I was eleven when Lordaeron fell. I remember the day the news came like it was yesterday. The hushed voices of the adults, the weeping that they thought the children didn’t notice. The news, when they finally told us, didn’t mean much to me. A few aunts, uncles, and cousins I barely remembered meeting had been killed. What I remember most is that that was the day I got Otis.

Otis was a puppy, grey and soft and always smiling. All of those things are still true of him, except for the puppy part. At seven years old, he is sleek and fast and deadly, but still always smiling.

Our first hunt was a success. Mostly. Otis flushed a rabbit, I shot it with the bow my father had made for me. Then Otis ate the rabbit, leaving me with nothing to show for our effort. He learned, though, and soon we were the terror of the rabbit population in Elwynn. It is likely that we would have simply remained there and terrorized larger animals as we grew ourselves – became the Destroyer of Deer, the Bane of Bears – had I shot straight one fateful day and hadn’t been forced to chase my injured quarry so close to the Northshire Abbey. Marshal McBride happened to witness our coup de grace and, as I neared to begin skinning the doe, he spoke.

“Hey, citizen! You look like a stout one. We guards are spread a little thin our there, and I could use your help.”

I was inclined to ignore him but Otis sat at the man’s feet and grinned up at him. If Otis trusts you, so do I, and that’s where our monster-killing careers began.

Killing monsters is a very different thing than killing animals. They (the monsters) are generally smarter and hardier and often wear armor. The first time I shot a kobold and it turned and started running at me, I froze. More in shock than fear, but had I not had Otis, it wouldn’t have mattered. Fortunately, the kobold didn’t notice the dog until Otis’ teeth were already buried in its neck. It was a lesson I took to heart, and it was in those weeks while we worked for McBride and Marshal Dughan throughout Elwynn that we went from playing to truly hunting. Scouting, observing, waiting for just the right time. Listening, smelling, even tasting.

Monster hunting is much more interesting than animal hunting and the pay is better to boot. When I hit my age of majority and Otis and I set out on our own – not without many tears, but also with no regrets – we decided to really stretch ourselves and see the world, starting with something I had always heard about and had always wanted to try.

The tram between Stormwind and Ironforge is the scariest thing in the world. It flies through a miles-long underground (and underwater) tunnel. It starts and stops so abruptly that it is a wonder people do not get whiplash. And there are no doors or walls! I knelt on the floor and clung to Otis with one arm and a support beam with the other and held on for dear life. Thank the light for Otis’ heavy fur coat – it is likely all that saved him from death by strangulation. It took all of my will to unclench my hands when the tram finally stopped, and it was only through nudges by Otis that I was able to crawl off of the tram. Just in time – it flew off almost the moment we exited. Without any warning! The things are a menace and should be banned. I sent a silent thanks to the heavens that I had not been forced to ride it again. It took several deep breaths before I could stand and get my first good look at the city of the dwarves.

Author Sunscryer
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