The waves of Menethil Harbor lapped languidly against the docks, and a breeze quietly whispered through the trees. The sun was near setting, providing a spectacular view out over the ocean, artfully painting the few stray clouds in the sky. It was, in short, a perfect evening.
Corrienda sat on the corner of the dock, dressed in a crimson and violet sarong, a handsome but daring red blouse, and a tan hat tipped over her forehead, resting on her long, slender ears. She had laid the emerald blanket out just so, hoping the breeze wouldn't whisk it off to the water and the murlocs' clutches. She had been planning this night for weeks, and now it was here. She prayed silently to Elune that her nervousness would not get the better of her. She reached inside her bag once more, fingers searching to remind her that no, the box had not wandered off in the last five minutes, and yes, the paper was still on it and the ribbon still tied. She looked over to the gryphon master - he would be landing and moment...
Aha! There he was! She spotted his blue clothing before she spotted his face, but Corrienda knew it could be none other than Teldurn. Corrienda stumbled to her feet, taking care not to trip on her sarong, and walked to meet him. Their smiles met, and she gave him a quick hug, which he accepted awkwardly.
"It's good to see you," she murmured warmly as she pulled away.
Teldurn smiled nervously. "And you, lady Corrienda."
Corrienda jogged over to the blanket, Teldurn close behind. "Come, let us eat. I have quite the spread...," she began. Then, surveying the food she had laid out, she blushed. "...except drinks." Well, that was a great way to start the night. How should she have forgotten the juice? "One moment." She hustled back past the gryphon master and into the Deepwater Tavern, dodging human and dwarven patrons who were coming and going. She fished out a few silvers from her pocket and pressed them into the innkeeper's hand, who barked orders at one of the maids. A few minutes later, Corrienda had all the juice she could carry.
"Right! Sorry about that," Corrienda said as she returned. She laid a few of the juice canteens on the blanket and stuffed the rest in her bags for later. "Come, let's sit down."
Teldurn smiled and nodded. "Not to worry at all." He sat on the blanket across from her. Just then, one of his bags started rustling; he opened it up and pulled out a panda cub. Corrienda smiled and thought back to the first time she had met Cuddles, atop Stonetalon Peak. The little bear had chosen the moonwell as the spot for his nap, she remembered amusedly. She reached over to caress the cub's soft fur, and then reached into her own bag and pulled out her tiny tree frog, Ribbit.
Corrienda felt her stomach rumble, so she quickly got back to the important business of dinner. "First, some fruit..." she said, slicing off a piece of watermelon. Teldurn nodded approvingly. "Some fish...," she added, grinning. Elune only knew how many fish she lugged around in her sack! "A drink," she continued, handing a flagon to Teldurn. "A side of bread..." She cut a slice of banana bread and handed it to him.
"I have some cheese that pairs perfectly with this fish, if you like," added Teldurn.
"Oh, marvelous!" Corri exclaimed, bouncing just a bit. "I do not have any cheese."
Teldurn reached into his bag and pulled out some bluish-white cheese. Brie, Corrienda thought it was. It would definitely bring out the flavor of the cod. "I say...," he remarked as he sliced the brie, "you have indeed prepared quite the cuisine, aye? Very well done."
Corrienda smiled warmly. "I'm thrilled you like it." She pulled out a small box from her bag - not THE box, but a curious construction made by a mage that could keep things cold no matter where they were! Wisps of cold air rose lazily in the evening light as she opened it, and she pulled out two small, chilled bowls containing Tigole & Foror's famous strawberry ice cream. "And we mustn't forget dessert!"
Teldurn looked impressed. "Ahh, truly splendid!" Corrienda was glad he liked it. The ice cream was only sold at the Shimmering Flats raceway - near her home, but not anywhere near here. She began eating a bit of the cod and the brie as Teldurn dove happily into his slice of watermelon. It dripped EVERYWHERE, what a mess!
"This watermelon is quite juicy!" he exclaimed, sputtering a bit and grinning. He had a boyish glint in his eyes; Corrienda could imagine him as a young lad feasting on watermelon on a mid-summer's eve.
"I believe it was freshly picked this morning," noted Corrienda, smiling inwardly as she watched him struggle with the mess. As serious as he could be sometimes, he was altogether adorable. She reached for her own piece of watermelon and began eating it serenely.
"Aye, I believe it!" Teldurn pulled a piece of cloth from his bag and rubbed it over his trim goatee, which was quite bathed in juice now. "Whose farm, might I ask? If you know, that is."
Corrienda chuckled. "I know not; I tell you only what the gnome who sold it to me said." Teldurn nodded. He was right; the watermelon WAS very juicy, and she tried earnestly to stay clean.
There was a brief silence, and Corrienda breathed in slowly. Now was as good a time as any. "Teldurn, I... I have a question for you..."
Just as she opened her mouth, though, Teldurn reached over and handed her his cloth. "Here, you spilled a bit of juice on your blouse."
"I - oh, my goodness, how sloppy of me. Thank you." She looked down and searched for the spot - since her blouse quite generously displayed her cleavage, there weren't many places it could hide. She found it sitting merrily by her left collarbone, and she lightly dabbed it with the cloth.
"Watermelon is cunning in that respect, as it never fails to splatter," grinned Teldurn.
Corrienda giggled. "This is true. And - " She took a big bite of the watermelon, making sure to get a seed.
"You were to ask me -" Teldurn began, and then - zing! Corrienda shot the seed out of her mouth at Teldurn, who couldn't dodge quite enough to avoid it hitting his temple. He burst into laughter. "Well shot!"
"Thank you." Corrienda smiled coyly, ducking her head and looking up at him from underneath her hat. She quietly fed the rest of her watermelon to Ribbit; she didn't want to be messy for this next part. Teldurn slid a piece of cheese over to Cuddles. "Anyway... ah... I was going to ask you..."
"Aye?" asked Teldurn, adopting a more serious expression. Well, here it was.
"Um.. you are familiar with the relationship between the blackwards and the mystics in the Tower, yes?" In the White Tower, the order to which they both belonged, the more melee-oriented members could become "bonded" to members who focused on magic.Such warders, as they were called, swore to protect their mystics at all costs.
"Oh, aye, I know of it," Teldurn nodded. He looked curious. He probably wondered where this was heading.
"Ah, well, good." Corrienda cleared her throat and blushed. Just get it out, Corri, and it will all be better. "I was hoping - I mean, if it wouldn't be too forward of me - I - I was wondering if you would - be my Warder," she stammered, swallowing. She was sure he could hear her heart pounding.
"I say!" cried Teldurn, raising his eyebrows in surprise. "Lady Corrienda, you are certain of this decision?"
Corrienda bit her lip and nodded firmly. Elune, could he just refuse and get it over with? Then at least she wouldn't have to worry about this scene anymore..
"My answer can be none other than an affirmation!" exclaimed Teldurn, grinning warmly. His chocolate eyes sparkled, and the laugh lines around them grew deeper. "I graciously accept your offering, and shall make it my duty to carry it out to my heart's final beat."
Corrienda breathed and started saying what she had prepared ahead of time in case of a rejection. "I, well - " Wait a minute. "What? I mean, you will?" Surely she must have heard wrong...
"Certainly! How can I refuse such an offer from one such as yourself?"
"Oh, Teldurn!" Corrienda cried, flinging her arms around his neck. "Thank you so much!"
"I - oof!" he cried, knocked off balance a bit. He laughed soothingly, music to Corri's ears. "Verily, even from our very first encounter, did I not do my utmost to ensure your safe arrival to Teldrassil?"
Corrienda blushed, nodded, and laughed with relief and delight. She sat back on her knees and reached into her bag. It had been there, she knew it...
"'Tis nothing to be thankful for; Indeed, I would honored to be your Warder," continued Teldurn. Honored? she thought as her fingers kept walking. Surely he must be joking. Her hands closed upon their quarry, and she pulled the large, blue-ribboned box out of her pack, trying hard not to let the contents clank together and reveal their identity prematurely.
"Here, I - I have a gift for you," Corrienda said, thrusting the package at him.
"A gift?" asked Teldurn, surprised. He examined the box curiously, then gently undid the blue ribbon and slid his finger along the paper seams.
"Go on, open it!" Corrienda sat back on her feet, grinning. It had been incredibly troublesome to get ahold of this gift, and now she finally got to see his reaction.
Teldurn's face melted from a quizzical smile to one of total shock, his mouth hanging open in disbelief. "By the Light," he breathed. "Can it be?" He had not yet lifted them out of the box, but she could tell the setting sun's rays had been captured in them, as his face took on a golden glow.
"Do.. do you like them?" Corrienda asked softly. "I was hoping to find something you would appreciate, and didn't already have..."
Teldurn pulled out a golden gauntlet and turned it over in his hands, his eyes gently scanning every curve. "Is this the item I believe it to be? Truly, these cannot be the Lightforge Gauntlets." His voice was barely above a whisper, seeming to melt into the sound of the tides.
Corrienda nodded vigorously, almost giggling with excitement. "They are indeed, and enchanted at that." The one whom she had paid to retrieve them had had a few extra shards sitting in her store, so the gloves had been enchanted free of charge.
"Aye... I can feel its power without even donning them," mused Teldurn, his fingers tracing the contours of the metal. "I am speechless, lady Corrienda. How could I possibly repay you for this great gift?" He shook his head. "At the very least, you have my deepest and most sincere thanks."
Corrienda smiled softly and looked into Teldurn's eyes, feeling her own begin to tear up. "Oh Teldurn, you've already paid for it, and will repay it over and over, I'm sure." Truly, how many times had he healed her, rescued her... or even just listened to her? Ever since she left home, he truly had been a hero to her. He said nothing, a huge smile on his face, his eyes flicking back and forth from her to his new gauntlets. He almost - was he giggling?
Impulsively, Corrienda leaned forward and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Put them on, I want to see!" she exclaimed as she rocked back.
Teldurn took a deep breath, closed his eyes and slid on the glove. He pulled the other one out of the box and slipped it on as well. Teldurn opened his eyes and inspected the gloves anew. They were large, covering much of his forearm, the undersides supple red leather and the tops hardened gold.
"Oh wow," breathed Corrienda. "Teldurn, they look so handsome on you." And they did. She had idly slipped one on before wrapping the package, and she had felt like her slender arm was dwarfed by its sheer immensity. On him, though, it looked like they had no better home. They fit - well, like a glove. "I think that they will match your other armor splendidly."
"Aye," agreed Teldurn as he pulled the gloves off and replaced them, almost lovingly, in the box. "Again, I cannot thank you enough for this great gift."
There was silence between them again, but this time, it was a warm silence, shared by two who had already shared so much. Corrienda looked out over the water toward the setting sun. A perfect day, indeed.
(x posted a little bit)