Draeka stood before the large, wooden door, hesitating. She had opted for something a little less menacing than her battle armour, instead visiting the familiar bank in Orgrimmar, taking out a simple robe, modest in cut, a rich brown. The trim around the edges, and in the full of the skirt was a forest green, accented in gold thread. Simple black shoes on her feet, she began her trek towards Jumwa’s home, hoping he had moved back in after the siege on the Keep.

She flexed her long, brown-green fingers before curving them into a fist, knocking loudly on the door and listening for any sounds of life. The plant life had grown up around the home in a not-unattractive manner, and in the heat of the summer they were blooming, if you could call it such. In the darkened Ghostlands, the flowers didn’t bloom so much as they opened, exposing their fragile innards, trembling at the slightest breeze.

She waited another moment before once more bringing her first to the door, following her knock with a loud “hello?” Black birds flew up off the roof in surprised, squawking their displeasure at her disturbance.

Sighing, she waited another few seconds before turning on her heel and beginning to walk away when she heard a gruff “just a second!” followed by the sound of scuffling inside.

It was a long while before Jumwa finally appeared before her in the frame of the door, looking down at her in shock, an eye brow quirked high on his forhead.

“Sergeant,” he paused, his voice laced with surprise, before backtracking and smiling slightly, “Draeka…”

The fire was roaring, winter causing a slight chill to be added to the Ashenvale air. Jumwa sat on the couch, staring at the chocolate dessert in front of him, contemplating eating it, but just as he reached for it, Draeka came back into the room with two shallow glasses and a bottle of liquor in her hands.

“Hey…” she spoke slowly. Though she had planned all the things she was to say, they all eluded her as she stared up at the muscular troll. She didn’t recall him having that many piercings last time she saw him, she mused silently.

“I…” she paused, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, forcing a small smile to her face, “it’s good to see you.”

Draeka was hitting the bottle hard, doing everything in her power to drown out the sorrow and numb the pain, even for just a little while. The familiar drink filled her throat and mouth, burning slightly as it slid down her throat. She hadn’t drank since she had left Gromth.

He eyed her curiously, a hint of suspicion before he smiled, “A relief it is to see ju, Sergeant. I feared we had lost ju for good, hm.”

She looked up at him, almost sadly, nodding, “I heard what happened.”

Pausing, he stared down to her eyes, then nodded, “An enormous betrayal of all we’ve built.”

She nodded slowly, looking down for a moment, returning her eyes to him, “I’m sorry for your loss,” she sighed, nodding,” did you lose many?”

He looked around the area, inspecting for anyone who might overhear. “T’ankfully, no. De Tribe fought well, most made it to safety. And since I have rebuilt de Tribe to new heights. Brought more to our cause den evah. Zij’jin would be proud,” he smiled to her.

She hated when other people said his name, even in praise. The way it formed on their lips, rolled on their tongue. As if he was gone for good. She’d see him again.

She nodded slowly, smiling again, her face lightening and looking more youthful for a moment before she looked up at him sincerely, “I’m sorry I wasn’t there to help. I’m glad… the Tribe grew strong.”

Tilting his head to the side slightly, he nodded, seeming gracious, “We have more enemies den evah now, but our hope only grows, Draeka. De fire of Zij’jin will live on in us all.”

Draeka looked down for a moment, running one of her hands down her side, playing with the material of the dress and nodding. “Is now a bad time? I just… had a few things…” she stopped, staring him in the eyes, “I know you must be busy.”

His eyes were almost always cold, even when he smiled. Draeka never had a good feeling about the shaman and his lust for power, but there was good in him; something genuine; something warm and soft, even though his skin was cold and rough to the touch.

He listened to her all evening, his eyes softening as he shared her drink, kindly guiding her through her loss. She idly wondered in her drunken haze if he had lost someone… some ones…

Breaking his stillness he stepped aside in the doorway, “Not for ju, Sergeant. Come in, hm?”

She nodded and paused before stepping in, the sleeve of her robe brushing against him slightly as she looked up at him with curious eyes, letting a polite smile land on her lips, waiting for him to lead the way.

Gesturing over towards a dark crimson sofa, with old faded golden designs, he shut the door, “I trust ju were not unavailable in our time of need on purpose, of course, so ju come here now to return, hm?”

She had gotten up and left one morning. It was too hard to live in the same house as Zij, to share a living space with Jumwa. Sometimes she looked at him and swore that he was looking back at her with Zij’s eyes; his kind eyes, so full of love and affection and admiration. But in the end, it was always Jumwa.

He had done so much to try to help her through, and she had left with so little warning. She was afraid she would hurt him in her departure, and was pleased that he had done so well without her at his side. He was a strong troll, she mused.

She moved in, sweeping her robe under her as she sat, pulling her feet up beneath her, not breaking eye contact with him, “I needed to be gone and had I known something like that would have happened, I would have been there. I didn’t know what was coming and… needed to disappear for a while, if you will. And no, not returning.”

He watched her curiously, furrowing his brow somewhat in confusion as he sat in a chair across from her, nearer to the empty fireplace, “no? Hm. Curious.”

She continued to watch him for a few moments before speaking softly, as though it were a piece of gossip between friends, “I need guidance that the spirits seem unwilling or unable to give me,” she paused, pulling back slightly and looking over at the fireplace, “I don’t want the rest of the Tribe to know.”

He turned away slightly, peering back at her through slitted eyes, “what do ju mean exactly? Know what, hm?”

Taking another deep breath, she looked at him seriously, a frown on her face, “I’d rather they think I died in battle then that I was weak. I’d rather they not know I came back at all.”

Hey eyed her for a split second as if to affirm what he saw before, “Ju don’t look weak to me, hm.”

Her body was hard, toned. She was in her prime, sculpted and strong. He ran her fingers up her leg, enjoying the feel of the muscles beneath her skin.

She nodded slowly, shifting in her seat, “a warrior doesn’t run from her friends. If you can’t keep this to yourself, then I best just leave now,” she spoke softly, her tone even and controlled, watching for his reaction.

He lifted a brow, staring at her, “jour secrets are safe wit’ me, hm? I am just curious.”

Draeka shifted in her seat again, frowning down at her dress and playing with the stitching, letting out an inaudible sigh, “I need to know what comes next. If peace comes next, or punishment and abandonment.” She clenched her jaw slightly, pausing, “death, I mean.”

His eyes widen and he pulls his head back, understanding, “Ah, jes. Of course. Hmm.”

“I don’t really know how much you know about the orcs…” she paused, looking over at the empty fire for a moment, “but they wander Nagrand, unable to connect… to leave this plain and move on to the next. I don’t want to be stuck.”

Nodding he folded his two hands together, looking away and glancing back at her, “But of course, jes. Many of us are motivated by such fears, hm.”

Slowly, she shook her head, staring at him, “this is a need. It’s more than fear.”

She woke up in the morning and immediately turned to the bottle, sipping it in the bed, before lying back in the pillow. Her face was raw and tired, tiny bags forming under her eyes. She tugged the blankets up to her chest, shivering slightly as the cool silk ran over her skin.

The bottle was almost finished before she put it back on the dresser, curling her arms around her body in a sleepy haze, hugging herself tightly.

He smiled slightly, looking at her, “I undahstand, jes.”

“Is there something you can do to help?”

He shrugged slightly with a hand gesture, “It is somet’ing I have some knowledge in. D’ough preventing from reaching dat state is more my area of expertise, hmm.”

She shook her head sadly, no longer looking at him in the eye, “I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid,” she looked up at him, stopping herself in the middle of her sentence, simply nodding.

He nodded knowingly, “Jes. Hmm… him and ju.”

“Yes,” she stared back at him, rubbing her bare arm softly, “think on it, anyways…” she paused for a moment before standing and reaching into a pocket in her dress, pulling out the scroll she received earlier, pressing it into his large palm, “I don’t know if you have a copy.”

Taking the scroll she looks up at him, “What is dis, hm?” He looked back down at it in his palm.

She shrugged sadly, looking far more tired and worn than when she had walked in, “Uunruk’s report.”

His face scowled immediately, “Dat traitah.”

She nodded softly, frowning, “he changed into the person he feared he would become. All that is left of him is rage, I guess.”

Clasping the scroll in his large hand, he continued to glare, “Moral superiority at its slimiest, jes? Hm!”

“I’m sure he hated me too. He apparently hated you more,” she paused, looking at him, “you may want to read it.”

Moving the scroll to his lap, he nodded sternly, nothing more to say through clenched teeth.

Nodding, she sighed slightly, moving back towards the door, speaking away from him, “if you need to find me, where I’m staying is on the back. I’ll be there for a few days.” She paused again, as if to say something more, before walking back out, shutting the door softly behind her, letting out one tiny, inaudible sob as she begins her walk.

She had been sad leaving for the first time. Sad for herself, sad for the orcs, sad for all of those she was leaving behind. There was comfort in being there, but so much more pain. She had hoped seeing him again would have been easier, but nothing ever was.

Slowly she moved towards Yuliseez, deciding she needed the exercise enough to walk side by side, tears once more welling up in her eyes.

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