30 The Curse - Disturbed
Aziris nervously waited outside the room in the Cantrips and Crows, where Agiga Greyfeather had taken up residence for the short time she would be visiting Dalaran. It was a private room in the upstairs portion, which Aziris had never been to, she always just sat in the common room or borrowed a hammock in the large guest room downstairs. It was quiet enough that it suited her. Apparently the quiet suited Agiga too. Aziris imagined the nearby long tunnel directly out of the city might be useful for someone who could turn into a bird at will.
The light clopping of hooves on the wooden floor made Aziris shift her weight to try not to make it too obvious that her leg was still splinted underneath her skirt. She wore her plain simple dress, with the long white sleeves and blue skirt. Her favorite dark one with the green would have felt more comfortable, it was softer, but it was also sewn up the front from when she’d been brought to the nurses in the clinic. That wouldn’t do for giving a good impression at all.
“Who is it?” came the soft low voice that Aziris remembered.
“Aziris.” Aziris said somewhat more weakly than she expected. How was she going to tell this nice lady everything? She felt like running away and hiding. A small part of her, though, wanted to share, hoped that maybe there really was a chance, for her.
The door opened a small crack and a large green eye peered at her. “Ah, little ishabalo. What have you done to your hair?”
Agiga opened the door wide for Aziris, who ducked inside. Agiga was wearing the same soft blue robes that Aziris had first seen her in, with a brownish overcoat trimmed in gold designs. Her wide sleeves had brown trimmed in gold to match, and it looked nice against the pretty blue color. In her thick mane and looped braids were the same blue and yellow feathers, beads, and ribbons. It was comforting to see her the same way she remembered.
Agiga, on the other hand, surveyed the tiny undead girl with a critical eye. The child had dyed her pretty silver hair to a dull black, though not professionally. There were still strands of errant silver running through the long locks, though the girl obviously took good care of her tresses. There weren’t many Forsaken who could boast such long hair still. The overall effect made Aziris appear paler, though no longer ghostlike for her light coloring. She probably blended better with the undead populace. She had found one of their masks somewhere and wore that as well, though Agiga knew she had no need of aid to hold her features together, or even cover up blemishes.
As ever the child reminded her of a ghost though, the way she moved, though the limp she was trying to hide gave evidence to the injuries that Agiga had been told she’d suffered. She was trying valiantly to hide it, and Agiga withheld comment. The girl seemed much less frightened and a bit happier than when they’d first met, which pleased her. She fidgeted quite a lot, though, twisting the hems of her sleeves and in general being agitated. Agiga guessed she did not want to be here at all.
“I dyed it.” Aziris replied. “I didn’t want my grey hair anymore, nobody else has grey hair.” Agiga laughed and raised a hand to touch a braid lightly, making Aziris smile. Agiga’s fur was silvery grey.
“And you wear a mask now to cover your pretty face. Who are you hiding from, dear?” Agiga guessed. Aziris froze, proving the assumption at least close to the mark.
Aziris just stared at the tauren lady, wondering what to do. She was doing an awful job at being brave and proving she could take care of herself.
“Nevermind that, child. You came because I was worried and sent that letter, didn’t you?”
Agiga gestured to a small table with two chairs. Small for Agiga. To Aziris it was a large table. She sat down while Agiga walked gently to the fire and retrieved a teakettle and a tablepad, set them down and got two cups from a cupboard. She walked as softly as she could to keep from making noise with her hooves. Agiga sat down and set about making tea, her tail swishing slowly as she waited patiently for the tea to darken. She added sugar to Aziris’ cup and slid it over to her, sipping her own. The cup seemed tiny in her large fingers. She watched Aziris cautiously take a sip before asking, “Why don’t you tell me what’s on your mind? And we’ll sort things out.”
Aziris ended up drinking her whole cup of tea while she tried to figure out where to start. Each time she thought she had a thought, she opened her mouth to say it, and it left her. It was hard to tell what she considered to be an embarrassing secret. She didn’t want anyone to know, it was bad enough that Desonar knew she was broken. Sure, he was a good friend, but now she felt like he also wanted to take care of her. Just like Agiga was trying to do.
“Start at the beginning.” Agiga offered.
How silly. But Aziris pulled her knees up into the big chair and hugged them. She closed her eyes for a minute and put her head down. With her eyes closed, it was easier to pretend no one was listening. Agiga wisely stayed silent as the little girl started talking.
“I killed my mom when I was born.
“Daddy was very sad, but he took care of us, and we had a nanny. Teresa was this nice old dark lady. I remember we used to ride ponies in front of daddy around the yard. He would train horses for people, and sell them. He made horses that weren’t afraid of anything for the army, and he made gentle horses for rich ladies. He made horses that could work all day long for farmers. Any kind of horse, he knew which ones would be good and he trained them to be.
“I used to get sick a lot, when I was still really little. I’d get colds all the time, and be sick for a long time. I remember I couldn’t go outside to play even if I wasn’t sick. I was just tired all the time. If I fell down I’d get a big huge bruise, and if I cut myself Teresa would have to go get a potion or a healer to make it stop bleeding. Sometimes I’d wake up at night with my leg hurting, or an arm, sometimes I’d have little headaches.
“At my eighth birthday party Patrick wanted me to hurry up to see the present he got me. He pulled on my arm and broke it. That was the first broken bone I ever had, I remember it hurt a lot. I broke lots of bones after that, all the time. Sometimes I would try to pick up something, or I would move too quick, and it would just snap all by itself. Sometimes I’d fall, or bang something. Daddy had to stop hugging me. I didn’t touch anybody anymore. I stayed in bed a lot. Um, after that the headaches I used to get got really bad. I don’t know anybody ever had them that bad, but its like a regular headache times a thousand. You can’t see, can’t hear, can’t tell where you are, or anything except that everything hurts, and you just want it to stop. They started ending in little comas, and then big comas. It didn’t matter if I broke something anymore, it would set off a headache and then when I woke up it would be all better. Most of the time Daddy was away trying to find new doctors to see me. I must have seen every expensive doctor in the world, I think, but none of them knew how to fix me. They did all kinds of tests, banished demons, dispelled magic and curses, tried potions and stuff. Nothing worked.
“We were in the Plaguelands I guess when I died. I knew I would, but the plague kept me from being dead forever. I…”
Aziris paused. Agiga grew concerned, for death was traumatic, even with all this girl had been through, and she knew very well how her people had been used by the Lich King before gaining freedom. But Aziris continued after a moment.
“I ended up in the little town outside the Undercity under old Lordaeron. I remember I had a broken wrist and arm for a while, but they were fixed when I met you. I was fishing in that lake. You had me meet Kit and we decided I could help fish for you, and I lived in Orgrimmar for a little while. I met Jubjub in those caves outside Crossroads. He almost died, but he didn’t, somehow. You know biletoads can make people really sick, and they could die. Well the frog dies too. I felt bad, I scared him, I guess. But he didn’t hurt me when he tried, and he almost died. I cried. But then he was better, and he followed me around. He’s my friend now.
“I moved to Dalaran after everybody moved to Northrend. Kit spent lots of time there and she got me a room in the Animal. I went to the Faire. I got stupid and I wanted to play with the little machine cars there. You have to stand at a little console to control them, and I wasn’t paying attention, I was watching my little car run around. I guess there was a fight, and I didn’t notice, and this big thing, I found out it’s a draenei, well I got hit a couple times, but it doesn’t take much. Being dead I stopped getting headaches, but I still break easy. Super easy. I don’t think he meant to, but he hurt my ribs really bad, and my leg, my arm. I hearthed really quick, I remember I didn’t want to get stepped on, and I was hurting a lot. I was going to go get bandages from the clinic, I think, cause I got out of the animal, but my leg was broke, and it broke the rest of the way and I fell down. I broke my wrist. I couldn’t splint up myself anymore, I got help from the stone. I guess she carried me to the clinic. I don’t remember, but I think that’s how my other arm and my collarbone broke.
“I got used to not having to really be there in bed all the time anymore, I guess. I hadn’t been hurt that bad in a long time, since I died, and I got really sad. They took Jubjub away from me because a stupid snake kept trying to bite him, and poisoned itself so that it almost died. This troll named Megid took him in, he was nice. I met Desonar. He’s the doctor you want me to see. The other people I met before, they didn’t come visit me. I thought I had lots of friends and I guess I didn’t yet. I’ll make more. Um, I ran away when I was good enough to walk a little bit. I went to Sholazar and stayed with the Oracles. I learned to read. I can write now too, and I have a little journal. I got all better. Well almost all. And The Oracles like me, they would give me little eggs. This third one had what everyone says is a proto-drake in it. I’m taking care of him now. I think that’s it.”
The room was silent for a moment, and neither of them moved. Aziris waited for a response from Agiga, and Agiga waited.
“Oh!” Aziris said, she sat up and put her legs back down, digging in her pockets. She found the crumpled letter with Agiga’s elegant script on one side, and written in green on the other side, the response from Desonar. “This is for you.”
Agiga took the paper from Aziris and smoothed it on the tabletop, reading to herself. Aziris tried to read it upside down, but it was hard. She hadn’t thought to look at it before coming here, thinking that Desonar’s message was for Agiga, not her. She knew basically what it said though. He wanted to talk with Agiga, and there were some ideas he had to help Aziris. It was supposed to say that Aziris could still fish.
“So I can fish, now, right?” she asked anxiously.
Agiga folded the paper and set it to one side. Her big green eyes fixed Aziris in a stare, which immediately caused the girl to stop fidgeting and sit quietly. “Aziris, you are a sick little girl,”
“But I told you-” Aziris started. Agiga held up a hand.
“Yes, you told me how you are a little bit better as a Forsaken. But that doesn’t mean you should be happy with the way you are. What if your new proto-drake crashes, or you fall off? What if you fall down and both your wrists break and you can’t get your stone out of your pocket and get help?” Aziris scowled.
“Aziris, medicine has advanced quite a bit in the last few years. I am a healer, though not the type you need. I know little of repairing the type of sickness you have, with the gifts the Earthmother has granted me. Perhaps your bones can be strengthened. I know Forsaken replace parts as they need to, and your unique circumstance as undead may help you further if that is what it takes. Wouldn’t you like to be as normal a girl as you can be? Isn’t it worth trying?”
Aziris nodded slowly. Desonar had mentioned these same things already, but Aziris was stubborn. Her father had searched her entire life to find the answers, it just seemed wrong now that he had wasted it all just to have her do it by herself. If there even was an answer. Still, it would be wrong to give up now, especially since everyone was right. She couldn’t just keep pretending that no one would notice eventually. And if she had managed to hold on so long just to make her dad happy in life, now that she was technically dead, or undead, why should that change?
Agiga saw the change in the little girl, the renewal of the fire in her eyes. She’d been alone just a little too long, long enough to waver in her resolve. Agiga thought that this little girl could be capable of great things if she were given the chance. She resolved to keep a better relationship with her. Agiga felt that perhaps she’d allowed her duty to her ward to block out her view of other responsibilities, and her time for herself.
“I will speak to your friend Desonar. If we find something we are willing to put to practice with as little risk to you as we can, I’ll have him tell you. Ultimately it will always be your decision. But I’d like to see you well, little abalo.”
Aziris smiled. “Me too.” She got up to leave, thanking Agiga for the tea. They said their goodbyes, Aziris promising to be careful in the meantime, and Agiga wishing her good fishing. As she opened the door, a though occurred to Aziris.
“Do you know any good names for a boy green proto-drake?”
Marked for demolition, I'm
Just a time bomb ticking inside
No hope for the hopeless,
I can see the pieces are laid out in front of me
No point even asking why
Couldn't help even if you try
Step aside or you might just be the next contestant
To feel the Brutality!
Are all in a part of Exacerbation
There's no explaining my situation,
Now why does this shit keep happening to me?
I've held on too long just to let it go now,
Will my inner strength get me through it some how
Defying the curse that has taken hold
I'll never be overcome!
Too dark for forgiveness, I
Can't seem to do anything right
When I try to rebuild I see my humble shelter
Just fall to the ground again
Object to the evil eye
No point to let anyone try
Take heed my friend lest you be torn asunder
Like all that's become of me
All being apart of imagination,
There's no explaining my situation
Now why does this shit keep happening to me?