“You cannot keep me from going out there and finding her!” Bregan shouted over the storm at the village leader, Shikoba, just as Thratar came within hearing range. The wind whipped fiercely around the village, driving the rain until it felt as though it was gravel being thrown at buildings and those caught outside, and not water.
“Perhaps not physically, but I will not send you with my blessing, or any kodos, either. Talida was a strong woman, a gifted healer, and she will be missed, but we cannot lose any more people over a suicide rescue mission when she likely isn’t alive any longer.” Shikoba’s calm, reasoned explanation stood steadfast against Bregan’s words, which mirrored the storm in their fierceness. At Thratar’s approach, however, something slid behind Shikoba’s eyes that never failed to send a chill through the hardened warrior’s soul. To say Shikoba had never welcomed Thratar’s presence was an understatement.
“Are you the one encouraging this madness?” Shikoba asked, his tone rising with the tide of rage Thratar never failed to incite in the normally unflappable leader. When Thratar shrugged a shoulder, Shikoba’s eyes narrowed as they were drawn to the Orc’s pack and light armor.
“Thratar is helping at my request, nothing more, as a true friend would,” Bregan ground out, planting his support firmly on Thratar’s side of the line. He’d been a major source of contention and conflict between the two Tauren since his arrival, much to Thratar’s dismay. Though, there were times when it seemed like he was merely an excuse for the two to butt heads–literally and figuratively.
“At any rate, this is not about Thratar or saving people; it’s about how you’ve never approved of my intentions with Talida, father, and don’t try to tell me it isn’t,” Bregan spat before Shikoba could counter, his fists curling and nostrils flaring at the declaration. Shikoba stilled, his hands loose at his sides, but he tilted his chin up and looked down at his somewhat shorter, and equally obstinate, son.
“I do as I think is best,” he stoutly insisted, not denying the claim, but no more willing to compromise than Bregan.
Bregan snorted scornfully, and turned his back on his father. Shikoba, unwilling to yield, either, squared his shoulders and did the same to Bregan. The finality of their movements left Thratar’s heart stuttering in his chest, and brought to mind a similar scene between him and his father, lo those many years ago. He hoped, for Bregan’s and Shikoba’s sakes–as much as the older Tauren rubbed him the wrong way–that their parting did not have the same end as his.
“Let us be off, Thratar,” Bregan said, and took off on a long, striding jog. Thratar wasted no time, since his friend could easily outpace him, and they quickly left the older Tauren and the village behind.
As Thratar did his best to control his breathing, he mused that some of his training instructors could learn a thing or two from Bregan about setting a grueling pace. They made it to Camp Sungraze in about thirty minutes, and Thratar remained behind while Bregan spoke to the few Tauren residing there. The exchange was brief, and Bregan motioned for Thratar to follow him to a couple of the posts where kodos were hunkered down against the storm.
“They are going to let us borrow their kodos to find Talida.”
“How magnanimous of them. Did they know which way we should go?”
Bregan shook his head, his jaw set in a grim line, and they got to work saddling the kodos, who gave low groans at being disturbed during such foul weather.
“Kachada said they must have broken through at Stonetalon Pass, so that is our best bet right now,” Thratar yelled over the wind after they’d mounted the beasts. Bregan merely nodded, and turned his kodo west with just a little hint of north.
Now that they were mounted it wasn’t long before they passed the Wildmane Well, though likely still longer than Bregan would have preferred, and he focused intently on it and the surrounding area. Even though Thratar’s eyes were trained to seek hints of battle, the storm had washed away anything they might have found, so they didn’t linger there for long.
The distance from Sungraze to the Well was equal in the distance between the Well and Stonetalon Pass, and Bregan leaned forward in his saddle, urging the kodo to go faster. As they crested a hill and the bottom of the trail that was the start of the Pass came into view, Thratar cursed in Orcish.
Fire engulfed the Pass, and crawled with a mind of its own over the totems, trees, and spikes driven into the ground to deter enemies; continuing to grow as they watched despite the furor of the weather. Things just get better and better. Thratar pushed his kodo to its limit, and hoped they’d make it in time to help whoever might have survived.
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter One
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Two
Becoming: Bregan’s Story, Chapter Four
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