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[ Dzivah ] Feather and Claw.

Once more Drek'tal takes me to hunt. He feels his duty now is to impart wisdom on me. "Dzivah shall require no new mate in the event of my death. She will be self-sufficient" he remarks to the Tribal Mother. Ah, they're both quite ignorant when they speak of what I can and cannot do. I've spent countless years alone and never starved. Hunting is not the only way to feed.

It is a marvel I am so quiet when they speak this way around me. BAH!

But I digress.

Drek'tal takes me this time to hunt the Scorpid. The method is simple, but his speed and size are clear advantages. He dashes at the Scorpid and grabs it by the stinger. "The Scorpashi have venom in the bulb of the tail. This is their self-defense. If you grab them so that they cannot use it, they are helpless." he smirks and breaks the animal's neck. "Your turn." I suspect that I shall come to fear those two words.

I limber up, stretch a little. I face another nearby Scorpid. As I dash, it raises its tail threateningly.


I pull back, it chases me. I run screaming. Drek'tal sighs. I feel I have disappointed him.

"Try again. Act quickly, Magi."

I stab my staff into the dirt and crack my knuckles. "Here goes." Drek'tal detects the change in my voice, the growing frustration has given way to a calculated and decisive tone. I hum a few words and shimmer away. Invisible. A neat trick. The scorpashi cannot smell, it is not so smart a creature so as to notice the wily mage sneak up behind it. I snatch, it screams as it is outwitted, and I raise it above my head triumphantly.

Drek'tal smirks. "Clever girl."

And as we break the carapace and scoop out the soft, gelatinous flesh, I wonder quietly: what is my self-defense mechanism, and can it be used against me?

[ Dzivah ] Learning to fly.

The tribe's stay in Stonetalon has had me uneasy. A thorn in my side begins to ache once more. I push aside my fears and struggle along, but the pain can be crippling if you do not address the problem...

I'm a coward. I don't even dare to write about it. So I will not.

Yesterday morning, I rose early. After an uneasy exchange, I fled. I went in search of something to soothe me. The crags and rocky mountain passages are home to many birds, and in particular, the Eagles of Kalimdor. Such majestic and beautiful creatures. I longed to take one for myself, to feast of its blood and thereby imbibe some of its freedom, its courage, its glory.
But, try as I might, I failed each and every time. When I looked up, and felt that I was poised to strike from below, the Eagle dashed away, effortlessly, even making improbable midair maneuvers to avoid being scorched.

When I returned an hour later, I found my mate awake and bothered by my disappearance. He should know by now.
He asked "What is the matter?" And sure enough I must have looked a flustered mess. My arm bindings, carefully wrapped so as to avoid my flame, were now singed and useless. One dangled precariously from my wrist. "Drek'tal, I am hungry. I tried to catch an Eagle, but I failed."
He regarded me with curiosity, then with laughter. As mirthful and soft as his chuckling was, it burnt me deeper than anything I'd ever inflicted upon myself. My mate laughed at me for my failure. I slapped him, but left very little a dent. "You wound me."

I suppose I must have looked very threatening and angry at that point, for his face quickly turned serious, almost dark. "If you want to catch the Eagle, I will show you. Come." Dropping my wasted bindings in the dirt, I nod at him. I followed. High up into the crags this time. I wrinkled my face curiously at him, but said nothing. We are above the Eagles now. For what purpose?

As if reading my cynical expression, he spoke up. "The Eagle does not look up, Dzivah. Watch." Effortlessly he shot an arrow at one flying many feet below us, one that was no doubt returning to roost on a lower crag. SHOONK! I heard the arrow pierce the noble creature and it fell as gracefully as it flew by. We can scoot down to the lower crag to collect the prize now. But he turned to me. "Your turn."

I scowled. "I have no skill with a bow and arrow, Primal."

"Use your Arcane trickery, Magi!"

It takes all of my emotional wherewithal not to screech at him for the remark approaching an insult, until it actually dawns upon me. Trickery. Yes! I reach into my pocket. BLAST! No feathers. I look around. I see one, laying in the dirt. The Eagle has left me the gift with which to end its life. How ironic.

Drek'tal regarded me curiously as I began to limber up, but was silent. I then spied my own hapless target; an Eagle had begun to circle the space above a lower crag. With the feather tucked neatly between my fingers, I finally give him the words he seemed to be waiting for. "If I die, tell 'Laikah I am sorry." And with that, I jumped.


I snatched the Eagle mid-air, its surprised croak reverberating through the lonely crag. The trickery has worked; the Primal's knowledge combined with my own flair has netted a result. As the feather reagent reacted to my commands, I began to float effortlessly down to the encampment below. My tribe mates are bemused. The Tribal Mother shakes her head. I suppose I am rather ridiculous.

Plucking the carcass hastily and savoring the scent of my kill, Dek'tal swooped into camp, beaming with pride. He congratulated me. "You are crazy, Dzivah. But smart." The greatest compliment I'll ever hear in my lifetime. I shiver with the anticipation of the feast. As we hungrily devour the Eagle, I feel renewed. Invigorated. I feel divine.

But I cannot be distracted from what truly ails me, and the tactic that the Primal employed haunts me.

The Eagle does not look up.

And neither have I before now.

[ Dzivah ] Exposure.

That darn fool Ohiska! I thought it would be relatively easy work with few complications; Go in, acquire a few objects with fairly little effort, and then collect on my reward. Such is the price I pay for trusting people at their word!

It was at the ruins where we spied him: the former Jin perched high atop a crumbling edifice. Scant were the chances that the Loa would topple the building and break the man's neck for my amusement, so it was inevitable that after a small skirmish with the Naga he would come down and meddle in our affairs. I urged Ohiska to leave well enough alone. "The Tribal mother has forbidden it." But my utterances fail to pierce that thick skull of his on more than one occasion, so we were graced with the eyeless one's company for a time. Before I left he urged me to listen.
I suppose I should have protested more vehemently. It was the start of something darkly intriguing and mystical. His words were tempting. Small morsels out of a chunk of something more appetizing.

I find myself back in Stranglethorn two days later. This time, it is for myself. But the eyeless one is able to smell me, and easily. Not only is his sense heightened by blindness, but on that accursed day in which I exercised poor judgement by allowing him to live, he drank from me. He drank deeply and came to know me intimately.

It is dark and I walk alone, unconcerned by danger. He insists that he follow. He doesn't realize that for me, he is the danger.

When he learns of my true intention for being there, he offers to play a part in my thrillseeking. After tiresome, irritating small talk to which I am unaccustomed and indifferent, we find my target. A small Alliance encampment built out of a marvelously... flammable type of local driftwood. The stupid pinkskins are not the issue. He slaughters them with ease and grace. He quickly takes his own pleasure. I watch him marinate in their blood and turn to me. His face is quizzical, bemused at my lack of pleasure. He smells my frustration. Why are you different from us, girl? he seems to ask.

After we have drunk deeply of their blood I urge the both of us to scurry away. From safety I can watch something marvelous. And so I raise the fires high, I set it all aflame from afar and sink to my knees and let the splendor overtake me.

Two unlikely cohorts crouched in the bushes, pressed up against one another, each aroused by something else. He by blood, and I by fire. After the stupor wears off and the smoke replaces the flame, I come back from irreality. I am slumped next to a dangerous man, allowing him to observe my lack of self-control. Although fully clothed, I feel naked next to him. He has stripped me to my very core, and gazed at the most intimate part of me. He no longer considers us as being different. I am terrified of this discovery. This is foolish, Dzivah. You must get away now.

And so I thank him curtly for giving me my release and I scamper away.

But the eyeless one, blind as he is, has seen too much.

What have I done?

[ Dzivah ] Murderous visions.

I don't sleep. That's what I tell people and that's what I believe. I close my eyes and several hours later, I open them. My mind never truly finds rest in between that time.

This is happening repeatedly. Open. Close. Open. Close. I can see you! You're just hiding. And then, suddenly, blackness! Glorious! Followed by sounds. Quiet murmurings here and there. Hissing. Crackling. And then, you can see it!

She has charred blood under her skin. So heavenly. So intoxicating. You can smell it wafting off her. I am so enthralled. She is burnt from within. Her breath is smoke and her eyes are the embers. She is the promise of an end. Fire is absolute; it doesn't equivocate or creep tentatively, as a flood will slowly rise. It destroys all in its path and sets the way clear for new growth, for new meaning.

She is smiling and laughing, dancing about me, raking me across her hot coals. I follow her. When I open my eyes again, I remember who I am. What I am.

I am Dzivah. I like to watch things burn. I will burn down my world and make it anew.

[ Dzivah ] On the run.

"Get your shit, and your bear. We are leaving."

I didn't protest, as much as I despise him ordering me around. This is my fault. Drek'tal is acting in my best interest, even if he is taking the opportunity to make me feel like dirt for my transgressions.

So we rode out of Durotar, under the auspices of a contract. I know that there is an actual contract, but considering that he has historically been reluctant to include me in his work, the real reasoning has become all too clear: Dzivah is trouble, Dzivah needs to be removed. Hide her away. She's an embarrassment and a liability.

I don't have the gumption or the emotional wherewithal to challenge him on this point. So with my wounded pride I follow him back to Stranglethorn. From there, I shall make my voice loud and clear: He shall either learn to live with me, or die turning me away.

I will kill him myself.

Love is not enough, Primal.

[ Dzivah ] Surrender.

It wasn't long before my big mouth and my even bigger flame got me into trouble. The eyeless former Jin approached the tribal mother and I as we sat by the only cool patch of water in the entirety of Durotar. The heat must have been insidious that day. I don't recall. No amount of water splashed upon my body, however, could have cooled my mind as I listened to that blind, cretinous fool insult my mate and love without provocation. When I challenged him on his right to make such bold statements, he insisted that I should take his comments with a 'grain of salt'.

"Salt." I replied, "Too much salt in the diet makes one fat. And lazy. And stupid. And....blind."

And as the mirth in our respective taunts was quickly replaced with the promise of utter annihilation, I knew once more that I'd sealed my fate here. No matter the outcome, I'd commit a grievous trespass. Against myself, against this man, against Drek'tal, the tribe... But no other thought could enter my mind. Die, I thought. And so I stood up. I puffed up my chest and faced a man twice my size without fear and hesitation.

And when that same large man was spitting up his own blood in the dirt, with my staff poised below his chin, I realized my own hubris and the perils of a love so strong so as to dissuade me from acting reasonably.

That is not to say that I have always acted reasonably. Reason does not govern me. Emotional rule is the most satisfying monarch. I do not care to bring myself into line when I am acting purely out of self-interest. After all, what else is there besides myself?

There is Drek'tal, now. And when I looked this man in his sightless eyes, I realized that one day, Drek'tal would die. Perhaps before me. Perhaps by my own actions. So I spared this man his life, if only because I need fewer enemies in this world than I need avenged lovers. I need to keep Drek'tal from strife on my account. I need to act with his best interests in mind, and not merely my own.

But my intent constituted the offense. After I'd spared the man and allowed him to feed on my blood as a gesture of my good faith, I incurred an even more serious wrath: the wrath of the tribe. Expulsion seems likely, if not assured. Do we run now? Drek'tal is anxious. I have never seen him pace like this before.

Oh, Drek'tal. Are you more trouble than you're worth? You could be.

But what's a little more trouble in the life of Dzivah?

[ Dzivah ] With this fire in the head.

I let him cage me in the confines of a tribe. The effect upon my mood is horrendous. The women are accessories here, the men are too obnoxious. The day I arrived here, I was ready to leave. Within twenty minutes of minding my own business, a male singled me out to be prey.

What possessed me to spare that man's life, I'll never know. I care not for expulsion, so why did I hesitate? I care for Drek'tal, it seems. I care that he could be hurt by a raucous, dangerous mate. I am a liability. I am helpless here, by virtue of not being helpless. If I were to act on desire, on impulse, on a whim, I could place him in harm's way. And I care for him too much to do that.

So I sit. Restless. Angry. When the men of this tribe speak of women as chattel, as charges, as mere 'things' with no intrinsic value, as though we are incidental inclusions in the universe whose sole value is instrumental, I boil within. My blood, it heats up and coagulates and I almost choke to death on my own bile.

My life is foreign. Baptized by fire. A girlhood stained by otherness. When I was old enough I was alone. When I was peering up at my would-be executioner, I showed him my worth. Bought and sold and made into a peerless woman. A plea bargain for a greater existence. Even when I was a captive, I retained more dignity than these women here shall ever have.

And yet I sit here, watching men 'take' women because these are the 'old ways'. And not one sensible utterance is made that this is, entirely, a load of entitled bullshit from overfed, overdressed macaws.

I want to kill these men. And I could, no doubt, kill several of them. I think of my own father, weeks before his death, frightfully peering at his grown daughter from under his hood. Good Zufli. Bad Zufli. 'Zeeva'. 'Dzivah'.

How long until the fire dies down? Sometimes, Primal, even love is not enough.

[ Dzivah ] Feed me.

He returns, blowing through my life again like a hurricane. An imperious whirlwind of a man, that is what he is. He taunts lesser men and offers to feed me their carcasses, and I find myself salivating at the thought of the scraps from his table.

Pathetic? Maybe. True? Unequivocally.

[ Dzivah ] At long last.

He reponds. HE RESPONDS! The temperature in my body goes up even before I read the first word. By the end of it, I am clutching the page and letting out ragged breaths.

Primal. Frostmane. Savage.

Where are you?

[ Dzivah ] Signs of mental decay.

Losing my grip here.