"Arvoss keeps tellin' me I shouldn't keep everything in. But it's hard, ya know? When you have t' worry bout just surviving, cause there's no one t' look out for ya. Easier t' shut it away, so you don't have to think about it. But... there's been so much trouble lately. I... I met Jolly, before he died. Think it'd be easier if I hadn't. Sometimes it seems like everyone is either dyin', or having someone they love die. Or go away. And I try to make people feel better, I really do. But then they go home, or it gets late and I have to go, and it's just me and my head, alone. Hard to keep the thoughts out when I'm alone. Sometimes, I remember what it was like when they were alive. When I didn't have to worry cause they took care of me. Arvoss and Windstar try, but they have their own stuff t' do. And, well... Ever since the Moonglade when I told 'em what had happened, I wind up thinkin' on it. It sneaks up on me. I'm so used t' shutting my feelings away, but it's getting so hard..."
* * * * * *
Shaurria walked out to a rocky outcrop and sat, staring at the waves. She heard the others saying their goodbyes, then Arrens went back inside his cave while Aely went to her charger and mounted. Shaur watched her go, then noticed Windstar and Takani heading her way. She turned back to the water.
Windstar padded up and peered at her closely, then sat down and nuzzled at her shoulder. On the other side Takani did the same, the young druid also trying to offer comfort. After a couple minutes, Shaurria finally left her cat shape. "I... I wish sometimes that I had something f-from them."
Takani opened his mouth to say something, then stopped himself. Windstar sighed softly.
Shaur looked down at her hands, clenched in her lap. "All I got's what's in my head," she said softly. "I know," Windstar said, just as quietly, as she put an arm around the younger druid. Shaur looked out at the water again. "I-I m-miss 'em."
Takani stared out at the water too now. After a bit he hesitantly said, "Have you... um... oh nevermind." There was silence for several minutes, broken only by the water lapping at the beach, and the creaking of the nearby ship.
Shaur stood up. "Oughta be getting home," she said without looking at the other two. "Shaur," Takani said, stopping her. "Have you ever thought about going back, just to see if you could find anything?" Shaur dropped her gaze. "N-no," she said quietly, then with surprising vehemence she added, "D-don't ever wanna go b-back." With that, she turned cat and quickly loped off, back to the trail that led to the mainland. She barely heard him say, "Sorry, Shaur..."
She ran to the water's edge and dove in, switching to her seal shape in the water. Climbing out on the other side, she ran through the cave and found herself back at Stromgarde. Climbing onto a large rock, she stopped and caught her breath.
She was aware when Star came up behind her. "Fuzzy?" Her voice was so quiet, it was almost a purr. Shaur twitched an ear, then lay down on the rock. She was getting so tired of running. She heard when Star padded up to her side, and looked back with one eye. Windstar was looking down at her, forehead creased with worry. "Shaur," she said gently. "Please talk to me? Keeping it all in is not going to help." Shaurria made a sound deep in her throat and turned her head away. Her eyes were burning, so she shut them tightly. Part of her wanted desperately for Windstar to hold her and make her feel better, but another part resisted. Habits formed from the months of living alone, learning to survive on her own, fought with what was left of the little druid she had been before. She shuddered.
Windstar left her cat form, sitting down beside her and stroking her back. She began murmuring quietly to the younger elf, soothingly. A pained whine started somewhere in Shaur's throat, quiet at first but gradually getting louder. Windstar kept petting, then gathered Shaur's head into her lap, rubbing her ears and scratching her ruff. Shaur shuddered again, then pressed against the other druid, hard. Abruptly she shifted out of cat, pressing into Star's side, sniffling as she buried her face in her shoulder. Windstar wrapped her in both arms, hugging her comfortingly. Behind them, Takani sat and watched, keeping his distance.
"M-m-miss them," Shaurria mumbled into Star's shoulder. "I know," Windstar replied. Keeping one arm around the little druid, she began gently stroking Shaur's hair with the other hand. Shaur sniffled again, then with a shiver she finally broke down and started sobbing. Windstar held her while she began softly humming an old Kal'dorei lullaby. It was one that Shaur's own mother had sung to her, and she cried even harder, clinging to Windstar tightly.
"It'll be alright, little one," Windstar said soothingly, despite the tight hold around her ribs. "Doesn't seem like it, but it will." "D-d-d-don't want'em t-t-t'be dead," Shaur managed to choke out between sobs. "I know. It's not fair," Windstar replied. Takani started to inch his way over, but Star looked at him over her shoulder and shook her head. He returned to his spot and lay back down, shivering.
After several long, agonizing minutes, Shaur's sobs slowed down, then stopped. Still holding Windstar in a death grip, she tried to wipe her face on her arm. Windstar glanced over her shoulder again. "Tak?" she asked. "Do you have a hanky or something like it?" He tossed over his pouch, which she caught. "Should be in there," he said. She dug around inside for a moment, then came up with the handkerchief and handed it to Shaur, who stared blankly at it for a second before taking it. She scrubbed at her face, her other arm still firmly holding onto Star. Handing it back, she sniffed a bit, then looked at Star. "H-h-home," she managed. Windstar nodded. "Mkay."
"W-w-where...?" Shaur started, then stopped. She gulped a bit, then tried again. "A-Arvoss." Windstar thought for a second. "I believe he was coming back to Stormwind today." "K-k-kay," Shaur said, sounding a bit better. "Got your 'stone?" Windstar asked her, and she nodded, sniffling again, then hiccuped. "Okay then," Star said with a quick squeeze. Shaur still hadn't let her go, so she had to gently pull away from the other druid as she stood. Shaur didn't fuss, she just started digging in her own pouch, finally holding up her hearthstone. "K-kay."
Windstar glanced at Takani. Gently brushing some hair away from Shaur's face, she told her gently, "You go on ahead? I'll be right behind you." Shaurria nodded, then activated her stone. She appeared at the inn in Stormwind. Quickly turning kitty, she ran inside and up the stairs. Catching a familiar scent, she followed it like a lifeline to Arvoss' usual room.
Arvoss was woken by a furry bombshell landing on the bed. "Huhn?" he mumbled, then Shaur was pressing into his arms, whining softly. "Wassat, kitten? Wha's wrong?" She didn't answer, just trembled slightly as she cuddled in close. He gave up on the questions and just held her, rubbing and humming softly. She curled up, half in his lap, and gave a huge sigh, then seemed to settle down.
After she had finally fallen asleep, Arvoss studied her closely. There was no doubt that something was wrong, but whatever it was, the worst seemed to have passed. He would ask Star about it in the morning.
Writing this was hard. A lot harder than I thought it would be. Poor kitty. Now that this is done with, I'm hoping she can start getting over all this.
Windstar did a bit about this as well, you can read her side of it here.