Author's note: This story takes place some months after what happened in Shades of Grey. For later chapters it may be a good idea to have read my other WoW-OC-fic Wail, Baby, Wail, but it's not necessary.
The humidity made his leather armor feel like it was glued to his skin. It probably didn't smell very nice either, but Rohdjinn had passed the stage where he took note of that several days ago. He might consider jumping into the ocean when he returned to Grom'gol together with his companions, but that would be more for the refreshing feel of it than to actually clean himself. Really, when out this long in the jungle, it didn't matter much. Not that trolls were that specific about washing everyday, though the waves back home in Sen'jin did invite for swims.
Though if he thought about it, getting rid of the mud would probably be a good idea. It smothered his hair down still, full of twigs and leaves – which was the idea – but most of it had flaked off his skin by now. He grinned at the thought.
The young troll slipped into the thick foliage surrounding a tree, where he could rest for a moment and have a drink of water in peace.
Not that he considered himself the romantic kind, but there was definitely something special about being in these lands, where trolls had once reigned supreme.
Of course, that feeling would only last for as long as you avoided ending up on those trolls' dinner plate, but anyway.
He had never been this far out before, not until his teacher decided that a few more Stranglethorn raptors would add to the breeding program in Sen'jin. Apparently this was also a great opportunity to give two of his students a small tour of the world, and off Rohdjinn was to the other continent. He certainly didn't complain. Not only was it a grand trip for him, but the other student coming along was this quite pretty young woman named Dosha.
Oh, and he had never before realized how much he liked his bright red hair.
"That won't do out here, mon. Into da mud, both of ya!"
Dosha's greenish hair, which would not stand out against the green landscape, technically did not demand for camouflage. But what's to hinder a couple of freshly adult-age trolls from mud wrestling, especially when they're kindly ordered to?
Rohdjinn grinned to himself, having to muffle a burst of laughter as he recalled the blood elf who had happened to come walking by the river. Remembering the look on her face forced him to bite his knuckles to keep from laughing – and he could only imagine what her expression had been like when their teacher noticed her and leaped into the mud to join his students. At that point Rohdjinn got himself face first in the muck however, and when he – howling with laughter – got up again, the lithe lady had opted for leaving in a huff.
And now he was out here on his own for the first time. Just a short scouting trip to make sure the area was safe, and with strict orders to stay out of trouble. The freedom felt nice, but even better when spiced with that kind of responsibility. Rohdjinn was no fool – the area was dangerous and he knew to respect that. However, so far he had not seen anything more threatening than a sunbathing snake. Disregarding the fact that it had been thicker than his leg and probably poisonous... nothing to make a fuzz about. He would go back to their small camp soon, but no reason to waste a chance for a short break.
The shadows felt nice, and there was a slight breeze whispering through the green world. Birds chirped and squawked among the rustling leaves, and the air smelt of flowers and the thick sweetness of half rotten fruit. But the latter was distant, and not too much of a bother.
Rohdjinn smiled to himself, lazily spying on a couple of parrots flapping between two trees.
The pleasant peace of the jungle broke when somebody cried out.
Rohdjinn barely had time to straighten up before another shout followed the first, and the not too distant shout grew into the familiar choir of noises from a battle starting. Frowning, the troll fastened the water sack at his belt and crawled through the undergrowth on all fours. The fight was going on nearby, but he felt quite sure that none of those who cried out were his companions. Humanoids' voices for sure, but not ones he knew.
He spied movement ahead and crept closer still, peeking out between the huge leaves of a bush. The ground tipped downwards just a little bit, giving him a vantage point.
Three human men were fighting five jungle trolls – Skullsplitters judging by their face paint and the general area.
Not a good fight to be on the wrong side in.
Rohdjinn only watched with some interest as the humans got their asses handed to them. The thought to aid them never crossed his mind – he did not like Skullsplitters, but neither did he like humans, and each one of the trolls down there was bigger than him.
What were humans doing in this area, anyway? Technically this part of Stranglethorn belonged to the Skullsplitter tribe – even if he had not seen any of them this far north before. But in terms of world factions, it was more Horde territory than Alliance, thanks to Grom'gol being so close by. Had the three men wandered so far off the road because they feared Horde patrols? Or to fulfill some suicide mission given to them in Booty Bay?
Or were they just stupid?
Whichever the case, they were all dead men.
Rohdjinn had not seen many humans before, a fact he did not complain about. In this situation it only meant that he could not quite tell what kind of warriors they were. Their armor was light, suited for the jungle, but there were considerable amounts of metal protecting them. All three used shields, two swords and one a mace – which in compare to an orc's warhammer looked like a toy.
Squinting, the troll thought that he could see the outline of some symbol on the mace-wielder's chestplate, but then the man received a blow from behind and fell face first into the ground. He tried to get up, but a Skullsplitter kicked him over and while he was still trying to recover from that, a huge blue foot came down on his chest, knocking all air out of him.
The other two were doing no better. One lost focus while trying to slice at his attackers, only to find his shield grabbed and violently twisted. He went down, rolling and letting go of the shield desperately. A Skullsplitter raised its dagger high, but somehow the human stumbled aside and the weapon only hit one of the bags by his belt. Cloth ripped, the troll snarled and tore the weapon right back up while the contents of the bag spilled into the lush vegetation. This time, the human was not so lucky. The Skullsplitter grabbed the man's sword arm and, with a vicious grin, stabbed the dagger into the area beneath the hanging shoulder panzer.
The man's face twisted, he screamed and the sword fell out of his grip. Still grinning, the Skullsplitter twisted the dagger out of the arm and threw the man to the ground. The man's helmet rolled into the tall grass and disappeared.
"Ow," Rohdjinn muttered to himself.
He caught sight of a golden glow around the man's left hand, but unfortunately for the human, the other trolls noticed it too. The had-to-be-a-paladin-then got roughly pulled up on his feet, and the pain itself killed off his attempt to heal himself. The troll holding his arms still gave him a few good rattles to be on the safe side, until he slumped, groaning.
The last human standing held out for about three more seconds before sheer numbers and much bigger muscles beat him down. His arm was caught and sword twisted out of his hand, moments before he lost his shield as well. He still twisted and cursed, until a dagger at his throat silenced him.
That first unlucky bugger was finally allowed to move, but only so much that he too found himself standing with both arms wrung up behind his back. The Skullsplitters chuckled cruelly amongst one another while the humans exchanged wild glances.
Not a bad battle. Most of the trolls had avoided getting hurt at all because it had been so quick, and those who were wounded only had scratches that would heal quick enough.
Rohdjinn almost felt a little sorry for the humans. Poor, pathetic threesome.
One of the Skullsplitters not holding a prisoner took a rope from his simple belt and moved towards the wounded human. However, he stopped and looked down.
A huge blue hand swooped into the low undergrowth covering the ground, grabbing at something. Thinking back, Rohdjinn figured that it had to be the items fallen from the paladin's bag.
Straightening, the Skullsplitter shook his hand and picked among his finds, scattering little things all around. Then suddenly he snarled, but it sounded just as surprised as angry. The others bent or moved closer to see, all raising fleshy eyebrows and a couple of them grunting out curses.
The investigating troll lowered his hand, letting the human have a look. Instantly the little man bared his teeth, twisting in his captor's grip and grinding out what had to be quite colorful swear words judging by his tone.
Chortling wickedly, the troll dropped whatever it was and stomped on it. The human roared, but the cry was cut off suddenly when one of the other trolls knocked him unconscious with a simple club to the head.
If not for the Skullsplitter holding him, the human would have fallen to the ground. The other two men simply had their hands tied in front of them, but the trolls seemed too amused with the first human to let him get away so easily. Rohdjinn watched with only a little disbelief as the Skullsplitters tied the man's wrists and ankles to a spear. Two of them then lifted the weapon, carrying him as if he was a captured beast. The man did not stir during any of it.
All of the Skullsplitters seemed to find it hilarious, even more so since the man's friends looked on with such disgusted horror. The cruelty made sense, really – those trolls really could only have one reason to capture the humans alive.
Prods with clubs and crude daggers forced the humans along as the trolls began moving. Rohdjinn watched, patiently waiting for them to get out of sight.
They headed off through the jungle, almost in the same direction he had planned to go later. Having scouted the area Rohdjinn could take a guess at where they were going, and if he was right, then they would not get anywhere near the camp. Still, it was too dangerous to take a chance about that. Once he felt certain that the hunting party were gone, he slipped out of his hiding place and down the hill. Just following them for a little bit would let him know if he needed to run ahead and warn his friends.
When he crossed the battlefield however, a lump of bright colors caught his eye. Despite feeling that he needed to make sure where the enemies were going, he wasted a curious glance. As it would turn out, this led to a much longer pause than he had planned.
Among the leaves and flowers of the ground laid the paladin's scattered belongings. A few dull scales of some lizard, a couple of torn pages from a book… other little useless things Rohdjinn did not take note of. His gaze was drawn to what without a doubt was the thing that had drawn such interest from the Skullsplitters.
It was a small totem. The feathers were ruffled and broken, the twig holding the mask snapped, and the mask itself broken in two. Rohdjinn would not even have taken note of it if he had not at first glance seen that it was not a Skullsplitter totem, but a Darkspear one. The design was too familiar to him to avoid notice.
Frowning, he bent down and scooped up the broken remains.
On the backside of the mask letters had been carefully scratched into the wood, almost as clearly as the day the totem had been made. The owner must have treated it with care, unlike the Skullsplitter who had stomped on it.
The light was not well suited for reading, not with the leaves sending thick, dancing shadows over the entire world beneath the treetops. Even as he squinted and made out the writing word by word, Rohdjinn's initial thought was that he must be mistaken.
But the writing was definitely there.
Do not kill this human, for he has helped a Darkspear. – Raptor charmer Vo'don
The young troll reread the short text, squinting even more.
It refused to change.
Muttering a curse Rohdjinn dashed into the jungle, slowing down only when he suspected being close enough to the Skullsplitters and their prisoners. Then he moved with more care, but still nimbly through the vegetation with all senses alert.
He spotted them while they moved across another area with lower foliage, while he could still hide among the huge leaves of the bushes. From there, even as they waded through the undergrowth and disappeared into the bushes, he could still tell that they turned to follow the path he had suspected they would take.
It was enough to make him certain that they would not get dangerously close to the camp, and therefore he took off towards it himself. He moved as quickly as he dared, always on guard in case there were other enemy trolls about. If there had only been the patrol to make a report about, he had not needed to hurry so much, apart from worry that there could be more enemies on the move. However, the totem in his hand put a whole new spin on everything.
Trying to move swiftly and at the same time avoiding leaving too many tracks for enemies to trace had its complications, but he did his best. Luckily, the camp was not too far off, and he slowed. Haste or no, there were more things than friendly trolls in their camp.
Breathing deeply, Rohdjinn walked out through the bushes and into the small clearing in which he had slept for the last two nights. Two trolls and two raptors glanced up at him, but only in acknowledgment.
Calling it a camp might be too generous, actually. For safety's sake they had not even made a fireplace, and the trolls' beds were nothing more than blankets spread over heaps of leaves. Simple, all for their purpose – easy to destroy and leave behind quickly. The trolls made do with fruit, bread and dried meat for food, and their main objective only cared for fresh meat. The main objective being big lizards.
When out catching new raptors, one should never bring a mount, and definitely not an already tamed raptor. The great lizards were intelligent, and another large animal in the vicinity – especially a prospective rival of unknown origin – could be fatal for the first, vulnerable days of building up a sense of trust.
Vo'don had said that he would not even bring a tamed raptor along even if it came from the part of the world he was going to. He had great respect for the beasts, for good reasons – experience with raptors mainly meant the experience of regrowing limbs again and again.
The totem felt heavier than it should be in Rohdjinn's grip. Of course he knew the story about the Un'goro crater, everyone who knew Vo'don and then some had heard it because it was just that crazy. But deep down, the young troll felt that maybe he hadn't actually believed it before.
Perhaps it had not been the best course of action not to help the humans, but how would he have known?
"See anything good, mon?" Vo'don said without looking at Rohdjinn. Instead, he kept brushing his hand over the raptor's neck, hissing softly. The big lizard's tail lazily swung back and forth, thin front arms scratching the air in delight when Vo'don found some itchy spot the beast never had been able to scratch on her own.
A little ways away Dosha busied herself with their second raptor, this one found a few days ago. Vo'don had not let his two students close to it before he had established a connection to it over the course of several hours. This despite the fact that neither Dosha nor Rohdjinn were inexperienced with the great lizards, nor battle. But Vo'don had spent years raising and gathering raptors, and his decisions were not questioned by the other two trolls.
Dosha's hissing did not sound as fluid as Vo'don's, but it seemed to be enough for the raptor whose back she was rubbing. At least, it had not tried to bite off her ears from what Rohdjinn could see, and that did count for something.
Regardless, this was probably more important than the raptors getting a massage right now.
"I think you wanna look at this," Rohdjinn said, cradling his find in both hands.
He moved carefully not to give the raptor the wrong idea, but the darn thing still gave him a suspicious look and moved as if to take a look – or bite – of the young troll. Probably thinking that there might be something edible being offered. Vo'don brushed her head aside, murmuring at her. Only when the lizard had understood that it was not snack time, Vo'don bent closer to Rohdjinn to have a look.
The mildly curious expression swept away from the older troll's face, and he snatched the broken item so quickly that the raptor gave him a questioning look. Dosha, too, looked up with some surprise. Vo'don ignored all of them, his fingers tinkering with what he held. Eyes thinning, he turned the broken pieces over and read the inscription on the backside.
"Where'd you find this?" he demanded, sharply looking up.
Rohdjinn really had no idea what to expect as he quickly told his story, watching his teacher's eyes thin for every other sentence. Soon Dosha was listening as well, though she tried to return her attention to her raptor every now and then.
Finally, gazing in the direction that Rohdjinn pointed, Vo'don let out a low, growling sigh.
"See, Roh," he said, looking up briefly. "I think I gotta teach you an important lesson, and you better do it right da first time."
"What?" the young troll said, curiously watching his teacher.
Vo'don narrowed his eyes at the jungle, absentmindedly stroking the raptor's side.
"Living bait," he said, left hand clenching around the remains of the totem.
Oh, this had not been in his apprentice description, to paraphrase those little demons some warlocks kept. Rohdjinn felt that the plan seemed really half-baked, and that this view not only depended on his place in said plan.
Rohdjinn shifted uneasily, trying to find a better seat on the branch. The tree offered all the protection and good view he would need until the action started, but he kept wondering if it would support his weight for long enough.
"On your signal," Vo'don had said. This technically meant that Rohdjinn was in charge of getting things moving. In a way, it was an honor.
Risking his life for the Horde and an ally, sure thing, just point at the enemy. But risk life and limb for a human, one who had been helpful a while back probably only because he had to?
At least Vo'don was honest – he'd plainly said that this would blow their whole operation in the area. They would have to kill every Skullsplitter, and hopefully everyone else would come out alive, but a disappearing hunting party would not go unnoticed in the enemy tribe. They would be combing the area for suspects, and the Darkspears would have to find another place to hunt for raptors. Plus, the troops in Grom'gol would need a warning about angry jungle trolls, which meant even more lost time.
And the whole thing would definitely not make the three Darkspears popular in the base camp, unless they lied their tusks off about why the jungle trolls were angry.
Well, nobody had ever said that hunting raptors was easy work...
Rohdjinn's mental grumbling ended when he saw a movement down the thin path. That had to be the right ones, had to be, had to, or Vo'don would be very, very pissed off for sure. The Darkspears and their raptors had hurried to set up a trap, rushing to where the hunting party had to go... hopefully where they had to go.
And may a spirit or two be kind enough to have kept the Skullsplitters from meeting friends along the way...
With considerable relief Rohdjinn saw that it was just the same trolls and prisoners walking into sight. Five Skullsplitters were still a stretch for Lady Luck, but possible if the plan worked out.
Rohdjinn waited, keeping his breath calm as the troop came closer. The man carried on the spear still seemed to be unconscious, and his friends walked with hunched shoulders and downcast eyes.
Just a few steps more...
He had chosen this tree, and this branch carefully. While he worried about his perch giving out under him, he knew that another nearby branch would not hold his weight. Just beside his big, healthy tree stood a partly withering one, and he could grab onto one of the thick, dying-
The branch crashed down and so did he, letting out a half-strangled shout. He hoped it sounded real. Hitting the ground felt real enough, even though he was prepared for it. Quickly he scrambled to his feet, hearing a couple of the Skullsplitters snarl as they took note of both him and how small he was for a jungle troll. Throwing a panicked – only half-pretend, that – glance towards the party, Rohdjinn spun around and dashed into the jungle.
He did have at least ten yards head start, and had to make it count. Count as far enough to get away for a little while, but close enough to be worth chasing...
A little bit of shouting – mainly insulting him from what he heard – and then two pairs of feet thundered through the undergrowth behind him. The spirits seemed to actually be favoring him today. Or rather, they favored the half-baked plan. So far.
As long as they didn't overtake him before he got close enough for Dosha to help him, it might work out... and then the rest of the problems were all Vo'don's.
There was a twang from above. One of the hunting Skullsplitters gurgled, the other shouted when he crashed into his flailing companion and they both went down. Rohdjinn spun around so quickly he almost stumbled on the slithering roots on the ground. He managed not to fall, however, and tore his axe from his belt. Another arrow whistled down, burying into the second Skullsplitter's arm. He screamed, but more in rage than pain.
From the path came another scream, followed by shouting and the snarling hisses of two raptors attacking.
"Help Vo'don!" Rohdjinn growled, leaping at the Skullsplitters on the ground.
He didn't hear Dosha drop down from the tree she was hiding in, but then the enemy demanded all his attention. One was choking on his own blood with an arrow in his throat, but the other one was very angry and getting to his feet. Rohdjinn aimed his axe in an arch at the snarling face, but missed due to receiving the Skullsplitter's sweeping arm straight across the chest. Instead of hitting his mark, Rohdjinn crashed into a tree and tumbled down among the shorter plants. Somehow he managed not to drop the axe and scrambled aside, aching and disoriented.
The Skullsplitter roared as another arrow grazed his ear, and now he had an idea about where the archer was hiding. Sweeping around, he tore a stone from the ground and hurled it at the treetops. It disappeared among the leaves with a hard rustle – and a half-strangled shout from Dosha. But she didn't fall out of the tree, so it couldn't have hit. However, she had given away her position and the Skullsplitter grabbed another stone.
Rohdjinn threw himself forwards and cut his axe deep into the much bigger troll's thigh. He had to leave it there, rolling away to avoid the fists coming at him even as the Skullsplitter fell over.
Driven mad with pain and rage, the huge troll was too caught up with trying to get at Rohdjinn to notice Dosha jumping from the tree. Well, he noticed her when she grabbed his hair from behind and slit his throat. Blood sprayed over the green leaves, some drops splattering onto Rohdjinn's face and chest. Dosha's hands were doused, and she shook them instinctively.
Kicking the body over, she took a step back and breathed heavily, grimacing, while Rohdjinn ripped his axe free. It could have gone smoother if it weren't for the death throes. He too gasped for air, dry mud on his forehead melting from his sweat and the blood.
A shriek from the path, they exchanged glances and took off.
All three humans were on the ground - the paladin carelessly thrown aside, his companions face first down and either dead or pretending to be. Things didn't seem to have gone very well, apart from one unmoving Skullsplitter on the ground - but one of the raptors were also down, writhing and bleeding from a deep wound in its left leg.
The other raptor and Vo'don were trying to survive against a Skullsplitter each. Now the raptor danced around trying not to be stabbed by its adversary's spear, at least able to move about.
Vo'don was not so lucky. He dangled by his throat in a snarling Skullsplitter's grip, his feet desperately kicking far above the path.
It took half a heartbeat to take in the scene, and then Rohdjinn stormed through the undergrowth. He vaguely heard Dosha let out a battle cry behind him, but all sounds drowned in the rush of his blood and the red veil falling over his vision. The ax drew an arch, he let go and it spun through the air, burying into the Skullsplitters back.
The enemy troll roared, arching backwards and dropping Vo'don.
Landing gracelessly and clutching his throat, Vo'don still had enough sense left to kick at the Skullsplitter's legs. It fell, thrashing.
Afterwards, Rohdjinn couldn't really remember what happened next. His next recollection was of Vo'don, still coughing, tugging at his arm and himself sluggishly turning away from whatever he had been doing.
He looked at Vo'don, blinking as the world turned green instead of red again. With a grunt his teacher hunched down, rubbing his own neck. Fresh blood shone in splashes and droplets on his skin and armor.
Rohdjinn turned around, saw the gory mess on the ground. He looked down, seeing blood covering the axe he held in both hands – blunt end downwards – and splattered far up his arms. His leather armor was now either ruined or decorated depending on how you looked at it.
The last shreds of his berserk daze evaporating, the adrenaline rushed out of his system and he hunched down beside Vo'don, gulping down air.
A hissing snarl made both of them look up. Dosha kneeled by the fallen raptor, the last Skullsplitter sprawled on the ground behind her. She made an attempt to grasp the big lizard's back to help her get to her feet, but the other raptor came barreling towards them, teeth gleaming.
Rohdjinn stumbled to his feet but Dosha already recoiled, scrambling backwards. The standing raptor hissed at her but stopped by its fallen friend. Giving the trolls another suspicious look, it bent down and nudged at the raptor on the ground with its nose.
Vo'don sighed, but it turned to a cough and he bowed his head, massaging his throat.
The fallen raptor whined, but bent her neck upwards. The standing one nudged its head below, helping its friend up on her feet. Stumbling through the agonizing process, the raptors nevertheless finally managed.
The wounded female turned her head and hissed at Vo'don. Then they both turned and walked away, disappearing into the bushes. Leaves waved and twigs broke, then they were gone.
Rohdjinn looked at Vo'don, wondering if they were really letting the raptors go. But the teacher shook his head without looking up.
"Dey don't trust us no more," Vo'don said.
Something brushed Rohdjinn's arm and he spun at it, jumping as he found Dosha standing there. He had not heard her walk up, but then, a buzz still remained in his hazy head after the blinding rage.
"You alright, mon?" she asked unusually soft.
Only then Rohdjinn realized that he was still holding his blood-coated axe in one hand.
"Yah," he muttered, fumbling to fasten the weapon by his belt again. His slippery fingers didn't help matters.
Thankfully Dosha didn't stay to watch him struggle with a simple strap and button, but moved on to Vo'don.
"Dey're all dead," she said.
Vo'don let his hands fall away from his throat, grabbing the dagger stuck in the ground before straightening up. He threw one last blank look after the raptors, but then turned towards the rest of the world. So did his students.
The humans were alive, from the look of it. At least the two that had not been tied up like a wild boar or deer. They had gotten to their feet, and stared at the trolls with wild eyes while nervously recoiling.
Vo'don didn't seem to care. He only gave them a glance before marching over to the spear. There he crouched down, using his dagger to sever the ropes holding the human tied up. The man didn't move, but when Vo'don shook him there was a weak groan. Shoulders sinking, the troll sheathed his knife.
The other two humans stared, no longer backing away but surely considering it. Rohdjinn hunched down again, trying to catch his breath but watching his teacher with great interest despite his exhaust. Dosha's fingertips brushed his shoulder, but she didn't say anything.
Vo'don dragged the human up in a half embrace, leaning the slumping shoulders against his arm. Then, the troll awkwardly slapped a tanned cheek, lighter than he would if trying to awaken an unconscious child of his own race.
The human groaned again, and his eyelids fluttered. Slowly he opened his eyes, squinting at the blood-streaked troll face hovering above him.
He made a weak motion as to recoil, but tensely froze when a thick, blue fingertip touched his chest.
"Domas," Vo'don said again, and his grim expression cracked up in a grin. "Domas Sodstone."
The man stared, blinked again and then came to life.
"Wha-?" He moved to straighten up on his own, but cried out and sunk back, clutching his right arm. The sleeve was bright red down to his lower arm, the color creeping up his shoulder thanks to the rather embarrassing position he had been in mere minutes ago.
Vo'don pulled at the cloth, opening the cut in it and glaring at the wound beneath. Pursing his mouth, he looked up at Dosha and Rohdjinn.
"We need to get out of here," he said. Without waiting for even a nod he turned back to the human he was holding up. This time, he did not speak Zandali. "Stand."
'Domas' muttered something.
The other two humans jumped, however, even more so when Vo'don looked at them and spoke again.
Hard to say if they were more uncomfortable with being addressed by a troll, or by the fact that it spoke Common. If not very well, in Rohdjinn's belief. Not that he had mastered the language either, but he was pretty sure that the pronunciation was a bit off.
Vo'don stood up, still supporting the human he called Domas. The man staggered and tried to stand on his own, but had to lean against the troll. He still stared at the blue face.
"Vo'don?" he suddenly said, voice breaking.
The troll paused and met the gawk with a much calmer gaze, though his lips twitched. Thin – in compare to a troll's – and bloodied fingers fumbled away from the wounded arm, snapping unsteadily through the air until they grasped Vo'don's thumb.
This time, the troll actually chuckled a little bit. Under Domas' continued stare he moved his left arm up and about as well as the grip of his finger allowed.
"Be good. See?"
He gently pulled himself free and patted Domas' good shoulder. It smeared some blood – human and troll alike – on the plate there, but it probably didn't matter one bit at this point.
"Spirits be with you," Domas croaked.
Heavily accented, staggering, and using a parting phrase as greeting – but still a troll expression in Orcish. Rohdjinn blinked several times, and he heard Dosha mutter a mild curse out of surprise. Even Vo'don looked in disbelief at the strange human, but Domas didn't see it. His eyes rolled upwards even as the last word left his lips, and he would have fallen to the ground again if Vo'don had not caught him.
The surprise held them for another second, but then Vo'don shook himself out of it. He shifted his grip, hooking his arms under Domas' knees and shoulders. To carry the man he had to straighten up more than looked comfortable, but he hardly made a face at it. Instead he looked at the other two humans and spoke their language again.
They looked at him uncertainly, but after exchanging glances they stepped forwards. The one on the left raised his bound hands slightly, and Vo'don nodded before turning to his students.
"They don't trust us," he said. "Maybe it's better that you free them, Dosha."
Female trolls were by default no less blood thirsty than male, but at least they did not have tusks (even if Rohdjinn still could not yet pride himself to sport very big ones himself) and looked a little less muscular.
Shrugging, Dosha walked up to the two men, holding up one hand in a calming motion as she reached for her dagger. Just to be on the safe side Rohdjinn followed her, but only stayed close enough to be able to help in case the humans got any stupid ideas. He didn't want to anger his teacher, if Vo'don didn't want to rattle the two men even more.
From the corner of his eye he noticed that Vo'don looked at him. The teacher watched the scene with a half amused, half serious expression, but didn't make a comment. More concerned with Dosha, Rohdjinn returned his attention to her.
She cut the first human's ropes with ease, but it took a couple of seconds and the men exchanging glances again before the second prisoner held out his hands towards her. Even as the confused couple rubbed their sore wrists, Vo'don called all of them into motion by starting into the relative safety of the jungle. His two students immediately moved to follow.
They paused only for a moment when the two men hastily grabbed a sullied rucksack and a small collection of smaller bags from the dead trolls – just collecting what of their stolen inventory they could get their hands on quickly. They too realized that the danger was far from over, and hurried – though still not looking too happy – to follow the friendly trolls into the foliage.
Dosha gave Rohdjinn a playful shove as they walked, and grinned when he looked at her.
"We make a good fighting team, bait," she said.
He returned her wide smile.
"Leave me some next time," he said.