Rheugan padded up as Pitch finished brushing down his saber. The Night elf gave the worgen a grin as he patted Ursoc's flank, letting the big cat know he was free now. Rheugan sat back and watched as the stormsaber sauntered off a few steps, then promptly flopped down and rolled in the grass, ruining all Pitch's work. Pitch stared at his mount in dismay, then suddenly frowned fiercely at him. "All right, you bugger," he muttered, just loud enough for Rheugan to hear.
Rheugan watched in consternation as Pitch changed to cat form, then jumped at the larger cat. Ursoc saw him coming and quickly rolled to his feet, just in time to meet Pitch's charge. The two cats wrestled, growling loudly, for several minutes as the worgen druid looked on. Finally Pitch broke free and dashed a little ways away, then turned and leaped at Ursoc again. The stormsaber dodged to the side, but Pitch caught at him just enough to pull the bigger cat over.
The two cats lay side-by-side, panting heavily. With the drama apparently over, Rheugan felt it was safe enough to come near. As he padded up, Ursoc lifted his head enough to look at him, then gave a welcoming rumble. Rheugan rumbled back as Pitch climbed to his feet, then the druids moved off into the nearby shade.
Rheugan watched Ursoc as the big saber moved off by himself. "You wrrestle with yourr mount," he said, not quite making it a question. Pitch was rather pleased to note that despite the ever-present growl, his words were spoken clearly and easily- it meant that he was himself at the moment, and not struggling with either wolf or cat.
"Yup," he answered the not-question. "Ursoc won't hurt me, and you might not notice it at first but he's not much bigger than me." Rheugan grunted, then glanced over at him and abruptly shifted to his human shape. After a moment, Pitch left his cat form as well. "Is everything all right?" he asked the younger druid. Rheugan nodded. "I'm well." Then he looked back over at Pitch. "My family had horses. A few dogs, too. Nothing that quite compares to your people's cats."
Pitch shrugged. "Kalimdor didn't have horses originally," he told his student. "We did get them eventually, but by then we'd been using nightsabers for... well, forever."
Rheugan chuckled, his eyes on Ursoc again. After a few moments of silence, he commented, "They seem like good companions, too. Not quite like a dog, of course, but with more personality than an average horse." Pitch made a non-committal noise in response, his own eyes fastened to his protege. He watched as Ursoc came back over to them and started nudging at Rheugan with his nose. The small human chuckled again as he obligingly started scratching at the saber's ears. Rheugan looked over, noticing his mentor's attention, and blinked. "Is something wrong?" he asked. Pitch blinked too, then shook his head. "No, nothing wrong," he replied. "Just had an idea." He offered nothing more, and after a moment Rheugan went back to petting the saber.
* * * * * *
Alanon was surprised when he saw Pitch swooping down at them. His brother landed lightly in front of Shaurria, shifting out of his flight form as he did. He hardly acknowledged the elder druid as he bent and began whispering quickly into her ear. Shaur blinked in surprise, then frowned slightly in thought, her forehead creasing slightly. "I guess... yea, go ahead," she said in reply to whatever he had said. Pitch gave her a grin and a brief hug, then turned the grin to Alanon and gave his older brother a nod. Without saying another word, he turned back to a bird and took off, heading back toward Nordrassil.
Alanon turned to the younger Kal'dorei. "Do I want to know what that was about?" he asked dryly. Shaur just shrugged. "Said he had an idea," she said, then brightened. "Could we go see Tortolla again?" Alanon chuckled as he waved her up into the air. Shifting to a bird himself, he followed his adopted daughter out over the scorched plain below.
* * * * * *
Rheugan followed Pitch, his expression confused. "Tell me again what we're doing here?" he asked, but Pitch just kept going. "You'll see shortly," he called back. Rheugan could only sigh and keep following.
He soon found his answer as they rounded the enormous tree that housed the main Cenarion enclave here in Darnassus. Rheugan felt a twinge of anxiety- it was near here where the events had taken place that had led to him becoming Pitch's student. Pitch didn't seem to notice as he led the younger druid toward the sabers' stabling area.
He stopped in front of one of the pens. Rheugan stepped up to his side. "Are we here?" Pitch nodded and waved into the pen, and Rheugan's eyes followed the gesture. He blinked in surprise.
A big gray saber sat in the back of the pen, with three cubs- already the size of large dogs- tumbling around her. She looked up at her visitors with ears pricked, a loud purr quickly starting up in her chest. Rheugan stared. Pitch fought to keep a grin from his face as he watched. Finally the human pulled his gaze away to look at Pitch. "Why are we here?" he asked curiously.
Pitch gently ushered him into the pen as he answered. "This is Dawn. She used to belong to Shaurria, but... well you can see what happened. I, uh, have to admit that Ursoc is the dad." He grinned sheepishly. "Anyway, that's when Shaur got Finnall, and she's developed a closer bond with him than she had with Dawn here. Thing is, her cubs are ready to be weaned and start their training, so now Dawn will need a new home." He rocked back on his heels a bit as he watched for Rheugan's response.
The other druid eyed him, eyebrow raised, then turned back to the cat. One of the cubs chose that moment to bumble into his legs, and he bent down to pet it. Dawn watched with a mother's careful scrutiny, then stood up and came over to the worgen. She gently bumped him with her head, as though demanding her share of the attention, and Rheugan chuckled softly as he obliged. Pitch nodded to himself in satisfaction.
When the two druids left Darnassus, it was on their sabers- Pitch on Ursoc, and Rheugan on Dawn.
Yep, I had gotten Rheugan a tabard as soon as he first got to Darnassus, and he's been questing mostly in Night elf lands besides. He just hit exalted and I got him his new mount right away. So no more running around on all fours, yay! (Unless he happens to want to, ya know. >.>)
I'm hoping that this will help him out ICly too, since he'll have someone to look after now. And this was fun to write, after all my recent Writer's-block-frustrations.
And now I need to hit the hay. Happy Hunting!