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Quickening

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The rain was coming down heavily again as Draggka and Spike made their way through  the streets of Dazar’alor to the local inn, Spirits Be With You. She paid for a drink at the bar and weaved her way past the tables to one on the threshold, letting her watch the rain and others hurrying through the streets.

Spike curled up on her feet, more interested in watching the other patrons in the inn than the ones outside. Though many glanced Draggka’s way, they soon turned back to their own drinks or food - the Horde had been in Zandalar long enough for the Zandalari to become used to their presence. Of course, a few remained that looked down their nose at the Horde (Draggka had heard the whispered comments from the other troll tribes on the Speaker’s Terrace), but their efforts to assist had quietened many of the disgruntled, and many had begrudgingly admitted that at least the Horde’s Speaker was a troll, not like their undead Warchief. (She could sympathize.)

It wasn’t long until the hunter spotted him through the rain storm; the familiar lope of a tiger, crimson mane and blue fur heavy with moisture, brown eyes brightening when he caught sight of her.

“Drank!” Draggka smiled as the feline rose onto its back feet, morphing elegantly back into a lanky troll. “It’s good to see you.”

“You too, Drak.” Dranka grinned, shaking out his robes before taking a seat next to his sister. “Hey Spike,” he said, patting the raptor laying at Draggka’s feet, and earning a polite rumble in reply.

“You know, Ximo won’t appreciate you getting his floor wet.” Draggka commented, a smile playing on her lips.

“Pfft. I bet he’s used to it. They’d have to be, with all the rain they get.” Dranka replied, raising a hand to a server that looked their way. “Anyway, so long as I’m paying, I’m sure he won’t mind too much.”

“I suppose.”

A brief silence settled between the two siblings as the server brought the druid his drink, Dranka murmuring his thanks.

“So, you’re going to take on G’huun soon.” Draggka said, watching her brother take a sip of beer, her own drink that of sunfruit juice.

“Yeah. If it’s dark enough to corrupt Loa and give Vol’jin pause, we need to destroy it.” Dranka spoke. “And whatever else is lurking in that Titan vault.”

“Sounds like an Old God, if it was protected by those seals.” The hunter nodded. A pause. “I still think I should be with you to take it down.”

“No. We’ve been over this, Drak.” Dranka sighed. “One, it’s an Old God, and shouldn’t be messed with unless absolutely necessary. Two, it’s an Old God that has power over blood.  That’s bad in itself, but what if it gets into the little one? I know you’d survive it, but will they? Could you tell Khadgar you lost your child? Could you live with yourself?”

“I know, I know.” Draggka winced at his hard words, cupping her drink closer. “But I feel bad that I’m not finishing the job for Talanji and her people. And Vol’jin. It doesn’t feel honourable.”

“Well, good thing Talanji doesn’t feel that way.” The druid replied. “You’re the Speaker for the Horde, and she and everyone else knows what you’ve done for the Zandalari. Bowing out of killing G’huun is understandable if you’re ill or injured. And though she knows the truth, she knows that you can’t take a little one into such a place safely.” He raised a hand as Draggka opened her mouth to protest. “Vol’jin would agree. He didn’t raise arms against Garrosh until he was sure he was sure we were safe. He knew we had to flee the Broken Shore, or all be killed.”

He reached out, laying a hand on her arm. “And anyone who says otherwise can go fuck themselves.”

Draggka managed a chuckle at his sharp tongue, patting his hand.

“Maybe don’t say that in the earshot of the Zandalari, Drank,” she said, glancing at the inn patrons. None of them seemed to be listening, or if they were, they didn’t care.

“The ones criticizing you are the same ones that already hate our tribe, so no loss.” Dranka said matter-of-factly, lifting a shoulder. “‘Sides, gives you more time to chill and take some time with Khadgar.”

“Maybe. Knowing my luck, the Consort will be on my ass demanding I do things for the Horde.”

“No. Same rules for Nathanos as with G’huun. If you can’t go fighting an Old God, you can’t go helping and his Queen out.” The druid said firmly, taking a drink. “Let some other Horde champion have the spot-light for a while. I’m sure some of the Mag’har would love to show off for Sylvanas.”

“Mmm, I guess so.” Draggka hummed, speaking quietly. “How long before they turn on her, I wonder. Hopefully they won’t turn on the rest of us too...”

Another silence settled upon them, drinking and watching the rain lash down outside, only drunk patrons and fishermon braving the downpour. As Draggka sat and let her mind drift, she felt something peculiar happen. It was an odd fluttering sensation, as if she’d swallowed some butterflies and they were doing their damnest to get out of her stomach. Gonk’s teeth, I haven’t got time to be ill.

“You alright, Drak?” Dranka asked, his brows creased into a frown.

“I...think so...” Draggka replied quietly, self-consciously touching her belly. “I’ve just be getting these weird feelings in my stomach every now and again. This is about the third time today.”

“What does it feel like?”

“Like...It’s a bit hard to describe. Like...Like I’ve got the jitters, but I’m not worried at all. or like...butterflies. That’s the phrase, right? ‘Butterflies in your stomach’?”

“Yeah, that’s right.” Dranka leant back on his bench, looking thoughtful. “So it feels like something is moving in your belly. Something inside you.”

“Yes.” A pause whilst the words slowly sunk in. Draggka’s eyes widened, and she blinked owlishly. “Wait. Is, is it-”

“Do you want me to check?” Her brother asked, his brown eyes holding a kindly yet mischievous look to them, as if he was finding glee in her slow realization. She resisted the urge to punch him.

“Yeah, sure.” Draggka shifted closer to him, loosening some of the catches off her cuirass so she could lift her tunic up enough for Dranka to lay a hand on her stomach. She still wasn’t showing yet, but Draggka was sure it wouldn’t be long before she would have to get creative with her armour, and find some armourers who could keep secrets. As well as consider retiring from combat...

Dranka’s eyes glowed a light blue as he tapped into his powers, and Draggka felt the strange ghostly feeling as his druidic energies flowed into her, searching. Almost in response, the fluttering began again, and a grin spread across her brother’s face.

“Ah, yeah, that’s your baby alright.” He pulled back, the glow fading from his eyes. “Those feelings? That’s the little one moving.”

“Really?” Draggka looked down at her belly then back to him with wide eyes, the thought having trouble really settling in her head. She’d been feeling her baby - her and Khadgar’s baby - moving inside her. The small, precious, fragile life within her. “I need to tell Khadgar.”

“He won’t be able to feel it just yet.” Dranka said quickly. “You can feel the movements because the baby’s in you. But it’s too little for anyone on the outside to feel yet. Probably why you didn’t really notice until now.”

“I guess. But I’m going to tell him anyway.”

“He’ll be thrilled to hear, I bet.” Dranka smiled, his eyes bright like hazel gemstones. “Though I doubt he’s ever going to stop touching your stomach afterwards.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing!” Draggka giggled, more so when the druid rolled his eyes. “How’s the young one doing, anyway?”

“Perfectly fine, Drak. Nothing to concern yourself with.” He spoke, waving a hand. “Let’s keep it that way, yeah?”

“Of course.” Draggka nodded, lifting her drink in a toast. “For my child.”

“For your child.” Dranka replied, clinking his drink against hers.