Around 9,300 years ago

 

Yllalaea Feralsong listened to her Prime as he spoke of the upcoming meeting with Malfurion Stormrage, as he commanded they all go with him to extract their vengeance.  A claw lifted to touch the silver necklace encircling her neck, once her sister�s most beloved possession.  The fury within her yearned for that vengeance, yearned to kill the one who let her sister die because he wouldn�t embrace what was needed to destroy the satyr once and for all. And yet …. Malfurion was no fool.  The old Sentinel in her smelled a trap.  Despite Alpha Prime�s plans and boasts, Yllalaea had her doubts.  When the others gathered to follow him, she slipped away, sticking to the shadows to keep from being seen.  Her heightened senses picked up others doing as she was, using the cover of the night to make their own way in the world.  Her wolfish head twisted to look at the night sky as she swiftly traveled on all fours; Mother Moon�s face was hidden tonight, leaving just the stars as pinpoints of light for guidance.  The part of her that still ached for the love of Elune was glad; Elune was giving aid, keeping her darkened face forward so Yllanlaea could live and run free.  And so she ran.

 

 

Over 100 years ago

 

Elian looked up at the approach of the older man.  �Look, Father!�  The young boy smiled up with pride as he pointed to the healing lamb.

 

Smiling in return, Braxton laid a hand on his son�s light hair.  �You have a gift, my son, like your mother.�  The pride in his son�s work disappeared behind pain as the memory of his wife resurfaced.  Braxton moved over to wrap his arms around his father�s waist, giving what comfort he could. 

 

 

Later that night as the older man tucked his son into bed, Elian gently grabbed his father�s hand.  �Tell me another story of her.�

 

Sighing, Braxton eased down into the chair near his child�s bed.  �What would you like to hear?�

 

�Anything.�

 

�All right then.�  The older man settled himself back and closed his eyes.  A gentle smile lifted the corners of his lips, erasing the lines of pain constantly marring his features.  �The first time I saw her I thought the Light had sent an angel to collect me.  I�d been wounded to the point of death by a random satyr attack as I traveled with some friends of mine.  We�d managed to fight off the satyr, but at a high cost.  Most of us were to injured so badly, we would�ve perished had your mother and some of her people not come across us.�  The smile disappeared for a moment, replaced by the all too constant furrowed brow.  �The last thing I remember about the fight was the look on the satyr�s face as his claws embedded in my gut.  Darkness overtook me until I wakened, weak and sore, to see your mother�s face.�  His face eased back into a wry smile as he chuckled.  �I was so sure she was a messenger from the Light come to take me, I lifted my arms to embrace her.  She wasn�t amused.�

 

�Did you kiss her?�

 

Braxton�s eyes shot open.  �No, I didn�t.�  His lips twitched at another memory.  �Not then anyway.�

 

Elian reached a hand up to his head to rub one of his long ears.  �She had ears like me, didn�t she?�

 

�Yes, my son, only hers were even longer.�  Sadness and pride filled the older man�s expression as he leaned over to touch his son�s silver hair.  �You have her hair and her eye shape as well.�

 

�Will I ever meet any of mother�s people?�

 

Rising, Braxton leaned down to kiss his son�s forehead.  �Maybe some day.�

 

About 40 years ago

 

Rising, Elian dusted off his knees and looked at the gravestone at his feet.  �I�m sorry, Father.  I know you wanted me to stay here and take care of the farm, but I just can�t.  It�s too quiet and empty without you here.�  He could hear his father�s words in his head, begging him to find a woman and settle down.  Problem was, no woman he�d met ever appealed to him, human or Kal�dorei.  �I�m sorry.�  Shouldering his pack, he gave the area one last glance before turning and walking away.

 

 

Darkness clouded the edges of Yllanlaea�s vision as she stumbled along, one of her legs not working properly.  The rage, the fury that drove her, had been enough to destroy the band of satyrs but hadn�t been enough to save her.  Too many.  She collapsed and dragged herself further, finally stopping as she crossed the edge of a clearing.  Her dimming eyes turned skyward, drinking in the light from the full moon.  Mother Moon, guide me to your embrace.

 

Elian sprang to his feet at the crashing sound advancing in the direction of his camp in the clearing.  He�d heard rumors satyrs plagued these woods but he�d been fortunate enough thus far either to avoid them or not spark their interest.  Bow in hand, he edged behind a tree and waited.  As the strange creature crawled into the open area, he couldn�t help but draw in a quick breath in surprise.  It looked vaguely like a large wolf but … its body confirmation plus the shape of its front … paws? hands? … suggested it walked on two legs as well as four.  He watched as the body stopped struggling and lay barely breathing, face turned upwards towards the moon and starlight.  Hesitantly, he approached the creature, curiosity overriding his caution. It … no she.  He stopped and stared.  Whatever this creature was, it was female.  Her eyes turned to look at him, lips lifting in a weak half-snarl before they rolled up and she went still.  Elian knelt down beside her and reached over to see if she was still alive.  At feeling a pulse, weak and thready but there, he hesitated.  If he healed her, she�d probably kill him as soon as she was strong enough.  Sighing and thinking he�d end up regretting it, he began the healing process.

 

Silver, untrusting eyes watched him.  He smelled … odd.  Like a Kal�dorei … but not.  There was something … soothing about his motions, about the scents coming from the herbs he crushed and mixed together with water.  Her injured leg was … contained?  She lifted her head, trying to ignore the dizziness that washed over her as she did, to look.  Wood and cloth.  More herbs.  A distant memory stirred.  It was that memory more than the pain that made her whimper.

 

Startled, Elian whipped around and set down the mortar and pestle.  �You�re awake.�  He rose and slowly made his way over, his every movement careful and non-threatening.  �Easy now.  Don�t move too much or you�ll just make things worse.�

 

Yllalaea�s ears swiveled forward.  His chattering.  Gibberish.  Like the humans she�d seen.  That was the other she scented.  Not Kal�dorei, not human but … both?  A low rumble growl vibrated in her chest when came within reach of her.

 

Holding up both hands, Elian stopped.  �I�m not going to hurt you.  I�m trying to help.� 

 

The way he moved.  The way he sounded.  Memories.  Priest.  Healer. 

 

�Let me help you.�

 

Words unused for so long struggled forward.  �Healer.� Her voice croaked, sounding more like a growl than anything else.

 

Elian blinked.  The creature spoke Darnassian.  �Yes, I�m a healer,� he responded in kind, keeping his voice and demeanor soothing.  �You�re very hurt.  Let me help you.�

 

Shadows gathered around the edges of her vision again.  Giving a token growl, she laid her head back and succumbed to the darkness once more.

 

 

When she woke again sun was shining through the opening in the canopy above them.  Still not able to move, Yllalaea�s shifted her gaze to look around.  The area was silent save for the normal forest songbirds and insects.  Both a good and a bad sign.  Good because the meant no satyrs were nearby.  Bad because that meant the man wasn�t active.  Her eyes narrowed.  He was asleep next to the remnants of a campfire.  Fool.  This place wasn�t safe enough for both of them to be sleeping.  She snarled and promptly almost passed out again.

 

Snapping awake, Elian leapt up, grabbing for his bow as he wheeled around to face her.  Upon seeing it was only her, he dropped the bow and ran a hand across his face.  �You have an interesting way of waking a person.�  Leaning down to pick up the bowl kept warm in the coals, he carried it to her.  �Drink this.  It�ll help with the pain and in regaining your strength.�  The scent of venison broth had her mouth watering.  She eyed him warily as he sat next to her, bowl still in one hand.  �I don�t think you can hold your head up for very long.  I can help you if you need it.�  The offer was made as quietly and gently as he waited patiently for her response.  When she didn�t growl or give any obvious objection, he eased his hands under her head and lifted enough for her to drink.  Giving her small sips, he coaxed her to drink as much as she could without overfilling her shrunken stomach.  Exhausted at that much effort, she closed her eyes, not noticing or caring her muzzle rested in his lap.  �Sleep,� he whispered, gently stroking the fur of her forehead.

 

Yllalaea woke to see Elian pacing around the fire, muttering to himself and running a hand through his hair.  His level of agitation elicited a low growl from her, interrupting his train of thought and bringing him over to her.  �How�re you feeling?�  Without waiting for an answer, his skilled hands ran along her body discerning the healing that still needed to be done.

 

His abrupt change from tension to concern disoriented her.  �You pace.  Why?�  She sensed the platitude on his lips before it escaped and growled again.  �Don�t lie.�

 

Elian blinked, then sighed and sat down next to her.  �Do you have any family or a village nearby and any way to get in contact with them?�

 

The unexpected question lanced through her heat.  �No.  No family.  No village.�  She hoped her gruff answer would be enough to deter that line of questioning to no avail.

 

�What happened?  Surely there are others like you.� 

 

�No!  No others!�  This time her answer came with a snarl of warning.

 

Holding his hands in front of him in a placating gesture, he responded soothingly.  �It�s okay.  I�m sorry I upset you.�  He sighed and ran a hand through his hair again.  �We can�t stay here.  I don�t have enough of the things I need to help you heal.�  He waved towards the campfire and his packs.  �I generally don�t carry much more than basic herbs and supplies for emergencies.  Some of the herbs grow around here but the rest don�t.�  Frustrated, he drew his hands forward and looked down at his palms.  �I have some of my mother�s gift but not enough.  Even if I did, you�re so badly hurt it would�ve still taken her days to heal you completely.� When she struggled to rise, he placed his hands on her chest, gently pushing her down.  �You can�t move yet.  The injuries you survived will still kill you if we�re not careful.�  His hand drifted down to the side of her chest, drawing her eyes with it.  Even under the fur she could see the dark discoloration marring her entire right side as well as the slowly healing deep slice between her ribs and hip.  �One of your ribs broke and punctured your lung.  And whoever attacked you also nearly destroyed your liver.�  A soothing warmth followed the trail his hand left.  �If you try to walk, you may reverse the healing that�s occurring or make things worse.�

 

Settling back, she closed her eyes.  �Leave me.�

 

�What?�  Elian frowned.  �No, I�m not leaving you.  Despite the fact that you�ll die, no healer worth their salt would abandon someone.�

 

Yllalaea grunted.  �You say we can�t stay but I can�t move.  So, you leave me.�

�I said you can�t move on your own yet.�  He rose and walked to the fire to start pacing again.  �I can make a travois to carry you, but the only place I know where I can get the supplies I need is over a week�s travel away.  That�s why I asked about a village.�  His hand rose to run through his hair again.  �I haven�t been there in months but everything shouldn�t be that overgrown yet.�

 

�You will carry me?  For over a week?�

 

Hearing the disbelief in her voice, Elian stopped and bristled.  �Look, I may not be an Amazonian like you, but I�m strong enough to pull you on a travois that distance.�

 

Despite the pain still wracking her body, her lips lifted in a smile.  �You have strength of heart.  That is good.�

 

Mollified, he resumed his pacing.  �The trip won�t be comfortable and we�ll have to travel slowly to prevent any further damage to you.�  Elian glanced over at her.  �The herbs I have to sooth your pain are strong enough to keep you asleep if necessary, but I�m afraid if I keep giving them to you in those doses for that long you may not wake up one day.�

 

She merely grunted.  �I can take pain.  Do what is necessary.�

 

Elian stopped pacing to walk over to her side.  Kneeling, he examined some of the bandages.  �I may end up killing you and I don�t even know your name,� he murmured as he worked.

 

Millennia of mistrust made her hesitate.  What can this boy do with my name?  Those who knew me are dead or far away.  Still, it was several minutes before she answered.  �Yllalaea.�

 

�I�m Elian.�

 

A little over 30 years ago

 

 Elian cocked his head; the baby, their baby, was pink.  And furless.  And looked like an elf.  Questioning eyes lifted to Yllalaea as he handed the infant up to her breast.  �She�s not like us.�

 

Yllalaea shook her head, hand protectively covering the now contentedly nursing newborn.  �We aren�t born with Goldrinn�s Gift.  It has to be gifted by him or given by one of his chosen.�

 

A soft whine emerged from his throat.  �How can she run and hunt with us then?�

 

Mother Moon forgive me.

Author Elli
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