After fifteen or so years, Aely was pretty sure she’d be used to running off at the beck and call of whatever campaign was running, regardless of what was going on in the rest of the world. Still, spending the week of Winter’s Veil knee deep in wounded knights in Icecrown wasn’t her idea of a good time, particularly knowing that Arrens was either in Stormwind and potentially in danger, or in Dun Morogh, holed up in his little house, warm against the snow.
The timing of campaigns was inevitably inconvenient though, and armies always disregarded things like holidays and winter and whether or not your wife was pregnant or the crops needed to come out of the field. Such was the life of a soldier, and she knew it well.
None of that stopped her from a celebratory jaunt through the Hero’s Welcome on her way back towards the Kingdoms on New Year’s Eve. The cider there was spiked with a little something more than just the traditional holiday spices, and after a mug or two she was feeling warm from more than just the heat of the pub and the warm drink.
She’d dropped Arrens a letter earlier in the week, letting him know she’d be back that evening, around sunset. He’d asked her to swing by the house in Dun Morogh – a short response, really.
Ten days in the field and two mugs of cider mulled through her head and she frowned. Maybe he was tired of her having to jaunt off at a moment’s notice? Sounds of merriment erupted from the crowd around her – close and almost oppressive now, instead of welcoming.
She paid her tab and headed south.
Aely’s spirits rose considerably on the trip, between the twinkling holiday lights and the realization that she’d be home a good hour before sunset. Even the sharp wind that whipped down Ironforge mountain seemed only to be a reminder that she was not, in fact, in Icecrown – the air was tinged with both wood smoke and the soft scent of evergreen trees. Wood smoke apparently from Arrens’ fireplace – as the house came into view, so did the soft trails above the chimney.
She smiled at the thought of surprising him and nearly fell off her horse as something splattered onto her cloak and hood from behind. Dropping down to crouch around Maera’s neck, she peered into the thick woods behind, only to be pelted from the side by a second lump of snow.
Quickly followed by a third.
And then, over in the trees to her left she caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a large, floating eyeball, framed in green felfire.
A very amused voice rose up from behind a mound of snow – “It’s the Eye of Kilrogg, my love. It is said each warlock can summon the very eye of Kilrogg Deadye himself. Some use it to scout ahead, others use it to survey distant lands. I use it as a security measure….and to see when my love will be coming home to me.” Standing finally, allowing himself to be seen, Arrens grinned broadly. “Happy Winter’s Veil, my dear.” He launched another snowball at her, laughing as his foot slipped upon the snow, tumbling him down to the white powdery substance beneath him.
Aely ducked this one, letting it sail harmlessly past and slid off her charger, scooping up a handful of snow to wing back in his general direction and was rewarded with a satisfying “HEY!” from just within the treeline.
It didn’t take Maera long to figure out that she didn’t really want to be used as a snow-fight bunker, which left Aely relatively exposed to the barrage of well-aimed snowballs coming from behind a little hill just within the trees. Three or four unsuccessful attempts to pinpoint exactly /where/ Arrens was only resulted in laughter and more snow down her cloak, so she opted to do the only logical thing in her position.
She made a few hurried snowballs, and rushed the snowbank.
Arrens was just standing up from picking up another handful when she came scrambling over the pile of snow right at him, a few flecks of white yet clinging to her hair. He was stunned motionless as they both fell careening backwards into the snowy embankment behind them.
The resulting scuffle had no clear winner, really, other than perhaps the deep drifts around them. Both were covered in white fluff by the end, Aely half gasping, half laughing as she scrambled over to prop herself up, pinning Arrens’ shoulders under her hands. He grinned at her, and she expected to get tossed over backwards again, only to find herself pulled into a kiss that lingered far longer than it should have, given the encroaching dusk and both of them approaching being soaked through.
Aely shivered despite the embrace, and he broke the kiss, propping himself up on his elbows. “Let’s go inside, my love. The fire is warm and I’ve some spiced cider as well.” Helping her up from the ground and walking towards the door of his house, his voice trailed back to her, mischief clearly audible.
“I’ve also put up an array of mistletoe. I thought I should give you fair warning.”
He grinned, turned, and was subsequently pelted in the back of the head with another snowball.
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