As she made her preparations, she heard someone approaching the door, whistling. Zantoris strolled up to the job board, glanced over the fluttering pages for a moment, then peered around at the open door. “Oi, hello?” he called.
Turning on her hoof, “Oh, hello Zantoris. I did not expect to see you here today. I am afraid we are not really open, but if you would like some tea?” Lexi smiled and waved from within the building.
Zan walked over to the door and looked in. “Oh, I see. Thought maybe something was wrong, since you’d said the place was closed today. I won’t bother you, was just coming to look over the board.”
“No, no, come in, I am expecting a friend she may know of work for you as well, or have contacts if you decide to go to the isles,” Lexi tipped her head with a sweet smile.
Zantoris returned her smile and entered. “Well, thanks. Just say the word when I’m starting to be a fifth wheel, I’ll clear out so you can talk to your friend.”
“I am almost compulsively early, friends say I make them look bad with it,” the priest laughed. “More of the same tea as yesterday, or something else? Also, you do not have to take your tea as I do, I am happy to let you decide how you want your own.”
Her guest wandered over to stand by the stove. “I don’t really have a preference. I just go along with how my hostess offers it, and I get to try a lot of different things I might have missed. Works with other experiences, too.” He grinned at her.
Looking over at him, “Well, all my teas come from a specialty tea shop that makes the best blends. Most do not need sweetening, but I tend to have a sweet tooth, more than I likely should.” Turning back to the cupboards she reached up to get a mug off the top shelf, having to go to the tips of her hooves as she was not any taller than many humans.
“Need a hand?” Zantoris wasn’t sure why he was offering, even a short Draenei was as tall as he was. He stepped a bit closer in case she dropped one.
Mayanna stepped into the building, glancing around before noticing Lexi and her unknown companion. She paused, watching silently. Lexi had said they’d be alone, and with the way things had been going lately… Well, she began to wonder if she should have brought her sword and worn her armor after all.
Not noticing Mayanna there, “No, I have it, thank you though. I am very familiar with this reach.” As she spoke she pulled down three mugs, then turned, seeing May in the doorway. “Mayanna, hello. General Mayanna Stonewood may I introduce a new visitor to Welcome Home, Zantoris. He stopped by as I was getting tea set up.”
Zantoris turned around and beamed at the new arrival. “Afternoon, General! Good to meet you. I can take off so you two can have some privacy, I just came by to check the job board.”
The paladin relaxed and came over with a smile. “I see no reason that we can’t share tea.” She glanced at Lexi briefly, just to be sure that she was okay with the idea. “Zantoris? That name sounds familiar…”
“Please sit both of you, I will get the tea ready,” Lexi said. Setting out a tray so she could place everything on it, including some cookies she managed not to lose to Gooberface when she was baking that morning.
Zan moved to the little table, grateful for the Draenei’s effort to steer the conversation away from him. “M’lady,” he said to Mayanna, pulling a chair out and gesturing with exaggerated politeness, grinning at her.
The paladin woman moved with a heavy step, despite her normal street clothes. Simple dark slacks and a deep red shirt that seemed to strain across her shoulders. She actually laughed softly as she took the seat. “It’s not too often that I have people show me such gentlemanly manners.” The woman sat and looked at Zantoris closely again as she thought.
“We arranged for Zantoris to stay at Hemmenworth’s Boarding house along with some of my other clients until he gets a job and decides if he is staying or heading up to the Isles,” Lexi chattered on, setting out honey and sugar on the tray along with an assortment of teas, and put the kettle on the tray on a trivet.
Zantoris hovered around her for a few minutes, still feeling he should be assisting, then finally took a seat across from the paladin. “General, eh? Where are you stationed these days?”
“Suramar is the focus, currently. It helps that I know Darnassian so I spend a lot of time there, when I’m not caught up in planning meetings.” She paused. “Lexi said that you might be coming to the fight?”
He started to pluck a thread on his shirt, then thought better of it. “Oh, aye. Been up in Northrend fighting the Scourge for the last few years, seems like I might do well to lend a hand against the Legion now.”
Mayanna straightened slightly. “Have you? How were things in Northrend when you left?”
“Pretty well in hand, really.” He leaned on the table, one soldier comparing notes with another. “Once we took down the Lich King it was mostly a done deal, though the mopping up has gotten gritty once or twice. At this point it’s a matter of holding the ground we’ve got while we clear them out of their strongholds.”
The Draenic priest tipped her head towards Mayanna, then placed mugs in front of three places at the table and took a seat. “Green or black Mayanna?”
“Black, if you don't mind, my friend.” She turned back to Zantoris. “So it seemed nearly done then? A few holdouts left?”
“Aye, some hot spots we were still whittling down, but the worst is definitely past.” He drew his mug a little closer so he’d have something to do with his hands. “They’d never have talked me into leaving otherwise. How’s the Broken Isles?”
Lexi poured tea into a diffuser for May, then put it in the mug and poured the water over it, then smiled at Zan, “Green, black, or flavored today?”
“However your lovely hands offer it is perfect.” He nudged the mug back over towards her.
Mayanna sipped her tea to cover the amused grin. “We’ve made good progress, really, though there have been some painful losses in the process. And the Illidari have their own ideas, and are pursuing a project of their own.”
A small blush covered Lexi’s cheeks as she prepared a diffuser of one of the peach blends Alishe made for her, then placed it into Zantoris’ mug. She stayed quiet to just listen to the two others talk as she poured the water slowly over the diffuser.
“I imagine you’re familiar with the overall situation.” Zan nodded his thanks to the priest, and returned his attention to the general. “Do you have any suggestions for a new recruit? Where do you think I could be the most use?”
“Well, what’s your specialty?” She looked him over, obviously trying to get a feel for his capabilities.
“Combat magic, mostly.” He poked his tea diffuser to make it bob around a bit, and looked wryly across the table at her. “Seemed pretty effective against the scourge. Round here my name seems to be mud lately, but in Northrend most of the Argent Dawn were glad to have me around.”
“The Dawn has always been happy for anyone who wants to join their work.” Mayanna paused before asking, “If you don’t mind my asking, why do you think you’re not well received in town?”
Zantoris chuckled a bit. It was his own stupid fault for bringing it up. “I take it you’re not hearing the rumors. I’m not popular with the church these days. Depending who you talk to I’m a pretty nefarious character.”
Lexi laughed softly, “I am sure he has not been around this last bit of time, Mayanna.” Even after all she had been through with the Cathedral she had to laugh, the tears still hurt too badly. Picking up the same peach blend Lexi focused on her own mug.
May smirked at her friend. “You’re hardly the only one, Zantoris. Who did you piss off?”
Zan swirled his tea about in the mug. “One of the bishops. Long story, not worth getting into. You?”
“The entire Inquisition.” She grinned and took a sip of her tea.
“Looks like I’m in good company.” He raised his mug in salute. “At any rate, there are folks who can vouch for me. You might have to look far afield.” He smile ruefully.
“Very good company,” Lexi said, thinking of her past since she came to Stormwind.
“I’m sure that we can find some good uses for you on the Isles though, friend. There’s certainly more than enough work for everyone.” Mayanna reached over to Lexi, patting her arm lightly.
Lexi smiled at Mayanna, “Even I went to the isles, I came back before seeing them all though.” Picking up her mug she blew softly over the surface of steaming liquid.
The ex-priest nodded thoughtfully. “Are you going back, or are you stationed here, now?” he asked Mayanna. “Maybe I could tag along.”
“I will be going back. My home is nearby though, and there are some other matters that I need to tend to that have brought me home.” She leaned forward, giving him a serious look. “Perhaps you’d like me to introduce you to some people?”
“Always up for a party.” He grinned at her.
The Draenei shook her head again with a soft laugh in the relief that his relaxed, teasing attitude was not a serious interest in her,
“I can certainly introduce you to some of the leadership in Dalaran. Khadgar has made it clear that he will welcome anyone to join the fight. Whether to meet with a representative of the Conclave is up to you, though.” She gave the man a curious look as she wondered if he would do so. “Their representatives often pass through Dalaran as well, so that would not be difficult to arrange.”
Lexi smiled at May in thanks, helping people like Zan had become her passion and to have her friend willing to assist meant much to her.
“Not familiar with the Conclave, but I’m happy to meet ‘em.” Zan glanced at Lexi, glad to see she seemed pleased with the way things were going. “When were you planning on heading back? I can be ready pretty much any time, I don’t have a lot to pack.”
“A few days. I need to tend to something else first, but I am not sure how long that will take.” She paused, “Do you have everything that you need here for right now?”
The Draenei placed a pastry on each of their plates and handed them out as the other two talked. A gentle smile of encouragement for Zantoris as he and Mayanna discussed his future.
Zantoris nodded. “Oh, aye. I pretty much carry everything I need with me.” He noticed the pastries and plucked one up.
“Then I will find you again when we return from Northrend.” She paused and took a bite of the pastry. “This is delicious, Lexi.”
“Thank you, Mayanna,” Lexi said with a sweet smile. “Trying some new recipes, luckily I have all the veterans here as more than willing testers.”
“I have yet to meet a soldier who would turn down food,” she said with a grin, “myself included.”
About to take a bite himself, Zan paused. “Northrend, eh?” He absently returned the pastry to its plate. “Looking to clear out some of the Scourge yourself?”
She smiled to Zantoris. “I did my share up there before. Now I just need to check up on some things and see how they stand currently.”
Zantoris settled back slowly. “Ah, well. Hope everything is satisfactory for you.” He glanced at the table, remembered his pastry, and retrieved it once more.
The paladin sighed. “I’m just hoping this trip doesn’t take me back into the Citadel.”
Zan perked up again. “If that’s likely, maybe you could use some support. I’ve had some experience there, myself.”
Mayanna smiled. “I’d welcome your experience, but the matter is rather sensitive. I need to only take certain people, I’m afraid.” She chewed another bite. “Were you on the original assault?”
Lexi listened to the two of them, trying to focus but losing her own thoughts for a few moments as she sips her tea.
Zantoris nodded. “Aye, I was there. I think everyone who was in Northrend at the time was there. The night before the assault, there were army camps as far as you could see, Alliance and Horde alike. Seemed like more campfires on the ground than there were stars in the sky.”
The paladin nodded. “I remember. Catapults were lined up at the gates, airships overhead. And still it didn't seem like it could be enough.”
“Aye, felt like the end of the world, didn’t it? I figured I would take as many with me as I could, and count myself lucky. Amazing anyone lived to tell the tale.”
Mayanna nodded and looked into her tea for a moment. “I admit, I thought the same thing. Thought Tirion had lost his mind. What else could we have done though? We knew we had to do the assault.”
Zan, too, gazed into his tea, seeing landscapes from memory. “I think if he’d waited much longer there would have been too many against us.” He blinked and glanced around at Lexi. “At any rate, I didn’t mean to get droning on about war stories. Just look me up whenever you’re back, maybe I can follow along when you return to the current war.”
“I’ll be glad to have you along. Anyone with your experience would be invaluable on the Broken Isles.” She finished off the last of her tea and popped the last bite of pastry into her mouth. “Meanwhile, I better go get my cold weather gear together. Lexi, you’re going to want to bring the warmest stuff that you can find. Especially this time of year.”
Lexi nodded and smiled, “I have packed all I can think of that’s warm. I had bought some things for trips to the North with Jol that are still new.”
Mayanna nodded. “Good. The cold is probably at least as dangerous as the undead up there. Light bless you both.” She turned and took her leave, her mind already filled with the details of the next task ahead.
“Light Bless Mayanna,” Lexi said as the General left. Turning her smile on Zantoris, “I am pleased you stopped by, seems you may not need a job for long now.”
Zantoris had regained his interest in the pastry; mouth full, he only nodded. Once he was able to speak without spraying crumbs, he added “Reckon I’d best get out of your hair now, so you can close up the shop and finish your preparations.” He grabbed a second pastry as he stood.
“Be safe,” Lexi said, “and Light Bless.” Lexi stood to lock up after he left.