Kerala

Eclipse: Follow-Through

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Kerala watches the rogue, safe in the shadows. The little forsaken is tending bar, not wearing any visible knives, at least. Her simple serving dress actually looks good on her, though her hair could use a wash. The dark reddish strands hang limply, and the wound on the side of her face ruins the effect of prettiness, for an undead.

The cat watches. Her body rests on limbs in an easy crouch- ready to move in an instant, and yet comfortable enough to stay still. Coiled. Waiting. Her patience is the endless vigil of a predator for the perfect strike.

The undead girl is friendly enough, but more often than not she goes ignored. Several times the druid watches her fling rude gestures at departing backs in response, and she would smile were she not in this form. The troll serving woman is slow to pick up a tip. Kerala sees the little rogue eye the coins left on the bar, debating, but then the barmaid turns fully to Syreena and issues an order. Syreena nods and begins heading for the stairs.

"Got it. Lina said to bring some more food upstairs.” The girl frowns, and mutters, "I don't know why, there's nobody up there. But, orders are orders.” Syreena shrugs at the chef, but he hefts a tray without a word to take up the steps. Kerala knows he will be gone several minutes. Time enough.

Syreena frowns looking at the shelf, trying to remember what she was supposed to take up. She shrugs and grabs a handful of spoons.

Kerala pounces at Syreena's back, claws extended, and her jaws close on the back of the forsaken's neck. All traces of the slight hunger she'd begun feeling during her wait vanishes as her teeth break skin and she tastes... not blood. Spoons clatter back onto the shelf as Syreena is knocked into it, automatically squirming to try to get away.

“What?” the girl exclaims “Get off!” She doesn't yet understand the seriousness of the situation she's now in.

With a thought, Kerala flashes to her tauren shape, and then becomes a much heavier bear, all without changing positions. Her teeth on Syreena's neck shift from needle-sharp feline, to dull tauren, to the wider sharper ursine points. The small puncture wounds of course ooze more. Kerala growls to keep from gagging.

Syreena feels the crushing weight of Kerala's bear form and seems to finally understand her danger. She writhes, reaching a hand for her shorter sword....before remembering she's dressed for serving drinks, not combat. The druid shoves a big long-clawed paw against Syreena's head, finally loosing her teeth to stand on the forsaken's skull. Syreena's cheek grinds into the stone floor of the cellar. She squirms harder, grunts of effort becoming sounds of panic as she frantically tries to grab at the bear's toes to try to pry them loose. She hears nothing, though, the bear's paw covering her good ear.

Kerala savagely bounces once against the little forsaken's skull. In combat, it's a devastating maneuver designed to crush and cause fatal internal injuries. Her full weight would easily smash the girl's head, but Kerala listens carefully. Syreena's eyes widen as she feels her skull crack, and she panics further despite the immediate cessation of pressure. Her writhing is still frantic, but markedly weaker.

Kerala pauses, waiting to see if the rogue is still interested in making sounds. Syreena whimpers, though it's muffled. The druid isn't exactly certain how forsaken anatomy works, but it seems to be close enough. The brain probably wouldn't swell under the onslaught, but broken structures in an undead should still leak fluids and cause problems. She continues eyeing Syreena, assessing the damage. The girl's squirming is slowing to a stop, and she judges that her attack was successful. She shifts to her normal shape.

Kerala drops to a knee and grabs the rogue. She flips the girl, hauling her up to a more or less sitting position in the corner against the stone wall and the shelf. She grabs Syreena's face, one hand over her mouth, and forces the rogue to look at her. The forsaken's head turns limply. She is unresponsive, either unconscious or perhaps truly dead despite the druid's intent otherwise.

Kerala brings her free hand up to her face and catches her glove in her teeth. She yanks it off, then places her fingers on Syreena directly skin-to-skin. Direct contact was still the best way.

The druid lets go within herself. Magic flows freely.

Instantly, she is aware of more than herself. She is Kerala, but she is also Syreena. She is dead and decaying! Plague! The druid firmly takes hold of the now-familiar panic and revulsion, and casts them aside. Her consciousness scans through the foreign body that was now hers.

She is bruised and battered, and recently too. Breygrah had not been kind at all in the fight earlier today. She feels deep scar tissue in the oblique muscles....a curving slashing wound...old. Other evidence of minor injuries long since healed. She skims over the pooling ooze of the minor bruises to find the skull fracture. Fluids were indeed crowding the myriad cracks and crevices of the brain tissue, causing pressures. Kerala disperses them. She guides the flow of liquids back into the broken transport system. She seals the vessels again, but only partially. She needs compliance still. Satisfied, Kerala gladly snatches her bare hand away, severing the connection.

Syreena starts to slowly regain consciousness, and as she does, she starts struggling again, the panic returning.

Kerala squeezes the girl's face to get her attention. "Stop it, or you will not wake up the next time. Listen!" she whispers. Syreena becomes still, her wide glowing eyes staring at Kerala. The druid hisses at the rogue. "You have a cracked skull right now, and your brain is oozing fluids. I don't need a bear's strength to finish the job." The rogue can see absolute conviction in an emerald stare. Deadly seriousness.

“Now.” the tauren continues, “Maybe you'll see the seriousness of my earlier promise. You have guests upstairs. Breygrah is there. If you would not like to have this scene played out again to it's end, I suggest you be nothing but nice to her." Syreena tries to nod weakly. The hand over her mouth shifts to the side of her head.

The druid flexes her thick fingers in Syreena's hair. The almost negligible motion is at just the right spot. The implied promise is silent, but not to the forsaken, whose head fills with a grinding noise for a moment as her fractured skull flexes slightly.

"Do you understand?"

"Yes!" Syreena whispers.

Kerala nods. "Stay still a moment." The green eyes regarding her turn glassy a moment as the druid puts a hand back on Syreena's neck. The rogue obeys, not daring to move.

Working quickly on the forsaken, Kerala reknits the fissures in the bone she had caused, again redirecting misplaced ooze that had once been blood. Seals the sources. There is no swelling to deal with, no nerves to concern herself with in order to dull pain. She turns her attention to the hole in Syreena's head where the ear was missing, but has to concentrate to stop herself. Minor bruises were one thing, but her instincts told her she did not have the right to mess with this. The druid leaves it be and releases her hostage with both hands.

"Behave." she tells Syreena. "Or I will be back."

Kerala offers a hand to help Syreena up, but the girl cringes away. Not surprising, given what had just occurred. The druid shrugs and in her place a thin lioness appears. The big cat stalks away, slightly variegated fur allowing her to blend into the shadowed corners.

Syreena stares at the place where her attacker had just vanished and remains where she is.

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03/26

Kerala watches Alakroz leave the tavern, the troll still sick from Cobrak's bleeding Hollow concoction, but looking much better after her ministrations.

“You're welcome!” she yells after him, bending to clean up the mess she'd caused. All she'd really done was trigger the stomach to empty, and she'd bled some of the serum through the wound in his hand. Too much had already made it into his gut, though. It wasn't exactly a poison. She didn't know what it was, but she'd lessened the effects, temporarily.

Lilliana watches her use a bar rag to wipe up the blood and vomit. “Yeah, people have funny ways of thanking people, don't they?” Kerala looks at her. “Either they just don't say anything, or they assault their friends, you know?” The priestess' tone was quite casual.

The druid looks at the floor, satisfied with her clean-up job, and tossed the towel into the fire. She makes a note to ask Lomani to send some new towels to the tavern. The curse within her was like a natural buoy, and she smiles despite the troll's surly mood. Ordinarily, Lilliana trying to order her to heal Alakroz earlier would have grated on her nerves. The druid's eyes narrow at the troll. “You do look as if the constant conflict is wearing on you. Would you like to sit down and relax?”

Lilliana eyes narrow as well, but then she grins. "Sure, why not?"

Kerala replaces her glove on the hand that she'd used to heal Alakroz. She steps over to a table, away from the lingering smell of sick, inviting Lilliana to join her with a gesture.

Lilliana sighs as if it's against her better judgment, but she wanders over to join the tauren.

“I thought with Konro's death, everyone would calm down... Instead, it seems to be the opposite.” Kerala comments, referring to the conflict earlier when everyone had instantly been up in arms at Alakroz.

Lilliana directs a goofy smile at Kerala, "Hmm.....apparently so. You would know." She digs.

The druid blinks at Lilliana, this time not missing the barb aimed at her. “I see you're as mired in it as anyone.” she sighs. “Why are you mad at me?”

Lilliana shakes her head.....and taps her fingers against the edge of the table top. "I'm not mad at you." she states simply. Now that she's seen it, though, Kerala recognizes enough nonverbal cues to spot the lie.

The elf Kex'ti enters the tavern, spotting them quickly at the table so close by. Kerala smiles at him warmly.

Lilliana, with her back to the door, hasn't yet noticed. "Why would I be mad at you?"

“Hoi, friends.” Kex'ti greets them, in his usual fashion.

“There a reason I should be...... ?” Lilliana continues, her gaze flickering to Kex'ti. The monk nods to her in greeting.

Kerala ponders the question, but comes up empty. “Not that I can think of. I don't think I've seen you since before... before Konro died.”

Lilliana shakes her head, "No, [but I saw you.] Last night. Downstairs. While you were looming over Syreena..." She says it with a hint of a threat in her tone, the implied how dare you left hanging silently in the air.

Kerala blinks at Lilliana in surprise, as Kex'ti raises an eyebrow at the two women. “Hmmm. I was going to invite you to sit down with us Kex'ti...” That no longer seemed like a good idea.

The monk realized it too. “Are you sure? You two seem to be deep in a discussion.” Kerala shrugs at him. Kex'ti glances back and forth between them once more and then, perhaps wisely, nods a goodbye and hobbles back outside.

Kerala was very interested in HOW Lilliana knew. The druid had made quite sure to keep the encounter with the Grim rogue quiet, and they'd most certainly been the only two in the cellar. Maybe Syreena had told her, or maybe it was that weird mind magic Lilliana seemed adept with. She looks at Lilliana, not denying priestess' words.

Lilliana gives the tauren the most hateful look that could probably be on such a childish face but it is lost on the druid, who looks back at the priestess mildly. Obviously the troll is mad about the situation, but she's not sure why- Lilliana had nothing to do with it, and besides that, Kerala had healed any damage she'd caused, plus some.

Lilliana gets up to her feet, and says casually to Kerala, "You're on my bad side." She straightens out the front of her robes, "Not a good place to be."

“Why?” the druid asks.

Lilliana gives Kerala a tired yet rather dark look, "You really need to ask?"

“I can only guess that you are mad at me for visiting Syreena...” Lilliana nods her head just faintly, and Kerala cocks her head, thinking. Maybe the troll just didn't understand the situation at all. Maybe she didn't know about the Blood Revenge, about Syreena's attacks on Breygrah despite Kerala's offer to pay the Blood debt. How could she explain it? “If you told me not to touch your robes, or if I did you'd slap me...” Lilliana raises a brow. “If I touched them, would you not do exactly as you said. And slap me?”

The question completely catches Lilliana off guard. “Huh?”

“Yes or no?” the druid persists.

“Would depend on my mood.” the trolless says.

What kind of answer was that? “You would not do as you said you would?”

Lilliana repeats herself with saying, "It depends."

Well, maybe she could make Lilliana understand anyway. “Well, I do. Syreena touched my robe, so to speak. I slapped her. Not only that, but I healed the little undead as well. I left her in better condition than I started. You are not involved at all. You have no cause to be angry.” It wasn't exactly what she'd meant to say. Dealing with people was never a skill Kerala claimed to possess aptitude in.

Lilliana looks amused as Kerala attempts to provide a defense for what she did....and even dares to say that Lilliana would have no cause to be furious. “Is there like, some kind of genetic defect from the Horns of the Shuhalo?” she asks.

And now Kerala is thoroughly confused. “I don't understand the question.”

“That's because Breygrah, dead Konro and you are the most stupid taurens to set a hoof on Draenor. I swear!!!!!”

What was that supposed to mean? “Konro was possessed of a spirit.” Kerala explained calmly. “Breygrah has been shaped into what she is now only because -your- guild allowed his horrible actions. Both of them are not under my banner, you'll notice.”

Lilliana raises a brow again. She is certain Kerala is trying to bait her, but it won't work- she knows better.

Obviously, the little troll woman had already made up her mind, and wouldn't be swayed. “Your opinions are obviously your own. “ Kerala shrugs. “But they are wrong, just as Breygrah's are. You are letting this whole curse situation change you for the worse.” Everyone was.

Lilliana sticks her hands into her pockets, and just says it... "Don't mess with my friends, Kerala."......and she rolls her eyes at the druid for thinking that she knows Lilliana well enough to say such a thing. She hasn't changed one bit since the curse. “I'm tired.....I'm going to bed. But...like I said, don't mess with my friends. Be a good horde now and run along.” She shoos the tauren away insultingly.

Perplexed, Kerala stays right where she is. After all- Lilliana just said she was the one leaving. This only seems to anger Lilliana more, and the troll storms off, not hearing the druid wish her “Good night”.

Kerala sits there for a long while after Liliana leaves, trying to figure out exactly what had just happened.

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