Here it is finally. Sorry about the wait, but neither I or Crison was really sure how Rhokk would react to Barraccus, since he hates undead. So it took awhile to figure that out.
Pay close attention to what Alanon says to Rhokk. Maybe he knows something about Barraccus' past?....
Barraccus woke up in the early hours just before dawn. He couldn't remember where he was at first and took a moment to get his bearings, then poked his head out of the blanket. In the gray light, he didn't see either of the two druids anywhere. He sat up and rubbed his eyes, then finally noticed a black huddle in Pitch's favorite corner of the room. He stared for a moment, then chuckled.
There were three black panthers all curled up together in a great ball. Barraccus guessed the third must be Jahira. One of them- he thought it was Pitch, as it was more muscular than the others- had his head resting on another one's- Alanon's?- back; the third one which lay in the back was noticeably smaller than the other two and was most likely Jahira. As he stared at the sleeping druid trio, Barraccus felt a rush of affection for his new family.
He heard a slight sound coming from the stairs, then Sabre came by, heading toward the front door. As he passed by the death knight he rubbed his entire length against Barraccus' legs, then padded outside.
Still sleepy, Barraccus stood and wrapped the blanket around himself, then followed the frostsaber outside. He stood at the door for a minute just enjoying the morning, then looked down and started in surprise. The bear Trèan was lying at the bottom of the porch steps, and cuddled against his side for warmth was Rhokk. Barraccus quickly realized that the draenei was still asleep. He debated for a moment if he could get past without waking either Rhokk or the bear, then decided against it and went back inside.
He went back to his couch and lay back down. He then realized he hadn't had his dream, which had come every single night since he had gone through the Dark Portal. The realization startled him, and he wondered if it meant anything. He thought about it until he fell back asleep.
He didn't sleep very long, and woke to the feeling of being watched. He glanced at the druids and noticed the foremost one was awake, the cat's golden eyes following him. He bowed his head slightly and said, "Good morning, Alanon." The cat's ears flicked in amusement, then he pulled himself out from under Pitch and stretched. An instant later the night elf was standing in the cat's place, and Alanon came over and smiled down at him. Barraccus nodded at the two remaining cats. "The third is Jahira?" he asked, and Alanon nodded. "She came in the middle of the night. She told me Rhokk was sleeping outside, but she didn't want to disturb him so she left him." "She's right," Barraccus replied. "He's sleeping with Trèan on the porch." Alanon looked him up and down. "Are you ready for this?" he asked. Barraccus nodded. "Alright, then," the druid said, then went over and woke up his siblings. "Jahira, can you go up and wake the others? Tell Kel to keep Caelan up there for a bit, and have Quae come down."
When they were all together in the main room, Alanon went out to get Rhokk. He found the shaman sitting up and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, and sat down next to him on the steps. "Sleep well?" he asked the draenei. Rhokk nodded. "I got here late, and didn't want to disturb anyone," he said. "Did I miss the party?" "No, it will be this evening," Alanon told him. "I think there's a couple people you haven't met yet, Rhokk. Caelan is a rather late sleeper and isn't awake yet, but Barraccus is up and would like to meet you." Rhokk perked up at that, and nodded. They stood, but Alanon hesitated. "Rhokk, before we go in I want to tell you something. Everyone here right now is family, whether we are related by blood or not. Remember that some people's circumstances are beyond their control. And also keep in mind that some people have suffered far more than you could imagine." Rhokk looked puzzled now, but simply nodded and followed him inside.
Quae and Jahira both greeted Rhokk warmly, then he saw Barraccus sitting on the couch. The night elf looked up at him, and they studied each other for a minute before Barraccus offered a shy grin. "You must be Rhokk," he said. Rhokk nodded. "And you must be Barraccus. Nice to meet you," he said. Alanon cut in, saying, "Rhokk, Barraccus has lost his memory too. You two have quite a bit in common, actually." Rhokk's eyes widened. "Really? Hmm, have you found any way of getting it back yet?"
They started talking amicably for several minutes. Alanon was pleased that they hit it off so well, but also a bit confused. Rhokk usually wouldn't even acknowledge a death knight's presence, let alone talk to one. Then it hit him; Rhokk didn't realize that Barraccus was a death knight. After a brief internal debate, the druid leaned close to Quae, who was sitting next to him, and whispered, "Rhokk hasn't realized that Barraccus is a death knight. Let's not tell him yet; this gives them a chance to get to know each other. Maybe it will work out better this way." She nodded, and he proceeded to go to Jahira and Pitch and tell them the same thing.
They were suddenly interrupted by a loud crash, then a shout in Dwarvish, followed by something tumbling noisily down the stairs. They all jumped up to see what was going on, and were treated to a very strange sight. A black-haired male dwarf, apparently very drunk, was sitting at the bottom of the stairs with a confused expression. As they stared at him, Caelan came into view, and gave a weak grin. "Uh, this 'ere is Brewstein, ah kinda found 'im an brung 'im 'ere," she said sheepishly. Alanon raised an eyebrow as Kel came down, stepping carefully around the muddled dwarf. "I see," was all he said. "Wull, yerself is always bringin strays 'ome, ah figgered ah was allowed one too," she said defensively. Pitch started snickering at that, and soon they were all laughing.
Brewstein was soon settled on the couch, were he sat in a drunken haze. Caelan introduced him properly while Kel and Alanon prepared some breakfast. "'E's from mah clan, 'e's mah father's cousin's sister's nephew's second son," she said. "That makes us prac'ly brothers! Ah ran inta him at Ratchet on mah way 'ere, poor blugger look'd like 'e needed a place ta stay, so ah brung 'im with meh here." She lowered her voice to a whisper. "'E 'as a drinkin problem, yeh see." "I never would have guessed," Kel muttered, loud enough for them all to hear, and they all laughed again.
Breakfast seemed to help Brewstein regain his alertness, and he joined in the conversation soon enough. He didn't have much of an accent, unlike Caelan, which he explained was because he had been kicked out of Ironforge, where he had been raised, and had to make his living among humans. He refused to say why he had been kicked out, changing the subject whenever someone asked. Barraccus tried asking Caelan, quietly, but she just shrugged and said she didn't know either.
After breakfast Alanon shooed them all outside while he, Kel and Jahira readied the house for the party. Sabre was outside with Trèan and another bear, this one snowy white. Brewstein introduced him as his pet, named Ale. Pitch started a game of tag with the two bears, which Sabre was happy to join in.
They were obviously having so much fun that even Rhokk joined in, turning into a ghostly wolf and running after the others.
Finally Alanon called them all in and said that everything was ready.
Next up, party time!!