tagSci-Fi & FantasyBy the Horns Ch. 02

By the Horns Ch. 02

byAdmiralSquish©

[pre-story] Hey there, squish here, with the continuation of Rhuno's adventures across Azeroth! The story, and the chapter, chosen by my faithful patrons! This installment takes our hero to a remote corner of The Blasted Lands. This one's takes off a little slow, I really wanted to get some character development in there, and it ended up taking more space than I thought it would. Hopefully, it was worth it in the end! Let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: All characters are 18 or older.

Content Warnings: Huge cocks, excessive cum, impregnation, cumflation, and furries.[/pre-story]


Chapter 2: A Hero's Reward

Tonight, like every night in recent memory, a tense quiet hung over the Howling Drunk Inn. The few patrons, a selection of the town's old, infirm, and cowardly, sat in humbled silence, nursing mugs of porter as the night dragged on interminably. Donna Berrymore, the innkeeper, stood behind the bar, mechanically re-washing the unused mugs. She was a mature woman, with warm tan skin, raven-black hair, and a glare that could send even the most ornery drunk cringing out the door. The young barmaid, Becca, was the only one moving, pacing around the room, clearing away empty mugs, impatiently seeking something, anything to do to keep herself busy.

Becca was a petite, slender thing, just barely more than five feet tall. She had a cute, mousy sort of look to her, with soft features dotted with a handful of freckles, a cute little button nose, and large, chestnut-brown eyes. Jaw-length brown hair was tucked hurriedly out of the way behind her ears, a few stray locks curling forward to brush against her cheeks. Her uniform was typical of her job, an ankle-length brown dress that hung loosely off her admittedly average hips, a laced leather bodice that cinched her already slim waist even tighter, and a frilly top with a neckline that bared her shoulders and the modest cleavage of her firm, orange-sized breasts. She was practically the ideal barmaid, attractive in that girl-next-door way, but not distractingly eye-catching. She almost seemed to blend into the background when you weren't looking.

Becca was reaching for old man Jensen's empty mug when she realized he'd perked up in his seat, tilting his head toward the window, listening to something. One by one, the other patrons followed suit, brows furrowing in confusion, and then Becca heard it too. It was quiet and indistinct at first, but it grew louder and closer by the second, resolving into something the town hadn't heard in a quite a while. Singing. Raucous, off-key, out-of-tune singing. A dozen rough voices rolling over one-another as they sang with a kind of carefree joy that hadn't been heard in Surwich for months. The sound alone was immensely refreshing, even if it was terrible.

The song grew louder and louder, until the front door of the inn suddenly burst open. The militia poured into the inn, perhaps a dozen men and women, some human, some worgen, all exhausted and clad in mis-matched, rusty, dented armor smeared with mud and black, green, and crimson blood. But every single one of them was grinning triumphantly through the filth, even those bearing hastily-bandaged wounds, and they sang loud and proud. A man with a ratty top hat broke from the crowd lingering by the door, stepping forward, his hard beard split by an irrepressible grin. "Donna!" He called. "Ready a room an' open a tab, an' put it all on the mayor's dime! The Hero of Surwich drinks free tonight!" He half-shouted, half-laughed. The group behind him cheered, pausing in their singing just long enough to turn and usher an unseen figure forward.

The militia parted as a mountainous, shadowy figure suddenly filled the doorframe, so big it had to duck through, its horns scraping at the wood as it passed the threshold. When it straightened up again on the other side, it loomed over the crowd around it, easily eight feet tall, its square shoulders as broad as three men standing shoulder to shoulder. As it stood there on iron-shod hooves, long, pointed horns crowning its head, it looked almost like a demon. But there the similarities ended. The figure was covered head to toe in gleaming silvery armor, thick plates of metal trimmed with turquoise-studded gold. The thing's chestplate, gauntlets, and pauldrons all bore the same motif, a large golden sun-disk in the center, radiating thin rays of gold all the way out to the edges. On its back, it carried a massive circular shield, an inch-thick wall emblazoned with the same sun-disk, large enough for a man to stand behind it and be completely hidden. On its waist hung a wrist-thick scepter of silver inlaid with gold, crowned with a sphere of gold as big as a man's head, a mighty mace.

The figure shifted, its expression hidden beneath a silvery helm, and reached up with gauntleted hands. After a moment's fumbling with the clasp, the helmet's lower half swung free, and with one hand, the figure lifted the rest up and forward, revealing its face. Rhuno's coal-black brow furrowed slightly as her cast his gaze around the tavern, startlingly blue eyes assessing the situation, before settling on the innkeeper and offering her a respectful nod.

Donna didn't even acknowledge the look, turning to Devin with a sour expression, crossing her arms as her eyes narrowed. "A tauren? You brought a tauren into town, into my inn, and you want me to serve him drinks on the mayor's tab?" she demanded, shaking her head. "You must have gotten your bell rung pretty bloody hard if you think this is a good plan."

Devin shook his head, his smile never faltering. "If Archimonde 'imself 'ad done what this bloke did, I'd be buyin' 'im drinks just the same." he replied. "You shoulda seen it. There was a bloody army comin' outta the fog. Musta' been a hundred treants, with as many demons on top, an' a dozen of those 'shroom giants to boot. They were comin' on fast, an' I was ready to kiss my arse goodbye. Then there was a flash, bright as the sun, lit up the whole forest like a bolt a' lightin'. An' there 'e was..."

As Devin launched into his tale, the militia poured into the bar proper, filling up seats and ushering the guest of honor to take a seat by the fire. None of them noticed Becca, staring wide-eyed at the tauren as she clutched her serving tray to her chest like a shield.

---

"Now, I didn't remember any of that! So when I woke up with the protodrake licking my face, all I knew was that I was hanging upside down by the hooves, that I had a headache that could have killed a kodo, and that I was wearing nothing but a wooly rhino pelt and smeared with what I could only HOPE was mud! Killit was laughing so hard she nearly fell out of the saddle!" Rhuno recounted, laughing and gesturing wildly, the last of the porter in his mug sloshing as it swung through the air. Devin was doubled over the table, laughing so hard his eyes watered, clutching his stomach with one hand and pounding the tabletop with the other. Becca tittered quietly, a hand over her mouth. "THAT'S why I don't drink Sulfuron Slammers anymore, ESPECIALLY not with trolls." Rhuno added definitively, grinning as he raised his mug to his lips and drained it entirely.

As time and drink had flowed, Rhuno's armor had come away piece by piece, both literally and figuratively. The armored, serious, stoic warrior from hours ago now wore nothing but his under-armor as he casually shared tales of his travels with those militia members still conscious. Shimmering, lightweight frostweave, a brilliant shade of royal blue, was his only protection, the material hanging loosely over thick slabs of muscle as he drank and and chatted. His armor and weapons lay in a pile in the corner of the room behind him, his tossed aside along with his caution.

Devin shook his head as he managed to straighten up, gasping for breath and wiping the corners of his eyes as his laughter slowly tapered off to the occasional chortle. "Oh, light, that's a hell of a tale! I think that one deserves another drink!" He grinned, raising a hand and looking toward the bar. "Donna! Another mug for the hero! This one's on me!

Donna eyes the table for a moment, before casting her gaze around the room to survey the scene. Half the militia had already passed out, and the rest were getting quite close. "Alright, but this is last call, you lot!" She announced, firmly. A few moments later, a fresh mug was in front of Rhuno, Becca silently fading back out of the way. Rhuno smiled, glancing up, his eyes meeting hers for just a moment and giving her a nod of gratitude before turning back to the table. Her cheeks flushed as she lingered nearby, close enough to listen in.

Devin shook his head again, still chuckling. "Well, I s'pose that's my cue." he commented, planting his hands on the table and pushing himself to his feet. "I best stumble home before tonight becomes another story." he grinned, nudging one of the unconscious warriors beside him. A murmur of agreement rolled through the remainder of the militia and some of the other patrons. After offering some final gratitude to the hero of the night, they collectively staggered out the door, carrying their fallen brethren out into the night on unsteady legs. Before Rhuno was even finished with his mug, the inn was all but empty. He sighed, swirling the last of the porter around the mug before knocking it back. It just wasn't as good without company.

"Um... Sir?" Came a small, feminine voice. Rhuno glanced over, eyes settling once again on the petite human girl that had been serving his drinks all night. Becca's gaze shifted side to side, her fingers fidgeting with the edge of her serving tray as she held it in front of her. "The- the bar is closed after last call... But, if- if you'd like, I could, um, get you something to eat. If you're hungry, I mean." She managed to offer, even as she wilted under his gaze, her feet carrying her backward in short, mincing steps.

Rhuno shook his head. "Oh, that's not necessary, no need to wake the cook for me, I've got provisions..."

Becca's expression lit up as she stepped forward once again. "Oh, no, I can do it! I help in the kitchen all the time, it's no trouble at all!" she explained. Her cheeks suddenly flushed as her own boldness sank in, and she began to mince backwards again, averting her gaze. "I mean, um, if you wanted... It- it's the least I could do... to, you know... thank you..." she finally managed, the serving tray coming up like a shield again.

Rhuno smirked at the shy human girl for a moment before nodding. "Alright, then, if it's no trouble, I'd love something to eat." he replied. Becca's face lit up with a smile, but held up a hand before she could do anything. "But! Only if you do two things first." he warned, and Becca looked nervous. "First. You've gotta stop calling me 'sir'." he said, smirking. "And second, You've got to make yourself something too. I'm sure you're hungry by now, and I'd feel terribly awkward eating all alone." He finished. Becca's smile returned full-force, and she turned on her heel and darted off the the kitchen, passing behind the bar.

Donna glanced after her barmaid as she passed, then turned her gaze to the tauren, brow furrowing for a moment. Rhuno could feel her gaze on him, and it made his fur stand on end. But then, without a word, the older woman sighed softly, putting up the last of the mugs and heading up the stairs to her room, leaving Rhuno alone in the main room as Becca bustled about the kitchen preparing a meal for two, humming quietly to herself.

---

"I... I had no idea..." Becca slumped in her seat, eyes downcast. "I'm sorry..."

"Don't be." Rhuno replied, shaking his horns. Firelight cast his face in flickering orange light and deep shadow, pools of darkness emphasizing his scars.

"I still am... I'm sorry it happened to you. I'm sorry I ever brought it up..." Becca returned, her eyes never rising from the table. "I've never even heard of the Grimtotem..."

Rhuno sighed. "It's a tauren matter. Others don't see clans, just tauren. Which is why they're so dangerous..."

Becca shook her head. "It's not that. I've never heard of anything you talk about. Northrend, sunwalkers, dragons... My family never left Gilneas until the cataclysm. The rest of the world was always just... places on a map. Nothing to worry about. Then we came here. I thought things would be different outside the wall, but the world's still just... places on a map. We're out of the way here, nobody comes through Surwich on the way to someplace else. We're isolated. Occasionally an adventurer will come fight the demons, but they never stay long before they move on to the portal... We fish by day, hide by night, and just.. survive. Nothing happens. Nothing changes..." She sighed.

There was a moment of silence as Becca stared down at the glass of water in her hands. "...I wish I could be like you." she finally whispered.

Rhuno blinked. "Me?"

Becca nodded. "I wish I could just... go. Leave this behind, see the world, go on adventures, make stories of my own... Nothing's keeping me here, not really. It's not like my parents would kill me if I tried to leave, or I could never come back afterward..." she explained, then shook her head. "...But I still can't. I'm... just too afraid. It's a big world, and it's full of great big dangerous things... And I'm just... me. I'm small, I'm weak, and even thinking about it makes my heart race... I'm a coward. How could I ever fight a real monster?" she asked, eyes tearing up, then gave a derisive laugh. "I can't even manage to kill the rats in the cellar..."

Rhuno was quiet for a second. "I'm afraid too." he replied. Becca looked up at him. "When you're up to your neck in ghouls and they just keep coming, of course you're going to be afraid. Fear's good. Fear tells you something's dangerous, and gives you the speed to run or the strength to fight." he elaborated, leaning forward to put his elbows on the table. "The hard part is being afraid and doing something anyways. The way I see it, there's always going to be problems standing between you and what you want. They might be monsters, or people, or bigger things. And you're going to have to deal with them, no matter what you do. We all do. But we don't all do it the same way."

Rhuno shook his head, straightening up. "Me, I take my problems head-on, because I know I can take the hits as they come. Of course, I tend to get hurt a lot along the way, but I survive. But you're not me. You're different. And you have to deal with your problems your way. It sounds like you're the type to consider all the possible angles before you make a move. And that's great, that lets you make the right move at the right time. But you have to make the move. Part of you wants to, from the sound of it. But you're holding yourself back of some reason. Whatever it is, you've gotta let go, let yourself do what needs to be done. You have to act, and act decisively."

"I... I don't think I can..." Becca muttered, biting her lip

Rhuno leaned forward again, gesturing for her to look him in the eyes. "If any advice I give you sticks, let it be this: You always have a choice. Always. You can't control much in this world, but you control YOU. You make all the decisions. You can choose to do nothing. You can choose to obey others. You can choose bad ideas. But they're your choices, and you have the power to make a new decision, every second of every day. And if you're not happy with your life, not really, truly happy... then you've got a choice to make." he finished, letting the statement hang in the air.

There was silence for a moment, the soft crackle of the fireplace the only sound in the room. Rhuno's intense sapphire eyes held Becca's gaze as she chewed her lip. "...Decisive..." She muttered under her breath, just barely loud enough to be heard. Suddenly she moved, rising out of her seat and reaching forward, hands coming up to cup the tauren's jaw and raise it up as she leaned in, suddenly kissing him with every ounce of determination in her small, trembling body.

Becca's lips, puckered as hard as she could, crushed against Rhuno's, her eyes squeezed shut as she held his chin, her entire body trembling with barely-suppressed panic, unsure of where to go from here. Rhuno blinked twice in surprise, then he smirked against her lips. He reached forward, a massive, calloused hand gently cradling her head, guiding her as he took the reigns. His lips pressed to hers, warmly, tenderly, the tension melting out of her body as they kissed. The kiss lasted for what seemed an eternity, and only when he pulled his lips from hers did she realize her lungs were burning for air. She gasped for breath and Rhuno gave her a warm, comforting smile and pulled away, rising to his hooves and stepping out from the table. It was her turn to blink in surprise when he extended a coal-black hand to her, palm up.

Slowly, hesitantly, Becca placed her hand on Rhuno's palm. The calloused hand closed around hers slender digits, and he tugged, pulling her in. She stumbled forward in surprise, only to strike against an unyielding wall of warm, granite-hard muscle. One hand came down, wrapping around her waist and pulling her in tight, lifting her off her feet, her supple body flattened against his muscular chest. Her heart was thundering in her chest as he smiled down at her, then craned his neck down, kissing her again. Her eyes drifted closed as their lips locked, his thick, muscular tongue gently yet insistently probing her lips. She let it in, and it swiftly pushed inside, coiling sensually around her own tongue, and she melted into his arms. She had to admit, this kiss was much better than the first one.

---

The timbers groaned with complaint underhoof as Rhuno made his way to his room. Becca's toes barely touched the floor during the trip, literally swept off her feet in the tauren's embrace, their lips still locked in a passionate kiss. All she could do was hold on, clinging to fistfuls of his sapphire silk underclothes as he carried her along with long, powerful strides. It was almost like they were dancing. Their tongues danced too, coiling and uncoiling over and over. Without a moment's pause, he threw open the door, carried her across the the threshold, and kicked it closed behind them

As the door latched shut, Rhuno paused. Slowly, he pulled his lips away from Becca's, straightening up and loosening his grip to set the petite human girl on her feet. Her eyes fluttered open, slowly, as he pulled away, emerging from the kiss like she was emerging from a trance, and she looked up at him. Bright, silvery moonlight poured through a window and flooded the room in a pale, dreamy light. Rhuno's massive form loomed over her, a wall of pure tauren might, half again her height and perhaps ten times her weight. Every inch of his broad-shouldered frame was layered in slabs of granite muscle. She realized, suddenly, that she was alone in the room with him. He could effortlessly overpower her if he wanted to. Nobody would be able to stop him. She should have been terrified... but she wasn't. When she looked up into his brilliant blue eyes, she just felt... safe.

Rhuno raised a massive, calloused hand to Becca's chin, cradling it between finger and thumb, holding her gaze locked onto his. "I want you, Becca." he told her, his voice deep, gentle, warm, and sincere, the sound rolling through her. "You're a kind and beautiful girl, and I know you'll go on to do great things. I wish I could stay and see you do them. I wish I could be with you, even for a little while. But I know I must leave tomorrow, and I know we will walk different paths. I know there's no future for us together..." he explained, pausing for a moment, a note of sadness in his voice. "...But we can still have tonight." he added, on a more hopeful note. He leaned in closer, pressing his lips to hers once more in a tender kiss. When he pulled away, he looked deep into her eyes once more. His voice was soft, barely a whisper, when he spoke again. "Stay with me, just for tonight?"

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