Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Barraccus and Quae: Riptik

My apologies to all blood elf mages for this story. ;)

Barraccus entered the Kalu'ak village, holding the fur-lined leather bag like it contained fine Dalaran crystal. He found the tuskarr he needed and handed the bag over gently. "Here they are, a dozen wolvar pups," he said, trying to hide his distaste. The tuskarr, Mau'i, took the bag just as gently, motioning to another tuskarr as he placed it on the ground. It squeaked as he turned it over so the pups could scramble out. "I thank you, Barraccus," the portly fellow said as he and the other- a female, Barraccus thought, though he couldn't tell them apart well enough to be sure- herded the little ones toward a small hut off to the side.

"Did the adults give you any trouble?" Mau'i asked him, as the female tuskarr took over the pups, waving him away. Barraccus shook his head. "No, a Sin'dorei mage had just gone through the camp. I just followed the trail and found the little ones hiding in the tents." Mau'i nodded sadly. "I wish we didn't have to do this, but the wolvar leave us little choice," he said. Barraccus just nodded as he looked around the small Kalu'ak village called Moa'ki Harbor. He winced as a lucky shot from one of the hidden wolvar warriors took down a tuskarr guard, but fortunately the guard was only wounded and soon made his way to the healer, as another warrior took his place in the defense line.

The death knight left shortly after. He decided to ride Oscor rather than flying out on Berk, and followed the trail through the wolvar village, not paying much attention to his surroundings. Until, that is, he heard a whimper as he passed by one tent.

Barraccus quickly stopped Oscor and looked around. He recognized the tent as one he had passed while he had been collecting the pups for the Kalu'ak. The charred bodies of the blood elf's victims still lay nearby. He dismounted and began searching the tent and its surroundings. He had thought that he had found all the pups here, but realized that he had missed one when he saw a pair of bright, beady eyes staring at him from the back of the tent. Barraccus crouched down at the entrance, trying to look as non-threatening as possible, and clucked to the frightened pup.

It took almost an hour for the pup to finally leave its hiding spot and creep closer. Barraccus couldn't feel his feet and his legs were starting to cramp, but he didn't dare move as the young wolvar, little more than an infant, came close enough to sniff his hand. It looked up at him and whined pitifully, then made a grumbling noise that Barraccus took for speech. "If you're looking for your mama, I'm afraid she can't help you anymore," he told it softly. At the sound of his voice, the baby sidled closer, then latched onto his wrist and buried its face into his sleeve, its sharp little claws clinging. Barraccus coaxed it into his lap, then stood up unsteadily. He cradled the pup close as he stomped some feeling back into his feet, then went back to Oscor.

When he presented the pup to Mau'i, however, the tuskarr shook his head. "I'm afraid we had you bring in the largest number we could handle," he said. "We don't have the space or resources for even one more." "But-" Barraccus cut off his protest as he looked around Moa'ki and could tell that the tuskarr's words were true. He looked down at the pup, now sleeping in the crook of his arm. "Then what should I do with him?" he asked. "You could always take him back. The wolvar would not abandon one of their own. But..." Mau'i trailed off meaningfully, and Barraccus finished the thought for him. "But he will grow up as savage as the others, and only cause trouble like his kin." The death knight sighed.

Mau'i gently tickled the pup's ears; he growled softly in his sleep. "Why not take him home?" he asked the death knight. "You could raise him yourself, you know. He's already becoming attached to you." Barraccus looked thoughtful for a minute. "I might do that," he said, "But I need to make sure it's okay first." "Oh really?" replied Mau'i, surprised. "Okay with who?" Barraccus grinned at him. "My other half," he said.

* * * * * *

Quae's new saber Moon was in the stable when Barraccus arrived at home. None of the other mounts were there, which was fine with Barraccus; he and Quae were alone. The wolvar pup had woken up during the ride from Astranaar and now sat up in his arms, looking around with bright eyes.

After spending some time with a Kalu'ak who understood some of the wolvar tongue, Barraccus had learned that the pup was old enough to know his name, at least, and was called Riptik. Now as he carried the baby into the house, he hoped Quae was in a good mood.

He found her in the kitchen, washing a few dishes. She looked up when he came in and smiled. "Hey," she said. "I wasn't sure when you would get here, so I already had some supper. Did you want anything?" "No, I'm fine," he quickly replied. "But, um, Quae? I need to show you something." She looked at him curiously, then followed him into the main room.

He stopped and picked up a bundle that she couldn't see clearly, then stood with his back turned, hiding whatever he was holding. "Quae," he began. "I know that we decided not to start any kind of family until after Arthas was taken care of, but, umm, well you know that sometimes things happen." "Alright, Barraccus," Quae interrupted. "What did you do now?" "Have you heard of the Kalu'ak?" he asked her in response, looking back over his shoulder. She thought she heard a growl come from whatever he was holding, but wasn't sure. "No- wait, yes. Alanon told me about them," she replied. "They're some kind of animal-men, like the Tauren." "Yea," Barraccus said, more quickly now. "I've been helping some of them in the Dragonblight, at a village called Moa'ki. They're under attack by a tribe of creatures called wolvar. I've captured some of the wolvar pups for them from time to time, so the Kalu'ak can raise the pups to be friendly and not attack them. That's had... mixed results," he admitted.

Quae studied him, trying to see what he was hiding again. "That's all fine, but what about them?" she asked. "Weelll...." Barraccus trailed off, then finally turned around. In his arms was a fuzzy little creature that looked vaguely humanoid, obviously a baby. "This is Riptik," Barraccus told her. "He's an orphan now. A blood elf went through his part of the village right before I did, and... well, you can guess, I'm sure." Quae nodded, not taking her eyes off the pup. "Yes I can. Sin'dorei are bloody in more than just the name." She stepped closer, holding one hand out to the pup. "What is he doing here, then?" she asked, although she thought she knew the answer. "Well, the Kalu'ak said that perhaps we could raise him ourselves," Barraccus said. "I'd like to give it a try, at least, but it's really up to you."

Quae didn't answer for a long time, instead getting to know the little creature in his arms. She thought hard as she gently scritched his head. Barraccus had never hidden the fact that he wanted a family, and for that matter, so did she. She knew they would have to adopt; Barraccus' undead state prevented him from fathering his own kids, a fact that gave her no little pain, especially when she thought of how much he had loved his own sons, now long dead. She wasn't sure how they would work things out if they kept this little one, but she could tell he wanted it, and there were some things she just couldn't tell him no about.

Finally she looked up, into his hopeful eyes. "Yes," she said. "We'll keep him." He broke into a huge grin, and she knew it was the right decision. He sat down on the nearest chair and settled Riptik on his lap. "Rip," he said gently. "Your mama can't take care of you anymore. But if you want, Quae here can be your new mama." Riptik looked from him to Quae, his eyes bright, then growled, "Mamma." He then promptly opened his mouth and pointed at it meaningfully.

Barraccus warmed up some meat and chopped it up finely, while Quae raided the nursing supplies that Pitch kept on hand for any orphaned animals he found. Soon enough Riptik was bedded down in a corner of the kitchen, his stomach full, fast asleep.

Barraccus spent a few moments making sure he was tucked in snugly before joining Quae upstairs. As he slid into bed next to her, she grinned impishly at him. "Anything else you wanted to show me tonight?" He gave her his crooked grin. "Maybe how much I've missed you," he said teasingly, then leaned in for a kiss.

Sometime in the middle of the night, they were woken by a thin, high-pitched cry. It took Quae a moment to remember what it could be. Oh, right, the little one. She fumbled for a robe, only to be stopped by Barraccus' hand on her arm. "I'll get him," he whispered, then was gone. She heard him padding down the stairs as she groggily wondered if he had even been asleep.

Riptik soon stopped crying, but fussed every time they tried to put him back down. Finally they let him stay on the bed, and all three fell back asleep, with the little wolvar snuggled between his new parents.

And that's how they got their wolvar pup. Hurray for the Northrend orphan quests, hehe.

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