Max tossed another crumb of bread to the black-and-white creature sitting hopefully at his feet. He had been coming down from Amberpine Lodge to eat his midday meal on the slope by the river for a few days now, and the little skunk had appeared and started begging for scraps on the second day. Normally, Max wouldn't feed a wild animal, but this guy seemed harmless enough, and other than his begging, acted like any of the other skunks living in the woods nearby. Max took another bite of his sandwich, and tore off another bit of crust for his little friend. However, when he tossed it to the skunk, it didn't move. Max looked more closely at the critter, and raised an eyebrow in surprise at it's shocked expression. Before he could react any further, suddenly something gently nudged his knee.
Max turned his head slowly, and his expression matched the skunk's rather closely, as he looked straight into the eyes of a large, pale, blue-white bear. They stared at each other for several long seconds, then the bear lowered it's head to nudge Max again, this time on his elbow. Max realized it was staring at his sandwich, and slowly his surprise faded into amusement. He tore the remainder of his lunch in half, and held out a piece on the palm of his hand, ready to jerk it back if the bear was too greedy. However, instead of snapping the food up like most wild animals would, it snuffled at his hand briefly, before gently taking the sandwich in his shiny white teeth. It then dropped the offering, letting it fall apart on the ground, and proceeded to neatly pick up each part, first the bread, then the meat. It then turned back to Max and licked his palm, as if in thanks.
The bear settled down next to Max as he finished the rest of his lunch, eating more out of habit than hunger after the unexpected meeting stole his appetite. He noted, almost absently, that he could almost make out some of the grass and twigs that the bear was lying on, and he realized that it must be some sort of spirit. He couldn't quite decide what to make of that, except that it most likely explained the bear's intelligence and good manners. Tentatively, he reached over and touched the bear's back. Surprisingly, it felt very solid, with thick, rather soft fur covering a respectable layer of hard muscle. The beast made a soft rumbling sound, deep in it's chest. It sounded approving, so Max spent a few minutes on a good back-scratching. It wasn't quite as effective as it was in his worgen form, but he didn't want to break the peaceful spell by shapeshifting. Besides, the bear seemed appreciative enough.
Finally, Max gave a final scratch behind the bear's ears and stood. He had already taken twice as long as he usually did, and the hunters in the Lodge had given him a task to do, and he couldn't put it off any longer. The spirit-bear scrambled to it's feet right after him, and began following him up the hill towards the Lodge. Max paused, then turned around.
"A'right, just what d'ye think ye're doin'?" he asked, eyeing the big ghostly animal. And got his second shock of the afternoon, as he heard a faint but distinct voice in his head. "Friend. Follow." Max stared at it (Not it, him), then shook his head. "But... Wait, does that mean...?" he stammered, confused. The bear simply waited, looking at him patiently, but with obvious determination. Max finally snapped his mouth shut, and rubbed his hands over his face. "Well," he said finally, "If ye're gonna be talkin' in m'head, guess I should know better'n t' argue with ye." The bear nodded, his expression brightening, and he shuffled closer to gently bump his head on Max's chest. "We go. Together." Max gave a helpless chuckle as he nodded back, and together they continued back up the slope.
After a few steps, however, Max paused again, as something small bumped against his boot. He looked down at the little skunk, who stared back up at him hopefully. "Wait a sec... Ye too? Aw no. Ain't happenin." The skunk just continued looking up at him, and finally Max sighed in defeat. "Ye gotta be kiddin' me..." With his two new friends in tow, Max headed up to the Lodge, to get directions to the outpost where his next job would take him.
So, after about a week of camping, Max has his first spirit beast. And yes, I am now working on his non-combat-pet achievement, so he can get a Stinker. It is totally the fault of that darn mountain skunk that kept him company the whole time he was camping. My 'cute-resistance' didn't have a chance... :P