A brief flash of magic came just moments before a short, black-haired gnome in white robes appeared in the middle of the street. She looked around, trying to get her bearings again and looking up at the buildings around her. It took a moment for her to notice the few others walking along the street who stopped, a touch startled by her teleport. “Oh! Uh, hello.” Kayasi smiled back a little bashfully at them and waved, going on her way. Her teleport wasn’t far off; her destination was just around the corner. The gnome looked up at the entryway to Welcome Home and made her way inside.
“Hello Kayasi,” Lexi said from a table where she was talking with a couple of people. “Desala should be here any moment.”
“Oh, wonderful.” Kayasi looked Lexi’s way and smiled. She stopped in her tracks for a moment to walk over to the priestess, reaching up to give her a hug. “How are you doing this morning?”
Returning the gnomes hug, Lexi smiled, “I am well enough. And you?”
“Doing okay,” Kaya looked back up at her cheerfully. “Things have been a little bit busy back at the castle, but still more than manageable. I have plenty to keep busy with, but it’s all been going well.” She paused a moment, looking about thoughtfully. “Where does Desala usually sit when she has lunch?”
“Any table that is free, so decorate a chair and she will know it is for her.” Lexi stood from her conversation and walked to the kettle, “Tea?”
“Oh, that would be wonderful, thank you,” Kaya smiled thankfully at that and looked about, taking a moment to look around.
Lexi prepared a tray for the tea, “How are the children?”
“They’ve been doing really well. The castle was always safe for them, but with the troubles on Draenor dying down it’s safe to let them take trips outside, finally, as long as one of us is with them. Rollandren’s kids still stay with us, so does Kesia most of the time.” Kaya paused at that, thinking. “I’ve been trying to work on how Kesia can go between our place and home more easily.”
“Hopefully they can all be with their parents soon,” the priest said with a gentle smile. “You take such good care of them all.”
“We do try our hardest. I know they all love their parents deeply and hope to see them more.”
Lexi looked over and nodded, “We all wish that they could see them more.”
“They got to see their parents over Winter Veil,” Kaya added. “I think that did everyone good. The kids actually planned a party in Tyr’s Hand themselves when they heard the Silver Hand had been too busy to really celebrate at all, over at Light’s Hope. Maybe we should do something like that again in the future.” The gnome stopped at an empty table and took a look about, evidently finding it to her liking and setting her backpack down.
“I am sure everyone enjoyed it.” Lexi said as the kettle began to whistle softly.
Kaya started to get to work, opening up her backpack and looking through its contents. She set a large bag made of silk on the table and took out a box, looking over its contents thoughtfully. “Do the patrons here know what day it is?” She started retrieving odds and ends and began looking about the space above the table.
“I had not said anything, but they will now.” Arranging pastries on a plate with a small smile.
“I guess they will, yeah,” Kaya replied with a grin. She carefully took a cup of tea with a thankful smile. “Here, what colors do you think would look nice?”
Lexi turned from the tray and shrugged, “You decide friend, this is your show.”
Kaya blushed a little at that. “Alright.” She looked down in thought. “Brighter, spring colors, maybe. It’s supposed to be a happy sort of day and winter is starting to pass.”
“That will be beautiful,” Lexi said.
“I’ll get them set up quickly, it won’t take me long,” Kaya smiled her way and got to work.
Lexi watched and talked to a couple of the veterans as Kaya set up the balloons. The birthday and the splash of color added some joy to the building and everyone seemed to want to comment on them.
Kaya seemed to blush the tiniest bit as she heard the compliments, but smiled. She worked fast, but carefully, feeling like she’d done this many times before. Picking out a wide array of lighter, pastel colors from the balloons she brought in, the gnome went about blowing them up and tying them to the chair.
Setting the tray on the table with all the balloons, Lexi smiled again at Kaya, “These are truly lovely.”
“Thank you,” Kaya replied, smiling up at her. “A friend of mine made a small cake for her too, she likes to bake.” With a bit more care, the gnome retrieved a small container and set it on the table. “She bakes for everyone’s birthday back at the castle, she wanted to help when she heard what I was working on.”
“Oh,” Lexi said looking a bit crestfallen, “I suppose I will save the one I made for after dinner tonight then.”
“Oh! No, that’s no problem. I’ll give it to Desala later, I hadn’t known.” She paused, thinking, and placed the container inside another small silk bag, undoing the ribbon holding it shut to place it inside and retying it with a few quick motions.
Patting the table, “No go ahead, we can always have cake tonight. I just bake almost constantly so thought she would be disappointed if I did not take the time.”
Kaya smiled back up at her reassuringly. “No, it’s fine Lexi. The one from you will mean more to her, I think.” She looks down to the bag. “Here, make sure she takes this home with her tonight.”
As they spoke voices around the room roused with a “Happy birthday” and Desala entered the building, ducking her head to fit in the doorway by habit. “What is all this?” the regal shaman asked, then looked at the table with all the balloons.
“Happy birthday, Desala.” Lexi said and smiled. “Kaya brought you a gift.”
Kayasi looked up with a wide smile and grabbed the bag she’d placed atop the table at the start. She came over to Desala and smiled. “Here, Desala. Happy Birthday!”
“Truly?” The older Draenei had a look on her face that could only be described by humans as gobsmacked, a word that made Lexi giggle when she heard it. Desala took the bag and began to open it slowly, “I do not remember the last time I bothered to celebrate. Maybe before we left Argus?”
“Really?” Kayasi seemed just a little saddened at that thought. “I’m glad we were able to do something today then, all the more,” she added, smiling. “I hope it’s a good day.”
“Really,” Desala said, as she opened the bag the balloons flew out of the bag, she should have known from what happened with Rastovaar and Arioh. People around laughed and helped catch them then return them to the shaman who looked flustered.
Kaya watched, laughing gently at the sight too and hurrying over to help Desala gather them up. “Uh, they must have slipped off the weight somehow, sorry about that,” Kaya added, her face turning bright red.
Lexi smiled at Kaya and winked, “They are lovely, a burst of spring here.”
Desala shook her head and also smiled, “Yes, truly lovely. I appreciate your care. I must have opened them wrong.”
Kayasi looked back inside the bag and retrieved a large bag of candy wrapped in blue paper. “Here, these are for you too,” she handed the bag up with one hand and the rest of the balloons with the other.
“Oh candy, that is very wonderful,” Desala said, recovering her composure. “I am pleased you thought of me Kaya.”
“Of course, Desala,” Kaya smiled up at her. “Lexi made you something as well.” She looked over to Lexi with an encouraging smile.
Turning from the table Lexi went back to the cabinet and pulled out a deep chocolate cake, “I have this for you.”
“Thank you , child, it is much appreciated.” Even as the shaman spoke some of the veterans gathering around were cheering for cake.
Kaya watched them both with a smile and stood back while everyone gathered around.
Lexi sat the cake on the table and began to cut it, Lejian went to get plates for everyone and began to hand out the chocolate while one of the veterans began to sing in a deep baritone. Desala’s cheeks colored slightly, “This is very sweet of you all.” Which seemed to be the only thing she was able to say.
Kaya smiled at that. She spoke up again, “We’re all glad to celebrate with you, Desala.
The shaman took a seat and reached out to pat Lexi’s hand and Lexi smiled, restraining the urge to pull back from the casual touch. “We are glad you are here to celebrate with us Desala.”
Kaya beamed at that, and nodded in agreement. Coming back to the table for a moment, she glanced up Desala’s way, “Here, I’ll help you with those.” The gnome reached up and took the balloons Desala was still carrying, going around to her left side and tying them to her wrist so her hand would be free. “And this is for you,” she added with a smile, handing a small gift box up to her friend.
Taking the gift box with a raised of a perfectly arched brow, “Another gift?” Desala asked with a smile. “Really this is all too much.”
“I’ve made them for most of my friends by now, it felt past time I made one for you too,” Kaya replied. “Go ahead, open it.”
Opening the box Desala looked puzzled at the wand. Lexi lowered her head as she laughed softly, her body shaking. “What is it?” Desala asked.
“It’s a wand, of course,” Kaya laughed lightly. “Go ahead, give it a swing, I promise it doesn’t do anything harmful.”
“Oh, I see, it is unexpected and very quirky,” Desala said with a smile. “I am sure the children Lexi hangs out with in town will enjoy seeing it in action when I run across them.”
“It’s a surprise, of course,” Kaya smiles.
Desala tipped her head regally, “Of course it is.”
Lexi picked up the last of the plates and retreated outside to give them to the veterans outside playing horse shoes.
Kaya watched her and chuckled softly; it might take Desala a little while before she’d think to actually give the wand a try, but she was sure she would figure it out easily enough. She glances behind her with a smile towards what she was working on while the cake was being handed out. “There were still some extra balloons after I finished decorating. You’re welcome to them, or I bet they’d cheer up Lexi or Lejian too. Maybe the veterans would like to take a few home to their kids too?”
“I think balloons for the families here is a wonderful idea,” Desala agreed. “I have some lunch being delivered if you would like to stay? I have an appointment here once she is finished with her cake.” The shaman smiled at a woman in roughspun clothes who saluted back with her fork.
“Certainly!” Kaya smiled and nodded in agreement, waving back to the woman.
Desala took a bite of Lexi’s cake and her eyes rolled back in her head, “That woman is a genius.”
Kaya smiled at that, “she did do a really wonderful job, yes.” She stopped and finally retrieved a plate for herself, going to sit down at Desala’s side and tying the balloons down next to her in a bundle that bumped against the rafters above.
“You are very good at brightening someone’s day. I am quite surprised,” Desala said with a smile and another bite of the cake.
“You think so, Desala?” Her words made Kaya blush as she sat down to finally take a bite of cake herself.
Desala nodded as she swallowed, “Yes, I do. I am unsure everyone likes surprises, but you did a wonderful job with this one.”
“I tried my best,” Kaya took another bite of cake and gave Desala a warm smile. “Everybody deserves a chance to smile, and see that the people around them care about them.”
“Yes they do, you are right my friend,” Desala said, looking towards the door where Lexi had stepped out.
Kaya looks in the direction Desala’s gaze turned. “Is something on your mind, Desala?”
Tipping her head to look back at Kaya, “Not really, Lexi is happy with her work here, and is invaluable.”
Kaya nodded at that. “She is, yes. She’s done so much to help everybody; I wish there was more I could do to help her.”
“Not sure there is anything any of us can do to lessen grief, Kaya,” Desala said, though she knew Lexi could for others but not herself. “She is doing better than some.”
Kaya nodded, quiet. For a moment, the gnome frowned, the sad look appearing almost out of place on her. “She is, yes. And she has every right to feel grieved. I just wish I could do more to help. ...It hurts to see her sad.”
Patting Kaya’s hand, the elder draenei smiled, “Me too, child. It is a process she needs though and we can only help her through it.”
“What can I do to help her through it?”
“Nothing we can do Kaya, she has to find her way through it. We all do, I did after 40,000 years with Iminure.”
Kaya went quiet at that thought, her eyes a bit downcast. She paused just a moment, and reached over to hug Desala reassuringly.
Desala patted Kaya gently, “She will be fine, she is working her way towards it. Sadly, in this life you can not spare those you care about all their pain. You can massage some away though.” She laughed and winked at Kaya, “Off to work, enjoy lunch.”
Kaya smiled back at Desala, a bit of her usual cheerfulness back in her expression. “I’ll go give these out to any of the veterans who’d like some for their kids. I think a few would cheer up Lejian and Lexi too.”
Desala stood, towering over everyone in the room at over seven feet, “I will be going to Lexi’s with her so we will have plenty. I am certain Lejian will enjoy them though. Thank you again.”
Kaya nodded, smiling back and waving. “You are always welcome, Desala. Happy Birthday, again!”
“Thank you child,” the elder woman, that did not look elder at all, said. Walking to her client they hugged then moved to a door in the back.
Kaya watched them go with a warm smile, looking more back to her normal self again. Finishing her plate, she picked up the balloons tied down at her side once again and went off to rejoin the others.