"So how is Had doing?" After the thorough dressing down a few days prior, Katza had dropped by Akabeko's workshop under the guise of checking up on the new recruit.
Akabeko appreciated that her raid leader at least attempted to hide her snooping into the druid's extracurricular activities. Besides, she would have an airtight alibi when it was actually time for the plan to be put into action. "He's doing fantastic. He has incredible potential and learns very quickly. Just don't tell him that - it hinders the teaching process."
"That's very old school of you," Katza remarked. She casually glanced at the ledger on the desk. There were, of course, no incriminating scribbles. "When do you suppose he will be ready to join a raid?"
The workshop bell began ringing frantically. Akabeko leaped to answer the door, Katza trailing behind. "Probably by the time something crops up that actually requires a raid," she muttered wryly.
The door opened to reveal an unusually short troll woman in Cenarion Circle livery. Without preamble, she handed Akabeko a sheet of bright red parchment. "Urgent summons," she said unnecessarily. "Report at once." With a nod, she turned away, already on the way to the next recipient.
"Odd," Akabeko murmured, scanning the page. "This summons is for the Orgrimmar center."
Katza attempted to peek over Akabeko's much taller shoulder. "Is this from the healing rotation?"
Akabeko rummaged in the cabinet by the door, finally pulling out a patched backpack. She ushered Katza outside, locked the door, and strode off through the Drag. "Yes, and this is extremely serious. There's usually some warning, and we are typically summoned to the Moonglade." She folded the parchment and slipped it into the front pocket of her backpack. "Listen, does Had look familiar to you? I keep getting the feeling that I've seen him somewhere before."
"Familiar? Not that I know of. Maybe you saw him at some druid gathering or other?"
"Oh, that's probably it," Akabeko huffed irritably. "Sometimes he quirks his mouth a certain way, or gets this really intense look..." She gestured helplessly. "He probably used to work in my favorite tavern and that's why I recognize him."
Katza shrugged, and they continued on in silence. The Cenarion hospital was just coming into view across the pond in the Valley of Wisdom. "Have you tried to teach him how to reach Tree of Life?" she asked abruptly.
The druid missed a step, catching herself ungracefully. Her carefully neutral expression managed to be more morose than a frown. "I haven't. If he's going to learn, it will have to be from a druid more powerful than me. I don't even try to reach it myself anymore."
They stopped outside the hospital. Katza opened her mouth as if to offer some consolation.
"I have to get in there," Akabeko said quickly. "I'll see you around."
Inside, she fished out the parchment and handed it to an assistant. She was immediately summoned by a full-time healer, who whisked her down a hallway. They were soon joined by Hadakha and a troll Akabeko didn't recognize. She nodded to her guildmate.
The healer sized up the pair appreciatively. "The patient was just ported in this morning. He's a leatherworker and was badly mauled while working in the field. There weren't enough experienced healers in the Moonglade, so they decided to send him here. We weren't sure he would survive the transporting." The tauren paused and shook his head. "Frankly, I'm not sure how long he will survive. We will need every available healer."
He pushed open the door to one of the patient rooms. Inside, three druids were standing around a pallet, constantly casting healing spells on the still mass of the injured tauren. The fur along the bridge of Akabeko's nose stood on end in response to the healing energy clouding the room. She half-expected leaves to spontaneously sprout from the tips of her ears.
The other druids barely glanced up when the newcomers joined them. The healer retreated to the door. "Once we get enough healers, we'll set up rotations to allow you to rest. Thank you for your service."
It was crowded in the small room, but the soft hum of healing energy was relaxing. Akabeko settled in beside Hadakha and delved into the unnaturally still form on the pallet. The severity of the wounds made her stomach clench, and she understood the urgency of the summons. Hadakha would get a trial by fire. She began to cast.