CHAPTER 3: TO THOSE WE ONCE KNEW

"It came from this way." The woman shouted frantically. Her hooved feet clipped against the rocks under the snow as she ran, picking her long robes up to avoid tripping over them.

Behind her a much larger male Draenei stumbled to catch up to the smaller female one. "Ivanna wait up!" He called turning back around to grab the reigns of his and her Elekk. He mumbled to himself how he hated the cold and snow. "What are we so frantically trying to do my sweet?" He called up to her. She turned pulling her hood down letting the fabric settle on her shoulders and against her back.

She turned to him. "Ricardo hurry up." She spoke through her tick scarf. He gave her a glare before forcing himself and the two giant animals to pick up the pace else lose his wife entirely. He hated the fact that she seemed to simply just jump from one rock to the next without effort or slipping even once on the ice. Where he had nearly cracked his skull open seven times by the time they reached a flat ledge.

Ivanna stood statuesque as Ricardo came blubbering up the last leg of the cliff. He dropped the reigns in favor of planting his hands on his knees and taking deep breaths. He looked up to his wife as she slowly pulled her scarf from her face. Her lips parted to reveal the edges of her teeth.

"Bit the big one did he?" He asked as Ivanna knelt down beside the elf. She turned back to him throwing him a dirty glare. He just shrugged giving her a wide childlike smile. She carefully placed her hand against his forehead, lifted it and waved it across his body toward the twin wounds in his abdomen.

"He clings to life by a sliver." She spoke sadly. Her eyes misting over as she thought. Closing her eyes she held both hands above him trying to pull the man closer back to the living.

"Must you say it like that? Couldn't you just say he's either alive or dead."

"Ricardo!" She bit out the glow around her hands wavering. "Let me focus."

"Sorry my dear." She glared back at him, but said nothing. Stopping her incantation she let her hand rest on the mans head. He looked familiar but she couldn't place him. "He going to make it?" Ricardo asked appearing over her shoulder.

"He will not make it though the night less we get him into town." Ivanna stood pulling her scarf and hood back into place. "Ricardo my dear, I need you to carry him. But be careful. He is very injured."

"Yes dear."

x-x-x-x-x-x

He felt warm and light. It felt much different from before. Where he could only feel mind numbing cold, and pain. He could barely remember what had happened. All he could really remember was the faint dull ache on the back of his head. Slowly he managed to open his eyes only to close them tightly as soon as the painfully bright lights entered his vision.

His grunts and groans didn't go unnoticed. He could hear a pair of feet coming to stand by where he lay. Faustino opened his eyes again his vision only allowing him to be able to barely make out the form of a Draenei's face. Ivanna smiled glad that he was able to come around after several days of slumber.

Although he didn't know she was friendly and the one that had saved him from certain death. He knew he didn't have the strength to defend himself should she chose to attack.

She shushed him when he began to scoot away from her. "Calm yourself, I mean you no ill-intent." She cooed taking a seat on the edge of the bed. Faustino instantly fell back deep into the fluffy mattress to weary to even hold his eyes open much less his entire body. His breath came out in sharp strained wheezes. Once more he fell asleep, unable to continue his short burst of activity.

Ivanna waited patiently for him to awaken, while she waited she wondered why he looked so familiar to her. It wasn't as though she really ran into may Blood-elves that would stick out in her mind. And then it dawned on her just who he could possibly be. The chances were slim to none that it was the same man she had traveled with five years ago to search for her husband.

He roused again giving a cough as he moved around uneasily. "Where am I..." He strained trying to push himself off the bed.

Ivanna chided him as she gently pushed him back to the bed. "You have been gravely injured. You must rest, do not move around nor worry where you are. We're in Storm Peaks, K3 to be exact." She moved about quickly working around the room gathering items to farther treat the man. Faustino watched her anxiously as she moved about, distrusting that he was going to make it out of the room alive. He didn't like the way she moved around the room fleeting from one side to the other gathering items that he couldn't make out.

She returned to a table in the middle of the room humming softly to herself taking a mortar and pestle crushing herbs together. She looked at several jars as she mixed with one hand, holding them up to the light before giving them a scrutinizing stare and finding another. She poured a couple drops of the liquid into the mix and picked up a flask of clear water.

Ivanna mixed the concoction for a moment longer before leaving it to set. Faustino all the while tried to move his weak legs to the edge of the bed. He wouldn't make it far, but he had to leave before he became some kind of experiment.

"What were you doing up on the mountain?" She asked emptying the water into a glass. Turning she chide her charge and forced him back to a more comfortable position. "Drink." She tilted his head back, forcing the liquid to his lips. At first he merely meant to let the liquid to run off down his chin, but as soon as the cold water hit his lips he drank greedily.

He couldn't get the water down fast enough to ease his dry throat and dehydrated body. Ivanna asked if he would like more to which he practically begged her. She smiled as she went to take the flask, offering it to him instead of just by the glass. His trembling hands took the item silently thanking her for the assistance. Most of the water ended up pouring down nearly drowning him on dry land in his haste. He paused only long enough to breathe heavily before draining the last of the water from the now empty flask.

Ivanna gave him a motherly smile patting him on the head, and grabbing the mixture of herbs and unknown liquid. "Who attacked you?" She asked idly as she removed the bandages from around his torso to slather the mixture onto the slight wounds. Holy magic only took him back from the brink of death, natural magic was the only way to continue the healing.

"I don't know who he was." He bit down hard against his teeth as the sting from the ointment met the tender flesh. Clinching his fists he let his head fall farther into the pillows, wondering if he should tell the whole story or keep it to himself. After all he didn't know who she was, and she had no right to his private information. Even though she had been the one to save his life, and take care of him.

"They must despise you greatly to leave you like that."

"If I ever meet him again, I will not let him have the same chance." He wrinkled his nose showing his clear distaste with the Night-Elf. He still didn't know if he wanted to try and save Aliane. She hadn't done any small effort to spare him. She may as well had driven the swords through him.

"Mother, how is … oh you're awake. That's great." Ivanna looked over to see her youngest son.

"This is my son, Badri. Dear let us leave or guest to rest. He has had a long day already." Ivanna stood lightly cleaning up the mess she had made, taking the empty flask to refill with her as she pulled her son along behind her. Badri gave a light wave while Faustino just watched the two leave.

She closed the door as silently as the creaking door would allow. "Who was he anyway?" He pulled his mother to a stop before she could leave him with no answers. He knew she helped anyone she found, it was just in her nature to be protective in her own way. It was something sure to come back and hurt her in the future. It had already happened on numerous occasions.

Shifting the items in her arms the took her son's face in her free hand. "I love you so my little one." He took her hand from his face, holding it in his much larger hands. She knew the what the look he gave her meant. However much he detested her taking in so many strangers all the time could hurt her. "Do not fret, all will be fine."

"Mother..." He droned. She simply smiled.

X-x-x-x-x-x

Faustino stumbled from the bed, falling in the floor in a heap of tangled limbs and furs. Taking a shaking arm he pulled himself free from the mess, and used the frame of the bed for leverage to push himself upright. His other arm curled around his middle while he tried to keep himself up right. He stumbled again, just barely able to catch himself on the table. He held onto it as the items left behind clanked with the shifting wood.

His empty stomach felt the need to show itself in the form of nausea. His head swam with dizziness as he took toddler like steps to reach his armor. A vanishing memory passed through the waving feeling in his head that his son had less trouble learning to walk for the first time, than he had right now. He felt as though he were on a ship over the open ocean once again. Although then he hadn't felt so nauseous, or had nearly been skewered on swords just days before. He much preferred the boat right now.

He fell to the ground and pulled his pants over his legs awkwardly from the position. Then came the task of his heavy boots, those he couldn't seem to tell which went on what foot, or even how they went on in the first place. He struggled with them for several minutes before he was out of breath.

He leaned against the wall struggling to breathe, and felt the dryness in his throat return. Closing his eyes he rested the back of his head against the cold stone of the wall. Allowing himself only a few minutes to rest, of which turned longer than he expected as he unwillingly allowed himself to slumber.

Snapping himself out of the moment he pulled his chest piece across the floor, it loudly protested with each small tug he gave. The friction of the metal against stone aggravating his newly found migraine. By the time he had gotten it over his head he lacked the strength or care to fasten it down securely. And completely lost the intent to put his tabard on over it. He threw it into his lap on a whim deciding against just using it as a pillow rather than drag himself back to the bed. His gloves he couldn't find among the rest of his armor, but his hefty mace leaned against the wall by the door.

Unsure of how he was going to carry that, much less himself he struggled to his feet and drug himself to the weapon.

Reclaiming his weapon he took it in one hand, just letting it follow along behind him and for a moment he forgot how doors worked. He grumbled to himself as his hand slipped around and fumbled with the door handle. Before he could open the cursed thing though, it flew open slamming into him and knocking the weakened paladin to the ground. In the door frame Badri stood with a raised eyebrow, looking at the elf then to the door and where the elf was supposed to be.

The large Draenei gave a sigh before helping the other man from the ground. "Just where do you think you're going?"

"I have to leave." He bent over as he sat back on the far to comfortable bed. It was far to appealing to his taste at this point in time.

"You're not going to make it five yards out of the door." Badri narrowed his eyes pushing the other man back. "Look just do what my mother says, and rest. Then you can go back to where ever it is you came from."

"I can't stay..." He tried to stand again, but was forced down by his own weight and Badri.

"You're not going anywhere." The Draenei stood easily able to hold the other man down. Once he was sure the Blood-Elf had given in he helped remove his heavy armor. "I'm surprised you had the strength to put this on, let alone walk around in it." He mumbled to himself tossing it back in the corner it had been in before. Making a mental note to remove it from the room entirely before he left. "What's so important that you have to risk all the effort my mother used to bring you back from death, to just throw it all away on a whim."

Faustino heavily fell back into the mattress nearly asleep as soon as his head hit the pillows. "My son." Once he got back to him, he didn't want to ever leave again even if it meant having barely enough money to get by living on.

Badri folded his arms as he leaned a shoulder against the wall. "You have a kid?"

"Yes, he would be five summers this year."

"So you left him alone at that young of an age?" He knew the Blood-Elves had long life spans. Not quite as long as his race, but still a considerable amount of time.

By now all Faustino wanted to do was sleep, he would rather not have a discussion of any magnitude while he felt his eyes were to heavy to remain open. He closed them, fully intent on passing out as soon as he could. "No, he is with my sister."

Badri could only incline his head wondering just who the Blood-Elf in his mothers care was. If he was good or if he had any inclination to harm her. "Who are you."

Faustino sighed, knowing that he wasn't going to get to do as he pleased any time soon. "Faustino... and I would like to sleep." He mumbled trying to turn on his side. Signaling that he was refusing to answer any farther questions. He could hear the other man in the room walking about, not careful to quieten his footsteps as he left the room and closing the door loudly behind him.

All he was left with was the sound of the wind howling outside, a sure sign of a snow storm. He pulled the fur covers over his shoulders fully intent on sleeping for the remainder of the day, and perhaps part of the next. He released a heavy sigh as he sank farther into the bed making himself comfortable.

Hoping that he would have at least one more night of dreamless slumber before his already taxed mind began to work in over drive. He had far to much on his mind than he cared to share with anyone.

Suddenly he was jolted awake when the door flew open slamming against the wall. He knew something was wrong, and tried his hardest to ball his hand into a tight fist. His arms were pinned to his sides as his body was plucked from the bed rather forcefully.

"Haha Kinji! It's been along time, friend!" Faustino groaned out as Ricardo squeezed him in a tight bear hug ranting on as he squeezed.

Sleep looked like it was going to have to wait for another time.