Written by Anna
on August 31, 2013 – 11:38 am
Introducing a new multi-part fic, written with Jolstraer, and possibly others as this goes on.
They always say you can’t go home again – and they’re probably right. Hearthglen wasn’t “home” any more than any other part of Lordaeron really was anymore, but it was about as close as she could get. Aely had taken Tarquin up on his invitation to head North for a week, and try to break out of the holding pattern that grief was putting on her brain, keeping her from even fully accepting what had happened. They’d had a good talk, and things sort of settled out from there.
Hearthglen had a lot to offer the former Silver Hand Knight, including a good portion of what was left of the Argent Crusade. Aely took a hand in working the horses there – something she hadn’t done since she had barely taken vows – and had even taken a few rounds of practice with some of the trainees. There was an infirmary there, but it wasn’t a warzone anymore, and she wasn’t needed to tend the sick.
The sword work was good in that it made her tired, and that would make her sleep. It also made her hungry, but she’d been welcomed back and had taken a few meals in the mess hall with the various levels of soldiers, most of whom were happy to listen to her tell stories of the assault on Ulduar or Icecrown, or even of the early days before the Scourge.
It was later one evening, at dinner in the barracks, where the first inkling showed of something not quite right with the little idyllic, reclaimed corner of Lordaeron.
“Oi you gits,” one infantryman said as he set his tin plate down on the table. The great hall was filled with tables and low benches, most of which were thinly populated with Argent soldiers taking in the evening’s meal. A sparse few greetings were given in response, most more occupied with the fried pork and piles of potatoes that were today’s fare. “Saw our frien’ again t’day.”
“Oh?” a gangly fellow from Kul Tiras with a long nose asked back. “Didn’t see him up close, did ya?”
The first, clearly a native, shook his head as he shoveled a mouth full of potatoes. “Nah. Alweys dusk, alweys aroun’ a hill awey. Creepy bugger. Must be ah scout ay tha F’rsaken.”
“No, he is not,” the Night Elf at the end of the table spoke solemnly. “I too have witnessed him. The Northeast tower at Andorhal was nearly ambushed. The only evidence was the aftermath of a Forsaken raiding party, torn to bits just outside of the watchfires’ light.”
“Sounds like wot happened to ‘at pack of Scarlet raiders,” long-nose replied, looking a little shaken. “They’d raided Dalson’s farm for supplies. By the time a cavalry group had been wrangled to chase after ‘em, all they found was a bloody mess, an’ saw ‘at rider sittin’ on a hill off in tha distance.”
Aely wandered over, munching on a cookie. “Anyone gone an’ ridden after ‘im?”
She was greeted by a chorus of silent eyes, looking her over, and settling on the various emblazons around the edges of her tabard. “Ma’am?”
“Dame Aely Caltrains. Born Larsdottir. Served since the Silver Hand. Ye can answer me wi’out thinkin’ I’m gonna tell any ay yir officers. I’m jus’ here oan a… rehabilitation assignment.” She smiled in what she hoped was a confidence inducing manner.
The Night Elf was the first to reply. “Yes ma’am. Nobody’s gone after him because nobody’s really had a party together to go looking. He just seems to show up, and then disappear again into the trees.”
“An’ none ay ye brave lads thought ta tell a superior about it, an’ get it proper looked inta?” She sat down near one end of the table.
Another chorus of silence.
This time it was the Kul Tiras man who replied. “Truth be, ma’am, I think we’re all a bit spooked. He’s not causin’ trouble, so I don’t think anyone wanted ta go and piss him off. We don’t have much other than this toehold up here real solid yet.”
“Ye lot mind if I bring it up, an’ maybe head out an’ do a bit ay lookin’? Can get ye all ta come wi’ me if yir so inclined. I dinna like th’ idea ay lone riders, an’ I dinna like th’ idea ay an ally out in th’ cold either. If he’s a friend, as ye say, we’ll find him out. An’ if he’s a foe, we’ll sort ‘im out, an’ be done wi’ Sir Spooky either way.”