This is several days after the last one. Rhokk is recuperating under Alanon's care, so Barraccus and Riatha have headed back to Northrend.
Barraccus liked going up the steep, narrow trail even less than he had liked going down.
He and Riatha had been in Howling Fjord for a few days now. After Alanon had taken over Rhokk's care, they had agreed that until he was better, the less Rhokk saw of the death knights, Barraccus especially, the better. Crison had vanished, going her own way without telling anyone. Quae was staying in Ashenvale to help her brother. So Barraccus and Riatha had found themselves at Westgarde Keep, helping out with everything from lost cannonballs to invading vrykul.
This morning they had found a path down to the beach on the western coast, and Riatha convinced him to go exploring. They had found Scourge necromancers there, turning the murlocs into undead, and had felt it their duty to "take care" of the problem. After several hours, they finally retrieved their mounts and headed back to the Keep.
Barraccus tried to ignore the occasional gravel that rattled down past him, knocked loose by Riatha as she went on ahead. He encouraged Oscor with pats and quiet words as the big saber picked his way up the steep path.
He had no idea what caused it. One minute they were still heading up, where the top of the trail was finally coming into view, then something happened. Loose rocks that slipped from under Oscor's paws, a piece of the trail breaking free, or something. Whatever it was, Barraccus suddenly felt his mount lurch, then he was staring down into space. He had enough time to try to get free of the saddle and tell himself that this was going to hurt, then he hit the bottom and blacked out.
He was only out for a moment, then he slowly blinked back to consciousness. He was on his back, staring up at the sky. He thought he could feel Oscor's warm bulk next to him. He attempted to raise his head; except for a slight headache, it felt fine. When he tried to sit up, however...
"Ooooooh." It felt like at least one rib was broken. He carefully tested his arms and legs and found they still worked. Oscor must have cushioned him somewhat from the brunt of the fall...
He sat up as quickly as he coud despite his ribs. He heard Riatha call from above, and was distantly glad she had escaped the fall. But right now his eyes were fixed on his mount, who lay nearby, eyes closed and sides heaving as he panted. There was blood all over the ground. He knelt by the big cat's head, noticing with a trace of fear the blood staining the fur around his mouth and nose. "Oscor," he said softly. One ear twitched, then the saber opened eyes bright with pain. Barraccus gently touched his head, then looked over the cat's body. He couldn't see where the blood had come from, but it looked like the hind leg on the side he was laying on was twisted. He heard Riatha gasp behind him, and turned. She stared at Oscor just a second longer, her face pale, then said quickly, 'I'll get Alanon." She turned her mount and raced away.
Barraccus unfastened the saddle harness, then sat by Oscor's head and waited. He wasn't concerned with his own injuries; he could heal them himself by killing one of the nearby Scourge and absorbing its life energies. But he could do nothing for his saber except try to make him more comfortable, and keep him company.
The afternoon sun beat down on them, and Barraccus was trying to find some way to shade Oscor's head when he heard wingbeats above him. A large purple bird flew down and landed next to him, then Alanon was bending over the huge saber. Barraccus jumped up and immediately winced as his ribs stabbed with pain. He blurted out what had happened as the druid examined the cat. "He's not injured on this side," Alanon observed. "Let's see if he can turn over, so I can see the other side." He crouched by Oscor's head and began murmuring a calming spell as Riatha rode up, looking anxious. Once Oscor's eyes glazed over, the two of them managed to heave the big cat over. Barraccus winced again.
The hind leg on that side was quite clearly broken, the thighbone jutting from a large tear in the skin. As they settled him on the other side, it started bleeding again. Alanon went to it quickly and began a healing spell, running his hands over the gash. The bleeding slowed, and he had Riatha help him pull the leg out straight, then continued his spell. Once that wound was mostly closed, he examined the big cat further. Finally he turned to Barraccus.
"That leg needs further healing, and he has some internal injuries," he told him. "I can't help him much here, but what I can do is this: I can teleport him with me to the Moonglade, and there I will have help to finish healing him. You won't be able to ride him for a while, but he will recover." Barraccus nodded. "That sounds fine, Alanon. Please do it." "Will you be all right here, Barraccus?" the druid asked. "Yea, I can summon Dune'adah, and ride him until Oscor is better," he replied. "Go on, please. I know he's in pain." Alanon nodded, then knelt by the saber's head and put his hands on him. A faint glow surrounded them, which grew brighter until with a flash, the druid and saber disappeared.
Riatha looked worriedly at Barraccus. "Are you okay?" she asked him. He stood and winced again. "I will be. Let's just get back to the Keep." He closed his eyes and concentrated, calling his deathcharger from the shadow realm. With a swirl and a loud neigh, Dune'adah appeared beside him, and he mounted the charger and followed Riatha back up the cliff, much more slowly this time.
There is a story behind his deathcharger's name, too. I'm still working on it, but it should be done soon.