I finally get to introduce my dwarf hunter, Caelàn. She's pretty fun, as you'll see. Rhokk might also make a guest appearance, if not here then in the next one.
And Caelàn just dinged 30 and got a ram to use until she gets her horse, which was the inspiration for this one.
Barraccus stepped off the boat onto the Darkshore dock with a sigh of relief. It had been a long trip, but he was almost home. He decided to ride instead of flying to Astranaar, so he retrieved Oscor from the stable master and set out.
When he came in sight of the house, he pulled Oscor up short and stared. There were two bears in the yard! After a startled moment, he noticed the markings of Elune on the shoulders of one bear, and realized it was Pitch. The other, from what he could see as the two beasts wrestled with each other, was a plain black bear, fairly common in places such as Loch Modan. He wondered briefly what it was doing here, then he realized that the bear and Pitch were playing. He chuckled to himself and rode into the yard.
When the two bears saw him, Pitch broke away and rushed him with a roar of welcome. The other bear, however, took one look at Barraccus and ran into the house, whining. Barraccus fended off Pitch's enthusiastic greeting, then was alarmed to hear a commotion start in the house. He turned to look at Pitch, who had returned to his night elf form, with a raised eyebrow. Pitch just grinned and said, "Come on, I'll introduce you."
As they stepped into the house, Barraccus heard a voice with a strong, unfamiliar accent yelling, "Yagh, gerroffame yeh great blugger!" followed by more whines from the bear. In the main room they found the bear trying frantically to climb into the lap of a young female dwarf, who was almost buried by now. She gave one more yell, "Down, Trèan, afore ah skin yeh!" as she finally shoved the bear off. Then she looked up at the death knight, and her eyes went wide.
She yelped and grabbed for a gun sitting off to one side. Barraccus wondered if he should duck and hide, or try to defend himself. Before anything else happened, though, they all froze at a sharp command of "Hold!"
Alanon stepped into the room, his expression as close to anger as Barraccus had ever seen. He looked sternly at the dwarf. "Barraccus is a member of this family, Caelan, and was invited to your nameday party. I will have no more threats or fighting in my house." The dwarf, Caelan, gulped and set her gun back down. Alanon turned to Barraccus and held a hand out. "Welcome back, Barraccus," he said warmly, and the death knight shook his hand with relief. They were interrupted by a huge white cat who came bounding into the house and chuffed loudly at the bear, then spun and went bounding back out. Trèan followed the cat out, although he gave Barraccus a fearful glance as he went by. "Looks like Kel is here now," Alanon said. Intrigued by the snowy cat, Barraccus followed the animals outside.
The big cat was playing out in the yard with the bear, and Kelesaria was standing near the porch talking with Quae, who had apparently also just arrived. Jaxom, Quae's spotted riding saber, was watching the two animals with an expression that clearly said he'd like to join in.
Barraccus felt an unexpected little thrill when he saw Quae. Confused, he stopped and stood off to the side until Kel noticed him and waved him over. Quae looked him over as he joined them, then gave him a grin. "Been enjoying yourself in Outland? Looks like you've put on a bit of muscle," she said teasingly. He felt himself blushing, as usual, but tried to ignore it this time. Kel glanced at Quae with a frown, then turned to Barraccus. "I hear you've done well in Hellfire Peninsula. Let me know if you ever need help out there again, okay?" He nodded gratefully.
They made small talk until they were interrupted by the big white cat, who came over and began butting his broad head against Kel's hip. She smiled as she began rubbing his ears. "This is Sabre. You didn't get to meet him before. He came from Winterspring. He's my best buddy. I normally have him with me unless the situation is better suited to one of the others." Sabre let out a rumbling purr, then flopped down and rolled onto his back so his mistress could rub his belly. Up close, Barraccus could see that he wasn't pure white; he had pale lavender tiger-stripes all over. He held a hand out to Sabre which the cat sniffed thoroughly, then started rubbing his cheek on it.
Alanon came over to join them, with a contrite Caelan on his heels. Trèan went to his mistress' side, with another fearful glance at the death knight, and she gruffly whispered to him, "Yeh coward." He whined. Alanon pulled Barraccus aside just long enough to tell him, "I sent an invitation to Rhokk as well, but I'm not expecting him until tomorrow, which is when we'll have the party. I hope with us all here, he may take this better. And I do think you're rushing things a bit but, well, I'd like to get it over with too."
They rejoined the others and full introductions were made, then Caelan had to show everyone the riding ram that her clan had sent her for a nameday present. By the time they all had properly admired it, and Caelan had given it an extra handful of grain, it was almost dark. They all went back inside the house, all except for Trèan who was told to stay outside. He watched them go inside with a mournful look on his face.
Sabre jumped up on the couch, where he sat with a regal expression until Kel ordered him down. Quae and Alanon headed to the kitchen to find something for supper as the rest found places to sit and started talking and joking. Barraccus found himself next to Caelan, who apparently had decided he was all right after all, and was trying to make up for her earlier actions. She was quite happy to tell him of her clan, which lived in an isolated valley in the Alterac mountains and usually had no contact with outsiders, with the exception of the Stormpike clan whom they traded with regularly. Caelan was one of only a handful of dwarves that had left their valley. Barraccus found her quite interesting to talk to, although her accent made it hard to understand her at times.
Quae and Alanon came in with platters of food, and they all dug in. While they ate, Caelan began telling them all of her clan's rituals for celebrating namedays, most of which sounded uncomfortable at least. "Now fah sumthin important, like yer thirtieth which is what ah'm cel'bratin, one thing yeh cud do is go oot to the mountaintop, an' meditate there in yer skivvies," she said, and everyone burst out laughing. Quae caught Barraccus' eye and teased, "Sounds like it could be interesting, Barraccus. Ever thought of trying it?" He blushed furiously, but then surprised himself by replying, "No, but if you're going to go, I'd advise waiting until spring." That made everyone laugh even harder. Quae stared at him in surprise, then suddenly joined in.
After supper, Alanon announced that the girls would sleep upstairs while the guys would stay downstairs. Quae and Caelan went to bed soon after that, and Alanon found a blanket for Barraccus to roll up in on the couch. As he bedded down, Barraccus wondered what it would be like the next day, with everyone there. He also wondered what would happen when Rhokk arrived, if he did. He finally fell asleep listening to Pitch, Kel, and Alanon talking quietly nearby.