Find me, Save me, Redeem Me (Also known as the Picnic, part one)
“Sermon took long enough,” she said, but he could tell she was smiling.
He turned to find her leaning beside the entry way to the Cathedral and returned her smile.
“Meeting,” he corrected and returned her smile. “But you know how it goes when someone gets going and forgets how to end the stream of thoughts coming out of their mouth.”
The woman giggled and his smile grew. Leaning down, he kissed her cheek gently. “To what do I owe this pleasant surprise?”
“I was just in the neighborhood,” she replied.
“Syn, you are a terrible liar,” he laughed as she blushed at the truth of his words. “You rarely leave Pandaria any more and you hate the church. What are you up to?” he asked cocking an eyebrow playfully at her.
“I don’t hate the church,” she laughed, then quickly frowned as some of the other members of his order leaving the church shot her disapproving looks. No doubt in response to her comment. “I just have had my fill of it is all,” she said a bit quieter. “In any case, I thought maybe we could have a picnic today, that is, if you’re not previously engaged.”
Taking her hand in his he raised it to his lips and kissed it fondly. “An afternoon with you would be far better use of my time than any engagements I could have. However, it just so happens, I am free this afternoon. I just have a few errands to run first then I’m at your command, milady.”
“Dalmar!” she laughed at him, as her cheeks steadily turned crimson. “You’re awful. You know that right?”
Dalmar gave her a mischievous grin as they began to walk down the stone steps of the Cathedral. He pulled her arm through his as they walked, their plate armor clinking with each step they took.
“I take it we’ll be going to Pandaria for our picnic?” he asked curiously. “And what can I bring?”
“You don’t have to bring anything, Dal,” she replied kindly. “I only require your presence. I’ve just missed you is all and felt we’ve been apart too long.” She sighed and put her forehead against his shoulder as they walked. “We don’t have to go to Pandaria if you don’t want to. I thought maybe we could go to the farm, but I suppose we could go anywhere, really. Even here in the Eastern Kingdoms.”
“We can picnic at the farm. You’re very fond of it aren’t you?” The woman smiled shyly up at him, green eyes sparkling. He had to admit that her happiness about the small place was contagious, especially considering her initial attitude about the continent of Pandaria when he first met her.
When they sat down and talked about it, he had found out that he had been dispatched to Pandaria shortly after she had, but they had taken very similar paths once they had gotten there.
She had been fighting a group of Hozen when he first saw her. The jungle forest was full of them and the majority of them had taken up arms with the Horde. At first, he thought it was the heat of the day and the length of his ride to the next village that had him seeing things. Most paladins he came across were not as angry or wild as the woman he saw that day. He would have thought she was a warrior with the steady stream of verbal abuse she screamed at the Hozen as she slammed one furiously in the face with her shield in one hand while slashing at another’s torso with the axe in the other.
But between bitter insults and war cry like screaming, she whispered prayers to consecrate the ground she stood upon and enact a sacred shield to give her strength and hinder her enemies attacks. A Paladin with a furious warrior’s heart and soul.
Out numbered she may have been, while not overwhelmed or over come, she was tiring. Having forgotten momentarily his sworn duty as a Paladin and Knight to protect and assist others in need, Dalmar came back to his senses and dismounted from his charger. Asking the Holy Light for assistance, he sent a burst of healing energy into the woman before drawing his own sword to enter the fray.
Three Hozen already laid dead at her feet while three more continued to beat against the shield she threw against them. It looked like two more were preparing to join the battle as well. Whether she had noticed him or not, he noticed her instinctively move to protect him from their blows while attacking with him, the mark of a well trained Paladin or warrior. Between them, the three that had been attacking laid broken and dying before them while the two that had sought to join the fight were running back to the trees to avoid incurring more wounds.
“Keep running you filthy mongrels!” she yelled furiously. “And YOU!” she turned to him making him take step back. For a moment, he thought she would begin to unleash her fury on him “Not bad. Not too bad at all,” she said, her initial fury dissipating as she slipped her axe into a loop on her belt. She nodded at the cross on his tabard. “Nice to see that some of you Church boys have some stones.”
“What?!” he had sputtered with a mixture of amusement and shock. She shrugged and let out a loud whistle. “Have I offended you, milady?”
“No. It’s nothing personal,” she stated. “Just my experience. Where the hell did he go? Cowardly horse.” She whistled again and he heard the tentative steps of a Paladin’s Charger coming from behind him. He turned to see her charger clad in Silver and black, the armor from the Argent Crusade of Northrend. He noticed a large sword strapped to the horse’s side. The lady was certainly a fighter.
As she moved to her steed to take the reins, he decided to follow suit. As she mounted, he called to her over the saddle of his own charger. “Where are you headed, milady? Would you like for me to accompany you?”
Looking back, the laugh is probably what had sold him on her. Shield fixed on her left arm, eyes gleaming, and her black hair, still disheveled and flying wild from the fight, bounced as she laughed at him. “I thank you for the assistance, sir, but I’m afraid I’m more of a loner. Farewell.”
With a swift kick, she had taken off, leaving him standing stunned next to his horse on the road. He had been replaying the encounter over in his mind over the next few days and had almost convinced himself that it was for the best that he did not give chase, when fate had other plans.
Deeper in the Jade Forest of Pandaria, he had come across a cave filled with agitated spirits. After his prayers to lay the restless to sleep had failed, he had resorted to the sword. One minute, it had been him alone with several of the enraged spirits, the next, she was there at his side. Instead of her shield, she held the sword he had noticed strapped to her steed days before. She was just as furious as he remembered her as she moved to cut down the spirits with him. They worked as if they had fought together for years, like he and his old band of knights before the gates to Outland had opened. Quick, deadly sword work, with interchanging blessings and judgements…it was effortless and natural.
When the spirits laid quiet again, she nodded to him and made to leave the cave, but he grabbed her hand.
“Milady, if you will leave me again, which I am sure you will, leave me with your name and allow me bless you with a prayer from my order before you go.”
She hesitated and blushed at his words, then stood straighter and saluted him. “Synata Weston, sir.”
“Dalmar Highblade, Milady. It’s a pleasure.” He had prayed for a Blessing of the Kings for her and she returned the favor with a Blessing for Might for him before she left him on his own once again.
Synata Weston, a name he would carry with him as he traveled. At least he could hold a name. He could be content with a name and occasional thoughts of her and their two battles. But fate would not relent.
Days later, he heard a horse upon the path behind him as he approached the Tian Monastery. The rider slowed to a walk and moved up beside him.
“In all my travels, never have I happened across the path of those that randomly assist strangers. Or that I have randomly assisted,” she laughed as she glanced up at him. “And here you are. Not twice, but now three times, Dalmar.”
“Perhaps this is not random, milady Synata,” he replied kindly. “Perhaps it is the Light.”
“Then Light help you, for I am not an ideal companion,” she laughed. “You’ve been summoned to the Monastery to be an honorary initiate as well?”
“Aye, I have. Would you train with me, milady?”
“I’ll do my best not to injure you, Church Boy.”
They spent many days at the Monastery together, training during the day and talking long into the night. She excelled in their training and even helped him with his form. He learned her distain for the Church stemmed from growing up as an orphan left in the care of the priests. She would have become a warrior had they not insisted she follow the Light. While she had trained and excelled as a fierce protector of others, the slaying of Uther and the betrayal of Arthas left her uncomfortable around others of their calling.
While fiercely loyal to the Alliance, she didn’t like the heavy feeling of an explosion into an all out war with the Horde in a strange land. The commanders that issued her orders there all had the air of “Don’t throw the first punch but destroy the enemy when he punches you.” She didn’t like feeling like she was purposely holding a torch next to a powder keg. She confessed one night after a hard day of training that some nights, she just wanted to turn and leave it. Abandon her duties so she wouldn’t always feel she was being ordered to do the wrong things, but she feared she would become a traitor.
When their training was done, it was an unspoken agreement between them. They would travel together and neither would have to be alone in this strange land. The more they saw in their travels, the more she slowly began to love more of the land. She loved the huts on the mountains and he loved her smile.
“You’re very good to me, Dalmar,” Synata said sweetly, bringing him back to their walk in Stormwind.
“I have no reason not to be. We’ll meet up at the farm then. I just have to stop by the blacksmith and I’ll pick up a bottle of wine and perhaps some of that cheese you like before I catch a kite there from the forest. Shouldn’t be more than a few hours. Sound agreeable to you?”
She nodded and stood on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek. “I will see you then.” She let go of his arm and he watched her fondly as she headed towards the Dwarven District to take the path up to the lake where a portal was waiting to take her back to Pandaria. As she disappeared from view, he made a note to pick up some flowers for her as well. She would never suspect it, which made him smile even more.