The Earthmother Speaks

- by Krain

The lift finally arrived at the great peak of Thunder Bluff, stopping at the top to switch passengers. As Krain stepped off the lift, it shook as if a great tension had been released. He looked around proudly at the accomplishments of his brethren; how far they had come over the last few years. The warrior dusted himself off and headed across the bluff in search of answers.

Krain kneeled before the great chieftan Cairne in the deepest of respect, his head low and polearm at his side. Krain was not garbed in his usual travel attire, but instead in full plate armor. It was customary for the Tauren protectors to never shed their battle gear, and Krain had no desire to disrespect kin. So shall it is, so shall it ever be.

The elder shaman scratched his beard, examining the young warrior for a long moment.

"Do you know why I have summoned you, young one?" he spoke carefully and wholeheartedly.

Krain looked up to meet Cairne's gaze. "I believe so."

"You know we a have large tribe," Cairne continued, "Much larger than ever before. Things are well." he stopped to take in the cool air around them, and give a promising smile. "So I cannot take the time to instruct every single brother on his path. You understand, yes?"

"I do, sir." Krain nodded, embarrassed that things had come to this.

"Now, Bloodhoof you may be, but Tauren you shall ever be. Watch those around you, for I dread the day a warrior is struck from the back... rather than the front."

There was a long pause of consideration on both parts. Finally, Krain closed his eyes, his deep voice speaking softly; trying to perfect each word.

"I... " he took a breath, "I judge the individual. Not the... species."

Cairne nodded again, letting Krain know that his words were noted and understood.

"You are wise beyond your years," Cairne stood up straight, "But your years are not forgotten. Please, go see your father."

Krain shed his breatplate and shoulders, letting them hit the floor with an almost thunderous clatter. He slipped his robe on and stretched out, relaxed to be in something less inhibiting. As much as the armor was required, he longed to be weightless; to move as freely the plainstrider. He stepped out of the tent, seeing Baine in his normal spot. Krain ran out to the middle of his family's village, quickly bowing and kneeling before his father.

"Oh, come now. Stand up." Baine commanded. "This is a formal meeting, but you are still of my blood."

Krain stood up in obedience, but pondered on Baine's use of "blood". It was no secret that Krain was in fact adopted, and the chance of his being of true Bloodhoof kinship was little to none. To call Krain of his blood, Baine had honored him to the highest degree. So shall it is, so shall itever be.

"I know my father has spoken to you, Krain. And neither of us can tell you how or where to walk. But we don't wish you to stray from your roots. Shaman or druid you are not, but the Earth Mother is still within you."

"I agree that it is most unnatural, but we are now a part of the Horde. We must learn to accept others, as the Chieftan Thrall did for us." Krain responded confidently. Baine sighed, yielding to his son's will.

"And we respect that. Still, your future is in our best interest. Our village soothsayer has prepared a vision for you, to ensure your well-being." Baine reached into his pocket, pulling out a small bottle of blood red liquid, handing it to the young Tauren. "Drink this."

Krain awoke in one of Bloodhoof Village's tents, next to his armor and weapons. He sat up slowly in a cold sweat, running a hand through his mane. He let out a deep breath. He hadn't felt so enlightened since the day he left on his journey. The Earth Mother had spoken to him-- him, the simple-minded young warrior sans family. And yet, it was not so. He was in the very presence of family; and now, it was time to return to his other family, and inform Lilithia of his recent findings. He stood up, strapping on his armor once again, and returned to his path.

He was Krain Bloodhoof, and he had learned to accept life even as undeath. Spirits be with him, it was a lesson taught by the path itself. So shall it is, so shall it ever be.

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