Reflections by Ailia Reant
The sounds of revelry filled the tavern as raucous laughter mingled with drunken shouts from the dance floor. Across the table, the priest glowered disapprovingly.
Ailia offered her a tankard, “Lighten up, Britta. The war is over; this is a night for celebration.”
At her friend’s urging, Britta relented and accepted the drink. “Alright, but don’t expect me to join in any drunken revelry.”
Grinning, Ailia rose from the table, “You don’t know what you’re missing, my friend.”
Vlod fixed her with a stern gaze, “The war may be over, but until tomorrow I’m still your commanding officer. Don’t make me escort you out again.”
The woman turned wide eyes on him. “You know the incident last night wasn’t my fault, right? The man attacked me. I was only defending myself.”
Britta laughed outright, “You deliberately provoked him, knowing full well the row that would ensue.”
A mischievous sparkle danced in the warrior’s brown eyes. “Damn it, Britta, I can’t get anything past you.”
She nodded to the paladin, “Alright, I promise. No fighting tonight.”
He watched her go with a hint of a smile. “It’s good to see her back to her old self.”
Britta grunted, “I spend more time healing her than the rest of the company combined. I swear that woman attracts trouble wherever she goes.”
His smile broadened to a grin, “She does indeed. Still, I’d rather see her brawling in the streets than lost in grief.”
Britta’s expression softened. “Aye, Muldov was the closest thing she had to family. For a while there I feared she would never recover from his death.” She lifted her tankard and took a long drink.
Vlod glanced around the crowded room. “It’s hard to believe tomorrow this place will be empty. Most of the company is going with Jaina to establish a new Alliance base off the southern coast.”
“Have you told Ailia of our plans?”
He grimaced, “No. I didn’t want to face that battle tonight.”
Britta nodded, her thoughts drifting to the night word arrived that the war was coming to an end. The camp had been a flurry of excitement as people shared stories of home and the life they were eager to return to. Through it all, Ailia had remained uncharacteristically silent.
When they questioned her privately about her plans, she shared her intention of returning to Lordaeron. She spoke passionately of the desperate war waging in her homeland where the remaining survivors fought a losing battle against the Scourge. Britta and Vlod had not tried to dissuade her, but they had no intention of letting her go alone either.
If the horror stories told by the refugees fleeing that forsaken land were true, there wouldn’t be many opportunities to celebrate in the days ahead.
Shaking off a feeling of foreboding, she glanced across at Vlod and followed his gaze to their friend. She had set aside her armor for the evening and wore a simple dress of finely woven mageweave. Her long hair, usually concealed beneath her helm, fell in ebon waves across her shoulders and back. Her movements were more energetic than graceful as she danced to a rhythm all her own. Her face was flushed with pleasure, her eyes sparkled with merriment as she laughed and twirled, completely oblivious to the glances of amusement around her.
Free of inhibition, the woman displayed a passion for life that was infectious. She would balk at their decision, but in the end, she would have to accept it. For months they had fought through hell together. They weren’t about to leave her now. Whatever fate awaited them in Lordaeron, they would meet it together.
Sharing a smile, they rose and walked, arm in arm, onto the dance floor.