I was dreaming. I could see trees, gentle sunlight struck my face as I traversed the thick forest of tropical foliage. I would dive into the bushes, as if hiding from something, keeping a light step. Was I hiding or was I stalking? I looked down at my stomach, there was blood on it from a wound. Everything was happening so quickly, nothing made sense. What was I doing in the jungle? Who had stabbed me? Who was I following? I began to climb the trees, staying above and searching for my target down below. It was at that moment that I saw the brown fur on my hands, these were not my own eyes that I was looking through.
This unknown charr began to leap through the branches with ease, not making so much as a sound. His steps grew faster. With every second that passed his hunting became more frantic. Finally he held his breath as he glided through the air, he spotted her. The target, his eyes focussed in, fixed, already knowing the path to this human female. She was a mere silhouette of darkness in this land of lush vegetation. The char leaped off a tree trunk and bared his claws, I could see small trickles of emerald magic escape his claws just as he was about to strike. Suddenly, darkness.
An echoing noise ringed. over and over. Drip…Drop.
I woke up, gasping for air, my body shaking and my hand having a spell ready. I was in my room, back in my house, nothing had happened. It was all a dream. I sighed as I threw off the blanket that covered me and jumped off my bed. I walked over to the window and decided to see what time of day it was. The sun was barely rising and the Citadel was still quite dark, lamps were still illuminating the streets and only a few charr were walking about fulfilling their morning duties. I retreated back into my room and went back to my bed.
It had been so long since I had dreams like those, of seeing through another charr’s eyes and either being attacked or attacking another. Always ending with the same sound. It took me several minutes to return my breathing back to normal, these dreams always felt so real, and it was much worse when I was a cub. At least at the time when they would happen, Fumus was there to help me compose myself. I never said he was a bad sire, but I had my reasons for not desiring his company.
After everything appeared to be in working order I stretched my tense arms and back as I released a tired yawn. I was not expecting to go back to sleep so I decided to start the day a bit earlier. After getting dressed, I took my staff and started towards the dining room. The events of the day prior began to flood back into my mind and I groaned in a mixture of shame and regret. Now I was in this uncomfortable position with Garfas, and I was still mulling over what exactly that position is. I searched the room for something to eat, I found some leftover garlic bread, everyone seemed to have some lying around so it was relatively cheap to buy in bulk. After biting down on the slightly hardened breath I sighed, my head was spinning so much I didn’t even taste the flavour. My body only begged for sustanace.
I heard a series of footsteps come closer, and found Thoc striding in with an exhausted look on his face and signed patches of fur all over him. This was actually a normal morning for the both of us. The tired charr sat down by the table and glanced down at the bread in front of him.
“Garlic bread again?” he said irritated as he took a bite from the food. “Leftover garlic bread at that.” he swallowed the small bite and stuck out his tongue in disgust.
“Its better than nothing,” I shrugged.
“Doesn’t mean we can settle for it,” said Thoc as he tossed the bread aside and walked over to the door and took his coat. “C’mon, lets go to the Factorium. Buy something that’s actually worth eating.” I rose from my seat and followed Thoc out of the hut. We began to walk towards the usual kitchen, meanwhile Thoc spoke about what invention he was working on last night. I was not really listening, I was simply nodding and agreeing. When we finally arrived I allowed Thoc to order for me since I didn’t care what to eat at this point.
“So did you and Garfas get into a fight last night?” asked Thoc. My eyes shot up towards him in surprise.
“W-what?” I stammered.
“Well, you went to take Garfas back to his home, you took a while to come back. I know because I decided to start tinkering with my thermal grenades until you came back. When you didn’t I figured you’d stayed over. Then after going into my room you came in, ran to your room and slammed the door. Also your head’s somewhere else right now. On our way here I talked about testing my flame thrower inside the hut just to see if you were paying attention.” I lowered my gaze once I saw Thoc look at me with concern. “What happened?”
“What didn’t happen?” I said giving a forced chuckle. “Fumus came back, out of nowhere might I add.” This time it was Thoc’s turn to look surprised.
“You mean he just…showed up?” I nodded in response. “While you were walking Garfas home?” I nodded at him again.
“Just appeared out of nowhere, took an interest in Garfas for some reason and practically invited himself over.” I began. “Then he started telling embarrassing stories about me.” I began to rub my temples as I recalled the event.
“Sounds like a handful,” said Thoc. “Well at least it wasn’t like he tried to ruin everything on purpose. Also you know him, he always has a reason for what he does. Even if it isn’t a good one.”
“That’s not all,” I said. “Garfas knows.” Thoc’s eyes widened. There was a moment of silence between us. Thoc looked down at his food, as if considering what to say.
“How did he take it?” He asked finally. I leaned back on my seat.
“Do I really need to say it?” Thoc lowered his ears at my response, a solemn expression appeared on his face. “I should have expected it. I’m a freak, there’s no way around that. Only logical to reject me.”
“Don’t say that,” said Thoc. “You’re not a freak, just…different. It’s not like you chose this.” I released a dissatisfied snort from my nostrils. Thoc could tell I did not want to discuss the matter further but he still wanted to ask one more thing. “Will…will he tell anyone?”
“I am uncertain,” I sighed. “It seems unlikely however. Even from the way he looked at me, he isn’t that type of person.” Just then Thoc looked at me with a raised eyebrow.
“What exactly did Garfas say?” Asked Thoc.
“Nothing. He Just looked at me as if something was freakish about me. It was the only message I needed.”
“Are you sure you weren’t imagining that?” I narrowed my eyes at Thoc. “I’m just bringing it up! I mean you tend to jump to conclusions sometimes, or maybe that’s just the face Garfas makes when something surprises him.”
“Look,” I said. “I know what I saw, it was plain on his face. It doesn’t matter anyway, Lets just drop it so I can get over it sooner.” Thoc gave out a sigh, deciding to not push it any further, I found myself eating faster a bit frustrated as well. I searched for a topic that was unrelated to yesterday’s disaster. “So what mission do we have today?”
“Scouting,” said Thoc placing his elbow on the table and holding up his chin with his palm. Having finished his food already we were only waiting on me. “Near the old tombs so we need to look out for ghosts.”
“Scouting?” I asked suspicious. “That’s more ash legion work don’t you think?”
“Well I was thinking Itan meant that we should gather data while there,” offered Thoc. “Why else would he want us to go. Maybe there’s a new ghost essence harvester prototype, and he wants samples.”
“Without mentioning it to the warband?” I asked.
“There’s a lot he doesn’t tell us. All these projects he comes up with and such, maybe he’s just exploring a theory.”
“That or he’s too lazy to send you out to do any real work,” I heard a charr sit in the table by us and a large looming shadow block the sun from us.
Oh no… I rounded to find Fumus sitting besides us, he regarded both of us with his bubbly yet unsettling aura.
“Are you stalking me?” I asked my sire.
“Isn’t it the duty of a loving father to make sure his cub is safe?” he asked.
“For humans perhaps,” I said. “What do you want?”
“I require a favor from someone I can trust,” said the charr. “You two are possibly the only one’s I can trust in this city, and from what I’ve heard, your warband is quite competent at fending off Flame Legion.” Thoc and I leaned in with interest.
“We’re listening,” I said.
“Abandon the original mission your legionnaire gave you, scouting ghosts will be a fruitless endeavor. Instead make your way north of the wall, behind the ruins of Ascalon City. My intel suggests there is one of many Flame legion scouting parties nearby. I require you to go in and see if you can extract the location of the other parties from them.”
“Wouldn’t you be more suited for this kind of work?” asked Thoc. “Being Ash Legion and all.”
“I cannot risk my cover being blown,” said Fumus. “The Flame legion simply thinks I am infiltrating the citadel, not the other way around.” Thoc and I considered the new mission, it was much better than scouting ghosts, as ironic as it sounds I wasn’t very comfortable being around them. Stopping the flame legion’s plans sounded like a much better use of our time.
“Alright,” I said. “we’ll do it.” Fumus gave me a wide smile.
“Excellent,” he said. “Please be carefull, don’t take any unnecessary risks. I only need the locations of the other parties, don’t go out hunting them yourselves, they might be too much for just two charr to handle. once you have the intel, head west to the Town of Nageling, I will be waiting there.” With that Fumus stood up from his seat and strode out of view. His footsteps not even making a sound.
“He says he wants to keep you safe,” said Thoc. “Yet he sends us on a mission to fight the psychotic flame legion.”
“He tends to contradict himself a bit,” I said finishing up my food. “Come, we have flame legion to catch.” We began to make our way out of the citadel, reaching Smokestead in little time and being able to to find a quick route to Ascalon city with our maps, before we could depart however, we noticed several groups of our warband setting off to do their own missions. It appeared that Itan had sent out everyone today. Just then I saw Garfas with two other Bandmates, his gaze locked with mine and I froze. He began to walk over and my mind couldn’t find an appropriate way to greet him.
“Morning, cub.” He said. “You ran off yesterday.” Thoc began to slowly slide away as the awkwardness grew palpable.
“I didn’t think you wanted me there,” I said trying to regain what little composure I had.
“Oh,” the massive White charr scratched the back of his head as he searched for his own words. “Can we talk maybe? I just think maybe we could clear things up a bit.”
“I… don’t think that would be for the best,” I said. “It would be best if we just stopped—”
“I’ll be by The Blasted Moors!” interrupted Garfas. “Itan wants me to see if I can recover some of those ghost cannons. What is he having you do?” Garfas had caught me off guard, he almost seemed nervous.
“Just some scouting,” I said. “Checking the old Ascalonian graves.”
“Okay,” said the charr giving a sheepish smile. I raised my eyebrow. “Well I guess we’ll see each other once we’re done then.”
“I suppose…” With that he returned to his group and set off on his mission. That was odd.
“That probably could have been handled better,” said Thoc as he reappeared.
“It doesn’t matter,” I said trying not to think about the situation. “We have work to do.” And with that we set off, to Ascalon City.