tagCelebrities & Fan FictionThe Hunter's Companion: Kalendras

The Hunter's Companion: Kalendras

bySinisterSpiders©

Author's Note: This is a prologue to "The Hunter's Companions" series. It shows when Liv and Kal's relationship changed for the first time, and the circumstances that led to their 'friends with benefits' style relationship. Please feel free to leave comments and constructive feedback! Thanks!




Livinia grinned and looked around as she cleaned off her arrows and sharpened the heads. The wind was cool in Thunder Bluff and the sun was getting low in the sky. All in all they had done well for a day's work. They had managed to bring down Orno Grimtotem and his cronies and satisfied Baine Bloodhoof. By doing that they had earned the eternal thanks of the Taurens in addition to some well-deserved time off.

"Are you sure you don't want to come to Silvermoon?" Belcarm asked, checking the contents of his pack one last time. Livinia looked up at him and shrugged.

"Not particularly, I think I will hang around here for a while- take a day off and then see what work I can get for us." Livinia responded. She found it quite sad to say that the thought of going back to Silvermoon didn't tempt her- not even in the slightest. She had grown up there, as a daughter of two prominent diplomats. She loved her father, but she tried as hard as she could to limit her contact with her mother. The woman was down-right frustrating.

"Really? You'd prefer this tent village to Silvermoon?" Belcarm asked, his handsome face contorting with a frown.

"I always forget about your love of that damned city." Livinia said with a laugh. She had first met Belcarm when she had set off as an adventurer- both working on the same quest. She had quickly discovered that he lived with just his father in a small cottage in the Eversong Woods.

"The architecture is stunning!" Belcarm said defensively "And the food and taverns are excellent. Surely you'd rather come along with me and spend a few nights in a soft bed than on a thin bed roll?"

"Will my Mother be in Silvermoon?" Livinia asked with an exasperated sigh, shoving her arrows into her quiver.

"Erm- I don't know, will she?" Belcarm asked, using one hand to gather his long black hair to stop it from blowing about with the wind.

"Yes." Livinia said, getting to her feet, "Yes- she will be in the city, therefore I won't be." She looked around the busy town centre and spotted a stall on the opposite selling some beautifully barbecued vegetables. The sight of them made her mouth water. She got to her feet and shrugged her pack onto her shoulders, finally realizing just how hungry she was. She whistled for Borris, her Elder Springpaw, and he looked up at her with interest from the pile of sticks he was sniffing.

"Liv," Belcarm placed a hand on her shoulder softly and smiled "I would love if you'd come with me. My father wants to meet you and I-"

"No way!" Livinia said, interrupting the Paladin's speech without thinking. She squinted to see off into the distance, trying to see if her eyes were deceiving her.

There were plenty of Tauren's with that colouring- especially heree in Thunder Bluff. But the particular Tauren she had spotted was smaller than the others. His horns were fully formed though, not at all like Livinia remembered. The real reason he had caught her attention though was because of the distinctly Blood Elf inspired pack he had on his back. The red and gold knot work was something that was particular to the Elves of Silvermoon and not something any normal Tauren was likely to carry around.

"KALENDRAS!" Livinia cried, ignoring the annoyed look on Belcarm's face. The Tauren in question didn't even flinch, so she called out the name again. The second time he turned and there was no mistaking it. His eyes lit up when he saw her and a fluttering of nervous butterflies circled in her stomach.

"Liv?" Belcarm's voice came from beside her but she waved a hand at him dismissively as the Tauren made his way over to them.

"Little One!" Kalendras said as he approached them, his eyes dancing with amusement. Without warning Livinia was caught up in his arms for a very firm hug. When he finally let her go she laughed as he lowered her to her feet. "What are you doing here?"

"Oh, nothing much," Livinia said with a shrug and a grin "just killing Orno Grimtotem..." The look on Kalendras's face went from happy to shocked and she laughed.

"That was you? Everyone's talking about that!" He said, eyeing her appreciatively.

"And me." Belcarm's voice was petulant and Livinia cringed.

"Oh- right. Kalendras, Belcarm- Belcarm, Kalendras. Belcarm, Kal is one of my oldest friends. We grew up together in Silvermoon." She introduced them quickly, much more interested in what her oldest friend was up to than placating the newer friend's ego.

"Well met Paladin." Kalendras said gruffly, offering his hand for Belcarm to shake. Belcarm eyed the proffered hand suspiciously but shook it quickly before turning his attention to its owner.

"Druid." Belcarm said with a curt nod "Since Liv won't introduce me, I'll introduce myself. I met her on the outskirts of Silvermoon City. I may not be her oldest friend, but I'm a good friend nonetheless..." Both Livinia and Kalendras were shocked by the clearly disdainful tone Belcarm had used. He seemed nonplussed by their mouths, both open in shock. "Liv, if we want to go back to Silvermoon we really had better leave now." Belcarm said slowly, looking back at the slack-jawed Livinia.

"You're going back to Silvermoon?" Kalendras asked, interested, Livinia took a deep breath and turned to Belcarm.

"Actually no." Livinia said "Belcarm is, but I've decided to stay here for a couple of nights." She said, Belcarm's eyes glazed over with indignation and he glared at her. She couldn't quite place his sudden coldness, but with Kalendras so close by she chose to ignore it. "Are you staying in town?" Livinia asked.

"Up here?" He looked around the lofty settlement and shrugged "I normally camp down at the base- less windy and much quieter. You know me- give me trees over people any day."

Belcarm snorted and Livinia turned to him quickly, her brows furrowing in confusion.

"Well, you certainly are a druid, aren't you?" Belcarm asked with a bite to his tone "Well Liv, I'm off. Send me a letter once you have found some work for us, yes?" He asked as he shouldered his pack.

"Er- okay." Livinia said, too stunned by the slight against Kalendras to think properly. Belcarm walked off into the crowd and disappeared and Livinia turned back to Kalendras. "Um, sorry about that. He isn't usually so-..." She trailed off, not knowing what word to use to describe the handsome paladin at that time.

"Never mind." Kal said with a shrug "He was probably too distracted by his own reflection in your eyes to remember his manners." Kalendras said. The comment made Livinia choke with laughter, Kalendras grinned. "So you travel with him, then?" He asked.

"Yeah, we met outside of Silvermoon on the day I left the city. We've been working together since then." She said with a shrug.

"Is he a decent fighter at least?" Kalendras asked.

"Would I have stuck with him if he wasn't?" She asked.

"Well, he is very pretty. Almost prettier than you." Kalendras said making her laugh again. However this time the laughter was accompanied by the return of the nervous butterflies. "Though I'm sure if a foe held a mirror up to his face he would be easy prey."

"Kal!" Livinia laughed "You are terrible... Tell me, are you too busy to catch up? It's been far too long!"

"Too busy for you?" Kal asked with a grin "Never. What do you say we get some meat, veggies and a cask of ale and then head down to one of my usual camping spots?" He asked.

"I'd love to!" Livinia replied, unable to keep the smile from her lips. She and Kalendras had grown up together- his parents were the Tauren envoys in Silvermoon. He was five years older than her though, and that had meant that he had come of age much sooner and had consequently left the city, and her, to follow the call of the wild. Since then their encounters had been few and far between, and she was always eager to catch up with her good friend.

~*~

An hour later Livinia was sitting on an old hollow log as Kalendras prodded their camp fire and coaxed it slowly into something that was decent enough in size to allow them to cook. As she used her dagger to peel the vegetables she couldn't help but smile. Her pet, Borris, stalked around their camp suspiciously, sniffing everything that dared stir in the breeze. He had taken Kalendras's presence quite well. He didn't growl at him menacingly, as he did with Belcarm, and he even grudgingly accepted an off-cut of meat from the Tauren. Now, though, he was content to guard the borders of their camp and occasionally pounce on the odd lizard or bug. He might have looked like a big cat, but he was still young as far as Springpaws go, and quite playful.

It had been so long since Livinia and Kal had been able to just enjoy each other's company. The last time they had been together it had been at his Mother's birthday party back in Silvermoon, and everyone had wanted to hear of his adventures. Livinia watched the way that his silver fur shimmered in the growing firelight and then cried out.

"Ouch!" She yelped, dropping her dagger and looking at the scarlet blood beading on her thumb.

"What's wrong?" Kalendras turned around quickly, his entire body tense and ready for a fight.

"Fucking potato." Livinia growled, throwing the innocent vegetable into the nearby pot and sticking her thumb in her mouth. Kalendras laughed and she fixed him with an indignant glare.

"Here, let me look." He said. He walked over, forgetting about the fire, and stood before her. His entire hulking mass covering the dying rays of the sun and putting her in his cold shadow. He held out his hand and she sighed, placing her own tiny one in his. "Livinia Sunspeaker!" Kalendras begun grandly "Slayer of Orno Grimtotem, defeated by a potato." He finished with a laugh and she tried to pry her arm free of his grip.

"Oh, ha ha!" She said, frowning as he ran a thumb over her wound.

"Sorry," He said bashfully, but unable to keep the smirk from his face.

Livinia watched as he assessed her injury with a critical gaze before letting her hand go and walking over to his pack. He rummaged through it for a moment before pulling out a roll of thin white fabric.

"This, is a bandage." He said holding it up for her to see. "And because you are my oldest friend I will let you have it for free." He took her hand again and begun to unroll the fabric around it, binding it tightly and stopping the blood.

"How generous of you." Livinia laughed, wincing slightly as his fingers ran over her bandaged cut. "It is funny you know, Belcarm would have just healed that without a second thought."She mused.

"It's just a cut." Kalendras said, his eyebrows knitting together. "I could heal it if you really wanted me to." The confusion in his tone made Livinia laugh.

"No, no... it wasn't a request, just an observation. You're right- it's just a cut. I am happy to let it heal on its own." She placated, Kalendras looked up and smiled at her.

"

Well Sunspeaker, you are tougher than you look." He said, tying the bandage off and making his way back over to ailing fire.

"I suppose it will just have to do." She said with a shrug and looking back at the fire pointedly "Although if you don't tend to the flame my battle wounds will have been in vain." She said. He grinned and nodded and fed the flames some more dry brush.

"Tell me more about how you brought down the Grimtotems." Kalendras said.

Livinia was all too happy to launch into a full recount of how she and Belcarm had helped Baine Bloodhoof dispose of his enemies. As she spoke Kalendras threw meat and vegetables into the pot as well as some various herbs and spices. Livinia poured the water out of her waterskin and went over to the cask of ale they had bought and filled up the skin. When Kalendras saw her do it he held out his and she did the same for him. By the time their food was cooked they had already drained their water skins twice and Livinia could feel the pleasant haze of tipsiness setting in.

"You sound quite happy." Kalendras said giving her an approving nod.

"What do you mean?" She asked, dishing out their food. She put the bowl close to her face and took a deep breath, the food actually smelled quite delicious.

"The last few times I saw you, you looked miserable. Especially when you were still living at home. But now? You look happy- and you seem to have really taken to being a hunter."

Livinia smiled at her old friend and thought about what he had said. They had both known how much she despised being left back in Silvermoon City. The diplomat's life was not for her, and she had been so thrilled when she was finally old enough to take off on her own. Every time Kalendras would visit he would bring home tales of his adventures which would make Livinia green with envy. Now that she was out and about in the world she no longer felt that jealousy at all.

"I guess I am happy." She said with a shrug, raising the bowl to her lips and taking a deep drink.

"It is nice when you're happy- you have a very pretty smile." He told her. Livinia would have dropped her soup were she not terrified of scalding herself.

"What?"

"Your smile. It's pretty." Kalendras said matter-of-factly before eating some of his stew. Her cheeks filled with colour and her stomach was roiling nervously. That was the second time he had said that she was pretty in less than two hours. Even though it made her blush, his praise was something that she was pleased to accept.

Kalendras couldn't have known, but over the last few years Livinia had formed a sort of crush on him. She hadn't meant to, they were old friends after all, but somewhere between their strong relationship and his wonderful adventures Livinia had begun to wish that he could perhaps be something more. She knew that having a crush on him was foolish- she was a Blood Elf, he a Tauren. He was almost double her size and the only thing they really shared was that they were bipedal. Plus, she had no idea if he would ever think of her that way. The fact that he had called her pretty had made her think, but the chances were that he only said it to be kind. After all, one could appreciate a fine piece of art without desiring to own it.

"This is seriously delicious." Livinia said, refilling her empty bowl eagerly.

"I am sure you could make something much better." Kalendras dismissed the praise as he sipped at his own bowl.

"Are you kidding? Bel and I can't cook to save our lives. When we are camping we live off dried meat, hard bread and dehydrated fruit. We only get a hot meal when we go to town." She said with a laugh.

"Seriously?" Kalendras looked at her, shocked.

"You're telling me that pretty boy can't rough it out?" He asked, the question made the clearing tinkle with Livinia's laughter.

"Oh he can rough it out." She assured. "He grew up in a small cottage in the Eversong Woods. He is more than capable of hunting and gathering. He just seems to prefer mage or tavern cooked food." Livinia said.

"And you? What do you prefer?" Kalendras asked, amused.

"Anything that fills my empty belly!" She said with a winning smile and punctuated her statement with a long draw of her ale and a loud slurp of stew.

The rest of their dinner was eaten while Kalendras and Livinia reminisced about the things they got up to when they were younger. They had caused a fair bit of mischief in Silvermoon City. When their bowls were empty and their tummies full of stew and ale the first drop of rain splashed into the fire and hissed as it boiled away. Livinia looked up at the darkened sky and could make out the thick clouds over head.

"I think we should probably-" She begun, but before she could finish the sky opened up and rain pelted down. With a cry of shock she and Kalendras got to their feet and started collecting their items, then deposited them under an ancient tree with a thick canopy.

"Oh no! Where is Borris?" Livinia said frantically peering through the wall of water to see Borris's orange fur.

"Don't worry about your pet, Little One. He is more than capable of dealing with the rain." Kalendras laughed.

"But Kal- he's only a cub!" She argued, preparing to duck back out into the pouring rain.

"He's a wild animal Livinia, and he survived perfectly well before you tamed him." Kalendras said patiently. Damn him and his druidic wisdom. "Oh no- the pot." Kalendras hissed suddenly, looking over at their failing fire and at the pot of stew which was being ruined by the rain water.

"I'll get it." Livinia said before dashing out into the torrential down-pour. Before Kalendras could argue she was in the pouring rain, trying to keep her balance on the slick mud and grass. Luckily, the fire had been almost completely extinguished and the pot cooled down by the sudden downpour. With a triumphant whoop Livinia grabbed it by the handle and then turned and made for the tree where she and Kalendras had taken shelter.

Just as Livinia stepped into the umbrella of the trees branches her foot slipped on a patch of mud and moss and the world tilted around her. She landed with a loud oomph and an undignified curse, the left over stew flying out of the pot and splattering the ground around her. The next moment she was looking up into Kalendras's earthy brown eyes, which were full of concern.

"Little one! Are you alright?" He asked as he hovered over her. She looked up at him, his face all serious and concerned and couldn't help but laugh. Perhaps it was the influence of the alcohol, and the fact that she knew it didn't hurt now but would kill in the morning, but she just laughed.

"I think I've had worse." She managed to breathe through her laughter.

When Livinia finally calmed down her chest was heaving and she was struggling to find the more sensible part of herself that had been lost in her third skin of ale. With the rain pouring down around them and enclosing them within the dark, dry embrace of the tree's canopy, Livinia smiled up at Kalendras. She reached up with one hand and traced her fingers along the entire curving length of his elegant horns, marvelling that something so dangerous could feel so flawlessly smooth. They had grown since she had last seen him, and judging by the look of them they were at their full mature size.

"These have grown." She said as she stroked the smooth surface of them, the alcohol in her system fuelling her boldness. She smiled and delighted in the way in which he shivered under her touch.

"It seems I'm not the only one that has grown some." He said, his eyes travelling down to her heaving chest and clouding over cryptically. The words and his steady gaze took her breath away and her hands stopped in their path. Slowly, tentatively, Kalendras brought one of his massive hands up to cup the shape of her leather breastplate. Her breath turned shallow and her body screamed for more. For more oxygen, or for more of his touch, or both- either way she needed more.

"Your armour doesn't protect very much, does it?" He asked with a laugh, admiring her cleavage.

"Belcarm says the same thing!" She snorted and shook her head, not really wanting to talk about her armour. All of a sudden he was gone. By the time Livinia sat up he was leaning against the ancient trunk of the tree with his arms crossed and an apologetic frown on his face.

"Sorry Liv," He said, not able to meet her gaze "I shouldn't have done that- not with you and the Paladin..." He trailed off and confusion swept over her.

"Me and the Paladin?" She asked, face scrunching up as her inebriated brain tried to make sense of the sudden change in their interaction.

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