Joined: 27 Aug 2006
Location: Seattle, WA
|Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:55 pm Post subject: [Keetana] EARTHQUAKE!
Twitching violently awake, Keetana grunted as she banged her head against the roots that laced the roof of the small cavern she was sleeping in. She peered blearily into the deep darkness of a Feralas night. In her cat form, she could easily see that there was nothing moving or lurking outside, certainly nothing that would have said that word.
Shaking the dregs of sleep from her head, the druid sighed and then lay down again, chin resting on her forepaws. Only three people in the world had ever known her by that name, and she was the only one still alive. She closed her eyes and sighed again. Must have been a trick of the wind...
“Ohniah. Wake up.”
Her head jerked up and she stared at a vague, faint patch of mist that seemed to be glowing slightly. It could just be her imagination, but... she concentrated, narrowing her eyes. The fog swirled, and a figure stepped out of it, looking solid and real, unnaturally clear in the darkness. A male taunka, carrying a staff, his brown and white fur shining, as out of place as a snowdrift in Tanaris. Inhaling sharply, Keetana recognized him. Yes... the Farstrider was one of the three who would know her by that name.
Quickly, she shifted into her birth-form and bowed. Although she was now completely night-blind, she could make out the glowing apparition perfectly clearly. “I welcome you, honored ancestor,” she said, trying frantically to remember how the shaman had addressed the Farstrider at her naming ceremony.
“Last cub of our tribe,” the spirit said, his breathy voice full of sorrow. “You have the strength of the Walking Bear, but you are so full of rage. You cannot build on anger, cub. It will destroy you.”
Keetana shifted uneasily. “Honored ancestor... I have no skills to build with. All I know how to do is fight.”
“Then fight for life, cub. Fight to build.” The spirit lifted his chin, his nostrils flaring as he scented a wind that ruffled his fur, but did not disturb the plants around him. “Fight to secure a stable home and a new tribe. If you build your life around anger, what is coming will destroy you, and our tribe will be utterly lost.”
“What... what is coming?” The druid's ears flattened against her head as the Farstrider stared at her.
“Earthmother is restless.” Without taking his gaze from her, the spirit reached into his pouch and withdrew something small, which he tossed to the ground at her feet. “I can give you this one small boon, Ohniah. It was made for you by all your family, here in the spirit lands. It holds what is left of our tribe's strength.”
A trail of glowing mist showed where the object had landed, which helped Keetana find it in the darkness. She held it up to her face, but the glow was gone. As far as she could tell by touch, it seemed to be a bone, with leather wrapped around it.
“Thank you for bringing this message, and this gift, honored ancestor,” she said, stumbling over the words a bit. The insubstantial bull wasn't looking at her, but at something far away, over her head.
“Remember your tribe. Remember your ancestors. Earthmother is restless. Fight to protect life. It will need your protection, very soon.”
He turned and walked away, into a snowstorm that faded into darkness. Keetana stood, blinking at afterimages. She knew better than to wonder if that had been a dream. Magical power pulsed quietly in the object she held, and she wondered what it was, what it was meant to do.
A cacophony of birds erupted in the tree branches far above her head. An instant later, the ground seemed to take a huge step off to the side. Keetana flashed into her cat form, needing to see what was happening in the darkness. It felt similar to the way the ground trembled when a Fel Reaver walked nearby – but there were no Fel Reavers in Feralas. Were there?
Even in the shape of a quadruped, she had to splay her legs out to keep from falling over, as the ground continued to shake. There was no deafening scream of tortured metal and fel energies, just a deep rumble that seemed to come from everywhere around her, going on and on. She heard a tremendous crack, and watched, unable to move, as one of the ancient trees nearby slowly toppled into the forest, adding the sounds of its fall to the ocean of noise.
As suddenly as it had begun, the rumbling drifted away and the earth below her feet became solid again. Whatever it was had woken the entire forest. Birds above, animals all around, yipping gnolls, shouting Grimtotems, even alarm drums from Camp Mojache echoing up out of its valley and over the rise where she'd made her den. Vaguely, she wondered what kind of activity would be going on in the silithid den dug into the northern reaches of the forest.
It took Keetana some time to recover from her shock. She'd experienced small tremors in some places, traveling across Northrend – usually in areas where there were hot springs. If those had been Oracles, what she'd just experienced had been the equivalent of Eck the Ferocious – huge and terrifying, far beyond anything that nature had prepared her for.
Eventually, she shifted back into her birth-form and performed a quick ritual, opening a portal to Moonglade. If anybody knew anything about what had just happened, she reasoned, the druid elders would be among them. If they didn't... at least she could give them the news. And maybe she could find somebody who could help her figure out what the mysterious talisman was for. In seconds she was gone, leaving the chaos of the forest to slowly settle behind her.