The breeze drifted lightly over the water, over the path and into the weapons hut. It carried along the usual fragrance of flowers and soft grass that was common to the part of Draenor. Within the hut, Silannah was taking stock of the weapons on hand to ensure their readiness. Not that we ever need to use them. She lifted a sword from the rack, testing the balance. She nodded slightly, inspected the edge and grip, before putting it away and taking up the next.
Gilræn smiled faintly as he leaned against the doorframe. He enjoyed watching her when she was in her element. Had she looked up from her work, she would have seen the admiration in his eyes. “Keeping busy, I see,” he called to her softly.
“Always,” she replied, finishing with the weapon in her hands. “You know I hate laying around.” The warrior turned to him and smiled.
“I like when you just lay around.” He winked at her, solidifying complete distraction from her task.
Crossing the space, she took the smaller man up in her arms. “When I’m with you,” she said huskily. “I’m not just laying around.” She chuckled as he grinned at her, then set him back onto his feet. Looking him over, she tipped her head to the side. “For someone who came out here because your granddaughter had a scare, you seem quite comfortable now.”
Gilræn sighed. “I’m numb, actually.”
Silannah frowned. “What is it?”
Again the Ren’dorei let a heavy sigh escape his lips. His hand came up to his chest, patting it lightly a couple of times. “There have been a lot of strange revelations in recent weeks, my love.”
“I guess so,” she said with a nod. “But I’ve never known you to be like this.”
“I’ve never learned such things before. I find myself wondering about my place.”
“Do I need to punch someone’s face in? Because no one should be making you question that.” She waved a clenched fist in front of him, her expression full of intensity.
Gilræn chuckled. “I’m afraid your usual methods do not apply here, my lady. Unless you can punch the universe or the fates.” He reached over, placing a hand atop her fist and pushed it down.
Silannah shrugged. “Give me a chance, I’ll figure it out.”
“I love you for the fact that you would try, my lady,” he murmured.
“I love you and I would gladly do it to make you feel better,” she replied simply.
Gilræn smiled faintly and looked around, seeming ill-at-ease. “Is there somewhere we can sit and talk? Are you too busy?”
“Plenty of places. You want quiet and mostly private or do you need to eat,” she asked.
“I need quiet.”
She nodded. “Come on then.” She grabbed his hand and started marching over towards the pond. Spotting a couple of the fortress staff members idly chatting, she shooed at them. “You two, go away,” she demanded. The women scurried off, sensing this might not be the best time to argue. Silannah plopped down at the edge of the water and kicked off her boots. She tugged up her pant legs and stuck her feet in the water.
Gilræn looked over the pond with a small smile on his face. “My brother and sister were born here, weren’t they?”
Silannah nodded. “Right in this pond. Your sister is named for those lilies there.” She pointed to the floating blossoms.
“Apt. Were you there?”
“I didn’t get in with them, if that’s what you mean. I mostly stayed out of the way. I was here to help clean up after.”
Gilræn nodded. “I was only curious.”
Silannah held up her calloused hands. “Not very helpful in those kinds of things.”
Gilræn sighed. He reached and out took her hand, but did not speak.
Silannah squeezed it gently. “What has you all twisted up, love?”
“A few weeks ago, our draenei friend happened upon Sulime. When I learned of her, I was overjoyed,” he began. “Someone else among my descendants had survived. Granted, she is a tough nut to crack, and I can’t blame her. But it didn’t matter. She was there, she lived. There was another Greythorn.” He took a deep breath and stared out over the pond. “And now there are far, far too many.”
“And from what I hear, not the kind we want around,” she added with a frown.
Gilræn features took on a strangely sad look. “No…not at all.”
She reached over and brushed his hair back from his face. “And what of our two…guests?”
“They are interesting, actually,” he admitted, his tone less dire. “You’d like Borænin, he is a lot like me, if I am being honest.”
“Oh?” She smirked at him. “You think I need another you?”
Gilræn gave her a look, causing her to laugh. “I think you’d like to try it,” he answered with a wink.
Silannah’s eyes opened wide as she blushed. “I would never,” she whispered.
Gilræn shrugged. “I am only teasing, my lady.” He raised her hand to his lips and brushed tender kisses over her knuckles. “You’d like the girl even better. Smart as a whip. And I believe the only appropriate word is spunky.”
“Spunky.” she repeated. “And you think I would like her because she’s smart? You think she can fight worth a damn,” she asked skeptically.
“She can. Think Kalimè, but extremely disciplined and methodical.”
Silannah mouth curled up into a broad smile. “Now that I would like.”
Gilræn smiled. “Hence my comment. I know what my lady likes.”
“Can I order a dozen,” she joked. “Make my very own fast-light squad…”
“I don’t think I want a dozen of their people here,” he said, frowning.
Silannah sighed. “I know…”
“You know what she told me?”
“What? Tell me”
“Everywhere they go, all of these Realms they call them,” he explained. “When they find a Gilræn, and they often do, he nearly always agrees to help them.”
Silannah made a face.
“Nearly always agrees to sell out his own world,” he whispered. The man looked out on the water hopelessly.
Silannah took his face in her hands. “They are not you. If I understand how it was explained to me, they are all different possibilities. Each one the result of slightly different situations.” Gilræn looked at her like a man lost. “But not of them, not one, is worth even a spec of my Gilræn.”
“But what if that is in me? I sided with Azshara, once…” he whispered.
“And you know it was a mistake. You made better choices. You are a better man.”
“And the things their Gilræn has done, this Lord Protector. I keep telling myself I am not him.” He gazed at her, searching for reassurance. “But is he me?”
Silannah stared at him quizzically. “How could he be? You are generous and kind, protective and loving. Everything I have heard says that he is none of those things.”
“Why are we so different,” he asked quietly.
“Different world, different things happened. Maybe the Kalithil there was horribly cruel to his children.”
“So…exactly the same as ours?” Gilræn chuckled ruefully.
“No, and you know it.”
“But all of those others…all of them.” Gilræn screwed up his face. “Evil. Gods, what a stupid thing to say.”
“Why is it stupid?”
“Evil is just a word. It’s a label with very little meaning. But I don’t know how else to put it.” He rubbed his face with his hand.
“Are they though? Or have they simply been forced to live a certain way in order to survive?”
“All of them?”
“I don’t know,” she replied. “I am guessing.”
Gilræn sighed. “One never considers other versions of one’s self. You are what you are. What else could you be? This confrontation is…disturbing.”
Silannah pursed her lips. “There is one person you could talk to about this,” she offered gently.
Gilræn arched an eyebrow, peering at her. “Who?”
Gilræn furrowed his brow. “I do not understand, what could he possibly know of such things?”
Silannah sighed. “It’s very hard for him to talk about, because no one else understands it. So he keeps it to himself. But, during at least two of the time skips, he was caught at…what did he call it…” Her face twisted and contorted as she searched for the word. “Fel, I don’t remember. It’s when a bunch of different times are all in one spot.”
Gilræn eyes widened. “A…temporal nexus?”
She nodded. “Yes, that was it. He lived, many, many lives. All different versions of himself.”
Gilræn jaw dropped slightly. “How horrifying….”
“Messed him up something awful.”
Gilræn tilted his head to one side. “So that’s why the Patriarch gave him over to you, isn’t it?”
“He was basically living by going from one pub, to some random girl’s bed and then back. He’d given up and buried himself in things that either made him numb or took his mind as far from it as he could.”
Gilræn smirked. “And your patient, gentle guidance drew him back from the abyss,” he added sarcastically.
The pale woman barked out a laugh. “First night I had him, I broke his damn arm.”
“I was going to say, also known as, you hit him until he stopped being an asshole.”
“He needed it,” came her defensive reply.
“Hmmm…I cannot deny the efficacy of your method, my lady.”
“He had no fire left, my love. He needed to find purpose and he needed to get angry enough to rekindle it.” She raked a hand through her hair. “I am pretty good at making people angry,” she chuckled.
“You know, you say that, but this is not a talent you have ever used on me.”
“Would you like me to do to you, what I did to him,” she teased.
“I would prefer not. Would you damage your own recreational prospects, my lady?I am small and delicate.”
“Delicate my toned ass,” she laughed. “And you know I wouldn’t.”
“My brother is much larger and more solidly built than I.” Gilræn chuckled, nudging her with his shoulder.
“He is taller, but then? Not so solidly built,” she countered. “But that is beside the point. If you want someone who can help you see some of this and how different you could be from one version to the next, talk to your brother.”
Gilræn sighed and rubs the bridge of his nose. “I shall, it will at the very least be interesting, and it may provide insight.”
“You know they have a Niquisse in their world?”
“Do they now?” Silannah swirled her feet around in the water and leaned back onto her elbows.
Gilræn nodded. “She is referred to as Lady Isse. Apparently, she is a figure of respect and awe, Sellynna called her a force of nature. She is a paladin.”
“A paladin,” Sil repeated. She raised an eyebrow, having a bit of trouble seeing it. “Niqi…”
“Indeed, and a very powerful one.”
Silannah sighed. “I do not mean to be insulting, but…that is about as far away from your granddaughter as it gets. The only thing missing would be for it to be a male.”
Gilræn smiled faintly. “Niquisse is a fine young lady, Silannah.”
“Didn’t say she wasn’t. But powerful? Force of nature? Those things she is not. And I am fairly certain the only one awed are the people she makes dresses for, and your brother. She is a nice girl, Gilræn. But that’s all she is.” Gilræn looked slightly pained and she winced at his expression, realizing what she had done a little too late. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…damn.”
Gilræn shook his head. He responded quietly. “It’s all right.”
“Not everyone is a fighter. Not everyone is…amazing. Some are simply the people we all need to keep life going,” Silannah offered.
Gilræn nodded. “She is the last of my family. Sulime is a stranger, and Borænin and Sellynna…they are foreign, I am not even sure how to characterize the relationship. But Niqi is one of mine…the very last one…”
“Very distant cousins?”
“I called them cousins one reality removed.”
“That seems about right.”
Gilræn loosed a weary sigh. “I just feel lost. I’m sorry.”
“You’re wrong about one thing though,” Silannah said softly.
The Ren’dorei perked up slightly. “Hmm?”
“She’s not the last.” She sat up and looked deep into his eyes.
Gilræn arched an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
Silannah grabbed his hand and placed it on her belly. Gilræn looked confused for a moment, then his eyes flew open wide. “I was waiting until I was sure,” she murmured.
He looked at her, stunned, his hand still on her belly. He began to tremble.
“Gilræn? Are you…”
“You are sure of it,” he asked in a voice so small, only she could possible hear it.
“I am,” she replied gently, offering him a smile.
Gilræn lunged over and wrapped his arms around her, holding her in an almost painfully tight embrace. He buried his head in her chest.
The pale woman gasped. Drawing her feet out of the water, she shifted in an attempt to retain her balance. “Air…my love…air.” She gently stroked his long blue hair as he began to shake uncontrollably, tears pouring down his face. “I hope those are not grief.”
Gilræn shook his head emphatically, not yet ready to speak.
“Good, she murmured, hugging him close. “Good.” She managed to loosen his grip and shifted her arms to hold him more comfortably. Silannah kissed the top of his head.
When he finally managed to speak, it came out in a hoarse whisper. “I watched…all of my children die. Their spans were all shorter than mine.” Gilræn touched her belly again. “But your child…..Will be Kal’dorei.”
“Well, half,” she corrected.
“We’ll see,” he replied softly. He peered up at her in wonder. “There’s never been such a pairing.”
“No, there hasn’t. But I guess we shall find out in the end.”
Gilræn nodded. “Silannah…”
“You have given me so much.” His fingers brushed her abdomen. “And now this.”
“Isn’t that what mates do?”
“Just know what this…what you, mean to me.”
“I’m hoping a lot.” She chuckled softly. “I have to squeeze the thing out of me at some point. So I’m hoping a whole lot.”
Gilræn barked out a laugh. “Everything, my love. Everything.”
She smiled wide. “Gil was a chubby little thing. He hurt like fel.”
“This one may inherit some slimness from his diminutive father,” Gil offered.
Silannah’s smile faded and she sighed. “I just hope I do a better job this time.”
He tilted his head to one side. “By all accounts, you were a fine mother to your son.”
“I hope that is true. But the fact that he is gone…maybe things can be different this time,” she admitted.
“They will be.”
Silannah squeezed him tightly.
Gilræn leaned into her. “I love you, Silannah,” he murmured.
“I love you, Gilræn. We are going to get this whole….scary Gilræn from another world shit taken care of, so you and I can figure out parenthood.”
“Yes, we are.” he chuckled. “Kalithil is on the warpath.”
Silannah smirked. “He likes it there. And he’s not the only one,” she added with an enormous grin. She rose to her feet and scooped Gilræn up into her arms, drawing a laugh from the man. “Let’s go find a place to cuddle.”
“Cuddle,” he asked, a glint in his eyes.
“I know you like it. Don’t try to pretend you don’t,” she replied.
“I think you may misapprehend the effect your announcement has had on your beloved,” the Ren’dorei said, his voice growing husky. He kissed and nipped lightly at her lower lip.
“Well, let’s go find a place to do whatever it is you have in mind then,” she replied with a grin. She turned her back to the pond and headed towards the inn.