Book 5 – Chapter Eight

Alisbeth rolls over to look at Grimory’s sleeping face in the morning light. She waits for what seems like hours before she reaches over and pokes his nose. “Boop.” She continues her action for as long as it takes him to wake up.

Grimory groans and furrows his brow on the fifth poke. He reaches up to grab her finger, then bites the tip. “It’s not even fully light out yet,” he grumbles, eyes remaining closed.

Alisbeth glances at the bay doors, then back at him. “Yes it is! Those are curtains.” She nuzzles into him. “I need you to cuddle me.”

Grimory smiles and pushes her around to her other side, then snakes an arm around her waist to pull her close. He sets his lips and chin on the back of her head. He sighs, causing her hair to flutter. “We need thicker curtains.”

She giggles and turns her head, trying to see him over her shoulder. “We?

He huffs a laugh through his nose. “I practically live here. But if I’m unwelcome, I know where the door is…” He threatens to loosen his grip on her waist.

Alisbeth clamps her hands around the demon hunter’s wrists. “No no no! I just… We… I…like it. How is sounds.”

The Illidari smiles to himself when she pulls his hands back. “Well we can lie here a little longer, yeah? Argus will still be there at midday. Rather than dawn.”

Alisbeth sighs loudly and pouts. “You’ve been asleep forever, though.”

He hums as though in agreement. “We were up late.” He sighs. “If you bring me my clothes, I’ll get dressed.”

She sighs and pushes her back into his chest. “But I’m comfortable. And I like you this way just fine.”

He runs a hand along her side with the backs of his fingers. “Naked?” he laughs quietly.

Alisbeth hums and nods. “Yes. Fun things happen when you’re not wearing anything.”

Grimory grins against her hair. “That they do. Wanna just lie here all day, then? I honestly don’t feel like being subject to Lord Illidan’s scrutiny again.”

The death knight giggles and rolls over. “I like him. Except for him being mean to you. I don’t like that.” She wraps her arms behind his head and pulls him into several kisses.

Grimory hums against her lips. “He’s always been that way.” He kisses her again and sighs. “I guess we should get going. The sooner we get done on Argus, the sooner we can come back and forget any of it happened, yeah?”

Alisbeth whines and rolls her head back. “But I’m comfortable. And naked.” She sighs up at the ceiling. “But, I mean…killing things. Okay, let’s go.” She leaps out of the bed and grabs his things to toss at him.

Grimory sits up, then flinches when his pants wrap around his face. He sighs and stands to put them on, then glances in the mirror to scowl at his hair—unruly and unkempt

Alisbeth pulls her clothes on quickly, then begins buckling her armor around her. “You think Tav is in Dalaran or up on the Vicksvapor?”

Grimory styles his hair meticulously, then finishes dressing. He yawns and rubs at an eye. “That idiot is probably already out on the field. Dying again.” He secures his pack at his hip.

Alisbeth frowns at him. “If he is, I’m holding you accountable.” She crosses the Maw and the Redblade over her back and folds her arms.

Grimory chuckles and opens the door after dabbing his cologne behind his ears. “I’m kidding. He’s not dumb enough to go down without a party to accompany him.”

Alisbeth leads Grimory down the stairs and nods. “I think you’re right. After yesterday…”

Grimory nods, then stops in the tavern. “Do you have a hearthstone? You won’t have to use the beacon, then…”

Alisbeth thinks on it. “I think I had one, but I don’t anymore. I think. Where can I get a new one?” She smiles and hooks her arm through his.

The demon hunter leads her to the bar where Arille digs beneath the counter. He sets a small white stone etched with a cyan swirl on the countertop. Grimory pays him and hands the stone to Alisbeth. “We’ll find the innkeeper up on the ship and they’ll bind it for you, yeah?”

Alisbeth shrugs. “Sounds good.” She slips it into her pack.

Grimory takes her hand and leads her toward Krasus’ Landing. “Unfortunately, you’ll have to take it there, first. Is that okay?”

She squeezes his hand tightly. “Don’t let go. Don’t leave me in the meat grinder, okay?”

Grimory turns to give her a comforting smile. “Of course not.” He stops before the golden platform. “Ready?”

Alisbeth whines and grips him tighter. “No.”

The Illidari bites the inside of his lip, then bends at the waist to pick her up. “You can hold onto me, then, okay?”

Alisbeth grips him as tight as she can. She closes her eyes and nods, holding her breath.

Grimory steps through the beacon and, in a bright flash, the two are again transported to the Vindicar. He holds her tight through the process.

Alisbeth grips the Illidari’s skin, her fingers holding tight as her body tries to writhe from the pain.

Grimory sets a hand on the back of her head, hugging her tightly to him. When she relaxes again, he sets her down. “There. Now you won’t have to do it again, yeah?”

She smiles and hugs the demon hunter. She sniffs a little. “Thank you.”

Grimory grins and gives her shoulder a squeeze. “Let’s go find Taveth, yeah?”

“Yes, let’s.” She looks around the upper deck, scanning the sparse area. “Downstairs?”

He hums and heads downstairs. He waves at the familiar blond ponytail and pale gray Draenei beside him. “Morning.”

“Good morning,” Eophen greets with a smile as he looks up from their conversation. “Eager to get back out there, I see.”

Alisbeth twitches as the two chatter idly. Her gaze sweeps across the area. Around a corner, she sees a blond head on the floor. Grinning, she runs over to the man with his head propped on his satchel, his hand on his open book and his pen on the floor nearby. Two men in plate step forward and grab her by the arms, then shove her away.

“Um, excuse me! That’s my cousin!

“Don’t disturb Mr. Nightheart.”

Alisbeth mocks the man, then runs forward again, only to be caught and pushed back. “Taveth!” she shouts and flicks little bits of debris toward his face.

Grimory glances over at the commotion, then gives Eophen a curt wave and strides over. “Wwwhat’s going on here?” he says coolly, then perks and waves. “Oh. Taveth.”

Taveth groans and opens his eyes. He stretches, then stops halfway to stare at the two men over him. “Right. Okay then.” He gathers his things and walks around them to Alisbeth. They step forward to flank him. His eyes shoot to each as he clutches his bag.

Alisbeth narrows her eyes and purses her lips. She reaches for Taveth and the men step forward. She tips her head for Taveth to follow, and they follow, too. “Okay, what the hell is this? Back up off my cousin.”

“Can’t, ma’am.”

Taveth shrinks and hunches. “What in the world is going on?”

Grimory eyes the guards as they regard him with dirty looks. He folds his arms in subtle defiance. “These are Alliance guards. Tav, what is this?”

Taveth cringes. “I don’t know!”

“What are your orders?” Alisbeth asks, her face stern as she stands at rested attention before them.

“Not for you,” one says.

“Excuse me? I am the daughter of Captain Redblade!”

They look at each other. “Who?”

Taveth groans. “Just tell us your orders!”

One holds out a sealed scroll for the elf. “Sir.”

Taveth takes one look at the wax seal and becomes visibly irritated. He unrolls the scroll and reads it, then scowls. “‘Tav, I cannot afford to lose you right now. These men will keep you safe.’” He crumbles up the paper and throws it on the floor, then picks it up after a draenei with a broom glares over at him. “I have plenty of protection! Go back to Stormwind!” He walks away and the men follow him. “Kill me,” he sighs at the floor.

Grimory chuckles. “Someone must gave heard about your little excursion. You didn’t tell us you were seeing someone.” He pauses. “Who has disposable body guards.”

~ * ~

Koltira stares up at the ceiling, an arm wrapped under the mage. “Do you think we can just…skip responsibility today and go fix up your house? Then just never come back?”

Anarchaia smiles sadly and opens her eyes from her faux sleep. She rolls over to lie atop him and buries her face in the crook of his neck then sighs. “Let’s quit and run off together.”

The death knight wraps his arms around her slender figure and squeezes her into a hug. “Do you think we really could? Just right now, be done with it all.” He brushes a stray clump of hair from the mage’s cheek and tucks it behind her ear. “Just be together, with no one else. Grow vegetables we won’t eat. Grow flowers. All of them. Every kind.”

Anarchaia’s smile fades. She reaches down to pull the quilt over their entangled forms and sighs again. “Get a puppy. Raise it, then raise it again when it dies. Drink wine and whiskey and read while we cuddle with the window open while it rains.” She furrows her brow. No children, though.

Mmm, yes. Sign me up. Right now.” He opens his eyes from the visions of a perfect solitary life with the mage to find her expression more forlorn than happy. “What’s wrong? Is it Khadgar? I’m sure he would understand…”

Anarchaia tries to smile but it ends up as a sort of grimace. “No…it’s…” She sighs and sobers, chewing on the tip of a thumb. “Nothing. It’d ruin the moment.”

Koltira rolls, letting the mage slip onto her back so he can lean over her and stroke her cheek. “Ana, there is no mood if you’re upset. What can I do to fix it?”

Anarchaia’s eyes flit between his, her brow furrowed. She brings a hand up to wrap her fingers around his. “Find a way for me to bear children.”

Koltira frown and closes his eyes as he leans forward to set his forehead to hers. “The only thing close to children a death knight can create…is an abomination.” He says the word with contempt, his lips pinched in a sneer. His features soften after a moment and he lets out a long breath, then pulls her closer and looks into her eyes. “Your master…would be the person to ask, I think. Are you really prepared for his input in the matter?”

The mage frowns, then hides it in his chest. “I don’t know,” she groans, wrapping her arms about his torso. “Every time I see that little girl…” Her fingers tighten against his shoulder blades and she clenches her eyes shut. “It hurts.”

Koltira frowns and buries his nose in the top of her head. “It’s like being teased. There she is, this child that needs parents. And yet…she has them, no matter how inept they are.” He sighs and flinches. “I’m sorry, that was rude. But I can’t help it. Jealousy burns in me every time I see her with them. And that time that I babysat her…I realized how much I was missing out on.” He pulls the mage as close as he can to him. “It’s funny how when I was alive I never had this sort of conversations with any of my girlfriends. And now…” He kisses the top of her head.

Anarchaia nods slowly while he speaks. “They don’t deserve her,” she says on a whim. “It’s all I think when I see them together.” His final thought makes her smile and she finally brings herself to look up into his face. She tentatively kisses his cold lips. “You didn’t want children with them?”

Koltira chuckles. “It wasn’t about them. It was about me having my entire life ahead of me. Now look, we’ve known each other how long? And the only truth we seem to have found in our deaths is that we want children.” He searches her eyes as though a secret lies within. “I’ve done nothing to impact the world. Not really. But a child? I wouldn’t become nothing when I finally meet my end. I’m the last Deathweaver. When I’m gone the name will be lost. I don’t know. It feels like my whole family will die all over again.”

Anarchaia sobers once again. “I’m the last of my family, too,” she whispers. She brings her hands up to run through his hair. “To be fair, I’ve always wanted children, but…my previous boyfriends were…not someone I’d want to raise a child with.” Her lips upturn in the slightest of smiles. “But you…” She chuckles. “What would you name him?”

“Him? Oh, you’re making hypothetical male heirs already, hmm?” He laughs and thinks on it. “Faltora. For my brother. You?”

Anarchaia’s face softens and she sets a hand on his cheek. “Faltora is perfect.” She chuckles. “A girl, however…” She sets a finger to her lower lip as she thinks. “Aralisse, perhaps. After my mother.” Her smile grows sad. “If only Master Kel’thuzad were still alive.”

Koltira smiles sadly at her. “You really think he could’ve done something?”

Anarchaia shrugs, twirling a lock of his hair in her fingers. “Provided answers, if anything. Perhaps Master does know things he hasn’t told me.” She furrows her brow. “He won’t like that conversation though.”

The death knight takes her cheek in his palm. “Sometimes the conversations we like the least are the ones that need to be had.”

Anarchaia nods and turns her head to kiss his palm. “I’ll do all I can.” She looks up at him, lips still on his hand, and hesitates. “I-If you’re sure that’s what you’d want.”

“Just…don’t go crazy searching for a solution if there is none. Okay?”

Anarchaia nods. “My hopes are low. I probably won’t even be disappointed.” She sighs. “I…guess we should get up. It’s getting light out.”

Koltira groans like it’s the worst news he’s heard in his life, then wraps the mage in his arms and rolls out of the bed still holding her. “I guess you’re right.” He places a kiss on her lips, then sets her feet down on the floor. “Knowing Ali, she’s already gotten Grim up at the crack of dawn. Let’s hope they waited for us.” He tosses the mage’s clothes into a neat pile on the bed, then searches out his own items.

Anarchaia dresses slowly as though with restraint. “What were your orders, anyway? The sooner were finished, the sooner we can hide in Duskwood for a day. Or a week. Or ever.” She buckles her belt around her waist. “And frankly I couldn’t care less if they wait for us. Heh.”

“My orders are to aid in the fight against the legion,” he says. “There is no end date, just help out until we win, I guess.” He buckles his armor on and folds his arms, watching her dress. “Doesn’t mean we can’t take small breaks.”

This time it’s Anarchaia who gives an anguished groan. She saunters over to tiredly wrap her arms around his cuirass. “A small forever break?”

Koltira groans right back. “AWOL sounds like no big deal, right now.” He kisses her, then straightens. “Ready?”

Anarchaia nods solemnly as though being forced and steps out into the hallway. The sound of a door closing sounds out to her right and she looks over. A smile crawls across her face. “Oh. Thassarian. Good morning.”

Thassarian’s eyes go wide. “What are you doing here?”

Koltira smirks. “She’s not allowed at my place and I’m not allowed at hers. You, uh, working a similar situation in there?”

The human jolts slightly. “No. This? I just…had too much. Didn’t trust myself to get back.”

“The death gate is instant, brother.”

Anarchaia leans forward with her head craned to look past him into his room. “So, there’s no one in there with you, then?”

The death knight splutters. “What? No! Just me. Gods sakes.”

Koltira grins like a devil. “Okay, well, we really must be going. Say hi to Juliember for us.”

Thassarian grunts acknowledgement, then stops. “Seriously, Deathweaver, I’m already nauseous as it is!”

Anarchaia titters into a hand and grabs Koltira’s with the other. “Good bye, Thass.” She raises her voice. <<GOOD BYE JULES.>> She pulls the elf down the stairs.

Koltira laughs outright and drags the mage into a hug. “Oh, gods. Do you really think she’s in there?”

Anarchaia relishes the embrace and chuckles into his chest. “Is it weird that I kind of hope so?”

“It might be,” he says. “But I support your hope. I just want to torture him relentlessly. A troll, of all things.”

“Could be a gnome.” Anarchaia leads him back out onto the streets. She pauses as she looks down the straightaway before them, then looks up at the looming planet above. She sighs. “I really need to work on my teleportation. I don’t want to go onto that warp pad again.”

Koltira raises an eyebrow at the mage. “I’m not sure what gnomes have to do with anything…” He purses his lips and wraps an arm around her waist. “I have no other ideas besides stepping on that monstrosity.

Anarchaia gives a chuckle and does the same, then looks up at him with a coy grin. “You’re telling me you’d sleep with a gnome?” She avoids looking straight ahead as they ascend the steps together, as though not seeing the device will make it hurt less. She sighs, however, when they approach. “Well. Duty calls.”

Koltira cocks an eyebrow and blinks at the mage. “What is your obsession with gnomes? I was merely stating that Thassarian, of all people, with a troll? I didn’t think anything more needed to be said, but clearly it does. You hate gnomes, don’t you?”

“They’re creepy, okay? They’re like children but with breasts. And mustaches. And three fingers! Three fingers, Kolt.” She holds up her hand with the pinky curled. “I’m just saying I’d rather spend the night with a troll if I were him.”

Koltira chuckles. “I guess we all have our aversions. Come on.” He urges her through the portal.

Anarchaia nods and steps onto the device. Fire tears through her soul and she quickly steps off once on the other side. She puffs, using a pillar near the staircase for support. “We need hearthstones,” she breathes.

A grey draenei woman smiles at the two. “I didn’t mean to overhear, but I have hearthstones.” She holds two up, one in each hand. “One gold each.” She smiles kindly.

Koltira withdraws two gold and allows the draenei to set the stones in his palm, then hands one to the mage. “Mission accomplished.”

Anarchaia smiles at the woman, then takes the stone and turns her grin on Koltira. “My, what would I do without you?” She pockets the talisman behind her belt and sighs. “I wonder if they’re here al—” Alisbeth’s voice comes up from the stairwell. “—ready. Heh.”

Koltira takes the mage by the hand and leads her down to the others. “Hmm, I wonder who those two are.”

“Alliance guards,” Anarchaia mumbles with apprehension in her voice. “Hey,” she chirps as the two near. “What’s going on here?”

Alisbeth giggles. “Taveth has babysitters.”

The high elf frowns. “I’m not seeing anyone, it’s none of your business, and they’re not babysitters!” He turns to the men. “Okay, look, I have four more than capable people with me—”

“Five,” a voice calls out behind them.

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