The air in Ashenvale was humid the night of the transition.
Inside the meeting hall it was thick as well; anxious Trolls, Orcs and Tauren shuffled about, desperate to know the news.
Pulling a piece of paper from his robe, Zij Burningtusk handed it to me as I stepped behind him, nodding as he told me to pass it out to the Tribe, one by one.
In his usual deep, heavily accented voice he spoke to his assembled Tribesmates, “Dark days be’ind us, dark days for de near future, but always remembah dere is light at de end o’ our path.” He paused and scanned the assembled crowd, “Dat light is born from de sparks o’ metal on metal! De fires o’ our magic! It shall be born from war an’ battle an’ not’in’ less!” Damn I loved listening to him preach.
Passing the paper to the first Tribesmate, the newly named Zuris Burningtusk, I saluted and spun back around on my heels, returning to the Doctor’s side.
“Victory awaits us! But between us an’ it lay a million dead elves an’ a million more o’ whoevah else stands in our way!” He raised a hand, pointing a finger about at a million different elves that didn’t exist anywhere but in his mind.
“So tanight it grieves me ta relay dis news…” I knew the news, but none of the others did. Some might take it hard.
As the paper made its way from person to person, the news dawning on each, their faces looked surprised.
Speaking softer, the Doctor continued through their reading, “De Tribe is a family. Nevah forget dis. Ta be a true an’ full Tribesmate is ta know ju are nevah alone. Dat ju are nevah wit’out ‘elp.” The conviction, the love in his voice; always moved me, even beneath my layers of armour, both physical and emotional.
“As I stand ‘ere tanight, lookin’ out upon ju all… I see not some band o’ ‘ardy, renegade Trolls, Orc an’ Tauren. No. I see a family… my family. Bruddah’s an’ sistah’s. In my eyes… in many respects… sons an’ daughtah’s.” The Tribe around him broke into cheers and applause; they were a family. There was no doubting that in their minds.
His speech carried on for some time until the letter had made the rounds and all were aware of its contents.
Zij narrowed his eyes and scanned the crowd, “Dere is no doubt in my family. I ‘ave served ju dis long time as witch doctah an’ co-leadah o’ de Tribe. ‘ave given my all an’ ask not’ing in return. I need not ask anyt’ing. For I know dat my Tribe is unwaverin’ly loyal an’ generous. De weak an’ disloyal could not last long in jour ranks.”
Pausing yet again, the Doctor stood tall, speaking in a clear and steady voice: “So now ju all know. I stand before ju tanight, not only jour Witch Doctah… but jour Chieftain as well.”
Every body standing there in that great hall stood at attention and saluted. I stood forward, me, the new Chief Abettor, right hand to the Chieftain, “Three cheers for the Chieftain!” The hall echoed loudly with the boisterous cries of an entire Tribe, mine not the least as I eyed the man I secretly loved.
The reign of Zij had begun.