A Damaris Satinsun StoryEdit
The tall, blue-haired night elf tapped the vial of moonwell water curiously. Damaris Satinsun loved the beauty of the moonwells, and she knew how essential they were to her race, but this quest for Corinthras was becoming tedious. Not enough that he sent her all over Teldrassil to every single moonwell to collect samples and bring them back. No, now she was stuck between the Oracle Glade and the road to Darnassus, and night was falling.
She found a campsite as the red-orange sun dipped below the horizon. It was full dark by the time she was settled in, knife close at hand and unstrung bow by her side. She kept a cold camp, mostly because she didn’t want to go out searching for firewood. Not ideal, but by tomorrow evening she would make Darnassus and bed down at an inn, on a real bed, with warm blankets and home-cooked food. And then she would find a new quest to work on, and be back on the road.
When I left the Shadow Glen, I didn’t imagine this, she thought with a mental grumble. Sleeping on the ground, on a bedroll that was hardly softer than the dirt, with a thin blanket that barely kept out the night chill—she had pictured soft feather beds and warm down comforters, like she had at home. Eating salted, smoked jerky strips and half-stale bread; she had imagined steaming meals with wine or ale and crumbly, yellow cheese. Well, in their defense, my parents did try to warn me. Even Annaya tried to tell me the truth, but I didn’t listen to anyone about the reality of adventuring. I thought it was all sunshine and peaceblooms. Hah!
The night elf sighed, settling her back more comfortably against one of the giant trees that dotted the landscape. Still, she couldn’t deny that she wasn’t good at what she did. More than that, it was fun meeting other elves, enjoyable to hear their stories and their opinions. Some of the young elves were even more idealistic than she had been; some were more cynical than she could ever imagine herself being.
Then a roar, full of desperation and defiance, split the peaceful night in two. Damaris jumped, her dagger in one hand before she could even think to grab it. She returned the knife to its scabbard and strung her bow, and then she ran in the direction the sound had come from. Another sound, this time a pained snarl, guided Damaris farther from the road.
When she scrambled over the root of a tree, she saw them. A Nightsaber was fighting a loosing battle against a Bloodfeather Harpy; the Harpy was scoring on the large cat easily as it swatted at the flying creature. The Nightsaber fell while Damaris was trying to figure out what to do.
Damaris acted without thought: she drew an arrow from her quiver, and after sighting down the shaft, let fly. The bolt struck the Harpy in the throat with such force that the head came out the other side. The half-human abomination dropped like a stone through water. Damaris jogged to the battle site, looking over her kill. She prodded it cautiously with the toe of her boot, and when it didn’t move, turned her attention to the Nightsaber.
The dark, striped beast was still breathing, but shallowly, and blood matted its fur in more places than Damaris cared to identify. A closer look at its underbelly determined it was actually a ‘she.’ Damaris contemplated just leaving the Nightsaber, but that would end in death for the poor creature, and she couldn’t do that. With a shake of her head, Damaris began looking around for firewood.
It was hours later when the Nightsaber awoke, confused and in pain. When the cat noticed Damaris, she lashed out at the elf. Had Damaris slower reflexes, she would have been shorn nearly in two by the cat’s deadly claws. Instead, she had three diagonal cuts in her leather armour. “Great. As if I don’t have enough problems as it is,” Damaris muttered. The Nightsaber watched her through pain-crazed eyes. “Well, at least I finished patching up your wounds. How did you let that Bloodfeather get you, anyway? I guess you entered her territory; got too close. I haven’t heard of the Harpies attacking other beasts, though. Oh, well. Just something else to report.”
Damaris searched through her pack as she spoke, hoping her voice would soothe the cat. When her arms emerged from the ragged, patched cloth, they held leaf-wrapped smoked meat. She kept one hunk for herself, and dumped the rest into a pot of water that hung over the campfire. Damaris kept her motions slow and nonthreatening, but the Nightsaber didn’t relax.
She nibbled on her chunk of meat while the rest softened in the pot. After about fifteen minutes, she fished the chunks out. They were no substitute for fresh meat, but hopefully the Nightsaber would eat them. She set them about half a foot in front of the cat, who eyed her and then the food. The Nightsaber sniffed the meat cautiously, and then her hunger overcame her and she reached out a relatively unscathed paw to drag them back to her.
“I should have fresh meat for you tomorrow,” Damaris informed the cat while she ate. “That should help you heal faster. I hope you don’t kill me before then.”
Damaris fell silent, and the cat finished her meal unmolested. Then the Nightsaber rested her head in her paws, and watched Damaris warily. Damaris felt compelled to speak, to fill up the quiet, “I should give you a name, since it seems we’ll be together for a while. What do you think?”
The cat’s tail flicked.
“All right, then. How does…Cat sound?” Damaris asked. The Nightsaber growled, showing her large teeth. “That’s a no. What about Sanura?”
She didn’t growl, but her ears lowered in distaste.
“Um…” Damaris thought. She had no idea what to name such a creature as a Nightsaber. “Cala? No. Desirae? O-kay, definitely not.” The elf pursed her lips, mentally reviewing and discarding names. She was silent for some minutes, then offered, “Arithe?”
The cat’s tail stilled, and she tilted her head, as if considering. Then, her eyes half-closed, and she settled into a more comfortable position.
“Arithe it is,” Damaris proclaimed.
Damaris and Arithe stayed in that camp for over a week while the cat recuperated. Damaris often had to fend off Webwood spiders, Bloodfeather harpies, and the occasional Nightsaber. From each kill she kept a small portion to cook, smoke or salt, and gave the rest to Arithe. For her part, Arithe avidly devoured everything Damaris fed her, sleeping it off afterwards. When Arithe was asleep, Damaris would leave the camp to gather herbs (both for alchemy and cooking), refill her two canteens at a nearby brook, and look for Strigid raptor eggs (which she loved when they were cooked).
With each day, Arithe seemed to trust the elf more. She would sleep soundly under Damaris’ watchful eye—in the beginning she would only rest when exhaustion pulled her into unconsciousness—and did not attack Damaris when the elf came close. Usually though, Damaris kept a safe distance when possible, for safety’s sake.
Everything changed nine days after Damaris had rescued Arithe.
The elf spotted the plant she was looking for by the base of a tree. The root of that specific plant would make a welcome addition to her meal at the end of the day. She knelt next to it, grabbing the stalk and yanking. The stem cut into her fingers, but didn’t move. With a small frown, she adjusted her grip and pulled again. The plant slid out of the dirt grudgingly, inch by inch, revealing thick, tuber-like roots. “Finally! I was getting bored of water, salt and meat. This will make supper taste so much better.”
Damaris put the root in one of her belt pouches, stood, turned, and froze. Right in front of her, hissing slightly and clicking large fangs together, was a giant Webwood Silkspinner. Only one phrase could adequately describe the situation Damaris now found herself in. “Oh, shit.”
She dodged to the side as the spider rushed for her. Yes! It missed me! I’m not going to be spider food! I’m not going to be— Damaris yelped as she found herself falling, tripped by a root. She scrambled onto her knees, getting one leg under her. Then something spiky and sharp dug into her back, pushing her back into the ground. She turned over, coming face-to-fang with the Webwood. “Hello,” she said meekly.
The fangs opened, and Damaris squeezed her eyes shut, waiting for the inevitable end. It didn’t come. Instead, she heard a proud, challenging roar.
Damaris’ eyes snapped open, taking the spider’s moment of distraction to wiggle out from underneath it. She stumbled to her feet, dagger in hand, waiting for the Webwood Silkspinner to attack her. She found, to her amazement, that it was occupied.
Arithe roared again, slashing at the spider and catching it across its eyes. Damaris suppressed the urge to cheer. She put the knife between her teeth and grabbed her bow, quickly stringing it and withdrawing an arrow from her quiver. It was the work of a second to aim and loose.
The bolt flew true, piercing the spider’s abdomen. It turned on her, and Damaris had only enough time to discard her bow before it attacked her. She dropped, and the spider’s own momentum carried it over her. Damaris grabbed her dagger, timed her strike, and at the right moment, she shoved it between the Webwood’s head and abdomen. Then she wrenched it to the side.
Sticky, green ichor spilled out of the wound, drenching her arms, hands, neck and chest. The spider rolled off of her and onto it’s back. Damaris completely ignored it as it went through its death throes, concerned instead with her ruined clothes. “This is disgusting,” she groaned, and then sat up. She wiped her hands on the grass, looking around for Arithe.
She found the cat nosing around the now still spider. “Arithe, I didn’t know you were healed enough to walk.” The cat looked at her, tail moving lazily, then turned back to the Webwood. Damaris chuckled. “Well, mighty one, do you happen to know how to get this stuff out of my clothes?”
One ear turned toward Damaris, but Arithe ignored her. Damaris frowned. “Are you going to keep ignoring me?” Still no response. “What do you want? I saved you from a Harpy, nursed you back to health, fed you, cared for you, and you thank me by ignoring me?”
Damaris thought she heard a snort.
“Very ladylike,” the elf scoffed. Arithe paid her no attention, walking to the other side of the Webwood Silkspinner. Impatiently, Damaris said, “All right, thank you for saving my life. You don’t owe me anything.”
The cat’s head peeked over the dead spider’s body.
“And thank you for not killing me yourself.”
Arithe disappeared again.
“Argh! Infuriating little—”
The cat emerged from around the body, carrying one leg daintily in her mouth. She trotted up to Damaris, dropped the leg in front of the annoyed, ichor-drenched elf, and then sat. Damaris sighed. Tentatively, she reached out to scratch the cat behind her ears. Arithe’s eyes half-closed, and she began to purr. Damaris began sincerely, “Thank you very much, Arithe, for saving my life. You really owe me nothing. I’d like it if you stayed with me, though. I could use a companion, and you’re no slouch in the battle department.”
She looked down at the spider leg. “I suppose you want me to crack the shell, you lazy beast.” Arithe purred. The elf sighed, and reached for her dagger. Using the pommel, she cracked each section and opened them, so the meat was laid bare. “You could do it just as easily yourself, you know.”
Arithe’s tail flicked unconcernedly, and she delicately ate the spider meat. Damaris rolled her eyes. “Yes, this is the start of a beautiful friendship.”