Quae moved carefully through the ruins on Sardor Isle. The naga were oblivious to her presence, at least until she showed herself by attacking one. She was choosing a new target now, and settled on a female, a spellcaster she knew she could overpower quickly. She mentally ran through her list of spells, then stepped out from behind her pillar and went to work.
* * * * * * *
Barraccus' ghoul wandered through the forest. Barraccus changed its name regularly, usually depending on his mood or some outside influence. Due to the heat in this place, and its rather advanced state of decay, it was currently known as Stinky. It was a very simple creature, only wanting to please its Master. Right now its meager thoughts were taken up with its current mission. It knew its Master was nearby; it could feel Master in its head. There used to be Big Master too, but after Master ran away, he stopped listening to Big Master, so Stinky didn't listen to Him either.
It poked through the bushes and piles of dead leaves while it shambled along. It was supposed to help Master find his Lady Friend, but so far it had had no luck. It saw some ruins a little ways in the distance, and something told it that it would be a good place to search, so it went that way.
The ghoul had just reached the ruins when it heard a hissing noise and the sounds of fighting. Lifting its rotting head to the breeze, it sniffed. Yes! it thought, there is the Lady Friend! But it sounded like she was in trouble! It sped up to a trot and headed toward the sounds.
* * * * * * *
Quae had dispatched the female naga easily, but had not counted on a large male coming into sight just in time to see its companion fall. It charged her with a bellow; she had just enough time to throw up a shield of holy energy before it struck. The naga hissed in surprise when its weapon glanced off the shield, then again as its mind was seared by the shadow energy Quae wielded. She struck again, and the monster swung at her wildly, flailing in pain. The blow was absorbed by her shield again, but it was hard enough to knock her off her feet this time. She landed flat on her back, slightly winded but unhurt.
Before she could get up, she heard a sudden squeal to the side and glanced over. Her eyes widened in surprise as a ghoul charged out of the nearby undergrowth. She prepared a spell that would trap the undead and hold it in place until she had dealt with the naga, but before she could cast it, the ghoul jumped on the naga. A few blows from its claws, and the already weakened naga fell. The ghoul stopped and stood there, looking at Quae curiously. She was about to cast her spell when it tipped its head to one side and inquired, "La- dy?" She stopped. There was only one ghoul she knew that would act that way, and she looked around, searching for its master.
* * * * * * *
Barraccus was aware when his ghoul found Quae, and quickly headed in the direction he knew it was. He broke out from the trees and into some old ruins on the beach, then spotted them and trotted over, one hand hiding something behind his back. The grin on his face at seeing her was quickly erased, however, by the look on her face.
"What did you think you were doing? I had everything perfectly under control!" she shouted at him as he approached. He looked at her in confusion, until she gestured to the pair of dead naga, one sporting fresh claw marks. "Oh," he started to say, but she interrupted. "Do you think now that you have to escort me everywhere, just to keep me safe? How am I ever going to learn anything if you keep coming to my 'rescue'?" she continued. "But I-" he tried again. She stood, hands on hips, glaring at him, then at his ghoul. "I just wanted to find you," he said apologetically. "Stinky just got a little carried away." She raised one eyebrow. "Stinky?" Barraccus opened his mouth, thought better of it, then waved his hand in a gesture at his ghoul. It looked at him for a second, then crumpled, its bones quickly dissolving into the forest floor.
Quae looked slightly sickened, but quickly recovered. "Why are you out here anyway?" she asked, anger still in her voice. "You could have sent me a letter, like usual, and I would have met you at the house." He gave her a very hesitant grin. "I, uh, wanted to surprise you," he said sheepishly, and she snorted. "You did that, that's for sure. What did you want that couldn't wait?" "Well...I...Uh..." Suddenly he wasn't sure what to say. He figured that if he said what he had planned to, she would probably snap at him again. Finally he took a deep breath and blurted, "I was going to, uh, kidnap you for a few days? I've gotten leave-" She interrupted him again. "What? Barraccus, I'm busy here. These naga have been harassing Feathermoon Stronghold for weeks now, they need to be taught a lesson before anyone gets killed!" He opened his mouth, but she cut him off. "And no, I don't want you to help me. I've got it under control, Barraccus. I mean it, I'm not going to learn anything if you keep tracking me down and trying to bail me out of everything!" She turned her back on him, not wanting to see the hurt in his eyes, or for him to see the tears of frustration in her own.
Barraccus stared helplessly at her for a few moments, then suddenly remembered what he had hidden behind his back. He didn't know if it would be enough to make up for the trouble he was in, but... "Uh, Quae?" he asked, very softly. She turned back to him and saw what he held out to her, and suddenly all her anger drained away. "Oh, Barraccus," she said, then reached out and gently took the red rose from his hand.
* * * * * * *
They walked on the beach for a good few hours. With Barraccus there, the naga had made themselves scarce, and they soon passed out of the ruins and the naga's territory. Barraccus had his arm around her waist as they walked, and every now and then she would lean her head against his shoulder. They stopped just out of sight of Feathermoon Stronghold, and Quae turned to him. "What was that about kidnapping me?" she asked. He cleared his throat. "Remember what I said, back before I went after Rhokk? About going off somewhere, just the two of us?" he asked, and she nodded. "Like I tried to say, I have a few days leave from the Dragonblight, so if you're not too busy..." "Um, yea," she said sheepishly. "I think I can take a break for that." He hugged her closer. "Do you need to go home and pack anything?" he asked her, and she thought for a second. "No, I just need my things from Jaxom's packs. Where are we going?" He gave her a crooked grin, the one that made her forget what she was mad at him for. "How would you like to see Dalaran?" he asked.