3 Mar

Hey folks – While Windpaw is AFK he has me, his Writer-Bot posting some of the older stuff he’s written.  These are stand alone works and they might be a bit rough so consume with caution!

Anyway, Pike wrote up a nice two part story a while back that delved into the reationship between hunters and their pets.  It’s not the typical “farewell” story where hunter and a beloved animal companion part ways – and that gives the tale some real cool points.  Because Windpaw is a sentimental slob he pulled out this bit that he wrote back in 2005 or so.  It *is* the typical “farewell” story and for that gentle reader – we make no apologies.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Wind’ is still kinda bent out of shape about having to click “abandon” when too many pets, too few stable slots and too little money gang up and force him to release a pet.  So he writes stuff like this to make *himself* feel better.

Tamzen had noticed the cat’s color looked bad and that she slept late and woke slowly. But she still fought with vigor if not with the same wild abandon the night elf hunter remembered.

“Are we both getting old, girl?” he asked ruefully one morning as they roused themselves from their camp deep in the Arathi Highlands. Lady growled noncommittally but slouched over and laid her head in Tamzen’s lap. She growled again, this one more of a moan that emanated from the back of her throat. The night elf grinned and began to scratch the back of the big cat’s neck. His grin widened as he felt more than heard the Snow Leopard begin to purr, a rich, resonant sound that came from deep in her breast.

Tamzen continued to stroke the cat’s fur, taking quiet pleasure in her nearness and knowing that their bond was still strong. His fingers paused as they passed across an old scar. The hunter frowned and smoothed the fur around the poorly healed wound. There were many of them spread across her flank and on her belly, some large, some small. His healing art, though magic in nature, was not perfect, and they had fought many battles together.

Lady continued to purr, her eyes shut and her countenance relaxed. Tamzen carressed his wild friend and thought back to when he’d first found her. He was younger – only a score or more seasons adventuring in world outside Teldrassil. He was working as a scout and rifleman for the Coldridge Valley Irregulars and he had seen her spoor for days as he tracked Troggs and Wendigo through the frozen landscape of Dun Morogh. They had met as he was breaking camp one morning. She was crouched a few yards from his fire and had been staring at him with luminous sapphire eyes. Tamzen glanced at his own left arm, under his leather armor was the deep furrow she had gouged in him when he first tried to tame her. He had left the mark untreated by magic to remind him of their bond and the fight that had marked the beginnings of their adventures together.

Something unwanted and hollow crept into the pit of Tamzen’s stomach. The night elf swallowed and continued to stroke Lady’s pelt. Hunters knew many animal companions during their travels. It wasn’t uncommon for those of his kind to know hundreds across the span of their long lives. But Lady was special, she was his first. They had saved one another countless times; against Orc Champions in the Red Ridge Mountains, Raptors in the Wetlands, and of late, the Forsaken Warriors that patrolled the highlands. But of late, her mood and appetite had been telling him something that his heart did not yet wish to hear. She was tired – tired of fighting – and she was homesick for the mountains.

His eyesight blurring, Tamzen sucked miserably on one end of his long blue mustache. He had known their time together wasn’t going to last forever, but for it to be coming to an end so soon was hard. Worse, he had seen signs for a while now that had told him of her desire to return to the wild. For his own sake he had ignored them. He fed her more lavishly and showered her with attention – yet the look of longing and of weariness had persisted.

The wind stirred their camp and Tamzen could taste snow in the air. He looked around at the harsh beauty of Arathi and then at Lady, a beautiful, yet alien being in this land of rock and scrub.

“You should know love other than mine – and bear strong cubs,” he said quietly, still running his hands across her flank. “You should hunt Thistleback and live wild as you were meant to.” Tears running freely down both cheeks Tamzen chuffed the back of the big cat’s neck again. She raised her head, and surveyed him with a pair of bright eyes as blue as the sky of her homeland.

“I release you, my friend. Find peace and comfort in your own way.”

Lady blinked as something intangible broke between her and the night elf. She eased herself to her feet as Tamzen sat, one hand still on her flank, the other caressing her muscular shoulder.

Tamzen laughed and held her tightly while Lady, with a slow, rough tongue, gently kissed his tears away.

In moments she was gone – a slash of white – stark against the grays and greens of Arathi. She was headed south he knew, towards Dun Modr, the Algaz Gate, then home. Tamzen sat for a long while – feeling empty and alone with out Lady’s presence to warm and protect him. He would remember her for the rest of his long life – and she him, but he knew the chances he would ever see his friend again were as slight and dim, as the few rays of sun that pierce the forested canopies of Darkshore.

-_-   abandon….gah….


3 Responses to “Abandon…”

  1. Hulan March 3, 2009 at 21:59 #

    Imma fillin’ oop now! *stomps off to the pub*

  2. Capn John March 4, 2009 at 03:34 #

    Bugger. That didn’t end the way I feared it would, and yet…I’ve still got sumptin in me eye. Speck o’ dust or sumptin, makin’ me eyes water. Dwarves don’t cry! It’s a speck o’ dust, dammit!

  3. Syrana March 7, 2009 at 01:33 #

    A very touching story indeed. I think I feared the same thing as Capn John, and am glad she went free instead.

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