In the end it was neither a fish nor a naga that brought Malcos into the infirmary, but a bug. One of the luminescent giant wasps had landed a lucky strike with its stinger, right in the deep muscle of his thigh. The wound hadn’t healed, instead taking on the festering look of poison, and he’d wisely sought the advice of those more skilled at healing than himself.
“I told you to be careful,” Vassanta scolded him, but her grin gave her away. “The mighty Malcos brought down by a bug…”
He gave her a fierce mock scowl in return. “Hey, it was a big bug, all right?”
Hoofsteps scuffed in the doorway as the heavy door swung open, the anchorite closing it gently behind her. “Malcos?” What was he doing here and — her eyes narrowed — why was Vassanta with him?
Malcos shifted to see her, wincing a little as he did so. “Oh, hey Vajarra!”
Vassanta gave her a hard glare. “What did you do to him?” Vajarra demanded, laying out her instruments on the stone table.
“Me? I didn’t do anything!” Vassanta snapped back, and Vajarra hoped that she wouldn’t start shouting inside the temple.
Malcos hurried to explain, “It was one of those wasps, in the marsh.” Vajarra could see that well enough, knew the tell-tale signs of its poison. She wasn’t especially skilled in poison extraction, but fortunately there was a simple and effective anti-venom that had been developed during the draenei’s trek through the marsh. Prising her lips, she set to work, measuring the ingredients needed.
“I didn’t know you two were speaking to each other again,” Vajarra said at last, combining the anti-venom into a small glass vial.
Malcos lowered his ears with the look of a scolded dog. “Well we kind of… got back together.”
Vajarra nearly dropped the vial. “What?! Why would you do that? You know she’s just going to do the same thing to you again.”
“I am not,” Vassanta hissed, “And no one asked for your opinion, anyway.”
Malcos fidgeted, looking between the arguing sisters and back to the sharply arced pair of scissors in Vajarra’s hands that she was now taking to his wound, even as she argued.
“What are you thinking?” she implored him as she leaned in to investigate the injury.
“We just decided to give it another — ouch!” Malcos yelped a little as she pulled the end of the stinger out, hard and black and still dripping with poison.
“I told you it wasn’t any of your business, Vajarra, just butt out.” Vassanta was piping up again, and Malcos prayed that she wouldn’t infuriate Vajarra any further, at least while she had something sharp in her hands.
Vajarra frowned severely, dropping the stinger into a small bowl, and reaching for another vial of liquid. “Hold still, this might hurt a bit,” she said, as she poured the clear fluid into the wound. “Don’t you remember what you said to me in Theramore?”
Malcos grunted, gritting his teeth. “I’m having a hard time focusing, at the moment.”
“What,” Vassanta sneered. “When you went to him for “comfort”?”
Vajarra gave Malcos a look that was somewhere between horrified and infuriated. “You TOLD her?”
Malcos stammered. “I just told her we spent some time together… I didn’t tell her any details!”
Vassanta grimaced. “I don’t need to hear the details.”
“Of course nothing happened,” Vassanta snorted, eyeing her sister again. “It’s Vajarra.”
Vajarra could feel her hands trembling with anger, and willed it away, unwinding a clean bandage. Giving her hands something to do seemed to help. “If you want to be foolish and ruin your life, Malcos, that’s your business. But don’t come to me for “comfort” when she does it again.”
Malcos gave a harsh laugh. “You know, last time I saw you here, you told me to stay away from your sister. That I wasn’t good enough for her.”
She stared at him for a long moment before she answered. What had happened to him? “Maybe I was wrong,” she said at last. “Maybe you two deserve each other.” She affixed the bandage firmly around his thigh, fastening it. “Keep that clean and dry and change it every day. Come back if it doesn’t get better in a day or two.”
Malcos winced a little as she tightened the bandage. “I promise I didn’t tell her anything you said in confidence,” he said, rubbing his temple tiredly. “Besides, don’t talk to me about bad decisions, you ran off to the Ghostlands by yourself.”
Vajarra blinked, stunned, and Vassanta shot her a querying look. “You did?”
“It was important,” she said, gathering up her tools and materials. “And yes, I did. I think you know why, Vass.”
“Still chasing that blood elf? And you call Malcos foolish.” She had stood up from her chair, leaning against the doorway.
“Why are you even bringing that up?” Vajarra eyed him coldly. He wasn’t the elf she remembered from Theramore.
“Because you’re berating me for bad decisions, while you’ve done the same thing.”
“It’s not remotely the same thing, Malcos, and it’s cruel of you to bring it up.” Vajarra felt like she was going to cry, but she wouldn’t give either of them the satisfaction of seeing it.
Malcos snorted. “Why is it cruel?”
Did he really not know? “You know as well as I do that she likes to take things away from people. That elf was my friend.”
Vassanta threw up her hands in exasperation. “We’re talking about a blood elf, Vajarra. He would have murdered you twice as fast if he had the chance.”
“Wait,” Malcos said, holding a hand up. “Your friend… the blood elf that was killed… I’d have murdered the bastard myself if I had the chance.”
Vajarra spun on him, eyes wide. “What?”
“How could you — with someone who did that to your sister?” He had stood up, favoring his good leg, and in that moment he looked frightening to Vajarra.
“What? He’s not — I was teaching him about the Light!” She couldn’t believe that Malcos had fallen for more of Vassanta’s nonsense, he of all people who should know better. “He didn’t do anything to her! He’s the one who’s dead!”
Vassanta stiffened, gesturing to Malcos. “Come on, let’s go,” she said quietly, and Vajarra thought it strange that she would want to back away from a fight.
He ignored Vassanta, for the moment. “He deserved it! Him, and every monster like him.”
“How can you say that? He came to the Light to repent.”
Malcos snarled, “You can’t repent for something like that. It means you’re evil to the bone.”
“How do you know? Are you a naaru?”
He just shook his head, sighing wearily.
“I’m sure you’ve done things you regret, Malcos,” Vajarra said quietly. “Are you so perfect?”
“Of course I have, I’ve screwed up tons of times, I just–”
Vassanta was at his side, nudging him insistently. “Sorry, I’ll just shut up now,” he grumbled, wincing as he stepped onto his injured leg.
“Very well,” said Vajarra. She tucked the bundle of her equipment under her arm and pushed the door open, stepping out into the cool night outside. They would be following soon, and she didn’t wish to see either of them, not right now and perhaps not ever. She’d done everything she was supposed to, ever since she was small, and where had it got her? Far above, in the blue velvet sky, the twin moons crossed the sky as they always had, beside one another.