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Qabian

Tides Before the Storm

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Qabian stood leaning against the back wall of the embassy with a handful of other hangers-on as the so-called leadership of the Horde discussed their armistice. How he had managed to get there or what right he had to be there, no one seemed to question in the moment. A little peace between the Horde and the Alliance never stopped the Grim. Never stopped him, either, although other things did, now and then. 

Lor'themar acting as the speaker made Qabian feel vaguely ill. He wondered where Rommath was. The Grand Magister probably knew the whole debacle would provoke physical disgust, especially given what was going on with Dar'khan's little gang of disciples multiplying through Stormwind, and had the good sense to stay home.

But peace and co-operation came in waves, ebbed and flowed. The more co-operation between the Horde and the Alliance, the greater the threat on the horizon seemed to be, and Qabian couldn't help notice the sense of foreboding, not just in himself, but in everyone in the room, and outside in the city beyond. 

Sylvanas' disappearance exacerbated that. Whatever was coming next was going to be bad, and she was either going to be the catalyst or woven inextricably into it, as Garrosh had been before her. The story was getting tired, but the necessity of survival superseded everything else.

Qabian stepped quietly outside before the ambassadors finished speaking, once he realized Thrall was going to force a council on them. Seeing how well that had worked out for the Forsaken recently, clearly it needed to be modeled.

Kumai waited for him near the gate.

"You and I aren't to speak to each other anymore, remember?" Qabian said with a frown as he approached her.

Kumai smirked at him.

"Haha, very funny," he answered her smirk with a roll of his eyes and a scowl. They had taken on each other's mannerisms and their ability to communicate without saying anything was useful.

Kumai reached into a pouch at her side, then tossed a pinch of soft dust in the air, before using her fingers and a shimmer of heat to weave it into a shape: the knives and shadows of the Grim. Behind the floating image, Kumai raised an eyebrow at Qabian.

Qabian shook his head. "I don't know. There is always an ebb and flow to such work, and in theory, now is the time to prepare as the horizon promises there will be much to do, but..." He hesitated, looking past Kumai around the rough, omnipresent browns of Durotar stone. "Nazjatar has changed everything irrevocably. For me," he amended. "I may continue my project in Northrend, pretend it can hold my attention indefinitely when there is really no way that it can, but at least it is something to occupy my mind between the everyday struggles while we await that horizon's approach."

He turned away from the embassy and the orc he was speaking to. She was one of the few people he could consider a friend without them ever insisting he address them as such, but the urge to pull away from even those few seemed to increase every day. She stepped up behind him and put her hand on his arm. 

"You have not yet found your Nazjatar. Or you have and you have already moved beyond it," Qabian said quietly. He didn't flinch from her touch, but he spoke to Kumai without looking at her. "I think I may need to find my way on my own."

Kumai held her palm out in front of Qabian's chest with the Grim symbol still floating above it. The dust shifted its shape, showing a series of figures, all of them women: a shorter proportioned elf figure with a lot of curves, a tall figure with much longer ears and that characteristic shal'dorei arrogance in her stance, a small raggedy bony figure with knives aggressively stabbing at the air, a few other elves of varying shapes in various stances suggesting violence, then a small copy of herself right down to the little dust figure floating above her copy's hand.

Qabian watched the series of images, then sighed. "I know. I am not alone. But I should be." He sidestepped Kumai's incoming punch with a curt laugh. "I know, I know. I know where to find help if I need it, but I don't even know if I want help at this point. We must wait and see. No, I must wait and see. I will grow into my role as a wizard locking himself away in a tower. You must go ahead without me."

Kumai nodded. She let her dust lose its magic and gather in her palm, then closed her fist around it. The two Horde mages gave each other simultaneous lazy salutes, as if they'd practiced synchronizing the gesture and the mirrored smirks that followed before they turned away from each other, walking separate ways out into the city.

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