13 October 2011

The Funeral

After this post, I had to write some sort of response. Many thanks to Kamalia for her very comprehensive insights into tauren funerary rites.


Akabeko handed the missive to the banker, who barely glanced at it before leading her to the appropriate vault and unlocking it. "Let me know when you're finished," he said sleepily. She heard his hoofsteps move away but didn't look up from the name on the door.

The inside of the vault was tidy. There would not be much to attend to. In one corner stood a dummy outfitted in a complete set of druid leathers. As she looked, she saw them on the bull himself, looking proud, bright, confident...

"I'm glad you could make it," he said with a grin. His electric blue shoulders looked completely out of place in the molten realm.

Akabeko fanned herself ineffectually against the heat. "I wouldn't miss this for the world."
"Listen up!" called the leader, a snarky, green-skinned goblin. "We will soon be entering Beth'tilac's lair."

She blinked, and the feathers were once again dull and unmoving. She packaged the gear in a ceremonial bag and moved further into the vault.

A trunk along the wall revealed engineering paraphernalia in relatively good condition. She catalogued each spanner, widget, and lockbox before sorting them into neat piles for guild use, auction house, or donation. At the bottom of the chest, she found a tome that made her throat constrict painfully. Although completely illegible to both of them, its magical enchants kept it eternally free of dust and age.

Akabeko watched with interest as her friend lugged a bulging rucksack across the floor. "What do you have in there, rocks?"

"Better!" He looked very pleased with himself. "I have something that your shady friends at Ravenholdt will like."He pulled open the bag, revealing a huge collection of battered junkboxes. 

Akabeko gasped.

"Just don't try to open them yourself," he cautioned. "They get suspicious."

Three months later Akabeko was dragging her own bag through the guild hall. 

"Don't tell me...bricks?" he said when she reached the bar.

"Much better. This should make your moody Shendralar smile."She opened the bag, and colorful, glossy books spilled onto the floor, each looking as if it had just come from the printing press.

The book she neglected to write down, and instead slipped it into her pocket. It was completely worthless now anyway, seeing as the Shendralar had emerged from their hiding place in Dire Maul and pledged themselves staunchly for the Alliance.

She moved on and found a box of ore and gems too heavy to move, labeled it as "guild" and moved on. A small chest of drawers contained some extra shirts, a festive winter hat, and a collection of tabards. Each was folded carefully into a ceremonial bag, but she saved the guild tabard for last.

"There's talk that our favorite bear will be retiring before long," he said conversationally.

Akabeko shot him a look. "Who told you that?"

"She did herself. Says it's too much to keep doing week after week." He shrugged at Akabeko's resulting glower. "You were in the same place for some time, as I recall. I myself pulled you out of a few drunken brawls, did I not?"

"At least I got over it," she muttered.

Some people never do." He stared into the fire. "The cataclysm, Deathwing's return, Cairne's murder...some people may never move past it."

The material was smooth with age. She traced the crest on the front before closing it in the bag.

Last was a small set of shelves covered with knickknacks. Akabeko found keys, trinkets from archaeology, dungeon spoils, and a crusty handful of preserved hops among the myriad of things she transferred to a ceremonial pouch. She hesitated when she came across a stone of Elune.

"I'm going to Moonglade for the ceremony of Cenarius. Will I see you there?"

He met her gaze. "As much as I just LOVE those druid gatherings...I have to go and talk to some people in Thunder Bluff. Important people."

She rolled her eyes. "Is it a new quest or something?"

He gave her a wry half-smile. "Yes, you could say that."

Akabeko stood and looked around the room. With everything packed away, it looked lonely. Ready for its next occupant. She called the banker and instructed him on what to do with the sorted piles. The personal items she carried out herself.

The next day dawned clear and crisp. Akabeko had helped the crew build the bier and arrange the quilted ceremonial bags that contained the possessions of the deceased. She now waited quietly with a host of other guild members, friends, and family. She glanced at the elderly tauren leading the ceremony, who was flanked by Hamuul Runetotem and Baine Bloodhoof himself.

"Today, we honor the life of our departed brother Dahakha," said the woman, and four tauren carried his body to the bier. It was swaddled in a blanket embroidered with symbols denoting his clan, class, and rank. A guild flag had been draped across his midsection. "He died in service to his people, honoring justice as he knew it." The tauren move to light the kindling at the base of the bier. "We recommit his body into the arms of the Earthmother. May his spirit fly to her swiftly; may the winds carry him gently; may the grass whisper his name. Let him look down on us with joy, through the eternal gaze of An'she and Mu'sha, until we too join him in death." The fire sprang up around the quilted bags.

"It's not right," he said angrily. "He's not the true Warchief. Any fool can see that." Some orcs from a nearby table looked up sharply.

"Would you keep it down?" Akabeko hissed. "If Thrall thought he was worthy, what more proof do you need?"

He raised an eyebrow at her over his drink. "Do you really believe that? Do you really believe that an aggressive, warmongering..." he struggled to find a word, "butcher is fit to lead the Horde?"

"He's done some things to redeem himself! You remember what happened in Stonetalon."

"Does that make up for what's become of Ashenvale?" he cut in. "Someone has to do what needs to be done."

She faltered and couldn't meet his eye. She knew he was right, but she wouldn't lift a finger.

A gray-furred hand gripped her arm just above the elbow, bringing her back to the present, and she smiled.

"For we are all born of you, Earthmother, and shall all return to you," they chorused.

The fire was raging across the offerings now. A gentle breeze blew the smoke into the valley. Voices carried faintly on the wind. "We know you, Dahakha. You are welcome at the hearth of the ancestors." For an instant, she could see an outline in the smoke: a tall bull in full regalia, bowing to his chieftain...


  1. Oh, what a fitting epilogue to Dahakha's story. I'm so moved, soppy tauren that I am. Thank you for the great read Aka :)

  2. Thanks :) Poor Beko is losing all her friends >_>

  3. I love the descriptions of all the different things in the vault, and especially the ways that they were stored -- so much richer than the simple Netherweave/Frostweave/Embersilk bags of an in-game bank! And the memories -- this is a beautiful follow-up to the other story.

  4. Thank you! I've always liked the idea of having a personal vault rather than a dirty hole in the wall filled with enchanted bags.