Fire. Abrupt awakening, barked orders, frantic screaming. My mother, grabbing hold of my arm and pulling me outside our tent. Then, mayhem. The camp was in flames, smoke billowing into the night. I stared blankly at the scene before me, chaos reigning as our tribe's bravest warriors tackled the centaurs head-on.
Centaurs? My young brain couldn't handle the concept. They'd never come so close to us before. Before, they'd been content with chasing us around the Barrens, keeping us on our guard and on the move. Now… what did this mean?
Screaming. My mother pushing me towards the cover of the nearby mountains, where the rest of the children were gathering. My father, axe in hand, engaging a centaur intent on following us. Blood. My blue eyes grew wide as red stained the ground.
"Chaayton!" again, desperate as I broke out of my mother's hold, thundering to my father. He pushed himself off the ground as I neared, eyes focusing on me, gaze sharp.
"Turn around," he snarled, fear making his voice strict. I froze under his stare, his order.
The centaur turned, noticed me. Sword raised, he reared, front hooves flying. I cried out, only barely heard my mother sobbing, "Chaayton, no!" The hooves came down…
I woke with a start, breathing heavily as always after that dream. My hand immediately reached to my right, found the worn staff just an arm's length away. My fingers curled around it as a warm, furry body shifted against mine and a cold tongue licked my nose. I tried to smile, finding my pet's head and scratching him behind the ears with my left hand.
When Tanhide stepped back, I pushed myself into a sitting position, rubbing my forehead. I still gripped the staff tightly, and at Tanhide's soft whine, I loosened my hold. I was safe. We were fine.
Still, I strained to listen into the night. I heard the regular sounds of Mulgore: a soft chirping of crickets, the relaxing sound of tall grass swaying in a gentle breeze. Peaceful. No fire, no screaming, no chaos. And no centaurs.
Tanhide sat beside me again, close enough that his tail curled against my leg. I let out a shaky sigh and felt for him, working my way up his back to pet his head. He moved under my hand, licking my fingers, and I smiled again, more genuine. Things could be worse—at least I wasn't alone.
And yet, I knew I'd be getting no more sleep tonight. I sighed, wishing I could at least gauge the moon's position in the sky to get a basic sense of time; was it nearing sunrise, or had we just past the midnight mark?
Well, it didn't really matter either way. From what I'd been told in Camp Taurajo, I was still another two days walk from reaching Bloodhoof Village, so it wasn't like I'd be strolling in at an irreverent hour. But I might as well get a head start now, before the sun heated up the plains.
I felt around for my bag, leaving my staff on the ground as I pulled at the drawstring. A quick second passed, and my hand wrapped around a loaf of bread. Not much, but it would be enough to sustain us until the animals started to wake. Then we would hunt.
I broke off a chunk and held it out to Tanhide, still resting against my leg. The wolf whined, and I chuckled, a gruff sound from the back of my throat, "Take it, Tan. Might not be meat, but at least it's food."
I heard sniffing, but the bread stayed firmly in my hand. I rolled cloudy blue eyes and shrugged a shoulder.
The wolf barked, and I took a bite of my breakfast, shifting a little to get a more comfortable position. I wondered just where we'd camped for the night. The orc from Camp Taurajo who'd given us directions said we'd pass by a harpy tribe's resting grounds, but as long as we stuck to the path, they wouldn't give us trouble. Since I hadn't been attacked by an angry harpy yet, I figured we'd either walked by sometime yesterday afternoon, or their nest was still ahead.
Once we got past them, we might have to contend with some lone wolves wandering the plains, but it was basically a straight shot to Bloodhoof Village. Still, I pondered the logic in leaving the Thunderhorn tribe at all. I hadn't wanted to intrude, but staying in familiar grounds, with tauren I'd known for years… it was easy to get comfortable. And even though the centaurs weren't a pressing issue anymore, a war was going on, and Cairne Bloodhoof needed all the help he could get.
I looked up, sighing. What difference did it make? I highly doubted Cairne needed the help of a blind, halfway incompetent hunter. Still, it was worth a shot. At the very least, I wasn't burdening the Thunderhorn tribe anymore.
Tanhide pushed away from my leg, and I could hear his soft footsteps as he padded around me. I wasn't surprised when his head butted my right arm, a blatant suggestion to get my hooves into gear. I chuckled and pushed myself to my feet, kneeling to collect my bag. Slinging the strap over my shoulder, I polished off the rest of the bread. Another quick feel produced my bow, just as worn as my staff, and a quiver of arrows. I secured these to my back as well, and then picked up my staff.
My hand took position at the tip of it, and I lowered the other end to the ground, feeling the terrain before me. Smooth and flat, with only the grass providing some sort of deviation. Still, that was better than tripping over mounds and stumbling down mountains. That just got embarrassing sometimes.
A few feet away, Tanhide barked again, letting me know his position. I followed the sound, proceeding carefully, but he knew the drill. When I got close, he skirted away, but he never strayed more than a few feet. Together, we set a steady, familiar pace. With him as my eyes, I knew we'd reach Bloodhoof Village in no time.
A/N: I recently rolled a new character to RP with. This is Chaayton, my blind tauren. And, as always, writing is (for me) the best way to really connect with his character.
Please let me know what you think! And if any of you RP hordeside on Moon Guard, look me up! :D