Kalimè stopped along the path, adjusting the grip on her staff before stretching out her leg. She took a deep breath and continued towards the tavern. Her long ears twitched a couple of times as she made her way inside. There were a number of open tables, though she chose one that put her back to the wall. Her staff was carefully set resting on the wall and she settled into the chair with care. She kept her eyes set just to the right side of the doorway as she ordered herself something to eat.
Within minutes, a dusky skinned Ren’dorei entered, resplendent in purple and gold. She chuckled inwardly, as he surveyed the room, doing a fairly terrible job at seeming inconspicuous. He walked down the steps towards the bar when she called over to him.
“You followed me in here. You might as well come over and introduce yourself,” she teased. The man turned to her and blinked. She gazed at him, a smirk on her face as he gestured to himself. “You think I couldn’t hear you? Yes, you.” A strange little grin crept along his face as he wandered casually over to the table. “Have a seat if you wish,” she offered.
He bowed to her to which she returned a gracious incline of her head. He slid into the chair, his silken tenor voice breaking his silence. “My apologies for staring, Lady…?”
“Kalimè. Silverthorn. And you are?”
His left eye twitched almost imperceptibly. “Borænin. Borænin Sunspine.” The Kal’dorei woman raised a long white eyebrow. He tilted his head to one side slightly. “Is something amiss?”
“I would say ‘Nice to meet you,’ but something about my name appears to have bothered you.” She smirked at him, proud of herself. She nodded to the server as her food was delivered. Looking it over, she lifted a fork to start eating.
Borænin smiled in a self-deprecating way. “I would not say that it bothered me, my lady.”
Kalimè looked up from her plate at the stranger. “All right then, Borænin. Why did you follow me in here?” She took a bite of her food, chewing slowly as she kept her eyes locked on his face.
He offered her an embarrassed smile. “Well, my lady, I hope you will not be offended if I say my interest was academic.”
She looked at him askance. “In what way? I am hardly a scholar.”
“Perhaps not, my lady, but I am.”
Kalimè rolled her eyes slightly. “I see. But, I noticed you still have not answered my question.”
He grinned at her, the expression somewhat off-putting as much as it was charming. “Very well, my lady. My… employer has me doing research into the history of elven peoples in Azeroth.”
The Ren’dorei nodded. “Indeed, he is a personage of some note among the Ren’dorei. And he is keenly interested in how the elven diaspora progressed from its roots in old Kalimdor up to its current state.”
The silver haired elf sat back, her expression thoughtful. “It seems to me that you would have far more luck if you visited the library. The new one that was founded to replace the one lost on the tree.”
He tipped his head to the side. “I am afraid I do not know of what you speak, my lady.” He quickly added, “We Ren’dorei are new here, of course.”
She shook her head, laughing aloud. “Unless you’ve been hiding out in the rift, you aren’t that new. My brother is betrothed to one and has been for some time now.”
Borænin arched a long eyebrow, obviously intrigued. “Your brother is betrothed to a Ren’dorei?”
The man looked at her oddly. “Well, I hardly think I need to tell my lady, that despite our common ancestry, the various elven kindreds rarely intermix.”
Kalimè shrugged before motioning a server over to the table. She ordered another glass of wine for herself. Returning her attention to the Ren’dorei, she adjusted her position in her chair. “I would say it is becoming more common.”
Borænin moved his hands from the steepled position, spreading them apart to indicate concession. “I suppose that might be true. But a pairing such as you describe, between the very newest kindred and a primordial rem….hmmm… tell me, does your brother share your very pale complexion and hair color?” The silver eyes across from him narrowed. “Yes. That was why I followed you. I’m sorry. I suppose I should offer an explanation.”
She crossed her arms over her chest. “It better be a damned good one.”
“In my studies,” he offered. “I discovered tales of a group of Kal’dorei from ancient history. Ones that looked much like you do. At one time, apparently, they numbered in the thousands. All of one great family.”
“Go on,” she prompted, the look of irritation not wavering.
“Well, unfortunately, the histories are incomplete. This group was apparently one powerful and influential, but for some reason they dwindled and nearly died out.” Kalimè nodded to the server as he delivered the wine to the table. She placed a few coins in his hand and he inclined his head before stepping away. She took a long sip of her wine before picking up a chunk of meat from her plate and popping it into her mouth. “I have seen,” he continued, “one or two who have their look during my travels. Frankly, I have been working up the nerve to speak to one.”
Not bothering to finish chewing, she asked, “So. You wanna know about the House of Silverthorn, is that right?”
Borænin leaned forward, looking very eager. “Are you telling me this group still exists? Not simply a hereditary coloration left over from ancient times?”
Kalimè licked the juices off her fingers one by one. “First thing you need to know is, “The Silverthorn always grows back.” She wiped her hands on a napkin, tossing it aside. “Always.”
The man’s face went slightly slack, his entire body becoming very, very still. “I…ah…” He cleared his throat in an attempt to regain some composure. “…I don’t understand.”
“You, sir, are a crappy liar,” she chuffed, gesturing at his face. He stares at her blankly for a moment before breaking out into a broad grin. “You look like someone just crapped on your plate.” She smirked at him. “So. How do you know about us?” She picked up another bite of food, once again chewing it with care.
“How delightfully direct you are!” He sat back, making it appear he was completely at ease. “All right, my lady, you caught me. Your phrasing is one I have heard before, but you caught me by surprise. I saw that very motto in an old tome not very long ago. But. I admit I did not understand its significance.” Lacing his fingers together, he placed his elbows on his belly, steepling the index fingers upward more than the others. “Hearing it from you just now? Well, it was as if the ancients we speaking to me directly.”
She leaned over her plate, whispering, “In a way, they are.”
He offered her a big, goofy, eager smile. Clapping his hands together, he exclaimed, “This is delightful!”
“Is it?” She swallowed down her bite, “If you say so.”
Chuckling, “Well, maybe a layman would disagree, but as na antiquarian, it’s very exciting!”
She sighed heavily. “You should really talk to my mother. She’s a scholar and simply devours information.”
His eyes go very wide. “Oh I would love the chance! Is she of the old blood as well?”
“No,” she shook her head. “Min’da is not Silverthorn by blood. She took the name when she married my father. She is the most beautiful shades of blue you will ever see.”
He smiled. “I am sure she is. I would enjoy meeting her nevertheless. I am always happy to meet a fellow scholar.”
Kalimè burst out laughing, a small gasp escaping after she calmed. “Don’t be so certain. She speaks a mile a minute and rarely breathes.”
“I’ll take my chances,” he chuckled. “May I assume then that your…pale gifts, as it were, descend from your father?”
“They do,” she smiled at him, an odd twinkle in her eyes. “But you wanted to know what the old saying meant, yes?” He nodded happily. “The name was originally because of the coloring. There was once a tree called the silverthorn. It was very, very difficult to get rid of. It grew to great heights with pale silvery-blue leaves and vicious thorns longer than my forearm. The tree was very, very difficult to get rid of. No matter what one did, it always came back.” Borænin sat and watched her, listening intently. “Much like my family. Time may try to wither us away, but we always manage to regroup and grow again. You see?” She lifted her glass and took a long drink.
Nodding, he grinned wide. “So you took your motto by comparing your people to an invasive tree! How amusing! I wonder who came up with it.”
“Someone old and wise.”
“No doubt!” He glanced at her, noticing that she had again lifted her drink and was grinning wide behind the rim of her glass. He looked at her sidelong. “I see that grin, my lady. I believe you are teasing me.”
“Perhaps a little, but my answer was true all the same.”
Borænin arched a long eyebrow. “Are you going to explain that or keep me in suspense?”
“Oh, I don’t know… You haven’t told me a thing about yourself yet.”
“I thought I had! What would you like to know?” This one is quick and clever. I thought I could keep her talking, but no matter, he thought to himself.
Kalimè ate a bit more, mulling over her options. “Okay, well, you say you are a scholar. What did you do before joining up with Umbric and the others that became the Ren’dorei?”
“I was a scholar then too. It was that which led me to them.”
“Oh? Were you brought on to help with the research,” she led him a little.
“In a manner of speaking. My employer was a devotee and supporter of Umbric. He brought me along, thinking I could be useful in research.”
“I see,” she replied, her eyes narrowing almost imperceptibly.
“My employer has always been generous, and let me tell you, one doesn’t get a lot of lucrative offers to be a traveling scholar,” he laughed.
“Hmmm,” she offered. “Perhaps not. So your employer pays you well then? You haven’t needed to find other work?”
“That is correct! I consider myself most fortunate.”
She smiled. “Good. Many of the Ren’dorei lack that option.”
He sighed, “I am aware. Many have had it much harder than I.” Kalimè held her hand up, but he continued. “I hear there were some who were brought into it against their will even. A terrible business.”
“That was not meant to guilt you,” she offered.
“Hmm?” He blinked. “I am merely being sympathetic, I am not a monster after all.”
“I didn’t mean to suggest you were.”
He grinned. “Good to know.” He watches as she pushed her hair back with her right hand, her tattoos shimmering of their own accord. He peered at the, following them up to her head. “Those are very interesting.”
“What are? Oh, my lilies?”
He nodded, smiling. “Unless I miss my guess, those have been enhanced with the arcane.”
“They have been. My father did it for me. As a replacement for the traditional ink ones I had originally.”
“How delightful,” he responded, looking slightly wistful.
“What is it?”
“Hmm?” Oh. Nothing, my lady. An old memory. A lifetime ago I studied the mysteries of sorcery.”
“Why did you stop?”
He smiled thinly. “Fate had other plans for me.”
“Screw fate,” she frowned. She picked up her glass and drained it.
Borænin barked out a laugh. “If you must know, my lady, I lacked any significant talent for sorcery. For me it was merely an intellectual exercise.”
“Ah,” she nodded understanding. “That fate. Yeah, it was the same for me. It completely sucks being the kid of two powerful mages and not being able to use magic for shit.”
His eyebrows shot up. “Two powerful mages?”
“Min’da is scary level powerful, and An’da is right behind her. Though his knowledge and usage is waaaaaay better.”
Borænin made certain to appear properly impressed. “Scary level, eh?”
“Min’da can pull directly from the ley lines.”
“That is…indeed impressive.”
“But her spells kind of go,” she pointed off in varying directions. Borænin blinked, a little confused. “An’da on the other hand, he could kill a specific flea on a dog without even thinking about it.”
“Well…” He breathed out heavily. “I shall endeavor never to be on the wrong side of either of them.”
“The wrong side of Kalithil Silverthorn usually means dead.” Borænin’s face went as still as a dead man, losing almost all of its color. “Oh, you’ve heard of him?” He nodded at her very slowly. “He’s my father,” she said smugly.
“Surely…surely not the original bearer of that name,” he questioned.
She grinned wide as a cat. “I very much doubt there is another before him.”
He let out a somewhat strangled laugh. “And no doubt none after? Gods, he must be ancient.”
“Oh, he is,” she confirmed. “Looks it too. But don’t let that fool you. Mother is less than half his age and the two of them together are incredible.”
Borænin sat there giving her the strangest looks. This is impossible. Could he be the only one in all the Realms who lived? He refocused himself and nodded. “I am quite certain that is true.”
“You wanna tell me why you are looking at me like I suddenly grew an arm out of the top of my head?”
He went blank for a moment, then laughed softly and looked sheepish. “My apologies once again, my lady, but it really is as if I met a stranger and they told me they are the spawn of an ancient king. Which I suppose you sort of are.”
“Not a king. Though he is imperious enough,” she smiled.
The Ren’dorei chuckled. “Is that a daughter talking?”
“If you ever meet him, you’ll know.”
Slight surprised, he asked, “Are you offering to introduce me?”
She laughed aloud, waving her hands. “If I knew where he and Min’da were right now, I might consider it. But they’ve decided to go crawling through all the newly available libraries on Kul’Tiras.”
He smiled at the idea. “Well, if you catch up to them, I would certainly love the opportunity.”
“Speaking of which,” she muttered, digging in her bag for a piece of paper and a pencil. “If you want accurate information on the Kal’dorei people, go here.” She jotted down the location.
He peered at the paper. “And what is there?”
“My uncle, the Patriarch of our House, recently donated the Silverthorn library and histories of our race that our family kept, to the Kal’dorei people. To replace what was lost when the tree burned.”
“Did he now…That is…quite generous.”
“It is,” she agreed. “Knowing him, it was also a power play.” He chuckled as she shrugged it off. “Anyway, I should go. I was going to check on my brother’s fiancée, but she had a client in front of her.”
Borænin’s face twitched slightly. “Ah, well, I am sad to see you go, this has been such an enlightening evening.”
Kalimè chuckled, pointing at him. “You should really have your face checked out. You twitch a lot.”
Borænin smiled sheepishly. “Wear my heart on my sleeve, I do, it is a weakness.”
“What, did you see little Niqi in the shop there and have her catch your eye? Cause she’s taken.” He arched an eyebrow as she grabbed her staff and rose slowly from her seat.
“Niqi? You mean Niquisse, the tailor girl? I actually ordered work from her, on my employer’s behalf. She is betrothed to your brother?” Kali nodded. He started to laugh with a slightly hysterical edge. “What a marvelous coincidence.”
“What is wrong with you?” She looked at him with suspicion.
“Oh, nothing, nothing, I have just spent the last two days with the representatives of ancient power, you know, normal day.” Borænin laughed, waving it off. “It’s a scholar thing,” he winked.
Kalimè rolled her eyes and moved out from the table. “Good luck with your… stuff.”
He chuckled. “I thank you, Lady Kalimè. I truly hope we meet again. I shall hold you to that introduction.” He bowed before her.
“Perhaps one day,” she offered. He smiled in return. She inclined her head to him, walking away. “Farewell, Borænin.”
He watched her leave, dropping back into the chair in shock. That proved to be far beyond my greatest expectations, he thought to himself. He called a server over and ordered something to drink. He remained for some time, working out possibilities in his mind before striding out of the tavern and out into the city.