A decision, and a gamble

100 Gnome Monk
It had been 2 days since she had entered the city of Stormwind. Khimbii Yakasonto sat quietly in a patch of soft grass, chained by the wrists and ankles to a nearby tree, wondering if this had really been a good idea. A young pandaren, too young to understand that anyone in chains should be avoided, cautiously walked up to her, holding out an apple. She smiled genuinely as the cub set the apple on the grass where she reached over and picked it up. The youngling sat, just out of the area her chains allowed her to move, looking at Khimbii with great curiosity. “Youngling, what do you wish to learn?” He pointed at the chains, which were rarely seen outside of the defias prisoners who were moved through the city from time to time. She frowned, and sighed deeply. The cub leaned forward with great anticipation as Khimbii freed the sleeve of her left arm and pulled up the fabric. Underneath, branded clearly into the flesh of her left forearm, was the crest of the Horde. As he looked, the cub was at first awed, then shook in fear as he realized what the branded symbol was. He fell backwards in a panic as he ran to his family, screaming in terror. Khimbii sighed as she took a bite out of the apple and watched one of her guards walk toward her; she looked at the ground and swallowed the bite of apple just before the guard swung a club at her head. As she lay on the ground, dazed and bleeding it became apparent, maybe this wasn’t the best idea.

Only a week before, she had been a member of the proud Horde. The Orcs, Trolls, Elves and other races that made up its numbers were strong willed and deeply courageous as individuals and as a society. This was something she had seen from the beginning and had been the reason she had chosen to be one of the first of her kind to swear allegiance to the Horde and its Warchief, Garrosh Hellscream. Having grown up on a small farm near the Binan Village, Khimbii had never seen anything like the cities of the Horde. On her first trip to Ogrimmar she had been stunned, completely overwhelmed by the size and grandness of the Horde capital; almost causing her to lose her party as she stood in awe of its well stated strength. But it was never the size or strength that mattered most to her, but the honor with which one carries themselves and their people with, the love of life and the way in which one lives; that is where things started to go wrong.

As a farm child, Khimbii had spent a great deal of time in awe of the great Shado-Pan warriors. Those who were masters of the martial skills, those who used their skills to defend against the evils which plagued the land. She had practiced her skills under the eyes of some of the local guards, and was honored by the presence of the local Shado-Pan commander at more than a few of her sparring sessions. Lady Hsieh had once even nodded to her, which was the highest accolade one could hope for outside of being recruited as a guard. Khimbii had grown up with a sense of truth, of honor in life and in battle. Her closest held faith was in the goodness and truth of an honorable cause there is none to fear from what will be wrought in the next life.

That faith had been broken over the last year. The cries thoughtout the Horde, in home and in battle was one of “strength and honor”. Now, Khimbii had seen plenty of blood spilt in battle before. The Yaungol and Hozen were always causing problems in Kun-Lai and it was through strength of martial arms and strength of heart that the Pandaran people had held them in check without an all-out campaign. But what she had witnessed over the past year, the brutality, the carnage and the butchery brought forth by the Horde warriors was sickening. There had been times when Khimbii had questioned if even the fabled Sha of Hatred could spread such terror over both enemy and innocent. It was a blessing to be stationed in Booty Bay as a courier. Even if it took pulling every string possible to get out of the orc dominated combat units and away from the brutal ways that they fought and the merciless way they treated the wounded and prisoners.

Even there the brutality never ended, but it did give Khimbii time to hunt alone in the jungle, as few ventured there and no one really wanted it enough to fight for. It was on a hunting trip a few days ago that she had spotted a large, almost chubby panther she had been stalking for the entire morning. As she laid eyes upon the beast, she drew back in shock and confusion, the creature was wearing a hat, not just any hat but a fancy top hat, and even a fake mustache by what she could tell.
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100 Gnome Monk
Now, there are some strange creatures in this world and she had seen some very strange ones indeed, this creature looked like a marvelous prize indeed. As she closed on the beast, it apparently felt her presence and turned, looking her directly in the eyes. Then as Khimbii held her staff tightly and prepared to dodge an attack, the panther put his paw over his mouth, and seemed to shush her, then pointed over the ledge he was laying on.

Down below was a gruesome scene; a scouting party of trolls and orcs had apparently located some sort of digging site, and found alliance prey there. Many bodies, most short and fat, lay strewn about, shredded by Horde weapons. She went to step down to join her Horde comrades in their victory but the panther just pawed her arm and pointed again, this time to a pair of tiny beings who were being drug toward a bonfire by what appeared to be the leader of the orcs. As she watched, the orc leader grabbed the tiny creature, a male gnome apparently, and held it high in the air as the others cheered. The orc then reached up and tore the creature in half and threw both parts of the dying gnome to a pair of trolls, who started eating the poor being. Khimbii nearly threw up as the process was repeated, the female gnome squeeking in terror just before the leader bit into her neck, biting out a large chunk and covering his face in blood, he then tore her body apart and tossed the remains to the other orcs. Khimbii did then vomit, physically sickened by the scene before her.

The panther, who was obviously not a wild beast at any rate, bit onto her sleeve and drug her toward a small stream, downwind of the massacre. Khimbii thanked him and cleaned the vomit from her face, but strangely when she turned to thank him again he had vanished. This was very strange, first a panther in a top hat, then… well that, now it leads me away from it. It had to be a sign from the spirits. Khimbii pulled herself together and headed back toward the main road, leaving a wide berth of the other site, she told herself that she would report this to the local Horde Guard Captain, as even for warfare this was a heinous act. The true shock came as she rounded the corner into the Inn, where it seemed every orc in town was celebrating… including the guard captain who had the head of the female gnome jammed onto his polearm. A troll tried to offer her a chunk of raw meat, and she became sick, vomiting on the boots of the troll and the guard captain. The orc picked her up by her neck and threw her out a window and onto the street.

That night Khimbii decided that this was something she could not live with, that she could not allow to follow her to her next life. But how? After being thrown from the inn, she had been questioned by 2 of the local horde guards about her loyalties and why she wasn’t able to stomach a true victory. There was no way she could just go home, the nearest boat was weeks away on foot and every inch was filled with Alliance and Horde patrols…. Maybe that was the answer, perhaps the alliance would allow in a defector. No, that was crazy; she had accepted the Horde branding as part of a victory celebration after the Battle of Theramore. It was hopeless, Alliance would kill her on sight, Horde would never let her live, and to the goblins her head was worth exactly as much as the bounty on it. There was no one she…. The panther, what if he knew something she didn’t? She snuck out after dark and went back to the rock, hoping the panther would either return or possibly pick up a trail.

Luck can be a fickle thing, the grummies had taught her that long ago, and as luck would have it, there was a small tuft of yellow fur near the rock when she searched the next morning, and a trail of blood which led to the outskirts of a small Alliance encampment overlooking a large whirlpool. Judging by the tail sticking out of the tent, the panther was there. After about an hour, luck looked on her again as the panther strolled out of the camp and headed up the trail toward her. Trying to look peaceful, Khimbii leaned her stave against a tree and kneeled in the middle of the path. The cat in the hat stopped and looked at her for several minutes, then seemed to understand what she was thinking. He walked right up to her and sat down, after a few minutes of being petted he pawed at his collar and removed a small rock. He set the rock on the ground and used his nose to push it into her hand. The rock was small and plain, but had 3 words carved into the back, “Pia Presidium, Stormwind”. Stormwind, the Alliance capital city, Khimbii wondered if she would survive the day.
Edited by Khimbii on 3/2/2013 12:42 PM PST
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100 Gnome Monk
The panther pointed at her staff, then pulled on her sleeve again. Khimbii slung the stave over her back and followed the panther. The first guard at the camp spotted the cat and waved, then saw her and yelled an alarm. Several arrows flew past before the cat jumped in front of her, catching an arrow in his side. Khimbii dropped her staff and kneeled before the cat as the guards rushed her, tackling her to the ground and causing the rock to fall from her hands. One of the guards, the leader by look of him, looked at the rock and placed it in Khimbiis’ pocket then he yelled and several more men ran over. One taking care of the cat, 3 others tying Khimbii up with thick rope, they seemed to be intent on controlling her, which Khimbii preferred to being dead. She was stood up and walked North on a trail, accepting a punch in the face when she looked back at the cat bleeding on the ground and offered a silent prayer of thanks.
Edited by Khimbii on 3/2/2013 12:45 PM PST
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