Orion is the Order's beastmaster, taming familiars (mostly larger ones) and training them so they can be used in battle. The only familiar he isn't willing to let go is his Noggle called Noog.
Orion stood in the training valley amid a plethora of tools, weapons and armour plates. Today was the day all of his trainees had put them all down and ventured forth into real battles and skirmishes. He could hear the vast group distancing, following other commanders or corporals or lieutenants. The dragon didn’t know precisely. His business wasn’t out there, so who lead them next did not interest him as much as where they were headed.
Slowly, he picked up and arranged each item in its place, ready for the next enrolment. There was perhaps a touch of sorrow in his gaze, or maybe his look was more akin to bothered.
His familiar approached from the calm shadows of a pile of bones. He nipped at his chains to signal his presence, then helped where he could by pushing wood or metal closer to the Guardian.
“There’s always a weary look on you, Noog, whenever they depart.” Orion’s voice was deep and corrosive like the Plague he represented.
The familiar couldn’t speak, but there was a hint of understanding in his mannerisms. Denying his master’s apprehensive remark, he picked up the peace and piled some training swords in a wooden barrel.
Orion liked that about the Noggle. He was reserved and never overcompensated with grandiose gestures of loyalty. When he agreed he looked happy or calm, but when he didn’t he ignored the dragon or tried to prove him wrong. He was also the only familiar the Guardian hadn’t trained, perhaps because a trained familiar always went to war and he couldn’t bare the separation. Orion knew what a fitting addition to their ranks Noog could be, but selfishly chose for him to stay at his side instead. In the bleak world of watching hoards of fighters wonder into certain danger, this was the one comfort that he had.
By nightfall, the pungent valley was all theirs. Orion and Noog had made sure everything was prepared for the new trainees and sat side by side in front of a hypnotic campfire. It was one of those nights again when he felt compelled to listen to the inward fight between duty and sorrow. Could he stand another few months training creatures that would inevitably turn into cannon fodder or should he step aside and let someone else take the reins? His familiar snapped him out of his wonder by crunching a few succulent bones between his sharp teeth.
The guardian chuckled at the sight of his friend wrestling with his meal, smearing dirt all over his mane while lifting clouds of dirt up into the atmosphere. Not much had changed since they had met, it seemed, though Orion’s memories on the matter were muddled. It had been after a battle half an age ago, when the Guardian found himself nearing defeat in a cavern. Outside, the symphony of war raged on and he struggled to stand, howling as his wounds bled. Noogle had scurried out of hiding, offering food to the great beast. A friendly gesture? Or had he done it in hopes of Orion sparing his life? Hard to tell, even by then, but what he did remember all too clearly was the somewhat childish smile on the familiar’s face, a smile that still lingered today.
Orion liked the dichotomy between Noog’s imposing exterior, a half serpentine beast that neared him in size and his friendly demeanor. He liked it even more because he felt it reflected something inside himself as well.
“You’re one of the good one, Noogs.” Orion spoke slowly.
The familiar stopped his play and turned around, looking at him in curious defeat. They stood like that for a little while, disregarding the night, the fire, the moon.
“Ah, no… you’re right, I suppose. They’re all good ones.” the dragon chuckled, filling in a conversation in his mind, then moving on to better, brighter thoughts.
- Background was written by Princesco (#106062)
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