OK, the story behind this little blurb: I originally wrote this circa 1999, when I was playing Everquest I. My main there was a warrior named Linedan (big surprise!). One day, as she is wont to do, my muse bitchslapped me on the back of the head and I wrote “The Warrior” during downtime at work, put it on our guild forums, and then promptly forgot about it.
Fast forward to WoW, 2005, and I’m having a difficult time grinding this iteration of Linedan up through the levels. While rooting around on my hard drive for something totally unrelated, I tripped over the original text file of “The Warrior.” Figuring that it was still as appropriate for World of Warcraft as it was for Everquest, I cleaned it up slightly and posted it on the official Blizzard WoW warrior forums, fully expecting to be mocked and ridiculed, as roleplay/storytelling is in most places over there.
To my surprise, it got a positive response–the “wow awesome” posts outnumbered the “lol rp” posts. To my bigger surprise, it’s gotten reposted in the warrior forum at least twice in the ensuing years, usually with another piece of text that I didn’t write added onto the bottom…and each time, it’s gotten a positive response. So maybe I did something right.
In any case, here it is under the cut. “The Warrior.” Enjoy.
I am the Warrior.
When you see me, I will, most likely, not be attired formally. I will be encased in my steel. It will be dirty, bloody, and battered. I do not have a quick tongue or eloquent speech. I know nothing of the manners of the King’s court, or the ettiquette of the formal ball.
I am known by many names. Tank. Meatshield. Fighter. Brawler. Corpse.
I am the Warrior.
I have not the capability, nor the inclination, to hide. I cannot strike from stealth with devastating blows, then fade into the darkness. I cannot incinerate a foe from twenty paces away. I cannot deal death from a distance, safe from the return attacks of my enemy. In order to kill, I must close with the enemy. I see his eyes. I smell his breath. I taste his fear. And he tastes mine.
I cannot bend Nature to do my bidding. I cannot tap into the Nether and force it to do what I command. I cannot study the arcane and master it to my control. I command nought but my mind, my body, and my will. It is by those, and those alone, that I stand or fall.
I have no friends on my journey. No walkers of the void, summoned from the Nether as servants and bodyguards. No loyal beasts of the plains or woods, to defend me and comfort me in my pain. My sole companion is my weapon. I must care for it better than any hunter has ever cared for his beast. I must master it more than any warlock has ever mastered his demon. Without me, it is useless. Without it, I am nothing.
I cannot heal. I cannot shield. I cannot call upon the gods and see my prayers answered. I call to the spirits of my ancestors in the heat of battle, and they are silent. My only ability to protect is to offer myself, my blood and bone and sinew, as a sacrifice. To draw the attacks of our foes. To take the blows that would kill a lesser being, and continue to fight on.
I cannot kill with the speed and grace of the rogue, the suddenness and shock of the hunter, or the flamboyance and power of the mage. When I kill, it is a slow business. Slow and bloody for all concerned, myself included. I fight on, pummeled and battered so that my companions may receive the glory of the kill and the wreaths of victory. If I die and they yet live, it is an expected sacrifice.
I come in all races, all sizes. I fight under a thousand flags, on a million battlefields. I am dismissed by the highborn, scorned by the noble, lectured by the priest, and forgotten by the peasant. Until the time when the trumpets of battle sound, and those who would destroy them come forth. And then the cry goes up…”Where, oh where, is the Warrior?”
Pray to your gods that I continue to answer that call.
Few do answer the call. Fewer still survive. It is a long and hard road, this way of the Warrior. Along it lie pain, and fear, and death. Scant rewards and scanter gratitude. At the end, for most, is an anonymous grave on some windblown battlefield. If they are lucky.
And yet, I fight on. I do not even know why. Perhaps for glory, perhaps for fame, perhaps for money, perhaps for my country, perhaps for my family. Perhaps it is simply all I know how to do. But fight I will. Whether you appreciate it or not. Whether you even notice it or not. I will be out there, on the battle lines. Fighting. Killing. Dying.
I am the Warrior.
Death is my business.
Be it yours…or mine.