Ornasse was on his fourth glass of aged Dalaran red. There was no one in the parlor other than the high elf server, who had wordlessly brought the rest of the small wooden cask to his table. That was in part why he’d chosen Dalaran, rather than the dirty streets of Stormwind, if he was going to make an ass of himself, he’d rather not risk anyone recognizing him. He wore less conspicuous clothing for this trip — a pair of soft dark leather pants and a silk shirt, and no antlers, and a leather hat covered his eyes. Not that he need have worried; since Arthas’s fall, most of the crowds had thinned from the city, and only the mages remained. Mages who kept to themselves and didn’t bother strangers with prodding questions.
He regarded the high elf briefly, but decided against asking for help back to his room. Undignified as it might be, walking on four legs were much more stable than two, and Ornasse could hide amid the shadows if the shame became too great. How had he found himself in such a miserable state? It was Naeva’s fault. Naeva and that cursed draenei. He had to remind himself that she didn’t remember all of their time together, only a handful of months in the wretched, burning sands of Silithus. No wonder she’d run off, no doubt to the male who’d “saved” her in Ashenvale. Surely he was younger, and more handsome, and more capable. Looking back now, it seemed painfully obvious what had happened; she’d simply told Ornasse that the child was his, in hopes he’d raise it without any questions. And he had agreed to it, eagerly, but she’d changed her mind after all. He’d searched the forest for weeks, but a Sentinel who did not want to be found was impossible to track, even for a druid.
And then there was Zharya, the other shameful secret he’d told neither Naeva nor Tathariel about. He’d come close to telling Jaellynn, but thankfully he hadn’t pried. Ornasse had the feeling that boy had a few secrets of his own and knew better. That had been perhaps the pinnacle of his folly, believing he could tame the exotic huntress, and believing that she saw him as anything other than a means to an end. He couldn’t, of course, and she didn’t. So why had it hurt so much when he saw her as he had, a risen corpse freed of the Lich King’s grasp, and she told him that she thought of him as she died?
In Dalaran, the houses were of slightly less ill repute than Stormwind, and they had a wider variety of ladies residing within. They even had a draenei there, and though all he really sought was company, he accepted the full range of her services without protest. There had been a city elf too, with moon-white hair like Naeva’s, and he thought Ornasse might see if she were free once he got back to his room. She had left, as Zharya had left, and even Tathariel, in her own way. She hadn’t meant to, but she didn’t need him any longer, and Ornasse felt as if he never knew the right thing to say to her. He’d avoided seeing the baby — his grandson — for so long. How could he explain to her that it reminded him once again of his failings? He should be the one with a new son, finally able to be there for him as he hadn’t been for Tathariel.
His head was swimming. He left his coins on the table — far more than necessary, he felt he owed the high elf for tolerating his misery — and made his way out into the bright sunlight. It made his head feel worse. Perhaps things would make more sense in the cool light of Elune.