Void Bolt Ch 7

Larson’s Clothier

Wynne swept the last of the scraps up and tossed them into the waste bin. She threw an irritated glance at the two empty work stations. Returning to the counter, she pulled out the order book and started to review the next day’s tasks.

Mehe stepped into the shop, looking around. He nodded at Wynne. “Anas is still recovering,” he said. “He’ll be back once he’s better.”

She looked up at him, with only the smallest shred of sympathy. “Fine. At least I know where the fel he is. Unlike the other one.” She closed the book over-dramatically. “Never should have hired that little flake. She didn’t even bother showing up today.”

Mehe’s lips thinned. “She’s ill,” he said simply. “I’m here to inform her fiancé. Have you seen him?”

Wynne scowled. “No. He picks her up at the end of the day. Tell her I expect her back tomorrow. Can’t have both of them out. If he’s recovering, she has to be here.” She scooped up a gown and placed it on Niqi’s table.

Mehe’s eyes narrowed. “She’s in no condition to work.”

From the doorway came a troubled voice, “She’s what? What are you talking about?”

Mehe glanced around at the voice. Seeing the Kaldorei man, he nodded in acknowledgement. “Ælithil, I presume. Niqi is ill. Anas and I are looking after her at our place in Elwynn.”

“Ill? What the fel does that mean? She was fine two days ago.”

“There’s been an incident.” Mehe’s eyes flickered towards Wynne. “I’ll explain on the way.”

Ælithil eyed the Ren’dorei for a moment, noting the subtle glance towards the shopkeeper. Looking at the sour-faced woman himself, he said, “Yeah, let’s do that.”

Wynne snorted. “Probably scared herself looking at a wall.”

Mehe glared at her, his gloved fingers twitching. “This way,” he said to the other man. He stalked out of the shop in the direction of the Trade District without a backward glance.

Ælithil started impassively at Wynne just long enough to make her uncomfortable, then turned and followed the Ren’dorei.

Mehe paused at the arch exiting the Mage Quarter, waiting for Ælithil to catch up. “Bloody woman,” he muttered under his breath.

“Agreed. Niqi told me I can’t kill her though.”

“So did Anas.” He shook his head and started walking again. “Niqi was in Stormwind yesterday. She was looking at a few places for them to set up shop when she was accosted by a damn human.”

Ælithil froze. “…accosted?”

Mehe nodded grimly. “She managed to escape and called Anas for help. I came here and took her back. She’s very badly shaken by the ordeal.”

Suddenly frantic, Ælithil seized the smaller man by the shoulders and cried out, “Where is she? Take me to her!”

Mehe hissed, his eyes flaring purple as his Gloomblade dropped into his hand by reflex. Startled, Ælithil drew back, looking confused. The Ren’dorei took a deep breath before dismissing the shadowy dagger. “Don’t do that,” he growled, his eyes returning to their pale blue as the weapon melted away. “Bloody hell. Are you trying to make me hurt you?”

“Uh…sorry. Look, just take me to her, ok?”

Mehe nodded. He raised his taloned finger, drawing it down in a quick vertical slash. A dark line followed in its wake before opening into a Void rift. “This way,” he said before stepping through.

Ælithil eyed the gaping violet aperture uncomfortably for a moment before taking a deep breath and stepping in.

Mehe emerged from the rift before the door of the cottage. Glancing around, he spotted Goldeneyes standing near the garden, a bowl of food in his hand. He was chewing absently as he eyed the herbs, apparently lost in thought. “Enjoying a late lunch?” Mehe asked.

The Sin’dorei man looked up, his gaze darting to the portal behind Mehe. His expression darkened. “More Greythorns?”

Ælithil emerged from the rift and let out an obviously-held breath with a loud whoosh. Shivering slightly at the touch of the Void, he looked around the garden, his eyes resting on the blood elf stuffing his face. The face identical in all ways but color to his Ren’dorei guide. “What in the fel fucked bullshit is this,” he breathed.

Goldeneyes stared at him in shock. “What the hell?”

“Ælithil, this is Goldeneyes. He’s me… from another world.” Mehe waved a hand, closing the portal. “Goldeneyes, Ælithil Silverthorn, Niqi’s fiancé.”

The Sin’dorei’s lip curled in disgust. “Silverthorn? Is that what you’re bloody calling yourself now?” He set the bowl on the windowsill before planting himself in front of the door. “No. He’s not going in there with Anas.”

Ælithil looked in confusion between the two near-identical men. “Wha…other world? What?”

Mehe sighed. “Another world like ours but different. Like Draenor and Outland.” He turned to the Sin’dorei. “Now let us in so that he can see to Niqi.”

Goldeneyes scoffed at the Kaldorei. “You may have deceived these people with your dark arts, but I’d know that face anywhere.” He folded his arms, glaring at the taller man. “No way in hell am I ever allowing you in the same house as my mate, Greythorn.”

Frowning, Ælithil muttered, “But the Greythorns are decendents of my brother…”

“Do you think I’m a bloody fool?” Goldeneyes snapped. “Drop the act, Greythorn. Everyone knows who you are.”

“He’s not a Greythorn,” Mehe said firmly. “The Silverthorns are a Kaldorei family.”

Niqi cried out in her sleep, “NO!” The sound broke Ælithil from his confusion and he rushed forward, heedless of the blood elf blocking the doorway. The Sin’dorei’s hand rose, steel glinting in the sunlight. Mehe leaped at him, his own dagger dropping into his hand out of thin air. He blocked Goldeneyes’s stab, their blades meeting with a clash. Unconcerned with the infighting, Ælithil bowled both men over as he tried to reach his beloved within.

Mehe fell atop Goldeneyes with a grunt, his Gloomblade vanishing. The impact knocked the dagger from the Sin’dorei’s hand as well, sending it clattering some distance away on the floor. Goldeneyes tried to shove Mehe off, forcing the Ren’dorei to grapple the older man to a standstill.

“Let go, damn you!” the Sin’dorei spat, his eyes blazing as he tried in vain to twist free. “You don’t know what he’s capable of!”

“Do you think I’d bloody spare him if he tried to hurt my mate?” Mehe demanded coldly. “He’s here for Niqi and nothing more. Now stop this.” He released Goldeneyes and stood, grimacing at the pain in his shoulder where Ælithil had knocked him over.

The Sin’dorei rose as well. He straightened his shirt, his lips compressed in anger. “If anything happens to Anas, it’s on you,” he snapped before storming back to the garden.

The noises from the outer rooms sent Niqi into a full panic. She fought her way out of the blankets, falling from the bed. Her eyes flared purple as she scrambled into the corner of the room. Making every effort to pull herself into as tight of a ball as possible, she covered her ears with her arms. “Oh gods…he found me…he’s here…please…”

“Niqi!” Ælithil bellowed. Not knowing the layout of the home, be barged around the central table and started to open doors.

“Æl?” she choked out, shaking uncontrollably in the corner of the room. The whispers roared in her ears, drowning out much around her. Ælithil burst through the bedroom door. Seeing her curled in on herself in the corner, he immediately went to her side and knelt, holding out his arms to her.

Anas started awake from the din. “Mother Moon. What’s happening?” he mumbled, looking around blearily.

“Oh gods, Æl!” She buried herself in his chest, weeping.

Anas sat up at once, his gaze snapping towards the pair. Pushing the blanket away, he rose a little unsteadily. “What happened?” he repeated, his brow furrowing as he stepped closer. “What is it, little one?”

Ælithil wrapped his arms tightly around his betrothed. Glancing over his shoulder, he gave the tall Kal’dorei a look that said in no uncertain terms, “I have this.”

Niqi shook in his arms, clinging to him. “Æl, Anas and Mehe…they’ve…they’ve helped,” she choked out.

Anas halted at Ælithil’s look. “It’s okay, little one,” he said kindly. “Ælithil wants to look after you, so I won’t get in the way.” He bowed towards the other Kal’dorei before sitting back onto the mattress, looking down at his hands.

Ignoring the other man, Ælithil brushed the hair from Niqi’s face and spoke softly to her. “What happened, Tiny?”

She held onto him tightly. Taking a slow, deep breath, she quieted herself a little. “I was looking at…at one of the shop options that Anas and Mehe had found. I came down from the upper level and I walked straight into a man…he…he was um..” She swallowed hard, tears rolling down her cheeks. “He wouldn’t let me leave….he…” her voice grew pained, pinched. “Tore my dress down and he…he”

Ælithil’s jaw clenched convulsively.  He took a few deep breaths, very obviously doing all he could to stay in control. In a low tone, he asked, “Did you know him? What did he look like?”

Niqi shook her head, sobbing. “He was big…brown hair…he smelled like old beer.”

“Old town?”

Mehe stepped silently into the room and went to Anas’s side. Noticing the Kal’dorei’s downcast eyes, he placed a hand on Anas’s shoulder. “Back to bed,” he murmured. “You need your rest too. Ælithil will look after her.”

“Along the Canals…” She turned to look over at the two men by the bed. “Mehe knows where. Anas and Mehe…” she sniffled, “They’ve been taking care of me.”

Looking back over his shoulder slightly shame-faced, the young Kal’dorei said softly, “Thank you. Both of you.”

“It’s the least we could do for her.” Anas’s brief smile seemed forced.

Mehe simply nodded curtly. He lightly pushed Anas down onto the bed and drew the blanket over the him. “Rest. I’ll deal with this,” he said gently before turning back to the duo.

Niqi pulled away from Æl and crawled over to the bed. She knelt beside Anas and kissed his forehead, tears still rolling down her cheeks. “Thank you,” she whispered. “Rest. I can’t…can’t do this without my brother.”

Anas brushed her tears away. “Don’t cry, little one. You know I’m always here for you,” he said soothingly.

“I’ll try, brother,” she said softly. “But you need to get better. Æl will take care of me so you can.” She moved back to Ælithil and kissed him gently. Ælithil returned the kiss, then stood, looking uncomfortable. He looked at the two men, unsure of what to say. Niqi held tight to him. “Thank you for helping me feel safer. I am sorry if I caused extra trouble.”

“You’re never any trouble to us, Niqi,” Anas said, stifling a yawn.

“Let him rest.” Mehe waved the pair to the door. “Come,” he said before stepping out.

“All right, Mehe,” She nudged Æl towards the door, glancing back at Anas, worried.

“Wait, what about the attacker,” Ælithil asked.

“We’ll talk about it outside,” Mehe said firmly. “Now come.” Niqi released her death grip on Æl’s waist and took his hand, pulling him from the room. She led him to the table and sat down. Ælithil followed, but with obvious reluctance. Mehe closed the door behind them. “I went back to the place, but the human was gone,” he said, turning to face Ælithil.

Niqi pulled her knees up, her eyes going dull. “I hurt him. He’s going to find me…” she quavered.

His brow furrowed, Ælithil asked, “We don’t know anything else?” Niqi shook her head. The pale Kal’dorei have Mehe a questioning look.

“I didn’t find anything when I returned there.” The Ren’dorei frowned. “If anyone found him, they’re skilled enough to cover his tracks.”

Ælithil heaved a great sigh and looked at the floor. For a quiet moment he said nothing, then simply muttered “damn it all” nearly too low to hear. Without preamble he stood upright and marched out the front door. Once in the open air he called out in a voice a whisper above his normal tones, “An’da, I need you.” Niqi slipped from the chair, following behind him, unsure what he was doing. As he said it, he looked around, tilting his head slightly as if listening for something. Mere seconds later, the air became electric and there was a violet flash and a whooshing sound. When the air cleared, two figures stood before the young Kal’dorei. Another Kal’dorei male, taller even than Ælithil, festooned from head to toe on blue and gold finery. He gleamed in evening light. Beside him, her hand resting on his arm, a Kal’dorei woman, round faced and pretty, with a cascade of ocean-blue hair and a dress to match.

Mehe blinked at the new arrivals. “Who are these people?”

“Kalithil and Lilybeth Silverthorn,” Niqi whispered. “Æl’s parents.” Her eyes were wide.

The tall Kal’dorei glanced around, his eyes falling on each person before him in turn. When he looked at the ren’dorei, his gaze lingered a moment, his eyes shining behind his helm betraying mild curiosity.  He nodded at Niquisse and then turned his attention back to Ælithil. “My son, what is wrong?”

Niqi offered the pair a deep curtsey. She forced a smile as much as she was able.  Lilybeth tipped her head to the side, noting Niqi’s odd attire. She moved to the small Ren’dorei, wrapped her arms around the girl and looked to her son. “Æl? What happened?”

Grimacing, Ælithil replies, looking back and forth between his parents, “Niqi was attacked in Stormwind. By a human. I don’t think it has anything to do with whoever hurt Kali, but I’m not sure. This was different. Her…ummm,” here he hesitated, his jaw clenching and his face going red hot, “her dress was torn.” Niqi whimpered, turning a deep violet in embarrassment.

“Elune above, did he…” Lily found herself unable to finish the question, hugging the girl tighter.

“He tried, My Lady,” Niqi looked at the ground, mortified.

Mehe watched them silently. He caught sight of movement out of the corner of his eye. Turning his head slightly, he glimpsed Goldeneyes glaring daggers at the group of people. The Sin’dorei said nothing as he retreated back out of sight.

Ignoring this, Ælithil continued, “Niqi hit the bastard with something. She hurt him.” Pointing at Mehe, he said, “this one…uh, his name is Mehe, he rescued her. He went back and looked for the human. Says there was nothing there.”

Lilybeth turned to face the Ren’dorei watching them. “Mehe? You did that for Niquisse? How can I repay your kindness?” She bowed her head to him in gratitude.

Mehe shook his head. “I’d gladly help Anas’s sister… and my friend.”

Kalithil, having watched the exchange silently, now spoke, “Lily, take Ælithil and Niquisse away from here. Have Tindomiel look at her, be sure she is unharmed.” His head swiveled until his gaze rested on Mehe again, and he said, “You will take me to the scene.”

Lilybeth bowed her head to Mehe again. “Please give Anas my best. He has always been kind to me.”

Niqi stepped towards Mehe. “Thank you. I..I will get these clothes back to you once I have cleaned them. Could I get my bag? And…you can get rid of the dress. I don’t think…”

Mehe nodded at Kalithil and Lilybeth. “I will,” he said before turning to Niquisse. “Where’s your bag? And I’ll get rid of it.”

Niqi winced. “In Goldeneyes’s room…”

Mehe nodded again. “I’ll get it,” he said before disappearing back inside.

“No,” interjected Kalithil suddenly, “give the clothes she was wearing to me. I will dispose of them when they are no longer useful.” There was no audible response from within, though Mehe emerged a few minutes later with the dress and the bag. He handed the torn garment to Kalithil and the bag to Niqi.

Niqi placed a hand gently on Mehe’s arm. “Thank you for the past two days. Especially helping me through the night.” Her eyes teared up and her lips pulled inward, forming a pinched frown.

Lilybeth’s hands began to glow softly as she raised them, runes appearing in sequence along the ground. A shimmering portal appeared before her and she motioned for the young ones to follow her through. “Come dear. Let’s get you cleaned up and home.”

Mehe nodded, offering Niqi a small smile. Raising his taloned finger, he opened another Void rift before turning to Kalithil. “This way,” he said simply.

Lily led Niqi into the portal gently, calling for her son to follow.

Kalithil looked at the ebon tear intently a moment before giving Mehe an appraising look. He whispered, “interesting…” as he stepped through the rift.

Mehe followed him though, emerging right before the steps leading up to the door. “This is it.” He waved his hand and the rift snapped shut.

Kalithil stepped inside slowly, his head swiveling to take in the space. His brow furrowed as if he could will the events to reveal themselves to him through concentration alone. Calling back over his shoulder he asked, “And you found no traces?”

“Nothing.” Mehe glanced around. “Why?”

Kalithil began to pace around the room. At regular intervals he bent down and traced a rune on the floor with his hand, each of which would glow with a soft blue light when complete. He spoke as he worked, saying, “No traces indicates a presence of mind and attention to detail one does not expect from a would-be rapist.”

Mehe’s eyes narrowed at this display of the arcane, though his face remained otherwise impassive. He watched the mage work in silence.

Kalithil glanced in Mehe’s direction and stood up, a curious expression on his face. “Why do you look at me like that,” he asked.

“You’re a mage,” he said flatly. “A Kal’dorei mage.”

“Obviously. Why is that an issue?”

He shook his head. “Just get on with it.”

Kalithil shrugged and returned to his preparations. He spiraled inwards, creating a concentric ring of lines and runes. Laying the torn dress in the center, he stepped back and surveyed his work. “This should do.”

Mehe took a step back and turned to peer out of the window at the passersby.

Muttering arcane words, Kalithil held a hand over the runic circle. The runes on the floor shone brighter at his words. Quietly he said to his companion, “You’re going to want to watch this part.” Mehe glanced back at the Kaldorei, pursing his lips. Nevertheless, he did as he was bid, keeping an eye on the proceedings.

A flickering began in the space above the circle of runes. Kalithil, watching it with a furrowed brow, commented, “The world has a memory. But that memory fades. The greater the span between diviner and event, the greater the loss of detail. Here we have a rare opportunity, this happened not two days past, and naturally, the dress helps as well.” As he finished speaking, a ghostly figure could be seen stumbling backwards within the circle. A Ren’dorei female, Niquisse, followed by a human male who seized her dress and leaned in, snarling unheard epithets. Kalithil watched impassively for a moment, then twitched a hand and the image froze. “I don’t think we need to see more. I have fixed this face in my mind.” Turning to Mehe, he asked, “Have you?”

Mehe’s eyes flickered over the human’s features, noting his clothes and the expression on his face. He nodded briefly.

“Very good. If you see him, inform us.”

“Hmm.” Mehe turned away from Kalithil and the figures to scan the room. Whomever had concealed the human’s tracks was good. Probably a professional.

“Is that a problem?”

Mehe arched an eyebrow. “Are you quite finished?” he asked mildly. “Seems to me your future daughter-in-law could use some support from you right now.”

“She has my son and my wife, she will be fine.”

“Good. Then we’ve nothing more to discuss.”  He stepped past the mage, making for the door.

“If you intend to go after this man on your own, I would advise against it.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Mehe opened the door. “Shorel’aran, mage,” he said before stepping out.

Kalithil, amused, called after him, “Your call, of course. Your service to my family will not be forgotten.” His only answer was the soft click of the door as it closed. Outside, Mehe shook his head in irritation as he disappeared through a Void rift back to the cottage.