Just one more time.
Just one more time.
The choices sat down on her lap and looked up expectantly, waiting for her to see them, acknowledge them, and send them to their tasks.
They smelled of dust and neglect; pungent, pissy choices.
Her vows no longer pulled her to her future, but bound her to her past.
If she saw him one more time…
Zep did not live far from the outpost where Scout Knowles stood watch. He was only a few leagues away from Dalaran, the nearly forgotten city in the sky, where only a squirrel or friendly Orc or two remained. Her vows grew in the cathedral was in Stormwind, the human world, where like her sister, she never seemed to quite fit. Why Exodar didn’t have holy training in the ways of the light of her people, another option instead of priesthood, she would forever question. There had to be another path besides this constrictive human one.
One more time. She told Mrs. Whitworth to stay behind, please. The cat grumbled, but obliged.
She turned into a shadow, to remain unseen by his vigilant eyes. What would be worse? To have him see her, or not? To have him see her and want her, to move, to abandon duty, or to not recognize her? Or the worse terror of all: to see her, and choose to stay. To remain outside of his watch, the pots and fumes of a war keeping his interest were old wars and past battles. He guarded the post like a holy relic. She was just a girl, after all.
Why the hell was he still guarding this small incursion? There were new battles, more important ones. Her sister had commented a strange, conspiratorial thought the other day: Stormwind had been destroyed, yes, but it seemed all too selective. None of the commerce areas were affected, such as the banks and the auction houses—odd. Only the seared talon marks on the gates of the city, and a few fallen monuments. Did the dragon have a pre-arranged deal with the powers that be? To only kill, enslave, and knock down a few bricks, but leave the money seats alone? In musical chairs of war, the gold always knows when the music is about to stop. And yet, here was her love, still alone on the watch. Seemed like misplaced allegiances to her.
Zep hid behind a tree; Knowle’s mare shifted her weight just enough to block her view of him. That damn jealous horse. To outsmart the beast, she perched on the exposed beam of the storage shack, hidden from view. A rogue flew in, and spotted her, but did not give her away, flying away after his task was completed.
Knowles seemed agitated. Zep sucked in her small breath.
He held the back of her head, his hand covering her skull, and kissed her.
And he kissed kissed kissed her.
Lips like tiny embraces on your face, holding you as close as they can, closer than love, a step over the bridge, a step into the fire, a step into the sea, once kissed, once and once again, you are marked. You drown, you surrender, you are gone, bubbles in the water and the salt in the sea, burning infernos and extinguished sparks all at once.
Knowles shifted his weight, and looked down at the ground, his eyes away from the horizon.
A storm giant boomed past, the grounding thunder steps in time with her heartbeat.
The scout watched the giant trod past, seeing him thousands of times, the behemoth was old news now, but still captured his attention.
She came down from her roost, and hid.
The priest slumped in the corner of the long-neglected shed, next to crates of dangerous ammunitions, dangerous in their potential, ignorant of treaties, and squelched explosions.
The aggressive cobwebs roped high wires from one podium to another, the only entertainment the musty shack hosted.
She prayed. “Velen, please – give me the power to move. To go. And the power to not return again.”
Zep felt the dusty place inside, the place where the moment shushed and boxed. If she reached out and touched him, it would only confuse him, break him even. He was only mortal after all.
The splinters, the crack of pine, and a sound of bagpipes off somewhere: this was a human place, of simple duties and singular purpose.
A sparrow raced to its nest.
She dissolved, amethyst, indigo, and gold.
And Scout Knowles kept the line.