Thursday, June 2, 2011
"Ok kids! I'm going to work now" He turned and looked back, and saw his two children emerging behind him.
"Now you behave until mom comes back, it'll only be a while. I don't want you to run around like mad monkeys while I'm gone, ok?" He leaned forward and gave them both a gentle nudge on their heads.
"Ok dad, we won't!" they shouted in unison, looked at eachother and giggled.
"Yeah right" Mr Plainstrider said with a smile.
"Dad...?" his youngest said slowly while approaching him.
"Yes?" Mr Plainstrider said calmly, he knew exactly what was on his chicks mind.
"Tomorrow is my birthday..." the young one continued and quickly looked down on his feet.
"Oh, is it really?" said Mr Plainstrider, with a confused look like he had forgotten all about it.
"I'm not sure you've been good enough this season to get any presents little Fleet" he continued with faked sternness.
"But daaaad" the little one said and pulled him in his feathers.
"Haha, don't worry. I bet you'll be really surprised tomorrow. Mom and I have something special in store for you."
"Oh what is it, what is it?" said his older one, running forward and tugging his feathers as eagerly as the other.
"Now, there wouldn't be much of a surprise if I told you that, would there?" Mr Plainstrider said with a smile.
"No, don't tell us!" said his youngest.
"Well then kids, I really have to leave now. Those plains won't fleet themselves you now" he said with a wink. I'll be back later, tell your mom I've got supper this evening".
"Ok dad" the older one said with a nod and shuffled back to the bushes with the sibling.
Mr Plainstrider prepared for another calm day at work. The sun was shining, there was a gentle breeze. Actually this could turn out to be really nice. He sometimes had to watch out for the neighbours, a couple of grumpy Savannah Hunters who liked to put up a fight. But Mr Plainstrider knew how to avoid them, and hadn't had any trouble with them so far. He started planning for the supper, while seemingly randomly roaming the plains as he usually did. People thought walking around the plains was such an easy thing to do. But, they were deceived, which was exactly the goal of Mr Plainstrider and his likes. One day he would teach the fine art of plains fleeting to his young ones - the precise art in planning your steps and actions exactly, and still make it seem random and unplanned to everyone around you. Eventhough he usually kept to the safe areas, he knew never to let his guard down. Bad things didn't happen often, but they could happen. If you accidentally walked into the wrong neighborhood you never knew who you'd come across. His mind wandered from the supper to tomorrows party. Little Fleet had invited all his friends to the party and he and his mate had started baking one hell of a cake. All that was left was the decoration. And the present - oh the present. They had been saving long to afford it, stockpiling food all winter to bring on the trip they had planned for them all - the grand trip to the warm springs of Golakka. They knew the kids would love it, with everything there was to see and do in the surroundings. Mr Plainstrider smiled to himself, both his children would shout of joy when he presented it for them tomorrow, and it was definitely worth all the trouble they had gone through during the winters.
Mr Plainstrider was deep in thought, but a part of his consciousness did always keep an eye out for things. He noticed something moving in the corner of the eye and slowly turned his head. He didn't care to react faster because whatever it was it was still way off, and didn't seem to be anything dangerous. In fact, he wasn't quite sure what it was at all. It wasn't a Savannah Hunter, that's for sure, and definitely not a raptor either. It looked more like one of those horse-people that lived some ways south, but without the horse part. He continued walking but kept an eye at it, and noticed that it was running straight at him. He was puzzled, did he know this thing? He looked around himself, had he without noticing accidentally run into someones territory? No, he seemed to be in the same area he was in every day. The thing was now quite close to him, but Mr Plainstrider still didn't see any reason to be alarmed. He hadn't done anything to this thing, and surely whatever it was would announce its attentions before doing any hasty action. He snorted, even the raptors did that after all. Maybe it wasn't after him anyway, what would this thing ever need him for. Mr Plainstrider continued slowly walking and decided to ignore it, whatever it was. The thing stopped a couple of yards away from him. Mr Plainstrider noticed that it had put some sort of extra skin around its body, and it looked hideous to say the least. Must be some sort of low-intelligence being he thought to himself. Who would want to look like that? The thing stood still for a couple of moments, just looking at him. Mr Plainstrider was feeling uneasy. If it really was a low-intelligence being, there really was no saying what it would do. He suddenly felt the urge to slowly move away. He started doing so, but tried to make it appear like it was chosen completely randomly, which wasn't easy to do. The thing didn't follow him, and Mr Plainstrider started relaxing somewhat. Maybe it's just confused. Perhaps its never seen one like me before, he thought to himself.
Suddenly, he could see the hands of the thing sparkle with a bright light. What on Azeroth...? he started thinking, but barely completed the thought before the bright light had started travelling in a fast speed straight at him. He was startled, and hadn't regained his posture until it was too late. The bright light, whatever it was, hit him full on and it burned like the fires of Molten Core. He screamed in pain and anger. What was this?! What did this thing think it could do? Just randomly attack people? He looked around, desperately trying to find someone in the vicinity who could help him, but could see no one. He must retaliate. It was clear that he had been attacked by a madman! He ran at the thing, ready to slam his beak into it with full force - it was him or it now, and he knew who he wanted to win. The thing shot off another bright light at him, he tried to avoid it but it too hit him full on. He lost his pace, the pain was blinding. He had to reach the thing, he had to win. He couldn't die here, not now, not yet. He mustered all his strength to keep the speed up, but was almost immediately hit by another bright light. This time the pain almost made him faint.
He suddenly saw his two children in front of him. They were at home right now, probably with his mate, waiting for him to come home and prepare the supper. And tomorrow, the party. The trip. No, no, he thought. I can't win this fight. The pain was jumbling his thoughts. I can't win. All he could think of was to flee, try to outrun the bright light and hide. He could barely breath and the pain was pulling him, wanted him to lay down and close his eyes. I can't win, he thought, turned around and started running away from the thing. If only I can get away far enough, I will make it. I can make it. His eyes were blurry and he had trouble seeing what direction he ran in, but it mattered little. All he knew was that he had to get away. He had walked this area so many times that he knew that if he could only make it to that group of trees, he'd probably be able to avoid another attack and maybe, maybe, make it. I can't die now, not here! He managed to increase his speed and had only a couple of yards left to the group of trees. He took a deep breath and the pain shot through him, he felt like he was on fire. Another bright light had hit him from behind and he fell to the ground. He could no longer stand up, his legs wouldn't obey him anymore. His head fell down and he could see the thing running towards him through his blurry vision. No...he thought. I can't die yet. Not now. He tried to move but could not. Everything went black.
Ok ok, I can't really let it end like that, because then I would cry myself to sleep tonight. Here is the alternate ending for you people who don't like sad endings (like me).
Mr Plainstrider heard a voice shout his name, but it seemed far away. His consciousness grew sharper by the second, which only made him realize what pain he was in. He really wished he just go back to sleep again.
"DAD!" he recognized that voice. That was his oldest chick, shouting for him. He tried to open his eyes. What had happened? He had a vague memory of going to work, saying goodbye to his two chicks and... then? He couldn't really remember. Something had happened. Someone... had attacked him? The memory came back to him like a kick in the groin and he whimpered.
"He seems to be awake!" he heard his chick yell and other voices were gathering around him.
"Careful... careful I say!" that was definitely the voice of his mate.
"Bring the water, now!" she continued, and someone ran off. He tried to open his eyes again, but could hardly focus because of the pain. He opened his mouth and tried to say something, but his throat was completely dry and he only made a rasping noise.
"Shush you" his mate said and sat down next to him. "Don't try to speak please dear, you're badly hurt". He could hear the strain in her voice, trying to keep herself calm, when she was everything but. She had to keep the panic down, because it would only frighten the chicks even more.
"There... it will be ok" she said, probably more to herself than anyone else. She sobbed, a short low sound, but quickly took a deep breath and regained her normal tone.
"Here mom" his youngest chick said, and his mate thanked the little one. He guessed it was the water. He could feel her wet wing swab his face, it felt like heaven touching him. He sighed heavily. Eventhough he could barely think because of the pain, he was extatic. He had been completely sure he would never see his family again, and not being able to say goodbye had almost hurt more than death itself. He didn't know how badly hurt he was, or if he had a chance to make it, but he knew he would get to see his family one last time. His mate slowly leaned forward and stroked his beak with hers.
"We got the bastard..." she whispered slowly, and he wasn't sure who she was referring to.
"We got it..." she repeated, and he could almost hear her smile.