The Day I Earned My True Name
In ancient times, Furbolg tribes of Northern Kalimdor practiced a tradition which required the young men to prove themselves in accomplishing great deeds in order to earn their true names.
My name is Ulgarub. In our tongue, it means...
I believe it will be better to tell you my story before I tell you what my name means in our tongue, so that you will better understand how I earned it.
I am a Furbolg of the Bronzeclaw Clan of Azuremyst Isle, a small isle on the northwest shore of Kalimdor. I shall mention that at the time of writing these notes, I am the last remaining member of my clan; telling you this just in case you visit Azuremyst Isle to look for my people, as you will find none.
It was ages ago, Azuremyst and its residents were much different than that you know of today. The forest was much greener and denser, the blue people of the high skies had not yet landed, the local Furbolg clans were less civilized and they were battling each other endlessly. You are asking me how I am telling this, if my story took place ages ago? Yes, Furbolgs do not live so long, but I did, and only by reading my story can you find the answer to your question.
We, Furbolgs, never had true peace with other creatures, not even with our own kind from other clans. Fighting was in our nature. It was not uncommon for a war to pop up between two clans, only because a single sheep from one clan's herd mistakenly walked into the other's farm. It was hard to follow wisdom in such times and our people only listened to that who was the strongest, not necessarily the wisest, among our clans, who would also naturally be the clan leader. Sad but true, there are records in our history, of wars that concluded with both clans wiping each other till their last members were slain.
Some would consider Furbolgs to be ferocious warriors with no reasoning, but among our own clans, we were attached to each other closely and we carried a deep love towards our beloved ones and we would do anything we could to protect them, no matter how impossible it would seem.
From my childhood, the only vivid memories that I remember are the endless battles we were having with other Furbolg clans, with whom we shared the same small island we were all living on together. We were living together only physically since our villages were really close to each other; but a rooted, poisonous feud was separating us from coming together and living in peace. The shared graveyard at the center of the island was the only place where the bodies of all clans' fallen warriors were coming together and only after death, were they finding true peace with each other.
Still hurts my heart terribly now that I remember... Seeing my father preparing for war, equipping his armor and spear, gently kissing me and my mother, whispering a weak "Goodbye..." into our ears, as if it was going to be the last word we would ever hear from him.
Countless times, I witnessed the same scene with great pain in my heart as I was growing and starting to question the world around me. I never really understood why there were so much fight around us, I did not know why we couldn't live in peace and why we caused so much pain to our own people. Though still, I was in a hurry to grow up and join my dad in the battle to protect him from death, as I was spending the long battle nights he was away from us in the arms of my mother, crying and praying for him not to die.
According to what my father used to tell, our clan's fiercest battles were taking place against our neighbor clan, the Blackfur Clan, which was among the most powerful clans in the island. The Blackfur ancestors had established their village on the southwest coast of the island, just to the south of our village, after the Great Migration.
As kids, we were all being brought up with a deep hatred towards the Blackfur Clan as our biggest enemy, and we were made to believe that only by slaying ten of them in the battlefield could we become true Furbolg warriors. A feeling deep inside me was trying to resist this teachings of hatred and hostility towards our own kind, but as the son of the right hand of the clan leader, I did not have a chance to let my feelings of peace grow; I had to follow what I was being taught.
My father once told me that during a big battle that took place before I was born, in which all the clans of the island were fighting each other at the center of the island which you would know as Azure Watch now, the leader of the Blackfur Clan, Issalib, That Who Flew with The White Owl, had killed our clan leader's father, who was our leader back then, and when our -current- leader attacked to avenge his father, Issalib cut off his right hand. Since then, our battles against the Blackfur had just gone more intense, driven by our leader's thirst for revenge.
Battles among our clans, unfortunately a huge part of our lives, had been going on for many generations and it looked like they were never going to come to an end. But something happened, something that no one would have imagined, that changed the course of the future of all Furbolgs.
I was 9 years old back then, when during a cold, long winter night, a sky-tearing roar, coming from the depths of the northern forest, woke everyone up in our village.
I had never heard such a scary and disturbing sound before. Terrified with the hellish voice, I jumped from my bed and ran to my parents' room, crying out loud. My mother grabbed me and put onto her chest for a moment, whispering soothing words into my ear. We quickly covered ourselves with our clothes and came out of our hut to see that everyone in the village were doing the same. Like a natural, unspoken order coming from our leader Kurzerub, That Who Slays with His Left Hand, we gathered around the large fire at the center of our village, which was kept alive during the long winter nights by the night guards.
Men were whispering in fear, women were in panic, kids were trembling and crying, I was holding my father's and mother's hands strongly. Once everyone gathered around the fire, Kurzerub raised his left hand opening his big claw wide and shouted "Quiet!", which was followed by a deep silence.
He told everyone to stay close to each other and try to stay calm, then he ordered three of the night guards to venture into the woods and check from where or what the terrifying sound came from. The night guards, who were bravely keeping their eyes open to protect us from any unexpected attacks from other clans while we were sleeping, acted quickly upon Kurzerub's order and disappeared in the darkness in mere seconds.
After a couple of minutes of worrying wait, we heard another roar, much louder and much more horrifying than the first one. Apparently, whatever the source of the roar was, it was getting closer to our village. The roar lasted a couple of seconds; then came the pale screams of the guards Kurzerub had sent to the forest. Screams that you would hear only from those who were dying by unimaginably terrible deaths.
Kids, including me, started to cry again, women had difficulty soothing them as they were themselves trying hard not to shout loudly in panic. Men quickly gathered in front of women and kids by creating a wall of bodies between them and the dark forest from where the roars and screams came.
Shortly after the screams of the guards vanished in the silence of the night, the trees started to shake and the ground started to tremble. We were all paralyzed, waiting for whatever that was going to come out of the forest. As if, a cursed whisper, an undescribable fear was spreading into the air, preventing anyone to move or say anything.
Our fearful wait around the fire did not last long. As the trees stopped shaking and the ground stopped trembling, a deafening silence descended upon us. At that terrifying moment, we saw the huge, shadowy figure of Kurkren, one of the most fearsome gods from our ancient legends, known for his cruelty and cunning.
Kurkren was a two-headed gigantic beast with shiny, white fur and red eyes. If you were able to suppress your feeling of fear when you saw him, your mind would be filled with a thought of how beautiful his fur was and how strongly it made you want to touch it. What came out of the forest was Kurkren, no doubt for that, but it was only his spirit that was standing there. He was not in his physical form.
We were all shocked by the sight of a god from our ancient legends. Nobody knew what to do, except for standing still and waiting for what was to come upon us. Even our leader Kurzerub, to whom all the clan would look upon with hope in terrible times, was standing speechless, not knowing what to do or what to say to his people.
At that moment, one of the bedtime stories my father used to tell me came to my mind. According to that story, a very long time ago, Kurkren had fought with his three brothers and slayed them all ruthlessly, to become the ultimate ruler of these lands. After slaying his brothers and knowing no other threat for his rule, he had spread his terror among Furbolgs, planting deep hatreds between the clans and then he had retreated to his cave far north of the island and was never seen by anyone since then.
Kurkren's Spirit did not say anything. It gazed upon each and every one of us with its red, petrifying eyes, and then started to draw some symbols on the ground with its giant paw. Symbols that were also used in our ancient scriptures that are written in a language only the elder shamans could read.
When the Spirit finished drawing the symbols, it made another roar, which caused all of us to fall onto the ground, terrorized by the foul power of his voice. About a minute later, when we gathered our courage and got up, we saw nothing but darkness at the location the Spirit was standing. It had left, after drawing Kurkren's message on the ground.
N'azgilub, the elder shaman of our village hastily approached the symbols on the ground and started to read them out loud so that everyone could hear. Kurkren's message was saying that each Furbolg clan on the island was to make a sacrifice to him, a young, unmarried female Furbolg sacrifice, on the first full moon of the new year, every year. But it was not only that. The message also said that the sacrifice would only be accepted if that who was going to be sacrificed was from another clan.
I don't clearly remember the next scene or what else happened that night, all I can say is that it was a much painful night full of cries and desperation. No matter how fierce and cruel our battles were taking place, we Furbolgs had never done anything to our women during the battles up until that time. What was required from us was just unspeakably terrible for us.
I followed my father in the village the following days as he, Kurzerub and other men made many meetings trying to figure out how to obey the order of the fearsome god from our old legends. I kept hearing the words of attacks, invasions, fire and steel, stealing young females from other clans, and all that sort of things. I was feeling deeply sorry for my clan but also for our people, as this new development was only going to enhance the battles that were already going on and deepen the separation within our clans. Once the preliminary source of the hatred between our clans, Kurkren had now returned to enhance that hatred.
Continue: The Day I Earned My True Name - Part 2
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