|OOC Game Stats|
|Guild||Broken Horn Warband|
Zulamani is a young and ugly troll. Her colours and tribal tattoos mark her as an Amani troll from the Hinterlands. People who know what those tribal tattoos mean would know that she's a shaman, that she has the blessing of her tribe's totem animal (the mongoose), and that she has completed the trials required to become and adult... male.
Hunh. Maybe you're just reading those markings wrong.
Zula is here to learn. She is cautiously polite and curious. She gets defensive about strange things sometimes and can react oddly since her tribe's ways are different from the Darkspear's. That said, she enjoys her time among the Horde and the freedom afforded to her as a female among the Darkspear. She is studious and serious but still a troll.
"And that is why the bear, mighty though he is, has such a small tail," finished the druid, settling back against the log. Her mate smiled affectionately, leaning over to murmur a quiet compliment in her ear as the rest of the tribe nodded and grinned.
"A fine tale about a tail," the Warchanter approved. Kurga was getting on in years but his eyes were still keen and his mind was still sharp. He turned to a young troll, one who had joined the warband only recently. She sat next to her fellow shaman Nokoshne but never spoke to the tauren. She smiled and passed the booze and pipe along but did not mingle with the others. It was time for them to get to know her. "Zula," he said in his low voice. "Why don't you tell the next story?"
The troll scratched a tusk as she considered it. "Very well," she accepted in her harsh Orcish. The troll looked around as the others fell silent, curious about the newcomer and what legends she might bring out of Revantusk. "This is a story," she began, "about an infamous shaman of the Mongoose Tribe." Her ugly face contorted in a grin as ears perked up in interest.
"The Mongoose are an Amani tribe. You must understand - things among them are not as they are here. A woman would never be allowed to sit at a circle with the elders, let alone speak at one. The females are kept like cattle, to be bred and bragged of, but never to lead.
"Many years ago the Mongoose tribe was favoured above all others by the spirits. Their warriors were the strongest, and took many lands from neighbouring tribes. Their shamans were the wisest, and led the village well. Many children were born, and lived, and were fed on the spoils of battle.
"On the first moon of the new year the village was gathered to thank the spirits for their blessings. Their chief was especially thankful for he was expecting a son from his youngest, most beautiful wife. Now, this was not an ordinary child. He was to be the sixth son of a sixth son - blessed by the spirits, he would be a powerful shaman and bring the tribe much honour."
"The neighbouring tribe , the Coyote-worshippers, had heard about the feast. They were consumed with envy and jealousy for the blessings of the Mongoose tribe but were too afraid of the powerful Mongoose warriors to attack directly. Instead, they sent one of their own shaman to the feast, disguised as a Mongoose warrior.
"The night was dark and many trolls were drinking or mating at the feast. Their guard was down - it is an offence to the spirits to attack during a newyear feast, so who would risk it? The coyote shaman snuck into the village without trouble. He made his way to the chief's tent. There sat the chief with his five sons around him, the youngest still a babe in arms, the eldest nearly a man grown. On the chief's left was his youngest wife, her belly as swollen with child as the chief was swollen with pride.
"'Great chief,' the coyote spy said to him. 'I bring a blessing for your house.' And he held out a package wrapped in wolfskin, tied with sinew from the caribou."
"The chief did not recognize the warrior but was greedy and wanted the present. He took it from the spy. But the sinew was tied tightly and the wolfskin was wrapped doubly. By the time the chief opened the gift, the stranger had disappeared. As the skins fell open a glowing orb tumbled to the ground. The young wife cried out in fear at the malice pouring from the gem.
"'Father,' the eldest son said. 'It is cursed! Beware.'"
"But again the chief's greed overcame his good sense and he reached to take the stone. The instant his hand closed around it, it disappeared. The spirit of Coyote appeared and laughed at the chief's foolishness."
"'You should have been content with my brother's blessings,' he said. 'Now I will take your greatest blessing away!' The spirit of Coyote lunged at the young wife and she fell into a deep sleep.
"The next day the young wife gave birth but not to the son that the spirit walkers had foreseen. The baby was a girl.
"The shamans of the tribe were called to the chief to explain how they could have been wrong. The eldest stepped forward and spoke. 'Your son is yet there, but he is trapped in the body of a girl. He has the spirit of a great shaman still.'"
"The chief liked the idea that his child could still be a powerful shaman and ordered that the tribe treat the baby as a boy. He killed four warriors who objected and the others agreed. Though many of the warriors remained furious that such a break of tradition was being allowed, the child was given a son's name and a place at the table. As the child grew he showed a remarkable ease in manipulating the elements. When he crawled onto the pond, the water lifted him up. When he spoke, he said that curious spirits visited him in his dreams. And when he shifted into a spirit wolf - the youngest to ever do so in the memory of the tribe - the shamans were pleased to see that it was a male wolf. 'See?' they said. 'He has the spirit of a man.'"
"When the child had reached his fourteenth year, he took the rites of adulthood to become a man. As the chief's son and a promising shaman, he was also granted a young wife. She was sickly and small, but pretty enough. And what would her health matter, the tribe thought, since her mate was trapped in a woman's body, and could never bear sons on her?"
"But as an adult, part of the duties of the young shaman were to travel among other tribes, seeking wisdom and skills. How could he do this, looking like a female?"
"'You must try,' said the elders. 'If you fail in this, the coyote people will have won.'"
"The first tribe he travelled to refused to speak to him. The scouts had seen a ghost wolf arrive but it was a female who demanded admittance to the village. They were scared and sent the strange troll away."
"The second tribe grew angry at what they thought was a trick. They threw rocks and spears. The shaman barely escaped."
"The third and last neighbour of the Mongoose clan were the Coyote trolls. The shaman walked as a female troll to their camp and demanded to speak to the elders. 'It was you who made me like this,' she shouted. 'You have cursed my body, but not my spirit.'"
"'Your spirit may enter, then,' they taunted her. 'But not your body!'"
"The young shaman was angry. He hid himself by a tree and waited until nightfall. Then he took the potions that let his spirit roam free in his dreams, and he visited the elders of the coyote tribe in their sleep. He tried to scare them and to hurt them but they had many years of training in their own spirit forms and they mocked his feeble attempts at revenge. 'Begone,' they said. 'You are a pathetic shaman and a worse man. Go and marry a warrior to fight your battles for you and bear him sons to kill your enemies, since you cannot do it yourself.'
"The young shaman was shamed and his shame made him rash. 'I will sire my own sons,' he vowed. 'But they will not kill you, for you will already be dead at my hand by the time the first lifts a spear.'
"The young shaman fled back to his body and ran home to his village. The next moon, his wife declared that she was with child.
"Some said that the spirits aided the shaman, allowing him to impregnate his wife in their dreams. Some said that one of the shaman's five brothers might have had a hand in the matter. And some said that the eldest shaman, not wanting to see one of his own shamed, spent a night with the young wife on the young shaman's behalf.
"In the end no one could agree on the truth but it did not matter. The young shaman had sworn vengeance on the Coyote tribe for their curse and their insults. If the child his wife carried was a son then he only had a few years to master enough skills to slay the coyote's spirit men. Since none of the neighbouring tribes would teach him he set out to learn what he could from the world. His travels carried him first to Revantusk then on to the lands of Thrall's Horde. There, it was easy. There, they would teach even a female the secrets of the elements. And so he became a she, and she learned the Orc's tongue, and she travelled, and she learned the ways of the spirits."
Zulamani leaned back against the rough log behind her, taking a long drink from her water skin.
A young rogue leaned forward impatiently. "Den what happened?" she asked. "Did tha shaman go back and kill tha coyotes?"
"That is another story," Zulamani replied calmly. "It is someone else's turn to talk."
The rogue sat back with a huff, unsatisfied. A lounging huntress with a brilliant scarlet mohawk chuckled. "Ah doan' see what's so wrong wit' bein' born a girl," she joked.
"Tsh. Ya wouldn't," her equally red-headed daughter replied with a grin.
"Dat's because ah always see straight," the huntress agreed easily. She gave Zulamani a shrewd look. Kurga hid a smile as the young shaman flushed and looked away.
"I want to hear how it ends," complained the rogue again.
"Another time," Kurga rumbled. "The fire grows low and we should seek our beds." He turned to young troll shaman. "Thank you for your story," he said quietly.
"It is just a story," Zulamani replied with a shrug. "And not even a complete one."
"True stories have no beginnings and no ends," the Warchanter said, "but I look forward to knowing how this one turns out, some day. I will see you at dawn to continue your training."
"Thank you, Warchanter. I will be ready."