Sunday, January 17, 2010

Parting, or "Birdfall Goes to Northrend"

I wrote this story when Birdfall arrived in Northrend well before my husband's Mistwing. I needed a reason for why they weren't traveling together anymore, and I decided to combine an idea for a romantic interest for Birdy with the fact that my husband yearned to go elsewhere with Mistwing's character development.

The time of this story is after Birdfall and Mistwing have been traveling and exploring the world for several years but not long after Northrend opened up. So it's set not long after Birdy's official bio ends.


I stared at her on the docks of Stormwind as she didn't move to hug me goodbye. Her hair fluttered around her, that rich mossy hair, her vanity. Men turned to glance at us, the two elven women standing and staring at each other.

We'd been girls together on Mount Hyjal, before we knew what disaster meant. We'd playfully outrun my sister among the trees and, when it was just the two of us, Mistwing would bind our herbs on the banks of the river while I fished, though she never understood the allure of hook and line—not when she could become a water creature herself.

Odd how this felt worse than all the nightmares of war.

I didn't expect her to speak. She hadn't spoken once in her entire life. We'd made our own language early on, a language of motion and gesture. I was her translator. It proved awkward when men flirted with her.

I missed that awkwardness already. She looked healthy and lovely, even with wind-reddened cheeks and a pink nose from holding back the tears. She had a letter in her pocket for the Sentinels, and my sister awaited her in Darnassus to ease the transition.

I thought back to the night we'd agreed on this. She'd been sitting up in bed, in her borrowed nightgown, her cheeks still sallow from illness but her eyes bright and worried. I'd watched her from the room's only chair, my weapons laid aside, still clothed in plain dark leather from going down to dinner. Half of the dinner I'd brought her lay on the night stand. Though improving, she hadn't regained her appetite.

I'd crossed my legs, trying to appear casual. "I was thinking we might visit Northrend next." She knew my propensity for wandering, but did she know we'd been invited? More specifically, I'd been invited by the man who'd saved her, the man who'd brought the priest to heal my best friend, my blood sister, because he said he loved me? Did she realize part of me... part of me wanted to go? Part of me wanted to know the man who could overlook Mistwing's playful
femininity and see me behind her: too serious and half submerged in shadow?

In our room, she'd lowered her eyes to the blankets and picked at them. When she raised her gaze, she raised her hands and spoke in our private language: "I want to become a Sentinel."

My heart stopped.

"I've wanted it for some time. I hoped you would come with me, that we could become Sentinels together. Another adventure."

I'd shaken my head, bewildered and frightened. I couldn't imagine a future without Mist.

But there it was. Hovering. If I had the will to forgo Northrend, could I handle the regimented life she suggested?


So here we were, on the dock of Stormwind, staring. I didn't want to cry, I didn't want hugging or reassurances or hope.

I nodded once, turned briskly on my heel, and walked away.

Behind me, I knew her tears would overflow. She'd watch me out of sight, heft her pack, and trudge to her own ship.

When she felt sad, sometimes she'd go cat and curl up in a miserable ball in a corner. I would always sit nearby, maybe sharpening my knives, maybe observing the room, but always protecting her privacy. This time, she wouldn't have me.

I comforted myself with the fact that no one would bother a panther. She didn't...

The thought hit me like a blow, and I winced.

She didn't need me anymore.

I found a corner on my ship where no one would notice me, as much instinct as habit. I sank down and put my face into my hands.


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