Gathering Thunder

But Baachi knew these things. Baachi always knew.

Before Yotingo had ever heard of the AAMS, he had been a derpy wannabe shaman from the Echo Islands…

This serves as my (re-) introduction to a roleplaying guild on the Classic World of Warcraft server of Bloodsail Buccaneers. It’s always been my headcanon that Yotingo learned his shamanism from the tauren instead of the trolls, so what better way to explore some of that distant past than a little RP with old friends?

Author’s Note

The taste of the Barrens was dusty after a life lived on the Echo Islands. Yotingo paused for a moment off the bridge leading from Durotar. Tentatively, he reached out with his senses. Dry skin, a light wind over the tusks and through his mane of blue hair, grasslands wavering from the heat–or maybe they just wavered from the wind.

Well, they wavered. It seemed pretty normal to him. Yet he wondered…

He reached out again, but with that other sense, the one that had so suddenly come to him on the night of the big storm, and then just as suddenly, had seemed to desert him… What spirits might be out in a place like this? Shirvallah? She preferred the lush islands, where there was plenty of foliage to stalk her prey in. He couldn’t imagine Hir’eek liking a place with so few trees and no caves. Was there a loa of deserts? The elders spoke of such things, but in hushed, worried tones. No, if he heard the whisper of a desert loa, Yotingo was resolute he would just pretend he hadn’t heard a thing.

But there was nothing. Just the wind, sighing in the upper part of the covered bridge behind him. The rocks the orcs had used to pave the road felt hot and good under his bare feet. The water chuckled and rushed behind him, as if eager to get back to the sea. All good, normal things. No loa.

Yothingo sighed a breath of relief, and started the long walk to some place the orcs called the Crossroads. His mind kept turning the matter of spirits over and over in his head, though.

When the other sense had first made itself known, he had thought it a quirk of his mind, tired from the constant bickering of his siblings and parents. He had slipped out of the big tent they all shared to get a little quiet, only to find it wasn’t quiet out there, either. A storm had been brewing. The thunder rumbled on the black horizon, and he had heard a voice in it. He had run up the hill to get away from it–the fierce rains he knew were coming–when he slipped and skinned his knee. Someone laughed–a lot of someones actually, except he was alone. His family was still back in the tent. While he sat thinking about it, a leaf overturned above him, dousing him with a bucket-load of rainwater.

In that split second, he had been dead certain the laughing was coming from the water that had slicked the rocks and now soaked his clothing. He was glad no one had been there to see him rip off the clothes and run about ki-yi-ing like a frightened little madman until he found a cave to curl up in to get away from the laughing spirits.

He hadn’t told the others of his experience at first. They wouldn’t have believed him, him always having such funny ideas in his head. He hadn’t even told Baachi, the old witchdoctor who made his rounds through their little village, at times snappy and rude and then so wise and patient. Yotingo had always been a little afraid of him…

But Baachi knew these things. Baachi always knew. This time, the old witchdoctor had come right up to him, and he had done…something. Something Yotingo felt, like a prickling of his fur, a little shiver in his gut. But his hair hadn’t stood up, and he wasn’t sick. The sense had been on the inside. The inside of the inside: the spirit.

And Baachi knew. And so Yotingo couldn’t hide anymore. The witchdoctor had snapped him up, claiming against his father’s half-relieved protests that Yotingo was to follow in a witchdoctor’s footsteps, and maybe even go on to become a shadow hunter. Yotingo had wrinkled his nose at that but said nothing.

His apprenticeship hadn’t lasted very long. Baachi was just as rude and impatient to his apprentices as to any of his patients. While Yotingo might not have been able to give his large family the slip, he could give the old witchdoctor one. When the orcs had come, Yotingo went with them, feigning he knew how to talk to their giant wolves and so had his usefulnes as a peon.

He still sometimes wondered if it was all too easy, and Baachi was even now sitting in his little hut, grinning between his ornament-adored tusks, watching Yotingo in one of those little trances he did, fully satisfied Yotingo was keeping exactly with the fate Baachi laid out for him.

Yotingo shivered. The old witchdoctor did things like that. It was something Yotingo had hated about him, that always-knowing…

But he hadn’t brooded about Baachi ever since taking up with the Horde, so he wasn’t about to do that now! Well, more than he already had. Yotingo turned his thoughts forcefully back to the orcs–and then to the tauren, who he hoped to meet on this trip. The orcs had recognized he had some sort of spirit magic too, magic they themselves were just beginning to relearn after their long corruption by the demons. A group of them had offered to take him with them, out to the Barrens, where they might continue their training as shamans with the tauren. Both orcs and tauren followed different loa than the trolls, and Yotingo hoped he would like them better than the scheming Bwonsamdi and the bloodthirsty Hir’eek…

And here he was again, off ruminating about the past. The tauren. He was going to see the tauren. To make a fate for himself that Baachi and the plotting loa would have none of their fingers or claws in. Yotingo grinned to himself and picked up his pace.

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