A Damaris Satinsun StoryEdit
Damaris panted, running down the dock. To her side loped her Elder Nightsaber, Arithe. Her anxious mind could only worry about one thing: I’m late to meet him! Oh, dear Elune, please don’t let him be angry!
She reached the cross and looked either way. He wasn’t there. “Oh, hell. Where could he be?” She looked to Arithe, who yawned and stretched. “You’re no help. Okay, Damaris, think. Where could he have gone to wait? He wasn’t in the inn, I checked. I doubt he would head to one of the other buildings. So where does that leave? Ah. The moonwell.”
Arithe let out an annoyed rumble, and the twitch of her tail sent the impression, “Well, of course. Night elves!”
Damaris scowled down at her companion, who yawned at her again. “Oh, come on. He’ll be waiting.”
She set off down the dock again, Arithe rumbling before following. She jogged down the ramps and across the inn lobby, the outside to the moonwell. She saw a blond, human man with a short, neat beard, and assumed that was him. She approached him slowly and warily. Arithe padded along silently by her side.
He spotted her from his perch upon the moonwell’s stone border. “Damaris?”
She noticed the rank on his tunic. “Good day, Corporal.”
“Pleased to meet ye,” the man said. Damaris noticed he had a curious accent, lengthening some of his ‘e’s to ‘a’s. He jumped down from the ledge. “I don’t believe we have been formally introduced. I am Diarmaid Ó hInneirghe, High Councilor.”
“Damaris Satinsun,” the elf introduced herself, thinking, Wow. That’s one mouthful of a name. She felt a slight butt to her side, and added, “And this is Arithe, my companion.”
“Good day, Arithe.” Diarmaid knelt, holding out his hand to Arithe.
“Oh, that’s—” Damaris began, but the Nightsaber only sniffed the proffered hand and licked it. Damaris blinked.
“She is a beautiful beast,” the Corporal offered.
“Well, she is loyal,” Damaris replied, “if a tad opinionated. Opinions aside, yes, she is a wonderful companion.” She reached down to scratch Arithe behind the ears, and the large cat began to purr softly.
“Walk with me?” Diarmaid inquired.
“Of course,” Damaris replied. The human began to walk away from the moonwell, and Damaris followed a step behind, Arithe, as always, by her side. They walked away from the slight bustle of Auberdine, and then the Corporal began to speak.
“We have only a few matters to discuss before I can accept ye as an Aspirant of the High Council,” Diarmaid began softly, looking straight ahead. He seemed a bit uncomfortable. “Upon these matters that I speak, ‘tis one question of slight discomfort for me, especially with yer kind.” This was an awkward subject for him, and though Damaris had the vaguest inking of what it was, why it would be uncomfortable was beyond her ken.
“Ye have such a look of youth, but ‘tis impossible to judge yer age by such,” he began, hands clasping behind his back nervously. Damaris nearly smirked. “ ‘Tis necessary for the High Council te know how many winters ye’ve seen, though.”
“For once, I look as young as I am,” Damaris returned gravely, but with a twinkle of playfulness in her eyes. Diarmaid chuckled, and she smiled in return.
The human shook his head in a put-upon manner, and said, “Ye put me in a tough position te guess, m’lady, but I would have to say somewhat close to my own age of twenty-six.”
Damaris felt like sticking her tongue out and skipping backwards, simply because she was so much younger than him. Instead all she said was, “A bit younger, good sir!”
“Come now!” Diarmaid exclaimed with exasperation, a playful grin showing he was not as annoyed as he sounded. He looked Damaris up and down, trying to gauge her age, and finding it impossible. He hazarded, “An even twenty?”
Damaris took pity on him and replied, “Nay, a mere year younger.”
“Very well then, young one,” Diarmaid muttered. Damaris felt he was rolling his eyes at her internally. Arithe let out a whuffing breath, signifying her amusement.
There was a pause in the conversation, and they walked a few steps in silence. Finally, the elf asked, “Yes?”
“What makes ye think,” began Diarmaid, “that the High Council is right for ye?”
Damaris pursed her lips in thought, giving the question due consideration. She reviewed the Edicts of Council he had sent her mentally. Then she answered slowly, “You emphasize honor and integrity. You treat people with respect, no matter their walk of life or vocation.”
“Aye. Grand values,” Diarmaid agreed with a nod.
“And,” added the woman impishly, “Arithe likes you, which, let me tell you now, is something.”
Diarmaid chuckled. “Ye both do me much honor, m’lady.”
“Only that which you have earned by your conduct, good sir,” shot back Damaris. Diarmaid smirked, and tipped his head to Damaris in approval of her quick comeback; Damaris bowed ironically back.
Diarmaid straightened, murmuring, “Thank ye, m’lady.”
“ ‘Tis nothing,” Damaris muttered honestly.
“I would be honored to count ye among the Aspirants of the High Council,” said Diarmaid. Damaris was only beginning to become excited when he added, “There is one final matter, however.”
Damaris’ spirits fell, and she asked a tad sharply, “And that would be?”
Diarmaid ignored her barb and continued, “The Council oft travels abroad. I, as yer recruiting officer, am charged with the responsibility of finding out whether or naught ye can handle yerself in battle. I pray ye—honor me and show me what ye have learned in yer training.”
“Would you like a demonstration?”
“Certainly,” replied Diarmaid cheerfully.
The elf looked around, misunderstanding his meaning. She spotted a Wailing Highborne, an opaque spirit that inhabited the ruins of Amenth’Aran, which they had reached in their meanderings. She kneeled, whispering into Arithe’s ear. The cat growled her assent, and then sprung into a lope. Damaris stood, restringing her bow in moments and letting the first arrow fly, imbued with mana to injure the ghost that Arithe would reach in a matter of moments. The battle was short, Arithe taking no damage. After Arithe had returned, and Damaris had fed her a scrap of clam meat in praise, the hunter turned to look at her evaluator. Diarmaid had a faintly indulgent smile hovering around the corners of his lips. Damaris held back an impatient What? and waited for him to speak.
“Very good,” the human praised, “but these poor fallen ones provide little challenge for yer skills. Come. Show me directly.”
Damaris didn’t understand for an instant, and then it clicked. He wanted a battle, her against him. Damaris swallowed nervously. There was no doubt that he was stronger and more experienced—a whole seven years more experienced—but what could she do? Say, “No way, man, that’s totally wrong!” Hah. The man would probably let her down gently and then walk away as quickly as he could. So, “Very well.”
Diarmaid nodded. “Worry naught about wounds, m’lady. I am trained well in the arts of healing.”
Somehow, that wasn’t much comfort.
Then the duel began. Arithe understood right away that the most beneficial thing she could do was stay on Diarmaid’s heals, damage when she could, distract when she couldn’t. Damaris had a second to wonder just how terribly she would do before Diarmaid moved. What the--! Where did he go?
She managed to avoid his attack just in time, jumping aside and simultaneously fitting an arrow to her bow. When she landed, however, he was gone again. Damn it! He’s so fast! Damaris whirled around in time to catch a glimpse of his clothes and fired, but she knew she missed. Already she was pulling an arrow from her quiver; that was when he struck again. He grazed her arm as she dodged at the last second, tearing her leather armor and leaving a thin line of blood on her bicep. At the same time, Damaris let go of the arrow and bowstring and reached for her knife, slashing at him, but she only cut air.
“Stay still!” she growled softly. She stuck the knife between her teeth and grabbed the bow. Turning, she sighted on him, and let fly. It struck his shoulder, releasing the mana she’d infused in it like a serpent’s sting. Also like a viper’s bite, it would continue to harm him over time.
Diarmaid broke the shaft, dodged Arithe, and began powering up for a strike. Bastard! Damaris screamed mentally, secretly in awe of his willpower. It took strength to ignore the arrow imbedded in his shoulder, and it must hurt with every movement of that arm.
Nonetheless, Damaris' frustration was in the forefront of her mind. Arithe couldn’t distract him, and he kept dodging her arrows. Suddenly he seemed to disappear, reappearing behind her to slam the ground. His mana struck her and she reeled, her every bone rattling from the blow. While she was trying to regain her senses, he moved away and pulled the arrowhead out of his shoulder, and healed himself. In the few seconds it took Damaris to reorient herself, Diarmaid was already powering up the attack again.
No you don’t. I can learn; I can adapt, Damaris thought. She quickly sheathed the dagger, and sprinted toward him, aiming. “Arithe, NOW!”
Arithe roared, as loud as she could, from her spot next to Diarmaid. It distracted him just long enough for Damaris to fire. She hit him in his other shoulder, interrupting his attack. He dodged away from her, Arithe hot on his heals. Damaris took the moment to breathe; she knew that right now, the infuriating man was probably pulling the bolt from his shoulder and healing himself, even with Arithe harassing him.
Balancing on the balls of her feet, breath coming ragged through her nose and mouth, Damaris had every sense on alert. It seemed to her that the battle had gone for hours, maybe days; realistically, she knew it had to be minutes, if that. I wish he’d finish it already, she thought angrily. As the notion passed through her mind, he did.
She found him at her back, his own dagger against her throat. “Call Arithe off,” he ordered softly.
“Arithe,” Damaris called, hoarsely, “stop.”
The cat let out a disagreeing whine, but subsided, her tail lashing angrily.
“Do ye yield?” Diarmaid asked.
He withdrew the dagger from her throat, and Damaris motioned Arithe over. The cat came, ears flat against her skull. “You did fine, sweetling,” the elf murmured to the Nightsaber. Damaris knew how Arithe felt; her nerves were still buzzing from the battle. Diarmaid watched in silence as she meticulously examined her companion from tip to tail. To her amazement, she found no injuries whatsoever. He’s better than I imagined!
“Aye,” he said softly, and Damaris started, thinking he was answering her thought. His next comment disproved that, “Well done.”
“Thank you.” Damaris’ sincerity was real, despite the wry tone as she continued, “But had you been trying you would have beaten me easily.”
“ ‘Twas not a contest of skill, m’lady—only an evaluation of it,” Diarmaid replied with a smile. “And you did very well indeed! You fight with a hearty spirit, with honor, and with courage.”
“Do I suit?” Damaris asked, her raised eyebrow and dry question undermining her suddenly churning stomach.
Diarmaid’s fervent, “Aye!” laid to rest any doubts.
Damaris smiled in relief. “Oh, good.”
“I am honored, m’lady Damaris Satinsun,” the human said, eyes twinkling, “to accept ye to the High Council.”
Though Damaris felt like cheering, all she did was keep smiling. “Thank you. I am pleased to accept.”
“Make no mistake, m’lady. Ye are among equals in the High Council,” Diarmaid informed her. He bowed his head, touched his fingertips to his forehead briefly, and slowly gestured to Damaris. The sign of respect overwhelmed the elf.
“It is I who should be showing respect,” Damaris breathed.
“We respect each other, as it should be among equals,” Diarmaid returned with an easy grin. “May the light of Stormwind guide thy spirit, and be ever at thy back.”
“May the Goddess guide thy wanderings, and bless thy journey. Wind to thy wings, brother,” Damaris bid formally.
They shared one last bow, and Diarmaid handed Damaris her guild identification. Damaris grinned; maybe now she would find the friends she had lacked since leaving home.