Avona sighed heavily as she pocketed the copper she had removed from the dead naga. Her night was not going as well as she had hoped and she was beginning to wonder if what she had heard really WAS just a rumor.
"Go to the Ruins of Malysthra." they said. "Cat statues," they said, "Those spawn the Ghost Sabers."
The Tauren Huntress snorted away the empty words, beginning her short trek up the embankment where she had jumped off just moments before. At her hooves were the dead bodies of the Stormscale Nagas who were the Ruins guardians. All Avona had really wanted was the Cat Statue at the base of one of the fallen pillars, but she knew that the snake people would not have listened to her if she had just asked for it. They certainly understood arrows and axes though.
Looking up absently to scan for the next statue, she stopped in her tracks as she noticed the slew of dead bodies around her. Not unusual, except for the fact she had not been the one to put them there. An icy chill started at the base of her tail and worked its way up her spine as the Tauren slowly turned around to survey the carnage. It was not her first time seeing such destruction, nor was it what alarmed her. No, what alarmed her was the people who had done such a thing and how quickly it had happened.
The words that echoed back through her head. "The Ruins are part of the Alliance territories. You will have to travel through the Darkshore to get to them, so keep you head up and ears open."
She had been rather focused on taking out her own prey, so it wasn't a far stretch to believe that she had actually MISSED the sounds of the other nagas being slaughtered. Avona was sure she had made some noise herself as she took out the snakes... but where were they now? That was what she wanted to know. Where were they and how strong? How many would be a nice question as well...
Ducking behind another, larger pillar, she scanned the area closest to the bodies. A flash of silver and gold was all the answer she needed to confirm her fears. Two Alliance - one Human and one... what looked to be a Night Elf. Large spikes and the glow of spells confirmed that the Human was the elder of the two and the one Avona wanted to avoid at all costs.
"If you can see them, they can probably see you." The words of her trainer echoed through her head as she rummaged through her backpack for her Hearthstone.
"And I certainly don't want to stick around to find out if they're feeling particularly malevolent tonight or not...", the Tauren thought, backing up a few yards towards the ocean. Beginning the incantations to activate her Hearth, Avona vanished with a sigh of relief as it looked like she had not caught the attentions of the two Allies.
Groaning quietly to herself, the Tauren rubbed her eyes blearily as she rolled out of the hammock. Hooves hitting wood solidly, Avona shook herself awake as she made her way down the stairs of the Inn. Hearthing always took a lot out of her and she wasn't surprised to find out she had managed to sleep through the entire day.
The city wasn't as busy as she would have thought, walking over to the small portal on the wall on the outside of the Inn.
"Figures, no one's around..." Avona sighed as she checked for any sign of her Guild. It wasn't so much that she needed help with her endeavor, it was just that she would prefer to have someone with her as she made her way to visit the Ruins again. It certainly would have made her more comfortable if she could take Deiga with her. The cougar had been her first pet she was able to choose and tame herself. Avona wasn't exactly proud that she had chosen just one of the Flatland Cougars that roamed the base of the bluff city, but the cat had quickly shown herself a good ally in a fight.
After a quick hello and good-bye, the Tauren made her way up to the top of the Flight Tower. The fastest way to the Ruins was to fly to the Zoram Strand, which was the farthest outpost she could reach by Windrider, then run through the Darkshore to the Ruins. She actually enjoyed the flight, even if it ended all too soon for her tastes.
"I really hope the Alliance aren't out in force tonight...", Avona thought, whispering a soft prayer to the Earthmother as she made her way onto the beaten path that led into the woods.
Having travelled through the forest once before, she had already found a good route to use that kept her out off of the main road. In the Barrens, staying on the road was good, but that was back on Horde-controlled land and the Tauren was quite positive she would only be making more of a target out of herself if she followed the road here. Luckily enough, Darkshore bordered the Felwood by way of a small ridge of hills and Avona had found that this ridge was just low enough to permit her to run over most of it. There was a small village of Timbermaws right as she hit the woods, and there was a thicket of moonkin later on... but she wasn't worried about those so much as the Alliance that roamed the roads inbetween.
Climbing over one of the boulders, she froze again as her eye caught movement in the nearby trees. Freezing for a spilt second, the cow decided that it would be much better to give her enemy a moving target, rather than a stationary one. Calling on the spirit of the Hunter's cheetah guardian, Avona ran as fast as she could over the rocks and fallen logs, trying to put as much distance between her and what she thought had been an Alliance person. It was also at this point that she was thankful for her dark brown fur - it made for very good camouflage in the wooded areas of Azeroth. She stopped running after she had crossed the river, looking back over her shoulder to make sure she had not incited anything to chase her. The coast was clear and Avona turned to make her way to the Ruins.
"Not much farther now," she thought, carefully inching her way along the field between the woods and the first fallen pillars. There seemed to be a small camp of elves on the ridge overlooking the Ruins, although she was never able to tell if they were hostile Alliance or just hostile in general... and frankly, she wasn't curious enough to find out. The Stormscale Myrmidons and Witches were hostile enough for everyone. Knocking an arrow into her bow, the Hunter began her search again.
She gave a happy yell as she spotted a Cat statue just beyond the Myrmidon she had just angered from her strike and she gave a particularly sadistic grin as her arrow Stunned the warrior. Two more arrows into his chest and the Tauren reslung her bow in favor for the large, two-handed axe she kept hung across her back. She almost felt sorry for the naga as her axe bit deep into its chest, but that feeling was quickly dismissed as the snake's own weapon bit into her own arm. It wasn't a very fair match, but it was a fight the Hunter was used to, especially at this point.
The method she had devised for picking off the guardians had been very similar to the one she just used - five to seven arrows, then a finishing blow with the axe. It was very efficient, which she was proud of considering the last time she had been up here, she had been less than adequately supplied. Another reason she had wanted to avoid tangling with the Alliance, although that was something Avona just disliked doing in general. She started the fight again, having noticed another Myrmidon near the Statue and the Tauren did NOT want any interruptions if the rumors turned out to be true.
Kicking away the body with a hoof, the Hunter turned to kneel down by the Cat Statue. It looked like an ordinary carved marble statue of one of the Moonstalker tigers that roamed the area, but all of the rumors she had heard indicated that if one picked up the statue a certain way, a cat spirit would appear and would be Tameable as a pet. Avona held her breath as she picked up the statue, brushing her fingers over the cats back to dust off the dirt that it had collected.
A rush of wind caught her cloak and whipped her mane into her eyes, causing the Tauren to drop the statue. The next thing she knew, there was a very sharp pain across her arm as she tried to clear her vision. Looking down in surprise, Avona found that she was nose to knee with a very real, very angry Saber cat. Her eyes widened in disbelief as she saw the cat - they really were transparent. Ethereal was the word she was looking for, but the saber gave her very little time to think of proper grammar as it leapt again, trying to get a better grip on the meal it was suddenly provided.
The Tauren scrabbled backwards as fast as she could, kicking out with a hoof to catch the cat in the chest. Wasting no time, the cow grabbed one of the traps she kept at her side and threw it between the saber cat and herself. As the Ghost Saber pounced again, it was in for a very nasty shock as a block of ice suddenly formed around its midsection. Avona half smiled as the trap worked and she hurriedly pulled herself upright, removing her taming rod from her Backpack. Chanting the words she had been taught, the Tauren slowly worked to win the cat over, trying her best to ignore the slashing claws that were now coming directly for her face as the ice melted.
One last strong snap of the rod and the Ghost Saber looked up in confusion. Avona gave a silent cheer as she put the rod away, quickly switching it for the piece of smoked fish she kept for her pets. She kneeled down to the saber's level, offering the ghostly cat its first cooked meal and reached out to scratch behind its ears. A hearty purr was her reward and the saber cat looked up at the Tauren thankfully.
"Still have to think of what to name you, but I'm glad you weren't a rumor," she told the cat, pulling out the Hearthstone to transport them out of the Ruins. She certainly wasn't sticking around after her adventure - Alliance territories made her edgy enough without being in them any longer than she had to. As an afterthought, Avona reached down to toss the Cat Statue in her backpack as well. She wasn't sure if it was necessary to keep her cat around... but it was something she didn't want to chance.
And besides, it would make one more piece of proof she would show her Guild that she had tamed the Ghost Saber herself. She was very thankful to see the warm wooden walls of the Inn around her as the pair reappeared in the city. Avona pocketed the Hearthstone and clicked her tongue to get the saber's attention. The Tauren made her way to the nearest hammock and all but fell into it, wooden beams creaking slightly with the sudden weight increase. The Ghost Saber curled up beneath the hammock, rather confused at the setting change but somehow feeling that the thing that fed it was worth sticking around.
Avona gave a weak half smile as she reached out to rub the cat's ears again. It was eerie how she could see the wooden floor partially through the saber, yet its head still felt solid and fuzzy as she rubbed behinds its ears. "Definitely a pet worth having," she thought blearily, hand slowly falling away as unconsciousness took her.
So guess what I did tonight eh? Tomorrow's story is how Ellionne got her wuffpuppy.
Also no cut for you as I'm actually proud of how this turned out. My writing skills apparently aren't as bad as I thought they were. We'll see how it reads in the morning though.
Thank you and goodnight.