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Læurell finished tacking up her wolfhawk mount for the morning ride, calling her leopard cat Cloudy over to join her once she was mounted. Frosty, her wolf, sat outside the barn, guarding his territory; white tiger Kuura was stretched out on the porch of the small cabin that was Læurell's abode. Shockwave, her stone dragon turtle, was dozing on the shore of her pond, soaking up the sun's morning rays.
Nuffin directed her raven mount to circle above the forest, looking for a clearing in which to land. Aha! Her bird tipped toward the ground, diving for the clearing, where she tumbled off an outstretched wing tipped towards the ground. She melted into the shadows as her mount took off again to find a perch in the upper trees somewhere.
Pink ponytails whirled through the air, the gnome whom they belonged to roaring in mock anger against an as of yet unseen foe. Blue eyes narrowed in concentration, Noumi practiced her spins, kicks, and punches, vanquishing imaginary enemies. Ban-Lu, her armoured tiger mount, rested just out of sight, waiting patiently for her to finish her morning routine.
Hoofbeats broke the morning stillness, slowing as they reached the forest. The white-haired gnome ran a hand down the neck of her black steed, sliding off after he came to a stop. She headed to her favourite clearing, leaving her horse to graze where he was. She climbed up on her usual log to watch the sun rise, a sigh of contentment escaping her lips.
Blond-white ponytails bobbed in rhythm with running booted gnome feet, a warrior out on her daily run through the forest. She stopped on a hill to both catch her breath and strike at imaginary enemies with her twin swords; the blue blades looked reminiscent of those carried in another galaxy by peacemakers and negotiators, but the resemblance ended there. Dodging, whirling, striking, slicing the air to ribbons as if it was multiple attackers, she stopped once again to catch her breath, bathed in sweat, her armour squeaking a little due to the wetness. Morning workout done, she headed further into the forest to investigate the sights, sounds, and smells.
An avian screech echoed through the forest, it’s owner being an owl-faced looking creature with four legs, one of which leaked blood in a pool beneath it. A gnome stood nearby, black sprouts streaming out behind her as she cast a healing spell towards her injured mount. Flesh knit together under the golden aura, the wound selling itself with the healing energies from the spell. The gnome lowered her head, murmuring soothing tones to her mount as she leaned against it, resting.
Læurell pointed her mount towards the sound of an animal in destress as soon as she heard it. Hunter she may be, but she was always caring towards her mounts and pets, making sure their needs were met physically as well as emotionally; even the animals she did kill were used properly, with no part going to waste. Meat for sustenance, bones for making arrows or needles, hide tanned and used for clothing, or repairing tack, organs left in a place that would benefit wild carnivores. Hearing an animal in distress was... distressing; her wolfhawk stepped into a clearing, and stopped.
“Cousin Lina?” The black-sprouted gnome separated herself from her Seeker mount reluctantly, Læurell thought.
“Cousin Læurell? I didn’t expect to see anyone for miles...”
Læurell coughed on a laugh. “I live about a quarter mile from here.”
Emalina’s brown eyes grew big as saucers. “Oh?”
Nuffin stepped out from behind a tree, approaching her two cousins. “Lina? What happened to your mount?”
Lina’s saucer eyes glistened with tears. “It was awful. An orc wolf handler sicced his wolves on my Seeker, and they were in the process of trying to rip him to shreds when I got there.”
“Why didn’t he fly?”
“He was waiting for me.” Lina was looking at the ground, looking disturbed and embarrassed. Nuffy rubbed Lina’s back in a comforting gesture.
Ban-Lu stepped into the clearing, striding to a halt a few feet from the gathering of cousins and Seeker mount. All eyes fastened on Nouri after she cleared her throat to get their attention.
“Normally, I don’t really care to make a distinction between Alliance and Horde, but setting wolves on a mount? That’s just reprehensible. How do we fix this so it never happens again to ANY of us? I know in the newest cousin to join the ranks of adventurers in this new land but...”
“She’s right.” All heads swiveled towards the newcomer to the clearing, a white haired gnome.
Irean looked from gnome to gnome. “We’ve been soloing it in this new land, neither knowing nor caring, really, where our cousins are... or even how they’re doing. I think we need to pull ourselves together and start checking on each other to see if we need help. Heck, if need be we should group up all together. Safety in numbers right?”
Heads were nodding in agreement.
“Did somebody call for a tank?”
Tanky stood at the clearing entrance, white-blond hair waving gently in the breeze.
“Well, a tank would certainly be appreciated.” Lina gave Tanky a shy smile.
“Thank you for the offer Tanky... I have another idea in mind too." Læurell waited until she had everybody’s attention. “What if you all move into my place?” The answer wasn’t a unanimous yes, but Læurell had kind of figured on that, and so she presented her arguments. “May I ask the question how many of you live in the city, have to board your mounts somewhere, and come out here for the peace and quiet it provides?” Almost all of her cousins raised a reluctant hand. “Wouldn’t you rather have that peace and quiet all the time?”
This time, there was a unanimous “Yes!” from all the gnomes she was talking to. “It’s settled then? I’ll come help you guys move?”
“Sounds good.” Irean said, and the rest of them nodded in agreement.