Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rheugan: Grizzly Hills

I hate my writer's block. I'm going to go ahead and say the next part will be soonish, even though every time I say that I take forever to actually write the darn thing. This time at least most of the next chapter is already written, I just have to fill in a few spots and tidy it up. So, maybe this time it will be soon.

Poor baby worgen. Things should start looking up soon, at least.

Rheugan sat as still as he could, trying to ignore the chill seeping up from the ground beneath him. He also tried to ignore the stiffness in his joints from sitting in the same position since dawn; the sun had long since climbed over his head, and had started on its way down again. He idly wondered how much longer he would have to wait.

He’d had no trouble finding the place; Pitch had been more than happy to tell him the stories, and Rheugan still remembered everything. Even so, he had no idea how to call a spirit, especially one that was considered a god. All he could do was wait and hope he drew the right attention.

His first warning was a tingling between his shoulder blades, an instant before the cat let him know he was no longer alone. The cat was wary but not overly alarmed, so Rheugan moved slowly as he rose and turned around.

Standing several yards behind him was an enormous bear. It towered over Rheugan as he stared at it, noticing that he could see right through the huge creature in several places. Rheugan tried his voice and found it still worked. “U- Ursoc?”

The bear’s muzzle dipped in a nod as he studied Rheugan curiously. “Your thoughts are so loud they echo through the Hills,” he said, not unkindly. “Why are you here?”

“I, ah, know a druid who follows you,” Rheugan replied. “He’s been mentoring me for the past months.” Ursoc looked amused, or at least as amused as a bear could look. “I think I know of whom you speak,” he said. Rheugan took a steadying breath. “Would you take me as well?” he asked the bear god, then waited for his answer.

Ursoc looked at him searchingly for several long minutes. Finally he said, “There is another that already has a claim on you. I think you know his name.” Rheugan’s heart sank. He had heard the name- first at Tal’doran and later from both Pitch and Shaurria. “Goldrinn.” The bear god nodded again. “I cannot take you, not until he has had his say. I am sorry, little wolfling. Go speak to Goldrinn, and if he doesn’t take you then come see me again.” With that, he faded away.

Rheugan was left staring at the place he had been. “Wait! Don’t I get any say in it?” he called, but Ursoc was gone.

A helpless anger started forming in the pit of his stomach. The wolf... it always came back to the wolf. Every time he thought he’d found a way to be rid of it, it only seemed to bind itself to him even more tightly. He wanted to be rid of it, didn’t they understand? The last thing he wanted was to go see the wolf Ancient. He would rather die first. He would fight anyone that tried to make him; he might even kill them, that would certainly show them--

The wolf was feeding his anger again, trying to push him into letting it break free. He choked off his anger the moment he realized what was happening, forcing it down with practiced ease. It drained away quickly once he had control of himself back, only to be replaced with the bleak despair that had become his constant companion, ever since his capture in the Blackwald.

He had no options left. Rheugan sank down to his knees as he finally admitted to himself what he had refused to believe until this point; there would be no getting away from the wolf. It was a part of him, as much as his blood or the color of his hair. The only way he would ever be rid of it was to die, and even at this point, he couldn't make himself take that final step.

He was so sunk in his own misery that he wasn’t paying much attention to the cat. When he felt it “nudge” him, he submitted without an argument, shifting and letting the animal take control. He was barely aware of what was happening as the cat left Ursoc’s Den, giving the wild bears a wide berth, and started poking along the mountainside nearby. It finally found a niche in the rock, close to the Den, and curled up inside.

Rheugan expected the cat to go to “sleep” right away, but to his surprise it stayed with him. It seemed concerned, and a little confused, but it didn’t bother him so he ignored it. Gradually, however, he became aware of the faint vibrations coming from his- the cat’s?- chest. It was a sound he’d heard often from Shaurria, even from Pitch, but until now he’d never heard it coming from himself. So it probably wasn’t surprising that it took him a few minutes to realize what the sound was.

The cat was purring.

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