Gwynifar sat in the dying grass outside Undercity and watched as the new Zeppelin took off and flew out of sight. Her newest pet, Silhana, was browsing through the nearby bushes. Growing bored, the young windserpent fluttered back to her mistress and poked in Gwyn's pack for some bread. Gwyn gently pushed her away and got out a piece. She tossed it in the air and Silhana caught it, downing it in one gulp, then hissed happily as little bits of lightning danced down her wings.
Treng came up and sat down beside Gwyn, Derk at his heels. "All you ever do now is watch that Zepp," he said. "What's so fascinating about it? It flies, it makes noise, and it spits out oil and smoke, just like the other Zeppelins." Gwyn sighed. "Don't you want to see what's on the other side, Treng? Ever since the blasted Lich King came and attacked Orgrimmar, that's all everyone has talked about. I just feel like we're missing out," she replied. Treng grunted. "They'll let us go when we're ready," he said. "You mean when They think we're ready," she retorted, then sighed again.
Derk grew bored and got up to go sniff at Silhana, who crackled at him and took off, starting a game of tag. Watching them play, Gwyn felt another twinge of unhappiness. "She's getting restless. I don't think she'll stay with me much longer," she told Treng. "Well, you knew it would only be temporary when you tamed her," he reminded her. "I know, but still I'll miss her," she said softly.
Treng didn't like seeing his new sister so depressed. They had undergone the blood-brother ceremony just a few weeks ago, with the blessings of all their trainers and friends. But right after that had come the attack on Orgrimmar, with frostwyrms dive-bombing the city while ghouls and zombies rampaged in the streets. Thrall himself had come out to drive off the Scourge, and peace had returned pretty quickly, but ever since then Gwyn had gotten more and more quiet and now spent all her free time watching the Zeppelin take soldiers and adventurers to Northrend, to battle the Lich King and his armies. Treng didn't know how to cheer her up, so he just sat and kept her company.
A few days later, Silhana left to go back to the wild. Gwyn took her back to the Barrens where she had come from, and watched, with tears starting in her eyes, while the little windserpent flew off and disappeared into the Wailing Caverns. Haiden sat with his mistress while she stood there, waiting to see if Silhana changed her mind and came back. But she was still gone by dark, and Gwyn returned to the Crossroads with a heavy heart.
The next week found her back at the Undercity, staring at the Zepp again. When Treng found her she was standing near the tower, and she turned excited eyes to her brother. "Let's just go," she said, almost feverishly. "We can get on board and be gone before they even realize we're missing. Come on, don't you want to see what's there?" Treng was shocked, despite being used to her impulsiveness. "But, we have chores to do, and training exercises, and all kinds of stuff. We can't just take off!" Gwyn's excitement died, to be replaced by determination. "OK, stay here if you want, but I'm going. I can't wait any more. Come on, Haiden." And with that, she headed to the tower, disappearing inside. Treng sighed, then exchanged a look with Derk and followed.
When he reached the top of the tower, Gwyn flashed one of her winning grins at him, then stood and waited as the Zepp pulled up to the dock. The goblin nearby gave them a funny look, but didn't stop them as they went aboard and hid down below deck. In short order the idling engine roared to life, and they felt the airship start moving.
They waited until the Zepp had stopped at the Northrend tower and all was quiet before creeping out from hiding, then dashing for the tower and down the stairs. Once on the ground, they stopped to look around. The place had the look of a busy port, with a dock leading down to the ocean nearby, several large buildings, and people everywhere, mostly Forsaken but with several adventurers mixed in. They found a stable keeper to watch their wolves while they explored, then headed to the edge of the town.
They soon found themselves at the base of a high cliff, but further exploration found a lift to the top. They continued onward cautiously, watching for any signs of danger. The town was far behind them when they discovered another village, and peered in carefully from behind some bushes.
This village was very different from the Horde outpost they had just left. The buildings were all of rough planks and stone, with several large smoky fires scattered throughout. And the people...! The people inhabiting the village looked mostly like humans but were tall enough to make a tauren seem short, with brutish faces and muscular frames. Treng and Gwyn made sure they were well-hidden, then just observed them for awhile.
It was Gwyn who first noticed the birds, gray-feathered crow types that appeared to be hunting rats and squirrels in between the buildings. As they watched the birds hunt, they both suddenly noticed one large male humanoid with a hand axe focusing on one of the birds. As he drew the axe back to throw, Gwyn stood up and shouted, "Look out! Shoo!" All the birds nearby immediately took flight, and the huge man started so badly that he dropped his axe. He quickly recovered, though, and grabbed it again with an angry roar. Gwyn was frozen in panic, so Treng grabbed her and yanked her along as he started running back the way they had come. The strange man gave chase as they tore through the bushes and onto the road, then raced back toward the lift. It was farther than they thought, and both were completely winded by the time they reached it and realized that their pursuer had given up. As they caught their breath, they were startled by a rough "Caw!" from above them. They looked up.
The bird that Gwyn had saved from the villager sat on the lift above them. It had its head cocked to one side, studying them curiously. Then it flapped down to the ground and hopped closer. Gwyn held her breath as it hopped up to her, then it abruptly went right on past and went up to Treng, who looked up to Gwyn with one eyebrow raised. Then he knelt down and began petting the bird, who started a happy trill.
Gwyn was a bit at a loss as she watched her brother and his new friend. She was as surprised as he was, since she was usually better with animals than him. Treng looked up at her again, then his eyes widened at something behind her. She turned and looked, and there was a second bird! It was a close match to the first, except its feathers were a little sleeker than the other's. Gwyn looked back at Treng. "Brothers?" she guessed, and he shrugged. She turned back to the bird only to jump as it came up behind her and pecked at her leggings, obviously demanding food. She laughed at it, then dug some jerky out of her pockets.
They headed back to Vengeance Landing, and Treng had no problem talking Gwyn into boarding the Zeppelin for the trip back home. Their new pets, Nikoro and Arthoas, sat near them on the railing as Derk and Haiden sat at their feet. As Gwyn stroked Arthoas' back, she felt at peace for the first time since the Lich King's attack. Treng glanced over and noticed her expression, and knew his sister was back to her normal, irrepressible self.
(I did NOT name Arthoas after Arthas, the Lich King. It is Thalassian for 'flight'. Just wanted to make that clear. ;))