Old Crane and Sparrow

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(Special thanks to Nikaa/Shaelie!)

The girl walks in to the clinic, holding a hand to her hastily bandaged cheek. A man gestures for a wounded orc off the cot. The hand he uses misses its pinky beyond the first joint past the knuckle.

She walks over as he speaks to her in Orcish. She doesn’t understand, and she asks him:

“Do you speak Common?”

“A little,” he says.

He looks at her and gently peels the bandage back. The man is a blood elf. She has seen elves before, but none with green eyes. None with white hair, and none with a beard.

“You are lucky. The wound is clean, but it will only leave a little scar. How did you get this wound? What is your name?” he asks, weaving the mists with one hand and repairing the wound with the other. It tickles and stings, and she winces a bit. But the wound seals up, the cells told to return to the way they’re supposed to look on a human girl like this.

He sighs, focusing on keeping the wound.

“Rylie,” she says, a firm look in her eyes. “What’s yours? A troll hit me in the face with an axe. But he didn’t kill me.”

“Kex’ti Dalendala, of Sanctuary,” he says with a faint smile. He coughs and takes a pull from his jug.

“You look very sad.”

He pauses, and touches her chin, studying the way the light hits the wound.

“I have just lost someone very dear to me,” he says, the vague smile on his face fading.

Rylie turns on the cot, curling one foot beneath her and facing Kex’ti more directly. She frowns before talking. Her mouth bends to mimic his.

“I’m sorry you lost someone. I lost my dad.”

She hesitates, her eyes immediately stinging. She resolved not to cry. She straightens her back, and finishes quickly.

“A month or so ago. And I don’t want to get in any fights here. Will the other kids fight me? The ones that aren’t human, I mean?”

He nods, briefly, his mind reflecting back to the moment he too became an orphan. His heart softens to this girl. This human child.

“This is a Horde garrison,” he says. “But fighting happens for all children. If they want to fight you, it is because they see you as one of them, not as someone from outside.”

He smiles, noting the grey and blue leaking into her aura. He pats her on the head, his hand heavy, and rough. It isn’t like how she thinks an elf’s hand is supposed to feel. It isn’t unkind, though.

She looks at him, confusion and uncertainty apparent. But she gave a little grin at the head pat.

“It’s not that I’m scared of getting into a fight-I’ve been in fights before. But I don’t want to get in trouble for fighting here, or kicked out. I’d rather make friends than fight, anyway.”

“You will find that among children here, they are one and the same. Just…” he thinks of the words in common. “Remember not to hurt them too badly. It is just play, not anger.”

“Mythiis said that Taozhu can teach me Orcish. And I think I want to stay, but Cobrak said maybe I can’t ever go back to Stormwind or Goldshire again, because I would be called a traitor. So I’m not sure.”

She pauses, thinking.

“And I don’t understand if I can come and go. Like right now, the Darkmoon Faire is open. Can I go?”

“Hrm,” he mutters. Kex’ti rubs his beard. “You could go as an elf, if you are inclined to dress up. I know many girls your age…It would certainly…make things easier, if you want to stay here, but go out.

“Would I have to dress up to go to the faire though? It’s for everybody, isn’t it? Both Alliance and Horde?”

“If you want to go alone, I won’t stop you. But if makes it difficult to explain, if you want to stay safe with us. Some people like that troll are not so forgiving.”

“He can’t come here, can he?”

“No,” he says firmly, then something in Orcish.

Rylie gives him a questioning look. Orange and blood red rise up her aura, towards the scar.

“Ah. Just that nobody like him is allowed here. Not now. Not ever.”

“Good,” she nods, relief obvious on her face. “Kind of funny how I’m safer from that troll here, than with the Alliance.”

The monk nods, looking her in the eyes.

“We believe that everyone deserves to be safe, no matter what they look like.”

She considers it. Then, a thought occurs to her. She looks curious now.

“How did you learn Common? From the others here who speak it?”

“I am still learning it. Books, mostly. My wife speaks it fluently,” he smiles a bit at the thought, “And it is an importantly language to know. Like Orcish,” the smile grows into a grin. “But I am not young and inquisitive like you,” he chuckles, and rubs his beard.

She nods, grimaces, gives him a sheepish smile.

“Sorry. I ask a lot of questions, I guess.”

“That is just as well,” he says in common, then trails off, saying the rest in another language.

“That doesn’t sound like Orcish,” says Rylie.

“That is because it is Pandaren.”

“You speak Pandaren? What does it mean?”

“I am still learning. And it means ‘an open mind is a path to a brighter future.’ But right now, Rylie, I need to help some other people. I am sure we will see each other soon.”

She nods, and drops easily to the floor, and walks out.

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Rylie found Kex'ti in the kitchens, cooking up something very sweet smelling.

Rylie walks in, wearing an apron entirely too large for her. She was heading for the sink full of dishes when she spots Kex'ti. She waves to him, then sniffs the air.

"That smells good! Whatcha making?

Kex'ti speaks to her in Orcish. She catches her name in the words.

Rylie watched Kex'ti when he spoke. Then she turns, pondering his words as she begins filling the sink with hot, soapy water. She finally shakes her head.

"I promise I'm learning. But I still couldn't understand you. Except for my name."

He smirks.

"Of course. I was just asking how your healing was coming along. And I am making cinnamon buns."

She smiles at him, glad that he issn't displeased.

"Well, I can say "How are you?" "My name is Rylie", "I'm learning orcish" and "where is the bathroom." She giggles, dunking a cooking pot into the water. "And they smell really good. The cinnamon buns, I mean."

"Oh and my cheek feels a lot better. I guess I'll get used to the scar."

Orcish, when he next speaks. "Perhaps you should taste them then, is what I said. Scars build character. It shows you are strong."

"And those are important phrases to know. When you feel you are conversant in Orcish, perhaps I will teach you Thalassian."

She glances at him, as she scrubs at the pot with a scouring pad. "Thalassian?" She blinks, trying to imagine learning yet another language when she had barely started learning this one.

"It becomes easier to learn languages the more you know. It is a way to hear more stories and understand people better. What secrets might you overlook, if not for your grasp on another?"

He takes the pot he's mixing and begins folding neat pillows of dough onto a baking pan. The oven nearby is all ready to go.

Rylie nods readily to him. She watches as he works the dough into the pan. "Want me to help do anything?"

He smirks. "Hold this, for a moment." He picks up a bag of flour in one hand and holds it out to her.

Rylie grabs a dishtowel and dries off her hands, then takes the bag of flour from him.

It weighs probably about twenty pounds, and he makes she sure gets a firm grip on it so she doesn't spill it. He takes the pan and puts it into the oven, filling the kitchen with the sweet smell of baking pastries.

Kex'ti leans against the counter and watches her hold it. "It is easier to bear weight if you adjust your stance. Like this."

He makes a position, aligning his legs and back.

The bag is heavy, but she was accustomed to hard work, growing up in the logging camp. She hefted it a bit to get a better grip. But she studied his stance and shifted, mirroring the positioning of his feet. The look she gave him was curious. "What do youdo, Kex'ti?"

He smirks. "Many things. What do you mean? Clearly I cook."

She giggles and shakes her head.

"No, I mean are you a warrior? Or like, a Paladin?"

Her brow scrunches as the bag of flour grow heavier. She shoots him a sideways look as she moves to lift it up onto the counter.

He uses his staff to ease the flour back into hands. "Just a moment longer, I promise. I am a monk. I weave mists of healing to mend the bodies of the wounded, and use those arts to strike at enemies."

There is a tiny spark in her eye, when Kex'ti blocks her from putting down the flour with his staff. A small part of her was testing him, looking to see what she'd do. But she held onto the heavy sack agreeably enough. Though, she hefted it upwards again, shifting to rest the bulk of the weight against her hip.

He reaches to take the flour from her, then pours it into a bowl. "Grab me three eggs, please."

Kex'ti gestures to the ice box. "And what is it you do, Ms. Rylie?"

Once he takes it from her, she shook out her arms. She let her muscles relax before fetching the eggs.

"I don't know,” She shrugs. "Before, when I was still at the logging camp, I helped out around there. Now, I guess I help out around here." She pauses. "I decided I do want to stay."

He says something in Orcish. It's pretty simple though. Something about her, and strong.

She looks at him solemnly, her expression intent as she tries hard to understand.

"You are strong, then. And I notice you remain unbruised. Some of the little orc boys have cried at being bested by a human girl," he says vaguely.

Rylie leans on the counter, idly rolling the eggs between her fingers. But she is careful not to drop any of them. To his comment, she ducks her head a bit. "They were calling me pinkie, and I didn't like it. I didn't start any fights though, I promise.

He smiles, as if remembering something. He gestures for her to gather the eggs up, and moves to lift her up onto the counter. She’s coming to the end of her childhood. But she isn’t old enough to feel dejected at being moved onto the counter.

Rylie gives a little hop up and turns, as he settled her onto the counter. She keeps the eggs firmly but gently in her grasp, and studies his expression. "Are you mad?"

"No, of course not," he says. "Do you know how to crack an egg?" He looks between her and the eggs in her hands.

"Good." She stated. She looks at the eggs, and nods. "My Mama taught me how to cook when I was really young."

"Then go ahead," he says in Common, then Orcish to emphasize. "Zug zug."

"Have you considered my story?"

"About tea, I mean. I wish to know what you thought of it."

He absent-mindedly covers a cough and takes a sip from his jug, then puts it back onto his belt.

Rylie reaches for a dish, cracks the eggs and slides them into the bowl. "Well." She starts, slowly. "I'm not completely sure what it means. But what I was thinking was maybe it's like…the tea stains are like debt, kind of?”

She continues speaking as Kex’ti hands her a whisk and she stirs the eggs and flour together.

“And the longer you put off finding a way to repay someone, the harder it is to fix it. The debt or stains. Or whatever you owe them. So you have to work hard early on, so it doesn't get too hard to fix."

"That is quite wise. How much spice would you like in these? I'm going to give you this batch so you can make some more friends."

"Was I right?" She looks at him, curiously. Then smiled. "About…this much." She picks up a small measuring spoon, indicating the amount.

"It is just a story, ultimately," he gestures for her to put it in. "And something to make you think. My thoughts on it, I will share with you some other time."

"Okay." She turns, measuring out the spices into the bowl. "Are you sick?" She asks, referencing his cough.

"Yes." He says this firmly, and without any real remorse, like it is no big deal. "Would you like to learn to fight?"

He smirks.

"Like a monk, I mean."

"Like a Monk?" She glances up at him with interest, and nods. "One of my friends in Goldshire- his Dad is a Monk. We used to watch him spar, sometimes."

"Oh really? I wonder if he was trained in the Pandaren arts...But no matter. I can teach you, if you would like."

She shrugs helplessly to the question, unsure how her friend’s father was trained. But she smiles widely and nods. "Yeah! I would. Thank you, Kex'ti."

He smiles. "I hope you do not mind having to occasionally make a trip, though."

"A trip where?"

"Dalaran. Sanctuary is beginning to move there."

Her expression changes so rapidly, the way only the young can manage.

Her face brightens at first mention of Dalaran- it was a city she had heard about all her life, and wanted to see for as long as she could remember.

But a brief second later, the rest of his statement sinks in and she looks shocked and crestfallen.

"Why? You have to go, too?"

"I do, to be with my guild," he says, as he puts the next pan in the oven. He sets the staff against the counter and rests a hand on her shoulder.

"This is not Sanctuary's home. But they are our friends, so we will not be gone forever," he smiles.

"But whyyy?" She frowns at him, and then glances down, twisting to pick up the egg shells.

He pauses, and tries to think of an answer. He considers his words carefully.

"Sanctuary and Borrowed Time like to do different things. And it's easier to do them when we are less close.

“But you are more than welcome to come with us, if you would like. Or to visit, and stay here."

"What kind of things?" She kicks her feet absently, letting her heels thump against the counter she was sitting on. Stacking the eggshells inside one another, she leans and tossed them at the compost box across the room, where they landed neatly inside.

Kex’ti smirks, watching the arc. He turns back to her.

"If I told you, it might be an unkind thing to say. But I promise, if you want to know, and you are certain, I will tell you."

Rylie frowns at him in confusion. "Unkind, to who?" She asks slowly.

He hesitates. "Towards some of the people in Borrowed Time. Not most, or even many. But some of the ones who make decisions Sanctuary cannot find itself agreeing with. It is rude to speak ill of such...hosts."

She looks confused and a bit uncomfortable, unsure that she wanted to hear anything bad about the people she had left her whole life to join. She scoots forward, hopping down from the counter and moving to the sink where the pots were soaking. Her hands dip into the water. " said you're still friends with them."

"Yes. I am, and Sanctuary is."

"But you must understand. In the same way that not all Horde are like the Grim, not all members of a guild are the same."

"But this is not about me, and them. This is simply because Sanctuary works better closer to the Alliance, in Dalaran, and Borrowed Time is happier here. Due to the environment."

He smirks.

"Well…when do you have to move?" She begins scouring at the pan, causing the water to slosh slightly in the basin. "Who's The Grim?"

"In a few weeks. It is a gradual process. We still have a garrison here in the Frostfire Mountains, so I will stay there for a few months yet."

"The Grim are...members of the Horde who have a very twisted sense of purpose."

Rylie heaved a sigh, but turned to face Kex'ti again. Water dripped onto the floor. "Well.. I still want to stay here with Mythiis and Chief and Taozhu. But as long as I get to come visit you in Dalaran.. I've always wanted to see Dalaran."

He leans over to hug her. He smells medicinal at this range.

"Of course. And in the meantime, we will start teaching you how to be a great monk."

Rylie grinned and hugged him back, getting the back of his shirt a bit damp and sudsy from her hands. "Okay."

He chuckles, and reaches into the oven to take the first plate of rolls out. He doesn't even need to use a glove, and he sets it on the counter. He shows her that his hand is rough and calloused, and only a slight bit burned. Greenish mist forms around it with a quick twist of his hand and a smile, and heals the burnmarks.

Rylie winces, hissing between her teeth when he picks up the pan without the potholder, but she relaxes when he shows her that he was ok. "I don't have to do that, do I?" She asks him, dubiously.

He chuckles. "Of course not. Someday, perhaps you will be able to do this, and more. But not yet. First, you should learn the principles of center line defense."

She nods to Kex'ti, leaning to inhale deeply of the steaming cinnamon rolls that were cooling on the counter. "How come you learned to be a monk?"

He waits for her to ask the question before sweeping her legs out from under her with his staff. He's fast enough to grab her under her arm before she falls, and he pulls her up to her feet n the time it takes her to blink

"So I could learn center line defense," he says simply, and smirks.

It isn’t what she expects in the slightest. One moment, she sniffs the hot cinnamon pastries, and in the next instant, she feels the staff knock against the back of her feet, she sees his arm dart for her, and she scrambles to get her feet under her. She yelps loudly in surprise, and flings her arms out, and feels him catch her before her rump hit the floor. She faces him, consternation and a little excitement in her expression. He catch the glint in her eyes right before she tries to snatch his staff, testing him once more.

He lets her take the staff, and even lets himself pitch for good measure. He lets her get surprised by the odd weighting of it.

That does indeed surprise her. She fully expects him to block her hand, or move the staff away. Her eyes widen briefly when she found it in her hands. She gazes along the staff nearly twice her height, and stares at the way the book at the tip floats. Each and every component and how it combines. The weight of more than just the walking staff or weapon itself.

She looks at it with interest, tipping it a bit, feeling it move in her hands. She’s careful not to send any pans clattering to the floor. It is something both ancient and new. He rubs his leg, and stands watching her.

"It is important to remember, that as a monk, you are never unarmed, Rylie."

He scoops her up into his arms and laughs.

She grins when he scoops her up. "Someday, I'm gonna knock your feet out from under you. Watch and see."

"Many have tried," he says as he sets her back down and takes his staff back. She's a little surprised and takes a moment to even notice the weapon leaving her grip.

She smirks back at him, then leans against the counter. "Ok…what is center line defense?" she says when the giggling subsides.

"Center line defense is a principle of Crane Style. Basically all attack or defense stems from the center. On a philosophical level, it is the idea that all must return to balance, in the scheme of things.”

She nods, frowns to herself in concentration as she thinks about what he said.

"I have a scroll you should read. It is in Pandaren, but is illustrated. Follow those motions one hundred times in order when you wake up and before you go to bed. That is the first step to learning.”

He smiles, and hands her a cinnamon roll. He grabs a mitt this time, and takes the other pan out.

She beams at him with a nod, enthused by the idea of him training with her. She took the cinnamon roll he offered and blew on it, moving it between her hands a few times until it was cool enough to take a bit. She mmms in appreciation and moved to pour them something to drink. "Wan' milk?"

He nods, and replies "Yes" in Orcish.

She repeats the word to him in Orcish. "Means, yes?" She finds a couple of cups and pours some cold milk from the ice box, and hands him a glass.


He grabs one of the rolls and clinks their glasses together.

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Several days later...

"Hoi, Rylie, how do you fare?" says the monk, as he comes to the Borrowed Time garrison. He has a second hearthstone with him today.

Rylie was out behind the tavern, a rag draped over her shoulder. She was dumping out a large bucket of gray water into the rocks. She looked up at Kex'ti with a smile. "Hi, Kex'ti! I'm good, how are you?"

*Orcish* "I am quite well, are you ready to go to Dalaran?*

Her eyes widened greatly, at that. "Oh, can we really?? I would love to!"

"Of course. I got you a temporary hearthstone. It should allow you to follow me to our base in Dalaran." He hands the stone to her. It's weighty, for its size.

She set the bucket against the wall of the building to dry, and wiped her hands with the rag before dropping it onto the bucket. Then she took the stone in her hands, and looked up at him. "Will I be able to visit there anytime I want?"

"But of course."

"Cool!" She grinned at him, then looked at the stone. "Ok, how does it work?"

"You tap it. and whisper "Through Ashes We Rise" in Orcish."

She frowned at him, with a pause. "I only understood 'you, and.. we.. something.."

He repeats the words in Orcish and smiled encouragingly.

She sighed a little, with a flicker of frustration.

"Ok, my langage book and notes are inside, let me go get them." She turned, to run off and retrieve her things.

After a few minutes, she returned to Kex'ti. Beneath her arm was tucked a book with some papers sticking out of it. "You said, 'I whisper in ash we do'.. something. What was it again?"

*He repeats the phrase*

Rylie peered at him. "We don't get to go to Dalaran til I get it right, huh?"

He shakes his head patiently.

Rylie tossed back her head dramatically and sat down on the steps, opening the book. She pulled out some paper and found a pen, then handed it to him. "Will you write it for me? It helps when I can see it."

He smiles, and writes the text down, in common pronunciation and in Orcish lettering.

She smiled at him, taking the page and then looking at it. "See? I am trying..."

"I know you are," he says in Common. He smiles at her.

She studied the letters and flipped through the pages of the book. Then slowly repeated the phrase he had written. She had a long ways to go before she'd fully get the pronunciation of the language right, but it was mostly understandable. As soon as she grasped what was written, she tried it. Tapping the stone, she repeated the words again. 'Through Ashes we rise.."

The stone ignites with a pleasant glow.

She gasped softly as the stone cast it's faint glow in her hands, and looked quickly up at him, her eyes clearly asking, 'now what?'.

"You press it, and think 'Dalaran,'" he said. "I will meet you there. You go first. Also, be aware it will cause a bit of vertigo."

He had barely finishes speaking before she had already pressed the stone and was fading out of existance, so eager she was to see the floating city. He followed shortly after, and reaches out a hand to steady her as she wavers.

"Welcome to Dalaran," he said, and smirked.

Rylie teetered a bit, feeling the twisty sensation in her stomach as the two of them appeared in the Dalaran courtyard. But she hardly minded, too busy looking around in excitement. "Oh, I always wanted to see this! I didn't think I ever would.." There was a flicker of sadness and regret, that it was not something she had gotten to share with her father. But she pushed the thought away, not wanting the moment to be spoiled with sadness. Instead, she looked quickly at Kex'ti. "You really get to live here in a garrison? Wow. Show me where it is!"

"Of course," he says, and hobbles down to the garrison, taking time to let her explore as she wants.

She did slow down along the way, lingering to peek into shops or watch in fascination as members of horde and alliance both went about their business. She stepped away as a large tauren stomped past, carrying a heavy looking bundle. "Won't they attack each other?" She asked Kex'ti, as she ran to catch up with him.

"Some will. Most do not. Dalaran is worth keeping the peace over."

"That is why we are here, Sanctuary that is, so that we might facillitate a peace that is more than tenuous.

She nodded. "Why Dalaran? How did you get to move here?"

"Well, after the Purge..." he begins. "The Purge of Dalaran was when the Sunreavers, and Horde, were removed from Dalaran. But, with Khadgar's efforts in Draenor, and his recent return to the Council, he has allowed the Horde back in. I simply purchased an unclaimed lot of property, and got to renovating it. Sanctuary preaches peace. Where better to try and foster those ties?" he said.

She frowned at him. " I think I heard some grown ups talking about that, once, Jaina Proudmore did it, didn't she?" She glanced at him, adding. "It must have been very expensive."

"Oh, it was not as expensive as you might think. I have had a fortunate life," he says, with a smirk. "And there is some sense of pride in owning property here.

"You see, Rylie, my father wanted very badly for me to be a mage. And...well, that was not to be. So, if I could not be a wizard, at least I can own land in the city of wizards..."

"A mage?" She considered that, hopping up to walk along the curb and then jumping back down again. "Why didn't you?"

"If you very much wanted to be a fish, could you?" he asks.

She looked at him and giggled. "No! At least, I don't think so. Not unless someone turned me into one."

"Well, there you go." His smile was almost genuine. "Here," he said, and pointed to the property in front of them. There is a tower, and the buildings encompass almost the entire structure save for a single gate into an inner courtyard.

Rylie had more questions, but was distracted from her thoughts when they arrived at the new garrison. She looked up at the structure. "I guess it's really safe here, huh?"

"Well, I certainly hope so!" he laughs. "Would you like me to show you around?"

She grinned and nodded eagerly. "Yeah!"

*He takes her around the towers and longhouses, and shows her the extend of improvement going on."

She followed him, looking around with interest. "So, Sanctuary wants to have peace with the Alliance? Is that it?"

"Sanctuary wants peace with everyone, when possible," he says. "We are stronger and more free when we are united in purpose, or at least in agreement that all deserve a right to live."

"Do they ever not listen?"

He looked at her, and rubs his beard.

"Many people do not see it that way."

"Like that troll, huh? The one Mythiis saved me from..."

"Yes. And even among the Grim, not all of them feel as violent."

He looked at her, and smiled briefly.

She nodded. "Well.. I'm kind of sad that you all had to move out of the Borrowed Time garrison. But I'm also excited that you picked Dalaran, and I can come visit." She smiled at him. "Will you keep training me here? Or back there?"

"Wherever you would like, Rylie. If you would like to come live here, I do not think Julilee and I would mind.'

She looked down, and shook her head. "It would be fun to live here. But I think it would be mean of me.. after all, Mythiis brought me to Borrowed Time, and Taozhu has been teaching me Oricsh and Mayce lets me work in his tavern and he's been showing me some fighting stuff, too."

Kex'ti smiled. "Of course. Well, keep the stone. If you ever want to visit...Well, you know how to do that."

Rylie looked very happy about that, and nodded. Then she gave him a questioning look. "You looked kind of funny, a minute ago. What was wrong?"

"Oh, I do not recall," he said with a chuckle. "Would you like to come help me cook dinner? Perhaps, if you have the time, you could even eat with us this evening."

She nodded happily. "Yes! I'd like that."

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Kex’ti smiled at Rylie. He waited at the peak of the balcony of his shared quarters in the Dalaran hall.

Rylie grinned at Kex’ti. "Kex’ti!"

“Julilee will be here shortly.”

Kex’ti opened his arms for a hug. His staff leaned against the railing and Rylie hugged him. He scooped her up and gave her a tight embrace. Rylie giggled and hugged him tight.

"Thank you for letting me come live here with you all!"

“Thank you for coming to live with us as well,” he smirked. “I have a bedroom already made up for you, up here at the top of our tower.”

Rylie scrambled down and leaned to peek over the balcony. "I can't believe how high up we are!"

Kex’ti pointed up towards the Violet Citadel.

“And yet we are far from the tallest building here.“

“How come there's all those rocks floating in the air?”

“Mages do love to show off,” he chuckled. The human girl laughed. “I can think of no other practical reason.” He smiled. “Did you like the donuts? They actually make another flavor right down the street from us. Admittedly I have yet to master the process myself...”

Julilee walked out onto the balcony. For now, it would surprise Rylie, the monk thought. But in time, her senses might even be sharper than his.

Rylie smiled and nodded at him. "Yes, thank you. I still have a couple left, even." Rylie turned, noticing Julilee. She smiled shyly.

“How is your training coming along?“ he asked Rylie. “Hoi, Juli. This is Rylie.”

“Kex'ti. And Rylie, I presume,” said the elf in full plate.

Kex’ti leaned against the balcony. The monk nodded to Julilee, who in turn nodded to Rylie. The monks smiled. Rylie, finally, nodded to Julilee.

"Hi. Nice to meet you." She recited, in Orcish.

“ It's nice to meet you as well. I've heard much about you.”

“Thank you for letting me come stay here with you and Kexti." Rylie’s Orcish was still very broken, common filling in the words she still didn't know yet.

Julilee nodded, seeming to understand. "You're welcome. Would you prefer to switch to Common, or do you want to practice Orcish?"

Rylie glanced at Kex'ti. "Kex'ti makes me try to speak Orcish, even if I don't understand everything."

Julilee smiled at Rylie.

“He's a very tough teacher.”

“She is learning quickly, though, so it seems to be working,” he said.

Rylie nodded, grinning in agreement.

“He says you are taking well to monk training, too,” said Julilee.

“Yeah! It's pretty fun. I'm still not that good because I'm not very strong. But I'm getting good at the spinning part.“

Rylie kicked in a semi-circle, keeping balance on her back leg. Julilee nodded in approval.

“You need to keep your leg a little higher...” Kex’ti couldn't help but critique, but he did so with an approving grin. He winked at Rylie.

“Like this?”

She adjusted her stance. Not perfect, by any means, but she was getting the hang of the form.

“Excellent. It will be good to instruct you directly. You are already learning so quickly.” The monk turned to look at Julilee, and Rylie beamed. “And maybe Julilee can even teach you a few tricks. She was talking about that last night too.” He smirked.

“How do you like Dalaran?” asked Julilee.

Julilee gave Kex'ti a faint amused smile.

“I love Dalaran! I always wanted to see it, I can't believe I'm going to get to live here. She looked from Kexti, to Julilee. "What kind of tricks?"

“It's helped me to learn a few tricks from Kex'ti, so it will help you to learn a few tricks from other people.”

Rylie looked curious.

“Hopefully not too many. It would be embarrassing if I could not outduel my own pupil.”

He smirked, and Julilee smiled at him.

“The day will come, I'm sure,” she said.

Rylie giggled. "Someday. Wait and see."

“One of the important things to remember as you train is that you can learn from the people you fight too. That is what mastery is. The ability to adapt as you need to. It is how you turn certain defeat into victory,” he said. He chuckled at the girl’s words. “Maybe someday. But you have a great deal of youth left before I am old enough for you to best me.”

Kex’ti smirked, and planted his four-fingered hand in a gentle pat on Rylie's head. Rylie smiled up at him.

“It's a good thing I was able to come here now- I guess Borrowed Time is moving.”

“I heard someone mention that.”

Kex’ti glanced between them.

Rylie nodded.

"They're going to.. Blasted Lands. I was scared the troll could find me there."

“Anywhere...near Dalaran?” started Kex’ti.

“The troll...?” asked Julilee.

“The troll that attacked me.” She pointed at the scar on her face.

“A member of the Grim is...responsible in many ways for...Yes.”

Julilee’s eyes narrowed. She doesn't have an especially friendly countenance most of the time, predisposed to looking serious more often than not, but the minute change in expression hints at strong but controlled emotions beneath the reserved exterior.

“You are safe from the Grim with us. I will not let anyone harm you. Nor will Kex'ti.”

The monk nodded.

“He chased me in the woods.. Mythiis saved me. But not before I hit him in the head with a rock!”She smiled gratefully to the two of them.

Kex’ti glanced approvingly towards Julilee.

“It's good that Kex'ti is teaching you how to defend yourself. When you're strong enough, you can save other people like how Mythiis saved you.”

Rylie nodded seriously to Julilee. "I hope I can. I want to help people." That made her think of something, and she turned to Kex’ti. "Now that I'm here, what can I do? You know, to help out. Earn my keep, as my Papa would have said."

“Well, before we discuss chores, why do we not look at your quarters?”

Rylie grinned. "Ok!"

Kex’ti smiled at Julilee, who also managed a little smile. Kex’ti limped nto the building. Rylie followed, looking around curiously. Kex’ti waved his hand over a rune on the wall. Little spurts of gas ignite in sconces on the wall.

“Here we are.”

Julilee looked around, not yet having seen what Kex’ti had done to the room on the floor below theirs.

Rylie looked up at the sconces, and looked around the room. "This place is nice!"

“We have a lot of space here.”

The illuminated room had a training dummy, freshly crafted from a dark wood. There's a four-poster bed against one wall, by the window. The window looks down into the street below.

“Silence charms prevent the street noise from leaking in. If you open the window...” said the monk, opening the latch. “You can hear everything though.”

Kex’ti tapped his staff on a chest.

“For all your possessions. Otherwise, the space is yours to tailor as you need.”

The women walked over and looked out the window. Rylie leaned out to see the street below. She turned to see the chest. "That's more than enough room for my things, I don't have very much stuff. Thank you, Kexti and Juliee! I'm really excited."

Rylie ran over and hugged Kexti. Then turned, tentatively approaching Julilee, and hugging her as well. Kex’ti returned the hug and smirked. Julilee cautiously hugs the girl back, not wanting to squeeze her against hard armor. The monk, however, came up behind the two and sandwiched Rylie in a hug anyway. She laughed, then Julilee did as well, softly.

“Welcome home, Rylie,” he said with a smile.

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“Now, as for your chores. Obviously, we will continue your training, and you will of course need to practice on your own,” said Kex’ti, as he looked out the window. “You will also be thankful for that silence charm. That speech is like Dalaran's bell chime.”

Outside, Rhonin’s speech was played once more on its recorded loop. Rylie smiled up at them, stepping back. "Thank you." She said, quietely. She was deeply touched by their kindness, and it showed in her eyes. She leaned against the bed and nodded, listening. “He's really loud.”

“They play it in memorial of the Archmage Rhonin, who passed away in Theramore." Kex’ti nodded, rubbing at his beard. “It is often in our absence that our words are loudest. That said, if you would like to help me in the kitchens, I think you already have more than sufficient skill there.”

“Can I explore the city here, as I want? When I'm not doing my chores or studies, that is?”

Kex’ti nodded and smirked. “Of course.”

“And it's safe? What if I see the troll here? Can he hurt me?”

“Yes, it is safe, but avoid being alone after dark. He cannot hurt you, but the Underbelly is not particularly safe.”

“If you see him, go straight to the nearest guard. They will protect you,” said Julilee.

The three continued their circle of nods. Rylie nodded to Kex’ti. Kex’ti nodded to Julilee, and then with a settling gesture, Julilee and Rylie nodded to each other.

“Also, avoid mages when possible,” Kex’ti mentioned, drawing a look from Julilee.

"Avoid mages? Why?" asked Rylie, blinking.

“Not out of any real danger but I had my hair turned purple for nearly a day and a half, while my tabard went white. It was...fortunate Julilee was in Draenor at the time.”

Rylie started laughing. Kex’ti joined in, with a chuckle. Julilee, meanwhile, quirked an eyebrow, trying to picture it.

“Often, apprentices like to try out their polymorph spells on passersby.”

“Does it last very long?”

“I will eventually teach you how to diffuse that sort of magic. But...It would be embarrassing to become a turtle.” He shrugged. “It depends. But, still. One minute you think you are only temporarily a cat and the next you crave milk and fish for three weeks.”

“I was going to ask, what does Kex'ti have you studying, Rylie?” asked Julilee.

Kex’ti smiled at the girl. “Go ahead, Rylie.”

“My Orcish, and how to fight like a monk, and protect myself. Oh, and…my center line of defense.”

Julilee paused. "No history, science, math...?" She looked at Kex'ti.

“I assumed Borrowed Time would be up to that task...Though you are right that she will need teachers in those subjects now.“

The warrior nodded to Kex’ti.

Rylie cocked her head, curiously. "So much has happened since Mythiis saved me, I forgot about my regular studies…"

“I'll see about finding you a tutor,” said Julilee.

“In addition to what I have been teaching you, I am certain we can find a number of other interesting studies,” said Kex’ti. He coughed, and took a sip from his jug.

Rylie looked at Kex'ti. "Are you STILL sick?"

“Ah, no. Just an old habit,” he said with a smirk. He smiled confidently to Julilee.

“If you find there's anything you need or want, you can ask us, Rylie,” she said.

Rylie walked over and poked at the training dummy. "I won't get in trouble for practicing in here? What if I break something?" She looked around to see if there was anything in range of being at risk of knocked over or broken.

“If you manage to break it during practice, I will be proud, not angry. The dummy responds to your attacks, to teach you how to defend even as you strike.”

Rylie laughed. "I don't mean the dummy! I mean like.. a lamp or something."

“Oh. Well then yes, I will be quite upset,” Kex’ti said, his expression less than serious. “Things break, Rylie. They can be fixed. As long as you are not wantonly destroying them, it should be fine.”

“I'll be careful…” Rylie said, and nodded. Then she looked curious. "Are there a lot of people in Sanctuary? I only know you two."

“Many of them are away on extended assignments, but many others are at the Draenor garrison still,” said Julilee.

“What kind of assignments?”

“Doubtlessly more will gather here in the coming months. It is convenient for us to have a wide distribution of safe havens...” began Kex’ti. He look to Juli to answer Rylie’s question.

“As we serve the Horde, we do follow the Warchief's orders, and he ordered us to support the Horde's mission in Draenor. We'll be there until he decides we are needed elsewhere.”

Rylie nodded slowly.

“You are welcome to live with us as long as you like, Rylie,” said the monk, with a smile. “But, whenever you are ready to become a full member of Sanctuary and swear the oaths, that will also be a special day.

Rylie looked at him. "What are the oaths of Sanctuary?"

“We swear to uphold the values of Peace, Justice, Mercy, and Sacrifice; though on occasion, some small changes are made, though the concepts are the same for all.”

Julilee nodded.

“That sounds nice…when can I do that?”

Julilee looked thoughtful. She'd never considered when someone might be old enough to swear the oaths. But she let Brooser swear them...

The elves looked to each other, soundlessly communicating. With a smile, Kex’ti spoke again.

“Well, Rylie, you can swear the same oaths I swore now, if you would like. Though, you would not be deployed to combat roles for quite some time. Not until you have completed your training,” he looked back to Julilee.

“If that is okay with Commander Julilee, of course.”

“Yes, if she's ready, she may swear the oaths.”

She nodded at Rylie. The girl looked between them, and nodded. "I still want to swear them. So I can feel like I'm really a part of everything. And not so alone." Her face scrunched briefly.

Kex’ti put a hand on the human’s shoulder.

“You will never be alone, as long as you are here with us, Rylie. Repeat after me.”

She smiled, Kex’ti grinned.

“Peace. I will not initiate hostilities,” he began.

"’Peace. I will not initiate hostilites.’"

“Justice. I will react with force only to defend the innocent, or in fair, consensual combat.”

"’Justice. I will react with force only to defend the innocent, or in fair, consensual combat.’"

Julilee took something out of her pocket while they recited the oaths.

“Temperance. I will heal where others may wound, I will harm only when I cannot restore.”

“’Temperance. I will heal where others may wound, I will harm only when I cannot restore.’"

Rylie seemed very focused on the words, thinking them over as she recited them. Temperance...I will use my strength only to right the wrongs I must.

“Sacrifice. I will forgive mistakes, insults, and injuries to my person for the sake of peace, justice, and mercy.”

“’ Sacrifice- I will forgive mistakes,insults, and injuries to my person for the sake pf peace, justice and mercy.’"

“Welcome to Sanctuary, Rylie Tattersail,” he said.

Rylie beamed a smile at Kex'ti, and Julilee. "Yay!"

Julilee walks forward and offers Rylie a small, pristine hearthstone.

Kex’ti leaned over and gave her a big hug.

Rylie turned and took the hearthstone frm Julilee, with a smile. "Thanks, Julilee."

Julilee looked faintly amused.

Rylie looked at Kex'ti, confused.

"What is…newbie?" she asked in response to Shokkra’s greeting.

“It means...newcomer.”

“We're glad to have you, Rylie.”

Kex’ti nodded.

“We will let you unpack. Tomorrow morning, though...”

Julilee smiled.

Rylie looked curiously at Kexti.

“Be ready to train bright and early!” he chuckled. “Good night Rylie. Sinu a'manore.”

He bowed to his apprentice.

Rylie grinned happily, and laughed. "I will! Goodnight."

Rylie hugged the both of them.

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