Friday, August 21, 2009

Alanon: Endings and Beginnings

The dark, smoke-colored cat reclined on a branch high overhead, looking over the little Oracle village below. Alanon had returned to his feral side a few weeks ago, and was still adjusting a bit. But as a Druid of the Wild, he had to keep all his skills sharp, so he had turned away from spell-casting except for occasional healing when he and his companions ventured into Ulduar. He was comfortable with his feral skills again, although he knew he was not at his full strength yet. That would come with time.

He kept an eye on the Gorloc tribe he had befriended, but his thoughts were wandering far off to each of his family members. Rhokk was in Northrend now. They all still worried about him a bit, but whatever hold the Lich King had had over him seemed to be gone. He still had nightmares from time to time, but he didn't let them stop him from heading North.

"We've done what we can here," Alanon had told him when the shaman was leaving. "Now I believe the rest of your recovery is up to you. Just keep in mind what Crison told you, and you should be fine."

Rhokk wrote him regularly, keeping them all up-to-date on his progress, and seemed to be doing well.

Quae was still running between Feralas and Tanaris most of the time. She had confessed that she didn't like the goblins much, but they paid well. She and Barraccus were doing very well, spending almost every weekend together, either at home or off wherever their whims took them. Barraccus had recently spoken of a little house he had found for rent in Winterspring. Alanon had a feeling that the house in Ashenvale would be a bit emptier soon.

The death knight was now in Icecrown. Quae was worried about him, no one could miss seeing that, but she seemed to have more confidence in his ability to keep himself safe. Barraccus had managed to avoid most of the Alliance-Horde conflict, staying close to his Ebon Blade comrades and working with them in their own efforts against Arthas. Alanon had seen him several times at the Argent Crusade's tournament as well, where he seemed to be enjoying himself.

Pitch had suddenly gotten a sense of responsibility, and was now helping out in Outland and making his own plans for Northrend. He had somehow gotten a gnomish device which he called a "camera," and had sent Alanon several pictures. One was of Pitch himself, in the shape of a bird; he was incredibly excited about his new flight form. Most of the other pictures he had sent were taken from high above the ground. He had recently gone into the fel orc's Hellfire Citadel with a few others, one of which had been Arien, a human paladin that lived with their cousins Kal and Riatha.

Thinking of Arien now sent a little shivery feeling through Alanon. He had met her some time ago, when Kal had asked him if he could help her out in the sunken Temple of Atal'Hakkar. That had been right after he had gone feral, so he thought that it would be good practice, to refresh his skills a bit. Arien had been a bit reserved at first, but had quickly warmed as they went through the temple, killing the trolls her paladin instructors had told her to. She also proved very capable, as she had been surprised a couple times by wandering patrols when Alanon had been occupied, and had to dispatch them herself. After the first time, he had stopped worrying about her.

She had also proven to be quite pleasant to be around, and by the time they were done he found himself thinking about her quite a bit. When she had contacted him several days later, saying that she had to return to the Temple, he had quickly agreed to help again. This time they had to stop the troll god Hakkar from attempting to return to Azeroth, where he would undoubtedly take as much of the world as he could under his bloody rule. It had proven to be easier than either of them had thought; Alanon speculated that the vicious god's repeated attempts to return were actually weakening him.

Arien had returned to Outland immediately after, and Alanon had escorted her down to the Dark Portal, talking with her the whole way. After she had gone through, he stood and stared at the Portal for a long time. It had been a very long time since he had felt this way. He had been betrothed to a human once, little over a century ago, but she had broken it off after realizing what it would mean to be married to an immortal, and a druid to boot. It had taken him a long time to get over it, and afterward he had been happy to live a solitary life, excepting his siblings. He never spoke about it to anyone, although he knew that Kelesaria had told Pitch and Quae about it. They all respected his wishes and never spoke of it either.

A commotion at the edge of the village distracted him from his musings. He watched idly as a small band of Frenzyheart wolvar attacked, like they did several times a day every day, and were repulsed. He looked over the Oracle warriors, judging if any of them could use some healing, but they all seemed fine. So he returned to examining his feelings.

He liked Arien, that was safe to say. She was warm, bright, and fearless when faced with a battle, not to mention fun to be around. But he would not call it love, not yet. It was too soon, and he had no idea what she felt. Plus his long life had taught him that caution was usually a good thing. He would watch and wait for now; Arien was young still and wasn't going anywhere. He could wait.

The cat stood and stretched, ignoring the long fall if he happened to slip, then suddenly changed to a large, purplish bird. Alanon flapped his wings a few times, then took off, heading east toward Icecrown.

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