Sep 14, 2011

Storytime: "How long?"

Random story inspiration FTW?

Little bit of backstory for this one- Jahira was the mother of twin boys, who both grew up to become druids. In the War of Shifting Sands, one of them was killed. The surviving twin went a little berserk, and when the war was over, he disappeared. Jahira thought he was dead as well for a few years, then she began hearing tales of a very intelligent cat, hunting the remaining Qiraji. She finally found her son, but he had gone completely feral, and it took days for him to even let her approach. Over the years, she has kept an ear out, and will periodically seek him out, to check on him and try to make sure he's doing alright. He roams over various places in Kalimdor, hunting not only the Qiraji, but anything he considers a threat to his people. This story is current in-game, after Jahira heard rumors of something killing orcs, which led her to Ashenvale.

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Ashenvale, east of Silverwind Refuge

The white panther entered the clearing slowly, dragging her offering by the neck. Setting her burden down in the center of the glade, she looked carefully around, sniffing the evening air. After making a complete circle around the dead stag, she gave up and settled down next to it, waiting.

The cat woke to the predawn darkness, instinct holding her perfectly still until she could identify what had disturbed her. It took a few seconds for her to make out the darker shape sitting among the trees at the edge of the tiny clearing. Slowly, carefully, she sat up, unsure of his mood, but grew hopeful when he didn't turn and run. A moment later, the cat shifted into a female Kaldorei, long white hair shining faintly in the darkness. "Hello, Rath."

The shadowy shape didn't move for the first minute, then slowly stood and approached, revealing another cat. His dark, ash-grey fur blended almost perfectly in the darkness, the white-ish Elune markings across his shoulders barely visible. Other pale lines criss-crossed his coat, marking far too many scars. Jahira felt her heart clench at the sight of him. He was starting to grow his winter coat already, and that plus the darkness made it hard to see how thin he was. He was also favoring his right hind leg. Jahira bit her lip as he came up to her, sitting just out of arm's reach.

Jahira gestured at the dead stag. "I don't know if you're hungry or not, but.." she offered. Rath looked at her for a moment longer, then turned his head to inspect the deer. After a sniffing the carcass over, he began picking bites off of his favorite parts, pausing every so often to glance back at the druid. She simply sat still, watching him.

Several minutes passed, then, apparently satisfied, the cat turned back to the elf, sitting a bit closer. Jahira looked him in the eyes, and slowly raised one hand, fingers glowing a faint green. His expression hardened, and he moved as if to draw away from her. Her hand went still in midair. "Please, Rathiel," she asked softly, her voice catching in the middle of his name. He froze, staring at her, then laid his ears back and inched closer. She gently rested her hand on his head, and the glow intensified. He stiffened, then drew back as it faded, rumbling softly deep in his chest. Jahira let her hand fall back into her lap, and watched him as he paced around the clearing, testing his healed leg.

Jahira finally shifted back into her cat and stretched out on the grass, next to the stag's remains. Rath stopped his pacing, and for a moment he glanced back and forth between her and the forrest. After several tense seconds, which felt like hours to Jahira, he slowly walked over to her and laid down at her side. She turned her head to gently wash his face, as he grumbled quietly, shutting his eyes. They stayed like that for almost an hour, the white cat lovingly grooming the grey, while he eventually dozed for a little while. As the eastern sky slowly brightened, he abruptly raised his head. Jahira left off her grooming with a quiet sigh, causing him to turn his head to look at her. She shifted back into her elven form and returned his gaze sadly.

"How much longer, Rath? You can't keep this up forever, can you?" she asked, her tone pleading. His expression went stone hard again, and he looked away. Jahira bit her lip again, wondering of she should have kept silent. Finally...

"Nothing will bring Fauren back, but making our enemies suffer helps the pain." His voice rasped painfully, so hoarse from disuse that she could barely understand him. She looked down at her hands, clenched together in her lap, and closed her eyes. Then something gently wiped away the single tear that had escaped to roll down her cheek. She opened her eyes to look at the dark golden ones of her son, catching his hand and holding it up to her cheek. He allowed her for a brief moment, then gently pulled away, turned, and started towards the trees, shifting back into a cat as he went. Jahira could only sit and watch him vanish into the gloom. She finally pulled her gaze away from where he had disappeared, wiping her eyes and taking a deep, ragged breath. She stood and looked up at the sky for a moment, then fumbled her hearthstone out of her belt pouch, only to put it away again. She shifted into a stormcrow and took off into the air, turning northwest, towards Lor'danel.

She wanted nothing more at that moment than for Windstar to hold and comfort her, but she needed to be alone for just a little longer.

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