Monday, April 6, 2009

Barraccus: "What is it like?"

Barraccus and Alanon went back to the house to find the others all up and about. Kelesaria had gone the night before, despite the late hour, and now Caelan was preparing to leave. "Ah'm goin' t'get mehself a 'orse from them Stormwind folks eff it's the last thing ah do," she said as she packed her bags. "Ah've got them almost convinced ta sell meh one, jus' need a lil more time wit'em." Rhokk also said he needed to go soon, as he was expected in the Plaguelands, but the rest of them were in no hurry to leave just yet.

Barraccus found himself spending most of the day with Quae. Whether he was off by himself or talking and joking with the others, she was always nearby. She was back to her old teasing self, but now he tried to come back each time with a retort of his own. She seemed delighted whenever he did, and he began to get the feeling that she was deliberately trying to get him to respond.

Late that afternoon, he finally got tired of being around so many people, and went out for a walk in the forest. He didn't get far before he noticed Quae following him again, and he slowed until she caught up. She gave him a shy smile as she said, "I hope I'm not intruding." "No, I don't mind," he replied. They continued on to the beach at the Zoram Strand, where Barraccus found a clear patch of grass for them to sit, and they just watched the waves breaking on the shore for a while. Barraccus soon became aware that Quae was watching him more than the waves, but tried to ignore it as much as possible. Just when he was starting to feel uncomfortable, Quae finally broke the silence.

"Barraccus, can I ask you a question?" she said hesitantly. He looked at her curiously as he replied, "Sure." She fidgeted for a bit, then looked up at him and asked, "What is it like to be a death knight?" He stared at her incredulously for a moment, and she dropped her gaze. "You don't have to answer if you don't want to. I was just wondering, that's all." "No, it's all right," he said quickly. "I'm just not sure I know what you mean." She looked at him searchingly, then shrugged uncertainly. "What is it like? You know, do you feel the same things as we do, like hunger and such? Things like that."

Barraccus sighed, then looked up at the sky for a long minute, thinking. Finally he said, "Well, we're not exactly walking corpses. I do feel pain, I bleed, and I can be killed like a normal person. But on the other hand, I've found that cold doesn't bother me. I do need to eat sometimes, but I don't really feel hunger, not like you would. And I don't need to sleep much. I tried it once, while I was in Zangarmarsh. I went 3 full days without sleep, and it didn't really affect me. So just a few hours at night is plenty for me." He glanced over at her, to see if this was what she meant. She was watching him intently, listening. "Um, I'm a lot stronger than anyone else my size would be. I also heal faster, especially if I use certain abilities that death knights are taught. I think my reflexes are faster than most, though a trained and experienced fighter would probably match me. And then," he finished quietly, "there's the other skills we are taught." "Like your ghoul?" she asked, and he nodded. There was a long pause before he added, "I don't remember much of my training at Acherus. I'd just as soon not talk about it." He glanced at her, a little defensively.

Quae just stared at him intently for a bit. "As a priestess," she said finally, "I've been trained to fight undead. It's what we do best, usually. The only undead I've ever seen are the Scourge infesting Duskwood, and they're as similar to a death knight as a squirrel is to a night elf." Barraccus chuckled a bit at that. "Maybe a raving, mad squirrel," he said, and she smiled briefly at his attempt at humor. "So all my training has been to fight, to destroy undead," she continued. "They're monsters, most of them, and we need to protect ourselves from them. Then my brother brings one home."

He felt a faint chill at her words. "So you didn't really know what to expect, did you?" he asked softly, and she shook her head, looking at him soberly. "Not at all. But you know what? You're not much different than any of us. I've heard of death knights that have escaped Arthas, but they still behave like monsters. But you... you're normal." He laughed at that, he couldn't help it, and she blushed. "You know what I mean," she muttered, and he stopped laughing, though he still wore a grin. "Yes, I know what you mean, and it means a lot to me. Thank you, I think." She made a face at him and threw a clump of grass, which he ducked.

Barraccus stood up and stretched, then held a hand out and helped Quae to her feet. "I think it's about time we got back, before someone starts looking for us," he said. She grinned impishly at him. "Oh, I don't know if they'd look for us. They probably think we're off cuddling somewhere." She laughed as he stopped in his tracks, blushing furiously. "Wait, they wouldn't really think that, would they?" he asked, but she just laughed at him and started off to the house ahead of him. He followed, still blushing.

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