Prologue Part II – Return of a Mage

This entry is part 3 of 15 in the series Rise of the X-Syndicate

“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 right side and fall into Zalazane’s…

 ***

Folaji awoke from his dream and sat up, screaming at the top of his lungs. When he finally got a hold of himself, he slowly opened his eyes and tried to remember where he was. Infront of him sat a Dire Mottled Boar who had been eating the left-overs of what had been Folaji’s supper from the night before. It had been startled by his long deathly scream, and was staring at Folaji, wanting to get back to its meal. It grunted once, turned back to the old left-overs, sniffed them, and started eating again.

Folaji looked away from the Boar and scanned his surroundings, slowly remembering where he was. He recognized the dusty Durotar ground and got up, letting go of his right hand (which he had instinctively protected since he had woken up). He fished a bottle of water from his backpack and drank it down slowly.

Several years had passed since his encounter with Zalazane, and the event still haunted his dreams nightly. Folaji still didn’t know what had happened during those few weeks, only that his father had been killed while rescuing him. His father, however, wasn’t the only victim. His mother had been in a state of shock ever since that night, and was unable to take care of herself. She had lost all sense of self awareness; she would say no more than two or three words at a time, and would stare at the Echo Isles for hours on end.

Folaji had made it a point to take care of his mother as best he could, feeling responsible for her state of mind. This was not an easy task for a young troll, and Folaji was glad that Vol’Jin, his mother’s brother and leader of the Darkspear Tribe, had asked for some trolls to help take care of her, and help raise Foliji.

Foliji himself had grown into a young male troll, although the events of the Echo Isles had marked him as well. At first he couldn’t grasp what had happened that night, but as time passed, he slowly filled with hatred for his older brother, believing him responsible for the loss of both his parents (Foliji did not believe that his mother would ever get better). During Folaji’s last day at Sen’Jin Village, Foliji had blatanly accused his older brother of having partnered with Zalazane to kill their parents. The next morning Folaji was nowhere to be found. No one had seen him leave, and no one knew where he went. After a few months it was rumored by Foliji that his brother had returned to Zalazane. Master Gadrin, however, had called the rumour nonsense.

A year had passed since Folaji had left Sen’Jin Village, and now he was returning. He had joined the ranks of The Horde and had finnaly completed both the Basic Horde Training and Mage Training courses at The Den and in the Valley of Trials. Folaji was now an Apprentice Mage, and was able to control both fire and ice, as well as some arcane powers. He had graduated with fairly passable grades, and was now to head to Razor Hill for further training. While he was preparing his things, howerver, a young orc grunt had stopped by to deliver him some special orders: Master Gadrin had asked for him to head over to Sen’Jin Village. Folaji had expected such orders would come his way, figuring that Master Gadrin would receive a list of new Horde recruits sonner or later, and would recognize his nephew’s name in that list.

And so here he was, on the outskirts of the village, slowly walking towards Master Gadrin’s hut. As Folaji entered the village, he was bombarded with many good memories. He recognized Bom’bay, who was now training to become a witch doctor, old Lau’Tiki, who was still selling fish he had caught earlier in the day, and both Xar’Tiand and Zjolnir, who had taken over their parents’ raptor riding and handling business. Although most of the trolls did not acknowledge his presence, there was a murmur about the village, and people were talking of the return of a Mage.

Suddenly, a young female voice made itself known to Folaji’s ears.

“Uncle Folaji!” the voice said, excited, “You’ve come back!”

“Folla!” Folaji exclaimed, waking from his daze and recognizing the little red-headed troll. “How ya been?”

She ran up to him, jumped in his arms, and gave him a big hug. “Great Uncle Folaji, I missed you!”

Folla was actually Folaji’s cousin, but because of the age difference between the two (she was somewhat younger than Foliji), she had come to know him as ‘Uncle Folaji’. This had brought them closer together, and Folaji considered her more of a sister than a cousin (or niece for that matter). Before Folaji had left Sen’Jin Village, Vol’Jin would often send her to visit both Folaji and his mother, and he would take care of her. If you asked Folla, however, she would say that she had been sent to protect her uncle from his evil brother. To which Folaji would remind her that Foliji wasn’t evil, just very upset.

Folla also talked in a special dialect that was common for trolls who had spent most of their years growing up in multicultural Orgrimmar. This half-orc half-troll dialect, that the trolls called ‘City-Talk’, was often met with great unease from elders, who saw it as a loss of Troll culture in a new generation of Trolls.

“Oh my, you be gettin’ heavy since I seen ya,” he said, struggling to hold her. Like everyone else in the village, Folla had grown, and her weight was straining Folaji’s weak right arm. “You best be gettin’ down before I drop ya on your head.”

“Okay Uncle Folaji.” she said, slightly dissapointed. She dropped back onto her feet and they both walked into the village together.

“So, what you be doin’ here in Sen’Jin?” Folaji asked.

“Papa’s been having many meetings in Orgrimmar with the other Horde leaders lately. He knew he would be busy for a while, and with the recent increase in Alliance raids on the city, he sent mama and me here on vacation,” she answered.

“Vacation?” Folaji laughed. “You and your mama be on a fishin’ trip?”

“Uncle Folaji,” Folla smiled, “this may be a fishing village, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t other stuff to do here. We’ve been taking the time to visit old friends, and we’ve also been checking up on Aunt Vhan.”

Folaji stiffened at the sound of her name. “How be Mama?” he asked.

“She’s well. She still needs to be taken care of, and she sits and stares at the Echo Isles for days on end, but the trolls here have been taking good care of her since you’ve left,” Folla answered.

Folaji looked at the room above the inn of the village, where his mother had been placed ever since the incident. “Maybe I should go see her before I be speakin’ to Master Gadrin,” he said.

A voice was heard from behind Folaji. “You don’t be troublin Mama any,” it said.

Folaji turned and locked eyes with a tired-looking, skinny male troll.

“Brother?” Folaji asked, wondering if this unhealthy troll was Foliji.

“You be havin’ no right to be callin’ me dat. You be callin’ me Foliji,” the troll ordered. It was indeed him, although a very weak and unhealthy him. Foliji’s health had deteriorated since Folaji had left Sen’Jin Village. He seemed malnourished, and walked hunched inward. The skin around his eyes was black, as though his eyes had burned it, and his once orange hair was all messed up and grey. Folaji was shocked to find his brother in such a state. He would quickly realize, however, that the change was purely physical, and that the hatred that Foliji had felt for him in the past was still very much alive.

“Foliji then,” Folaji said. “I don’t wanna be fightin’ mon. I’ve just come to speak to Uncle Gadrin.”

“Think maybe ya could tell me where ya been?” Foliji asked.

“I been doin’ some trainin’ for da Horde down by da Den,” Folaji explained. “I be an apprentice Mage now, and I be commin’ back to make things right.”

“Haha, make things right?!” Foliji asked mockingly, obviously trying to attract attention from the other trolls in the vicinity. “Look everybody, I be Folaji, and I gonna be makin’ things right!”

“Foliji, we not be needin’ to talk about this right now.”

“Of course you be sayin’ dat. You just wanna be runnin’ away like you ran away a year ago.” Foliji raised his voice, and his plan seemed to be working: a small circle of trolls was forming around the two. “Well, ya know what? We be doin’ fine here without ya, Folaji’mon, and you should be leavin’ back from where ya be commin’ from!”

Stealthly, Folla had been able to hide in the crowd and walk up to Foliji. She placed herself in front of him and revealed herself, protecting her Uncle as she had done before. “You be leavin’ Uncle Folaji alone now ya big meany, he ain’t done nothin’ wrong!”

In that very instant, Folaji saw Folla’s full potential. She would make a fine warrior someday, even though she still had to push herself up on her toes to make herself threatning to Foliji. Funny, he also realized, how city talk dissapeared from her when she was confrontational. This wasn’t her fight, however, and knowing this, Folaji asked Folla to stay out of it. After some protest, she finnaly left, only to come back a few seconds later, once again hiding in the crowd.

Now that he believed Folla was safe, Folaji decided to end the conversation. It was attracting more and more of the village’s population, and the last thing he wanted to do was to call attention to his family problems.

“Foliji,” he said, turning to walk away, “I not be lookin’ for a fight. Right now I just wanna see Mama.”

“Wait, I be sorry Folaji’mon,” Foliji said, his voice cracking with sincere sadness. He took a few slow steps towards his brother. “I just been so frustrated that ya left me alone, without ever sayin’ goodbye. I,… I feel like ya abandoned me mon.”

Folaji was overwhelmed with emotion and completely understood what his brother was trying to say. He turned back to Foliji, who was now only a meter away. “Foliji, I be so sorr…”

“Watch out! He got a knife!” Someone shouted, causing the crowd of trolls to disperse.

Folaji, surprised and confused, looked at his brother, who’se face had changed from sad and innocent, to a scary, maniac-like grin. Foliji lunged forward, swinging a dagger directly at Folaji, who in turn fell back on the ground. Trying to get back up, Folaji saw the silver blade come rushing down towards him. Avoiding it by a few centimeters, he rolled back onto his feet.

“Foliji,” he shouted, “stop this!”

Foliji ignored the plea, and lunged once again towards Folaji. This time he was successful and cut open a foot-long gash in his brother’s left forearm, causing blood to spill down his arm and onto the ground. Folaji let out a scream of pain and, backing up, cast a sheet of ice at Foliji’s feet, holding him in place. Seeing his brother stuck to the ground, Folaji started casting a fire spell.

“What be this magic trickery?! I knew you be studyin’ to become a Witch Doctor like Zalazane!” Foliji shouted, trying to pull his feet free.

“Not a Witch Doctor, Foliji’mon, a Mage.”

As his spell entered its last seconds of casing, Folaji was suddenly overwhelmed with a sence of nausea and fatigue. The fire left his hands, and a dizyness filled him, causing him to lose consciousness and flop to the ground.

Foliji stared at the body of his brother in complete surprise. Slowly, the sheet of ice over his feet melted enough that he could get free, and, meeting the gaze of many trolls who had witnessed his attack, he fled from the village. This would be the last time they saw Foliji alive.

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