The moon rose sharp and clear through the frigid air.  Elli lifted her head from her front paws, gazing at the bright orb for a moment before yawning widely and rising to her hind ones.  Walking softly around the room, she glanced over her shoulder at the man sleeping on the other bed as she opened the door.  He rustled a bit, but settled back down quickly, allowing her the opportunity to quietly leave and close the door without waking him.  She had to admit it was … nice of her new pack to give a room to the Grand Marshal that had enough room for her as well.  No growls.  No snarls.  No threats.  Whether the Justicar just assumed it should be done or realized Elli would sleep on the floor if necessary didn’t really matter.  She appreciated the fact that the Justicar provided a place large enough for her to remain by his side while he slept, ensuring she would be there to protect him.

Her form wavered as she called upon the cat spirit that lived within her, smudging the boundaries between the tangible and the ethereal.  Once her figure solidified, she looked down at the massive paws in front of her, lifting one and flexing it to unsheathe the claws within.  Nodding in satisfaction, she padded quietly to the outside.  The fur along her body rippled as her skin twitched to raise it as protection against the chill in the air.  Taking in her surroundings, the light from the full moon made the landscape as bright as it was in daylight to her feline eyes.  Her paws touched the ground silently as she patrolled around the compound, pausing every few minutes to lift her muzzle and open her mouth slightly to scent and taste the night.  There was always the stench of death and the undead here and throughout all of Northrend, but nothing was close enough to cause concern.  Slit pupils focused on the keep itself as she made her way towards it.

The room where the trial of the Marksman had occurred still carried trace scents from the strong emotions felt and expressed during the ordeal.  She lay down on the floor, taking a moment to gather and try to settle her thoughts as they drifted back to what she’d witnessed.  The Marksman was accused of murder.  She understood the concept of murder.  Sort of.  You didn’t kill members of your own pack unless they had something mentally wrong with them, wrong enough that they became a danger to the rest of the pack, especially the young.  Member of another pack were a different story.  Those could be killed if the other pack threatened the safety of yours or encroached on your territory.  Most times a severe beating was enough, with death being a rare occurrence.  Still, she didn’t understand why the trial was about murder.  The Marksman killed a blood elf who then came back alive.  Her new pack had allies amongst the horde, but they weren’t pack.  Why was it murder to kill that particular blood elf, but not murder to kill another one?  Would it have been the same if the Marksman had killed a random orc, or troll, or tauren?  Hissing in frustration, she rose to leave the room.  It didn’t make sense to her.  Then again, humans weren’t like wolves and she knew they had no real sense.  Still, she supposed she’d have to ask the Grand Marshal about it so she didn’t accidentally step on someone’s paw or chew their tail and upset them.  

Her patrol brought her to the inn next.  Silent steps carried her through the building as she checked for anything that didn’t belong.  The only sound she made was when she sneezed in the kitchen.  That Pandaren was using those strong spices again.  She growled quietly at herself, angry she’d made a noise that could give away her position to any potential enemies around.  Rubbing her irritated muzzle briefly, she finished her rounds there and head out towards the residential quarters.

Moving even more quietly, Elli made her way along the hallways, pausing only long enough at each door to catch the scents of those on the other side.  She felt the pull of the Dreaming outside of most of the doors and shook her head violently to clear it.  Her instincts pushed her two ways; the one to protect fought to make the slide into the Dreaming while the one to obey her alphas snarled at the idea.  The Justicar and the Grand Marshal both would be angry with her if she did slide in to spy on the others.  Shaking her head again, she left the soldiers’ living space and moved towards where the officers slept.  Only two of the doors there held her interest.  The Justicar slept restlessly, her scent carrying the worry she suppressed in front of her soldiers.  That was something Elli could understand.  The Grand Marshal did the same often, the concern for his men overriding his body’s need for sleep.  Despite everything that had happened, she knew the Justicar could, and would, keep her pack tougher and safe, and would ferret out any wrongness that arose.  Behind the other door holding her interest the Almost Wolf slept more peacefully, as any wolf would.  There was much wolf in her and Elli approved.  This human she could probably understand more easily than the others and might understand her as well.

Once outside, her sharp senses picked up signs of the Stoner Druid having been around earlier.  Her ears flicked back while her head tilted to the side as she considered that member of her new pack.  There was definitely something … off about that one.  Not off enough to be a threat, just … different.  Wisdom and foolishness rolled into one package.  Perhaps that … difference would keep him from judging her because of her Kal’dorei parentage.  She hadn’t revealed that little bit of information to anyone other than the Grand Marshal.  Sighing, she made her way back to his room.  One more thing to discuss with him.

Easing back inside, she paused as he sat up at the sound of the door opening, his hand instinctively reaching for the sword at the side of his bed.  She growled softly at him, closing the door behind her and crossing the room quickly to jump onto his bed.  He grunted at the impact of the large cat body landing next to him, but rolled over to go back to sleep.  Curling up next to him to share the warmth of her fur, the cat spirit within her began purring loudly when his hand absent-mindedly reached out to stroke her mane as he drifted off to sleep.  She rumbled contentedly as she too closed her eyes; with this new pack she could keep him safe here.

Author Elli
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