Ishadre was used to waiting, her job had demanded as such, waiting for the right moment, the right location. She was used to this and yet waiting for Amaalia to show up at their meeting spot had her jittering where she leaned against the wall. It had been perfect really, a secluded cabin amongst the rolling hills of Stormsong Valley had been the perfect opportunity. Its owners had long since fled and it was far too unassuming to bring any nosey alliance or horde to its doors. She had almost felt giddy the moment she had picked it out, eager to see her lover again. Of course, she would never admit that she had missed her, but the uncomfortable eagerness in her chest probably spoke louder than she cared for.
Sighing, Ishadre looked to her side where Beaky, her raven, sat, eyeing the door almost as expectantly as she was. Amaalia had definitely received her message, there was no way she couldn’t have. Beaky had never failed her before and whilst the fighting had been ongoing, nothing new or drastic had happened, it was almost as if it were the calm before the storm.
As her thoughts began to move to the ongoing war and she felt the weariness settle within her very bones, she heard the unmistakable sound of Amaalia’s knock on the door, breaking her out of her thoughts and yanking her firmly into the present. She sprang lithly away from the wall, answering the knock with one of her own, before finally pulling the door open. For a moment, she could barely think, a smirk pulling at her lips as her eyes hungrily took in the imposing and powerful figure that Amaalia cut in her armour, before she finally remembered herself and dragged the woman inside.
“This place is a mess,” Amaalia said, her head turning around the cabin and the discarded furniture that Ishadre hadn’t thought to pick up.
“It’s wonderful to see you too, Amaalia,” Ishadre chuckled, following the woman and placing a hand over the chest piece of the plate her lover wore. “You look… magnificent as always.”
Ishadre bit her lip as she moved her hand up over the plate, watching as Amaalia looked down at her with eyes that seemed to blaze as they watched the hand between them. She left her fingers trail up to her lover’s cheek, smirking as Amaalia seemed to instinctively lean into the touch. It had been so long since they could meet like this and Ishadre found herself yearning for this touch and for the kisses that she hoped would follow. She pressed forward, almost pinning Amaalia to one of the walls, her lips inching closer and closer to her neck. Her breath was shaky, taking in the scent of metal and sweat and spice that always clung to the draenei, she was but a breath away, when suddenly she felt a gauntlet grasp her wrist and lips move to her ear.
“Have you heard the news?” Amaalia asked, pushing Ishadre away from where her lips had almost graced her with their touch.
“If this is about the Light, I don’t really care,” Ishadre chuckled, rolling her eyes as she stepped back and surveyed the tension that seemed to be held within Amaalia’s shoulders. “There are other things I would rather worship, my dear.”
“The war… there will be a battle soon. One the Alliance hopes will bring a swift victory and an end to all of this.” Amaalia crossed her arms over her chest, unwittingly putting up a barrier between them that Ishadre knew all too well. “We cannot ignore this any longer.”
“Oh? More war talk? Goodie! I always wanted to use our secret escapes as places to talk more of war and politics!” Ishadre sighed, leaning her shoulder against the wall as she took in the straight and determined line of Amaalia’s lips.
“Can you take something seriously? Just this once?”
“I’ve taken many things seriously. Take today for instance! I very seriously wanted to get you on your back again, dearest.”
Amaalia snorted, tilting her chin upwards as her lips quirked ever so slightly, giving away a smile that almost managed to grace her face. Almost. The paladin walked forward, reaching out her hand and placing it on Ishadre’s shoulder, her eyes burning brightly with intent as they seemed to stare deeper into her soul than she would have liked.
“Turn your back on the Horde,” Amaalia spoke, her words clear and crisp.
“I didn’t think I was ever with them,” Ishadre sniffed, attempting to brush the hand off of her shoulder and succeeding only in making the hold tighter. “I’m my own woman, Amaalia, as I have told you countless times before.”
“Yet you do not turn to the alliance.”
“Yes, what part of me being my own woman do you not understand? I don’t work for either side and that suits me just fine. The only thing I care about is whether I’m doing okay, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about anyone else.”
“That’s not true,” Amaalia scoffed, rolling her eyes and furrowing her brow.
“Isn’t it? You know who I am, Amaalia. It’s why you keep coming to me isn’t it? You crave the excitement, even when you don’t admit it to yourself. You enjoy the thrill of me,” Ishadre laughed, winking at Amaalia, even as her lover’s face turned more and more into a scowl. She wasn’t in the mood to play today.
“This isn’t a game. Why do you insist on killing and taking for your own selfish greed when you could be doing good in this world? Azeroth is dying and the people your Nightborne have fallen into bed with are destroying it more and more! This is not something you can stand idle in, we must act before it is too late!”
Amaalia’s whole body seemed tense and primed, as if she had been working her way up to this discussion for the entire time that she had been coming here, as if this conversation had been brewing in her mind for a long time. Her fists clenched, even as she held her arms tightly against her chest and her breaths seemed harder somehow, as if it was taking every ounce of her power to keep herself in control.
“I decide what I must do, Amaalia,” Ishadre scoffed, turning her back and moving to where she had stored her pack. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ve heard your lectures enough for one day. I don’t want to be stuck here for hours like last time.”
“Wait, please,” Amaalia spoke, stepping forward and holding out her hand imploringly. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to give Ishadre pause. “We can’t keep doing this. We cannot keep playing this game.”
“I thought you said it wasn’t a game, dear? No one is forcing you to come here, you know? You come to me when I call of your own free will and I call to you, despite how utterly self-righteous and obnoxious you’re being. It’s what we do. It’s who we are, Amaalia! You push and I pull, you walk away and I chase after you, I hide and you seek me out. It’s what we do and it doesn’t rely on what goes on in the world around us.
We have both lived for far too long and we know what war is. We know how it breaks and shapes people and I’m tired of it. I don’t care enough to get involved in another war, I just care about finding some fucking peace and fun somewhere to make it all better.”
I just care about you. The thought that seemed to push to the forefront of her mind before she tossed it aside as quickly as it came. She was too angry right now, too tired of this fight that seemed to keep coming up no matter how much they both knew that they would never see eye to eye on it. Amaalia wanted her by her side, she wanted her to join the Alliance for her own bloody peace of mind. So that her own ideals and sense of what was right could stay in tact. Well what about hers?
Growling once, Ishadre stepped forward and into Amaalia’s face, her face unflinching as she jabbed a finger into the chest plate, her eyes hard and her lips pursed as she pressed the metal harder with her finger. Those burning eyes watched her once more, a tense line tightening within Amaalia’s jaw as she took Ishadre’s hand aware from her chest and held it in her own. Silence hung between them as they glared, the hardness of their eyes countered against the way Amaalia seemed to hold onto her, pulling their bodies closer together.
“Why won’t you ever just make this easy?” Amaalia sighed, working her jaw as if trying to ease the tension along it.
“I won’t bend to your will, Amaalia.”
“I would never want you too. I want you to make the choice. I wish you would just make a damn choice so I knew how to stop all of this.”
Ishadre shook her head, as a hand wound around her waist, pulling her harder against her until she could not help but lean in again, brushing their lips together finally, but not fully committing to the action just yet. No, now was not the time for that, instead she nipped harshly at her lip, earning her a groan from the dranaei’s lips.
“You’ll be waiting a long time for that, dear.”
“Foolish, perhaps, but never patient,” Ishadre spoke, pulling away from Amaalia’s grip before striding over to her pack and hastily shoving some candles she had brought for the occasion back into it, with perhaps more force than was truly necessary.
Gods, just one day she would like to be able to forget about this damned war and stop being reminded of it every waking second of her life. She swung the pack over her shoulder, looking up to see a fleeting sadness and disappointment that crossed Amaalia’s face. Sighing, she went back one last time, her fingers clasping her lovers chin and greedily stealing a deeper kiss than last time, wanting to remember the feel of her lips so that maybe next time would be luckier for them.
“When will I see you again?” Amaalia asked, her back straightening as she crossed her arms and put up that barrier once more.
“Whenever the world pulls us together again,” Ishadre said, waving her hand almost dismissively, as if the feelings of frustration and disappointment weren’t currently roiling in her chest. “Look for Beaky, I’ll send you word when I’m able to meet up again.”
Amaalia nodded, her lips pursed as she thought for a moment. Ishadre could feel the draenei’s own frustrations rolling off of her in waves and it was taking all of her willpower not to give in, to feed off of that frustration and let off the steam that was pent up inside of her. No, she was far too annoyed for that, no matter how much she had missed being held in Amaalia’s strong, muscular arms.
“Think about it? Please?” Amaalia spoke one last time, her shoulders tensing again as she held herself tall. “Think about what is right.”
“Maybe next time, Amaalia,” Ishadre said, finally turning her back on her lover and walking out of the door.
She did not stop, not even to check to see if Beaky were following her as her companion always did. The feeling of Amaalia’s eyes practically burned into the back of her head as she walked, disappearing and stealthing away from what would have been a perfect oasis of calm amongst the proverbial storm. Next time perhaps Amaalia would be in a better mood, where the war would be another tiring subject that neither wanted to broach, when all they both wanted was to find pleasure in each other and forget about the world.
“Maybe next time,” Ishadre breathed into the setting sun, moving further and further away from the place she had dared to think could bring her peace.