Book 5 – Chapter Forty-Nine

The earliest dawn light filters through the balcony doors of Alisbeth’s room, dulled by the beige curtain panels. She sighs at the light and turns to frown down at the sleeping demon hunter. She kisses his forehead and climbs out of bed. Quietly, she grabs a dagger and slips out the door.

It takes her a moment to catch her bearings and remember where the little hut is. She picks the lock with the dagger and lets herself in. On the couch she immediately sees Kel’ori’s blonde hair as the elf breathes in peaceful sleeping rhythm.

“Attacking a woman in her sleep,” Docra says from the doorway to the back rooms. “Not very noble.”

“You can’t stop me!” Alisbeth shouts, pointing the dagger threateningly.

The priestess doesn’t budge. “I could, actually. And with great ease. If I wanted to.”

She falters, remembering that it was this priest who’d used holy magic on her just as a dare. “Do you want to?”

“No.”

The death knight blinks in confusion. “Are you testing me?”

“No. Go ahead. Try your best.”

Grimory slowly opens his eyes; he sits up in a haze and rubs at one. ::Ali?:: He looks around, brow furrowed when he gets no response despite not actually saying anything. He stands and goes to the balcony, only to find the door open a crack. He frowns and gets dressed.

Alisbeth raises up the dagger over her sleeping cousin, her eyes locked on Docra. “I’ll do more than try.” She brings the dagger down.

A shield of ice covers the mage as a burst of purple light explodes outward from her, throwing the death knight backward through the front door, but leaving the priestess unharmed.

Docra sighs and folds her arms. “You’re replacing that door.”

Me? She’s the one that blew me across the room!” She stomps back inside, kicking the broken wood indignantly.

“No. She’s not. The shops should be opening soon. Make sure you get a black one.”

She gapes at the woman, then at Kel’ori, who mumbles in her sleep before rolling over. “She always could sleep through the end of the world.”

Docra blinks at her and purses her lips. “Door.”

Alisbeth grumbles and stomps off back to the inn. “Oh, hi Grim,” she says dejectedly. “I’m just getting money. I have to replace a door.”

He blinks down at her, belt still in his hands mid-fasten. ::Uh…door? Where were you?::

Alisbeth freezes, a guilty expression  on her face. “I went to kill the demon baby for you. Now I have to replace Dante’s door.” She inches toward the door as though trying to escape his possible wrath. “So…I’ll just go do that.”

Grimory furrows his brow, then grabs her by the upper arm. ::No. I…appreciate? You trying? But please don’t do that again, yeah?:: He runs a hand over his hair. ::I’ll help you pay for the door. And carry it. Okay?::

Alisbeth cringes. “Yeah… I don’t think anyone should be trying that.” She takes his hand. “How about I pay and you carry it and put it on? I’m the one that smashed through it, so it’s only fair.” She chews on her lower lip in thought as they walk. “I’d do it again for you, though. It’s not fair. I get that her life goal is to be a mom…but… This is just wrong.”

 

Taveth arrives at the little black house and stops in the doorway. “Um…?”

Docra lifts her tea to her lips, her back to the door as she sits on the couch across from Kel’ori. “It’s being replaced and your sister is still asleep.”

“O-okay… Um, I’m just getting everyone together. We have to get back to Argus.”

The priestess nods. “I’ll wake her soon. Why don’t you go get your big friend, instead?”

“Heh. Yeah. I’ll… Thank you.” He steps over the debris and returns to Greyfang Enclave, where he stands outside Eophen’s door trying to build his own courage, yet again.

Eophen opens the door before Taveth can even knock, then jumps as he nearly runs into the elf, giving a small noise of surprise. He flushes and clears his throat. “T-Taveth. Good morning.”

The high elf jumps and steps back. He gives a nervous laugh as he collects his thoughts. “I was afraid I’d wake you up. Sorry. Um, I just came to… We have to get back to Argus.” A smile toys at his lips. “And I also wanted to tell you I had a great time last night. I know I already told you, I just… I wish we could have more.”

Eophen nods, his smile wavering just the slightest bit. “Yes. I suppose. I had a good time yesterday as well.” He flushes the slightest bit. “But you are correct. There are more pressing matters. Let us go.”

Taveth grips his satchel, unable to help smiling some. “I do hope you stay on Azeroth. It would be…nice to have someone to spend time with.” The tips of his ears turn a dark shade of pink. “Though, I don’t usually leave the library except to go home or work my shift in the tavern.”

His cheeks darken slightly more and he chuckles. “I think once I am certain my family is safe back on the Vindicaar, or if I can convince them to come with, I would like to stay, yes.”

 

Grimory nods. The two find their way to the carpenter, purchase a door in the correct color, then bring it back to the quaint house on the outskirts of town. He blinks as a familiar elf meets them at the end of the road. ::Hey, Ervaen.::

The man nods. “Good morning.” He looks from the door to the empty frame. “I’m not going to ask.”

::Good.:: The Illidari sets to work resetting the door in its frame. ::Forgot nails,:: he silently grumbles.

Ervaen knocks on the doorframe. “I need to talk to Kel’ori.”

“She’s in the bathroom,” Docra says from her position on the couch. “She’s either taking her time or fell back to sleep in the tub.”

Alisbeth giggles. “I’d do that. That sounds fun. Grim, can I go—”

“Broom.” She points in the corner. “Clean up your mess.”

She grumbles and gets the broom, then mutters as she sweeps up the splinters.

“Ehm. What did I miss?” Taveth asks as he returns.

The draenei blinks at the group outside. “A party, perhaps?”

They arrive at Docra’s door and pause at the commotion.

Kel’ori exits the bathroom with a relieved sigh, then stops. “Why is everyone here?”

::Fixing a door.:: He looks at the priestess as he straightens. ::Do you have a few nine-inch nails?::

Ervaen holds in a sigh as he stands in the open doorway. “Kel, can we talk?” He pauses. “Like adults. In…relative privacy.”

Alisbeth repeats Grimory’s request and the priest stands. “I do have some from fixing my roof, actually.” She pulls out one of the boxes on her shelves and brings it over—it’s filled with various tools and nails and screws of various sizes. “You can use my room,” she says to Kel’ori.

Taveth shrugs. “Looks like…Grim has a new door.” He narrows his eyes as Alisbeth makes a pile of the broken door.

Grimory rummages through the box until he finds what he needs and finishes up with the door. He steps aside when Alisbeth sweeps near his feet.

Eophen chuckles at the situation. “Are you two coming with us?” he says to the death knight and Illidari.

He looks at Alisbeth. ::I don’t have much of a choice.::

“Why would we not? We were there two days ago, right?” she says.

Docra loudly shoves her metal dumpster from outside into the doorway, her eyes squinted tight at the morning light outside. Alisbeth flinches as though the woman might reach out and slap her as she passes, then begins picking up the bigger pieces to drop inside.

Taveth cringes as he laughs nervously. “Yeah. Of course you guys are going. Right?”

Grimory assists until the mess is cleared. He nods. ::Then yes. Though…it may be best if we all split up.::

Taveth furrows his brow at Alisbeth’s relay, then at the demon hunter. “Why?”

She sticks out her lower lip. “I don’t want to split up.”

Docra stands and moves in on the others’ personal space until they’re forced into the doorway. “Does it work?” She slowly shuts the door until they’re all outside, then she locks it. “Looks like it does.” She returns to the couch and pours herself a fresh cup of tea.

“Dorkus is mean,” Alisbeth says, then kicks the new door.

Grimory gives Alisbeth a tentative look as they turn back toward the center of town. ::Can you get along with Ana?::

Alisbeth grins up at the demon hunter. “We made cakes together! I told her I want to stay friends. It’s hard though because I also kinda want to kill her. But…you said you believe in me. So, if you’re there I’ll be fine.”

Taveth purses his lips. “I believe in you,” he says, trying not to sound so nervous.

Eophen gives a small nod, not fully understanding the issue but wanting to be supportive, nonetheless. “As do I.”

Grimory’s smile fades as they near the golden metal platform. ::Did you ever get a hearthstone?::

Alisbeth frowns. “Wait, we’re going now? I need my stuff! I didn’t grab my…anything. I need armor!” She takes off running through the city, back to her room.

Grimory looks at the other two and shrugs. He points to himself, then to the ground, implying he’ll wait while they can go on ahead.

~ * ~

The mage leads her brother into the priest’s room and sighs, avoiding looking at him. “What did you want to talk about?”

Ervaen closes the door behind him. “I didn’t send the letter. Can we just talk about this reasonably?”

Kel’ori closes her eyes and mentally prepares herself for the conversation. “Okay. We can talk. But please don’t try to talk me out of it. I’ll have a whole team of healers follow me around, if you want. I already know three. Though…Docra’s Light magic hurts and I vomit… And I don’t think I want Gildwynn hanging around me anymore, it’s…awkward. The troll is really just their friend and she only speak troll.” She pauses, her eyes wide on her brother. “Am I getting ahead of myself?”

Ervaen nods slowly. “While my disapproval clearly means very little to you, it’s still your responsibility as a daughter to tell Father.” He finally sighs. “I’m still willing to be there for you when you do. For reasoning purposes. Not convincing purposes.”

Kel’ori frowns. “Yeah. I… You’re right. As usual.” She deflates. “Maybe I should do it before I run off to Argus? Father’s going to kill me, isn’t he?” Against her will, she begins to cry.

Ervaen wraps an arm about her shoulders and pulls her into a small hug. “It’ll be okay. Maybe.” He leads her back into the living room. “I’ll have Taveth watch the tavern until we get back.”

Kel’ori nods. “Yeah.”

Docra sets her teacup down as the two come out of the bedroom. “The door works now.”

“Oh, good,” the mages says tentatively. “What was wrong with it?”

“The death knight got blasted through it. Close it on your way out, please.”

Ervaen makes no sign of caring, closing the door on his way out, and wordlessly leads his sister all the way back to the Stormwind portal, then to their house. He lets himself in. “Father?” he calls up the stairs.

Falren appears at the top landing and smiles. “I didn’t think you two would be coming back before Christmas.” He goes and hugs each of them.

Ervaen gives his father a one-armed hug. “Yeah, well. Something’s come up.” He gives Kel’ori a look.

She fidgets as her father waits for her to speak up. “I…” She looks away, ashamed. “I’m pregnant.”

Falren hides his disappointment, but badly. “Who is the father?”

She flinches before saying it out loud. “A d-demon. It…attacked me.” A tear rolls from her eye and she wipes it away.

The man’s breathing grows harsh as he purses his lips and his face turns red. “Let’s get you to a healer, then. Take care of it.”

“N-no. I…I’m keeping—”

No, you’re not!” Falren takes her by the arm and turns to Ervaen. “Go get us a discreet healer. We don’t need the entire damned city finding out about this.” He drags Kel’ori up the stairs.

The mage struggles against his grasp, crying harder. “No, Father! I want my baby! Erv! Help, please!”

Ervaen fidgets, torn between helping his sister and obeying his only parent. After a moment, he merely turns and leaves, closing the door quietly. He returns roughly half an hour later with a draenei woman in tow, black hair bouncing over her white robes. “Upstairs. Second door,” the elf mumbles and watches her ascend. Then, after a thought, he follows.

“H-hello,” the woman says nervously, having been briefed on the situation.

Kel’ori whimpers from the chair she’s tied to, tears streaming down her face. “Please don’t do this. Please don’t hurt my baby.”

Falren growls. “That thing will kill you. You can’t have it. I won’t let you.” He nods to the draenei. “Do it.”

The woman, face stuck in a forlorn smile, steps forward with her staff. “I’m sorry,” she says kindly before placing a hand upon her round stomach. Light only briefly flashes beneath her palm before an explosion of ice, fire, and arcane energies forces all around Kel’ori back into the walls. Ervaen shakes the daze from his head, now clear across the hall and on the floor. The draenei woman mutters something in her native tongue, holding her head and covered in a now tattered bed curtain.

Kel’ori screams out in shock. “What was that? What did you do?”

“What did you do?” Falren demands, holding his head as he pushes away from the wall beside the bed.

The priest scowls at Ervaen as she passes, still muttering all the way out the door. Said elf growls as he enters the room. “You didn’t have to do that, Kel. Are you trying to kill us?”

Kel’ori glares at her brother. “I didn’t do anything!”

Falren folds his arms and purses his lips. “That’s not funny, Kel’ori. Ervaen, get the healer back. We’re taking care of this one way or the other.”

The mage squints her eyes closed. “Please, no! Leave me alo—”

Falren blinks at the empty bed. “Where did she go?”

Ervaen sighs. “I’m willing to bet back to Docra’s.” He sits in a tattered chair and sets his head in his hands, more stressed than distressed. “I guess getting rid of it is out of the question.”

Falen growls then stomps off to his study and shuts himself in to brood over the subject.

Diori, having heard the commotion, comes out of her room and looks apprehensively down the hall before pulling on Ervaen’s sleeve. “What’s going on? What was all that noise?”

The man gives her a tired smile and brushes a lock of her hair away. “Nothing you need to worry about. Adult things. Go back to study, okay?”

The small elf nods and makes her way back toward her room, pauses, then purses her lips and knocks on Falren’s study door. “Papa?”

He looks up and casts a tired smile on the girl. “Yes, Diori? Is something wrong?”

She frowns. “I heard yelling. And an explosion. And Krory. Is she okay? You sounded mad.”

Falren urges the girl to come sit on his lap so he can hug her. “Kel is just in trouble, and we were trying to fix it. She doesn’t want us to, but it needs to be done. We just don’t want her getting hurt. You want your sister to stay safe, right?”

Diori nods slowly while frowning. “Is it about her baby? I think she should keep it…” She picks at her nails in her lap. “I want to be an auntie.”

The man sighs. “I’m sorry, sweetie. It’s just…too dangerous. You can be an auntie another time. Run along and play, now. Okay? Don’t worry about all this.”

Diori ponders for a moment, then hops down and trots toward the door. She sticks out her lip defiantly as she turns. “I think it should be up to Kel.” She gives a small hmph! and returns to her room.

Falren sighs and puts his face in his hands. “If only it were that simple.”

~ * ~

Taveth and Eophen arrive on the Vindicaar. The high elf blinks up at him. “Would you like to have breakfast while we wait?”

The draenei grins down at the man beside him, then claps a hand on his narrow shoulder. “I thought you would never ask,” he says on a chuckle and steers him toward the mess hall. He smiles at the two already at their usual table. “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” Anarchaia says with a small wave.

Koltira an Taveth wave to each other, then the opposite companions.

“How was your night?” Taveth asks.

Anarchaia gives the death night a quick glance, flushing and waving a hand. “Oh. Nothing exciting. Same old. How about you two?”

Eophen smiles. “Taveth gave me a tour of your mage city. It is beautiful and rich with history.”

She nods. “It is.” She directs a smirk at Taveth.

He blushes back at the mage. “I’m going to get something to eat. Heh. Be right back.”

Once the elf is out of earshot, Koltira points a finger at the draenei. “I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that if you hurt him, I’ll cut you.”

Eophen lifts his eyebrows. “I-… Hurt?” He blinks, then gives a nervous smile. “Oh. He is my friend. I would not dream of it.”

Anarchaia gives a small titter and hits the death knight in the cuirass. “Stop, you’ll scare him off.”

Koltira chuckles. “I don’t think he’ll scare easy,” he says.

Eophen gives a quiet laugh as well and sits, then grows apprehensive at the tension.

Grimory leads Alisbeth into the dining hall, whispering You can do it. into her ear.

“I can do it,” Alisbeth repeats. “I can do it.” She bites her lips together as she looks down at Anarchaia. “Good morning, Apache.” Her forced grin ends up looking more like a grimace.

Anarchaia returns the grimace. “Good morning. Alisbeth. Grim. Heh.” She ever so slightly scoots back, into the elf beside her. “How are you two?”

::Quiet.::

Alisbeth awkwardly pets Anarchaia’s head. “I’m fine. Grim’s fine. We’re all fine. Right?”

Taveth returns with two trays and sits, blinking at the display. He sets one tray in front of Eophen and smiles shyly. “You didn’t follow, so I…guessed on what you might like. Heh.”

Anarchaia tenses as though Alisbeth’s next motion may be to strangle her again. “That’s…good.”

Grimory nods and pulls Alisbeth down to sit beside him.

Alisbeth sits on her hands and purses her lips against everything she’s tempted to do and say.

Koltira picks up the butter knife and makes a poking motion at the draenei, his lips puckered in a faux serious expression.

Taveth cocks an eyebrow. “What are you doing?”

Eophen flushes and gives a laugh. “I will eat most anything.” He criinges at the blunt stabbing, then gives a nervous grin. “N-nothing. Your friends are very…protective of you.”

The elf purses his lips at the death knight as he starts eating. “Knock it off, Koltira.”

The man laughs and returns the knife to the tray. He wraps an arm around Anarchaia. “I’m sure you have nothing to worry about, Eophen.”

Eophen gives another nervous heh before taking a small link of sausage and stuffing it into a cheek to busy himself.

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