A Girl’s Night Out
“There’s the spot,” Braelie told Onkatha, pointing toward a sepia colored small ridge just to the east of the road. “When I tracked Steelsnap, I saw him walk right by it. It’s the best place, really; there’s just that mountain lion over there and the hyena to the northeast of it.”
Onkatha nodded. “Works for me. Thanks again for tracking Steelsnap.”
Braelie hitched herself up on the ridge, feet dangling some 10 feet above the road. “Takes a while to fly out here,” she said. “I had nothing better to do. Although I tell you I almost got caught three times in that centaur camp yonder,” she pointed south. “They must be insane to let a hyena pack like that wander right through them. “Gave me a bit of an adrenaline rush.”
Onkatha dug into her pack and produced a wallet of food. “Want some tea?” she said, waving a sack of tea in Braelie’s direction. Braelie accepted the tea and offered Onkatha a wedge of melon in return. They ate in silence for a few moments, then Onkatha stood suddenly, hand going to her staff. “Dust cloud,” she said.
A few seconds later, “Naw, couldn’t be Steelsnap. Just one, and tall.” She sat back down.
The dust cloud resolved itself into the form of a male troll trotting north up the road. He passed by them and Onkatha waved. “Ooooh, he’s cute,” she said to Braelie.
Braelie, who’d been nose down in her melon, looked up quickly. The troll in question had vibrant blue skin and fairly long tusks, red shocks of his hair standing up on his scalp. His narrow, hooked nose protruded from his face and again Braelie wondered if all troll babies had noses like that or if they grew during childhood. She’d never seen a troll child. She shrugged. “I suppose,” she said, “if you like trolls.”
Onkatha blushed, the color coming like bruises on her green skin. “But look at his frame!” she said.
“Not as strong as taurens,” Braelie said dismissively. “Or orcs, for that matter. What’s the matter with orcs? You like orcs, right?”
Onkatha shrugged. “Orc males are huge. They’re over twice my size. I don’t suppose you taurens have that problem.”
Braelie laughed. “Nah, we’re sturdy folk,” she said, slapping her muscular thigh. “You orc types don’t do too bad yourself. Trolls, you can break them in two. It’s surprising they can survive. You can probably carry more than any troll man. Definitely more than a troll woman.”
Onkatha sighed. “But I like the wiry frame,” she said. She sat another moment, then sighed. “It’d be nice to … I don’t know. How ‘bout you? You have any trouble in the company department?”
“Some taurens like tall women,” Braelie said noncommittally. She finished her melon rind and Onkatha’s and chased it down with the rest of her tea.
“You ain’t never had a man!” Onkatha exclaimed, though not loudly; as an accomplished hunter she automatically softened her voice in the wild.
“What do you know?” Braelie replied, voice the same volume. “Just cuz I don’t dish every guy who walks by …”
Onkatha kept quiet for maybe half a minute. Then she grinned. “Mmmmm … troll …”
“You are irrepressible,” Braelie snorted. “Anyway, I’m just waiting til I’ve accomplished something, you know? I’ve still got a lot to do before I settle down. Not to mention I want to help push those humans out of our lands. Alliance raids keep encroaching on Mulgore and I want my home safe before I settle down to raise calves. With a nice tauren man,” she remarked pointedly.
“You don’t see anything attractive in the other races?” Onkatha asked, seeming truly surprised.
Braelie shook her head. “You all have strange flat faces,” she said, “and smooth skins. And you’re very short. I couldn’t take anyone seriously who only came up to my collarbones, no matter how bulky – or wiry - he might be. Besides, I like horns. You guys have your horns coming out your mouths. That’s just weird. And the Forsaken …” she shuddered. “I like some of them. The ones in our tribe seem like decent people, overall. But they’re unnatural. There must be something wrong with humans, that they become outside of nature when they die.”
Onkatha fingered her tusks. “Horns coming out of my mouth?” she said. “That’s a weird way to think about it.”
Suddenly Braelie stood up. “There!” she said, flaring her nostrils to catch the scent too. “Here he comes!”
Onkatha jumped up and both of them stood braced, muscles quivering as their prey grew closer. Braelie’s hands found the comfortable worn spots on her staff where she best liked to hold it. “Two in the pack with him,” she breathed.
Steelsnap passed the mountain lion and stepped onto the road and the women simultaneously leapt off the ridge, Onkatha already casting totems. Braelie landed with a satisfying thump and set her mind and voice to Faerie Fire. Her arms flew up as the nature magics coursed through her, and then she was in the midst of melee, Onkatha’s staff flashing expertly about, always missing her but somehow landing with hard, meaty cracks on the sides and heads of hyenas.
Braelie called down Moonfire on her foe and hit it a few times with her staff, and the great Steelsnap fell before her. It was short work to kill the other two hyenas in the pack.
As the dust from the road began to settle on the bodies of the fallen, Braelie took a deep breath, only now becoming aware of various claw marks and a nasty bite on her leg. “Good,” she said. “That’s a good spot, there. I’ll have to remember it if anyone asks us to clean the rest of the pack out.”
Onkatha grinned. “That was fun!” she announced. “Can we do it again?”