Sunday, January 8, 2012

First, Finest, and Last: Rheugan

And here is Rheugan's first, finest and last, which was by necessity a bit different from the others... you'll get it once you read it (I hope!). I was actually really glad I wrote this, as it gave me a lot of insight into his character, which helped in his later posts. :D

Again, this is from several months ago, hence the possible confusion with the timeline.

His first? That one was still to come, if it ever did. But aside from that... he supposed that like most small boys, his first had been his mother. She had been a worse disciplinarian than his father at times, but she had balanced that with a selfless devotion to her family. When his father was killed, she had set aside her own grief to see that her son's transition from heir to lord had gone smoothly, and when he had decided to take his father's place on the battlefield against the worgen, she had supported him despite her fears. It was no wonder that he had worshiped her. Learning of her death hadn't started him on his downward spiral- that had already begun- but it had certainly sped him on his way.

His first had been a wild worgen in the streets of Gilneas City, pursuing a civilian across the square where Rheugan had been posted. He had called up the first of the attack spells Celestine had taught him, a blast of nature energy that had knocked it off its feet, then run in and set to work with his club until it had stopped moving. Once he was sure it wouldn't be getting back up, he had promptly and thoroughly lost the contents of his stomach. When that was over, he'd wiped his mouth, then gone to look for the next invader.

His first had been his father, latest in the surprisingly short line of Jamestons that had clawed their way up the social ladder from sheep-farmers to titled nobility. He had taught Rheugan the things that all good fathers teach their sons: treating others with respect, the value of hard work, and never giving up on the things you wanted. When the worgen first attacked, he'd shown Rheugan too that there were some things that were worth any sacrifice.

Shaurria was his finest, though he feared that others would get the wrong ideas about their friendship. When Pitch had first introduced them, he had expected yet another person that would shy away because he was cursed, or drill him with questions of "What is it like?" Instead, she had shown him an acceptance so complete that it boggled him. Her friendship was something he had needed desperately, and he hadn't even known it until it was there in front of him. He knew she would never be "his", not in that way, but it didn't matter. What did matter was that when his inner darkness threatened to overwhelm him, she helped him to remember he was still human.

His finest had been the Banthar in Nagrand. Pitting himself against that beast had seemed like suicide, but Pitch thought he could do it, so he'd tried. He probably wouldn't have survived it, either, if it hadn't been for the cat. When he'd finally gotten to its throat and it had collapsed, nearly crushing him in the process, the adrenaline rush had made him giddy. It was only later, when Stormwind was quiet and everyone else had been asleep, that he had realized just how strong he'd gotten... and how much a danger he now was.

If anyone asked him, he would say that Prince Liam had been his finest. He had been proud to serve his Prince, first against the worgen and later against the Forsaken. But in reality his finest was the creature that stalked the shadows in his mind. Yes, the wolf had been his finest, and he knew full well what people would think if he admitted it. It had driven him mercilessly, through heat, rain or snow, to commit unspeakable violence to innocent people, to slake it's unnatural thirst for blood and pain. But it had also forced a will stronger than iron on him, and when the time came that he could look into the wolf's eye and tell it "No," the thought that it had helped shape its own downfall was only fitting.

Kyraine had been his last, and he would die before he ever let her find out. They had nothing in common except their homeland and the curse, and besides, she had her own problems to deal with, without being saddled with his as well. But she had gone out of her way to be kind to him, and for a lonely young man that felt at times to be very much still a boy, that had been enough to start entertaining thoughts of "What if." He had never said anything, never let it show, because what was the point? Nothing would come of it, and before long those thoughts had been swallowed by his larger issues, just as he had expected.

A ghoul outside Wintergarde Keep had been his last, little more than a few ribbons of flesh draped over bone. It had clawed him as he tore off its head, but he knew he had little to fear from the Plague, even up here. The curse protected him from undeath, and he found it ironic that he had finally found one thing it was good for.

The cat is his last, and would be until his last breath; he was beginning to understand that now. If he'd thought sharing his mind with the wolf was difficult, well, that still hadn't prepared him for what had turned out to be a cold, impassive predator. He still wasn't sure if they could work things out between them, if they could learn to be allies instead of enemies. The best Rheugan could hope for at this point was to hang onto the last remaining shreds of his dignity, and when the final hunt ended in the unseen future, he could at least die as a man, and not a beast.

(I only wrote these 2, but plan on doing one for Lark and Alanon too, once my muse lets me. Those will be posted once I'm done with them.)

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