Zero Skill Points: Vacation
Rhian and Mirra
(The Founders Arc – Chapter 1)
The bright sun shone in a cloud-dotted blue sky, peaceful and warm and gentle on the soft, smooth sand of the beach. The surf, quiet in the small inlet shielded from the harder parts of the wide ocean beyond, whispered as it shushed out and in, out and in, caressing the land like a tender parent might a sleeping child. Beyond the thin strip of sand, the Pandaren island rose steeply in a silver cliff and then a grass-covered verge that gave way to a short, sharp, brief little palm-fronded and dappled rainforest. Seagulls called overhead, and occasionally crabs clicked further down along the beach, chattering in the language of claws and chitin.
Settled on their pair of borrowed blankets, two creatures who were once kal’dorei lounged in the idyllic setting, protected from the sand and basking in the sun. In their scant bathing clothes, their tattoos and scars were on display… but neither the crabs nor the seagulls seemed to care.
Rhianys Fel-Lash lifted both arms straight up to the sky, laying on his back. His ruined eyes, covered in black felstalker leather for modesty, were aimed up toward the clouds as if he could almost see them in backdrop to his fel-tainted, splayed fingers. He yawned softly and flicked his attention to the figure beside him without moving a single muscle.
“How’s the book, my love?”
His mate mumbled in answer, her soothing voice a gentle caress to his long ears, “Oh, very… ah… thought-provoking. Have you found a cloud that looks like a wyvern, yet, darling?”
He had to chuckle at that, his dark lips twisting up wryly. “At least three. And there’s a diorama of the Battle of Crestfall in perfect cumulonimbus detail over that way.”
Lash waved a hand in a vaguely lefterly direction, and his lady giggled at his whimsy. “Oh, Rhian. You are so ridiculous.”
The demon hunter grinned, pleased with himself, and the pair lapsed back into silence for a while under the beauty of the day. The surf whispered. In and out, in and out.
Some short while later, Temirra Heartsguard shifted and rolled over onto her stomach, tugging her demonblood-writ novel with her as she moved. She sighed softly and turned the page back, rereading for about the third time.
“Mirra?” Her partner questioned almost immediately, as if he jumped at the motion.
“Just getting comfortable,” she answered softly, rolling her shoulders before she settled in on her elbows, sightless eyes toward the paper of her book.
“Mm…” It was his only response, and silence lapsed again as the surf whispered. In and out, in and out.
Five minutes later, Rhian suddenly shoved himself to sitting, crossing his legs and facing out over the water. Mirra made a little face and snapped her book shut, doing the same. They didn’t bother to actually turn their faces toward each other; they didn’t need to.
“Bored?” Mirra asked.
“Yeah,” her mate answered with a wince. “You?”
She sighed and ran her fingers over the cover of the novel. “I don’t remember reading being quite so dull ten centuries ago when I tried it last.”
The black-haired demon hunter beside her smirked and squirmed over to her side, wrapping his arm around her. “And I don’t remember vacations being quite so… quiet ten centuries ago.”
Temirra giggled and leaned her head on his shoulder, her long, pale-teal braid tumbling down his arm at the motion. “I suppose maybe one or two things have changed in the past handful of decades.”
As she said it, she poked a finger first at her own chest and then at his, conveniently leaving it resting against his felfire-hot skin. Her teasing grin was quiet but answered just as fully by his own.
“So we’re agreed?”
Mirra nodded and released him, standing and stretching, her great, dark wings unfurling behind her. “We’re agreed. We’re officially too old for vacations.”
That earned a deep-throated laugh from her mate as he followed suit, stretching his arms once more toward the sky for a very different reason. After he yawned and scratched at an itch behind his curving, demonic left horn, he grimaced a bit. “So… Sargeras is gone. The Legion is in tatters. We’re bored… what do w-”
So far from home. So isolated and alone. Let the messengers come to bring you back.
Thunder followed the words whispered straight into whatever corrupted things served for their souls, shaking the rainforest across from their little island and sending rocks skittering down the cliff at their back. Birds launched into the sky in screeching panic, and the crabs scuttled off into the water or burrowed deep into the sand. Suddenly even more alone on the secluded little beach and filled with a strange, foreign, untrustworthy longing, the two demon hunters turned their faces toward each other. Mirra frowned, but Lash just grinned, his white teeth flashing in the sun.
“Well. Second time’s the charm, my love. I don’t think that’s Elune calling our ruined souls home, and that probably means that someone or something needs fighting.”
He held out his scarred hand toward his mate, and she giggled as she wrapped her fingers around his. “Rhian. Try not to sound quite so gleeful about yet another threat to the planet. It’s uncouth!”
The unrepentant old demon hunter just smirked and pulled her knuckles to his lips. “I can only promise to try, my love. Boredom brings out the evil glee in me. Now, where should we go to find the appropriate amount of trouble?”
Temirra considered that for a moment, tapping her chin with one long, slender finger. He waited patiently for her, his love being one of the only things in the world that he found worth his patience. Finally, at length, she smiled gently and focused her attention back on the demon hunter before her.
“What would you say to finding an old friend, Rhian? You know he’s always at the heart of a big, world-ending trouble when you need one. Probably frowning. Most certainly looking dour-faced.”
Rhianys blinked for a few thoughts before he made the connection, and then his own grin mirrored hers, only brighter and wider. “Tharion?” He chuckled and rubbed his hands together, looking mischievous. “Oh. Oh, I do like that, my love. I haven’t annoyed him for a good century. Is it close to two?”
She laughed and kissed his cheek. “Not quite two, darling. We’re agreed, then. To Forest Song?”
“To Forest Song.”