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Xaraphyne

Eclipse: Moonlight's Shadow

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Azeroth had two moons. This was known to anyone who upon occasion looked up, but it wasn't a fact that had much relevance in day-to-day life. Only this week, out of the entire year, was there much attention paid to two lunar bodies.

Xara hadn't been to Moonglade in seven years. She wasn't necessarily avoiding it; there had just been no reason to return. There had been other continents, other worlds, to travel to, when she hadn't been in retirement. But it had been suggested to her that she make the trip now to the place where the lunar powers were the strongest, and with the way Cyelaena was acting, it had seemed wise.

The trolless looked down at the creature who padded alongside her as she exited the tunnel into the cool green of the glade. The glowing blue wolf was as inscrutable now as she'd ever been. Even Lupa, Xara's diffident ghost saber – notably, not actually a spirit, unlike Cye – was more readable. The ghost wolf was a loyal companion, who willingly assisted Xara in combat, but her motivations remained mysterious. The only thing Xara knew about her was her purpose for being here, and that was a purpose Xara had thought was fulfilled seven years ago.

It had been a long seven years, Xara reflected. Moving through the glade's paths, they occasionally came across a deer or rabbit which only regarded them, unafraid, before returning to its business. After the Eclipse, Xara had left Elrioch, left Citadel, and met Fhenrir. She had lost so much over the years; friends, times, opportunities, homes; and yet she had grown wiser for it, and more appreciative of what she did have. She appreciated Fhenrir, her partner, gruff and hot-tempered and loyal; she appreciated the old friends she still had, like Civarra, Elek, Vilmah, Nojinbu, Feorn, and others; and she appreciated the new friends she had made since coming out of retirement, especially the one who turned out to be family, Lilliana.

They reached the ancient pavilion. It was high elf in design, like the ruins of Azshara or Feralas. Xara wasn't exactly knowledgeable on history, but she'd learned a little about the origins of the various kinds of elves who inhabited Azeroth. She climbed the steps, Cye bounding up them easily, and turned around at the top to look over the glade.

The still waters of the lake glimmered peacefully. Cye stood by with all evidence of patience as Xara breathed in the misty air. The ghost wolf evinced no concerns, now. No pacing; no staring at strangers. Xara frowned down at the creature.

"Why are you still here?" she asked.

Cyelaena didn't answer. She merely looked into the woods.

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Naheal silently stared to the lake. It had been only two days, but already he hated this place. The wolves that he had expected to see here were gone, but still. He could almost see flashes of them from the corner of his eye. Paranoia? Maybe, but it was the kind of paranoia that had kept him alive all these years. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, taking in the surrounding air. As he did, he could almost feel the weight of the massive worg alpha on his chest, jaws on his throat. Flashes here and there, but nothing quite as clear as the actual pain that it brought. Once again, his scars had started to burn - normal for the timeframe, but a bit more intense this time. He shook his head, feeling his throat.

Growling shook him out of the trance. He looked down to Sasha, the frostwolf howler that had taken to his side over the past few weeks. "What?" She stared toward the ancient pavilion. "What? They're Kaldorei. They're not all bad. Cenarions. Calm down." She growled again. "What!?" She barked. "Fine. I'll check it out." He jumped out of the tree he was in and started toward the pavilion. "But I'm telling you that there's nothing there. We're here for Accalia and that's it." She licked his elbow. He sighed.

After a minute or two through the forest, he finally walked into the pavilion. Looking around, he didn't really know what to find. "I don't know about you, but I don't see a giant old god wolf here." Sasha looked to the top of it. "Wh--Oh. Xara?" He walked over.

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Xara spotted Naheal as he approached, before he noticed her atop the pavilion. When she looked down at Cye again, she realized that it was in the other hunter's direction the ghost wolf had been looking the whole time.

"Hey," she greeted Naheal, waving down at him. She watched as he climbed up to join her. Naheal was a dark-haired Sin'dorei, who had been a paladin when she first met him, but even that hasn't been his first vocation. She had to wonder if he was going to stick to the ranged fighter shtick, either.

"What brings you here?" she asked. It was almost an unnecessary question, given the time of year. But her tone of voice, knowing, significant, indicated it wasn't a deliberately dense query. She knew the overall reason he was here; she was asking for specifics. Her golden eyes were perceptive as she studied him.

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"The peace and quiet of Moonglade. What else?" He joked bitterly, then shook his head, turning his eyes toward the waters as he took a seat. "No... the dreams have been getting worse. I think she may be coming back, but I can't confirm it. I'm here to... be the first line, as it were. I doubt we can take her just the two of us, but still. She's not the sort I want to just leave here." He was silent for a moment, reflecting on the past. Despite the internal struggle, he had still come to a conclusion. One he hated, but still one nontheless. "I went to see her, you know. Tassha. She's the only one of them that I can find right now and she's... broken. Like a shell of a person anymore."

He leaned back. The mail he had taken to wear wasn't quite as heavy as the plate, but it still didn't quite feel right on him. The weight was wrong, he could almost feel the individual rivets and chain links... it wasn't the second skin that his plate was. "If I'm right and she comes back, it may be that one of the others have been targeted, you know."

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Xara leaned back against a marble column. It was broken off a few feet above her head, the rest half-sunken into the earth beside the pavilion. Cyelaena remained watching Naheal, evincing no interest in the other canine. Then again, she'd never particularly reacted to any wolves or worgs besides Accalia's creatures.

"There's no eclipse coming this week," Xara said, wryly adding, "I checked." She folded her arms, looking back over the glade. "Accalia was only so powerful last time because the lunar eclipse coincided with the lunar festival. I doubt she can manifest in this world without that lining up again, especially not without being fed a lot of power to make up for everything that she lost. More than there's any evidence she could've gotten over the past seven years."

The trolless was well-spoken, with no evidence of her normal seafarer's accent. Only when speaking on matters of grave importance did she drop the affect. Naheal wouldn't've heard her do it for a long time.

"But..." The trolless looked down at the glowing blue wolf. Cye was inscrutable, even to someone with a knack for animals. "Cye seems a little agitated." She looked back at Naheal. "Have you spoken to anyone else who was at all involved? Or just Tassha?"

Naheal was having dreams, and he had never even been marked. Xara knew someone who had. Maybe it would be a good time to see how Elek was doing, after this. But maybe there was nothing to this... Xara wasn't having any dreams, after all. That she could remember.

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"Tassha was the only one that I knew of that was marked that I've found," he said, shaking his head. "Theira mentioned that she was having similar dreams, but she's... out of commission for now. I really need to see her, but we can't leave this alone." He rubbed his neck. "Well, I suppose that's not entirely true. She kinda did leave a couple impressions when we met in Tirisfal." He narrowed his eyes. "If there's a common thread that I can find amongst the three of us, it's that we were all once her prey and that she nearly got us." He looked to Xara. He left the question unspoken, but it was clear. Did she ever get that close with you? He offered Cyelaena his hand - the very same with the gash scar across his wrist from his encounter with the alpha.

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Xara was silent. She remembered well the difference there had been between some of the marked. Those Sinaku had given the mark to had been the predators; those they had then marked, the prey. However, due to Sinaku's twisted hatred, the mark had only been applicable to Sin'dorei. Xara had been touched by Jazziks many times and never been cursed, unlike others who had been less fortunate, including some of Xara's own cabin girls. But that wasn't to say the trolless had escaped unscathed.

She dropped a hand to her midriff. There was a faint scar there, a pale vertical line. It wasn't noticeable unless you looked for it, and had to be standing pretty close besides. There were advantages to being a troll, and the one that made her resistant to scarring had also saved her life.

"Not Accalia," she said eventually. "But Sinaku did."

Her gaze focused back on Naheal as Cye sniffed his hand. The ghost wolf seemed interested in the scar on his wrist. But all she did was sit back and regard him with her transparent eyes.

"I'll see if I can find Elek. Shoudn't be too hard. I take it you haven't seen anything going on around here?" Xara waved a hand to indicate the peaceful glade surrounding them.

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Naheal shook his head. "Just the beginnings of the Lunar Festival. I've been here for a couple days, but nothing." He met the wolf's gaze. The psychological scars were there, but the wounds on his wrist and neck seemed to be something impressed on his soul. No amount of healing seemed to get rid of them and he couldn't just ignore them like he could the other scars he had earned. Every time he had tried, they itched. Every time near either the Lunar Festival or a lunar eclipse, they started burning. Even direct moonlight seemed to agitate them, still.

He hadn't been exposed to Sinaku like Xara had, but he had multiple encounters with the Alpha, the black worg that followed Jazziks. She had nearly gotten him once, when he had gone to save a warrior that had nearly been slain by her only to face her down with Rannoch, and he had lead the wolf on a chase through Tirisfal as a distraction, only to use his hearthstone behind the safety of his most powerful barrier. Jazziks had never touched him, but he still felt as if he was Accalia's prey. "We should lay a trap for her."

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"A trap?" Xara said. She shook her head. "Accalia is a beast... but she is also god of the hunt. She won't be fooled by traps. Last time, it was us falling into her traps."

If only they knew where Jazziks or Sinaku were. If nothing else, Xara wanted to ensure Jazziks would be safe. But their paths had diverged long ago, and even Naheal hadn't seen Jazziks for many years.

"What about Jeshua?" she said after a moment, naming the last Ranger of the Dark Sun.

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Naheal shook his head. "Haven't seen him since my days in Rutilus. He may be around still, but I'm not sure. I'd ask Theira, but... every thing that I've heard is that she's not in good shape." He frowned. When Jazziks had disappeared, Jeshua had continued to fight amongst Rutilus and, in fact, he was the primary user of Naheal's guns and ammunition back then. However, he had lost complete contact with him during the Northrend campaign. He sighed. "You going to be here long? We could watch in shifts."

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Xara looked down at him, and grinned. "I can take a couple of shifts," she said. "Otherwise, I know you'll run yerself ragged, and then what good will ya be if Accalia does actually show up? I'll take one now, and come back tomorrow evenin'. Sound like a plan?"

She still didn't think anything was going to happen, regardless of Cye being weird, or dreams. Nothing like what had happened last time, anyway. Accalia might try some mischief, but odds were they wouldn't have to face down an Old God at nearly full strength a second time. There was one last question she thought should be answered, though. Her voice became serious again.

"The black book... The one Sinaku used to commune with Accalia. I don't know what ever happened to it. Do you?"

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Naheal shook his head. "And that worries me. If she's going to try to start something, it'll be now. We can't think on the scale of what we'd normally have to deal with concerning the Alliance or other enemies that we've had to deal with. If I had to guess, we'll see signs that she's becoming active here first, but it won't be her for a while yet." He sipped from his hip flask. Mead, like the sort that they sold in Warspear. He gave Xaraphyne concerned look.

"You do know that Sinaku didn't really have a talent for magic, right? He may have needed the book to commune with Accalia, but that may not be necessary. What if a priestess or a warlock were to attempt it?"

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Xara blew out a breath between her lips. "I don't know the first thing about magic, Naheal. That sounds just as likely as any other idea to me. All I can guess is that it somehow helped that he was a Ranger -- a hunter."

As they both were now. She blinked, realizing something Naheal had said.

"Priestess? Ya talkin' about Tassha again?" She cocked her head. "If yer worried about her, maybe ya should be keepin' an eye on her instead."

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That was honestly the first time it dawned on him. He turned to Xaraphyne, his eyes wide. "Shit." He paced back and forth for a moment, then stopped. "Tell you what, I have an idea. Sanctuary's supposed to be hitting Highmaul tonight. I'll talk to Julilee about getting someone to keep an eye on Tassha while we keep our eyes here." He swore under his breath. "We need more people. We've lost the majority of the folks who fought her the first time and fuck if I know what I'm doing out here."

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Xara smiled wryly at Naheal's distress. It had been a long time since she'd been that kind of worried about anything. While she wouldn't be happy if she thought Accalia actually was going to pose a threat anytime soon, these days, the trolless had a better understanding of exactly what lay within her capabilities and what did not; and it gave her a certain equanimity.

"Go ahead, then. I'll keep watch here," she said. "And let's hope this turns out to be totally unnecessary."

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For several days, Naheal kept watch on Moonglade, with Xara taking a shift once a day so he could rest. As for the priestess in Shattrath – she was nowhere to be found, despite the efforts of Naheal and his guildmates.

The lunar festival was almost over, now. There had been celebrations held, fireworks launched. Moonglade remained tranquil despite the festivities, especially on the opposite site of the lake from the main town where the ruins lay. It was enough to lull even the most paranoid or patient stalker into some amount of complacency.

Tonight, however, a shadow crossed the first moon.

The first and larger celestial body was known as the White Lady, worshiped as Elune. The pure silver circle was only smudged for a moment, but that moment cast a shadow over the entire glade. And for the duration of that shadow, only the light of the second and smaller moon, the Blue Child, illuminated Moonglade.

Maybe it was just a passing cloud. Certainly no astronomers had calculated any heavenly bodies would be interacting in any notable way this week. But it was troublesome nonetheless.

And in the glade, beasts stirred.

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Naheal's head jerked toward the sound of the beasts stirring. Nothing really out of the ordinary at first, but the growling - the horrid growling - caught his attention. While he was expecting his scars to stop burning after a while, they never really did. And then, the eclipse happened. Each scar, each puncture that he had felt in the previous encounter with her, burned, as if he had been injected with poison. It was like before, but... different. He recognized it, but couldn't quite place the difference...

His eyes darted from movement to movement in the trees surrounding him, but the pale light of the Blue Child wasn't enough to illuminate everything. The hackles on the back of his neck stood and he felt that familiar fear that he had felt before. Sasha, the frostwolf howler that had accompanied him, eyed shapes in the shadows and growled. She knew what he knew deep in his heart. They were being hunted. Glancing around, he looked for a quick escape, then leaped into action. He didn't know where he was going, only that he had to get out of there right then or he was going to die. Even then, it was little more than a gamble.

Howling was all around him. One, then another, then another. They're talking. Net's closing. Sasha growled, circling around him. Raising his bow, nocking an arrow. he was as ready as he could be. He was going to be ambushed. He quieted his breath and mind. Heartbeat. Some rustling nearby. Heartbeat. A growl. Heartbeat. He took a few steps toward a clearing. Heartbeat.

Just as he was about to reach the clearing, a massive worg stepped into view between him and the clearing. As their eyes met, he recognized her. "You. How long's it been? Seven years?" He heard a growl nearby. It's a wolf pack. They're going to wear me down. In a few seconds, he did the necessary calculations - wind speed, distance, ect - raised his bow and fired, darting into the trees. Whether the arrow hit or not didn't matter: it was a single shot - a challenge - to her, the alpha, to chase him.

And chase him she did.

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Hours of a chase through the trees in Moonglade. Every time he went for a clearing, he was blocked off. They had snapped at him, tore at his armor, nearly gotten him a couple times. bit never actually quite got him. He knew he was being herded, but there was little he could do about that. He had one chance, though. All he had to do was find it. Unfortunately, it did mean that he'd have to abandon someone who had become a friend to him. Finally, though, he had a plan. "Sasha," he said, "eyes on the pack." The frostwolf next to him panted. She was almost exhausted, but he couldn't recognize any telltale signs of fear, even as they approached one of the barrows. Just before they could get to it, though, one of the worgs blocked the way. "Through!" He yelled just as Sasha charged it. Snarling, the force behind her charge would've been enough to at least get something's attention normally, but not this time. Instead, the worg ignored her and went for Naheal, leaping for his throat. Just before it hit him, he ducked underneath it, pulled a pistol from his belt - the last shot of his sticky grenades - and fired it into the worg's belly. Not waiting for the grenade to go off, he continued into the barrows, dropping a frost trap behind him.

He took a couple moments to find a place to hide, essentially cornering himself in the barrows and attempt to use his hearth, but the growling nearby was enough to catch his attention and stop him. It was close. They ride with him to Draenor - and that wasn't something he could allow. He raised his bow, pointing it toward the only way they could come from when Sasha stepped between him and the tunnel. He paused for a moment, staring at his wolf, then looked to the tunnel. They were close, but she could...

"Sasha, buy me some time. I only need a few seconds." The wolf ran into the tunnel, just out of his sight as Naheal started to use his hearthstone. Whatever she did, Sasha was little more than a speedbump to the worg pack. He could hear the snarling and barking, followed almost immediately by the sounds of bones snapping and Sasha's yelping, which was quickly silenced. As he was about to finish, the alpha rounded the corner and just stared at him. She was angry - he had done this to her once before - but there was another look to her eyes. She knew something that he didn't. In a way, she looked far more threatening this time. Maybe it was in his mind, but there was a strange, deep reddish hue to her fur rather than the black he had thought he had seen before. Maybe it was just the light - or Sasha's blood - but something wasn't right. Something was different this time.

Just as he was about to cast his hearthstone, she turned to walk away, letting him finish and retreat. His vision shifted, finally returning to focus at Sanctuary's garrison. He took a few deep breaths, then spoke into this Hearthstone.

"All Sanctuary members to the garrison immediately. Accalia's awake and dealing with her will require our full and immediate attention. I will give a full brief when we have everyone gathered."

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The night a shadow passed over Elune, Xara was awakened by a light.

The bright blue glow roused her from a deep slumber. She opened her eyes and blinked sleepily. Pushing herself on one arm, the blankets falling to her waist, she rubbed her eyes and looked around. The inside of the hut was fully illuminated, everything cast in shades and shadows of cyan. The source was her ghost wolf, Cyelaena, standing in front of the entry flap, and inexplicably shining brightly.

The ghost wolf's hackles were raised.

Xara stared at her for a good few moments. The ghost wolf stared back.

Eventually, the trolless looked down at the black-furred form slumbering beside her, completely oblivious. She reached over and shook Fhenrir by the shoulder. He snorted and came awake immediately, reaching for his sword. He stopped when he saw Xara and realized the room was illuminated by blue light at the same time, and looked at the wolf as well.

"The hell?" he said.

"We need to go to Moonglade," Xara said.

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The last time Xara had seen Cyelaena glow like that was during the Eclipse. The impenetrable darkness would have spelled the end, beyond a doubt, if not for Cyelaena... But tonight, the moons didn't near each other. The Blue Child was in fact setting on the horizon, innocuously, as trolless and tauren exited the tunnel and stepped into the glade.

The trees had been too thick for an aerial approach; and the night too dark, even with Cyelaena's still-glowing presence. Xara looked at the wolf as she padded ahead of them, alert, on the trail of something. When she turned toward the barrow dens, they followed.

"You said Naheal was here? Where is he?" Fhenrir asked. He looked around, uneasily, as they moved down the paths.

Xara felt it too. The glade didn't feel right. Normally, it was peaceful; in fact, she'd call it cloyingly serene. Not tonight. An air of menace lurked in the woods, behind the trees, in the shadows. "Up by the ruins," she said absently. She took her bow in hand and drew an arrow. Fhenrir already had his blade out.

A low rumble reached their ears, mere moments before it grew to a full-fledged growl, and the worg leapt upon them.

It was massive; as big as Fhenrir. Xara didn't get a good look as the action unfolded quickly. The tauren grunted, catching it on one heavily armored pauldron and shoving it back. His sword swung fast, but the beast was faster as it darted out of the way. Xara held her arrow, and it was good that she did because a sound from behind warned of another assailant. She turned and loosed the arrow on instinct, and it took the second worg -- this one a more normal size -- in the neck as it began to lunge, and it staggered instead. Two more were coming forward. It was a pack.

She released a barrage of arrows to hold them, backing up as she did. Fhenrir was turned toward the alpha worg, his armor and blade keeping it at bay as it circled. Xara glanced over at it when she had the chance. It was one of the biggest beasts she'd ever seen. In fact...

"Fell!" she said, the name escaping her in disbelief.

Standing over Toraneko, the massive worg held the elf girl pinned by the neck. For a moment, Xara thought Tora was dead, and her heart simply stopped...

Or was it that same beast from so long ago? Its skin glowed a deep crimson beneath the wiry black fur. Fell had been completely black. Hadn't it? And it had fallen in the fight against Sinaku, and then the cave collapsed. There was no way...

Fhenrir growled and rushed the beast. It snapped, going for his legs. But Cyelaena knew this foe and needed no further opportunity. The ghost wolf leapt onto the worg, a third its size, but her fangs as deadly as need be. Distracted by the wolf, the worg whirled and took Fhenrir's strike to the haunch. But it threw Cye off and Xara didn't get to see any more as the other worgs were harrying them, forcing them back. No less than three more had come out from the trees, and she couldn't fire arrows quickly enough to keep them all away. Only Cye's quick lunges prevented them from being overrun, but they were being forced deep into the woods.

"Naheal!" Xara hollered at the top of her lungs. There was no response. She hoped he was still alive.

It didn't take long to realize they were almost being... herded. But there was nothing they could do to escape it. Every worg Fhen cut down, or Xara shot down, was replaced by another from the shadows. And the massive one circled, moving between the trees, watching, waiting.

"We can't keep this up," Fhenrir said through gritted teeth. The worgs had left claw marks in several places on his armor by now. Xara's arm was bleeding where one of them had grazed her, but it wasn't interfering with her ability to fight yet. Cye had taken the most damage, her wounds shining white.

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There were so many. Xara didn't even get a chance to brush back the tendril of hair that had gotten stuck to her face; she didn't dare take her hands off her arrows. Fhenrir was breathing hard, angered as they were herded wherever it was the pack wanted them to go.

But the two weren't famed fighters for nothing. They were veterans of a dozen campaigns, and had spent much of that time fighting side by side. Xara caught Fhen's eye and nodded to the east. He knew what she intended from that alone. He gritted his teeth and rushed the worg blocking that direction, an unstoppable force of black fur and heavy armor. Xara vaulted past him, laying down a hail of arrows to keep the line broken. Cyelaena followed at her heels, always better at knowing what the trolless was thinking than vice versa.

They ran into the barrows.

Here they could find some respite. The narrow passages meant that the worgs couldn't surround them anymore. As they backed deeper into the tunnels, Xara checked the wound on her arm.

It was healing, which was no surprise; at least one wouldn't think so if they remembered the natural rapid healing powers trolls possessed. But Xara frowned.

"Find someplace we can put our backs to," Fhenrir grunted, eyeing the worgs seething in the tunnel ahead. They didn't dare come at him in the narrow confines, but others had already broken off, down another passage, and Xara knew their backs wouldn't be safe for long. The great worg wasn't anywhere to be seen, which was reason enough for misgiving.

They moved further down. Away from the night sky, the worgs definitely seemed more hesitant, but at the same time, the prospect of prey backed into a corner enticed them too strongly to give up. Then, Xara spotted something. An animal corpse up ahead, and fresh.

"Gimme a sec," she did, moving over and kneeling down next to it. Fhenrir slashed at one worg and punted another, encouraging them to keep a distance, as Xara inspected the corpse.

It was Sasha, the frostwolf that had taken to following Naheal around. She hadn't been dead longer than an hour. Xara swore softly, rising to her feet and hurrying down the tunnel. Fhen followed, snarling at the worgs which growled and stalked after.

They came to a dead end, a small room at the end of the tunnel. Fhenrir stepped back, and Xara took over keeping the worgs at bay with methodically placed arrows. Cye licked her wounds and glowed.

There was no sign of a fight here; no more corpses. But Naheal could have been somewhere else in the mazelike tunnels. Xara gripped her bow, ready to fire another arrow, when the great worg stepped into sight.

It had to be Fell. Xara knew animals, knew especially the ones she had traveled with or fought. Fell had been both, after and before Sinaku's reformation respectively. That shape, those eyes, even the way the beast moved; it was the same creature. Except for that crimson skin.

"That's one ugly dog," Fhenrir said.

"No kiddin'," Xara said.

It approached, padding casually. It stopped just back too far for either an effective rush or effective shot. And it waited.

"The hell's it doin'?" Xara muttered.

"It's going to wait us out," Fhenrir said grimly.

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There was no resting; they couldn't afford to let down their guard. The worgs kept them on their feet, making occasional rushes or at least feints. But Xara did take the time to check Fhen for wounds in between rounds. He'd suffered a few gashes, but nothing worse than she had. The wound on her arm was already faded to a red line.

He glanced at her briefly as she sat back on her heels, bow and arrow still in hand. "What?" he said.

Xara nodded toward the slinking beasts. "They're normal animals, just a little possessed. Except for the big one... If it gets one of us, the kind of damage it can do... it's bad."

Fhenrir eyed the great worg, which remained out of range, waiting, patient. "Bad how?"

"It festers," she explained. "Won't heal. Tora got bit and it bothered her for a long time. Naheal's got scars that still bother him too."

He glanced at her again, reassuring himself that she hadn't gotten wounded by it either. His armor and Cyelaena had taken the brunt of the strikes from the worgs, and the great one had only attacked the once to be blocked by Fhen. It wanted a killing blow, and no less.

Xara looked down the tunnel to where it lay in wait. Its weird crimson skin made it look especially disturbing. What did it mean?

Cyelaena licked her wounds. The glowing white marks were fading.

Time was indeterminate. It had been the middle of the night when they'd gotten here; dawn would be approaching. The realization made Xara glance at the great worg again. Its unnaturally long teeth were bared in something like a grin.

"It's gonna be soon," the trolless said quietly.

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