This is a player submitted short story about their Character's trip from the village to the Highperch wyverns for their Judgement of the Wyverns Rite. This writing is the authors and intended to reflect and share the IC trip that took over two weeks to complete.
During her Judgment, Koza was presented with one of the Champions of Highperch as her possible bonding partner. The large wyvern was very powerful and smart though he was challenged by Cloudjumper, a smaller, one-eyed wyvern that had befriended Koza nearly since the day she arrived in the Tribe. Being forced to choose which wyvern she assisted see jumped into the battle against the Champion of Highperch. It was not an easy battle and Cloudjumper was nearly killed in the process but at the end of it, with a massive power blow delivered by Koza, the wyvern relented. Saying that the two proved their loyalty to one another he let them go which is highly unusual behavior for a Judgement that is interrupted.
To seek the Judgement of the Wyverns; this was the reason Koza was trudging out into the wasteland yet again. At least this time Koza had the fortune of being dressed in heavy leathers rather than simple bindings, even if there was now a hole in the side of her leather chest piece. No amount of armor or furs could banish the chill that ran through her though, as she fought to keep herself steady through the fever and lethargy that racked her. The gift of sweets from Lakodha had proven to be more of a curse then a boon. In an effort to give her a bit more energy, Koza had been popping the small morsels into her mouth almost immediately after the previous one had faded. By the time she reached the border of Feralas, they were gone and the sick feeling that had settled in her gut had increased tenfold. It wasn’t long before the illness won, sending her to a nearby bush to get sick. Heaving as she wiped the spittle from her mouth, Koza glanced upwards to see if she could spot the white bull that would undoubtedly watch over her soon. For now, she thought she was safe as he was nowhere to be seen. With a huff she began her wobbly march onwards, not at all looking forward to the jungle.
Feralas. Last time she’d been here was when she and the other Skyrunners had gone to help Okunn face the Feltotem. To her this place was associated with that stench of fel, or at least it was for a small while. As she walked along the path and eventually passed the mountains known as the Twin Colossals, Koza began to realize that maybe; just maybe, this humid forest filled with life was in fact not the fel-riddled place she had told Korgig after all. Maybe she had been thinking of Felwood. The realization didn’t bother her much, after all, she’d of only read of these places or heard tale of them. Green forests tend to blend together.
After a day of walking in Feralas, Koza came to despise the heavy leather she wore. The air was thick and muggy and while the sun was blotted out by the canopy of leaves, the temperature seemed to always keep rising. This of course was doing wonders for the Orc’s flu-like symptoms. She tried her best to hide it and in all honesty was doing pretty well at it up until the sun began to set for that night. She had managed to bag herself an owl, having waited for it to plunge down on a nearby mouse before pouncing on it herself.
Having dug a fire pit not unlike the one she and Dakoda had made, minus the wall to funnel heat as Koza was more than warm enough and would only be using the fire for cooking and light, Koza set to work de-feathering the once majestic bird. Fistfuls after fistfuls of feathers were placed in a neat pile for safe keeping until she moved to remove the feathers from the bird’s chest. When she had been watching it she had taken notice of how sickly it seemed, flying slowly and lopsidedly, but now she discovered why. With the next grip of feathers in her hand, she ripped it away to reveal what was a festering sore on right side of the bird’s breast. Puss oozed from the wound that had more than its fair share of bloat fly larva wriggling about in the cavity. The sight alone was revolting, but the surprise and having touched it sent the already queasy orc into another bout of vomit.
It was safe to say she wasn’t going to eat that night, and eating anything close to the infection was out of the question. Removing the legs and the left wing, Koza set them on sticks to cook while she tossed the remainder of the body back to the wilds a fair ways away from where she had made camp. She was sure one of the wolves she’d heard howling would be less squeamish about the meat, but with how weak she felt she wasn’t chancing it. After the morsels of meat finished cooking, Koza set them within the small pouch she’d brought with her to keep them from being exposed while she slept.
After a brief stretch and forcing down the meat she’d gotten the night before and securing the feathers within her pouch, Koza continued on her way. For the most part, the journey was almost as uneventful as the trip to the Spire was but was far lonelier. Time and again, she’d look skyward in an attempt to catch sight of Hotah but never was able to see the bull. Who knew a pure white bull on a large wyvern could be so stealthy. She set into a routine of walking, hunting something and sleeping, always making sure to keep a fair distance away from any Night Elf encampments.
During one such attempt, Koza bumbled through a patch of vines as she slid from the path to avoid what seemed to be an elven patrol. Vines would’ve been fine for her to deal with on their own, but not all the vines were vines. On her way down, she had knocked a small tree python from its branch and brought it down with her. Upon realizing her new friend’s existence, the both of them panicked and fled from one another, which was an improvement from the outright freezing the Orc was known to do. With that excitement done, only one more interaction was of any note.
One of the nights, Koza managed to take down a buck for her meal that night. She was proud of herself, although she’d of been prouder if she could’ve lugged the whole thing back to the village. A passing Stonemaul Ogre took notice of Koza as she dragged the corpse of the deer by the horns into a place where she could attempt to butcher it in peace. The two struck up an argument that eventually turned into a deal: The Ogre would help skin and break down the large deer along with something else of value and she would get to keep the deer hide, a single antler, and said item of value.
Rolling up the hide, not very pleased that it wouldn’t have the chance to dry out much, Koza asked what the item of value would be as she looked over the snapped off antler. “Anything. Shiny rock, sharp stick, heavy rock. Anything as long as not shiniest rock.” The Ogre explained. Koza was intrigued to say the least, especially by the promise of shiny rocks. Asking to see the rocks, the Ogre left for a few hours before returning with a hulking sack of rocks, many with veins of material going through them. One such material seemed very familiar to her, and she began collecting all of the chunks she could spot within the sack that carried these seams of material. With her armload of rocks she asked for these ones in particular, which only confused the Ogre. They weren’t *that* shiny, so he was more than willing to have the strange Orc have them. With her new trophies and a decent meal, she continued on.
The final climb up the mountain was uneventful. The added weight of all her new little treasures made the trek a bit more difficult, but Koza was too determined to let it weight her down too much. It had been almost two weeks now, and she was so close. It was at this point she finally caught sight of Hotah as he doubled back to fly north to the village. The judgement was nerve-wracking; she knew as an individual she’d be fine. But she worried that they would be able to sense her reluctance to trusting others. No matter what comes, she decided, she’d overcome it. She’d have to, as she wasn’t lingering in the Cleft anymore and her new family needed her to trust them so that she could trust them.