Into the Citadel
As Kelthos followed the Familiar through the dark halls, he silently prayed that no Trolls or Mogu would enter the areas they progressively left behind. The druid was covered in mud and grime from the rainy swamps of the Isle and was positive he was leaving behind muddy footprints. As he rounded a corner Kel heard a loud *click*.
Knowing that it probably wasn’t good he leaped backwards as a series of spears shot from both sides of the hall. He was not quick enough, however, and one managed to shoot into his side. He gasped out in pain as he hit the ground, just out of reach of the deadly trap. He cursed loudly as he grabbed the hilt and yanked it out. He took several deep breaths and placed his palm over the wound. Channeling the restorative powers of Aessina, he bound the afflicted flesh closed and slowly rose to his feet.
He stared Reginald down. The cat had run right over the pressure plate, but his light weight hadn’t triggured it. “Next time, a warning would be nice…” He rolled his eyes and passed carefully past the now spent trap, ready to resume following the feline to Star’s location.
Reginald looked over his shoulder impatiently, not caring for the injury of the druid. If the male had been paying attention to his surroundings a bit more closely, he wouldn’t have nearly been impaled on a spear. Nonetheless, Reginald made a mental note to spring any traps that he came upon since they wouldn’t harm him and it would make life much easier if Kelthos made to to Star’s location alive. The cat simply swished his tail in response to the druid’s comment, before taking off down the path again once he was sure that Kelthos was capable of keeping up.
The cat finally turned down onto a narrow path, one that was free of traps as far as he knew. Although it wasn’t all that hard to navigate for a small cat and a kaldorei, it would have been a tight squeeze for Mogu, and it was possible that they had sent the few remaining loyal sauroks into these parts to bring the items being hidden in the caches. The cat’s eyes glowed brightly in the dark and he waited patiently for Kelthos to catch up, before joining Rime at the foot of a very familiar looking statue.
Reginald had hopefully been successful in bringing a rescuer to his master. Always the friendlier of the two familiars, Rime simply seemed happy to see Kel, running forward and rubbing his icy body against Kel’s legs.
Into the Citadel
Kelthos blinked as the feline had appeared on his shoulder. Blinked again when it was suddenly at his feet. He peered at it, from its tiny black paws to the hat that set atop its furry little head. Reginald.
Reginald peered around the corner, staring Kelthos down impatiently. If he had been able to put his hands on his hips and tap his foot as he waited, he would have, and that much read on the expression on the cat’s face. As the druid finally caught up and came around the corner, Reginald bolted off again, squeezing through another doorway and down a flight of winding stairs.
Into the Citadel
Kelthos trudged on through the muck. Why a being as powerful as the Thunder King had chosen this soggy hellhole to house his palace he’d never know.
Reginald followed along in the shadows, blinking in and out of existence on his plane as he kept close watch over the druid. Kelthos was close to discovering the last known location of Sarulian Starlance, and as soon as he was near enough, Reginald would make himself known. He stayed far out of sight as Kelthos killed the troll, and at the sight of the silver ear cuff he knew that his time had come.
In Search of the Truth…
The rain had finally let up for a while, though the ground was still nothing short of muddy sludge. It made travelling anywhere besides the roads an awkward mess for Kelthos, though he pushed on. There was no doubt in his mind that some Zandalari or Mogu straggled behind and he had to do his best to remain hidden. It would do Star no good if he simply got killed in this Goddess-forsaken place.
As the remnants of the Kirin Tor camp began to fade from view behind him, the druid stumbled upon a small pond. At its western edge was a small cave. He recognized it as the impromptu base of operations the Shado Pan had used while the fighting was still heavy. He trudged through the swampy water and into the darkened chamber.
There was little light save for what small degree of sunshine managed to break through the thick clouds that hung over the Isle like an impenetrable sheet. Kelthos took a deep breath and began to shift. In one fluid motion he found himself standing on four legs and his night vision drastically improving.
The cat sniffed around, ears tilting in various directions, trying to find any evidence of his former mate’s presence. There was not much left behind. A broken table, a snuffed out campfire, and an overturned bench the only items of any note. As he turned to leave and continue his search, he was startled by the sound of voices at the mouth of the cave.
"Da Shado Pan surely be leavin’ some stuff behind. Look real good!"
Trolls. Kelthos snarled and shifted backwards into the shadows, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. As one drew close to him, checking around the bench, the druid struck, leaping through the air and closing his teeth around the Troll’s throat in one quick motion. He yanked his head violently from side to side, tearing out vocal cords and a windpipe before he had any chance to alert his comrades.
Kel spit the foul-smelling and even more foul tasting flesh from his maw and huddled back into the shadows. As quiet as his kill had been, they still heard their friend fall to the ground.
"Ya’ alright, mon?" The leader asked out into the darkness. He was met only by a sudden and violent flurry of claws and teeth. He tried to reach for his weapon, but it was in vain. The Troll was dead before he hit the ground. Kelthos shifted back and stepped out of the cave, glancing around he plotted what his next move would be.
He had little in the ways of leads on where Star would be, but Kelthos decided to take a chance and look within the halls of the Throne of Thunder itself. As he began to move towards the massive citadel in the distance, he silently prayed to Elune that rain would fall once more so he could wash the taste of troll flesh out of his mouth…
Deep down, Star knew that even if someone ever came to look for him, which he highly doubted would happen since he was likely presumed dead, there was such little hope that they would discovered where he’d been tucked away. Even if that person found the silver ear cuff that he’d been known for wearing, knocked off in some scuffle and likely sitting forgotten gathering dust in a corner… well, that only showed where he had once been. And if that person was then to dig further and find the runes that he had idly scraped into the stone next to the cage he’d been held in until the Mogu were confident in turning them to stone, that still only showed that he had been alive up until a point. There were no signs that he knew of that would prove that he was still alive and well - or as well as he could be as he sat there in stone form.
Of course, the one thing that Star always seemed to forget was that even when he had been killed two years before - had it really been two years since he’d been stabbed through the heart and tossed into a river? - was that even in death, Reginald had remained present, guarding over him until the familiar was certain that Starlance’s body was tended to. Of course Star didn’t know this, as he had been dead at the time and the cat wasn’t exactly the type to admit that he’d hung around protectively and had guarded over his body. But sure enough, both Reginald and Rime had managed to escape the notice of the Mogu, which was fairly easy since they weren’t truly animals, and were standing constant watch over the Kaldorei statue, waiting for someone to come back to the island, waiting for someone to go searching for any of the survivors so they could lead them back to Star.
When Kel had stepped foot on the Isle, the familiars took immediate notice. Although they didn’t make their presence known, Rime planted himself outside of the small hidden cache, while Reginald stalked quietly after the druid, curious to see what he was up to. The cat decided not to make himself known until he was positive that Kel was there for one reason only - and so he simply watched and waited, following the druid towards the Throne of Thunder.
In Search of the Truth…
Ice cold raindrops pounded into Kelthos’ wings as he flew ever onward towards the speck of land in the distance. Powerful winds coming off of the ocean’s violent surface did little to slow the shapeshifted druid as the Isle of Thunder gradually became more and more apparent as he drew ever closer…
With the death of the Thunder King, the tempestuous storms that prevented flight had been lifted, allowing Kelthos to fly along the bloodstained coast to the remnants of the Kirin Tor encampment. Dozens of Troll corpses littered the sands, most beginning to rot as nature took its toll upon them. A swarm of seagulls seemed to be enjoying the decay, cawing loudly at the feast before them.
The tattered tents were a welcome sight to the Druid as he touched down, reverting back to his elven form and rolling his shoulders, letting out a tired sigh. The majority of the Kirin Tor Offensive had packed up and moved back to Dalaran, leaving little behind. Still, it was a starting point, and Kelthos had promised himself that he would not leave until Sarulian’s fate had been discovered. Dead or alive, the Druid had to know the truth.
There are moments in time when circumstances cause you to reevaluate your life and the way you had been living, to look back on everything that you had done and analyze just where it all went wrong. Being out on the Isle of Thunder was one of those moments for Sarulian Starlance. Things went well enough in the beginning, if fighting from all sides could be considered an ideal situation. Star honestly had no idea why the hell they needed an rune specialist there as a fighter - there was some excuse about needing someone to decipher Mogu runes, but Star knew that there were others that were much better equipped for that.
A Letter Home
*Two letters are stuffed into an envelope, one addressed to Sazaara and one to Kelthos*
My Dearest Daughter,
He had the same dream every night and every day, praying and hoping that the man he pledged to spend his life with would suddenly appear in his arms again. He knew it was a fool’s hope, but he could dream, right?