The druidess was shivering by the time she had returned to Sun Rock. Her attire was completely soaked, dripping from the bottom of her robe onto the ground. What little brown fur was showing from underneath the many layers of hides and fur was sprinkled with white flakes akin to the thin layer of snow on her horns.
"Auntie Kenn!" The boy grinned, feeling the oncoming chill from under his blanket. "It's snowing!"
"Not anymore," Winoa corrected. "It stopped around an hour ago."
Kennocha gave a slight nod in response as she began taking off the drenched clothing. She made her way towards the small fire in the center of the hut. She sat next to Maliko, who promptly shoved one of many blankets onto Kenn's lap. She gingerly wrapped the blanket around her upper body, extending her hooves to the fire.
All the while, Winoa intently stared at the druidess. "Well?"
She looked up towards the water walker's face, biting her lips as she tried to think of a response.
"Kennocha," She asked, "what did the Elder say?"
"Epana thinks it's best if we follow Maliko." The druidess stated.
At the sound of his name, the child perked his head up from his nest of blankets. "Huh?" He muttered, rubbing his eyes sleepily.
"Follow him where exactly?" The mother questioned.
"She spoke of his ability to think like Nisi." Kennocha turned to face her nephew as he half-way listened. "To act like she would. He just might be the way to find Nisi again."
"Nisi?" Maliko asked in a hushed voice. He reached over to where his dragonhawk lay sleeping and began to shake him. The pink dragonhawk gave a small growl before curling up in a ball.
"Maliko! Don't wake up Eagle!" Winoa called out, " He's still recovering from his injuries. He needs to rest if he's going to get better."
Maliko ignored his mother's words, continuing to rock the dragonhawk. "He know."
"He knows what?" Kennocha asked.
The four-year-old picked up the dragonhawk and began to sway his body. "Where Nisi ran to."
At that answer, the two taurnesses paused. The druidess had widened her eyes in shock before grinning at the prospect. Her Sister reached out to boy's arms, her face full of concern.
"How do you know that, Little Wave?" Winoa gently asked, worried about what that statement might have meant.
"Eagle said so." Maliko answered as he rocked.
"When did he tell you this?"
The boy shrugged. "Last night."
Winoa pursed her lips, fearing the worst. "How did he tell you where Nisi is?'
Maliko kept swaying as he replied. "He opened his beak and said so."
Kennocha, who didn't the problem with Maliko's answers, simply laughed. "Do you know where she is?"
"No," Maliko shook his head, "but Eagle does."
Winoa's hand traveled from the boy's lower arm to the dragonhawk's scaly head. She shook her head as she muttered under her breath. Maliko looked up to meet his mother's eyes while he moved Eagle closer to his chest.
"Maliko, please." Winoa says sternly, "Eagle needs to rest."
Before the boy could give a retort to his mother, Kennocha takes the critter out of his arms and sets him down in the blanket nest.
"Hey!" Maliko shouted, "You can't do that. Eagle was trying to tell me something!"
Kennocha raised an eyebrow towards her nephew. "He was sleeping though…"
"That's just how he speaks!" Maliko huffed, crossing his arms as he stuck his tongue out at his aunt.
"I think it's time for bed." Winoa stated from behind her son.
The boy spun around to his mother. "But Mama, I-"
"No buts unless they're in bed asleep." She declared.
"Fine," The boy pouted as he plopped back into the blanket of nests by Eagle and began to finish his statement. "But I can still-"
"-sleep." Winoa interrupted. "Of courses you can. Good night, Little Wave."
Grumbling, the boy laid back into the blankets and closed his eyes. He inched closer to Eagle, extending his hand towards the dragonhawk's body.
Nodding in approval, Winoa sat back down next to Kennocha. Just as Kennocha was about to open her mouth to continue the conversation, Winoa placed her pointer finger on her Sister's lips.
The two continued to watch the boy as he began to drift off to sleep. It was a silent time that seemed to drag on for hours. Kennocha couldn't tell how long it actually was, be it five minutes or sixty. The druidess ached to resume their conversation, curious as to the argument she had just witnessed.
Eventually, Winoa rose from her position by the dying fire and leaned over her son's steady from. She carefully looked over him, listening for any tell-tale signs of his awareness before returning to Kennocha's side and sitting by the druidess.
"Alright, we can talk now. I just had to make sure he had fallen asleep." Winoa explained.
Kennocha glared puzzled at her Sister. "Why would you be concerned whether or not he was?"
"He's so young." The water walker turned to look at her son's position with a small frown on her face. "He shouldn't be dealing with any of this. We didn't have to, at least not until we were older, so why should he?"
The druidess furrowed her brow. "He shouldn't have to deal with what?"
"He's too young to have to deal with war like this." The eldest of the taurenesses sighed. "Jafern and I tried to give him a quiet, simple life. One where he was safe and happy. It worked for a while, living out here. There was still wars going on in Pandaria, then Draenor, but he didn't see any of it. He was able to play and explore like any child should have.
"Of course, it couldn't last long. The Burning Legion took all we had worked for. They invaded our lands, burned down forests and villages, killed so many… all while Maliko watched."
The water walker choked back on a sob before continuing. "I think his father's death and everyone's struggles against the Legion have been getting to him. He keeps waking up at night, usually crying. The nightmares range from Nisi trapped in a burning forest to Jafern dying alone on a beach…"
"Nightmares?" Kennocha asked, startled to hear it. "How often? When did they start?"
Winoa began drawing circles on her leg with her fingers. "It's been going on for weeks, around three to four times a week."
"Around the same time Nisi began having freakouts?" Kennocha asked rhetorically.
Winoa didn't notice, instead nodding to answer the question. "I just don't want to put more stress on Maliko…"
"We might have to though." Kennocha whispered.
The water walker perked her head back up to look at the druidess. "What?"
Kennocha pursed her lips together. "It sounds like the Elder was right. If Maliko has been having nightmares around the same time Nisi has, then they might be closer to the same page than we thought."
"How do we even know they're connected?" Winoa asked, growing more wary of Kennocha's ideas with each passing answer.
"We don't." Kennocha replied.
The water walker leaned back, anxiety continuing to swell in her voice as she stated, "Well, that's reassuring!"
"It's all we have though." The druidess defended, "We are going to have to follow Maliko's ideas."
"You can't do this Kennocha," Winoa stated. "You remember what happened last time Maliko tried to follow the fawn as well as I do."
Kennocha shook her head. "It will be different."
"He was missing for an entire day!" The water walker stated. "When we finally found him, he had barely eaten and was sobbing hysterically in Ratchet of all places!"
"I know, but Nisi needs him." Kennocha softly begged. "Please, it might just stop the nightmares."
Winoa's face softened slightly as she sighed in defeat. "Alright then, but if anything happens to him, you might as well begin preparing your trip to the spirit realm."
The druidess pounced on her Sister, hugging her until wiped away stray tears from her eyes. Winoa simply returned the hug before letting go and lying down on the mat underneath her.
"Good night, Kennocha." Winoa slurred as she fell into her long awaited rest.
Author's Note: As always, constructive criticism is amazing! Thanks for reading and have a great day!