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((Some people may have seen this on my guild forum or Facebook before, but I decided to post it here as well, since there seems to be a dearth of RP on the front page of Feathermoon! I hope someone enjoys it - or at least takes it as a sign that RP is not dead on this server! To be posted in many parts, so stay tuned!))
“Is that Mesion Stormtalon preparing for a night out?”
Mesion did not turn toward the source of the incredulous voice as he carefully slipped a metal band over the end of his meticulously woven purple braid. “If you must know, Varandas, I am going to see my wife.”
“You have a wife?” Varandas repeated, with even more incredulity. Mesion gestured with his elbow at a picture beside the mirror, his fingers busily working to tame the other half of his violet mane. He saw the other man’s hand reach forward to take it. Varandas whistled. “If I had a wife who looked like that, I’d make sure everyone knew.”
“Mmm.” Mesion crossed the sections of hair one last time, then twisted the end. “I am uncertain why this is such a surprise to you, Varandas. I’ve been visiting her every two weeks since the start of the year.” He slid a metal band over this end, too.
“I hadn’t heard you’d gotten married over Winter Veil!” exclaimed the Varandas, clapping the older man on the shoulder. Mesion tensed. “No wonder I had no idea. Congratulations!”
“I will be married for three hundred twenty-five years this summer,” replied Mesion stiffly. “The journey to Hyjal was simply too far for my wife to make on a regular basis prior to this year.”
Varandas laid the picture beside the mirror again, stepping forward so he could regard Mesion with a raised eyebrow. “You could go visit her at home, you know,” he pointed out slowly. “Shan’do Stormrage gives us far more time off than you ever take, especially with it essentially being a clean-up effort these days.”
“That is not your concern, Varandas.” Mesion stood quickly and strode out the tent’s doorway.
“Look...” Varandas spread his hands in front of him as Mesion passed. “My sister is a priestess. She’s done a lot of counseling for couples.” He hastened his stride to keep up with Mesion as the older druid strode toward the saber pens. “I could contact her for you, see if she could help you and your wife...?”
“Cenarius protect you, Varandas,” replied Mesion as he swung his leg over the saddle of his stormsaber. “I will see you tomorrow after I have returned.”
Kylanna Windwhisper paced outside the Nordrassil Inn. She hated waiting here, beneath the sky-reaching roots of the world tree, where Ysera herself stayed and even the innkeeper was a skilled, seasoned druid. Kylanna was just a civilian, a simple alchemist - she had no business being on Mount Hyjal.
Finally, after what seemed an interminable amount of time, a large violet stormcrow swooped down from above the inn’s roof and landed in front of her, morphing smoothly into a tall man with a top knot and long purple braids. “Mesion!” Kylanna threw her arms around his neck.
“Good evening, my heart,” he murmured into her ear as he swept her up into an embrace. He smelled of coal and smoke, as he always did since being stationed upon the Molten Front. Beneath it, though, she could still smell him, her husband of more than three centuries. Kylanna inhaled deeply, then broke the embrace to smile up at him, a smile that he returned warmly.
They walked arm in arm to their spot beneath the inn, on the shores of a pond whose true identity Kylanna tried very hard to ignore. Her picnic blanket and basket awaited them. She began laying out her spread as Mesion gently stroked her back.
“How was your evening with our grandson?” he asked as he cut himself a slice of venison.
“Wonderful,” Kylanna replied, beaming. “Myrodan is positively adorable. I love how alert he is now - and his smiles are just heart-melting.”
“I am glad to hear it,” replied Mesion. He paused a moment, taking a bite of meat. “And our daughter and her betrothed?”
“They’re doing very well!” Kylanna took a long drink of moonberry juice. “I think the fight in the Dragonblight is getting easier. They’ve seemed far less weary the last couple weeks than they were even a month ago.”
They ate in contemplative silence for a while, simply enjoying the pleasure of each other’s company. When the dinner was nearly gone, Kylanna reached over and squeezed Mesion’s knee. “When was the last time you wrote to her?”
“To congratulate her upon the birth of her son,” Mesion replied simply. He began gathering the dishes to place in the basket.
Kylanna shook her head. “Mesion, he’s five months old now! You have to do better than that.”
Mesion frowned, the worn lines on his face becoming even more pronounced. “Five months is scarcely any time at all.”
“For you, maybe, but Corrienda is still young and keenly feels the passing of months,” pointed out Kylanna. “Even once a month would be significant to her.”
Mesion blinked and sat back, his hands falling away from the basket. “I... do not know what I would say if I were to write so often.”
“It will get easier with practice,” Kylanna told him, reaching for his hand. “But you need to at least try. I know you have your reasons for waiting to build a relationship with her until she had moved out... but she doesn’t know those reasons. All she sees is a neglectful father.”
Mesion’s frown deepened to a scowl. “I am not -”
“I know that.” Kylanna silenced him with a look. “And you know that. But she doesn’t. For the love of Elune, she put you on a list of missing persons and sent some gnomish clergywoman to find you!”
“A - what?” Mesion stared at her incredulously for a moment, then rubbed his forehead.
“Sister Thistlepix should be contacting you shortly,” noted Kylanna, then waved her hand dismissively. “But that’s not the point. The point is why you would be on such a list in the first place.”
Mesion sighed heavily. “Perhaps you could speak with her...”
“No,” snapped Kylanna. “If I had to raise her alone for two hundred seventy years, then the least you can do is take responsibility for your own relationship.”
Mesion stared out over the water for a long moment, his face unreadable. Kylanna sighed inwardly. She knew it was difficult for him, painfully so, but it was unfair for their daughter to suffer for something that had happened thousands of years before she was even born - especially if she didn’t even know what it was.
Finally, he spoke. “Very well.”
Kylanna turned his face towards hers and kissed him gently. She could feel the tension in his body dissipate at her touch. He was a good man, and she knew her daughter would understand that if she could get to know him at all. With a little persuasion on her part, and a lot less stubbornness on theirs, perhaps she’d see her family whole again for the first time in centuries.
Mesion breathed an internal sigh of relief when he felt the packed ashes of the Molten Front crunch beneath his boot. It was not that he did not enjoy visiting his wife in the flesh, for he did. Nor was it that he did not appreciate the unspoilt sections of Hyjal and all they worked to save, for he did that, too. His colleagues were unsettled when they crossed the portal to the Firelands, for they could no longer touch the Emerald Dream. It relaxed Mesion, though, for the Nightmare could no longer touch him.
He strode past the towering Sentinel Tree and the moonwell, the fruit-bearing trees and the assembled ancient protectors, toward the camp of the druids of the talon. It was a bit peculiar that they were spending so much effort growing this tree when Hyjal itself still burned, but it was essential for keeping troops on the field, and Mesion would never question Shan’do Stormrage.
He bowed crisply before Skylord Omnuron. “Reporting for duty, sir.”
“Ishnu-dal-dieb, Mesion,” replied Omnuron with a nod. “I’d like you collecting hatchlings today.”
“Yes, sir.” Mesion bowed again. He much preferred stretching his wings on rescue duty, but with so few adventurers coming to the front these days -
“How was your visit with your wife?” called a smiling Varandas.
Mesion paused a moment and regarded the younger man coolly. “Pleasant,” he replied curtly, before striding off toward the platformed passage to Fireplume Peak.
While he preferred the challenge of flying through the unyielding heat, he was almost as skilled at riding heat currents as he was at flying through them. He snatched up the firehawk hatchlings that were floating at the top of each current and tucked them into the small cages he’d grabbed before hopping across the gap. Granted, he could just collect the fiery chicks from the peak as the adventurers did, but where was the fun in that? Besides, he was a Druid of the Talon. He was better than that.
Mesion wondered idly if the chicks he collected bore ire toward their mother hawks for being separated due to circumstances out of their control. Unlikely; most birds he observed were grateful to be reunited with the absent parent, or forgot altogether after a sufficient length of time. As usual, avians were far simpler than people, and he envied them for that.
Some days passed - without the rising and setting sun in the Firelands, it was difficult to tell exactly how many. More than three, he knew, but how many more he could not say. It mattered little as long as he performed his duties with precision and slept when he was weary - and as long as he was reminded of his fortnightly appointment with his wife, of course.
Skylord Omnuron frowned at him as he reported for duty. “I had thought you were just here, Mesion.”
Mesion stiffened, but managed to keep the frown from his face. “I have slept and I have eaten, Skylord. I do not know what else you wish me to do.”
“More sleep would behoove you, Stormtalon, but I have no wish to press the issue now,” replied the Skylord, waving a dismissive hand. “As the last one reporting to me today, then, I need you to head to Nordrassil Inn and replenish our supplies.”
Mesion blinked at him. “Would not someone else be more suited...?”
Omnuron sighed. “Mesion, I am weary and ready to retire, and I did not think to list you on my roster three times, so I know not what else to assign you. Please do not question my orders.”
“Respectfully, sir, perhaps I should go when I visit my wife again on the seventeenth? It would save a trip.”
“We need the water now, Mesion.” Omnuron eyed him sternly. “And you are certainly not combining work with a conjugal visit. Now if you’ll excuse me, I am officially off duty.” He turned and strode toward the camp, Mesion reluctantly following him as far as the stores.
It was perhaps an hour later that he stepped through the portal, lists and manifests in hand. He leapt into the air, shrinking and morphing and growing feathers, until he was soaring in the crisp mountain air as a stormcrow. He glided and banked above the charred ridges before flying northward to Nordrassil, the crown of the heavens.
Arranging for the supplies was simple enough, and the majority of the trip would be simply waiting for their preparation. Mesion was tempted to do battle with the rock elementals outside the inn while he waited, but he restrained himself. Perhaps he was more fatigued than he realized.
He was idly thumbing through a book, only half paying attention to its contents, when he became aware of people standing behind him - a bit closer than he was comfortable with. He straightened and turned slowly to see a tiny gnomish woman in black and white, and a stoic kaldorei warrior in imposing armor. There was something about that man’s face that he couldn’t quite put his finger on...
“May I help you?” Mesion inquired, raising an eyebrow at the pair. He blinked as he watched the gnome hop from foot to foot - he never did understand how such a tiny race could have so much energy.
“Mr. Windwhisper, you may remember me,” the warrior began. Mesion frowned slightly - that wasn’t his name, so perhaps the man knew his wife? “I am Galedorin and I am betrothed to your daughter.” Aha.
“Ah, yes.” Mesion nodded slowly and stood rigidly at attention. “I believe I remember your face. Your name is much more familiar. My apologies for not recognizing you immediately.”
“Our previous encounter was more strenuous than this one, so it is understandable,” Galedorin replied as the gnome crept closer to Mesion. He watched her warily. “The fact that you have been keeping yourself... exceptionally busy is something I find unusual.”
“Mostly most!” chirped the gnome in agreement, staring up at him with what he supposed she thought was a stern gaze. “Mr. Galedorin, will you not introduce us?”
“I have introduced myself, but yes, this is Sister Thistlepix,” noted Galedorin with a roll of his eyes. “I did not catch your name during our last meeting.”
“Ah. An honor, Sister Thistlepix,” Mesion replied, bowing slightly. “I am Mesion Stormtalon, Druid of the Talon.”
Sister Thistlepix tore her pert frown away from Galedorin to crane her neck up at Mesion. “Mr. Stormtalon, I am very pleased to finally... make your acquaintance.”
Mesion blinked. “ ‘Finally’?”
“Indeed, Mr. Stormtalon!” she exclaimed, drawing herself up self-importantly. “Your daughter, Miss Windwhisper, a lovely girl by the way, sent me to find you! Night Elves often wander off, it seems.”
“I have not wandered anywhere,” Mesion replied slowly. Sent to find him? Of all the adolescent, passive-aggressive tomfoolery...
“I can only wonder why Miss Windwhisper thought you had then, Mr. Stormtalon!” proclaimed the gnome, her tiny hands on her hips.
“Indeed, a wonder we share, then, Sister Gnome,” he said with a harrumph.
The little woman returned his harrumph. “Perhaps you should rush to her side and inquire, Mr. Stormtalon!” Mesion felt his stomach sinking. If this visit was not just about letters, then it had the potential to grow unpleasant rather quickly.
“I...” Mesion paused, and for a fleeting moment he considered the idea. Of course he wanted to see his daughter, and of course he wanted to meet his grandson. And it was said that Malfurion had sealed the Nightmare away in the Rift of Aln, so in theory it would be safe. But if they were wrong... “...cannot do that,” he finished quietly. “But I would be pleased if she were to visit me.”
“Are you unable to visit us in Darnassus?” inquired Galedorin, his gaze level and confident. “The flight is not long from here.”
“I understand, but I cannot.”
“Why not?” asked the warrior.
Mesion tightened his jaw as thousands of years of memories flitted briefly through his head. Perhaps if Galedorin had been alone, he would have discussed the matter, but he had no desire to discuss a painful personal history with that agitating, overwrought gnomish woman who still seemed to be inching ever closer. “The matter is... complex.”
“Then you will have to enlighten us,” replied Galedorin firmly.
They went round and round like this for the better part of an hour - Galedorin trying to pry Mesion’s reasoning from him, the parrot-like gnome squawking her agreement with everything Galedorin said, and Mesion earnestly wishing he had simply gone back to bed instead of seeking a new assignment from the Skylord. It was incredibly wearying.
Finally, they reached an impasse. “If you do not wish to tell me of your reasons for not leaving here, that is your prerogative,” Galedorin conceded. “But I will talk with Corrienda about our meeting, and I know she will ask the same questions I am.”
“I know,” replied Mesion quietly as the gnome chirped her agreement. Of that, he was all too aware. He hated the secrecy the matter required, and he had been aware of how she would feel toward him when he left more than two hundred and seventy years prior. What else could he have done, though?
“If it is something you can only say to her, then you will have to write of it in your letter. It may not be enough, though.” Galedorin looked him in the eye. “Regardless, I will make sure she either replies or writes a letter to you.”
Mesion nodded again. “You may tell her... it is a matter of safety.” That was true, at least. It was something that Kylanna had probably told her before, but perhaps it would be enough to convince her fiancé. “And that I love her, and I miss her, and would delight in becoming acquainted with the woman she has become.”
“I will accept that for now,” Galedorin replied with a bow.
A wave of relief swept over Mesion. “Thank you,” he said with a slight bow of his own.
“Sister Thistlepix, we are finished here.” Galedorin turned to leave.
The gnome stared up at Galedorin, annoyance and frustration painted all over her face. “That is it?”
“If he will not speak to us of the matter, then he will not, no matter how much we may ask him,” Galedorin told her. He motioned toward the way they had come in.
The little woman scowled up at Mesion. “Very well. I see that it is not just sleeves that the Night Elves will abandon. Hmph.”
The words hit him like a blow to the gut, and he stared incredulously at the gnome. “I beg your pardon?” Mesion asked measuredly, belying the rage that was frothing inside him. If his son-in-law-to-be had not been here...
Galedorin frowned at her. “Sister Thistlepix, that was quite rude of you.”
“I do not find it rude at all, it was a statement of some much needed clarification!” she proclaimed, her voice rising into a screech. “Mr. Stormtalon!” The gnome nodded briskly at Mesion before turning on her heel and stomping off. Galedorin cast an apologetic look over his shoulder before following her, his strides not making nearly as much noise as the dramatic gnomish woman despite his plated boots.
Mesion quickly transformed into a bird before the pair had even left his sight. He swooped out and over the inn, climbing above Nordrassil’s great roots and into its boughs, so high that he couldn’t even see the inn anymore. Then he dove down, down towards the Grove of Aessina, plummeting at such a speed that even his avian eyes were watering. The supplies for the Front be damned - right now all he needed was the wind in his feathers and some prey in his talons.
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