A more recent scene from the story featuring Lellian Rowle, Thieren James, and now Drygen Rowle. Three roleplayed characters from the game, World of Warcraft.
I shivered in the cold highland rain and peered through the rivulets jumping from the brim of my floppy, leather hat. My mare wickered, provoking a snort from Tatum as he trotted up next to her. Thieren’s horse. She reigned him in next to mine. I payed no small fortune for my mare, thick shouldered, steel grey and trained for war. No common riding horse readily agrees to carry a predator on her back.
A predator. The horses must know more than I do at this point. I forcibly unclenched my jaw. Despite my dislike of the change, rejecting it, I wished it came easier. I felt vulnerable riding to this meeting. Nothing about it felt right and I reminded myself in a litany that he was my father. I tried hard not to remember his words. You’re dead to him, he said so.
Regardless, after so long holding it in, I found the wolf unwilling to answer. Nothing good lay down the road ahead. Nothing good, but everything necessary. I glanced sidelong at my cousin. She would have made it her fight all along, leaving me to safety. And I knew now, leaving me so she needn’t worry about my condition and what she might have to do should I lose control. But this was my fight. Even if I turned out largely useless.
I stared at my hands on the reins, my mouth dry. The bandage on my finger called my attention and served to remind me of this morning and the potential danger ahead. When she stared at the vial of blood between us, I almost feared she’d reject it, or misunderstand. Instead, after a pause, Thieren nodded and pocketed it. Just in case. I was grateful and ashamed by turns for her presence. I only hoped, whatever happened, she’d come out of it alright.
Movement ahead caught my eye and I squinted into the rain. We stalled our horses at the same time and exchanged a look. A distant figure stood on the road, unmoving. Something crouched nearby him. The hairs on the back of my neck rose and I struggled hard to keep from shaking. We nudged our horses closer, just enough that the figure became clear, then dismounted.
Lordaeron’s curse laced my father’s face with the sickened, bloodless cast of undeath. The smell, even in rain, reached me from several yards away. A worgen crouched next to him, tattered and soiled clothes still hanging from him like rags. The sour smell of a festering wound and old bandages on its shoulder nauseated me. My brother. The heavy chain around Drygen’s neck led to my father’s hand. Tied to him like a dog.
I growled, only conscious of it when Thieren tried to hide her startled glance. “There’s two more.” I smelled them; an older rot that stunk more heavily of the plague.
She nodded and we both pulled out our rifles. “Make them come out.” Thieren ordered.
My father nodded and raised his free hand.
We both raised our rifles in response to the two pointed at us from either side of the path. One from behind a tree, the other, a boulder.
“Sure shot now are you?” My father cackled.
“Lower your weapons!” Thieren ordered.
I tried to unfreeze my vocal chords, to remind him we came to talk, to plead my case, to stop it going wrong.
My father shook his head. “Shoulda stayed home, Girl.” He addressed Thieren only, refusing to look at me. “Kill ‘em both.”
My hackles raised, the fine hairs on my body stiffening in a shivery path. My father bent forward and I heard a gunshot. I pulled the trigger and heard an echo of three more. My bullet ricocheted off the boulder and I heard a thud that shoved my shoulder back.
The scene slowed to agonizing time. I saw Thieren roll away and drop the first sniper. I heard a heavy chain slip to the ground. Saw the other sniper fall to his knees. I felt both ripping pain and adrenaline race, the heady power I tried so hard to keep back for months.
Thieren shouted something and stuffed the barrel of her gun sideways into Drygen’s mouth. No! I coiled and slammed into him with all my weight. We tangled and I snapped long teeth. Drygen’s missed and tore by turns. I heard two more gunshots and shouting. Drygen kept me busy deflecting teeth and claws aimed for vital areas. He aimed to kill. I steeled myself and bit down hard on his wound. The metallic tang of blood mixed with the oozing scent of infection filled my senses. Nausea threatened.
Drygen yelped, dragging it into a whine. I ripped at the wound and flung away the filth. Then I pulled in my legs and kicked hard at him.
I forced myself up and stalked over growling. Drygen struggled to his belly and crouched low, teeth bared. I forced myself to stare him down. I did this. I snarled and nipped at Drygen’s shoulder. My fault. He shied away and crouched lower. I nipped again, snarling, glaring. Don’t look away.
Finally, he looked away. I reigned in my desire to comfort him. Submissive, he looked the very part of a puppy with serious wounds. I knew better and snapped the air at his shoulder for good measure. I continued pinning him with a warning stare and forced a growl I no longer felt.
My right ear swiveled back. Thieren. I growled low and the footsteps stopped. The rain pounded on and I sneezed dismissively at Drygen.
I surveyed the scene, careful to keep Drygen in my peripheral vision. My father’s unmoving corpse lay with the others, his mouth gaped open, collecting rain water. I noted the rifle in his hands, the unbleeding gunshot wounds.
It’s over. My vision blurred and sharpened by turns and my arm hurt. “Give me the ropes.” If not for the rumbling in my throat, I might’ve thought someone else said it. The voice was deep, hardly female. Drygen needed tying up before I passed out.
More Thieren: Strings of Arathor