A Worg and His Boy
Even with the relief of the Cataclysm’s end, the world was dark and upside down if one wore Dragoon colors—which made finding reasons to smile all the more important.
Lirriel found Wesley Brennan dozing in the Library. The young corporal had been pouring over paperwork and personnel paperwork for weeks. She let the worg pup she’d brought off its leash and told it to sit. It waited obediently while she walked up to the desk Wes slumped over.
“Good evening, Wesley.”
He jerked up, shaking the sleep from his eyes, running a clawed hand over his muzzle. “Oh, Light, did I really—“ He blinked at the petite woman standing patiently next to him. “Er. Hi. Sorry, I've just been here all day, and...”
Lirriel smiled. “It's all right. Looking for something specific?”
His ears flattened. “Records about the people on The List, as I can get them. I'm trying to learn as much as I can without actually, well ... spying on them.”
“Sounds...not terribly interesting. Sounds like you need a project for your off time,” the priest suggested.
“This is a project! If these are the people that were playing with fire...” he sighed.
“Yes, but it's also work. It's good to do, but you also need something else.” Especially while certain people were back in the infirmary, she thought to herself.
“It's not the best of times for me to 'get out on the town,' so to speak. There are people who aren't very fond of these colors right now.”
“That's true, sadly. So something you can do close to home, or not in town.” She summoned over the worg puppy. At three months old, it was still a ball of cute fluff, but certain on its feet and smart enough to take commands already.
“Something off-the-books you need?” He looked down at the puppy, a look passing over his face Lirriel wasn’t sure he was aware of. “Does this one have a name?” He asked.
“Off the books? You could say that. This little guy actually needs a name, and some training. Mama's left us to take care of the farm, and that means her most recent litter. Thing is, I don't have her touch with canines. You--well, he can't possibly replace Reave, I know, but...he could be a good friend.” She looked up at the young worgen.
His face was lit up like a child at Winter Veil. He dropped down as if to hug the puppy, then checked himself. The little beast tail wagged as Wesley offered his hand for sniffing, soon petting and carefully scratching the demanding little creature.
“Of course I'll do it! I'd be honored.”
“Then he's yours! I wanted to make sure he'd have a good home, and I can't think of better.” Her own smile widened as she watched the younger Dragoon and the pup.
“I'll do my best, I swear.” The pup was licking Wes’ paw and demanding more attention. Wes was more than happy to give it, his ears perked and muzzle curled into a wolfish grin. For a brief, amusing moment, Lirriel thought he might just lick the puppy back.
After a few moment of getting to know one another, Wes looked up. “I, er ... Should put my things away. I think I'm going to be a little too busy to worry about them now.”
“You two seem to be getting along. And he will keep you busy, but you do still have duties when not training him.” Lirriel reminded him gently. “Though he can probably follow you around; he's pretty good about that.” She handed Wes a packet of snacks. “Give him some of those and keep him distracted. I think he'll get the idea soon enough that he’s to stay with you.”
Wes took the packet, still grinning as he fished out a treat for his new friend. “I can't thank you enough for this, really. This means a lot to me.” The puppy was still in the stages of begging and reaching for noticed treats. For now, Wes obliged, but Lirriel knew from years of watching her mother that the habit would quickly train out of the little hunter. Wes was up to the task, and it wasn’t his first worg.
“You're welcome, Wes. I hope he'll be a good companion for you. I was a little worried, considering how soon it still is...but I do hope it helps a little.” The Winter Night ranch was offering to replace the mounts lost in the stable fire a month and a half ago, but a few of the scouts had lost their partner animals as well. Lirriel knew her mother mourned every time she lost on of her companions, as she would a sentient friend. She imagined the Dragoon hunters feeling the same, or close enough.
Wes looked up, hesitating just a moment. “I hope this doesn't sound presumptuous of me, but if there are more in the litter... I know Nel's not in the unit anymore, but she lost her worg too.”
Rex, Nel’s elder worg that had come with her from Gilneas, Lirriel recalled. Like Reave, he’d been trapped in the stable. She hoped the two had been together, at least. Wes thinking of Nel’s loss too spoke well of him. Lirriel had been thinking about offering a pup to the woman, despite Cerwis’ grousing that Nel didn’t know how to train her pets decently. “Yes, I know…I'll see what I can do.”
“Was she released?” Wes obliquely referred to the Infirmary, where both Nelenna and Alynore were after the battle the night before. Dragoon or not, Nel had helped fight the demon and been injured in the scuffle, assisting the soldiers.
“She's pretty badly burned. She should still be there; Lumvorg was her medic. I’ll leave her a note, and she can come get one when she’s released.”
Wes nodded. “Maybe taking a pup up there now isn't the best idea, then.”
Lirriel tried not to laugh. “Probably not.” As much as it would entertain her patients, infirmaries were not the place for energetic, fast growing worg pups.
“Thanks again, Lirriel.” Wes gathered his paperwork, and a few of the record books.
“You're welcome, Wesley. And do let me know what you name him!”
“Will do,” he promised, luring the puppy along with a treat. It briefly hesitated, looking back at Lirriel. She ignored it entirely, and it soon bounded after the man with the treats.
She watched them go, the now-familiar stalking-walk of a worgen, followed by a bounding worg puppy. There really were few things more endearing than the sight of a boy and his dog—even if the boy was just as wolfish as the pup.
Lirriel dropped off her note for Nelenna and headed home, two recruits serving as her escort. She hummed all the way.