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Chapter OneEdit

by Nightshade

Nightshade sat atop the Savage Coast Fishmonger building, her sharp ears listening to the conversation several floors below her. The Bay was noisy, to be sure, but the druid found that her hearing was always remarkable when she wore the skin of the cat. They spoke in their secret language, the one it had taken her months to learn.

"...and I want the Head of that bitch. Even if I hunt her down myself."

That sounded like the blond one, Kennia. Nightshade smirked to hear such angry words directed at her. There were other sounds too: The heavy mouth-breathing of an orc. Someone jabbed the tip of a dagger into a solid piece of wood.

"The druid will die. It's the price for crossing us." These words were spoken with icy tones. "Must be their little mage," the druid thought, filing away the information for later.

"Narg? You gather information on that thing and hire thugs. Also, talk to that Elven woman. Seems they were good at...interrogation. Her death will be slow, I swear." She heard the orcish voice respond.

"Narg. Probably short for something. He's the other big orc," Nightshade thought, taking mental note of the name.

She listened as conversation turned to business in Shattrath. She heard the mage talking about meeting some man. Kennia's voice said "Phea, I would like to have some Tigers watching you from the shadows. With this Slayer out there, I would feel better."

Nightshade nearly purred with delight at the name they had given her. Slayer. She made mental note that the mage was called Phea and heard Kya and Narg volunteer for guard duty. "I rather be safe. We used to think nothing could harm Nerrok," said Kennia.

"Ah," the druid grinned. "They thought of the big orc as invincible." A cruel delight curled in her stomach as she remembered that fight. "He was very fun. Let's hope the others are up to the challenge."

The mage spoke again. "We still can not be so sure he has been harmed."

"True, Phea. So true," Kya said, hope and anger mixed in her voice.

"You are right," Kennia answered. "But until then each one of you will be more careful. I dont want a box showing up with anymore hearts. Are we clear?"

"I can not make that promise," Phea shot back. "I was hoping to perserve and box the druid's heart."

"Once we find her..." The blond warrior's threat hung in the air and then conversation turned to business with gnomes. Nightshade lounged on the roof a while longer. When the meeting began to wind down, she stretched and silently padded back into the jungle.

"Ah, Von. Your new 'family' is soooo deliciously entertaining. When I'm done, you'll beg me to forgive you."

Chapter TwoEdit

by Nightshade

He smelled her before he ever heard a footstep. Damp earth. Fresh blood. Something intimately feminine. The combination was as intoxicating as it was perverse. Her voice came from somewhere outside the grove where the hunter had made camp. "Mmm. This is a lovely spot, Von. Will you build a new cabin here to rrreplace the one you burrrned?"

"This is just a one night stop on my hunt to find you" he answered. He kept his voice and manner casual, but his sharp senses scanned the area, trying to locate the druid.

"Oooh! Hunting for me? I feel so... wanted. Arrre you sure you wouldn't rrrather talk about old times? Purrrhaps we could go find an unsuspecting carrravan somewhere. Have a little fun." She was trying to bait him, but he didn't fall for it.

"You don't listen well," he said, lighting a cigarette. "Or maybe the little swim you took affected your hearing. There is nothing left between us. I might have let you walk away once, but now you threaten my family. Stupid."

"Name calling?" Von could hear the mock pout in her voice. "Tsk. And I had hoped for such a lovely rrreunion underrr the starrrs. Pity."

"None of us believe that you took out Nerrok. All you're doing is moving your name higher on the list of people that need eliminating." The hunter exhaled smoke through his nose. He grew concerned that he couldn't pinpoint her.

"Yes. That's rrrright. I overhearrrd rrrecently that he was yourrr invincible forrrce. He did put up a good fight. I do hope therrre's morrre like him in yourrr little circle of frrriends. That will make it morrre fun forrr me." Her feline voice came at him from all directions. His usually sharp eyes just didn't catch any movement out in the night.

"You aren't going to lay a finger on any of them. I told you before. They are my family. What you do to them, I'll personally return to you tenfold." His pulse quickened. She was so close, and yet he couldn't spot her.

"You keep speaking of family and yet, you pushed me and our unborrrn into that strrream to drrrown and die. Maybe you arrren't the family man you think you are. Maybe you rrrealy do belong with me." The words gave him pause. He didn't question that he would give his life to protect the Tong but the mention of their child made him wonder if there wasn't a hint of truth to her words.

"What happened to the child after we fought?" he asked quietly, not certain if he wanted to hear the answer.

"Well, if it's a child you want, there's a lovely village downstrrream. Several of them look quite tasty. Or purrrhaps you'd like anotherrr one of your own. I'm game." Her voice took on a playful quality and he felt her touch sear the naked flesh on his back. Clawed fingertips carved shallow, bloody gouges as her hands trailed from his shoulder to waist.

"What happened to the child?" he asked again, muscles in his jaw tensing. He pushed back the growing rage.

"Gone," she said with a disappointed sigh. Her touch stopped. "Returned to dust. Washed away. Almost forrgotten. That's your doing Qal'Tirrin. You were the one who left us to drown. That's on your hands."

"Just stop, Nightshade" Von said, disgusted.

She purred with malicious delight "How does it feel? To be morrre eeevil than little ol' me?"

"Stop it," he snarled.

Her voice hissed in his ear, like poisonous vipers. "The young lives I took were all strangers, but you... You. Killed. Your own. Child."

"Stop!" He roared, enraged. Drawing his knife he crouched into a battle stance and spun to face nothing but darkness.

His breathing was ragged as his senses slowly came back to him. There was nothing there except for the cool night air and the gentle flicker of fireflies. It was just a dream. All of it, just a dream.

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