• Published 31st Aug 2020
  • 407 Views, 22 Comments

The Pony Loa - Leila Drake

A troll couple accidentally summons ponies to Azeroth. And a flustered human. But for the trip back they need the help of a mage as powerful as Twilight Sparkle...

  • ...

Chapter 5: Away Wit Ya

Everybody followed the troll chieftain into a large house. Just like the others, its steep roof was covered with dried palm leaves and straw. The thin wooden walls shielded the inside from the weather and also provided some privacy. Eclipse was thankful that Darren had no problem with carrying him on his arm. Back at home, he was too old to get carried around like this but the stairs at the house's entrance were made for large trolls, not for ponies. Also, the large creatures still scared him. Levinia, that cheat, had turned back into a wisp.

The trolls, Darren and Eclipse sat down around a fire pit that looked like the one in the hut at the beach except that this one was much larger. It was a pity Eclipse did not understand anything of what they talked about. The troll leader asked a lot of questions and Darren and Vol'Shalai did their best to answer them in that strange language. It sounded different than the speech the other villagers had used. Maybe it was some kind of common tongue? Eclipse knew that the yaks tended to use a simplified version of Equestrian but still spoke differently at home, just like the horses of Saddle Arabia had their own language.

At one point, the troll chieftain groaned and rubbed his eyes. Darren seemed to be guilty of something. Maybe it was the fact that he had been a death knight... Vol'Shalai waved his hands, trying to calm his leader who nodded eventually and suggested something. Darren smirked and agreed, rubbing his chin.

Eclipse became bored. He looked around to find something more interesting to watch. In the end, he watched Levinia who was circling above the head of Darren.

The leader grinned and raised an eyebrow. He made a joke and Darren chuckled, poking Eclipse with his elbow. Blushing, the colt sat up straight and muttered an apology.

"Bored already?" Darren asked and Eclipse felt his cheeks turning even redder.

"It's just that I don't understand anything," he said with an apologetic look. "What are you talking about?"

"We told Rokhan where we come from," Darren said, "and he agrees that we need to leave as soon as possible. He can keep the trolls from killing us - for now. We'll say that it's bad luck to anger the pony Loa." Darren smirked but when he noticed Eclipse's clueless look, he muttered, "I'll explain later."

Someone tapped Eclipse's shoulder and he flinched. A troll lady passed him a plate with pieces of fruit and bread.

"Th-thanks," he stammered, adding a smile to show his gratitude, and took the plate into his hooves. Darren also got a plate and so did everyone else.

The trolls had something pink and brown on their plates that smelled funny. Darren also ate some of it; Eclipse's plate lacked that certain fruit. When Darren glanced at Eclipse with a worried frown, the colt noticed the bones sticking out of the food and understood. That was meat; dead animals. Eclipse grimaced and quickly swallowed his remaining fruit before he would feel sick. He had heard that ponies ate meat if there was nothing else available but it was a sign of extreme poverty and thus considered bordering on savagery. And these trolls just feasted on the meat like they feasted on the bananas and melons and... pie! This world was so foreign. Eclipse felt his heart swelling with homesickness. What he would not give for one of his Mom's strawberry cakes... or just a hug from her. He forced his tears down, trying not to show in front of those huge trolls how lost he felt.

After the meal, Rokhan, Vol'Shalai and Miwemba stood up. Darren shouldered his sword and followed the chieftain out of the house. Eclipse quickly sprang up and went after the knight. The walked through the village and the surrounding palm forest until they arrived at the beach. Four guards followed the group but now they seemed much less alert than before. The sun was high in the sky, it was probably close to midday. Eclipse was sweating under his grey fur; the black mane did not help, either. He tried to stay in Darren's shadow as they crossed the stripe of sand that surrounded the island.

"Take dis boat," said Rokhan. He pointed at one of the barges that lay on the beach. "If you want to get to da human kingdoms ya can't cross da ocean in a tiny nutshell like dis. But it can take ya to Ratchet. And dere, ya wait for da Maiden's Fancy. She can carry ya to de other continent. Now we got to adress one more ting." He turned around and glared at Vol'Shalai. "Ya created dis mess. I tink we can all agree on dat."

The shaman nodded, straightening his back. He was now at least two heads taller than Darren. Frowning, he waited for the chieftain's judgement.

"Ya endangered de Echo Isles wit your reckless summoning ritual. The law requires dat ya be removed from da life of da village for at least one year."

Miwemba gasped desperately and grabbed her husband's arm.

"No, please! We did not know about da connection wit da pony Loa! Please, can't he take anoder punishment instead?"

"Don't embarrass yaself, wife!" Vol'Shalai hissed, clicking his tongue. "Da law is da law. We can't make exceptions." He turned to Rokhan and nodded. "I don't challenge da judgement."

"I ain't done yet," said Rokhan sharply. "Ya will leave de island before sundown and can only return after twelve moons and a day. But don't ya tink ya can just take off like dat. You are a shaman of da Darkspear Tribe, you've got a responsibility." He jerked his head in Darren's direction.

Miwemba's face lit up as she realized that Rokhan had only given Vol'Shalai the lowest possible penalty - and a chance to help his friend. Her grip around his arm tightened and she sighed, pressing her lips together.

"Take dis human to his people," said Rokhan. "Ya will make sure dat he arrives safely, with da Pony Loa and da likkle pony, and then ya can do whatever ya like until da year is over, seen?"

Vol'Shalai nodded slowly. He threw a glance at Darren. The knight seemed surprised. Had he thought that, after such a lapse, Vol'Shalai would be allowed to just stay on the island as if nothing had happened?

"And ya make sure ta never come back to de Echo Isles. I won't be so lenient next time, Darren Houndslayer. Maybe Vol'Shalai is right and ya really are a death knight; maybe it's just a trick. Either way, ya get outta here and make sure ta stay away from da Horde."

As Rokhan's eyes bored into Darren's eyes, Vol'Shalai admired the human for his lack of reaction. For one, he was way shorter than the boss and without his armour, and two, he was probably aware that a Shadow Hunter like Rokhan could take on an armed death knight without even using his spear. Darren simply lowered his eyes and gave the hint of a polite bow.

"You have my word," he said simply in that calm, deep voice of his.

Rokhan sniffed and nodded. He turned without another word and stalked back into the village with the watchers in tow.

And then Darren exhaled slowly, wiping his hands on his vest.

"Here, dis be for you." Miwemba gave Vol'Shalai a basket. "It will take a day until ya get ta Ratchet..."

"I know." Vol'Shalai touched her cheek and kissed her passionately.

Darren and Levinia looked away, slightly embarrassed by the very unrestrained display of affection. Eclipse grimaced with disgust. He let his gaze wander across the beach.

Two trolls, a female and a male, approached them. The female was as tall as Miwemba and carryied a rolled-up blanket as well as a bag. The bag looked weird, it had a brownish colour and tribal patterns but Eclipse could not make out any threads. Had they sealed the cloth with wax or was it an entirely different material altogether? She handed both items to a surprised Darren who thanked her in that guttural language they had used in the hut.

"Come on, lad, let's go," Darren said to Eclipse.

Levinia bounced up and down in the air - she was once again in the shape of a wisp. The little blue light flew over to the boat and sat down on the edge of the bow. Darren, with Eclipse in tow, followed her and sat down, facing forward. He slung the bag around his shoulder, right next to the sheathed sword, and waited.

Vol'Shalai and the other male troll were still standing with Miwemba. The smaller troll hugged her and she gave him a short kiss. She said something quiet to him. The troll nodded obediently and looked back to throw a glance at Eclipse.

Now that Eslipse thought about it, the male looked not just smaller but also way younger than Vol'Shalai. His tusks were shorter and he was a bit lanky, as if he had gone through a growth spurt very recently. He was wearing a light, short-hemmed robe, held together with a belt. A gnarly staff was visible over his shoulder. And he had the same red hair colour as Vol'Shalai. Were they related? Was Miwemba his Mom? Then why did he join Vol'Shalai when he leaned against the wall of the boat to push it into the water? Both of them jumped over the rim, facing Darren, and picked up the two paddles that had been hidden inside the boat. They raised the paddles in a manner that suggested they had done this together many times. In perfect sync, the paddles were pushed through the water and the boat moved away from the beach.

Miwemba shouted something after them, shaking her fist. Vol'Shalai grinned and nodded.

They moved away from the beach so quickly that the troll lady was soon a dot in the distance. With the red rocky coast to their right and the open ocean to the left, they sped across the countless small waves. Eclipse looked back once more. Now the island had shrunk to a green band on the horizon. That was really quick.

"Shaman magic," Darren said curtly, nodding his head at Vol'Shalai. "He probably asked the Water Spirit for help."

"I always thought I would get seasick," Eclipse said. "But I don't feel so bad."

"Also Shaman magic."

"It smells nice." Eclipse held his hoof over the rim of the boat. The water flowed around it so fast that he jerked his forleg back in surprise.

The air tasted like salt. Even though it was very hot, being on the water felt comfortable. Strange birds flew around them. With a shriek, one of them dove into the sea, rising up with a squirming fish in its beak. They rode on the wind like pegasi. Eclipse looked at his hoof; it was already dry again.

"I've never been on a lake," Eclipse said thoughtfully.

"It's an ocean," said Darren. "The Great Sea."

"Oh. Where are we going?"

"First, to the continent. It is not very far, we'll be there in a day. Then, we need to take a ship to the Eastern Kingdoms."

"Is that where you come from?"

"More or less," Darren said. The corners of his mouth twitched. "I'm from Lordaeron, that's in the North, but we will travel to Stormwind, in the South."

Eclipse grimaced, remembering the time he had seen Darren's memories. "Is it because there's still living humans in the South?"

Darren nodded. "Maybe they can help us find a way back home."

"Mom and Dad are gonna be worried sick." Eclipse hung his head and shuffled closer to Darren. "Do you really think we can find a way back?"

"Yes," said Darren confidently. "Twilight may not be here but there are powerful mages on Azeroth. I'm sure one of them can create a portal for us."

"Oh, good." Eclipse wiped his nose. "Then we're going to be okay?"

Darren nodded curtly.

The two trolls kept on rowing for hours. When the sun was low over the horizon and tinted in a deep red, they changed directions. The boat approached the rocky coast. When they were close enough, a narrow band of white sand came into view. It was dotted by the occasional palm tree but otherwise void of vegetation. They pushed the boat onto the beach and underneath a palm tree close to a large rock. Vol'Shalai drew a blanket from the bulky backpack he had brought along. He spread it on the sand and invited Darren and Eclipse to sit down on it. As they did so, he dove into the bag once again and passed the basket from Miwemba to the younger troll. The boy opened it and put it down on the blanket. They sat down and stretched their limbs.

"The guests be first," said Vol'Shalai in Orcish and gestured towards the basket.

Darren reached into it and felt a banana. Apparently, dinner was served. Vol'Shalai did the same and pulled a loaf of bright bread from the basket.

"Yum," he said with a grin. "Homemade bread."

"Aren't we going to light a fire?" Eclipse asked, raising his brows. "I always thought you do that when you go camping."

"One does," said Darren between two bites. He gave Eclipse another banana. "Except when one doesn't want to be discovered. It's warm enough so we don't need a fire anyway. You should still take the blanket, though."

"Oh. I get it. We need to be stealthy." Eclipse nodded sagely. "Okay." His smile faltered. "But we only have one blanket."

"The cold doesn't bother me much," Darren said. "Ever since..."

"You died?"



There was a pause, filled by the sound of everyone chewing.

"So what's your name?" Eclipse asked the younger troll. "Oh crap, I forgot, you can't understand me..."

Darren smirked and quickly repeated the question in Orcish.

"Xan'tu," said the boy. "Son of Vol'Shalai."

Eclipse found out that Xan'tu had come along because someone needed to return the boat to the island. Vol'Shalai explained that he had been ordered to come along with Darren and Eclipse. The plan was to buy everything they needed for their journey at the small port they were travelling to. Xan'tu eyed Eclipse with just as much curiousity as the other way around. Both had never seen a child of another sentient species before. Xan'tu's voice was still high but sometimes it sounded scratchy. He had his red hair woven into many braids and bound together on top of his head. His upper arms were decorated with tribal tattoos. Eclipse wondered if the staff the young troll had brought along was a magical artefact.

When they were done with dinner, it was pretty dark. The only source of light was Levinia in her wisp form. Darren gave Eclipse his new blanket and offered to take first watch. Vol'Shalai instantly agreed and lied down, along with his son. They were back to back, their weapons and supplies in the middle.

Darren sat down on his feet, intending to meditate with open eyes. The exercise would keep him from falling asleep. He stretched his arms and tried to relax his back and shoulders.

Something poked his side. He twitched and looked down.

"Can't sleep?" he asked.

Eclipse grimaced. "I've never slept outside before."

Darren grinned. "What about last night?"

"There - there was still a roof... And a fire," Eclipse said, slightly annoyed. "That was different."

"Alright." Darren patted the blanket. "You can sleep closer to me if you want."

"Thanks," muttered Eclipse. "I'm kinda scared. I don't even know why, not really."

"You're in a foreign environment for the second night in a row. It's perfectly natural to be alert. I'll look after you, don't worry." Darren smiled at the colt. "You just rest."

"I'll try." Eclipse rolled into a fetal position and wrapped the blanket tightly around himself. His back brushed Darren's left foot. The pony twitched as his muscles relaxed.

Vol'Shalai and Xan'tu were already asleep. Their steady breaths, the waves and the wind were the only noise around. One by one, the stars came out. There were so many of them. Darren sighed. He suddenly realized that he had missed these constellations. In the Crystal Empire, there were much less stars visible because of the force field. Here, you could even see the galaxy. It was beautiful.

Having humanoids around felt oddly familiar - even if they were trolls. What different kinds of species would they encounter on their way to Stormwind City? Humans, most likely, and goblins. Those short green creatures owned the ship that travelled from Ratchet to Stranglethorn Valley. At least, so Darren had heard. Maybe they would meet Night Elves or dwarves. Like Stormwind's humans, they were members of the Alliance. But depending on whom they would encounter, there was always the problem of explaining why a troll, a human and a pony were on a journey together. They would have to think of a plausible story.

At least they had some money. But even with money, they still needed to find mages powerful enough and willing to create a portal for them. Also, probably a cleric. As Twilight had told him, the portals to Equestria only worked when Arcane and Light magic were woven together. Then, they needed to find a way to figure out the coordinates of the portal's exit.

Too many variables!

Darren groaned and blinked rapidly. He stretched his arms, then quickly lowered them. He must not be tired yet. It was still a four hour watch...

Someone poked his shoulder and he yelped, his hand reaching for his weapon. The he saw who it was and relaxed.

"Dammit, Levinia!"

"Sorry." Levinia grinned sheepishly. "But are you sure you don't want to sleep? I don't sleep. I can keep watch. And all night, too."

Darren hesitated as he looked back at her. She seemed very eager to help. He grit his teeth.

Levinia's expression softened as her grin faded. She landed on the ground, making her appear more like a normal, if translucent, pony.

"You don't want to sleep?" she asked sceptically.

"I don't want to dream," Darren clarified.

"But you need to." Levinia said quietly. "There's no way around it, Darren."

"I know." Darren huffed and lied on his side. "I am still not used to being the one who needs sleep."

With a grin, Levinia jumped to her hooves. She glowed a little brighter, then she turned into a blue light.

It was still cold when Vol'Shalai woke Eclipse up. The troll prodded his shoulder with a finger and said something with a smile. Eclipse yawned and opened his eyes. He felt sort of rested but not as much as he might have wanted.

"The sun's not even up yet!" he protested with a look at the red ball that touched the horizon.

"It's there, though," Darren rasped. He cleared his throat and began to accurately fold Eclipse's blanket as soon as the colt had stood up. "So it's safe enough to travel. We can get a proper rest in Ratchet."

"What's Ratchet?" Eclipse flexed his wings and eyed the basket with hungry eyes.

"A small town. It doesn't belong to the Horde or the Alliance. They are neutral. Which means that we can take a ship to the continent from there."

"But I thought we were going to the continent now. Oh, you mean the Eastern... Kingdoms are on another continent!"

"Right. Exactly." Darren nodded. He tied Eclipse's blanket to his bag and joined the colt who had taken a fresh fruit from the basket.

"But who are the Horde and the Alliance?"

Darren sighed, then he had to smirk as he saw Eclipse's eager grin. He bit into his apple and sat down on his feet.

"There are many species on Azeroth. And some formed alliances with each other. The problem is, the Horde and the Alliance are enemies. Humans are part of the Alliance, Trolls part of the Horde." That was not very precise but Darren knew he had to keep it simple for the colt. "And I used to be a member of another faction, the - the Scourge. After that, I worked for both Alliance and Horde members."

"I remember who the Scourge are," Eclipse reminded Darren quietly. "I saw it in your mind."

"Yes, you did." Darren raised his brows and accepted a piece of bread from Xan'tu. "Be that as it may, we are going to Alliance territory because I am back to human. I suppose Vol'shalai and his son will have to leave us behind when we reach Duskwood. That's the land we get to before we arrive in Stormwind."

"Now it's getting complicated," Eclipse remarked.

"It's going to get more complicated. But we will deal with that one problem at a time."

"Who are the Princesses of the Horde and the Alliance?" asked Eclipse.

Darren almost choked on his bread.

"Uh, there are none," he said after regaining his breath. "The Alliance has a king, Varian Wrynn, and the Horde has a warchief, Vol'Jin. He is a troll just like... wait a moment..." Darren turned to Vol'Shalai.

"Is Vol'Jin still warchief?" he asked in Orcish.

Vol'Shalai gave Darren a dark look before slapping his own forehead.

"Right, you been gone since dat!" he exclaimed. "No, no, no, Vol'Jin be dead - regretfully. We ain't got no warchief anymore. We got a council. Thrall, Gazlowe, Lilian Voss, Thalyssra -"

Darren interrupted him with a raised hand. "I have not heard of half of these people," he said. "Who is leader of Trolls?"

"Rokhan." Vol'Shalai's grin widened and he laughed when he saw Darren turning pale. "Ya been talking to a member of da Horde Council and didn't know?! Haha! Priceless! Aw, mon, now ya must be realizin' how lucky ya been, eh?"

Darren grumbled something. He wiped his neck as sweat formed there. He had been very lucky indeed. First Sylvanas, then Rokhan... was he destined to stumble upon important leaders and narrowly escape them every time he was in the company of ponies?

"Is Varian Wrynn still Alliance king?"

"Nope. His son. Anduin Wrynn."

"Thanks," Darren grunted. "I know enough for now, I think."

"We be leaving in a bit," Vol'Shalai said, still chuckling. "Ya got everyting wit ya?"

"All packed. It was just a blanket anyway." He turned to Eclipse, switching back to the colt's language.

"So, correction. The Alliance still does have a king, except it is a new one. And there is a Horde Council. We just met one of the members."

"The Troll chieftain?" asked Eclipse.

"The Troll chieftain. I suppose I should tell you about the races before we get to Ratchet. We don't want any incidents..." He caught Eclipse's confused look. "Imagine ponies meeting Changelings in a random bar. In Canterlot."

"Oh. Okay. I think I get it." Eclipse snickered. "That might make for a funny joke, though."

Until someone dies, Darren thought.

Author's Note:

I hope the Jamaicans forgive me... ^^"