The gnome stared at her a moment, as if sizing her up. He smiled, and not the friendly smile of a friend. This was a smile of power, and of joy. Whatever the Gnome was considering in his mind, he was going to enjoy it.
"Riklath shona-nor-ala" the gnome began to speak words. She recognized instantly this was no attempt at conversation, he was canting a spell. His hands began to glow with a sickening purple. She quickly tried to summon the power of the wind against his words, but the wind was powerless against him.
She closed her eyes against the inevitable.
She stood there for what felt like minutes, but in reality was probably only a couple of seconds. Reaching into her pouch for some herbs, she rolled the Gnome onto his back. But her herbs and her training in medicine would do this Gnome no good. He was already dead.
A single hole right between his eyes was the only apparent wound. She looked around quickly. About 30 yards behind her, a cloud of white smoke was beginning to dissipate.
She ran towards the smoke. There in the forest was an Orc. She slowed her gate to walk as she approached the stranger.
"Ish-ne-alo por-ah?" (Traditional Tauren greeting) She asked in Taurahe.
"Sagwu-ama gowatiha atvgi'a." (Traditional Tauren greeting response) The Orc responded. They continued their conversation in Taur-ahe.
"I've not met many an Orc who spoke fluent Taur-ahe. Who are you?"
"Who I am is of no consequence to you, young one."
"I should thank you, thank you for saving my life."
The Orc only nodded. He put two fingers to his mouth and blew a loud whistle. A large wolf came bounding out of the woods and settled in next to the Orc.
"A Prairie Alpha! I've only seen them on the plains of Mulgore. I must know who you are."
The Orc's glance moved from the Wolf to the Tauren but he didn't respond.
"Hmmm. Perhaps I should start. I am called Tivona. My home is Bloodhoof Village."
When that didn't prompt a response, she added, "At least tell me your name so that I may tell my Father who saved my life. He will want to tell all the Elders so you may be rewarded for your deed."
Tivona noticed the Prairie Alpha nudge the Orcs side. The looked down at the Wolf and signed heavily.
"I neither seek nor will accept any reward. And it’s Jyger. I am known as Jyger."
"See, that wasn't so hard, was it? I just.." A noise distracted Tivona.
"Sentinels!" Jyger said in a hushed tone.
"What are Sentinels?" asked Tivona.
Not responding to her question Jyger continued so quietly that Tivona could only barely hear him. "They must have heard the gunshot and be coming to investigate. Night Elves prefer the bow to the Boomstick."
"I thought Orcs did as well. Taurens have a preference for guns." Tivona commented.
Again Jyger ignored her. "The Sentinels will be riding their Mistsabers. We need to get out of here NOW. We'll be safe once we reach Splintertree. Stay close to me."
Tivona was already speaking the incantation that would turn her into a Ghost Wolf. Jyger let loose a bestial roar and was running away faster than she'd ever seen an Orc move before. She despaired to keep up with him but found that as long as she stayed near Jyger, she was able to run swifter than she had ever before.
They traveled in silence. After what felt like hours, Jyger stopped. Tivona was amazed at his stamina. She resumed her Tauren form and took several large gulps of air, while he wasn't even breathing hard.
He surveyed the area carefully. His Prairie Alpha sniffed at the ground and the air, then looked to Jyger.
"There are no humanoids around as far as I or Watch can tell.”
“You named your pet, Watch?”
“Watch is not a pet. He is a companion. He stays at my side at my side at his own volition. Now, we are almost to Splintertree. Once you are back on the road continue north until you see it. You'll be safe there. The Wind Rider Master there can put you on a Wind Rider who can take you to Thunder Bluff. You ought to be able to find your way home from there."
"You think I'm just some lost little girl? I'll have you know I'm a Shaman of the 18th Rank in the midst of my third trial. And I'm going to complete it. No Night Elf or Gnome OR Orc is going to stand in my way. Oh, I'll lay low for a while, and let things calm down. But as soon as I can I've got to get to the Ruins of Stardust."
"That would be ill advised. The Sentinels will be out in force looking the Gnome's assailant. And to get to Ruins you have to pass right by Astranaar, a Night Elf town."
"Look, Jyger. I'm thankful you saved my life, I truly am. But this is something I must do."
"As you wish, Daughter of the Horde."
Jyger began to set up a small campfire. He took some meat from his backpack. He tore off a good size chunk and threw it to Watch who snatched it out of the air and began to gnaw on it. He began to cook the rest of it over the fire.
After he determined it was sufficiently cooked, he broke it again. He picked up a nearby twig and skewered the meat on it and handed it to Tivona.
They ate in silence until Tivona broke it. "Wait, you KNOW where the Ruins are?"
"You know! You know where the Ruins of Stardust are."
"Tauren, I've traveled the length and breadth of Ashenvale during my time here."
"You can show me where the Ruins are.”
"You've got the wrong idea, Shaman. I work alone."
"Oh please, Jyger, don't give me that. It'll be safer traveling together than with me on my own. Brine never said I couldn't have help."
Jyger’s response was an unimpressed stare.
Tivona thought for a moment. “It was you! You were one following me since I entered Ashenvale. Did my Father hire you to watch out for me. Oh, he’s drives me insane. He’ll never let me grow up.”
“I don’t even know WHO your Father is, and I certainly haven’t been hired to be anyone’s nanny!”
“So why were you following me, if it wasn’t Father?”
“I began tracking you from almost the moment you entered Ashenvale. I knew from your footprints you were either a Tauren or a Draenai. The Draenai have a base in the Northeast part of Ashenvale. When I saw you traveling alone, on the road, I knew the potential for danger. You may think the beasts off the road are dangerous, and they are, but there are beasts that travel on the road that are just as dangerous. I figured you might need some help if you ran into the Alliance, and I was RIGHT!”
“So you wanted to help me then, but not now?”
Watch gave a plaintive whine. Jyger shot him an angry look, and then slumped his shoulders. "It has been a long time since I’ve had company in my travels, and it seems as if I’ve been outvoted. But I don’t mind telling you Tivona; I've got a feeling I'm going to regret this."