The night air in Theramore was cold, and carried the moisture of the sea with it. Vajarra drew her cloak more closely around her as she stepped out from the tower onto the stone path. She had asked one of the mages in Stormwind to send her here, the boats were slow and smelly and full of strange people. The night elf was waiting for her, sitting atop his black horse. Vajarra bowed hurriedly, suddenly regretting coming all the way here and bothering him for something so trivial.
“Good evening, priestess,” Malcos said. She thought he sounded a little amused. “I heard word that you wanted to speak with me?”
Vajarra glanced at one of the passing guards, who looked at her curiously in turn. “That’s right,” she nodded. “Do you think we could go somewhere to talk?”
The elf smiled, sliding down from the horse’s saddle and picking up the reins. “I know just the place,” he said, leading the horse across the grounds toward the great stone wall that enclosed the city. Malcos tethered the horse to a fencepost and patted its neck fondly, then he turned to look at Vajarra. “Right there,” he said, gesturing to a wide ramp. Vajarra looked at it skeptically, but it looked safe enough, she supposed. The ramp led up to the tops of the walls, where the guards kept a sleepy watch, their torches bright spots in the darkness. It was really very beautiful, Vajarra had to admit, looking out over the sea and the tangled swamp beyond the city’s walls. If Varul were here, it would almost be romantic, and she felt her heart tighten painfully.
“Is this about that druid?” Malcos spoke up at last, though quietly.
Vajarra blinked, suprised. “Did he talk to you?”
He shook his head. “No, but I guessed… from the last time we spoke.” Vajarra felt her ears warm, was it really so obvious? There was no use in mincing words at this point.
“He doesn’t want to see me anymore,” Vajarra said quietly, surprised that she was able to say the words aloud. They felt as if they belonged to someone else.
She didn’t turn to look at him, but she could imagine Malcos’ expression. “Then he’s a fool.”
Vajarra furrowed her brow. “How can you say that? You don’t even know him.” Why was he attacking Varul? She was the one who had given up, after all. She tried to imagine how she would feel if she were in his place, but she didn’t know. It was hard to be objective right now.
He shook his head, leaning forward against the wall. He still wasn’t looking at her, but somewhere far out in the swamp. “Just from what you’ve told me. It’s clear to me he doesn’t care for you as much as you do for him. Leaving you alone like that without a word, and getting angry when you moved on? But–” he sighed, shaking his head. “I’m the last person you should be asking for advice, priestess.”
“I didn’t know who else to ask,” she said quietly, feeling embarrassed again. “I thought because you’d recently… you know.”
She wished she could see his expression, but it was impossible in the darkness. “You can’t keep dwelling on the past, hoping it’ll change. I know I’ll never have Vass again, so I have to move forward.”
Vajarra furrowed her brow at that. “But I don’t want to move on. I’ll just focus on my studies and maybe he’ll change his mind one day.”
Malcos let out an exasperated sigh. “That’s what I mean, you’re still trying to hold onto the past. It’s just going to hurt you more. I know it seems hard, but you have to forget about him.”
Vajarra stared out at the swamp, its gnarled trees poking out above the fog. She didn’t want to seem ungrateful, but Malcos’ advice was horrible. She wasn’t like Vassanta, who had dozens of men at her beck and call. It wasn’t as if she could just go to the auction house and buy one. And even if she could, she still loved Varul, he was the only one she really wanted. “Could we go inside?” she asked at last. “It’s cold out here.”
He nodded, offering his hand to help her down the ramp. In spite of his somewhat frightening looks, it seemed that he really was a gentleman. Vajarra supposed that’s just not what Vassanta had wanted. The tavern was bright and loud, in spite of the late hour, and Vajarra hesitated. “Is this tavern full of sailors?”
Malcos laughed, and she wasn’t sure if he was laughing at her or not. “No, I brought you to the nice one, priestess. I’ll go check for you though, all right?”
Vajarra waited outside, huddling in her cloak. The city was nice, but it was much more rough than she was used to. After a few moments, Malcos reappeared in the doorway, waving her in. “Come in,” he said, with a grin.
There were some sailors, at least she guessed they were from their clothing, but they sat quietly at one of the back tables. The hearth roared with a huge fire, and Vajarra was glad to sit near its warmth. Malcos brought her a mug, and she began to protest. “Relax, priestess. It’s moonberry juice.”
They sat by the fire, talking until the hour grew late and the flames faded into flickering ashes. “Did you want me to stay here?” Malcos asked, and Vajarra raised her brows in alarm.
“Stay here… with me, you mean?”
He shook his head, flustered, and she saw his ears darken the way Varul’s would when he was embarrassed. “Not like that, I just mean, here in this inn. If you’re worried about staying here.”
“Oh yes, if you don’t mind,” Vajarra said, relieved. The bartender was wearing an eyepatch. And she was a woman. It didn’t look like the sort of place that was safe for a lady to stay alone. “But…”
Malcos blinked, his head cocked curiously. “But?”
“Would you stay near me, though? Not — you know — but just, to have someone there.” She was falling over her words, she didn’t know how to explain what she wanted; just a comforting presence, to have someone there so she wouldn’t feel so desperately alone.
Malcos peered into his own mug of moonberry juice and nodded. “If you’d like.” Vajarra felt her own ears darken, and wished she hadn’t said anything at all, but he continued after a moment. “I know all too well what you’re going through. I’m happy to offer what comfort I can.”
“And you won’t um… try anything, right?” Vajarra eyed him warily.
His eyes went wide in alarm. “No, you have my word that I wouldn’t do such a thing.”
He could have been lying, but Vajarra didn’t think that he was. She nodded, gathering up her things as he requested a room, and followed him up the staircase.