After his talk with Alanon, Barraccus went back inside and watched Pitch for a bit as he finished preparing the rabbits. Pitch showed him how to cut them up for a stew, then left them in a covered pot for Quae to finish. “She makes a mean rabbit stew,” he told Barraccus as they stepped back outside. Barraccus paused as Pitch started off into the woods, until the druid turned back to him. “Come on, I’ll show you around,” he said, and Barraccus willingly followed him into the forest.
Pitch’s swift cheetah form was able to keep up with Barraccus’ death charger easily as he guided the death knight to his favorite haunts. He showed him the forest’s edge where the deer liked to graze, and the shore nearby, though they stayed clear of the small Horde outpost there. As they made their way away from the beach, both on foot now, Pitch watched Barraccus curiously. He finally said hesitantly, “Would you like to try to wake up some of your memories? I have a couple ideas.” Barraccus nodded eagerly. “Yes, please. That would be great,” he answered.
Pitch took him to a spot where several dozen wolves were scattered around, playing, fighting or sleeping. “This pack is getting too big, and is making it difficult for the prey animals and the other wolf packs in the area,” Pitch whispered to Barraccus. “We can thin their numbers without causing any harm to the balance.” So for the next few hours they carefully weeded out the pack, looking especially for sickened or deformed wolves so the rest of the pack would remain strong. Barraccus tried watching Pitch fight carefully, and followed all his suggestions, but nothing jogged his memory. They both were growing frustrated when Pitch declared they had done enough. He looked at Barraccus apologetically. “I don’t think you were a druid, before,” he said. “I’m not sure what to try next, let’s go check with my brother.”
Barraccus was rather dispirited during the trip back. When they got back to the house they tracked down Alanon, but he didn’t have any new ideas, though he promised he would think on it. “Don’t worry about it, Barraccus,” he said, gripping his shoulder reassuringly. “It will come back with time, I’m sure of it, but these things can’t be rushed.”
The afternoon was spent inside, where Barraccus tried reading some of Quae’s multitude of books to try and take his mind off things. Quae was curled up in a corner with a book of her own; every time he looked at her she would be watching him, and give him a little smile or a wink. He finally tried to stop looking at her. Alanon wandered all over the house looking at books and scrolls, trying to find something that would help Barraccus’ memory. Finally Quae stood up and went to check the stew she had cooking, which she pronounced to be finished. Alanon took his bowl and continued his search, leaving Barraccus alone with Quae in the kitchen. He kept his eyes on his supper, though he could feel her eyes on him and kept blushing despite himself. Once he was finished, he claimed exhaustion and went upstairs to bed.
He lay awake for a long time, long after he heard the others come up and go to their own beds. He was thinking about all he had experienced so far since regaining control of himself. Suddenly it came to him that his memories were irrelevant. He couldn’t go back to what he was before; he was an undead, a death knight, and nothing, nothing would change that. As that thought went through his head, he found he had tears running down his face. He tried to keep quiet, but soon he was sobbing uncontrollably, grieving for all he had lost and couldn’t remember. Then suddenly Quae was standing next to his bed. She looked at him wordlessly for a moment, then sat down and gathered him into her arms. She didn’t flirt or tease this time, but just held him like a sister would as he cried into her shoulder. He heard a small sound and saw Alanon come up too, and felt a rush of shame. They had treated him so well, and here he was bawling like a baby. But he couldn’t stop the tears any more than he could summon up his lost memories. The druid shared a look with his sister, and some wordless communication passed between them. Then Alanon turned and went downstairs, leaving the two of them.
Quae began talking to him quietly, her voice soothing in his ears. “No matter what you’ve done before,” she said softly. “It doesn’t matter anymore. This is your home for as long as you need it, and we are your family. No one here judges you. Everything will be okay, Barraccus. Just let it go.” He finally cried himself out and, exhausted, he fell back asleep, still in Quae’s arms.
He woke the next morning to find the others already up and gone. He got up and went downstairs to find Quae in the kitchen. She flashed a grin at him as he stood there working up his nerve. “Umm, thank you, for last night,” he said shyly. “Don’t mention it,” she replied. “Besides, I think I like the idea that you owe me one.” Barraccus blushed furiously as she winked at him, and he made his escape outside.
Once out under the trees, he stopped and thought back to his revelation the night before. It still hurt to think on it, but he was beginning to see what he had to do. Alanon had said that the Alliance needed people, and he did have some powerful skills. As he thought it all through, he suddenly focused his attention on a patch of ground and summoned some of his power. He spoke a command word, and the ground started to crumble and bulge upward. After just a few seconds an undead, a ghoul, crawled out of the ground and came to stand before him, its unfocused eyes on him as it waited for him to command it. Barraccus heard a gasp behind him and whirled. Pitch was standing several yards behind him, eyes wide as he stared at the ghoul. “What is that?” he asked disbelievingly. “It’s a ghoul, it’s under my control,” Barraccus replied as he turned back to his minion. “It’s a death knight ability I’ve always been good at. I have other skills, some even more powerful. I can use them to help now, instead of to hurt.” He turned back to Pitch, feeling a sense of peace come over him that he hadn’t felt before. “I know what I can do now. I don’t think my memories are that important anymore.” Pitch was still staring uncertainly at the ghoul, but then he looked up at Barraccus, and grinned back at him. “Excellent,” was all he said. Then he turned and disappeared into the forest, shifting to his cat form right before he went out of sight.
Barraccus dismissed his ghoul and returned to the house. He found Alanon poring over several scrolls again, but the druid looked up and smiled in welcome when the death knight approached. “Alanon, I really appreciate all your help, but I don’t think my memories matter much anymore. I believe I know my place now.” Alanon looked at him with approval and nodded. “Very well. I am leaving here in a few days. I can escort you to the Dark Portal if you’d like to head to Outland then.” Barraccus agreed, and felt a rush of excitement as he thought about his new life.
Not all of this is going to be about Barraccus. Once he is in Outlands I will probably be doing stories about the others too. :)