and she couldn’t … but she could. So she went up to him, placed a pouch of Azeroth gold in his outstretched hand and said “It’s on me. Gold is gold, right?“.

“Thank you!” she said. “Oh I love this stone!”
“I know you do,” she said, then had to turn away to hide her own tears.

Another time. She stands in shadow, naked, she had to flee fast and didn’t have time to dress. She had been dreaming of Akama, her fingers trailing across her body, making her gasp as the fingertips tickled the hairs and then sank in deep. Two fingers, no more than that, slightly spread, the thumb of her other hand gently massaging what she called her button. Then, the explosions. Then, the screams. Then, she had to flee – hide in shadow.

She saw her friends paraded out of the dorm. she saw them lined up on the stairs in front of the temple. Dead bodies everywhere. The pools of blood spreading like water across the once white flagstones. She saw them stripped naked. She saw the orcs cut their hair with knives. She saw their bloodied scalps, saw do whatever they had to do just to survive. For just a few more minutes.

Then they bowed. Then the axes came. Then, just as an orc saw her in the shadows, one of her friends called “Run, fool! Run!”. So she did – she ran, faster than she had ever run before. She ran from Karabor to Talador, pausing only for breath at what people now call Gul’Var. That’s where Maraad found her. He sister was with him, she was so young … so young.

Times change.


“The healers feared she was too badly injured,” Yrel said. Her voice low, like how you speak to someone in front of a very sick, sleeping person. Oblivious of the fact that the patient might actually hear, voicing own concerns and fears. “Her spine, they said it snapped like a twig. When she landed, she … ”

“You have good healers,” her sisters voice, Shuannas voice. Tired, the constant haggard tone no matter how she felt – happy, angry, tired, full of food and complacent, horny (there was a “thing” between her and Cowan, a miner). Always that haggard tone of someone who had lost … something. “In the light, we prevail. No?”

“Shu … ” Vassannahs whisper, but she’s too tired to continue. She want to tell her sister she’s sorry, but she’s too tired. Then there’s the other voice. The taunting voice.

(“That one is unworthy of your group!”)

Then there’s a fourth voice. Interrupting. Through the haze of Fionas tea and the lingering effects of deep healing, she hears a slight commotion. It’s confusing.

A door breaks open. Someone, a male voice, shouts “You can’t go in there!”. Another sound – a … squawk!? Then the sound of chairs moving, as if someone stands up fast. In fact, when she hears Shuanna call out “Percy!” she can hear the anger, the suprise.

Then there’s silence. Almost silence. Whispers … too silent to be heard through her foggy ears. She rather feels than hear or see the rustle of cloth against feathers. The quick smack of a beak, as if a bird had made a “tut tut!” sound. The gentle, yet rough, caress of … talons. Wrinkled skin on old fingertips. Long nails. Like when Akama came to her, before the Exodar took off. But it’s not a Broken. It’s just … a broken.

“Reshad! What are you doing!?” Shuannas voice, upset and with that terrifying haggard tone, more sharp now. Vassannah knows that whenever that tone is in her sisters voice she’ll slap her. There has been so many slaps, so many admonished comments, like “This is a Military Compound, Vass! This is not a playground for you to fuck around in! Show some respect to the colors!”.

She’s a tough motherfucker, the commander. Too tough.

“I can help.” the voice says. The rustle of feathers. “Percy! Stop perching on her head! Your not a pepe bird!”

A drilling chirp, someone have brought a kaliri!

“Get out!” Shuannas voice.

“No … ” Then there is a pause. then those rough fingertips with birdlike nails gently stroke Vassannahs temples. She can feel it, she stirs, as if uncomfortable – but she feels at ease. It’s a soothing, gentle, kind touch. The kind of touching someone makes when they’re almost in love.

“Shu … ” she whispers. “help. The shadow …”

Reshads touch is light as a feather as he leans forth and very gently whispers in her ear:

“Shadows gather … “


Speedy’s Corner, part 6

That’s when Naz found the courage to speak. He straightened up, put his fists against his hips and said:
“Now look here!” Then he scoffed. “Right that does it! I’m calling the cops!”

“Do as you please,” Zavannah said. She held her hand outstretched for a few moments but then she scoffed – a lot better than Naz by the way – and turned her horse around. “Fine. Do what you want then, idiot!”
“No need for name calling,” Naz said as he whipped out his arcpad and hit 1-1-9. “I don’t even know … I mean, like – who ARE you!?”

Zavannah didn’t reply. She just tugged the reins of her scary horse and set off up the street in a stride so fast that she left behind a trail of glowing shrapnel from stone and concrete. Naz followed her with his eyes until a voice in his ear said:
“One one nine, how can I help you?”

“Uh … Nothing. Forget about it.” He hung up, slapped the pad shut and stuffed it in his pocket. Right at that moment the caravan of undead bikers passed him by on the street. Cars scattered as the bikers rolled up the street, police vans slowly following in their wake.


Over the din of rumbling ancient hogs and tricycles, another thunderous sound rolled down from the north. A dustcloud of exhaust fumes and road debris built into a stormfront of yellowish smoke, rolling down the lane as if it was a living thing, like one of the Ashenvale oozes he had seen on the FaVi. Out of the dust and smoke, as if pushed through a roaring veil of powerful engines, trucks appeared. First one … then two … then more, and more. Dusty steel. Smoke-stained chrome. Trucks, flatbeds, covered, tankers. Red, black. Some had skulls and horns mounted to their hoods. Others had naked orcs or unicorns painted on their sides. Some wore the ancient – and not particularly politically correct – Horde symbol on their doors. Others had strange name tags spray painted across the side of their hood; Vindicator Rexxar Krewe, the Exarch Brownies, Uthers Orcs, Mulgore Truckers, Thrall’s Ballin’ n’ Rollin’ Trucking Gang. Horns blaring, a rythmic “mooo-moooo-mooaaaah!”. At least a dozen heavy duty trucks lumbered down the hill towards the bridge. They drove slow, as if they wanted everyone to notice they were coming. The very ground shook as they advanced.

The front vehicle, a black- and red truck with a giant dragon skull painted on the side and the message DEATHWINGS BEHIND Y’ALL! on the hood, passed by roughly where Naz was standing. then it stopped. It took some time for it to come to a halt. It was a big truck. Gears grinding, breaks screaming. A giant black cloud of smoke shot out from the eight exhaust vents. Behind it, all the other trucks came to a halt, fender to fender. Gears grinding, engines idling with a sound of predators of steel and saronite, growling. Waiting …

The dust settled. Naz took a scared step back. Through the hazy air he saw bikers stop and get off their hogs. He saw the cops scurry out of their vehicles, hiding behind wide open doors, weapons drawn. He saw people on the street stop and stare. Some ducked for cover but most appeared not to understand what was going down … not even Naz could figure it out. So he just stood there, as a prime target for whatever was going down.

The passenger door to the point vehicle of the truckers caravan opened up. The air cleared up, but slow, the dust settling like snow on cars and trade carts. He saw an orc emerge from the truck. The truck driver, a rather old woman with white hair poking out from under an oilstained cap, raised her hands. She was heavyset, at a first glance fat. At a second glance she had the kind of body you just knew could lift a tractor tire without hardly breaking a sweat. Then she spoke, her voice hoarse from years of shouting and smoking:

“I come in peace, lordaeronians! We wish no war today! Mista paliicemon! Put doo-oown ya wepa’s! I jus’ … ” She lowered her hands, slowly pulling off her cap in the motion and shook her long, white hair free. It was braided, many braids, adorned with tiny beads of colorful glass and skulls carved from ancient bone. “I jus’ wanna see ma son.”

“Mom!?” Naz swallowed hard. Then he stumbled backwards until he leaned against the iron fence around the schoolyard, slowly shaking his head in disbelief. “What … I … wh’yadoin’ere!?”

“Ya call me,” his mother said, glancing at him for a few seconds before her old, brown eyes returned to first the bikers, then the cops. She called out: “No war today, lordies!”

A scraggy biker stood up from behind the rusted bike she had been crouching behind. She couldn’t straighten up completely, her skin too tight. Still, though her body was emaciated, she moved with a certain pride as she stepped out into the street, raising her hands. Chains dangled aroundher waist. She wore a sawn off shotgun in a holster on her hip and two rifles crossed on her back. Leather, denim and pieces of metal dressed her, from head to toe. She wore heavy boots on skinny legs, clad in rough leather pants, torn and worn so that her joints of elbows and knees poked through the leather. Her knees were nothing more but raw skeletal joints, fused together by blackened ligaments. It was a very old undead. Very old. Her voice was no more than a croaking as she called out:

“Dark lady watch over you all! Lordaeronians! Mount up!”

“Oh no ye won’t!” a cop called out. At first no one saw who he was. Then the dwarf, wearing a dark blue uniform with a gilded cap perched on a mass of red hair, stepped out from behind a vehicle. His beard was braided into a single rope, tucked in between the third and fourth button of his jacket. He hoisted his considerable belly up with a short yank at his leather belt, heavy with pockets and pouches and gun holsters. Then he took a deep breath and let it fly through his walruss moustache. He started to move, walking closer to the scene. Sfter a few steps, he stopped and shot quick glances and the scene. Surveying, no doubt. “Well now … I figure on of yer owns us all an explanation. Ma’am.” He nodded at the orc, turned his gaze at the scrawny undead and nodded again. “And ma’am.”

“Dey be summon’d,” the orc said. “Like me be, offica’.”
“Turning and turning in a widening gyre … ” the undead said. She chuckled. “the falcon cries to the falconeer … ”
“Names, please,” the police dwarf said. He made a slow gesture with one hand, halfway raised. A lowering gesture. Behind the dozen or so police cars, the Stormwind officers slowly lowered their guns. A few of them straightened up from behind their covers. Some stepped out into the street.

It was a completely surreal moment.

As Naz looked around he saw the same confusion he felt. Just what in all the fel fires of the nether was happening!? Why had his mother showed up – now of all times!? And the bikers!? He supposed this would be a great moment to faint, but try as he might he couldn’t. Instead he raked out a fellie from the pack and lit it. His hands were shaking.

Then …

In shadows: Fragments


Kaahen was stacking boxes when he for a second looked up, nothing unusual about it, just the way you sometimes take a quick look around. Eyes usually trail off against something high, perhaps to see what position the sun or the moon is in. Perhaps to bless your mind with a short thought of ‘We came from there once’. It’s just the way some people act. Then …

He didn’t take his eyes off her. Not even as he moved away from the heavy boxes, whiping sweat from his brow with a small, blue hankerchief. Not even as he said “Yo, Pea, check her out!”.

“What?” Peelah said, slightly irritated. They were behind schedule. The clean-up of the Karabor harbor was taking a lot longer than anyone had anticipated. Moving boxes of broken dark armors and weapons dropped by the orcs was just one of the chores. The piles of junk metal scattered around the harbor was slowly shrinking but it would take at least another week to finish up the clean-up completely. No one on the cleaning detail enjoyed their work; rotting blood and pieces of meat had fused to broken metal. The stench of death from those salvaged armors made them sick. “Quit it, you lazy elekk. Get a move on!”

“What’s she doin’ up there, girl?” Kaahen took a few steps forward, not taking his eyes off the woman high up on the parapet. She was standing on the very edge of it, slightly rocking back and forth with her upper body, arms limp down her sides. He shot Peelah a quick glance with the words “That one.”

Peelah looked up, still holding a heavy box of damaged guns in her hands. Then she dropped the box with a short, terrified gasp. It slammed into the pavement with a dull clang.

“It’s one of ’em from Tanaan!” she said, stepping forth but stopping after three steps, one hand raised to shade her eyes from the glare of the defense crystals up on the parapet. They were hidden from her view from this angle but the shine was still creating a mock sunset against the blackened shadow of the parapet. “Damn it, I know her!”

“You sure?”

“Never seen anyone prance around in clothes like those. It’s like underwear. They call it mageweave, the outsiders I mean.”

“What’s she doin’ up there?” Kaahen said. His eyes returned to the parapet, the woman was almost nothing but a shade of black against the purple glare of the crystals.

“Oh no … ” Peelah made a short, squeaking sound. “Oh no!”

Then they saw the woman up there take a single step forward. Mid air she crouched a little, flailing with her arms. They heard her scream. It was a short scream.

She slammed into the stairs leading down to the harbor with a dull thud.



“We had healers close by,” Yrel said. “Work detail healers. A lot of sharp weapons and metal left behind, you know. The workers are careful but accidents happen. If not for them she would surely have perished. No one can understand why she did it. She is, after all, a hero.”

“So am I … ” Shuanna sighed. She took Vassannahs limp hand in hers and squeezed, ever so gently. “Yet not a single day go by, Exarch …Without the thought to end it all. A single step. That’s all it takes.”

“You mean … She didn’t, she … ” Yrel turned her worried gaze at Vassannah, sighing. “She didn’t fall.”

“She jumped,” Shuanna said. Her tone was too rough, too hard. It didn’t convey what she actually felt but she didn’t want to break, not now.

“But – why?”

“I don’t know … Did she leave something? A note? Anything?”




She’s lost in a sea of rage. Shadows gather. Tendrils of smoke ripping her skin open. She’s screaming. Brilliant light fuse her wounds. A storm of flowing water splash around her as shamanistic magics conjure forth what is needed. Someone is screaming “Adds! Adds! KILL THE FUCKING ADDS!!!”. A claw rips the head off a dwarf just a few steps away from her. She can hear it; ripping skin and flesh and muscles, it sounds like paper torn to shreds. There’s no scream, just a short cry sounding like “glub!”. Then the dull sound of already dead meat dressed in iron, hitting the floor.

Writhing shadowy tendrils of black, grey and white smoke. Forming into abominations of living shadow. Living anger. Even the windswept yellow grass turns grey. Someone is roaring at the top of his lungs and flails against the forming shadows with massive axes, one in each hand although the weapons are supposed to be swung with two hands. Someone shrieks but then she realize it’s not a shriek, it’s the staccato sound of missiles. Brilliant blue light whips through the air inches above her head. She seees the arcane missiles slam into the hulking form of darkness, exploding. Pieces of darkness torn from the living death in front of them.

A hozen, mad with rage, leaps from the corner of her eyes, slamming into her body, toppling her. Then someone lean forth and traps his neck in a whip – a succubus, giggling. The hozen becomes mesmerized. She sees his penis grow hard in an instant. Then pustules forms on his skin, all over, from head to toes. He stumbles away, screaming, vomiting, dying from a horrible, painful plague.

She scrambles to her hooves but she can’t turn around. Frozen in place. If she turns around she will see it – she don’t want to see it. All around her hozens, emanitions of rage, shadows living – all around her. Death. Bodyparts. Screams. One by one of the mercenary outfit succumbs. Slautghtered. Tortured. Incinerated. Rage.

Living rage all around.

She sees a nightelf woman being dragged away by tendrils of smoke. A swarm of maddened hozen leap onto her body, ripping her limb from limb. Skewering her on a polearm, from the pussy to chin.

Mad shrieks of absolute insanity.

She sees a hozen paint his face with blood. Human blood. Licking his fingers, pieces of a once proud paladin still hanging from the monsters claws.

Rage, everyone consumed with Rage.

Rage. White hot anger, out of control. Burning every coherent thought to a crisp. Like a steak forgotten on some skillet.

“Yes! YES!!! You rage sustains me!”


Then she’s alone. For a few moments she just stands there. She’s crouching down, but she won’t bow down. Too proud. Won’t bow, don’t know how. Not even in front of the Prophet – Never Ever Bow To Anyone. Show your neck and it will be severed. She saw what happened when the orcs assaulted Karabor. She saw the slaughter. She saw what happens if you bow. Never. Ever.


The shadow looming behind her … before a brilliant light fills the world and she hears herself shriek. An out of place rallying cry.


Somehow the survivors picked up their failing courage … Then later, the Shado Pan found them, days after the battle, stumbling like broken beggars across a windswept plain.

Most of them were probably mad.

Not even the Yangol dared to attack them. Eyes still burning with the deep, deep terror of having faced your primal rage – and survived. She was close to death.

They all were.

She had never been that close to death, not once.

Until now.

In shadows – how it began


Sometimes when I’m frantically trying to meet deadlines, my brain decides to … go wild (I don’t handle stress that well these days, not since a complete burn-out some ten years ago). So, instead of sleeping I’ve been preocupied these last couple of sleepless nights with an incessant whisper in my mind. A muse found me. She also found me in a not particular good mood, since I really don’t have time for head canon stories about my characters. But there you have it. I did tell my muse a rather strong “Do you fucking mind!?” – but she didn’t. I think my muse is sort of one of those cute anime girls who would … never mind.

I’m going off on a long adventure here. The basis is my shadow priest, Vassannah. As most characters these days she’s woefully forgotten and spends most of her time managing total noobs with an iLvl way above her own. Followers, that is. Imagine that, huh? The heroes of Azeroth are nothing more than project managers these days.

Still, I have to give her something, so I gave her Illona. I don’t know how many parts there will be. Probably a few. But the idea is simply too good not to put down on “paper”.

Her backstory came back with a vengeance one day, when Akama sent her a letter. I imagine she opened it with trembling hands and a breath stuck in her throat because now her “teen” love would … but, alas, he thanked her for killing some orcs. Bastard.

No. This is not a shipping story. There is, however, sex and curse words involved. Be warned if you don’t like that kind of thing.

Big Sis, Shuanna, has her demons – from Icecrown. Adopted Sis, Sharenne, has her demons – from Darkshire. Vassannah has her demons – from Pandaria.

This is what happens when a shadow priest can’t escape the grasp of the Sha and becomes lost …

In shadows.

In shadows: Prologue


“I couldn’t possibly acccept this,” Vassannah raised her eyes from the small velvet box containing a precious stone in a thin gold chain. “Illona, I … I couldn’t. Really.” She smiled, closed the box and put it down on the long oak table in the middle of the meeting hall. They were alone in there, for now. “I am … well, flattered, I guess …”

Illona let her bodyweight wander from one hoof to the other. It looked as if she was about to move, but she just stood there, trying to find something to say or do. She raised her hand halfway but stopped, then she furled her brow.

“Am I … ” She exhaled and uttered a short laugh at the same time, looking nervous and slightly embarassed. “I’m missing something?” She finally moved, turned around quickly and moved up to the chair at the end of the table. She paused, trailing her hand over the back of the chair before she sat down with an exasperated sigh. She shot a sharp glance at Vassannah with one arm resting on the table, the other hanging limp in her lap. “I thought … the other morning, you and me. Making love?”

“It was just sex, Illona.”

Illona twitched, ever so slightly, quickly blinking. She leaned back against the back of the chair, raising her eyebrows while saying: “I … I don’t understand. We … I … I walked back an forth outside for almost an hour and … ” She trailed off.

Vassannah managed to hid her somewhat irritated sigh behind a faint smile as she grabbed the jewelry box from the Karabor bazaaar and walked up to Illona. It wasn’t the first time someone she slept with had mistaken sex for love.

“Please,” Vassannah said. “I really can not accept this gift. It would … well, you know.” She placed the box in front of Illona.
“I don’t know,” Illona said, a testy tone in her voice. She raised her eyes at Vassannah. “What would it?”
“It would make me feel like a whore,” Vassannah said. “Mind you, there’s some people in this damned garrison who wouldn’t think twice about calling me that – and worse.”

Vassannah turned around and headed for the door. She didn’t get very far. The box slammed into the door post, making her flinch with a short, sharp cry. She spun around with a shocked gasp and a misplaced short laugh. The jewel hit the floor with a tiny ‘plink!’, the gold chain coiled around the precious, black stone. It sparkled in the dull light from the fireplace. Just a few minutes ago Vassannah had almost managed to flip Illona across the table, their mouths locked, arms trembling, huffing hot air through their noses. That was then, of course. Illona had evaded the hug, fumbled out the box and handed it to Vassannah with an embarassed, stuttering whisper. Truth be told Vassannah couldn’t remember what had been said.

“You … ” Illona stood up, very slowly. Her hand gripped the side of the table for a moment, as if she wanted to support herself. Then she let go of the table, her hand bunched up into a fist. “You ..! You! Slut!”

“That’s one of the things people call me,” Vassannah said. It was supposed to sound cold, but instead she twitched her head back, flinging her white hair in an almost proud gesture. Then she laughed a few strokes ending with a sighing “Eh …
“Just sex!?” Illona said. Well – shouted. “Just! Sex!?”

“Girl, c’mon!” Vassannah stiffled a laugh. “Illona, seriously? You’ve never fucked someone just for the hell o–”
“You!” Illona slammed her fist into the table so hard she broke away splinter from the side of the table. She was wearing her armor. She always wore her armor – even if she was on leave. A few days earlier, while Vassannah slithered down her naked body, she had said it made her feel secure. “Just like you,” she had whispered, gently pushing Vassannahs head further down and closing her eyes with a faint gasp. Now the shrapnel of wood skittered across the stone floor and came to a halt right in front of Vassannah feet, next to the broken box.

“You come here, to my world! From wherever or whatever darkness I don’t know and I! Don’t! Fucking! CARE!!!”

She grabbed the backof the chair just as she took a big stride towards Vassannah, stopping only to fling the chair topsy turvy with a short and stiffled angry scream.

“You’re playing a dangerous game now … ” There was a very dangerous tone in Illonas voice. Vassannah picked up on it immediately. It wasn’t the first time she had heard someone utter words of anger in that particular tone. A slap would follow, it always did. But not this time. Instead, there was a single word, uttered through clenched teeth, trembling with scorn, with rage – with hate. “man’ari!”

A slap wouldn’t have hurt as much as that single word. They both knew it the second the word was spoken.

Then it was too late to take it back.

The Lament of Farmhand Geist: The Listener in the Dark


“I din’t mean to! Honist!” The eyes of that little girl welled up with tears. She held out the limp little body, still warm, in her hands and mumbled a “Can’t you make Poodles alive, mommy?”

That’s how I met Isel.

See, there’s a thing I’ve heard the humans around here say, once in a while.  “Can’t get truth from anyone but the dead or the kids”. I guess there’s been some trouble with someone. I think I overheard one of the guards muttering about Jake down by Salvage, how he ‘skimmed’ (I don’t what that means). No one knows I eavesdropped. No one pays much heed to a geist in this place. You see, there’s two things humans do that I find peculiar. They don’t take young ones serious – and they follow orders. Both things are important. But first I need to tell you this: Kids only see monsters if their parents tell them there’s monsters.

Humans … The only reason no one has strung me up in this damned garrison is because of Delvar and Master. That’s Master Zavannah, former vindicator in training, hero of the Exodar, mercenary for the Light … skewered by a rusted polearm, raised as a slave to Him … and then, by the grace of the Light … free … again …

Excuse my theatrics. I have come to understand that on this world I’m better off as a monster. Oh, don’t get me wrong – Isel, Maraad (rest his soul) and many other draenei find me strange and even revolting. They are careful around me. But they don’t fear me.

Humans do.

Out of fear comes hate. The only thing that keeps that hate from exploding is Orders. Discipline. The Army. And secret missives from “a friend”. Tell you the truth – most of the humans don’t like the “blue” that much. There’s been talk about “stringing some of ’em up, gotta get even for Baros, boys”.

To some humans it doesn’t matter that it was the Iron Horde that killed Baros Alexston. To some humans, anything that’s not human enough is a monster. To some humans, anything that isn’t human is a monster. I guess it’s a good thing that Quiana can rip the throat out of anyone without even breaking a sweat. I’ve heard stories, you know. Things starting with ‘Lemme tell y’a ’bout the time I fucked this neff slut down in Booty Bay!”. Stories over jugs of rum. Stories met with laughter. The thundering, deep-throated, growling laughter of very strong, and very angry, men. Young men.

There’s a bomb waiting to blow here, my friends. The only one who keeps the fuse wet is me. Geist, the Spy. Geist, the Monster. Once in a while the Commander, Masters sister General Shuanna of the Exodar, finds a note among her paperwork. A crudely written note by a hand that is trembling with homesickness and fear. My hand.

“Sgt Pollard spit on ze grund when a drini walk by, bu onlyff nane see hem do it, maam.” That’s one of my notes. Another one I took great care with: “Private Rayne wasn’t slain by ‘brigans’ uppa Gloomshade, Cumander. Private Theris and Pearse killed him. Dey calld it ‘fraging’. Podlings innocent in dis mattur.” I’ve seen people hanged because of my notes. With every hanging the hate for the blue grows … among some of the humen. I sometimes wish I could have killed them myself. But no, because you know? I’m not just Geist, the Spy.

I’m also Geist, the Friend.


Or maybe more than a friend? I don’t know. I only know this: Guard Morissa has taken a liking in me. Yes, yes, yes – she’s a death knight! I know! This whole set-up is weird, to say the least. It goes a bit like this:

General Shuanna is the Commander. Her sisters are second in command with Master Zavannah as ‘tac ops officer’ (I don’t know what that means). There’s ten commanders in one garrison. If I have spied correctly on the Exodar Ten, there will soon be eleven. The youngest, Rashannah, is said to be on her way. Master felt that some of the soldiers were … lacking. In courage, in knowledge, in morale. So she convinced the Commander to, well, “bring in the dead ones“.

Morissa likes me. In fact, we laugh with each other so often, we punch each others on the shoulder and we talk about Things That Were … we do this so often that I, uh … I … I might be falling in love. Imagine that, huh? Not all is bad in this damned garrison. Take Agriok, for instance – another monster.

There is an old Exiled orc here. His name is Agriok. He comes around from time to time, wanders down from Exiles Rise and peddles beads and pipes carved from elekk horn. Rulkan invited him. He stays close to her and Lantresor, perhaps out of fear. Agriok lacks half his face. Someone, maybe himself, has fashioned a facemask in very thin steel. It covers his damaged part of the face. The mask is painted almost the same color as his skin. It even has an eye, it’s made of glass! He makes me laugh. We drink together (he’s using a straw, sometimes he blows bubbles in his rum!). He is also my friend.

As Agriok, I often mumble a “sorry” when one of the draenei kids who have never seen a geist sees me for the first time and then hides behind her mommys skirt with a terrorized cry. As me, Agriok often tries to hide behind a doorpost or a tree, eavesdropping on the parents who has come from Embari bringing goods and their children. Shadowmoon is not safe for children, you see. But the garrison is. Here, they can tell their children the stories of old … about Argus.

I listen. Perched on a treebranch, Pepe on my head. Agriok listens too, hiding behind the treetrunk, peering out with his “good face” (as he calls it, the unscarred side of his destroyed face). Perhaps we are children of Draenor, just as Isel is? I don’t know … so I listen.

I am Geist the Listener.

Ha! Isel called me that the other day. She said, she did, “Amma make you some tea, mr Listener.” Then she poured cold water in a small teapot Rulkan hade made her from the Exiles Rise red clay. It was me, Poodles, Muffy the stuffed Elekk that Vassannah sewed – and Agriok. He used a straw.

“Dere be any rum, girl?” he said, his voice a growl. He can’t help it, his throat was hurt when he lost his face.
“No mr Orc, Poodles don’t like to run,” Isel said – and fed Poodles a sliver of salted elekk meat.
“Good tea,” I said … and sneaked an adamantite pocket flask into Agriok hands under the table.

It was a very nice tea party.

Later that day Isel must have hugged Poodles a bit to hard, a bit too long. My friend, Morissa, told me that kids don’t know their own strength. Hamish the Porter nodded and added something about a burial. We heard Isel cry, all of us did, but no one but me snuck up to her mothers cottage to ask what we could do.


“I din’t mean to! Honist! Can’t you make Poodles alive, mommy?”
“No, sweety … ” Caregiver Felaani looked as if she was about to cry herself. “Poodles … Poodles won’t come back, honey.”
“I can … ” I said, well whispered. I was hiding close to the doorway. When I knew I had blown my cover I very carefully peeked around the doorpost with my leathery face and smiled. They didn’t see that of course. I wear a mask.

I didn’t tell Isel how. I told her it was Very Secret Magic. Felaani – she still don’t know if she should trust me or fear me – reluctantly handed me the small wooden box with Poodles body. Then I ran away, fast, mumbling “Very Secret, Isel! Do not follow!”

I hid in the attic to the herbalists house. I sharpened one of my saronite claws. I cut Poodles up, from the sternum to the jaw. I removed the seeds and snuck down to the herb garden. Then I ran up to the Big Tree, there I asked Sappy for some juice. Sappy grumbled, he’s always hungry, but he gave me a few drops. That’s all it takes, you see … I’ve seen Phylarch do it, I know how it’s done. I spy. I give life to podlings, hugged to death. I listen. Oh yes, I listen.

I am the Listener … in the Dark …