Good lunch was something even Rael appreciated. He never got chance to thank Lor’themar that he did teach him to cook. Food was already cold as he was cooking in the evening, but it was good, really good. Lor’themar ran away from his duties just to meet with him.
“True.” Rael nodded.
“Something bothers me, these two warlocks had no experience with real fire magic, they couldn’t create fire shard that was used to set the palace ablaze, although it is now officially accepted. I think that it was you.”
Rael sighted. “When Elenora began to look for her parents, I panicked. If she revealed me…”
“I see. You should be glad. If I didn’t knew your financial state, I would send you the bills.”
“I can repay something of that. I’m not the one to destroy the books. I have them. I’ll return them.”
“I’ll come for them in the evening. Better if no one sees you with them… I think it’s time, Rael. There is group of teens, thirsting to not understand you a single world.”
Rael looked at him and giggled in that magical way, that was making others smile. Beautiful flame lights shone in his eyes and some inner beauty showed itself on his face. Then he left.
Lor’themar was smiling and even more when he realized it. Kael’thas might have been drowned phoenix, but he surely got back to the ground and was forming new flame of rebirth. Rael’s soul was healing and that was good. Very good…
“Kael… I’m so glad that you’re alive. Damn, I still love you… but now I have responsibility… ah, maybe in another life, but now… you made your choice and we are past, my love…” His mind returned to days and moments, which were so sweet and hot… no. He commanded the thoughts to leave. He can think about such things when he won’t have child to rise. Now he mustn’t think so. Now he must be with Syana and her he loved too… He sighted. “I just feel sorry that I must leave you alone with no one to be with you, to share love with you…”
During afternoon lessons students noticed change in Rael. He was smiling from time to time, only with very weak smile, but with fires in his eyes it was really magical thing. And students also noticed elf nearby in the forest. They were whispering about him, but tried to keep the information silent as elf seemed to hide from Rael.
When Rael ended the last lesson, he was reminding students of importance of training concentration, when his sight became black by hands on his face.
“Tar’mel, this isn’t funny!”
“Uhm, I’m here.” He wasn’t behind him, but with other students.
“Then, who is that?”
“Guess.” It sounded without any voice color.
“Oh, c’mon,” Rael sighted, but touched the hands that were keeping him blind.
His students were giggling, while he carefully touched the fingers. They were big, but gentle. He could recognize that both hands were used for holding bowstring. And there was a ring on left hand… wait, he knew that ring, there was phoenix on it. Only one ring of such shape existed… Signet ring of Sunstriders.
“You… This can’t be.” Kael said quietly. “Am I dreaming?” He felt nose touching his skull. He didn’t have much hair. But right now his heart was racing. “Legolas?”
Hands let go of his face and he turned. He was unsure, looking into the face of that elf. Legolas wasn’t covering at all, that he isn't sin'dorei. It took Rael a moment to realize that. Legolas seemed bit confused too.
“You look so… wretched and yet…”
Rael smiled. “I was without you, my love.” With that he hugged him.
“Oh,” Elenora whispered and as all other students she left, giving those two some solitude…
“Can I come in?”
“You can come in anytime, Lor… Nora?”
“Hi.” She smiled.
Rael let them in. “I didn’t expect you both. I’ll make some extra tea.”
“We won’t be disturbing for long.”
“Nonsense, you can come here anytime, we are family, after all.”
“I’m not sure about that family part…” Lor’themar hesitated. “But I guess you’re right.”
“Of course he is.” They both turned at elf, who came into the room and bowed to them. “My lord, princess…”
“Twelve gold on you being Legolas.” Lor’themar claimed.
Legolas smiled. “You truly have keen eye.”
“Why don’t you all sit down?” Rael was pouring the tea into cups.
“I have date with my wife, Rael, and coming late at date with someone you live with is not safe… I’m sorry. Give me the books, I have to go.”
Rael sighted, but nodded and led Lor’themar to other room. The strider looked at Rael who removed blanket from the books in the corner.
“You still know how to hide things. No one would find them so hidden.”
“I had to expect that someone might come here, although the fire made it unlikely.” Rael nodded.
Lor’themar agreed and put all the books into a bag. There was eight of them and the pack of letters. “Maybe you should be the one, who will reveal their secrets? You can help Talí, he has problems with your handwriting.”
Rael smiled. “That would be problematic, Lor. Kael must remain dead, leave that phoenix drowned.”
“But he’s drowned no more, Fireling.” Lor’themar took the bag. “Oh, if you can keep Elenora here for the night, I would be glad.”
With that, not waiting for answer Lor’themar left.
Rael made ugly face at that. The stupid karma caught up with him. “I shouldn’t have wished that,” he admitted, “of course it had to ruin my own date.” With that he returned to his visitors.
“You’re my father?”
“It isn’t easy for me too, Elenora,” Legolas admitted. “I thought that you were never born.” He made sad smile. “I was mourning for so long… only recently I dared to return here. Pity that I hesitated for so long.”
“That happens.” Rael said and tasted his tea. “By the way, did you finally finished that polishing of my sword, you lazy-ass?”
Legolas smiled. “Well, things can be quite invisible, when everyone can see them. He stood up and Elenora noticed a sword at his belt. He had to set the scabbard free from his belt and then he laid the sword on the table.
“A scabbard?” Rael was surprised.
“Created by elves of my homeland. I moved there for some time too.” Legolas smiled. “Made specifically for this sword.” With that he began to remove cloth from handle and part of the blade that was visible. “When I was leaving Silvermoon, I bought some conservation oils, I use them on my knives too. I think that it made wonders for that blade.”
“Magic blades don’t need to be… wow.”
Legolas removed the cloth and moved sword a bit from the scabbard. The oil really did do wonders. The blade was polished well and it was looking like new, many scratches were reduced or totally gone. Rael moved his fingers on the blade, watching the flames moving across his fingers.
“That’s amazing blade,” Elenora said, fascinated, by the blade and its magic.
“Indeed, served me well during many battles.” Legolas admitted. “I cannot use its magic, but when defending, it never denied me help.”
“I allowed you to have it… guess that it was enough.” Rael said, still examining the blade. “An elf cannot wish for a finer blade.”
Desire overtook Rael and he took the blade to his hands and stood into the center of the room, where he had some space. The blade, recognizing his true owner, blazed with flame of joy, ready for battle. As Rael felt sword’s energies, his body was shaking with excitement from fire and arcane energy. He made few slow attacks into the air, feeling that beloved weight of the blade in his hands, symphony of muscle and enchanted steel.
To both Legolas and Elenora it seemed like a sword dancing. Rael made sword rotate both in front of him and behind him, making the blade extension of his own body. After that he rested with the blade pointed up in front of him, with face looking down. And then he looked at them and he changed. For a while they both saw Kael’thas. It was just a feeling, but intense.
Then Rael returned to the table and blade has returned to its scabbard. It was now belonging with the blade. Rael could feel that.
“What a pleasure would it be to hold this blade in battle again.” He sighted.
“Now only thing remaining is summoning a phoenix. Only few elves can do that.”
“Why? Does it require so much of energy?”
“No, not at all. But it is the union of elf and phoenix, Elenora, which allows such summoning. The fire gods do not obey us, they cooperate. They promised to guard our bloodline, but… I betrayed both them and elves by allaying with the Burning Legion and in that moment they turned their backs on me. I was able to still summon some using the ashes, but I’ve lost those too. I can show you the ritual, so you can get your own union. But first you have to finish your studies and you have to be prepared.”
Legolas waved his head in disbelief. He wanted to say something, but choose not to. He looked at the blade again. “You have your sword, I should have my knife.”
“Can it wait for few days? I have no problem with that, but I need a replacement for it.”
“No problem.” Legolas agreed. “Did I heard something like Elenora sleeping with us here?”
“Yeah, but I don’t have space for all of us…”
“We can sleep on the floor,” Legolas said. “We can build a shelter from blankets and cloaks.”
Rael opened his eyes wide and Elenora was all for it, both begging for that idea. Then he smiled. “What the heck, we can have some fun. Let’s go building…”
Rael couldn’t sleep and it wasn’t because they were laying on the floor. Elenora was sleeping in the middle. Legolas behind her, both seemed at peace. His family. It felt almost too perfect to be true. It felt like a dream and he didn’t want to wake up. But his chest again reminded him that it is true, he got used to it, but sometimes he felt piercing pain, usually weak one only caused by presence of crystal shards, that seemed to be irremovable.
So he left their indoor shelter and took Felo’melorn, covering it in cloth again. With that it looked just like some sort of low-value sting sword. It was well done camouflage. Ah, he loved the weight of this sword at his side. Armed he took a cloak and went outside. The city was calm and he saw almost no one except the guards. Some of them were looking at him with suspicion for a moment, but when he came closer, if he did, they recognized him and looked friendlier.
He left the city and went to Eversong. The wood was full of fresh smell and clean air. That was relaxing. Rael took the road to the coast. It wasn’t far. Soon he felt salty air. The sky was clear and he reached the shore with good mode. The moon was reflecting itself in the waters and Rael took off his shoes. Ah, the sand was warm and tender against his skin. He walked to the reach of water waves. Air here was aiding him thinking. He must keep fighting to stay alive. Shards in his chest are his constant enemy and he must not give up, even now when he reached his wish. He will fight, for Elenora, for his family and for Quel’thalas. He smiled. Life of constant war was not the one he wanted, but the one he was willing to live, an honorable one, one of true strength.
Rael took a deep breath. He needed this, he needed to get to this determination again… He thought about Syana. Who was that healer? Azariel… Oh, great, that one… well, it was worth the try. Rael returned to the city.
Azariel was awake, sitting on the floor with candles of white light and small fountain, Relaxing or meditating. But when he entered his home, he looked at him fully aware. Without a world he offered him place to sit.
“You’re lucky.” Azariel said.
“You think that you’re only jealous one here? I hated you for getting Legolas for yourself. I wanted to kill you myself, when I found out and that was before your official fall. But if I did hurt you, Legolas would have my head on a spear.”
“You… know who I am?”
“Young one, I know well who Legolas was in love with, who else would feel such need to threaten me in such a way? You revealed yourself to me. But relax, I have no interest in causing problems in this kingdom, not to mention my agreement with the king Anasterian.”
“Not your business. But you can be sure that I won’t reveal you… But if you didn’t come to continue threatening me, why then?”
Rael sighted and placed his hand on his chest. “Corrupted shards.”
“You want to end your punishment?”
“Of the great phoenix.”
Yellow eyes were exploring Rael with deep interest and Rael realized that he can see much deeper into him that he thought. “Who… are you?”
Azariel smiled. “I’m Azariel, that’s me.”
“So you suggest that if the Great phoenix forgives me, I’ll get better?”
“I’m not from here, I have my own gods to obey, you have your own and I feel in you, that there is some problem with that. Solve it, it will help you. After all, Al’ar is lord of the fire of life…” he leaned forward.
Azariel smiled and his eyes shined with some sort of fire. Rael felt nobleness in him, almost infinite one, as if he was just like Al’ar, one of gods. And that made Rael smile.
“You’re getting ablaze by me.” Azariel realized. “Perhaps it is for your good, you’re fire spirit.”
“Perhaps.” Rael nodded. “But what can I do?”
“You’ll find something. I might be stranger here, but I don’t know a god, that would care about his people and had no love for them… You seem tired, hmmm.” With that he stood up and left. He returned with cookies. “Take some.”
“Don’t worry. If I really wanted to kill you, your head would already be on my wall.” Azariel said calmly. “Just cookies with chocolate.”
“…Okay, and with bit of arcane and nature energy.”
“More like it.” Rael admitted and took a cookie. It tasted well, not to mention the magical energy, all in so perfect harmony. Ah, great phoenix, it was so lovely.
“Thank you.” He said. “Be well…”
“You too.” With that Azariel hugged him and returned to his meditation.
Rael left the house, realizing that he has pockets full of cookies. That made him smile… And then he saw Legolas.
“I needed to think about few things.”
“I know the feeling.” Legolas smiled. “Azariel was baking again?”
“Yeah, wanna some?”
“No, thanks. I have no taste for chocolate, now. You awoke me, any steps awake me. You left, so I wanted to be sure that you’ll be fine, so I followed you.”
Rael smiled. “Legolas, that means a lot to me.”
“If you’re finished with wandering around, we should go to sleep.”
“No, I want to walk a while longer.”