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[Rajakumadi] Why Raja Can't Go To Crossroads

 
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Khydann
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:52 pm    Post subject: [Rajakumadi] Why Raja Can't Go To Crossroads Reply with quote

((By request from Raja. Want a story written? I take requests! PM me!))

Adult trolls are lanky, long-limbed, wiry with muscles and uncoordinated-looking. Adolescent trolls show the truth: that the adult troll is a carefully honed and balanced whole. The young troll still has a way to go.

This adolescent troll seemed to consist entirely of wild purple hair and elbows. He approached the Crossroads lugging a heavy pack, the rough fabric stained dark and dripping in places, flies swarming and trying to settle onto it. Every one that touched the fabric instantly froze solid and fell to the ground, but that didn't dissuade the rest of the insect cloud.

He waved cheerily to the guards as he ambled into the compound, heading for the largest building in the center of the small settlement. Most of the inhabitants of the Crossroads were just passing through – youths of various races of the Horde training in the relative safety of the Barrens, and travelers resting on journeys between Mulgore and Durotar or destinations even farther away, made up the majority of its population. Still, the inland town wasn't as busy as the docks of Ratchet, the port town on the end of the eastern road.

As he approached the inn, a young male orc saw him and waved. “Hey, Rajakumadi!” he called. The troll paused, waiting for the burly green figure to catch up. “What's in the bag, there?” the orc asked, pointing at the sack over Raja's shoulder.

“Well joo know dere's plenty o tings to eat out here, an' the cook said he'd learn me how ta cook 'em up,” the troll said, grinning widely. “So I bringin' him de raw materials.”

“Raw is right,” the orc said, poking at the bag with a thick finger. “You been hunting zhevra?”

“Yeah, dem, and de big lizard tings dat shoot lightning outta dere noses. And de flyin' snakes, de wolfs, raptors, dose tings with de long necks...”

“Right, little bit of everything,” the orc said with a grin. “I'm learning to cook too, I'll come with you. Maybe I can learn something at the same time.”

“Sure ting, Duz,” the troll agreed.

Together, they crossed the courtyard and entered the cavernous dimness of the Crossroads inn. The huge, round building was nearly empty. Boorand, the tauren innkeeper, looked up from folding rough blankets and nodded at the pair, then went back to his work. Zargh, the meat vendor and sometimes chef that had agreed to help teach Raja to cook, was sitting on a mat near the cooking table that the inn used instead of an open fire.

“Heyah, Raja,” the chef called, then beckoned to the young pair. “And Duz as well, I see. You brought me some meat to work with?”

“Yep, I got a whole bag full here,” the troll said, shambling over and dropping the bag at the cook's feet. “All kinda stuff.”

Zargh opened the bag and looked through the raw flesh inside, nodding appreciatively. “The cuts are a bit sloppy, but we can fix that here,” he said, as he began sorting chunks out and laying them on a wooden platter. “And some of these are already a bit burnt around the edges – we'll have to cut those parts off.” He gave the young troll mage a stern look, and Raja curled himself up and mumbled something inaudible.

The lesson went very well, to begin with. Both students were eager to learn, and Zargh was experienced enough with young novices that he seemed to have unlimited patience. He showed them his variety of spices, told them what to look for when buying them and how they were used. The coalbox under the cooking table required occasional attention, and Raja was very enthusiastic about keeping the fire lit, so the chef left the task to the troll.

When he'd demonstrated techniques for each of the different types, he stood up and stretched. “All right, I'm going to go get a couple of baskets,” he said. “You two keep cooking. We'll get all this cooked up, and when I get back I'll show you how to preserve it so it' won't spoil, and then you won't have to cook anything for a good long while.” Duz nodded, carefully slicing a haunch into thin steaks, but Raja didn't seem to notice Zargh's words, or when the chef left the building. As the orc went on cooking, the troll became more and more absorbed with the fire under the table, occasionally muttering under his breath and giggling.

Duz frowned at the joint he was attempting to roast. “Hey, it's burning on the outside. Keep the fire steady, Raja.” He looked over at the troll, then blinked. “Raja?”

The mage had stuck both hands into the coalbox, and now flames were dancing up his arms, along his body, in his hair, without burning his body or clothing. Raja giggled louder, and the fire on his body increased, the temperature in the room around them rising quickly.

“Raja! Hey, knock it off!” Duz yelled, standing up and backing away. He watched in dismay as the carefully cooked meats began to char, then flashed into flame. The fuel stacked carefully away from the cooking table was starting to smolder, as were a couple of mats and hammocks nearby.

“What in the name of the ancestors is going on here?” Boorand boomed, stomping across the inn. He stopped, his arms in front of his face, as the fuel caught. “What are you children doing?”

“It's not me!” Duz looked around frantically. “We need water, or something! He's out of control!”

By now the troll was a pillar of fire, and the inferno around him was growing rapidly. The cooking table, built to withstand intense heat, was starting to melt, the iron top glowing white-hot. Everything nearby was burning merrily, or already reduced to coals, and the rest of the room was rapidly becoming intolerably hot. Smoke billowed up through the smokehole in the roof.

“Everybody out!” Boorand shouted, running around the room to make sure nobody was still asleep in the hammocks. “We have to get out of here! He's going to burn the whole damn place down!”

“Raja!” Duz picked up a broom and tried to poke the troll's back with it, only to yelp as the broom instantly burst into flame. He dropped it on the floor and scooted away, the fire already climbing the handle.

“Come on!” the innkeeper said, grabbing Duz by the shoulder and dragging him to the exit.

“But – Raja's still in there!” The orc struggled to go back, but the tauren's grip was heavy and secure. Outside they stood in a growing crowd, who chattered and pointed at the plume of dark, oily smoke rising from the top of the inn.

A female orc came racing down the street, skidding to a stop in front of the building. “Blazing fel, what happened in there?” she said, staring at the inn. Before Boorand or Duz could reply, she shook her head. “Never mind, let's work on putting it out first. Everybody!” She cupped her hands to her mouth and bellowed. “Anybody who can make water, mage or shaman, get your asses over here and help put this thing out! Come on, move it!” Without waiting for a response, she turned back to the building.

By now, a steady stream of air was flowing in through the wide doorway. The area around the inn was already uncomfortably warm. Barg and Tari'qa were frantically moving their wares away from the side of the building where they'd stacked the wooden boxes and stacks, while Siqua and her apprentice led the various mounts that had been tethered next to the inn away, securing their reins on the low branches of a scrub oak several yards away.

The orc pulled a stick from her bag, dropped it on the ground, and raised her hands. The stick buried one end in the ground, then grew until it was an orcish water totem, while the shaman chanted, weaving a large spell in the area around her. Water particles swirled together, flashes of light and sparkling crystals of frost combining in a cloud that grew until she seemed to throw it forwards, through the door of the inn. As she did, a pair of frost mages who had been building their own spells did the same thing, as did another shaman and a druid.

Aided by the strength of the other spells, the shaman's original spell grew into a water elemental, which they could hear flailing around inside the building. Boorand covered his face with his hands, listening to the crashing and splattering noises. A young troll's voice shouted out in an indignant protest, which turned into sputtering and coughing. After a few minutes of this, all was quiet and the painful heat had vanished.

The shaman ended her spell and looked at Boorand. He sighed, squared his shoulders, and marched into the building with the air of a tauren walking to his own execution – or possibly somebody else's.

Inside was complete devastation. Black singe marks covered the walls. Everything was soaking wet, and covered with a layer of greasy ashes. A charred pit full of a soup of black ashes was all that was left where the cooking table had been. And standing amidst the chaos was an adolescent troll, also soaking wet, and looking miserable.

The innkeeper ground his teeth, then glared hard at the troll, who cowered away. Duz peered cautiously into the inn, wincing, then started to say something about helping to clean it up, but the tauren cut him off with a gesture. “You two. Out,” he growled, pointing at the door.

“I didn't do it!” Duz protested loudly. Raja just slunk towards the door like a half-drowned rat. As he emerged blinking into the daylight, the crowd around him moved away, staring and muttering, except for a pair of guards who stepped forward.

“Keep moving,” one said, poking at the young mage with her spear butt. They flanked him for the long, shameful walk through the village, until they were past the outpost's gate. “Your friend is going to have to explain himself to Thork, but he'll probably be allowed to come back. You? Don't come back.” She pointed out into the searing dry landscape of the Barrens and prodded him again. “Earthmother bless you, unless we see you again.”

The young mage thought about asking for his belongings, then remembered that they had been in the inn. He was left with nothing but the clothes on his back and the tools he carried. With a sigh, he began shambling down the road towards Durotar. Eventually he'd make his way back to Sen'jin, and then... what? Explain his failure to the elders and throw himself on their mercy? Run off to Orgrimmar and find work as a peon? He sniffled to himself, feeling his robes gradually drying in the harsh Barrens sunlight.

“Hey, Raja!” At first he was tempted to ignore the yell, then he realized who had called him and turned around. Duz came trotting up to him, then clapped him heavily on the shoulder with a toothy grin.

“That was some fire you got going!” he said cheerfully. “I asked them to give me some camping stuff, and they did, as long as I swore to keep out for a while. Let's go set up camp somewhere and get more meat, huh?”

Raja looked at the orc warrior dejectedly. “I burnt down da whole place!” he wailed.

“No, you didn't,” Duz said. “Just the inside of the inn, and they'll repair it. And you're a mage, right? You're supposed to burn things a lot! You must be really strong with magic, that was a huge fire!” The orc's eyes shone with enthusiasm. “Someday you're gonna be a famous fire mage!”

The troll blinked, then nodded, reluctantly at first. “Yah... I'm still learnin', afta all. An' that was a good fire, eh?”

“That was a really great fire.”

Finally, Raja grinned at his friend. “Awright, let's go make camp somewhere, an' get more meats.”

“Lok'tar!” The orc laughed. “But you have to promise to let me cook!”

“Dat's yer job from now on,” the troll agreed readily as they strolled down the road. “No more cookin' for me!”
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Zurasha
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

((Bravo! I like that you incorporated familiar elements while making it an entertaining story.))
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Merell
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

((OHHHHH this is Duz GUUD in the story.... not Duz Bettah... god I was so confused there for a moment... awesome story!))
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