(( Part 2 of 2. Part 1 was "Asmerglis Meets Stormwind City". ))
(( This is rather an experiment for me to be telling this story this way. I hope it works out. My apologies to each of Raitha, Terrasol, and Jehanne for not getting your exact words right, since I wasn't chat-logging that night -- I just normally don't. I hope you'll agree I at least got the gist of the interactions right. ))
After a bit of wandering through the smokey district, Asmerglis came upon a tavern with the name "The Wandering Dragon" posted outside. "Hmm. Perhaps, with such a name, they may be more willing than some to put up with me." The decision made itself as she discovered she was already walking through its doorway.
As she came slowly around the privacy barrier, she wondered at how little conversation she was hearing. "Perhaps they're not really even open?" she wondered, before coming around far enough to catch sight of some dwarves in what appeared to be a small business area set up in the foyer, before the actual public house. The dwaves eyed her dourly, but it appeared they were just sizing her up for whether she was one of their customers, so she and they quickly came to an unspoken agreement to ignore each other.
Strolling a bit further and looking past the dwarves, the knight saw a small group speaking quietly at a table, and nobody behind the bar. She nervously rapped lightly on the balustrade, and started to ask whether the bar was open. Even as she reached for the wood, however, a draenei woman stood up and came to see what she wanted. "Are you open, even to the likes of me?"
The reply surprised her. "We're open to any whose intentions are not harmful. We all have our pasts, and none of them are perfect. Come in; sit anywhere you like." With a small, hopeful smile, she followed the barmistress into the public area. Swallowing her trepidation, she sat at the same table as the rest, not wanting to place an additional burden of work on her hostess. "Can I get you something to drink, dearie?"
The night elf fidgeted in her seat, not sure what to expect for selection. "Anything you'd recommend?" That seemed safe enough. "I like the Blackrock Ale, myself," came the friendly response. With a soft chuckle, Asmerglis nodded. "That seems a fine choice, then." The price she was quoted surprised her, seeming low, so she paid what she thought it was worth instead, earning her a big "Thank you!" from her hostess.
Under the cover of drinking her ale, she got a closer look at the other two people at the table. She learned the barmistress's name was Raitha as drinks were refilled. A bit more conversation took place to which she barely paid any attention, not really understanding what it was about, though she did pick up a name, or nickname, of the other draenei woman she saw, Terra. The remaining table-mate, a robed human woman, addressed her then. "How goes your recovery from the Scourge?" Asmerglis blinked in surprise, that not being at all the sort of question she'd expected, yet she was pleased by the understanding it showed. "It is harder than I would like," she temporised, not really knowing where to start with describing how. "It always is," the other woman nodded, with the hint of an encouraging smile.
Terra interjected with, "I thought even the Death Knights were mindless, like the ghouls, just controlled?" Asmerglis shook her head. "The Lich King seduces and corrupts more than he directly controls." A damning admission, she knew, but there was no point in trying to hide the truth -- and lying would be a retreat down a slope she felt too dangerous. "He needs agility from his field commanders" came the human woman's unexpected addition. Asmerglis nodded in affirmation.
After a moment's pause, Terra looked directly at the night elf and asked, "So what do you remember?" Asmerglis swallowed hard, setting her drink on the table, as thoughts flashed through her mind. "What does she want to hear? Do I tell her about my despair at the destruction of Nordrassil? About the discovery of playing both sides of that war on the Lich King's part that first started my path to corruption? Do I tell her about being hoisted in the air by Arthas with Frostmourne running me through, yet somehow never quite dying, as part of my investiture? Or do I tell her about applying methods of terror to the women and children of New Avalon, to demoralise the Scarlet Crusade? Or the training from Kel'Thuzad in keeping opponents off-balance by twisting their emotions? Or about murdering my old nursemaid for no worse offence than being a prisoner of the Scarlets, in a cell block with some of the Argent Dawn? And would any such reply not be more in keeping with Kel'Thuzad's teachings than with who I want to be now?"
Sighing amidst that whirl of thought, she merely looked up and quietly said, "I remember far too much." Terra nodded to that, then interrupted her apparent satisfaction with a grimace. "I'm sorry for the suspicion." Asmerglis blinked, not having considered the question particularly inappropriate. "Let me start over. Hi, I'm Terrasol, but my friends call me Terra." The draenei offered her hand, which the knight clasped in greeting. The human also offered her hand, then, with the introduction, "I'm Jehanne. Jehanne de Navarre." The night elf noticed that the hand was trembling as she answered the introductions with "My name is Asmerglis." Jehanne explained, "That trembling is part of my own recovery from the Scourge. Trust me, it's not about you." Dismissing an immediate flash of curiousity to a later time, the knight smiled and clasped Jehanne's hand as well. "I am pleased to meet you both."
More people had been coming into the tavern, keeping Raitha rather busy. Introductions with her were exchanged later, after Jehanne and Terra had excused themselves to have a discussion in the back room regarding some pending private business. In response to a question about nicknames, the knight admitted to sometimes being called "Asmer" or even simply "As."
While left mostly to her own thoughts, Asmerglis overheard much other conversation in the tavern, some of it regarding how unpopular it was with some to accept death knights into the alliance ("Of course nobody wants us!"), and other parts with some people wondering about how their homelands were faring against Scourge invasions. "How do I attempt to address their concerns? 'Hi, where are you from? If it's the right place, I won't know anything, and I'll have annoyed you butting in for no reason. If it's the wrong place, I'm sure I know something about it, having led the attacks up until a week ago.' No, maybe I'll just have to let that pass."
Later in the evening, after most people had left the tavern again, the same four were back together at the original table. "Where's home for you, Asmerglis?" The knight blinked, unsure how to answer. "I don't really have one right now. Home, to me, is about people, rather than a place -- though you three have been working awfully hard at making me feel at home." "We're glad you noticed our efforts!" "You're welcome to come stay with us."
Blinking back tears that she was afraid to shed, Asmerglis smiled at her new friends. "Perhaps I shall, then, if you're sure it's all right..." Their reassurances cut off any doubts she could have voiced. As they closed up the bar and left for the night, Jehanne and Terra each made a point to assure the knight that she could seek them out any time she needed to talk, further cementing her feeling of having found a home.