It was a simple and calm day for the taureness. The tall brittle grasses, ranging from pale yellow to emerald green, swayed in the passing breeze. The fallen leaves and wonderful smells from the nearby city traveled through the air, much to her delight. The mountains rose up on all sides, defending the tranquility of the plains from the ongoing conflict. Above the mountain ranges was the darkening blue sky that held the Earthmother's brilliantly shining eyes as An'she ran past towards the taureness's edge of view and Mu'sha followed her sister. Her eyes wandered back to the land. The relaxed plainstriders were slowly walking away from the loud stomping of the kodo herds. Some swoops still flew around looking for scraps and small rodents, but many of them had retired for the evening. Even the local wolves and cougars seemed at peace, sleeping in the warmth of the setting sun.
These were the types of days she loved the most. Had it been any other night, she would have sat down in the swaying grasses and observed. The taureness thought of how she would jump off her wolf companion and watch her smaller companions as they enjoyed the open air after so many hours in cages meant to keep them safe. She then might have taken out notes to study or simply observe the scene of oddly peaceful creatures and slip into deep thought. However, she had to travel to Thunderbluff to answer the cry of her dearest friend. Still staring at the sights in front of her, she sighed deeply before continuing to walk towards the towering mesas of the city.
The familiar sight had been comforting at first, seeing the progress her people had made over the last few years. Now, however, she was debating ignoring the call to the city. It had been years since she had left the city for her calling. She had been so determined to travel across Azeroth, to help everyone that she could. She would have never imagined that she would be traveling back to her old stomping grounds, especially under these conditions. She breathed deeply as she held the reins of her favorite mount. No, she would finish the journey to Thunderbluff, just as she had promised her.
At last, she reached the elevator at a mesa base. Patiently waiting for the lowering platform to reach her, she stroked the fur of the brown wolf, assuring him that it would be alright. Her soothing words reached her other companions as well, with her hand returning to the large containers on the back of the wolf. In them, a tiny brown fawn and a spotted white rabbit whimpered. Her brows scrunched together-she didn't think that the trip would take as long as it had. She would have to figure out a good apology for the many days spent in those damned cages, but first and foremost she had a mission. The platform lowered and both paws and hooves stepped on the platform as it rose upwards.
She arrived to step foot on the bottom tier of the middle rise. By now, the smells of baked bread, fresh fish, and other assorted goods were strong enough to make the taureness drool. She couldn't handle the ache in her stomach anymore. Deciding to buy a few fish, a loaf of bread, and a particularly good looking salad; she walked up to a group of small open tents where the scent was coming from. The taureness reached into the bag she carried on her back for some coin to make the purchase. Placing the silver pieces on the counter, she ordered and received the food she desired.
After the exchange, she decided to walk up the rise to a small area of Thunderbluff she remembered visiting the last time she was there. The small yet luscious pond was still there much to her joy. The clear blue water with the tall weeds poking out of the water near the edge of the pond had only grown since she had last been there.
The others around seemed to enjoying it as well. Some were meditating by its calm waters, while others gathered to socialize with one another. She quietly thought to herself that everything was so much more peaceful than what was going on outside. She walked over to one of the water's edges where there was less people. Sitting down by the pond, she looked over to see her companions by her side. The taureness smiled as she released the small creatures from their cages, watching them as they wandered to the pond edge to drink alongside the large wolf. She turned her attention back to the food as she laid out some meat and flora for the others to eat. For herself, she picked up the bread and began to consume the first quiet meal she had had in many days now.
"Well look who finally made it!"
Finishing her last bite, she looked up and down for the source of the voice. It was difficult to figure out who exactly called, especially since the source seemed to come from a rather large crowd of tauren. She shrugged in defeat and turned back to her meal. Taking a bite from the small fish she had bought herself, she watched her critters as they returned to enjoy their meal as well. A light tap of the shoulder made her turn around once more as she heard the same familiar voice speak, but with a more distinct tone of worry rather than excitement.
"Sister, I thought you would have at least said 'Hello' after so long."
Eyes widening, the taureness smiled as she stood up to speak with her friend. Her light brown fur was hastily groomed like she remembered it to be., but there was no sign of the long braids. Instead, there were four wild ponytails of chopped hair. Her smile was wide as ever if not a bit forced, but her bright blue eyes seemed off somehow. Even the proud white horns that extend to either side of her head were different with the way they were coated in a thin layer of dried mud. Despite the worry that had led her here and the way her friend looked, she began to stand up to greet her.
Once she was up on her two feet, she looked down as she began apologizing. "I am so sorry. I suppose I got a bit distracted by the food and-"
Widening her grin, the other taureness interrupted. "There is no need to explain. You just arrived from your travels and we have some important things to discuss. But first, there is something I need to do."
Before she had time to respond, her body was wrapped in her friend's arms. The taureness returned the hug. There they stood for what seemed like all but a moment. Once they parted, she looked her friend in the eyes and widened her grin.
"It is good to see you too, Winoa. Tell me, what had been troubling you. You seemed quite distressed when you wrote to me last time and you said you would explain everything once I got here. So…" The taureness made small circles with her hand, urging her to pick up where she left off.
Winoa began playing with her fingers as she nodded. "Alright, but I cannot speak about here and definitely not without some tea." She paused, noticing how dirty and tired the other taureness looked. "When was the last time you were able to sit down to a good cup of herbal tea?" Her voice filled with more concern as she spoke.
"It has been a while…" The taureness admitted as her friend grabbed her by the arm and seemed to drag her to a small tent that she knew belonged to Winoa.
Once inside, the taureness looked around to find that much had changed since the last time she had been inside the tent. Where she used to lay her well-loved rug down for rest, there was now a medium sized bag overflowing with needles, thread, and other supplies for leatherworking. Instead of the many parchments that would overflow from the makeshift shelves, there was stacks of raw hide and clean smoking pipes. Even the comforting smell of tea had faded, now mixed with other herbs the taureness knew were not for brewing or ink. She decided to sit down near the leatherworking bag. She settled in, listening to Winoa brew the beverages. Besides the sound of pots being filled with water and the ruffle of the herb bags, the tent was filled with an awkward silence that only ceased once Winoa sat down alongside Kennocha.
"The tea is ready. Sorry about the brew, it might be a bit stale after sitting out for so long." The taureness apologized as she sat by Kennocha. "It was not out too long though, so it should still be alright."
Kennocha gave a soft smile towards her friend. "It seems wonderful." She watched as Winoa looked down at her cup, stirring its contents quietly. "Please, Winoa, why are you so worried? You know I want to help."
"I know that. It is why I asked you to meet me here." Winoa grumbled. The cheerful display she had shown off outside had quickly vanished, making Kennocha worry even more for her friend.
"I assume you have not heard of Jafern yet, have you?" Winoa asked in a near whisper. She looked up to lock eyes with Kennocha. Looking at her friend, she finally recognized how red and puffy her eyes were. Something was wrong.
Nodding, the taureness sighed as she continued her explanation. "Well the two of us were organizing the feast to celebrate our union, right here actually, when he randomly asked if I loved him. I was confused, but I answered him anyway. I told him that I loved him with all my heart and it seemed alright afterwards. He just nodded as we went back to our planning sessions."
Kennocha bowed her head, listening as she took the final sip of her tea. Realizing the long pause from Winoa, she leaned closer to her so that their shoulders touched. Turning to see her face, she saw her eyes begin to tear up as she went ahead with the tale.
"I did not think much of it until two weeks ago. I was sitting by the edge of the pond, thinking about the future when Jafern surprised me. When I turned to see him, I saw him dressed in his Brave armour. All he did was tell me that he was going on duty and he could not wait to see me tonight. I shrugged if off once again as the exhaustion from the festivities." She paused once more, taking a deep breath as she continued.
"But he never returned. I waited for him all night, but there was no sign of him. I was worried about him, but I just assumed he got caught up in guard duty.
"By now, the demonic attacks had reached Mulgore. People were going missing constantly and those that stayed in view were constantly being barraged by their armies. I was worried about Jafern, but I had to tend to the injured and defend the towns. Between that and organizing defensives for a possible invasion, I have had no time to even think about it too often."
Kennocha furrowed her brow and nodded. She had been dealing with the Legion attacks for weeks now herself.
"The only time I get to think about him is quiet nights like this. There has been no word of him and I worry about my mate. Besides, I figured you would want to know about your brother." Her eyes finally betrayed her, trickling her face with tears as she looked Kennocha in the eyes. "Please, I need your help."
The taureness was stunned, more for her friend rather than the actual story. Winoa was known as the more strong and independent one out of the two, but here she was. If she had swallowed her pride a week ago to write to her from this desperation, what had she been going through since then?
Then there was the anxiety behind her brother's disappearance. Kennocha tried not to focus on it while Winoa suffered, but she had to wonder why he left without a reason. It just seemed unlike him.
"I do not know what to say. Did he leave anything behind, a letter perhaps?"
Winoa looked to the mat and shook her head. "He left nothing and took only the clothes on his back and his mace." Tears kept falling from her chin.
She had to do something, but she did not what to say or do. Instead, she let her instincts take over to speak.
"How about you join me in my journey?"
Well, that was not the right question, but it would have to do.
Winoa looked back up at Kennocha with her brows arching in confusion. "Excuse me?"
"Well, I have to start heading down to Stranglethorn tonight. I wanted to stay longer, but I got news from the Cohort about another sparring match. So you should come with me. You might even like it." Her voice was still quiet with worry, but the tone was less restrained and more playful. "What do you say?"
The taureness was staring at her hands as she rubbed them together, thinking about the offer. "I have no choice, do I?" The light mask she had worn outside was back on, her voice airy and soft.
The taureness smiled at her friend. "You have one, but not as open as one might think." Extending her hand out to Winoa, the two grasped each other's wrists as they pulled themselves off of the mat.
They stared at each other for a minute, observing the other's face. All was quiet until Kennocha spoke up again.
"Alright, you can start packing and I will go check on the others."
Winoa's eyes widen as she remembered seeing the wolf outside. "You brought Faeren?"
"Along with Nisi, Yadwi, and Talshre. Why would I not bring them? They are friends too."
Winoa laughed, making Kennocha grin wider. "You and your critters have a special bond. Seriously though, how many animal friends have you made? You are like a prancing dryad with an army of fluffy rabbits and birds."
"I already have everyone with me. I will be back." Kennocha turned and walked out of the small tent, leaving Winoa behind to sort through her array of items.
Author's Note-Well this is the beginning of my first multi-chapter story. I will try to update as soon as possible, but I make no promises. Leave any comments, questions, or concerns in the reviews or p.m. me. Have a great day!