Nothing came easy for her, nothing. Never did, never will, Vaunt reckoned. She stared at the giant Orc’s bushy, black-bearded face.
Deep in a protected grove of Silverpine Forest rested a small farm owned by a human family. The patriarch of the family gave her father Borbchek his first job, years ago. “Job” is too kind of a word, for he was an indentured servant, working off a debt, and they took him in not out of kindness or charity, but because they recognized cheap, crafty labor. Some say the family had ties to the Proudmoores, but the lady of the house started these rumors. Borbchek kept his mouth shut, and big, green pointy ears open.
The Second War Goblins were notorious financial mercenaries, and would sell their own grandmother if enough gold were involved. Many did. In the case of Borbchek, his father drowned in a crossing, and his mother’s unscrupulous morals and addiction to nogginfogger elixir trumped her motherly instincts, as feral as they were, and she packed off Borbchek to the highest bidder, never giving him a second thought.
From bits and pieces, odds and ends he found in the tool shed, Borbchek crafted a mechanical device designed to dig up rocks, clear debris and scrubby pines, pulverize each stone and boulder to get to the rich soil. His tinkering and engineering contributions to the family are what created their prosperity, and yet they did not reward him or allow him to share in the riches. So, he stole what he needed, or felt he deserved: they seemed none the wiser. A piece of silver cutlery here, or an ivory button there, made no difference. His mechanical cleverness, however, did not carry over to his rapacity skills, and one of the other house goblins tattled on his thievery. He had stolen more than a kiss from her, and she was disgusted in his lack of honor in claiming paternity rights to the green bun in her oven. So, pregnant with his bastard daughter, she told the mistress of the house about his thievery, and his loss would be replaced by the baby’s future labor. He hanged in Gallows’ Corner the next full moon.
The snitching maid raised her daughter, Vaunt, in the household without incident. Her mother wanted to name her something that sounded close to ‘vault,’ to remind herself that she was a secret treasure. Or perhaps her spelling wasn’t too accurate. In any case, Vaunt joined the human household and as soon as she could walk and carry a bucket, began her life of servitude.
Vaunt inherited little of her father’s mechanical skills, so she served the family in the dairy, milking cows and goats. She had a knack for delicious cheeses and butter, and an odd manner or talent with the livestock. Every chicken, barn cat or field mouse would do her bidding: she discovered this talent one pathetic winter morning: slicing snow and sleet caused the milk bucket to freeze up, so she commanded the poor cow to heat up her milk, and squirt faster. The cow obliged. Though she didn’t speak cow, chicken, or goat, somehow she knew their thoughts, and they hers.
Then came the Third War: slaughtered by the Scourge, the family members arose, reborn from death, one by one to serve the Lady. Even in death they reigned supreme, chartered by the sensual Sylvanas. Vaunt looked at her own knobby, bowlegged posture, her overly large hands, calloused from milking and churning, and felt that deep acknowledgment that her destiny would never fit in with this beautiful, lost-souls of a clan. Her mother felt dissatisfied too, with serving the ghoulish lot who were ungrateful at best, and damn near elitist puffery at worst. So in the middle of the night, they packed up their things, helping themselves to the family silverware and guild gold, and headed for the sunnier, warmer side of the world: Orgrimmar.
Farming, dirt, and stink were no strangers to the canyon compound of Orgrimmar. It was quite a contrast from the moon-soaked grass and the hushed, haunted pines of the forest she left behind. Homesickness shook her to her core. Her mother found employment as a hostess and barmaid in a local tavern, and barely noticed her daughter’s comings and goings. To get some different air than the burnt-oil grease fires on the walls of the city, Vaunt followed her nose to an underground, shadowy place, aptly named the Cleft of Shadow. It smelled refreshing to her big green nose: like burnt ink and toads’ kisses, more like home than any other place in Orgrimmar. She tried to stay as inconspicuous as possible while she slunk down the long, rough-hewn corridor. A master warlock trainer, Zevrost, smelled the cow dung and spoiled milk on her clothing, and grabbed her by the nape of her neck, holding her prone to get a good look at her. She pursed her lips in fear, afraid that her big mouth would get her into further trouble: this Orc meant business, growling, “What are you doing down here, little runt?”
Vaunt had had enough: the homesickness, the loss, the solitude, and the stink. She shouted back at the Orc’s angry face, “How the hell should I know! Your breath stinks, this place smells like pig’s ass on a hot day, and you can all go straight to hell and Draenor for all I give a rat’s nipple!”
No one had ever spoken to Zevrost in this way. Not even that barmaid…no, never mind, a story for another time. His Voidwalker, Zekkor, even seemed flummoxed. Zevrost looked in the girl goblin’s burning red eyes, with the ring of deep purple around the green-black pupils, and saw who she would become.
Years later, a powerful warlock in her own right, she found a book.
Or the book found her.