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(( Related to Kanta’s recent journals. ))

 

One Month Ago

 

After hours of threats, the clouds finally broke. The rain washed away the pungent smells of the jungle. Part of Anarial relished it as the rain washed away the grime that stained on her robe, hands, and feet. The jungle was even less tame than Ashenvale and more inclined to flay your skin apart. As the downpour soaked the jungle, Anarial took shelter beneath a canopy of leaves and watched a third patrol of orcs stalk by.

 

The druidess sized up her prey with narrowed eyes. This was a new set of orcs, fresh on the shift, their eyes just as wary as their predecessors. Paranoia ruled the jungle, with hunters hunting others. With all the predators that haunted the jungle, there was no room for actual prey.

 

Knees drawn to her chest and arms folded, Anarial inwardly entertained the thought of slipping through the brush and catching the orcs unawares. She was guaranteed one kill with the rain covering her approach. The second kill would be an actual challenge and one that she relished. Draenor orcs were so very similar to the Azerothian variety: Wary, skilled with a weapon, and angry. Tanaan would do in place of Ashenvale.

 

With a silent, disappointed sigh, she let them pass. The rain left her blind too, and there could be more patrols nearby. Ignoring the excited ache in her chest to bloody her claws, the druidess remained hidden in the brush, mere feet away from her quarry.

 

—-

 

One Week Ago

 

Another hunt. The jungle was simpler without rain, less noisy and filled with more smells. Between demons, fel magic, and belching smoke from makeshift industry, the smells were almost overpowering. But drowning in the stifling smells, the druidess could pick out tiny trails of what she wanted most: Her quarry. Her prey.

 

Catching the scent she was looking for, she slinked through the mid-canopy. Branch by branch, tree by tree, she slipped through the canopy as if she traversed the ground. Her form shifted as needed, from kaldorei to panther and back again, whatever limbs or claws were needed to grasp the next branch.

 

Finally, she glimpsed her prey below. Long-eared and alert, a troll stood with a bow pulled taunt. Grinning, Anarial coiled herself to strike. The troll’s ear twitched and he swung from the waist, his bow tracking through the canopy and arrow releasing from the shaft. The druidess hissed between her teeth as the arrow grazed the skin of her throat. Dropping from the canopy, she hit the ground on all feline fours and lunged before the troll could draw another arrow, panther fangs bared and claws like scythes drawn to strike.

 

Slipping a dagger from his belt, the troll wrestled for his life. The two intertwined and fell to the ground, teeth flashing and daggers stabbing as rotted leaves and soaked dirt tossed in their wake. With a cry, Anarial retreated and leaped up a tree, using whatever leaf cover to shield herself. Retrieving his bow from the ground, the troll shot arrows after her, each punching holes through the leaves. Both were bloodied and panting, red slashes and mud decorating their sides. All fell silent. Several breaths later, they clashed again: the druidess dropping from the canopy against a flurry of arrows, the troll drew his dagger, each drew lines against each other’s flesh and painted the jungle floor red.

Author Ari
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