“Everyone has heard of Loh, right?” Lohkawas asked the audience seated around the bonfire in the middle of Bloodhoof Village. Everyone was gathered for Tall Tales, and as always, the Highmountain Tauren stood before them, shifting uncomfortably from hoof to hoof. Lohkawas loved to listen to stories, fascinating tales that helped him to understand his own culture and that of others. And he had approached the Tortollans, a species of giant turtles, with much curiosity. They claimed to be story tellers and loved listening to good stories; for Lohkawas Wildmane this was a perfect way to learn about the lands, peoples, and beliefs where he now found himself, attempting to persuade the Trolls and other indigenous species in this region to ally themselves with the Horde.
Lohkawas looked around and saw most of the listeners nodding, but a few looked like they might not have been to Zandalar, so he said, “Loh is a Tor… tol… lan.” He said the name slowly, as he had been having trouble with the name in the Orcish language. He was always careful not to slip back into Taurahe, the language of his people, because he did not want to appear rude, but some Orcish words were not easy to speak. “A type of turtle, very large, and they are very old, so they say. Many of their stories are about one in particular. The scrollsages start their tales saying ‘We tortollans love the story of Loh, a young tortollan who travelled the world.’ And then I wait for the story.”
Lohkawas took a moment to wait, to demonstrate his patience while waiting for ANY of the scrollsages to continue telling ANY of the stories about Loh. However, knowing his audience was waiting, Lohkawas continued his own story and did not keep the audience waiting long. “And then I wait some more and then the Tortollans will give me something to do like Loh would have done and I never get a story. So, I finally ask and keep asking questions about Loh. Because like other monks, I think I know a story about another very, very large turtle that travels around the world.” Lohkawas looks at a few of the monks that are present and notes with satisfaction that they are in agreement. Nodding his antlers up and down a couple of times, the Highmountain Tauren continues, “So I keep asking. And finally, after my 42nd question, this one Scrollsage, Nola, says, ‘Because he did not like it there.’” Lohkawas pauses when he does not get the desired reaction from the audience. He is sure that everyone should have felt like he did, exasperated that this scrollsage answer really did not answer anything, but instead everyone looked a bit lost in the audience. Lohkawas thought about what he had just said and then quickly said, “Forgive me, I have not explained this well. Let me try again.”
Lohkawas settles himself using monk breathing techniques and starts to tell the tale like so:
“Scrollsage Nola, I am still waiting to hear this story. So far, you have told me I am too young, but I am a Mystic of my Tribe and I have seen much for my age. I am expected to learn the stories of your race and to share them with my Tribe. I am also free to tell you stories of our people in exchange and am glad to do so. You tell me that Loh visited a large city, like the Human city called Boralus, but that he left preferring a simpler life. But why?”
The rotund Tortollan said simply, “Because he did not like it there.”
Lohkawas was almost surprised at the answer, since he had already asked many questions and gotten very little response; but surprise turned to frustration because that answer just led to more questions and answered nothing about what a simpler life was to a Tortollan or what Loh did not like.
Lohkawas took another deep breath and asked another question. Not that he was counting, but it had taken 42 questions to get “because he did not like it there,” and he was not going to stop now. “What did Loh not like?”
Nola simply stated, “You ask a lot of questions, Tauren.” Now Lohkawas waited, peering intently at the Tortollan. If the large tortoise-like being thought Lohkawas was going to give up, he did not know how stubborn a Highmountain Tauren could be. Lohkawas kept staring and finally Nola said, “Every time Loh tried to go somewhere, the city dwellers interrupted his travels.”
Lohkawas nodded, thinking that would make things difficult, but continued to observe the Tortollan without saying another word. But this time the Tortollan did not budge and it was Lohkawas, who had to request more information. “I would ask how, but first, what city was this? This way I will know what Loh means by large city.”
“If the other scrollsages find out, I am giving you this information. Why, you are not even one century old. What will you understand of this?” Nola queried, “Do your kind even live to see two centuries?”
Lohkawas brightened because he quickly saw that they were entering a new relationship, and he was accustomed to being questioned about his age and qualifications. Lohkawas had a great memory for stories and sometimes seemed to understand the stories differently than his peers. Once his mother had told him it was because he was innocent, but he doubted many would agree with his Mother once they knew him.
“Master Scrollsage,” Lohkawas began formerly, “I have explained my qualifications, and will do so again, but if you impart just one tale to me, you will see that I am able to care for your stories and your people’s history and culture, as though they were my own. This will open up further understanding between both our people. And no, I cannot wait to learn your stories when I am two centuries old as I will not live that long. The time of our years if we are lucky will be between 115 and 150 full cycles of the seasons.”
Nola seemed to hesitate, but then softly said, “I am sorry for you and your people that you will not see things with the wisdom you would gain from two centuries of aging.” Nola pauses, but Lohkawas said nothing, merely keeping still and quiet to give Nola time to decide. “Loh went to Boralus. Now, you do understand that Loh is a method that we use to train the young to think like a more experienced Tortollan. This is why we do not give away the information you are asking about. They all want to be like Loh, young and wise, but most are just young.”
Lohkawas had wondered if the city was Boralus, peopled by the Kul Tirans, related to one of the Alliance “heroes” that hated the Horde races. Lohkawas nodded, “Yes, Loh does not show the younglings the way, they have to consider what course they might take. But you say, Loh did not like Boralus…. They interfered with what he wanted to do?”
“They did not understand Loh. He was still very young, and did not know how to communicate well in your languages. They set him on the same path, again and again, thinking they knew best for him.” Lohkawas nodded, but said nothing.
They stood, the two of them, Highmountain and Tortollan, both lovers of stories, neither speaking for a long time. Eventually, Lohkawas murmured, “He did not cross his own path… is what you say when you start the trial…” and then nodded with a peace and serenity, the understanding he grasped at becoming his own truth.
“Do you have more questions, Tauren?” Nola asked softly, so as not to interrupt whatever the Tauren was thinking on.
Lohkawas smirked and softly replied, “Many… and many more I have not thought of yet. But I will not find those answers here, standing with you, Scrollseeker.”
“Then perhaps you will find Loh, for yourself, Mystic Lohkawas.” Nola smiled up at him.
The Tauren shrugged, “Who knows? May I repay you with the telling of a Highmountain Story, of a famous rogue that terrorized our lands,” Lohkawas offered and was glad when Nola accepted, launching into the famous tale.