Arrows in My Quiver
Chapter Four: Sin'dorei
Summary: Weary of believing that undead can experience nothing pleasurable, the Dark Lady takes a consort from the ranks of her Forsaken army. What she didn't know she also needed was reassurance of her people's faith in her.
Disclaimer: Characters, settings, etc. are the property of Blizzard Entertainment. Except for Anristina. She belongs to Sylvanas.
Author's Notes: In my headcanon, blood elves are all middle schoolers. I have a feeling that's somewhat canon, too. Warnings/kinks: Sylvanas chomps. More than usual. (I probably should have done a warning like that for Atrocities, too...whoops...)
Non-Forsaken rarely traveled through Silverpine Forest, so the entire camp (at least, those who bothered to care) was surprised when a young female blood elf casually meandered through on a red dragonhawk. Sylvanas was not about to have her people distracted from their duties by an errant wanderer, insisted on meeting the interloper.
The sin'dorei was only too glad to meet the former Ranger-General of Silvermoon in person. Too glad, Anristina thought. There was something about her that oozed both deceit and conceit, more suited to a rogue than a warrior. Sylvanas, of course, had refused an audience unless she could bring Forsaken escorts, and she chose Anristina and a warrior named Kolwryn Styrax to accompany her. Anristina wondered if Sylvanas had chosen Kolwryn to deliberately make the blood elf feel uncomfortable; since Kolwryn had been raised, he had made the apothecaries help her look as androgynous as possible and answered to either male or female pronouns. The contents of Kolwryn's trousers were a subject of much debate. As far as Anristina knew, gender presentation like Kolwryn's was not common in other races.
When the blood elf was allowed her audience with Sylvanas, she did at least curtsey deeply, but there was something mocking in the movement, not unlike Sylvanas' infamous salute to the Warchief when he had demanded to know the difference between Sylvanas and Arthas. Anristina bristled, but remained quiet; she was rapidly discovering that the quickest way to annoy her was to be disrespectful toward Sylvanas. The blood elf spoke to Sylvanas in Thalassian, and Anristina felt suddenly unnerved; she knew only a little Thalassian and hated hearing what someone was saying to her Dark Lady but not understanding.
"I was of the sin'dorei, but you will speak in a language that my people can understand," said Sylvanas coolly in Orcish.
The blood elf responded in Thalassian again, but Anristina heard the word "Gutterspeak" somewhere in her sentence.
"Considering the sin'dorei allegiance to the Horde, I should think it would not be too taxing to speak Orcish," Sylvanas replied, her voice turning just a bit colder. Anristina found herself thinking that many people could speak coldly or icily, but Sylvanas was fluent in at least fifteen gradations of cold. "And you are?"
"Corlissa Palemorn, may it please Your Majesty," said the sin'dorei in Orcish.
Anristina could have slapped her. That was what she had said to Sylvanas the first time Sylvanas had asked her name. That wasn't fair. The elf's name was appropriate, though; her skin and eyes were very light and her long ponytail was moon white. She was slender, willowy and exquisitely beautiful.
"And what brings you to Silverpine Forest?" Sylvanas was all formality.
"Well, I suppose you could call it wanderlust." Corlissa crossed her shins, scratching at the ground with one toe. "And of course…I was intrigued to see what had become of the Ranger-General of Silvermoon. The Banshee Queen of the undead is certainly a fascinating figure." She smiled prettily and Anristina felt a lead ball drop in her stomach. Corlissa hadn't come to Silverpine Forest because she was traveling widely; she had come to play coy with Sylvanas. Anristina lost a short battle with her instincts and reached for the quarterstaff lashed to her back.
"Anristina…stand down, little healer," Sylvanas cautioned in Gutterspeak. Corlissa made a moue, clearly annoyed that Sylvanas had spoken a language she didn't understand. Reluctantly, Anristina replaced her quarterstaff. At least Sylvanas had spoken to her affectionately in front of other Forsaken; she'd never done that before in any language.
"Your people are certainly protective," said Corlissa with a touch of snideness.
"My Forsaken would walk to the most hazardous and devastated wastes of Outland and back if I ordered them," Sylvanas replied mildly.
"Lady Sylvanas, I am most intrigued to see more of your fascinating people's camp. Might we take a stroll?" Corlissa swung her leg over her dragonhawk's back and slid onto the saddle; the animal squawked lightly in protest. "I think this might be quicker, though I'm afraid I might be pushing poor little Waechar too hard." She patted the dragonhawk's neck. "You see, I am more used to epic mounts."
Upon seeing the smirk that accompanied that comment, it took every ounce of Anristina's self-control not to smash her quarterstaff into the blood elf's face.
Sylvanas looked utterly unfazed, but her ears made an odd motion Anristina had not seen before. It was almost as if they twitched, but in a controlled way that caused their tips to draw tiny semicircles in the air. "A stroll around the camp...a reasonable request, I suppose." Her tone revealed absolutely nothing. Anristina found herself praying that one day she would be able to read Sylvanas when she refused to emote. As much as she cared for Sylvanas, the beautiful banshee was still as inaccessible to her as she was to everyone else.
"Styrax. Vale. You will accompany us. Styrax, fetch my steed. Vale, come here to me."
Anristina moved, her knees stiff as if she were still fresh from the grave. She knew Sylvanas was being formal because of the blood elf's presence, but still...being summoned like a dog? "Yes, Your Majesty?" she quavered in Orcish, for the sake of transparency.
Sylvanas replied in Gutterspeak, looking directly into Anristina's eyes. "You are still permitted to use my given name, even in public." She paused. "Your face is an open book. Be steady, my little one."
"Yes, my lady." The affectionate name was small comfort. Anristina made a little bow and fell back.
"In Silvermoon City, they say that you are no longer 'Sylvanas'. It's said that your newfound cruelty is unprecedented, and yet you coddle your followers." Corlissa gave a sideways smile. "Are you always so...affectionate?"
"Anristina is a promising healer. With the future of my people so uncertain and our only way of propagating being the target of infinite disdain, it would be foolish of me not to nourish new talent. My Forsaken are not mindless drones, after all."
Anristina couldn't help but admire the way Sylvanas seemed to always have a quick, intelligent reply for anything tossed at her.
"Ah. So they aren't just...hmm, how does one translate that expression...'arrows in your quiver'? An appropriate expression, considering your prowess with archery."
This time, Sylvanas took a moment to reply, at least verbally; her ears did something that could only be described as shivering. "Have my former people all developed such bold tongues in the time since my death?" There was an edge to her voice, like a razor blade wrapped in candyfloss.
Anristina didn't know what was troubling Sylvanas, but it was clear enough to her that something was wrong. So she spoke up, trying to sound defiant. "As long as we are loyal, the Dark Lady watches over us." Her Orcish needed work—it was an ugly tongue, in Anristina's opinion, and she spent little time mastering it—but she was fairly sure she got everything right.
Corlissa smirked again. Anristina wanted to yell something about how her face would stay that way if she kept making that expression. "This one's feisty. You seem to have that...effect, Lady Windrunner." The blood elf licked her lips.
If you do that again, I will blast your head off, Anristina seethed mentally.
Fortunately, Kolwryn returned with Sylvanas' skeletal horse at that moment. Sylvanas climbed into the saddle after cursorily thanking Kolwryn. Anristina walked beside Sylvanas' steed as the Dark Lady pointed out the landmarks of the Forsaken camp to the curious blood elf. Eventually Anristina tuned out, as if her ears had simply stopped working. She felt as deaf as the apothecary who had molested her and had his ears shot off. Sylvanas had been so quick to defend her. Why was she giving this overly daring, prurient sin'dorei the time of day? Diahan's words echoed nastily in her head: Really, Tina, she could have anyone she wants. She could be sleeping with a dozen other people and you'd have no call to complain. So Sylvanas found Anristina attractive. Anristina knew that. But how long had it been since Sylvanas had been able to enjoy the intimate company of another elf? Anristina knew she would never be able to hold a candle to even the homeliest sin'dorei, if homely sin'dorei even existed.
Before Anristina knew it, the farce tour of the Forsaken outpost was over. Sylvanas and Corlissa were both on the ground, Corlissa standing far too close to Sylvanas. Anristina felt her ears ring as Corlissa boldly reached out, seemingly for Sylvanas' face, but instead her hand stretched toward one of the long ears that Anristina loved to fondle. Anristina stayed long enough to watch Sylvanas' ear fold down against her head to avoid the blood elf's touch before she bolted. Sylvanas could have whoever she wanted, but that didn't mean Anristina had to bear witness.
When darkness fell, Anristina did not go to Sylvanas' tent. She was fairly sure Sylvanas would be with Corlissa. Of course the Dark Lady would not be so classless as to respond to Corlissa's advances in public, but Anristina found it unlikely that she would refuse a "private audience" with a gorgeous blood elf. And what would the elf's repugnant (but likely common among sin'dorei) personality matter for one impersonal night?
But after the sun set, Anristina heard a light scratching at her tent. Praying for a distraction from distressing (albeit beautiful) mental images of Sylvanas and Corlissa, Anristina opened the tent flap. Much to her surprise, Sylvanas herself stood outside.
"You're late, my little healer."
Anristina's eyes found the floor. "My lady, I want only to be your loyal consort. But I don't think I can bear watching you with someone else."
"What are you talking about?" asked the banshee severely.
Anristina swallowed. "I thought you'd be with that...that sin'dorei."
Sylvanas sighed. "Come with me." She gripped Anristina's wrist tightly and pulled her along. Anristina followed, though she didn't exactly have a choice. She knew they were heading back to Sylvanas' tent. Anristina bit her lower lip; was Sylvanas going to punish her?
As soon as they were back in Sylvanas' tent, within the range of the soundproofing charms, Sylvanas spoke. "What in the name of the Life-Binder made you think I would give Corlissa Palemorn a spare half-second?"
Anristina still couldn't look at Sylvanas' face. "I thought...I thought you'd never accept her advances in public because you have a reputation to uphold. But she was a lot more beautiful than I am, and she's an elf like you..."
"Yes, she is. She was also painfully transparent in her attempt to get into bed with me, which she likely would have used only for bragging rights. Now, I saw you run off, but you were there when Corlissa tried to touch my ear, right?"
"You saw me refuse her touch on my ear. That is a point-blank refusal to acknowledge her advances."
"Sylvanas, I'm sorry, I didn't know," Anristina whispered.
Sylvanas touched Anristina's cheek. "I suppose as a former human, you don't know enough about ear culture to understand what was going on."
Anristina clasped Sylvanas' hand to her face. "Ear culture? I mean, I saw your ears moving a lot, and hers too..."
"Quel'dorei and sin'dorei are very proud of our ears." Sylvanas allowed herself a small smile. "There is a system of body parlance that allows communication with only ear motions. Her attempt to touch my ear was very brazen, and that I didn't allow it left her with absolutely no hope that I would respond to her advances." Sylvanas traced Anristina's cheekbone with her thumb.
"Oh," said Anristina in a small voice.
"Why would I waste my time with a pathetic wisp like Corlissa when I have you? I might use some damn fool metaphor about going to the market to buy Thunder Ale when you have a private stock of Moonglow, but I would be absolutely loath to compare a complex person like you to a beverage." Sylvanas gently brushed her lips against Anristina's, turning the now familiar gesture of assuagement into a deep kiss. Anristina felt herself gathered into the Dark Lady's embrace and, since Sylvanas had initiated the contact, slid her hands over Sylvanas' bare back without fear.
"Will my lady please change the shape of my hands?"
"I will. And then you will remove my armor."
Anristina pecked Sylvanas a kiss. "Yes, I will."
Sylvanas clapped Anristina's hands between her own and, with a slight crunch, Anristina's hands were transformed back to the shape they had been while she was alive. Immediately, Anristina set about removing Sylvanas' gauntlets and arm guards, covering her hands and wrists with kisses, grateful that her harebrainedness had been forgiven. Sylvanas closed her eyes, obviously enjoying being gently undressed by her consort. Would she have let Corlissa see her like this? I don't think so. She had removed Sylvanas' chest piece and shoulder guards enough times that she could now do it without looking, so she did so while kissing Sylvanas' neck and shoulders. She leaned back to carefully lift Sylvanas' hood over her long ears, because if she disrupted Sylvanas' ears, they would automatically make a flicking motion that Anristina found completely adorable. She could never help but laugh, and Sylvanas didn't like being seen as so undignified.
"My lady is so incredibly beautiful," Anristina whispered, lowering herself to a kneeling position. Sylvanas had impeccable balance and was able to stand on one foot while Anristina pulled off her boots and various leg protectors. When Sylvanas was standing in just the dark green breeches she wore beneath her armor, Anristina held on to her hips and rested her cheek against the Dark Lady's thigh. "Does she forgive her foolish consort?"
Sylvanas caressed Anristina's scalp and hair with one hand. "All is forgiven, my little one."
Anristina hooked her fingertips into the waistband of Sylvanas' breeches, looking up inquiringly.
"Not yet, my sweet. You will first undress for me. Or, if you prefer, I can undress you."
Anristina loved having Sylvanas take her clothes off, but Sylvanas was letting her off scot-free for her misjudgment, so she obeyed the initial order. Her hands still shook slightly as she unbuttoned her dress, but she had been half-naked in front of Sylvanas before, and she was wearing a pair of leggings and an undershirt. She dropped her gown on the floor beside her.
Sylvanas interlaced her fingers behind Anristina's back. "Does my lady want me in her bedroll with her tonight?" Anristina whispered, leaning forward so hers and Sylvanas' foreheads were touching.
"Why, yes, she does." Sylvanas trailed her hands up and down her consort's sides, teasing Anristina's undershirt up just an inch or so.
Anristina bit her lower lip. "Does my lady want me to...to continue undressing?"
"Only if you're comfortable doing so." Sylvanas pulled Anristina close and gently nipped at her earlobe. "Why don't you lie down?"
Anristina walked to Sylvanas' bedroll, sure that if her heart could still beat, it would be racing. She lay down and Sylvanas went with her, draping herself over Anristina, covering her rather than pinning her down. Sylvanas let one hand trail from Anristina's hair down her cheek and her throat, her nails lightly scraping the skin to make sure Anristina could feel her touch. "It would be lovely if you could take this off..." Sylvanas tugged lightly at the collar of Anristina's undershirt.
Sylvanas' voice was low and heady, the most seductive sound Anristina had ever heard. Her insecurities forgotten, shoved aside by the desire to feel the Dark Lady's touch on her naked skin, Anristina practically clawed off her own shirt. Her head tilted back as she felt Sylvanas cover her breasts with kisses, each touch of her lips accompanied by the tiniest puncture of her sharp canine teeth. Despite her undeath, despite her misgivings about her own appearance, despite her belief that she didn't believe she deserved to be treated so exquisitely by Sylvanas, Anristina felt her body stirring in response. "Sylvanas, I'm not...I'm not sure...what is it that my lady requires of me tonight?"
"Tonight will be a bit different, my sweet." Sylvanas sat up halfway to cradle the back of Anristina's head in one hand and kiss her warmly. "Tonight, the Dark Lady will serve you as you have served her."
Anristina trembled. "I am not worthy, Sylvanas, my lady."
Sylvanas kept her one hand on Anristina's head, holding her almost possessively, but the other hand slid down Anristina's thigh to drape her leg over Sylvanas' hip. Anristina squirmed, aching to be closer. "Do you want this, my little one?"
"No foolish thoughts of worthiness this time. Simply tell me of your desires." Sylvanas paused to kiss Anristina, carefully pulling her consort's lower lip into her mouth and biting. Then she leaned to whisper near Anristina's ear: "Do you wish for me to take you to bed for the purpose of giving you pleasure?"
At least that was an easy answer. "Yes," Anristina moaned. "Oh, yes."
Anristina did. Sylvanas' kisses were warm, deep, insistent; Anristina wrapped her arms around the Dark Lady, savoring the kisses as the strong, bow-callused hands glided over her, her nails leaving long, shallow scratches. They did not hurt; instead, they tingled rather pleasantly. Anristina bit back a groan.
"You can cry out, my sweet, my beautiful little one. The soundproofing charm is still in effect."
"But you're so quiet..."
"You think I don't like hearing how much you're enjoying this?" Sylvanas cooed gently; in contrast to her soft voice, she pinched one of Anristina's nipples hard. Anristina squealed sharply.
"Mmm! More, please!"
"You know I bite," whispered Sylvanas silkily.
"That's all right," Anristina panted.
"Look at me, my sweet."
Obediently, Anristina met Sylvanas' eyes. "What is it?"
"If anything isn't 'all right', if your old misgivings are troubling you, if you change your mind...you must tell me."
Anristina nodded. "Yes, my lady."
Satisfied that Anristina would be open with her, Sylvanas returned to her fiercely sweet kisses, her hands working at Anristina's breasts with a practiced passion that made Anristina think her own attempts to pleasure Sylvanas had been clumsy in comparison. Anristina wrapped a hand around a hank of Sylvanas' hair, trying to hold her head in place for continued kisses but too shy to push too hard. She moaned against Sylvanas' mouth as she felt the Dark Lady's nails grazing her breasts.
"Too much?" Sylvanas whispered.
"No. No, keep going. Please keep going."
"My little one is so polite." Sylvanas sank her teeth into the base of Anristina's neck, earning another squeal, followed by a soft groan as Sylvanas kissed the bite mark. "Really, Tina?"
"That was a good scream," Anristina whispered back. "I know you like to bite and I have no...um...word...objections."
"Really? Well, all right." Sylvanas bit down on her consort's shoulder, hard enough that it would have drawn blood from a living person. When she continued in that vein down to Anristina's chest, Anristina arching her back into the bites and moaning softly when Sylvanas covered the deep marks she had left with kisses. "How does that feel?"
Sylvanas sat up to stroke her consort's face. "Is it an...unpleasant pain, or does it feel good?"
Anristina clutched Sylvanas' shoulders, her claws (which had reverted back to normal) penetrating several layers of skin. "It...it hurts...so, so good. I can...I can actually feel it!"
"Hmm. Well, there's my answer." Sylvanas locked her lips onto the tip of Anristina's right breast, suckling and biting, if not quite as hard.
"Mmm! I like that!"
"I know you do, my sweet." Her mouth still at Anristina's breast and one hand attending to the other one, Sylvanas reached up to cup the other undead woman's cheek.
"Sylvanas...my beautiful lady...wait." Anristina clapped her hand over Sylvanas', keeping it pressed to her face. "Will you change my hands again?"
"Hmm. I was rather enjoying your hands the way they are..." Sylvanas rolled her shoulders back and forth to feel the scratches Anristina had left there.
"I'd...I'd like to hold your hand, though."
Sylvanas laughed softly. "Such a little romantic you are. All right." Sylvanas pressed Anristina's hands between her own and, a small crunch later, Anristina had dextrous human hands, which she immediately used to thread through Sylvanas' hair.
"My lady is so generous to me."
"My little healer is so good to me. She deserves the same in return." Sylvanas dipped her head, going back to her work at Anristina's breasts; this time she held up her free hand, and Anristina clutched it tightly.
"Sylvanas...I'm so...so lucky..."
"So am I, my darling."
Anristina's hand shook as she stroked one of Sylvanas' ears between her thumb and forefinger, trying to be gentle even though her whole body was trembling with excitement; her undead body wasn't used to such intense feelings, and she was practically seizing. "My lady..."
"Are you all right? You're shaking so hard." Still cupping one of her consort's breasts in one hand, Sylvanas sat up and pulled Anristina into her lap.
"I want you," Anristina whimpered. "I want you. Please don't stop."
Sylvanas dropped a small kiss on Anristina's mouth. "Give me a moment." She got up to rifle through her belongings; Anristina lay back, sprawled with her arms out and her legs open. "Anristina, my sweet? I have something for you." Sylvanas was holding a small jar of some kind of clear gel.
"What's that?" Anristina quavered.
"Just something the apothecaries whip up for Forsaken who want to experience pleasure again. It should make you a little more sensitive. Are you interested?"
Anristina nodded. "Oh, yes."
Sylvanas unscrewed the top of the jar and tipped two fingertips into the gel. Anristina moaned as Sylvanas tenderly applied the stuff in between Anristina's legs, inside her, over the small cluster of long-dormant nerves that made Anristina cry out and tilt her hips up into Sylvanas' touch as sensation came flooding back. "How does that feel?"
"Nice. It...it kind of tingles. It's almost like warmth. It feels good." She looked up pleadingly. "Please, please keep touching me."
"I had something else in mind." Sylvanas beckoned. "Sit up." It was a command, spoken in a low, satiny purr. Feeling almost hypnotized, Anristina did as Sylvanas ordered. "My pretty little healer is such a good girl. Now, get up on your knees."
Anristina did, and found herself gathered into Sylvanas' arms, their legs entwined so Sylvanas had one of Anristina's thighs pinned to the bedroll. Anristina found herself leaning backward, supported by Sylvanas' tight embrace. Her head lolled back as she felt the join of Sylvanas' legs press tightly against her newly awakened flesh. "Mmmm...oh, Sylvanas..."
"It feels good, doesn't it?" Sylvanas whispered.
Sylvanas' hands were on Anristina's back, the priest's spine bent back and her hands clutching Sylvanas' shoulders hard enough to bruise had Sylvanas been alive. "My sweet, why don't you either lie on your back or let me hold you closer? You don't look particularly comfortable."
"I'm comfortable as long as I'm with you," Anristina panted, but she leaned forward to wrap her arms around Sylvanas and kiss her shoulder. She whimpered as Sylvanas hooked a hand around the back of Anristina's knee, holding the captured leg against her side. Anristina was completely under Sylvanas' control, and she adored it.
"You can tell me if you want me to stop."
Anristina kissed the base of Sylvanas' neck. "You may do whatever you want with me, Sylvanas, my beautiful Dark Lady."
Sylvanas made a low noise that could only be described as a growl. "You...are perfect."
Anristina shouted in mingled surprise and pleasure as Sylvanas began to rock against her, slowly, giving her time to adjust to the new sensation. "Mmmm! Ohh! Oh, Sylvanas, now what are you doing to me?" Anristina suddenly understood Sylvanas' impulse to bite as she sank her teeth into the Banshee Queen's shoulder.
"How does that feel?" Sylvanas' voice was strained; someone else might not have noticed, but Anristina knew by now that that tone meant that Sylvanas was wildly aroused and loving it.
"So good. More. Please."
Sylvanas clutched Anristina's leg tightly, the motion of her hips shifting from a measured, careful roll to sharp thrusts, eliciting loud cries from her consort. "Ahh...like that, my darling?"
"Ohh, yes! That!" Anristina's back arched helplessly, her head tilting backward again.
"Let me lay you down. I think you'll enjoy it more."
Sylvanas eased Anristina down to the bedroll, carefully resting her head on the pillow before continuing to grind against her hungrily. "Oooh!" Anristina squealed like a succubus, her hips bucking into Sylvanas' strong body.
"You know, I imagined this," Sylvanas panted, gripping Anristina's thigh and hugging it to her chest. "You writhing beneath me, crying out...my imagination pales in comparison to your beauty."
Anristina was fairly sure she had forgotten how to form words, but in the half-second it took Sylvanas to slightly adjust her position, she remembered a few crucial ones. They were in Thalassian, and she had looked them up and repeated them to herself over and over to make sure she had the pronunciation right, waiting for the right time to say them. "Shinda a'melore, Sylvanas!" she gasped out.
For a moment, Sylvanas completely froze. Shaking, Anristina looked up at her; her expression could only be described as "shocked". "Sylvanas? What's wrong, my lady? Did I not pronounce it right?"
Sylvanas lunged forward and kissed Anristina hungrily. "Your pronunciation was flawless, my sweet little healer."
Another tremulous moan bubbled up from Anristina's throat as Sylvanas resumed the swift, rough motion of her hips, using one arm to support her weight, the other hand clutching one of Anristina's breasts. Her head rested against Anristina's chest. "My beautiful little one..." she panted. "I'm so...so lucky...to have chosen you..."
Anristina groaned as she felt Sylvanas' teeth bite hard into her breast and reached up to rake her nails down her lover's back, leaning up to look at the long, deep marks she was leaving on the Dark Lady's shoulder blades. She had always suspected that Sylvanas enjoyed being scratched and bitten, but had been too shy to test that theory. "Shinda a'melore," she whispered again, loving the way the Thalassian words rolled off her tongue, so much softer and kinder than Gutterspeak. The phrase she had just spoken translated literally to "you are the sunlight to me" or "you are my sunlight", but really it was an idiomatic expression that meant "I love you".
Anristina tried and failed to fight back another moan as her body shook with a fresh wave of pleasure. She clung to Sylvanas' shoulders, unable to focus on anything else. "Ohh!" she cried out. "Ooh, Sylvanas, I...ohh!" Anristina felt her whole body spasm beneath Sylvanas, her weary undead muscles struggling to keep up with what she was feeling. She felt something tear painlessly near her groin and went limp, the strange but wonderful lingering sensations of pleasure dissipating slowly. Sylvanas was draped motionlessly across her, having apparently reached her climax with typical modesty. Anristina tried to stroke her hair, but her brain was still working out how movement worked after such a new experience and her hand ended up resting ineffectually on the back of Sylvanas' head. "Thank you, Sylvanas. Thank you, my lady."
Sylvanas turned her head slightly to kiss the skin of Anristina's chest; she didn't have the energy to do anything else. "My sweet, I thought it was very kind of you at the time, but I think someone might have misinformed you about what you said to me in Thalassian."
"It doesn't mean 'I love you'?"
Sylvanas struggled to get up so she could look Anristina in the eyes. "That is...what you meant to say?"
"I thought you knew." Anristina reached up to touch Sylvanas' face, but Sylvanas pulled away. She sat on the bedroll with her legs crossed, facing away from Anristina.
"Knew what?" Anristina thought she heard Sylvanas' voice trembling, but she could have been wrong. "Knew that you had completely lost your senses?"
Anristina sat up and wrapped her arms around Sylvanas' waist, resting her cheek on the elf's shoulder. "My beautiful Dark Lady, did you really think I could be your consort without falling in love with you?"
Sylvanas stood up. "I...I can't...how can you possibly be in love with me?"
Anristina followed her, resting a hand on Sylvanas' shoulder. "How could I not?"
Sylvanas covered her face with both her hands, torn by equally strong impulses; one to dress again, bolt into the forest, and shoot passing birds in the eye until she calmed down and one to wrap Anristina in a tight embrace and cover her face with kisses. "I am not...lovable. I'm cold. Bitter. Filled with rage and hatred, driven only by my desire to protect my people. Half of Azeroth thinks I'm entirely mad. I'm admired, I'm respected, I'm...I'm feared...obeyed...but never loved."
"I told you a while ago that your Forsaken are completely devoted to you. We love our Dark Lady."
Sylvanas pinched the bridge of her nose. "I thought you were exaggerating to flatter me."
Anristina hugged Sylvanas around the waist and kissed the back of her neck; Sylvanas did not push her away. "I wasn't exaggerating. All right, maybe I can't speak for all of your people, even though...I hear it when your name is spoken. It's something more than reverence. But...I love you."
"No. You can't," Sylvanas insisted.
"My lady, as your consort, I am controlled by you in many ways. But you can't force me to stop loving you."
"I'm not forcing you to do anything. I'd never...it's disbelief. That's what it is. Why would you love someone who can't love you back?" Sylvanas began pulling on her own hair.
"Sylvanas, my lady..." Anristina gently covered Sylvanas' hands with her own, trying to get her to stop. "I know you very well by now. Not nearly as well as I would like, but I do know I can't expect you to return my feelings. While I wish things would be different, I don't expect them to be. I can't change how...how inspiring and beautiful I find you. I mean...you're the Banshee Queen."
"Yes, and a banshee's primary function is to strike fear into the hearts of her enemies!"
"What about her consort, though?" Anristina kissed Sylvanas' neck again, this time adding a soft little bite so Sylvanas could feel it. "My lady, I don't expect you to return my feelings, and I must confess I don't understand why you're so upset."
"I'm not upset." Sylvanas' voice was low and dull, impossible to interpret.
"Then what's wrong, Sylvanas?" When Sylvanas didn't reply, Anristina let go of her and walked around to face her. Her head was tilted down and Anristina couldn't see her eyes. "Sylvanas?"
Sylvanas did not reply. Anristina took a closer look at her; she was as closed-off and expressionless as Anristina had ever seen her, as unreadable as one of her val'kyr with the blank face-plates on their astral helmets. The feeling of Sylvanas pulling away from her was suddenly so strong it was almost palpable, like high tide around a swimmer's ankles retreating as the moon sloshed the ocean backwards. Anristina rested a hand on one side of Sylvanas' face and leaned up to kiss her other cheek. "Please don't leave me," she begged softly.
Anristina almost cried out in relief when she felt Sylvanas' hand come to rest on the small of her back. "Forgive me," she said softly.
Anristina flung her arms around Sylvanas, and this time she did cry out softly when she felt her embrace returned. "I didn't mean to...to upset you."
"It isn't your fault, my darling." Sylvanas sifted a hand through Anristina's tousled curls. "I wanted to show you how special you are to me. Of course you would react like you did."
"I...I can't help that I love you. I thought you'd want to hear that, and...I was waiting for the right time to say it in Thalassian..."
"It was a very sweet gesture." Sylvanas began lightly trailing her nails up and down Anristina's back. "I'm sorry if I frightened you, little one."
"I felt you...pulling away from me."
"I'm here." Sylvanas gently swayed Anristina back and forth.
"I'm just...confused. What...Sylvanas, what were you feeling when I was trying to convince you I meant what I said? That I love you?"
Sylvanas kissed Anristina's hair instead of replying. Anristina waited, but Sylvanas did not answer her.
"May I make a guess, my lady?"
"You didn't know what you were feeling and it..." Anristina hesitated. She had been planning to say "frightened", but nothing frightened the Dark Lady. "...surprised you."
Sylvanas sighed. "You are very close, if not completely correct. And I am sorry if I hurt you."
Sylvanas had just apologized twice, and Anristina knew she did not apologize lightly. Anristina received a third apology as Sylvanas stepped back from their embrace, held Anristina's face in both hands, and brushed her lips over Anristina's mouth. "It's all right. I think I tore a muscle in my groin, but it didn't hurt. Of course, healing it will." She smiled ruefully. "It was certainly worth it."
"Would you like some healing potion, or would you prefer to heal yourself?"
"Healing potion, I think. It hurts less if I drink it slowly than if I just cast Holy Light."
Sylvanas nodded. "Why don't you sit down?"
Anristina sat on Sylvanas' bedroll while Sylvanas dug through her belongings. "Ah...here we are." She handed a flask of healing potion to Anristina and sat down beside her; Anristina immediately lay down with her head in Sylvanas' lap. "Do you still hear other Forsaken say 'Dark Lady watch over you' as a farewell?"
Sylvanas leaned over and kissed Anristina between her eyes. "I cannot return your feelings of...of love. But I promise to watch over you in a way I do for no one else. No one may harm you without incurring the wrath of the Banshee Queen."
Anristina grinned. "If I could still blush, I wager my face would be bright red."
Sylvanas smiled. "I meant every word."
"My lady, I have a...a request, I suppose you might call it."
"I've heard you have a lovely singing voice. Will you...will you sing to me?"
"I don't sing the Lament for just any occasion, Dorini'da."
Anristina assumed she meant the Lament of the Highborne. "I didn't mean I wanted you to sing that. You can sing anything you want."
"Hmm." Sylvanas pondered for a moment; Anristina took a moment to sip a bit of healing potion and grimaced as the magic went to work.
"I never knew receiving wounds could be so much more pleasurable than healing them."
Sylvanas snickered lightly, once. "I think I have the right song."
"May I hear it?"
Sylvanas inhaled deeply, which looked immensely strange to Anristina, who had never seen the Dark Lady draw breath. Anristina supposed, though, that air was necessary for singing even after it became unnecessary for existing. Sylvanas began to sing; the melody sounded somehow leisurely, somehow spellbinding.
E o! U shinda?
Turus ano, osa.
Lo doral ana'diel?
Shan're fal neph'anis fandu'talah
E o! Shindo su.
Neph'a shindo no?
Lo doral ana'diel?
Belore da kalah?
Neph'a, shar d thus,
Thoribas d thera'mush.
"It's lovely," Anristina said softly. "What's it called?"
"'Song of the Willow'. It's been translated into Gutterspeak. The translation isn't as...nuanced as the original, but that's what happens when one tries to translate Thalassian."
"Can you sing the translation? Please?"
"Certainly. You know, it's been too long since I sang anything...I suppose I wasn't in the mood. I used to sing quite a bit when I was alive. Also, controlling one's breath for singing when one doesn't need to breathe anymore is strange."
Sylvanas filled her unused lungs with air again, and re-started the song in Gutterspeak.
Heigh ho! Who is there?
No one but me, my dear.
Please come say, How do?
The things I'll give to you.
By a stroke as gentle as a feather
I'll catch a rainbow from the sky
And tie the ends together.
Heigh ho! I am here.
Am I not young and fair?
Please come say, How do?
The things I'll show to you.
Would you have a wond'rous sight?
The midday sun at midnight?
Fair maid, white and red,
Comb you smooth and stroke your head.
"It is prettier in Thalassian," Anristina mused, "but you have such a lovely voice, you could make Orcish sound beautiful."
Sylvanas allowed herself to make a disgusted face. "Singing in Orcish is a nightmare. I'd sooner eat frog spawn, even if I could still taste anything."
"If you're using that as an epithet, it's just 'melore'. What is it?"
"I know you've just sung it twice, but will you sing it one more time? I have a reason other than hearing your beautiful voice again, I promise."
"One more time, then." Sylvanas began the song again, and this time was pleasantly surprised to hear Anristina join in. After a few bars, Anristina pitched her voice higher, finding a higher harmony that Sylvanas had not heard before; she was making it up, and producing a lovely sound at that. Rather than cutting off the song in surprise, Sylvanas kept singing; Anristina flubbed the words a little, likely confused by the fact that Sylvanas was singing in Thalassian and Anristina was attempting Gutterspeak, but her voice was steady.
"I didn't know you were so talented at music. My little one is full of surprises." Sylvanas bent over to kiss Anristina's forehead. "And you can still sing. Did you have any work done on your vocal cords? I don't see any scars."
"I didn't have them replaced. I didn't want my voice to be completely different. But I asked Undertaker Abirad—my friend Josepha is a gender-changer, and Abirad has done a lot of work for her, so I've talked to him when I went with Josepha to get some of the changes done—and asked him if he had anything to, you know, smooth out a voice. Fix the damage to the cords. He mixed up a draught for me to drink once a day. I've been practicing singing. My tentmate Diahan has been giving me demon spit for it...telling me I was awful, that kind of thing...but I think I've finally stopped caring about how awful she is."
Sylvanas shook her head. "How about I just get you your own tent? To be frank, I might suggest that you move all your things here, but I wouldn't want to pressure you."
Anristina sat up and kissed Sylvanas hard. "I'd love to stay here with you."
"I'm glad you're so...jubilant regarding the prospect. But I wouldn't want to frighten off anyone else you might want to court."
"You'd let me see other people?" Anristina looked surprised.
"Of course. You think I'm not aware that there are things you might need or want that I can't give." Sylvanas pulled Anristina into her lap.
"I don't want anyone besides you, Sylvanas."
Sylvanas closed her eyes. "I cannot give you everything you seek, Dorini'da. My heart has grown too cold. And if you ever want to pursue anyone else, I will not stop you."
"Thank you for giving me such freedom. And...did you just call me something in Thalassian?"
"Yes. 'Dorini'da'...well, its literal meaning is 'honey bee', but Thalassian nouns often have many layers of meaning, and they take on different meanings when used to refer to people. 'Dorini'da' means...well, the honey bee is a hard worker. She is dedicated only to her work and does it with utmost care and devotion. And her work is to make honey. Another translation of 'Dorini'da' is 'maker of sweetness'. Also, she may produce sweetness, but she will sting if provoked. Don't think I didn't see the look on your face when you were watching Corlissa today. And before you ask, another translation is 'sweetness that may sting.'"
Anristina was grinning so hard she was afraid her face would split and need to be stitched up by Abirad or Mordo. "I like that name. Do you...object to me calling you Melore?"
Sylvanas was quiet for a moment. "I am the Dark Lady now, so it's odd to be called a word whose main translation is 'sunlight'."
"Is there something else you'd like me to call you?"
"Almost all of the words in Thalassian that are related to darkness or, gods forbid, undeath, become insults when used as epithets. And while Gutterspeak is my language now...I...I think what I want most is for you to call me by my given name. I have always found it gratifying to hear my titles...Dark Lady, Banshee Queen, sometimes Your Majesty, and Ranger-General while I was alive...but hearing you call me Sylvanas is somewhat intimate in a way that I've missed."
Anristina nodded solemnly. "I love you, Sylvanas."
A/N: I'm sorry I took so long to update. I just started a PhD program. Molecular bio, genetics and cancer. Serious shit.
Also, the song Sylvanas sings is my Thalassian "translation" (with help of the page on Thalassian on the WoW wiki) of "Willow's Song" from The Wicker Man (the original with Christopher Lee singing, not the shit remake with Nicholas Cage). YouTube it. It's sung (er, lip sync'd) by a naked, witchcraft-practicing, 30-year-old Britt Ekland, if you're into that. Mostly it's an eerily gorgeous song.