In His Path

An old robed kaldorei walked a little-used path through the forest. His stride was relaxed, but the set of his shoulders and the agitated movements of the hood that obscured his features belied this. He muttered to himself as we walked.

“Not what I intended…Azshara’s lackeys…highborn…”

Turning a bend in the path, he stopped cold. Ahead, the path was bisected by a small tributary of the river, spanned with a few flat stones. On the further bank, a kaldorei female sat with her feet trailing in the water. She was adorned in the brief leather armor that kaldorei women seemed to be favoring.. He was amused. The armor, if it could be called that, harkened back to the kaldorei’s most primitive roots. Almost six thousand years after they had gone to murderous lengths to bury their origins, those ancient instincts they carried still expressed themselves. He strode forward again while looking her over. She was one of his. Pale skin with just a hint of violet, and silver hair. Her hair fell in straight lines just past her shoulders. She was young. Very young. Tall, lean, and athletic. Not his type at all.

The woman looked up at him, saying warmly, “Greetings, elder.”

“Elder, hmm? And how do you know that?”

Smiling wide, she answered, “I’ve been watching you, these past weeks. You’ve been hanging about, keeping to yourself, off to the side of events. You’re observing our people, and you don’t like what you see. Only elders disapprove of everything they see.”

Regarding her appraisingly, he replied, “You are a clever thing, aren’t you?”

“Just observant,” she said, grinning.

“Why have you set yourself in my path today?”

Moving slowly, she lifted her left leg from the water, setting her foot on the bank and propping an elbow on her knee. Cocking her head to the side and resting it against her left hand, she replied, languidly, “I was very curious about you.”

The elder, despite himself, was distracted by the display. Her armor covered only her intimacies, and while she was more slender than he preferred, she was nevertheless beautiful. And if her body was not to his usual taste, her boldness certainly was. With difficulty, he answered, “Is that so? What would you like to know?”

Smiling again, she said, “Where are you from? You showed up a few weeks ago, out of nowhere. Why are you here?” He hesitated a moment, then by way of answer, pushed back the hood that hid his features. He stood in the light that filtered through the leaves, his pale skin – a match for hers – dappled with the evening sun. As his coloration registered, her jaw dropped and she whispered, “Y…you are Silverthorn.”

“I am.”

Looking oddly at the top of his head, she asked, “Why do you wear your hair that way,” she asked, indicating his shaven head with only a strip remaining down the middle of his skull.

“Old story.”

“It’s very strange.”

“As am I.”

Shrugging it off, she continued, “Do you have a name, elder?”

“Doesn’t everyone have a name?”

Scowling prettily, she retorted, “Well? What is yours then?”

Laughing, he said, “You are used to getting your way, aren’t you?”

“I am Matriarch of the House of Silverthorn. So yes!”

Arching an imperious eyebrow, he replied, “House of Silverthorn, is it? One of these upstart families then?”

“We are not upstarts! We are reformers!”

Smiling as if pleased, he murmured, “Good to know.”

“So what is it? Your name.”

Laughing again, he replied, “You are persistent and willful. Very well. I am Kalithil.” As he spoke his name he watched her face carefully. She kept carefully neutral, but for the briefest moment he thought he saw something that might be a faint recognition, or maybe a memory, but it was gone as soon as it arrived. He might have imagined it.

Finally she answered, “I am honored to meet you, Kalithil. I am Kajeda.”

Bowing, he said, “The honor is mine, Kajeda Silverthorn.”

Smiling again, she asked, “So what is you see that you disapprove of?”

Returning the grin, he replied, “Right at this moment? Nothing whatsoever.”

Giggling coyly, she said, “I meant everything else.”

“Oh, I know,” gesturing back the way he’d come, he added, “Azshara. The Highborn. It is all….wrong.”

Nodding sagely, she said, “They are becoming degenerate.”

Chuckling softly, he teased, “Degenerate? That’s funny coming from someone sitting like that.”

Pouting, she asked softly, “Oh…do you disapprove of this now as well?”

“Not at all.”

“Here…I’ll make things better.” As she spoke, she brought her legs together and hooked her thumbs into the waistband holding up her “armor” bottoms. Deftly, she slipped them off and past her feet, tossing them to the grass beside her as she kicked off her boots. Then she reached back and unhooked her top, sliding it and her shoulder pieces behind her. Holding his gaze steadily, she slowly spread her legs again, exposing herself to his inspection. Achingly slow, she resumed her previous pose, fully nude, all the while holding his eyes as if daring him to look anywhere else.

Stammering slightly, he whispered, “Well…that is certainly an improvement…” and moved toward her.