Raleth twitched his ears in irritation. If people wanted to carry out conversations, this library was not the ideal place to do so. He re-read the same page, for the fourth time, trying to tune out the chatter. He’d briefly forgotten about the Twilight tome that he’d brought to the council, until yesterday evening when they’d delivered this report. They’d been pleased with the findings, it was a valuable tome explaining various ceremonies. Surely, the messenger said, Raleth would be recognized for this achievement. But he found he no longer cared much for pats on the head from the council, their words as meaningless as the symbols on the page before him.
He glanced up again, as the noise had ceased. It looked as if the conversationalists had gone their separate ways. But no, one of them was crossing the room toward him. Raleth recognized the tall mage as the kaldorei, Ellorian. He sat before Raleth could object, sinking heavily into the chair opposite him.
“What troubles you, friend?” Raleth asked, tucking the report into the stack of books on the table. Ellorian noticed, but he didn’t comment.
“Don’t you ever get bored here?”
Raleth lifted a brow uncertainly. “Here? In the library?”
Ellorian stared at the portal that led to the lower levels. “In Dalaran. It’s beautiful, but–”
“A gilded cage,” Raleth muttered. “As much to keep us in as to keep others out. It feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it?”
The kaldorei watched him, stroking his beard. “You know nothing of cages, friend.”
Raleth felt his ear-tips warm. “No, I suppose I don’t. I apologize, it’s not the same at all–”
“We could leave, if we wanted to,” Ellorian went on, “but no one wants us there.”
It was unfortunate how old fears still lingered. Surely the kaldorei would have accepted the arcane arts and moved forward, but they were hopelessly rooted in the past. He could have gone to the human city, where the children played at magic, but Raleth guessed that Ellorian did not wish to waste his time there. It was a cage, it was true, though an invisible one.
Ellorian looked at him suddenly. “You were a battle-mage, were you not?”
“I am,” Raleth replied. “Still. Though it’s been some time since I actually marched.”
The kaldorei’s expression grew wistful, no doubt imagining his heroic exploits as he turned the tide of a great battle. The reality was much less glamorous, and Raleth despised the idea of traveling with the crude orcs and stinking tauren. Marching with the Alliance armies had been less unpleasant, but they now had wild animals among their number too. And the dwarves, he mustn’t forget the dwarves.
“It will change,” Raleth said, trying to sound earnest. “It will take time, but it will happen.” But Ellorian was right. How much longer would they be locked away like criminals, far away from the rest of the world?
“We shall see,” was all that Ellorian said.