Chapter 1: Frost
Northrend. A frozen hellscape where no one returned from. Prince Arthas Menethil of Lordaeron had gone up there and returned a monster. Or so Ishetii had heard. All she knew was that she was on one of the human’s fastest vessels heading swiftly towards that wretched place. Her native friends had told her most of Azeroth’s history. The Night Elves told her of the great Sundering ten thousand years ago, when Ishe was just a youth. The Long Vigil that had taken place afterwards, periods dotted with small wars. Their isolation until a war the races of Azeroth called the Third War. That was the war that forged this current alliance between Gnome and Dwarf, Human and Night Elf, last but not least the Draenei. Though many still harbored hatred towards this outsider race.
It had taken much to get Ishetii to Northrend. Her aunt and uncle begged her not to go. Falkhen was a lost cause for them to try to sway from his path, along with his friend Toren. Ishetii had wanted to stay, to watch Mahoen grow up and to stay close to Ahomat and Muti. She wanted to go on patrols with Jilaana and go back to her training with the Vindicators. But Falkhen had a change of heart after he saw Illidan fall. After he met Lyorien. He may have fell in love with the boy but he also fell in love with Azeroth.
Forget all the hardship. The fact that they were constantly proving that they weren’t monsters to these people. That they could fight for Azeroth, that they could make it a better place.
Ishetii pulled her fur trimmed cloak closer about her shoulders and followed after Falkhen and Toren. Both of them outpaced her within a few moments of landing at Valiance Keep. Aluuni looked like an overstuffed talbuk in her furs. She had always been slight and small, on the shorter end for their kind. Her dim eyes saw nothing in front of her, but she still looked out towards the sea regardless. She could feel the spirits of the wind rejoicing at the speed they moved.
Kyena was ahead, talking low with her Sentinels. Her cloak flapped noisily around her shoulders. Dark purple, nearly black, and furred. Jaleth’s was similarly made. His sister, Myn’ra, watched over the expanse of sea all around them. Both looked nearly at home on the ship, the long wistful glances at the surprisingly calm waters. Myn’ra looked carved from stone, her hood drawn up over her head, a thin scarf around her mouth and neck. Ishetii had only caught one glance of Myn’s face and even then she didn’t see much. Only the top half of what had faded to a noticeable scar remained.
Ishetii looked at Kyena in a different light. Even after returning to the Exodar and Kyena to Elunheim, they sent letters back a forth. Sometimes a gift would come, perhaps a Kaldorei treat of some sort, or a little wooden carving. She’d even gotten gifts from Kyena’s actual children. A druidess named Draennah. All sorts of plant life dominated Ishe’s room. She hoped Jilaana wouldn’t forget to water them.
“Are you ready to fight again, Ishetii?” A lanky, silver haired girl came sauntering over to her. It had to be Ilae Moonleaf, one of Kyena’s newest scouts. She, along with her brothers, were here to help her. They’d come along to Outlands with Kyena’s unit, though they were never formally a part of it. They mostly stayed behind in Hellfire Peninsula to watch over the Dark Portal and relay messages between outposts. It was a shit job in an even shittier place but they preferred it to wandering Ashenvale in search of Orcs violating the treaty.
“Valiance Keep, inbound!” Shouted the lookout.
Ishetii cast a glance up to the crow’s nest. “I suppose I have no choice.” Her common had improved. Even her Darnassian was passable to most Kaldorei. She was still learning things about her new home that she’d never known was possible.
That the dead could be raised, for one.
They pulled into port easily enough. It was filled with the new recruits coming to enlist in the Northrend War. Everyone from every walk of life was here, from Kaldorei to humans and everything in between. A long line was forming, one that Kyena led her group towards, standing just behind what had to be a smith in his best clothes. Simple people with nothing to their names were here to give their lives so that their families may live. So that Azeroth may live.
A war that Ishetii was about to sign up for. All because her idiot brother wanted to prove himself.
The people in the line were buzzing as they moved closer and closer to the officers taking names. Ishetii hoped that they wouldn’t spell her name wrong. She wasn’t sure if she could handle people butchering her name the whole time she was here. She caught snippets of this conversation or that, along with the assignments coming from the officers sitting at the table as they sealed their recruit’s fates.
Ishetii was lucky. At least she’d stay together with the Kyena’dorei. Tyrande had written it so, giving them each a letter that Velen and Varian had stamped approval onto. She reached for it now, not to pull it out, but to feel this physical tether that kept her family together. No longer would she have to worry about chasing Falkhen halfway across the continent, wondering whether or not he was safe. Never again would they have to worry about one or the other being left behind.
They inched closer to the head of the line. Falkhen nudged Ishe in the back. “What do you think it’s like out there?” His eyes scanned the horizon just beyond the strong stone walls of Valiance Hold. Her eyes watched the people who she’d be fighting alongside, the ordinary people, people like her. Were they really the ones who are going to push back this new threat? Did these people know what this war could cost them?
Her voice was grave, turning back to thoughts of their father and the horrors that the Legion had done. “Hell.” What the Legion had done to her people, to Draenor, even to Argus paled in comparison to this. Building monstrosities out of flesh and bone. Raising the dead from what should be their final rest.
It sickened Ishetii. The thought of being turned into a mindless slave that only killed to raise more into his army terrified her.
Lyorien peeked around Falkhen, wedging himself in between the two Draenei. “I, for one, wished that I could’ve stayed in Ammen Vale quietly; sipping on Darnassian purple with my lover fanning me.” He smirked at Falkhen and Ishetii, very obviously trying to lighten the mood.
Ishetii ruffled the silvery locks. He’d cut his hair short, leaving only a longer crop that he styled to his right side. “You certainly know how to make it a little less shitty, kalo korah.” Ishe smiled at him, noticing Falkhen’s calm expression. How happy he’d been, these last few years, to have Lyorien with him. It warmed her heart. One last thing that they wouldn’t have to worry about each other.
She couldn’t even imagine finding someone else. Not now, for the time being. She still missed Hunthos, her mind drifting back to Uruna. Ishe wondered if she came back through the portal to join up with the Horde.
Finally they got into the line. Falk waved Ishetii in front of him, after Lyorien wrote his name in the book and his profession or skills. Falkhen watched him closely, a nervousness that Ishetii hadn’t seen from him before etched into his face. He jiggled and played with the end of his long tail, whipping it back and forth across his palm. Finally, Lyorien finished and handed over his paper shield. The officers grunted some response and he went over to stand with the rest of the Kyena’dorei who had already finished their enlistments.
Ishetii bent to write her name in the book when Falkhen whispered in her ear.
“I’m going to ask Lyorien to marry me.”
She nearly ruined a page of names with her smear of ink.
Chapter 2: Valiance Keep
Kyena booked them lodgings at the inn while the others were assigned bunks with the rest of the Alliance military. But while Kyena's soldiers might have stayed at the inn, she and the two others stayed near the commander of the Alliance forces in his tower.
Ishe was still in a daze from the bomb that Falkhen dropped on her. She was on her way back to her room after a day of working out at the farms just outside of Valiance Keep. She was covered in layer after layer of dirt and sweat, one after the other, smelling faintly of animals as well. Her hair, normally resting on the nape of her neck, just below the grand curving horns, was half pulled out of the twin buns she kept them in. She knew she was a sorry sight to look at but she decided to grab a drink before heading up to bathe.
She found a spot that was far enough away that her smell wouldn't bother anyone too horribly and dig into her meal and mead. Ishe was just about finished when a shadow crossed the room causing her to look up, her spoon suspended halfway between the bowl and her mouth.
Hessian Seawhisper stood in front of her, smiling that crooked smile.
Her heart was thudding out of her chest. Hessian. She hadn’t seen him, not even after she’d killed Illidan. “Hessian?” Her voice cracked as she spoke, the high pitch grating even on her ears. Mentally she chided herself. Would she ever get over this mess with the Seawhispers? From Hessia to her son and even Kerai. She knew it was wrong. Certainly she couldn’t have them all, regardless. Her infatuation with them had to end and preferably soon.
His smile grew wider after she said his name. Perhaps he wondered if she still remembered him. “Want some company?” He gestured to the open seat across from her with his bowl of soup.
Distantly, she could feel herself nodding. “Yeah, yeah.” Her mouth was forming the words but her heart was doing flips in her chest. Hessian. It whispered. Hessian, Hessian, Hessian.
His smile hadn’t faded in the slightest as he settled into his seat. “It's strange that we ran into each other here.”
She eyed him, keenly aware of the state of herself. Her hand drifted towards her face and gave it a rough scrub. Ishe had no words to keep their conversation going even though Hessian was looking at her expectantly. His hair was longer now, brushing at the middle of his back with it’s tied back length. He looked darker now, like he’d spent too much time out in the sun. Ishetii finally managed to garble something out that appeased Hessian’s want for conversation.
They ate their food in a comfortable sort of silence. Though there was a certain amount of tension in the air around them. Furtive glances across the table, eyes sometimes meeting only to dash away at the last second. Hessian tried to smile every time he met Ishe’s eyes but she could only let hers dance away.
Finally, Ishetii could take no more silence. “Why are you here?”
“The Alliance had need of my skills.” He said with a grin before he drained the rest of his mug. Hessian sat back in his chair and eyed Ishetii closely. “It’s strange to see you without your brother nearby. He’s like your shadow.”
Ishetii fell silent under the weight of his stare and sipped at her drink.
Hessian’s finger traced around the lip of the mug as he watched Ishe. “It's good to see you, Ishetii.” He practically sung her name, giving her another smoldering glance. “You look well.”
She felt herself flush. “What do you want, Hessian?” She hoped that her voice stayed nonchalant. Ishe knew what he wanted already. At least, she hoped she did. She could feel her eyes drifting around his face as she observed him. Flicking from his lips to his eyes and back again.
Hessian’s eyes flickered over her face, taking in her flush, high on her cheeks. “Ah, dalah eru mi, Ishetii.” He purred, leaning forward onto the table now. He was close enough to smell the salt tang that never seemed to leave the Seawhispers. The heady smell of ale. His lashes almost brushed his cheeks as his eyes fell closed, leaning ever forward towards her. Ishe could feel herself coming forward as well.
But Ishetii had to ruin it.
“What.” She blinked as her voice came out in a squeak and cleared her throat harshly. He pulled away as well, taking in more of her face. He regarded her cooler now, less of that intense heat that he had just a moment before. Of course. The spell had broken. “What did you just say?” She completed her thought after she took a few more steadying breaths.
He sat back fully in his seat. “Not brushed up on your Darnassian, hm?” She could feel him pulling away from her, in more than just one way.
She felt her teeth sink into her bottom lip, drawing it in. Damn her, giant elekk of a girl. “Not-”
“Ishetii, I’m playing with you.” His smile was bright, as was his laugh. Warm. He tilted his head now, rather like a lion eyeing it’s prey. “Relax, all I did was call you beautiful.”
Hessian laughed again at her surprise. Not mockingly though. It was a mildly amused laugh. It made her steam. How he could find tormenting her funny was beyond her. “Edos inai epolani, Hessian.” She hissed, her own smile curling her lips regardless.
Now it was her turn to laugh at his confused face. He traced the rim of the cup again. “What did you say?” He whispered, just loud enough for Ishe to understand.
“I called you an idiot.” Her smile grew into a shit eating grin by this point. He squirmed in his seat under her eyes now. “Don’t like your little joke?”
He rolled his eyes at her and straightened. Again, he tilted his head slightly as he watched her again. “I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully mind you, to get myself into your pants for the past two hours.” He lifted the mug to his lips, brow arched as he shook his head at her, still snickering.
Ishe nearly burst out laughing. “I wouldn’t say unsuccessfully.” She finally managed to choke out around the struggle to get air into her lungs. Hessian went rigid at once, his eyes slowly rising from his mug.
Their eyes met. The spell was started anew. A corner of Hessian’s lips curled upwards. Ishe couldn’t resist one last chance to bust his balls. “This better not be just because you haven’t gotten laid in months.”
He shook his head, snickering. “You’ve caught me.” He held his hands up in surrender. “But no. You disappeared after you went through that portal. I wanted to talk to you.”
Ishe arched a brow. “Talk or talk?”
Hessian rolled his eyes at Ishe’s implication. “Bit of both?”
“Acceptable. I’m fantastic.”
Hessian’s smirk was slow, even his cheeks flushed with some color at Ishe’s confidence. “So what are we doing?”
“Let’s talk then.” So much for deciding to be single, Ishetii . She shook the thought away. This didn’t have to mean anything. Just a little romp around and then it would be over. Nothing more. Ishe could do that. She was good at no strings. Hell, even Asledraeth had moved on, and Ishe said nothing. She was happy for Asle and Caferieth. They deserved each other after all they’d been through.
Perhaps Ishe deserved this just as much as anyone else.
Hessian pushed backwards against his chair and rose, holding out his hand for Ishetii to take. She hesitated, hand halfway between the table and his hand. Hessian must have noticed her indecision. “Ishetii, this doesn’t have to go anywhere. You can always say no and I’ll be gone.” There was a finality in his tone. Something that wrapped around her like a blanket. Whether it was his words or the way he said it, Ishetii could not tell.
She slid her hand into his and let him pull her up.
He stopped by the bar, hand still clasped around Ishe’s, ordering some hot water and a basin to be brought up to Ishetii’s room.
They were smoother than Ishe thought they’d be. Only in the typical spots were they rough and calloused from working on the ships. But it’s lot like she was paying attention. She hissed at herself internally.
They filed up the stairs and found Ishe’s room in her usual state of casual neatness. Clothes were laid over her bed, her first cloak hung up above the little stove to dry. She shed her second one, a leftover from the Exodar, and hung it next to the other one for it to dry. They both sat on the bed, side by side, and watched the embers glow in the belly of the stove. She felt Hessian tracing the curve of her cheekbone with his thumb. It made her turn her head towards him, taking care that he wouldn’t catch a horn in the face, to see what he wanted.
His lips were warm against hers.
A hard knock came at the door. Hessian smiled against Ishe’s lips and got up to answer. Two men came in carrying a tub with plenty of water, another one followed closely behind, with towels and soap for the both of them. Hessian thanked them and sent them on their way before he stuck his hand in the tub to see how hot the water was. “Do you like it scorching?”
Ishe rose and crossed the room, her hooves clopping against the wood as she did so. She dipped a hand in as well, feeling the soothing warmth seep into her bones. “It’s fine now.” She said huskily, leaning back towards Hessian.
Once more, his lips brushed her’s softly before they hardened into a smile.
His hand wrapped around her forearm and dragged her into the water before she could even think to resist. Water splashed everywhere as she fell into the tub, clothes and all. But she didn’t go down without taking him with her.
Both of them surfaced, now soaking wet, half their water on the floor and gasping for air between laughter and well, water in their lungs. “What hell, Hessian!” She squealed, splashing more water at his face when they semi detangled themselves from each other.
He laughing more, turning a frighteningly dark shade of purple before he was able to suck in some air. “Because it was funny,” Another splash, followed by him spitting the water back into the tub. “And you desperately needed it, clothes and all.”
She peeled off her shirt and flung it towards the stove. Water left trails in the dirt on her skin as she stood in the tub, sliding off her pants and dropping them next to the tub with a smirk in Hessian’s direction. She felt a flutter when he chewed on his own lip, eyes roaming all over her.
He stood as well, water dripping from him. Though he looked more like a river spirit as he did so. The water had darkened his hair to near black. It made his clear silver eyes even more luminous in the dimness of the room. His clothes clung to him, showing off every muscle he earned with sweat and blood working on the boats. He was more lean than bulky, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t as strong as a warrior.
He leaned down, putting his shoulder into Ishe’s stomach and lifting her over it, stepping out of the tub lightly and plopping her on the side of the bed. “Are you still sure?” The tone of his voice, the deepness of it, made her eyes fall shut. Her mind drifted back to her Hunthos, so long ago.
She nodded and felt his hands part her legs.
His hand was clapped over her mouth. It was all she could do to contain herself. They’d found that out the hard way. It had been too long. Far too long since she had someone else in her bed, regardless if it was Hessia’s son.
But right now, there was only one thing that she could focus on. Hessian’s head between her thighs. Hands everywhere. Clumsy. Graceful.
She didn’t care if she had to sleep in a soaking wet bed. She’d have to apologize to the innkeeper later for having to replace the hay for the mattress.
He stood suddenly, his hand disappearing from Ishe’s mouth. She panted louder than she thought she would have. He pushed her a little further onto the bed, draping himself over her. “Ishetii.” He whispered, fingers wrapping up into her blonde hair, drifting over her face, her body.
Roughly, she pushed him over, thighs on either side of his hips, smiling down at him. His hands rested on her hips, gripping them ever so slightly.
Ishetii let her head fall backwards, her lips slightly open as she lowered herself onto him.
Both laid side by side, staring up at the ceiling, quiet for a long while afterwards.
“Want a smoke?” He said suddenly, pushing himself onto his elbow so he could look at her face. Her hand cupped his face, thumb tracing a thin little scar on his cheek. A matching one bisected his eyebrow, leaving a tiny strip of missing hair. He took the hint and leaned down to kiss her once more, peppering her lips and her face in a multitude of kisses before he bounced backwards and sit on the side of the bed to take in his surroundings. At first, it was hard to make out the tattoo in the murk but it came to her slowly. It was a rather large scene that dominated his back, done in splendid colors. Rich blues and greens of every shade. It looked black in the dark but it must look beautiful in the sunlight. Two ships were beating against a stormy sea, churning underneath them, both were being dashed against sharp looking rocks. The ships were obviously of Kaldorei make, runes carved into their hulls.
She could barely make out Jaeth and Ry’na in the darkness. Or at least, that’s what she thought they said.
“The words you’re trying to read say We Know The Way , if you’re wondering.” He rolled his shoulders, the stormy sea rolling with it. “Family words. Kerai says them all the time.”
“Where’s Kerai? I thought she’d be here with you.” She watched him swing out of bed, fumbling around in his discarded trousers for something. Finally, he produced a pouch of something that smelled faintly sweet.
“My aunt is now a glorified ferry for Alliance soldiers coming to Northrend.” He snorted and shook his head, reaching into the bag and pulling out little rectangles of paper and depositing some of the leafy material into it before he rolled it up neatly. “She hates it. She’d rather be out there hunting down other pirate vessels and stealing their loot. Or sailing somewhere warmer.” He dug more into the pouch and struck something against the frame of the bed, a little bit of flame brightening the room for a second before the glow transferred to the cigarette dangling out of his mouth.
“How has she been?” She watched him climb back into bed next to her, tossing the covers over his legs
Hessian rolled his head over towards her, offering the little cigarette to her. “She,” He sighed, smoke drifting upwards in curling wisps. “She could be better. Kerai misses them .” He flicked his eyes away from her’s, back to staring straight ahead. Ishe knew that he wouldn’t mention them.
She took a long drag off of the cigarette. Instantly, she knew it wasn’t a normal cigarette, but she chose not to question him too much on it’s origins. “Do you miss them too?”
“It was my job to look after them. My cousins had a habit of calling me their elder brother. But, they were ripped away from me, from my aunts. Caelen…” He trailed off as his voice became thicker.
“I’m sorry.” It was a feeble response, but it was all that she could say.
Hessian rolled his head towards her and gave her a smile that tried to cover up his clear pain. “Thank you, Ishetii. I mean it.” He leaned his forehead against her’s and let his eyes fall closed.
Chapter 3: Loss
Aluuni was the face she saw above hers when the sunlight finally filtered through the windows.
Ishe nearly fell out of bed, screaming some Darnassian profanity at the poor girl. Aluuni could never really tell just how close she was to others, especially if she knew them. She jumped backwards, squeaking out some apology, knocking into some piece of furniture. “Huntress Stormbow needed to see you. She sent me to fetch you.”
Ishe wrapped the blanket around herself. She forgot that Aluuni couldn’t see her any more than she could see Hessian’s sleeping body next to her’s. Damn, he can sleep like a damn rock. “Aluuni, it’s fine. You were just right in my face.” She wiped what remained of sleep from her eyes and focused on getting her heart back to a normal beat. “Go back to her and tell her I’ll be there.”
She heard Aluuni move towards the door. “Aluuni! I think you’re forgetting to tell me where! ” She called, before the girl could run too much further away.
Her slowly returning footsteps came back into the room. “The watchtower. Facing the Citadel.”
Ishetii was just getting the folds of her cloak to settle around her shoulders when Falkhen caught up with her. “Good morning, sister.” He chirped, giving her a knowing grin.
“You seem happy today, Falk.” She gave him a quick glance before her eyes flicked back towards the watchtower. Up at the very top, Ishe saw two shapes moving about. One was smaller, obviously human. The elf made the human look like a child. Only a glance and Ishe knew that it was Kyena. No one else could make someone run circles around them. That and the fact that the elf was wearing all of Kyena’s armor and cloak helped distinguish who it was too.
He let out a sigh, smile tearing his face from ear to ear. “Soon, Ishetii. I can feel it. I’m going to ask him soon.” They paused for a moment, Ishetii spinning about dramatically, making her cloak spiral out around her before it fell back into place.
She knew that her expression wasn’t entirely friendly. But she didn’t really care. “Falkhen, have you thought about this? Really thought about this?” The more she thought about it, the more she wasn’t sure she was really keen on Lyorien being her brother-in-law. Something about him was off. The constant short disappearances. The dangerousness that seemed to lurk under his surface. Something danced behind those light silver eyes of his, flecked with chips of gold or amber.
He shrugged, obviously starting to get agitated at Ishe’s words. “What is there to think about? I love him and he loves me. Simple.”
Ishe let out an exasperated sigh and cocked her head at him, chewing on her cheek. “Something else is coming, Falkhen. I have a terrible feeling about all of this.”
Now he flushed. Angrily. “At least I’m not getting dicked down so loudly that the entire garrison can hear!”
Both snapped their mouths shut, watching each other wide eyed. Knowing they had said too much to each other just to be hurtful. “I’m going to let that go, Falkhen. But stay away from me for a while.”
He nodded slowly and turned just as slow before he trudged back to the inn.
Apparently it was a solo mission that Kyena called her for.
She stopped just at the bottom of the stairs and sighed. At least it was warmer within the solid stone walls of Valiance Keep. But the stairs were going to be a problem. Up and up they spiralled within the circular spire of one of the watch posts.
With one more sigh, Ishe began her ascent.
“It’s always quiet before they decide to attack. Be glad they came yesterday, before you all arrived.” The watchman snorted and went back to his post, overlooking the great expanse of the Borean Tundra. Even from here, the grand spires of Icecrown Citadel were visible, poking out above the snow capped mountains.
It would have been a beautiful sight to see, if it wasn’t for the enslavement that their leader wanted for the whole planet.
Ishe bent, her hands on her knees, when she got to the top. The watchman turned suddenly, nearly leaping out of his winter cloak before he cracked his neck and returned to his post.
Kyena was silent, her body taut. She was waiting. Watching. Her ears were perked towards the snow covered tundra, the shapes barely visible beyond them, moving slowly closer. “Sir watchman. I think something is coming.” Of course she’d seen it first. Strongest eyes out of the lot. Ishetii saw them coming next, merely a heartbeat behind Kyena. Why they had a human watching for attacks was surprising to both of them.
He ripped the spyglass from his waist and trained it on the place that Kyena was pointing. He paled, the glass trembling in his hands before he could find his voice. “To arms!” He roared, using his glass to catch the attention of the crier and signal the bell tower. “To arms!”
Kyena was already halfway down the watchtower, taking the steps two or three at a time when Ishe caught up to her. “Get your brother and meet me and the rest of us at the gate.” She didn't even sound breathless like Ishe did. Her lungs felt like they were going to pop.
All she could do was jerk her head in agreement, hands on her knees, trying to get some air back onto her lungs. When she stopped feeling light-headed she took off once more, towards the inn this time.
Sabers came thundering towards her. All of the huntresses were fully armored, their spears glittering off the reflected light from the snow. A few had bows. Caferieth pushed past Ishetii, another saber behind hers. It was a ferocious beast. Smoke gray in color, almost as if it was purple. Fangs as long as swords, and a bad attitude. Eludore, Kyena called the saber. A strip of hair was always raised in a ridge along her back, making her look impossibly more ferocious than she already was. Kyena leapt upon the beast’s back and lead her group through the gate, chanting war cries in Darnassian.
Ishetii ran off towards the stables, where her talbuk was. How much the talbuk had seen, both on Outlands and on Azeroth. She almost didn’t want to go through the portal but with a lot of coaxing and plenty of fruit, she made it through. Now, she was pawing at the door to her stall, snorting and carrying on. “Jeso, Neonaa. We go to fight now.” She brushed her hand down the bridge of Neonaa’s nose, calming her enough that she could lead her out to get tacked up. At least her tack wasn’t that complicated. It went on in minutes and she was on her back, running out of the same gate that Kyena had run through ten minutes before.
Jai’alator was a sight to see. Even Kyena fighting felt like Ishetii was seeing something like a dance.
Caferieth surged past Ishe, her bow drawn, loosing at a ghoul.
Then the ground shook beneath them, arms bursting forth from the dirt. They wrapped around her saber’s legs, the poor cat roaring out in pain.
They just tore her apart. Saber and all. Not a thing was left beside blood. Asledraeth let out a hoarse scream, watching Caferieth reduced to nothing. Those two had been inseparable, more so than any other Kyena’dorei. They’d been found together when they were children; apparently their families had been close to each other before their parents met an untimely demise. After Ishetii, Asle and Caferieth finally found the reason to say how they felt about each other.
Asledraeth charged her saber towards the bloody smear that used to be Caferierth.
The rest followed suit, their sabers fighting at the chance to get their claws dirty. Ilyfaena was the first to get to Asledraeth.
Silyura was the last to start her dash towards the group. She hung back, unsure of whether to listen to Kyena’s command of falling back or to go to the aid of her fellow squadmates.
Kyena wrapped her hand around Silyura’s wrist and yanked her back. “Silyura, don’t.” Ishe was surprised to hear the hoarseness of Kyena’s voice. Kyena's saber let out a low yowl at the sight of her fellow sabers dismemberment.
“Kyena!” Jaleth insisted, waiting by the gate. “We can’t stay out here forever!” He watched the newly risen ghouls unearth themselves faster than they were taking them down.
Kyena stood out there until the last possible minute.
She watched, helplessly, as her children were torn apart before her very eyes. It was almost like she was frozen in place.
Jaleth rushed forwards, shoulder down, tossing her roughly over his shoulder. “Kyena, shanna surfas’nos dalah vivae, dal eru belah’na enthil!” He hissed at her, setting her down gently within the relative safety of the walls. “Ashe’enthil, surfal. Ru naen belono dalah en’thal.” His hands gripped her shoulders, eyes boring holes into hers. He looked terrified. Beyond. There was conviction in his voice, even though Ishe could hardly understand the words.
“Laesen.” Her voice was husky.
Whatever she asked him to do, he didn’t. Not for a few more heartbeats. “Ru quaesen dal, surfal, ashe. Anu’dalah.”
Kyena lifted her head, her tears freezing on her cheeks. “Anu’dal, Jaleth. Anu’dal. Ru naen en’thal sowon.” Slowly, she rose and went back to the now closed gate. Her eyes flicked over the scene. Over the dismembered bodies of half of her soldiers. Of her Kyena’dorei. Their sabers. Caferieth. Asledraeth. Silyura and Ilyfaena. There was nothing. Nothing to remember them by.
One of the hippogryph riders came behind her. Shora. “Mush’a.” She said quietly. How often had Ishetii heard the title thrown around. “Sae elor, Min’da Mush’a. Sae elor bindel a’uf Elune yimed.”
Kyena turned, giving Shora a smile that was full of grief. But something else lurked in her eyes. The fire that burned in her soul. She was plotting something. “Dalah’shari vord, Shora. Aver enu wedern’naen dath naen’wedern thera.” Kyena just about growled the last word, her hand gripping the metal of the gate hard enough that it rattled in her hands.
Chapter 4: Dragonblight
“How in the world are we going to get revenge on the Lich King?” Jaleth demanded, hands on his armored hips, chest heaving. While Ishetii didn’t get a closer look at him during the skirmish, now she could look over all of them. “He’s sitting pretty in his damn citadel, Kyena.” His plate armor clanked together as he threw his arms in exasperation. It was fine looking armor. The make was strange to Ishe. It looked almost as if it had been folded over and over on itself, giving the appearance of a tree’s rings, or even leaves. It was dark gray in color. A design of a tree spread its branches over his chest. His cloak was a dark blue, verging on black. It almost looked the exact color of his hair.
She smiled but it was far from sweet. It was more of a smirk. Her finger drifted to her right palm, tracing a pattern through her thick gloves. “He can’t sit pretty if it’s melted beneath him.” Slowly, Kyena turned her head to meet Jaleth’s eyes. The implication wasn’t lost on him like it was lost on Ishe.
“Dal saelor Nyreenastrasza.” He said suddenly. “You think she still lives?” He looked rather doubtful with one brow arched.
“They say the Red Dragonflight is holed up in Dragonblight. More specifically in Wyrmrest Temple.” She kept rubbing the spot on her hand as she spoke.
He rolled his eyes, letting them fall closed. “How are we going to get there?”
“My scouts.” The back and forth almost hurt Ishe’s eyes to watch.
Jaleth sighed, crossing his arms over his chest. “They’re all dead, Kyena.” His voice wasn’t without a hint of worry colored with exasperation.
She looked off in the distance. Eastward. “Not all of them. I happen to have deployed three very specific scouts to Valgarde Keep.”
Now he pursed his lips, cocking in head.“They’ll shoot you down before you could even get close to the Citadel.” A hint of desperation, perhaps?
“Ru Fa’lore Dracon. Ru ley’fa-nashu asha Ru sowon.” She almost appeared like she was challenging Jaleth to say otherwise. All fight lighting up her eyes. There was a flicker there, a subtle shift of pale red in the usual silver. “Min ne foras oda. Ru nal ashi, Jaleth. Ru nal.”
His expression changed from doubt to hope, to pride. “Ru nal, sin ana sin.” He said, giving her a warm smile.
A moment passed between them. Not one more word was uttered until Kyena finally noticed that there were others around her, watching. Waiting. She coughed, letting the tension flow out of the air for a moment before she turned her head towards Ishetii. “Are you and your people ready to head further into the belly of the beast?”
Ishe eyed what remained of the Kyena’dorei, taking in their hopeful expressions. Only three remained. Three hippogryph riders and their mounts. Aethil and her hippogryph Melinora. Ilyari and Kelverian. Shora and Stormbeak. She thought of Falkhen and Lyorien. How they needed her protection. Slowly, her eyes drifted closed. “I will follow you,” She met Kyena’s eyes, holding out her hand towards the Huntress. “I will follow you until my days are over.”
Kyena took it and nodded at Ishe. “Then let’s throw ourselves into the maw.”
Ishe was charged with rounding the rest of their little group. Hazily, she recalled the other three silver haired scouts that came along to Stormwind on Kerai’s ship. She wondered if those were the same scouts that Kyena had sent to Valgarde Keep. Even on Outlands they were sent here and there, rather than sticking with the original group. She hadn’t even learned their names during their time there.
Thalysa hadn’t even been able to get herself ready before the fighting ended. It was strange, to both of them, how quickly it seemed to start and then fizzle out into nothing. Almost like the Scourge had never been there. After a few minutes of chatting with Thalysa, trying to prolong the time it took for her next stop as long as possible. She couldn’t find Lyorien while she stalked around the inn, trying to round up the rest of Kyena’s wayward crew.
She hesitated in front of the door. “Falkhen.” She pounded her mailed fist against his door. “We’re going to be leaving soon. Kyena’s orders.” She spun on her hoof and tried to make a fast getaway but was stopped by an all too familiar voice.
“Ishetii, wait.” Lyorien’s soft voice barely carried above the din below them. The crowds were boisterous in the inn today. Soldiers joking with their friends. Anything to make the horrors of this war disappear, at least for a short while.
She sucked in a breath, debating whether or not she could get away with feigning not to have heard.
“I know that you heard me, Ish.” She heard his quiet footsteps come closer to her, drifting into view. “Falkhen wanted me to tell you he’d be training if you wanted to see him.”
Code for: if you’re still angry, come beat the shit out of me. “That so?” Ishetii chose to ignore the lilting way he said his nickname for her. Like nothing had happened.
Lyo crossed his arms over his chest. Ishe knew that shirt. And the way it hung off him, she knew it was Falkhen’s. “He told me about your fight earlier.” There was an edge to his voice. A hardness. She fought the urge to look into his eyes. He seemed to try and make himself look bigger, from what Ishe could see out of the corner of her eye.
Is he challenging me? Unease settled itself into her bones. It crept up her spine, burrowing into her brain.
She kept her eyes forward, hand resting lightly on the banister of the stairs. She could see people moving about, hear people laughing and making jokes. But the tension up here was palpable. Ishe had no idea whether or not Falkhen had told him what she thought of Lyorien. She had no way of telling how Lyorien himself felt about all of that too. Would he be angry at her? Try to separate Falkhen and Ishetii?
He can try all he wants, if that’s his game, but it’s not going to happen. No matter the fights we have, we’re still blood. We’re still family. That counts for something, Lyorien. Instead of saying her wild accusations out loud, she finally turned to him and gave him a tight lipped smile. “Did he now?” Visions danced in front of her eyes. Her face twisting in the dimness of the stairway, her sword hardly making as noise as she drew it. The sound of crunching bone as it slid through Lyorien’s body.
Sk'shgn eqnizz hoq… The voice drifted through her on the icy breeze.
She took a step away from him, nearly toppling over the railing as she did so. Her sword was still in it’s scabbard at her side. “Ish, did you hear me? Your eyes were so glassy.” He reached out towards her. “I get that it was a stupid fight. Sitting around for so long can get to anyone after a while.”
She pushed further out of his reach. “Just meet with Kyena when you’re packed up. I’ve still got to find Myn’ra and my brother.”
Ishetii drifted through the inn, ignoring Lyorien’s voice calling after her. What had that voice been? Where had it come from? Was this the thing that was making everyone so much more irritable? She shook away the thoughts and the sinking feeling that came with them. It had to be all in her mind. She’d been sitting on her hands for far too long in this place waiting for something to happen. So, she drew her cloak closer about herself and pushed through the door.
Soon enough, all too soon for her liking, she was crossing into the training yard. There was Falkhen, taking on three humans at a time, steam rolling off of them all as they sized each other up. Their hands were wrapped up as if to fight. Light pants were all that covered them. She remembered when the humans taught her their brawling method. So different from Jed’hin. It wasn't a test of strength more than it was of endurance. Jed'hin's main objective was to push your opponent from the ring with all of your strength.
On Azeroth, they just punched each other senseless until one victor remained. Oftentimes this was done mostly shirtless, with only wrappings to keep their bones from breaking.
Ishetii watched Falkhen eye his opponents like she'd seen sabers watch prey. They both circled around him. Both were just children, barely a wisp of hair on their faces. Perhaps a day over eighteen for the both of them. The redhead had a panicked look in his eyes, casting them to his friend every so often.
His friend seemed to be made of sterner stuff, giving Falkhen his own snarling smirk. As if he thought the two of them could win against him. All humans looked fairly alike to Ishetii, only their hair colors telling them apart. But they had such a short range of colors. Nothing like Kaldorei or Draenei. Every shade of brown and black and red but nothing like blue or green. Their skin could be light or dark. Most of their strangest colorings came from their eyes, Ishe had noticed. Nearly every color under the sun they could be. Green, blue, purple, grey, black.
The black haired one swung first, catching Falkhen straight in the ribs. A light danced in his strange purple eyes. She caught sight of ears ever so slightly pointed under that mop of black curls.
And stepped back, cradling his right hand in his left, staring at him incredulously. Blood seeped out past his fingers, dripping to the ground. Even after he had wrapped them up.
The redhead took this opportunity to steel himself and bring his own fist smashing into Falkhen’s back, at the base of his ribs. It was a blow that he never would have seen coming, unlike the previous where he could tense his muscles in preparation. It sent him bending forward, forward enough for the other to get his bearings again and throw a punch at Falk’s jaw.
Falk wasn't stunned for long though. He threw his arms in front of his face, sending out a hoof to back the redhead away from behind him, to convalesce and look for weaknesses. Sure they were small but they could obviously be quicker than he had anticipated at first.
Of course her idiot brother would find a way to make an ass of himself.
“Ma’no icta, adelfos!” She found herself shouting at him when he was starting to slow. “Keep going!” Her blood pulsed loudly through her veins, pounding through her head. Falkhen roared something in Draenic and collected himself, drawing his arms towards his body to block the incoming shots from the black haired one. The match went by quickly after that, each side getting their own good punches in but ultimately Falk was able to pick the two off one by one.
First he went after the redhead first, backing him away from the other. With a swift jaw shot, the redhead fell like a ton of bricks on the snowy ground. Cheers shot up from the crowd that had gathered to watch the match.
The black haired opponent smirked when Falkhen turned to face him, arms slowly coming into a blocking position. Even though the Draenei topped him by a good two feet he never looked afraid, save for when he split open trying to punch Falk that first time. Falk brought his arms up as well and they began their slow dance, seeing who would hit first.
Falk’s patience finally ran out.
Ishetii didn’t hear the cheering and yelling anymore. She just wanted her brother to win.
His fist connected solidly with the black haired one’s mouth, sending him sprawling backwards into the snow.
As did the tension in the small training square. People erupted into more cheering. It shocked Ishetii out of her staring. She found herself clapping and cheering along with all the others there. Quite a large crowd had gathered around them to watch.
Falk stepped over to the human and stretched his hand out to him. He eyed him for a second, his purple eyes roaming all over, trying to see if this wasn’t a trick. When he seemed content, he slapped his hand in Falk’s and rose slowly to his feet, bruises beginning to show on his torso.
He smiled when he got his bearings and spat blood in the snowy dirt. “Durallian Ross. Half elf.” He gave a theatrical bow to both of them in turn, albeit a slightly wobbly one. “It was a pleasure to fight with you, Falkhen.”
Falkhen glanced him over as Aluuni came wandering up. Her elemental led her way, being her eyes for her. The totem it was tied to swung from her waist. It had been Ka’vaan’s idea to help Aluuni create the smaller version of the usual totem that many hauled around with them.
“Half elf? I thought they resided in Quel’thalas.” She stared past him, curiosity settling itself over her face. She was just as interested in studying Azeroth as Vel’Orhan was. Always asking questions.
He had a sadness that came into his eyes at her words. “I've never seen Quel'thalas. My mother...dumped me off with humans after I was born. With my father.”
Now it was Ishetii’s turn to be curious. “You never visited her?”
He gathered some snow together and used it to wash blood off his hands. “She has plenty of other children, though I am close with one of my brothers who lives in Silvermoon.” He didn’t meet their eyes as he shook out his clothes.
“Who?” Ishe prompted when he became silent.
“His name is Mevaen.” He smiled, though it didn’t touch his eyes. Still he refused to lift them from what he was doing. “Though he’s more of a purebred blood elf than I.” He pulled on a bright purple robe, embellished with the sigil of the Kirin Tor. Over that, he pulled a leather chestpiece tooled with geometric patterns across the dark leather. He pulled over a dark cloak, the only thing that wasn’t purple in color. Even after all of this, the pained look hadn’t left his face, not completely.
Falkhen smiled at Durallian, eager to turn onto less touchy subjects. “Want to see real fighting?” At that, he cast a glance to Ishetii. She supposed she could substitute for Belishaa this once. Damn could Belishaa fight though. Fierce as anything and strong as well. But Belishaa wasn’t here to fight Falkhen. Ishetii herself had only been in a handful of Jed’hin matches, not as many as Falk had though.
Ishetii sighed and reached under her arm to unbuckle her pauldrons. Aluuni was feeling her way over to her, starting at Ishe’s hand and finding the buckles after some probing. “Luun, you don’t have to-”
“Aasa ein, Ishetii.” Her voice was sharp as she cut Ishetii off. She hated feeling useless. Even more so, she hated when people thought she couldn’t do anything, running around to protect her from every little thing. It was the greatest thing that Ishetii admired about the young Draenei. She never got to see Draenor but she knew its splendors because she wanted it. Aluuni was the very definition of stubborn pride.
“Ai, Luun.” She paused for a moment as Aluuni helped her out of her armor. “Echada.” Her voice was muted compared to her usual bravado. Ishetii even caught Aluuni’s hand to stop her for a moment, “Echada, Aluuni.”
She looked down at Ishe’s hand and smiled. “Kalason’edos, Ishetii.” Pulling her hand from Ishetii’s, she set back to work helping her out of her armor. “You’ll fight well, Soran. Kick his stupid ass.”
Both girls laughed and let their crests touch, breathing in a soft breath together before Ishetii stood. Somehow, Falkhen had made a ring like she remembered. “Are you ready, Ishe?”
“Are you ready to get your ass handed to you?” Ishe couldn’t help but smirk as she sank into position.
“No hitting heads, Ishetii.”
“You forget I’m not foolish enough to waste my time hitting that empty head of yours.”
“Nor I you, sister.” He sank into position as well, noticeably more troubled than he had been in his previous match. Even an uneven match could be won by the underdog if they were more strategic than their opponent.
“Biggest step, then?”
A nod from Falkhen and they were running to grapple each other.
Both Draenei met with a meaty smack, Ishetii tucking her shoulder under her brother, digging into his somewhat softer stomach, arms locked together. Her hooves dug into the hard packed ground, pitted from the feet and icy rain.
Neither moved an inch for a long while.
Falkhen’s arms began to shake as they both resisted the pushing.
The grinding of dirt under his feet threw him off for a split second and then Ishetii was making him step backwards before he knew it.
But two could play at that game.
He pushed back now that she was unbalanced, quickly regaining his own ground that he had lost, all while keeping small steps. So long as he made Ishetii take more, he could still win.
Though Ishetii was strong, her brother was stronger and much bigger than her. Back and back he pushed her until she nearly fell backwards over the short fence they built for matches. Falk just barely caught her, steam rolling off them both.
“Not...too bad, Ishe.” He breathed, hauling her back onto her feet.
She punched him lightly on the bicep, wiping sweat from her eyes. “Not too shabby yourself, Soran.” She was breathing just as hard as him. Movement off to her right had her flicking her eyes towards it as Aluuni brought them clean clothes and a pair of towels.
Myn watched with thinly veiled interest, her silver eyes flicking all over him as he tugged back on his shirt. She turned her head towards Ishe and gave her a wink. By the Light, Falkhen, how many people are you going to have swooning after you? “Lyorien said you were looking for me?”
“I was. You didn't have to find me.” She wiped sweat from her brow and threw the towel around her neck.
She shot another appreciative glance to Falken before meeting Ishe's eyes again. “It's no problem.” Ishe fought the urge to vomit. It was disgusting how many girls would fawn over him. “What did you want?”
“Mush’a Stormbow is looking to move out. To go to Dragonblight.” Ishetii tried to keep her voice as nonchalant as possible but Myn’s face still tightened.
“She’s probably chasing after her dream of flying again.” Myn pursed her lips, more than a little annoyed at Kyena. “Did she say when we were moving out?”
“You’re going to follow her further into Northrend just like that?”
Myn pulled down her hood just enough for Ishetii to see her face fully to Ishetii. The scars had long since healed over. But their pain hadn’t left. Whatever they symbolized still had much more far reaching scars than the ones on her face. They had thinned, fading to mere ribbon thin line on the right half of her face. It was still horrid to look at. “I’d follow her to hell and back if I had to, Ishetii. She is my sister, my greatest friend.”
Myn paused for a moment and let the hood fall further down, revealing the beautiful tattoo that curled its way down the right side of her face and down her neck, disappearing into the collar of her shirt. A butterfly stopped to smell the flowers that wrapped around her ear. “We have a saying in Darnassian. Sin ana sin. ” The words were delicate and lyrical, like music. It made Ishe’s fingers itch for her harp, to turn every single Darnassian voice into a melody of its own. “It means, roughly, Blood of my blood. ”
Ishe thought as she threw her cloak around her shoulders. “She is more than just your brother’s mate to you, isn’t she?”
“She’s a part of me. She saved my life. My brother’s life. She gave me a new beginning.” Myn traced the outlines of the tattoos thoughtfully. “Kyena will do the same for you. For all of you.”
Ishe played with a loose thread on her cloak. “You sound like you’re trying to convince me.”
Myn smiled and let a soft chuckle escape from her throat. “Perhaps I am. I see indecision on you, but a great strength. Kyena needs that.”
Ishe looked at Myn, more than a bit taken aback. “Kyena? Needing more strength than what she has now?”
Now Myn’s half smile faded away. A great pain seemed to come over her shoulder. It must be an elven thing, to feel such a strong emotion so quickly. “She carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. She may make it look like a pair of wings but she is struggling, Ishetii. I fear she may break.”
Myn chewed on her lip, surveying the training grounds as everyone got back to their normal routines. “She is just one person in this vast universe and she’s trying to save everyone. It is her weakness and it will be her downfall.”
“General Arlos, I’m going with or without your explicit permission.” Kyena rested her hands on the war table between them. The general seemed to fall backwards a step as Kyena came closer. “And I am going to be meeting my three new scouts within Dragonblight. Send the orders. Now .”
“N-now, Huntress Stormbow, I’m going to ask you to stand down. You are speaking to your superior.”
“I don’t give a damn if I’m speaking to your High King . I am going, with or without your permission. ” She hissed, baring her fangs at the human.
Ishetii bowed her head. Of course she’d follow Kyena. What she thought she’d find in Dragonblight, Ishe had no clue. But it had to do with her being Fa’lore Dracon. Perhaps she’ll get herself a dragon? Wouldn’t that be a sight to see? From what others had told her, it was almost like a legend. Kyena seemed to have that air about her. An air of ancientness and mystery. Something straight out of a storybook.
He straightened and let his eyes fall closed. “You’re going to go regardless, aren’t you?”
“Are you ever going to speak anything besides the obvious?” Kyena crossed her arms over her chest and arched her long brow at him.
The human pursed his lips and grabbed up a blank parchment. “Here,” He muttered, writing furiously. “Here is your damnable permission. Go to Dragonblight and get whatever you’re looking for.”
The group filed out of the room in pairs. Lyorien and Falk, Kyena and Myn, Jaleth and Ishe. Ishetii followed after Kyena and Myn, more so to eavesdrop into their conversation than to get back to gathering her things.
“Ash dal bindel jeben tir osa k’ova, Mush’a?” Myn’s voice was verging on exasperated.
“Fanass.” Kyena turned and smiled triumphantly at Myn, giving her a wink before she waved the paper in her face. “Now I am free to find my Nyreen.”
She paused for a moment, still walking towards their rooms. “And I can round up my wayward dragons.”
A day later, they had packed up their belongings to their mounts and left out of the gate that had seen half of the Kyena’dorei die, Kyena led the way, her saber docile in her hands. Heavy layers of cloth covered the sabers, even Ishe and Falk’s talbuks got some blankets to keep from freezing. It certainly kept the edge off at least.
Another day and they crossed into Dragonblight and to Star’s Rest, where they fully thawed for half a day and refueled their mounts. It was here that they would meet their new replacements for the one’s they had lost. They had caught a Kalu’ak ship from the Howling Ford when they had departed from when they’d left the Borean Tundra. Luckily, but perhaps unluckily, they arrived from the southern beaches after only a few hours’ wait.
A call was raised at the entrance to the camp. Everyone was at the ready in an instant. When the answering call came back the whole encampment breathed a sigh of relief. Three snow covered Kaldorei came shivering and shaking into camp, telling jokes to the guards about the cold and having frozen blood. Mounts were taken to be cared for, heavy packs of gear and supplies set aside.
“Shan Mush’a.” The trio said in unison, giving her the customary bow with their hands over their hearts.
“Have you found the Temple?” Kyena prodded as she came out to meet them, a steaming mug in her hand. She returned the bow as well as she could without spilling hot water all over the place.
Galidor nodded with a smile creasing the skin at his eyes into crow’s feet. “We know where it is, Shan Mush’a. Due east and a little north.” He hesitated, though he looked on the verge of saying something.
Kyena saw and waved her hand at him, taking a long drink of the hot tea. “Spit it out, thero’shan, tell me what you know.”
He stepped over to her lightly and sat with his hands clasped in front of him. “How will we know that the dragons won’t attack us, Kyena?”
She smiled and gave him a motherly pat on the shoulder. “We’ll not be dragon fodder, if that’s what you’re worried about, Galidor.” Kyena blew on the tea gently before taking a sip and handing it off to Galidor. “We leave at first light tomorrow. Make sure to get plenty of sleep tonight.”
The spire stretched above them, high enough to touch the sky above them. It hurt Ishe’s neck to try and see the very top of the spire. The whole group was staring up at the monument of the dragons dumbfounded as they brought them ever closer to the base of Wyrmrest Temple.
“Would you like a ride to the top, Fa’lore Dracon?” A rumbling voice called.
Chapter 5: Living Legends
Kyena snapped to attention, eyes flicking over to the owner of the voice. When she saw the tabard of the Dragonqueen waving in the wind she urged her saber closer. “The Dragonqueen and her Handmaids, are they here?” She swung her leg over the saber’s broad back and dropped lightly to her feet, boots crunching through the snow. Her helmet was tugged off and held under her arm, a stiff bow was given to the man. Ishetii almost thought he was just like any other human but as she drew her talbuk closer she saw those strange burnt orange eyes of the Red Dragonflight. His skin was dark with a coppery tinge to it. Slightly pointed ears peeked out of his red-gold hair.
The male smiled and returned the bow before he spoke in that rumbling voice. “Of course, I can have you brought to them. They reside at the very peak.”
Kyena craned her neck up at the spire and the dragons that patrolled the skies around the Dragonqueen. “Did Alexstrasza tell you I was going to come?”
“Luphenormi of the Bronze had told Nyreenastrasza that you would meet again when the dead walk the earth once more. And here you are, exactly as she described you.” He let out a long whistle and a bright eyed young elf came running out of the temple. “Sestrasz, can you take Fa’lore Dracon to the top of the temple? She needs to see the Dragonqueen.”
The young whelp breathed in a sharp breath and fell into a low bow. “Fa’lore Dracon...it-it is an honor to meet you.” The dragon didn’t rise for a good few moments, head nearly touching the snow frosted ground.
Kyena cleared her throat after she got over her shock. “You may rise, Sestrasz di-shanna Al’Draconflecht, there is no need to bow to me.” She dipped just as low as he did for a heartbeat. “You honor me, Sestrasz.”
He blushed and his eyes fell closed. Suddenly, the air flushed with magic and the warmth of the earth and a fully grown dragon took up much of the archway above them. “You flatter me, Fa’lore Dracon. Shall we go?” His long neck bowed to Kyena, the space between his shoulders open for her to settled herself.
She cast a glance back to Jaleth before she stepped up his outstretched leg and held onto the spikes around his neck. “Beldu, dalah’shari.” Jaleth was nearly glowing at her as he spoke, his voice full of awe. “Beldu osa shanna dracon dal, dalah surfas.”
The one who had greeted them looked between Jaleth and Kyena. “Do not worry, mortal, you shall not be separated long. I’ll send the rest of your band up to the top as well but I assumed that Kyena’s need was more important.”
Kyena patted Sestrasz’s shoulder softly, probably more softly than was necessary, and told him to go to the top. The group made a pathway for the young dragon to follow as he took three galloping bounds before he was in the air, circling around the spire almost lazily.
Falk came up next to Ishe. “Light, looking at her up there makes me dizzy just thinking about it.”
Ishe fought the urge to roll her eyes at her brother. “We spent years growing up on a interdimensional ship powered by the Naaru, adelfos; how could you possibly be sickened by flying?”
“Riding in a ship and flying on a living thing are two completely different things, Ishetii.” His tone was flippant, verging on indignant. “I nearly died when we had to ride those gryphons to get to Outlands.”
“Big baby.” Ishe chuckled as a group of dragons came sauntering up to them. “I suppose our rides are here?”
The human bowed to them, a smile tugging at his lips though he tried to fight it. “Please be courteous in the presence of our Aspect, friends of Fa’lore Dracon. She will extend the same to you all.”
He showed them to their dragons, introducing them to their respective mounts and soon they were sitting on their shoulders though not as fearlessly as Kyena had. A warmth roiled just beneath the dragon’s flesh as they sat upon their great backs, a strength that anybody could feel. After a few brief instructions, they were taking off much like Kyena and Sestrasz had, spiralling lazily around Wyrmrest until they reached the very peak.
They all got there just as Kyena was dismounting from Sestrasz. He was standing near a pillar, watching Kyena cross the stone floor to the middle of the room, a small smile pulling at his lips.
Ishetii stepped towards him quietly as she could, hoping to not disturb their reunion.
“Nyreena?” Kyena was breathless as she took in the sight before her. Nyreenastrasza was just fixing Alexstrasza’s cape when she finally caught sight of the dragonesses. The Dragonqueen looked a far cry from what Kyena had described. Perhaps she never thought that the Aspect could have a human form such as this. Shock was clear across the huntress’ face as her feet dragged her ever closer to the pair. “Nyreenastrasza, is that you?”
The dragoness turned, her red gold hair fluttering around her shoulders. Her skin was dark, not a mark on it, with an almost gold tinge to it. Her horns were just as glorious as the Dragonqueen’s. Long and slender, banded with gold rings. Her eyes were a fire red and slitted like a cat’s eye. Her dress was simple in cut and make, amber slashed with red. A plated chestpiece protected her while she was in her humanoid form. “Kyena? Fa’lore Dracon?”
Kyena was surprised she still remembered Darnassian. “Ru shanna Fa’lore Dracon, Nyreenastrasza di-shanna Al’Draconflecht.” She said with a tight smile.
“Lady Stormbow.” Alexstrasza stepped forward with a welcoming smile at Kyena. “I was not sure you lived after the Sundering.”
“I’m right here.” Kyena’s voice cracked as she held herself back from Nyreen. She didn’t even tear her eyes from Nyreen for a moment. How many years had she waited for this moment? Wondering where her dragon was?
Perhaps it was a longing like Ishe felt for her parents. Maybe even for their homeworld of Argus. Such an ache was like some vital piece of you had been taken away. It was no different for Kyena. A piece that made Kyena...well, Kyena. Much like Ishetii’s parents made her who she is.
“Are you just going to stand there, my friend, or are you going to hug me?” Nyreen’s laugh was like tinkling bells. A motherly laugh, full of warmth and kindness. It instantly reminded Ishetii of her mother’s laugh. Kyena surged forward and threw her arms around Nyreen, the dragoness doing likewise. “Oh, my dearest friend, I have missed you.” Her hand brushed at Kyena’s hair, holding her close not unlike a mother would.
“I missed you too, Nyreen.” Kyena pulled herself out of Nyreen’s arms and gave her another look. “You look far different than I thought you would.”
Nyreen chuckled. “I can’t stay a dragon forever. I do have smaller places to fit into.” The dragon brushed a stray crimson hair from her eyes. “It makes the mortals feel less awkward to speak with us if we have humanoid forms. But you did not come here to speak of this. What do you need, Fa’lore?”
Kyena nodded. “I’m afraid that this isn’t a friendly visit, Nyreen. I need your help.”
“Ru dalah.” Nyreen muttered with a nod. “Whatever you need, Kyena, I am with you.”
It was the first time that Ishetii had heard Kyena hesitate and stumble over her words. “Will you fight the Lich King with me?”
Nyreen hissed at the name, fierce fire lighting up her red eyes. “I will melt the Citadel itself if that is what you ask of me, my lady.” Of course a dragon of life would hate the twisted creations that the Lich King made. Nothing that dies should rise again. Such is the way of life. She turned back to the Dragonqueen, bowing her head towards Alexstrasza. “Alexstrasza-”
“Go, my child, go and be with your rider.” She gave her handmaiden a motherly smile, dipping her head towards Nyreen and Kyena in turn. “Go with my blessings on your journeys.” She stepped lightly over to Kyena, placing her hands on her shoulders and muttering a few words to only the huntress. A light glowed from under the layers of Kyena’s armor, just above her heart. She peeled off her glove, watching the pattern of scales blaze up on her right hand with a shock.
Alexstrasza bow her head towards Kyena once more as she drew away, her red cloak billowing about her shoulders. “Go, with my blessing, my champion .” She emphasized, turning back to the other dragons and leaving the pair to catch up.
Nyreen watched her mother walk away with a small smile tugging at her lips. She was quiet for a heartbeat before she shook off whatever she was thinking of and turned to Kyena. “So, why have you come to find me here of all places?”
“I was sent here by Tyrande Whisperwind to answer the Alliance’s call. I came here with my unit.” She gestured to the rag tag group that was her squadron now. “And near half of them were wiped out by the Lich King’s agents in the Borean Tundra.”
Nyreen’s long brows knit together, her long ears dropping. “Oh, Kyena.” She said softly, her hand reaching out for hers. “They died here?”
“They did not need to die here. They wouldn’t have died here if I had been stronger.”
Nyreen’s expression softened further. “So you come for me?”
Kyena nodded once. “I need your strength, Nyreenastrasza. I need you by my side once more.”
Nyreen looked reflective for a moment before she broke into a wide smile. “Not the headstrong girl that I had met ten thousand years ago. She is still there, but mellowed.”
Kyena dropped her eyes to the stone floor, kicking around a loose pebble. “The girl you met died a long time ago.” She tugged back on her glove and settled her cloak more tightly around herself to combat the wind at the top of the temple.
The dragon regarded her once more. “Perhaps,” Her tone was full of pride. “But her fire has not gone out. It still smolders. But, enough about that, we’ll have plenty of time to catch up. You just want to fly again.” Nyreen gave her a wink and backed up from the group a good distance before she closed her eyes.
All at once, a great dragon was before them. Her scales glittered in the sunlight, cherry and gold and blood red. Her horns were much the same as they had been in her humanoid form, just a bit more sweeping and grand. “Shall we test it out once more, Fa’lore Dracon?”
Kyena let out a laugh, one more genuine than Ishetii had heard in the short years of knowing her. She took off running, stepping lightly onto Nyreen’s foreleg and, with the help of Nyreen, vaulted onto the space between her shoulder and neck. She settled herself and gripped onto the sides of Nyreen’s broad neck with the biggest smile tearing at her face.
Ishetii could have swore that Kyena’s eyes shifted colors, from her usual pearly silver to Nyreen’s fire red and back again before they were barreling past the group. Some even jumping to the sides to get out of their way. One giant leap and then they were over the edge, plummeting through the frozen air to the snowy drifts far below the temple.
Ishe thought that Nyreen would never open her wings before they reached the bottom.
They snapped open at what had to have been mere feet from the ground. She rose, wings beating the air with powerful strokes, bringing them in a mostly straight line up to where they fell from. Wind gusted at the group, threatening to blow them over before Nyreen banked away, flying farther out into the cold of Dragonblight with Kyena whooping and letting out little cries all the way.
Their flight was a sight to see. Too many times Ishe thought that Kyena would slip, her grip would loosen and she'd plummet to her death far far below her. But she never fell. Never even looked like she could fall. The smile on her face could have been visible for miles around in the glittering sunlight.
Jaleth watched them both as they did loops and twists and turns in the air. His mouth was upturned into what seemed like a permanent smile.
“Shanna Quel-Dracon di’Kalimdor.”
Chapter 6: Reunions
Nyreen and Kyena came lazily to the peak of Wyrmrest once more, drifting over the group that stood watching them. The wind gusted as Nyreen folded her wings to her body. She raised up her foreleg to help Kyena to the ground.
The huntress gave a deep bow to the dragoness, her grin threatening to split her lips. “Thank you, my friend.”
Nyreen shook her beastly head. It almost appeared as if she smiled at Kyena. “There is no need to thank me for what is in your blood.” Nyreen turned her long neck to get a glance at the pair of Draenei. “I see that you have Eredar in your midst, Kyena.”
Next to Ishe, Falk’s expression was a mixture of awe and something like blind stupidity. His hand drifted towards his back, reaching up for the massive crystalline sword as if he could hope to fight the leviathan himself. His jaw was set, right leg drifting forward in his fighting stance. Ishe was bouncing her eyes between Nyreen and her idiot brother. “Falkhen!” She hissed under her breath, her hand reaching out for her brother.
Kyena had rushed over to stand in front of the Ishe and Falk when she saw where she was directing her attention to. “They are not Eredar. Not any longer. They are called Draenei.” She held out her right hand, palm facing Nyreen, in supplication. Her other hand drifted backwards, grabbing Falk’s hand and ripping it away from his weapon. “Naen’falmina!” She hissed angrily. The sound was not unlike a dragon.
Her Darnassian, most likely some form of ‘idiot’, had its desired effect on Falkhen. He immediately stood down, almost shrunk back in himself.
Nyreen gave Kyena a questioning look before she brought her head closer to the pair, giving them another look. “They are your friends?” Her red eyes flicked over the both of them. Under that ancient gaze, Ishe felt like a speck to the dragon. How easily would it be for the dragon to open her mouth and devour them whole? How fast would they cook in their armor if she decided to unleash the flame that Kyena told them was a part of the Red Dragonflight’s power?
Kyena looked at each of them in turn. Something flickered through her eyes as she met theirs. All of the little moments they had shared. They blood they spilled together during battles. In those short moments that she looked at them with her silvered pearl eyes, kinship unfurled in Ishe’s chest. I know who you are, my friend, I see you now.
Ishe cast a sideways glance to her brother when Kyena finally pulled her attention to him. Though it had only been a split second that she made eye contact, something in Falk’s face had softened. He nodded at Kyena slowly.
The dragon watched all of this unfold in front of her with a mix of astonishment and respect. It was written all over her face how high of a regard she must hold this one night elf woman.
Kyena turned back to the dragon and gave her a solemn nod. “They are my friends. I trust them with my life.” She said it with a dangerous finality, like it was a sealing of fate.
The dragon matched her nod. “Then they are friends of mine.” She glanced around at the rest of the group and smiled when she caught sight of Jaleth. “Jaleth Seawhisper, yes?”
He nodded and bowed to Nyreen. “A pleasure to meet you again, Nyreenastrasza.”
She let her eyes fall closed as she shifted back into her humanoid form. Her bare feet slapped against the ground as she made her way closer to him. One last glance was shot around the group, as if she was looking for someone. “Where is your sister, Kyena?”
Myn stepped forward, her hand brushing against Jaleth’s arm as she did so. “I am right here, Nyreen.” Much like her brother, she gave the dragon a bow. Never once did her deep hood leave her head even though the wind tugged at it almost angrily.
She shook her head softly and gathered a bit of her copper hair. “The green haired one, like Tor’landa. She was named after the other twin though.”
Kyena’s face grew tight in an instant. “Nyreen.” She took a long pause. Her grief was etched all across her face. “Landrelia’s dead.”
As if Nyreen’s face couldn’t be softer, she gave Kyena a look that no words could portray. One of understanding and her own tinge of grief. “Kyena, I am so sorry. I know that words mean nothing but-”
Kyena had already pulled the mask back over herself, the soft vulnerable woman that had been there a moment ago was long gone. Instead, Mush’a Stormbow had come back once more with her coldness. “We’re going to travel to Dalaran, Nyreenastrasza, to get some supplies and rest up before we travel any further into Northrend. Perhaps go on a few adventures before we take the Citadel.”
Nyreen let out a long sigh, her expression was one of motherly concern. “Then we go to Dalaran.”
Kyena turned back to her group and took in their expressions. “I can take one with me on Nyreen. The rest can pair off with the hippogryph riders. Galidor, Ilae and Maelorn, with me. There is something I must discuss with you before we leave.”
Lyorien peeled himself away from Falkhen and went to talk with Aethil. The camp where they had left their hippogryphs was only a short distance away. If only the riders left with their sabers they could make good time and get back before night fell. Then they’d be far above the ground in that floating mage city, far from the reaches of the Lich King and his minions. They might even get something better than gruel in their bellies. Ishe watched as the rest of the group paired off with their friends.
Three more leviathans came up with the silver haired scouts on their backs. They all had various faces of shock and awe, giving Kyena a look that was a far cry from the looks that they had previously. “These three can take the rest of you with them. Ishetii, Falkhen, Aluuni pick one. The rest, travel back to Star’s Rest and get your hippogryphs.”
“Shall we depart for Wyrmrest or Dalaran from there, Mush’a Stormbow?” Thalysa looked around at the three hippogryph riders that were just about to depart for the ground and Star’s Rest. The wind picked at the edges of her cloak as she did so.
Kyena pursed her lips for a moment while she thought. “If it would not be imposing, Nyreen, could we stay here overnight and depart in the morning?”
The dragon nodded solemnly. “It would be no trouble, my lady. Warm food and drink for everyone.” She looked deep in thought for a moment before she spoke again. “But, I think that it would be a good idea if I shadowed your Hippogryph Riders on their way to camp.” From her tone, it was posed more as a question than a statement.
Kyena let out an incredulous laugh. “Nyreen, you are not subservient to me. Ei dracon ne naen ei d’aor. ”
Nyreen’s lips drew into a smile and she nodded once before she closed her eyes and shifted back into her dragon form. The three clambered up on her back, each looking more fearful than the last. “It will be a quick flight there and back, my friends. You shall be reunited soon.” With that, she took her great bounding leaps and opened her wings, the wind carrying her towards Star’s Rest.
Their rest was comfortable enough, the food and drink much more so. Ishe ate until she was sure she couldn’t eat any more of the rich soup that the dragons had made. Their cook was surprisingly adept at making much more than food for the dragons and their ilk.
Nyreen must have come back sometime in the night while they slept. It was one of the few times Ishe had been sleepless while Kyena slept like a babe. Kyena looked completely in her element, all signs of her past weariness and grief and pain erased from her face. She looked so young while she slept. Less pinched. Her dragon had curled herself around Kyena and Jaleth while they slept.
The little band rose when the sun finally came above the mountains. They ate their small breakfast before making sure the remaining bit of provisions they had were secured. Their mounts were saddled up and made ready for the cold journey to Dalaran. Warmer gear was even gifted to them from the Dragonqueen. Thick furred shirts to wear under their leather and mail. Even a few pieces were enchanted with warmth.
Kyena mounted up first. Everyone followed suit. Falk was paired with Ilae and Meraxistrasz. Lyorien settled himself behind Aethil on Melinora. Myn looked nonplussed by the dragons, especially being seated behind Maelorn and his dragon Rherastrasza. Aluuni held on tightly to Galidor’s waist, even though they had their feet planted firmly on the ground. Cystrasz let out a chuckle at the poor girl, terrified out of her wits, and stretched his wings to get ready for the flight to Dalaran.
The rest were paired and settled in for their flights. The last person to mount up was Jaleth, who stood by Nyreen’s foreleg, staring up at Kyena’s outstretched hand. “Are you coming, Jaleth?” She murmured in Darnassian. It was simple enough for Ishe’s Darnassian to follow along.
Ishetii and Shora came up alongside Kyena and Nyreen. To their left, Ilyari’s hippogryph Kelverian let out a squawking string of Darnassian, hopping away from her. She hissed back other string of Darnassian and some of it was not friendly. Chuckling to herself, Kyena looked down at the pair. “What do you two need?”
Shora patted the side of Stormbeak’s neck almost lovingly. “I’m ready, Mush’a, to get this war started.” Her eyes looked towards Dalaran far off in the distance, but still close enough to be seen. “It’s high time you had your namesake back.”
Kyena smiled, just barely a quirk of her lips, and touched the spot above her heart with her fingertips. “You put too much stock in legends long past, Shora Moonfire.”
“You are right here. That is enough.”
“Perhaps, but Tor’landa died all the same, Shora. Keep that in mind.” Kyena cast one last glance around at her group as they made their last checks and patted Nyreen’s neck. The dragon stepped closer to the edge, her feet gripping at the lip of the platform. “But, this is not the war that I will die in.” Jaleth tightened his grip on Kyena’s waist as Nyreen threw herself from Wyrmrest, the group following closely behind her.
It took them far too long in the freezing cold to get there. Ishetii’s teeth were chattering by the time they touched down at Krasus’ Landing. She could barely slide from the hippogryph’s back. They all dispersed after Kyena gave them thankfully short instructions to find the inn that she was going to book for them and to not cause fights. Nyreen shifted into her humanoid form and followed closely behind Kyena and Jaleth as they hurried off. The others banded together to search around the strange city that they had never seen before, offering to find an inn or stall to warm their bellies with some food and drink.
Aluuni joined up with them, her elemental leading the way. This left Falk, Lyorien and Ishetii to find their way to the inn, deciding they’d rather warm up without worrying about being lost and late.
They were just about to the doors of the inn when a voice stopped them. Mostly Lyorien.
“Hello little brother.” A feminine voice called. She stood on the street corner, her black hood covering her features. She looked like she was dressed in all black from head to toe, the equally black cloak revealing nothing but her leather boots.
Lyorien whipped around, a smile tugging at his lips. “Sadrimyr! I was wondering where you were.” They both embraced, Sadri holding tightly to her twin.
“I’ve missed you.” Sadri grinned at him, tucking the dark blue hair back in her hood.
“Who’s this?” Falkhen strode closer to Lyorien.
“It’s my sister!” He cried. He turned to meet Sadri, his brows knitting at her displeased look. “This is Falkhen, my-”
“Lover.” Falkhen supplied, his signature grin tugging at his lips.
Her face was unreadable, almost apathetic as she regarded Falkhen. “Lover.” She whispered, her lips pursed, something clicking behind her eyes.
Lyorien’s blood froze. He knew that look. That tone. “Beldu en haena, Sadrimyr. Ru surfas dal, fa’lore, aver jos haru kaetah,” He trailed off for a moment, his eyes flashing with anger and sincerity. “Ru wedern saelor dal daun.”
Sadri smiled sweetly at him. “Why would I hurt him, k’laen en’shu? Do you think that little of me?”
Falkhen’s eyes bounced back and forth between Lyorien and his strange sister. This was the girl who was supposedly a better fighter than Lyorien? She was tiny compared to Falk, barely brushing the top of her head at the bottom of his shoulders. At least Kyena, tall compared to most other elves, didn’t have to crane her neck to look at Falk in the eye.
Ishetii made her way over to where the ruckus was. All of the sudden, she was face to face with Sadrimyr, glaring angrily at her from over Lyorien’s shoulder.
Something else lingered in her silvered eyes. A dangerous glimmer that Ishetii had seen in Lyorien’s eyes from time to time.
One that spoke of poison and daggers in the dark.
Chapter 7: An Ending
Months had passed while they stayed in the violet city. They took odd jobs that took them all over Northrend. From spy work to helping garrisons ward off the Scourge. It was seemingly mindless work. Going from here and there, mostly flying. After they spent the night, Kyena sent the Draenei out with a purse bursting with gold to buy themselves some gryphons. They would be until Kyena could return home and get them some hippogryphs of their own.
Elsewhere the Northrend campaigns dragged on. Neither side gained much ground even though it was close to a year since the Alliance and Horde forces came to the continent. It would be many more years before the heroes of the Alliance and Horde could hope to even see Icecrown Citadel. For now, there were rumors of Titan relics in Ulduar brought to them from Brann Bronzebeard.
Lyorien had loved exploring every bit of the city whenever they were there. All the towering spires and the colorful buildings made his heart happy. He could forget for a moment that he was here under his sister’s orders to shadow Kyena. Orders that he was to shadow her until there was an opportunity to kill her. According to the reports that he sent back to her, no such opportunity had arose. Now she was here after all of the years they’d been parted to see if he was actually putting in his effort or merely dragging his feet on the whole mission.
She had not been happy during their reunion. First, Kyena was still alive and well, with her dragon now in tow. Then, Falkhen had to open his mouth and tell her all about them. Every second that Lyorien spent talking to his sister sent his heart racing until he was sure it was going to leap from his chest. Sadri had given him an earful after the crowd had dispersed, lecturing him on exactly why they had come here.
After that, she’d disappeared again, without so much as a word.
Someone grabbed at Lyorien’s arm, hauling him backwards without him making so much as a noise from how quickly whomever had taken him. The black garbed figure shoved Lyorien behind a gaudy purple building in a relatively quieter section of the city. “You have to let him go, Lyorien.” His sister’s husky voice was muffled by her mask.
“What? No, Sadri!” He cried, his voice squeaking and cracking with how high it went. “I love him.” As if those tremulous words changed anything.
She grabbed onto his shoulders, shaking him roughly. “If you love him, let him go, protect him. If he stays with you, he’s going to die. It’s gone on long enough.”
“I’ll kill them all if they touch him.” He whispered, just as deadly as Sadri had. “I’ll hunt them down.”
“No, Lyorien. He doesn’t need to be dragged into this. You remember the promise you made An’da? Not until Nilan’s dead and six feet under the ground. Not until we’re free.”
Lyorien fought against his trembling lip. Let Falkhen go? How could I? But he nodded at his sister all the same. There was no way that he could convince her otherwise. Besides, Sadri knew what was best for him.
Who else in this world loved him this much?
Falkhen toyed with the box nervously. Lyorien should have been back by now. He wondered what had taken him so long. What had befallen him out in Dalaran? He was sure that there was cutpurses looking to take some coin from some unsuspecting adventurer.
The door swung open suddenly and Falk almost came out of his skin. He jumped up, shoving the box into his pocket, and came over to Lyorien. He noticed his hands were empty of what he set out to get, only his beaten up black coat twisted between his hands. Gently, he rested his hands on Lyo’s shoulders, one drifting under his chin to make him meet his eyes. He saw tears beginning to brim in his lover’s eyes. He opened his mouth to speak when Lyo shoved his finger on them, silencing him.
“I can’t do this anymore, Falkhen.” He said shakily.
Falk knit his brows together, hands sliding down Lyo’s shoulders. “What’s the matter, Soran?”
Lyorien cringed away from him, shaking his head, tears starting to slide from his eyes. “I don’t love you. I never did. You were a good roll around but this is too serious for me. I have to let you go.” He said in a rush, grabbing up the black coat that he threw on the chair.
Falkhen caught his arm. “What’s the matter? Why won’t you talk to me? Is it something I did? Lyorien?”
Lyorien faced away from him as best as he could, trying to keep him from seeing his face. “I don’t care enough to explain, Falkhen.” He pulled out of Falkhen’s grasp easily enough this time, though he caught him again before he could fully make it to the door.
He whirled on him, forcing the Draenei back a few steps. “What don’t you get about this, Falkhen?” He hissed, cocking his head to the side, letting anger settle into his tone. Pain shoved its way into Falk’s heart. How could Lyorien have changed so dramatically? Where had his Lyo gone? He found himself with his hands still clasped on Lyo’s arms, disbelieving that this hissing, spitting Lyorien belonged to him. It had to be a trick of some kind.
“Let me go, you Eredar freak!” Lyorien wrenched himself from Falk’s grasp one last time, taking in the hurt and pain that spread across Falk’s face. “Don’t come looking for me.”
Falk heard him let out a gasping sob before he whirled away and ran. Full on sprinting out their door and into the whole of Dalaran, leaving Falkhen alone with his shattered heart.
“You wouldn’t be found if I had, dalah’shari.”
Falkhen let himself drop into a chair at an empty table. It groaned under his weight at first but it held fast. It was his tenth or thirtieth time up to get as many mugs of ale as his hands could carry. After that, the barmaid made sure that she kept them coming, pocketing his silvers and coppers eagerly as he shoved them into her hands.
Movement to his left made him flick his eyes to it, almost unintentionally. A dark cloak swirled around someone, hood edged in dark blue thread, the design almost lost in the darkness of the cloth but it came to Falk all at once. Wolves danced over the length and breadth of the cloak. But directly in the middle of the back was a grand branching tree. One that was emblazoned on every one of the elves cloak's he had run into.
It meant one of Kyena's followers.
The hood never once fell to their shoulders.
That only meant Myn’ra.
He'd caught glimpses of her face only a handful of times. It was mostly the great branching vine tattoo that piqued his interest. That, and the faded silvery scars that lined her face. It must have been one hell of a struggle to get something that wicked and still live to tell the tale. One that he wouldn’t have minded hearing. Hell, he’d even like to show off a couple that he had gotten.
Perhaps that's what had attracted Falk to her during that first boat ride to Northrend. But he had been with Lyorien. No use having a wandering eye.
Now Lyorien was gone. Like smoke.
She turned as if she knew his thoughts had been of her. Under the depths of the hood, he could see her shadowy lips quirk upwards into a smirk.
Myn’ra almost seemed to float over to him, her mug not even moving as she did so. “You know Kyena wouldn’t be happy with getting piss drunk, Falkhen.” Her voice grated against his ears with it’s faked motherly tone. He’d much rather listen to her normal sing song voice. He could hear that for hours.
“What is it that the humans say? ‘Bite me’?” He knew that the words were slurred but he couldn’t find a fuck to give. He reached for his mug once more. They covered almost the entire table by the time Myn’ra showed up.
Myn let out a chuckle and shook her head at him. “What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” She took a long pull from her mug, nearly draining it in one swoop. She licked the foam from her upper lip and swallowed, her eyes meeting Falk’s over the rim of the mug.
He looked up from his mug, half suspended between the table and his lips. Suspicion made him fight against the haze of being drunk. “You’re not going to report me to your superior?”
Again, she snickered. “She is my sister before anything else.” She drained the rest of her mug, licking the foam from her lip again. “Besides, we are equals in the eyes of the Sentinel Army. Both holding the title of Mush’a, or Huntress.”
He snickered himself. Whatever rank they may be, Myn’ra was still obviously under Kyena when they were together. Whether or not Myn was alright with that was yet to be seen, either way. He watched her stop the barmaid and order the both of them another round. She looked at peace in this moment, smiling and laughing more than he’d seen her before. Perhaps everyone’s mood lifted when Kyena wasn’t around.
“You think this is strange. Talking about Kye like I am.” She thanked the barmaid and pushed Falk’s mug over to him. Her hood dipped slightly as she clinked their glasses together, showing off more of her face to Falkhen. He found himself staring at her, taking in the lines of her face. The way the shadows gathered at the dips and curves. The edges of her tattoo moving when she spoke, making the vines look like they were blowing and twisting in the breeze.
Their eyes meeting shocked him back to reality. “She is a born leader and I will follow her into hell if I am needed but she can be a pain in my ass.” She sipped at her ale now, her long legs crossed under the table, nearly touching his legs, “I’ve been trailing behind her for a very long time. Since I was a young youth, not even a maid. And in that long long time, I’ve learned that Kyena is the very embodiment of what Tor’landa started. Dracon’shari. Dragon hearted. But fire burns too hot sometimes, too wild. A sword unhoned and not well made is no use without temperance.”
Falk’s eyes drifted all over the parts of her face that he could see. Many people had told him that Kyena was a beauty. That may be true but it was because Myn kept her face covered. Whether it was the ale talking or otherwise, Myn had a softness to her that hadn’t been hidden away. It was endearing, at least to Falk.
He took a deep drink and set the mug back on the table, leaning back against the chair as he looked her over. “You are temperance, I take it.”
Myn nodded, a small smile gracing her lips. “I am temperance.” She gestured to the mass of mugs on their table and let out a short laugh, chewing on her bottom lip when their eyes met again.
It was quiet for a long moment. Not an uncomfortable silence, nor awkward. It was one that was shared between good friends, or family. One where no one felt the need to fill the silence with meaningless words. Something caught their eyes together. Some inexplicable force of fate.
The world fell away. First the noise. Then the people. Until they were the only people in the entire universe.
“So, what in the world happened that you felt you had to drink yourself into a stupor?” Myn’s song broke the spell that had been placed on them. It almost made Falk jump out of his skin.
He drained the rest of his mug and slammed it against the tabletop much harder than he had meant to. Myn didn’t even give it a second glance. “Lyorien’s gone.” He held up his hand when shock registered on Myn’s face. “Not dead. He left me a few hours ago.”
He slipped the box from his pocket and slid it towards her. “Was going to ask him to marry me but that didn’t quite work out.” His voice grew thick the longer he spoke, weighed down by drink and his sudden prickling of tears in his eyes.
Myn opened it, her slim fingers pulling out the ring that he’d had made for Lyo. She inspected it closely, nail brushing over the silver band inlaid with black stone. Her brows knit together suddenly and she slipped the ring over her finger. It fit near perfect, beside being a little big. “My brother made this.”
Falk reached for the ring, ignoring the sudden jolt that spread through his hand from their contact. Her fingers grabbed at his, keeping him from pulling it back. “I’m sorry, truly, Falkhen.” Again, their eyes met, liquid silver and sky blue. “I’m sorry that he had no heart. And that he hurt you.” She started to pull her fingers from his but he held fast, closing his eyes to try to keep his tears from overflowing onto his cheeks.
He tried to give her a brave face and smile but as soon as their eyes met again, he felt the hot tears slide from his eyes. “What did I do wrong?” He whispered. It was a half choked question, broken and gravelly.
She practically threw herself into his arms when his shoulders started shaking. She clutched him to herself fiercely, as if that could make the hurt go away. “You did not do anything wrong, Falkhen. He is young and stupid. Just a boy who doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
His arms wound around her tightly. He was nearly crushing her against him but she wasn’t even pulling away. It was like she had turned to stone. The only moving part was her fingers that brushed through the long lengths of blond hair. The only way that Falk was even sure she was really alive was the thrumming of her heart under his ear.
“Why don’t you get to bed, Falkhen? I’d say a good night’s rest is in order.” Her sing song voice rumbled through her chest as she patted his back gently, pulling out of the circle of his arms.
He dropped his arms in his lap and nodded. All at once he felt very tired and worn thin. He’d run from the emotion for too long today. He grunted some form of agreement and stood, wobbling on his hooves until he was sure that he was going to go crashing to the ground in front of everyone.
Myn caught him easily, grunting at the weight before she finally got him to stand somewhat on his own hooves before she pushed herself under his arm. Her right arm went around his waist, left hand holding his wrist and hand tightly over her shoulders so that he wouldn’t go falling sideways. “Alright. I guess I’ll have to take you to your room.” She hissed, taking a jerking step forward, Falk’s jelly legs trying to follow in step with her.
She sighed and glanced over to Falk. “This is going to take a while, isn’t it?”
Falk let out a giggle. Being highly intoxicated and in close proximity to Myn wasn’t doing wonders for his speaking ability. Nor was being an emotional wreck. But one halting step at a time they made their way to Falk’s room.
Myn dumped him on his bed unceremoniously, bending down to rest her hands on her knees with her chest heaving. “By Elune, you’re harder to move than I thought.”
He laughed again, from deep within his belly. He should not have stood. It finally went to his head and he was blissfully numb. Or at least he thought he was. “Being a wall is something I pride myself on. It’s the one thing that I know I can do.”
She straightened, wiping sweat from her brow. “Just shut up and get to sleep.” She tugged off her boot, jumping in place as she did so. It smacked against the wall a moment later, Myn hissing a string of Darnassian curses. The cloak whispered as it slithered from her shoulders into a heap on the ground.
Falk jerked his head from the bed and gave Myn a curious look. “What are you doing?” His voice was thick when he spoke. The slurring was even evident to his ears.
Myn cursed at her other boot, tossing it in the opposite direction. The sword belt was hung carefully on the hook provided by the inn. Her leather chestpiece was untied and unbuckled from her body. She peeled off the warm doublet that the dragons had given her and an extra shirt to reveal a short sleeved mossy green undershirt. “What does it look like I’m doing? I can’t go back to my room, Kyena will kill me.” She quickly unbraided her hair and gave it a shake before she rebraided it, this time more loosely. “I’m piss drunk.”
More pieces of her armor fell to the floor the closer to the bed she came. “I hope you don’t mind?” She stood almost shyly at the foot now, almost like taking it off her armor had distracted her from the fact that was in the same room as him. Her tattoo was in full view, along with the scars that lined her face. The vines traveled from her face down her neck, branching across her shoulders and chest and down her right arm. Some of the tattoo even covered the scars on her face.
He shook his head slowly. “No. Not at all.” He could feel his eyes following the curves of the tattoo. “I have to ask. Why?” He pointed to the tattoo and arched his brow.
She snickered and traced the lines on her arm. “You see the scars?” She gestured to them with a smirk. “I grew tired of everyone looking at me because of the scar. I’d rather give them something prettier to look at.”
He found himself smiling at her ferocity. “I think it’s badass.”
She jerked her head towards him, staring him in the eyes. “What?”
“Like the humans say,” He said as he brushed a strand from in front of her eyes. “One part iron.” He pointed to the scars before gesturing to the tattoo itself. “One part beauty.”
Myn’s small smile grew into a grin. One that crinkled the skin around her eyes. “Good night, Falkhen.” She dropped her eyes from his and stood, going around to the other side of the bed and slipping under the covers. Soon enough, she was fast asleep.
Falk found himself staring up at the ceiling for a while after she fell asleep, wondering why his heart had stopped hurting. His last thought had been of her smiling face, full of sunshine, before he drifted off to sleep.
Chapter 8: Wolves of the North
Falkhen woke to the smells of something cooking on the hearth, hissing and popping in the pan. His eyes took in the familiar sight of pine walls, dark from age and woodsmoke. The familiar smells of wood and furs and leather, the slight dampness from melting snow on the rugs. A sigh of relief escaped him as he took in the comforts of his home.
He sat up slowly, the smaller lumps on the far side of the bed just as familiar to him as the larger ones. He reached out, giving the shape a gentle rub before he slid from bed and wandered into the main living area. Figures ran past, faces and bodies indiscernible to him. A blast of cold and laughter and they were gone, screaming and shouting like he’d remembered Breorhan and Serah doing on Draenor.
Myn’ra let out a string of Darnassian curses at the pan, shoving around whatever was inside. She turned to him and gave him her smile full of sunshine, her newest tattoo a startling contrast to the face that he had become so used to. But no matter what she looked like, no matter the new tattoo that she had longed for since she was a girl, she was still his Myn’ra. This version was just a bit more decorated. It was arguably Kyena’s proudest work, a glory of lace and swirls all held within the bear’s paws spanning the length of her face.
Her hand reached out to him, smile still creasing her tattoo, as she muttered words through what seemed like water. A name was all he could understand. Nymia.
“Falkhen, you have to wake up.” She said, her face slowly losing it’s warmth.
“Falkhen! You have to wake up!” She cried, now shaking him violently, the dream darkening around them, pieces of the house falling away.
He awoke to Myn standing over him, her hands on his shoulders. He nearly jumped out of his skin with her nearness. He stared at her, wide eyed, and pushed himself upright.
She gave him a small smile. Her long hair brushed against his arm when she turned away, her footsteps carrying her towards the stove tucked in the corner of the room. “Good, you’re finally awake. You sleep like a rock.” Myn threw some more wood into the coals, quickly stirring the fire back into a crackling flame. Soon enough the smells of Kaldorei tea floated to him, along with warm bread and some type of meaty aroma. “They gave us some mystery meat and a loaf of bread when I went down. I figured we could eat up here then head out.”
She didn’t even look up as she set about dumping the stewed whatever into the hollowed out half loaves. The crusty bread soaked up most of the broth right away, making Falk’s mouth water. He found himself watching her move about the space as if it was the most normal thing in the world. It was almost as if she’d done it on purpose, ignoring him like she was.
Myn was pouring herself a cup of her tea when she finally noticed Falkhen standing in the doorway. “Well, don’t be shy. Eat.” She chewed on her lip for a moment before she reached for another mug and poured him a cup of the steaming hot tea as well. “Drink. It’ll be good for that headache.”
He was just about to ask her what she meant when he scrunched his eyes against the sudden pain that shot through his head. Falk gulped down the sweet tea, noticing that it was a bit more spiced than he’d had before. “What’s in this?”
She blew on hers gently before she took a sip, sitting cross-legged on the chair closer to the small window. “Cinnamon. I got it from a trader back in Winterspring. I’ve been meaning to drink some of this damned tea ever since I left home.” Her eyes drifted closed as she took another sip. “My niece loves this tea.”
He arched his brow, digging into his ‘bowl’ of stew heartily. “Niece?” He questioned around a mouthful.
“Tuernadorae. I had to leave her back in Winterspring.” She made it sound so matter of fact. As if everyone had their niece living with them in the snowy northeast of Kalimdor.
He nodded slowly, taking another spoonful. “You live there?”
She took her first bite of stew and nodded. Her eyes never raised from her stew as she shovelled in a couple of bites before she spoke. “Lahk’heim.”
Sitting here and talking to Myn, he could almost ignore the pain in his chest. But it lingered there, making it feel as if it had been scooped out of him and ground against the floor before they slung it back inside his ribs. It kept working its way back into the forefront of his mind the more he tried to actively ignore it.
She didn’t make him sit in silence for too long before she was speaking again. “A rough translation would be ‘The Den of Wolves’. Though the more literal translation is Wolf Home.” Myn sat back and watched him for a moment as she munched on a bit of the crust thoughtfully.
They let a few moments pass in silence as they finished up the remains of their breakfasts. “You said you had something for us to do today.” He said, swallowing the last crusty bit of bread and brushing the crumbs from his hands.
“I have to go hunting,” Myn’ra smirked and rose from her seat, disappearing into the other room for what seemed like mere seconds before his sword was tossed at him. “And you’re going to help me.”
Instantly, his mind flashed to Orcish mating rituals and he fought the urge to say no. The Kaldorei were different, a far cry from those people. Besides, Myn wouldn’t be that forward. “What are we hunting?” He slid the crystalline sword from its sheath with the softest whisper against the leather.
“Wolves of the North.” She said, giving him a deadly grin.
He should have known better than to go tromping after Myn’ra after the grin she had given him. But, of course, he agreed anyway and got do getting dressed in his warmest clothes. According to Myn, it was going to be beyond the cold they’d experienced on the tundra. Somewhere in the vast mountains of the Storm Peaks there lurked a beast that she wanted to get her hands on. A wolf of impressive size that numerous others had raved about. It had evaded capture so far and was menacing some camps up in the mountains.
Some had travelled to Dalaran and put up a notice telling whatever lucky adventurer that there was gold to be had if they took care of the beast by any means necessary. From the way that Myn was packing up their hippogryphs, that meant arrows. Quivers and quivers of arrows. Onto Falk’s bigger hippogryph they packed enough supplies to last them a few days in the mountains.
“Elune guiding us, we should get this done before the supplies run out.” She tightened the strap one last time, giving it a heave with her weight behind it. Satisfied, Myn nodded to herself and turned to face Falk. “Are you ready?”
He ruffled the feathers on his hippogryph and sighed. “Beldu, Mush’a Seawhisper.”
Falk had forgotten, or rather blocked out, just how cold it was to fly in Northrend. He was nearly flat against his hippogryph’s back in an attempt to keep the wind from blowing straight through him. They brought their hippogryphs to Krasus’ Landing, fighting against the crowds of people getting their own mounts situated as they came into the city.
How many people would come through this city until this war was put to an end? Just how many people would die before this ended? Would Falkhen know them? Would they be friends? Family? He couldn’t help but think while he tried not to freeze to death upon his hippogryph.
His mind shifted from morbidity to his strange dream while they drifted over crystalline trees, glimmering with a myriad of purples and pinks and blues. The sight had him glancing over the shoulder of his hippogryph to watch the trees shift and change with the light. A fiery red for one second then shifting sharply to purple and then an inky indigo blue to nearly black, like Myn’s hair. Why had he dreamt of her? And a stranger that he’d never seen nor heard of before? Even though it wasn’t usual for Falkhen to get these sorts of dreams. He’d had one while his sister laid broken and bruised on that infirmary cot after the Exodar crashed.
A chirping sound above him brought him to high alert, eyes bouncing all around to see this new danger before he saw Myn and her hippogryph Ellemayne drifting down next to them. A quick exchange of hand signals and Falk was following Myn closer. Apparently a storm was brewing ahead of them, a thunderhead bigger than Myn thought they could safely outrun.
She had said that it would only take about half a day to make the journey from Dalaran to the mountain but only five hours into their trip and they already hit a snag. She tugged off her scarf and cried over the whipping winds, surprisingly loud enough to be heard. “We’re going to get out of this soon. Make a camp and warm up then head towards the mountain once more.”
Falkhen nodded and settled back into his seat, muttering to his hippogryph to follow whatever Myn did. The overgrown chicken squawked out its version of Darnassian and fluttered behind Ellemayne, dropping down sharply when Myn lead the way. He was glad that he’d taken the time to listen to what Kyena had said about flying and staying on the damned creatures.
When they landed inside a strangely shaped cave the first crack of thunder made itself known. Bright blue, shifting strangely to a shade of deep purple as it arced across the dark sky. He instantly saw Kyena's long braid of the same color as he watched the storm unfold.
“That's something I thought I'd never see.” Myn remarked as she peeled the Hippogryph saddle from Ellemayne's back and held it between her arms.
“A thunderstorm?” Falkhen arched his brow, a smirk gracing his lips as turned his head towards her for a second before he watched more lightning arc above them.
She thumped his arm with the saddle and tossed it down, making sure that it was leaning up on it's gullet. Hippogryph saddles were strange to Falk. The front part and back were higher than any other saddle he'd seen. When he had asked about it, he was told that it was to help the rider keep themselves in the saddle easier and to give them something to lean against during maneuvers.
Normal Kaldorei saddles, at least the ones that Kyena and her ilk used were what many called Gilnean style. Nothing more than a few pieces of shaped leather and stirrups kept one on their sabers, along with a thick horn to grab onto. The times he'd watched the Huntresses fight atop their sabers had been awe inducing. How they kept their balance while their mounts twisted and turned was a wonder.
Falk let out a chuckle and rubbed at his arm. “Well, they way the color changes is strange to say the least.” he pulled away from the entrance and unpacked his Hippogryph, making sure that everything was still dry and in good shape. He made himself busy by unrolling his sleep roll.
“There is a myth about the lightning. Something to do with a local deity that protected an ancient mountain somewhere near here,” Myn unrolled hers as well, next to his. She also pulled out some of the fire starter she'd packed along and tugged out a good bit of their wood. He watched her move almost mechanically as she got the fire going. He wondered how many fires she'd started in her life.
“Are you going to stare at me or are you going to make yourself useful and get more wood? I saw some when we were making our way down here.” She didn't even raise her eyes as the flame started to lick its way up the bundle of wood.
Falk didn't question her command. He was throwing the saddle blankets around his shoulders and wading out into the snow towards the pile of wood sticking out of the snowdrifts. He bent to grab it and pull but it was stuck fast. It nearly threw him onto his ass as he underestimated the strength he needed. A few more seconds of pulling and he was rump first in the snow, paint chips of some sort coming off in his hands.
He stood, brushing the snow from himself before he pushed more of it out of the way.
What had appeared to be wood was the beginnings of a painstakingly carved statue, complete with a bow that stuck out towards Falk.
“Myn’ra,” He gasped, as if she could hear him, “Myn'ra!” Now his voice was loud, booming over the space, too loud for this quiet place. Save for the distant thunder.
She came sprinting, her bow nocked and ready, her gaze going everywhere at once. “What, Falkhen?” She hissed, her voice growing indignant like Kyena's before she stopped short and stared at what Falk’s full attention was on.
She brushed away even more snow, revealing the face of the statue. It was weathered, ancient by the looks of it. The woman's face was pulled up into a victorious roar, her bow held aloft. Though it looked similar in style to ones he'd seen the Kaldorei have, this one looked far more savage. There were still hints of paint, dark purple hair, blue-purple skin, and wild silvered eyes. This close, Falk could even make out the slit that the Kaldorei possessed, much like a cat's. The beginnings of long ears sprouted from the sides of her head. She looked almost like a member of the Kaldorei, except for the long bottom canines. In fact, it looked almost like Troll tusks stuck on a Night Elven statue.
Slowly, she sank to her knees in the snow, unburying the stone that had caught her eye. Myn tugged it out, reading the strange runes that made no sense to Falk. It looked similar to the Darnassian that he’d been learning but they were more linear, more rough than the curving shapes that the Night Elves wrote in now. She poured over it for a long while as she tried to decipher whatever it said. Suddenly she jerked to her feet, the stone tablet falling back into the snow with a crunch.
“ Araeshi’dorei. ” Myn muttered, her eyes dancing all over the valley they were in. “Stormborn.” She said it with a reverence that made Falk immediately look a little closer at his surroundings.
He fished through the snow and picked up the tablet again. “Is that all that was on the slab?” He twisted and turned the frozen slab of stone as if that would make it divulge it’s secrets to his untrained eye.
“It's the only thing that I could decipher. Its old Darnassian, older than my parents ever taught me.” Her eyes drifted over the snow, taking in the towering spires that still managed to poke above the thick blanket of snow.
“Isn't Mush’a Kyena named something similar? Stormbow?”
“In Darnassian it's Araeshi'rhok. Humans have taken to the literal translations of our last names. Simpler to pronounce.” She waded through the snow and brushed at a bank that had caught her attention. A window suddenly opened before her. Or at least the shuttered frame. “I think there was an avalanche recently, otherwise we'd be able to see it.”
“How do you know?” He didn’t try to keep the disbelief from coloring his tone. It looked like there was nothing left of this place aside from the few things they had found by chance. How could there be anything else buried underneath a few inches of snow?
She peeled back the rotted wood and uttered a chant, light flaring up between her fingers, beckoning him closer with a smug grin. “Because there would be snow inside long before we got here.”
His mouth dropped open. It looked as if it had been locked in time. Dust had settled over everything, plants long returned to dirt and some things laying in disrepair but for the most part it was untouched. He licked at his lips and just shook his head. “I should just keep my mouth shut when I’m around you.”
She shot him a strange glance and got to work pulling off the rest of the wood of the shutter. When the wood finally gave way from the stone moorings she stuck her head inside with her hand outstretched in front of her.
Falk motioned for her to go forward, slipping around her to hold open the rotted shutter. She shook herself off and leapt, rolling forward onto her shoulder as she landed, her bow at the ready in case something decided to let them know that they weren’t alone.
When she was clear of the landing place, Falk followed and crept behind Myn as she lead the way through the shadowed doorway. All around him was signs of just how long this place sat abandoned. A fine layer of dust covered everything. Furniture was in desperate need of repair, long gouges and tears from animals trying to find a warm home lined the rooms and corridors they trekked through during their search. A smell of decay hung over the halls, along with an air of melancholy. It clung to Falk, as for Myn, he couldn’t be sure.
After nearly an hour of exploring they came to what appeared to be the main hall. It was cavernous, the ceiling stretching high above them to disappear in darkness. In front of them, towards the far back wall, sat a grand throne carved from stone. Furs and pelts were laid across it to make it more comfortable but it did nothing to make it any less imposing. From Myn’s light, they could just barely make out the designs of lightning as it spread across the floor. It glittered a myriad of colors under their feet as the light hit it. Even behind the throne, an image of a wolf and it’s glittering eyes greeted them, strangely dominating what seemed to be a depiction of a handful of figures accepting something from the sky. It was even painted with snow that dripped towards the ground.
Myn didn’t have time to shout before the massive wolf launched itself over the throne and in front of Myn with a crash so loud that it sent them sprawling.
Myn’s bow flew from her hands and thumped against Falk’s hoof.
He held the bow awkwardly against himself. He knew that Myn would be screaming at him for using the incorrect form but he had to make sure that the beast wouldn’t come any closer. He trudged through the snow and put himself between Myn and the monstrous wolf.
“Who are you to be here? You do not belong here.” The snarling voice sounded like it came from all around them instead of from the wolf.
“We are not your enemy.” Myn held out her hand towards Falk, palm facing him, and slowly crept towards him until she could push the bow down. “We mean this place no harm.”
The wolf regarded them, it’s eyes falling to the sigil on Myn’s shoulder. The sigil of the branching tree intrigued the wolf and it drew closer until it stood over the both of them. “This emblem, why do you bear it on your shoulder? Only Moonblades and their allies can wear this.”
Myn squared her shoulders and stared the wolf in the eye. “Ru Myn’ra di’shanna dieb Gaer’flos. K’laen Fa’lore na Mush’a Kyena di’shanna dieb Elu’serrar.”
“Your pretty words mean nothing to me, Myn’ra of the Seawhispers. It is your blood. I would know Gaer’flos’ ilk by sight alone. But why does his spawn seek out the storm?”
“Tell me where we are, and I will answer that question.”
The wolf grimaced and sat back on its haunches. “Since you’ve given me your name, I’ll give you mine. I am Rykkon, lord of this valley and of the mountain you’ve been traipsing around.”
Myn dropped to her knee in front of the great wolf. “Forgive us, Rykkon. There was a storm-”
“Yes, yes. I know. I made the storm.” The wolf’s icy eyes stared right through the pair. “I had hoped you would turn back and find a different way.”
“To protect my Lady's home. She will return. Her and her son. To reclaim Araedrassil.”
Myn's eyes widened again. “ Araedrassil,” She questioned, her voice cracking with disbelief. “ Stormwolf Rykkon .”
Falk flicked his eyes between the wolf and Myn. “What the fel is going on?” He muttered to Myn, eyes wide at her sudden respect for the monster.
She turned painfully slow as her eyes met his. “The myths are true. Falkhen, the myths are real.” She turned back equally as slow and regarded the wolf again. “Jaisia lived here. She got Zin'rhok from you.”
The wolf looked surprised when Myn uttered the name. “How do you know Lady Jaisia Araeshi’rhok?”
Myn let out a laugh and let a smirk pull at her lips. “Kyena di’shanna dieb Elu’serrar.”
The wolf growled deep in its belly. “What about this Moonblade girl? You've mentioned her twice now.”
“Min ne di’shanna dieb Araeshi'rhok. ” Myn crossed her arms over her chest with her brow arched at the beast. “She comes from Illidren Araeshi’rhok.”
The wolf dropped his head for a moment as Myn and Falk exchanged a glance. Her lips moved as they locked eyes. Something that went by too fast for him to decipher for a moment.
“Dalah rhok.” She hissed, her hand curling to take hold of the bow. She fumbled for an arrow and drew it slowly. Rykkon rose and was met with the point of Myn’s arrow pointed directly between his stormy eyes.
“You will listen to me, Stormborn Wolf, we mean this place no harm. As Mush’a Kyena A’laena Araeshi’rhok’s emissary, I command you to let us pass, to hunt the wolf that is attacking the settlers and adventurers.”
Rykkon looked between the bow and Myn, the icy blue eyes breaking when he realized that he would be killed, even if it took Myn with him. “The wolf you speak of is my child. Jaisia herself had one of his ancestors for a companion. My daughter found herself in the midst of every battle alongside her lady. Where the Twins had their sabers, Jaisia had wolves. Her saving my daughter all those years ago is what gave her a fraction of my power to wield.” The wolf thought for a moment and sighed. “He will come to you, and do you no harm. Kill him or spare him, I leave the choice to you.”
Myn looked incredulous for a moment and shook her head. “No, I could never kill him. I want him to fight with me. His spirit should be directed elsewhere, not stolen from this world.”
The wolf’s lips drew up into what Falkhen supposed was a smile. “So be it, Wolf Girl.” Rykkon’s eyes fell for a moment before they searched Myn’s face one last time. “Lady Araeshi’rhok has passed from this world, has she not?”
Myn bowed her head to the wolf, scuffing some of the kicked up snow against the floor. “Jaisia died alongside Tor’landa long ago. In a battle.”
Rykkon nodded slowly and turned from the both of them, padding out of one of the many adjoining halls. Long after he departed, his footfalls echoed to them as they stood still as statues.
Distantly, they heard a broken hearted howl, long and unflinching. It made Falk’s heart ache. How many times had he heard that sound during the Draenei’s long flight from the Burning Legion? From mothers. From fathers. Brothers and sisters.
He followed after Myn when she left the room. Slower this time. She looked lost in thought. As was Falk. Apparently, there was more to Kyena than had already been revealed to him. Being able to ride dragons was one thing, but having half your blood come from a woman who could wield lightning? Even a fraction of it was mind boggling to Falk. Just how much power could Kyena claim? She seemed damn near invincible with all these bloodlines claiming her as their descendant.
But then again, he’d thought the same of his mother. And she ended up being slaughtered alongside his brother and sister on Draenor.
When they reached their original entry point, they found the wolf they’d been trying to hunt. It was far smaller than Rykkon had been but this wolf was no runt. It had the same ice blue eyes of Rykkon but was the color of lightning, dark at the spine and lightening as it went further down its body. It made Myn stop short, her hand coming back to push Falk behind her. She faced the wolf, their eyes not breaking for a long while before the wolf dropped its gaze from her, backing away from the window to let them pass.
Falk boosted her up and out of the window and searched the room for something to help himself up. Luckily enough, a low table was still stable enough to hold his weight and soon he was back in the blistering cold with Myn holding onto the scruff on the wolf’s neck in front of him. He turned one last time to one of Kyena’s ancestral homes and let out a long sigh before heading back to the cave.
Chapter 9: Revelations
When they landed, Myn was greeted with the sight of her brother at Krasus’ Landing. They were frozen near solid but there was no escaping the fatherly look that Jaleth was giving his younger sister. They spoke quickly in Darnassian to each other for a long while before Jaleth stood aside and let them go, staring at the wolf incredulously as it suddenly appeared before him. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, having a ground dwelling beast now accompanying them meant they couldn’t fly for long distances without Myn worrying about losing him in the mountains. An awkward mix of flying and walking their hippogryphs brought them to the mages that were working in the Crystalsong Forest, far below Dalaran.
Myn wasn’t all to happy with what Falk figured was a lecture by her brother but nonetheless she stomped off to the stables with Ellemayne and her wolf in tow. She was muttering to herself, long strings of curses and growled words. Some was even in Draenic. Though the Draenic she used made no sense. Just jumbled together words that held no meaning.
Falk fought back his laughter as he followed her to the stables. At least she tried to learn his language. His hippogryph plodded along next to him with a strangely sad look on his face. His head was drooping, feet stomping on the cobblestones of Dalaran. It was times like this that Falk wished he could speak more fluent Darnassian like the hippogryphs could. He felt like his hippogryph was unhappy more often than not, even with Myn and Kyena’s assurance that the hippogryph was perfectly fine.
He met his sister in the stables. She had her hippogryph’s head in her hands, giving him what appeared to be a spiritual scritching from how heavily the bird was leaning into her, his eyes fluttered shut, stretched out like a cat. Ishe was laughing, her hooves planted as to try and fight back against the massive weight of the hippogryph. “Feran, Feran stop.” She gasped, her voice stolen away by her laughter. She shoved Feran back to his feet and strode over to Falk, staring at him for a second before he opened his arms.
She threw herself into them, hugging him just as tightly as he did to her. “I heard. About Lyorien.” Ishetii slipped into Draenic just as easily as she could Darnassian by now. For a long while he’d been far more proficient than her but he’d let it slip as their years on Azeroth drew longer. “Is that why you left?”
Falk crushed Ishe closer to him. How could anything escape his sister? Something about having a twin was something he would never take for granted. “Yes. I had to get away. Leave it for a while.”
She pulled out from his arms and gave him a smirk. “So, from one person’s arms to the next so soon?”
Falk rolled his eyes, hoping that the stinging in his throat would go away soon. “No, Ishetii. I don’t think she likes me.” He let out a little snort and cast a glance at her as she brushed down her hippogryph and tied a warm blanket around his body, leading him into his stall for the night. He followed suit, hunting down a spare brush and getting the snow from his feathers. Ishetii gave him a wink and disappeared for a while, leaving him alone with Myn and his hippogryph.
The silence came over the space, almost a comfortable one that came with people working together. No pressure to keep a conversation. It finally stretched on for too long before he slipped into a rough unaccented Darnassian. “What is your name?” Falkhen questioned as he picked out the hippogryph’s hind hooves. Even through all that snow they could pick up rocks on the roads of Dalaran.
Darnassian might be clunky on his tongue but near instantly his hippogryph perked up bringing his head around to his rear where Falk stood. “I call myself Maesen.”
Falk nodded, muttering the name to himself. “Maesen. I am Falkhen.” He pointed to himself with a flourish, earning what sounded like a chuckle from the bird. “It's nice to finally know you, friend.”
Maesen looked almost pleased with himself,standing there while Falk did the rest of the work on him to get him ready for the night. He picked at Falk’s back, much like he’d observed other hippogryphs to do to one another or their riders, while Falk tied the strings of the thick blanket and adjusted it on his shoulders straighter. He looked almost pleased with himself now. A weight was lifted from his heart, alongside with Maesen’s.
Falkhen had heard endless stories of the hippogryph riders and their amazing bonds with their chosen mounts. He’d listened to the tales of the ancient heroes as they did battle across of continent and befriended these creatures. He’d never taken to heart much of the way that hippogryphs had their own personalities. He’d wrongfully assumed that they weren’t as sophisticated as many of the Kaldorei had told him.
For all he had seen in his years on Azeroth, he still had much to learn.
Ishetii trailed after Falk and Myn, eyeing the wolf that was now following behind Myn like a second shadow. There was something different about those two. Something they had seen but didn’t want to share. Ishe kept her eyes on the space between Falk and Myn, or rather, the lack thereof. They seemed to brush shoulders now. Hands almost drifting together before they went back to their sides solemnly.
What happened in those mountains? She thought to herself as she watched them. Sure, Falk could get over someone fairly quickly but only a day later? Lyorien and Falkhen had been together for a handful of years by the time the Scourge attacked. It wasn’t something so easily gotten over. Even Ishe felt a pang for Hessian ever since he disappeared. They’d left the coast in such a rush that she forgot to even tell him they were leaving. What must he think of her now, leaving him behind in that port after just a night together? Did he care where she was? Did he go back to Kerai’s ship? Was he dead like the rest of Kyena’s group?
Soon enough they came to the outskirts of Dalaran. There Kyena stood, near the edge of the floating city, looking at the sky stretching above them. Nyreen sat next to her, not unlike a cat would, watching over her rider. Myn stopped, short and watched for a moment before she extended greetings.
Kyena didn’t turn. Her back didn’t even stiffen when she heard voices. Her ears merely pricked backwards, her head twitching to the right, almost in profile towards them. “You’re back.”
Myn clasped her hands behind her back, her jaw clenching angrily. “Yes.” Her words were meant to bite like the wind coming off the mountains.
Ishe saw Kyena take a deep breath before she tilted her head back to the expanse in front of her. It was a few heartbeats before Kyena spoke again. “Jaleth might have been angry Myn, but I’m not.” Her voice was softer than usual.
Myn knit her brows together and stepped forward until she was shoulder to shoulder with Kyena. “You knew I was leaving before I left, didn’t you.” It didn’t sound like a question more than a statement of fact.
“Myn’ra, by now you should know better than to talk to Aethil about secrets.” Kyena let out a short laugh and clapped her hand on Myn’s shoulder. “Especially if it involves taking some of our supplies.”
Myn’s face broke into a grin full of embarrassment. “I suppose I should have gone to Shora. She can at least keep her mouth shut.”
They exchanged glances, speaking in that silent way that the Kaldorei around Kyena seemed to have. Myn chewed at her lip and ducked her head, turning and patting her thigh. The wolf, which had been sitting on its haunches near Falk, stood and padded it’s way over to Myn. The wolf came up and nuzzled it’s way under her arm. How she managed to keep on her feet next to the massive thing was a wonder to Ishe.
“So this is what brought you to the Storm Peaks?” Kyena arched her brow at her younger sister and held out her hand, palm out, towards the wolf. It sniffed at her curiously before giving her palm a gentle lick. It was surprising to see that it acted like a dog more than a wolf. It made Ishe think of the fabled Garns of Draenor. In all her time there, she’d never spotted head nor hide of such monstrous wolves, save for the Frostwolves. But even those were supposedly small compared to the black garns.
Myn cast her gaze to Falk and jerked her head to motion him closer. He stepped lightly, hooves crunching over the snow, as he pulled out the stone tablet that Myn had dug from the snow. “We found something else, Mush’a Stormbow.” Her gaze never left Kyena’s searching eyes.
She held out her hand towards Falkhen, beckoning for the tablet he held. Her fingers brushed over the cold surface as she traced the runes carved upon it. “Where did you get this? Where was it?”
“Buried in snow. In a valley within the Storm Peaks. Not sure where or if we’d even find it again.”
Kyena’s face was incredulous as her eyes scanned over the runes. Her lips mouthed the words until she reached the end. “ I, Jaisia Stormbow, Stormborn...proclaim myself the heir to the Crown of Thunder and the Lady of the Mountains. I bind myself with Tor’landa Moonblade and her sister and I follow Queen Azshara in name only.”
She looked up from the tablet and blinked. “Jaisia Stormbow was my father’s mother. They say she died in the same battle as Tor’landa. It's even said that she was Tor’landa’s right hand, more so than even Lan’reli.” Her eyes narrowed at the tablet. “But this makes no sense. Why would Jaisia want to commit treason against her sovereign? Even if it was Azshara.”
Jaleth held out his hand towards the tablet, fingers tracing over the same runes. “Maybe Azshara had gone mad long before the Burning Legion ever came to Azeroth.” He sighed, mind turning back to that time long ago when the three of them had been young. Ten thousand years, perhaps even more. “She did sell out her own people for power.”
Kyena looked at the sky, the faintest glimmer of the moon peeking out from the frozen clouds. “Yes, but that doesn’t explain any of this,” She gestured to the tablet and sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose between her fingers. “Azshara-”
“The wolf is the get of a wild god, Kyena. The only reason the beast is following me like a dog is because of that god.” Myn broke in, her face now back to her usual serious self. “It wasn’t attacking because it’s feral. It was attacking because this god wanted to protect Jaisia’s home.”
“You want to go back?”
Myn sighed this time, crossing her arms over her chest. “I don’t see why we couldn’t. This half of yourself is one you’ve never explored, Fa’lore Dracon .” She about spat the title at her, not in disgust, more of a pointed way.
Kyena clenched her jaw, the tendons standing out. “Then we go, explore the area for a while, and see what we can dig up.” She chuckled and gave Myn a glance. “Perhaps some artifacts could be worth something to someone. Ishetii, find the rest of our group. Including Aluuni, she could be of use helping to catalogue.”
With that, she turned, stopping to kneel in front of the wolf and give it a gentle pat, before she disappeared in the direction of the inn.
“So, Mush’a Stormbow wants me to go with her to an ancient Kaldorei ruin?”
“It's not so much a ruin as it is a...dilapidated piece of history?” Ishe swore Falk’s voice rose to new heights as she watched him stumble over the words. Aluuni, of course, tried her best to not sound too interested when they both knew that she was dying to get back out in the fields. But instead Kyena had relegated Aluuni’s position to learning as much about the history of Northrend, and by extension as much about the Scourge and the Lich King, as she could.
All of the information she had dug up had been beneficial to their efforts for revenge, even though Aluuni spent the other half of her time reading other materials in the Kirin Tor’s vast libraries. They’d been very helpful with her as well by making sure that there were translators and people to read out the volumes to her, as fire elementals were strictly barred from the libraries.
“Falkhen, that's the very definition of a ruin.” Aluuni shook her head at him and played with the totem tied around her waist. After a moment, she let out a long sigh. “I’ll go, for Vel’Orhan and my sake. He’d want to get his hands on as much of this runic written language as he could, especially the ancient stuff.”
“Thank you, Luun.”
She gave Falkhen a dismissive wave of her hand and turned back to her work she had spread on every possible surface in her room. A wind elemental helped her read whatever was on the pages, whispering the words from human common into Draenic. “Anything about this world I can get my hands on is enough reason to go anywhere.”
Four dragons took to the air this time. Followed by five hippogryphs, two of which weren’t very happy to be going back out into that frigid mountain cold. Their flight was uneventful as they made their way to the ancient stronghold. No storm pushed them from the sky. In fact it was gloriously clear on all sides, letting the breadth of Northrend be visible to those with the vantage point.
Far in the distance, the menacing gates of Icecrown rose from the icy ground, topped by an equally distant Citadel. Ishetii heard a grumble come from Kyena’s dragon as they gazed upon the bastion of their enemy.
After that, there was no more words passed through the group.
The snow had gone.
Araedrassil stood above them in all its glory.
It was a simple enough home. Elunheim looked posh in comparison. It was marked by the surroundings. Harsh mountains made the construction one of stone rather than wood. It was hewn simply, angles and sharp lines. None of the frills that other settlements had. A simple almost square, wider than it was long, with circular towers to each side, at the end of the two wings of the stronghold.
Jaisia’s statue stood far above them. Ishe found herself craning her neck back to see the top.
A wolf slunk from the opened front gate. Massive.
He stopped short once he caught sight of Kyena. If a wolf could look surprised, that was his expression.
“Jaisia may not have returned, but her image does. Elune-Adore, Kyena of houses Stormbow and Moonblade. I see more of Jaisia in you than even Tor’landa.”
Kyena bowed before Rykkon and plucked Zin’rhok from her back. “Elune-Adore, Stormwolf Rykkon. I bring back a piece of your lady. It deserves to rest. To come back home.”
He eyed the bow, icy eyes following every curve of the arms of the bow. The way Kyena had repainted the chipped blue paint it had once been, to a more fitting Moonblade purple and silver-gray. The owl’s feathers she’d hung on it. Over the years, Kyena had made the bow hers.
Why Kyena would want to willingly give up her bow, no matter how noble the cause, was beyond Ishetii. People shouldn’t just give up parts of themselves. It might be the last things that you had to remember them by.
It made her grip tighter to the strap that bound her sword to her body. She would never let this sword go. It wasn’t just a sword. Not anymore. It was her mother’s long blonde hair. Her father’s booming laugh. Serah’s drippy baby kisses. Breorhan’s endless chatter. But it was everyone who had come before even them. On and on until whomever came up with her sword’s design popped up on the family tree.
He shook his head. “Araeshi’rhok belongs with Lady Stormbow. And here she is.” He took a breath and looked Kyena over, covered in silver and purple with their sigil blazoned onto everything she wore. Jaleth slid from Nyreen’s back and sauntered to Kyena’s right. He was equally covered in the Seawhisper blue, along with their sigil. Much like Myn was as well.
An understanding came over the wolf. His words were measured when he next spoke. “You may cloak yourself in Moonblade colors. You may ride their saber’s great children. You can ride dragons like Tor’landa. You can emblazon yourself with branching trees and swords and dragon’s wings, Kyena Elu’Serrar, but you are also storms. Do you know Jaisia’s words as much as Tor’landa’s?”
“Shanna Thor di’shanna Araeshi.” She said, readily as ever, “The Fury of the Storm.”
“Never forget that, Lady Stormbow. Dalah shanna araeshi . You are the storm.”
She gave him a nod and regarded him once more. “What made you give up your power to her? Even a fraction could have meant life or death for you in certain circumstances.”
He motioned for the group to follow him. “There is a reason she called herself Stormborn. This valley is where she was born, thousands of years ago, when the Kaldorei were first making their way in this world. She heard of the Twins and their legend. By that time, half the empire had been fought for. Queens put into power. But she wanted their glory as well, little stormheart,” He chuckled as he padded alongside Kyena, leading her through the gates, “So, I made her bow a reflection of herself. Much like it was rumored for the Twins’ blades.”
“Stormbow was given to her then, I gather?”
“Stormbow started as any other bow. I only made it better. Like Elune and the hundreds of weapons she blessed during that time.” He huffed and shook his head, leading them into the stronghold proper now. “How many weapons she had to bless after the others wanted their share of glory.”
Ishe saw Kyena smile at the wolf as she followed him.
They walked in relative quiet as they entered the hold’s great carved doors. Stone they seemed to be made of, carved with images of wolves and storms. Of mountains peaks whose legends were lost to the ravages of time. At least Aluuni would have a grand old time cataloging what she could while they were here.
It was all quite a shock to Ishetii. She hadn’t even really seen Elunheim. At least not in person. One of the Kyena’dorei had described it for her but even then it didn’t have the full effect of having seen it in person. There were some things that you had to see yourself to get the full impact.
What really took Ishe’s breath away was the intricacy that seemed to pervade every Kaldorei building. Their architecture was made with a graceful precision, not a detail left unnoted, all while it spanned swathes of land. It seemed half part of the land with how twisted the flora was made to bind with stonework. And the sheer ancient feeling she would get if she stood anywhere in Kaldorei territory was overwhelming in a place like this.
The history here must be calling out to Aluuni.
“I trust that the...creatures you’ve brought with you will bring no harm to Araedrassil?”
Kyena pursed her lips, stopping in the midst of the cavernous entryway, her eyes drifting over the carvings that seemed to cover every surface. “They are called Draenei, Rykkon. I trust them. That is why they are here.”
The wolf made a sort of ‘humph’ and went on his way.
It was here that Aluuni stayed behind with a few of the hippogryph riders and began to catalogue some of the runes on the wall.
Kyena carried on until she reached that throne room. It was murky and dark, save for the lights that filtered through the broken stones far above them, only near the throne itself. Nyreen had tagged along and she took the opportunity to transform back into her dragon form. Her flame was enough to light the cavern enough to see the grand chandeliers that hung far above them. Even the candles were still mostly intact, long gone out against the cold of this place.
Once more, with Nyreen’s gentle flame, they were lit.
All three of them. Enough to bring light to every corner of the room.
Kyena strode forward until she reached the throne, her fingers brushing over the furs that covered it, now barely held together and mostly rotted to tatters.
“It is said, in legend of course, that those furs are my first born's.” Rykkon’s massive feet padded against the stone. “No pelt of my child ever ended up as Jaisia’s cushion. But everyone liked to make their tales.”
“You seem fond of her.”
Rykkon nodded and motioned towards the carving behind the throne. “She was the very essence of what I hold dear. Wild. Untouched and untamed. Fearless. That is why I let her ride upon my child during those wars for dominance at the beginning of this new world. They were the ones that showed Jaisia to me when she was just a youth. She rescued one, nursed the cub back to health and sent him on his way once more.”
“So, she was noble.” Kyena beheld the carving. It was dominated by the images of Tor’landa and Lan’reli taking their blades, but on either side there were smaller ones, similar in their make. All showed a figure receiving a gift of some sort from another heavenly figure. In one, it was obvious that it was Jaisia having Stormbow blessed by Rykkon. In another it was a male figure, surrounded on all sides by water, taking an indistinguishable object from what looked like a mermaid. In yet another, a man lingered long over a forge, dozens of blades surrounding him, all broken in some way. Though the same Goddess-like figure that was in the larger Moonblade depiction was watching over this man as he worked.
“The families that truly made the empire of old. Moonblade, Stormbow, Seawhisper and Silverblade. They were the ones that had armies under their thumbs. Some even argued that Whiyarmyr had the queen’s ear, no matter who she was. King without a Crown, he was called.”
Kyena’s eyes wandered all over the stonework, lingering over the depiction of the Silverblade man. “Is that so?” Her voice was not without a touch of venom. She was whispering to herself, barely audible but Ishetii caught a name.
But off she went, finding more things for Aluuni to make note of. There was hundreds of little things that would take a lifetime to catalogue and archive for Kyena. But she did make one thing clear that they were here to see if there was anything of value to sell. Their expeditions needed funding and people would pay a pretty price to obtain ancient elven artifacts. Even being part of the Alliance soldiers stationed here still didn’t garner them discounts on repairs or supplies.
“Jaisia said that Whiyarmyr was a good man. She often spoke highly of him.” Rykkon sat on his haunches before the carvings, regarding the ones showing the founder of the Silverblades. “How many times she’d come back with stories of their newest battle.” He let out a rumbling chuckle and sighed.
“What happened, when Jaisia left for the last time? Did she tell you where she was going? What she was doing?”
Rykkon looked lost in thought for a few long minutes. How long ago that must have been for the wild god, the endless years waiting and watching for Jaisia to come back home and for everything to go back to normal. A day that never came. “The weeks leading up to her departure were filled with secret meetings, with Tor’landa and all of the others. Lan’reli, Whiyarmyr, Jalora Starheart, Floki Seawhisper. Even the Twins’ mates, Cymaldor Silvermane and Shadon Breezebough. Many left in anger or disbelief after a majority of the meetings were concluded. Whiyarmyr especially.”
The wolf looked now to Jaisia’s carving. “I was kept out of these meetings. Though I did hear things. Things, my unfortunate Dracon, I cannot recall any longer.” He gave Kyena a pointed look when she sighed impatiently. “Though Jaisia grew more and more anxious and uneasy as the months dragged on. One instance stands out to me, even after all these long years.”
“Jaisia had stormed out of one meeting after Whiyarmyr. Shouting something about Lan’reli and Whiyarmyr. Something else about their duty to Tor’landa.” His eyes fell to the ground. “That was the last time that I ever saw Whiyarmyr, along with Tor’landa and the rest of them. A few days later, Jaisia left, armored in her old armor from the conquest with Araeshi’rhok over her shoulder.”
It was silent for a long while. It seemed to stretch on and on, until Rykkon spoke once more in that rumbling voice. “Why did you come here, Mush’a Stormbow?”
Kyena deliberated a moment before she spoke, for when she did, her words were soft and measured. “I have heard the stories and legends about my maternal grandmother all of my life. How she was strong and smart and fearsome. I was told that I was Tor’landa come again, Shanna Quel’dracon di’Kalimdor. But never anything about my paternal grandmother. I never knew that she was anything like this. Just as strong as Tor’landa.”
She licked at her lips, crossing her arms over her chest protectively. It almost looked like she was hugging herself tightly. “Over and over I was told that I would bring glory back to the Moonblade family, write them back into history. I’ve been fighting that battle since the Burning Legion came to Azeroth. I am tired, Rykkon. Tired of standing under the weight of Tor’landa’s shadow. I’ve fought and won glory, but I’ve lost and lost with no end in sight. I long to have only Jaisia’s shadow to stand under. No great purpose, no Dragonmark, nothing. She just… was. ”
“She still is , Kyena. She lives in you. In your blood. She was there all along. You can still choose to live your life the way you want.”
Kyena looked up at the wolf. Her face was filled with desperation and unease. A thousand emotions flashing across her eyes. It made Ishe turn and hunt down her brother just to get away from it. Aluuni was still cataloguing artifacts with the help of the Kyena’dorei she’d enlisted, probably against their will. Falkhen was still in the entryway, tucked away in a corner, talking with Myn softly. Something about seeing the two of them together eased Ishe’s heart.
She found a perch and wrapped herself in her cloak, a tiredness settling on her when she finally sat down.
Chapter 10: Sholazar Basin
Ishe didn’t think there was going to be a single inch of Northrend that her hooves didn’t touch by the time they finished this war, whichever side would win. They spent a few weeks with Rykkon, learning what they could from him, uncovering little pieces of Kaldorei culture that had been unique to Jaisia and the Northern groups. The Alliance had them shuffled from here to there as well, performing guard duty for the hundreds of garrisons that the Alliance was building. It was decent enough pay, coupled with their earnings from selling the artifacts.
Kyena had been more quiet than she was before, more reflective. Zin’rhok was never far from her hands. It was almost like it became part of her after speaking with Rykkon. Everyone had their job to do now, the hippogryph riders were out on their own missions in the Storm Peaks, along with Aluuni. Something to do with Ulduar. Ishe and Falk were sent to guard a garrison of settlers in the Howling Fjord for a few weeks. Kyena and the rest of her group went off to Sholazar Basin and came back with her own little curiosity.
She shared the story when they all gathered back in Dalaran. The inn was warm, Kyena surprisingly animated as she recounted her tale over possibly a few too many pints, the entire group rowdy even over the general din of the dining hall.
“Tell us how it happened again.” Falk slurred, sloshing back another pint.
Kyena licked at her lips and smirked, leaning forward in her seat once more. She gave everyone her eye, silencing them down the line. The beast in question wouldn’t be left behind to the stables with the rest of the companions. He sat, curled at Kyena’s feet, like an oversized housecat.
The beast was part of local legend. A spirit of the jungle, mated to Har’kon. They would stalk the jungle together, in search of prey, protecting others if they felt the need. Many didn’t want hunters going after the pair. They felt it would throw the jungle into imbalance. Something about the basin lived in perfect harmony. Like creation itself.
We’d just arrived at camp when a little scuffle broke out between a Frenzyheart tracker and an adventurer. The adventurer wanted to hire the wolvar to help him find the legendary beast. Perhaps he thought that killing and bringing the pelt back to Nesingwary would give him some fortune-
Jaleth broke over Kyena loudly, with a proud smile curling at his lips. “And of course she couldn’t let him have the fun!” He leaned back in his seat, looking at her like she was the best thing in the world.
Kyena gave him a good natured smack on the shoulder with the back of her hand. Ishe could have sworn she saw Kyena flush dark violet against her normally lavender skin. “Can I get back to my story, or would you like to tell it?” There was a playful lilt to her voice. It reached her eyes for once, taking away the hollowness that settled there.
“Could I keep in the best parts?” He quirked up an elongated eyebrow.
Now she pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed while everyone let out whoops and groans of disgust. She knocked back another tankard of ale and wiped her lips, picking up where she left off.
The adventurer wanted something out of killing the beast but no one would direct him where to go. Myself being of a particular skill set went off myself to see if I could find the beast.
A week of walking through that muggy, bug infested, swamp turned up nothing. Not a trace. It was like Loque'nahak was a ghost. Not even paw prints to track him by.
It wasn't until we decided to set up our camp where the trail, even though it was a feeble trail, went cold.
I'd sent the rest of our party back ahead of myself and Jaleth. I didn't want to give up on finding the beast and thought perhaps another day would give us something .
Of course, we had no such luck.
It was close to dark when we made our way back to the main camp. Still enough light to travel by, so we kept going. That was when I had the feeling that we weren’t as alone as we had thought.
Something was stalking us now. It had gone eerily silent in the jungle, as opposed to the usual cacophony of birds and insects. Nothing stirred around us. It was like the space had turned into a sealed room. Only us and whatever was watching us-
“Get to the good part already, Kyena!” Myn groaned, slapping her hand against the tabletop. The rest of the group joined in, overpowering even the louder of the other patrons with their sheer number.
Kyena hissed at them to quiet, smirking as she did so. “I can’t set the mood? Give some suspense?”
“Nooo!” Roared the group.
Kyena rolled her eyes, and continued once more.
Now, it was only us, and whatever was stalking us. We were out in the open, nothing for cover. Only thing that could protect us was most likely where it was hiding itself.
Jaleth looked nearly like he was going to faint right then and there. I,myself, nearly shit myself when the beast made its grand entrance.
He launched himself from cover, bigger than any saber I’ve seen. Bigger even than my own.
Two inches from my face he came to a screeching halt. His eyes were fixed upon mine. At this point my heart is thundering out of my chest. I have no hope against this beast. My saber was growling something fierce but Loque’nahak seemed unperturbed. He seemed to be measuring me, looking into my eyes like he was, eyes like blue fire.
I don’t know what possessed me to reach out to him. All of the sudden my hand was sunk into the metallic white coat. And the he dropped his head to me. If I didn’t know better, I would have said he bowed under my power.
I told Jaleth to back away first. And he did so, myself following closely behind. We walked until Loque disappeared in the foliage, then we turned as ran as fast as we could. I couldn’t even think to hop onto Henasi.
Every time I glanced back, he would be following us, tame as a kitten.
By the time we got back to base camp, we were well exhausted. But he was still with us. Even came out in sight of everybody. Of course the locals scattered upon the sight of Loque, but the hunters stayed, readying their weapons to take the beast down.
Loque looked ready to take down the entire encampment. I wouldn’t have put it past the cat either. It occured to me that this could become very, very bloody in a short time.
Again, what possessed me to start walking towards Loque is beyond my explanation. I found myself standing in front of him, bow ready, fully intending on protecting him from the other hunters. It took Jaleth explaining to them that the beast had bonded to me for them to let go of their quarry.
“That version is not as exciting as the last one.” Myn said grumpily, sipping at her ale.
Kyena sighed and stood, Loque mirroring her. “I think that its enough of our stories for one night. We all should be getting back to the swing of work tomorrow.”
Ishetii wasn’t sure what to expect when she led her talbuk through the gates of the newly constructed colosseum in Icecrown. Apparently, Tirion Fordring wanted to test the heroes of both the Horde and the Alliance. Only the best could have a hope of fighting against the Lich King and breaching the Citadel properly now.
She wasn’t sure testing needed all of this pomp. It brought too many hotheaded adventurers to Northrend for a shot at their glory. Everyone was here. Even Kyena had to answer the Alliance’s call. Ishe wasn’t even sure how they could prove who was stronger. By beating each other? Wasting resources? It all seemed a little beside the point. If they wanted to take down Arthas they should do it together.
But here she was, heeding the call like every other soldier in Northrend.
Kyena slowed Eludore to a stop, letting the rest filter around her until Ishetii caught up with her. “Now, after all we’ve done, we have to sit around here while the Lich King grows stronger and fight each other?” She sighed as she surveyed the encampment.
Ishe let Neonaa have her mouth back as the reins fell against her neck. “We should be breaching the Citadel together, without all of this.”
Kyena brushed her fingers through her saber’s coat absentmindedly. “That’s one thing that neither the Horde nor Alliance will agree upon,” She turned her attention to Ishetii once more, her face grave, “The Alliance and the Horde will never have peace. Not lasting.”
“I thought you hated the Horde.” More a statement than a question. She’d heard the stories of Kyena’s victories when the Orcs came to Kalimdor. Burning a village filled with warriors.
Warriors and mothers. Children.
She had the decency to drop Ishe’s gaze. Her mouth set in shame. “We hate the things we don’t understand, Ishetii. Even Kaldorei are no different. They came into our home and started claiming everything.” Then her jaw tightened, leather squealing together as her hands did the same on the horn of her saddle. “I did what I had to do, Ishetii. I am certain there are things that you’ve done that you are not proud of.”
Ishe grimaced at the hissing words. They rung true. Images came bubbling at the realization. In times of war, anyone could become monstrous. “Well, let’s hope that this tournament will help mend some old wounds.” Her mind drifted back to the last conversation she had with her daughter. Did she know what her mother did to keep her alive?
Kyena stopped short just by the human’s tent. There, a woman was brushing down a massive warhorse. She narrowed her eyes at her almost as if she was willing the human to turn around. “Evangeline Blackwood, is that you?”
The human whipped herself around, eyes wide with surprise. “Kyena! I would have thought you’d be in Elunheim.”
Kyena gave her a small smile and shook her head. She gave a look to everyone and slid from Eludore, the rest of the group following suit from their mounts. “How have you been, Evangeline?” She crossed the distance between them quickly, throwing her arms around the much shorter human. Even though Evangeline herself looked as tall as a human male.
“Decent enough. I’m a full fledged paladin now with the Silver Hand. Well, Argent Crusade now.” She waved to her horse and the armor that was being polished nearby by a young boy. “Have myself a squire and everything.”
Kyena flicked her eyes to the boy, no older than ten, and back to Evangeline. “An infant?” Her brow quirked upwards, lip curling in thinly veiled disgust.
“I was eighteen when I fought in the Third War. My father had me start as a squire when I was the same age as Dallin.” Evangeline did give the boy a wary look, face creased with worry. “I can’t help but mother him. He’s so young and he’s... here. Of all places on this world, he gets sent here. ”
Kyena gave her a tight smile, her ears flicking downwards ever so slightly. A look of concern. “Just keep him close and out of the fighting.” She let her words hover in the air for a moment before she cleared her throat and stood straight once more, all trace of her previous emotion gone. “I suppose congratulations are in order.” She eyed the girl more closely, a small smile tugging at her lips. “How is your mother?”
At that, Evangeline took a deep breath and sighed. Her eyes dropped to the ground as she played with the hem of her sleeve. “She's doing well enough. The loss of my father was much for her to bear. She left behind the Silver Hand and became a priestess.”
Evangeline’s lips drew into a tight grimace. “Didn't make it.”
Kyena dropped her hand on Evangeline’s shoulder. “The loss of a child is something I know all too well.”
Sadness flashed behind Evangeline’s eyes. A touch of grief, perhaps. Or a click of sudden understanding. Her lips parted but her eyes slid to the three scouts behind Kyena, their hair shining silver like a beacon in the sunlight. “They’re still with you?” The question was said tightly, her voice too high and thin. Another question burned behind her dark eyes.
Kyena cast a glance to Ishetii, her eyes tight before she finally sighed and clasped her hand together behind her. “They’re my children.”
Evangeline let out a laugh. “Right, the nickname for your group. Kyena’dorei. Still stuck around after all this time?”
She nodded and gave Evangeline a forced smile. “It was good to see you again, Evangeline.”
“Just call me Eva, Mush’a Stormbow.” Eva extended her hand towards Kyena, who grasped her forearm and gave a traditional shake. A smile was shared between the both of them, along with a nod. “Don’t be a stranger now, Mush’a.”
“I swear, little one. I swear on my life.” she regarded Eva again, this time with a motherly shine in her eyes. “If you ever wish to become part of my group, Eva, just say the word.”
Eva snickered and brushed off an imaginary spot from her pant leg. “I'm sure my mother would love to know you're watching my back. She thinks you're a god.”
Kyena stopped short and turned back to Eva with the strangest look in her eyes. “I am no god, Evangeline.” She said softly before clearing her throat and resuming a normal volume, “Ride well today. You’re representing Stormwind, correct?”
Eva nodded. “Riding with Aeva Petrovsky and a few others. We’re representing the Alliance itself, not just Stormwind.”
Kyena nodded at the human and turned, leading her group into the Tournament Grounds proper.
“Kyena!” Called a slurred voice. It must have been familiar to the huntress at least. She turned slowly, her face ashen, taking notice of a tottering elf that reeked of alcohol. “Kyena!” She screeched again, glaring at the empty skin in her hand after she tried to take another sip. It sailed over the woman’s shoulder and bounced into a clump of travelers, all muttering insults but none rising to challenge her.
“Taylande?” Kyena’s voice was high, thin. She stood stock still.
Ishetii was surprised there was anything recognizable about this woman. She was obviously one of the Kaldorei. Long ears jutted from the tangled mess of her pine green hair. Her priestly robes were tattered and worn, equipment in much the same state. Dirt covered her like she refused to see the inside of a bath house in months. But there was a loveliness to her face, under the layers of dirt, if Ishe had any say.
There was a wildness in those amber eyes. And a hunger. Those glassy amber eyes regarded Ishe for perhaps a fraction of a second but it made Ishe’s breath catch in her throat. Perhaps the hunger was mistaken for anger. It raged behind those eyes, hollowed out and sunken. It curled her lips into a smirk, made her wrinkle her nose.
“Taylande, I can help you-” Kyena’s voice broke Ishe out of her reverie, making her tear her eyes from the elf to look at Kyena. Hurt was evident all over her face. It made creases between her brows, drew up her lips into a grimace.
“You know, you should have just taken me with you.” Taylande slurred, looking angrier by the second.
“You wanted to be a priestess-”
“I was a stupid child. I just wanted out.”
Kyena looked taken aback. Jaleth was just staring at her with pain creasing at his face. Tugging down his lips and giving him new wrinkles around his brows and eyes. What did he see in this girl? He looked like he’d seen a ghost.
Myn pushed past Ishe and stood next to Kyena, looking equally as freaked as the other two. “Taylande?”
She let out a sigh and rolled her eyes. “Not you too. Look, lady, I don’t even know you and I’m trying to speak with my aunt so can you screw off?” She didn’t sound like any of the elves that Ishe’d interacted with. She sounded almost human.
Myn seemed to ignore her, stepping forward towards Taylande. “Tay, where is Nar? Where is dalah Nymia?”
“Nymia? I don’t know and I don’t care. She left me behind.” Tay spat at Myn.
Myn looked at her with a mixture of pity and disbelief. What could have turned this elf so angry? Why was she angry at Kyena? At this faceless Nymia? “Taylande, what happened to you?”
“I don’t need a pity party and I don’t need a mother. I left one back at the Winterspring temple.”
Kyena sprung forward and wrapped her hands around Tay’s arms. “Taylande, what was her name?” The girl looked up at her, confused for a moment, not answering. Kyena shook her, making her head shake violently. “Taylande, what was her name? ” She roared, fingers turning pale from the strength of her grip.
“Goddess! Her name was Lan’reli? Lanasae?” Tay blinked hard, still in Kyena’s iron grip. The huntress hissed at her again, rattling her once more. “Fuck, it was...Landrelia!”
Kyena dropped the girl to the icy ground. As she stared off into space, she seemed to remember herself, kneeling next to Tay, brushing back her hair from her face. “Taylande, did she have green hair like yours? Twin blade markings, with what looked like lace filling them?”
Tay thought for a moment, struggling against the cloud of alcohol, and nodded. “Yes. Yes she did.”
Kyena suddenly cupped Tay’s face within her hands and gave her a quick kiss upon her brow. “Taylande, Ru belah dal min’da. Elune-Adore, Sin ana sin.”
It was the first time that Kyena looked truly happy, aside from flying with Nyreenastrasza.
The main event of today was merely a low tier practice run between a pair of Alliance knights and Horde wolf riders. The names weren’t to be announced until right before the match. Ishe and Falk pushed through the throngs of people into the coliseum. But Ishe caught sight of a very familiar pair of women, leading their massive wolves through the main gate into the pit. One was a monster of an Orc, still with those metal tusks planted into her jaw. The other was big, though she tended on the leaner side, with those beautiful horns jutting proudly around her head. Both wore matching outfits. Padded jerkins for jousting, all emblazoned with Horde colors.
Ishetii let out a shrill cry. Uruna turned and gasped. Both ran to each other, throwing their arms around one another. “Uruna!” Was all Ishe could manage. The girl had grown stronger in each other’s absence.
“Throm-ka, mother.” Uruna whispered, not letting go.
Ishetii smiled and held her daughter tighter to her, even against the angry whispering of the others all around them. “Throm-ka, padiri’eras.” The switch between Orcish and Draenic startled Uruna out of Ishe’s arms.
She looked achingly like her father. Her dark brown hair done up into a warrior’s braid, identical to the one her companion wore. Still, her features were far too delicate to be of purely orcish origins. She had her mother’s eyes for one, pure blue, like the skies that stretched above the rolling grasses of Nagrand. The horns were like Ishe’s own mother’s, though the images of her face were fading from Ishe’s memories. Every day they became more and more faint. But her father still left his touches on the shape of her face. The tiniest jut of her tusks. The bit of savagery in the shape of her eyes, the way her brows drew together, the constant almost-snarl of her lips. The spray of freckles over her nose and cheeks.
A horn sounded. Uruna looked distressed, tearing her eyes from her mother, looking at a very insistent Tekarka. “If you ever have need of me, I will be here.” Uruna gave her mother a pointed look as she peeled herself from her arms and sprinted towards her wolf.
Ishe couldn’t have watched the joust if she wanted to. She had too much pent up energy. She’d seen her daughter. Again. Besides, Falkhen would have much more fun watching it with the other women from the Kyena’dorei. Perhaps it’d even help distract Jaleth from whatever hurt Taylande had caused him. Falk and Jaleth seemed to get along well enough. Both had shared a few jokes and chats.
“You need to tell her all the same, before you go back on your wild goose chase!”
Ishetii stopped short outside of a private alcove, listening to the hurled argument that poured from within. She peeked around the corner and saw Kyena and Myn, both dark purple with rage, hissing at each other. Myn looked like she was pleading with Kyena, while Kyena was trying to get out of the conversation.
“Would you be happy with me holding out information about Lan’s location? Would you thank me? Would you tell me that Lan’s not worth it?” Myn threw her hands around animatedly, poking Kyena in the chest at her last question to punctuate her point. “Perhaps you’d rather not find her. It makes keeping Jaleth to yourself easier.”
Kyena bristled at the intended insult. “What would you have me do, Myn’ra? She’s a Silverblade . That’s always going to matter more than the Moonblade in her blood. Elune knows that she might give up her location to Nilan or someone else.”
“You should tell her where her damn sister is !” Myn hissed. “You need to tell her that she’s drinking herself to death! Nym -Nar, can help her. I know she can!”
“Myn’ra, I know you idolize this girl, that you’ve been trying to get into her pants for years now but it’s just not going to happen. Raising children together, staying in the same bed. One would think she’d have gotten the message but she didn’t. She will never love you, Myn’ra! Besides, there are others; and don’t think that I haven’t noticed. Perhaps you don’t care about Nymera as much as you think you do!” The words were thrown at her, making her flinch backwards. Neither had noticed Ishetii standing there, mute at the heated argument.
Kyena closed her eyes and sighed. “Myn’ra, I did not-”
“Go fuck yourself, Kyena.” Myn’ra ground out, past the tears in her throat. Her voice had cracked over Kyena’s name, turning it into a high squeak.
Kyena was stood there for a solid minute before she hurled the table over, sending Ishetii running from the room.
Falkhen didn’t know what to expect from Myn’ra. After Ishe found him, nearly frantic, she sent him to try and pacify Myn. Why she wanted to send him, he had no idea. The woman was a good friend, yes, but he would not say they were overly close. But it was better than having a wolf and dragon at each other’s throats here.
He found her a few drinks in. It made him think of the time, all those months ago, while they were still in Dalaran. When she talked to him after Lyorien left. Head nor hide of the man had been seen since. It was like he simply disappeared. He shook away the thoughts as he crossed the pavillion to her and sat.
All was quiet for a good few minutes. Though not an uncomfortable one. Then Myn’ra spoke. “Did you truly love Lyorien, Falkhen?” The words were whispered but it felt like they were hurled at him like a mace.
Did he love Lyorien? Truly? Or was it convenient? A grab at something that distracted him from his pain, losing his family on Draenor? Just how well had he known Lyorien? He knew nothing of his family. Not who his mother was, nor his father. He didn’t even meet Sadrimyr until they came to Dalaran. And that meeting had been a disaster. He stayed away from Kyena, while also keeping a close eye on her. He hardly talked about anything aside from sex. Or his past exploits. Or anything insubstantial.
Falkhen supposed he’d never known Lyorien. At least not the one that he kept hidden. The real Lyorien; that would come out every so often.
We’re not lovers, we’re just strangers
With the same damn hunger
To be touched, to be loved, to feel anything at all
He set his jaw. “No.”
Myn’ra brought her eyes to him now, instead of staring off into space. She studied him before letting her eyes drop when their eyes met. “I loved someone.” She picked at her nails, keeping her eyes from meeting his. “But I fear she doesn’t love me back. Nor will she ever.”
Falk stayed silent for a moment, hedging on taking one of her hands in his or leaving her be. He decided on the latter. He cleared his throat before he spoke again. “Things take time, Myn. Patience-”
“I’ve waited ten thousand years for her to say she’d loves me.” She interrupted, jaw clenching.
Falk snapped his mouth shut.
“But I fear it's for nothing. That when she finally does I’ll have to break her heart.”
Falkhen let his eyes roam over her face, lingering overly long on her lips. The curves of her scars. Of the tattoo that covered and beautified that horrid scar. The downward curves of her ears, her lips, that’d she’d get when she was sad.
“She deserves more than me. Someone who loves her with a pure heart. Who will be gentle with her soft heart. Who will hold her when she’s sad. Who will lift her up when she’s in doubt. Who will stand by her side when she needs it. Not someone like me.” Again, she picked at her nails until the cuticles started to bleed.
No, we’re not lovers
We’re just strangers
Falk covered her hands with his. Engulfing them would be more apt of a description. “This girl would be lucky to have you, Myn’ra.” He said softly, trying to catch her flicking eyes. “We all want to find somebody to share our lives with. It does not matter if there are multiples. It does not make you lesser.”
Myn looked up at him, finally, with parted lips. Eyes softened. “Kyena told me she’d never love me. That I should move on.”
“I heard. Ishetii told me. She’s the reason I’m here. Said I should check on you.”
“Your sister is kind.” Her eyes dropped again, but she didn’t try to take her hands from his.
We’re just strangers
With the same damn hunger
To be touched, to be loved, to feel anything at all
“Sometimes.” He deadpanned.
Myn snorted and finally smiled. “I watched you for years.” She stopped short, laughing now, forehead leaning against his forearm as she hid her sudden embarrassment. It lit up her ears, burning with dark indigo. “I realize that sounds very strange.”
Falk let out his out laugh. “Go on.”
She kept her head down, voice muffled. “I watched you fight in Outlands. I watched you come back to Azeroth and become more and more at home. I’ve watched you here, with Lyorien. With Ishetii and Kyena and the rest.” Her voice hitched over Kyena’s name. “You are a good man. That's what makes this all the worse. Neither deserve this mess.”
To be touched, to be loved, to feel anything at all
She slid her hands out from his and cupped his cheek, thumb rubbing over his cheekbone. “Shaha lor’ma, Falkhen.” She turned to stand.
Falkhen caught her arm and pulled her towards him. But he let her go just as quickly. “Myn’ra, follow what your heart says. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Everything works out in the end. It always does.” His voice was unintentionally husky. She was close, too close. She hadn’t even backed away when he let her go. She could have moved by now. Why wasn’t she-?
Everything fell away when she gathered his face in her hands and tilted his head up to hers.
We’re not lovers
We’re just strangers
With the same damn hunger
We are lovers
We’re not strangers
With the same damn hunger
Ishetii set off to find Kyena again. Last she heard from the guards, she had gone back to her own tent and was packing away her gear.
She looked up when Ishe moved the tent flap over, hesitating before she motioned her inside. “Ishetii, you can stay here if you want, but I’m going home. I have to find my sister if she’s still alive.”
“You’ve given up vengeance?”
She looked towards Icecrown rising up in the distance, heaving out a sigh. “His day will come with or without my help. My lost Kyena’dorei will be avenged. Nor would they deny me this.”
Ishe looked back at the strange elf stumbling away towards the main pavillion and felt a twist in her gut. She had others here that would look after her and after the rage she’d given Kyena she wasn’t sure it was really worth it to stick around for Taylande. She turned and looked at Kyena, resolute in her stance, cloak brushing gently aside in the surprisingly calm wind.
“For what it's worth, Mush’a Stormbow, I’ll follow you.”
Kyena broke into a smile and stuck out her hand. Ishetii grasped it like she’d been shown by the Kaldorei, her fingers wrapping around Kyena’s forearm as she gave it a shake. “Call me Mush’a Moonblade instead, Ishetii.”
The song is Strangers by Halsey and Lauren Jauregui (I may or may not have been listening to it on repeat while writing and found it fitting for that scene)