from the Journal of Carasel Childermass
Mountains. Real mountains. The cramped valleys and long shadows brought me a claustrophobic feeling. Not as bad a digging out of your own grave, but claustrophobic none the less. Too may things could hide in those crevasses.
"Not enough room to run in here, hey Arabella?" I ask the Black cat at my side. My voice echoed and caromed from the canyon walls, much to loud for my taste. She wriggled her nose.
The valley grew wider then, opening into a proper path up into the hills. Trees and rocks dotted the sides of the road on either side. Brown. All kinds of brown here. Not that reddish dust of Durotar. The forest seems established, not unlike the vales of the Silverpine. That was green of course, but this reminds me a bit of home. Then, up ahead on the side of the road I see a skull surmounting a pike with a leaf of parchment tacked below it.
Hmm. This sounds interesting. I won't exactly fit in with the locals around here, being dead and all. This might be a good way to introduce myself. Do them a little favor, get a good reputation, and maybe they won't call out the Brute Squad when they see me coming down the road. Sishir Canyon I decided it sounds like a place a spider would live.
... a few minutes later...
From nowhere. These spiders seem to come from absolutely nowhere. Examining the eggs had been a mistake to be sure, but these hairy green monsters were everywhere. Some of them spit! As the last beast fell to my combined powers of light and shadow, I sighed in relief. The carcasses were piled up, two here and another two a few steps away. They surely did like to swarm.
"Perhaps we bit off a bit more than we could chew with this." The cat, as usual, said nothing.
As I was sitting down to eat and drink, I saw him. A shadow at first, dodging and weaving through the trees of this cobwebbed canyon. I had never seen anything that large and bulky move so fast. Fluid That was it. He moved with speed and grace. It was an impressive sight.
"Tauren" I said to he cat. "That must be a Tauren". She blinked at me.
He was large. A jet black bull with ivory horns. He was striking. He wore a doublet of dull leather and swung a cruel looking mace. As he danced amongst the two spiders that were attacking him, he was suddenly encircled in a green mist. Leaves It looked like he had, for a moment, been surrounded in green leaves. As I thought to stand and whisper a prayer of Renewal for his wounds, they began to heal. The blood flow was staunched and the cuts began to mend before my eyes. The spiders did not stand for long.
I looked down at my cat. "He's a healer, like me". She cocked her head. "Alright, not exactly like me, but you know what I mean." The cat airily swished her tail.
I decided to hail him then, using my best Orcish. "Are you hunting the spider Besseleth?".
He stared at me a long moment, this black bull, before offering a response.
His voice was a rich baritone, the Orcish lightly accented. I waited a few moments. Nothing.
"I am also hunting her. Perhaps we could combine our talents to make short work of the foul beast?" I offered to the Tauren.
The bull stared again.
"So he's not much for conversation; he looks quite strong" I whisper to my cat. She cocked her head.
"Let us be off. Besseleth must be near here, as I have slain many of her children in this dark glen." I made a formal invitation for him to join in the enterprise, and after a moment he assents.
I focus my power inward in order to give my new boon companion a piece of my strength. I spoke the word of power and saw the tell-tale aura explode around him. He would be stronger now, and I added a prayer of Renewal to speed the recovery needed after my first spell. The bull said nothing.
We walked only a few yards before hearing the chittering sound of many legs. There she was; Besseleth. She was larger than the other spiders in the glen and was a dark umber color. Her fangs were pronounced, and gleamed wet in the splintered sunlight. She looked to be quite dangerous, and I counted myself lucky for finding a cohort.
"There is the beast. She looks quite daunting" I said to the silence.
"I need to get my mana up", the bull replied. The cat cast me a furtive glance, and seemed to shake her head.
He stood there and waited. I took a step back, and began to prepare. The Renewal prayer, the Flash healing and the shadow words all coming to mind in an instant. Calm, now I told myself. Be quick and be decisive, don't get in the way. My mantra when working with others chattering through my brain. I was ready. I was ready. I was...
"Ok, go ahead" said the bull.
I blinked. He stood there and stared at me.
Go ahead? What did that mean?. My mind raced. I'm a priest, and you're a... well you're a huge Tauren with a big mace. You have tough leather armor and I'm wearing a linen robe. I'm not supposed to be the one jumping into the fray, YOU are. He continued to stare at me. The cat began to examine her paw with interest just then. She would not look at me. Hell.
I tap my power and my faith expands to form a shield around me. I stare at the spider and mutter a few words, blasting the spider's primitive intellect with my mind. It gets her attention. I quickly add words of shadow to my attack, and the corrosive magic begins to burn into her skin. This really gets her attention. She charges me, her fangs flashing. My shield is gone fast, way too fast. The fangs rip into my robe, piercing skin and jarring bone. I can feel the taint of poison racing through my body. I am failing quickly. I Renew and begin my Flash spell. The spider is preternaturally fast. She seems to be everywhere, disrupting my thoughts and my words. I see the Tauren then, running up to attack the spider with his mace. The Flash bursts forth and I feel better. It does not last long. I draw my wand.
Besseleth is not the least bit interested in the Tauren. He motions to the air, and a pillar of light descends over the spider. It crackles and booms, the sparkles burning her thick hide. Thorns erupt from the ground around Besseleth's eight legs, cutting and tearing at them. She pays it no heed. My mind is cool, and I assault her again. The scream of my mind as it attacks hers is terrible. I can feel the hate burning and seething from the spider towards me. I'm failing again, and my spirit has not recovered enough to build another shield. Where is that damn tauren? I try to Flash and again the beast seems to surround me, attacking at every turn. I am near death again when my light explodes and my wounds heal. My wand is warm in my hands as I fire shot after shot at the beast.
She is weakening now, and I can sense her life ebbing. Apparently, so can she. Her onslaught intensifies, the poisons redoubling in my veins.
Finally I feel the strength of my soul return. SHIELD. The air shimmers as the barrier expands outward and around me. I am weakened, but am safe for now. My focus was gone. I could not manage a spell even if my life depended on it. Luckily I am no longer near death. Then the air around me turns green, flashing like leaves in spring. Now you heal me? Kill the damn bug! I kept shooting the spider with my wand. It scorches my hand; blistering from its extended use.
Victory. Besseleth had fallen, her corpse scarred and mottled by magic and weapon alike. The poison burns my insides, causing me to spasm violently. I reached into my bag and retrieve some anti-toxin. It tasted bitter, but I began feel the venom loosing its potency. My focus returning, I whispered the prayer of Renewal and began to knit my body back together. Everything hurts.
The Tauren reached down and removed one of the deadly fangs from our foe. He looks none the worse for wear. I grab the other fang for myself, proof of a job done. I turn to him then, saying "Well, it seems were too much for this foul beast, eh friend?"
"Uh, yeah. See ya later."
He left me then, standing alone in the glen. As he ran out of sight, I could swear I saw him shimmer and turn into a giant bear. A BEAR "You can turn into a bear! Why didn't you do that when we fought this blasted spider?" He must have been out earshot, for he offered no response.
The cat gives me a look then, embarrassed to belong to me. "Ok, so I don't pick the best of friends sometimes. At least I have you..."
She began to study her paw just then. She would not look at me.
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