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Shattered Spear [Rokhan and Zar'Kaa]

#11
Rokhan would lie if he said the troll's words didn't cut to his heart. He sighed. "You forget who you be talkin' to, Zar'Kaa–I still be a shadow hunter. We walk wit da Loa, and the Loa wit us. Dat ain't gonna change jus' cuz I be on my own. I know you don' keep dem in your graces for ya own reasons, but even you gotta know dat I don't get to be alone no more, even if I wanted to be."

The troll chuckled a mirthless, sad chuckle. "For what it be worth, I don't be givin' ya any special treatment. A troll be who dey make demselves to be–not de ones who made dem. I treatcha de way you earned wit your deeds, an' I don't let no superstitions corrupt ma judgement. I be seein' too many tings what would scare a troll shitless to let it. An' I ain't some High Priest dat be clutchin' ma fetish in horror because you be don't be a fan of de Loa; dey can be bastards sometimes, I know."

Rokhan lightly pounded his fist on Zar'Kaa's side. "But dis be your chance to start changin' who you be, Zar'Kaa. De Darkspear don't be havin' time to be picky about who dey protect... but Zufli'jin ain't her father either, and I don't tink I like de kind of troll I see her becomin'. Tragedy like dis? It trows us all do de ground, strips us bare as de day we came screamin' into de world, make us build ourselves back up. Zufli'jin an' me, we be pickin' what kinda troll we gonna be on de other side o' dis. But only you can answer who you gonna be, or what you gonna do.

"But... for what it be wort," Rokhan said, turning to continue gathering his belongings and reagents. "I'll miss havin' you 'round, too, mon."
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#12
Zar'Kaa looked away from the shadow hunter, tightening the grip on his spear. It felt...off. The odd blade of the spear was in good condition, but the shaft may have lost some pieces, leaving the structure of the weapon weakened. 

Gonna have ta take care o' dat as well. I'll have ta see when I get a moment afta' we-

Then, it hit him. As Rokhan finished gathering his supplies and turned to leave his ruined home behind, Zar'Kaa stood in front of the door. "Wait." he said. "I can't say dat I know who I be, not truly. All my life, I been givin' everything I got to our people. I spent so much time tryin' ta be what I thought da Darkspear wanted me ta be: a warria', heala... an' outcast. Whateva' the Darkspear needed, I have tried ta' be. An' where did dat get me? For all dat I have tried, I ain't found meself yet. I say dis not because my love for da Darkspear has waned, but to say dat you be right, Boss. I have ta start makin' me own choices, even if my people will neva' love me back. And da time for me ta make me own choices is now."

Zar'Kaa sheathed his spear, then gave Rokhan a resolute look. "I'm comin' wit'chu, Boss-mon. An' together, we gonna find Seria an' Rai, and we gonna kill dat bastard Zalazane once an' for all."
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#13
Rokhan met Zar'Kaa with a solemn gaze. "I can't say dey'll ever let you come back if ya leave, mon. I ain't gonna waste your time askin' if you be ready, mon, but dis ain't a decision to be makin' lightly. But if you be sure... den you should get your tings. We... have a long way to go, and de faster we put distance between myself and Zufli'jin... de better for boat of us."

The shadow hunter nodded to the younger troll. "And patch up dem wounds. Don't want de wounds to sour an' finish Zalazane's job. Bwonsamdi take me now if I be givin' him dat pleasure."

Rokhan turned and continued his scavenge through the wreckage of his broken home, collecting reagents, tools, and clothing. He cast one more glance at the shattered pottery, but left it to sit amid the wreckage of his old life.

He didn't need a reminder of what he had lost; he couldn't forget even if he tried.
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#14
Zar'Kaa's gaze fell for a moment, his eyelids feeling heavy. In truth, Zar'Kaa was mostly a Darkspear in name, not in fellowship. As much as he craved the respect, validation, and acceptance of his people, he was often denied these things, even in light of all he had done on behalf of his people. Zar'Kaa had traveled far across the Eastern continent in the aftermath of the Second Troll War, scouring for other factions to make deals with, bartering for gold and supplies with his abilities in combat and his adept skills with medicine. The non-stop training, the long hours of working to perfect his medicines under Master Gadrin's tutelage...none of these things brought Zar'Kaa any closer to finding a home among his people. 

Perhaps it be for da best dat I be leavin' as well. Da' Darkspear don't be needin' ano'da reminda' of da evils of da Loa. Or of Darkspear that have betrayed der people....

Before Zar'Kaa could ruminate on the sins of his parents once again, he shook the thoughts off and met Rokhan's gaze. "I know, Boss. But...me people been wantin' me gone eva' since me manman brought me into this world. At least in dis way, I be givin' dem what dey want. Howeva', der be a few back in da Tribe who I ought ta' be sayin' my goodbye's to. And even tho' you be strifin' wit' her, I have ta' be straight up wit' Zufli'Jin as well. She still be da chieftan, an' I won't turn my back on her wit'out askin' for her blessin'. An' who knows? Maybe a few of our brudda's and sista's will want ta' come wit' us." he said with an uncertain shrug. 

"In any case, I'll meet you beyond da shores of da isles, where da copse'a trees becomes da woods. I won't be long, but I still gotta do dis. An'..." Zar'Kaa paused for a moment, then gently rested his hand on Rokhan's shoulder for a moment. "T'ank you for trustin' me, Boss-Rokhan. I know ya be havin' a tough time trustin' anybody right now, and dat ya heart be heavy." he said, moving to pick up the broken piece of pottery, running a finger over the coarse texture. "But even though ya lost so much on dis day, ya people still care for you. As do I. An' I won' let ya down." Zar'Kaa said with resolution, endearingly bumping Rokhan's shoulder before moving to leave his mentor behind to collect his supplies. Before leaving, Zar'Kaa turned his head halfway back to Rokhan. "We gonna see dis thru', Boss. You an' I."
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#15
If nothing else, Zar'Kaa was optimistic. And whether he realized it or not, that optimism was infectious. 

Maybe they would find a way to the other side of this. And maybe Seria and Rai would, too.

---

A few hours later, three boats made it to the Wetlands shore, joining Zar'Kaa who had made landfall ahead of time. Bru'kan and a dozen other Darkspear chose to join Rokhan, each for their own reasons. Though some of the more superstitious ones balked at the young pariah's addition to their party, they were silence through a combination of Rokhan's words and a Bru'kan's reprimand–though the old troll was no friend of Zar'Kaa or cursed blood, he was sure to impart that beggars couldn't be choosers in situations like this with a swift strike to the nose. They needed all the hands they could if they were to survive the voyage overseas, even if those hands were anathema.

Though they were less than a day behind the young half-troll and son of Vol'jin's own exile, they found themselves unable to pick up their trail. Clearly, the young druid was even more capable of covering her tracks than Rokhan believed.


Loa watch her, den, Rokhan thought. Dey be doin' a better job at it den I ever could.

It was far too dangerous for a group of their size to linger on the mainland for long, so soon enough, the band headed north, seeking the forests of Silverpine with which to build a ship sturdy enough to make the journey across the Great Sea to Zandalar, the ancestral heart of the trolls.

It would be a long and difficult journey, but one where perhaps all of them might find answers.
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