Cardre asked me the other night about my …companions.  That’s not the right word, but ‘minions’ makes me sound like an evil overlord and ‘pets’ makes me sound like Haris Pilton, and… well, I think I’m somewhere in between.  The questions struck me as strange, because… well, for as much time as I spend around them, I simply don’t think about them that much.  They’re just there, separate from me, but as much a part of me as my hair or my nose.  And just like I love my hair and hate my nose, there are things about them I love and hate as fiercely.

Abanik was the first creature of nether I was able to compel to my will… and, well, there’s a reason new warlocks are encouraged to first deal with imps.  Patience and discipline are the hallmarks of any good felweaver, and I’ve needed plenty of both to put up with Abanik’s constant screechy chatter without going insane and/or blasting him to smithereens.  Today I maintain our contract for old times’ sake — by which I mean, I never know when I might need him again, and there’s no sense in burning an otherwise perfectly functional bridge — but I haven’t called on him in months, and I’m not exactly anxious to do it again soon.  I know the longer I wait the worse his bitching will be… but still.  I don’t call on the voidwalker Hathkrast often either (Light help the person who calls him a ‘blueberry’, by the way)… but more because I simply don’t need him, and while reliable he’s never been entirely thrilled by our arrangement (unlike Abanik, who jumps on any opportunity to blast things with a SQUEEEEEEE shrill enough to rend the heavens).  I suspect he’s just as happy to be semi-retired, and I’m happy to let him be so.

I bound the felguard Neelgozin during an early foray into Outland, and he’s always been… strange.  I’ve met other felguards who obviously seethe under their contracts, roaring and growling and snarling, taking commands only grudgingly and frequently threatening their masters with certain doom.  Neelgozin is… silent.  Always, perfectly silent.  He does not complain, he does not threaten me or boast his superiority.  He obeys my orders swiftly and silently and with almost frightening precision and efficiency.  It makes me worry, really.  I think he thinks he’s smarter than I am — and sometimes, he proves it.  Occasionally he smiles… and that’s more frightening than any threat he could make.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum we have Betwyn.  Sassy, rebellious, troublemaking Betwyn has a brain half the size of her hoof; she understands just enough to know to wait until I’m distracted to disobey me.   She spends 90% of her time doing the least useful thing possible (blowing on her nails, shaking her hips, harassing my friends, demanding general attention, flirting with tree frogs), … but damn it if in that other 10% she doesn’t pull it out and do exactly what I need when I need it — so at the end of the day she’s just helpful enough that I can’t justify getting rid of her.  I think it’s her way of torturing me.  More likely, it’s Neely’s.

Parents aren’t supposed to have favorite children.  But these fiends aren’t my children — and my favorite fel companion is definitely the felhunter Kreelum.  It took me a while to understand him… but in the years we’ve worked together now, I’ve found him to be unfailingly loyal and helpful — more so than some of my mortal companions!   And he’s brave, and a masterful tracker… and of course we have a contract, and of course he’s a demon and romanticizing the bond between master and minion is a great way for the ‘master’ to end up dead and worse… but for all that, I get the impression he genuinely enjoys working with me.  I know, it’s weird — I don’t know if he just had it worse where he was or what, but he’s never balked at an order, never expressed displeasure, always bounds off eagerly at whatever I tell him to do and returns just as gladly. 

At least… he has until recently.  I rarely banished Kreelum from my side when I was in Northrend, but lately I’ve had to tolerate Betwyn’s company more often as Kreelum has just been behaving… odd.  He’s still loyal, still friendly towards me… but something’s wrong.  He whines, like a hound.  He scratches at floors and and nods his blind head around and makes a strange, hellish keening sound that I can’t decipher.  Neelgozin may choose not to speak, but Kreelum can’t, and it’s truly worrying me.  I know he’s trying to tell me something… and I just don’t know what.