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Buts, Ifs, and Maybes

Lu Zeitan's picture

 

Thwack.

Thwack. 

Thwack.

Whenever Lu Zeitan was stressed, upset, or needed to think, he'd train. Right now, he was weilding a heavily weighted practice sword against an innocent dummy, his sandbag head shaking with each blow. The wooden sword, strapped with enough weights to qualify as a club, slammed into the dummy's parts, various cracks and splinters flying off. Lu wasn't one to pull punches, even when he was training. And today, with all the thoughts he had in his head, he needed this.

Thwack.

Thwack.

Thwack-CRACK.

Lu blinked, and stepped back as the dummy's spine erupted into splinters and shards of wood, the heavy sowrd crashing through it and pulverizing the innocent wooden training dummy's middle. There was a chorus of discontent from those around him, and Lu, smiling sheepishly, bowed an apology, and stepped back to lean against a towering oak as a pair of guards went to fetch another dummy.

Lu would've liked to say the dummy was poorly made, but the opposite was true; He was the one poorly crafted. Everywhere, there were fractures, flaws, and vulnerabilites. He was short for his kind, and more than a little skinny, but only for a naturally heavy race. Husky in appearance, his body was mostly compact, round muscle with less fat than normal. Some called it unhealthy; Lu just didn't comment on it. He supposed having larger hands must be part of some grand idea to make up for his lack of strain when pulling on his pants, or perhaps that was the strange strength he had. A few humans had commented they'd seen stronger orcs or Tauren, but not many Pandaren that could compete with them just with strength alone.

Lu looked to his left, into his reflection in the pearl sheath of his family's blade, Red Hare. Once his brother's, this Mogu claymore, as tall as a Kal'dorei but with a blade as red as freshly drawn blood, was now in Lu's charge. As the last of his family, he was the one charged with protecting it, and ensuring it was used correctly, for justice, for defending the meek, and for taking down every thug that was out to hurt good people. Another flaw, Lu realized with a frown as he studied his reflection, was that he was now in conflict with that purpose. As wardancer, war was his art, and Red Hare was his tool for creating the bloodiest of pieces. 

But he had been told by good people to hold back.

Lu groaned a little, and crossed his arms, furrowing his brow in deep thought. His concern over his purpose and path was just one thing that was weighing the light-on-his-feet Pandaren down. His heart was full of affection for a sweet female, a short, slender female. Shao Qing had meandered into his life, and held his gaze ever since. Earlier in the day, they had enjoyed a wonderful second date, with picnics, kissing and...

Well, it was a very enjoyable experience for both of them.

But, still, Lu was troubled with so many concerns and thoughts. What did the lovely priest with a temper to match a Hellscream's see in him? What did she want from him: A good thrust every now and then? A relationship? Something casual or strange that fell in between? And what if he couldn't accept what she wanted? Lu knew that he wanted Shao for as long as she was happy at his side, but this was a very young relationship still. What if she did something that pushed him away? Shao made him happier than he had been in years, and brought out the best in the husky Pandaren wardancer. How was he supposed to deal with it if she didn't want what he did? What if he was a piece of meat? What if, tomorrow, she came to him and asked to be wed to him?

Pinching his brow, Lu groaned again, shaking his head. Sun Shang, his only sister, had told him once, "Lu-lu, you will weigh your head down with so much worries! Maybe, one day, it will fall off because it's so heavy!" She meant that all in good fun, of course, but Lu felt there was truth in her words. He was worrying himself to an early gtrave at this rate.

When he was young, everything was simpler. He, and his elder brothers and sister, had lived on the road, traveling wherever they pleased. When your father disowns you, and your mother dies not long after, you don't have anywhere else to go but wherever your heart calls you. If Death hadn't chosen to take his family from Lu, one at a time, he was certain he'd still be there with them. Long, he'd dreamed of living in a palace, hearing servants and fellows address him as, "My Lord", or some other grand title, and had left home to pursue his only dream. Being a wardancer was who he was, and if he could earn that manor that he held in his heart one day, then he would deem his life complete. But, just like that, worries rushed back; How was he to do that, if he could never be a master Wardancer?

Lai-Ning, a sweet Pandaren girl with a boyfriend the size of a Yaungol, had introduced hm to kind people, who had, upon his curiousity, explained to him the virtues of the Light, the main religion for much of the Eastern Kingdoms. In it, they spoke of mercy, restraint; Things Lu were familiar with, but didn't seem to be able to practice when he was in his war-trance, which he referred to as his, "war face". When he adorned the war face, he became passive, quiet, and focused, and weilded Red Hare like a dagger, making a bloody painting out of a battlefield. But what was he to do, if he could not do what he knew in his heart was right and just? Lu knew that, if someone tried to kill him, he was very right to try and kill them right back, but second chances? Mercy? Restraint? To the wardancer inside, these were unfamiliar.

But Lu had a sinking feeling they ought to be.

Shaking his head again, Lu plopped down at the foot of the tree, and looked into his reflection in Red Hare's sheath. 'How do I do this?' He asked himself in his mind, 'How do I continue on when my head is so full of concern and worries?'

His reflection, in Lu's mind shrugged. 'You're asking me? I am you, you know.'

'Yes,' Lu replied to his Reflection, 'But a little introspection never hurt anyone. Perhaps I know the asnwer to all my questions, but do not know it.'

His Reflection raised a bushy brow. 'How on Azeroth does that make sense?' Lu shrugged to himself, and his reflection sighed. 'Perhaps the only answer is be patient. Life wasn't made to be lived in a day, or so our mother always said.'

Lu nodded. 'And what of Shao? Of my lessons? Of my dreams? What do I-'

'Be patient,' Lu's reflection replied in his mind, 'and relax. You have a lovely female who enjoys spending time with you. You are making friends, Lu. This is all very good! You need only to take your time with it.'

Lu supposed his Reflection was right, and gave a long sigh. He looked out over the training yard, and saw the sun setting in the distance. Maybe it was time to make his way back to the inn, and maybe Shao would be waiting for him there. Maybe Lai-Ning and her friends had something fun planned, and Lu would be able to join them. And maybe, if Lu had the chance, he'd ask Shao to come along, and offer his hand.

And, maybe, she'd smile and say, "Maybe."