The young green-haired druid fidgeted, fighting an urge to get up and start pacing. She twisted on the hearth, checking the fire once again just for something to do, trying to cover her anxiousness. Her eyes strayed once again to the note she'd received, even though she'd looked it over enough to have it memorized by now.
Dearest sister, Asmindla,She looked up again as she heard boots being knocked against the stoop. I hope it's not another false alarm -- my nerves are getting shot! The door opened quietly, allowing entrance by the white-haired, armoured figure she'd been awaiting. Her dry "I'm glad you could make it" overlapped with the death knight's "Sorry to have kept you waiting." The druid giggled softly. "Please, come. Sit. I made tea -- anise-root."
Gwynéth told me you were wanting to talk with me again. I'm sorry that my travels have kept me away, and thus delayed allowing this. I expect to be back at the guild hall for a while early on the twenty-first -- really, very late on the twentieth, I suspect, from your point of view. [mischief]
I'm not sure how long I'll be able to stay, though I'll try to find you if you're not there when I arrive.
Yours, as ever,
The older sister smiled, and relaxed visibly. "Thank you, dear," she began as she crossed the room to sit near Asmindla on the hearth. "That's quite thoughtful of you, and most welcome at this stage of my journey."
They quietly shared the ritual of pouring the tea and taking first sips, looking at each over their respective rims, gold eyes to eyes once azure, now turned the blue of glacier ice. After a few sips, the death knight sniffed the aroma of the tea, indulging herself momentarily in its simple pleasure, then she lowered the cup to hold it in both hands. "So, sister-mine. Though it was I who wrote, I believe you called this meeting?"
With a quiet chuckle, and a quick, nervous smile, the druid nodded, lowering her cup as well. "Yes, I suppose I did." She sighed, fidgeting a bit as she once again fought the urge to pace. "It's... I don't know how to say this..." she sighed in frustration at herself, looking for words.
"As long as you say it, and don't go netting me and trying to stab me in the kidney like one of the last people I spoke with, I'll cope. It's better to get it said somehow than to look too hard for words."
The younger sister blinked in a flash of alarm, then eyed her sister. "Are you serious?!"
"Yes. On all counts, though. Please -- I'll share the story later if you're still interested, but yours first, mm?" She smiled to her sister and had a bit more tea as she waited.
The druid bit her lip while considering, then nodded with a quiet sigh. "Right. Hmm. Well, it's easy to care about you and remember our good times, and just think of you as my sister... except when I see and hear what's become of you. Then... I've seen and fought too many Scourge, including death knights. I'm sorry, but even knowing you're my sister...." She shrugged, a gesture born of both apology and frustration.
Nodding, the older sister smiled sadly. "That's understandable, Asmi. The more so that I know you had done with mourning me for dead -- well, as much as that is ever 'done'." She held up a hand to forestall her sister's response. "And that makes it worse, especially seeing me as I am now. I saw it in your face and posture on our last meeting." At the druid's reluctant nod, she continued. "I can only hope that you can accept that I'm still your Anath'glís, at least somewhat, even face-to-face. I really would hope that we can have more times such as, well," with a wave of her hand, she indicated the tea. "... this." She sighed, then, as moisture started to collect in her eyes. "I can understand, though, if it's not to be. Just knowing that you don't outright hate me means more than I know how to express. I know I've the easier side of this by far, since you've only changed for the better and, well, while I thought you dead, my mourning was interrupted. For me, there is nothing but joy at seeing you again." She swallowed to try to maintain control of her voice, as the tears started to trickle down her cheeks, looking into the eyes of the druid.
Asmindla's own expression was getting misty-eyed as well, her mouth partly open and her lower lip trembling. She nodded slightly as she set down her tea, noticing that her hands were also starting to shake.
"I love you, Asmi-heart, and no matter how you react to me, ever, that's not going to change."
With that, the druid fairly pounced upon her sister to embrace her, though somehow still managing not to jostle her enough to spill the remains of her tea. Asmerglis hurriedly set down her cup and returned the embrace, as they sat crying on each other.
The druid pulled back first, just enough to look her sister in the eyes again. "And yes, you are still my Anath'glís, but I..."
"But you are no longer my little girl." The death knight smiled through her tears. "My sister is all grown up now, and that is just one of the joys that fill my heart at seeing you again."
Asmindla buried her face in her sister's shoulder and hair again, hugging her tight. "Thank you! And I love you too, my sister!" She turned her head to kiss her sister's cheek, then gasped as she felt a tingling against her lips, and noticed that, despite the warm of the cheek, the tears were already turning cold. Suddenly she tore away, turning her back and clenching her fists in reaction. "And I hate what's happened to you -- what's been done to you!"
The death knight blinked at the intial separation, then rose and gathered her sister into a gentle embrace from behind. "I'm glad to hear, see, and yes, feel that you still love me, too -- and you should hate what's happened to me. I'm just happy that you can distinguish between that and me."
The druid spun about to return the embrace again. "I'm glad you can understand that, then. I'm sorry that I can't help reacting that way to y... to your physical form."
Nodding the death knight smiled grimly. "My dear, I react that badly to my physical form most of the time." She kissed her sister lightly on the cheek. "I'm sorry I was so stupid as to go off and have this happen to me." Anything further she was about to say was interrupted as the younger sister put her finger up against the older's lips.
"We've found each other again. I may always have trouble looking at you, and want to rush off headlong into personal battle against the Lich King when I hear your voice -- but you're still my sister. Your heart calls out to mine, and mine can't help but answer. Yes, it's bittersweet for me, but it's still so much better than having you lost."
Asmerglis hugged her sister tight, tears flowing freely again. The druid hugged back just as hard. After a bit she drew her head back and relaxed the embrace. "So, you'd said you weren't sure how long you could stay. Why not?"
The death knight drew back a little to smile at her sister. "Because I've finally found love, and my sweetheart is on the move in the Outland. I want to be with her out there."
Giving her sister a quick hug, the druid exclaimed, "Oh! That's marvelous! Who is she? Anyone I know?" Glad for such a happier release to her tension, she was fairly bouncing on the balls of her feet.
With a chuckle at her sister's reaction, Asmerglis nodded. "I think you may, since she's also in this extended family." A wave of her hand indicated the guild hall. "She's one of the three main reasons I'm here, actually. Jehanne de Nevarre is her name."
"Oh!" Asmindla's face brightened. "I have met her! A most gracious lady she seemed, too!"
Beaming at her sister, the death knight nodded. "She certainly is!"
With a quick, raven-like tilt of her head, the druid suddenly asked, "So what are the other two main reasons you're here, besides the Lady de Nevarre?"
With a quiet giggle, she responded, "Who, not what. Terra and Raitha. A chance -- no, I'm pretty sure I should say 'fated' -- meeting in a tavern, and the three of them convinced me that even something fresh the Scourge as I was could find a home with them. Not that it's been entirely smooth sailing even here -- and I don't just mean you! -- but the acceptance and friendship I've found here, as well as the love... it's a bulwark for me against the unreasoning hatred I so often find elsewhere."
Nodding, blinking, then smiling as the statements progress, Asmindla finally gave her sister another quick, tight hug. "Well, I'm glad! And now I know to whom I owe the pleasure of having my sister back in my life!" She giggled softly, then sighed. "But that does leave you with your love to get off to -- and I really should be getting back to some commitments I've made to the fight in Northrend." At her sister's quiet nod, she added, "But at least we can stay in touch now! So write!" With another quick hug and a parting kiss, she bounded off through the door, charging off into the woods in feline form before the door had finished closing behind her.
Shaking her head at her sister's mercurial nature, Asmerglis gathered up the remains of the tea and set off to clean up before continuing her own journey.