Book 5 – Chapter Five

Grimory finds his way to the beacon. He leaps on and he and Taveth disappear in a beam of light. Once back aboard the Vindicaar, the demon hunter carries the bloodied high elf into the bowels of the ship where the infirmary lies. A draenei woman clad in golden robes rushes to them.

“What is the extent of the damage?” she says in a calm that betrays how quickly she pushes Grimory to set Taveth down on a cot.

“Uh,” Grimory stammers. “Puncture wound to the shoulder. I assume some broken bones.”

The draenei woman waves him away after he’s set Taveth down. “Any bites or places the fel may have infected?”

“I…don’t think so?”

“Right.” She places her hands over Taveth’s unconscious body.

Golden light encases him and the most superficial of his wounds close; the bleeding stops and any bones are returned to their proper position.

She sighs. “That is the best for now. He will need a bit of rest.”

A young draenei man saunters into the infirmary a few minutes later, holding a mangled and bleeding hand.

<<Eophen,>> the nurse says in her calm voice as she approaches. <<Again? You need to entertain more prudence.>> She sighs and inspects the damage.

The man chuckles and winces through his smile. <<I know. I’m sorry. I caught it in a gear. It is a good thing Father wasn’t there this time to scold me.>> He grits sharp teeth together and closes his glowing, golden eyes. <<Thank you, Orelya. You’re an angel.>>

Grimory perks his ears and looks up from his place on the floor. <<You engineer this ship?>>

Eophen turns while Orelya bandages his mostly healed hand. <<You speak Draenei?>> He regards the nurse with a nod and a smile, then approaches the sitting demon hunter. <<Yes, I do. My father, my sister, and I.>> He shakes the Illidari’s hand with his uninjured one. <<Eophen.>>

<<Grimory. This is Taveth.>>

Eophen blinks down at the battered high elf. <<He seems…not fit for this environment.>> He chuckles sadly. <<All you off-worlders are ambitious. It is a good thing we have some of the best healers.>>

Grimory laughs. <<The best healers back home are draenei as well. You all do good work.>>

Taveth stirs at the sounds of voices. His fingers twitch and his lips curve into a frown. The high elf sits up, breathing frantically. “I command you to k—” He looks wildly around the room before his gaze settles on Grimory. “Wh-where am I? What’s happening?”

Both the Illidari and draenei look at the man. Grimory clears his throat. “The Vindicaar. You were seriously hurt. I had to bring you back.” He tilts his head slightly. “How do you feel?”

Taveth presses one hand to his shoulder, then lays back and presses his other palm to his forehead. “That hangover I had the other day…this is worse.” He groans. “How about you?”

Grimory chuckles. “I’m fine.” He blinks in realization, then gestures to the man beside him. “Oh. This is Eophen. He engineers the ship.”

Eophen gives a reserved smile and waves with his injured hand. “Greetings, elf. Bit off more than you can chew, did you?”

Taveth cocks his head to look at the draenei. “Well met. I, um, got separated from my group and apparently went the wrong way.” He gives Grimory a nervous smile. “I would’ve died if you hadn’t found me.”

Grimory furrows his brow and glances from the draenei to the high elf. “Thal came and got me,” he says. “And sorry you got separated. That’s our fault.”

Eophen chuckles and sets a hand on Grimory’s shoulder. <<Keep an eye on this one. I like his face.>> He turns for the door and gives a curt wave. “I will see you elves around.”

Taveth’s entire face floods red and his eyes round. “H-heh. Y-yeah. See you around?” He turns his wide eyes on Grimory. “What does that mean, he likes my face?”

Grimory gives a sort of smile and chuckles. “He thinks you’re cute, I imagine.”

Taveth purses his lips and sits up to watch the draenei leave. “Doubtful.” He sighs and lies back again. “How long did they say I have to wait here? Where is my satchel?” He sits suddenly upright and completely blacks out, slumping to one side of the cot and threatening to tumble over.

Grimory glances behind him. “I grabbed it before—woah, hey!” He grabs Taveth by his shoulders before he can fall. Sighing, he readjusts the elf and sets him back onto the pillow. “Dumbass,” he mutters with a grin and a shake of his head.

Taveth opens his eyes to narrowed slits. “Name-calling is hardly necessary.” He clears his throat. “I asked a question… Oh, yes, satchel… Dagger?” He opens his eyes wide, but mentally forces himself to stay down.

Grimory rolls his eyes and stands to retrieve the bag he’d set near the door. “Here.” He hands it over and hesitates. “And…sorry. For leaving you behind.”

Taveth sits up slowly and pulls out a journal from his bag. “It was an honest mistake. My fault, really.” He gives the demon hunter a kind smile, then flips to a new page and unscrews the cap to his pen. He sets to work sketching out a pit lord with a figure shaped like a man to demonstrate the demon’s size.

Grimory watches him draw and sighs. “If you say so. I’m going to grab something to eat; do you need anything?”

Taveth looks up as though broken from a spell. “Hmm? Oh, yes. Ah, juice, I believe would be a good cure for my injury hangover. Any food is entirely up to you. Thank you.” He reaches into his bag and screams out, then withdraws his hand, the tips of his fingers beginning to bleed. “Fabulous.

Grimory stares at the man, unimpressed, for a long beat and turns to rummage through a cupboard feet away. He returns with a roll of gauze and grabs Taveth’s hand. He wraps each fingertip individually and tosses the gauze beside his bed, on the floor. He straightens and wordlessly leaves for the kitchens.

Taveth stares at his bandaged fingers for a moment after the demon hunter is gone. He sighs and dumps his bag on the bed, then puts his face in his hands as the wire frames of his glasses are empty and shards of glass are sprinkled around his things.

Grimory returns with a carafe of juice, an ivory cup, a dark bottle of ale, and some strips of questionable meat and bread. He tsks thorough the ration in his mouth. “A lot good your studying will do if you can’t read, yeah?” He hands over the carafe and cup. “Want me to see if someone here can fix them?”

Taveth picks up his belongings, carefully avoiding the glass shards. “I’m nearly positive they’re unfixable. I’ll have to stop in Stormwind to get new ones.” He purses his lips at the spinal dagger. “Would you mind? I really don’t feel like dealing with him right now.” He pours a drink and sips on it as he shoves everything else back into the bag with the other hand.

Grimory picks up the broken shards of glass to toss in the bin of other various medical waste. He takes the dagger and angry whispers from a familiar voice immediately flood is head. He tosses it into the satchel and narrows his eyes. “Such an asshole.” He sighs. “Perhaps you should go back, Tav. This is no place for you.”

~ * ~

Anarchaia’s hand tightens around Alisbeth’s as hard as possible and she grits her teeth to the point her jaw creaks. She stumbles forward, off the platform, and catches her footing. Her stomach turns again and she wrenches her hand away to place over her mouth. Oh gods. She’s trying to kill me.

The death knight grins, gritting her teeth against the agony. “See? Wasn’t that fun?” she asks painfully.

Koltira squeezes the mage’s hand and stares at Alisbeth. “Ali, is there a reason you wanted to take the Beacon?”

“Because it’s fun! Aqua doesn’t need to summon portals just for you and me. I’m fine with the meat grinder.” She pats Anarchaia on the head and skips out of the small side room they’d appeared in.

Anarchaia releases her held breath when Alisbeth is safely out of earshot. She groans. “What did I do to deserve this?” With a hand, she holds her forehead. She’s acting strangely. “I need a drink, Koltira. I need a lot of drinks.”

Koltira nods and wraps an arm over her shoulders. “That sounds like a great plan. Let’s see what they have on this little space ship, shall we?”

Anarchaia nods. She inquiries a passing shipmate bound in glowing gold armor and the man shakes his head. <<No alcohol here, little girl,>> he says on a laugh and continues his way up the steps.

Anarchaia sneers after him. “Little girl?” She purses her lips. “I guess we’ll have to go back home. Unless I can get my hands on some of the fuel this thing runs on.”

Koltira laughs and gives her a small shake. “I bet it’s fueled on Light. I’m not too keen on drinking that, but if you really want, I won’t stop you.”

Anarchaia scrunches her nose at the word Light and shakes her head.

Alisbeth runs down the stairs after spotting the two blond elves from above. She dives at Taveth and squeals. “You’re okay!”

They topple over onto the floor. Juice spills everywhere and Taveth groans. The nurse stomps in and pinches her lips at the death knight.

“This is a hospital, not a tavern!”

Taveth smiles as kindly as he can. “I’ll clean up the mess.”

Grimory’s eyes widen and he has to lean away to not be struck by the mass of flying armor and squealing. “Ali, he needs to recover,” he scolds and stands to grab the carafe and now empty cup.

Alisbeth lowers her head in shame. “Sorry.” She rights the cot and drags Taveth back on. “Better?”

Taveth pulls out his hair tie and purses his lips. “Aside from being manhandled, yes. I should, hopefully, survive.”

Anarchaia opens her mouth, then notices the other three past the archway into the infirmary. “Oh, Taveth,” she says as she approaches. “How are you feeling? What happened?”

“We left him behind,” Grimory grumbles and sits back, folding his arms over his chest.

Koltira’s brow furrows. “What? How? What happened? There was so much blood and this floating demon skull—”

“I wanted to keep it. Or kill it.” Alisbeth’s eyes light up, “Or keep it and do stuff to it and then kill it!”

Taveth holds up his hands for them to calm down. “There was that fel reaver. It got too close and I had to hide. By the time I reached the pits, I wasn’t sure where you’d all gone. I was chased by a few sorceresses into the pit lord. He wasn’t pleased, and now I’m here. It really was my fault.”

Anarchaia frowns. “Oh my gods, we’re so sorry,” she groans. “We really should have made sure you were with us. It’s not your fault.” She sighs. “Are you all right, now? Can we get anything for you? Koltira and I were heading back to Dalaran; perhaps we can get you something?”

“Back to Dalaran? What for?” Grimory says, craning his head back to look at the two.

Taveth nods. “Yes, I need to pop to Stormwind and get a new pair of glasses.” He lifts the mangled frames and dumps them into the trash with the rest.

Anarchaia lifts a hand to stop him but the frames are already in the trash. “I could have fixed them if you have all the pieces…”

Taveth frowns. “Oh… Well, you can dig through the medical refuse if you really want to. I’m not particularly inclined to.”

Anarchaia sneers and hugs herself at the thought. “Yeah, no.”

Koltira regards the demon hunter with a tired smile. “We could really use a drink. Care to join?”

“Oh! Me! Pick me!” Alisbeth jumps to her feet, a hand in the air.

Grimory stretches. Illidan’s words echo through his head and he resists a scowl. “Yeah, actually. I do.” He smiles at Alisbeth and holds out a hand. “Peppermint whiskey?”

Alisbeth takes his hand and grins. “And cinnamon and dalapeño?” She pulls herself against him. “Lead the way!”

Grimory nods at Alisbeth and leads her from the room. “There’s a portal downstairs, so Ana doesn’t have to lift a dainty finger.”

The mage scowls after him. “I couldn’t right now anyway, apparently.” She takes Koltira’s hand and follows, then stops and waits for Taveth. “O-oh. Don’t want to leave you behind again. Heh.”

Taveth blushes. “Oh. Heh. Be right there.” He collects his things and throws his satchel over his back. When he catches up, he stops. “Answer me honestly, is my shirt torn?” He turns his back to the mage.

Anarchaia chuckles and reaches out to push the edges of the torn hole together. The seam seals itself as she runs a finger down it. “Nope!” she chirps and pushes him forward. Once in the hallway, she catches the eye of her teacher and her smile fades as he gestures for her to go to him. She sets a hand on Koltira’s arm. “Go ahead. I’ll be right there.”

Grimory raises a hand to usher Alisbeth into the portal. “Ladies first,” he says with a coy grin.

Alisbeth goes up on her toes to kiss Grimory’s cheek, then dives into the swirling image of Dalaran.

Taveth pauses and frowns at Khadgar, but Koltira pushes him forward. “Go. I’ll wait for her, you go get your glasses.”

“Heh. Right. Okay.” He steps through and immediately heads for the Enclave, waving at Alisbeth as he passes.

Koltira folds his arms and leans a hip against a nearby crate. A gnome positioned atop one eyes him, then goes back to reading his scroll.

“Your message,” Khadgar says when his apprentice approaches.

“It’s true. He and Alleria both,” she responds, unable to keep the quiet tone out of her voice. She avoids his gaze but keeps her masked face toward him. “They should be here soon, actually. Perhaps you can all reminisce.”

“I had my suspicions. Thank you.” He clears his throat and shifts. “I’m sorry,” he says after a moment of silence. “For raising my voice.”

“It’s okay. I deserved it,” she responds coolly and turns. “Enjoy your time with your friends.”

Khadgar furrows his brow as he’s blown off. “You, as well,” he mutters and returns to conversing with a helmed elf mage.

Anarchaia grabs Koltira’s hand and forces a smile. “Come.”

“Where to?” Grimory says once the group has gathered. “I’d assume Arille is tired of our faces. I think we’ve made a permanent indent in those couches in the corner.”

Alisbeth frowns. “What’s wrong with the Leggingsfur Lounge? I like it there. And Ariel is nice.”

Grimory hums in thought. “There’s another tavern in an alley near the enclave but not actually in it. I hear they have dart boards and a shuffleboard. Been wanting to check it out, actually.”

“I think I know the one,” Anarchaia adds. “By the winery.”

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