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Becoming - Part 2

--by Shisou


((Continued from the first part of Becoming. Authors of this peice were predominately Giska, Krelle, and Shisou))

He only gradually, subtlety, became of aware of his own existence. As though his essence was just rousing from a long slumber. At first there were no thoughts, just being, and slowly he became more and more conscious. Eventually, he became aware that he was not contained. This seemed odd for a time but the basest part of him could not recall why, and only trudged on slowly towards awakening.



The small form hadn't moved since the seizures had subsided. Had it not been for Ikanda checking on him every few moments, and the subtle changes that heralded his recovery, they may have believed him dead. Giska had sat beside the pallet of furs, watching beside him, for the entire night. He had not moved once the entire time. The return of his skin tone and the reversal of the other wretched symptoms had occurred so slowly that she did not see them as they occurred. He just lay there; thin and frail and small.



It was sometime before his consciousness dragged itself out of the abyss of non-existence. Something was happening, but all he knew was that the scales had changed again. The hunger was not as strong as it was before. He could climb out. And climb he did, pulling himself up and out of his prison of the soul.



"How much longer do ya think?" The tauren woman was leaning over the bed, holding one hand on Shisou's chest to feel for breathing and a heartbeat. After a moment she turned back to Giska.

"There is no saying. To my knowledge this cure has never been used for this before. If it was meant for forsaken then it may kill him before it cures him. The longer he stays like this though..." She waved a three-fingered hand at the pallet. "The less likely it is he'll ever wake up."



He stood on a plateau now, the cliff he climbed behind him, under him. But he was not yet free. The other was here as well. The hunger. It crouched and glared at him with pale, ghostly eyes that glimmered in the dark; his polar opposite in this place. It hated him for his impertinence. For escaping his prison. For denying it. And he hated it in return for the pollution of his being. For the harm it had done to him and others.

The hunger sprung at him, striking him and nearly sending him back into the pit. But he slipped away from it, and when it jumped again he struck out with the force of his will. He sent the hunger into the abyss. Sent it snarling and hating and reviling. And only when the abyss closed did he turn to the world outside.



The world was bright, and harsh and he could not look at it right away but had to shut his eyes. He had seen someone sitting next to him though. Could smell the scents on the air. Familiar, though he could not place them right away. He opened his mouth to speak and found it dry as paper. "W... Wha... What happened?"


The orc sat up straight as the small, frail body of Shisou stirred slightly. She moved forward a bit and brushed a bit of the hair that had fallen onto his face and grinned widely when as he spoke. She chuckled and shook her head as she gingerly lifted his head.

"Easy Pinky...Lots happened. Too much, but I tell ya bout all tha later. We just glad ya finally woke up and aint tryin ta munch on us anymore." She smiled down at him. She carefully reached out for the skin of water she kept in her pack and dabbed a bit of the liquid on the elf's dryed, cracked lips. "I'm sure yer very thirsty, but ya gotta drink so...dont want ya chokin just as ya woke up." She waited for a bit of a response before carefully and slowly tipping the skin to spill the water into past his lips and stopped it after a very short time as to let him drink with ease.

She sat him up slowly and held out the water skin to him and nodded. "People gonna wanna know tha ya woke up, and I'm betting tha hearing ya voice on the comm is gonna make several people smile."


He wanted more water but he also wanted to expel everything he'd ever ingested so those two wants cancelled out. "huh? who? Eat people?" a very disturbing thought floated into his head. "Did I... die?"

He tried opening his eyes again, but it was still too bright and he was so very tired. The voice sounded very familiar. Someone he knew?


She shook her head as she pulled her pack to her side and began to rummage through it after watching his reaction when he attempted to open his eyes. "No no, nothin tha bad. Ya not dead, nor did ya die. Ya still with us Pinky, which is a good thing I think." She half chuckled as she pulled out a thick strip of linen. "Unless ya know...ya wanted ta be rid of us all?"

She moved around him and set her hands on his shoulders. "Ya dont move." She gave his shoulder a light pat, but still caused him to grunt. The orc slowly wrapped the linen over his eyes to shield them from, what she guessed, was the small amount of light that was burning his eyes. Once she was satisfied with the simple tie at the back of his head, she moved back and sat in front of him. "No, not dead, but ya did give us all a scare. We werent sure if we were ever gonna get ya back....providing ya still have all yer marbles in yer head." She forced another smile as she gave his knee a quick pat.

"But lesse how many marbles ya got left in yer bag....Do ya remember yer name...how much do ya remember at all?"


"I'm Saga.... no... Shisou." He could feel his head starting to clear, like slowly rising out of a pool after swimming too deep. "I'm a... courier. I make deliveries... for the Ton... Grey Tiger. I live... I'm from Silvermoon. That's my home. I... Osan?!" For a moment his mind twisted the voice in his ear, returning to a memory long before, but only for a moment. "No... Osan's gone..." He turned his head, looking around, but all that was visible through the linen were shadows and shapes. At least the light didn't burn his eyes though. "Where am I?"


Saga?

"Yes, Shisou...thats right, yer a tiger just like me...yes, he's still gone I'm afraid." She nodded as he spoke. "In a cave in Mulgore. It was the safest place ta get yer treatment, but now tha yer awake, we can take ya anyplace ya'd feel better at, course gotta wait for tha druid ta say tha ya can leave." She looked around the cave then back to the elf. "Do ya remember my name or tha names of tha other tong?"


"Gis?" No wonder the voice was so familiar. "Uh... let's see... there's General and Lucky and that sho... or I mean Nerrok and Krelle and Lu and... why am I in Mulgore?"


She winced as he asked and let out a low sigh as her shoulders dopped. "Ya got sick...real sick. Ya got taken in Outlands....and.." She muttered the next part and wasn't surprised when she looked to him and was met with a look that asked for her to repeat it. "Well, from wha I gather from all the talking and such, tha one tha took ya pumped yer system full of fel magics." She shut her eyes and rubbed her eyes. "Shi, ya went wretched."

Gis'ka scooted back to lean on the wall of the cave and pulled her knees up to her chest and rested her chin atop her knees. "Krelle and tha others tha got ya back, they thought it best tha ya be kept in Thunder Bluff." She kept her voice low as she spoke on, trying to keep her voice calm in order to keep him from freaking out. If it was working or not, she couldn't tell with the blind over his eyes. "Ya had to be...contained, ta keep ya from hurting yerself or anyone for that matter."


"... Oh." The memory of being injected slammed back into his brain and for a moment, just a moment, he panicked. It was almost like he could feel the needles in his palms and the fel crawling in him. It only lasted a moment... but it left him feeling very much vulnerable and unsettled. "Was anyone hurt?"


She leaned her head back slowly and rested it on the wall. "No, not that I know of...got close a few times, but tha was only cause some people got too close ta tha cag...cage." She looked back to him, studying his reaction to the what she said then nodded. "Stupid question, I know..but, how are ya doing?" She shook her head and forced another smile. "No no...dont bother answering just yet Pinky....You lay back down right now and rest a little."

She stood up slowly and dusted off her pants. "I'll be back in a bit Shi. I'm gonna let tha Tong know tha ya are awake now." She reached over and gently ruffled his hair before making her way to the mouth of the cave. She brought her finger up to her ear and switched on her comm.

"Krelle, General, Sannia....anyone else thas awake. Thought ya'll might wanna know that tha Pinky's awake finally." She smiled to herself as she stepped out of the cave and looked about slowly for Ikanda. She can't be too far away...


He watched through the linen bandage as Giska left to go get the healer, leaving Shisou alone in the dim space. The dirt floor filled the area with the smell of earth and the fur pallet beneath him was soft. He felt incredibly tired, so incredibly tired, but he couldn't sleep. Perhaps because he couldn't escape the thought that as soon as he'd close his eyes, the hunger would be there waiting for him. For now it was shut away, somewhere with him. He realized that something felt different on some level, but he was too tired to give it much thought.

But then, maybe this what it took. Now that his rest was forced he could see that he had been running from job to job. Anything to get away from his situation. To get away from having to face that he'd lost everything he'd cared about his whole life. Some through chance, some through fate, and some through his own actions. He couldn't admit it before. Maybe if he'd been strong enough to not run from that fact, then he wouldn't be here now.

Osan's words floated back to him now that his mind was quieted. The past is what we've left behind. If we keep watching it one is libel to walk into a ditch. What was past was past. If he didn't accept that and look forward, then he'd walk into another ditch. Walking off a cliff seemed a more apt analogy under the circumstances.

He felt a deep pang of embarrassment then. Everyone had seen his mistake this time. Giska had said he hadn't hurt anyone, so there was that at least, but still... It was a terribly humbling thing. The dark secret of his nightmares had not only been dragged out of him, but had been flaunted before the others. His pride, his honor, had been stripped from him.

He could hear someone coming back to the cave by now. So what's it going to be Sagara? Wallow in the past? Or move forward?...


Krelle's eyebrows shot up at the news. Holy fel on a netherstick, it actually worked. Well, I'll be burned. She clicked her com on. "How's he doin', G?"



Ikanda looked up from her notes as Giska came out of the cave. "Has his condition changed?" she asked.

The orc nodded, looking pleased. "He woke up - "

Ikanda didn't bother to wait for the rest of the her description. Easier to assess the patient for herself. She dropped her logbook by her pack and grabbed her staff, using it to push herself up. "Let's have a look, shall we?"

Giska hurried after her as she entered the cave.


She rushed back into the cave and stopped once she got back to Shisou and Ikanda. She smiled down at Shisou before speaking lightly into her comm. "Ikanda's about ta find out it looks like."

She moved to sit across from Shi again and leaned back on the wall of the cave. "Well...lights hurtin his eyes, thas why I put the linen over'em." She spoke lightly as she leaned watched the two.


"He has not used his eyes for some time, so they should be sensitive to light at first. His vision will return to normal in time." The tauren's shadow/voice turned to Shi then. "Do you feel any discomfort?"

"uh... my head feels funny, my mouth and throat are dryer'in tha' Flats... I ain't sure I could, ya know, pick up a plate much less eat off it. 'n apparently I can be taken 'n made inta tha second worst thing imaginable without any say so at all." He paused for a moment, letting the words sink into his own head as well as any ears that might be listening. "Other'n that I guess I'm peachy..."


((A few days later, on Thunder Bluff))

Part of him wanted to get right back to work even after everything that had happened. To leap into one distraction after another. But he'd learned the lesson of this trial. Krelle had said he could take some time. He didn't ask how much and she didn't say, but that was well enough for him. He needed time to work through it all, and hopefully his absence wouldn't cause many problems. Apparently Lu had already found herself a new driver. Would she even want him back there anyway? Hope so, I've apparently got to make it up to 'em. And if not... well maybe that's easiest.

Fortunately, he found Thunder Bluff the perfect place for his recovery. Unlike Silvermoon or Outlands, there was hardly any magic to tempt him. Instead he found the place thriving with life. The Tauren seemed simple, but he was coming to learn that they had a culture much more complex than he would have imagined. They weren't just 'horn-heads' anymore, but rather he found himself admiring them. These were a people who had been chased and harassed by most other races throughout history, but they'd never left nature behind. Never stopped being what they were. In a world where corruption seemed to creep into everything, they were still pure.

He'd taken to spending much of his days walking through the city. He remained in the simple wool and leather cloths that Ikanda had found for him and just simply walked about. He watched people, watched the sky, watched Mulgore below. And he listened. He listened to travelers, to the wind, to the Tauren when they weren't speaking that tongue of theirs, and he listened to himself. Apparently he had a lot to say to himself and now he had to hear all of that.

His feet carried him from one bluff to another, but most often he stayed close to Spirit Rise. He was still too weak of body to cover the entire city. And so it was that he came to sit and rest near a group of young tauren gathered around a fire. At least, they looked young to him. They looked taller than him, but their horns didn't look full yet. They were all speaking with one another in that tongue of theirs while he sat a few yards off, leaning against a post for a nearby tent. Another tauren emerged from one of the other tents and Shisou's eyebrows rose together. He'd thought Nargesh must've been the biggest giant on the planet. But this tauren could have have rivaled Nargesh, even if you accounted for the Tauren's natural size. He was massive and huge at the same time, and his gray fur-covered skin and horns were marked with subtle red runes. Even just walking up to the side of the fire left clear of the Tauren youths, his size and runes made for an impressive sight.

The runed giant stopped between the fire and the edge of the bluff. He began speaking to the youths in Taureh until he spotted Shisou sitting apart from them but watching the whole scene curiously. And just at that, the Tauren began speaking in Orcish. His voice was deep and his words slow, but Shisou had found this to just be the way that the Tauren spoke naturally. "I am here today to impart the tale of a great warrior. A spirit who has earned our honor. I speak of the wolf Ghost Howl."

The storyteller knelt down and traced something into the soil at his hoof. The earth glowed for a moment and then shifted and weaved as he made gestures over it and soon it began to form rough figures only a few inches tall. Figures of trees and of a great wolf moving between them. "We know not where Ghost Howl came from, but our people have long known of him, guarding these plains." his fingers continued to trace through the air and the trees of sand fell away into rolling hills beneath the wolf's feet. "When the centaur came to these plains to defile them, Ghost Howl warned our people by following their packs, and howling with each night. A spirit of the plains, the centaur could never find Ghost Howl unless he wished it. And then they would die." The scenes continued to play out, animated in the soil. Shisou suddenly realized that he didn't sense any magic. Well no arcane magic anyway. Just the random background energy that seemed to exist everywhere in some form. So how was the Tauren doing this?

"Our people revered Ghost Howl and gave him offerings of kodo meat, to wash the stain of centaur flesh from his gullet. There was peace for a time. Until we followed the kodo back into the Barrens, leaving Ghost Howl to this place, and set out upon the plains as was our way in days gone by. The centaur beset upon us in numbers we had not yet known and through the will of the Earthmother, our salvation was delivered to us in the form of the orcs. The struggle for us, nor for Ghost Howl, was not yet over. War had come to our land, from far across the sea, and with it came demons. As our people gathered upon the slopes of the sacred mountain, so too came Ghost Howl. The words of the spirits had said that the noble wolf would find his doom beneath the summit of Hyjal, but Ghost Howl would not be swayed by fear. He came. And with us, he fought."

Shisou had always heard of the Battle of Mount Hyjal. The Battle that had caused untold loss, nearly crippling the mighty Kal'dorei empire and bringing the Horde and Alliance together for the first time. He had heard of it, eight years gone by now, but he had never thought to imagine it. The scene shown in sand showed warriors and hunters and soldiers, standing against a never ending wave of chaos. And in the middle of it was the great wolf. "Ghost Howl's fangs flashed, and his claws cut. And each time a demon died. He saved many of our people from their deaths, and we cheered for him. We cheered, and the demons trembled. But the demon's masters would not have this. One of them stepped forward." Shisou watched as the crude form of a dreadlord separated from the chaos in front of the wolf. "And they did do battle."

"Their battle was feral, and of it's ferocity no word can be told. We watched in awe as Ghost Howl closed his jaws around the demon's throat, and in horror as the demon thrust his claws into Ghost Howl's flank. When the dust of their struggle settled, only Ghost Howl remained standing. We called to him, seeking to heal his wound, but the noble wolf's doom had been struck! He turned from us and ran, killing all in his way, friend and foe alike."

"The demon's touch had planted in the wolf a terrible curse, and it drove him mad. The wolf returned to his home, to Mulgore, to await the release from his anguish. Many of our braves strove to release Ghost Howl from his pain, and many of our healers strove to cure him. All failed, and most were taken by the plagued spirit. Until, one day, not so long ago, a young brave hunted Ghost Howl in the ancient tradition. The brave was without fear, and his spear struck true. As the life and pain poured from the guardian spirit, Ghost Howl raised his head and his howl was heard throughout the land. It is said that in the caves it may still be heard; echoing within the earth."

The sandy re-enactment froze on the scene of the wolf howling. "Remember Ghost Wolf. Remember his sacrifice for our people, for the land, and for the Earthmother. Remember the touch of the demon and that even the noblest of creatures can be twisted by it. Remember this, and honor this memory. Ghost Wolf runs with the Earthmother now." The storyteller stood and bowed to his audience, even though they couldn't have been adults yet. "May the Earthmother guide you and guard you. And may the wolf's howl always bring you to safety. Walk with the Earthmother." "It is not often that we see your people on the Bluff." The massive tauren's words rumbled through the air as more of a statement than the question that was implied.

"Nah, I reckon ya don't..." Shisou pushed himself to his feet with some effort and found he just barely was taller than the tauren's hip. He also found a three-fingered hand held out to catch him should he have fallen on his unsteady feet. "Heh, sorry. I didn't mean to snoop if I wasn't wanted."

"All who come in peace are welcome to hear the tales of our ancestors. Wisdom is to be shared freely, rather than hoarded. Are you ill?"

Shisou looked up at the face so much higher than his, looking down at him over a chest covered in short fur and red runes. The tauren looked genuinely concerned. A month ago he would have wondered why. "No more than usual." he smiled back up at the giant. "I'm Shisou. I've been, uh... recovering here for awhile."

"And I am Gikar Runewarden. Perhaps you should like a seat, Shisho?" The tauren stepped back on his left hoof and pivoted to gesture at the tent he had emerged from. "If you would care for some tea, I would like to hear of your peoples. I seldom have the opportunity you see."

Shisou nodded and meandered past the tauren. He was getting used to people mispronouncing his name. The humans did it all the time in fact. Maybe it was an accident, maybe it wasn't, and maybe it didn't matter so much as it once may have. It could have been as simple as the various accents and dialects changing the inflection.

The inside of the tent was dimmer than the area outside, but lit well enough to making reading easy. On the walls hung various skins with runes painted upon them and rolled up parchments and skins took up much of the rest of the tent. A small fire smoldered in the center of the tent and sent up a few sparks when the tauren placed a metal kettle next to it. There were no chairs or other furniture that he could see, so the elf took a seat on the ground next to the fire. The heat felt good.

"I have heard that all your people bear an illness, ever since the Scourge invaded your home. Is that what brought you here?"

Shisou hesitated before answering. It was a fair question, it just wasn't a fair thing to consider. "Close enough to it."

"And you were cured I hope?"

He could still feel the hunger worming around within him. Occasionally his head would hurt, like the hunger was rippling through his brain. It was easier now to keep it separate from the rest of him, but it was definitely still there. "I don't think it works that way..."

Gikar watched him for several moments across the fire. Was that pity in his eyes? Shisou made his own eyes look elsewhere. They sat in silence until the kettle began to hiss and spit. Gikar picked it up by its wooden handle and poured the boiling water into two simple clay bowls. "I fear I am no healer, Shisho of the elves." Gikar spoke as he sprinkled crushed leaves into each bowl. "I know many of the ways of the Earthmother, but the method to cure the corruption of magic is not known to me."

"Corruption?"

"Forgive me if I misspoke. As I said, it is not often that your people visit here. All I know, I know from what the wind may bring. It is said that your people were corrupted, or perhaps seduced, by the long exposure to a powerful magic. And now you must feed on that magic else the corruption will consume you whole. Before this corruption your people were close to the nature around you, and now you have turned from it; buried in the pursuit of ever more power. It is said that you are a fallen people, and not to be trusted." Gikar said the last while handing the bowl to Shisou over the embers.

"If that's so then why are you talkin' to me?"

"Because the wind is flighty, and does not always whisper the whole truth. If you are here in peace, then I have no quarrel with you."

Shisou eyed the tauren's massive arms that were almost wider than his torso. Heh... well that's good at least "That's all true 'nuff, I suppose. It ain't that simple, 'course, but I guess it's close 'nuff. A lot's changed since back then. Not all a' it's been a kindness. Mind iffin I ask a question?"

"What wisdom that I might have is to be given freely."

Guess that's a yes... "Do you know who could cure this corruption bit?"

"I fear I do not. Much of the ways of restoration have been lost to our people, and as a Rhu'mol I know of none that are known. The ways of the druid have recently flourished amongst us again however. It may be that the ways of Cenarius may offer a cure where the runes of the Earthmother can not."

"You mean those marks on your skin?" Shisou asked curiously.

"In our language I am Rhu'mol. I believe in your tongue it said: Runemaster. The few of us that follow this way, use the patterns of nature and the blessing of the Earthmother to practice our craft." A huge stubby finger pointed to an oval with four little dots on its corners and a small square at the top. "This is the shielding pattern. It is made by the... I believe your people call them 'ley lines', in the area known as the Great Bulwark. I had to journey far to discover it, but now with the Earthmother's blessing," the rune began to glow silver suddenly. Shisou couldn't be sure but he thought he felt a very faint arcane energy emanating from the rune "I may use the pattern to shield myself from harm."

"It's magic!" the elf blurted out.

The tauren almost looked offended. "I assure you, this is not magic. Magic requires the bending of energies to one's will, one must dominate another. Personally, I believe that is why it corrupts. The children of the Earthmother are meant to live beside her creations, and not to dominate them. The runes simply channel the Earthmother's blessing in the same pattern as we find in nature. There is no domination, and therefore no corruption."

Shisou raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure?" The thought of a tauren mage seemed skeptical enough, but they did have those shamans and those never really felt quite like mages.

"As sure as any may be of an ancestral and lifelong tradition." Gikar took a drink from his bowl, which he held between two fingers. Shisou needed two hands to hold his. "What will you do once you are healed?"

Shisou frowned at the tent flap. He couldn't see the sky very well in here. "I don't reckon I can be healed... and when my strength comes back I reckon I'll go back to work. I'm a courier you know, bouncing around places, doin' things fer people."

"A noble pursuit."

Memories came to mind in the elf's head of some of the things he had done for the Tong. Of blood split as much for fun and thrill of the fight as for any other reason. Syndicate corpses arranged in ways to spread fear through the other victims. Half the people who had been his family cut off from him. Pups shipped into Silvermoon by the crate to be fed on just to line the Tong's coffers. An endless procession of people annoyed or insulted by his presence or actions, often without his meaning. "...Right, noble..."

"Something wrong?"

"Heh... I don't even know why I'm sayin' this to ya, but I kinda feel like your wolf in the story. Touched by the demon 'n all, and now I can't get it out. It's still there, gnawin' away at me... 'n there's nothin' I can do about it but get lost again."

Gikar sat for a long moment, watching the elf that was less than half his size across the embers, before he spoke. "In what do you believe, Shisou?"

"What do you mean?"

"I believe in the Earthmother. Many believe in the Light. The Kal'dorei believe in Elune. I do not know, however, what it is that you believe in."

Shisou thought about that awhile. Millennia ago the high elves had worshiped the sun, and though no one did the rituals anymore, the reverence was still there. He'd never really felt any attachment to it though. He'd never put much stock in all that talk about the Light, or in any sort of religion he could think of. They'd all seemed silly to him at the time. "I don't know."

"It is our belief that a person cannot be whole until they believe. Seek out the druids, or the shamans, or whoever you must, Shisho of the elves. I hope they may help you free yourself of your corruption, and maybe then you may find what you believe."

Shisou finished the tea from the clay bowl, setting it down off to the side, and stood up. "I reckon I'll find out. Thanks for the tea."

Gikar rose to his full height, nearly filling the tent, and bowed as the space would allow. "May the Earthmother guide and keep you, Shisho. I feel you have much of the journey left before you. If I may be of aid in it, return here and I will do as I may."

Shisou couldn't help but grin and wave as he stepped out of the tent. Part of him thought that he'd never again meet as gullible a mark as that, but most of him appreciated the tauren's apparent trust. It was something he had so rarely received in his life.


Mulgore is very... green. He made this observation sitting on the edge of the Elder Bluff. He'd just finished speaking with one of the druids there and had been told something to the effect of: no, absolutely not, nuh-uh, never. Apparently they weren't too eager to take such a big risk on a person they certainly didn't trust. Sitting on the edge of the bluff, watching the waves of grass below, he wasn't sure he could blame them.

The world was all twisted now. Based on what he had learned in Outlands, the elves were split. There would be some who would side with Kael'thas and do whatever they could for power, like the gorram Blood Knights. The others, elves like the Farstriders, would try to stick to the old ways. The ways when they were something grander, something nobler than they were now. His mind worked, trying to find some way out of the inevitable conclusion. Nothing came. Eventually the situation in Outland would become well known in Silvermoon, and when that happened the two factions would be struck apart forever. He figured the odds good that blood would be shed over it. The last remnants of the Quel'dorei... consumed in civil war. Just the thought of it made him sadder than he thought he could be. And helpless. What could one elf do against such inevitability?

He looked down at his palms, the mouths through which he fed his abomination. Maybe if I can fix myself... I can help fix everyone else... One way or another he had to cut the hunger out of him; to be rid of it forever. As long as it wormed through him he could also revert back. The last few weeks had shown how no sin'dorei was ever more than a hair's breath from damnation. He could never be safe again, for him or for those around him, until he was rid of it. I don't know how... but som-

The thought never finished as his mind exploded in pain; like a needle suddenly jabbed through his eye. The savagery of it stopped his thoughts cold but it only lasted a second. And then he found that he was on his back, with the heels of his hands pressing into his eyes and his mouth open from shouting. He must have thrashed out when it happened. He twisted around and saw a number of tauren glancing in his direction. "[Thalassian] What are you looking at ya gorram co-" He realized he was snapping back at the same time he realized he was speaking Thalassian. He frowned, more mad at himself than anything else, and climbed back to his feet. "Sorry." He shoved his hands in his pockets, hung his head and walked away.

The headaches came and went. Some bright and quick, some dull and long. That had been the worst of them so far. Like a claw gouging at his brain. He had a stomach-turning hunch of what caused them that was almost worst than the pain itself. The hunger inside him was rattling its cage...

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