More adult-type stuff in this one.
This last part has been giving me major trouble. I had everything done except I wasn't happy with the ending and it was getting to be too long. So I've decided to split this into 2 parts, and put in everything I've written so far instead of trying to shorten it. Hope you like it.
Kaled came in sight of the small Frostwolf clan encampment a week later, having learned from the Forsaken in Tarren Mill that they were the correspondence for Khaotic’s troops. He met with the elders and exchanged pleasantries, then before he could ask for news of Khaotic, one of the orcs said, “Have you come about the Horde detachment up in the Mountains? Very sad, that.” Kaled felt his heart stop. “I-I haven't heard anything yet. What happened to them?” The orc replied, “Why, they were ambushed just a few weeks past by a mercenary squad of humans. It is believed none of our people survived.” He continued talking, but Kaled couldn’t hear him over the sudden roaring in his ears. He could only stare at the old orc, until his vision turned black and he knew nothing more.
After he awoke, he stayed long enough to hear the few bits of information known about the attack. The humans had been hired by the Stormpike dwarves that were the usual enemy here in Alterac, there was no doubt. The orc army’s camp had been discovered when they missed their usual correspondence with the Frostwolves. The camp was a bloody shambles, human, elf and orc bodies everywhere. A body count showed several higher-ranking soldiers missing, including most of the elven commanders. After hearing that, that he would not even have her body to grieve over, Kaled left the orcs. He somehow made it back to his house outside of Silvermoon, where he settled the animals in the stable, then went into the house and collapsed on the bed.
The next few weeks were a blank to Kaled. He managed to drag himself outside to care for his companions, then he would retreat back to the house where he would sit in a numb haze. His friends heard about what happened and stopped by as often as they could, trying to make sure that he ate and caring for the house and grounds as needed. He found he could not even cry, so total was his grief and loneliness. But one day as he awoke at dawn, he was surprised to find Argus and Ashke at either side of him, as though they were guarding his sleep. Startled, he looked around and found Kechara too, sitting on the dresser nearby. Somehow Argus had opened the lock on his enclosure, and freed the other two as well. Moved by his companions’ devotion, Kaled felt a wall break inside himself, and he cried himself back to sleep, clinging to Argus’ arms while Ashke rumbled softly in his ear and Kechara hooted quietly.
The animals somehow snapped him out of his despair, but Kaled still felt the tear deep in his heart. He eventually got back into a normal routine, but his thoughts were turning dark. He remembered how the orcs had said that it was human mercenaries who had wiped out Khaotic’s detachment, but they were in service to the Stormpike clan of dwarves. When he felt well enough physically, Kaled traveled back to Alterac, to the Frostwolves.
“I want to help in your battles against the dwarves,” he announced when he arrived. The orcs seemed surprised at his decision, but welcomed him in. He was quickly outfitted with weapons and armor, and had them do the same for Ashkeyana. Argus was too gentle for war, and Kechara made too tempting a target, but Kaled figured that Ashke’s speed and stealth were well suited for his new venture. And so, he began his revenge on his beloved’s murderers.
Kaled soon found out all he could have wanted to know about the horrors of war. At times he remembered Khaotic’s words to him so long ago, and understood how she had felt, as he watched his fellow soldiers fall around him. Somehow he managed to survive each day, though he did not escape injuries. Neither did Ashke, and Kaled found it more difficult to see his cat suffer than it was to recuperate from his own wounds. The Frostwolves understood the hunter-companion bond, and he was allowed to remain at camp each time while Ashke healed, but each time he still chafed at getting back to his vengeance. After many months, they finally reached the dwarves’ main base of Dun Baldar, and prepared for an assault.
Kaled was growing sick of war. He often wished he had never come, but was back at home, with Khaotic again. He was no longer quite so heartsick, but still missed her terribly.
On the day of the assault, Kaled was in the third rank from the front. As the first ranks charged in he tried not to listen to the death screams coming from orc and dwarf alike. He ran in next to the others in his rank, Ashke running alongside, and quickly drew his bow and started firing at the first targets he saw. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a dwarf take aim at him with a throwing axe, but before he could throw Ashke hit him from behind, setting his jaws in the dwarf’s neck and breaking it with a powerful jerk. The orcs to either side of Kaled were hacking at any enemies that came within reach. Kaled was still firing when a dwarf he hadn’t seen hit him from the side, bowling him over. Kaled rolled, throwing his fist at the dwarf and connecting with his cheek. He won free, then leaped to his feet, drew an arrow and shot the dwarf point-blank. Breathing hard, he took a second to look around and take stock of their position; it looked like they were pushing the dwarves back to the main buildings. Kaled waved at a few orcs not currently fighting, and they joined him to begin scouting the outbuildings for hiding enemies.
They cleared a couple dwarves out of the first two buildings, then found the next few empty. Kaled was about to duck into the next shed when he noticed an alcove in the mountain wall at the back of the base. His attention was captured by several large, heavily armed and armored dwarves standing at the entrance. They had not joined the fight, instead it looked like they were guarding something there. He called the orcs’ attention to it, then nocked another arrow. As the orcs charged he fired quickly, getting off two shots before the orcs closed. Despite their superior gear and obvious skill, the dwarves went down, taking three orcs with them. Kaled wasted no time in ducking into the alcove to investigate. At the back of the cave, which was well-lit by torches as well as an opening in the ceiling above, he saw bodies lying scattered about. He ran over, calling to the orcs still outside to bring the shaman healers. He knelt at the first body and found a male elf, still alive, but unconscious and trussed up so he couldn’t have moved in any case. He saw no visible injuries aside from many bruises, so he cut the elf’s bonds and moved to the next. This was a female, he could see as he approached, with red hair matted with dirt and dried blood. He suddenly slowed his approach as his heart started pounding.
He knelt by the elf’s side, gently raising her shoulders and turning her head so he could see her face. She cried out hoarsely in pain, then slowly opened golden green eyes. It was Khaotic. He quickly examined her body; what he could see was covered in bruises and welts, several of which had been broken open and were crusted with dried blood. His attention was brought back to her face as she drew a painful breath, then focused bloodshot eyes on his face. Her eyes widened. “Kaled, is it really you, or am I dreaming again?” she asked in a hoarse croak. “No dream, love, I’m here, we’ll get you out of here. Hold on, please,” he begged her. Tears filled her eyes. “Oh Kaled, they killed Vhid,” she whispered brokenly. He could only hold her as gently as he could, while tears streamed down his own face. The healers arrived and, seeing him cradling the battered elf, quickly came to his side. The youngest gently pulled him away while the others bent over Khaotic and began chanting their healing spells. He watched, hovering close, unable to let her out of his sight again. He slowly became aware of the sounds of fighting fading away outside. The battle was ending.
Just as the healers finished their spells, the orc commander of the segment he was in came over to him. “It’s over now, we beat them and have their surviving commanders under heavy guard,” he said. Kaled just nodded mutely, eyes still locked on his beloved. The orc leaned a little closer. “They told us some of what was done to these captives,” he added. Kaled’s gaze snapped over to him. “These are the missing commanders from the ambush those months ago. They have been beaten and tortured, and the females have all been raped many times. When the dwarves discovered what their "allies" had been doing, they arrested the commanders, executed most of them, and moved the prisoners here, putting them under guard for protection. These dwarves acted with honor, and we will release them, after they swear to never raise arms against us again.” Kaled felt rage burn at the thought of any of them going free, then the rest of the orc’s words sank in and he nodded wearily.
At that moment the chief healer came up and told them what he knew of the captives’ condition. Kaled told him, “Just tell me how Khaotic is doing.” “She will heal, but she was badly injured, and it will take awhile. We can only do so much with our spells when there are so many wounded. She needs peace and care, but she will recover. Her mind has been damaged as well, however. She has been tortured and worse, many times.” The orc paused, and lowered his voice as his eyes bored into Kaled’s. “Some prisoners of war don't recover emotionally. She will need someone to take care of her, but still remain distant until she is ready for it. She will probably be afraid of males for a long time,” he finished. Kaled listened, absorbing everything the shaman said. He nodded at last, a look of pain deep in his eyes, then turned back to Khaotic. “I’ll take her home,” he said softly. The two orcs nodded. The commander said, “I’ll take care of your resignation so you can leave as soon as she is able. We might be able to spare a few men to help you get her there as well.” Kaled nodded his thanks. The shaman added, “She is sleeping now, but you will not disturb her if you wish to sit by her.” Kaled nodded again, then walked over and sank down by her side. Ashkeyana padded up and sat next to him, and he put an arm around the cat’s shoulders.
They left three days later, with Khaotic laid on a litter carried between two sturdy Frostwolves. Kaled was given a Wolf of his own to ride for the journey. As they made camp the first night, he laid out his bedroll next to where the litter had been placed on the ground. He sat down next to her and gently took her hand in his. She woke just enough to look at him and smile faintly, then fell back into sleep. But her hand held onto his through the entire night.
The trip did not take long, although they took the long route because Khaotic was still too frail to manage the Undercity teleporter. The orcs helped Kaled get her settled into bed, then took their leave. When he tried to give the Frostwolf he had ridden back to them, however, they refused. "He has Chosen you, from the moment he let you on his back," the leader said. "His name is Fog. Take good care of him, brother." Then they rode off.
Yes, I am going to farm AV for a frostwolf. :P I usually don't pvp much, I get burned out on it too fast, but this will give him a free epic mount while I raise the money for his training. Wish me luck.