Monday, 3 May 2010

That's no way to say goodbye.

Oh mercy, my head! What evil gnomish contraption is making that noise?? Oh Fates help me! My eyes will barely open, my mouth tastes and feels like Furblog have been staying in it... and my head. Oh Goddess make it stop. Where in Azeroth am I?

I open my eyes, as best as I can, though all my senses are screaming at me, telling me not to. The light, fortunately, is dim. I appear to be laying on a velvet recliner, laying being a charitable description - sprawled across it with my head dangling off one side, would be more accurate. I stretch a little, bad move, my head gives a warning throb, a gentle nudge that should I try to move with any speed I will regret it. But, oh no, please Goddess no, sitting on the floor, propped up against the bookshelf, fast asleep is... oh no it cannot be! What fresh Hell is this? Why is Afaon here? I gather my energy, take a deep breath and sit upright, swinging my feet off the side of the recliner. My head pounds and nausea wells inside me. I try to breathe deeply and quietly, I cannot face Afaon, until I have regained sufficient control of myself and preferably some recollection of last night... as much as I recoil at the thought. To feel this... unwell, I must have been deeply intoxicated. What is wrong with me? What have I done? These are thoughts for later, for now I must remove myself. I stand and the room tilts, then mercifully levels again. Gathering up my skirts I back away slowly, expecting him to open his eyes at any moment, but he remains still and I pad quietly down the stairs. By the time I reach the main room of the Inn my head is pounding so hard, all I want to do it clutch it and whimper, then find somewhere dark and lie down and shut my eyes, preferably never to open them again. As I walk past the barman he calls out to me.

"Excuse me miss".

I flinch at his tone but turn and face him, my response matching his, "Is there a problem, Sir?"

He informs me, with a sneer, that not only do I have a huge bill to settle for the drinks I imbibed the night before I also need to make an additional payment for "cleaning expenses", I have no reserves to draw on, no energy do do anything other than blush deeply and pay the extortionate sum he demands. At this he seems to relax slightly, I assume that I must have behaved shamefully last night and he expected me to screech at him like a banshee when he asked for payment, as he offers me a chair and a glass of ice cold water. I gulp it down gratefully and he gets me another.

"Gently with that Miss, you want to sip it, not throw it down you like that. Small sips, Miss, that's the best way. You were very out of sorts last night Miss, if you don't mind me saying so. I've seen you here before and you always keep yourself to yourself. You got through a lot of bourbon Miss, I've seen grown men pass out before they got through that amount! We were concerned about you Miss, but then that chap showed up and you seemed to know him, so we let him look after you."

I sighed; how could I have done this? I had obviously behaved so badly - what was the matter with me? I thanked the barman and retired to conduct my toilette. With my teeth brushed and my face washed I felt slightly better. Time to take my leave of the Inn before Afaon awoke. Walking out of the Inn, into the streets of the City I was conscious of wearing the same robes as the night before but as I hurried through the familiar streets I had only one thought, to escape the dust and the noise and go through the Woods to the coast. Then I would let the sea air wash over me, the noise of the waves calm me and try to collect my thoughts. The air in the Woods smelt wonderful and fresh and I hastened along the path to the beach, the same path that I had only recently walked with Afaon when I was nurturing a small hope of... something. I had thought that this was the beginning of something momentous in my life, and now I have ruined everything, in the space of one evening. I am my mother's daughter for sure, unable to retain control of myself, all my work, all my restraint, gone in the space of an evening.

I reach the beach at last and drop down onto the sand. Why had I felt the need to drink? I squeezed my eyes shut and tried, with all my energy, to recollect yesterday. Give me something, just something small, something that I can build on please. My mind remains blank, I beat my fists against the sand in frustration. I hear a child laugh from far away; at the other end of the beach are a family, their children frolicking in the shallows, and something stabs me. I grit my teeth, it's there, just at the edge of my consciousness, I can feel it. I shut my eyes again... children...laughing.. what is it? I open my eyes as I remember, flinching from the glare from the sun and against the sudden clarity. The orphan, the little Sin'Dorei girl. What was her name? Salandria. Of course.

Once a year the good citizens of Azeroth give back to the orphans of the War. I've done it before and it has never upset me, rather it was a tiresome duty to be undertaken with little thought. This year though... this year I wanted her to remain with me. She was so bright, so inquisitive, with such dreams. I asked the Matron if she could remain with me, I could look after her, I explained. I would care for her, raise her, nurture her, love her... I received such a dressing down from the Matron, her blistering scorn combined with my grief at returning Salandria to that soulless place had meant I could think of nothing more than hastening to the nearest Inn to drink and blot the day out. At some point, presumably due to the Fates displaying their 'humour' once more, Afaon must have come into the Inn and found me. Oh Heavens. What shall I do now? I could write to him and explain, but what would I say - I cannot pour out my grief to a virtual stranger - he would, being a man, doubtless interpret this as feminine longing for a child, and then run a mile from any whiff of commitment. Not that I want a child! Not now. But one day maybe... But how to explain to him though, that inside me is an abandoned child whose Father went to War and never came home? How to explain my wretched, depraved Mother? These are personal things that should not be discussed outside the family. But I have to try and explain to him, what he saw last night is not me. That I do not behave like a tramp, like a harlot, drinking myself insensible in the taverns of the City ever. Except, unfortunately, last night. I must hasten back to the City to try and pen something, at the very least I must thank him for taking care of me last night, for ensuring that I caused myself no further harm or embarassment. And for sleeping on the floor all night beside me...

2 comments:

  1. I really hope they do something with the orphan children in cata...

    Wonderful story, btw :)

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  2. /blush

    Many thanks your your kind words!

    And yes I hope so too. It's hinted at with Salandrina - when you take her to the Caverns of Time they try to attack her, but are stopped because "she cannot now be held responsible for something she may... or may not do in the future."

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