Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rheugan: Borean

I'm not totally happy with this, but I'm tired of being stumped with it. So here's Rheugan's next chapter. The rest will be better, I promise.

The Lich King was dead, the war officially over, yet people still flocked to the North to find glory or riches against the remaining undead. No one paid much attention to the gray stormcrow sitting on a pile of lumber near the recruiter’s desk, so Rheugan was free to people-watch to his heart’s content. He listened to them idly. Masons, tailors, carpenters, smiths.... He had no skills to offer, just an unpredictable cat that could turn on its allies if it wished, and little he could do to stop it.

He would find no answers here. Before a full day had passed, he took off into the air and flapped his way still further north.

Are you there? he asked his cat silently as he flew. His surprise when it responded was almost enough to send him tumbling from the sky. It was just a slight stirring in the back of his mind, but it was enough. His biggest fear had been that he would be practically helpless once he’d gotten here, as most of his fighting skills depended on the cat’s instincts, but it looked like he might not have to worry after all.

* * * * *

Rheugan lay in a sheltered nook in the rock, idly licking a mostly-healed wound on his foreleg as he thought. He’d been here in Northrend for a week now, but while he felt he had made some progress, he still wasn’t certain at all about the cat. It certainly had a strong self-preservation instinct- that was obvious, since he was still alive- but its methods seemed to consist of taking over Rheugan’s mind and doing what it wanted until he tired, then leaving him to recover so it could repeat the process. Rheugan had the uncomfortable thought that if the Cenarion Circle druids could see him now, they definitely wouldn’t let him out of their sight. He needed to try something different.

* * * * *

He lurked around the Nexus for several hours before he spotted a small group heading inside. It was easy enough to fall in at their heels, though he stuck to the shadows at first, listening to them talk and plan.

As they progressed further in and found the first groups of enemies, he held back and watched, getting a feel for their fighting style. The first time he joined in, striking from the edges of the fight, they were obviously startled, but no one challenged him. A little further in one of the dragonkin landed a lucky blow on Rheugan’s shoulder, which the shaman in the group healed without hesitation.

The others soon began including him in their battle plans, and he listened carefully, then did as instructed the best he could. He was beginning to thoroughly enjoy himself- and was exulting at the cat’s cooperation- when suddenly their mission seemed to be over and they found themselves back near the entrance. Satisfied with his “experiment,” he slipped away while the others were still saying their goodbyes.

Before he slept that night he thought long and hard about the cat. It didn’t seem to be interested in attacking people, preferring to be simply left alone. Perhaps it would be safe enough to stay among civilization after all- Light knew he had had enough of camping out already.

That thought received a derisive mental snort from the cat, and abruptly it was gone again, back to whatever hiding place it had found in his mind. Rheugan was left blinking in his bed, wondering what he had done wrong.

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