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[Short Story] Mage, Adventurer, Husband, Father
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“You did a damn good job, sorcerer,” the human ringleader of the band chuckled, swinging his feet onto a crude wooden table and raising a stained, cracked glass with cheap alcohol, tilting it at the mage’s direction. The latter – a Wretched, surprisingly intelligent for his kind, – grumbled something under his nose, idly scratching the numerous tumors covering his pallid, sickly skin.
“Seriously, to use the ley lines generated by the Tyr-damned Well to hide this place was nothing short of brilliant. Now all we have to do is lie low until our troll friends contact us – and then, then all this fairy land will drown in Durotar Delight. Kiddies will love it, and we – we, my friend, will spend the rest of our lives in-“
He found himself lying on the floor all of a sudden, blood oozing from a deep, nasty gash across his brow, obstructing his vision. Slowly the human turned his head to see the door to the shack torn off of its hinges, and a cadre of warriors clad in black and crimson armor marching inside, followed shortly by a tall figure in copper red and gold raiment, wielding a long ornamented staff and a curved long sword. The apparent leader of the squad looked around, the light coming from a floating, translucent glowing Eye of Kirin Tor above his forehead piercing the damp, frowsy air and revealing the other members of the gang, staring at the invaders in horror and seemingly paralyzed, unable even to blink.
“Apprehend them. Only after we have extracted everything we can from their minds will they die,” came a low, reverberating growl that sounded nothing like what could come out of a human’s or an elf’s throat. Before he lost consciousness, the ringleader’s last memory was of agonizing pain piercing every cell of his body. His heart stopped beating only forty hours later.
* * *
Lisciel Dawnchaser, mage extraordinaire, cursed under his breath, crossing out a line in the report he was filing and conjuring another dancing light, adding it to the three already hovering above him. He rubbed his eyes tiredly and threw a lock of platinum blonde hair out of his face, then looked out of the window. Night had descended upon the city of Silvermoon, a starless, dark, cold night. The elf sighed, flexing his nimble fingers, by now thoroughly stained with ink.
“Burying yourself in work again, I see. Times like this I tend to forget whom you are married to, old friend – Tyreal or the said work,” came a mirthless chuckle from behind. Lisciel spun his chair around slowly, eying the one to speak – a brawny, broad-shouldered elf with a gorgeous dark crimson mane, clad in immaculate black and crimson camisole. None other than Blood Lord Kareithel Arroval, Champion of Quel’Thalas, Defender of the Sunwell, had come to interrupt his work.
“Kareth,” Lisciel smirked through gritted teeth. “This coming from someone who works twenty-four hours a day.”
“Twenty-seven,” Arroval retorted, “I need to leave myself minus three hours for sleeping.”
“The Blood Lord caught sleeping. That will stay in the headlines for weeks,” the mage snorted. The two elves looked at each other, then simultaneously broke out into tired laughter that came dangerously close to sounding forced. Kareithel shook his head and walked up to the mage, placing his heavy, scarred hand on Lisciel’s shoulder.
“Come up to my office, please. We really need to talk.”
“Alright, alright… You’re lucky I’m almost done. You’d better not having been spying on me waiting for the correct moment,” Lisciel threw his hands up in the air dramatically, and then turned back to the table, hastily writing down several closing words and signing the paper. He stood up, rolling his shoulders with an audible crack, and followed the paladin.
* * *
“You have so got to be kidding me,” Lisciel stated, freezing in the doorway and glaring at the bottle of wine Kareithel pulled out of a minibar.
“What? Drinking alone is alcoholism. Otherwise it’s just a pleasant pastime,” Kareithel smirked, filling two glasses. “Besides, you’re not seriously going to tell me the famous Lisciel Dawnchaser is too old already to drink a wee little bit of wine and not be able to wake up fresh and ready to kick ass and take names.”
“A low blow, Kareth, a low blow. Alright. But just because I know you would only keep something worth drinking,” Lisciel pointed an accusing finger at the Blood Lord, giving up and slumping into a plushy armchair, then levitating one of the glasses to his hand.
“Snarkfest aside, thank you, Lisciel. Thank you for the amazing work you’ve been doing and continue to do. Trust me, no matter what you think you know, you’re better off not knowing just how much damage you’ve prevented just by deciphering that spell and leading my boys to that shack. I appreciate the effort you put into this, and I’m honored you’re working with us,” Kareithel said very seriously, raising his glass and tilting it at Lisciel’s direction.
“Heh, all in a day’s work,” the mage muttered, trying not to show he was touched by the compliment. He began to sip his wine – and froze when the Blood Lord continued.
“A day’s work? Lisciel. When was the last time you played with your son?”
The mage stared, at loss for words.
“If you think that just because he’s only five months and ten days old he cannot appreciate it, you’re wrong. Dead wrong.”
“You don’t even have a girlfriend, haven’t had one for years, how would you-”
“This is not about me, just this once. Lisciel. You’ve made our city – nay, the whole kingdom – a bit nicer place to live in. But ask yourself, is it worth your flesh and blood growing up barely even knowing your face?”
“What are you afraid of?” Arroval asked sharply, and then fell into silence, giving his friend time. Lisciel rocked in place, kneading his lower lip. He took a deep breath, and then the dam burst open.
“I’m not cut out to be a father. I’m scared out of my mind I’ll mess Ron up. I don’t know anything about having children! I- What if I can’t protect him? What if something happens to him and I can’t do anything?”
“And that’s why you stay up late away from home, either writing tomes or slinging fireballs?”
“They would sell drugs to children,” Lisciel growled angrily. “How can I live with the thought of my son growing up in a world with people like that? How?”
“You know better than most that the world can’t be ideal. But people like you and me, working tirelessly, can make it close enough it won’t matter. Listen to me, mage. The bad news is, you’re not the ideal father material. The good news? No one is. No one at all. At least, not from the get go. And you know what I think?”
Lisciel looked away.
“You’re a good elf, Lisciel. A good friend, and I trust you’ll make a damn good father, too. You care too much not to. Believe in yourself like you always do. That you are afraid to mess Glauron up is a good sign – just, just don’t ever forget that, without you to be there for him, he’ll be messed up even more.”
“You really think I can do it?”
“Well, obviously it’s going to be harder than anything you’ve ever done before. But I’d bet all my money and all my power on you.”
The two elves sat in silence for almost a minute, then Lisciel slowly stood up, downing his glass in one mighty gulp.
“Thank you, Kareth. I needed it,” he said quietly, heading towards the exit.
“Damn straight you did,” the Blood Lord smirked.
The mage sighed, then turned his head, “But seriously, next time, get a girlfriend before lecturing others about relationships. Heck, little Selin could use a proper father figure.”
Arroval watched Lisciel go, then rose, walking up to a window. He looked down, a smile appearing on his face when he saw lights on in another office. Apparently, the two of them were not the only ones to stay up late.
“What the hell,” he murmured, pulling out another bottle of wine, a box of chocolates and grabbing a bouquet of roses from one of the numerous ornamented vases. “Worst case scenario, I amuse myself at Sheriam’s face, then get punched in my face. Worth a try.”
* * *
Lisciel stood in the master bedroom of his house, towering over the cradle in which his son was sleeping. The mage had sneaked inside very quietly, thankfully not disturbing neither Glauron, nor Tyreal.
“I’ll do my best. I promise,” he whispered, touching his son’s cheek carefully. All of a sudden, Glauron’s eyes swung wide open and he grabbed his father’s finger, looking him straight in the eyes. Lisciel knew for a fact that the boy could not understand a word of what he had said, but at the same time, he felt in his heart little Ron knew everything, and appreciated it.
And for some reason, when Lisciel Dawnchaser scooped his son into a hug, his vision became blurred.
Trying something new in terms of style, not sure if successful.
Finally fleshing out some more canon about my favorite mage
Tyreal Dawncry/Dawnchaser, Sheriam and Selindera Sunhawk ©
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