Prologue Part I – Loss of Innocence

This entry is part 2 of 15 in the series Rise of the X-Syndicate

The young male troll scampered down towards the beach. His mother, Vhan, holding a new born baby troll, shouted from the entrance of the hut, to which the young troll turned to face her.

“Folaji’mon, you not be runnin’ out of sight of da village, ok?”

“Yes Mama,” the young troll responded, turning again and heading for the water. He stared out at the setting sun.

Throughout his childhood, Folaji’s family had constantly moved from place to place, fleaing enemy Troll tribes and following the Orcs onto the Western continent. Growing up with no real place to call home had given him a natural sense of adventure and blind courrage. He would dissapear from hours on end, frustrating his mother (who didnt know where he was). He would discover new areas and creatures on the Isles he had never seen without ever really feeling in danger. As he looked eastward across the ocean, trying to see farther than his eyes would let him, he imagined the kinds of lands and monsters that existed in this world, and how he wanted to see all of them.

The Echo Isles had been his home since the battle between the Orcs and Humans that had driven the Trolls from Durotar, and it was a great place for the Darkspears to settle. His father, Minshina, was a fisherman, and often left the Isles to trade in Sen’Jin Village. Folaji, meanwhile, would remain home with his mother to help take care of his newborn brother: Foliji. But his brother was growing up so fast that Vhan was busy keeping him out of where he should not go, and Folaji often took advantage of this to leave and explore the uncharted Echo Isles.

Today, Folaji wanted to explore the most southern island. He decided that he would need to wait for his mother to go back in the hut, only then would he make a run for it. In the meantime, he continued to look at the horizon, and dream of adventuring there.

Suddenly, something caught his eye, bringing him back from his dream. A Pigmy Surf Crawler had spotted him and was crawling out of the water towards him. Folaji unnaturaly felt the urge to try something he had never done before. A couple of weeks earlier, he found that if he concentrated hard enough on dead branches, they would start to smoke. He had gathered up a large pile of dead wood on the beach and, after 15 minutes of concentration, had been able to create flames on the dead wood. Amazed, he had quickly put the fire out, so that he wouldn’t get into trouble. Now he wondered if he could repeat the feat on this creature.

As the Crawler crept closer, obviously wanting to know what this little troll was doing on its beach, Folaji put his hands out towards the creature and concentrated. Surprised by the sudden movement, the Crawler stopped in its tracks, studying him. As it shifted back and forth, the top of its carapace started smoking lightly. The creature, feeling the burn, let out a whelp and scuttled back into the ocean. Amazed, Folaji looked at his hands, and felt more invincible than ever. He turned to see if his mother had entered their hut, only to find a tall male troll standing right in front of him.

Folaji had never met this troll before, but somehow, he could sense great power from him.

“Dat be a mighty trick you did there mon,” the troll said.

“Thank ya,” Folaji answered, his voice breaking from unease of talking to a stranger.

The two stood face to face for a while, not speaking, although Folaji felt as though someone was trying to talk to him in his head. For the first time ever, he felt as though he was not safe, and he didn’t like the feeling. He decided it would be best if he left.

“Well, I best be headin’ back home,” his small voice finnaly said, starting to walk around the troll.

“Folaji be your name, right?”

Folaji stopped dead in his tracks. He had never met this troll before, yet this troll knew his name. How was that possible? He hesitantly turned around: “Yea mon, and you be?” he asked.

“Me name be Zalazane,” the troll answered, tending his hand towards Folaji.

Although Folaji didn’t want to extend his hand, he saw it leave his side and fall into Zalazane’s, at which point everything became dark and he lost conciousness.

He would wake up several weeks later, in a state of confusion surrounded by many trolls. A male troll, his uncle Vol’Jin, helped him to his feet. Looking around, he realized he was on the beach of Sen’Jin Village, facing the Echo Isles. He saw a group of trolls splashing in the shallow water of the beach, holding a female troll against her will as she screamed in greif towards the Isles.

Sitting on the ground beside him was his little brother, Foliji, who in the caos of things was crying for his mother and father. Folaji looked closer at the female troll and saw that it was his mother Vhan. She was fixated on the Isles and kept on screaming words, half of which were nonsense, the other half that made perfect sense.

“Give me back my husband!” she cried, with grief and histeria in every word. “Minshina, come back to me!”

She fell to her knees and just stayed there, crying as though she was trying to fill the ocean with her tears.

Folaji was unsure of what had happened, but he knew that it was bad.

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