August 31, 2011 Leave a comment
Raleth was certain that if he ever saw fire again, it would be too soon. He pushed away the half-glass of aged white wine and picked up his book again. His throat still felt smoky and parched, but he’d have to find something besides wine else he’d be drunk, and that would make it worse. No matter how much he drank, he still felt thirsty. It was an unsettling feeling, and he wished it would go away. In one of the empty glasses, he conjured some bright clear water, and chilled it with a tap of his finger to the glass. That was better, though conjured food always left one feeling a bit unsatisfied. Rather like his trip to the mountain had.
The library was quiet at this time of day, aside from the butler whispering across the floor in his impeccably-tailored trousers. He refilled Raleth’s glass, even though he hadn’t asked him to, bowed briefly, and shuffled away again. Raleth hadn’t found her there. He hadn’t really expected to, after all, but he’d hoped he might be pleasantly surprised. Maybe she’d gone back to the ruins. Or maybe she wasn’t alive at all. Regardless, he had to accept the fact that she wasn’t going to return to Dalaran as she’d promised, at least not soon. It was foolish of him to go on acting as if she would. There was a fine line between hope and delusion, and as all mages, Raleth was keenly aware where that line lay.
The portal crackled briefly as someone stepped through, and Raleth glanced up to see who it was. A kaldorei mage, Raleth noted, with a brow raised. They were still fairly rare in Dalaran, and this one looked old. His robes looked expensive, dyed a deep purple that matched his hair, and embroidered all along the seams. They were nice robes.
And he was tall. Even for a kaldorei, who were tall to begin with. Raleth felt an irrational stab of jealousy. Maybe that was the problem, maybe if he were taller…
The kaldorei mage sat down at the table with him. For a moment he thought he’d read his thoughts, but no mage he knew of could do that. “I’m not disturbing you, am I?”
Yes, Raleth thought, but he said “No.”
He’d read about the highborne a great deal, and seen some from time to time, but he’d only rarely spoken to one. She had been the most recent. He’d somehow expected them to be stodgier — perhaps exile made you relax.
The kaldorei frowned slightly, his brows drawing together. “I apologize, I am disturbing you. I just hoped for some conversation. It’s too quiet downstairs.” Well, it had been quiet up here, too. But Raleth could understand. After days of losing oneself to books, he often went to busy places just to overhear voices other than his own.
“It’s no trouble,” Raleth said, observing the man’s robes again. He wondered where he’d got them.
“My son won’t speak to me anymore,” the kaldorei said casually, as if discussing the fifth theory of teleportation. “The other one dropped me off here and hasn’t been back since.”
Raleth blinked. “Oh,” he said uncertainly. That was a bit heavier conversation than he’d been expecting, and he had no idea how to respond. “That’s unfortunate. You look to be a very accomplished mage.”
The kaldorei nodded, suddenly looking tired. “That’s the problem. That’s all they see me as. The de– the druid, anyway.”
Raleth had briefly forgotten the kaldorei phobia of magic. Of course, it made sense that his family would balk at his studies if they were backward, tree-drelling rubes. He sipped at his wine before he answered. “I find the company here preferable to my own family. Perhaps you will find the same.” That was putting it lightly. He shuddered at the thought of traveling to Orgrimmar, with its stench and crude huts and pigs everywhere.
The kaldorei smiled wryly. Raleth didn’t think it was the answer he’d hoped for, but maybe it helped to hear it from someone else. He hesitated. “If you need someone to talk to,” he said at last, “I am often found here.” He didn’t know why he offered. Maybe it was the robes. Or maybe it was because he was a highborne.
He seemed a little surprised by the offer. “I might,” the kaldorei answered, inclining his head in a nod.