Title: A Paladin’s Armor Fandom: World of Warcraft Timeframe: Mid-Legion Expansion Genre: Emotional hurt/comfort Canonicity: In-game canon event reaction, some headcanon Type: One-shot Characters: Ophela - Draenei Paladin, Kahles - Draenei Death Knight Summary: A moment of peace in the midst of ongoing demonic invasions. Ophela has just gone through a pretty traumatic experience, her husband tries to comfort her. Last Updated: April 2020 Status: One-shot complete, follow-up story in process Other info: Story I was already working on, realized it fit with the Super Fun Fanfiction Duos - prompt I received: cluttered work/living space \ early arrival ———— I return early from my delivery to the pounding of a hammer against an anvil. Inside our smithy, I find my wife. Half of her armor is piled at her feet, the rest is still strapped to her lovely body. Her breastplate lies on the anvil, where she is attempting to hammer out a dent. I can see from the glow of her eyes and the way her tail twitches side to side that she is agitated, possibly angry. She is not wielding her hammer with anywhere near her usual finesse. I watch as a strike goes awry and the breastplate falls to the floor with a clatter. I catch her next wild swing before it connects with a stack of unfinished plate-mail. She tries to yank the hammer away, but though she is a strong woman, even for a Draenei, she cannot match my strength unaided. I pull back on the tool, drag her close. She glowers at me, but when she tries to speak, it emerges as a sob. Her light purple-blue hand presses to her mouth. She relinquishes the hammer, and nearly collapses to the floor as tears begin to flow. I catch her before she falls completely, and we sink down to sit together among her scattered, demon-ichor flecked armor. I hold her tightly against my chest as she weeps. I wish I could do more to comfort her. There is a soothing effect from feeling the warmth of another living being, of hearing their heart beating. I wish to the Light with all my soul I could give her that simple comfort, but my heart has been still since the day my scouting party stumbled across some of the Lich King's minions. We Draenei had newly arrived, crash-landed to be true, on this world called Azeroth; after fleeing the destruction of the world of our exile. I was part of a far-ranging exploratory party sent to scout out our new world. It pained me to leave my bride behind at the Exodar, but duty called for us both, and I would not be gone long. My party’s first introduction to the inhabitants of the northern continent was to be slaughtered to a man. The next thing I remember after my death was waking up as a slave of the Lich King, my soul forever magically trapped in my own reanimated body. Years passed before my Death Knight comrades and I broke free of the Lich King Arthas’ control. Further months before I regained my memories of my life before my death, months before I even recognized my Ophela again. And a year beyond that before she could come to terms with the unholy pale grey undead monster her lost-and-found husband had become. But... that is the past. She is my heartbeat now, my dear wife. Her purity and strength sustains me when I despair. Which is why I cannot stand to hear her weeping now. I do not even know yet why she mourns. She has spent long hours away recently, conferring with the council of the Silver Hand concerning the demon invasion of our adopted world. After her heroic deeds over the years (defeating the Lich King Arthas, destroying Deathwing, saving Azeroth from thousands of smaller threats) the council elected her to lead the order of Paladins. I sometimes do not see her for days at a time. I am just as busy, though perhaps less importantly, working here in our smithy forging weapons to fight the Legion. Her tears begin to slow. I gently tilt her head so that the soft white glow of her eyes meets the icy blue of mine. I ask her if she is ready to tell me what has upset her so. She begins shakily, tells of a summons from Prophet Velen, of the Exodar invaded by demons. Of battles through the city as she and her companions rescued civilians and destroyed portals. How the leader of the invasion appeared: an Eredar, one of our kind before they followed Kil’jaeden the Betrayer to join the Burning Legion. The demon taunted them from within the heart of the city, threatening to kill O’ros. They did not arrive in time. Her voice catches as she recounts how she watched, helplessly, as the Eredar shattered the naaru. It is enough to make any follower of the Light weep: the murder of the holy being who has guided and protected the Draenei throughout our exile. I hold her closely again in shared grief. But she shakes her head and tells me there is more. She and her Paladins attacked the Eredar, she continues, to protect the Exodar and in angry retribution for the death of O’ros. But Velen hesitated, he said he had been here before, and they must stop the attack. My love sobs again, says she should have listened, she should not have second-guessed the Prophet. As the demon fell to her sword, Velen rushed to its side, crying out in anguish. For the Prophet Velen had indeed seen these events, he said then, in a vision when he first held his newborn son. He had seen a demon, scarred and wounded, dying in his arms. This Eredar was Velen’s son, she says. Long thought long dead, but in fact stolen away, and corrupted by Kil’jaeden for millennia. My love had killed the Prophet’s only child. Ophela has always had great respect for our leader, her greatest desire since she was a child has been to serve as one of the Prophet's personal guard. It was the reason she began adventuring across Azeroth (besides wanting a distraction from losing me to a fate yet unknown). She wanted to learn how to protect against any foe she may face in the Prophet’s service. That original desire has gotten somewhat set aside over the years. Her adventures being one of Azeroth’s greatest defenders have overshadowed the station of a ‘simple bodyguard’. We do not even have a residence on the Exodar any more, we make our home here, above our smithy in a small corner of Dalaran. When she is not leading Paladin forces from their headquarters at Light’s Hope, at least. “He sent me away.” She whispers, her voice cracks. I have never heard her this shattered before. “He told me there was nothing for me there, on the Exodar.” Her hands clutch my tunic, she draws a shuddering breath. “He sent me away, Kahles, then asked for the Grand Artificer to make the Vindicaar ready to fly. Our people are going to war, back to Argus, and Velen said there was nothing for me there with them.” “Perhaps he knows you are needed here.” I try to console her with my words, but I know my words sound as hollow as my voice against her feelings of guilt and loss. “All I ever wanted was to be loyal, worthy of his trust,” She says. “And when I was called upon, I acted in fear and anger, instead of following the Prophet’s lead.” I kiss her gently on the forehead, between her grey back-curved horns. I wipe tears from her cheeks. My tunic is damp where she buried her face against it. I remove the clothing and toss it among the scattered armor. I lift her to her feet and help her unstrap the rest of her plate-mail. Her armor will all need repair and cleaning, but it can wait. It is her emotional armor that needs the attention now. We stand at the stairs that lead up to our apartment. She is listless, unfocused. I wrap an arm around her waist, pull her tight against my chest and whisper into her ear. I slide a hand up her side, caress her curves through her tunic. I lean down to kiss her, she rises to meet me, her hands entwine into my hair. She presses her lips to mine. I know my skin is frigid, cold as dead flesh, if not colder. The chill of the Lich King’s power lingers on all it touches. But soon, that would change, however temporarily. We continue up the stairs, towards our bedroom, where we will do our best to find some peace in this time of war. Spoiler There’s more to this story, but it veers very quickly into NSFW, so message me if you want the link to the full version, it’s tame, but explicit and slightly dangerous for our couple.