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AC Day 17: First Steps

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Even if she knew it would never completely felt like home, Maiev had to admit she was starting to like the Elwynn Forest. In case of need, she could be in Stormwind really fast and also, with all the guards patrolling all around the zone, everything was calm and safe. And the best was that she could keep herself updated on the current war by herself and not having to rely on any messenger.

At first, she had thought of setting in Val’Sharah but the demon’s presence was still important and not only was the Broken Isles as touched as the rest of the world with the faction war but also, she couldn’t look at Black Rook Hold without having some cold shivers running down her spine. Without speaking of all the place that would remind her of him…

Maiev sighed a little at the thought of Illidan. If only she had told him, she would constantly repeat to herself. But now, he was miles and miles away and wasn’t even aware he had a child.

She looked down at Khalari, trying to draw in his food with his little fingers, apparently happy with himself as he was joyfully babbling. She ruffled his sweet dark blue hair and he answered with a cheerful “mama”, his little wings moving in his back as an indication of his emotion.

“Do you still eat?” She asked, mimicking his joy.

A vigorous shake from his head told her he was done and she smiled, wiping his little hands from the rest of the food. When she got up, Khalari raised his hands to her, asking to be taken out of his chair and she gladly followed his order. Once in her arms, he began to get agitated, showing her his play’s mat.

“Wamus…Wamus…” He repeated, showing a plushy laying on the mat.

Maiev quickly got the little dreadlord plushy, meant to represent Loramus, a gift sewed by the Illidari and gave it to Khalari who hugged it until his eyes slowly closed, ready for his afternoon nap.

That plushy was his nap plushy and she would lie if she hadn’t thought it wasn’t really the kind of gift she wanted for her son but he loved it and decided it would be his nap’s plushy. The excuse from the Illidari was that not only, it was a way to get Loramus involved in the dynamics as he couldn’t move from the Fel Hammer and also to get Khalari used to see demon as they didn’t know if he had a spectral sight and also as they were part of their world, no matter how much they didn’t want it.

But his favorite plushy was actually a bear sewed by a Warden, and Maiev wasn’t going to lie, she was preferring that plushy as the Loramus’ one.

She kept rocking Khalari in her arms, softly, waiting a little before putting him on the mat, knowing he could wake up if she was doing it too fast. But she hadn’t been able to wait too long that Jarod finally came home. Thankfully, he knew the habit of Maiev and Khalari and stay as silent as possible waiting for Maiev to finally be free.

“So, how is it going?” she asked after leaving Khalari on the mat.

“Could be better I’m going to say,” Jarod answered bitterly.

“No end in sight?”

“I had more faith in the War of the Ancient.”

“If only…” she whispered before shaking her head and going to the little kitchen, doing the dishes, trying to keep her hands busy with something.

But Jarod knew. As much as she loved Khalari and sacrificed so much to raise him, especially after Illidan decided to stay at the Pantheon, unaware of the situation, she still wanted to give up everything and fight once again. Even back at the War of Thorns, she had been ready to lead the Warden into the fight as a reprisal and he had to stop her, reminding her that she was still pregnant. It had been difficult for both of them but in the end, Maiev chose his son over the war.

Even when it was obvious she wanted to fight. After all, she had done it for years and it was part of her.

“Right now, we’re dealing with unmeasurable force Maiev, even myself I am scared of what could happen. You are better here with Khalari.” Jarod told her.

“I know…It’s just that…” She tried to explain, searching her words as she looked at the wall in front of her. “I wish Illidan was there, that he could know about Khalari, that he could be there to help us…”

Jarod decided to not tell her that he didn’t want to see that demon any time soon but himself had been in love so he could understand why she was thinking that. Even if a part of himself was still trying to understand how it happened but he decided to be there for his sister and help her as much as he could. No matter how much he wanted to kill Illidan to have forced her to live that.

“And I mean, I fight some shit too so I could probably be useful on the battlefield…” she continued to explain, washing the same plate over and over, harder and harder.

But Jarod wasn’t listening to her anymore, not only because they had that discussion time and time again but more particularly because he saw that Khalari wasn’t sleeping anymore. He was sitting on his mat, now holding onto the little bear as he looked at Maiev. She was still deep inside her explanation and didn’t realize something was off, especially that she was turning her back to them.

Slowly and completely unsure of himself, Khalari tried to get on his feet while keeping the plush in his hands. He quickly fell back on his butt but Jarod could feel the determination from where he was and he had a little smile as it reminded him that indeed, his parents were most likely the two most reckless peoples to ever step that damned planet.

Leaving the plush on the ground, Khalari put himself on his knees and hands and with one solid push, straightened up, his wings furiously flapping to not fall back again. After a few seconds, he was still on his feet, his arms and wings spread to keep his balance and with horror, Jarod saw him trying to get the plush still on the ground, sure he would fall back on the mat. But Khalari proved him wrong as he used his wings to keep him from falling. They weren’t big enough for him to fly but it was apparently good enough to keep him on his feet.  

And with a smile, Jarod saw him makes his first steps, looking determined but also afraid as he kept clutching the poor plush in his hands. But he kept going, walking right to Maiev who was still lost in whatever she was saying, completely unaware of her surroundings. He was constantly flapping his wings, knowing it could help him to not fall while knowing that now he wasn’t on the mat anymore, it would hurt to fall.

Once Khalari almost reached Maiev, Jarod realized he should warn her of what was happening.

“Maiev, listen to me…” He said calmly. “Please, do not freak out. Do. Not. Freak. Out.”

And obviously, Maiev started to freak out, suddenly turning to face her brother, thinking that some kind of threat had appeared. But she hadn’t got the time to ask him anything that something bumped into her legs and she quickly looked down. Khalari was clinging on her legs, still trying to keep his balance.

“Mama?” he asked, looking all worried.

Maiev had to fight back the tears and she smiled at him before crouching to face him while holding him.

“Did you walk till here?” she asked, keeping her smile up, knowing Khalari loved mimicking her as she tried to wash away the worries on his face.

“Fo’ you.” Khalari only said, giving her the little bear plushy.

Maiev took a deep breath, trying to not tear up in front of her son. Instead, she took him in her arms, keeping the plush between them.

“Thank you Khalari.” She whispered, a little ashamed to have let him fell she wasn’t feeling alright when she had done her best since his birth to keep him in a happy environment.

“Love you!” He shouted, happy to see that his gift was working.

“I love you too.” She only answered, kissing his forehead while silently asking Jarod for help, as she was already crying and hated it as much as she always did.

Her brother only nodded and crouched, looking at Khalari before smiling.

“Hey Khalari, come say hi to uncle Jarod!” He joyfully said, opening his arms wide.

As she felt Khalari wanting to play that new game, she put him back on his feet and quickly, the little boy began to awkwardly walk and run to Jarod, still using his wings to balance himself. He ended throwing itself in Jarod’s arms, laughing before turning back to Maiev, asking with his eyes if he could come to her and she quickly sat on the floor, opening her arms and calling him.

“Now, we are really going to need to watch the doors.” Only added Jarod, already imagining Khalari running away for some kind of adventures.

“Oh, goddam…” Maiev stopped herself, realizing all the works it was implying.