The sweat shined brightly on his bare chest. He continued packing the large trunk, finally carrying it outside his small shack. As he strapped the massive oaken box to his 'Saber, he noticed a change in the air.
The cat calmly walked toward him, shifting into a night elf when it arrived at his feet. It was Nightshade, and this time she made no move to cover herself.
'Wherre arre you headed? Looks like a long trrip...' She said, reaching forward to stroke his arm.
Von bristled at the touch, and quickly moved away. 'Longer than you'd think. I'm leaving the Jungle, Nightshade. Times have changed.'
Nightshade laughed a cruel vile laugh, and with a toothy grin replied, 'You still think you can turrn your back on what we did? On what we used to do in therre? Or in the lagoon nearrby? Never mind the fun we had with our victims... I'm talking about us. A centurry of life togetherr, and you think you can turrn your back on it for a human? You rreally arre pathetic...'
Von smiled for the first time in a while. 'Nightshade, you were a hundred year long mistake.' He lit a cigarette, still grinning. 'As for what we did in there... It was fun, but it wasn't worth all the bloodshed. I told you ten years ago I was done, and yet you still stay around... I'm pathetic?'
With Nightshade standing there, speechless with rage, he turned his back. 'I'm off to be with my family. Enjoy the jungle, and for fel's sake put some clothes on.' Mounting up, he flicked the cigarette into the shack, landing it in the lamp oil he'd spilled.
Immediately the shack went up in flames, and he rode away, glancing over his shoulder to see his former life burning away, and Nightshade's naked form standing in shock.
A few hours later he was in Stormwind, standing outside Kya's window. A few pebbles thrown at the glass pane had woken her from her slumber, and she appeared, long black hair dancing in the wind.
'Von! What are you doing here so late?'
'I'm moving into the City, Kya... I was hoping you'd let me store some things here...'
'Of course you silly elf! Get up here!'
Despite the weight of the trunk, Von ran up the stairs. Reaching her open door, he dropped the load, immediately embracing his lover. As their lips met and they kissed passionately, joy and relief swarmed over him.
Moving as one, they moved towards the bed, where...((Yeah yeah I'm not Danielle Steele. Use your imagination, and hands on keyboards!))
Some time later, bodies entwined, they fell asleep.
Dawn had barely broken when Von awoke. He crept out of bed, smiling as Kya rolled over and snored lightly. Finding some paper and a quill, he began writing her a note.
My Darling Kya,
This morning I leave on a mission for Miss Shame. We travel to Silithus to inspect some carvings, and I'm supposed to guard her. I do not yet know how long I will be away for, but know this. While my body may be in the desert, my heart, mind and soul are here with you.
I miss you terribly already,
With that, he kissed her forehead, and left the apartment for the tram.
Meanwhile, in the jungle...
The shack lay in ruins, still smoldering. Nightshade had sat naked before the burning building, watching the fire. Tears ran down her face as the rage built up inside of her. How dare he? He thought he'd won? That he was free? She would show him the cost of this insult.
'Qal'Tirrin...' She growled his name. 'You shall see yourr new family murrderred beforre yourr eyes...' She grinned evilly. 'Kya will be the last, I think. I want to see the look on yourr face as herr life ebbs away. Then, when yourr rrage has built up enough, I shall crripple you, and leave you alone. You shall pay forr this insult...'
Turning her back to the embers, she shifted into her feline form again, and strode off into the night.
Kya's eyes danced under her shut lids from the dream that loomed threateningly, a nightmare about to swoop down and grab her with its talons, lifting her along for a helpless ride through her deepest fears. The laughter of the orc began, as always, before his smug and distorted face came into view. Where was Von, anyway, and why was he so distant? Talula's squeaky little voice rose through the noise of helplessness - a lighthouse beacon to Kya's foggy mind, "Maybe he stays distant because you keep him there." Kya froze, stunned at how true that rang.
An odd thing happened then in the blink of her sub-conscious mind. She became aware that when her thoughts stopped, so did the nightmare. Was it as simple as that, really? If Kya could freeze her runaway thoughts, the nightmares would cease too? Freedom arose from the answer to her question. The talons reached for her and Kya ducked, screaming mentally, "Stop it! Stop it! STOP IT!!" She stood from her crouch as if a paladin had magically given her feet freedom while the rest of existence remained frozen.
In the giddy realization that she had it within her all along to conquer her fears, she began to dance over the surface of a frozen waterfall. It was at this moment while she dreamt that the sounds of pebbles hitting a pane of glass brought her entire dream to a complete stop. Kya sat bolt upright in bed, awake, alert and listening.
Plunk... plunk... a pause ...plunk. Finally the sound registered and made sense. She flew out of bed to the window. Looking down upon Von at this hour was better than a dream come true. His words made her shake herself mentally, pondering if perhaps this was still her dream state gone right for once. But no, he entered her door and dropped his trunk on her floor possessively, like an animal leaving his scent.
Within half a second his arms were crushing her to him and her mind was reeling in overdrive. Wait! Von! TRUNK! Stay?! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!
The rest of the night unequivocally closed any remaining distance between them and Kya found herself sleeping for the first time in what seemed like months, like a rock.
She awoke entangled in the sheets and wrapped herself in them to see where Von had wandered off to. She found his note and sat to read it, biting her lip. Kya was accustomed to shoving her deepest feelings far into dark corners where the light would not reveal them. His words, plainly written to ease her mind, had a profound effect on her. It was as if the flood lights had been switched on and nothing was hidden anymore.
Her eyes welled with tears as his words swam before her. The tears came not from sadness but from acceptance of his gift to her, and the desire to give it right back to him.
Oh Von, I won't doubt you. I know where your heart lies.
If only Kya could tell him that, now - but duty had called.
The embers to the fire still glowing, Kya lay sprawled over the couch with a warm deep orange glow across her face. Her slight snore rose above the sounds of the city falling asleep.
Her dream tonight was one of hearing various voices in her mind: Kennia was saying she'd get her back for something, always something. Talula was counting backwards as Kya begged her not to do it. Taai was whispering to her how charming Sullivan was and wiggling her eyebrows. The sound of Domo apologising was something she wanted to record, and told him so. Moskau was mocking her for stealing his coins all wrong. Jackob was dancing and singing a ballad about beetles underfoot; it was a funny little beetle crushing jig. Tai was asking her if Kennia had bought any new dresses while he was gone. And last but never least, Von's voice in her ear, "Darling... right now, they can wait."
The smile that flickered over her face then would come back to her when she woke and saw him still gone. She had all his wordly goods on her floor, and when he came home, she knew it would be here first - but not because she held his things hostage. That smile would carry her as far as needed, no matter how long it took him to return.
As the tram sped through the tunnel towards Stormwind, Von looked himself over. The clothes he'd packed were dusty, his armor badly damaged, his head swimming with the events of the past few days. 'What I need now,' He said to himself, 'Is to be in her arms. And a bath.'
As he strolled up to Kya's small apartment, all the stress flowed out of him. He opened the door silently, but when he dropped his bags on the floor, she awoke.
Looking like a cross between an angel and a woman who hadn't been sleeping well, she ran up to him, almost knocking him over. They embraced, and shared a kiss that felt like it lasted a lifetime, though it only lasted a few moments. Von smiled, stroked her cheek, and strode off towards the bathtub.
He stripped and rolled a cigarette, watching the tub slowly fill. Kya began unpacking his bags. She ran into the bathroom, holding his mail trousers up, and pointing at the large hole just above the left knee. 'Von, what happened?'
He grinned, sliding into the now full tub, letting the warm water erase days of dirt and sweat. 'Kya, do I have a story to tell you...'
They set out in the morning, from Menethil Harbour. The boat ride to Theramore wasn't particularly long, and the weather was pleasant. Arriving in Theramore, they unloaded their supplies onto the back of a couple rams, and rode out into the marsh, she on a black stallion, he on his striped 'saber.
It was a long ride, Theramore to Cenarion Hold. The changes in climate were dramatic, from the alkali sands of the Shimmering Flats to the thick, humid jungles of the Un'Goro Crater. That night they arrived in Silithus, and spent the evening in the Hold.
In the morning of the second day, they set out for a set of ruins to the south, near the ancient city of Ahn'Qiraj. Their first day in the ruins was spent setting up their camp, and doing some light exploring. That night, with the animals secure, They had a light meal and told stories about the past, and future.
The next day the real work began, scouring the ruins for carvings, which Shame set charges to free from the ancient walls. Around noon, Von noticed that the animals had been released from their tethers. Someone else was there, and didn't want Shame or Von to interrupt them.
A massive sandstorm erupted, forcing the pair to seek shelter inside their tent, where they attempted to ride out the swirling sands. Hours went by with no let up in sight. Von plotted an escape.
His plans were interrupted by the tearing of silk. A polearm stabbed through the tent, nearly hitting Shame. Von raised his crossbow and fired, hitting the assailant, who made a satisfying gurgle. Von burst through the tent, swords drawn, only to see a large group of various races standing before him. He looked back into the tent and charged.
Shame tried to hide in the tent, but couldn't, as another group advanced on her. She was separated from Von by a massive elemental, casting a whirlwind that prevented either of them from assisting the other, let alone seeing or hearing them.
There were a pile of bodies at Von's feet before he was overwhelmed. He took a dagger in the thigh just before a massive mace knocked him against the obsidian walls, knocking him unconcious.
When he awoke, there was no sign of the assailants, or Miss Shame. Like a madman he rushed out of the ruin, with no particular direction in mind, just finding and saving his client. He came upon a group of Twilight Cultists, and after disemboweling one, and hamstringing the other, convinced the third to talk. Apparently Shame was being held in a cave to the north...
Von ran towards the cave for the entire afternoon, finally arriving as the sun set. He was tired and injured, but no army would stop him. Mercilessly he cut through the guards, blades arcing in deadly circles.
After what seemed like an eternity, he came to a room which contained another small one. The three remaining guards put up a good fight, but he killed two, and disabled one. The survivor crawled on the floor in a pool of his own blood, spitting teeth as Von checked the smaller room.
He could see through a window, and what he saw caused the red mist to rise. She was there, wrapped in razor wire, cutting into her flesh. Her entire body was bound, and she was gagged. In a rage, he slammed his shoulder into the door, but it wouldn't budge. He spun towards the surviving guard, drawing his sword.
The sound of the sword cutting through the man's leg muscle almost made up for the pain Shame was clearly in. He kicked the man onto his back, and drew a fine pointed stiletto.
'Now then, I'm going to assume there's a key to that door... where is it' Asked the elf, calmly as could be.
'Go fuck yourself! Kill me, it won't change anything. You'll die very soon, I promise!'
'Wrong answer. And no, no one will avenge you. This cave is littered with corpses. All your friends are dead, my friend... Soon you will join them.'
With that, he drove the stiletto into the man's eye, blinding him. The man screamed, and Von drove it into his other eye.
'Where's the key? Tell me now and you'll only be blinded!'
'G-go to h-hell, m-monster!'
'If you won't use your few remaining breaths to assist me, human, then you don't deserve them...' Von drove his heel into the man's larnyx, crushing it. As the man struggled for breath that wouldn't come, Von turned back to the door.
He unleashed kick after kick on the door, each one resonating in the cave. Shame opened her eyes, and looked at him through the window pleadingly. Von roared, his anger uncontrollable, and continued to rain heavy blows on the door.
Finally it splintered and opened, and Von used his still bloody stiletto to cut the wires and free his client. Her dress was torn, so he removed his cloak, wrapping it around her. He carried her out of the cave, past the bodies of her assailants, and towards her captured horse.
Setting her on her horse, and hopping on behind, they wordlessly rode back to the hold. He found the local priest, who was able to heal their wounds, and they soon fell fast asleep in the inn.
The next day, they began the long journey home, and for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, spoke to one another. His dark mood was shattered by the quick recovery she was making, and that they would soon be safe.
Von stepped out of the tub to dry himself off, and glanced into Kya's eyes, which had gone wide with a mixture of fright and relief. 'What happened to your 'Saber, Von?' She asked, as he finished drying himself.
'They got her. She put up a hell of a fight, but they got her. I think I might have to go to Darnassus in a few days to get another...' With that, he lay down on the bed and beckoned his lover close. They held each other for hours, finally falling asleep as the sun rose.