Priestess of Hir’eek (Ayida In’ama – WoW)
She was being lead through a city she did not recognize. The bright colours and vivid scents were new sensations, altogether unfamiliar. The graffiti that adorned the walls laid a story of a pantheon of Loas she knew all too well. Symbols of Agwe, Shirvallah, Shango, Papa Legba; the rainbow serpents that symbolized Dumballah and Ayida, the same serpents that entwined around each of her arms.
Ayida did not see the bat that had guided her through her dream the night before. She did not need the visual verification of his presence to know that he was with her.
Her gaze sought out the hand that lead her through the streets towards the large temple that rose out of the center of this metropolitan hub. Violet hair. Blue fur. A young girl. The tuskling looked back at Ayida, large amber eyes and an all too familiar grin upon her face. Mischievious. The Arcanist was immediately reminded of Kelruk.
The realization struck her and she stopped in her tracks. The child tugged at her hand insistently and Ayida had no choice but to follow.
“You cannot exist. I am not with child.” She told the girl.
The girl giggled and kept moving, “Nor will I exist for some time, Mama. It does not mean that I am not here. That I have not chosen you to be the Troll who will give birth to me.”
“But this… it makes no sense.”
“That is because you’re looking at it all wrong! You are the protector. You are the bindings that make the In’ama’s strong. Papa, he follows the one that creates all stories. Lives are just that, a story. Without his stories, you will have no strength to support your family. Without your strength, Papa will have no stories!”
“But this is not about you. Or he. This is my path to Hir’eek.”
“And Hir’eek is knowledge. Knowledge is needed to tell stories. Stories are needed to gain knowledge.” The girl pushes open the doors of the temple and guides Ayida inside.
Her nose twitched with the thick scent of incense. The glow of candles made her fur look almost lavender, hints of a long past Zandalari heritage. The serpents newly tattooed onto her arms writhed with the energy inside the temple. And the girl…
She was gone.
Ayida made her way up to the alter at the center of the temple, her thin tapered fingers trailing along the edges of it as she walked around it. The energy was strong. Thick. She could choke on it and yet the felt entirely at home in the center of it.
There is conviction to you, disbeliever.
The voice surrounded her and she was unable to discern any location to it.
“There was never a time I did not believe.” She defended.
You always lacked faith and kept your belief from us. Despite this, you carried our stories in your heart, often telling them without being prompted. Tell me, girl, why? If you doubted us, why did you carry the stories that gave us our strength. Why did you pass them out as freely as the breeze to educate any you came across?
“The stories of the Loas are part of the culture, they make up the embroidery of who we are as a people. Through them we are able to remember our Empire, our heroes. Through them we can hold onto the past in order to create a future.”
“If we forget the basic foundations of these stories, the lessons that live between the lines of them; then we forget ourselves and we lose our identity.”
The sweet high of victory has given you hope then?
“No, my Tribe has given me hope. My family. My people. The future has given me hope. Without the pantheons that we’ve lived in symbiotic harmony with since long before the Sundering, we have no future. My siblings will see no future, my nephew will not know of these things. I’ve spent too much time teaching Sin’dorei children the ways of Alchemy and not enough time arming the future generations of Trolls with the stories of the past so that we may return to the old traditions and live to see the glory of a reforged empire.”
The energy of the temple eased with a cool breeze that seemed to eminate from the stone walls themselves.
Ayida’s ears twitched as she heard the flapping of wings behind her. Slowly, she turned to look into the face of Hir’eek. Your heart is true and strong with intention. Belief. But you can teach the stories without serving your pantheon.
She shook her head slowly, “Then I would be lying to myself.”
And if I were to tell you that I’ve been testing your faith all along?
“I’d fail to be surprised. I’ve grown up knowing about the tricks the Loas like to play. How they test us and how they meddle in our lives. We are almost like puppets for their enjoyment. Your enjoyment.”
You’ve not failed in humouring me, Ayida In’ama. You’ve taken to your life with caution and understanding. A rare curiousity to learn of everything that exist around you and the need to protect the knowledge you gain by passing it on. I will not play a trick on you tonight, you have come to me with such vunerable earnest. Tell me girl, for I wish to hear these words, do you wish to serve me?
The waifish Arcanist dropped to her knees to bow deeply before the avatar. “Yes.” She stated simply, her voice strong and filled with a confidence that she had not seen in herself before. One word of reinforcement to concrete the balance and allow her to step out of the shell she had created for herself.
Then awaken, Ayida In’ama and inform Jin’marou Shavai that he has a Priestess to ordain.