I know this has been long-delayed. Shaurria has been taking up most of my story-writing time lately. For a refresher, this happens right after this.
Also I'm borrowing the ideas for herb uses from the Wildfire Riders & Co., they have a thread about it here for reference.
The next day Quae ran through everything the Honor Hold commanders told her to do quickly. With Barraccus' help, none of it took long. She was dismissed after turning in her last report, then she and Barraccus went back outside to their mounts. He turned to her before getting on Krallormu. "I'm presuming you have a spot picked out?" he asked with a grin, and she grinned back. "Follow me," she said, then urged Thoribas up and away. He scrambled into the saddle quickly and chased after her.
Quae found an outcropping of rock and waited for Barraccus to catch up to her before nudging Thoribas down. She dismissed the gryphon, knowing he wouldn't go far, and turned to see Barraccus already off Kral's back, looking around. They were as alone as they could be; even the orcs of Zeth'gor nearby were no bigger than ants in the distance. He turned to face her, grinning. "Nice spot," he said. "So what was it you wanted to tell me?"
Quae looked at him appraisingly, until his grin turned mischievous, then she abruptly dismissed her shadows. "First, love, take off your shirt." His eyebrows went up, but he complied without comment, having grown used to this routine. Quae helped him with his armor, then he pulled his shirt off and sat. Quae knelt next to him, her hands already starting to glow with holy energy. Placing one hand on his chest, she let the power flow into him and closed her eyes, following it with her senses. It filtered through muscles and blood vessels, then deeper to bones and organs. She felt it when it came upon anything out of order, guiding it as it healed cuts and scratches, then a pulled muscle she hadn't even realized he had.
He flexed his arm when she finished, testing the now-healed shoulder muscle, and grinned at her. "Thanks." She still just studied him, a slight frown her only expression. "You're sure it doesn't hurt anything?" she asked him. Arien's words echoed through her head- "It's not a good way to test, since healing works on the Forsaken just like it does on us"- but she pushed them away.
Barraccus caught her hand in his own and pulled it away, breaking the contact and the healing spell. "Quae," he began, his expression now as serious as hers. "You've been doing this every day we've had together for the last couple months. What is it?"
She closed her eyes briefly, opening them again to look into his. "Tell me again how you died," she said softly, just above a whisper. He raised an eyebrow, and she smiled slightly. "I'm not changing the subject. Trust me." Now he closed his eyes for a moment, then looked out into the distance. "I don't remember. All I can recall is his eyes digging into mine, then blackness. When I woke I was in Acherus, and my training began. What does it have to do with anything?"
Quae took a deep breath. Elune, she prayed silently, give me the right words. "I've been thinking about it the last few months. Don't you think death would have been a bit more... memorable?" He shrugged. "I don't know, Quae. But what does it have to do with whatever you've been doing?" "Barraccus," she began, then paused, suddenly uncertain. Finally she blurted, "What if you didn't die?"
He blinked, surprised. "What do you mean?" "What if you never died, love? I've been researching this in Stormwind's library, and nothing I've found says you have to die to become a death knight. Light, Arthas was a death knight before he became the Lich King, and he never died; there are all sorts of accounts of it. And I found a strange book, that says if you agree to it, you simply receive the powers." She hoped no one from the Temple found out she had read that book. Creepy and mysterious didn't even begin to describe it; it had probably belonged to a cultist once.
Barraccus stared at her as she spoke, the skepticism in his eyes slowly being replaced by uncertainty. He mouthed the words agree to it after her, then as she finished he looked at her sharply. "Why are you so sure of this, Quae? I mean, it'd be wonderful, but still..."
"Think about it, love," she told him. "If you're not undead, the Temple can't touch you. The charges against me would be dropped, we could make our vows official, and... when we're ready, we could start a family." At the word family, his expression changed, a look of pain and longing flashing briefly across his face. "But Quae," he said. "That should prove it if nothing else does. I mean, shouldn't something have, you know, happened by now?"
Quae had been expecting him to ask that, but she still dropped her gaze. "Umm, about that," she said hesitantly. "I'm afraid I haven't been totally honest with you, Barraccus." She glanced up at him; he had gone completely still, his expression unreadable. "Quae," he said quietly. "Are you...?" She gave him a small, sad smile. "No," she replied, and his face showed disappointment for a moment, before he regained control. "Then what do you mean?" "You know the tea I make every morning?" she asked, and he nodded. She took a deep breath. "It's earthroot." She watched his face carefully.
He was silent, staring at nothing for a long while. Finally he looked up at her. "Earthroot?" She nodded, still watching him. "You really think I'm not an undead?" "Yes, I'm getting sure of it," she replied, and he nodded. She studied him as they sat in silence for several more minutes. "Barraccus," she said hesitantly. "If you want me to stop taking the tea..." He shook his head. "No, you might as well stay on it. At least I can get it for you from now on. I'm guessing Alanon was providing it before?" "Yes," she replied. "Love... are you all right?"
He didn't answer right away, instead looking off into space, his expression still unreadable. Finally he looked at her, and after a moment he cracked a grin. "Yea, I think I'm more than all right." Quae smiled back, fighting back the worry that came when she saw the hope slowly growing in his eyes.
P. S. - Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!