(I've had a character bio in my head for Mirsh for a while, but Pike gave me the idea to write it here. I'd done it, then got rid of it, but I'm going to re-add it)
The fire was dying down again. Throwing some more wood on it, I looked around out of habit, and then stopped myself.
I was trying to force myself to relax. Although the Charred Vale was technically contested, nobody had seen Alliance out here for a long time, and there had been no sign of them when I'd ridden into the area earlier that day. Still, I considered paranoia a virtue.
Sitting back down, I threw the boar a piece of the meat we'd cooked earlier, and absently scratched the bristles along his back. He arched his back, and grunted appreciatively. Basilisk wasn't the most tender of meats, truth be told, but the pig would eat anything.
Staring into the flames, I found myself thinking of the past.
I'd come to Azeroth with my parents during the First Crossing, when I was six years old. On Draenor, my parents had lived alone as hunters and boar farmers, and were relatively peaceful people, (at least, by Orcish standards) but they had been present with the others at the meeting of the clans.
All three of us, including me, were given the Blood.
I still remembered what it had done to us; sometimes it came back to me in nightmares, which would cause me to wake, shivering violently enough that an onlooker might think I was having a seizure. Then the dream would fade, I would slowly remember where I was, and my body would lock rigid, as I exerted all of my will to avoid screaming; depending on where I'm camped, sometimes calling attention to my location could be fatal.
Thought, logic, any sense of reason; all were blotted out, and replaced simply with the single minded hunger, the need, to kill and destroy.
I make no apologies or excuses for my people. Without the Blood, we were already fierce enough, but my parents had been unusually intelligent by Orcish standards, and they had taught me to value life, and to know when killing was appropriate, and when it was not. The Blood erradicated that.
I didn't really know how we managed to survive the various conflicts; several years after that, and all of the rest of my childhood and adolescence, were not much more than a red haze, punctuated occasionally by the terrified faces and dying screams of humans, or the feel of warm, sticky human blood as it washed over me. I didn't remember most of it, or at least not outside the nightmares, and for the most part I know it's better that way. The Humans might still hate us for what we did to them, and to an extent, I actually don't blame them; but they also don't know what the Blood did to us.
I remember the end of the fighting, and how slowly, the red haze faded, giving me back full consciousness and memory once more. I and my parents had been locked in filthy wooden buildings with a large group of our people; and the will to fight, the will to free ourselves, and sometimes even the will to move, had left all of us.
I learned later that the name of the place was Lordamere. My father had died there, not long before Thrall had begun liberating the camps. Our exposure to the Humans had meant that we had caught many new and unfamiliar diseases; these swept through the camps, and many of us died.
I remember my father dying. As his breathing steadily became more and more laboured, and his eyes closed, my mother leaned over and whispered to him; of boars uprooting the red earth of Draenor. Of the rough, green grass and water of Nagrand, where they had hunted Talbuk. Of home.
Since we broke out of the camp, I've mostly wandered around Azeroth. Somewhat aimlessly; but I'll go wherever people say there's something big and ugly, that I'm likely to have fun stalking. My mother's still alive, and since the reopening of the Portal, has moved back to Nagrand; I see her occasionally, though not often.
I generally keep to myself; I don't do people very well. Truth be told, I wasn't always like that, but I got screwed over enough times that now I just find isolation a lot less complicated.
Occasionally someone will offer me money to take them somewhere dangerous, though. I used to accept that kind of work all the time, but now, unless I really need money, not so much. It gets annoying; most of the people who want it have no clue how to follow orders, and even less of how to keep themselves alive, so generally it doesn't accomplish much other than nearly getting us both killed.
I used to spend a lot more time hunting the Alliance as well, but these days I don't let them bother me so much. There's still some action to be had in the usual places, but aside from those, it's mostly dying down everywhere else anyway. People just have better things to do with their time; the Humans in particular are trying to pull themselves back from the edge of extinction, and our Warchief has more or less said that he doesn't want us causing trouble either, which is generally fine with me.
I don't attack Humans in particular unless they shoot first. Part of the reason is that growing up, we killed enough of them for the next several lifetimes, and the other part of it is that because of that, I'm aware that they've nearly become extinct. If it hadn't been for the Blood, my parents would have had big problems with our wars with them; we love smaller scale fighting, sure, but we don't see honour in genocide. Privately for this reason, I don't agree with the Forsaken hammering them either, but that's an opinion I generally keep to myself.
The Dwarves are the Alliance group that I've had the least personally to do with, overall. I find them interesting. With a Dwarf for me, there'll nearly always be a standoff. He won't start a fight usually, but he will stand there watching me, and I will be able to tell that he's wondering what I'm going to do next. Most of the time I will carefully withdraw; however there was one time in particular where I was very angry with a certain Dwarf, but I had to chase him for a long time before he turned and attacked me. They usually seem to be reluctant fighters.
The two Alliance groups that I'll still be tempted to have a go at occasionally, are the Gnomes and the Keldorei.
The Gnomes because they use their appearance to lure people into thinking that they're innocent and harmless, and then when you turn around, they'll stab you in the back. I've had that happen with them often enough, that generally speaking now, with them I shoot first and ask questions later.
The Keldorei, because not long after we got out of the camps, it was them, rather than the Humans, who started hounding the few of us that the Humans and the camps hadn't taken care of. They killed a lot of friends I had back then, and they made a pretty good try for me a couple of times as well.
My own issues with them lessened somewhat after I learned about what they'd suffered from the Qiraji. With hearing about the loss of Staghelm's son in particular, I more or less considered their debts to me paid. Since then, I won't often go to them looking for trouble, but if I run into them and they start something, I'll still enjoy finishing it.
In terms of other Alliance groups, while I have nothing against the Draenei myself at this point, I'm guessing they don't feel that way, due to our history. I haven't had all that much to do with them, though; they seem to mostly stick to their own concerns.
I also don't trust the Naaru; never did, and when word about the M'uru incident leaked out, I can't say I was surprised. I figured A'dal had some sort of angle, and that we just didn't know about it yet. Everyone always does.
The future seems interesting; there's talk of going north and finally doing something permanent about Arthas. No arguments there; he's an issue we've needed closure with for a while. I'm also sure that that part of the world will be as interesting as every other I've encountered so far; we will see.