((Author's note: I am sad to say that this story is unlikely to be completed. I had written other chapters on the old sanctum which involved blowing up two cult hideouts, and expanding on the character's growing personalities. Those chapters were not backed up on fanfiction.net, and the originals were on a computer I lost along with everything I owned in 2014. I doubt that I could reconstruct the story to my own satisfaction, and so this project is being abandoned after chapter 3 (unless someone happens to have the following chapters hidden somewhere.))
Chander stood next to the General Store, near the front gates of Orgrimmar. Next to him, Bane growled softly, and snapped at the saddlebags hanging down either side of him. The young Orc Shaman smirked slightly and knelt down next to his companion, putting a hand on the grey wolf's head. "Come on buddy, ye'll get used ta it. Can't go out inta the wilds without supplies ya know?" Bane whined softly and moved his head upward, trying to encourage his partner to pet him. Sparing a glance to see if anyone was watching, he allowed himself a moment of tenderness to scratch Bane both behind the ears, and under the chin affectionately.
Just as he was standing up, a young Orc perhaps no older than twelve, wearing bronzed armor and who's eyes glowed fel green where they should be white, walked out of the store carrying four heavy packs. With a grunt, the boy set the packs down next to a rust colored wolf, and began fastening them to harnesses on either side of the beast. "I no see why uz no leev at saym tym az mo..." He paused for several moments, his eyes closed in thought. "Az... muthur," He finally said. "I want be there tu see sisturz born."
Chander frowned deeply, though not as if he were having an issue understanding what the younger Warrior said. He knew exactly what Luuhk was feeling, and shared the same heartache at not being able to be there when Leppender gave birth. There was also the possibility that he wouldn't even make it back to see his own treasured mate Hanabii give birth to his first child, though he tried to avoid thinking about that, since it was still many moons away. He moved over to Luuhk, and gently shoved him in the shoulder, voicing a reassuring grunt as he did. "Don' worry kiddo, yer ma'll be okay. Sis' is a pretty tough gal when she's gotta defend you pups."
Luuhk looked up at Chander, and smiled weakly. "Yub, hur am... she.. is." He corrected himself. He let out a heavy sigh, and shook his head, his redish brown ponytail swinging back and forth as he did. "We du this fer hur. Fer owr famili. Unless uz find da cult that impry...im..." Chander waited, letting Luuhk figure out how to pronounce the word himself. "imprizuned... yoo both, me muthur and sisturz will be in danjur."
Chander nodded firmly. "Exactly. The Order of the Crimson Fel is only interested in one thing; becomin so powerful with the dark arts, that they become Gods themselves. When the rest of Azeroth saw Gul'dan fer what he really was, a power hungry, relentless, bloodthirsty bastard, they thought he was a God come ta show them the way ta immortality." His hand moved to touch his right cheek, his fingers brushing an odd shaped scar, a brand with a horned tear drop. He growled softly, remembering the day his greatest tormentor Mathious Broverly gave it to him. He had been denied the blow that killed him, and it secretly enraged him that his own nephew Luuhk had been present when Jureth finished him off, but Chander had been unable to get there in time.
It had been bad enough when he had been a child, and suffered under the cult's whip, but when he discovered that Mathious had taken both his nephew, and Jureth's son who he considered a nephew, both Orcs had fought through much to find him, and get the boys back. Chander had been wounded in Darkshore when they finally discovered that he was holding the two young Orcs in the cult's former coven under Stormwind, so he was forced to stay behind and lick his wounds while Jureth went ahead to free them. Ever since then he had been kicking himself for not being able to get back at the Humans that had robbed him of his family, his youth, and at one point even his life. He looked at Luuhk, his eyes gleaming with grim determination. "Too many lives have been affected by them bastards, an' if they still wanna find sis an' recapture her, it's up ta us ta protect the family, an' anyone else they might decide ta hurt."
Luuhk growled softly and looked at the ground with a furious expression, mingled with just a bit of sorrow. He had not escaped from his last encounter with the Crimson Fel unscathed. He remembered how Mathious had chained both him and Naxian to the dank, moldy stone wall in an alcove across from one another, giving them only enough slack on their shackles to stand, but not to reach one another. He moved a gauntleted hand to his inner elbow, and touched a burn scar right on the joint. He remembered the white hot pain he'd felt as a heated stone was set there, and dark tendrils of shadow energy reached up and grabbed his wrist, forcing him to bend his arm as he lie on a table completely enveloped by the dark matter, helpless to do anything but scream. He could still smell the scent of his own burning flesh, and hear Mathious tell Naxian to break his arm, or he would kill Luuhk. Very clearly, he remembered the look on Naxian's face as he held the hammer, hovering over his step brother uncertainly. Most vividly though, Luuhk could still hear himself say. "Du it bruthur."
Mathious, a member of the Crimson Fel, had then ordered Naxian to break both of Luuhk's legs, and his other arm in the same manner, which broke both the boys spirits for a time. Before Jureth arrived to save the boys, Luuhk's eye had even been removed for Mathious to study in greater detail. Jureth had managed to heal Luuhk expertly, and the only physical traces that he had been tortured were the scars on his joints, but he carried other scars that couldn't be seen. Both men had seen firsthand what that cult could do, and neither were willing to allow the Order of the Crimson Fel to harm any more people, especially members of their family. "Uz waystin tym unkul. Da sun am abowt tu come up, and uz have a long jurni ahead."
Chander grinned proudly at Luuhk for his show of determination despite his personal emotions, and gripped his shoulder roughly. "Then what we standin round here fer? Ya got everythin I asked ya ta pick up from the store?" Luuhk nodded. "Then finish gettin them bags secured, an' we'll head out. We got a long ride ahead of us."
Luuhk nodded firmly, and set to work securing the last two packs to his wolf. The animal growled, and snapped as the straps were tightened, and Luuhk growled back at him. "Come on Dusti, settul down. Yoo git uzed tu it." Dusty snapped at Luuhk's fingers, but the boy simply pushed his face toward the worg's, and snapped his fangs at him. Chander watched with amusement as the wolf backed down, though he continued to growl. Finally, Luuhk gave Dusty's side an affectionate pat, then stood up and climbed onto his back. "Ukee, me... I am redi unkul."
Chander grunted with a nod, and swung a leg over Bane's back in a quick, practiced motion. Tugging at the worg's reins, he turned toward the front gates and took a deep breath. "Lets go kiddo. Time ta finish what they started sixteen years ago." Digging his heels into Bane's sides, Chander leaned forward in the saddle, and the two Orcs flew past the gates of the great Horde capital, turning sharply toward the Southfury River. Once the river came in sight, Chander reached out with his mind to call upon the spirits that lived in the water, making a request for himself and Luuhk. He smiled as a soothingly cool sensation seemed to pass through his chest, leaving him feeling slightly happy, a sign that the spirits had heard him, and approved of his request. As the wolves paws touched the water, the surface rippled lightly, but they didn't sink below the water, instead they ran across it, turning back north toward Ashenvale.
The young shaman, and younger warrior traveled swiftly upriver until they were out of sight of the guards near the bridge that led to the side entrance of Orgrimmar, then they turned toward the shore, and urged their mounts to climb up a steep, rocky slope. As they reached the top, they looked down upon Demonsfall Canyon. Chander hopped off Bane's back, and began picking his way down the slope carefully, but he looked back after a moment to see Luuhk still sitting atop Dusty, his glowing eyes fixed on the canyon below. "What's wrong kiddo?"
Luuhk was breathing fast, his expression a mixture of fury and shock. "Me... I can feel dem unkul. I can feel where dem am, what dem want du." He pointed to the southern part of the canyon. "Ovur der, felhownd want steel sukubis enurji," he pointed to the north, "and ovur der, rok demun want krush ded tree fer fun. It... ovurwelming."
Chander stared at Luuhk in awe. He had often been surprised at Luuhk's ability to look at someone, and seem to know their moods or intentions, but he'd never imagined the boy's power was that strong, and it sent a chill down his spine. He climbed back up the slope and stood in front of Luuhk. "Yer tellin me ya can sense where them demons are, an' if they're hostile toward us?" Luuhk looked away from Chander with a bitter expression. Chander growled. "Look at me when I'm talkin ta ya boy, an' answer my question."
Luuhk lifted his head, and stared at Chander with his piercing fel gaze, lifting his chin with a note of defiant pride. He was secretly impressed when Chander didn't flinch away from his look like many others had done. "Yes, and no. I feel direkshun dem in, I feel urges dem tinkin of, but no know exact tings."
Chander gripped the boy's shoulders, speaking excitedly. "Ya have any idea what this could mean fer findin them bastards?" He smiled brightly, and shook the warrior lightly. "Luuhk, with yer gift we got us an advantage. Heck we might even know where they are before they know we're even comin!"
Luuhk growled and touched the corner of his left eye. It dimmed slightly before it began flickering rapidly. "Ur it kud be disadvantij. I fel taintid frum burth, so dem might sense me neer befur uz git close."
Chander was stunned at his nephew's insight, and a part of him wondered if he might be right, but he shook his head and removed one hand, shifting to his side and draping his arm around both shoulders. He urged him to climb off his wolf, then began walking forward slowly, urging Luuhk to walk down the steep slope with him. "Well we'll use this opportunity ta find out jus' what others might sense when yer around. If a demon can't sense ya, maybe the magic users of the Crimson Fel won't notice ya either."
A flicker of fear passed over Luuhk's face, but he swallowed hard and nodded. Not wanting to put his uncle's life in danger because of his presence, but too proud to turn back and leave him to journey alone, he gripped Dusty's reins tightly in one hand, and slowly made his way down the rocky slope with Chander at his side. As they entered the canyon Luuhk's heart was pounding so hard, he wondered if Chander could hear it. He could feel the presence of the demons more strongly here, and kept his mind alert just in case any of them could sense him.
After a few minutes of walking toward the opposite cliff, Luuhk felt a shift in the emotions of the demons, felt them becoming aware of his presence. He forced himself to plant one foot in front of another, not wanting to draw the entire canyon into a fight. He was sure he could beat any one of them, but he didn't want to risk himself or his uncle getting hurt so early into their journey. His mind suddenly focused in on the felhound he had been sensing earlier, its mind shifting toward Luuhk. He felt the beast's intense hunger for magic, and gripped the axe at his side. Suddenly a loud shriek pierced the air, and both of them stopped to look toward the south. After a moment Luuhk grinned, and grunted at his uncle. "Da felhownd finuli attacked da sukubis. It sayf tu keep going." Chander nodded and the two moved on.
As they neared the other side of the canyon, Luuhk's mind suddenly became alert again, and his attention returned to the infernal to the north. A loud crash, followed by several more rent the air, and again the quarry paused. Luuhk could feel a savage pleasure running through the demon, and figured it was attacking the tree it had been eying. He was about to relay this to Chander when he felt a shift in the demon's emotions. It was still angry, and it wanted to crush something else, something alive. He felt it hone in on him, almost as an assault to the mind, and gave Chander a shove. "It comin dis way! Git da wulfs up der, I distrakt it!"
Chander looked ready to protest, but Luuhk had already drawn his axe and shield, and began running toward the north where he knew the demon was running right at him. With a moment of hesitation, Chander tugged on the wolves reins, having to almost pull Dusty up after him. "Come on ya eager beast you, we gotta get ta higher ground. He can handle himself!" He looked back the way Luuhk ran, and spoke quietly. "Please be able ta handle yerself kiddo."
As Chander moved up the cliff side, Luuhk ran at full speed toward the infernal. He could sense the demons he passed watching him, and knew they were contemplating whether or not to jump in, and attack the young Orc. Luuhk finally spotted the living boulder covered in fel fire, and with a ferocious roar that echoed through the canyon, he ran up the side of a rock, and leaped into the air, kicking the creature where it's head should be. The demon stumbled back several paces, and as Luuhk landed he charged at the infernal as fast as he could, bringing down his axe with precision in two quick swipes, striking the joints of both of its arms. The creature rumbled furiously as the flames between the shoulders and torso flickered, and it brought down its left arm quickly, trying to crush the Orc in front of it. The boy put up his shield, and lifted it slightly to absorb some of the blow, though his arm tingled and threatened to buckle from the impact.
He screamed in rage, and threw his weight upward, pushing the demon's arm up sharply, then he shifted to the left, and brought down his axe on the infernal's shoulder. The flame holding it to the demon's body blazed for a moment before flickering out of existence, and the arm fell to the ground. In retaliation, the infernal swiped at Luuhk with its remaining arm, and sent him flying toward the lefthand wall. The warrior hit the wall with a loud thud, and slid down it slightly, his vision blurred, and his mind hazy from the impact. The ground rumbled beneath him, and he gave his head a shake to clear it, then watched open mouthed as the collection of boulders charged right toward him. Luuhk gathered his muscles, and at the very last second he threw himself to the left, quickly catching his balance, and pivoting on the spot. As he turned, he threw his axe arm forward, and struck the demon hard on the midsection stone, which became dislodged and soared through the air toward the left, just as the demon hit the wall.
Its other parts exploded off it in a deluge, one of the pieces hitting Luuhk square in the chest, and knocking him back. Again he was flying through the air, this time bouncing off the ground once before skidding to a halt, lying barely conscious on the dusty earth. Slowly, he became aware of the other demons in the canyon, of how their focus had slid toward him questioningly, like a predator wondering if it should pounce on wounded prey, or if it might still be a threat. With a growl of pain he forced himself to his feet, and as he rose his growl became a roar of triumph. He could feel the demons cringing away at the sound, no longer wanting to fight something that sounded so fierce. With a satisfied grunt, Luuhk turned his axe blade down, and leaned against the hilt as he walked, making his way back to where Chander had been.
While Luuhk had been fighting the demon, Chander had made his way up the steep slope with both of the wolves in tow. He had stood at the top, watching the fight further down the canyon with a knot of anxiety in his stomach. When he saw Luuhk tossed against the wall of the canyon, Chander had tied the wolves leads onto a nearby bush, and rushed down the way he had come as fast as he could without falling. By the time he made it halfway down the slope however, he saw Luuhk below him, just starting to climb up it. His heart leaped with relief as he saw him, but sunk as he noticed the way he moved, and smelled the blood on him. "Luuhk!" he yelled as he picked up his pace, until he was almost sliding down the hill.
Luuhk looked up as he heard his uncle coming toward him, and tried to lean less on the axe. When Chander finally got to him, he tried to grip the boy under the arms, but Luuhk pushed him away with a grunt, nearly falling over as he did. He straightened himself up, his expression strained but determined. "I walk on me own! I no littul kubbi dat need pampurin!"
Even as he spoke, his legs shook in protest, and once again Chander moved to grab him, this time catching him just before his legs gave out, and forcing his shoulders under the boy's arm to support him. "Who the hell said I'd ever pamper ya pup? I ain't got the time ta drag ya up the hill if ya fall backwards, an' beat the crap outta ya fer not lettin me help ya."
Luuhk snorted a weak laugh, and forced his legs to keep moving, even though Chander was supporting most of his weight. "Yoo tuu layt unkul... sum deemun alredi beet me. Yoo haff tu wayt fer da next tym me du sumthin stupid."
Chander let out a hearty guffaw, and tugged Luuhk up to a ledge near the middle. "Ya forgot, I'm a shaman, an' I can jus' heal ya up till ya can handle getting yer ass kicked by me!" Luuhk lifted his head to smirk at Chander, who gripped him tighter in a slight hug. "Don' think I'll hafta do that though. Ya were damn impressive out there against that infernal. Foolish, but damn impressive. Yer old man woulda been proud ta see that I bet, cause I know I was."
Luuhk shut his eyes as a well of emotions rose up in him, concerning both his secret desire to make his true father proud wherever he might have gone, and that he had made his uncle proud. "Tank yoo unkul." he said in a slightly shaky voice, which he instantly felt ashamed of. "Hill am steep. Uz sit down fer kupul minutez? Kach breath?" Luuhk asked in what he hoped was a casual tone.
Chander grunted, and heaved Luuhk toward an opening in the side of the cliff toward their left. "Sure thing kiddo, I wanna take a look at yer wounds anyways." Luuhk's cheeks turned a deeper shade of green at his uncle's words, but he allowed himself to be led into the cave, and leaned against the wall just inside the entrance. Chander took Luuhk's head in both hands, tilting it forward and lifting up his hair to look at two dark lumps almost half the size of baseballs, one of which was still oozing black blood down the back of his neck. "Ya hurt anywhere else kiddo? Feelin any pain in yer legs, or chest?"
Luuhk blinked his eyes repeatedly, and fought back a sensation of nausea as he struggled to remain conscious. "No much... jus' tini sore on chest wur I hit." He swallowed heavily, and took several deep breaths of air. "Hed hurt most. Feel dizi and week... littul sik tuu."
Chander nodded, and adjusted his grip on Luuhk's head, bracing his chin with his thumbs, and pressing his fingers to the boy's temples. "I'd say ya got a concussion. Hold still while I do what I can." The shaman closed his eyes, and began to call out to the elements for healing. A soft green glow formed at his fingertips, and penetrated into Luuhk's head. Slowly the bruises on the back of his head began to shrink, until they were nearly the size of golf balls. Luuhk took several deep breaths, his mind clearing, and the nausea disappearing completely. Chander removed his hands, and sat back on his ankles. "Ye'll probably feel dizzy an' weak fer a bit, but that's nothin a bit of rest, an' a good meal won't fix. I'll go make sure the cave's safe, then I'll go get the wolves."
Luuhk nodded, and leaned back against the wall completely, closing his eyes with relief, wanting nothing more than to pass out. Before his mind could drift away however, he felt something tickling at the back of it that made him jerk right up, wide awake and alert. He looked toward the inside of the cave, and felt a chill run down his spine. Standing up slowly, he made his way toward where Chander had gone. As he rounded the corner he saw an orange light up ahead that danced across the walls. He made his way toward it, spotting Chander as the source of the fire, standing perfectly still in horror. As he turned to see what Chander was looking at, his mouth fell open.
Rows upon rows of cages filled the vast chamber in front of them, and right in the center of the room was a black, round table made of stone. The Orcs looked at each other and nodded, before moving forward. Luuhk bent down to examine one of the cages, but Chander headed straight for the table, looking transfixed by it. "So mani smellz in theez cajiz. No can tell wut wuz in dem wen, but I smell Orc, Tauren, Troll, Elf, and evun Quillboar, Centaur, and Murlock."
Chander approached the table, and began shifting through the papers on it. "Almost every kind of sentient creature ya might find within the next several miles of here." His hand brushed the surface of the table, and he was surprised to feel something almost gritty brush against his hand. He lifted it to find specks of dried blood clinging to his fingertips. He hastily shoved the papers off the table, and stared down at it in horror. "By the ancestors, this is a holdin place!"
"A wut?" Luuhk said as he stood up and turned around. His eyes fell onto the table, and began to glow brightly. There was a demonic circle of power carved into the outter surface of the table, and in the center was the symbol of the Order of the Crimson Fel. Both of them could feel the residual dark energy from countless rituals that had been performed on the table.
Chander backed away from the table, and looked at the cages around him. "I was in a place like this before, when me an' sis were first taken. The setup was different though, it was a larger cavern, an' ya had ta go down a ramp ta get ta the cages." He moved toward the nearest cage, and touched it with a scowl. "There was an old Troll, an Elf, an' three Tauren kids there. We were all sittin there, us kids cryin, the Elf an' the Troll both lookin grim. After a day or so, each of um began disappearin, then before I had a chance ta know what happened, I was in a different place, an' sis was in a cage next ta mine. We'd been transported directly ta the coven under Stormwind."
Luuhk watched his uncle sadly as he ran his hands along the cage. After a few moments he turned away, and began reaching for the papers on the floor. "Dis must be place like it. I want know wer dem went tho. Uz no can stai heer long." He looked at one of the papers he was holding, and his eyes widened with recognition. "It in Eredun!"
Chander stood up quickly, and moved behind Luuhk to look over his shoulder. "The purest form of the demonic language? Originally used by them space goats before they left their home world, an' the rest turned inta demons? How can ya be sure?"
Luuhk pointed at the paper he was holding. "I know it. High Warlok ov da Duskfury Clan tawt me wen I wuz littul. Her lyk tu think me bekum warlok lyk me parints, so her teech me sum thingz. I was fast lurnur, and knew it importint tu lern it fer sumthin."
Chander glanced at Luuhk's shining eyes as he said that, wondering again about his very odd nephew with the strange eyes, and uncanny revelations. He decided that right then wasn't the time to think about it, so he nodded at the papers. "Try ta see if any of them give us an idea of where they mighta gone."
Luuhk nodded, and collected the rest of the papers off the floor. His eyes flashed as they darted across the pages, making Chander's stomach churn with uncertainty once more. "Rekwest fer light beef mayd bai ryte fuut, send konfurmashun tu ryte fuut wen akwired... Rekwest fer frosty moonpies bai neck, send konfurmashun tu hed..." He turned to look at Chander curiously. "What dat awl mean?"
Chander scowled, and began pacing back and forth. "Light beef, an' frosty moonpies... some folks like ta joke bout Tauren resemblin cows, so maybe that one was about getting a Tauren, maybe a child cause of light?" He shook his head vigorously. "Nah, they woulda said veal instead of beef. Light... the Light! A Tauren that works with the Light, a Sunwalker!"
"Dat mayk sense!" Luuhk looked back through the pages he'd already read. "So frosty moonpies, erm... Elf like moon, say her Gothess Elune. Moonpie mean Nyte Elf! Dat mean frosty mean..." Luuhk hesitated as his mind drew a blank.
Chander began pacing a bit faster with excitement. "A mage! It makes sense if they wanna find out more bout how a Sunwalker works, that they'd wanna find a Night Elf mage too so they could study it." Despite the strain the Orcs felt with the Night Elves because of their continuous lumber disputes, Chander was revolted at the thought of what the two listed were possibly enduring at that very moment. "Right foot, neck, head... those three don' make much sense yet, but the terms sound familiar. Keep readin kiddo."
Luuhk nodded, and flipped through a few more pages. "Let see... ordur tu all fingurs and towz, stolen green trophy frum ryte fuut, said tu be carrying littul trophy in it bowl need tu be fownd! Lazt see in dusti trophy case wid mani uthur trophies. Dis trophy am valubul, so hed offurs big reward fer ani hoo find it." He looked up from the paper and locked eyes with Chander. "I no like wur dis am goin."
Chander gripped Luuhk's shoulder tightly, his face going pale, a deep scowl on his face. "Jus' keep readin it Luuhk, we gotta know more bout this if they mean what I think they do."
Luuhk nodded and looked back at the paper. "Awl fingurs and towz am tu wait fer suppliez tu run owt, den curl up intu handz and feet. No go owt tu refresh suppliez, ignur yoo fuud list until all suppliez run owt. Handz am ordur'd tu put shooz un feet." Luuhk finished reading off the paper, and flipped back a few more pages. "Fuud list myte meen rekwest. Ignur rekwests fer new prizunurz, and wayt fer dem tu disappeer, then gu tu... hand ur fuut..."
"Hand and foot, fingers and toes. It could be they represent different places these guys hide out. Places like this ta hide prisoners before transport, places where they perform rituals, places where they experiment on um. Put shoes on feet though, that one's got me stumped..."
They both fell silent, their minds turning to the first part of the letter, and to its meaning. Neither of them wanted to speculate out loud, afraid the other would agree, making it more real. Finally Luuhk looked at the symbol on the center of the table and sighed. "Da stowlin green trophy... dat muthur izunt it?"
Chander moved a hand to his neck, where a tarnished silver necklace hung from it. "Yeah Luuhk, they're lookin fer Leppender, an' I think they got a general idea of where she is. If what we've learned so far is right, the word describin the person's craft is the first word, an' considerin stolen green don' make any sense, I'd say green would mean a warlock, an' trophy..." he paused and took a breath here. "they'd call Orcs trophies, it's what Mathious used ta call me anyways."
Chander hung his head with a growl, and Luuhk gripped his arm, silently encouraging him to continue. "She escaped from them, but if yer refferin ta a person, both escaped and stolen means they're gone, so a stolen green trophy would mean an escaped warlock Orc. Dusty trophy case, place where ya'd find Orcs that's dusty, Orgrimmar."
"Myte evun reffur tu awl ov da Barrunz, and Durotar, but dem du have a guud idea ov wer her am." Luuhk continued to grip Chander's arm as he looked at the page again. "Said tu be carrying littul trophy in it bowl... unkul, dem know hur pregnint tuu!"
Chander's hand shook with fury as it gripped Luuhk's shoulder. "I suspected they mighta known when I first found out they were lookin fer her. Sis knows it, an' plans ta get outta that area as soon as she's recovered enough ta handle herself in case of trouble. We now know fer sure they're lookin fer her, an' we know the ones from this place have all gone ahead ta either the hands or the feet. Now we jus' gotta find out where those are."
Luuhk grunted and began setting the papers down on the table, moving them around so they looked nearly as scattered and messy as before. "I want go find feet and hands, but furst I want get owt ov heer. No like dis place muj."
Chander nodded firmly. "Yeah, we should get outta here, an' go north. I remember bein taken through Darkshore when they first took me, so maybe if we can find the place I was brought, we'll find somethin about where hands and feet are." Luuhk grimaced at the thought of going to a place similar to the one they were in, especially the place his own mother and uncle had been held in as children before arriving in Stormwind, but he finished arranging the papers, and nodded at Chander.
The two exited the cave, Luuhk still having to catch himself on his axe now and then as his knees threatened to give out, but they managed to get to the top of the ridge with no further incident. Chander watched Luuhk a worried expression as he struggled to climb into his saddle. "Ya sure ya don' wanna make camp up here kiddo?"
Luuhk shook his head firmly. "No. Want get awai frum heer. Furst deemunz, then da kayv. I need awai frum dis place." Chander couldn't understand exactly why Luuhk was so desperate to leave when he was obviously still weak, but he knew the urgency in his voice and accepted it with a grunt, hopping onto Bane's back, and keeping pace with Luuhk, they rode over top of the mesas separating Ashenvale from the Barrens.
They made it down the side of the mountain, and went across the path to climb atop the opposite mesa. As they rode across the top, another chain of mountains came into view as they neared the Stonetalon Mountains. Luuhk saw them nearing on the horizon, and let out a soft moan, before sliding off Dusty, landing with a soft thud and rolling a couple of times. Chander looked behind him, and quickly tugged at Bane's lead, turning the worg back toward the boy and jumping off him with a practiced step, landing at a crouch right next to Luuhk. He rolled him onto his back, and sat him up slightly, giving him a little shake. "Luuhk! Come on kiddo, snap outta it!"
Luuhk groaned and opened his eyes, blinking them repeatedly. "Spinnin, need tu sleep." Chander put a hand on Luuhk's head, and tried to reach into him enough to know if he was in any danger. Relieved as he sensed that it was just exhaustion after being healed, Chander scooped Luuhk up, and carried him toward an area on the Barrens side mountain with an overhang.
He carefully set the boy down underneath the large rock ledge protruding above him, then turned with a grateful smile to the two wolves that had followed on their own. He reached down and petted each one appreciatively on the sides of their faces. "Good boys. Now hold still while I get those packs off ya, an' get us settled in fer the night." Bane licked Chander's hand with a grateful whine, and Dusty yipped happily at his words. After he had removed the packs, he quickly assembled a tent under the overhang where Luuhk was lying, and moved the packs inside.
Both Bane and Dusty made their way into the tent as Chander moved outside with some cooking utensils, a skin of water, a small bag filled with ground roots, and a hunk of beef jerky. While Chander made a thick meat and potato stew in the fading light, the wolves curled up on either side of Luuhk, Bane lying in the crook of the boy's right arm, with his head on his shoulder, and Dusty on the left, his head resting over Luuhk's heart. When Chander finally reentered the tent, he was carrying a small pot of stew in one hand, and the rest of the jerky in the other, a small dagger sticking out near the top of the meat.
The canines looked up, and each thumped their tails at the sight of the food. "Hold on, the both of ya. Lemme set down the food, an' get ya's some water, then I'll cut us all some jerky." He put the food down near Luuhk's head, and moved to the packs. Pulling out two rough metal bowls, he filled them with water, then placed them on either side of the entrance, and sat down behind Luuhk. The wolves lumbered over to the water bowls drinking thirstily, while Chander tugged Luuhk up until he was holding him in a sitting position, resting in the crook of his arm.
The shaman picked up the pot, and held it to the young warrior's lips, a small smile coming to his lips as the boy gulped down the stew slowly, managing to chew the pieces even in his sleep. After a few mouthfuls, Luuhk turned his head toward Chander, his eyes still closed. "Owl wulf? Wur am Naxian? Am him sayf?"
Chander's throat suddenly felt constricted, and his eyes began to burn. There was only one person he knew of that had been referred to as 'old wolf', and that had been Jureth, who had been the Shaman's dearest friend, his mentor, and eventually his brother in law. He had been devastated at the double loss of both Naxian and Jureth when they never returned after the Shattering, but he mastered his emotions and replied softly. "They're restin now Luuhk, they're restin deep. Now eat up, nobody'll ever hurt um again."
He pressed the pot against Luuhk's lips again, but he didn't open his mouth, this time deciding to curl up against Chander, and very softly he uttered the word "Popo." Chander set down the pot with a shaking hand, and hugged the boy a bit tighter, half formed thoughts of the blessing he'd given Luuhk the day he was born, stating that he would always be the first son of his heart, and how his mate was back home, carrying his first true child. When he had been dead, Chander had wanted to be alive for one reason more than any other, and that was so he could get the chance to be a father. Luuhks subconscious muttering of the word as it was spoken in his first language was enough to break through the carefully laid defenses he'd built around himself.
He set Luuhk back down on the sleeping pallet he'd set up when getting the tent together, and moved to the jerky he'd set aside. He cut off several pieces, tossing some to each of the worgs who gobbled them up eagerly, and slowly chewing on a couple of pieces while he sat lost in thought. Everything he had ever experienced in his youth told him that a person with strange powers was evil, but no matter how uneasy Luuhk made him sometimes, he loved the boy as much as his own unborn child. He didn't have much experience expressing his more sensitive emotions to others, and often considered it too unmanly to attempt, but he knew that even though he didn't know who he said it to, Luuhk felt at that moment as comfortable as he would have in a father's arms.
Setting down the food, Chander stood up and closed his eyes. He reached out with his mind for the elusive spirit of the wilds, and called upon the spirit of the wolf to bless him. As he fell over onto all fours, his nose jutting out in front of his face, his green skin and clothes being replaced by fur, and a thick tail spurting out of his backside, the other two wolves came over, and touched noses with him. Ever since the first time he had shifted forms, Chander found a sense of peace in the way the wolves thought, and felt. On top of being able to enjoy the comfort of having other wolves around, which pleased the canine mentality, Chander had discovered one other benefit of being a wolf: He felt it wasn't as unmanly to display affection if he was an animal instead of a man.
He padded softly over to Luuhk's head, then lying down he began pushing up against him until the young man moved up to use him as a pillow. Whining affectionately as he looked at Luuhk, he licked his cheek gently, and thought "Goodnight son," before resting his head next to the boy's, and falling asleep.