Mavis Audrapel

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  1. Mavis looked at the note in his paw, scrawled hastily with a name and location, it had been years since he'd visited the Cathedral or even attended services at all and it felt strange to return. He flagged down an acolyte and nervously questioned him on the wherabouts of Aryanna. Aryanna could be found in one of the many small rooms that filled the Cathedral and housed those that learned or taught within its walls. Her room was rather spartan in its decor. A simple bed, a chest for her clothes, and a desk where she could write. It was at that desk that was was currently seated, a piece of parchment in front of her, on which she drew intricate lines, forming ornate shapes and glyphs on the parchment. She was dressed as simply as her room was decorated. A light linen robe, sandals, and nothing more. Her auburn hair hung down around her face as she worked, masking her as she bent down over the desk focusing intensely on her work. She would probably not react to any knock at the door, though it was partly ajar and would be easy to push open. The worgen was towering, a lean muscular build and wearing simple leathers, he hesitantly knocks on the foor frame, looking smaller emotionally as he begins to question his approach It would take a few knocks before Aryanna would look up from her work. "Yes? Come in." The knob turned and Mavis swallowed as he opened it, looking down at the woman hesitently. "My name is Mavis Audrapel, Katelle said I should speak with you" He sounded unsure, as if he didn't know if he was really supposed to be there The priestess turned, setting her quill down on the desk and smiling up at the worgen. "Yes, she had mentioned something to me. Please, have a seat. I'm sorry I don't have more comforts to offer you, but I'm very rarely back in Stormwind these days." Mavis shook his head. "It's alright, I'm used to roughing it." He looked for a seat that he felt might support his size and settled on the bed, the wood creaking from a weight not meant to support something so large. Aryanna turned her chair so that she could face the worgen. "Katelle gave me a brief idea of what has been going on, but why don't you tell me in your own words?" He hesitated, looking up. "I don't know, I'm tired. I lost my father a month ago, my mother was three years before that. I have a daughter and I don't ..nothing feels normal" She nodded. "Keep going. What's been going on lately that makes everything seem not normal?" "I have...dreams...bad dreams. I don't remember it all, e- do I have to talk about this?" Aryannah nodded, giving him a sad sort of smile. "Unfortunately. It's necessary for me to get a handle on what sort of help you require. And discussing what's happening to you or what's causing it--and confronting it--can be a big first step in making it go away." He growled unconsciously, a reaction to his own frustrations. "That's it. I. Don't. Know. I just have trouble....coping. Someone set off fireworks a week ago, just playing around I guess and I just...It was like I was living my nightmares, but awake. The mage said I didn't even look like I knew where I was. But, It's like I'm looking at the world as a stage play, one of those punch and judy shows and I'm watching in the back." Aryanna frowned. "I see. Well, has something happened to you in the past that may be triggering these events? Something particularly traumatic?" "I'm a worgen" he sighed "Nothing more than the usual. I mean, I joined the front lines after I left the guard, but that's just the usual day to day. You learn to cope with the chaos or you just suck it up and walk it off" She chuckled softly. "I can see that you're a worgen. I assume, though, that if this were nothing more than trauma concerning your curse, you would have no need to come speak to me. But you mentioned the guard. How have you been finding ways to cope with the chaos out on the front lines against the Legion?" He shook his head. "I never dealt with the legion. I was discharged before than, after the assault on Grommashar.” She blinked. "After the Siege? How long have you been having these issues, then?" He shrugged. "It didn't start until recently, trying to get back into society. After I got back from Draenor I just sort of...went into Darkshire and stayed there..." "I stayed there for a long time, a year maybe" She nodded. "So you were sequestered away from others after you returned from combat duty?" He looked down. "...voluntarily" "And why did you feel the need to sequester yourself?" "That day I walked home. I didn't run, didn't take a horse...I couldn't. When I saw my daughter outside playing, my dad watching from the door...I don't know, they looked so happy. I didn't want to ruin that. If I came home I would have just upset everyone's lives again. So I dropped everything, buried my armor and went into the woods." "You would have upset them? Why?" "Because they were happy. I wasn't, I wasn't even human" "Were you infected with the worgen curse after you were deployed?" He shook his head. "Before. Right before the Cataclysm." "So why would you not being human have alarmed them?" "Because I couldn't shift back." She raised an eyebrow. "You can't?" He shook his head. "Not since Draenor." "Any idea why?" He shook his head "I see. I'm not familiar enough with the worgen curse to speculate as to why, but perhaps there's something more there we need to explore. But you said you weren't happy either. What was wrong when you returned through the Portal?" "What was wrong?" "Why were you not happy? You said it felt wrong, so why?" Mavis growled "I don't know, it just felt like nothing" He sighed. "I'm sorry, do we have to keep talking about this? can we take a break?" She nodded. "We can take a bit of a break if you need." "I...should get home." He stood up "I want you to come see me again soon." "..okay" "Shall we say in a couple days?" "..sure" He moved slowly to the door and gave one last passing glance to the woman "May the Light bring you serenity, Mr. Mavis. We'll speak again soon."
  2. Mavis first came back into awareness by shaking, though it was a full minute before he felt himself able to stir and focus on the still blurred image of his daughter Emily. He didn’t know how long she’d been shaking him but the light at least informed him it was midday and Emily was angry. “Sorry kid, I guess I overslept.” The five year old was still in pout mode, crossing her arms to express dissatisfaction. “Grandpa says it’s lazy to sleep in!” Mavis clutched his head in an attempt to suppress the sharp pounding pain in his skull, he glanced over to his mother’s hope chest, the only piece of furniture inside the tent, he’d forgotten to close it last night, it was probably luck that nothing was missing. “Emily why don’t you go see if there’s any soup? Then we can get going.” The child stomped her foot, still clearly angry, but hunger was an excellent motivator and she ran out of the tent to obey her father, Mavis kept an eye on her, making sure he could still see Emily as he attempted to recover from last night, he was lucky she hadn’t noticed. Forcing himself up he stepped over to the hope chest and examined the contents, taking note of the several empty vials that had been haphazardly stuck back into their case and hung his head as he tried to decide how he should be about his failure. Mavis set the empty vials right and shut the case, burying it down in the bottom underneath some old clothing and papers where it wasn’t likely to be found, reflecting back he had picked the worst night for this and he couldn’t even put off his meeting with Katelle if he wanted a re-stock. His head hurt, it was a logical side effect from last night but it made the pain no less worse. If he could have stayed in sleeping he would have, but missing an appointment would have just created more problems and so Mavis found himself in Stormwind again, standing outside of Katelle's shop and giving the usual three knocks. A slight "oof" can be heard, followed by footsteps dropping heavily onto the wooden floor from inside. A moment later, Katelle cracks the door open; she smiles when she sees Mavis, pulling the door open to admit the man to her office. "Good afternoon, Mr. Audrapel," she offers by way of greeting. "I'm glad to see you today. Can I get you something to drink?" "Water plaes." He looked around and then checked to see if Katelle was out of breath as he moved into the office. "Were you in a hurry?" She nods, shutting the door behind him. She doesn't seem out of breath at all, but the cabinets in the top part of the hutch she serves drinks from are both open. She reaches up on tip-toe to shut them before grabbing the water carafe and pouring two glasses (one of which is sized for Mavis). "Not in a hurry, no; just trying to reach the back of the cabinet. I'm not exactly blessed with great height," she says with a small laugh, murmuring for him to have a seat as she turns and offers him the water. "It took a bit of climbing, but I managed it." Mavis muttered a yes, staring at his drink as he tried to focus, intent on holding it together at least for this meeting. "We had a check up this week" "We did, yes." She studies him as she takes her own seat, the usual one during these meetings. "How are you feeling?" He muttered. "I'm not having the nightmares...but the dreams....they're weird. " He took a sip from his water, his nose wrinkling at the taste before forcing the rest down. "They should be nightmares but I don't feel how I should" Katelle raises an eyebrow at his expression, but doesn't immediately comment. "That's unsurprising, given how the potion works. Sometimes our minds just don't know how to react when they are barred from doing so as they normally would." She cocks her head to the side. "How are you feeling physically?" "...what do you mean? I wake up okay" "Are you experiencing any headaches? Stomach upset? Sensitivities to stimuli? Strange sensations in your chest--specifically lungs or heart?" "Uh. A little, it's not so bad. Just my stomach." He didn't want to mention the lighting, or that he was having trouble focusing. He didn't know how long Emily had been screaming at him but at least she only seemed to think he had overslept. He should have made sure she wasn't around. "It takes time to I need to eat before?" The rogue frowns; he'd asked this last time, and had seemed to understand her response. "Yes," she says slowly. "You should; that's the easiset way to prevent most stomach upsets caused by the ingredients." She cocks her head to the side, watching him carefully. "Of the doses you've taken so far, have you taken them as I instructed?" He stared at her, hopefully not lazily as he searched for an answer. "Not...always. I had to meet someone in Dalaran and...there was an issue with fireworks. The bodyguard said I had a panic attack and...I took a dose to finish up the meeting." He'd also taken several other doses later that night, but he was hoping to avoid that discussion Katelle is quiet for a moment as she tries to figure out if Mavis's pauses are a result of his hesitancy, or some sluggishness of the brain. "And when the evening came around, did you take a single dose as prescribed?" He hesitated before answering, He wasn't used to lieing, it wasn't normally in his nature, plus he was bad at it. Still, most people seemed to have trouble discerning intent from worgen faciel expressions and he wasn't about to come clean. "Yes. I had a mistake with the extra dose though....they were broken when I tried to put the empty ones away" Katelle frowns. "Mavis," she murmurs. "Those vials were enchanted to be indestructible." The worgen tensed, he'd forgotten about that, he scrambled to remedy his response. "We're camped near cliffs, I just assumed they were broken" "They were lost in the rocks" The next question is asked calmly, without judgment. "Are you lying to me?" He stared at her, the wheels in his head turning with possible responses from honesty to a bigger lie...he stuck with the basics. "I'm not a very good liar. Do you think I would do something I'm bad at?"" She smiles gently, blue eyes sad. "I think you would lie, or at least omit pertinent facts, if you were desperate to avoid discussing the truth." He'd done similar things in their prior discussions; evasiveness clearly came easy to him, if nothing else. "I...don't know what you're talking about" "Mavis," she repeats. Her tone is still gentle, but there is an undercurrent of steel to her voice--the kind of steel inherent in someone who is used to getting accurate answers to their questions. "I do not take kindly to being lied to. What happened to the other doses?" He avoided looking at Katelle, instead facing the door as he was suddenly filled with the desire to make his exit, the steel in her voice tugged at his memories of his mother and the same tone when her children had tried something they weren't supposed to. His voice came muffled, hesitant and small for his size, suddenly caught in the reality of his lie. "I used them" Even when he looks away, Katelle's gaze stays firmly pinned on the worgen next to her. "How many of them, and when?" Despite all, her voice is still soft. "All of them...Last night" Katelle's gaze turns sad. "Were you trying to get past the dreams, into a dreamless sleep? Or were you trying to kill yourself?" She doesn't falter on the last two words like many others might. "I don't know." Despite the sluggishness he squirmed uneasily under the questioning. "Both?" He didn't seem to know himself, struggling with the answer "I just wanted to stop thinking about it anymore." She nods as if having expected this answer; perhaps she expected any answer he would have given her. "I know you're probably going to balk at this," she says slowly, "but I want you to talk to my sister. She's a priestess at the Cathedral, but has seen her fair share of...things she thinks she should just swallow and get over." She uses as close to Mavis's own wording as she can recall. "I think you two have a lot in common, and I think she might be able to help you better than potions alone can. And I can promise you that she will not judge or break your privacy." Mavis bowed his head, lowering his muzzle into his paws as he covered his face, the wolf didn't create tears but the side effects of the overdose had created such apathy he didn't think he could if he had the ability. "I'm not getting anymore prescriptions am I?" "Not right now," she murmurs gently. "I want to trust that you won't do this again, Mavis, but I understand desperation...and I know that it drives us to do things we might not otherwise do. I want to see you heal, not hear of your grieving daughter." He shuddered at that, strangely he hadn't even considered Emily. In a second realization he understood that without the doses the night terrors were likely to return. "If I see your sister, will you help me again?" "If she thinks its safe to, yes." She frowns, cocking her head to the side. "I might be able to give you something for generalized anxiety to take the edge off, but it would just be that: the edge. I can't in good conscience give you something stronger for the time being." The Worgen nodded slowly. "I understand... Kate nods, setting her untouched water glass aside and rising. She pads over to the same cabinet drawer that she retrieved the previous potions from the week before. She kneels before it, placing a hand on wood. After a moment of intense concentration, the drawer glows gently; when the glow fades, she opens the drawer and retrieves another small case. "As needed," she states simply, rising from the floor with a soft exhalation. "They shouldn't have many side effects, and there aren't enough here to harm you much if you take all of them, even with alcohol and on an empty stomach. That's why they only take the edge off. The vials are the same type as before--indestructible, tamper proof, et cetera." She offers him the case; inside are many vials of a pastel-green liquid. He takes the case, staring at it, still looking considerably smaller than any worgen should. "What if I have another episode?" He remembered what he saw in the dalaran sewers. "They'll help with that, too," she says softly. "I know it can be hard to avoid things that set it off...something very similar to this helped me for a long time. It might not soothe the acute panic all the way, but it should still help gentle it some." He nodded, taking a deep breath. "Okay" Kate watches the man for another moment before resuming her seat. She shifts to face him fully, gaze still gentle. "My sister's name is Aryanna Anahi. I'm going to let her know that you'll be coming to see her in the near future. I'm also going to inform her of what we've discussed in our meetings, so that she has an idea of how to immediately proceed. As I said, she won't judge you or break your confidence." "i understand" his response was near a whisper "Hey." She cranes her neck to get a better look at him, trying to get into his line of sight. "We're going to try our best to make sure you come out of this okay, alright? All of us, you included." He nodedded, turning his head to look at Katelle, he looked weak, guilty, even ashamed as he forced himself to his feet. "I need to get to work." "I understand," she says, standing with him. "When you're done, go back to Emily. Spend some time with her, tell her you love her. Children need that, and sometimes we don't say it as often as we should." He nodded, head bowed as he slipped out of the office. Katelle watches the Worgen go until she loses sight of him on the streets of Stormwind.
  3. Before Mavis had begun to consider a deeper search for Mai’kull he was approached by a Steamwheel bruiser and handed five gold before being told to speak with Captain Raethan in the Underbelly. Looking at the coins in confusion he nevertheless proceeded to the sewers where law and order was merely a suggestion rather than a state of being. Captain Raethan was easy enough to find, when he approached the elven mage held out an outstretched palm and taking the hint, Mavis deposited the five gold. The captain nodded to one of his underlings then who took up position at Mavis’ side. “Make your way to the small Bar in the Underbelly run by a One eyed Tauren named Thuni. There the Maleficar will be waiting for you.” So far so good, though Mavis had begun to question just how much influence the mage must have to exact this much pull he didn’t really start to question his choice until he reached the ring of fire. Someone had chosen at some point to dump a crate of fireworks in the ring and true to nature there was a race to shoot them off. He didn’t really remember when he started thinking it, but the battle felt real enough to touch as the canons exploded in front of him, he ducked after giving a warning to the Kirin Tor guard but when she didn’t seem to register his pleas he reached up and tried to pull her down with him. That was when he started to feel lightheaded and his vision blurred. Mai’kull was sitting at the bar with his own Kirin Tor Guard, a Sonic Environment Enhancer had maked the sounds of the firecrackers as the forsaken sat on the bar playing the music roll: Ghost. Mavis was dressed surprisingly simple in a leather jerkin and trousers, unaccompanied save for the bodyguard that had been hired upon suggestion by the bruiser. Though he came unarmed it looked like he was more than capable of handling a fight if things turned violent, half an ear was missing and with a large jagged scar still present on his chest it looked like he had scene combat, including this the Worgen appeared build for battle, his lithe muscular form a more than capable weapon of its own. He didn't look dangerous, though strangely enough he didn't look like anything as he approached, at some point the Kirin Tor had cast a targeted illusion spell on the worgen and so Mavis approached on the opposite side of the ring of fire, staring at nothing that was visible to anyone else and looking emotionally smaller. The bodyguard shrugged apologetically at the other guard as they approached. "Sorry, we had a little bit of trouble with the fireworks coming down. He started acting all funny and went a bit" She mimiced a twirling finger around her ear and then dropped the illusion. "Were going to turn back and send apologies but, he insisted." Mavis blinked back into awareness, whatever the illusion had been it must have been a powerful one and it took him a few moments to get his bearings, he looked tired, as if he was overdue for a nap and fighting sleep as he focused on Maikull. "You're Michael?" The light tune of ‘Ghost’ played from the Sonic Environment Enhancer behind the bar. Mai’kull sat at the bar, with a Glass of Dalaran White in his hand. The Bar was set with a variety of foods, Mead Basted Caribou, Briny Hardcheese, Sweet Potato Bread, with a pot of Honeymint Tea and a cask of wine behind the bar. His Guardian tapped him on the shoulder as the Worgen approached. He had his contacts in the Steamwheel Cartel ship crates of Fireworks into the Underbelly. And like moths to the flame, the mad flocked to the free toys and began firing them off. This was going to drive the Worgen bitch mad with all the noise, and fill the underbelly with the scent of gunpowder, making her enhanced senses worthless. But as he turned to face his opponent, he was staggered. Standing before him was not the slim female figure he had face before but someone else. Several scenarios flashed in his mind, maybe he was a decoy sent by the female rogue to distract him, but he had gnomish alarm-o-bots set at all the entrances. It took a moment before his memory jogged him to who this was. The Forsaken Archmage stood and held out his hand to the Worgen, his Blackened Bloodmage Regalia was in pristine condition, and showed little wear and tear one would normally see on a Forsaken. His Firelord Hood pressed to his face so that every facial detail was highlighted. “Mai’kull Fireweaver” he corrected. The common pronunciation of his name was almost archaic. This was the Worgen father of little Emily he had found in the city a few days ago. Mavis nodded appropriately at the Mage, though he remained hesitant to shake the Forsaken's hand, he finally exhaled and with two claws carefully shook Mai'kull's hand. "I'm sorry, I had to take some medication and it's meant for sleep. If I nod off I apologize." He was secretly hoping he wouldn't though, the Kirin Tor Guard was playing it down but the fireworks had really bothered him to the point he had been forced to assert himself with the bodyguard in order to keep the appointment, he was starting to think he should have followed the advice. “So…YOU were seeking me? Why?” Mai’kull asked, taking his seat once more and sipping at his glass, but keeping his eye on the Worgen before him. The worgen squeezed himself onto a stool, different sizes were available for larger customers but it still looked awkward when the eight foot tall Lupine creature chose to sit. He folded his paws together, regarding Mai'kull with a curious gaze. "Because you're Grim. There isn't a single person around who isn't aware of the fanatical ambitions of your group." He looked around for anyone else then sniffed the air as he sought out anyone who may have been stealthed and when he confirmed neither, lowered his head and looked at Mai'kull. "You helped a child when you had no reason to, a little girl. Then you bought her a toy. At first I was only looking for a Forsaken, I wanted to know who you were and to...thank you. It's what I was taught to do. Now I'm just confused. It's not pattern for the Grim to be merciful" A sly grin formed on the Mage’s face as he downed the last of his drink and set it down for a refill. He motioned to the Worgen to help himself, the Bartender snorting about how the food isn’t poisoned. “Are you familiar with a human known as Othmar Garithos?” Maikull asked, taking a sample of the cheese. Mavis shook his head at the Bartender "just water." He didn't want any of the drinks to cause a bad reaction to the medications, he was barely staying awake as it was. When Mai'kull mentioned Othmar Mavis frowned in confusion, or at least seemed to frown, it was impossible to tell with the lupine features. "No, I haven’t" He picked at a sample of cheese, hoping that eating something might help him to stay awake. “Darkmoon Faire…you look around, and you will see children of different races running around playing together. Human, Draenei, Orcs, Blood Elves…Just having fun and enjoying. Because hate is inert in children. It’s something that has to be awakened or taught, though personal experiences or upbringing. General Garithos was that to me. I watched as he disregarded, humiliated, and imprisoned my people after we had just suffered the near genocide of our people, and all under the guise of an alliance. That’s who taught me hatred for your kind.” “That little girl of yours doesn’t know hatred…and I see no reason to be the one who teaches her that. However I won’t be the only one to remind you of just how lucky you were -I- was the one who happen upon her. I hear the soul of a child runs high in the black market to Demon Worshipers…” A low threatening growl escaped the Worgen's throat in the mere suggestion that a child's soul was a high commodity or that even Mai'kull could bring it up, he had begun baring his teeth when he was reminded where he was."Sorry." He took a measured breath as he calmed himself down, as reasonable as he seemed the instinctual nature of the wolf appeared to run strongly through him. "I'm new at this...and Emily has not been easy to handle. She gets upset and sometimes she wanders off....I'm probably not cut out for this." He hesitated "My kind used to be your kind...not now but" He swallowed "I mean we both used to be human. I don't think it's right to hate someone because they look like somebody who hurt you once, but that still doesn't answer my question...It's not that I am ungrateful, but the Grim have...children are not normally off limits to Grim, no matter their innocence." Mai’kull nodded at his comment, “Just because you find a spec of diamond in the ground, doesn’t mean your not still in a coal mine. -I- don’t go after children. However my comrades don’t share the same belief as I do in that regard. As fanatic as we are, we do believe in peace. War is fire, and fire may burn everything in its path, but the brighter it burns, the quicker it puts itself out, leaving the next generation the peace to build a life off the ashes of our ignorance.” “Just because my monster is on the inside, does not mean I am a bleeding heart.” The undead raped his knuckles across the bar table. Taking her Que, the bartender took her leave. The Gun Turrets uncloaked and honed in on their location. The Kirin-Tor Guards ported out in unison, and in their place, several female Rogue Worgen appeared out of the shadows. One of them having pick-pocketed Mavis of his Hearthstone. Mavis tensed visibly as the trap was sprung, he was too tired, normally his nose would have caught onto the other worgen. He growled unconsciously as the mages ported out, Mai’kull had prepared in advance and he had done it at expense, that much was clear. His muscles prepared to spring at a moment, instinct overtaking him as the beast discarded any consideration of flight and readied to defend and attack if needed. He couldn’t think that the forsaken had gone to this much trouble to spring a trap for someone he’d never met and the surprise on his face when he’d arrived had been genuine, Mai’kull had been expecting someone else. “Peace should never be used as an excuse for destruction.” His eyes darted over to the turrets, his next words were measured as he seemed to accept his situation in contract with the desires of his beast. “Do you plan to kill me here?” The Widow assassin handed Mai’kull the Warriors hearthstone, who in turn placed it calmly on the table in front of Mavis. “If I did that, then how would you be able to tell little Emily that Bubbles said hello?” the mage stated, referring to the water elemental that was now looming up the stairs towards them from the Alchemy Lab. The Forsaken turned back towards the bar, taking another casual sip from his glass. “My my…meeting with a kind-hearted Grim. What is IN those sleeping drugs you take? Seems to be making you hallucinate. I’d go lie down if I were you. Go talking around town about this, and they will think you’ve gone mad…” Mai’Kull hinted towards the Warrior. Mavis growled at the hearthstone, he hadn't even noticed it had been taken, his tension appeared to ease though as Mai'kull continued to speakm to the point where his own reply was calm and measured. "I used to be a Guard in Stormwind, we did everything from protecting the peace, finding lost children and investigating crimes. I wasn't great at reading people, but it's difficult not to pick things up as you go, sometimes we had people that talked, nothing important they just were trying to make themselves look scarier, it was posturing mostly. I know you're trying to protect’re postruing. know I'm sorry but those kind of threats don't scare me anymore, my nightmares are worse, I've been through worse and the scariest thing you can do to me is letting me live.” He lowered his voice. “I never planned to tell anyone about this meeting, or the kindness you showed to my daughter. If I start talking about what you did there's a chance your friends might think there was truth to it." He shook his head. "I don't know how the Grim treats their own when they find out someone has been speaking with the enemy. It wouldn't be right to risk your safety." There was a surprising amount of sincerity in his words, he seemed to actually care what happened to Mai-Kull. The Worgen reached out and took his hearthstone back, enclosing it around his paw. “I’m sorry for bothering you.” He didn’t use the stone, instead turning to leave by foot. It was important even with non-beasts to show strength and using a teleportation stone to leave would have meant he felt threatened. It was strange that he actually pitied the forsaken.
  4. Some habits never die and the nature of the Stormwind Guard was to make quick assessments and handle investigations on a solo level, Guardsmen were taught to not only be reactionary but also responsive to upcoming problems in order to avoid larger issues. Stormwind Guards were taught to be curious. The nagging feeling that something didn’t fit with the normal gnawed at Mavis like a starved flea, Brianna’s strange reaction when he relayed Emily’s meeting with the mage in Dalaran ignited further curiosity in the worgen with a desire to seek out the mysterious mage within a floating city crowded with people. Armed with only a name and knowledge of Maikull’s ability Mavis began his search in the usual places he knew mages to congregate, surprised when he was met with resistance, the reasoning he suspected due to his cursed form and the assumed race of his quarry, Worgen and Forsaken were assumed to be natural enemies and he doubted anyone wanted to be responsible, even indirectly for causing an incident. He was met with better luck in the shopping district where the top alchemists pointed him to Deucus Valdera, an arrogant mumbling forsaken who was making adjustments on what appeared to be brand new equipment even as the liquids brewed inside the glass. Deucus ignored Mavis for a quarter of an hour until he figured out the worgen wasn’t going to simply leave and even then continued to remain only half focused on the inquiry as he continued his work. “I don’t see how it involves you to know about any undead mages that come by here and even if it did I don’t discuss my clients freely.” Mavis watched the alchemist closely to gauge his intent, but it was immediately obvious that Deucus was too focused on his current project to pay any attention to what he was saying. “You know this mage?” “Stop!” Mavis removed his hands from the alchemy table as he forsaken snatched a tiny blue vial from the edge of it. “That’s gloomsweed mixed with the precise measurements of at least six other ingredients of which their identity I plan to take to my next grave, it’s a powerful painkiller and sedative at half its dose and it’s surgical applications will revolutionize the medical profession. I won’t allow your oafish claws to risk damaging it!” The alchemist muttered, securing the vial on a nearby shelf before turning back to his work, he turned a screw as he carefully counted out the dropss of liquid that descended through the valve. “You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t know Grim Maleficar Maikull, unless you found a nice rock to sit under around here. What I can’t figure out is why you’re bothering me about it.” “Grim? He may have not known who Maikull was, but the name Grim had instant recognition. “Genocide isn’t exactly a motto I can get behind myself but each his own. Now scram, I’m very busy. If you’re looking for information on one of my clients do the normal thing and pay off a goblin.” Mavis thanked the alchemist and showed himself out, He had been curious and even grateful earlier, but knowing Maikull was a grim raised several troubling questions. The Grim were never known for their mercy and that any of them would show kindness to a human child seemed completely out of pattern with their operation. If Maikull was Grim then he certainly wasn’t acting like one.
  5. Mavis stared into the case of individual blue vials, counting out thirteen doses. If everything worked as well as the last dose that meant that he was guaranteed at least two weeks of restful sleep but he’d need to ask Katelle it he wanted more. It was hard to complain about anything that wasn’t the night terrors he had grown accustomed to but his drugged dreams while not horrific, had been strange and uncomfortable. He didn’t feel any better, he just felt functional. Maybe this was the new normal he thought, I’ll need these medications to function. When he had joined the front his father had been upset, he hadn’t tried to talk him out of it but instead had made it clear to Mavis that he had prepared himself to lose another son. Until now he had thought it was a knee jerk reaction after his brother’s death, he hadn’t thought there were other ways to be lost, not until he started to sympathize with old drunk Farrell and realized that he understood why he drank. He looked over to Emily and reminded himself why he was accepting this help before forcing down the vial of blue liquid before laying down to sleep. Emily liked to curl up near his chest, snuggling into his fur on restful nights when the dreams were mild so he always made sure to create room and lay around her if she bedded down first. His daughter’s hair was a tangled mess that at this point would need a good pair of scissors and a decent stylist. He’d need to bring her to Dalaran for that. The Stormwind prison had been one of the few buildings that hadn’t been completely razed after the first war and many of the old cells constructed centuries ago still remained. The cells were meant to house multiple felons, usually up to five in the most economical way possible. The design was not necessarily flawed unless someone made a mistake and didn’t separate someone that was violently dangerous. The familiar scene played out in a crawling pace of every second, a prisoner floated suspended in air as crimson ribbons of blood flowed from his torso, Officer Graham torn to pieces, the remaining two cellmates either cowering in a corner or dead where they lay, their faces frozen in a silent scream as a twisted beast of man and wolf tore apart the guard before it. He felt the weight of his armor as he held his sword at guard, only realizing his ability to move as the beast broke from the pattern of his memories, turned its head and looked at him. “You haven’t dreamed of this in years.” The awareness surprised him and for a moment Mavis considered whether he should lower his sword or hold firm. The worgen snorted, rendering silent judgement. “Well if you’re awake is it alright if I let this go?” When Mavis offered no response the beast merely shrugged and removed his hands from the corpse, both sections of Officer Hutchins as the worgen approached. “I think you should take that pharmacist’s advice, it’s not healthy to keep avoiding this problem.” Mavis lowered his sword, no longer seeing the point, dimly he knew he was dreaming but everything was of such perfect clarity that he questioned his own reality. “No, I’m not really.” “What?” the answer took him by surprise. “That’s what you’re asking right? This is just another dream, actually…I think I died. In exactly thirty seconds five more guards will rush into this cell and I’ll be killed, you’ll be almost killed and that whimpering mess in the corner with the scratch will be dead with everyone else. It’s actually surprising that you don’t dream of this more often, it’s the exact moment where things went wrong, the precise second where your life took that turn and you became defined by a curse.” “The curse doesn’t define me.” “It does make a convenient excuse. I could tell you how many humans you ate if you’re still curious, or are we still pretending you didn’t do that?” “Who are you?” a part of him already suspected the answer. The worgen tilted his head. “In this dream I’m supposed to be the man who cursed you.” The terrified Gilnean stood before him, replacing what mavis had sworn had been the worgen the man had become. “I wonder how much screaming I did between when they locked me up and I started to change.” “You’re all in my head.” “I am your head; direct thought, no emotion, no barriers…we don’t get to talk much, but medications have side effects and you’re seeing your dreams with more clarity than what’s normal. I could go into more detail but you won’t remember. It doesn’t seem fair though, you have the option to forget things whereas I have to be the one to remember” The Gilnean outstretched his arms and gave the body a full examination. “I think I’ll keep this, is that okay with you?” The question took him by surprise. “sure…go ahead.” “great.” Arms still outstretched, he began to back away again as auburn fur populated his body and the worgen took its position behind the suspended halves of the guardsman. He hesitated. “Oh, you probably won’t listen, but I wanted to ask you not to” “Not to what?” “It’s just…not a good idea.” The worgen took hold of the guard again as the memory played itself out the usual way in a detached replay of events as the beast tore through his arm and hurled him at the wall before tearing open his insides and swallowing a chunk of flesh before its own blood was spilled by the edge of a sword.
  6. “It sounds like your nightmares stem from war.” Mavis let the Archdruid’s words play over in his head as the statue of Antonidas hovered above, the shadow changing shape as it rotated steadily. The park was a sanctuary from the crowds and bustle of Dalaran, allowing the worgen to decompress as he tried to gather his courage. Calavian’s interest in his nightmares had been solely on his daughter’s wishes, she had thought she had been helping and out of respect to the child the druid had sought to render what aid he could. For reasons he couldn’t explain Calavian’s admission that he couldn’t help with the problem had been relief but it still remained that his night terrors were disturbing the child and for that he needed to suppress them. Mavis ran his mind over the drugs he’d become familiar with during his guard duties but most of what he could remember about them were their side effects or if they made the user aggressive, nothing that was discretely manageable in sane doses. Katelle had been one of the first medical practitioners he had found in the Stormwind directory that Mavis hadn’t been force been called to investigate when he was still a guard and looked like she knew what she was doing. He was surprised to know that the woman already had two children and was expecting a third, putting him more at ease in terms of prescribing sedatives that would not be at risk of killing him Katelle’s concerns about prescribing the medication were heavily focused on abuse and though Mavis had insisted it was not going to be a concern she had wanted to consult with a medic for proper dosage, until then Mavis had busied himself with whatever he could to avoid sleep. As he sought out tasks to stay awake Mavis discovered there was no shortage of finding things to do around the Caravan, Tuuroto’s interpretation of repairs seemed to primarily involve a lot of sap, rope and optimism that everything would hold together and didn’t bother with anything else unless it had inevitably broken worse and it was beyond the usual stop gap measures. He had tried to explain the need to fix things before they were broken to the Draenei but was ultimately met with hand waving and more blind optimism until he gave up and just continued to handle it on his own. After following up with the maintenance he moved onto other errands, primarily making repairs to Margoz’s estate and following up with temporarily lodgings that would comfortably house two people during planting and harvest. He staggered, feeling a wave of exhaustion as he tried to hammer the next few boards into place. He couldn’t remember how long he’d been away at this point, was it three or two? Did it really matter? He’d at least lost track of why he was even bothering to keep himself awake. Emily. That’s right he didn’t want Emily to worry…but Emily wasn’t here today. He’d left her with Margoz while he was doing repairs…or Calavian or… The worgen lowered his head as he realized just how much the lack of sleep was starting to affect him and Emily wasn’t even there. Finally giving in he ducked into the stables and located a few seed sacks that would make a decent bed before succumbing to sleep. The dreams didn’t come immediately as he was welcomed into sweet oblivion but eventually they coalesced into the familiar farmhouse on the hill mixed with the sweet smells of baking bread that invited him home. His father’s failing health had prevented him from being able to make even basic repairs on the home but it seemed that he had finally managed to get the steps repaired and even done some weeding in the front of the house, making room for his mother’s beloved lavender blossoms that bloomed in the height of spring. Passing through the door Mavis moved to the side to avoid a collision as his daughter sped past him while the smells of baking become increasingly stronger. “Mom?” His mother poked her head out of the kitchen and smiled. “Welcome home Mavis, we’re just about to eat.” There was a relief as he felt the pleasant comfort of home and made his way to the table. “Is dad in the field?” When she didn’t answer he moved ahead toward the back door to check, looking out the back as he tried to catch sight of his father. The field looked different than he remembered, the air thick with the smoke of gunpowder and fire as rolling tanks cut a path of destruction through the siege. It took him a moment to realize he was shaking as he backed away and shut the door. “Mom?” “What’s wrong dear?” Her head slid down from her shoulders as she spoke bounding twice before it rolled at his feet, the soft serene smile looking up from a cold steel helmet as the canons burst around him. He put his hands to his ears as he tried to shut it out while his arms grew thick with dark black fur. He screamed as the fire burned around him and chunks of meat exploded in every direction, brought on by a burst of light. He tried to shut his eyes but the transformation forced them open again, bringing an added clarity to the chunks of meat that he didn’t want or ask for. His eyes fell on the hope chest with horror as the chunks of meat took shape into the image of a small dark haired child. Mavis screamed, only aware that he was awake again when he realized that he wasn’t burning with the fire. His fur felt wet and covered in sweat, brought on by the panic of the dream. She took several deep breaths, waiting for the shaking to subside before standing up and getting back to work.
  7. Small feet tapped out a rhythm on the cobblestones, skipping over the cracks as the small child wandered through the streets of Dalaran, lost in the bustle that was clearly new to her. The child looked to be around five with tangled black hair and wearing a brown jumper that seemed more at home on a farm then in the big city. She stopped briefly, distracted by the fountain and leaning over to stare into the water and the various coins at the bottom. Dalaran children ran about the city all the time. But this one…she didn’t fit. Maikull had just emerged from the Guardians Vault under the Central Spire, and once again got turned around, walking out near Grayfang’s Enclave. As he made the trip around the city to head back to Windrunners Sanctuary, he noticed the little girl by the water fountain next to the Glorious Goods shop. Most of the children who ran around were not far off from their citizen parents, he leaned against the staircase to the Curiosities and Moore shop across the street and watched the little one for a moment. Emily didn't seem to pay notice to anyone around her as she leaned in, trying to reach one coin at the bottom that was nearest and dipping her arm into the water as far as she could manage. For a moment it looked as if she would fall in, but the child stabilized, hooking feet and legs onto the lip of the fountain until she was able to reach deep enough to grasp the coin, from there she appeared stuck, flailing without sufficient support to lean back out. Mai’kull watched the events unfold, and was slightly disheartened. The bustle of city life, grown ass people going on about there day and not one of them stopped or took notice of the child’s plight. Granted, the little beasty shouldn’t be snagging coins from the well, but that was a discussion for later. Giving a deep sigh, he hoisted himself off the wall and headed towards the small human child. His hand slipping into his pocket activating the powers of his [Orb of Sin’Dorei]. He was going to help the child, not give it a heart attack. As she struggled amongst the edge of the well, a Water elemental reached out taking hold of the coin. It slowly rose to full form, giving the girl the leverage she needed to get down, but not letting go of the coin in the process. A Black and Red Clad Blood Elf stood behind her with a small smirk, “I think he wants his coin back…” he said to the girl in a semi-off version of Common. The water elemental seemed to be a shock for the poor girl and there was a gasp of part surprise and part wonder, her hand closed as she tried to reach the coin to no avail and but any further attempts were halted by the interruption of the elf. The child spun around, looking like every bit the guilty party as her eyes fell on the stranger, she seemed shy but appeared to be doing her best to put up a front of not being afraid, not even in the face of water elementals. Her head darted around as if seeking someone out and then seemed to realize she had no idea where she was, having lost track around five shops ago, the tangled mess of hair that must have one been a sloppy braid continued to dip on the stones from it's recent dip into water. “You know, people drop coins in the well to make a wish upon, for a better day or for luck…Taking the coins out takes away their wish.” The Elf said to the little girl. He studied her for a moment, pathetic little thing. “Tell me…where are your parents?” There was a slight pout on her face, it might have been that she was trying to be mean or intimidating but the effect was no where near what was desired. When he mentioned her parents she seemed to get something of a panicked look, eyes darting as she tried to search the crowd. To her credit the child appeared to hold most of her panic in on not locating what she was looking for and adopted a poorly attempted poker face that was reduced in its effectiveness by the occasional repressed sniffle. " ... Around." Emily straightened, trying to look tougher and taller than she was actually feeling He sighed at her attempts to save face. She was lost, and by now, if her parents were around they would be rushing to her at the sight of talking with a stranger. “You have no Idea where they are…do you?” he asked, an ‘I know your lying’ look was on his face, but so too was a humorous grin. Children…a tricky subject. Since his undeath, he lost the ability to have one of his own, and even with this one being a human, he held no ill will towards it. It was a child, a true innocent. He saw no reason to bring the mandate to bear over the child as some of his brethren might have. Emily stared up at the elf, making some last ditch effort to maintain some dignity that was quickly faltering before finally dissolving into tears and full on crying. Great, now he had TWO water elementals to deal with. He looked around for a moment, at the sound of a crying child a parent, even one not paying attention would rush to aid…but nothing. Mai’kull took a seat at the edge of the water fountain, waiting for the child to finish its tantrum, his face was unimpressed. Using his magic he manipulated the water elemental in the fountain to shrink down to the child’s size, and in a mimicking fashion, the elemental began to cover its ‘face’ as water droplets fell into the fountain. “Oh now...look here, you made bubbles cry too.” At the sight of the blubbering water elemental Emily stopped, clearly not something she had seen before the construct distracted her from her tears. There was a general sniff as she tried to reclaim the leaky snot caused by her blubbering but for the most part curiosity had overtaken her sadness. "...Bubbles?" The voice was hesitant, still uncertain how she was supposed to feel.. Continuing to manipulate the element, 'Bubbles' stopped it's weeping and looked at the girl with a nod. "The more you cry, the more water goes into these elementals, until their so big no one wants to play with them anymore." "Come, let's go find your family, I'm sure their not far off" Maikull said, holding out his hand to the little girl. Emily nodded, giving one last big sniff as she uncertainly took the mage's hand, wrapping it mostly around his fingers. "I'm Emily" "I am..." He hesitated for a moment, giving her his real name, "I am Mai'kull...and you have met bubbles." he motioned behind him at the Water Elemental who was now blobbing along behind them. He took the little girls hand and lead her away from the water fountain, "Now...I think i know where we can start looking for your parents." he said with a small smile, leading her towards the toy shop “The Wonderworks” He had hoped parading her around in front of the Alliance Enclave might warrant an eye or two. Emily stared, lingering around at the toyshop, she seemed to stop in her tracks as she was fascinated by the moving trains and floating zeppelins "That one looks nice..." Maikull said pointing at the Carousel Gryphon. He took notice of her interest in the paper zepplins with a smile. He stood in the doorway carefully watching the child, and looking out for any outside who may have been paying attention. "Emily!" It was a gruff, growling voice laced with worry that called, something that came from deep in the throat and stayed there. The enormously sized creature followed, black fur and sharp teeth protruding from a long snout. It looked as if he had been running on more than two feet but had chosen to rise up in a bipedal run as he achieved visual of the small child. As usual for floating above the broken isles he wore minimal armor that looked vaguely similar to Stormwind Militia but had rusted and dented as a result of its owner either not having the funds or no longer caring to maintain it. The worgen was of average height as far as the race went but appeared to be of leaner build with a muscle build that suggested the creature possessed more athleticism than strength, capable of moving quickly and efficiently. He didn't seem to be even looking at Maikull at the moment, indicating he had sniffed the child down rather than seen her cavorting with the enemy. Emily turned at the sound of her father and reached her arms out as the worgen scooped her up in a display of relief. "Don't wander off like that" The small pink haired gnome approached the embracing couple, with a small package in his hand. "Excuse me sir, I do believe this is yours!" he said offering the paper zeppelin kit to Emily. Mavis looked with confusion at the package. "I'm sorry, you must be mistaken" "Oh no Sir, the Kind Elf who brought your child in had purchased it, hes right ov..." the Gnome turned to the doorway where Mai'kull was standing, but he was allready gone. Though relived that she found her way, Mai'kull felt it no longer nessessary to linger, Worgan and Forsaken did not get along well and he did not want confrontation in front of the child. His elemental remained int he doorway briefly, giving the little girl one lazy wave before evaporating into the air. Emily giggled as Mavis stared in the direction of the vanished elemental, he sniffed the air, catching the lingering scent of undeath. His brow furrowed in confusion as he tried to seek out the elven scent, but there was nothing recent and Dalaran was full of them that it would be impossible to know. He turned back to the Gnome, still bothered by the mystery as he accepted the box. "Uh, thank you." Emily stared at the object, appearing to fully know the gift was hers or at least behaving as any child in the assumption that all boxes brought from a toy shop were theirs by default. "I wanna open it!" The shop keeper wiggled his nose as he handed her the kit. And underneath the initial package was a single gold coin, the same one that Emily had fished up originally in the pond.
  8. ((updated info, filled in information regarding five year gap))
  9. It occurred to Mavis that he’d never actually been to a burial before, his brother’s body had been incinerated in Northrend and because he had left Lakeshire so soon after the Iron Horde’s massacre he had missed the services for his mother as well, leaving him with a child’s fantasy of funerals that consisted of dreary colors and bad weather. He felt cheated that even the weather was refusing to cooperate with this image with the mix of everyone’s best clothes making his father’s funeral look more like a fall festival than a morning service. Unable to focus on the casual appearance of the funeral Mavis lowered his head to the grave, it was amazing how small the cemetery was despite how much hardship Lakeshire had seen over thirty years . They were just markers He realized, the real cemetery was Redridge itself with mass graves dug into the hills and sometimes only marked by a few stones. The forsaken would salivate over Redridge. A shoveling of dirt rained down on the casket and brought Mavis out of his thoughts, he took the shovel when it was offered and lifted his own share of earth into the grave, the finality of the ritual threatening to overwhelm him. When he had finished he felt his sister place a re-assuring hand on his shoulder and felt some comfort that she was still there. “He was happy you came home, you know that.” A growl escaped unbidden from his throat, voicing his discomfort as he went through the motions. “I’m sorry for not coming sooner.” “I think dad understood Mavis. Where’s Emily?” “At home.” A look of surprise crossed his sister’s face that Mavis thought was unusual. “Oh Mavis, you didn’t leave her alone did you?” “She didn’t want to come Susan, I wasn’t going to make her.” “You can’t just leave a five year old home by themselves, It’s not safe.” “and you know dad’s health never left her unsupervised at all.” He realized only after that he had been baring his teeth but instead of the fear his sister instead looked hurt. “I’m sorry.” He slipped awa, heading back in the direction of the house. He waited until he was clear from sight before dropping into a run, coming fully around the back of the farm and letting the wolf run, it would have been better had he the chance to hunt but he didn’t want to leave Emily alone any longer than he needed. He found his daughter sleeping in his father’s old room, face-planted and hugging the pillows in a vaguely human shape that was probably meant to resemble Lucas, he let her be and instead moved to the kitchen to get dinner started. He hadn’t stopped to think much on how his father’s death was affecting Emily, he’d been there when Mavis had not and as such had likely been the closest thing to a father figure she’d recognized and now he was all that was left. Emily woke up just as Mavis was plating dinner and as a result was assaulted with the familiar smell of baked yams. The child first looked at her father with some level of confusion but didn’t question it otherwise, dessert for dinner seemed fine for her. Mavis watched her eat before settling down in the chair opposite and lowering his head so it was eye level to hers. “I was thinking that you might want to come with me.” Emily paused from eating the sweet potato and stared at Mavis, confused for a moment by his suggestion then she looked worried. “You’re going away? Like grandpa?” “No.” He shook his head. “Not like grandpa. My job makes me go to a lot of different places so I can’t always be here but you can come with me if you want?” The girl looked at Mavis skeptically as she mulled over his response, taking it apart and processing it as best she could. “Can I bring my toys?” “We’ll get a backpack so you can fit as much as you can carry.” Susan wasn’t happy, though it wasn’t as if Mavis had expected her to be even if a part of him had hoped for her to be more supportive of his decision. It still surprised him to see his little sister as a mother, much less someone who was so much more grounded than she had been in her youth. “I don’t understand why you have a problem with this Susan, Isn’t this what you and dad wanted? I’m tryint to be a parent.” “Mavis, she needs stability, not to be uprooted every week or month or however often that caravan moves around.” It was the same complaint he’d gotten from Solomon. “I wouldn’t call two months of missed payments away from losing the house a stable environment either Susan. She just lost dad, do you really want to see her watch the house being auctioned away?” “It’s not safe.” He forced down a growl. “And what place is Susan? The world isn’t short of hope chests and caves to hide in when trouble comes.” Susan looked taken aback as he referenced the devastation that cost their mother, he knew his dig on the attack hurt her, he didn’t care. “At least this way I can protect her.” Susan let go a long drawn out breath. “I just don’t think you’re in the best shape to make these decisions Mavis and no I don’t agree with it but I’m also not going to let you burn your bridges. Anytime you decide to come home you have a place with us, no questions asked.” “I’ll keep it in mind.” He stood there in silence with his sister, trying to think of something else to say that maybe meant something or improved his defense but in the end nothing came to mind and he was left mumbling a goodbye.
  10. “You haven’t been sleeping well.” Mavis looked at his father as he folded over the covers of the bed, it was impossible to make everything look right, the wrinkles always showed up in the wrong places and he ended up having to do it over just so the covers would lay even. He couldn’t remember why his dad had just been standing there, reasoning that he was probably just there in case he needed a hand. “I can’t get this right, it just needs to look like mom’s then I’m done.” “Okay.” The casual way Lucas accepted his reasoning seemed out of place, but he had been sick, maybe it just didn’t matter anymore. “Do you want a glass of water?” Mavis stopped turning over the sheets and took the cup that was offered to him, forgetting the bed for a moment to sit down. “You know mom would have never allowed food in the bedroom.” “Why wouldn’t she do that?” That was an odd question, he was about to respond when the banging outside started to grow too loud to ignore. “You should get that.” It felt strange to awaken to something that felt less real than the dream itself, groaning Mavis rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and sat up, pushing the door open and ducking out into the hall. Emily had gotten upset when he had first tried to put away her fortress of blocks and stones but she didn’t seem to have any trouble making the mess herself, Hearth and Kitchen had turned into a disaster zone of thrown blocks and river rocks, each making a pounding sound as they hit their mark on the floor and walls. Mavis looked with some concern at the scuffed and dented wood before shuffling his concerns aside as an errant rock found its way through the window. “You need to stop.” His daughter stopped midway through another wind up, though by the look on her face he suspected that this was more due to having a new target rather than any kind of respect. “I don’t need to.” “I…I just said you did.” He already knew in terms of negotiation his hesitation had been a serious error, what made it worse was Emily seemed to know that, her expression turning sour as she started back up again, this time throwing the stones harder out of spite. “Stop” “No.” Mavis flexed his claws, trying to contain the beast despite the growing frustration he felt as a low growl escape into his speech. “Emily.” Another loud thump as a stone nearly missed hitting the window again, the child now in open rebellion as she resorted to ignoring her father. “Stop it Emily.” “You can’t make me!” “I mean it.” The beast twitched, pulling on his fraying nerves as he stood there, trying to count to ten as Emily committed herself to throwing every single stone and block. If she had responded back maybe he could have tamed the wolf down, but the snarl had already been climbing its way up his vocal chords, turning his outburst more into a bestial roar than a command. “Emilia Margaret Audrapel…go to your room!” The stone dropped dead from his daughter’s hands as the look of angry defiance turned to abject terror. Dimly he realized that he was bearing his teeth which in combination with his puffed fur, made him seem larger and far more intimidating than he had meant to be. He could see Emily’s eyes welling up with tears and even as he felt an overwhelming guilt at losing his temper he felt even worse knowing he had won. Mavis did his best to force the beast back down, his voice still exhibiting a growl as he tried to diffuse the situation. “Go to your room.” Though the request was more muted then before, his daughter ran at full sprint to her room, heavily motivated by fear as she escaped what was now viewed as her sanctuary and slammed the door. Great job Mavis. The one good thing to come of the last few days was the overabundance of food delivered by friends and neighbors, it was a tradition that Mavis had never fully appreciated until he realized how much effort it took to complete the most basic tasks while the mind wasn’t operating at full strength. This made the following visit from the Magistrate exceedingly difficult. The lack of sleep caught up to him in waves, dragging Mavis down in occasional fits of drowsiness as he tried to listen to Solomon explain the details of his father’s debts. “What about the pension. There should be money in that.” Solomon shrugged his shoulders. “As you know your Father volunteered during the second war, there was no pension.” He growled. “I know about that, I’m talking about mine. I had paperwork to send it all home.” “It was suspended after you vanished, unable to verify or some bureaucratic nonsense. I’m sorry son but there’s nothing except the debt right now.” “And the farm?” Mavis asked, causing Solomon to lower his head apologetically. “At this point your option is to either sell it now and try to make some profit back or let them take it.” Neither were very good option and despite what solution Mavis chose to resolve the debt he knew that the blame would fall the same way. “I can’t ask Susan to crowd us in, that’s too many bodies for anything long term.” “Just keep in mind your sister isn’t your only option. “ Mavis mumbled. “could try to make it in the city or the frontier. I know, I’ve thought about it.” “Maybe. Look, you might not have a problem toughing it out yourself but Emily is different, you know that. I did discuss with your father before about me and the missus taking Emily in. We have the room, we’ll ensure she’s well provided for and you won’t have to worry about how to take care of her.” It was the wording that bothered him, he knew that the Magistrate meant well but it all just felt like a backhanded generosity, that somehow he was unfit or was going to take his child away. He managed to suppress a snarl, avoiding eye contact with Solomon as he forced his words out. “I think it’s time for you to leave.” “I think you should at least consider it Mavis.” The snarl was more pronounced, placing verbal emphasis that the Magistrate had overstayed his welcome. “We’re done talking Solomon. Go.” The Magistrate directed one last look of concern toward Mavis but he knew well enough when it was a good time to step back. “Your sister scheduled the funeral for tomorrow morning.” Once Solomon was gone Mavis leaned back and closed his eyes, trying to get in a few brief seconds of rest before resigning himself to confronting the mammoth In the room, or in this case the five year old child in the room. Mavis couldn’t help but be impressed by the resourcefulness of his daughter, not only had she concealed herself inside her room for the last day but she had managed to leave it with such stealth that the usual tactic of guarding the food left outside her door failed to meet with any success. He grudgingly conceded that part of her victory might have had something to do with his own lack of sleep and exhaustion but he was also willing to ignore any logic that disproved she had a knack. Since bribery and patience had failed though Mavis forced himself to resort to being more direct and knocked on the door with an accompaniment of his own apologetic pleas. “Emily?” When he didn’t get an answer he resorted to violating the code of bedrooms and forced the door open himself, the door had a little less give than he expected and when he looked down he realized that Emily had dragged whatever she could move over to block the door before climbing her way out the window. There was a strange sense of pride for the resourcefulness of his child before reality sunk in that she had run off and he no longer knew where she was. Adrenaline kicking in Mavis felt some relief that while she had figured out how to sneak off she hadn’t figured out how to hide her scent, providing an easy trail to follow. He found her near to the lake curled against an old tree and felt an overwhelming sense of relief, not realizing until then how much he had been worried about finding her. In his mind he ran over a dozen opening lines ranging from anger to sympathy and everything in between until she turned around and he was stricken with a sudden case of temporary amnesia. The look on her face was one of pure guilt, a gaze that suggested she knew she had done wrong and feared retribution. Left abandoned by his list of openings Mavis opted for the first non-threatening response that entered his mind. “Why did you run away?” “I don’t know.” He didn’t know what he had expected in terms of a conversation but he reasoned that at least it was something, he sat down in the grass next to her and prepared himself for an endless line of questioning that was likely to go nowhere. “Are you still upset with me?” “I dunno.” “Did you hear me and Sully talking?” “I dunno.” He swallowed. “Do you want to live with Uncle Sully?” This time he was rewarded with a wordless shrug accompanied by quavering. “Do you want to live with Aunt Susan?” No response, instead she appeared to close herself off further. “It’s okay to be scared.” Immediately Emily turned over to the side and instantly cocooned, bringing her knees up to her chest and hugging herself as she buried her head in the grass, watching this Mavis realized he was swiftly losing ground on his twenty question engagement with a five year old. “Don’t you want to talk to me?” “No.” “Why don’t you want to talk to me?” “You’re a liar.” Mavis sighed, taking a breath in as he tried to craft his next response. “Is it because of grandpa?” Despite the cocoon he could still see the vigorous nod of the head. “You said Grandpa wasn’t gonna die. You said he wasn’t gonna die for a long time.” “And that’s not what happened was it?” The muffled voice came barely audible from the cocoon. “It wasn’t a long time and you lied and they’re going to put grandpa away in the ground.” She wasn’t wrong. “I’m sorry. I was scared.” The cocoon unfurled as an emboldened Emily stared straight at her father. “You lied.” “I know.” “You’re not supposed to lie.” Mavis lowered his head as he tried to look for a way to repair the damage. “If I promise not to lie to you again can we start over?” The child looked at Mavis, studying his face as she tried to judge his sincerity. “Not ever?” “Never.” Emily pouted a little her lower lip jutting forward as she mulled over the deal. “I don’t want to live with Auntie Susan.” “Okay.” She paused then after several more seconds spoke again. “I don’t want to live with Sully either.” “You don’t have to.” She looked at Mavis, her eyes welling up with tears. “I want to live with grandpa.” Mavis extended his arm slowly, wrapping a comforting paw around Emily, ready to withdraw his support at the moment she began to protest. “I want to live with grandpa too.” She sniffed, turning her face into his fur. “I don’t wanna go to the funeral.” “It’s okay not to go if you don’t want to.” “That’s not what everyone else says.” “You let me worry about everyone else.” Emily nodded slowly, head still buried into his arm as the tears started to soak his fur.
  11. Any improvement with Lucas’ condition had quickly begun to deteriorate after returning home, causing a reversal of roles where Mavis found himself becoming caretaker to his mostly bedridden father. Despite her grandfather’s failing health, Emily didn’t show the kind of anxiety that she’d had during the incident with trying to clean up her toys. Mavis suspected Emily’s change in mood had something to do with their talk and while he felt guilty for telling her what would likely turn out to be a lie, he didn’t regret it. The lie was justified he reasoned, they both needed one less thing to worry about. He ducked his head as he moved through the door, shifting to the side in a reactionary move as Emily ran past his legs followed by two other children. He had to give Felonius credit, the poison master had successfully negotiated to have most of the town turn up to help harvest dad’s yield and the activity had swiftly become an event. Part of the eagerness he suspected had a lot to do with the close relationship Solomon and his father had as well as his father’s own standing in the community. Lucas would have been too stubborn to ask for help on his own but that didn’t mean Lakeshire ignored him when he needed it. Upon hearing the turn on Lucas’ health Solomon had come by with the crew to check in. After coordinating the logistics and checking in on his friend the Magistrate settled himself in one if the chairs near the hearth, occassionally glancing outside to check on the progress. “I’m actually a little impressed. When I put out the offer I didn’t expect much of a crowd to turn up.” Mavis shrugged his shoulders, searching the kitchen until he found the stash of Redridge Whiskey. “Dad’s always been pretty likeable, most of the town probably jumped when they heard it was for him.” Solomon held his cup out as Mavis poured the whiskey. “Well some of these folks are out here for you too.” Mavis winced at the comment, he had tried his best to stay inside while everyone else was in the field, he liked to tell himself that he was uncomfortable with his appearance to people he’d known for years, in reality he just felt uncomfortable among crowds and wasn’t looking to antagonize his nerves. Solomon seemed to at least realize Mavis’ discomfort and had worked as an in between for him, the volunteers and his sister, who didn’t actually seem to understand it at all despite her best intentions. “No one thinks of you differently Mavis.” Only their first reactions said otherwise. “You know that’s not true.” “Well not for everyone, but most folks in this town aren’t going to bust you for being a little hairier than most. We all remember you standing with us against the Iron Horde, people don’t forget that. Mavis shut his eyes, forcing the memory down again. Realizing he had stirred up the bad with the good Solomon appeared apologetic. “Sorry. You know your mother loved you.” A small growl escaped his throat in an unconscious reaction of his own discomfort. “Let’s just not talk about this okay?” Solomon backed down, realizing he had crossed a line somewhere. “That’s fair.” Mavis whipped his head around to the other end of the house, both men alerted by screaming. As both men moved towards the source Mavis silently cursed, forced to angle his body and duck his head through the narrow space that was ill suited to his form. By virtue of maneuverability Solomon reached Emily first, pulling her off the other child while the third stood a few feet apart in stunned silence. With Solomon still having a good grip on his daughter Mavis bent down to see to the screaming child’s bloody nose. “Mommmyy!” The panicked boy moved back from the encroaching paw and clutched his nose, scrambling for the door with the other a step behind. Mavis moved his paw to his face, pulling it down from forehead to muzzle. “That’s going to be fun to deal with.” Solomon looked equally grim, he released his grip on Emily and stood up, resigning himself to damage control. “I’ll see if I can talk to Shawn and smooth things over.” Mavis mumbled a thank you to Solomon and looked down at Emily and note she had defaulted to a guilty pout. “Did you hit your friend?” “He’s not my friend!” “Okay.” He crouched down so he was at her level, reducing the awkwardness of their size difference. “Why did you hit the Ashlock boy? “ “I don’t wanna live in a kennel!” She turned around and flopped on the bed, sinking her face so far into the covers Mavis was worried for a moment she might suffocate herself. Mavis hesitated for a moment, going back and forth between his options and half tempted to make an effort to comfort the child. He had gotten two steps closer before backing off and heading in the other direction, reasoning that the last thing Emily needed was reassurance from the same person who was probably just making her life more difficult. He continued his escape from his daughter and slipped into the safety of his father’s room. On most days his father liked to keep the window open, reasoning that despite the chill the fresh air did him far better good than any of the treatments to his illness thus far, today the windows were shuttered though to give Lucas privacy and prevent anyone from seeing how bad off the old farmer really was. Lucas had withered dramatically in the last several days and looked paper thin, a condition brought on by the excessive vomiting and diarrhea that had become side effects of his newest treatment, according to the doctor the medication was meant to make him sicker before making him better but Mavis had his doubts, he’d never seen anyone improve by getting worse. His father had been in between another fit of coughing when he had entered and had turned his head downward to the bucket to deposit blood and phlegm in between the gasping choking sounds that had become disturbingly normal over the last few days. Mavis waited until his father had finished before moving in and wiping his mouth clean before tending to the bedpan and making certain he hadn’t soiled himself again. “I heard shouting.” Mavis winced at the rasping sounds of his father’s voice, relieved as he was for the distraction every reminder of what was happening made the situation difficult. “Emily had a fight…something about kennels.” Lucas frowned, forcing himself to sit up in an attempt to force dignity back into his condition, it was made less effective by the hair that remained on the pillows even as his head moved away from it. “Is she alright?” “I don’t know…” Mavis worked to clean up the hair without comment as he tidied up his father’s living space. “She’s not hurt…unless you count emotional. Did you take your medicine?” “Don’t fuss.” Mavis’ ears dropped down in concern. “Susan will get after me if I don’t.” His father snorted and inadvertently turned the derisive gesture into another series of coughs. “She’s too much like her mother…your mother would have fussed too.” Hearing his father speak so casually dredged up several old memories he’d buried and forced him to pause from his ministrations. “Dad…about mom. I’m sorry.” “For what?” Lucas shook his head “Your mistake son, is thinking that you have the market cornered on guilt. You couldn’t have done more than what you did.” Easier said. “I’m going to see if there’s some broth left.” “Solid foods son, don’t go jumping on your sister’s wagon because I’m under the weather.” Despite his efforts not to a small smile cracked on his face. “I’ll see if I can sneak in some chicken.” “That’s my boy” Seeing his father in good spirits it was hard not to be more upbeat despite his old man’s illness. Solomon had smoothed over relations with Sean Ashlock over his son’s bloody nose and further improved the mood. Though he felt like he was half faking it with parenting as he waited for Lucas’ condition to improve and clean up the mess, Mavis found himself at least hopeful, even finding confidence to tuck Emily in for the night and try his hand at storytelling. Mavis knew he must have failed when he felt himself being shook awake by small hands in the early hours of the morning, when the shaking failed to rouse him the hands turned to vocal please, followed by shouting and by the time Emily had resorted to using ‘Daddy’ He was fully awake. Mavis growled, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes as he focused his vision on his daughter, unable to help feeling impressed by her ability to navigate the darkness of the house without a single light. “Emily go back to bed.” “Grandpa won’t wake up.” There was a panicked urgency in her voice that was concerning, pushing the Worgen out of bed and outpacing his daughter as he strode directly to his father’s room while fearing the worst. He was relieved when he was able to track the breathing and could at least pick up the faint sounds of a heartbeat coming from his father’s chest but he could smell something wrong. Emily had climbed onto the bed and began to try pulling at her grandfather’s arm and though there was movement in the fingers the efforts didn’t seem to be of much use. The other hand that was still free seemed to feel out for his paw and as it weakly closed itself around one claw Mavis could see the tears glistening in the corners of Lucas’ eyes. Concern gave way to determination and he withdrew his paw, looking at his daughter. “Emily, you stay here with grandpa, I’m going to get Grandpa’s doctor. Emily sniffed and nodded weakly, still holding her grandfather’s hand as Mavis sprinted out of the house then broke into a dead run while weighing options on who was the better doctor and who was the closest. In the end he chose the closed, pushing himself into a full run as he headed for Doctor Paulsen’s.
  12. It was surprising the thoughts that entered Mavis’ head as he sat in silence, alone in the hall near Emily’s room with a closed door that could have easily been the Royal Vault. As much as he was aware of his reality as a parent he knew very little about how long a five year old child could conceivably hold out before succumbing to hunger. Mavis looked at the plate of food that he had strategically positioned in front of the door and wondered when she might get up the courage to come out, that he was unable to coax his child out spoke volumes about just how bad he was at this. After growing uncomfortable from the waiting Mavis pushed himself up and moved closer to the hearth, deliberately avoiding a look at his mother’s hope chest, it hadn’t been moved in three years. He did his best to clean up the toys which had been left strewn over the floor. He frowned a little at the broken train set and marveled at the speed of which it had been broken. He began separating blocks and toys before starting on clearing away the stones that had been pushed in behind the pile. It felt strangely therapeutic to be dealing with the monotony of the chore and he slowly began to forget his vigil at the door even as it creaked open. The child was surprisingly faster; much more than he expected and he was caught off guard when, first he was grabbed by the leg then small hands grasped his fur and the tiny fists began pounding at him. “Stop it! You’re wrecking it! You can’t move the stones!” Mavis immediately dropped what he was doing and turned around, instinctively he reached for Emily, who instead ducked away and hurriedly tried to put the blocks back. Stunned, Mavis could only stare at the child and fumbled as he tried to reach out to her while trying to find his words. “I was just cleaning up” “You can’t! They’ll hurt grandpa again. You’re going to hurt grandpa!” “I’m not…” He was at a loss for words, just watching as the blocks were returned to the pretend fortress around the stones. “I’m sorry.” The good news was that Emily was no longer hiding in her room but Mavis hadn’t yet decided if it was better that she had now moved to the hearth to play warden over the stones. At least she was eating, he thought. His nose sniffed at the aroma wafting from the stove, judging the readiness of the yams before grabbing a hot pad and extracting two of them from the chamber. He dropped both of the baked yams on the table and waved his paw in a fanning motion as he attempted to cool them down. He didn’t think his dad had changed his parenting skills much from when he was a child so he’d reasoned that the usual dessert for the Audrapel house was the same, luckily baked yams were easy to make. When he saw Emily look at the table with interest he knew he had guessed right, a small elation of triumph entered his thoughts over this victory and he moved quickly to follow it up with another. As he approached the five year old with the yams she shied away and the elated feeling sunk immediately as he realized naive idiocy of his thoughts, you don’t win victories with yams. Mavis kept his distance and opted instead to sit down, placing one of the baked yams as close to Emily as he could from his current position before carefully peeling away the wrapping from his own. “It’s hot.” He mumbled the warning as an afterthought, figuring it was best to say something so she wasn’t in danger of accidentally burning herself on the snack. Still, he watched her carefully to make sureand tried to provide an example, albeit an awkward one to follow. There was an awkward silence as both father and daughter watched each other with wary optimism, Mavis was certain he was going to make another mistake and ruin it. “Are the stones important?” Shyly the child ducked her head, trying to partially hide her face with the yam. “They’re bad stones” He wasn’t sure how to respond, to him they looked like normal stones, they even smelled like normal stones. “Does grandpa trip over them?” Emily shook her head quickly but didn’t offer any further response, forcing Mavis to continue his questioning. “Do they get in grandpa’s way a lot?” “They sneak in grandpa and make him sick.” Her response was uncertain, likely she suspected the logic was wrong but still clung to it because it made the most sense. Mavis frowned, his sister Susan had explained their father’s condition, it was likely the stones were just how Emily had interpreted it. “I’m sorry I tried to move the stones.” “It’s okay.” She kept staring down, drawing imaginary pictures with her finger with one hand while the other still held the yam. “Are you my daddy?” The answer caught Mavis off guard, he hadn’t known what the girl had been told but somehow the idea that his identity would be revealed to his daughter seemed foreign, Emily didn’t look like she knew herself, as if the suggestion had merely been a way to trick her. She looked like she didn’t believe that they were related at all. “What do you think?” “I think you’re too hairy, daddies aren’t supposed to be hairy.” He felt he had to defend this. “Daddies can be hairy.” “Yeah but you’re doggie hairy, my daddy looks different. I saw pictures.” “That’s very smart to remember that.” He picked at his yam, debating how far he wanted to carry this conversation. “Sometimes daddies get sick too and then they can look like doggies.” A look of worry crossed the child’s face. “Are you sick?” “Yes.” It felt like a lump in his throat as he admitted it, coming to terms with the truth as he related it to his daughter. “Will you get better?” “I don’t know.” “Will grandpa get better?” “I don’t know.” “Are you going to die?” “No.” “Is grandpa going to die?” “Not for a long time.” He didn’t know why he said it, maybe more as a comfort to himself then to Emily, he just couldn’t bring himself to admit his father’s mortality
  13. “Get up” Mavis looked from his book toward the door and stared at his sister. He hadn’t noticed when he had first woken up but Susan had changed in the three years since he’d seen her, she looked more mature and sure of herself that it made sense he had mistaken his younger sibling for his mother. Currently he was regretting that similarity as his sister had adopted the same no-argument look as their parent that was effective even with an infant cradled in her other arm. Mavis closed his book and gave his full attention to Susan, his ears flattening with the intimidating glare. “It’s-” “Half past noon. We need you to watch Emily for a few hours.” He groaned, rubbing his paw over his face. “Where’s dad?” “Where do you think Mavis? You think I would be asking you if dad was available.” A cold chill dropped down in his gut as a familiar panic began to set in. Dad wasn’t in the best of health to begin with but the man still was able to move about from what Mavis could only assume was sheer force of will and because of this it was easy to forget that Lucas was still very ill. Lucas was also the only force left that kept the Audrapel family from fracturing entirely, if something happened it would be devastating to everyone. His sister seemed to notice the panic despite his canine features and took pity. “Relax Mavis, he’s not dead he just collapsed. Jacob is taking him to Stormwind for better treatment.” Mavis nodded, allowing the words to sink in, he still felt weak but he was confident that he’d at least recovered enough to manage on his own. On his own was the key part, the difficulty felt like it would triple if he was forced to supervise a five year old on top, especially one that barely knew him. “Can’t you or Solomon take her for a few days?” “You’re kidding right? You realize its harvest right? I can’t watch four children on my own while making sure the fields are clear. You realize Solomon has the same problem? Then everyone has their hands full trying to clear out Gnoll corpses before the scavengers come sniffing around.” He growled, his sister’s lecture setting him off. “That didn’t seem to bother anyone the last three years.” His sister’s hands clenched into fists as she held back a roiling fury, forcing calm only out of favor for the infant she held, if anything it make her boiling anger look worse. “Well I’m sorry your grand return is such an inconvenience. Once you’re better you can run off and play the lone wolf again and me and dad won’t bother to spend any more time looking for you. We’ll wash our hands write you off and get on with our lives. Maybe while you’re here you can lift at least one little finger and get to know your blood before you run out on us again. I just thought that would be nice.” Surprise registered on the Worgen’s face as he processed his sister’s words, Susan had always been headstrong but he’d never known her to snap before and even hours after she was gone he remained stunned while he mulled over what he was going to do in the next few days. Though Mavis had been reluctant to leave his room he’d still managed to move around the house on evenings after everyone else had gone to sleep so he at least knew he was able to make it past the hall. As he headed to the kitchen his heightened senses detected Emily peeking out of her room and briefly he selfishly thought how much easier it would be if she remained there for the next few days. He had to duck his head moving around so he didn’t bump against the ceiling but there were still accidents when he forgot and along with the weakness in his muscles he knew the bruises to his head would be added on later. His sister had left such detailed instructions he was starting to think he’d have to actually make an effort to screw something up but it was nice that she’d tried to help and it was at least another weight off his shoulders. Emily hadn’t come out of her room since he’d dragged himself to the kitchen but by the time the smells of food began to waft through the house he could see her sneaking around for a glimpse. He pretended not to notice the five year old sneaking around the table, reasoning that it was easier for both of them and trying to fool himself that it was more for his benefit than hers. Regardless he dished out the bowls and set both at opposite ends of the table. The awkwardness of his size and the startlingly fearsome look of his form was ever-present but through the years he’d learned to adjust to the point where it didn’t bother him. Home was different, save for once he’d never brought the worgen inside and until now home had been where he’d felt most human. Now everything seemed alien to him and comically small, the property of a stranger in another life and all he wanted to do was run. His ears twitched to the sounds of movement as Emily drew closer to her meal and he realized that while he had never announced himself to the dark haired child she hadn’t either, opting instead to try to sneak around him and grab her food without making her presence known. Committing fully to the game Mavis allowed himself to look away, pretending to ignore the slide of the bowl from the table and the small quickened steps that broke into a mad dash back to the bedroom. His focus was brought into full alert when the steps turned into a thump followed by a loud crash and Mavis immediately pushed himself from the table just before the wailing began as instinct directed himself to the screaming child still covered in the backsplash of her now empty bowl. His paws immediately set to right her up even through the wailing as he hurried to inspect her for injuries while Emily switched her awareness to the stranger and began to push away, her fall soon forgotten as she struggled away from the animal “No!” The shriek was coupled with one last kick that finalized her demands and no sooner had he released the girl she completed the last length of the run back to her room, shutting the door with as much strength a five year old could muster. Mavis stared at the mess in the hall and covered his face with his paw, not even caring about the dripping stew that was smeared against his muzzle. He just wanted to go home but that was all wrong because he was home but nothing was going right.
  14. Mavis is currently spending time in Redridge recovering from an accidental poisoning.
  15. The hunger pains grew more insistent as Mavis tried to distract himself with the book, he hadn’t thought anything was wrong yet after having heard his father and then Emily wandering through the house but neither had entered. He wasn’t surprised that Emily hadn’t visited as his daughter only looked in when she thought he was sleeping but his father had made regular stops to his room to check in and bring food, something he had failed to do all day. The past several days had left Mavis confined to the bed and while he was making some real progress with his recovery the limited movement he was afforded had made him restless and irritable which was made no better by the fact that his father had forgotten to bring his meals. Unable to take it anymore he snapped the book shut and forced down a growl as he called towards the crack in his door. “Dad!” It took several minutes but after a while he was rewarded with the sound of shuffling feet followed by a creak as the door opened inward. The sharp intake of breath that came from the surprise at Lucas’ wasted appearance repeated itself for an encore. It was hard to accept the association between the image that remained in Mavis’ head and the frail looking man before him. The muscles had quickly atrophied out of weakness and he seemed weary inside and out, tired of fighting and barely mustering the strength to keep holding out. Mavis shut his eyes and refocused on his father, remembering his immediate needs and clinging to that instead of the sight of his ailing father. “When are we eating?” Lucas looked at his son, regarding him calmly. Despite the clearly wolfish appearance of his son he gave the boy an even look of patient authority and didn’t seem the least bothered by it. “I was thinking you could eat out here with us today.” The suggestion elicited a growl from his son. “I can barely walk.” The comment earned a piercing look from Lucas, who seemed to be commanding focus on his own compromised strength and forcing his son to break eye contact and focus instead toward the window. Lucas took a deep rasping breath. “I think you can make it far enough to the table today. There’s hot soup and fresh bread if you can manage it but I’d like for us to eat as a family.” “Emily isn’t at Susan’s” He mumbled it a little more than he desired to, his father barely seemed surprised. “I don’t think she needs to be. Do you think I look any better?“ He had a point even if it wasn’t something Mavis was willing to admit. “Look dad, if it’s alright with you I’m just not feeling well. Do you think we can skip the family dinner tonight?” For a moment it looked as if Lucas was about to say something but instead he held back and lowered his head as he gathered his thoughts. “I’ll leave a plate out in case you feel better later on.” Mavis winced visibly at the disappointment in his father’s tone and he turned away to try to hide the shame of his fib. They both knew he was lying but Lucas didn’t appear to let on as he backed out of the room and quietly closed the door with an audible click.
  16. Mavis flexed his hand slowly, his concentration focused on the movements more than he was used to. The need for effort bothered him in ways he didn’t like to admit, he may not be too stubborn to accept help but the beast raged at being helpless and strained his nerves even as he resigned himself to recovery. He flexed his hand one more time and earned praise from the physician even as a leather ball was placed into his palm. “Squeeze.” Mavis closed his paw around the object, enclosing the ball in his palm. He seemed to palpate the leather but any strength or force remained absent from the exercise. The doctor waited for Mavis to release the ball before retrieving it and continuing with his examination. “Good. I’m confident we’re looking forward to a full recovery.” “Are you sure?” To him it didn’t feel like anything was improving at all. “Well it doesn’t seem like much but it’s only been a day. Rapid healing won’t help with this so you’re just going to have to give it time. Frankly with the amount of poison you were exposed to it’s luck we haven’t seen any permanent damage.” Mavis flexed his hand again as he tested the strength. “I guess so. How’s my dad?” “As a matter of fact he’s my next patient. The stubborn boar insisted I check on you first.” “But how is he?” The doctor frowned then, passing the next minute in silence. He seemed to consider his next words carefully before responding. “I think you should speak to him about that.” Mavis watched the physician leave for the next room while he was left alone with his thoughts. He had slept for most of yesterday so boredom during his convalescence had not been an issue, but now as he was beginning to recover he found it harder to occupy the hours with his limited strength. Every now and then his thoughts would drift to Felonius and wonder if he was planning to stop over again but as the hour passed and they received no additional visitors his hopes gradually died and he resigned himself to staring at his room. The bedroom had changed little from when two brothers had shared the same space and Mavis caught himself glimpsing small memories from his childhood left in imprints on the walls and furniture. His gaze fell on the wall hanging across the room, something his mother had done years ago when he and his siblings had still been young. The red clay discs had ben strung together top to bottom with Gavin as the oldest being up top and leading down to his sister’s hand print as the last in line. He stared a hole into the center disc, memorizing every line in the hardened clay and not wanting to admit that while he hated looking at it, it was the one on top that he deliberately avoided looking at. Growling he turned over and broke contact, sliding a book off the bed stand as he ducked his head into the sheets and tried to block out the distant humming coming from down the hall.
  17. His ears twitched as he picked up the sound of the raindrops as they fell upon the roof, his intended groan resulted in a growl as he was pulled back into the world of the waking and he became aware of the dull throbbing pain against his skull. He felt weak as the normal strength and energy of his worgen body felt inexplicably absent. The beast hated the helplessness, the panicked response of a trapped animal rising inside him before he forced it down and allowed his rational mind to think. He was in a bed, rather he was in two beds, one pushed against the other to help support the entirety of his form. Someone had tried their best to cover him up but despite their efforts his feet still remained exposed outside the blankets. The smells were familiar and as his eyes began to adjust to his surroundings he realized that the contents of the room was familiar, his father having made very few changes from when he had last been home. He moved his head to look towards the door and caught the shadow of a figure no more than three feet tall before she disappeared, pounding the floor as she increased her distance from the room. Minutes later the door swung open wider, admitting what must have been his nursemaid by the appearance of the tray she carried with her. Staring at the woman’s braided black hair and the soft determination in her face he thought he recognized his mother, as his eyes sharpened he could see that while he had been wrong his guess had not been far off. “Susan?” The woman nearly jumped at his question, startled by the sudden awareness. She turned her attention to his face and reflected an awkward discomfort that Mavis guessed was a direct reaction to his appearance, his sister had only once seen him in his worgen form and even then she had not been immediately aware. “Sorry” His sister shook her head as she turned to carefully set the tray down. His nose picked up the fresh scent of chicken and broth mixing with Peaceblossom tea. “It’s alright, that’s my fault really. I’ve been distracted.” He tried to sit up before realizing that he didn’t actually have the strength for it. His entire body felt like soggy bread, his sister seemed to know this and with her help managed to get him upright enough to eat. “What happened?” “You were poisoned.” His attempts to speak were momentarily stalled as Susan helped a spoonful of broth into his mouth. “Poisioned?” “Not on purpose but I think your friend felt responsible for it. You almost died.” “Felonius?” His sister nodded, continuing to spoon the broth into his mouth between questions. “That’s him. He was helping with the gnoll problem, I guess he didn’t tell you. He was in yesterday to check on you but no one’s seen him since. The physician says that it may take you at least a few days to get your strength back.” It sounded right, he didn’t even think he could lift his own arms with the weakness he felt in his limbs. “Where’s dad?” “Resting. Everyone’s been taking turns watching you, but we have to be careful so dad doesn’t overexert himself. He gets tired easily and then tries to force himself to keep up.” He swallowed the tea as it was held up to his mouth, most of its contents dribbling through his teeth as Susan tried to negotiate the physiology of his canine mouth. Mavis watched as his sister took a dishrag and began to pat dry the moistened fur, trying to ignore the indignity. “That doesn’t sound like dad.” Susan stopped what she was doing to look into her brother’s eyes, the confusion on her face was evident. “You know he’s sick right?” His ears dropped and his brow furrowed as he tried to understand what his sister was saying. “What do you mean? How sick?” Susan retracted the dishrag, folding it in her hands multiple times until it became a smaller and smaller square, it was a habit his sister had inherited from their mother, a nervous habit when a subject became particularly uncomfortable. “It started six months ago but when we talked to the physician he thought that it must have been going on longer than that. He was having trouble keeping food down and had stomach pains, when he finally agreed to see help they found lumps growing inside of him. The best they’ve been able to do is remove them but we’re running out of money to do that and they keep coming back.” His sister sniffed in an effort to pull back the moisture that had been leaking out of her nose then dabbed her eyes dry with the dishrag that had by then been folded into a thick one inch square. “I’m sorry.” “Why?” He was still to stunned by Susan’s revelation to react, it didn’t exactly feel real enough to accept it so strangely his mood remained level. In a way that felt even worse as he thought he should be reacting more to the news. “Is someone taking care of him?” “You know how stubborn dad is. The best anyone can do is drop in now and then.” She gathered everything back onto the tray. “Do you want to stay sitting up or do you need to lay back down?” It took a minute before he realized what his sister was asking and that right now he actually needed help with these choices. “It’s fine like this.” “Okay.” She stood up quickly, clearly in a hurry to leave. “Solomon will come by to check in, after that dad might be awake should talk to him then.” Susan moved out of the room so quickly that Mavis was barely able to get in a goodbye. He didn’t blame his sister, doubting he would feel any different if their roles were reversed. He sat in silence with his thoughts, forcing his body to move the barest minimum as he considered the small child that had run from the door and what his sister had told him.
  18. The Audrapel farm had three rooms set for sleeping, the last of which was saved for guests and closed off from playing in. For the most part this secret forbidden room had gone unused and dusty but then her aunt came to take her to her cousins and when she got to come back the wolf had moved in. Everyone was so fussy with the wolf, Grandpa was fussy, Aunt Susan was fussy, even the doctor who was fussing, coming in and out of the guest room more times than she had remembered him doing with her grandfather. Emily tried to stay out of the way as she grew increasingly frustrated by the attention everyone seemed to be giving the monster. Where most days her grandfather found time to play or read to her, he was now occupied with the guest room even missing lunchtimes and making Miss Sully cook even though she wasn’t very good. It was at least better than Aunt Susan’s, she knew that. The first few days of the wolf she was forced to stay at her cousins, which she hated. There wasn’t enough room at the house so she had to share a room with the baby, who cried most nights until someone came to hold it. On days her cousins were too loud and got all the attention while everyone was too busy to listen to her. When they had wrecked her train and didn’t fix it that was the last straw and she had screamed until they brought her home and when Aunt Susan couldn’t be around Miss Sully came in and helped watch things. It was then she learned how much attention the wolf was getting and how jealous she was, it was all his fault and she wasn’t even allowed inside to look. Emily watched the people come in and out all day, especially grandpa and auntie and she became frustrated. Why should the monster get all the attention? It just wasn’t fair. Once her grandfather had gone off to his own room she resolved that she was going to find out once and for all why the stupid wolf was so special. Moving her covers aside Emily waited until she could hear the distant rattle of her grandfather’s sleep and carefully touched her feet to the hardwood floor. Grandpa was a deep sleeper since he had gotten sick, if she had crashed he wouldn’t have woken up, but she had to be quiet for the wolf, not knowing how well he slept or how safe the monster really was. Still, she had to see it. Her feet barely made a sound as she crept to the door of her room and slowly inched it open enough to move out into the hall. She could hear the rattle of her grandfather soundly sleeping as well as the rhythmic breathing of the wolf as it slept. Steeling her courage the small girl slowly moved toward the door of the forbidden guest room, reaching her hands out to turn the knob. She winced as she heard the door squeak, freezing for fear she had woken someone and knowing that at least to her ears it had sounded so loud. Waiting what seemed to be almost a full minute she listened as the sounds of sleep continued, assuring herself that no one had woken before carefully moving the door again and slipping inside. She could see the beast now through the dim light, laid out on the bed despite that he barely fit on the mattress and his feet stuck out comically. The monster’s massive arms barely fit under the blankets and stuck out too and through that Emily was able to see the giant claws on each hand. Her heart began to thump loudly as she approached the wolf, realizing how big a monster the wolf really was. Briefly she considered turning back, looking to the door as she contemplated escape but she swallowed her fears and forced herself to take the next few steps, wandering around the creature’s massive paws as she moved in to get a closer look at the head. Emily covered her mouth as she gasped in surprise, staring at the open mouth of long sharp teeth that were only supposed to exist in stories. The breath stunk and smelled like rancid eggs mixed with old soup that had just about gone bad and Emily covered her nose in attempt to mask the smell, the ears twitched and she was about to step back when she realized that this was part of its normal sleep, nothing to grow alarmed about. She leaned in, now fascinated and terrified all at once as she took in the image of the monster, staring into its yellow glowing eyes as the moonlight reflected off the surface. It took a half a second before she realized the eyes were open and staring at her drowsily, registering that the beast was awake before she reacted. She shrieked in fright, dropping all pretenses as she dashed for the door, slamming the door closed with a bang before doing the same to hers. The covers were over her head before the rattled snore came to a sudden stop and Emily huddled herself in her bed, holding the broken train engine as she waited for the monster to come back and get her.
  19. Solomon felt the onset of a headache as he listened to Bailiff Conacher. “You’re sure?” The Bailiff nodded grimly, standing at attention even though the two men had dropped formality years ago, they had both authorized Mr. Gallows to use the poisons and neither enjoyed the idea of burdening the Audrapel family with further hardship. “Looks like him from that Blitz on the town a few years ago and that Felonius looks pretty sure. He ain’t in human form but at this point doubts are wishful thinking. I sent one of my boys out to pull Lucas for a positive…I don’t think its right to contact his sister until we know for sure.” The Magistrate sighed, collapsing into his desk. “I don’t want Lucas feeling he has to bring his granddaughter along for this. See if you can get someone up there to the Werner place, at least he’ll have one less thing to worry about…and have Brianna set up a room at the inn. Tell her I’ll pay the bill.” “Yes sir.” Lucas had come down to town with surprising speed considering his health, barely waiting until his daughter had arrived at the house before moving down the road into town. The man looked worn, shaken as he pushed his way through toward the inn. Felonius looked up from his friend and seeing Lucas, headed him off. "Lucas, it is Mavis. He must've been hunting gnolls and got ahold of one that had been poisoned. I've given him an antidote and bandaged his leg, but only time will tell if it will be strong enough to save him.” The older man paused, face firm as he addressed Felonius. "I need to know it's him" "Yes, sir. Right this way." He helped Lucas to his son's side. "I can't tell you how sorry I am that this happened." Lucas' face seemed to slacken with relief as he confirmed the identity of the worgen, brushing the fur back gently from his head. Weary from the excitement he collapsed into a chair, taking a ragged breath as he stared at the floor, making his face difficult to see. "You didn't know.” Felonius feels deeply for the old man. "I had no idea that he might be in this area. I didn't say anything before, but I know Mavis. I have spoken to him before and he talked about coming home, but I didn't think he was serious. He seemed.... conflicted." "He didn't have to be, by the light why would he ever need to worry about that?" He rubbed his hand down his face and looked up at Felonius, there were no other visible signs, yet the man's eyes were clearly red and swollen. "Was it his idea for you to come here?" Felonius looked down at the ground, unsure of how to answer. "I travel with a group of merchants. Our caravan is in need of supplies. Mavis suggested that there might be crops available here that we could use." "I didn't learn of his connection to you until I met you," Felonius lied. "I recognized your name." "That's...surprising. He's travelling with you?" The man appeared genuinely curious. "He was. I met him in Darkshire. I assume that was when he went missing, but I was not aware that he was missing at that time. It wasn't until much later that we spoke of him going home. I think his time on the battlefield may have affected him more than most people would understand. That's just my impression." Lucas shook his head. "It was long before that, after the war he was supposed to come home but he never did. I tried to keep him from the war, it’s easy to fear these things when you remember the cost. Still, It's good that he's not alone." Felonius nodded. "Looks like his breathing is getting stronger." He looked around for Solomon. "Is there a healer in town that might be able to help?" "We have an herbalist and a midwife. A doctor comes once a week from Northshire" Felonius looked back to Audro. " I'll pay for his room here. Also, we should see if we can get the doctor to come early. I will pay his fee. I caused this, so I will do what I can to help him." Lucas nodded, slowly starting to stand. He paused to regard Felonius quietly, hesitating. "Do you know how many friends Mavis has brought home?" "No, sir. I do not. Just by luck, I was here when they found him." "No one…there was a girl, once but other friends.” Lucas shook his head Mavis and his brother were close, when Gavin died he just started focusing more on work. Then came the curse, It’s not easy to deal with all that and make a go of it. Even if it’s a rounded way it you're just about the first friend he's ever brought home. Straight point is he trusted you, that’s no small thing, you can’t say all that’s just luck. " "If it isn't luck, I sure hope it keeps him safe... whatever it is." "Don’t curse the sky because the lightning struck your apple tree. Some things are beyond your control and it ain’t no one’s fault, no matter how much you want to take the blame.” Felonius looks at Lucas. "I'll leave you two alone. I'll be back to check on him later" Lucas nodded, his eyes focused on the worgen as he watched his son breathe. "Thank you Mr Gallows."
  20. Though Mavis didn’t let on he did actually miss his family. For reasons that he could not allow himself to abandon his own blood completely and turn to the wilds was why he had never until recently gone any further than Duskwood, the proximity allowing him to visit from a distance every time he became homesick. His father had never been aware, too afraid to take the next step forward that would require him to bring all his flaws home again. He’d been honest with Felonius when he had told him he could not go to Lakeshire but their discussion had left him homesick and a few days later he had left the Broken Isles to follow the Poison Master home to Redridge. The fastest route required a simple portal jump from Dalaran to Stormwind but not willing to broadcast his presence Mavis was forced to take the second fastest route through Ironforge, which required a longer run and use of the courtesy griffons that while tamed better, did nothing to ease his nerves when taking to the air. The journey had bothered him enough to put the beast on edge and by the time he reached Redridge it was clawing its way up with an irritable snarl. Thinking it was better to satisfy the wolf first he turned away from the town in a slight detour through the mountains. Gnoll territory hadn’t shifted since the last time he had wandered through the area but their population had increased significantly. Gnolls had always been a re-occuring problem for the people of Redridge but the town council often kept their numbers down by hiring the odd adventurer to cull the population in exchange for a few silver. With the war in the Broken Isles and all other resources going to the harvest he suspected Solomon hadn’t been able to scrape up enough volunteers as he had previously, resulting in a population explosion with the pests. Felonius was likely going to have his work cut out for him if he’d offered to help with the problem, but it couldn’t hurt to lend a hand with the secondary effect of calming the beast which was still itching for a good hunt. Most of the cackle seemed to be preoccupied with their food so it wasn’t difficult to move in closer among the rocks as he stalked the outer edge, picking out his targets one by one. Moving quickly was a non-issue for the worgen among the group of fat and feasting hyenas but he still needed to make sure he was out of sight of the others, even an apex predator could be overwhelmed if enough prey got the notion to defend themselves. It took a little extra time but he found his starting point, a small outcrop of rocks with an area that was not easily seen by a passing glance. He sniffed the meat as he moved around the area, counting five easily that were more pre-occupied with fighting over food than keeping an eye out for danger, Gnolls weren’t used to being prey. He snarled, releasing his control to the beast and announcing his presence, growling as he stood to his full height and flexing his claws as he faced the Gnolls. The group froze, stunned by something clearly bigger and stronger than them who had just interrupted their meal as their primitive minds struggled between fight or flight. He locked eyes with the smaller as it twitched and chose flight, trying to escape the danger. Mavis was on the gnoll in half a second, picking it up by his claws and squeezing the neck until he heard a snap, then he turned with a snarl to the others. The effect caused chaos, the gnolls no longer in a fight response as they all chose to flee. The beast drank in the fear as it maneuvered to block escape, bringing another down upon a rock and gutting another before moving to cut off escape again, herding the last two into a corner and allowing his teeth to handle the first as the last appeared to drop dead from fright. He sniffed at the corpses and picked out one of the younger gnolls, sitting back and allowing the wolf to satisfy his hunger with the spoils of the hunt. The human side of him found the practice distastefull but he’d learned years ago that it bothered him more when he didn’t eat his prey, leaving both him and the beast dissatisfied and out of sync. He finished off the gnoll and licked his claws free of blood, moving out of the rocks as he headed towards the paremeter of the town and fought an oncoming headache. In order to not be seen he’d need to circle around the outer farms and around the lake, it wasn’t difficult but it took focus. He snarled as the headache insisted itself on him and his vision blurred, causing him to stumble slightly from his path. Something wasn’t right, his legs felt heavy as he walked and he was forced to drop down to all fours as he tried to gain surer footing. A whimper escaped his breath as his chest seized in pain, his breath becoming more labored as he struggled to force his lungs open. No longer able to hold up his own weight he dropped from the effort, forcing one last breath out as his vision dimmed and he fell into oblivion. Hunting had been declared off limits, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t look, after all it was supposed to be safe now. Roger had been the one to suggest it and he had cajoled Jamin, then they both convinced Nathan to go to the mountains and then convinced themselves they were being brave. They found the worgen in the mountains just past the first three bodies and barely breathing. A salvaged stick was pressed into the worgen’s fur before being slapped away by Nathan. “Quit it!” Jamin barely registered, staring down at the eight foot half wolf creature. “Guys I think its dead.” “Genius. “ Roger snapped. “Of course its dead, I don’t see it moving.” “So what do we bury it? They’re supposed to be allies right? My mom said…” “How do you know its not wild?” “Well its got pants on.” “That don’t mean nothing, Gnolls got pants too.” Nathan leaned in, boldened as he started to examine the creature more closely. “Guys, it’s still breathing” Roger yanked the other boy back. “Idiot, what if it bites you?” Nathan sniffed. “Well then maybe Kenneth Jaenson thinks twice about stealing my lunch.” “Guys. We could get a reward.” Both boys turned to Jamin. “Remember all those posters up, they’re looking for a worgen. Got a reward and everything.” Roger looked from the worgen to his friend. “you mean like bounty? Do we have to cut off its head or something?” “I’m not cutting off no heads!” “No one asked you! Look, how about you and me stand guard and Jamin, you go get the Bailiff. We don’t gotta take its head if it ain’t going anywhere anyway”
  21. After the Bailiff had left Solomon ducked back into the office and selected one of the dishes that had been the most attractive, discretely shoving his wife’s packed lunch into a drawer and turning over her picture before opening it to reveal the contents. The odors smelled like heaven to a man that had grown accustomed to tasting bland or burnt offerings for close to thirty five years. Somewhere in the back of his mind he had thought the gift to be remarkably prescient, but those thoughts had been eroded to nothing on the first bite. For the next hour there was nothing but the magistrate in his lunch, followed by quiet tears when he realized that he would not be able to get away with bringing the rest of the food home without having to sleep outside. Coming to terms with his fate he packed up the remaining dishes and resolved to make the heartbreaking decision of giving good food away. Lakeshire was a town where neighbors came together to help one who was down on his luck, the entire town new that Lucas Audrapel was down in his health but with the harvest in full swing not even the old farmer’s daughter had time to come around and make sure the man was still getting by. This was made worse by Lucas’ one and only grandaughter’s future thrown into uncertainty if the man should finally succumb to his illness, sure there were attempts to reach the father but everyone save for Lucas himself now believed the boy to be irredeemably feral now and savaging somewhere in Duskwood if not further out. The reality was that Mavis’ pension had stopped being processed the day he disappeared and with any remaining income going towards keeping Lucas alive and the farm afloat The Audrapel farm was barely hanging on. Solomon was also aware of Jacob Werner’s attempts to keep up with his family’s legacy and he doubted the budding new family would be capable of taking on a new mouth even if it was Susan’s own niece. Lucas for all his good intentions was criminally stubborn and hadn’t prepared for any outcome save for the one he wanted. Rather than risk seeing the child face a dice roll or be shipped off to Stormwind, Solomon had taken steps to position himself as an option should no others present itself and one of those steps had been to make sure both Lucas and Emily were well fed. The Magistrate knocked on the door as a mere courtesy before allowing himself in, grateful that he had brought the food by when he had. Lucas was sitting at the table, hand over his mouth as he prepared to dish out a bowl of soup that he recognized as being from much earlier in the week. Emily looked like she was in the midst of a dress-up, wearing a mismatch of ill-fitting clothing that either came from when the girl had been a size smaller or were a part of Susan’s own hand-me-downs that she didn’t quite fit into yet. Parts of the house looked clean, but only in areas that could have been reachable by someone no more than three feet tall and comically unthorough. Solomon allowed himself to ignore these details in favor of the family’s well-being as he held up the newly received gifts as currency. “Was hoping you could take these off my hands, someone made me a few good meals but you know the town ordinance against bribary.” Lucas muttered, pushing himself up as he stood to greet his visitor, using the table as support. “You forgot to mention what your wife would say.” The Magistrate smiled. “We both know she’d have my head, think you can give me a hand and make it disappear?” Lucas nodded as he gestured to an open seat. “If you don’t mind joining us for lunch.” Solomon kept up the mask as he set aside the dishes and took a seat, rubbing his hands together in anticipation of what he knew was going to be week old soup. In Lakeshire you didn’t draw attention to someone’s hardships.
  22. The polished wooden knife bounced back as it came in contact with the linen, the obvious bluntness of the toy failed to pierce the torso but the knife still continued its path until it reached the belly. Stones of varying shapes flowed onto the doll, distributed liberally by the tiny hand. The small finger pressed the arm of the doll, then pressed harder until she was touching floorboards. She was wrapping a dishrag around the body when the big door opened with a click. Emily pushed herself to her feet and promptly moved towards the spectacled man in the apron. “Is grandpa sleeping now?” The doctor leaned down to the child. “Yes, so you have to be very quiet while he rests, otherwise he can’t get better.” In response Emily shoved the doll towards the physician. “Can you fix Zoe?” Perplexed Doctor Winthrup took the doll in his hand. “Is Zoe sick?” Emily nodded. “She’s got stones inside and they’re very bad. You have to take them out for her so she gets better.” At first Doctor Winthrup looked momentarily concerned then smiled softly, placing his hand gently on her shoulder. “Okay honey. I’ll see what I can do.” She waved goodbye to the doctor and dutifully shut the door, running back towards the play area to shove the stones against the wall. Crudely carved wooden figures were positioned around the stones to guard them so they wouldn’t get out and once she was satisfied that the stones were confined, Emily moved on to amuse herself with something else. Grandpa slept a lot lately, to her she didn’t feel it was very fair since everyone always wanted her to get up in the morning and he got to sleep in but everyone looked very worried about it. A week ago she’d heard auntie talking about a bad year because the vegetables were not getting pulled up when they should and grandpa hadn’t asked for help. It worried her because every time grandpa was too sick to do something they talked about moving and she didn’t want to move, grandpa needed her because he said so. Emily had gone out the next day to pull the plants up and received a scolding followed by a pat on the head for her bruised hands. It made her mad because everyone thought it was funny that she was trying. Leaving her toys she crept over to the bedroom door, turning the knob slowly so it didn’t make noise. She could see her grandfather sleeping soundly, covered in wrappings that hid his hurts. Like many times before she slowly crept forward and climbed on the chair, sniffing the flask near the nightstand and turning her nose in disgust at the medicine. She nearly dropped the container when she heard the rattle, afraid that he would wake up and she would be in trouble for sneaking in. Carefully she set the flask back down and watched as the chest rose and fell, satisfied grandpa hadn’t stirred. Lately it was hard to tell, he rattled a lot even in his sleep, much like a frog croaking only longer. She knew he wasn’t supposed to sound like that but no one ever seemed to act like it was bad when they listened because the stones were worse. Everyone said the stones were a very bad thing. Emily listened to the rattle half on the bed and half on the chair as the sounds of sleep continued to echo in the room. Slowly her body rolled onto the bed, the she was inside the covers as her head rested near his chest, trying to take comfort in the rattle as she curled up next to her grandfather.
  23. Mavis eyes seemed to dart momentarily, it didn't appear from the look of his face that he had any idea Felonius' question was anything but innocent, though it stll took him half a second longer than he should have to answer the question. "It's a first name." Even a novice could tell that the worgen was a terrible liar. Felonius did not expect that response. This made him pause and think for a moment. From his earliest training as a Rogue, he learned how to read people. It is a skill that is necessary to be a successful con artist. He had developed this skill quite well when it comes to dealing with people with human-like faces: humans, elves, gnomes, goblins, orcs, and trolls. But worgen, pandas and tauren have different faces. Felonius decided it might be time to turn on the charm and gain the worgen's trust. "So, is it short for something? Like Robert becomes Bob, Tuuroto becomes Tuuro." Felonius kept his voice upbeat to make it sound like just casual chit-chat. "I was named Philonius at birth. They wanted me to be a Priest. Can you imagine me as a Priest?" Felonius lets out a laugh. "When I was a teenager, kids would tease me by saying 'What the Phil?' instead of 'What the Fel?'. So I changed my name to Fel-onius." Mavis darted his eyes down again, suspicion rising inside him old SI:7 interrogations which required a guard present when interviewing criminals in custody and though he hadn't been a guard in six years it was impossible to forget the tactics. A brief wave of panic rose in him as he tried to guess what Felonius was looking for, dismissing that this had anything to do with the thefts. He glanced over to the fence, making sure the others were a good distance away and calming himself before looking warily back at Felonius. "What is this about Fel?" Felonius looked at the worgen, he sensed an uneasiness. "Relax, I'm found something in a cave and i am just looking for the rightful owner. My contacts have given me enough information that I thought it might be someone you know." Felonius continued, trying hard to be reassuring. "My point was that everyone has reasons to change their names. I don't judge, and secrets are safe with me. But the person I am looking for appears to be a worgen blacksmith, who enjoys woodcarving and rutabagas. A former city guard named Mavis Audrapel. My ONLY interest is to return the items to their rightful owner." The shift in the atmosphere was palpable, snapping into place by the urgency and surprise, followed by a swift panic at mention of his name. "You found it? Where was it?" Felonius smiled. "In the deepest part of the grotto." Felonius digs into his backpack and retrieves the keepsake box. "It was in a junk pile stash in a murloc den." He hands the box to Audro, then pulls it back. "So... are you Mavis Audrapel? I have to give this to the rightful owner." Felonius gives a teasing smirk. Mavis reached for the box with his claws only to growl instinctively as it was pulled back, he looked defeated, hating the smirk on the other man's face but knowing it wouldn't be of any use to deny it. He sighed. "That's me." "I'm Mavis" "I figured you were, just wanted you to admit it." Felonius hands over the box with a ceremonial bow, as if he were offering his sword to a king. "I'm glad I found it and was able to get it back to you. Sorry about the lock." Felonius pauses for a moment to let the wolf examine the box and its contents. "But do you realize what this means? If murlocs raided our camp and took this, maybe they took the Caravan supplies as well. I found no sign of that. What are the chances that we have a thief giving our supplies to the Legion, and at the same time, murlocs raid our camp? Is it pure coincidence that our security is that flawed... or are they somehow connected? Mavis' ears dropped at Felonius' admission, a reminder that despite being first human, the worgen still possessed reactions that were instinctively animal in their behavior. "The elf looked convinced it was a caravan member. If he's wrong then I would wonder why he's lieing about it." He opened the box, taking an inventory of the contents. Their was a brief exhale of relief displayed by the righting of his ears and a small whuff but beyond that he didn't look concerned, immediately dismissing the box by carelessly setting it onto a bale of hay. It looked like he wanted them but didn't genuinely like the keepsakes contained within. The careless way he treated the box or his possessions seemed to hint why it might have been stolen so easily in the first place. "Xajdris, the Demon Hunter, says he sensed fel taint. We know that murlocs are not tainted. So I am inclined to believe these are separate incidents." Felonius paused for a moment, thinking. "I am beginning to agree with Atticus... something is fishy about Coldwater. He is supposedly in charge of the investigation, yet never seems to be around for questioning. Tuuro himself said that Coldwater's and Xajdris' accounts don't match and that someone is lying. At least Xajdris came forward to meet with us and tell us his side." Felonius pauses for a moment, then nods toward the box on the hay. "Not to pry, but are those medals yours, or a family members maybe?" He allowed a growl to escape as he considered Felonius' reasoning. "Coldwater only cares about Gilneas. He may be lieing but I'm not convinced he'd be helping the legion. Besides, I never smelled any fel taint on him so he's either innocent of that or hiding it behind that perfume he wears." His ears flattened slightly at the second question, he seemed distant, as if it wasn't something he didn't like to remember. "They're mine." Felonius looked down across the field to the other workers. "I'm no expert in military history or medals, but it seems to me that you should be proud of these awards. They are not given lightly." He looked back to Audro. "I also know that they involve great sacrifice. And I suppose they might hold a different meaning to you, because of that sacrifice. But from my point of view, heroes like you fought those battles so that civilians like me didn't have to. I thank you for your service." Mavis' ears flattened further, though this didn't seem to be a response of aggression and he actually looked smaller. "That's what they said when they handed them out." He sighed. "The first one was because the last time I saw my mother alive we were arguing. The second I helped someone turn a canon before he lost his leg. The third I murdered a friend. The fourth I was impaled on an allied sword. My brother told me once that medals were a piece of mind for everyone else, they're not really meant for soldiers." He lowered his head. "No one ever wants to win a prize for 'best in war' " Felonius looked down at the ground. He felt a sadness wash over him. "I am sorry. I understand better now. These are not mementoes of acts of heroism from your viewpoint, they are painful reminders. I didn't mean to open old wounds, Friend. I may not be able to feel your pain, but I do understand. War is hell." Mavis shook his head, sympathetic. "You didn't know" Felonius gave Audro a pat on the shoulder. "I better put these sickles to work and get these weeds cut down."
  24. Lucas braced against the table, steadying himself as the wave of dizziness passed over him. He held there until the vertigo subsided, playing off the weakness as if he were lost in thought rather than just trying to hold it together. He’d gotten decent at masking the latter with the former, though he granted that most of that experience had been performed against a five year old and not his daughter or Solomon, both of whom tended to be more discerning. He looked at the child, forcing a smile when she met his gaze before pushing himself to continue cooking. If Susan had seen that she’d have insisted him to move and unlike the last several times he didn’t think he’d have been able to dismiss her. Things were getting harder that was certain but while everything was starting to catch up to him he was too proud to leave. The other nagging thought floated continuously through his mind that if he was gone then what happened when his son came back and found nothing? No, He had to be here. He finished chopping the carrots and dropped those into the soup before closing the lid and allowing the pot to simmer, now turning his attention to the small child near the hearth who had been amusing herself with a mechanized wooden train set for the last hour. He’d not been able to learn anything from the delivery only that the dress and toy had been sent anonymously with a deliberate effort to make even its location of origin impossible to discern. He’d put word out to locate the maker but Lucas was not a man with connections, the best he could manage being localized to the town and old military contacts of whom most were either dead or long retired. Emily didn’t seem to notice anything strange about the gift. To her credit his granddaughter had not exactly been unfamiliar with receiving gifts through post, it was only the first time that Lucas had not been able to consult the military for the sender’s location. The package had renewed hope in the old man that his son had not abandoned his life completely, though it also raised a sense of urgency within him that increased his efforts to find him despite his rapidly failing health. The door echoed with a light rapping, pulling Lucas away from his granddaughter and sparing a glance at the stew before wiping his hands with a rag and answering the knock. Lakeshire had never been a complicated town, the people of Redridge had more tangible concerns than local politics and were of the mind that if something wasn’t broken in the first place there was really no need to fix it. This basic reasoning was why Solomon had served as Magistrate to Lakeshire for no less than five terms, himself having only gotten the job because his father was not electable from the grave. Solomon had been more moderate than his father about accepting help from outsiders but had otherwise not moved far from the Redridge tradition of dealing with their own. Since Mavis had disappeared or failed to return home Solomon had been Lucas’ primary source of information for any news that came his way. Lucas shook the other man’s hand out of courtesy and opened the door wider to allow him in. The Magistrate held up a basket as he entered, tilting it to show Lucas the contents. “Courtesy of the missus.” Lucas sighed, examining the basket of baked goods. “Solomon you and I both know your wife doesn’t know how to bake.” Solomon lowered the basket, un-phased by the comment. “Well alright, she’s no Ellaine but she’s gotten better.” He turned to the five year old, still distracted by her new toy “Hello Emily” “Sully!” Solomon set the basket down and lowered himself until he was level with the child, embracing the girl as she jumped over the train set to reach him. “You see? I got trains.” “I see. They look very nice.” He exchanged a look with Lucas, mouthing the name of his son in a question, when the other man nodded he released the hug and passed the basket to the girl. “See if you can find the right place for these now and you can show me your trains more after dinner.” “Okay!” The basket was awkwardly large for the child’s small frame but she was able to manage the lift, carrying the basket only inches off the ground as she hurried to the pantry. Once gone, Solomon stood and turned his focus back to Lucas. “I heard you went to see Captain Hansreim. In Stormwind.” Lucas didn’t answer at first, instead returning to the stew. “Had to do it.” “Okay…no argument there…but Susan thinks…and I agree mind you, that you shouldn’t have gone on your own, your health and all. Did you at least see the physician?” “Nothing new on that one” He braced himself against the counter, the action was not missed by Solomon despite the subtlety Lucas employed. “Maybe it’s time you took her daughter up on her offer.” “I’m not leaving my home Solomon.” “Okay…well, what about her moving in here?” Lucas shook his head. “Too small, we’d be sleeping head to foot.” Solomon rubbed his hand across his face. “By the light, I swear stubborn runs with your family. What you want to do is fine for now, but you need to think about what happens if he doesn’t come back and this keeps getting worse. You need to make plans for Emily and if you think another mouth is going to be too much for Susan know that Dorianne and I would be happy to make room for both of you. “ “Grandpa! I want bread please!” Lucas sighed, covering his face as he took in the offer while simultaneously concealing another wave of nausea. “I’ll think about it.”
  25. There was no easy way to get from Dalaran back to earth so whenever Tuuroto wanted to meet there or he needed a new dose of flea shampoo Mavis bit down and suffered through a flight, trying his best to not grip the griffons too hard. Luckily the Dalaran griffons were used to inexperienced fliers and unlike Margoz, didn’t engage in flips or anything too fancy with their passengers. The Stonedark Grotto was a decent enough distance from Thunder Totem but it was at least good hunting and he needed the break. What Felonius had said did make sense in a way, but he hadn’t told him the whole story nor the reality of what his nightmares contained. It wasn’t really lying if he just hadn’t chosen to share the truth but no matter how hard he tried to justify the omission of his own past he knew it was more for his own benefit. After all the more everyone knew, the less reason he had for not coming home and that his own fear had more to do with staying away than any concern for the well-being of others. He shoved the thoughts out of his head and instead focused on the goat ahead, allowing the beast to rise up as it anticipated its strike. All fears and human considerations fled from his mind as he chased the animal down, relishing in the hunt as his muscles sprung forward at the terrified creature, gaining on it with every stride. The goat turned sharply, but that was its final mistake, it took time to turn and the beast was better at it. He seized his moment and leapt onto the creature, claws anchoring to the flesh as he used the full weight of his body to bring it down, twisting it so he could seize the neck with his teeth and tear the throat, pinning it until it twitched one final time before going still. Mavis knew better than to finish the goat off in the open but he was in no mood to share his habits with the caravan either. Choosing the usual spot he carried the prey into a tiny cave he’d found nearby and ate his fill, leaving the rest for scavengers. His thoughts cleared he abandoned his previously troubled thoughts and headed back to camp. The damp musty smell of the cave filled his nose and mixed with the lingering smoke of the fires. The Stonedark were not like anything he’d seen before but they were good hosts and had been welcoming to the Caravan setting up inside the cave, it didn’t exactly feel like home but so far had been leagues above the isolation of Duskwood of which he was coming to realize had exacted a far greater impact on him than he realized. Pushing those thoughts out of his mind he washed up and headed to the main area of the camp, glad to realize he was alone and hoping to get in some reading from the borrowed book of Brogden’s. His thoughts of a peaceful hour of reading was shattered when he came into view of where the caravan had set up and he gazed on where his rucksack should have been. The old alliance issue bag had been overturned, its contents spilled in chaos among his bed of blankets. Moving into panic mode he scrambled to the bag and tried to gather up his belongings quickly to stuff them inside before drawing them out again for a full inventory. He checked twice before realizing it was gone and helplessly glanced around the camp for the small keepsake box before giving into fury and frustration, throwing the rucksack against the stone wall. It was gone. He roared in anger, frightening himself as the feral cry echoed through the cavern. Helpless and angry he looked back at the now torn rucksack and buried his head.