The Lament of Farmhand Geist: The intricacies of life, death and love

 

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I met Death two clicks south of Embari Village. Master had gone down there to buy spices, she’s taken a liking to cooking lately. Hot food, not cold cuts nor maggots (you should try some of those, the pickled one’s are great with starflower gravy, even Blook likes them!). As is my habit I sort of trailed behind her.

I know, I know … Master don’t like me shadowing her but the thing is I feel a lot more safe within a distance from Master than I feel when she’s in Tanaan and I’m on my lonesome here in the garrison. It’s just the way the soldiers glare at me … some of them, like sergeant Cranbrook and corporal Payre, they were at the Wrathgate. They have a hard time accepting redeemed scourge. I understand, it can’t be easy for them. My brethren fed on their dead friends and I guess that’s not something you forget.

I’m going to tell you about Death some other time. It won’t be pretty. I am a monster, and sometimes the only thing that can save a little girls life is a monster. Yes … Isel. That’s her. She got herself in trouble. I’m sorry for what she saw, but it’s a cruel world and I guess the young one’s needs to be tempered. I couldn’t let them take her. Agriok would agree (why would anyone hurt an old orc with half a face? I simply don’t understand).

Skinning corrupted draenei is another tale. Instead, there’s some other things I need to say. The living intrigue me more than they scare me. I know I can never be one of them, but I also know that I can be one for them. Because for some of the living, death is comforting. Some of them can’t wait to … well. Most of the times they’re the young one’s. It’s sad really. War is Hell, eh? I cut them down and Vassannah says a few words over them and then Prackrett and Moldaire, they’re the grave diggers, starts shoveling. The commander writes the letters, of course she does. ‘They died a heroes death, for the glory of the Alliance’ and all that.

The commander cries a lot. No one but me and Thorne knows about it. The other day we lost six ships in a major battle. Lieutenant Thorne had her clerks work triple shifts writing letters. She asked Eric Broadoak, the scribe, to fashion a stamp with the commanders signature, because signing two thousand six hundred letters … that’s a lot.

She cried as she stamped the letters. Wiping her cheek, stamp. Whiping away tears, stamp. In the end Thorne grabbed the commanders wrist and wrestled the stamp out of her hands. Thorne stamped the last four hundred letters.

I watched from the shadows. Then I listened outside the commanders door. Sometimes I hear her moan and cry out, usually when she, you know, have company. this time I heard her sob. I wanted to give her something, but what can the dead give the living?

Nothing.

I snuck away eventually. No one saw me. No one heard me. No one knew that the commander was grieving … Because no one but me can listen without being noticed. If she did notice me, she didn’t show it. Thorne gave me one of her looks, the “I know you’re listening, Tim“-look, but she didn’t say anything.

Perhaps the commander wants me to listen. Perhaps she want me to hear her come, hear her cry, and scream, and rage. The commander is a very, very scared draenei. She was once a slave in the Pit of Saron – and not even ghouls can forget that place.

I don’t know for sure. I want to help her but I don’t know how, because, you know? Right? It’s like Ariok told me once: “Death won’t help solve the problems and nightmares of the living. You die, but what of the rest of them? Your sister, mother, your loved one? They’ll be the one’s left with the ‘why’ and the grief, geist.

I think Ariok is right. There’s a lot of sorrow in this garrison … this war has gone on for far too long. I also know this: The commander is very, very, lonely. She’s got all her sisters around her, but even though she’s got a family, she’s lonely. And scared.

(I once saw her grit her teeth as she cut herself. She has many scars down her left leg. I don’t understand why she does it, but I’m dead … ish.)

Just like most of the people in this garrison, the commander is one of the living. The death knights don’t really feel at home here, so they stick to themselves. I’m caught in between – I want to be alive, but I can not be alive. No matter how hard I try. I’m a construct … but I am in love, nevertheless. I love a Knight of Death. My Morissa …

The living though … I try to understand them. I try to be kind to them. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. I spied on sergeant Cranbrook a couple of days ago. I brought him a case of fine draneei malted wine the other night, when I heard him behind the fishing shack. He was crying, you see (Morissa tells me that the living men don’t cry unless they think no one can see or hear them; it’s ‘a guy thing’, she says – I don’t know what that means). I spied on him at first and I couldn’t quite understand why he was staring at a portrait. Then he started crying. It was very peculiar. Sergeant Cranbrook is, as they say, “a man of steel and grit“. He, as they say, “chews glass and piss barbed wire“. He is very … tough. He’s the only one who have won over Blook in arm wrestling, not even Tomok could do that!

Cranbrooks secret was known to everyone but me. Go figure, eh? I guess I’m not the spy I used to be, or maybe it was nothing important. I don’t know how I missed it, but I did – and what I missed was this: I didn’t know that men could love men the way men can love a woman. I blame my scourged brain (it’s addled with memories of a very handsome night elf that apparently was quite well endowed). There’s a lot of wonderous and strange things about the living that i have yet to understand … never mind that I’m, as some of the living calls it, “a meatpie”. Apparently the female … you know … sort of, uhm … looks like … never mind. Love is some weird shit.

Ha! Mmmhaa haa! Haaaa!

(Sorry.)

I brought Cranbrook the goods I told you about. He was quite suprised. Once we were past that embarassing moment where he tried to stab me with his sword yelling “for Bolvar!” and me screaming “I am redeemed! Honestly!” things settled down. Chao, it’s a pandaren mercenary who found that fishing is a lot better than killing so he hooked up (excuse the pun) with Nat, came running and almost went martial palms on ol’ Cranbrook. I, on the other hand, was crouching down, trying my very best to be as unscourged as I can be. It’s not an easy thing to do for a geist, you know, even though I was wearing my pink dress (no, no! Don’t you dare poke fun at me!). We’re sort of scary, okay?

Chao was standing there between me and Cranbrook and said: “What’s this then?”
“That monster … ” Cranbrook said.
“Mmmaahaaahaa!?” I said. now that I think about it, i should have been more vocacious, I guess. As it turned out though, Cranbrook had a sense of humour. Once we battled it out – and I dare say, I was very proud of my ‘and never try and judge me dude, you don’t know what the fuck i’ve been through!‘ – we became slightly more friendly than before. Cranbrook has a very big laugh. It rattles your bones. He said, he did:

“Well, girl, that’s the fucking truth. I have yet to come back as some kind of fucking bodypart sale from a fucking slaughterhouse!”
“I happen to be a specimen of extreme importance,” I said, because I felt slighlty hurt. I tossed my hair (thankfully, the blonde whig stayed on my scalp). “I was scourged before it became popular.”

Cranbrook laughed at this. I don’t understand why.

Then we spoke about death. I’m an expert, after all. You see, the living … well, they try not to think about it. They know they’ll die, of course they do, but they try not to think about it. Other things they try not to think about is the fact that they might die in a far off land, a long, long way from the one they love. The more they try not to think about it, the more they think about it. The living are weird like that. I’ve tried to think about it but I always end up shrugging and muttering a short “eh, I’m already deadish”. I just can’t understand it.

Cranbrook told me he was dead inside. I told him he was clearly in the wrong, because his blood was pumping and he still drew breath. He told me there is more to life than a hearbeat. I wanted to ask him what he meant, but he started to cry again and … well. It made me feel uncomfortable. I once was tasked with repurposing a young man we caught not far from Valliance Keep. He cried as I slit his throat (we needed his head intact so I had to convince Gerry the Ghoul not to use the Giant Mace). It made me feel, well, to be perfectly honest?

I felt nothing.

Then.

That was before I was redeemed!

I asked Morissa, she’s my girlfriend now (I asked her one day if it was alright and she said “yeah, sure, ’cause Miall don’t really like the idea of fucking a corpse” … Morry is a bit, you know, morbid, or so the living claim.) Uhm … Yeah, anyway!

I asked her the other day why people like Cranbrook think that they’re already dead when they’re clearly alive. She said, she did:
“It’s the letters from home, Tim.”
“Letters?”
“Letters, starting with ‘Dear John’ … ” then she kind of trailed off. Then she added, in a sort of hurting, dreamy voice: “Or … or ‘Dear Jane’.” She gave me a quick glance. “My full name is Jannaeh Morissa, you know, my friends used to call me Jane or Janny.” Then she stared right in front of us, as if she was staring at nothing, muttering something about “that fucking cunt” (I know what a cunt is because Kel’Thuzad gave me one but I don’t know what she meant, I mean, we’ve sort of been doing it in our own slow way, and .. uhm … Oh, right. Sorry).

She was a bit agitated. I decided to sidetrack her, I don’t know why, it just … felt like it was needed. So I said: “But Sergeant Cranbrook is called James?”
“When a man … ” Morissa sighed deeply. “Or a woman … When you get a letter like that,” she smiled at me, plucking grass out of my whig (we had been cavorting, let’s leave it at that), “it’s always a dear John, Tim. Or Jane.”
“Why would anyone send anyone a letter that would make anyone so sad they have to cry in secret or wish they were a geist?”
“Because that’s life. It’s sadness between moments of happiness.”
“Then why would they live?”
“Because those moments of happiness is what life is all about.”
“Death is easier,” I stated, nodding so hard my head nearly fell off. My brain hurt right then, because my brain, with it’s morphic memories, didn’t agree. It’s complicated being a geist.
“Being dead is not easy,” Morissa said, she sounded slightly tense. then she smacked me over my head.. “You spent five hours with me before you even made me moan!”
“Oh …”
“Right.”
“Do you think if we kill Cranbrook, he’ll be …”

But from the look on her face I knew I was wrong.

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Casualty of War – Wodans Story

WoWScrnShot_112815_062915“Dey be havin’ a dog up dere, boyo, re’mber?” He grabs the head between his hands. “Ye not goin’ sleepin’ on me now, are ye?” He slaps that pale face. There’s just the smile, facial muscles drawn back, showing teeth. Then the barely audible words:
“Not like this … ”

Wodan rolled over in bed, opened his eyes and couldn’t quite remember where he were. For a few seconds the face of a human in a trench at the Iron Front lingered in front of his eyes. Then the nightmare was over. Then the room came back. The stone walls adorned with animal skins. The fireplace, big enough to drive a steamtank through. The desk, the cupboard, the bearskin on the floor. A clutter of stone- and porcelain figurines. Hulma collected them. Some of those figurines came all the way from Lordaeron and would probably sell for three or four chests full of gold. They weren’t rich, not even well off, she had “collected” her figurines the way adventurers do. Yet they never even thought about selling them, even if every week was a struggle. Some things are simply too precious, be it love or tiny little unicorns some long forgotten human artist once crafted before the Scourge came and claimed them all.
Somewhere outside a shrill gnome voice shouted“Bread from tha ovin! C’ome n’ get it fre-eesh!”. Then he saw Hulma, sitting on a chair next to their bed, holding his hand.

“Wh’e’am’I!?” He struggled to sit up, at first he couldn’t but then he did. He sighed deeply. “Muradin’s beard, lass. That was a bad one ’twas.”
“Come now, my lil’ murogh ram, come now … ” she leaned over and kissed him on the sweaty scalp. “Ju’s a ‘mare, love. Tea’s reddy.”
“Aye,” he said, and swallowed hard. “Jus’ a mare. Tea?”
“‘t’ill be mornin’, love. ye slept for two days ye did. Had to help ye with the chamber pot. Jus’ piss, nuthin’ solid. Ye were drunk as a skunk when ye came ‘ome, love.”

He blushed, slumped down back into bed and wasn’t sure if he should hide under the blankets or cry. He closed his eyes – just for a second. Then he opened them, gasping. Because it was there. Everytime he closed his eyes he saw the tusks, less than an inch from his face. Everytime he closed his eyes he saw the froth, tinged with blood and fel. Then he plunged his sword into flesh and pushed the fel orc away.

Even with open eyes, sometimes you won’t escape the images. As he lay there in bed it all came crashing back, tea or no tea waiting.

“KILL YOU!!! KILL YOU!!!”

A brute of an orc, jumping right across the trench. The monster came down with a thump right in their midst. Wodan threw himself clear of the clutching hands but Duncan was too slow.

Then the rangari arrows came, blotting out the sky. Then there was an almost naked draenei woman, falling from Light knows where, slamming a crystal mace into the orc, screaming incoherently. Wodan saw a black panther dart off into the sky, magical energies trailing behind, roaring like a wilderbeast. Then the orc was dead. The draenei spat blood, turned her fierce white eyes on Wodan and roared. He had never heard such a voice. It was feral, almost like a demon.

“KILL ‘EM ALL!!! KILL ‘EM ALL!!! DEATH!!! DEATH!!!”

Her voice broke on the last syllables. Then she ran away across the battlefield, brilliant light engulfing her, the ground ablaze with holy power. He saw Gul’Dans minions burst into white flames, screaming as they ran and ran … and died.

She slaughtered them all. Reveling in it. Hate incarnate.

“Light have mercy,” he mumbled.
“Woody!” There was a painful shriek. “Woody help!” Then Duncan, fifteen years old, no taller than Wodan, was twitching, twitching, twitching … shitting himself.

“Mom! Mommy!”
“It’ll be ar’ite laddie, healers be here any secon’.” He cradled the boy, trying to stem the bloodflow with his hands but it kept pumping out. “’tis not so bad, fix’er rite up for sure!”
“Mom … Mom!?”
“Ye frem Goldshire, ain’t ye?”
“Yeah … It hurts … ”
“Look at me laddie!”
“It’s so cold … Mummy!?”
“”Dey be havin’ a dog up dere, boyo, re’mber?”
“I … Mom? Mommy?”
“A dog, laddie! Ye not goin’ sleepin’ on me now, are ye?”
“Not like this … ” Then his eyes stopped moving. He kept the smile, facial muscles.
“Dun! Dun! Dun boyo! D’ent ye give me the zee now, boy! Dun! DUNCAN!!!”

For some reason he chuckled, laying there in his bed in Ironforge. It wasn’t a pleased chuckle, more like a sound somewhere between a gasp and a cry but it came out as a laugh. He turned his head to Hulma, smiling even though he wasn’t sure if it was joy or fear that made him grin. For a few moments Duncan lingered in the corner of his eye – so was the draenei woman. The crazy one. Then it came to him – he knew her.

“’twas the commander, love,” he said, wiping sweat from his face with both of his palms. “Ye know the tech them etereal or whatcha call ’em ‘ave. She was wearing green she was. One crazy cunt that one, you jus’ don’ wanna know.”
“Was it bad?”
“Aye … ” He sighed deeply and sat up, heaving his legs out of the bed. “’twas very bad, love. Not forgettin’ nothin’, not.”
“Ye shoul’ talk to the priest, love.”
“Phah!” He grunted. “Whatch’er can do, eh? Can’t erase me mem’ry can she?”
“Ye can’t bottle it up, love. Ye know me uncle, yeh?”
“Me not crazy, lass!”
“Ye will be ‘f’yer not talk to some’un.”

There are defining moments in everyone’s life. Wodans moment happened right there. He stood up, feeling the blood heating up his face. He pulled back his left arm and was about to swing, palm first, when he just froze. He saw her eyes widen, her mouth drop in a shocked “oh!”.

He ran across the room, crouched up in a corner and hid behind his own arms, desperate not to cry – but he did. Retching, deep, shaking screams through tears and snot.

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“I we’nt be free of this, will I?” he said at long last, looking up at nothing, seeing not Hulma but an almost naked draenei, shimmering in front of him.
“No,” she said.
“Then me done for … ”
“Love?” Hulma, her voice low, almost subdued. Yet she reached out with a hand and very gently stroked his beard and head. “It’ll be a’right, love … ye get some tea first, then we go to the priest, yes?”
“Aye … ” he nodded, lowering his arms even though he still wanted to hide. That terrible, terrible visage of an almost naked draenei was still lingering in front of his eyes. “Aye, roe, y’er right, like always.”
“In the light … “the phantom draenei slowly faded away, giving a wink and a smile. “we are one.”
“Ye think I’ll be a’right someday, don’ ye?”
“Aye.”
“’twas a terrible war, roe.”
“War will always be here,” she smiled, leaned close and kissed his lips, dry from fear and panic. “Love will always be here. Ye live with either one but not both of ’em.” She leaned her forehead against his. “I be rite at ye’ side, me murogh ram. Rite at ye side.”
“Ye know sum’thin, lass?”
“What?”
“Sometimes, ye don’t have ta die to be a casualty of war.”