She's there, much to his frustration; the annoying little human child with hair the colour of the sun, staring at him with wide eyes as if she's never seen a ten year old boy in a dungeon before.
"Aren't you a little young to be in the gladiator ring?" she asks. "They get really mean out there.'
He snaps, "Aren't you a little young to be left alone in here?"
She smiles at him, unphased. "Nope," she says. "Daddy left me here, he's looking for a high elf or someone."
"Daddy dearest left you here."
She nods, missing his venomous tone entirely. "I'm Jaina," she says. "Jaina Proudmoore. I'm eight years old."
"Really?" the green skinned boy glares at her through the bars of his cell. "Are you related to that git Daelin Proudmoore?"
"He's my Daddy," says Jaina. The orc turns a paler shade of green.
Shit, the boy thinks, though he knows if he said the word out loud the noble girl would tell him off. Children shouldn't know that kind of language.
"What's your name?" says Jaina. "I know you're the famous orc, but I forgot your name."
Thanks, midget. "It's Thrall," he says.
"That's right!" Jaina grins. "You're one of the only orcs who know Common!"
Wow, kid, I had no idea. Wait a sec…
"What's an orc?"
"That's what you are," Jaina pokes him through the bars. Reflexively, he slaps at her hand and she cries out.
"I'm sorry," he feels panic build up in his chest as startled tears rise in her eyes. He backs away, crawling. "I didn't mean – please don't tell, they'll whip me."
Her eyes widen, pain forgotten as she withdraws her arm, an angry red splash of colour glaring back at him. Her long, robed sleeve drops to cover it, and her smile is lost as she says, "They whip you?"
He looks at her as if she's grown an extra eyeball. "Of course they do," he says. "Don't they whip you?"
She slowly shakes her head. "It's really mean of them!" she says. "How old are you?"
"I think I'm ten," says Thrall. "I'm not sure, but."
"Maybe you're actually eight, like I am," Jaina's face lights up at the prospect. "That would be so cool! You're really old, though," her face falls at this.
Children. There is only two years difference between them, but Jaina's world seems much, much different to his. Thrall frowns. "I'm not that old," he says.
"But you are!" Jaina cries out. "Ten is really old."
"Your Dad's way older than ten years old."
"I know," Jaina beams. "He's really really old!"
Thrall chuckles, and that surprises him. He's never felt so light-hearted before. Then again, he hasn't ever encountered another child who he wasn't serving. This girl treats him… like an equal, he realises, and the thought makes him inflate slightly. The girl wants information from him. She wants to know about him!
"Do you know Taretha?" he asks.
"Taretha…?" Jaina frowns.
She shakes her head. "Nope, why?"
"You… you remind me of her. She helps me sometimes. She's nice. Like you."
Jaina shrugs; the compliment has flown over her head. Thrall's aware he has lost her interest, and tries desperately to claw for a thread of a conversation to follow. "Um," he says.
She raises her eyebrows expectantly, but he can tell her attention is somewhere else. Children. He knows when he has lost.
"I have to go now," she says, and his shoulders sag slightly. Seeing this, she gives him a smile. "I'll try come after the fight, if you want."
"Don't bother," he says. More likely he'll be beaten bloody. No female child should see this, only the adults can. The adults that are the same age as the enemies he will fight today. "They won't let you."
"Good luck in the fight," says Jaina. "I'm not allowed to watch, though."
No wonder, Thrall thinks. But then Jaina mutters to herself, and then pushes a closed fist as far as she can through the bars. He comes forward, and she opens it. A ball of blue light, the size of a marble, falls to the ground. He picks it up and looks at it.
"It's a spell," the girl grins wickedly. "I'm not meant to learn them 'coz I'm a girl, thought. It's called frost bolt. You might find it useful."
His facial expression suddenly mirrors hers. This is quite a stroke of luck! "Thank you Jaina," he says. She giggles and smiles at him.
"Bye Thrall," she says with a smile that makes his heart speed up, and then she leaves the greenskin in his cell, alone with the frost bolt. He knows he only has to throw it, but he is curious – why does a human child leave it with him?
She's really nice…
Never mind, he decides. Never question a free lunch, he thinks as he slips the frost bolt into one of the pockets of his breeches.
Maybe he won't get beaten up today…