June 30, 2008 Leave a comment
The satyrs of Felwood might not be as dangerous as the demons of Draenor, but they were suitable practice. No doubt the old Vindicator would be pleased when she returned with her prize, a satchel full of bindings taken from the demons’ wrists. She had learned earlier in her training not to take them for granted; though they retained a vaguely humanoid appearance, they were as cunning and fierce as any other demon. Vassanta had heard stories that they were once night elves, twisted by corruption — as the man’ari had once been draenei. That would explain their speed and their ability to blend almost seamlessly into the tainted woods. Wiping her blade clean, she glanced down at the one at her hooves. Yes, she thought she could see the resemblance there; the high noble cheekbones and the long ears, the shaggy beard that grew along the lines of his cheek. What was she doing? This was no time to be daydreaming, she reminded herself, crouching down behind a twisted gnarl of roots.
A trio of the demons was approaching, she could see the long fingers tipped with vicious claws flexing as they glanced around the clearing. She was no tracker; she’d given her presence away long ago, and the cries of their dying brethren had drawn these three out to investigate. Vassanta tightened her grip on her sword’s hilt, the other reaching for her mace. She preferred to fight with matching blades, but without the official backing of the Sha’tar, she used whatever she could get her hands on. She was confident that she could handle the three of them, but there was no telling how many more might be lurking in the shadows.
She’d have to act quickly before she was spotted. She burst from cover, rushing toward them with a harrowing cry — enough to startle them and buy her a few precious moments’ advantage. She made quick work of the smallest one, her blade dancing through its hardened hide as it screamed in agony. The tallest had stepped back, its claws drawing through the air as it began to incant a spell, the shadow gathering about its hands. It would have to wait for now, as the third demon slashed at her with a jagged blade. She caught and parried it with her own, leaving an opening for her mace to find its mark. Vassanta heard the sizzle of felfire around her, trying in vain to dodge the searing rain brought down by the tall satyr’s spell. A few scorched across her armor, but it would take more than a few burns to dissuade her, and as the second satyr fell, she whirled to face the caster. Its comrades slain, the demon seemed to hesitate, searching for an escape, but Vassanta’s fury had risen and she slashed repeatedly at the unfortunate satyr.
She growled, prodding the bodies with a hoof for any valuables before she took the bindings from each wrist in turn. More would be along soon, but she felt restless and impatient. These were no challenge for her, she felt ready for the real thing. She had to hope the demons’ bindings would be proof enough for the Vindicator.
Vassanta moved to her resting place behind the twisted tree, pulling a bandage out of her pack and wrapping a cut on her forearm. She stared dumbly at the few bruised petals that fell out, and it took her a moment to remember how they had got into her pack. The flowers. She hadn’t known what to do with them, so she had carefully tucked them into her pack, they’d largely survived the trip home but they had shed a few petals along the way.
They looked sad, lying there on the festering ground, and she picked them up into her palm. She didn’t know what she was doing. Certainly one or both of them was going to get hurt. She liked the elf well enough, but that wasn’t all there was to it, was there? He’d spoken of his forest and his father, of the family he wished to someday have, all with a wistfulness that made Vassanta feel a bit jealous. She had none of that, nor would she ever. Her place was to fight, and die, if need be. A soldier of the Sha’tar had little use for daydreams.
Malcos should understand, she thought. He’d mentioned that he had fought in a great war, but seemed reluctant to talk about it. She wanted to hear everything, the strategies and the enemies he’d faced, but he changed the subject every time. And what did he want from her? It couldn’t be the future he dreamed of, surely he knew it wouldn’t be possible. Was she simply a way to pass the time? She would find that acceptable, she’d certainly done the same many times in the past, so why did the idea unsettle her now? You get what you give, after all, Vassanta sighed, tucking the ruined petals carefully into a pocket of her pack.