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Old 10-09-2017, 04:54 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

Priestess of the Moon
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Northwest Ohio
Posts: 566
BattleTag: Samael#1487

Gold (War3) Balaa is Crazy

Some time ago, I posted some ideas for a "borrowed" character named Balaa. I got to thinking about her again, and figured I might as well write the scene that was brewing in my head when I did the workup on her. I'd like to think I've gotten better since then.

* * * * * * *

Seth awoke, reflexively spitting out a mouthful of dirt. Half his face was pressed into the loam, and it seemed the inevitable had happened while he slept. There were sounds coming from above him, sounds of birds singing and of wind in trees—but that wasn’t the best part. All around him, there was light. Not torches, not enchanted lanterns, but true, honest-to-goodness sunlight. If not for the shade of the trees above, it would’ve been too bright.

The boy shifted. There was a blanket over him, extending across something soft beside him. It had Kiera’s hair. He poked it. “Kiera! Wake up!” he whispered.

Kiera started. “What? Where are we?”

“I don’t know—but it’s got to be better than that cave.”

The girl lifted her head, trying to bend her ear back in place. “Anything would be.” Gravity, however, was against her in this orientation, so she sat up. The blanket went with her. “Who was that lady who grabbed us? Do you think she’s a friend?”

Seth sat up too. “She has to be, right? She cared enough to give us a blanket.”

“She was also kinda rough—and stinky.”
“I’ll take her over—”

“We are all one in the Light,” said a voice. “Everything is one in the Light.” It was a woman’s voice, draenic accent, coming from behind a bush.

The two shared a look and began crawling closer. “It runs through us, binds us all together,” the voice continued. “It is in you—and in me. We are all part of the Light. It is perfect and holy—and if we follow it, it makes us holy too.”

Seth peered around the bush. He could see a draenei woman seated on the other side, facing someone beyond his sight. She was a match to the silhouette that had rescued them—but so...dirty.

“Is that her?” Kiera hissed.
“Has to be. How many one-horned draenei can there be out here?”

If their rescuer heard any of this, she made no sign. “The Light is the expression of all that is good and pure,” she continued. “When we allow it to guide us—to speak through us—we become a part of it. By letting it shine through our lives, we spread it to others.”

The boy inched his way further around the bush, craning to see who she was talking to. Suddenly, he stopped. Her conversation partner was...a rock. She was preaching to a rock.

He paused, shifting his weight backward—which had the unfortunate side effect of rustling the bush. The woman turned and shot to her hooves faster than he’d thought possible. Before they could make any reaction at all, the children were staring down the barrel of a rifle.

The boy froze, wondering if the mud-caked face at the other end of the gun would be the last he’d ever see. Yet the combat stance vanished as quickly as it came. Instead, the draenei gasped like a child given a present. “Oh! You awake! That is good!” she said—as if nothing had happened. “Come, come. Sit.”

Seth cautiously stood and moved to the place she indicated, Kiera following behind. Now that he could see the mysterious rescuer properly, he couldn’t help but stare. The draenei were one of the rarest races among the Convocation, but closer to the Light than any other. They radiated an aura of wisdom and purity. This one was...not. Her clothes were little more than rags, surmounted by a vest of boiled leather that looked like it was meant for someone much bigger. Her face was encrusted with mud, and her hair was matted like a drowned rat. Considering her pale skin, it had probably once been silver, but was now yellowed with filth.

What truly drew his attention, though, was her head. Her left horn wasn’t just broken off; it had been torn violently from her skull, leaving behind a patch of bald scar tissue. The boy had to force himself to look away. “, who are you?”

The anti-draenei sat first, folding her legs to the side—and cradling the rifle in her lap. “I am Balaa, the last Rangari, scout of the Light’s Vanguard.”

“You’re with the Vanguard?” Kiera asked as they sat. “Are you sure?”

To Seth’s surprise, Balaa didn’t take the comment as an insult. She instead drew something from a pocket and presented it to the girl. “I am,” she said, beaming with pride.

Kiera glanced at the object and immediately handed it to Seth. It was a brass emblem of the Light’s Vanguard—immaculately polished. It looked real enough, but there was no way to tell if she’d gotten it legitimately.

The boy handed it back. “Thanks for the rescue, Balaa. My name Seth, and this is—”
“Kiera,” Balaa finished for him.

The girl blinked. “You already know our names?”
“I do. Find two children. Seth Whitemane, human boy, white skin, white hair, red eyes. Kiera Trueshot, half-Kaldorei girl, silver eyes and hair, floppy ear. That is what my orders say.”

Kiera immediately checked her ear. “Well, you found us. Quite a feat, considering.” Her smile was transparently fake.

Their rescuer got that look again, like a gift had appeared without warning. “Thank you, Kiera! not deserve these words.” She looked down. “No. The Light is perfect and holy. It is everywhere and in everyone. No matter how far we roam, no matter what happens to us, we will always be a part of it. All of us. Even me. I am part of the Light. I am part of—” Suddenly, Balaa leaped into her combat stance again, every hair at maximum alert. “We must move. Follow me.”

The children staggered to their feet. “What’s—” Kiera started to say.
Balaa held up a finger to silence her, then took off running into the forest. She was fast—much too fast. Even with both of them at a dead sprint, they lost sight of her in moments.

Seth doubled over panting. “Can’t keep up. She’s gone.”

Kiera did the same. “Some rescue...from our friend.”
“Still better than the cave.”

They turned when something came crashing toward them. Balaa was back. “Sorry. Not used to people. I slow down for you. Come, come.”

Kiera caught Seth’s gaze and slowly traced a circle around her ear—careful to do so on the side their guide couldn’t see. Seth nodded in agreement.

* * * * * * *

Actually, that's a pretty comical take on a melancholy character -- but then, you can't really dig into something like that in an introductory scene. Make an impression, THEN dig deeper.
Every ending is but a new beginning.
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