Book 3 – Chapter Fourteen

Alisbeth bites her lip in excitement as she looks out at the bustling streets of Dalaran. She’d already resisted waking Grimory for some hours, but can’t wait any longer. With a giggle, she jumps across the bed to land on him. “Grim! Let’s go see Diori!”

Grimory grunts and turns beneath her to roll away. “Ten more minutes,” he grumbles, pulling the pillow over his head.

Alisbeth frowns and shoves her face under the pillow. “But, the sun is up! That means daytime and that means the living should be awake and that means Diori is awake and we can go see her before Taveth does something stupid!” She shakes his shoulders.

Grimory groans and sits up. “Not all living people are awake during the day, you know.” He rubs at an eye and stretches. “You were alive once. You should know that.” He gets off the bed and scoops up his leather breeches.

Alisbeth shoves to press against his front. She sets her chin on his chest and smiles up at him. “Children in school are awake during the day. That’s enough for me.”

Grimory smiles and wraps his arms around her, pulling her closer. “Grumpy cousins are awake, too, though.” He releases her and reaches for his armor.

Alisbeth shrugs and digs through her destroyed dresser for some clothes. “You said you’d apologize. So, you’re going to apologize. I want a shower, though. Care to join?” She grins over her shoulder as she finds her bag of soaps.

Grimory narrows his eyes as he unties the armor he’d just tied. “Love to. And I apologized last night. Profusely, even.”

Alisbeth shrugs and opens the door to head for the showers, her items slung over one arm. “Oh. Okay.” She grins and skips down the hall.

Grimory picks up his belt and follows. “You should be the one to talk to him, though. He doesn’t like me very much.”

Alisbeth opens the shower room door and waits for him. “Of course! He is my cousin, after all.”

~ * ~

Alisbeth squeezes the water from her hair as she opens her room door and tosses everything inside, then locks it and pockets the key. She doesn’t wait for Grimory, zipping down the stairs and through the streets to the Silver Enclave. She races for the door and a mage standing guard stuns her and teleports her several yards from the entrance.

Alisbeth frowns. “Hey! I need in there! My cousin is in there!”

“No Horde,” the human says sternly.

Grimory catches up moments later, still adjusting his hair. “What’s up?” he asks.

Alisbeth pouts and folds her arms over her chest. “He won’t let me in to find Taveth. They don’t care that my daughter is in there!” She raises her voice enough for the guards to hear.

The high elf guard regards her softly. “Your daughter remained high elven?”

Alisbeth pauses to consider if she should continue speaking to the guard. “Yes. She is in the care of my cousin, Taveth Nightheart.”

The human guard turns to the elven one and sighs. “I don’t get paid enough for this.” He turns back to Alisbeth. “You stay here. I’ll fetch them.” He disappears into the busy street behind him.

Grimory shrugs. “Better than nothing.”

Alisbeth nearly runs forward as she sees Taveth and Diori, but then stops herself when the high elf tenses. Instead, Alisbeth bounces on the balls of her feet, grinning excitedly.

Diori abandons Taveth’s hand as she runs forward, arms outstretched. “Ali! Grim!”

Grimory steps closer to Alisbeth so the three can embrace together.

The death knight grips both of them tight in her arms, then eases up, remembering how fragile a living child is.

“I’m learning healing spells today!” Diori sings as she steps back. “Teacher says I’m doing well.”

“That’s great to hear,” Grimory says with a grin. He regards Taveth with a curt wave.

He nods at Grimory, then leans in to hug Alisbeth. “What brings you here so early?”

She chews on her bottom lip, then gives him a sweet smile. “I was wondering if…”

“If?”

“If we could takeDioritoSilvermoon.”

Taveth’s eyes narrow at the two of them. “You know as well as I do that she can’t.”

“We figure that high elves are allowed. Children are protected by treaty.” Grimory folds his arms over his chest.

Diori bounces excitedly, looking up at Taveth.

“She’s in the middle of her lessons,” he says.

Alisbeth purses her lips. “Well…this could be a good history lesson! I’ll teach her all about the battle for Silvermoon!”

He narrows his eyes again, then sighs down at Diori. “Healing spells are very important to learn…but I’ll let you go. If they’ll allow her within the city.” He folds his arms, trying not to look interested. “I’d like to accompany, if possible. To…keep an eye on…things.”

Diori’s eyes brighten and she grabs onto Alisbeth again. “Yes! I’ve always wanted to go there! This is going to be so exciting!”

Grimory smirks at Taveth’s restraint. “I suppose there’s always room for one more.”

Alisbeth laughs. She takes Taveth’s hand as she holds onto Diori. “Of course you can come!” She frowns at the guards. “I hope.” She guides them toward the other side of Dalaran, where the portals to other cities are.

Diori hops along as they walk. “I wanna see a dragonhawk!”

Grimory smiles and takes Diori’s other hand, lifting her off her feet every few hops. “We’ll take you to the stable master and you can pet one.”

The little elf gives a small scream of excitement and hops faster.

Alisbeth smiles. But it falls as they approach Windrunner’s Sanctuary. She stops in her tracks, her eyes wide on the guards. “G-Grim…Grim, I can’t.”

Taveth cocks an eyebrow at her and sets a hand on her shoulder. “What’s wrong?”

She slaps her hands over her eyes and hisses, “Forsaken.”

“Just keep your eyes closed,” Grimory says, ushering a confused Diori to his other side and holding out his free hand to Alisbeth. “If you can’t see them, they aren’t there, yeah?”

She nods. “Okay.” She takes Grimory’s hand and covers her eyes with her other hand.

As they approach, the guards draw their weapons. “No Alliance,” one says.

Taveth holds up his hands. “Please, I just want to accompany my little sister to Silvermoon so she can learn about the battle.”

The second guard gives the first a wary glance. “I…guess it couldn’t hurt.” He turns on Taveth. “If you cause any trouble…”

Taveth smiles innocently. “Me? Trouble? Please, I’m just a scholar.”

“Just a scholar!” Alisbeth yells. “No trouble! Promise!”

The Deathguard narrows his eyes behind his helm, then jerks his chin in the direction of the portals.

Grimory nods in appreciation and pulls both the girls toward the portal. “We’re wasting daylight,” he says eagerly.

Taveth nods his thanks as they pass, then sets a hand on Alisbeth’s free elbow. “I think you can uncover your eyes now.”

“Hm-mmm. Nope. Not happening.” She grips Grimory’s hand even tighter as she stumbles along beside him.

The demon hunter laughs and stops before the portal. “Want me to tell you when we’re on the other side?” He hands Diori over to Taveth.

Alisbeth purses her lips. “Yes, please.”

Taveth takes the girl into his arms. “Grim, these guards were…understanding. What happens when we get to Silvermoon?”

Grimory pulls the death knight toward the portal. “We negotiate. Like I did with you.”

He steps through the portal with Alisbeth. “You can look, now,” he says with a tug on her hand.

She opens her eyes and smiles. “It’s like I remember.”

Taveth nods. “Right. Let’s go, then. Diori, hold tight, okay?”

Diori grins and nods, holding onto his hand with both of her own. “Okay!”

Taveth holds tight to Diori and steps through the portal with her in tow. His entire body tightens, immediately on edge as the blood elves in the room stop and stare at the two high elves.

“No Allia—!”

“They’re neutral parties!” Grimory says quickly, hands held up in defense. “He’s the child’s…brother. They’re both here on strictly educational terms.”

“No Alliance,” the second guard repeats curtly.

Alisbeth throws her arms out and puts herself in front of her family. “Please! I’m Captain Redblade, and these are my guests!”

Taveth curls over to protect Diori.

The first guard’s lip curls. “Captain Redblade? I’d heard tell of her death. Even more, you’re a death knight, which wouldn’t make you the same Redblade.”

Alisbeth frowns. “But I am…” She looks around desperately. “I just want to show my daughter the history of our people.”

“By treaty we have no qualms with the child. How do we know the man can be trusted? Perhaps he’s here to take information back to the enemy.”

Grimory steps forward, arms outstretched in a peaceful gesture. “Gentleman. I assure you this man will do nothing of the sort. And if he does, I’ll personally bring his head back to you.”

“And why would we trust a spy in the hands of a traitor?” the second guard sneers.

“Please,” comes a small voice from behind the demon hunter. Diori steps forward, hands clasped and eyes big. “We just want to see the city. We won’t do anything bad. We promise.”

The first guard shifts uncomfortably, glancing sideways at his comrade then back to those before him. After a long moment he growls and steps aside. “Fine,” he hisses, to his partner’s disbelief.

With the tensions eased, a mage steps forward, smiling at Alisbeth. “Corporal Skysong… Do you remember her?”

Alisbeth furrows her brow. “My memory isn’t what it used to be…”

The man nods in understanding. “She learned a lesson about her boots?”

A smile parts the death knight’s lips. “She stepped in dung. Left her boots outside her tent to air out. So I nicked them.” Alisbeth laughs. “She showed up for roll call in pink stockings! Of course I remember her!”

The man laughs with her. “She was my sister. She, um, didn’t survive the assault. But she always said it was a great honor to be under the command of a Redblade.” He sighs and conjures two scarlet and gold tabards. He holds them out to the high elves. “Put these on and no harm will befall you in the city. After all, you’re the guests of Captain Redblade.” He stares pointedly at the guards.

“Thank you, friend.” Taveth takes the tabard and slips it on.

Alisbeth smiles wide. “Thank you so much. And your sister… It was an honor to have known her. She was an asset in my squad. Really.”

Diori unfolds the tabard and examines it, eyes bright with interest. She smiles up at the man while Grimory throws it over her head for her. “Thank you, mister.”

Alisbeth ushers them outside, a huge grin on her face. “I can’t wait to show you! The first time that I saw Silvermoon it was just amazing!”

Diori’s grin widens and she reaches for Alisbeth’s hand. “I wanna see everything!”

Alisbeth ignores the hand and picks Diori up to set her on her shoulders. “Okay, where shall we start? The main city? Or where the battle took place? Where do you want to go?”

Taveth purses his lips. “I’m rather interested in where the battle took place. I mean, it is where we thought you’d died. And the things we’ve heard of it…”

“Yes!” Diori agrees with Taveth. “Do you think we’ll see skeletons?” she asks down to Grimory, fingers wrapped around Alisbeth’s ears.

He grins nervously. “Not the kind you’re thinking of.”

Alisbeth shoots Grimory a sideways glance. “The bodies were all burned.”

Taveth eyes his cousin. “Why is that?”

She purses her lips, but doesn’t answer.

“Look!” Diori points to a woman walking with two dragonhawks at either side and bounces on Alisbeth’s shoulders. “So cool!”

The death knight smiles. “Maybe we can get you a pet dragonhawk. If it’s okay with Taveth, of course.”

He makes a face. “It would be your responsibility, Diori. I don’t want anything to do with it. If you let it die, you don’t get another. We’ll also have to convince father to allow it back home.”

Diori pouts and folds her arms. “I could so take care of one.” She thinks for a moment. “I want a puppy, though.”

Taveth’s expression deepens. “Yeah, that’s all you and dad. I’m not dealing with a puppy.”

Alisbeth laughs aloud and punches his arm. “Some things never change!”

He rubs his arm and frowns. “And some things do. Did dying make you stronger? Because that’s not fair.”

“Aww, is Tabbef afwaid of a widdle giwl?” She punches his arm again.

Ow! Would you stop! You know how prone to bruising I am!”

“Okay, okay. I’m sorry. Come on.” She pulls him under an arm for a sideways hug as they walk.

When he drifts away again, she punches his arm. Alisbeth laughs and grips Diori’s ankles as she takes off running from her cousin. Diori screams with delight as they run, giggling the entire way.

Grimory holds back a chuckle at Taveth’s expense. “Ain’t much of a fighter, are you?”

Taveth grumbles. “I really do bruise easily. Books are less apt to beating me up.”

He snorts a laugh. “Sounds like someone else I know.”

Alisbeth runs with Diori through Murder Row and into the Bazaar. She stops and frowns at the huge wooden boards set into the wall where a gate used to be. “Hmm.”

Diori blinks and tugs on her mother’s ears. “What’s wrong? Is that the entrance?”

“No. I mean, it was, but…” She strides forward to the guards at either side of the boarded up area.

“Are they a scholar, too?” Taveth asks as they exit the main street. He peers around, then heads toward the Bazaar. “They had to have gone this way.”

“The scholarly-est. She’s apprentice to the guy who runs Dalaran.” The Illidari kicks over a passing broom and the object tumbles, gets back up, and resumes is course. “That’s the quickest way.” He leads Taveth toward the direction of the wall.

“This area is off limits,” the guard on the left says tiredly as though he’s had to explain this many times.

Alisbeth smiles and sets Diori down, then runs smoothing fingers through her hair. “Hi, you might not remember me. Captain Alisbeth Redblade.”

The other guard’s attention snaps to her. “Redblade? Really? I heard you died.”

“Well, I did, but…”

He smiles and drops his serious demeanor. “I was under your command during the Scourge attack. You saved my sister’s life in Outland.” He turns to the other guard. “I told you I knew her!”

“I never said you didn’t,” the second guard says in an equally exhausted tone.

Alisbeth smiles charmingly. “So, um, is this a gate or do you guard a bunch of wood?”

The guard laughs. “Yes, it’s a gate.”

“So…can you open it?”

He looks to his partner.

Taveth leans in to whisper in Alisbeth’s ear. “Are you really trying to manipulate this poor guard?”

She gives him a sly grin.

The sleepy guard does a double take at his companion, brow knit. “I’m unsure why you’re looking at me. Anything you do is on your own head. You know I couldn’t care less.”

Please.” Alisbeth smiles.

The guard looks around nervously.

Taveth smiles. “It would be really helpful.” He motions at the satchel on his shoulder. “I’m a scholar. It would really help my research.”

The guard purses his lips. “Fine.” He pulls a lever off to the side and the gate begins to raise up.

“Thank you so, very, very much,” Taveth says. “Really, you’ve saved my life’s work.”

Diori gabs Alisbeth’s hand and pulls her toward the opening gate, quickly ducking under it once it’s open just enough.

Grimory laughs. “Slow down, Diori. It’ll still be there once the gate’s risen.” He nods to the tired guard who shrugs in response.

Alisbeth runs forward with Diori, grabbing Taveth’s hand with her free one.

The girl quickly scoops up a dirty doll that’s missing any eye while the other dangles precariously by a thread. “Gross.”

Alisbeth smiles and laughs. “Can’t expect her to be pretty after being through a battle.”

“Can we fix her?” Diori holds up the doll for the death knight to inspect.

Alisbeth quirks her mouth to the side. “Wouldn’t you rather have a new doll?”

She shakes her head. “This one is cooler. She’s from the ruins in Silvermoon.” She sobers. “I bet she was some little girl’s, before all this happened. I want this one.”

Alisbeth forces a smile and crouches to look at Diori. “Maybe that little girl is out there somewhere, right now.” She brushes at the doll’s dirty cloth face. “Maybe we can fix it together…if you really want to keep it.”

Diori thinks on this. “Then maybe we’ll find her one day and we can give it back.” She smiles and tries to wipe off the dirt with the underside of her tabard. “Or we don’t and I can keep her.”

Alisbeth laughs. “I think keeping her is just fine. Want to see if we can find the other eye?”

Grimory bends down to pluck a weathered arrow from the dirt. He twirls it in his fingers, then narrows his eyes at what appears to be fresh footprints in the soil. “Queer.”

“The arrow?” Taveth says, peeking around Grimory’s arm.

“No. Those.” The demon hunter gestures to the prints.

Taveth purses his lips. “Looks like they go that way,” he whispers. “Let’s, um, well… You can go first.” He holds out his arm, gesturing for Grimory to take the lead.

Grimory lifts his brows and smiles. “Oh? Are you sure you wouldn’t rather take up the lead?” He chuckles, shakes his head, and steps off in the direction the prints lead.

Taveth gives a nervous chuckle. “Oh, no, I’m fine. Stand back and observe, take notes. All that. Heh.”

Grimory cocks an eyebrow and kicks a pebble from his path. “All you nerds are the same.” He leans around a large rock, taking note of the scuff marks on top. “This way.”

Taveth stays behind Grimory, his eyes darting around to take in every detail to write down later.

Alisbeth peeks around Diori, taking note of the tension surrounding the other two as they head across the ruins.

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