Whatever Vurkosh hoped to find, he apparantly didn't know where it was.
The hunt numbered seven at the start: Vurkosh, Meia, and five other Frostwolves. The Frostwolves cut easily through the snow on their companion-wolves; Meia rode one of Snowmelt's more docile worgs and wished for a hawkstrider. She had never used a worg or a wolf as a mount until Draenor and she still felt awkward as a sack of tripe.The worgs and the orcs' wolves tolerated each other; Meia wasn't eager to test the limit of that tolerance in addition to her poor showing as a wolf-rider. A Frostwolf always brought up the rear, keeping Meia from being the last, straggling member of their party.
They had set out shortly after dawn, heading west from Snowmelt. Vurkosh flushed a family of boar from their resting place among the cover of a rocky outcropping. He was nearly gored by the sow more than once, pushing her away from the juveniles the other hunters harried. Meia's prayers shot out like rays of sunlight, keeping the orcs more or less intact. The hunt bordered on comedy at times, the prey slipping between crossed spears or darting between legs. In Meia's experience the humor masked how dangerous the situation could be.
Which made Vurkosh's decision more than a little puzzling to her.
In the end, however, the porcine family was slain, butchered and cached for later retrieval. On the way back, Meia decided. From... wherever they were going.
Vurkosh pointed them east and north, across the plains and toward the pass leading to Gorgrond. Surely he wasn't taking them that far? They weren't outfitted for that long a journey, to begin with, and moreover, nothing had been said about Gorgrond. Meia was almost relieved when Vurkosh called a halt to take his bearings.
The young orc stood still, head tilted, giving the impression of listening. He closed his eyes, opened them, shook his head and changed their course more to the north.
He did this a second time, turning them south. A third. They edged the Crackling Plains, inched their way toward Grom'gar.
A fourth halt. This last time he crouched down, hands clenched around his spear. The hunting party circled him; Meia heard his breath hissing between his teeth. He trembled, so much the spear wavered in his grasp. His mouth moved, but no words emerged. Meia glanced at the orc to her left; his impassive expression gave away nothing.
He was afraid. The realization was a surprise, more because Vurkosh did nothing to hide his fear.Uncertain what to do, but needing to do something, Meia reached for Vurkosh's shoulder.
Her fingers barely brushed his cloak's fur trim when war-cries thundered down on them.
The orcs turned back-to-back, Meia and Vurkosh at the center of the circle.
Though not for long. Vurkosh howled, wresting his spear from the snow, and charged past his tribefolk into the onrushing Grom'gar patrol.
Meia lost sight of him in the confusion of battle. Her world narrowed to her beseechments to the Light for protection, for the little healings that could stave off greater injury and death, for the power to burn their attackers with the Light itself. The battle passed in minutes but seemed to last hours, and at its end, all the Grom'gar were dead, and all the Frostwolf injured, two seriously.
Meia tended them first, then the others in their turn and finally Vurkosh. He bore her attention stoically, drawing back at last. "There's a good chance this will scar, healer." He tapped his left calf. "I'd like that."
Meia wiped her hands in the snow; she hadn't worn the pelt from Cerestal today and was glad of it. "Very well."
That was all she said as they returned to the cached boar meat. The Frostwolves talked and joked among themselves, even Vurkosh, though his laughter was short-lived and he spoke mostly in answer to others' commentary. When they neared Snowmelt's walls, Meia urged her worg up to Vurkosh's mount.
"Did you find...?"
Vurkosh looked at her. "Yes, healer. I did."
Later that evening, Meia emptied out her packs. She was restless but didn't want to join the impromptu celebration in honor of Vurkosh's successful hunt. She also wanted -- needed -- to come to a decision herself; that would be easier without distractions.
So many things would be easier... if she chose to make them so. She could stay at Snowmelt and not rise to Kiraleen's challenge to regain her her rank. Kiraleen the woman wouldn't think less of Meia if she stayed put. Kiraleen the Field Marshal, however, would. If she had the former's regard, what difference did the lack of the latter's make?
Quite a bit.
That was a surprise to Meia. She had never thought of herself as particularly ambitious, at least when it came to social position and the like. That had always been her sister Domme's goal; their entire family had often joked that Domme had enough ambition for them both. She had privately considered Domme's efforts pointless social climbing. Her efforts weren't so self-centered.
"Hah. That's the the thing aboug self-examination. It's not always flattering." Meia folded up her smaller packs and set them to one side. She began separating her clothes into categories: clean, dirty, warm weather, cold weather.
An envelope slid from between knotted pairs of socks onto the floor.
Meia picked it up. When had she gotten this? "Meia? This is for you."
"Idiot," Meia muttered as she slid a fingernail under the flap. No name on it. "It's probably from Goldsworth. Or Domme...." She unfolded the paper inside and smoothed it on her lap.
I'm sending this letter through Kireleen because i'm asuming that you are deployed. Nobody lets a healer go that easely! I went through with Kadgar and his vanguard. The fighting was hard and we lost a lot of good men and women but victory was ours in the end. Since then, i have been in Taledor, mostly between Fort Wrynn and Shatrath.
Shatrath is nice. Legions upon legions of demons to kill here. I feel rite at home! I haven't been hurt yet so don't worry. Lady Liadrin is also here with her blood knights. A few of the ladys like me - its not easy turning some of them down. The men are taken to calling me 'Slayer of Sin'dorei' now becuse of there advances.
I miss you and i think about you a lot. I hope you're doing well. If you were draged to Draenor like i think you were, come find me and you'll make a few ladys jelous!
Meia reached out for the pelt on her pillow and fitted it over her shoulders. She stroked the fur, smiling as she reread the letter.
She wouldn't stay at Snowmelt. She'd go on to Shattrath and regain her rank, her responsibilities.
And maybe become a Slayer of Kaldorei while she was at it.
... One kaldorei, at least.