Friday, June 14, 2013

(Fan)fiction Friday 2: The Bodyguard, Ch. 1

The Job

Tags: [No sex][Story]

Yalanda and Bordran Blackbough took in the sights of the normally quiet, small piece of grassy land in front of their Teldrassil home from a small window. On this rather special day, more people than they had hoped for had turned up. Their newfound and surprisingly young daughter had decided that she wanted to travel the world, to find out what changes had happened during her ten thousand year stasis. She stood behind them in the entrance hall, looking rather disinterested out through a window, at a large cat lazily lying in the sun.

The parents still saw everything she did in the rosy glow of newly found or newly returned love. By all rights their daughter should have been dead. She was taken by Sargeras’ servants ten thousand years ago. Only six months ago had she returned, the stasis she was placed in by her up until then secret and long since dead lover finally failing due to the disturbances in the magic of Azeroth caused by the maddened Blue Dragon Aspect and his followers. Bordran once again thought proudly of their people to have abandoned magic, seeing yet another horrible, world-spanning catastrophe-in-the-making being cause by that very thing. His faith in the decision being right ha been shaken after finding that his daughter had been saved by the very same thing that he despised so deeply. He and Yalanda had been there during the terrible first war, and though they were now beginning to feel their age, it would still be a long time until Bordran’s voice was silenced when someone mentioned magic.

He shook his head and looked apologetically at his patiently waiting wife, who simply smiled and motioned towards the closed door. About ten Night Elves had turned up. Old and retired Sentinels, and some very young ones, even two males had turned up to offer their services to the albeit not too rich, but at least influential Blackbough family. Yalanda immediately discarded the males in her mind. Night Elves were for the most part noble enough, but their daughter was rather weak, a condition nothing they did seemed to be able to cure, and it would be all too easy for a male in his best years to take their daughter’s body and mind to places her mother deliberately did not specify, even in her own thoughts.

The note they had put up had specifically explained that they would only interview a select few, so it came as no real shock that some were sent away immediately. Yalanda sent the males away, Bordran the retired Sentinels, leaving just three youngsters. The couple looked doubtfully at each other. These three were no doubt able to protect their fragile daughter, but their daughter needed a teacher, a guide as well. There was something wrong with not only her bodily health, but also her mind. She seemed at once very intelligent and very childish when it came to behaviour, and her mother and father quietly hoped that this trip would bring some of her old self back, along with knowledge of today’s world.

To their surprise, Cerci appeared behind them in the doorway, looked briefly at each of the remaining candidates, and then picked the long-haired woman standing in the middle with a simple pointing finger, before retreating back inside. Bordran and Yalanda shrugged half in helplessness and half apologetically to the three and said a quiet goodbye to the two Sentinels who would be leaving again. Yalanda waved the long-haired one over with a smile, laying a gentle hand on the young Sentinel’s shoulder. “It seems our daughter made a much quicker choice for us than we had expected. Thank you for coming. Cercea is a little strange, and definitely shy. I’m sure you’ll get along just great, though. You have a nice face.”. Nahla was a little baffled. She had not actually believed she would get this job; it seemed so unlikely for one with so little experience to be picked for something like this. She had trained just as hard as any other Sentinel, sure, and considered it possible she might advance up the ranks given some years. She knew she was good, without being arrogant.

“Thank you for the warm welcome – yes, I’m sure we’ll get along just fine. Will I be leaving immediately, or do I have a few days to make preparations? Your note was a little unclear.” The Sentinel almost blurted out. The married couple smiled at her as if they understood, Bodran’s expression changing to an apologising smile as he spoke, “She has insisted that the two of you leave as soon as possible, it was the best we could do. At first she wanted to leave alone, but we couldn’t let her. I suspect she is packing now. I know its short notice, but you should pack your things and meet her at the entrance to the Temple of the Moon in Darnassus in three hours.”. Nahla nodded. Most of the little she owned was always packed anyway, so this was not any great inconvenience. Nevertheless, she hurried home and wrote a few letters to friends and family. She mentioned that she would under no circumstance be home until her employer was done with whatever it was she intended. Though it had not been said, it was clear that the Blackboughs expected her to swear the most sacred oath to their goddess she knew, that was the only logical reason for meeting at the temple and not in Rut’theran. She would be bound to this job for as long as Cercea wished to continue travelling, or she would become an outcast in all Night Elven societies.

Nahla was not particularly worried however. How long could it take? At most a year, maybe two? She would be back and would have a lot more experience to back her up in the Sentinels, not only with the world but with being a bodyguard. Perhaps she would even eventually become part of the group that was tasked with watching over Tyrande whenever she left the temple.

Nahla shook her head, hurrying around in her small home. Regardless of how long this was to last, they would travel many miles, so she immediately dropped bringing her heaviest armor. Leather and chain would have to suffice. Once they got outside Night Elven lands, if they did, it would let her exploit her race’s natural agility to greater advantage than usual as well, should they meet hostiles.

Having gathered her few belongings in a not unreasonably large backpack, she set it down by the door and surveyed the more combat-oriented gear laid out on the floor. She had already packed her heavier set of banded mail away again. Given that she would be wearing leather and chain, she immediately brought patches of leather and squares of chains she could repair her armor with if necessary. She picked out a tunic the color of Darkshore tree leaves, a set of leather pants the same color, brown, heavy leather boots with metal plate reinforcements at the tip and heel, dirt-brown leather gloves and, after considering for a few minutes, found some plate kneecaps. Those could come in handy; she did not know what they would encounter after all. She picked a chain shirt that was as discrete as such things can be, having been colored brown and green a long time ago, to wear above her leathers.

As much as it pained her, she felt that the circlet that identified her as a Sentinel should not be brought. It was more a symbol than a practical thing. There was little chance it would have any noticeable impact on the result if someone should decide to chop at her head. She brought along some oil to soften the leather, put on all leather pants, boots, leather tunic, chain shirt and packed the metal kneecaps with her other things. After having put her backpack on, she put her shield on, hanging on top of her backpack. Her gladius-style sword was in a sheath at her left hip seeing as she was right-handed, and with a deep sigh at her beloved shortbow, she hung a small, compact crossbow from her belt. It was not as powerful as her bow or nearly as powerful as a larger crossbow, but it meant she had a much more easily handled ranged weapon with her, and she was unsure if her bow would have a chance to survive the most likely long trip she was about to embark on.

She took a look at herself in the mirror, trying to give herself an encouraging smile. All she managed to see was the young night elf woman in the mirror smile an awkward smile. She blew a lock of dark green hair out of her face, trying a lopsided smile. She noted that she needed to eat more, her face was a little bony. She was small of stature compared to other Sentinels as it were. She still thought she looked “nice”, as Yalanda Blackbough had said, though she had her doubts how much that would help her and her protégé on their journey. With an apologetic look at the bow and at her home in general, she set off towards Darnassus. She had spent more time than planned, so she did not have time to clean up after her packing.

Twenty minutes of walking later, she passed through the gates of Darnassus, admiring the Ancient Protectors standing or creakily walking around there. She was sure that some of the great, ancient-looking trees along the roads were ancients as well. She walked up the ramp and into the city proper, sending a smile to one of the guards. Leena, the two of them had known each other peripherically during their training. Nahla walked towards the center tree of the city, turning slightly as she reached the center to walk onto the long, impressive bridge leading towards the Temple of the Moon. As she reached the midpoint of the bridge, she saw four figures standing at the entrance to the temple. One was smaller than the others and seemed to be guarding a backpack. Nahla studied Cercea’s silhouette as she walked closer, to imprint it in her memory. It would come to her aid later on, she was sure.

She neglected smiling as she scaled the last few steps to the entrance of the temple, blowing a lock of hair out of her face, smiling a small smile at the four people at the entrance to the temple. Cercea Blackbough, an even smaller woman.. Girl even, Nahla thought. She had the signature dark blue hair of the Blackbough family, was wearing sturdy, but still relatively useless clothes if it came to a fight. Standing here, outside of her home, Nahla realised that getting someone to watch over Cercea in her travels, a “bodyguard” as it were, was not such a bad idea at all. She was fragile, there was no doubt about that. Her eyes looked as if her mind was elsewhere. Next to her stood her mother and father. Their more than twenty millennia of age put together had yet to mark them in any noticeable way, despite Nordrassil being gone. Bordran looked as sturdy and uncompromising as always, with short and dark blue hair. Yalanda was his opposite with long, lighter blue hair and a soft face. She was also a lot shorter than Bordran.

The last person at the entrance to the temple was a priestess of the moon. Nahla reverently bowed her head. The priestess was only there to oversee the small ceremony, as a witness. The four of them stepped inside the temple. Cercea walked closer to the central moonwell of the temple, turned and looked to Nahla. The young Sentinel took a second to nod thankfully to Bordran and Yalanda, then ceremoniously walked up to Cercea, the woman she would be guarding for the next however many months the Blackbough wanted. She leaned her head down, closed her eyes and recited the short oath.

Through war and peace
As the goddess is my witness
I solemnly swear to protect this daughter of Elune
To lay down my life for her to live
To stay at her side and see her safely through her travels
In the name of Elune and her children, it will be so

“It will be so.”, the priestess murmured, smiling at the four others as she withdrew to the back of the temple, her job done. Bordran and Yalanda embraced their daughter, Bordran shook Nahla’s hand and the two older Blackboughs looked on in silence as Nahla waited for Cercea to gather her things. The two younger women turned halfway in the entrance to the temple, both of them waving back to the two dark blue haired elves standing near the moonwell with an arm around each other.

Nahla lead Cercea out of Darnassus. After having gone through the portal to Rut’theran, Nahla turned for the first time to speak to Cercea. “So, miss, where is our first destination?”. The young woman, or girl, Nahla still couldn’t decide, looked to the skies for such a long time that Nahla thought Cercea had forgotten the question.

Finally she looked down, right into Nahla’s eyes and said, in a fragile, soft voice “Ratchet.”.

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