The tiny garden next to the tent caught her eye early on; it looked so… sad.  In just a few days, the weeds had snuck in, turning the neat ordered rows and half-buried helmet-pots into an unkempt mass of bits of green and brown, threatening to overrun the garden entirely.  In another week, it would vanish in the carpet of scrub that seemed everywhere in Stormheim.

One by one, the Templars went to bed, or on errands – she was glad.  Crowds were always iffy, and the magic that swirled around each of them (especially the demon-hunters – so *fascinating*) kept making her want to sneeze and left her constantly rubbing at her eyes to clear the little sparkling leftovers out of the corners of her vision.  The five by the fire settled in to serious conversation, and it felt good to be a little left out.

She doodled in that journal – making notes on the runesigns and the Hunters’ tattoo work; she couldn’t forget, after all.  So -intricate- and beautiful- the words of binding were right there, swirling around and through the ink itself.  It was a whole new… or maybe old? … way of working magic, and she found herself wondering if she could do the same thing, more temporarily, with paint, or dye.  Her mind started wandering through possibilities – bound magic, without all the tedious mucking about with scrolls and ink in the middle of things trying to eat your face…

… and her eyes went back to the garden.  Her claw-work faltered, mid character on the page.

A surreptitious glance at the Templars sitting around the fire was enough to be absolutely mostly not quite positively sure they weren’t paying her a bit of attention.  She wandered, casually, closer to the garden.

Nobody said anything.  That’s as good as permission, right?

There, in the mud, she kneeled, arranging her staff primly on the ground next to her – and set to the simple, repetitive work of weeding.  Even this long out of the temple gardens it was easy, paws remembering the long hours of practice earned from, at first, flubbed lessons and, later, the simple need to do something manual to let her brain slow down a little.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Pull weed.  Straighten pot.  Breathe.  Simple actions that didn’t hide the wetness around her eyes … but then, her back was to everybody, and nobody was paying attention.

“Celestials – ”  came the thought, “I know I’m a long way from home.  I know you’re probably not listening to one silly Pandaren out in the middle of nowhere.  But… “

She punctuated each thought with another weed.

“.. these templars aren’t bad people.  Let them be safe tomorrow?  Keep an eye on Kun – especially if something goes wrong.  And… if Cael is still alive, help us find her, and keep her as safe as you can?   Also… if you can make the Captain’s fur fall out, that’d be really nice.  Right on top.  Just .. y’know.  Where he’ll be bald and he won’t have eyebrows.”

A beat.

That’s not charitable and I’m sorry.  Just … make him itchy.  That’s better, right?”  

It took only a few more minutes to set the garden in order – to ensure that the neat rows of herbs and flowers were -just so-.  As she used to do in the temple, she pressed a heavy paw into the dirt, leaving behind a print that would never last, but it always felt right to do anyway.  Then she stood, brushing away the dirt from her knees and her fur, looking up at the sky for the briefest of moments.

What will be, will be – but… maybe you can see fit to make sure that all of these Templars catch a break?  They could really use one.  You know we’ll do our best.. but.. a little help never hurt?”

A smile, then – and she turned back to the fire, still dusting dirt from her paws…. and giving the little group of misfits, dead people, and thieves an amused grin.  “I wonder if they’ll be this nice … after?”  That made the grin fall, the errant thought laying her ears flat for a moment. “…crap.  Stupid pirate.  Why’d you have to go and have -nice friends-?  Hey, Celestials?  Not itchy.  Boils.  He needs boils.  Big ones.  Kay?  Thanks.”

With that, she went back and rejoined the conversation.

Author Aunne
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