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((Another really long post!  It was a pleasure to write with Dorritow, Keltyr and most of all, Hammaryn.

Why is Dir always in trouble?  He seems to attract it like flies to honey.))

It was early in the morning as Dorri dashed up the stairs. “Right, Ysani said this is definitely what she drinks!” Dorri shoved the bottle into Keltyr’s hands as she made it upstairs. He and Dir were lounging on the stairs, waiting for her.

With a grin, Keltyr opened the bottle and began dropping small bits of mushroom into it. He closed the cap and then shook the bottle before handing it off to Dir.

Dir accepted the bottle with a raised eyebrow.  “I know you said not to do anything stupid but I am compelled to point out that everything about this qualifies.”  He gives a big grin anyway while hoisting himself off the stairs. “Wish me luck.”

His soft boots barely made a sound on the tiled floor as Dir casually strolled down the steps, into the bar.  Grabbing a couple of glasses from the polished wood counter, he set the bottle in the center of the table with one of the glasses next to it.  His glass he filled with uncontaminated burnwine, using the silver flask he fished out of his shirt pocket. Cool, calm and collected, Dir sat back and waited for Hammaryn.  She should be passing through the bar at anytime, if she kept to schedule.

Hammaryn stomped into the bar a few minutes later.  She sat down on a bar stool, removed a large book from her backpack, and dropped it open onto the bar with a loud slam.  Arille the bartender winced, then looked over at Hammaryn and rolled his eyes.  She seemed not to take any notice of this reaction, let alone whoever else she may have disturbed.

A low chuckle greeted her from a table nearby.  “Problems, Ryn?”

Hammaryn looked over her shoulder to glare at Dir.  “Good evening, Dir.  Now leave me alone.”

Dir shrugged nonchalantly, taking a sip of his drink.  “A shame.  I’ve this nearly full bottle of burnwine to share.  Excellent year.  Aged just right.”

She turned around slowly, narrowing her eyes at him.  “What do you want with me?”

Rolling his eyes, Dir shook his head.  “I’d have an easier time getting loose from a bear trap then getting anything from you.  Do you want some or not?”

Hammaryn sat there for a moment, mute, scrunching up her eyebrows.  Finally she nodded to herself and closed the large book.  “Fine.”

Dir grinned, but not too widely, and leaned forward.  He grabbed the neck of the ornate bottle and, with a flick of this thumb, uncorked it.  The rich scent of heavy booze rose from the glass as he poured Ryn a generous measure.

Hammaryn got up from her bar stool and sat down at the table across from Dir, still eyeing him warily.  “What’s the occasion?”

“I didn’t think we needed one to drink ourselves into a stupor.”  Dir took a sip of his own drink.  “Just the usual alcoholism.”   He gave the woman ungraciously sitting across from him a once-over, knowing she would bristle at his overt appraisal.

Dorri peered around the corner, grinning from ear to ear as Kel came up behind her to do the same.  “Light, he’s playing it for all its worth.  She’s either going to drink with him or punch him.”

“If we’re lucky,”  he whispered in her ear, “she’ll do both.”

“Speak for yourself.”  Hammaryn took a swig from her drink.

Chuckling over his glass, Dir replied “I can make up an occasion if you truly need one.”

“I think I’m fine with silence, thank you.”

“Tell me, does it hurt to have your plate panties wedged so tight they are at risk of cutting off your circulation?”  Dir smirked.

Hammaryn slowly set her glass down on the table, and her upper lip curled into a snarl.  She reached back and slapped Dir in the face.

Keltyr poked Dorri in the side, as there was momentary silence throughout the entire room, driven by the echoing slap.  “Hah, you’re buying the drinks tonight.  Speaking of which, I need one.”  He pulled her down the last few stairs before she could point out that she usually bought the drinks.

Dir’s face burned where Ryn’s palm had connected, as if he needed proof she wasn’t a dainty lass.  He grit his teeth but refused to let his smile drop from his face.  His eyes burned though, almost as hotly as his cheek.  “And here I thought your skin would be just a tad thicker by now.”  Gingerly, Dir set his drink on the table.

Her eyes burned with rage.  “I can’t stand you.”

Eyes narrowed, Dir growled back. “Funny, I can’t recall ever doing anything to you to warrant such vitriol.  I assume this is another close-minded attitude you enjoy stewing in?  It’s hard to keep track. You have so many.”

“This one is well deserved.”  She took another large gulp of her drink.  “I don’t know why you want to drink with me anyways, since I’m not interested in your advances.”

The smirk that lit Dir’s face was rather nasty.  “Oh, this isn’t about sex.  Not at all.”

Her forehead scrunched up.  “Then what exactly is this abou…”  Her voice drifted off, eyes widening as she turned her head to stare at an indiscriminate area of the bar.  “Did you [i]feel[/i] that?”

Dir’s face turned cautious as he looked around Ryn to stare at the bar as well.  “Feel what?”

“THAT.”  She started to stand up, nearly knocking over her chair.  “How can you not feel that?!”

“Maybe if you describe it to me?”  Dir eyed the bottle of drugged burnwine.

She took a few careful tiptoes towards the bar entrance.  “Maybe Dalaran is on fire?”

Dir hid a grin in his hand as he watched her. “Your personal part of it probably.”

She cautiously walked back to the table, leaning on it.  “What?”

Shrugging, Dir refilled her glass.  He pushed it towards the wobbly woman as she stared off into space.  “Take a drink. You need it.”

She flopped back down into her chair, taking a dainty sip of the tainted burnwine.  “Maybe we should tell someone.  Maybe the scourge are invading again.  Dir.  Dir.  This just doesn’t feel right.  Dir.”

“Just relax, my dear.  No one is invading.”  Propping his head on his hand, the blonde paladin watched his comrade’s reason slowly float away.

“Are you sure?  Because I think we should be prepared if they are.”

“I’m not sure it’s possible to be more prepared than the entire armories we all keep in our rooms.  Now think happy thoughts.”

“I just think if they are invading, and Dalaran is on fire, we should definitely tell someone.  Can you not feel how hot it is in here?!”  She picked up her book from the table, fanning herself with it.  “Being prepared didn’t save Silvermoon.”

“Hot, hmm?  I’d suggest you lose some of that heavy plate but I’m not in the mood to be slapped again.”  Dir winked at the flushed girl.  Ryn’s pupils were dilating as the drugs coursing through her system worked their magic.

“You’re right.”  She started unbuckling straps on her armor with lightning speed, dropping her shoulders on the floor with a loud clang. “If we need to evacuate the city we’ll have to move as fast as possible.”

Dorri watched from a nearby table with her jaw half open.  She was so distracted that she barely had time to rescue her mug from Keltyr’s greedy grasp.  “Hey, order some more!”  She drained the mug and slammed it back on the table.

“Um.. okay.”  Dir’s own face wore an expression of genuine shock.  He struggled  to recover his usual charming facade.  “Maybe you have had enough to drink.”

Dorri scowled, grabbed a roll off her table and tossed it at Dir’s head.

Hammaryn didn’t even seem to notice the flying baked goods, tugging off her gauntlets and setting them on the table.  “Dir?  You’re not getting ready.”

Dir turned around to glare at Dorri when the bread bounced off his head.  He rolled his eyes at her glare and frantic pantomime as she pointed at Ryn.  Fine! he mouthed the word at her.  Swiveling back around, Dir raised an eyebrow at the sweating, stripping Blood Knight.  “Ryn, dear, I’m only wearing light clothes already.”  He motioned to his nearly sheer billowing silk shirt.  It was cut so low, a huge portion of his chest was visible.

She stopped mid-strip, her eyes wandering down to his barely covered chest, and sniffled.  She put her hands up to her face, and started to loudly bawl into them.

Dir squeezed his eyes shut.  “Oh Light, no.”  He snuck a peek at Ryn only to see her hunched over crying, her shoulders convulsing with the force of her tears.  He shot a “Why me” glance at Dorri before saying “Oh please, don’t cry.”

Dorri scowled at her wine.  “She’s bloody crying?  Light, crying is not what is supposed to happen.”  She looked at Keltyr, who just gave a characteristic shrug.

“Cloth is just…not…”  she choked out the words in between sobs, “going to save us.”  She started a shaky attempt to put a gauntlet back on.

Standing up, Dir reached over and took away the gauntlet Ryn was unsuccessfully trying to stuff her hand in.  “I promise you that nothing is happening and we are completely safe.”

Hammaryn blinked doe-eyed at Dir, tears still streaming down her face.  “How can you promise that?”  Her voice was almost a whisper.

Dir almost didn’t resist the urge to melt in the face of Ryn’s breakdown.  He had to remind himself that this teary-eyed, vulnerable girl was the same vicious face-slapping self-righteous woman who adored to look down on him.  He really wasn’t succeeding.  “The alarms haven’t sounded and…” he sighed, “ I won’t let anything happen to you.”  He refused to turn around to see the smirks that were most likely gracing Dorri and Keltyr’s faces.

The thought that perhaps this trick was on him did cross his mind.

Hammaryn smiled up at Dir, reaching her arms out for a hug.

The moment hung on indecision.  Dir debated in those few seconds.  She seemed in genuine need in her drug-addled state but what if she went psycho and punched him again? He could hardly hit her back.  Why was he debating? He knew he was going to do it.  With a resigned sigh, Dir gently wrapped his arms around Ryn.  He pulled her tight, tucking her head beneath his chin.

She nuzzled into his chest and let out a contented sigh. “I’m sleepy.”

Dir sighed. “Of course you are.”  Uncertain of what to do, he patted her back.  He wished he could glare at Dorri.

Hammaryn nodded.  “I’m gonna go home.”

There was relief in Dir’s voice when he said “That sounds like an excellent idea.  I’ll walk you home.”

Hammaryn gave Dir’s arm a squeeze and pulled away from the hug.  “Okay.”  She started for the door, forgetting her armor where it had been dropped.

Dir turned around to shoot a hateful look in Dorri and Keltyr’s general direction before following Hammaryn outside.  He purposefully left her armor on the bar floor for them to take care of.  “Here, give me your arm.  I don’t want you to fall.”  He didn’t mention that Ryn swayed at an alarming angle when standing still.

Hammaryn stumbled towards Dir, wrapping an arm around his.  “This was nice,” she said as she nearly tripped over her own feet.

Trying not to rub his cheek in stinging memory, he said “Is it?”

“Yeah!”  Her eyebrows furrowed in concentration.  “I think?”

“Okay. Sure!” Dir equivocated.  He gently steered the intoxicated woman towards the Silvermoon portal.  It was a task made harder by her insistence that she stare upwards at the starry sky.

“This is beaaauuuuuuutiful!”  She exclaimed as she nearly fell over into a statue.

Yanking her back upright, Dir laughed.  “I must admit, you are incredibly pleasant right now… and rather funny.  A shame you aren’t always so. You have a nice smile.”

“Dir.”  She frowned.  “I forgot what I was gonna say.  But you have really nice hair.”

“So I’ve been told.”  Dir pulled her through the shimmering portal leading to the spires of Silvermoon City.  Within an instant, he was half-pulling, half-guiding the staggering woman through the lush courtyards of the palace.

Hammaryn was stopping in her tracks every five seconds to stare in awe.  “This is AMAZING!”

Dir paused, staring upwards at the towering buildings.  The sun glimmered off spotless marble and ornate fretwork.  Magic suspended potted greenery where it should have been impossible and everything shimmered with a hint of arcane.  He’d not taken a real look at his home city in ages and he was a bit taken aback at how beautiful it was.  “Yeah.. you’re right.  It is amazing.”

Hammaryn planted her butt on the ground, sprawling out on the pavement.  “It’s so nice.  We should just sleep here.  I wanna sleep at the orphanage.  Dir?”

“While that is a nice thought, I don’t think going to the orphanage is a good idea.”  He winced as he said it.  He could only imagine what the matron would say to Ryn showing up at her door, higher than the surrounding towers.

She pulled her arms in, folding them over her chest.  “Sometimes I miss going home.  Don’t you?”

For a moment, an image flashed in Dir’s mind.  Shining blonde hair, laughing blue eyes and the deep, sultry scent of exotic perfume.  “I miss my mother.”

Hammaryn’s voice became quiet.  “I miss my mom too.  And my dad.  Very much.”

“My father wasn’t worth mentioning.  I was raised by my mother.  She wanted better for me than her life.  Sadly, it didn’t work out that way.”  Dir plopped on the pavement next to Ryn, leaning back on his hands as he sunk deep in memory.

Hammaryn rolled over onto her side to face him.  “Why are you sad?”

Dir pasted on his trademark smile, easing the old mask back into place.  “I’m okay.  Maybe when you wake up, you can go to the orphanage.”

“Are you coming with me?”  Hammaryn smiled hopefully.

She just HAD to look so vulnerable, didn’t she.  “If you still want me to go with you when you wake up, I will.”

“Oh, good!”  She rolled over onto her other side and curled up into a fetal position.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Don’t sleep here.  C’mon, the chapterhouse isn’t far.”  Dir held out his hand, attempting to rouse Ryn from her stupor.

Hammaryn sighed and took his hand.  “Fine.”  She pulled herself up to sitting.  “Maybe Fabrio will come with us.”

“I wouldn’t bet on it.  That would involve dangerous activities like ‘leaving his office’ and ‘facing the sun’”.  Dir snickered.

“We can get some muffins.  And then take him running.  He is getting FAT.”  Hammaryn giggle-snorted.

Dir laughed as he pulled Ryn’s hand through his arm in a courtly gesture.  They looked as if they were merely strolling, enjoying the sunshine, as they headed towards the Bazaar.  “I would think the muffins would defeat the purpose of the run if he’s so very fat, my dear.”

“Oh no, it’s never too late to start.  We should ask him when we get home.”

“The day you can get Fabrio to stop wheezing when he climbs the stairs is the day I pledge celibacy for 6 weeks.”  after a moment’s thought, he amended that.  “Make that in shape.  Running at least a mile effortlessly.”

Hammaryn patted Dir’s arm.  “Oooookay!  I hope you know what you’re doing!”

Dir opened the chapterhouse door, ushering Ryn into the cool dark.  “My dear, you won’t even remember this conversation.”  He laughed.

((Dir and Tess’ SECOND meeting!  Wanna check out the first? You can find it at Regatta’s blog, Please Don’t Die.  Along with a host of other goodies.  I may be biased though, she’s my best friend.))

Murder Row.

Dir was more comfortable here then he was anywhere else.  Sure this area had it’s pitfalls but some of the best things in life were the riskiest.   After all, the only difference between him and the street corner whores was the price tag.  It had been that way since a noblewoman had tossed him an exorbitant amount of gold after a pleasant afternoon of “breaking in” the then-adolescent boy.  His mother had never spoken to her best friend again after that.

As if summoning such downfalls with merely a thought, Dir saw her.  A flash of pale wheat hair atop a too-thin form that stopped just short of being lithe.  Her… He didn’t think she had seen him yet so he ducked in the doorway of a trader’s tent, the scent of something dark, drugging and highly illegal enveloped him along with the shadows.  From his hiding spot, Dir could watch her head towards him.  The girl was clearly at work.  Her gaze was darting everywhere and though she held her body loosely, there was a tension to her that said she could make a break for it at any moment if threatened.  He’d have to play this one fast and loose to retain the upper hand.

The look of shock on her face when Dir casually grabbed her arm from the doorway of the tent was a satisfying one.  The expression of oh shit! in her eyes when she saw who had just snagged her was priceless.  He winked at her as he tucked her arm through his.  The gentlemanly gesture was a ruse, his grip was hard and she’d have to outright struggle to even think of breaking it.  It was possible he was even leaving bruises.  “Walk with me, my dear.”  The smile lighting his face was deceiving as Dir forced the girl to stroll beside him at a sedate pace.  “I must admit that I can’t recall your name.  It’s possible you didn’t give it, I was quite sotted that night.”  Burgeoning panic rose off her in waves before she straightened her spine with a near audible snap, roguish boldness taking it’s place.

Saucy wench. He liked that in a woman.

If you could call her a woman.  She was young, very young, but there was a hardened air about her.  She expected him to kick her like an errant puppy and was fully prepared to kick back.  He disguised a thorough inspection in a leer.  There was a disturbing hollowness to her cheeks and a sense of distrust she wore like a cloak.  However, he wasn’t about to tell her he didn’t have the heart to be a puppy kicker.  “Tess.”  She ground out her name between gritted teeth.

“Tess, what a lovely name.  I’m Dir, in case you missed that when you robbed me blind.”  He had to give her credit, she had the stones to not even flinch at that.  “I’m not fool enough to drink this time around but how about some dinner?” The growl of Tess’ stomach could clearly be heard over the babble of the dingy street.  That did make her wince.  Dir’s smirk turned to one of certainty.  “Dinner it is.”

—–

Dir pretended to be asleep when Tess snuck out of bed and flitted about the room like a wraith.  Dawn light was starting to filter through the curtains as she rifled through his pockets.  Her eyes held a far-away stunned look and she walked carefully, as if soreness was starting to settle in.  He’d made sure not to disappoint this time around.  Effort well spent.. she left him his clothes and only took half his gold.  Dir figured it was a fair trade for some comeuppance.

((I’m apologizing in advance for the length of this one.  Ysani’s player and I started writing and …just.. couldn’t.. STOP!!  Thanks for the awesome time, Bika <3))

Uuuuugh. A swath of late-morning sunshine cut across her arm. Light, what a hangover. Her temples throbbed and her stomach felt sloshy and bruised. Her mouth was full of cotton.

Just don’t move. Lie still as long as you can, and get the biggest glass of water you can find as soon as you have to get up to potty. Ysani scrunched her eyes shut. At least Keilos had been around to make sure she got into bed. His arm was curled over her waist in the warm, quiet room.

She lay there for several minutes, utterly still and focused on keeping her stomach intact. It didn’t help that the room smelled odd. When did Keilos start wearing cologne? Maybe it’s an air freshener. Or maybe, she thought, she was imagining it. Great, I must be coming down with something. Just what I need, a headcold on top of a hangover. Crap!

It wouldn’t be long before she had to get up, though, and she sighed. Screw you, call of nature. Five more minutes. She cracked her good eye open, and froze.

Instead of the soft blue coverlet she expected, an expanse of warm gold-colored silk greeted her eyes. She immediately closed them again and began a largely involuntary mental inventory of the events of last night. Drinking, she could definitely remember drinking. She changed her clothes and went down to the bar to have a drink with –

Oh, CRAP. Her fist tightened and the edges of something dug into her palm. “Ow!”

Dir stirred at her yelp, pulling Ysani tighter to him with a muffled “Mmmm.”  Her body lay warm against his and he was loathe to so much as stir and risk waking up.

Ysani let out a whimper and tried not to move. At all. Craaaaap, what do I do? Crapcrapcrap. She opened her hand, carefully. A pretty rock lay on her palm. What the– She closed her hand again and tried to think, but her need to find the restroom was very quickly outpacing both her ability to reason and her desire not to find out the extent of last night’s shenanigans, ever. She whimpered again. It sounded rusty coming out of her dry throat.

Disturbed by her whimpers, Dir rolled over, pinning her stomach-down to the bed.  His sleep-slurred voice was gravelly as he asked “Whassa matter, ‘sani?”  Still not quite awake, he nipped at her earlobe with his even, white teeth.

Oh, Light… no no no “Get off, I gotta pee–!” Ysani frantically wriggled out from under Dir’s body, her face a brilliant scarlet, and made for the edge of the bed. It was no small feat, she thought; Dir’s bed was positively enormous. His arms were around her and pulling her back to his warm (naked???) body before she got more than a few inches away, and she wailed. “Nooo, I mean it, I have to go now.

With a reluctant groan, he let her go.  As she scrambled away, he snuggled deeper into the pillows.  “Hurry up. I have some pressing issues of my own to address.”  The smile Dir shot her was positively dirty.

Ysani shut the door behind her and turned the lock, using her private time to decide what to do. The bathroom appeared to be free of windows large enough for her to escape; not only that, she had no clothes handy but the fruit-covered underwear she liked so much and would be so embarrassed to be seen wearing in public. Not that it mattered whether they had cherries, or monkeys, or the day of the week printed across the ass… there was no way that plan would work. She scrapped it. Rubbing her forehead, she leaned against the sink, then ran some water and washed her face and rinsed her mouth. I wonder how long I can stall in here. Maybe he’ll leave.

A sharp knock at the door made her jump, and she muffled a shriek behind her hand, scrambling to find a towel to cover herself.

“Hurry up. You aren’t the only one who needs to go.  Besides…” Dir’s voice dropped even lower. “I have plans.”

Ysani squeaked and unlocked the door, pressing her back to the wall to let him in, waiting to make a break for it. At least his towels were fairly large. Soft, too. I need some towels like this for my bathroom. The sound of the heavy lock clicking back into place jolted her out of her towel-inspired reverie. She meeped and pulled the towel more tightly around herself.

Dir casually leaned back against the now-locked door, his smile friendly and at ease but his eyes full of pure devilment.  He was naked as the day he was born.  “Good morning.  Sleep well?”

“H-hi,” she said, a little too loudly. “I’m fine, it’s fine. I slept fine.” She kept her eyes bolted to his face and shifted one small step toward the door before realizing that he was blocking her exit.

“Mmmm, have fun last night?”  His eyes lit up with even more mischief, if that was possible.

“I DON’T KNOW.” Ysani attempted to calm herself down with a deep breath. “I don’t know, do you?”

“That is an excellent question.” Dir pushed off from the door, one muscled arm snaking around Ysani’s towel-covered waist as he herded her towards the huge marble tub on the other end of the bathroom. “Light, you smell like week-old booze.”

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING.” Ysani’s headache was not getting any better, and every time she raised her voice it rattled inside her skull like a handful of jagged glass. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”

Putting on his most soothing smile, Dir reached out to activate the rune-inscribed tap and started steaming water flowing.  “It’s just a bath.  Believe me, you need it.”

“You didn’t answer me.” Ysani frowned and clutched the towel around herself. “What happened? I mean, did we–” She went an alarming shade of crimson that almost matched her hair.

“You are incredibly intelligent.  Nothing gets by you.”  Dir inspected her grip on the towel, as if plotting how to get it off her.  “You drooled in your hair, you know.  Let’s wash it and get it out.”

Ysani reached up and pulled a hank of long, sleep-tousled hair in front of her face, inspecting it. There was, indeed, a clump of dried saliva in it. “Ugh…”

With lightening speed, Dir gave her towel a hard pull.  Before Ysani could react, she was left only in her cute printed underwear.  She crossed her arms over her chest with a gasp. “Now, about that bath… it looks very warm and inviting.”  Grabbing a bottle off the edge, Dir upended a good portion of it into the water. “Look, bubbles.”  Mounds of snowy bubbles begin to form and fill the surface of the tub.

Her eyes were enormous as she stared at the steamy water and suds with her forearms tightly crossed over her bra. Ah, a hot bath. Her one weakness. The appeal of the bath, and especially the cover of a thick layer of suds, was undeniable. Making a flash decision (and probably a poor one, she reflected later), she stepped in and sat down in one quick motion, stomach flopping at the speed of her movements, and sank up to her neck in bubbles. Her head felt light, almost like her poor booze-addled brain was trying to swim. Light, I think I’m still drunk.

Dir’s laughter echoed in the tiled room as Ysani dived into the bath, underwear and all. Amused, he stepped into the bath, lowering himself in the water at a more leisurely pace. Ysani pulled her knees up to her chest and stared.  As he sank into the hot water chest-deep, a happy sigh escaped him. Lounging against the marble wall of the huge tub, Dir stretched out his legs and motioned Ysani closer with a wink.

“Y-you didn’t say you’d be getting in too,” Ysani mumbled, horrified. “I should go home, Kei is probably worried sick.” Just the thought of what Keilos would think of this situation made her feel green about the gills.

“Why else would I have a tub this big?”  Dir stretched.  “And I’m sure Mr. Control Freak is fine.  Turn around so I can wash your hair.”

Ysani whimpered. The deep red ends of her hair floated on the surface of the water, and she watched them, glad for a distraction. Light, I hope Keilos thinks I just stayed at the chapter house or something. I don’t know how I’ll talk my way out of this.

His most charming smile plastered across his face, Dir had to hold back the urge to laugh.  This exercise in seeing how far she would let him go before saying no was turning out to be quite the adventure.  One word would end it all but she just seemed completely incapable of letting it slip past her lips.  Maybe, Dir reflected, a part of her didn’t want to say no.  Dir grabbed Ysani’s shoulders and whirled her around to wash her hair before she saw exactly how lascivious his grin had become.  At this rate, she’d be a grandmother to their grandchildren before she’d even so much as stammered out an “Excuse me but I’ve been thinking…”  To keep her distracted he dumped a couple handfuls of water over her head, wetting her matted hair thoroughly.

Hey!” Ysani, startled by Dir’s manhandling and sudden dunking, immediately shot to her feet. Water poured off of her in sheets and her hair was plastered in unflattering hunks to her cheeks and neck. It didn’t occur to her that her silk underthings would be sheer when wet, nor did she care, and it only took a moment to step out of the tub, grab a towel and make a break for the bathroom door. “I’msorrybutIhavetogohome! Kei is probably waiting for me!” 

The echo of Dir’s laugh followed her.  He shrugged and leaned back in the bath, grinning from ear to ear as Ysani finally made a break for it.  She scurried nicely, wet underwear sticking enticingly to her shapely ass.  He’d be daydreaming about that for a while.

Her clothes were still heaped next to the bed. She could only groan as she tried not to think about how they got there, swiping her dripping hair with the positively luxurious towel (Light, these are so nice, I need to ask where he got these) and giving herself the most cursory patting-down to dry off before stepping back into her clothes. Wet skin and leather didn’t appear to mix very well. Her skirt got stuck halfway up and she hopped around, trying to force them up over her thighs. They wouldn’t budge, and she yanked harder. “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon,” she muttered to herself, then tripped over the shirt that was still puddled on the floor. WHUMP.

Dir winced at the loud crash that echoed through his apartment.  “Are you okay?”  Concern laced his voice as he climbed out of the bath.  He grabbed one of of his huge, fluffy towels and wrapped it around his waist as he headed into his bedroom.

Ysani lay stunned on the floor, several yards of fine purple leather bunched and twisted around her legs. Her butt pointed straight up to the ceiling and she groaned face-first into the carpet. “I don’t f-feel so good.”

“Hey, c’mere.”  Dir grabbed her discarded towel before turning her over and helping her sit up, her legs still tangled in the kilt.  “I promise no funny stuff.”  His smile was amused but gentle as he started towel drying Ysani’s soaked hair. 
She sat on the carpet, docile as she held her stomach. It was not happy with her, and now her shoulder hurt, too. She sniffed. “Dir?”

“Hmmm?”  He continued to run the towel through Ysani’s blood-red locks, taking extra care to scratch her scalp with his fingertips.

“This is really weird.” She waited for her stomach to settle a bit, then lifted her arm to examine her elbow. There was a tiny patch of rugburn on it, but it didn’t look as bad as it felt.

Ignoring that he was dripping on the carpet as well, Dir rubbed the towel through the ends of Ysani’s hair one last time before starting to dry her shoulders and back.  “Why is that, my dear?”

“You mean besides the part where you’re naked and I’m all wet?” Ysani winced as he rubbed over her shoulder. That, she was pretty sure, would have a fine bruise come tomorrow.

Dir chuckled. “I’ll admit I’ve been having some fun with you, love.  I promise, it’s not as bad as it seems.” 

“Isn’t that like saying Dorri’s not as angry as she seems?”

“Well… that’s Dorri for you.”   He started drying along her arms.  “See what happened here? You fell over and I picked you up and took care of you?  It’s a running theme from last night.”  Dir dropped a small kiss on the top of Ysani’s head.  “I swear nothing happened.”

Ysani sniffed and appeared to be mulling over this new piece of information. Really, though, she was mostly trying to control her belly, which was threatening to revolt on her. The feeling passed, and she decided it was a good idea not to make any more sudden movements for a while. “Okay.” She paused. “I think I might be in trouble.”

With a wince, Dir drawled “Oooooh.  Keilos.  Hmmm.”  He dropped the towel over her shoulders and leaned back on his hands.  “You know, you didn’t seem too happy with him last night.”

Ysani’s long face got longer, her small chin drooping to her chest. “I dunno. When it’s good it’s really good, I just don’t feel like I can be myself unless it’s just the two of us together, and nobody else. It’s different when there are other people around. Maybe I should just talk to him about it instead of trying to change the way I am.”

“There is nothing wrong with the way you are.”  Dir gave Ysani a friendly nudge with his arm.  “So, yes.  Talk to him about it.  If he can’t accept you as you come… well, I know at least one guy who does.”  He gave the redhead an exaggerated wink and leer.

Ysani winced. “Um… that’s very kind of you to say? You know what, this is still really weird. Can you hand me my shirt?”

Smirking at her discomfort, Dir leaned over to snag the discarded leather top.  “Want some help lacing it?”

“… Yeah, sure. My arm kinda hurts anyway.” She pulled it over her head. As it turned out, it was a lot easier when one was mostly dry and not yanking on it.

Surprisingly deft, Dir relaced the hand-crafted leather top and pulled on the laces.  Tightened just right, it pushed her breasts up until they nearly spilled from the neckline.  He tied it off with a flourish, admiring his handiwork. Ysani groaned. “I think I’m gonna–” She clapped her hands over her mouth mid-sentence and made an awkward attempt to get up and lurch to the bathroom. Her skirt didn’t follow.

“Oops.” Dir winced as he watched her silk-clad bottom bob in the air in her mad scramble for the bathroom.  The noises that came out of there were far from attractive.  He raised his voice to be heard over the sounds of gagging floating from the bathroom.  “I guess this means you don’t want breakfast?”

Ysani’s voice echoed from the other room. “Uuuugh.” I never want to eat again. Or drink, for that matter. After a few moments she emerged from the bathroom, mouth rinsed and teeth vigorously finger-scrubbed, wobbling slightly on her feet.

Still wrapped only in a towel, Dir greeted her with her skirt flung over one arm. “Here, put this on.”  Handing it off to her, he grabbed the gold robe he’d worn the night before from it’s puddle on the floor and pulled it over his head.  “Let me walk you home.”  The towel dropped to his feet and he kicked it free.  He didn’t seem to care that his long, unbound hair was soaking the fine silk.

Skirt tied, Ysani took a deep breath and scanned the room for anything she might’ve left behind. It’ll be really awkward if I have to come back here asking for my stuff. “So… what do you think I should tell Keilos?”

“How about the truth?  You drank too much and crashed with a friend.” Dir paused a second.  “If he doesn’t believe you or kicks up a fuss, that will tell you all you need to know.”  His grin turned playful. “Of course, I’m looking forward to comforting you should he do such a fool thing.”

Ysani looked up at Dir. “You know, every time I start to open my mouth to say thank you for the good advice, you hit on me. I’ll never get to say it at this rate.”

“I didn’t get this reputation by being lazy!  I have to keep up appearances.  Let’s go.”  He swung a heavy arm around her shoulders, pulling her into his chest in a friendly semi-hug and half-guided, half-pulled the much smaller woman to the door.

((A huge shout out to Ysani’s player who co-wrote this with me. Collaboration makes everything better. <3  Check her out at  http://bikaspot.blogspot.com/ where she is full of doodles and win!))

The girl was very drunk. Dir gave a satisfied grin… of course it was his fault.

He wrapped his arm around Ysani’s waist, encouraging her to lean on him as he walked her towards the stairs of the Legerdemain.  Drunken compliance had her head lolling against his shoulder, bobbing with every step.  Her confessions about Keilos had taken him aback. So had her tolerance for copious amounts of booze.

“The stairs are moving.” She slurred heavily with every word, balking at the first step.

Dir laughed, “No, my dear. You are.”  He pulled her up the step, not showing the slightest exertion at her weight.  “Come on. Just about a dozen more.”

She mumbled a mild objection but went willingly enough after a few steps, lifting her feet with exaggerated caution.  Dir would murmur softly to Ysani, small praises as she tackled the steps.  Reaching the landing, he deftly steered her past her room and towards the door of his apartment.  “You just a need a little pampering.” Dir winked at the swaying Ysani as he opened the door with his free hand.

She didn’t seem to notice.

Leading Ysani in before closing the door with his foot, Dir started guiding the wobbling girl over to the stool by the massive four-poster bed. “Here, take a seat.”  She flopped drunkenly on the stool, leaning back against the bed. Dir moved his hands off her slowly, making sure she wouldn’t fall over without his support.  “Let’s get you more comfortable, hmm?”  It was probably a shame Ysani was too drunk to notice his exceptionally wolfish smile.

“S’bedtime?” With her shoulders slumped and her arms hung limp at her sides, she stared at a vague point six inches off the carpet in front of her and somehow managed to keep her balance.

Kneeling in front of the redhead, Dir gently lifted her feet into his lap.  “Almost.” He smiled as he stroked the fine bones just under the skin of one foot before slipping Ysani’s sandal off.  For several long moments, Dir gently rubbed her foot, pressing his thumb on the ball of her foot and following the delicate nerve pathways along the arch.  His long fingers smoothed over the pale skin along the top of her foot as he said, “Want me to rub the other one?”

“Yuh huh.” She attempted to nod and stopped when she nearly fell off her perch, opting instead to use her energies lifting her other foot off the floor.

With a chuckle, he caught Ysani’s other foot and placed it in his lap beside its mate.  His fingers gently traced along the edges of her sandal, teasing lightly, before easing it off.  Dir’s large hands encircled her foot, repeating the motions he had lavished on the first one.  Ysani sighed.  Dir smiled wider. “You know, I give excellent back-rubs too.”  He let one hand roam a bit higher, squeezing and stroking the muscle of her calf before bringing it back down to her foot before she could object.

“Dir?”

“Hmm?”

“Where’s my bed?”

“That is an excellent question, my dear.” Ysani wiggled her toes. Dir’s hands back in plain sight, he took the hint and went back to pampering her feet.  “So, about that back rub.” His smile never faltered, soothing with a slightly dangerous edge.

“I wanna lie down.” She closed her eyes. “Room’s spinny.”

“You are full of excellent suggestions.”  Dir helped Ysani to her feet, supporting her as she swayed against him. “Let’s get this heavy leather off of you so you’ll be more comfortable.”

“But–” Her brow furrowed, and she seemed to be trying to remember something. At some point she forgot she was trying to focus and merely stood, leaning drunkenly against the tall elf.

Dir merely gave a non-committal “hmm?” as he slowly and gently began to loosen the laces along the back of the tight leather top showcasing her cleavage. It had done an excellent job of diverting his attention all night.  Giving the laces a harder pull as they came undone, he said, “I can’t rub your back with all this leather in the way.”

Ysani made a face, but was otherwise cooperative as the laces loosened and her top came free. It was a lot easier to breathe this way, she noted, and sighed. Her breath was redolent of sweet burnwine and chocolate.

Tossing the top aside, Dir was quick to start on the kilt while she was still leaning on him.  He sighed heavily at the glimpse of rose-colored silk banding her chest. Of course Ysani would wear underwear.  Unlaced, the kilt slid to her ankles. Dir paused, awaiting her protest.

“Where’s my jam–” Ysani hiccuped, then tried again. “–jammies.”

“Another fantastic question!  Here, lay down on the bed.  You’ll feel better.”  Dir took a moment to leer at her silk-covered rump. The cherries patterning across her tiny bloomers had him stifling a laugh.

Ysani did, indeed, feel better as soon as she sprawled out on the bed, lightly holding the edge of the mattress with one hand to steady the world.

Dir sat on the stool she had just vacated, pulling off his soft leather boots.  “Do you have any idea how much you drank?  I must admit, it’s impressive.  Last time I drank that much, I woke up next to gnomes.” He let each boot hit the carpeted floor softly.  He elected to keep his gold silk robe on.  It highlighted his tan and made his white blonde hair shine just a bit brighter.  However, he did take out the clip holding his long, thick hair back and up.  When freed, his hair spilled down past his waist.  “Look at it this way, you are getting a better deal.” He chuckled.

Ysani pressed her face into the thick bedding as the room continued to spin around her. Her voice was thick with booze and muffled against the linens. “I don’t wanna drink anymore.”

“You can’t anyway.  You pretty much shut down the bar.” He climbed up on the bed next to her, kneeling as his palms rested lightly on her shoulders, pressing just to either side of her spine as he ran his hands down her back slowly to the edge of her cute (cherry-printed) panties.

“Something’s poking me.” Ysani turned her head to one side, squirming.

Dir raised an eyebrow.  He wasn’t touching her quite that fully yet. “Oh really?”

She whined, twisting on the bed and rolling up onto her side. She swiped ineffectively at the bedding. “I don’t like it, it hurts.”

“Well, this is a first.  I still have my clothes on.”  He grinned wickedly, reluctantly pulling his hands back from her waist. Obligingly, he started patting down the bed where she seemed intent on re-enacting a life or death struggle with the sheets.  Finally, with another whine, she gave up and flopped into a ball on her side.  Groping about the bedding, Dir suddenly paused and sighed.  “Bells… How many times have I told him no rocks in bed?”  He pulled out a good sized rock. Ysani immediately reached for it.

“Shiny,” she slurred.

“It SCRATCHES the FINISH of my furniture!”

She grabbed it out of his hand and sprawled back out on the bed with it clasped firmly between her fingers, examining it up close with her good eye before curling her hand up under her chin and closing her eyes. “It’sh my friend.”

Snorting, Dir retorted, “You’ll have to get in line.  He’s Glitterbell’s friend first.”

“Can he sleep with me?”

Abandoning all hope for the night, Dir sighed.  “Okay.  But only if you cuddle with me too.”

“‘kay.”

Assuming she was too drunk to care, Dir pulled his robe over his head. Completely nude, he lay beside Ysani and wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her back into his chest.  He reached over to pull the tangled bedding over them both before nuzzling her red, sweet-smelling hair.

“Dir?”

“Yes, m’dear?”  He lazily curled his large body around her smaller one, spooning against her as he yawned sleepily.

“You’re nice. Will you be my friend too?” She held her rock tightly, eyes still closed to keep the wavy furniture from making her sick.

“Love, I’ve always been your friend.  I won’t let anything happen to you.”  He gave a low chuckle. “Even if it’s me.”

A drunken snore was her only response.

Glowy Skeletal Dargons for the win!

Earlier this week, the Dawn Vigil 10 man on Feathermoon completed the meta-achievement for Glory of the Icecrown Raider and received our rewards… Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquishers.

But let’s not forget the most important part, my friends…

HORDE FIRST!!!

We have also completed all but the Lich King on hardmode.  We still need to figure out how to survive to the first transition on him.

Lok’tar Ogar!

http://www.wow.com/2010/04/26/cataclysm-raid-progression-refinements/

Just.. wow.  As a 10 man raider, this is good… and very surprising… news for me.  For all my friends who 25 man raid though, this is very much not good.  With this arrangement, I see no reason why anyone would raid 25s.

As it stands, 10s already offer a more intimate, close-knit raid, more quality control, less raid juggling and a more hardcore stance towards the “extras” of progression such as achievements.  Now with the same loot, Blizz has made them more enticing with the deathknell of locking people out of 25s at the same time.

A very shocking decision on Blizz’s part, in my opinion

Come 9am Monday morning, the deed was done and Arthas was slain by my raid group in Dawn Vigil’s ICC10.  It was weeks of stress, extended raid lockouts and attendance issues but one thing we won’t do is quit.  It was also our last pull of the raid week and had as much last minute drama and close calls as any first kill can.  We may have all been dead when he finally tipped over at 10%…. *cough*

I have yet to write anything for it but of course I will.  Ezma’s entire goal, her reason for being, was on that throne of ice and now it’s gone… but she is still here.  She fully expected the death of Arthas of end her but now she has to actually face the future.

When it comes to strats and techniques,  Tsark, our Mediocre Priest, says it so much better than I.  When it comes to pictures, you can’t beat Naieve’s raid videos.  However, I do have the best killshot ever.

/flex

Aww yeah... sexy orc ass.

You believe we killed Arthas naked, right?  Right?

((A flashback to the good old days when Dir and Dorri had a very tumultuous affair and how it ended.))

Dir stared dumbfounded at the blood staining the floor.  With the abstract distance shock can bring, he watched as more dropped, joining the crimson splash on the polished marble floor.  The pale, slate-veined stone made the perfect backdrop for a pool of blood so vibrant, it seemed to glow.

Then the pain hit, radiating outward from his nose in tear-inducing waves.  A rare triggering of Dir’s temper followed.  Hot anger bloomed in his chest and spread throughout his body in a searing, tingling blast.

What the FUCK was her problem?

Seeing the tightening of Dorri’tow’s jaw and the drawing back of her balled fist, Dir realized he may have just shouted that aloud.  A bit more prepared this time, Dir dodged… barely… the blow meant for his jaw.  Dorri screamed in rage as she swung wide, overbalancing.  Before she could charge again, Dir planted a boot on her backside to send her sprawling to the floor.  Another few months of training and some anger management, Dir knew he wouldn’t be able to pull such tricks on her.

Not that it mattered, he was done.  The sex was great but it wasn’t worth a broken, crooked nose.

Letting his rage guide him, Dir jerked out a drawer of the large, ornate dresser that held Dorri’s belongings.  Hauling it over to the balcony, he kicked down the doors leading outside before sending it sailing in a perfect arc to the courtyard below.  The antique wood shattered on the stone flags, sending clothes scattering in colorful piles.

Dir could see past a few holes in the walls.  He could ignore shredded pillows and dinged up furniture.  But bruising his face?  Hells, no.

Dorri’s shocked, open-mouthed expression barely registered as a second dresser drawer followed the first over the balcony rail.  Her armor wasn’t far behind and Dir enjoyed the vindictive thought of how much time and gold it was going to cost to repair it after it’s three story fall.  Finally, his temper flagging, Dir turned around and met Dorri’s stunned eye.  In a clear, calm tone he said “Get out.”

Without a word, she did.

Wow!  Was Trial of the Crusader killer boring or what?  We didn’t expect to miss trash but damned if we did.

But look!  New stuff!  And it’s pretty and shiny new stuff!

3 5-mans.  I like them!  The first two are rather cake, even on heroic but the third, Halls of Reflection, is a bit more brutal.  My Death Knight walked out but I think my paladin is still a greasy spot on the floor.  But they are interesting with some cool mechanics, gauntlets and more than one room to look at!

A new 10/25 man!  It really delivers, in my opinion.  My 10 man has already downed all four of the first bosses but the mechanics are exciting and I love the story telling.  The gunship battle is AWESOME.  I cannot wait for the heroic.

Now for the bad news… a month till new bosses for us.  Longer still before we can even start on the heroic versions.  *sad puppy eyes*

Either way, I got a brand new shiny sword for dps and a sexy tanking axe.. all in our first raid.  Har.

What can I say?  Writer’s Block sucks and I know better than to force it.  Of course I have things I could write about… but it’s an angsty thing right now to put words down in a cohesive order.  However, it’s best not to fall too far off the wagon and I shall have a post by the end of the week.  Even if it’s about my Mechano-hogs.

Yes, I said hogs. As in plural.

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