Episode 13: Gorrum

Fall was in the air.

The leaves don't change here, but the winds shift. I was reclining in the sand with my back propped up on a small pile so I could look out across the surf.

I know it sounds stupid, but some of the best things in life are really dumb. I found that there were few things I enjoyed more than really squishing yourself into the cool sand and letting it get up under your tail.

Dumb, I know. But I could lay on the sand and watch the surf for hours.

Kaja curled up closer. I put my arm around her and gave her a squeeze. I breathed in the scent from her hair and grinned stupidly.

There was no denying the power she had over me. Just one sniff and everything seemed like it was going to be all right; that nothing bad could ever hurt us. I know it's a lie, but it's a lie that I grab with both hands, and I gladly ask for seconds.

Even when she infuriates me, as she often does, Kaja makes me deliriously happy.

I put my thumb and primary finger on one of her horns and gave it a wiggle. I could see her roll her eyes. She reached up and grabbed my right horn tight, and pulled my chin down to my chest, lifting some of her weight off of me.

She's so damn naughty.

I grabbed her bare butt-cheek and gave it a good squeeze. She giggled.

"I've got a patrol tomorrow. Just to the Mizjah ruins and back. Should be home by morning," I told her.

She sat up and worried at her lower lip a bit. "Crap. I'm smelting steel tomorrow. It's going to be a crazy day. Did you see how much ore the Goblins delivered?" She sighed deeply. "I'm exhausted just thinking about it."

I put my hand to her cheek and she smiled. "Every day's a busy day when you're Grom'gol's only gunsmith, right?"

She tilted her head and I closed my eyes. The kiss we shared was deep and passionate.

"Ew... kissing!" yelled a little voice over the sound of the waves. The little tan and brown Tauren boy ducked beneath a wave only to pop up behind it. "Rawr!" he yelled, making claw-hands in the air.

Part of me hoped that he would never outgrow the "monster stage". It was adorable, even if it was growing increasingly hard to come up with fresh and exciting bedtime stories each night.

"Don't you swim out too far!" I shouted. "The murlocs will get you! I've seen them do it!"

Gorrum spun around to look for signs of monsters. I wasn't crazy about naming the boy after Kaja's dad. I wanted to name the calf after Urlug or Molthor; but Kaja was right to point out that although those two friends meant a lot to me, they weren't really part of her life.

Kaja's dad, on the other hand, meant a lot to us both.

Slowly, a dead, clawed hand emerged from the surf on one side of the boy. Another dead hand emerged on his other side.

"A murloc!" I cried. Kaja put a hand over her face and shook her head.

Gorrum looked this way and that. He bleated in surprise as the hands grabbed him and slowly lifted him from the surf.

The calf struggled and his wet tail swung wildly as he tried to free himself from the Forsaken's grip.

"He's getting strong, isn't he?"

Johnny nodded at me.

"Throw me! Throw me! Throw me!" the child shrieked.

You'd never guess it by looking at him, but Johnny was a natural with kids. It probably helped that he didn't ever scold them.

He grabbed the calf by one arm and leg, and carried him near the shore. Then he swung him wide and Gorrum screamed with glee, "No! Owa! Halii!" The boy flew long and made a big splash among the waves.

"Again! Again!" I heard him sputter as he struggled to swim back to shore.

"We're both going to be busy tomorrow. Would you mind keeping an eye on the calf?"

Johnny nodded and smiled.

"But no ghost stories."

"Aw... But Johnny tells them the best!" the boy bleated.

"Absolutely not." I stood and scooped the wriggling boy up with one arm, gave him a bear hug, and handed him to his mother. She squeezed him close to her heart with her powerful arms.

They walked hand-in-hand back to out hut on the edge of the beach. Her copper anklet glinted in the sun. Even after a year together, her tail still hypnotized me.

I slapped Johnny on the back and put my arm around his shoulders. "Can you stick around for dinner?"

He nodded and I smiled.