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Kexti

Moonglow Goodbye

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At one moment in time, Kex’ti would have found the arrangement pragmatic. As he walked hand in hand with Julilee, Rylie meters beyond, he would have found peace in the security of the way they moved together. 

Rylie just far enough away to not be obviously affiliated with them, close enough to be safe, but not near enough, for long enough in public, to draw scrutiny. Sanctuary was beset by scandal enough. His own assertions that the girl was half-Sin’dorei did much to quell any real dissent; the monk’s vague allusions to prior discretion fueled enough of the rumor mill to keep prying questions away from the simpler truth that she was not Julilee’s nor his by blood, that she was never born in the Horde, and that for political means “belonged” elsewhere.

The girl once flitted between the booths at the fair. Now, she ambled. An adolescent gait offset by his personal training of her. He was proud as much of how she took to her lessons as he was of her as a person. She had faced much of the same horrors he had, with less to rely on. 

The monk was happy her story had come as far as it did. But the realities of his, and his wife’s, differences, were quickly catching up. Where a year before, she had sat with rapt attention on his lessons in swordplay, on stances, on center-line defense, her gaze often wandered to the uproars of the young men studying under the Kirin Tor, or the knights of Stormwind or Silvermoon that traversed Dalaran’s cobbles.

She asked questions that made him uncomfortable, and argued with him on truths that were once met with easy acceptance. Her combativeness frustrated him, in truth. 

As much of him believed that it was part of growing up. And he believed it was for the best. He believed he was proud of her. But he was nonetheless frustrated.
Julilee’s insistence on tutoring Rylie in “practical” areas of study in a time of war were proving to be the correct choice. While he certainly wanted his erstwhile daughter to be armed for the inevitable conflicts she would face, there was no denying the simple facts of politics and history would teach her to be better than he ever would have been. 

He was no diplomat; he could only hope that Rylie would be able to fight her battles in courts, and in the realm of public ideas rather than with blood and iron. He watched her casually drop a few tokens and walked back with three glowing mugs. Her hands shook a little bit, and she tried to avoid his gaze. 
“Moonglow?” He asked, in Orcish. The girl responded, trying to make the choice to bring back cups of liquor a foregone, casual rite of acceptance. Julilee looked up to him. He coughed, and smirked. 

Julilee and the monk often took roles of discipline and liberty in turn. She played bad cop. He played good cop. It worked for their daughter. It sometimes worked for their guild. But he knew that she had enough of the senselessness of endless debate of late, and it was his turn to tell Rylie no. 

Kex’ti began to correct the girl’s Orcish, teasing her even as it was better than his. Almost flawlessly unaccented. Or, rather, accented in the same way Shokkra spoke it. The fireworks of the Lunar Festival were going to start soon. 

The monk knew how the conversation would go.

“No,”

“Orcs are considered adults at 14,”

“No,” Then the fireworks would start.

She would raise her glass, she would drink.

When he scolded her, she would say, perhaps hurt, perhaps because she knew the response would deliver a jab to him he could never block, perhaps a jab she would feel bad about later, she would say:

“I’m not an elf. I can’t hear as well as you can.”
 
His heart beat. He glanced up to the first barrage of explosions, the first in so many years to celebrate, rather than warn or explode amongst cavalry formations or swaths of soldiers. Even with the Legion descending, there were always moments to celebrate. 

Kex’ti chuckled, and took a pull from the drink. He bumped the bottom of the cup against the rim of Rylie’s glass, spilling some of the glowing alcohol down over her hand. 

She scoffed, but Julilee joined in with his laughing. 

“Orcs are considered adults at 14,” he said. “But if you are going to hold your liquor…it is best to start with holding the cup.” 

She took a sip, outrage and surprise mixing on her face. She grimaced. Then took a longer sip. 

“Just for now,” he said to Julilee, who raised an eyebrow, and began to sip her own drink. Rylie hugged the Commander and the monk, taking care not to spill. 
She would leave, after the Festival, to board in Stormwind. She could visit them in Dalaran without much trouble. But that moment was far away.
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