Martin Openhand let out a barking laugh and clasped Droma's hand in both of his own, shaking before pulling her into a tight hug that left chrysanthemums all over her hair and shoulders. "Don't you know any orcs? 868 More Words
Martin Openhand let out a barking laugh and clasped Droma's hand in both of his own, shaking before pulling her into a tight hug that left chrysanthemums all over her hair and shoulders.
"Don't you know any orcs?" the old witch grumbled, giving her daughter an exasperated look- but beneath that exasperation she was at least smiling, or trying to smile. She was starting to see the kind of truths that everyone else saw- simple things, like her daughter was in love, or her daughter had made an ally. Maybe it mattered a little less what a friend looked like, as long as they were a friend at all.
Blue only laughed, barely looking up from a card game she was sure she could win. Her opponents were her wife, her father, and a pig that liked to smoke. Not that she was underestimating any of them, but if she could unlock the mysteries of the cosmos, surely she could outfox these three.
"Fold," Garmax sighed, and his pig did the same, turning its nose up at the table indignantly.
"Two pair," Blue said confidently, laying her cards out and reaching for the chips.
"A flush, of the royal variety," Zahevere cut across, gently setting her fingers atop the back of Blue's greedy hand. "That's three for three, dear. Lose to me again and I'll take your shoes."
The table erupted in laughter, and the laughter grew as Martin joined them, leaning across the game to greet Garmax and Pear and grab the shoulders of his favorite world travelers, one on either side of him.
"Lady Bluetongue, Lady Zahevere, you have a beautiful family. It honors me greatly to be welcomed into this home, and to be here in your company again. However!"
Openhand took a step back, his dirt-filled armor clanking heavily and causing Droma to mutter under her breath as loose garden soil spilled onto a handmade Thunderlord carpet. Muttering turned to steadily louder profanity as he raised his arms dramatically to tell his tale.
He had come a long way. Circled Kalimdor, following the sun to the west as far as the land could go, fished with the trolls in Shadowprey, crept stealthily (pah! imagine!) past elves in Darkshore, and even climbed the rim of the extraordinary Un'goro Crater and witnessed wonders in distant Uldum.
And in his travels he had uncovered a secret that he knew he had to take to the finest seeker of secrets he knew.
He first began to suspect the truth when he wandered the Whispering Shore in Tirisfal. He wondered again when the feeling returned in Azshara, and yet again as he stalked through Bloodscalp territory in search of a rare and beautiful flower.
Those three dots he finally connected when he turned his eyes from the unfathomable mysteries of Uldum to the scoured surface of Silithus.
To the spires. To the hives. To history.
"Any good gardener can tell you that the right bug in the wrong place spells peril for the whole plant. But Silithus, my friends- it's just what we can see."
Garmax clutched his pig to his chest in terror, while Blue and Zee looked on, wide-eyed and with rapt attention. Droma, utterly committed to pretending that no frightful speech could sway her, had begun batting at Martin's ankles with a straw broom.
"There's something down below, I'm convinced- and if it's at all the four corners of Azeroth as we know it, my friends, then if we don't do something..."
"...By the time anyone else realizes what's going on, the whole world'll be gone." Blue finished, nodding over and over, gears turning in her head. She didn't have a plan, but her mind was running hot with ideas, questions, and an eagerness to be on the road again.
She wasn't the only one eager to see her go. A family reunion was nice, but Droma was still recovering, and she had heard enough about Blue's travels to last a lifetime. Elven ruins, violent stunts with Promise, harpies... the next time Blue came home she was sure she'd hear the same thing all over again.
"Here," she said, after Garmax had crammed three packs- one for his daughter, her wife, and their dead friend- full to burst with provisions and buckled them down from head to toe with supplies. Droma wasn't much of a hugger, but she still wrapped her arms around her daughter's shoulders for a moment and squeezed, and then thrust a book into her arms.
"First one's full."
"You read my journal?!"
"Only the good parts. Do me a favor and make this one all good parts, by the time you come back and see us."
Blue looked down at the gray cover- oily leather, rendered by hand from a Southfury crocolisk, likely enough in her father's free time- and ran a hand across it in quiet reverence.
"She won't let you down, Lady Droma," Martin announced, clapping one of Droma's shoulders pleasantly. Something icy flashed across her eyes as she felt loose dirt roll down her sleeve, but she took a deep breath and looked into Martin's glowing eyes for a moment.
"I know she won't," she said quietly- but not quietly enough to matter.
"She never has."