This part ends almost where Kaled is at in-game. There is one more part I'm going to write after this, then I'll have to play him for awhile for more inspiration. ^_^
Kaled woke early the next morning and just lay in bed watching Khaotic while she slept, thinking about nothing but how happy he felt. When she woke she lay still at first, getting her bearings, then turned her head to look at him. She smiled sleepily and asked, "What are you thinking?" He looked away. "I don't know, I've never been this happy before that I remember. I think I'm kind of afraid it isn't real." She smiled again and touched his face. "Never fear that, my love," she said softly, and he chuckled, then pulled her close and kissed her.
Once they were up, dressed, and eating breakfast, Khaotic informed Kaled with a teasing grin, "Now don't go thinking I'm going to go easier on you." And she didn't, pushing him harder that day than she had before. He threw his all into it, determined to improve as quickly as possible. Khaotic seemed impressed, and that afternoon she had him spar with both of her animals, alone. He held them both off easily, managing to "kill" Gul, after which Vhid gave up and wandered off through the trees. Kaled watched him go, baffled, while Khaotic laughed at the look on his face.
That evening he moved his things into her room, since it was the larger one. As he was finishing, Jakobi and his sister showed up for supper again, and they sat gossiping with Khaotic for awhile. Kaled, done with his task, came in and dropped a kiss on the top of Khaotic's head, then sat down next to her. She looked at Jakobi and shared a grin, which stretched wider as they saw the disappointment on Silandril's face.
A couple weeks later they were back at sword practice. Kaled kept his lessons firmly in mind, and at the end of their bout he managed to disarm Khaotic. As her swords went flying, the look of amazement on her face sent Kaled into helpless laughter; then she whooped and jumped on him, wrapping her arms around him and laughing with him.
That night at supper she showed him a note. "This came a couple weeks ago, love. The Forsaken in Silverpine Forest are having trouble with creatures they call worgen, and they're looking for people to help. I didn't mention it before because I wasn't sure you were ready, now I believe you are." Kaled read the note over, then looked up at her. "Well then, when do we leave?" he asked. "In the morning sound good?" she replied with a grin. "Be sure to pack warm clothing, it will be winter before we are done."
Kaled found Silverpine to be depressing, but they were kept busy while they were there. Besides the wolf-man creatures called worgen that they hunted, they also cleared out a few pockets of Scourge undead that they found. Kaled was profoundly disturbed by his first encounter with the undead, and in the following fights he went about killing them very efficiently, but with his distaste plain on his face. After a particularly messy battle that lasted over an hour, with each of them killing over a dozen Scourge apiece, he woke up in the night with nightmares. Khaotic held him, murmuring to him softly, until he fell back asleep.
Khaotic knew what was bothering him, since she had gone through the same thing years ago. To the elves, the undead were a terrible blight, an assault on their senses, and Kaled, having been trained under the druids and shamans in Mulgore, was affected more than normal. The Forsaken were bearable, thank goodness, but she had seen other elves that had become physically ill in the presence of Scourge. She hoped he would adjust quickly, and it seemed he did, for there were no more nightmares.
They returned to their house in Eversong when their tasks were finished. But a few weeks later saw them heading out again, this time across the ocean to the Ashenvale forest.
That was their life for the next two years. They would spend a week to a month at home, then head out to whichever place needed help, or just caught their interest, staying on the road for up to half a year. Then Khaotic received a message from one of her former army commanders. They needed help in Arathi, and wanted her to come. So they packed up and hit the road again. This time Kaled could not go with her all the way. He stayed at the orc fort of Hammerfall, while she went on to the nearby Basin where the fighting was. He hated not being with her, but in a way he was glad, since he still had no desire to see what war was like.
(For the rest of this part, see Argus' story.)
Kaled returned home to Eversong with Argus and the others after leaving a message for Khaotic, and when her duties were done, she joined him there. Since Argus needed some training, they decided to take a break and stay home to rest.
Then, one evening in early summer, as Kaled was feeding the animals, Khaotic came into the stable, a pensive look on her face. She came up behind Kaled and leaned against the wall, then said, “They want me back in the field again, a letter just came today. I’ll have to leave in the morning, and they don't know when I'll be able to come back.” Kaled turned to look at her, stricken. “But, don’t they have enough soldiers out there?” “It’s not that, dear one. None of those soldiers have my experience, and they are orcs. They are brilliant when it comes to bashing things to death, but strategic planning is not their forte. I will have my own command. They need me Kaled,” she finished unhappily. Kaled sighed heavily, then turned to put his arms around her. “Alright, you know I don’t like it, but I know you’ll come back when it’s over,” he said. She smiled at him, then frowned again. “Just one more thing?” she asked. “I can't take both Gul and Vhid with me this time, this army won't provide for two animals when one would be enough. Vhid is tough, and can forage better than Gul can. Will you take Gul to a young hunter I know of? The Farstriders have been keeping an eye on him, even though he is a tauren and not an elf. I feel that he will take good care of Gul.” He looked in her golden green eyes, his heart clenching at what he saw there. “I will,” he said, not trusting himself to say more. She smiled and hugged him, then kissed him. “Supper is ready when you come in,” she told him, then slipped out the door. Kaled stood in the stable, feeling lost. He knew from the look in her eyes that she was afraid she wouldn't be coming home this time.
When he reached the house, he quickly washed up and they had a quick supper before retiring for the night. They lay in bed, just holding each other. Khaotic thought that Kaled had fallen asleep, until he stirred, then lifted his head and looked at her. “Why are you so afraid, love? It’s not like you haven’t been out there before, even after we met,” he said softly. She had to force the words out, they were so hard for her to say. “I've never felt anything like what I feel for you, Kaled. Before, I had nothing to lose, no one that I cared about or who cared about me. Now I feel like I have everything to lose, and I’m afraid I’ll never see you again.” After a long moment Kaled sighed, then replied, “Veldora, you will survive. If you think otherwise you’ll only make a mistake at some critical point. You have to believe that you will live, and believe this too, if anything happens I will come after you myself.” Upon hearing that, Khaotic finally smiled, relaxing slightly. “Well if that’s the case, I suppose I’ll be all right after all,” she said, pressing closer, and they forgot about sleep for awhile.
When morning came, Khaotic filled her pack, then came and put her arms around Kaled. She just leaned against him for a minute, while he held her and rubbed her back, then finally gave him one last long, gentle kiss before pulling away. She shouldered her pack and called to Vhid, who was rooting among the trees nearby, then quietly said, “I will be stationed in Alterac, if you need to get in touch with me. I will see you when I get back again, my love.” As she walked down the path toward Silvermoon, he called back, “Good luck, Veldora. You will come back again, and I’ll be waiting for you!” She raised her hand to show she had heard without looking back, then the path took her out of sight.
After Khaotic left, Kaled spent two more weeks at their house, knowing that if he left too soon to take Gulhalrathn to his new master, the ghostly cat would simply follow his mistress’s trail. He finally felt it was safe to leave, and packed for a long journey, for he would not be coming back here for a long time. Ready at last, he freed the animals from their stable, placed Argus’ pack on his back, shouldered his own, and headed off, the animals wandering freely around him but staying close. He headed for the teleporter to Undercity, then took the Zeppelin there to the orc capital of Orgrimmar. From there he hiked to the Barrens, a desert between the countryside of Durotar and the lush grasslands of Mulgore, home to the tauren. He arrived in the small outpost village of Crossroads in good time, and met the young tauren hunter Toorambar there, who immediately fell completely in love with Gul. Kaled left him and the cat with many thank-you’s and well-wishes, then traveled on to the Stranglethorn jungle.
He spent the next half-year there, helping the orcs against the savage jungle trolls and teaching them to deal safely with the wild animals. When he left he went next to the Badlands, a large desert where another small orc outpost needed help with wildlife attacks. From there he slowly traveled north, stopping at various places, sometimes overnight and sometimes staying for weeks, always heading in the general direction of the Alterac Mountains. He had reached the highlands of Arathi when he realized what he had been doing. After a fierce internal debate, he decided it wouldn’t hurt to see if he could find some news of Khaotic’s command; after all, it had been a little over a year since he had seen her. Maybe he would even find their location, and then wouldn’t she be surprised to have him turn up at her camp! That settled, he broke his camp, called to his companions, and headed off again.
The next chapter was probably the hardest to write, since I've become very attached to Kaled. Not going to say anything else about it, you'll get to read it soon as I finish it.