Cael exited the keep and turned, seeking the dark corner with the bench she saw earlier. There it was. Concentrating on keeping her human form, she sat, and closed her eyes to listen, breathing deeply until her heart stopped hammering in her chest and the flush faded from her cheeks. Slowly, the six four ruddy haired human relaxed, her broad shoulders sinking as tension left her spine.
The whirlwind of a night left her feeling almost as drained as one of the pit fights back in Orgrimmar.
So many people- I didn’t expect…. and all so friendly. That- strange guy with the explosives- Zen? Was that him? I hope he didn’t see me fall over that chair. I couldn’t help it. For a moment he sounded just like Valnov. I could hear it, hear it all over again… And I nearly shifted on him. I have GOT to work on my bloody control. He was just being nice. …Mostly. Kinda. I hope…
The male draeni paladin -what was his name…? Damn, I don’t remember- with the accent, he was so nice, and he’s like me. Who knew they lived so long…? There’s so much I don’t know still. I wish I could remember more. Not even of my life, just… of the little things. The common stuff. So I don’t have to ask and then get people looking at me funny.
I wonder what those two were fighting about. Probably not my business. Hope they work it out, though. We’re comrades, all of us. We have to stick together and stand by one another, right? Just like the Knight-Captain said. Heh, ‘wander off a cliff’….
That other ginger- redhead- what as her name? …Kory? Something? Koryander. I think. She seemed like an officer. I probably ought to figure out who is what and goes where so I don’t assume something make an idiot out of myself. She doesn’t have THAT many grey hairs, or I didn’t think so, anyways. Nice hammer. One day, I’ll have stuff like that. A real sword, a big strong shield that can take a beating.
How old was that young elf? Are elves like draeni? Was her mother in the Templars? She seems nice. That book though… What was THAT about? Mages. Who even knows. God that she’s on our side though. Mages are invaluable against a strong enemy. I’ll be sure to distract things if we ever fight together, so she can do- well, whatever mages do. Set them on fire or something. I have plenty of armor, so they can hit me while she does that.
That lady night elf who stopped by for a short time -I forget her name too, maybe I should start writing these down…?- she was nice, in a very… Night Elf way. I hope i got the bow right. She didn’t seem offended. I was probably ok.
That other paladin was a draeni too. Are a lot of them paladins I wonder? It’s nice not to be the tallest person around. I feel so much less- exposed.
Kanta- no, Marksman. He didn’t like sir. He seemed like a good companion. Small for a night elf, but somehow I don’t think that bothers him, considering the size of that bow. Probably can put an arrow through a man in plate and into the man behind him… A shudder. Longbows, especially ones like that with such a massive draw, were hell in a fight. There was no parrying or blocking them, not with anything thousands of gold out of her price range.Glad he’s with us.
Bloody Light, though, a Trial. What kind? When? Will I need to fight something or? They all seemed to have been different from the talk. What if I fail? No. I won’t fail. I won’t. I’ve come too far for that. If the pits couldn’t kill me, if I could survive five years there- I can do this. Whatever ‘this’ ends up being. Until then, I’ll just never complain and work as hard as I can and try to help the Templars however I’m able.
And the Knight-Captain… Wow. She was… Really something. I can see how she manages an order like this, so full of all different people. No wonder he wants to kill her. It would be a terrible blow to the Templars if she died. She was so nice, too… I didn’t expect that. I thought- well, that it would be a lot of hard work, and fighting when I wasn’t working. I wasn’t really… expecting… well.
Cael turned red again, remembering. Praise of any sort in her life was few and very far between. She wasn’t sure how to take it gracefully, and she was so happy to be useful. And the damn stutter didn’t help, of course.
…Well, he’s welcome to try if he thinks he can get to her. I won’t let him hurt the Templars. OR the Knight-Commander. I swore an oath, after all. I’m gonna have to start more training though if I want to be able to help. The memory of his silent walk, catlike balance even relaxed, the way he vanished, and how poor her gear and weapons looked in comparison to the rest of the Templars (like a stray mutt in a pack full of wolves) made her wince. I’m good. Haven’t died yet. But.
I need to be better. I will get better. This isn’t the pits. If I make a mistake, it might not be me that pays for it. I won’t let them down.
Whoever this Sielic was… He’s no friend of ours now. Whatever his motives, this isn’t justified. The last time someone said ends justified the means we ended up with the Worgen Curse. And I didn’t find these people to lose them to someone like him. I don’t want to have to fight him or hurt him. But somehow, I don’t think I’m gonna have a lotta say in that matter. He’ll either stop, or BE stopped.
That was the simple truth of it.
Cael opened her eyes, looked up, straightened her shoulders. Her anxiety faded some, armor creaking against leather and stone. Standing, she turned, headed outside. A cold wind blew from the north, bringing frosty fangs to bite at her cheeks and nose, tousling her hair. The young warrior looked up. In the east, clouds gathered; snow, then, later tonight. Now, the sun was setting, basting the skyscape and the clouds in shades of peach, orange, and pink, gilded in gold, angel rays reaching out to grace the earth below. On the other side, fading periwinkle to navy, indigo, and black at the horizon colored the coming dusk, dotted with stars, diamonds on velvet. Ice from the far glaciers, evergreens from the alpine taiga lay heavy on the air, so brisk it was almost intoxicating. The mountains in the distance reflected the light, bathed in living color.
…I think I’ll shift for guard duty tonight. No one else has that section of the wall. and- well. Fur can be handy in the cold. Maybe the kitchens will have something hot like they did last time. That would be nice for my shift. I can feel the frost coming. It’ll be a cold one. I’m still not used to it, but there are worse things. After a few more weeks, I can get some other clothes than the two tunics and trousers I have. Money, actual money! For clothes! Maybe a nice, warm wool cloak. I’d like that. This one is ok, but I’ve had to patch it twice now, and I’m not that confident in my sewing. The tabard helps though.
They were simple little pleasures all: the freedom to watch the sun slowly sink below the pine-dotted hills, the guarantee of food, bed, a worthy job to do, even if it was routine, or not very glamorous. It felt right.
Yes. That was the word.
Happy. Not exhausted or terrified or bordering that red-black horrible rage or wondering if she could bear another day of existence.
I’m happy, she thought, just to try the word on for size. It was stiff, like a new boot. But maybe…
(The echo of a voice, calling her ‘Templar’.)
…Maybe here, she could grow into it.