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An Ictus of the Heart

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The second biggest issue Khadgar had with the symphonic band, he decided, was that it started at a truly and utterly ungodly time. But to dedicate yourself to a craft was to dedicate yourself, seemingly, to pain and death and a worrying [and growing] dependency to coffee.

[At least he wasn’t at the point of brewing his coffee with Red Bull, like the clarinet section did. There was something seriously unhinged about Medivh’s ideas.]

Anyway, the greatest issue that he had, however, was the stupidly loud and irritating voice of Anduin Lothar that greeted him every morning, bang on the dot, at 7 am on Fridays as he walked through the door, shoving his amp with his knees as he clutched his coffee in one hand and his bass in the other.

Khad didn’t understand the drummer’s need to howl his bloody Australian sea shanties at the top of his lungs whilst slinging an arm over his shoulders. More often than not, a stray hand would knock a splash of coffee onto his school shirt and he would not only lose his dignity for the rest of the day, but more importantly, a sip of the caffeinated liquid that would keep Khad awake whilst Mrs Daley droned on about differential equations.

[By this point in time, Khad was pretty sure that he was capable of singing ‘Click Go The Shears’ in his sleep. Hell, he probably had at some point in maths. It would explain why everyone was looking funny at him last week when he awoke after being prodded rudely in the stomach by Garona.]

There was a flash of something pale, and what looked like a saxophone reed flew past and struck Lothar squarely in the middle of the forehead. The previously mentioned green-haired saxophonist was sitting innocently in the second row, emptying her spit valve into what looked like Blackhand’s shoe. The owner of the shoe in question was passed out across a row of chairs, having his face doodled upon by the rest of the clarinets, a weekly ritual that the massive linebacker had no way of avoiding.

[Khad had, in fact, suggested to him several times that falling asleep in the vicinity of Medivh and Moroes was not a good idea. Blackhand had ignored him, and returned to trying to scrub off the sharpie moustache that graced his face. He had failed, miserably, but his friend Gul’dan had drawn one on himself to make him feel less alone. Say what you want about the oboe player, but well, he was a good friend.]

[On the same note, Blackhand had received his name after Medivh and Moroes spent half an hour painstakingly colouring in his hand with black sharpie. The marker washed off after two weeks, but the name stuck.]

Lothar cackled into Khad’s ear, shoving the discarded reed down the back of his shirt as he shuddered. Garona gave him a dirty look as she wandered over and the drummer wandered off, spinning his sticks in the most obnoxious way as he whistled Botany Bay or something equally as bothersome. Khad knew he must have looked like the most dejected and scruffy puppy in the world, with his coffee-stained shirt, too-big bass, and hunched shoulders, because Garona was trying her best not to crack-up.

It was not working.

“Aww, Khad, don’t be like that!” she snickered as she retrieved her reed. “You just look so completely and utterly done with the world.”

“Yeah well,” he muttered, staring at the ugly grey and brown carpet as he unpacked his battered old P-bass. “Lothar’s a grade-A prick. Well, he would be, if he could actually make an A.”

“Ooh, shots fired,” called Lothar’s sister Taria as she breezed past, smacking Lothar in the back with her flute. “He should indeed concentrate less on picking on the bassist and more on completing his homework.”

Lothar flipped her off, and returned to chewing his gum or whatever the hell he did before band started. Probably dreaming up ways to make his life harder, Khad decided. Perhaps he could convince Garona or his sister Lillia to empty their spit valves into Lothar’s shoes next time. Durotan was too nice to do it, which was a shame as he played the baritone sax, and the trumpets just didn’t accumulate the same disgusting amount of saliva.

The arrival of the band instructor, Mr Antonidas, jerked Khad out of his daydreams. Antonidas was an ancient creature, with liver spotted hands and a beard that consistently had cereal caught in it. Llane, the first trumpet who desperately tried to woo Taria by playing La Vie en Rose every damned morning, vehemently claimed that Antonidas had been in employment of Stormwind High since the beginning of the school, like, 3000 years ago or something equally as ridiculous. If Khad wasn’t so sceptical of his usually exaggerated stories, he would be inclined to believe it – after all, the Wrynns were the family that had founded the town.

Band folders were distributed, Lothar bounced a timpani mallet off of the back of his amp, and his freshman cousin, Callan, shrilled away at his flute in an attempt to warm it up. Khad didn’t have the heart to tell him that blowing into it would suffice, and neither did his fellow flautists. The sound seemed to piss off Gul’dan, and both Taria and her second, Varis, enjoyed watching the pained expressions on his face, especially as the butt of Callan’s flute rested approximately two inches from the oboist’s left ear in the cramped band room.

Antonidas stopped the band about 3 bars into Ruckus by Randall Standridge, his beady little eyes narrowing. “Khadgar, Anduin,” he gritted out, moustache bristling as Blackhand made stupid oohing noises from behind Moroes. “Would the two of you bloody listen to each other?”

“I’m sorry, Mr Antonidas,” Lothar simpered. “It’s not my fault Khadgar has no ictus.”

Khad fought the urge to thump him heartily in the face with the lovely, heavy, rigid ash wood body of his bass, and instead settled for a snappy retort. “Lothar, you don’t even know what ictus means. If you did, you would actually be able to keep time in five four.” Snidely, he added, “Perhaps, even, you’ll have one yourself and save us the pain of interacting with you.”

“You’re an ass, Khad-”

Blackhand’s oohing got even louder and Antonidas thumped his rickety metal stand with his baton. “Enough!” he hollered, before lowering his voice and his head into his hands. “Can we please just try to get through the piece until the key change, without too much trouble?” Khad mustered up the most withering look to throw at Lothar before concentrating on his music.

They managed to make it halfway through to key change before Antonidas decided to chew them out again. Thankfully, Medivh managed to gag Blackhand with what looked like a handful of birdseed before he could say anything, but Gul’dan took over the oohing instead.

Khad sighed. It was going to be a long hour.