Author: So, this was my entry into the Blizzard writing contest. As I have not won, I figure that it's safe for me to post. Perhaps next year...
Disclaimer: The World isn't mind, but Davi and Wlad are.
Wlad stood before the call board in Stormwind, reading the notices and pleas for help from across the Eastern Kingdoms. He had been in Northrend when the world had tremored beneath his feet, but he had brushed it off as something to do with the Blue Dragonflight and their war with the other flights and the Kirin Tor.
Then reports began to filter in, news of a world shattered, and he had immediately returned to the Eastern Kingdoms. Anxiety for the remnants of his people had constricted his heart, and he had sought news of Arathi the moment he had disembarked, as he feared the worst for his beleaguered kingdom. He was relieved to discover that his home territory had made it through the breaking of Azeroth relatively unscathed, but he felt for those whose lives had been shattered as a result of the return of Deathwing.
His eyes lingered on the request for adventurers to go to the Arathi Highlands before he heaved an inward sigh and pushed the paper aside to examine other pleas.
There's nothing more I can do there, he reminded himself sternly. Stromgarde is a defunct nation, most of its people have moved on to other kingdoms, and it lacks an heir to step up and piece together the tattered realm. One warrior can't fix all that.
He was stroking his beard, pondering whether to head south or catch a ship to Kalimdor, when a phrase from an overheard conversation caught him up short.
"I heard the Greymane Wall has come down."
Wlad turned and listened intently as two hunters gossiped.
Fallen? The Greymane Wall? Light, how can that be? That thing has stood strong against wars, undead, wars against undead…
A small, wry smile crossed his face. But I suppose that's nothing in the face of the insanity of the world-breaker.
"They say that King Greymane himself is going to come to Stormwind," the dwarf said, gesturing idly with one hand as the other rested on the top of her boar's head. "The Kaldorei have already offered their aid to the Gilneans, so I guess it's only a formality, really."
King Greymane is coming to Stormwind? Then maybe…
Wlad caught himself and scowled at the ground. Who cares what she does, whether or not she is alive? It was her choice to move to Gilneas and leave everything behind.
A brief spike of sadness and pain rushed through him at the memory of how much his people had suffered in the twenty years she had been gone, from losing their home and most of their people to the rumored raising of their prince as a member of the Forsaken.
"I heard that they've become worgen," the human said as the wolf beside her scratched his chin.
Wlad stilled, all other thoughts banished.
"What, the Gilneans? Worgen? All of them?" the dwarf exclaimed loudly enough to catch the attention of others in the central square.
The human shushed her companion before she replied, "Who over here knows for sure? I've only heard this—haven't seen it with my own eyes."
"Guess we'll find out when we see a worgen walking here in Stormwind and not trying to bite our heads off, eh?"
Worgen? In Gilneas? She might be dead! Wlad found his steps had turned to the harbor, the call board forgotten. He stopped abruptly and stepped into a side alley so as to not get trampled by others with a clearer purpose to their travels.
Don't be a fool, he berated himself. There's no sense in rushing off to ask whether one woman out of thousands is alive. She might have died of something else during the interim—it has been nearly 20 years since I've seen her last.
Wlad shifted the shield on his back as his fingers toyed with the mace at his side. He eventually sighed and started towards the harbor, renewed purpose in his step.
I owe it to mother and father to find out if she's alive or dead, human…or worgen. Even if I don't like the answer, it will be an answer.
Will I recognize her? He wondered as he traveled, his mace bumping gently against his leg. We were 16 when she left…how she must have changed. What if she changed her last name? Her first name isn't that common, but what if she, Light forbid, got married?
Wlad readjusted his shield and snorted inwardly. Although I pity the fool who would marry a girl like her.
In a way, he would rather his sister be dead than a worgen. Worgen were beasts, rabid creatures that did nothing but terrorize mortals. He had killed many, many worgen in Duskwood to relieve the threat to Darkshire and had taken grim pleasure in removing them from Northrend. He had seen good people torn apart by the wolf-creatures, and had done everything in his power to make sure that the people of the Alliance were not endangered by such savage beings.
And now they expect people to just welcome them into the Alliance? Gilneans or not, it's not going to be easy to get over the suspicion and dislike—the Gilneans may even be working against hatred.
Wlad stopped in his tracks, and one of his hands went to his weapon as he watched a group of humanoids walk up the stairs from the harbor.
His first impression was that whatever lead the pack he was a rogue hunter's pet, but when the humanoid's movement registered further—walking upright, the stride even, the way a human would move—he took a closer look. The humanoid wore clothing, armor that spoke of a warrior, and it carried a massive two-handed sword across its back. He took a second longer to notice the viciously clawed hands, the oddly turned legs, the paws-as-feet, and the feral, angular, lupine facial features.
Worgen, Wlad thought in anger, and the ghostly sensation of hot breath that smelled of blood against his face fluttered through him.
Her—for there was no debating the humanoid's sex—chin was tilted up in a proud, stubborn expression, and her eyes glittered with sharp intelligence.
Wlad stepped aside and gave the pack of worgen a wide berth.
So it is true, he thought as he watched the six lupine figures carefully. We are to accept monsters into the Alliance.
As he stood to the side, he saw another group ascend the stairs, and had to clench his hands tightly to keep himself from saying—or doing—anything stupid.
If so many Gilneans survived as such, it's possible that she survived as well.
He walked carefully around any approaching worgen-packs as he descended the stairs towards the harbor, and was uneasy by the number of worgen that were disembarking the ship from Kalimdor.
Ships, he thought with an inward wince. There are times I wish I had more friends who are mages. I hate ships.
Wlad was lost in morose and macabre musings of a lonely watery grave when he bumped into someone, which made them literally yelp in surprise as he staggered back and steadied them.
His hands immediately released the worgen female that he had run into, and only a quick glance of caster-class robes and a staff kept him from drawing his mace.
"Watch where you're going, you oaf," the worgen growled at him and pushed him away.
Although the form was completely strange to him, there was something itchingly familiar, something that made him think that the person beneath this alien skin was someone he knew.
But I don't know any Gilneans, and no-one has been let in or out of the country since the wall was put up.
Wlad watched the female carefully, a niggling recognition tickling the back of his mind, but she pointedly ignored him and his careful, suspicious regard as she straightened and smoothed her robes.
He was about to dismiss her from his mind when a particular bracelet and pattern on the staff she carried brought him up short. There were only two people in Azeroth who would carry that particular family crest.
What the Light do I call her to get her attention? Might as well try the name that comes to mind.
"Davinia?" Wlad asked carefully.
The worgen froze and she looked at him warily, eyes guarded.
"How do you know that name?" the worgen asked, her voice devoid of the typical Gilnean accent, colored instead with a different one.
"My sister emigrated to Gilneas twenty years ago. That was her name. Maybe you know her? Could you tell me whether she's alive or not?"
There was a beat of silence before astonishment quickly took over the worgen's posture.
"Wlad?" she half-exclaimed. "Wlad Jorgensen?"
Wlad felt torn between relief, disgust, and anger at the sight of his sister alive, but a monster.
The anger and sadness from the argument that had split their small family yawned between them and left Wlad unsure of what to do. Davinia had become a creature out of nightmares, something that he would have killed under normal circumstances without thought or remorse.
Something that he still wanted to kill, if just to end her existence as a monster.
But, Davi was Davi, and Wlad had thought he would never meet his sister again. For all the ill will between them, seeing her flesh-and-blood before him was…a relief.
"Davinia…" Wlad started, trying to bridge the bad history that had come between them. "You're a—priest?" he finished incredulously, taking in the trappings of the class that she wore.
"Don't give me that tone," she growled.
"But, Davi. You? A priest?" It was unfathomable. Davinia becoming a priest seemed about as likely as Tirion Fordring becoming a warlock.
"See, this is exactly why I left home!"
"No, no, Davi, listen," Wlad pleaded, moving to stand before her, not wanting to lose her again, regardless of how hard it was to stay his hand. "I don't have any issues with you being a priest. It just seems so…"
"Not everyone can be a lunk-headed hooligan who insists on throwing himself head-first into danger without thinking of possible consequences!" Davinia snapped. "That's why Stromgarde is no longer a major player in world politics."
Wlad bristled. "There's no use to spending all your time debating and thinking through everything! Nothing gets done that way! Better to act than to waste away equivocating!"
"My, have you been hanging out with a mage who buffed your intellect? Equivocating is quite the word for a warrior."
Wlad rubbed his eyes. "It seems like time has done nothing to dull your abrasive personality. How the Light do you manage to be a priest with such a terrible attitude?" There was a pause as he looked at her warily. "Unless you're dabbling in that shadow magic stuff."
Davinia snarled, and Wlad found the sound terrifying, but comfortably familiar.
Perhaps she is suited to being a worgen, he thought fleetingly.
"That 'shadow magic stuff' is vile," Davinia growled. "I use the Light," she finished in a faintly haughty tone.
"It actually listens to you and lets you, y'know, use it?" Wlad drawled. Light, living in Gilneas has done her personality no good.
"Why do you sounds so incredulous?" she demanded, eyes narrowing.
"Davinia, your current physical forms fits your personality to a T," Wlad replied.
Davinia paused, then barked a laugh. "Light, Wlad, I never thought we'd meet again. You look…older"
"You look furrier," he replied dryly. Silence formed between them, but it was comfortable. Eventually, Wlad sighed, "It's good to see you alive."
Davinia scoffed. "What, you think I'd die to some paltry thing like being bitten by a worgen?"
"Actually, I was worried you'd die of pneumonia, with what I remember of the weather pattern in Gilneas."
Davinia laughed, and the feral sound made passers-by look at her uneasily.
Wlad paused, struggled with himself, then sighed and asked, "Did you have a lover in Gilneas? Is there someone I'm going to have to give the Don't You Dare Hurt My Sister talk to?"
Davinia stared at him, then chuckled sadly. "He went feral and never came back."
An awkward silence hung between them before Wlad said, "Well, I'm sure you'll find some other poor sod to have puppies with. Would you have puppies? Or would they be humans who could—"
"Light, Wlad, you're insufferable!" Davinia exclaimed, exasperation in her voice. "This is why you constantly got smacked around."
"Hey, it taught me how to dodge. Good practice."
"'Practice', he says," she muttered. "Spoken like a true warrior."
Wlad gave her a lop-sided smile. "I'm quite accomplished, you know. A special weapon was commissioned for me by King Wrynn for my service to the Alliance."
"Bah, that man is nothing compared to King Greymane."
Wlad frowned. "All Greymane did was isolate his people behind a large stone wall. How is that admirable? He ran away from dealing with the Scourge that threatened to wipe out all of civilization! The people of Stormwind and the Alliance helped bring down the greatest evil Azeroth has ever known while you all sat on your thumbs behind that wall of yours."
"And we were doing perfectly fine!" Davinia snapped. "The Alliance needed Gilneas, but Gilneas didn't need the Alliance."
"And now the Alliance is the only place for Gilneas to turn! Light, Davi, where do you think the Lich King would have gone after he took over the rest of Azeroth? You owe your safety not to the wall that your king built, but the blood of those who fought for freedom and life!"
"Don't spout that jingoistic nonsense at me, Wlad! I thought your allegiance lay with Stromgarde?"
Wlad bristled. "My loyalty will always lie with my people," he half-snarled. "But I cannot discount what Stormwind has done for us. They're going to help us regain our home city and drive the Syndicate and ogres out!"
Davinia rolled her eyes. "It's been years, Wlad. Give it up. Stromgarde will never recover."
Wlad's eyes narrowed. "Perhaps, but I want what is best for those still claiming Stromgarde heritage! We were the seat of the original human kingdoms! Without Strom, the human kingdoms, including your precious Gilneas, would have never come into being."
"You are clinging to the past," Davinia sneered. "I heard about everything that has happened to Strom. Its king dead, its prince risen as a Forsaken and the other heir entrenched in Outland, its capital ransacked with a population of only a little over one thousand people, most of those people being military. Face it, Wlad. Stromgarde is meaningless as a country."
"Nevertheless, the survivors deserve our home. Being banished to a small camp is demeaning, regardless of how far from power Stromgarde has fallen. I remember having a home. I remember having family and friends who were proud to call themselves citizens of Stromgarde. Now we fight the Horde, elementals, the Syndicate, trolls, and ogres for even a tiny scrap of land! That isn't right, Davi!"
Tense silence slowly unwound into sadness. "You should understand, being driven from Gilneas," Wlad murmured, ignoring the stares of passers-by.
Davinia's posture shifted slightly, a tinge of remorse and grief communicated through it. After a deep breath, her chin tilted up in defiance and stubbornness.
"We will get Gilneas back from those filthy Forsaken sacks of rot," she said, voice firm, "and make them pay for what they've done."
"So you'll help me reclaim Stromgarde?"
"I never said that."
"Then I won't help you get Gilneas back."
"Don't be so petty."
"Don't be so selfish."
There was a brief pause before Davinia said, "I'm starving. Do you know any good places to eat around here? What do Stormwind people eat anyway?"
Wlad grinned slightly. "Still thinking with your stomach even as a priest, eh? Seems like there's one thing that's lingered from your time as a warrior. The Pig and Whistle's the best tavern here."
"Lead on then, brother."
Wlad gave her a wary look that was met with a toothy grin.
"Don't you dare do what I'm thinking you might."
"Think of it as practice, Wlad," Davinia said with malicious cheer. "It takes a lot of strength to swim in plate."
"What then, will you heal me from near drowning as practice for your skills?"
Davinia laughed, and Wlad made sure to stick to the building side of the canals.
"Hey, have you ever found anyone?" Davinia asked as they entered Old Town. "Because they're going to get a thorough background check and my Don't You Hurt My Brother talk."
Wlad coughed in amusement and ignored the question.
"You have?" Davinia half-exclaimed, voice laced with something between intrigue and horror. "Who would accept you as a lover?"
"Hey!" Wlad huffed in indignation. "I'll have you know that my strength is admired."
"But how's your stamina?"
Wlad blinked, then his lips twitched. "Well, I've trained myself to protect others, so my stamina is…fairly good."
Davinia slowly grinned, revealing an impressive set of teeth. "I guess whoever chose you must be quite spirited to keep up with you."
Wlad fought down a laugh.
"Come on, tell me—who is she? What's she like? What does she do for a living?"
"Here's the tavern I was talking about. You said you're hungry, and they have some of the best food in Azeroth," Wlad stalled, pushing his sister through the entrance. She tripped on her robes to fall against a bar that divided entryway from the main dining area, air whooshing out of her.
Davinia glared at Wlad as he walked around her innocently and went up to the bar to order food for them both.
"I assume you'll want meat?" he asked his sister dryly. She muttered obscenities under her breath as she came up beside him.
"What was your clue?" she drawled as she smoothed her robes.
Wlad was faintly amused by how quickly the man left with their orders, and he knew that Davinia noticed how he didn't return from the kitchen.
"I think you're scaring them, Davi. Then again, you were scary even before you became part-wolf."
Davinia glared at Wlad, who shrugged it off. Even as a worgen, her glares were something he could shake off.
Wlad looked over to the barmaid, who was obviously terrified.
"Yes?" he asked, puzzled. People tended to like him.
"Would you and the m-miss please sit u-up-s-stairs?"
Wlad frowned and was about to ask why when it dawned on him just what he was traveling with.
Even though he knew that the woman beneath the animal was his sister, had been human, there was no way for the people of the tavern to know that. To them, the worgen were stories of horror from Duskwood or Silverpine Forest, so to see him talking so casually to one, whether or not the worgen seemed civilized, must be terrifying.
"We will," Wlad said soothingly. "How long will it take for the food to be ready?"
"F-five minutes," the girl half-squeaked.
"I'll come down to get it," he said and stood. "Davi?"
The worgen's expression was neutral as she stood and walked towards the stairs, but Wlad could read anger in her posture. Once they were up the stairs and the barmaid had retreated to the kitchen, Davinia whirled on him.
"What was that?" she quietly growled.
Wlad held his hands up in a placating gesture. "Davinia. Davi. Sit down and listen to me."
The priest sat down on the wooden chair with a heavy thud, crossing her arms across her chest. "Whut?"
"Davi, you're a worgen. Before you say, 'what does that matter?', it does matter. Most people here have only met worgen when they were trying to kill them. It's still more rumor than anything else that there are, erm…"
"Tame worgen?" Davinia supplied dryly.
"Not that, really…" Wlad said and sighed. "Look, it's…when I first saw a Gilnean worgen I was angry. That the Alliance would let beasts into its ranks! I've killed countless worgen, and countless people have been killed by worgen. The Gilneans didn't accept the non-feral worgen right away, right?"
Davinia looked away and stroked her arm with a viciously clawed finger, her posture tight with memories.
"Give them some time, Davi. People will come around once they see that you're definitely on our side."
"You said you were angry when you first saw a Gilnean," Davinia said tersely.
Wlad nodded. "Though I did my best, I couldn't always keep the people I traveled with safe. There was a time in Northrend, in the Grizzly Hills. Worgen had infested a town, and I, along with a druid and a mage, went to confront them and clear them out." Wlad swallowed. "You should know what it's like, to fight worgen when not one of them."
Wlad's eyes darkened. "One of the beasts hamstringed and disarmed me, and while I fought with shield and fists, and occasionally pieces off dead worgen, the mage was torn apart, limbs strewn throughout the area, and the druid was in danger of turning into one of those…things, which forced me to end her life." He smiled wryly. "I guess that the beasts didn't like cracking their teeth on my shield and plate armor."
Wlad's hand tightened next to his mace. "I hate worgen, and now I am to accept them into the Alliance?" he finished, voice strained with suppressed emotion.
Davinia sat back in the chair and gave him a considering look. "The old Wlad wouldn't have stayed his hand, given his experiences. He wouldn't be standing here talking to me, sister or no. It seems like twenty years have matured you somewhat."
"Wish I could say the same for you," Wlad replied with a small smile. "The food should be done," he said and left before his sister could respond.
Wlad walked down the stairs heavily, the plate armor he wore weighing on him like guilt.
"What the nether are you doing, Davi?" Wlad demanded sharply as he blocked the doorway out of her room.
"Getting out of here," Davinia snarled as she shoved her belongings roughly into her bag. "Anywhere is better than being stuck in this militaristic, stupid, and short-sighted excuse for a kingdom!"
Wlad shook his head emphatically, as if trying to shake off her words. "Davi, you don't mean that—"
"Yes, I do! Now get out of my way!" Davinia demanded as she slung her pack over her shoulder, the shield on her back and sword at her side marking her heritage, regardless of what she thought of it.
"Davi, nothing is going to be better in Gilneas! You know how they don't like outsiders! It's better to stay here, with your people."
"I don't care about 'my people'. What have the ever done for you and me, huh? What did they do for us when our parents died in their service? All they gave us were their badges and their home! They've got you brainwashed, Wlad!"
Wlad bristled. "I am not. I know where my loyalties lie, I know where my destiny lies—"
"In death!" Davinia snapped.
"In the protection of those I care about!" Wlad finished. "And I can't protect you if I'm not near you!"
"I don't need your protection," Davinia snarled. "I'm a better warrior than you."
Wlad frowned. "Are not."
"Look, Davi, I don't care what you think. Your family is here."
Davinia faltered, then shook her head sharply. "I don't need you Wlad."
A shiver of shock ran through Wlad, and he stared at her. The astonishment was strong enough that she was able to push by him.
He came back to himself and grabbed his sister's arm, dragging her back to him, his other arm curling around her waist below the edge of her shield.
"Light, Wlad, let me go!"
"No! You're being stu—"
Wlad coughed as his sister elbowed him the stomach before stepping on his insole and pushing him away, eyes narrowed in fury.
"Can't you see you're just going to be a product? A resource? Don't get involved in a war that has nothing to do with you!"
"Strom has always been the backbone of the Alliance! It's our duty to aid the others!" Wlad protested in a wheeze.
"All this precious Alliance of yours does is take, take, take! It doesn't care about the people!"
"We are the people!" Wlad replied heatedly. "Every other kingdom can trace its roots back to Strom!"
"They're letting us rot, Wlad! The other kingdoms don't care about history; they only care about what they can squeeze out of us. Gilneas has the right idea by denying their aid."
"The Gilneans are being selfish and arrogant, as they tend to be," Wlad growled.
"I thought the Gilneans were the people of Strom, too," Davinia drawled.
"Then they have no right to be selfish and stubborn! We must stand together to be strong!"
"The Alliance needs Gilneas, but from what I've seen, Gilneas doesn't need your blasted Alliance."
"People don't grow if they keep themselves apart! What will your Gilneans do without trade to the other kingdoms?"
Davinia crossed her arms over her chest and scowled at him. "Again—the Alliance needs Gilneas, but Gilneas doesn't need the Alliance."
"Light, Davinia, you are doing our parents' memories a disservice by being such a conceited little brat."
"What do you know of our parents? They both died during the Troll Wars when we were very, very young. How can I dishonor someone who I can barely remember?"
"Don't 'Davi' me," Davinia snapped. "I want nothing to do with Strom and I sure as hell want nothing to do with the legacy of two people who I know better through songs than through my own memories."
Wlad moved again to block the way out of their home and said, "You're running away! What are you scared of?"
"David is dead, Wlad!" Davinia cried, her voice breaking. "Dead because of a stupid war! A war that's taken our parents, my best friend, your best friend, their parents, our aunt, our cousins—there's no end to whose lives the Alliance is willing to use!"
"They all died doing what they were meant to do!"
"They died needlessly!" Davinia snarled. "Let Stormwind and Lordaeron deal with their own problems! No one else needs to be embroiled in their issues."
"Davi, they are humans, too. Surely you want to help—"
"I owe them nothing, especially after they've killed everyone I've ever loved!"
"I'm still alive, Davi!"
"You're going to die too, I know it, because you're a stupid, lunk-headed, sorry excuse for a human being. You'll just do what they tell you to do, and will die because of their carelessness regarding other humans' lives!"
"Then stay here and make sure I don't die! I will protect you, always."
Davinia laughed bitterly. "Protect me, Wlad? You? What kind of nonsense is that?"
"Haven't I?" Wlad demanded. "When everyone was picking on us after our parents died, I stood up for us both."
"And nearly got yourself killed in the process. How can you protect me if you're dead?"
"I won't die, Davi!"
"Yes, Wlad, you will. And you will die thinking you've done the right thing."
"Is that bad?"
"You'd still be dead!"
"Then stay and we can protect each other!"
"I don't want to protect you, Wlad!"
"I want to protect myself, Wlad," Davinia said harshly. "I don't care about you!"
"I'm your brother!"
"You're a walking corpse!"
"Davi—" Wlad began and grasped his sister's wrist, only to have to dodge a punch from her other hand.
"Don't 'Davi' me!" Davinia hissed. "Now let me go!"
"No! You belong here!"
"I belong in Gilneas, with people who are actually intelligent! This world is completely messed up and full of worthless people with inane ideas who prey on good, if naive, people like you!"
"Then change it!"
"It can't be changed! Now let me go before I gut you!"
Davinia wrenched her hand away and her dagger was in her other, the edge pressed through Wlad's shirt to scratch the surface of the skin beneath. "I mean it, Wlad. I. Don't. Care. About. You!"
Wlad stepped back, twisted the dagger out of her hand and backhanded her so she staggered into the wall next to the door.
"Fine! Leave! And don't come back!" he snarled and threw her dagger so it embedded into the wood next to her head, a small line of blood forming on her cheek.
"I won't!" she replied as she pushed away and yanked her dagger out of the wall. "Who would want to live with someone like you, anyway?"
The sound of her slamming the door behind her resonated through the house, his body, his heart, and he turned away from the entryway and viciously pushed her out of his mind.
Wlad shook his mind free of memories as he reached the bottom of the stairs. There was still so much he didn't know about Davinia, about the changes that twenty years in a foreign land had wrought on her.
We shall see.
Wlad smiled at the waitress as he approached the bar. Her eyes darted up the stairs as she handed him his food.
"She's my sister," he said firmly, which made her eyebrows snap up and jaw drop open.
"Gilneas is now part of the Alliance. You better get a steady supply of raw meat, since they're going to be customers as well."
Wlad caught the patrons at the bar giving each other nervous looks as he walked up the stairs, to see amusement in his sister's expression. "I heard you, what you said down there," she said as Wlad put her food before her.
Wlad made a noncommittal sound and sat down as Davinia began to ravenously consume the meal.
He savored the change in rations—he wasn't the world's best cook, but could get by—and watched his sister carefully. In some ways she had changed. In other ways, though…
Davinia looked up when she caught him staring and smirked. "Don't blink."
Wlad frowned and jumped when he was suddenly looking at a human sitting across the table from him.
If he had been unsure before, he was certain now that the worgen-woman before him was his sister. The years in Gilneas hadn't dulled the family resemblance, nor the subtle Stromgarde accent when she laughed.
"Oh, Wlad, you should see your face!"
Wlad took a deep draw of his drink.
"So, there could be many more worgen walking around Stormwind, and no one has noticed because they still look human?" he asked.
Davinia smiled smugly. "Mm-hm."
"Light preserve us all," Wlad sighed, which made his sister laugh again.
I have a bad feeling that my life just got a whole lot more complicated.
"So," Davinia said and pushed her empty plate aside. "What have you been up to, Wlady?"
Wlad winced at the nickname, then sighed. "A lot."
Davinia sat back in her chair and fixed him with a familiar stubborn look. "I have nowhere to be, and I bet you could afford some time off of your feet. Start talking."
Wlad's face slowly pulled into a grin. "It's full of 'bashing-things-over-the-head' tales."
Davinia groaned, but her lips twitched in suppressed amusement. "I'm sure you met more intelligent people during your travels. Start talking."