Afterglow – Part 1 (MATURE)

Afterglow - A Hero's Welcome

The three women laughed over their drinks, hardly holding themselves in their chairs, though, come the morning, none would likely remember what jokes had so gotten them to that point.  It hardly mattered to the three, for it was a reprieve well-earned and sorely needed.  Every toast was to the fallen, every laugh was to stay the tears, and every joke was to ward off the thoughts of “What now?” – thoughts better left for the sobering morrow.

Deathwing, the World-Breaker, the cataclysmic harbinger of the end of the world and all life on Azeroth, had been destroyed.  If ever a laugh, a toast, a smile, were needed, it was at the close of that long and arduous campaign.

Effraeti, draenei by birth and shaman by calling and Effy to all who knew her, set aside an empty glass and lifted a fresh one in her pale, blue-skinned hand to again toast with her companions.  As with each toast previous, and surely each to follow, the entire great room of A Hero’s Welcome within the floating mage city of Dalaran joined in with a chorus of cheers and “Huzzah”s and tipped glasses to the three champions.

Amo – more formally Amoloria, but to address her so was to invoke her wrath – another draenei, though more deep purple in skin tone than her shaman friend, sat to Effy’s left.  She similarly lifted her glass and broke into a fresh smile.  The paladin had shed her gleaming platemail for the evening, trading it for more comfortable clothing, but she still had her white hair pulled back into its customary ponytail and shone no less brightly with inner Light.

Their glasses made a sharp tink upon contact, and both joined them against the glass of their other companion.  Aesadonna, to Effy’s right, grinned and winked one of her fiercely glowing blue eyes as glass met yet again.  The death knight, a human in her former life, was certainly an anomaly amongst her dark and emotionless kind – bubbling and extroverted and impossible to dislike.  Sometimes her companions had to wonder whether she was even aware of her undead disposition.

As glasses descended from still smiling lips, Aesa cocked her head and said with a hint of amusement, “I believe we have an admirer.”

“Hmm?” Amo queried in a confused purr.

“At the bar,” Aesa elaborated and pointed with a nod of her head.  “He has been watching us quite intently since entering.”

Effy flickered her gaze in the bar’s direction.  She and Aesa were both mostly facing that direction already, but Amo had to spin around backwards in her chair to follow their gaze.

As three pairs of eyes so obviously descended on him, the man gave them a charming smile, one which raised the edges of his black-flecked-with-grey goatee in a most flattering visage.  He lifted his dark brows and shrugged with feigned resignation, as if silently conceding he had been caught.  Then, he saluted the three women with his mug and took a deep swig.

“Quite handsome, for a human,” Amo commented.  “No offense to our present human company,” she quickly added with a grin in Aesa’s direction.

Aesa seemed unbothered by the comment and merely widened her grin.  “Perhaps we should invite him to join us?”

Effy met her gaze with an incredulous look.  “You are hardly one in a position to flirt with a stranger.  What of Marshal?”

Aesa’s eyes widened innocently.  “What?  We are out and enjoying ourselves, and rightly so.  Besides, it looks as if he has taken to the invitation before it was spoken.”  She giggled.

Before Aesa’s sentence had fully left her mouth, Effy felt a sudden presence beside her and started.

“Good evening, ladies,” the man said with a polite bow, his voice rich with accent.  Though his nearness surprised her, Effy thought his smile to be irresistible.  She found herself smiling back despite herself and despite his sudden proximity.  “I could not help but find my attention stolen by such beauty, and had to know the name of that beauty,” he continued, his dark-eyed gaze becoming more intense.

With a blink, Effy realized that gaze to be settled solely on her.

“That’s Effraeti,” Aesa offered, nudging her shaman friend’s shoulder with a grin.  “But we all call her Effy.”

“I am honored, Miss Effraeti.”

“As is she,” Amo interjected for their speechless companion.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Afterglow - Lycaohn

The man introduced himself as Lycaohn, a displaced member of the Gilnean nation.  It explained his accent and his formal demeanor.  Though he seated himself at their table – at the emphatic insistence of Aesa – was attentive through all introductions, and spoke with all of them, there was hardly a moment where the majority of his attention was not on Effy.

The Draenei woman felt the whole situation to be quite awkward, not wanting to be such a center of attention, but could not deny her interest in the intense and charming man.  She felt certain her face was quite flush the remainder of the evening, and told herself without conviction it to be the numerous rounds of drinks she and her friends imbibed – drinks that hardly slowed with the addition of a fourth to their table.

Stories were heartily swapped over those endless rounds of alcohol.  Amo went into great detail of their final battle with Deathwing, the former Earth Warder.  The Paladin seemed to be telling the story for the benefit of the whole room, with much acting out and at one point even jumping upon the table – to the cheers of all within earshot.  Lycaohn, in response, told them stories of Gilneas – both of its grandeur and of its fall.  His telling was far less animated, but no less intriguing.  At points, it seemed as if he spoke of a kingdom on another planet, instead of another continent, so different was life in the walled-off nation over the many years of its seclusion.  To Effy and Amo, after centuries of space travel, that otherworldliness was indeed interesting and exotic, but to Aesa, having always been of Azeroth, it was even more fascinating.

Afterglow - Amo's Story

As the night wore on, Effy found herself more relaxed and more drawn into the voice and nature of Lycaohn.

“Well, my friends – new friend included,” Aesa finally broke in at one point, “the evening is fast approaching a new morning and I fear we are soon to be asked to leave.”  She smirked and made an exaggerated glance around the near-empty great room.

“Oh, indeed,” Effy interjected, and she furrowed her brows briefly at the regret that seemed obvious in her tone.

Aesa stood suddenly, and leaned over to hug her Shaman friend, who distractedly returned it.  As she stood, she sent a telling gaze in Amo’s direction and gave a soft clearing of her throat when Amo did not immediately respond.  The Paladin blinked and jumped up fast enough she knocked her chair over backwards.  Smiling at Effy and Lycaohn, who had not yet risen, Amo looked back at Aesa with an unsuppressed snicker and the two women left.

Effy’s eyes narrowed briefly, accompanied by a confused frown, as she regarded the quick departure of the two.  Then, she recalled her remaining companion, and looked over to see Lycaohn’s dark eyes intently locked on her.

Warmth flooded the woman’s face again.

“I suppose it is late,” she stated, the obviousness of the statement making her wince.

“Quite so,” the man replied with heavy sigh.

Several moments passed in silence.  Effraeti found herself caught in the dark pools that were his eyes.  Lycaohn seemed similarly transfixed.

“Allow me to see you home?  Or to wherever it is you are staying this evening,” the man implored.  “What sort of gentleman would I be to not see you there safely?  The world is a wide and dangerous place, after all.”

Effy tilted her head and smiled at the absurdity of the comment in light of all she had recently, and previously, accomplished – saving the world and all – and she saw the responding smile on Lycaohn’s face.

“Or perhaps,” the man continued, “you can protect us both from the terrors of the night, Miss Effraeti, slayer of World-Breakers.”  He bowed respectfully and offered her his hand.

Effy chuckled self-deprecatingly at that, and took his hand she she stood.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Do tell, do tell,” Aesadonna insisted, veritably bouncing in her chair and more resembling a young girl than a death knight.  Aesa’s smile lit up her whole face as Effy sat down at the guild’s meeting table, in a chair held for her between her companions from the night before.  That smile only grew when Effy flushed a deep shade of violet, nearly matching the other Draenei’s skin.

“Yes, please,” Amo implored from Effy’s other side, “before dear Aesa’s head explodes.”

The guildhall was still mostly empty, only a few others starting to gather at a very long table in its center and none close enough to gather much more than Aesa’s characteristic enthusiasm.  It was a dark, dank room and smelled of stale air trapped far too long beneath the ground.  The many torches, lit and crackling at even intervals around the vast room, did little to steal the dreadful feeling from the place.

Usually the place offended her senses and made her wish to be anywhere else, so were the unpleasant feelings evoked by meeting in a crypt, yet today, Effy hardly noticed her surroundings – except of course, for her two very eager friends to either side.

Effy let out a breathy laugh despite herself.  “There is so little to tell,” she insisted with a helpless shrug of her shoulders.

Aesa’s crestfallen look was so exaggerated it was comical.  “Nothing?” she replied, her voice several octaves higher than normal.  A few glanced their direction at Aesa’s shrill response, but she ignored them.

“Down girl, let Effy finish,” Amo hissed with a smirk.

Effy tried to smile away the discomforting looks she received from both women.  “He was no less a gentleman after you left than before,” she continued.

“What?  Did he just leave?  Never to see you again?” Aesa asked.  Each word left her mouth in a slightly higher tone and volume than that before it.  “Oh, this is horrible!”

Amo glared at Aesa for a moment.  “Shush.”

Aesa’s eyes widened, and so surprised was she that she could do nothing but comply, albeit with a gawking expression.

Amo’s smirk returned, pulling up only one side of her mouth and crinkling her luminescent eyes.  “Please, Effy, continue.”

Effy shook her head at both of them, another helpless chuckle tumbling from her lips.  “He walked me home…”

“Ooooh!” Aesa sighed, and firmly pressed her lips together when Amo’s frown fell upon her again.  “Continue!” Aesa begged despite herself, and quickly placed her hands over her mouth to signify she would try and not interrupt again.

“I agreed to meet with him later today,” Effy admitted, the blush returning to her cheeks.  “After the guild meeting.”

Aesa literally jumped out of her seat with joy.  “Yay!”

Afterglow - Aesa's Cheer

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Effy could not hide the smile that came so easily to her upon seeing Lycaohn again.

“Good afternoon, Miss Effraeti,” the man greeted with a wide smile as she came over to join him.  He stood and took her hand with a polite bow, kissing the tops of her fingers and tickling them with the salt and pepper whiskers of his goatee.  Then, he helped her with her chair and seated himself beside her.

The two talked about everything and nothing.  They talked over tea, and when they were still enjoying each other’s company as afternoon became evening, they talked over dinner.  Effy talked of the past, and tried not to relate to Lazheward too often, though he was a large part of her long life’s history.  Lycaohn spoke of his previous life in Gilneas, as a successful farmer turned landowner.  He mentioned a wife and that she had died in the attack of the Forsaken, but went into little detail regarding her, so Effy did not press further.

“I am not sure which sounds more horrifying, the attacks of the Forsaken or those of the worgen, an enemy from within,” Effy mused at one point.

Lycaohn flinched briefly.  “The Forsaken, certainly,” he answered quickly, and became quiet, covering the abrupt pause with a drink from his cup.

Effy nodded, thinking he said so because of the death of his wife, and quickly changed the subject to his arrival in Darnassus and where he had gone from there.

Lycaohn latched onto the subject change, and his smile returned even as he admitted he felt he had accomplished little since becoming a displaced farmer.  “I am no adventurer, surely, but perhaps that would be better than resting on my laurels and living off the goodwill of King Greymane and his newfound allies.  Handouts have a debilitating effect on a man’s pride.”

“Well, being an adventuer has its perks, but certainly is no easy life,” Effy admitted.

“Why do you continue, then?” Lycaohn asked.

“Perhaps I have simply become too accustomed to it, having known little else than the life of a drifter.”  She laughed at herself.

Lycaohn’s already intense gaze became very serious.  “Then perhaps something more rooted is long overdue to you.”

Effy had no real response to that and simply sipped her tea.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Afterglow - Lycaohn and Effraeti

Lycaohn was quite tall for a human, but still short compared to Effraeti’s near seven foot stature.  As they stood facing one another in the crowded plaza of Stormwind’s Trade District outside the The Gilded Rose, where Effy had been spending most of her nights, the draenei woman could not help but note the difference.  She forced herself not to slouch in response.

Then, before she could ponder such things further, she glanced back up and his intense, dark eyes drew her in, and in that moment it felt regrettable to bid him goodnight.  The sun was long gone, but the city still very awake around them.

“It is still early,” Effy said, the comment sounding flat to her own ears.

“Much earlier than when we parted last night,” Lycaohn responded with a grin.

“You could come up if you like,” Effy continued, emboldening herself.  “We could order some wine and continue our conversation.”

From the torn look on his face, the woman was certain he would decline.  He surprised her a moment later when his smile returned and he replied with, “I would enjoy that.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Effraeti sat on the edge of the small room’s bed beside Lycaohn, a half-empty bottle and two glasses on the table beside it.  She took a sip, returning the glass, and turned back towards Lycaohn to find him much closer than she had thought him a moment before.  So close was the man, she inhaled sharply in surprise and caught the smell of the fruity fragrance of wine on his breath.

He studied her face as if for the first time, and a palpable silence hung between them.

“I would kiss you, dear Effraeti, but I fear being too presumptuous,” the man whispered.  Her eyes took in the subtle movement of his lips as he spoke, not wanting to miss the words.

“Please…” Effy began, but the remainder of her plea was lost as their lips met.

It was at first slow and cautious, like stumbling around in the dark, but it nearly stole her senses.  Her head swam.  His soft lips seemed to take cues from her own, two unfamiliar dance partners in a long unheard song, and he let her lead.

Effy’s heart raced, anxious that the kiss might end and she would too soon lose the feeling of his lips against hers, the tickle of his whiskers against her face.  Entwining her fingers in the shoulder length hair just behind his behind his ears, she pressed her lips more firmly against his, lengthening the kiss, deepening it.  Lycaohn returned it, sliding his hands along the curves at the tops of her hips and pulling her body closer, right up against him.

Effy felt she might faint, like there was not enough air to sustain her in that moment.  She gasped but did not let him go, and Lycaohn kissed the edge of her mouth, her cheek, her earlobe, the soft place where her neck began.  A moan escaped her, and she was eager to find his lips again.

Their kisses became more desperate, and Lycaohn eased her back to the bed and Effy did not resist.

TO BE CONTINUED

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I love this song, and I found it to be fitting to this story, because I have always thought it to be a very sensual song.  So I am adding it on.

~ Effy

Motorcycle – As the Rush Comes

Traveling somewhere, could be anywhere
There’s a coldness in the air but I don’t care
We drift deeper
Life goes on
We drift deeper
Into the sound

Traveling somewhere, could be anywhere
There’s a coldness in the air but I don’t care
We drift deeper into sound
Life goes on
We drift deeper
Into the sound feeling strong
So bring it on
So bring it on

* Embrace me
Surround me as the rush comes
Embrace me
Surround me as the rush comes
Embrace me
Surround me as the rush comes
Oh embrace me
Surround me as the rush comes

So bring it on
So bring it on

We drift deeper into sound
Life goes on
We drift deeper
Into the sound feeling strong
So bring it on
So bring it on

* Repeat (x2)

As the rush comes (repeat)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story is based on worlds and characters in World of Warcraft.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Jamie Roman AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

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5 thoughts on “Afterglow – Part 1 (MATURE)

  1. Pingback: Afterglow – Part 2 (MATURE) | Awaiting the Muse

  2. Pingback: Afterglow – Part 3 (MATURE) | Awaiting the Muse

  3. Pingback: Alt Appreciation #RogueWeek | Awaiting the Muse

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