The Wounded Warsong

Chapter 1: What's in a name?

"Okay, everyone together, we got people comin' in for a look-see," a raspy voice rang out through a near pitch black room. Very little light shown through the one window: it was night time. Many children stood up, lined up, and followed the voice out a door into a glowing light. The glow dulled as they went through the door, dulled into that of candles and lanterns. The children were rounded up, all in worn out, somewhat tattered clothes. None stood out of the crowd as much as the lone Mithran child. Her ears stood up through a torn cap barely covering her scruffy brown hair and her tail waved, hoping she would be picked that day. Her fiery blue eyes frantically looked around in nervousness.

A couple walked in slowly: an Elvaan woman with short red hair tied back in two small tails wearing white robes with red trim and her tall golden haired Hume husband, wearing hard, shining armor plates that clinked with each step. They looked over the children, her brilliant blue and his burning brown eyes traveling, looking for one they would call their own. Many of the children jumped up and down, trying for attention. Some just stood there idly, staring at the couple. A few started pulling on the Mithra's tail, which she would snap away and swat at them.

"How do ya do, Miss, I'm Jerald. So, which of the runts do you like?" the raspy voice called. The voice belonged to a short bald Hume with a nasty scowl on his face and dull brown eyes, wearing various animal hides all over.

"What do you think, Honey?" the Elvaan asked her husband.

"I can't decide... they... they all need a home..." He quickly looked at each of them again, desperately looking for anything standing out. His eyes finally fell on the Mithran child, and her eyes on his. From the many children there, her eyes were the brightest; the others' didn't seem to have nearly the same fire. He walked over to her, knelt, and looked deep into her eyes. She looked away shyly, blushing. The Elvaan also walked over to her. The child couldn't help but look up and stare back into the Elvaan's brilliant eyes, her ears pressed back and her tail lowered. She had never seen such a warm, welcoming face with a smile so motherly that it put her and a few other children around them looking at the Elvaan completely at ease, almost in a trance. Jerald noticed this and cleared his throat.

"As I'm sure you know, the Great War took place about 10 years ago. It left many children without mothers or fathers as so many were sent and nearly none returned... Many of the children here were born before the war and are orphans now, but she was born after according to her birth record, but I'm not so sure the record is even real. We couldn't find copies of the record in any of the cities and the name on the record is "Warsong." She was delivered to us three months ago while the others have only been here... I'd say maybe about a month or so." The couple looked at each other and nodded.

"We're going to give her a proper name and take her," the Elvaan stated to the short Hume. He nodded.

"Okay Miss, I'll need you both to sign these," he pulled some papers, a quill, and an ink bottle out of a small drawer. "Oddly enough she's been passed here from other orphanages. We're not exactly sure where she came from nor does she remember. I certainly hope you folks give her a nice home. She's been very quiet here but there's something about her... her eyes... (and the strange scars on her back...)" Jerald trailed off inaudibly, then handed the papers to the couple. They read them over and signed on the bottom, leaving identifiable information. They handed the papers back, Jerald looked them over and nodded. The Elvaan nodded and smiled.

"Okay kitten, you're finally out of here. Now you take this." Jerald handed to the Elvaan a small key from a large keychain. "We've kept her original belongings in a small chest, you can have them." The child's trance broke, ears perked and tail straightened in shock at what she just heard.

"I... I'm leaving?" she said shyly. Jerald nodded.

"Yeah, thought it'd never happen, huh runt? Well, lemme go get that chest and you'll be outa here." He turned to the other children and shouted, "OK RUNTS! BACK TO THE BACK!" Many groans were heard as they dragged their feet back to the back room and the Mithra waved goodbye to them, quite happy to be leaving them. Jerald ran to another room and began fumbling through things. The couple watched with curiosity, as did the child. After a few minutes he finally found the small box.

"Yeah, here we go. Some things came with her but we had no clue what they were. No auction appraiser could really identify them as anything so fat chance selling 'em. Oh, there's also a few things in here without much value so we just kept them." He handed over the chest to the couple. "Also, might want to take her to Windurst to at least get a real birth record for her. I hear the chieftainess can see into people, she could probably figure out when the kit was born and draw up an official record." The couple nodded. He looked down at the Mithra and waved goodbye. "Nice knowing you, now off with ya!" He quickly turned his back to the child, concealing any emotion he may have been about to show, but he let out a sigh. The Mithra bowed and turned back to the couple, tail waving, anxious but a little afraid of what might come ahead.

"Runt? Hah, we have a much better name for you, my daughter," the Elvaan knelt beside her and offered her hand. The child looked at the hand and clasped it firmly. "Your name shall be... Orinthia."