- --by Ptesanwi
(...I am aware there is no part two...yet...but ity will be added. Like the first part, "The Misborn Grimtotem", it is a work in progress.)
“To desire immortality is to desire the eternal perpetuation of a great mistake.”
The huntress pulled herself from the secluded den and stretched in the light of day. Her golden eyes blinked back the glare the snow cast everywhere; there had been a storm that night, and fresh drifts had yet to lose their pristine look. Ptesan-Wi reached overhead and pulled some snow from the bough of a pine tree, and examined it thoughtfully. The color matched hers perfectly, and as it melted into her palm it looked merely like a bit of her own fluff. Oddly, the femme chuckled to herself, and gave a tired wag of her tail.
Splytt appeared at the entrance of the den and canted her head, her dark form a harsh contrast to the alabaster surroundings. Her daughter looked back her way and flicked a bit of the melt in her direction.
“Ah been away fo’ a long time, Mothah. It be about time ah check in wif tha moo.” The worg gave a slight nod of her head and smiled slightly.
“Aye. It has been a while. And you owe it to him to tell him why, you know.” Ptes winced slightly, but then looked back over the tundra, nodding to herself.
“Aye…dat ah do. It be time fo’ meh at stop runnin’, ah figgah.” With a soft sigh, the huntress pulled the lupine coif from her face and looked down at it as she turned it over in her hands. “Ah been runnin’ fo’ long ‘nuff, eh?” Splytt gazed at her lovingly, then ducked into the den. She returned with a folded tabard in her maw, and this she set at her daughter’s feet.
“Aye. You have a pack now. It is about time to accept it.” Ptes stared at the blue fabric for a moment or two, then took it up into her hands to look at the embroidered feather on the front. With a sigh, she pulled it over her head and fastened her belt over it after smoothing it down with her hands. She looked upon it for a moment more, then grinned back at her mother.
“Ah may be late tonigh’, Mothah. Dependin’ on how tings go.” The worg nodded once more, then got to her paws, limping to her daughter and bumping her hand with her nose. Ptes chuckled, then bent down with some difficulty to embrace the huge lupine around her neck.
At that moment, Splytt got an odd feeling…one that she had felt before. For a moment, she recoiled and looked over the huntress, then shook it off as Ptes gave her an odd glance.
“Mothah? Ju aiight?” The old worg shook her head, and dismissed it with a shake of her paw.
“Never mind me, dear. Go handle what you must; we will be here when you return.” The huntress smiled and chanted softly in her usual growl as the familiar feline spirit wrapped about her and gave her speed. As she dashed off, Splyttfang watched the shadows nearby swirl softly, then steady once more. The femme drew a sharp breath. “No…” She breathed, and cast a look back towards the den, torn.
Ptesan-Wi bolted through the snows upon all fours, as she was accustomed to. Tongue lolled from the side of her muzzle as she bounded from drift to drift, playfully tearing up the smooth surface of the virgin snows with her trail. Looking back at the destruction, she snapped her jaws in a self-satisfied manner, then stiffly pranced up the next ridge. Tucked in its usual spot was the small town of Everlook, and Ptes pulled a folded parchment from her pocket. Getting back onto her hooves, she jogged through the archway and to the mailbox. Once more, she looked over the writing:
Sorry I haven’t been around too much…I had some things going on I couldn’t really talk about. But I got something to tell you, and I know I should have told you before. I hope you can forgive me.
If you have the time, please meet me in Everlook at sundown. I will be waiting at the inn for you, my moo.
All my love,
Nodding slightly to herself, she refolded it and dropped it into the slot. Turning on a heel, she trotted back out of the town, and faced the west. She had business with the Timbermaw to attend to before tonight, but it wouldn’t take long. A quick flight to Orgrimmar to pick up some supplies, and her night was free to speak to the Shaman. With a slight huff, she dropped to all fours once more and loped off, choosing not to follow the road, but run through the wilds to get to her destination.
Over and over in her head, Ptesan-Wi mulled over what she was going to say. And as many times as she did that, she pictured Verehd’s reaction. Would be happy….angry? Like she always did, the femme thought out all the circumstances that would happen and played them out in her mind, as if to prepare herself. So deep in thought was she that the huntress almost ran smack into the trunk of a pine; instead, she caught herself and slid to a stop a bit too late, bumping up against it. Instantly she was doused in powder from the boughs above, and Ptesan sat blinking back the snow for a moment or two before huffing and shaking off. Giggling to herself, she circled around and continued on, making sure to watch her step.
Trotting to the top of a hill, she raised a hand slightly as she scented the air. A storm was brewing…the second in two days. Ptes didn’t mind; she loved the snow. Besides, it gave reason for her to curl close to her moo tonight.
A sharp pain suddenly snapped the huntress from her musings, and her head shot up to look at her side; The shaft of an arrow was now protruding from her jet black armor. Blinking in surprise, Ptesan-Wi pulled it free with a yelp, and instantly she caught a familiar scent…it was the tranquilizing poison she had used on Magmadar. Golden eyes looked up at the sound of a bowstring going taut, and there stood a large, black bull. Muzzle curled instantly into a snarl, but it was cut off as a second arrow pierced her, this time in the shoulder. Hand went to her belt, and with a growl, she leapt forward, brandishing the skinner that was still as sharp as the day she had received it.
The Grimtotem merely smirked, and took a few steps back as the huntress’s limbs began to stop responding to her will. Ptesan-wi fought on, determined to reach him before the tranq took hold, but with the dosing she had received, there was no way. Growling softly with each breath, she lay at the hunter’s feet as he stood over her, chuckling.
“Hmm, they were right. Track the Misborn as you would a mere beast.” She snapped at him weakly when he reached down, and the bull snickered, pulling his staff from where it was fastened to his back. “Come, beast. There are a few of us that would like to make your acquaintance.” With a deft strike, he knocked the femme unconscious.
Ptesan-Wi woke up choking, and wet. Shaking her head a bit to get the water from her eyes, she looked up at the Grimtotem cow holding a freshly empty bucket and snarled out of reaction. When she tried to lunge, she found that she had been bound. Ptes’s hands had been tied behind her back, and they were now encircling a post. The harsh light and heat of the bonfire nearby made the huntress blink, but past it she could see several sets of eyes, all staring direly at her.
A quick scenting of the air, and she knew exactly where she was; Deep in the Stonetalon Mountains, in the middle of the Grimtotem complex. Her heart sank, for she was home.
“Finally, the scourge of our tribe has been apprehended!” She knew that rough voice anywhere, and looked over at Darkcloud, her father, with a wild hate in her eyes. He stood in the middle of the circle of Tauren, his hands above his head in victory, a smirk upon his muzzle. A cheer rose from the tribe, and was silenced as the Grimtotem hunter that had caught her was brought forward. “You have done well, young brave. You shall be honored amongst us from this day forward.” A fresh cheer sounded out as Darkcloud patted the young male on the shoulder, then looked Ptesan-Wi’s way. “As for you, you abomination…” he snarled softly, that smirk still plastered to his visage, “Tonight you answer for your crimes against this tribe. Tonight, the troubles you have brought upon us will end.”
For years the femme had attacked the Grimtotem villages on mere whims. Her anger towards them had never been quelled, though these days, she hadn’t slaughtered a one. In fact, it had been months now since she had raised her bow to a Grim…much had changed after she had discovered Verehd’s lineage. Her heart, which had sunk to her stomach, now fell to her hooves as she realized what was going on. This was an execution.
A brave stepped forward at Darkcloud’s signal and cut her arms free before shoving the huntress to the ground. Immediately, she was gagged, and her hands tied again. All the while, with a new hate in her eyes, the femme snapped and snarled, biting at the gag and making the corners of her mouth bleed in her rage. A sharp pain, and the world turned red as the breath was knocked from her. The one who had rebound her had kicked her side to quiet her down, and for a moment or two, it had worked. When the form of the hag came into view, however, Ptes lunged with renewed vigor. Magatha snickered down as her from her place beside Darkcloud.
“The mistake that was your birth will be put to a stop tonight, Misborn,” she hissed, kicking some dirt Ptes’s way with a grin. “For decades I have let you live, and the Earth Mother has cursed us, as was foretold. She shall forgive us when we spill your blood upon the ground, and offer your corpse to her.”
A million thoughts shot through the huntress’s mind at that moment, then focused on two; the fact she was to meet up with her bull tonight…and what she had to tell him. Regret filled her…she should have just gone back to the den after mailing the letter. She should have stayed in today. She should have told him in the first place. Now, it was too late.
No…she couldn’t just lay back and let them do this. With teeth bared around her gag, she snarled at Magatha, and veritably roared her way. A smirk fell onto the hag’s face, and with a nod of her head, the tribe came down upon her like a pack of rabid dogs. She only felt the initial pain, then all went numb under the pummeling.
Frantically, Splyttfang charged down the roads. Her paws were cut and bleeding from the distance she had already covered, yet still she pushed forward, determined.
It had gotten onto the winds that the hunter had taken Ptesan-Wi towards the Stonetalons, and Splytt had reacted as any mother would. She felt as if her heart would burst through her chest from the exertion, but she didn’t care. She had to get to her pup.
A darkness lingered on the road ahead of her, but the worg paid it no heed until it began to opaque and take form. Only when the two shining green eyes began to look upon her did she slide to a stop, and fall to her knees in prostration.
“Oh, great lord, please…” she panted, as the Dark One placed a paw on her shoulder gently. “My pup…your servant, she needs your aid!” The Dark One smiled softly and gave a nod.
“Aye, faithful one, I know.” The worg jumped to her paws.
“Then let us go!” The shadow of a wolf shook his head, and Splytt pulled back her ears in anguish.
“The help she needs is not the one you have in mind. Trust in me, I have led the huntress down this path, and I shall lead her free of it as well.” Splytt shook her head, and fell to her knees once more, weak with sorrow. Once more that paw was felt upon her shoulder. “You have new affairs to attend to now, Alphess. See to them, and there-by remember your daughter.”
Somehow, Splyttfang found the strength to get to her paws once more. But the ache in her heart would not let her move just yet. Raising her head to the heavens, she let fly a call of mourning that shook the forests around her. Ashenvale seemed to go silent, then the femme was joined in her dark song by other voices.
Two ancients of the Ashenvale Council looked at each other with splayed ears as they heard the din go up. Silently, they looked to the blind elder between them, who had a torn ear perked slightly as he canted his head. Glazed-over eyes blinked, then closed as he lay down, head on his paws.
“Years ago, I told her mother of this fate. Some things I may be blind to, yet other I see all too clearly.” He huffed softly and shrugged. “The Dark Wolf knows our path before we choose to walk it. Who are we to question the fate of our brethren?” Slowly, Akooswin raised his head. “Sing, my brother and sister. A daughter of the Rrakesh’arr dies on this night.” Shaky, yet still pronounced, his voice joined the others in mourning.
The swiftness of the gods found the paws of the Dark One, and he found himself standing before the huntress once more. With a soft sigh, he sat down, his shadowy tail wrapping over his paws as he looked her over.
The tribe had beaten her within an inch of her life. Blood oozed from her mouth and nose, and from the tears the sheer force of their clubs had ripped open. Her golden hues half lidded, she seemed to be staring into nothingness as Darkcloud looked over the accused with a smile.
“As she has lived, so she will die,” his voice announced, echoing off of the cliffs around them as the Grimtotems looked on smugly. He turned to the hunter that had captured her and pulled his blade from his belt, offering it to the young bull hilt first. “Skin her like a common animal,” he ordered, and with a nod, the young hunter took the blade and moved towards her.
The Dark One drew a sharp breath, and stared at Darkcloud with hate. But that matter was not to be attended to at this time…he had a servant to care for. A paw brushed softly against Ptesan-Wi’s bleeding cheek, and his muzzle dropped down beside her ear. It was flopped limply to the side, all control of it gone from an direct impact to it, yet still, it could hear his comforting voice.
“Ptesan-Wi, hear me, and open your eyes.” The Misborn blinked once, then looked up into a pair of ice blue eyes. All sense had left her, all that was left was the intense pain. She could barely feel her armor be removed from her back. If she would have known what was going on, she would have fought like a demon…she loved her armor, for Verehd had made it with his own hands. She looked up at him now…though it wasn’t really the Shaman. The familiar face smiled, and his hands moved down, taking her head in them and lifting it slightly so he could press his forehead against hers.
The huntress murred softly, and the hunter kneeling beside the femme gave her an odd look. It was not the typical noise one would make in such a situation. With a shrug, he forced the blade between her muscle and pelt, and began to cut it away from her flesh, starting at her shoulder.
Ptesan-Wi knew nothing of this as she stared deeply into her love’s eyes.
“Ju foun’ meh…” she mumbled, nuzzling the hands with her muzzle. The grey chuckled softly.
“Of course…I will always come to you, my heart.” The Dark One winced as he uttered the words, for his true eyes were watching the torment he was protecting her from. He looked back down to her and canted his head, the braid at his chin swinging slightly. “I wonder, my huntress, if you wished to run with me?” Ptes blinked her eyes slowly, and raised a brow.
“Run wit ju?” The grey smiled and nodded, leaning down once again to kiss her forehead.
“Aye.” Ptesan-Wi closed her eyes once more, then opened them to the form a grey wolf…one that she remembered as clearly as the bull. He got to his paws, and play-bowed, his paw batting at her encouragingly as he smiled. The huntress released a happy sigh and weakly pulled forward.
“Aye, m’love, ah will always run wit ju, ju is all ah want of dis’ worl’.” Again, she forced herself forward, and got to her paws, her tail arching over her back and giving a weak wag. With a murr and a smile, the grey nuzzled her cheek with his nose, and looked upon the wolfess fondly.
The limp, bloody pelt was set at Darkcloud’s feet, and with a smirk he looked upon what remain of the white huntress. Muscle and sinew exposed, he kicked her slightly with a hoof and snorted.
“Take her head and finish her life. Hang it alongside the road as a warning to those who may taunt the power of the Grimtotem tribe.” Another bull moved forward amidst the cheering, and raised his axe above his head, bringing it down and separating her neck. Holding it by a horn, it was raised in triumph, and the ruckus escalated to a frenzy.
But the Misborn felt and heard none of this. Her soul had released some moments prior, and stood amidst swirling tendrils of black. She saw none of it, only the grey wolf of her heart standing before her, with those eyes…that smile. With a happy yip, she bounded at him, her paws flailing at his side and maw tugging at his scruff in elation.
“Ah loves ju Verehd…Ju will stay wit meh dis time, yes?” A soft chuckle and a nod from the grey.
“Aye, my heart.” The Dark One reared up, and bounded off into the nether, the femme at his side. She could see nothing of the emptiness of the dark realm, but only the snows of Winterspring, their paws kicking up the powder as they ran. The shadow smiled to himself. Rest now, my servant. Know no pain, know no sadness. I said I would reward you for your loyalty, and for now, this is your pay.
The Charred Vale was blanketed in mist that morning, and it parted for the kodo as it lumbered down the path. The Grimtotem brave upon it looked a bit out of sorts; there had been much drinking that night, and he was eager to get back to his home to sleep it off. There had been one last order given, and he had volunteered to do it. With a grunt, he pushed the peltless corpse from the back of his kodo, and pulled the reigns to turn his mount back home. He did not see two sets of eyes watching him leave the area, or hear four pairs of paws move forward through the mist.
With great care, a courser skin was wrapped about the body, and then the limp form was lifted across the back of a familiar wolf. It was Silence, the mount and brother of the huntress. His dark grey pelt was mired only by a streak of ash across his forehead; a symbol of his mourning. In his muzzle was a bundle; they had cut down the head of the misborn from where it had been hung, and wrapped it in skins as well.
At his side stood a shadowy lupine, and with a nod, he led the mute onward, the two walking slowly so that the huge worg’s burden would not be disturbed. The mute looked to the Dark One, and gave a soft whimper. The shadow, in turn, gave a sad smile his way.
“Do not ask such questions, my silent follower. All things are answered in time, especially the ‘Why’s’.” Once more the mute looked forward, and the mist of morning wrapped about them till they were out of sight.
High upon Thunder Bluff, Magatha made her way back to her rise, a bundle tucked under her arm. Softly, she hummed a tune as she crossed the wooden bridge, enjoying the morning breeze as it caressed the buttes with the scent of the plains. It had been a good night, and the morning was greeted by clear skies and a sunrise that pained the land in oranges and red. She stopped for a moment to look upon it, then continued on.
In front of her doorway, she paused, nodding a hello to the guards as the manned their posts loyally. She pulled the bundle out and shook it out, spreading it on the ground before her door. Such a nice color, she thought to herself. Noticing the mud on her hoof, she promptly put her new doormat to use. It would have made a lovely wall-hanging, were it not for those bloody scars marring it all up. A slight shrug to herself, and the hag disappeared inside.
...Little did she suspect what she had indeed awakened...
From the start, you were a mistake, Ptesan-Wi, my little one. Before you were even born of this life, your fate was sealed. What hope did you have, when the spirits themselves proved fallible?
The femme leapt at the snowdrift, snapping at it with fangs bared before rolling in the white powder joyously. With a yip, the alabaster femme emerged from her spontaneous game in a flurry of white, her frost-dabbed muzzle now nipping at the chin of the grey. Tail high in the air and wagging furiously, the huntress play-bowed before the male, her paw reaching to bat at his chest.
“Is ju ti’ahd, me luv?” she asked, head canting to the side as she looked up at the male. The blue gaze looked her over for a moment as the muzzle cracked a slight grin.
“Aye, just a bit, my heart. But don’t pay any heed to this old bull,” he chuckled softly, leaning down to nuzzle her cheek. Ptesan-Wi groused slightly before leaping at him, her paws coming to rest softly against his side.
“Bah, ju been quiet all day, moo. Ju need t a tell meh why, eh?” Playfulness now set aside, she sat before her male, and gazed at him persistently, until she was rewarded with a heave of the shoulders.
“You run off so often, my love. I wonder, where is it you go? And this last venture, it had been weeks since you were seen in the cities, if not more.” He shook his head sadly. “I worry for your safety, Ptes.” The femme fidgeted uneasily, looking off to the side as if to escape the question, then sighing as she found no way out.
“Aye, sir…ah suppose ah should tell ya what ah been up at, eh?” Ptes sighed a bit and lay down; the grey raised a brow, then did the same. A golden eye glanced up to his hues, then back to her paws shyly. “Well sir…ju remembah a few mont’s back…dat night when um…”
A life was handed to you; one that you should not have had. Memories were left in your paws; ones that should have died with your last life. They have torn your soul asunder, and forever I beg your forgiveness.
Quietly, the wolfess had her say, eyes cast to her paws for the entirety as the vision of the grey listened, nodding thoughtfully until his ears perked, jaw dropping. Ptesan-Wi looked up at him at that point, and gave a silent nod.
“Ah be so sorreh, sir, ah shoulda told ya when ah found out.” There was a long silence before the grey allowed a gentle smile.
“His name?” Ptes lowered her head slightly, and mumbled an answer. His ears perked once more. “What does that mean?” he asked of the huntress. The femme chuckled softly, head raising just a bit.
“What else? It means, ‘meh ‘eart’.”
Now, I seek to rectify the mistake I have made.
A grin appeared on the face of the male, and softly he nudged her head against hers.
“I forgive you, my huntress. Let us go home.” Ptes’s eyes widened at the words she wanted so desperately to hear, and, as the grey pressed a paw against her head, the dream ended.