Monday, March 2, 2009

Barraccus in Ashenvale

Alanon took Barraccus to his home in the Ashenvale forest. While they traveled, they talked constantly. Alanon told Barraccus a little about his family, but said, “You really have to meet them to know about them.” Barraccus still didn't remember anything besides his own name, but Alanon didn’t seem worried, assuring him his memory would return with time.

When they arrived at Alanon’s home, Barraccus pulled his death charger to a halt and stared at it for a few minutes. The house was situated in a clearing among the trees, and was of typical night-elven construction. As he watched, Barraccus noticed a big black panther running around the side, chasing squirrels. He raised a questioning eyebrow at Alanon, who chuckled. “Come on,” he said, and rode forward.

The panther noticed them and came running up to greet them like a large dog. Alanon dismounted from his saber and turned to Barraccus. “I’d like you to meet my brother, Pitchblack,” he said with a smile. Barraccus looked at him disbelievingly- his brother? - then turned to the cat, but stepped back with a startled oath. Where the cat had been standing was now another night elf, about Alanon’s height but obviously much younger, with a neatly trimmed black beard to match his older brother’s. He extended one rather dirty hand in greeting. “Hello there,” he said, his voice also much like his brother’s but a tad deeper. Barraccus clasped his hand hesitantly, looking him up and down. The younger druid was wearing worn leathers instead of the robes that Alanon preferred, but otherwise the resemblance was unmistakable. Greetings over, Pitchblack turned away with a bow of his head and ran back to the trees, suddenly shifting back into a black cat as he went.

Alanon watched him go with a bemused expression. “Pitch does most of the hunting for us. I apologize for his lack of manners, he doesn’t spend much time with other people,” he explained. Barraccus nodded uncertainly, then followed Alanon into the house. Once inside, Alanon stopped and called out, “Quae, Caelan, are you here?"

A young female night elf stepped out of the back and waved at them. She came forward and hugged Alanon, then turned and looked at the death knight appraisingly. “Caelan isn’t here,” she said, her voice low and musical. “She’s still trying to convince the humans of her worth in Duskwood. Why she wants a horse to ride is beyond me; that bear of hers is big enough to ride in my opinion.” While she spoke she continued to boldly examine Barraccus, until the other elf was blushing. Alanon sighed at her and said, “Okay now, Quae, go easy on him. We don’t want to scare him away. He just got here.” A slow smile spread across Quae’s face. “No, I suppose we don’t,” she said, and Barraccus blushed even more. Before he started looking for a place to hide, she turned away and went back into the kitchen area, stating over her shoulder, “I’ll have some dinner whipped up soon. Why don’t you show him upstairs while you wait?” Alanon looked apologetically at Barraccus. “Quae is a priestess of Elune, but follows a more…. shadowy path than most. She’s not quite your typical priest.” Barraccus couldn’t think of anything to say to that, so he just followed the druid up the stairs.

The upstairs was all one big airy room, with a few beds spread around the walls. Barraccus looked at Alanon. “I thought you said there were a lot of people living here,” he said questioningly. “Not all of us stay here all the time,” Alanon answered. “Quae is just here for a few days, as am I. Pitch spends the most time here of all of us, I think, but he usually sleeps outside.” Barraccus nodded, then continued looking around. There were a few books on the shelves and bedside tables and a picture or two on the walls, but otherwise it was all pretty spare. “You can choose your own bed, no one claims any particular one,” Alanon told him. “It’s usually a matter of who gets up the stairs first.” He paused and grinned as Barraccus tried and failed to hold back a huge yawn. “Why don’t you rest up for a bit? I’ll come get you when dinner is ready.” Barraccus nodded agreement and settled on one of the beds.

He woke up after a short nap to hear voices below him. He got up and crept to the edge of the stairs, where he could hear better. Quae and Alanon were having a rather heated discussion in the kitchen, and it seemed to involve him. He sat down to listen.

“We’ll have to tell him sometime,” Quae was saying. “He is our friend, practically another brother to you and Jahira. You know how he feels about undead of any sort, and he’ll find out soon enough that we have a death knight staying at the house.” “I know,” Alanon countered. “But Barraccus is not a threat. He is lost right now and needs help. I am a healer, Quae, same as you are despite your love of shadow magic. I can’t let him just go his own way.” “But Rhokk will not tolerate him, you know that. It isn’t fair to either of them. Would you rather risk him surprising Rhokk and then having to fight for his life?” Quae asked him. Alanon sighed heavily. “He isn’t here now and won’t be for some time yet. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.” “All right, brother,” Quae said. “I guess I agree to wait. Besides, I think our guest is awake and eavesdropping on us.” Alanon appeared at the foot of the stairs and grinned up at Barraccus, who was blushing furiously. “Come on down, there is food ready,” he said, and the death knight descended the stairs and entered the kitchen.

The food was good, despite having to endure Quae watch him take every bite, a small smile playing around her mouth. He finished and politely excused himself, then went outside. After he left Alanon looked sternly at his sister. “You shouldn’t tease him so much, he’s not used to it,” he told her. She grinned at him mischievously. “Who says I’m just teasing?” He sighed. “And what if he decides to take you up on it?” he asked her, but she just winked at him. "Why don't we cross that bridge when we come to it, brother,” she said with a chuckle, then left him to fetch water to clean up the dishes.

Barraccus wandered outside for a good while. He looked for Pitchblack but didn’t see the feral druid anywhere, and wasn’t searching very thoroughly anyway. The forest was very peaceful, and he finally felt relaxed for the first time since regaining control of himself. He was feeling much happier when he went back inside the house. By now darkness was falling, so they all prepared for bed.

Barraccus slept fitfully, partly because Quae had joked (at least he thought it was a joke) about coming to join him and he didn’t want her to catch him unaware, just in case she was serious. But also, when he closed his eyes he could see scenes from the bloody battle of Light’s Hope replaying in his mind. Quae never did sneak into his bed, for which he was grateful, and shortly before dawn he finally fell into a deeper sleep.

The next morning he came downstairs to find Pitch, as they all called him, in the kitchen cleaning a couple of rabbits. He grinned in welcome at Barraccus and raised one of the rabbits up for him to see. “We’ll have a good supper tonight,” he said cheerfully. Barraccus smiled and nodded at him, then stepped outside, looking for Alanon. He found the druid just outside, examining the flower beds. Alanon greeted him warmly and waited patiently for him to say whatever had brought him outside. "Who were you and Quae talking about yesterday?" Barraccus asked shyly. Alanon frowned, but not at him, his eyes going distant. "His name is Rhokk, he is a draenei shaman. My sister Jahira and I found him washed up on the Westfall shore, under attack from murlocs. We nursed him back to health but he has no memory of who he is or where he came from. And," he continued heavily,"he has an unending hatred for the undead. He refuses to even talk to the death knights that have defected to our side, and looks at them like he would like to kill them. We don't know how to help him, but he is a good person and our friend."

Barraccus wasn't sure what to think about this. Alanon saw his concern and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "There is no reason why you should have any trouble with Rhokk. The Alliance always needs willing hands and bodies. When you are feeling stronger, you can try heading to the Outlands. With all our good fighters in Northrend now, they need all the help they can get out there." Barraccus considered this, then looked at Alanon and nodded.

I want to give some credit to Crison again, for inspiring me to finally do a little RP with my Alliance toons, and also Ratshag for the idea of having them all live together and interact with each other (even though it's impossible game-mechanic-wise, it's still fun).

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