It was approaching dusk when Katlynn got back to the camp. The tent hadn’t been disturbed and was still hidden by the brush she’d placed around it. She stepped over the nearly invisible tripwire in her path, taking note that the others hadn’t been disturbed either. Kneeling down next to the tent’s opening she peered inside, seeing the sleeping elf resting her head on the body of a large blue fox.
In response to her master’s return, the fox lifted her head and shifted her weight causing the elf to grumble and raise up, “Lay back down.” she complained, but the fox ignored her and went to Katlynn who began to feed her.
“She’s supposed to be your guard, not your pillow.” Katlynn sighed.
“I don’t need a guard,” the elf rolled her eyes.
Slinging her bow back over her shoulder, Katlynn dropped her pack on the ground, “You do if you’re going to sleep half of the day.”
Katlynn examined the odd elf who was now sitting with Katlynn’s pack in her lap, rummaging through the contents. She still resembled her friend Tala, but so much had changed. Her once red hair was now purple, and had gained some length and volume. Her skin a dark blue now that gradually shifted to purple in some places – from a distance she might be mistaken for a shorter draenei. Her extremely pale blue eyes were on the dinner roll she’d procured from the pack and begun devouring.
“You’re staring again.” Tala chided without looking up.
“You’re wearing my pants.” Katlynn observed. Yep, those were her pants. Frayed at the leg from that time the fox, Krystal, had gnawed on them to get her attention.
Tala, voice muffled by the food in her mouth muttered, “They were warm and mine were itchy.”
Katlynn looked at the discarded pair of pants in the corner of the tent next to the other pack with her spare clothes in them – or they would be in them if they weren’t strewn about the pack from where Tala had gone searching, “What do you mean they were itchy?”
“Just itchy.” Tala crammed the rest of the dinner roll into her mouth, then lifted her eyes to look at Katlynn, “Still staring.”
“You look better,” Katlynn winced and corrected herself, “healthier I mean.”
“No, I meant you don’t look ill anymore. You look like a healthy…blue elf.”
Tala’s eyes narrowed at her human companion, “So pretty?”
“Yes, you are still very pretty.”
Tala just harumphed and kept eating. She did look better though, much better than she’d been when Katlynn found her outside of their usual meeting place. She hadn’t talked much about what happened but from what little Katlynn could gather, she had been with some fellow blood elves when something happened. Something involving the Void. Tala had gotten away from whatever had happened but she was different now, and for the first week she was feverish, muttering in her sleep, and prone to waking up screaming.
Katlynn had taken care of her as best she could. They were used to living outside of major cities, being a mercenary duo of a human and a blood elf, Tala wasn’t welcome in Alliance cities just as Katlynn wasn’t welcome in Horde cities. They made it work through picking up contracts on their own and collaborating, but this was different. Horde and Alliance alike feared the Void and both had a particular fear of anything they thought was corrupted.
Still, Tala now appeared to be one of the ‘void elves’ that Katlynn had seen and heard about on this last trip to Stormwind. Maybe…just maybe…
“What are you thinking about?” the faintly echoing voice of Tala asked. Katlynn was about to dismiss her but she continued prodding, “When you’re lost in thought your mouth hangs open like you’re under a spell.” she pulled out a piece of jerky and fed it to Krystal who was nosing through the pack. The fox greedily gobbled it up.
“I’m just wondering if you’re okay. Any more nightmares?”
“Not for two days. The fever is gone too.”
Katlynn sighed, “Are you sure you’re alright?”
Tala suddenly went wide eyed and stared at Katlynn with a crazed look, “Gal’kofh an’sell!”
The human was momentarily startled but quickly frowned, “That’s not funny. It’s also inaccurate. Your pronunciation is off.”
“Psh, you don’t know.”
Katlynn sat down next to her friend and bumped her shoulder against hers, “I’m just at a loss for what to do. We’re both out of our depth with this,” she said the next part reluctantly, “but there might be some people in Stormwind who understand what’s happening to you. I saw other elves like you when I was getting supplies. They may have been the ones you were with when this happened. They’re free to walk around Stormwind without being attacked. They’re calling them void elves. You’re not the only one.”
“So the Alliance and Horde are working together on figuring this out?” Tala must have noticed Katlynn’s hesitation right away, “What’s happened?”
“I only heard a little but…it sounds like they’ve been exiled from the Horde.”
Tala groaned and Katlynn understood why – she had no more love for the Horde than Katlynn herself had for the Alliance. Their racially determined ‘allegiances’ meant that the pair should have been enemies in the eyes of the two factions. But there was familiarity in the Horde, and to find out she had been exiled by her own people…
The void elf interrupted her thoughts, “So I’m supposed to just hop faction lines now and trust the humans who put an arrow in my shoulder?” she pulled back the vest she was wearing to show off the scar but somewhere in her transformation, that had faded. Tala didn’t notice. Katlynn didn’t tell her.
“I’m not asking you to trust anyone, I’m just suggesting we maybe go to Stormwind and find out what’s going on with you and what it means. Just to make sure you’re alright…and to explain whatever cool new abilities you may have now.”
Tala wrinkled her nose, “But humans.”
“You’ve been around humans before, we’re not all bad. You like me.”
“I like Krystal,” Tala said, scratching behind the fox’s ear, “you just tag along with her so I’m forced to put up with you.” she smirked.
“Well, put up with me a little longer and whatever humans we have to deal with in Stormwind. If they hurt you or make you feel uncomfortable, I’ll put arrows in all of them and then we can run into the wild and be fugitives together.”
“You’d do that for me?”
“Because I’m still pretty, right?”
Rolling her eyes, Katlynn put her arm around her best friend, “Yes, because you’re still pretty.” then as Tala laid her head on Katlynn’s shoulder she added, “And we’re buying you new pants in Stormwind.”