~~ Just a short bit for fun. There, Rul, I wrote something! ~~
Fighting back a surge of disgust, Kae wrinkled her nose and stepped gingerly through the rotting vegetation. "Blech," she murmured. "They smell worse on the inside."
The elf at her side chuckled, though he too was careful to limit how much of the corrupted ichor he got on his boots. "You know, it wouldn't smell as bad if you weren't a panther."
Kae purred at him in a feline smirk. "Just do your thing, Verd."
"Patience, patience," he chided. Verdicus scanned the browned landscape surrounding them, littered with the broken and twisted remains of the Nightmare's abominations. They continued to slowly pick their way through the rot, until the elf paused. "Here," he finally said.
Kae backed away politely to give the elf room as his form shimmered, great wings unfurling from his growing bulk. A green drake reared back from where the elf had stood and unleashed a rumbling roar; a swirling green mist spilled out in its wake. As the mist rolled out, leaves and flowers sprouted up from the decay, growing up and over the remains of the Nightmare creatures.
Verdicus slowly turned in place, roaring out in each direction to blanket the area of blight with fresh growth. Kae sniffed gratefully at a flower as it grew up between her paws, then turned her golden eyes towards the horizon.
"Verd... the wind has shifted," she said stiffly.
The drake paused before his last roar, turning his own green eyes towards the mass of darkness looming over the hills. "Then we must go," he replied, spreading his wings wide. "Get up here."
"What?" Kae asked, taken aback. Then she laughed. "You deign to let me ride you?"
Verdicus was not so amused. "It's too close, we must go, now!"
Kae sobered and looked back over her shoulder at the swirling mass of clouds. There was no arguing with the drake; she hopped over the fresh carpet of green and leapt towards him. Mid-air, she twisted into the form of a stormcrow, beat her feathered wings a few times to gain height, and then dropped into place along Verdicus' shoulders. Again, her form shifted, this time into the slim figure of a night elf.
As soon as she had a grip along his wing joints, Verdicus beat into the air, sending a ripple through the grass and a littering of debris into the wind. Up and up they rose, angling away from the mass of dark clouds.
"You fly too slow," the drake finally explained, yelling into the wind.
Kae rolled her eyes but smiled. "Shall we go around it and start clean-up on the other side?"
Verdicus hovered for a moment, looking about and eyeing the storm, then continued on. "We must get out of its path regardless... but I have no wish to remain close when it is acting so unpredictably."
"It's always unpredictable," Kae murmured to herself. Though she had spoken quietly, she knew he had heard her over the whistle of the wind, for he huffed a bit and jostled her on his back. "All right, all right. We'll back off for a bit."
He rumbled in content at her agreement. "Besides... I should check up on you. Can't have you going hungry. You little elves eat so frequently."
"Bear!" Kae corrected. "Far less often than an elf. I can shift outside the dream as well, remember."
Verdicus seemed to be relaxing now that their flight was away from the Nightmare's clouds. He chuckled. "Even still... if you could become a dragon, it wouldn't be so much an issue, nor would I have to carry your slow feathers upon my back!"
"Certainly. Teach me to become a dragon, then, good sir!" Kae grinned.
"Hmmph," he snorted in amusement.
"Shall I fly now, then?" she asked.
In response, the drake arched his back, bucking her out into the air before flying on, leaving the elf tumbling through the sky. Kae squealed out an insult before shifting back into her stormcrow form and tearing after him.
They would return to the area tomorrow to fight again against the creatures the Nightmare left in its wake. It was a never-ending battle, but one that must be fought, and Kae's only hope was that they would find some clue to eradicating its corruptive presence from the Emerald Dream.