The inn at the outpost seemed all right, if rustic — its stone walls were supported by thick roughly-hewn wooden beams, but the owners had hung a garland of northern flowers that convinced Vajarra that it was all right. More importantly, it was warm inside, a huge fire roaring in the hearth that took up most of the far wall. Vajarra paid for a room, and hurried over to warm herself up. She was certain that some of her tendrils had frozen off, and her hooves ached from the cold of the ground. She’d put something on to keep her heels warm, but it did nothing for the sensitive frogs of her hooves. Vajarra shed her heavy cloak on a chair, and settled down onto the blissfully warm stones of the hearth. Warmth… finally. She closed her eyes contentedly, hoping that her room might have a tub so she could have a hot bath when she got upstairs.
Who was talking? It sounded like — Vajarra gave a little squeak of surprise as she turned toward the voice, one she was certain that she recognized. Malcos the night elf was sitting at the table where she’d dropped her cloak, staring at her with a brow arched. She could see the glint of metal in the dim light, and she scrambled up to her hooves.
“Don’t you stab me!” she hissed, her eyes searching the tavern for what might be a guard. He looked insulted by the suggestion, but she didn’t care anymore.
“I’m not going to stab you,” Malcos said, his ears lowered. “What in Azeroth are you doing here?”
Vajarra started to answer, but shut her mouth again. What was she supposed to say? If Malcos knew what she was really doing, he’d try to hurt Istahn. Instead she shook her head, looking at him darkly. “I should ask you the same thing. I thought you were working in Stormwind.”
Malcos shrugged, leaning back into his chair to watch her, that brow still arched, but he seemed more amused than anything now. Probably he was laughing at her. “I was reassigned,” he answered, and Vajarra grimaced at the hint of a slur in his words.
“You’re drunk,” she said, grabbing her cloak from the chair and backing toward the stairs.
“I’m off duty,” Malcos retorted, which wasn’t a denial. “And I’m not drunk.”
Vajarra snorted softly in disgust, turning to climb the stairs up to her room. “So what are you doing here?” he asked, watching her carefully. The question made her pause, her hand on the railing.
“It isn’t any of your concern,” Vajarra said flatly. She wished he would just go back to his table and leave her alone. He was going to ruin everything with his constant questions.
Vajarra shook her head, continuing up the staircase, but she could hear him following. “It’s way too dangerous for you here,” Malcos said. “You know that.”
“So? Since when do you care? Are you going to run and tell Vass what I’m doing?”
His gaze narrowed. “Oh, is that it?” Vajarra turned to go again, and he sighed. “Look, I’m sorry I told your sister we spent some time together. I was hung over and pissed off at her at the time and wasn’t exactly thinking straight.”
“Do you trust her, Malcos?” She stood in the darkened doorway at the top of the staircase, her eyes glowing dimly.
The question made him pause, that was for certain. After a moment, he responded, eying Vajarra icily. “More than I used to.”
Vajarra couldn’t tell if he really believed that or not. “She betrayed her own sister. What makes you so sure that she won’t betray you, too?”
Malcos lowered his ears, trying to rein in his temper. “By killing that bastard? He was probably just using you to get to her. She did both of you a favor.”
She pushed the heavy door open into her room, dropping her cloak onto the bed. Malcos still followed behind her, like an angry shadow. “I see you’ve swallowed every line she fed you,” Vajarra snapped at him.
The elf settled into a chair beside the door, sighing wearily. “I have no reason to believe what she told me about him is a lie. It just doesn’t fit.”
Vajarra stared at Malcos, incredulous. “Doesn’t fit her? How long have you known Vass?”
He lowered his ears further, staring across into the fireplace. She knew that she was upsetting him, wanted to stop and say she didn’t mean it, but the words still came. “How do you know she’s not cuddling up to somebody else right now?”
Malcos snarled back at her. “Why do you care?”
Vajarra shook her head uncertainly. “I suppose I don’t. I told you that if you wanted to ruin your life, I wouldn’t stop you. I’m just surprised, that’s all.”
He stood, his ears still flattened in anger, and strode out into the darkened hallway. “Then if you don’t care, just drop it.” Malcos closed the door hard, sending the door frame shivering and several petals fluttering down from the garland.