As Bregan and Thratar rushed to aid the fighters at the Pass, Thratar offered his friend the hilt of one of his larger swords, though in truth it was roughly the size of a dagger for the Tauren. Bregan reached out and took hold of the hilt, and the weight dropped into his palm when Thratar let go. He’d never held a sword before, but the worn, leather-wrapped hilt fit smoothly into the callouses created by years of gardening and working in the village.
I’ll be just as likely to stab myself as a Grimtotem, the fact pulled a sardonic smile across Bregan’s face. He’d leave the fighting to his–much more experienced–friend, and aid in putting out the fires. Since they appeared to be resisting the rainfall that now had Bregan and Thratar soaked through, it was safe to say the fire was magical in nature. He couldn’t completely tamp it down, but even magical fire had a limit to how much water it could withstand.
When Bregan reached a Tauren, standing near the smaller well that kept the guards of the Pass supplied with water, he dismounted the kodo and grabbed the next available bucket. Thratar raced by to help the fighters, and Bregan used his long, loping strides to eat the distance between the well and the flames. There was a stalemate with the Gromtotems and the blaze, but with the added help of Bregan and Thratar, the renewed energy of the guards tipped the scales in their favor.
They got the fire mostly under control, and when the Grimtotems beat a hasty retreat, whatever magic was fueling the last of it vanished. Then, they all set about the grim task of tending the wounded, the dead, and cleaning up. As Bregan helped a wounded fighter drink water, he held his rage in check. He was conflicted, though, because what good is rage in the face of rage? Anger just begets more anger…and it was all so very confusing. Getting angry was the easy emotional response, and might create more grief than it eased. Talida deserved better from him.
With each movement, Bregan let the anger slip away, little by little, until he was nothing more than the repetitive motions of helping the injured and cleaning the camp. It was cleansing, in a way, getting lost in the physical activity. When next he looked up, Thratar approached with an older Tauren, her deep brown fur sprinkled liberally with grey. Her hard eyes took him in, and she nodded as if deciding something.
“I hear you lost someone important to you in a Grimtotem raid,” the harsh sonorousness of her voice was matter-of-fact, if not a little sympathetic, and she continued before Bregan could answer. “Some of them managed to get by us, since at that point they outnumbered us almost two-to-one, and a couple of my guards said they thought some made it back through the line. I can’t back-up what they’re saying, since the fighting was intense and it seemed as though the Grimtotem were everywhere.” She paused and glared toward the Pass, her fury so intense it could almost traverse the landscape of its own accord, and rip into the Grimtotems like a cougar into its prey.
“It seems this was their most likely route,” Thratar agreed, and his words snapped the older commander out of her anger for a moment.
“I can’t send anyone along with you to help; we were already stretched thin before this raid, and I don’t know how long it’ll take to get replacements for the injured and dead,” she stated, but her eyes narrowed and she looked toward the Pass again, this time thoughtful instead of furious.
“There might be someone who can help you. She sometimes helps us with–,” but the commander choked off her next words, and gave Thratar an emphatic glance. The Orc cocked a knowing, half-smile and nodded. “She might be amenable to helping you, since she detests the Grimtotem almost as much as we do, but she can be a little…odd,” the commander finished, lamely, and shrugged at Bregan’s raised eyebrow.
“What is her name?” Bregan asked, ready to take a chance, at this point, with anyone who might be willing to help. He’d run into more instances of people not being able, or willing, to assist, than he had those who would.
“We call her Rae, because those Blood-Elf names are too delicate for Tauren tongues to say correctly, and she hasn’t minded. You go through the Pass and follow that down until you get to the road. Follow that north-west, it’s called Webwinder Path, until just before you get to Webwinder Hollow. If you get to Malaka’jin, you’ve gone the wrong way. She keeps a small camp just outside of the Hollow. Tell her Cheota sent you, and that might convince her to hear you out,” Cheota finished, and Thratar nodded.
A guard with one arm in a sling walked over and handed the reigns of the borrowed kodos over to Bregan and Thratar. They’d added a couple of saddle bags with any supplies they could spare, and Bregan thanked the commander and the guard profusely. Maybe they couldn’t help him with their presence, but it lifted his heavy heart to know they helped where they could.
As they turned the kodos toward the Pass and started to head off, Cheota called out to them; “Webwinder Hollow is full of giant spiders, and their fangs contain deadly poison. Rae likes to harvest the poison for her daggers, so make sure you don’t get too close to her tent before you let her know I sent you, or she might attack,” she warned.
“Maybe we’ll surprise her,” Thratar called back, and smiled.
“I wouldn’t count on it.”
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter One
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Two
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Three
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Five
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Six
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Seven
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Eight
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Nine
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Ten
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Eleven
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Twelve
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Thirteen
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Fourteen
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Fifteen
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Sixteen
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Final Chapter