Jez sighed as another fish got away. Her feet were soaking in the warm water of Lake Nazferiti, her robes getting damp and dirty from the sand and water splashing at her. Digging her heels into the sand, she cast into the water again, and again pulled too fast to catch anything. Her throat growled in displeasure as she threw herself back into the sand.

Laying there, she looked up at the clouded sky and frowned. Nothing was going the way she intended, that’s for sure.

And it all happened because she wanted to help that girl, that mutt. She allowed that warlock into the Tribe so that she could at least try to protect her, help her, make it so that he would be kinder to her.

And she had tried, didn’t she? She talked Hathgrimm into allowing her gifts! Of all things! She had given the girl two lovely robes, not to mention a little prairie dog to keep her company. But more importantly, was she not a friend to her? Jez can think of all time times that she talked with Mutt, snuck her alcohol, giggled with her! She had tried, always tried to be kind.

As the Tribe grew larger, emotions intensified, and there was a sudden rush of distrust. Nazru, one of the first orcs to be allowed admittance into the Tribe, was also one of the first to distrust the elder orc. She could still remember when he trusted her, though. He had come to her, a few days after Hathgrimm and Mutt joined, while they were at the Faire in Mulgore. They had spoken, and Jez had said that she was watching Hathgrimm as well, and that if Nazru liked, he could be her eyes when she wasn’t around.

But things grew more complicated. Zij had taken quite a liking to the warlock. He told her many, many times that this was just how the old ways of the orcs were. She didn’t believe Zij then… She was determined to protect her Tribe, and if Mutt were in trouble, she would be there. The Tribe grew in numbers, and Jez decided to promote two of her members: Kotal, who was strong willed, and Rast who was thoughtful in action. She assured both of them that the girl was being looking after, and they weren’t to interfere.

But because of Mutt, because of Hathgrimm, the Tribe started to splinter. Eventually, Jez wasn’t even sure who’s side she was on; telling so many lies, she didn’t know what words were truths any more. The only thing she ever knew was that she wanted to help this girl. Until one night, after she had staged an escape from Hathgrimm in order to gather information on suspicious Tribe members, the girl told her that she believed she had to free herself on her own. Jez, as she was so oft to do, bit on her lip lightly, thinking. With a small, (hopefully) encouraging smile, she assured the orc huntress that if that were to be how it was, then she would not longer offer help, just her support.

During this long discussion, they talked of many things. And Yuulee, as she was now known in her small circle of friends in the Tribe, decided that perhaps she should just submit to his will. Not for real, but to spare herself the beatings. It took Jez a while to come to a conclusion, but after a while, she decided that it was the best way for the girl to protect herself.

The only problem, of course, is that even though Mutt was being kind, respectful, and obedient to her Master, she hated Zij, and didn’t care to hide her contempt for Hathgrimm’s friend, the Witch Doctor of their Tribe, and Hathgrimm’s co-conspirator.

By this time, the Tribe was being torn apart from the inside, and Jez was being questioned on her racism from the outside. The Tribe was constantly arguing with one another, tearing one another down, threatening one another, Jez was becoming less sure of her abilities to lead this chorus of craziness. She decided to try to direct their hate to a foe that any sane Troll or Orc could kill without a seconds remorse: the Kaldorei.

In Zoram’Gar Outpost, the modest (in both skill and battle experience) Tribe began to trickle in. Preparing for battle, and donning their war marks, the air was filled with excitement, pent up energies, and pure rage. But as they were readying themselves for the long run, Mutt arrived. Late. But apparently, as though that weren’t enough to displease him, she had snubbed Zij’s attempt at pleasant conversation.

Snarling, Jez had to remind him that this was the exact reason they were trying to focus their energies on foes outside their own Tribe. Hathgrimm nodded in reluctant agreement, and they departed for Auberdine and the slaughter.

But that wasn’t enough to sedate some people.

Jez frowned as the rain started hitting her forhead, soaking the white and black robe she had gotten fitted for her a few days earlier. Wiping the rain from her eyes, she rolled onto her stomach and watched the Goblins a few yards away as they tried to duck for cover, before their leaders rebuffed them and told them to get back to work. Covered now in sand and water, Jez summoned a cruel laugh at the Goblins who listened so eagerly to what their leaders demanded.

In a way, her Tribe was everything she wanted. Her Trolls were strong, headstrong, and cunning; her Orcs powerful, brutal, and bloodthirsty in battle, thoughtful and wise outside. But she had always hoped they would remain a Tribe, not a bunch of bickering and resentful individuals who are bound under a common banner…

But it came to a head, soon enough. Too soon. Hathgrimm was furious at Mutt’s disobedience and disrespect for Zij, and decided she needed to be taught a lesson. Jez wasn’t sure on the details, but Mutt came back unable to hardly stand, let alone walk. The two sat atop a building in Orgrimmar, Jez unsure of her words, and Mutt seemed to be, just… waiting for something. Jez had begged Mutt to just be kind to Zij, if for nothing else then to save herself. But Mutt wasn’t much in the talking mood, it seemed.

Until Jez realized what she was waiting on. Rast appeared in the door, and a few minutes later, Kotal appeared. Jez greeted both of them as cheerfully as possible, but her cheer wasn’t returned.

Jez had all but completely forgotten the details of the conversation, but she could remember the hate, the ungrateful Mutt and cruel Rast blaming her for everything, even Mutt’s beating! Her eyes had blurred with rage at the disgusting display of ignorance and hate and untrue words before she stormed out of the building, down the spiraling ramp, past the white bear. Stopping, and slowly backing up, she spat on Glacia’s coat and began walking towards the Drag. She heard a voice, Hathgrimm’s voice, speak into the talisman. “Chieftess?” “What!” she had snarled, less a question than a demand. “I would like to speak with you.” “Fine. Drag. I’m on my way.”

She spotted him, walking from the building where the Tribe’s shadier business was dealt with, and walked past. “Checking my mail,” she snarled over her shoulder. She hadn’t snarled at him before, and she grinned wickedly, knowing how unamused he must be.

The conversation was a blur, as was the rest of the evening. Hathgrimm had mentioned how he beat mutt to honour Zij. Jez just laughed. She couldn’t remember his exact words after her laughter had ceased, but she could remember feeling that Hathgrimm felt that he was more loyal to Zij than she because of his actions. She had told him that perhaps he should wear the dress to the wedding then, if he loved him so much. She cackled in pure rage at his back as he walked away.

She had walked back to the hut, still laughing and crying and shaking with anger. Zij found her, not too long after, and told her she was to take a break.

So that’s what she was doing, lying in the sand of Stranglethorn, soaked through to her skin. She was trying to relax, and put things into perspective. She stood, unsteady at first. She had been fishing for quite some time, and the sand was saturated with water. Quickly regaining her balance, she began walking north. There was a small area there she used to enjoy swimming at in the weeks before.

Stripping completely of her clothes and placing them in an out of the way place, she walked into the water slowly. A fish nibbled at her ankle. She kicked at it, and it swam away. Diving under the water, she shook her hair, ridding it of the sand, before rolling onto her back and floating, watching the raindrops fall.

It had been a few days now, she supposed, since she left. She had come to conclusions regarding what was to be done, but she wasn’t ready to face them.

Apparently, Zal’ara and Hathgrimm had proven themselves to be strong members in her absence, helping Zij with the duties that required seeing to. They even had a ritual to bond them to one another. She was delighted to hear their loyalty to the Tribe, until she heard Mutt was there. She spat on the ground in anger, an anger she couldn’t even accurately describe to Zij, the one Troll she was always able to convey her feelings to. But he didn’t understand her loyalty to the Mutt, and didn’t understand why she had taken such insult to the girl’s words.

Jez sighed, opening her mouth to catch the falling drops. There was a cool breeze blowing in from the ocean, drying her exposed skin. It would have been relaxing, she supposed, if she didn’t have the thoughts of the past week swarming through her head.

But she would return soon. And she would be a strong leader that they respected.

She just needed some more time.

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