Oh look the beginning of Chapter 22 for CotS -
It was refreshing to leave the humidity of Zangarmarsh behind them, Terokkar’s air feeling bone dry by comparison and far colder. The trees reminded Keleria of a split between palms and pines with their plated trunks and needle-like foliage. The fact that they dropped cones for their seeds only reinforced the idea.
Outside the confines of its demon tainted areas Keleria actually found Draenor’s broken remains intriguing. It was a different world and not even the birthplace of the Draenei themselves, which only meant there were more out there. Worlds with their own multitude of people, cultures and lands with different creatures and plants to discover, explore and study. It made her feel rather insignificant to think about it.
A shadow passed over head and she heard Ayuri giggle lowly. Keleria rolled her eyes, only half meaning it, and looked up to see E’Tharadar soaring high above the canopy. He was quite happy to spend his time in the air while they trekked to Shattrath and Keleria had no intention of leaving Ayuri behind. Flying beasts had a natural advantage over grounded ones and Shayo would not be able to keep up with the hippogryph’s speed. So they walked.
Of course Keleria could just ride upon Shayo with Ayuri but she was in no distinct hurry. The refuge was not in danger of another attack any time soon and the Naga would need time to lick their wounds and gather strength. She could see Shattrath in the distance and they would be there before dawn. Spending a few weeks among their own kind had normalized their sleeping pattern, at least by Kaldorei standards. Keleria resisted the urge to internally groan at having to flip back to a diurnal pattern, why the other races didn’t have the sense to be awake during the comforting hours of the night was beyond her. Though with no small level of bitterness she supposed that was one of the few things left untainted by them.
“Think you’ll keep him?” Ayuri kept her eyes on the road, idly reaching down to stroke across Shayo’s neck.
“I do not know,” Keleria glanced up at E’Tharadar once more. “Brushal would not wish me to contemplate my navel for any extended period of time; he would swat me for the time spent on that already.”
Ayuri looked aside at her, smiling reassuringly, “you weren’t that bad. Maybe just a little too insular.”
Keleria met her gaze, raising a brow disbelievingly, “a little?”
Ayuri lifted her hand, pressing her thumb and forefinger to together, “just a little.”
The warrior scoffed, amused, and looked to the sky again. “He is proud, energetic and ferocious, a fine example of his kind,” she managed a smile. “He would make a fine companion.”
Ayuri tilted her head, “and you have yet to ride him.”
“There is that. I know how to fly a hippogryph, it is merely…”
“You think of Brushal.”
“Did this happen with your previous companions too?”
“Usually there was more space between the time of their deaths and when I met a suitable candidate. There are personalities to consider if you do not raise the sabre yourself, some will simply not mesh well with certain Kal’dorei and it has always been the case both ways.”
“I guess you really wouldn’t want to be around a sabre that hates you.”
“No you would not. You see what they do to your enemies; they could just as easily do that to you.”
Ayuri looked at Shayo and leaned down, hugging the sabre around her shoulders. Shayo gave a brief snort in response, her tail flicking up and brushing the young woman’s leg. Keleria chuckled briefly, “she would have made it obvious if she did not like you.”
Ayuri smiled, her cheek pressed against Shayo’s fur, “I know. I’m just appreciating that she’s here with me.”
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Can be found on AO3 and FF.net.
(current editing and adding the previous chapters to AO3 so they’re not all there yet but WHATEVER.)