It was a warm day in Durotar. Then again, it was always a warm day in Durotar. That was the constant state of the land – hot, red and dry. While Brajana remembered more of her life growing up in Sen’jin Village on the coast of Durotar, something in her still longed for the lush jungles that her people once called home. Sometimes she would find herself daydreaming, picturing what this land would look like with a horizon of green leaves and hanging vines, rather than jutting rocks and dry brambles.
Brajana wheeled around and readied her bow at the sound of an arrow flying passed her right ear.
“Good reaction time, but ‘cha really got ta stop dozin’ like that!” her Uncle Tza’jin called as he walked towards her with Jin’tza, his raptor companion. “Now that I got yer attention, where’d ya let Mandaril get ta?”
Brajana flinched. She must have let the little guy run off while she was practicing her marksmanship. Her uncle had let her train with his youngest boar companion, Mandaril. He was barely old enough to squeal, and he wasn’t the most agreeable of beasts, but she’d been tasked to take care of him and more importantly, train it in combat. Brajana was great with animals, and always had companions she could summon to keep her entertained: Zither the adder, Holistas the sparrow, and Jaz’hal the hare to name a few. In fact, it was one of the first signs that she would follow the path of the Hunter with her uncle rather than the path of the Warrior with her father.
She had not yet come into her own companion yet. There was no specific age or time a Hunter’s life that they found their companion, but she knew someday it would be her time. Until then, unfortunately, she’d have to do her best to learn to command and control this curious little boar. She’d found it wasn’t quite working out as she’d like.
“Dat’s what I thought.” her uncle rolled his eyes upon seeing her expression. There was so little he had left to teach her, but tradition insisted that he remain her teacher until she found her own companion, but she seemed content with her critters and her bow.
Then he had a though. “Go ‘n fetch ‘im. Den meet me at the river.”
Several minutes later, Brajana appeared near the bridge to the Barrens with an extremely huffy look, Mandaril trodding cheerfully behind her.
“Are we to have Crocolisk Stew for dinner?” She asked hopefully, upon seeing the creatures resting nearby in the river.
“Ha! That be not why we here, girl. Come along.”
Tza’jin and his companion crossed the bridge at a jog, and began heading south. Brajana turned to Mandaril and made several ineffective gestures before the little beast decided he would follow as well.
They finally slowed when they reached a low outcropping above a plain, spotted with low, wide shade trees. Beneath these trees, Brajana could see a pride of at least 15 lions resting. She’d always admired the cats, both the tigers that roamed the Echo Isles and these large, family-oriented beasts. She wanted to ask why they’d ventured here, but she was content just watchng them.
“It is your time, my girl. You are an excellent Marksman. You have nearly mastered the ability to lay traps and track all types of creature. But you will never be a true Huntress until you’ve begun to share your journey with another being.”
Tza’jin called Mandaril swiftly to his side, and began his walk back to Sen’jin. This was for her alone to accomplish. He hoped he was making the right decision here – Brajana was still quite young, and these beasts were certainly not the easiest to tame… but he believed in her.
Brajana didn’t question him, she didn’t ask for advice, she didn’t back down. She knew he was right. She surveyed the land, looking for the beast that would become her counterpart. She walked along the outcropping, spying Lionesses and Lions to find the perfect fighter, the perfect opportunity. She didn’t know what to expect… would she feel a connection when she spotted the right animal? What if she chose wrong? How would she isolate one from the rest of the pride? She took a deep look at each of the resting beasts, and felt nothing out of the ordinary. She began to fill with frustration… and then she saw him.
She must have missed him earlier because he wasn’t resting beneath the trees. A stunning white beast with a large grey mane, among a pile of half buried Kodo bones. He was alone, but not lonely. Independent.
She descrended from the outcropping and approached him with caution, remaining directly in front of him. When she got close enough, the beast made eye contact with her – his grey eyes were piercing. She continued her approach and then knelt only a few yards from the beast, never moving her eyes from his.
The taming ritual of the Darkspear Trolls is a sacred rite. It is not taught, it is not demonstrated. It is a private, personal event that is instinctual to every born Hunter. This was a test – the only way to know Brajana was following her true path.
She’d heard a Tauren myth about a cat they called Whitemist, Echeyakee in Taurhe. In their stories, they claimed he was both mercy and death. That he could kill so fast his prey would have no time for fear, or pain. They said he hunts with such stealth, he is like a thin, white mist. The hide of this beast was saught after by every poacher and leatherworker in all of Azeroth – it was said to have magical properties, a cloak made from Echeyakee’s hide would allow the wearer to become nearly invicible. While she knew it was only a myth passed down through generations, she also knew this beast was not just some uniquely coloured cat, this animal she had encountered was the mythical Echeyakee. SHe could feel it.
She arrived back in Sen’jin village that evening, her new partner strolling confidently along her side.
Tza’jin met her at the entrance to their family’s hut. “Guess ya won’t be needin’ Mandaril any longer, girl?” he chuckled, both proud and relieved to see her with such a beast. “What ya be callin’ it?”
“I’m calling him… Fiddlesticks.”
She grinned and looked down at the beast, meeting his eyes. Your secret is safe with me, friend.