The steady ticking of the clock over the fireplace echoed off the stone walls of the hall. Such a small noise that most shrugged off as another sound to be lost in the background of the world.
To the Worgen’s ears though, it had started to drown out the roar of the flames of the fire below it. Her friend shuffled uncomfortably across from the table from her and continued to frown at the board before them, oblivious to the passing of time.
His leg bounced in irritation, making the plate of his armor clink against itself.
Silent shut her wolf-like golden brown eyes in attempt to stave off the headache the noise was bringing on. This was supposed to be a fun, relaxing evening. She had declared it to be an evening in. Guild mates could come share stories, a meal, maybe even a barrel of ale if the visiting dwarf had left any after his numerous lengthy stays at her Garrison. She had even sent one of her followers to the Inn to have them prepare the food for the evening.
So far, only Dereus had shown. In truth, he was early, but he was like that. If he said he was going to be somewhere, without fail, he would be there. On time and early were the same thing to him. Perhaps it was one of the more honorable traits he had picked up from being a Paladin devoted to the protection of others. Silent couldn’t be sure though, as her experience with Paladins had been limited and that was a trait that their friend Synata rarely exhibited.
Her ears twitched as she heard him shuffle the cards in his hand again before he sighed.
“No fur tonight?” he asked softly.
“I thought I would try something different,” she said softly, absently brushing the back of her furless hands.
She had been trying to get used to the human she sometimes saw in the mirror. While she couldn’t always remember what happened in Gilneas and couldn’t place the human staring back at her, sometimes she thought, she hoped, that the human trapped under all the fur of her Worgen form could be more approachable. Perhaps even on occasion, likable.
“It’s different,” he mused. “There’s nothing wrong with how you normally look, you know.” She eyed him curiously. Dereus had an uncanny ability to voice the things that were on her mind. “Just thought you should know that none of us mind.”
She smiled to herself as he went back to staring at his cards.
“This is horrible,” he muttered.
“I’m sure the others will be along soon,” she replied as gently as she could, but she couldn’t help but feel a little hurt at the comment. He must have heard it because he quickly explained himself.
“No, that’s not what I meant. Of course they will. You know that Qale can’t resist an evening of fun, or a possible opportunity to punt a gnome. I was actually referring to this game!”
Silent looked down at the board between them. It was something a traveling salesman had brought her one day. Something called a Hearthstone board. Players used cards to duel each other. Through the magic it was imbued with, the cards conjured miniature creatures and spells that battled back and forth until a player ran out of health. It must have been made my gnomes due to the amount of explosions that some of the cards created. At the moment, the two were diligently trying to follow the rules they had laid out next to them and play a round against each other.
They had spent some time picking out their respective decks. Silent had chosen one that had the traits of the Priests while Dereus had taken up the one closest to the Paladin. Three turns in, they were both confused and frustrated.
“Recruits? I can summon recruits? I don’t get to do that,” he had muttered.
“Well, technically, you could say we’re all your recruits because we come to your aid to fight things for you,” she offered as she laid down a card. “Mind blast. That looks nasty. Let’s be thankful that Mordlet doesn’t unleash that on Qale when he goes to punt her.”
“You destroyed my creature with one card? How is that fair?!”
They were still muttering about the game when Shait and Mordrius arrived. Iranya arrived a few moments later, tucking her safari helmet back into a bag that hung over her shoulder.
“Think she’s got ya, Dereus,” Shait said looking over the board. While Dereus had a number of miniature recruits lined up on the board in front of him, he was down to just a few points of life left on his counter. Silent had only a few creatures in front of her and three cards left in her hand.
“How do you figure?” he asked the elf. Shait nodded towards the woman who had a pleased smirk beginning to form across her face.
“That smile,” Shait replied. “You either see cat with that grin after she’s made off with one of your boots or when Silent knows something you don’t. There’s usually more teeth involved when that happens which makes it a bit scarier, but yeah, she’s got something up her sleeve.”
Mordrius burst into laughter, clapping Shait on the back as Dereus’ face turned pensive.
“Power word: Shield which gives me plus two health to this Lightspawn.” The counter for the little blob of light on the board jumped up as she laid the card down. “Divine Spirit, which doubles him.” The blob of light flashed again and was suddenly sitting at 14 health and damage. “And for fun, Holy Nova.” A wave of light moved across the board healing her Priest figure and destroying all of Dereus’ recruits with little popping noises.
Dereus glared at the board as she paused, for dramatic effect of course, before sending the blob of light across the board to destroy his Paladin in an explosion of destruction and light. Pieces of the character flew into the air as smoke rose dramatically from the crater on the board where Dereus’ piece had once been.
“Enough!” he shouted, startling them all as he flipped the board over and rose to his feet. “What a silly game. You want a duel? Let’s duel!”
“Now we’re talking!” Mordrius exclaimed as Dereus made a grab for his sword and shield.
“We’re gonna need some room, tin can,” Silent growled, rising to her feet. Dark fur had begun to sprout across her dark skin. Ears and teeth lengthened as a snout took form in the middle of her face A snarl, followed by an eerie howl escaped her throat as the curse transformed her back into a Worgen. Shait was right, Dereus thought, that smile was scarier with the teeth.
The others cheered as Silent motioned them outside the hall. There was plenty of room out in the courtyard and they could duel by the fountain.
“Why does it always seem like our nights are not complete brawls and fights?” Shait laughed once they were outside. Dereus flipped his visor down and slammed his sword against his raised shield, signaling he was ready for the fight to begin.