[[A collab rp with Aunne, ft. Cael “Surely If I Just Ignore My Trauma and Sit On It Harder It Will Go Away This Is Fine I’m Fine” Graveless, and “So Help Me I May Be Cute But I Will End You If You Get In The Way of Me Getting To My Girlfriend” Petal. Cael has been absent from rp for a few weeks now. Time to reveal what has been happening, and why Petal looked so haggard at the fight in the crypt…]]

Oribos was the kind of place that never really slept – if sleep even had meaning to the real denizens of the Shadowlands. It was both illuminating and terrifying, this city at the center of Death, and the Templars took their time in acclimating. They staked a spot out on the outer ring, and spoke with broker and attendant, traveler and trader, getting their bearings in a new existence that refused to follow the rules they had before. It was in this that Night’s Petal and Caelryn found themselves with a most valuable thing in the current times – a lead.

A broker talked about a great war in a place called Maldraxxus, and mortals interfering with it – of missing souls and plots within plots, and the two, seeing a chance to find information on the missing Marshal Jarrick and taking this to the Justicar, got permission to go investigate. A simple enough mission, really: go through the great portal to this Maldraxxus, learn what they could, and report back to the Justicar with the week… whatever a week was in this place. So the two grabbed their things, their packs and their swords, armor and staff, and set off through the great portal, where Reality itself reshaped in a swirl of anima and a twist of perceptions.

On the far side, the nothingness of the in-between gave way to green skies and broken terrain, the scent of churned earth and the sight of a great battlefield, stretching below as far as the eyes could see. Petal had gone second -she had questions about how the great mana worms flew- making her a few minutes behind her companion, letting her look down at the ground – shattered with unending conflict – and the strange, skeletal warriors that fought on it. In the distance, a dull roar steadily increased in volume, thousands of voices raised in shouts from a great round building that dominated what passed for the horizon, and grew steadily larger and more imposing as the wyrm she rode brought her closer.

Cael’s worm was a few minutes ahead. The worgen riding it wore plate padded with fur, in shades of brown and red. Her eyes were gold as she sniffed the air and frowned. A great banana shaped sword was strapped to her back securely, along with a pack. At eight and a half feet tall, broad shouldered and strong of arm, she looked very much the type of warrior that this place was said to attract. But she didn’t seem very happy as they flew. Rather her face was furrowed in concern, nose wrinkled. The smell of churned earth, mold, blood, and decay was thick on the wind. She brushed ruddy hair out of her face.

Around her neck was a cracked pawn on a leather thong, along with a green stone. They whipped in the wind wildly.

I don’t like this, Cael thought, setting her jaw against the instincts that the smell of the undead awoke in her. It hadn’t been terribly long ago, only a few years, where she couldn’t bear to even be in the same room as one without panicking or throwing up. These days she was a little better, through constant work, and yet….

….Yet the gold in her eyes gained a faint glow as they lost altitude, headed for an odd round building that seemed to be the center of some cacophony. It was oddly familiar in a way that she couldn’t place, but made her stomach clench suddenly and painfully.

Its fine. It’s fine. I’m fine. ….I wish I was riding with Petal. They didn’t say Maldraxxus had so many undead- not all undead, granted, but- well, okay, I guess everyone in all the Shadowlands is sort of dead? No, nevermind, that’s confusing. It’s the smell. I wish they just didn’t smell like it.

….I /really/ wish I was riding with Petal. Or that the Justicar was here.

And what are they yelling about in there-?

Her worm circled, looking for a place to land, and gently set down among a glaring, green eyed chimera looking beast that snapped bare jaws in her direction. Her ears went flat despite herself as she stepped off and away from it.

“About time!” The roar was sharp and RIGHT THERE, at her shoulder – and as massive as she was, the human-like creature barking at her put her to shame. Legs like aged trees, arms not much smaller, and a build like a mountain – the hooded figure seemed exasperated as it shoved a great axe at her. “No time to waste! In you go – time to get moving! You’ll want a house to notice you, and you’ll not do that standing here!”

“Go go Go!” And a heavy hand shoved her toward a gate that rose as she moved.

“W-What-? No, no, I- wait what are you-?” Cael staggered -Goldrinn’s teeth, he was massive!- and found herself with the axe in her arms four steps closer to the gate. She promptly dropped the weapon (a great heavy cleaving thing) and stepped a little to the side, ears back and flat again, confused. The world, oddly, tilted a little for a moment.

(Her ears were ringing, oddly. Disorienting. That noise was terrible. The yelling and jeering and cheering- familiar- the smell, so thick-)

Cael shook herself and drew herself up, forcibly shoving the distraction aside (the noise lingered there, it was hard to hear anything over it, threatening to suck her in, suck her down, the noise the noise the-).

“Stop, I, I was s-s-sent by, by, b-b-by O-O-O-“

She couldn’t get the words out proper. Frustration welled, unexpectedly hot in her chest. Cael tried again. “I-I-I, my n-n-name is- is Cael- what house? Go w-where? What’s g-g-g-g-going on?”

The noise rose behind her. She grit her teeth. If the noise and the smell could just quit it for one minute-!

“I’m sure, pup – in! Earn your stripes – and your glory!” One more ‘gentle’ shove, and a great laugh ….

.. and two hunchbacked constructs – attendants of a sort, helped chiv her out – “Mind th’ swings, yah?”
“Duck behind th’ big ones!”
“Near the edges means ya won’t be noticed any – ”
“but there’s glory to the middle! Y’look like a glory-sort.”
“If ya last ten minutes, eh?”

It was getting oddly hard to breathe. The smell- the smell was so thick, the noises so loud, dust coating her mouth and tongue, she could taste it, taste blood. The shove sent her back, snapping at the hand in a reflex that startled herself, making her jerk away.

The hot feeling in her chest wasn’t frustration, all of a sudden. It was rage. Her eyes were luminous, molten copper, and she swallowed. Oh. Oh no. Calm, calm, she needed calm, and she closed her eyes, focusing on her breathing, like the Justicar had taught her, like Uncle had-

Some sort of hunchback attendant, two of them, constructs of flesh, came toward her. The death smell came with them, and she flinched backwards, a growl rippling itself from her throat as she tried to get a hold of herself and think. This was wrong, something was very wrong with her, but the roaring voices behind her threatened to drown her senses and her rational thought. Cael felt them slipping a little. She shook her head, once, twice, stepping back again.

Edges? Glory? What? Wait, what is- can they just leave me alone I need to get away, I need to get away from this noise and this smell, I can’t be here any longer-

“N-No, no, I’ll- I don’t w-w-want- I d-d-d-don’t w-want to, to, t-t-to be in the- this n-n-n-noise- I can’t s-s-smell a-a-anything b-but, but, but death,” she said, half a mumble, barely hearing it, the noise, the noise was all around her, the smell was everywhere, pressing and pressing….

“You got it!”
“Dead on!”
“Good one, Rictus, good one!”

They laughed, and the gate came down just in front of her nose – how did she get there? On the top of a great stair that went down and down and down to an arena so massive the fighters looked like rats below her.

Cael yelped when the gate came down, stumbled back, and fell down the stairs.

Chiseled of rock, they hurt where they hit her, though her armor saved her from the worst of it. Somehow, all the training she’d done failed her, like her limbs wouldn’t cooperate. Everything was fuzzy and the roar of the crowd around her and the smell, the horrible smell, eclipsed everything. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, through the crushing sensations that overwhelmed her. Pain and panic exploded where her elbow hit the edge of a rock step, where a corner whacked her head.

The war was unbelievable. Three giant shapes took up quarters of the Arena, while mages in purple robes warred with constructs and skeletons fought stocky warriors and hundreds of shapes broke into a general melee that had no rhyme, reason or direction. Great beasts bashed through lines of troops only to succumb to giant abominations, who were torn to bits by normal-sized human-teams who then turned to fight each other. Here and there were ghostly shapes, roaring and fighting – the clash of magic, swords, and yelling just a constant, heavy pressure.

She landed in a heap of armor and arms and legs, flailing, and lay there for a moment.

Someone, somewhere was jeering.

The rage bubbled, seething, and that feeling was clear, burning away the fog a little. Cael’s hands clenched into fists, and she rolled over, on her knees at the bottom of the steps.

No. Focus. Focus! Remember what they taught you- the Justicar, Uncle, remember to breathe, feel yourself alive, living, in the moment. Breathe. Feel your body, heart and lungs, feel them move. Ground and center. Breathe-

She opened her eyes.

The bottom dropped out from her world, and sheer, complete, gaping terror seized her in a vice grip that sent her mind blank and her body frozen, gold eyes wide, pupils small, hyperventilating.

It.

It was an arena.

With high walls, and a screaming crowd, and an utterly unrestrained melee going on in the center of it.

She tasted blood. Blood and dust, blood and dust, the noise the smell the smell she couldn’t breathe with that awful smell and she couldn’t think with the noise and it was an arena no, no, no, no no no nonono not again never again-

Petal’s wyrm came to rest in the space above – the walking mountain-tree fellow roared at her, and she simply muttered something and shimmered off to the side. “No. No touch. No-sir. The large, armored wolf-woman – she was just ahead of me.”

Roaring.

“… your breath is /atrocious/. Stop that. /Wolf/. Where is she. Now.”

The melee swirled in the center, screaming and blade-on-blade the music of battle. A corpse-like warrior, wielding two swords, was pushed out of the fray for a moment. He was nearly ten feet tall, wearing black spiky armor and a horned helm.

He saw the newcomer, sitting stunned at the bottom of the stairs, gaping like a tourist, shaking in fear. And he smiled. And he stepped forward.

“Fight, pup!” He yelled, and reached to yank her forward. “The fun’s this way!”

And all she saw was skeletal undead in front of her, a leering grin, blood and dust and death and the roar of the arena, she couldn’t move, couldn’t escape, she hurt and all around her the smell, the smell of death-

His hand closed around her wrist, a bony vice.

The trembling suddenly stopped.

Up above – the gate rattles. “Open this. NOW. OPEN IT or by the CELESTIALS I will reduce you to burning dust.” It rattles again. There’s a call – “Cael! Cael! I’m coming – ”

And a sudden roaring scent of lavender and lightning came from above…

It went unnoticed.

The one to see it happen, in real time, was the skeletal warrior. His brief moment of confusion was understandable, for he had no experience with worgen. He didn’t know what it meant when the shaking stopped.

He never would, either.

There was a guttural, hideous snarl, like tearing canvas and the wolf lunged for him on all fours, tackling the warrior to the ground and scrabbling to tear against the armor. He thrashed, shouting. It exposed the area between helm and gorget.

The wolf closed teeth around bone and ripped. Something snapped and cracked and came free, was tossed aside.

An eight inch section of spinal column flopped to the ground, and the wolf, crouched on the chest of the now-still warrior, howled. It cut the screams and cheers alike, bringing attention and for a heartbeat, dead silence, as the arena turned to look for the source of that horrible, unearthly, furious sound.

The wolf growled challenge, snarled unholy rage again into the brief space of quiet, and flung itself forward into the massed bodies.

The noise started up again, but there was a lot more screaming, this time, as the wolf began indiscriminately ripping, shredding, rending, tearing, biting, clawing, and slashing anything near it. The crowd went wild as it leaped fearlessly at a hulking abomination, cut great furrows in the chest and sent gore flying, physically climbing the thing and taking off great chunks rapidly until it fell. From there it leaped to a magus of some sort that flung greenish fire, and the smell of burning fur added to the horror show but didn’t seem to slow the beast as it ripped the magus’ head clean off and an arm as well for good measure.

The sheer violence was staggering.

A maul hit the wolf in the side and sent it tumbling, but it recovered and whipped around, claws making marks in the stone, charging right back into the fight. It janked left just in time to avoid another smashing blow and gored the undead responsible with tooth and claw. A three headed hound came barreling in from the side, and one snapped at it, grabbing and leg and yanking it off its victim.

The wolf twisted to gouge out the eyes with raking slashes of the head that held it, and then grabbed a hold of one of the horns there, flexed mightily and broke it like a greenstick sapling. Blood spurted, covering the wolf, the writhing agonized hound, and everyone in range. It leaped to the second head and began to bite and rip at the back of the neck here as the third tried desperately to get it off.

There was no intelligence in the ravenous, mad, molten copper eyes of the wolf. The golden sword on its back remained unused. It lost a pauldron, straps snapping, as the hound tried to grab it by the shoulder and fling it free, and it didn’t seem to notice. The wolf moved on all fours like a beast, exquisitely graceful even drenched in gore, and lashed out to cut the throat of the hound with its claws as it tried to bite again.

The hound toppled over. The wolf took a bite of the neck, chewed, swallowed, and howled again, fury and dire promise, and utterly, utterly feral.

Then it flung itself farther into the crowd of fighters, reaping a path of sheer carnage in its wake.

It takes a moment before the gate shudders and … rusts away.

Yes. In a moment, it ages into so much powder, in a neat circle – with Petal, eyes flickering lavender, stepping out into the chaos and pandemonium, looking down in some shock.

“Cael!” Her note of panic, of worry, rings loud.. but doesn’t carry far over the din. More quietly, “Celestials – be safe. Xinai..”

The carnage begins. And .. for a moment, the Pandaren just looks down in sudden horror – for all that she can occasionally be ruthless, Night’s Petal has always been a gentle soul at heart. This level of violence is.. unexpected at best.

The announcer is having the time of his life, narrating in gleeful gruesome detail the savagery as the wolf fought. He and the onlookers seemed quite nonplussed at turning the melee into a charnel house. His job seemed to be keeping track of kill counts and contestants, and adding lurid details to the fights below.

Not that this one needed any.

“-ripped a huge chunk of flesh out, now it’s going for the kill!! Maldraxxi, this dog has some bones to pick! Lepher the Leper is coming in from behind and he looks like he’s cast- oh, nevermind, can’t cast without a head! Someone catch that! The wolf is carving quite a niche in the melee, everyone, I want to see how it does against a pit fi- Oooh! The wolf goes flying! A solid crushing blow from that construct, one of the latest models from the House of Constructs, and the wolf is getting up, construct getting closer, raising the axe- a miss! Miss! Miss! Good thing that puppy can move, one hit from that axe and you’re toast! OOOH look at THAT! Brutal! Just absolutely brutal as the wolf manages to get around him, and tackles it down to rip at the back, looks like it’s going for the spinal column. They’re gonna need a janitor for that one. The wolf is on the move again-“

The wolf, nearly unrecognizable but for the golden glow of the sword, which remains shockingly with her even now, turns and sniffs the air. It’s lost pieces of armor here and there from blows and injuries and it is hurting, but whatever it has sustained doesn’t seem to be factored into the decision making process. A chimera-like beast, multiple heads and tattered wings, swoops low and screeches challenge.

The wolf tensed, getting ready to leap.

“Cael!” So far away – the Pandaren focused, looking across the melee..

… and her eyes narrowed. A great leap would be foolish – but she leaped anyway, a gesture letting her sail over the heads of the nearest fighters as what should have been a neck-breaking tumble turned into a soaring arc, giving her time to prepare more magic.

Bursts of twisting purple light turned two smaller constructs to dust; she landed in the space cleared, ending up face-to-face with a startled, robed figure that drew in a greenblack, flaring, howling magical bolt. The Pandaren countered the spell with almost nonchalant ease, with a gesture and a word – then pushed forward, sending a bolt of warbling, spinning energy larger than her arm into and through its chest.

She held out her hand – and her staff lept to it. Another sharp word and a flare of purple light exploded from her, one, two, three waves of it, clearing a wide space and sending combatants tumbling. “Cael! No!” She charged forward at a run, using a palm strike to stun a charging warrior and ducking under his blade, trying to get to the wolf…

“Whoa-ho-ho-ho, what’s this? Enter stage left a new competitor, flying in from above, love that entrance! Magus by the look of her, not too unusual, but if this one’s with the House of Rituals I’ll eat my mace. Might be less painful than the spell she just made him eat! Ouch! Oh boy, she’s got a staff now -shaped like a sheep, what’s with that? Survive the melee and maybe we’ll get you a proper weapon!- and she’s wading into the fray, magic flying left and right! Oh? Was that some sort of open hand technique? What interesting competitors we have here today in the Theater of Pain! I am loving it!” the announcer boomed.

Above, the chimera-like creature dove.

The wolf below waited for just a moment, until-

-it leaped UP to meet the creature, throwing off the dive entirely and sending both beasts corkscrewing wildly, raggedly upwards. Viscera flew. The wolf dug in like a tick and held on with tooth and claw.

Petal tore a swath through the handful of warriors in her way; she tried polite. “Excuse me.” ROAR. “Damnit.”

That turned into a spell that left the warrior’s charge slowed in time, moving through air thick as molasses as one of those necromancers took advantage of his sudden debilitation. A curse struck home – corsucating energy turning the pandaren’s words to some strange, garbled mess – with an exasperated sigh she batted the magic away.

Everything was an obstacle, and her irritation grew.

“LEAVE ME ALONE!”

Her roar in pandaren was deep, charged with sudden anger, and echoing – the angry roar of a quarter-ton bear-creature carried, even above the din.

With that, luminous purple light sprung into being around both hands, in her eyes, burning bright – the lock of hair at her brow incandescent. A wide slash of her hand sent bolts that multiplied into the melee in front of her; explosions of magic battered back a phalanx of warriors and the construct they fought. A twist of her hand accelerated her into a near-blur, and a ring of flame came crashing down on one unfortunate mage.

Then there were four of her, blurry and blasting a path straight for the worgen. In shouting distance? She barked up at the wolf – “You put that head down RIGHT NOW.”

“Oh! Oh, very well done, look at that! She’s mad now- Primus! Now THAT was a battlecry! This little magus is ready to rumble- look up! Look up, there’s the wolf, oh now that’s going to end poorly, it’s got a hold of a chimera, or maybe the chimera has it, either way, they’re ripping each other to pieces from above! Fur and flesh are flying! Looks like the wolf is losing her armor! That was a vambracer, hope it wasn’t attached! Look out belo- WHAT was THAT?” the announcer said with shocked delight, as briefly, purple magic flared in the melee like a seaforium bomb. “Paging the House of Rituals, are you seeing this? I’m no magus, but that looked like quite the display of power! I see several mages in the melee backing up a little, oh, two massive abominations are surging forward! They’re big, they’re beefy, and faster than you think on those ugly legs!”

Indeed, attracted by the light and noise, two fleshy monstrosities with armor bolted to the skin lumbered toward Petal. Above, an ear twitched at the yelling, but whether in recognition or not was unknown. Three chimera were closing in on it’s wounded fellow, these ridden by skeletons clad in black plate.

I do NOT have TIME for this!” Those blazing eyes are turned on the first abomination – and Petal spits three words with venom.

….. and then it was a porcupine.

The other, she eyes – incandescent, lavender energy gathered around her hand. There’s a moment where it seems she might consider talking to it… and then she just doesn’t. a flicking motion sends dozens of shards of purple energy swarming out of her, slamming into it like one of those goblin machine-guns hypercharged on explosive draenei crystals.

She’s panting, though, tiring, reverting to pandaren – “Stupid /in my way/..”

“FINE!”

And she bolts for the chimera and its incoming pair of friends – hastily using that staff to draw a sigil in the churned dirt of the arena floor – a sigil that begins radiating power the moment she steps into its heart. “You wanna play tough? FINE. I’ll play tough.”

“What is THAT? Did she just- she did! Mages! I love them! Obliterated! Look at that, just turned to ash! What is she doing now, that’s some spellwork I haven’t seen before- oh! The riders have found the wolf!”

And they had.

Bowshot peppered the chimera and the wolf that clung to it, most missing, but not all. A yelp came from above, muted by distance. The wolf scrambles more fully onto the back of it’s unwilling ride, and snarls, bristling.

….One of the riders gets a little too close.

There’s a terrifying, death defying, heart-stopping moment as the wolf leaps from one chimera to another and the rider screams and then it’s chaos, just chaos, up in the air, riders and chimera and one unimaginable buzzsaw of fangs and ferocity.

That sigil seems to bolster every single spell the mage throws – and she targets chimera-heads.. not always accurately.

Energy coalesces around her hands, and the target locations – each somehow twisting reality around it. Within each space is an explosion of.. time, somehow, things she hits aging to dust in a shower of runes as she works her way across the chimera, carving massive chunks out of hide and bone.

“Caelryn. XINAI. Get /back here now/.”

A beat.

“/SPIT THAT SKELETON OUT THIS INSTANT./”

Something screams horribly. The announcer narrates with gusto as the wolf struggles with a rider, it’s whole head in the wolf’s mouth, teeth grating on bone. It stabs at it desperately- then suddenly stops, as half his side seems to turn too brittle to support his own weight. A horrible keening wail echoes, and he cracks in half, helped along by the wolf, who pushes him off the chimera and clings to the saddle, spitting out the skull. For a moment, it gasps for breath, hanging there, and suddenly it’s clear how hurt it is. Blood slicks the saddle beneath it, and the wild eyes, mad with that pure, potent fury at the world, are just a little dimmer shade of gold.

Under it, the chimera bucks.

Petal blasts a head off that chimera… and then charges, frantic – “Xinai!” Desperate, looking for something… she fumbles two spells, then finds herself flinging a quick incantation at the worgen – something that surrounds the beast with sparkles and leaves her floating to the ground, gentle as a feather, as the chimera topples beneath her.

The mage heads for where the worgen will land at a dead sprint, vaulting over a pair of warring footsoldiers and sliding past an abomination to get there.

The chimera bucks, and the wolf goes flying, to the screams of the crowd- all the onlookers are enjoying the spectacle. It’s when the fall slows that a confused murmur goes through them, and even the announcer goes “Wait, huh? Wait, wait, hold on, the mage is on the move-”

“Cael! I’ve got you!” Petal ducks, weaves – and intercepts the worgen as the latter touches lightly to earth – “… Okay! Okay! We got this… Cael?”

The wolf twists and thrashes as it falls, weirdly slowly, bleeding the entire time. Petal gets there just in time for it to settle gently on the bloody ground.

It looks… bad. Not dead, not yet, still very much kicking. But three fourths of the armor is rent and sundered, only bits remaining, bent in on themselves. One of the straps that holds the sword flaps in the hot, dry wind, but the sword has stayed by some ludacris act of god. And the sheer number of contusions, lacerations, magefire burns, is probably the worst she’s ever had or close to it. Her side, visible through what remains of a tattered shirt, looks like there may be a broken rib or several; something white is sticking out, a mockery of several arrows like pins in a seamstress’s pincushion,  in her back, chest, shoulder, and left arm, shafts snapped and broken.

The head snaps up, ears back, and the lips curl in that horrible snarl. Blood bubbles from the lips. It is familiar to Petal; she heard it once before, when the Templars beat Cael into submission after her abduction.

And now, the Wolf was three feet from her, and getting to its feet, despite staggering under the weight of its wounds.

“I’ve got you.”

Heedless, the mage moves in close, setting herself between her wolf and the rest of the arena. A glittering shield shimmers into place around her. “We’re going out those stairs – you stay behind me.” She glances back, offering a reassuring smile. “… you have /got/ to stop running off – you’re faster than I am.”

There’s no flicker of recognition, but there’s… a hesitation so small it might just be the wolf trying to catch its breath.

Either way, there is a heartbeat between those words and the wolf flinging itself at Petal, bloody muzzled and looking for violence.

The sound of that rusty-saw snarl meets Petal’s years-of-adventuring-with-her-partner reflexes. She ducks left – and between that and the shield (which shatters under Cael’s glancing blow) she ends up on her feet, if surprised and unprotected. “… Cael?” Her tone is uncomprehending – her eyes big and wide as the power in them flickers away.

But Night’s Petal is no fool, and her mind is quick. She speaks four sharp words and levels that staff at the Worgen – power surges.

Why she chose a cat would be the source of much later speculation; it’s by no means a good decision. But – she does, and the spell ripples from her almost before she consciously realizes she’s cast it.

(It is worth noting that along with the sword, and a few ragged shreds of clothing, a leather thong necklace remains around the wolf’s neck. Hanging there is a cracked white pawn, and a piece of green jade, with a jagged line of purple in it on closer examination.

As Petal casts her spell, it resonates.)

The wolf had just shattered the magical shield with one strike and was midstrike with another moments before the magic went off. Claws fell toward Petal’s face, inches long and caked in gore already, to lay the pandaren’s flesh bare to the bone, gouge out eyes, rip through the throat. For a second their eyes locked, and….

Did the arm slow, just a little? Something in the face-?

And the spell finished casting.

Instead of hundreds of pounds of wolf and fury and muscle and claws, what hit Petal was more along the lines of six pounds of hissing, spitting kitty. The claws that would have maimed her simply scratched across one cheek, and the cat, entirely disoriented and still very hurt, landed into the dirt beyond on its face.

Petal – now only injured by one creature on this battlefield – scoops up the Cael-cat and lets go of her staff to do it; the staff follows her like a puppy as she bolts along the wall, cradling the injured cat close.

She has to dodge a couple of other fighters – and a hissy cat’s claws that are making short work of her forearm – but she doesn’t let go, doesn’t engage, always dodging, and eventually – after a near miss by an arrow and a half dozen cuts from chance encounters – makes the stairs, and eventually the staging area beyond.

There, she stops and pants and holds the cat close. “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay – I got you. You’re okay…”

The cat SINKS teeth into her arm, using that as leverage for all four paws to start shredding. It yowls through a mouthful of arm and flares up, baleful.

“Owowowowstopitstopit..” There are tears now, but not likely from the pain. “Cael, please – it’s me. Stop…” The pandaren drops to her knees, keeping the struggling cat in her lap.. and /eventually/ getting a heavy hand into the cat’s scruff. That’s something, anyway. “Please, love of my heart – /stop/. it’s okay. Please – it’s okay.”

It’s very difficult to attempt murder while being scruffed and bleeding profusely, but the wolf turned cat tries its best, writhing in Petal’s hands. It’s a little slippery from all the blood. Claws scrabble for a grip through the cloth and leather. Thankfully, the points there are muted by the layers and by Petal’s thick fur.

…There is an element of…. desperation? Wild fear maybe even, if it wasn’t so god damn ragingly furious, and trying to turn to savage Petal’s fingers.

Petal is not an expert in animal husbandry – and Cael gets multiple slashes in; frankly? Despite a few nicks, cuts and arrow marks? This raging cat does more damage to her than a legion of Maldraxxi.

However, wrapping a cat in an old cloak is a thing – it’s tricky to get it out, and trickier still to get things set up one-handed without losing a slippery, bloody cat, and Petal is gonna need serious bandages when it’s over… but wrapping definitely is in the cards.

A Cael-burrito is a thing that’s far easier to handle, at least.

“Oh, xinai,” Petal murmured, as the cat tried rabidly to chew through cloth. She could feel the cloth getting heavier as it absorbed blood. Cael needed a healer, and to get off this planet as soon as possible. A fighting pit. No wonder Cael had-

A memory of blue and white, seen from above, flashed in her mind and cut off the thought. Petal drew herself up, face set in determination, and began to run in that direction, ignoring her own injuries as she did and drawing on reserves to blink forward at greater speed.

If she hurried…

“Hold on, my heart. I know you can do it. Just hold on.”

Author Cael
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