When I get the ball rolling, I really get it rolling. Sometimes, at least. *eyes other storylines*
Couple nights ago, just before Aely and Arrens' wedding. Woohoo, weddings!
Pitch stepped into the darkened room at the Darnassus inn with a soft "Hello?" A low growl answered him, and he peered around until he spotted a dark huddle in the corner, behind the dresser. He took a step closer. "Rheugan, right?"
The reply was a sharp chuff. Pitch stopped, staring at the shape uncertainly. He could now make out a dark-colored cat- one shaped differently than a cat-formed Night elf- which was watching him warily. Pitch cleared his throat. "I'm Pitch," he tried again. "The, um, the Circle wanted you to talk to someone, right? That's me."
The cat twitched one ear, then moved out of his hiding place. As he did, his form grew larger, until Pitch found himself facing a large worgen instead of the cat. "What do you want, elf?" The worgen's voice was a harsh growl, deep and gutteral. Pitch blinked. "You're Rheugan?" The worgen eyed him without moving."... yes."
Pitch took that as encouragement. "I, uh, came to talk with you," he started, when Rheugan interrupted him with another growl. "About what?," he demanded. "They must have told you what I did. Have you come to kill me, elf?"
"No." Pitch's voice was firm, as was the headshake that followed. Acting on some instinct, the Kal'dorei unshifted, then walked over to the nearby table and perched on the bench. Rheugan's eyes followed him, the aggression in them replaced by uncertainty and something else, something Pitch couldn't identify. "Then what do you want?" he asked.
Pitch hesitated, then slowly stood up before answering. This was definitely not turning out how he had expected. "To.... try to save you, I suppose," he said cautiously.
"Save me?" The worgen looked at him in surprise, then let out a mirthless chuckle."You know what I am, don't you? Do you really want to save this?" He stepped closer, until the light coming in from the door illuminated him clearly.
He was very tall; he could look Pitch in the eye easily, even in his slightly hunched posture. The coarse black fur that covered him didn't completely hide the scars that crisscrossed his shoulders and chest under the ragged vest he wore. His left ear was gone, chewed down to a useless nub. And he stared at Pitch challengingly from green-gold eyes that glowed faintly. His wolfish muzzle curled, the growl turning into a full snarl.
Pitch stared back at him, unflinching. "If you can be saved, yes. Don't you want to be saved?" Rheugan blinked in surprise again, and the Night elf pressed his advantage. "Or did you want them to kill you?"
The worgen stood uncertainly, all aggression gone. His gruff voice sounded almost lost. "I... I don't know anymore." He stared back at Pitch, a hint of challenge returning. "Why?"
"Because," Pitch answered, then hesitated. There were some things in his own past that he had told nobody but his siblings, but he decided if he really wanted to help Rheugan, he had better go all the way. "... because I was in your paws, once," he finished, then waited.
Rheugan stared at him. Abruptly a shudder ran over him, then he... changed, and a small, ragged-looking human stood in his place. Clear blue eyes looked at Pitch with fearful hope. "Can... can you fix me?" he asked, with a hint of desperation. His human voice was surprisingly soft. "Really fix me?"
Pitch could understand the hope, and the fear as well. He wondered what exactly this young human had been through. "No. Not the way you're thinking," he answered Rheugan's question. "But I can teach you to control it." Rheugan nodded hesitantly, and Pitch waved him over as he sat back down. "Come sit down and tell me about it," he said gently. Rheugan crossed the room with surprising quickness, and once he was seated he began.
* * * * * *
"I grew up in Gilneas City," he told Pitch. "I loved it there.
"When the worgen attacked, everyone helped to defend the city. I.. don't remember when I was bitten. Probably the same time Crowley was." Pitch made a mental note to ask who Crowley was later- he was obviously someone important to Rheugan. "But after the fighting was over was when I... changed.
"I... found a pack to run with. I don't recall everything we did, but all I cared for was the hunt. They said I killed some of my friends. I don't know whether it's truth. They finally trapped me and some of my packmates. The rest of the pack fled or was killed.
"Lord Godfrey- he's some sort of alchemist for the King- he gave me a potion that brought back my senses. He said... he said that if I still had any humanity in me, I would live. If I turned out nothing but a beast, I would be killed. I heard that a lot, back then."
He paused, then sighed quietly. "It wasn't hard, at first, but Godfrey became more erratic as time passed and more of us turned up infected. My potion started to wear off, and I had to control myself, with no help. That's when the druids came. They... helped. And once I had the wolf in me under control, they offered to teach me druid shapeshifting."
Pitch cocked his head. "That's interesting. No human has ever been taught that. I thought it was something we just didn't share."
Rheugan looked thoughtful. "I think... maybe it was because we could already change shape. But to get back to my story. I..." He paused again to swallow. "It's hard to speak of it. Once I had learned what I needed, the wolf reawoke. It seemed I had two beasts fighting for control of me, the cat and the wolf."
"What about your bear?" Pitch asked him. "Any trouble from it?"
The small human shrugged. "At times. It mostly seems to sleep, only becoming difficult if I have to fight something. I try to avoid using it, for fear of it joining the fray." Pitch nodded his understanding, and he went on. "Crowley.... he helped us, many of us. And the elves that came. The female seemed especially interested. She's the one that interceded when I...."
Pitch looked apologetic. "Yea. I'm sorry, but can you tell me what happened?"
"I... I had just heard that Crowley had abandoned us to join the Forsaken. They ruined my homeland and took everything from me, from us. When I heard... I was, well, angry. I only wanted to find a spot of peace, and the cat challenged me. It went... out of control."
Pitch snorted, very softly. "I guess you could say that." Then he suddenly sat upright in his chair. He had lost track of time while he sat and listened to the younger druid, and he had almost forgotten something very important. He glanced toward the door, then back to Rheugan. "Rheugan, if I get you out of this room, could you come to Stormwind?"
Rheugan blinked, obviously startled by the change of topic. "I... I don't know.." Pitch gave him an apologetic look as he mentally smacked himself upside the head. Perhaps if he explained things first... "I want to talk more, but I have a wedding to get to," he told the other. Rheugan immediately brightened as he understood. "Oh! Right." "Will you come?" he pressed.
Rheugan still looked hesitant, but was clearly interested. "I.... yes, I will." Pitch suppressed a sigh of relief. "The Pig & Whistle tavern, in Old Town. Any guard should give you directions. And don't worry, I'll be there." The young man actually looked as relieved as Pitch felt as he answered. "All right then, Pitch."
Pitch offered a hand to the human. Rheugan eyed the hand, then shook it. Pitch grinned. "The wedding party will be there, so you may want to wait til it gets quiet." Rheugan nodded. "Right." Pitch nodded back cheerfully. "Okay, I'll get them to let you out, and I'll see you later."
He hopped to his feet and started out when Rheugan's soft voice made him pause. "Pitch? Thank you."
Pitch grinned back at him. "Welcome. Don't forget."