By the time Lesara finished wading through tasks and arrangements needing her attention, she found the human boy already washed and dressed in a robe large enough it served as a blanket. He looked far paler, though human skin tones already seemed paler and more orange than any kaldorei.
She sat on the edge of the cot and placed the back of her hand to his forehead. Still burning hot. The boy mumbled something and scrunched up his face. Chaos laced his thoughts. Fever dreams; just like a sick saber cat. Lesara smoothed his hair and closed her eyes, thinking on the gentle warmth of Elune’s light emanating from her finger tips. She let the warmth cool a little at a time, using her hands like the wet cloth from Padraig’s memories to bring down the temperature.
Once the boy’s forehead felt cooler, Lesara focused on channeling the warmth of Elune throughout, gentle and subtle, so as not to raise his temperature again. She pictured the light making him strong and healthy again, helping his body eradicate infection. When she opened her eyes, she saw more colour in the boy’s cheeks and he slept more sound. His dreams relaxed in the form of a bizarre world of metal creations, but he seemed thrilled by them.
The healing sessions took a full week before the boy was awake for any significant length of time and speaking in more than confused rambles.
After another long meeting discussing the war in Hyjal and refugee situation in her home, Lesara walked into her chamber and found the boy sitting up with her aunt’s book open in his lap. He frowned at the elvish text, held firm with one hand in the cradle of his lap, while the other picked idly at his blanket robes.
She felt the curiosity in his mind, along with a simple appreciation for the script, rather than understanding the contents. Clearing her throat, Lesara approached the cot-side with a gentle smile. “You’re finally awake, I see.” She linked their minds with the meaning of her words.
Ren put a small hand to his forehead and furrowed his brow. “Yer doin’ that?”
Smiling wider, Lesara sat at the foot of his cot and nodded. “I’ve been practicing with your friends, Jon and Padraig. They’re downstairs.” In only a week’s time, the two human men pitched in whenever they could. With the near-constant mind-linking for translation purposes, they quickly proved their guards a wasted resource. They now counted as additional refugees, rather than prisoners.
Ren shook his head. “I was out that long?” He closed the book and Lesara felt a mental pressure for more memories of the past week’s events along with a rush of jumbled questions. The strength of that pressure from this boy surprised her, as though the mental connections were far more familiar for him, as opposed to the human men he arrived with. Flashes of memory from recent events, up to the vine attack and her near-death encounter with Elune, flowed in the wrong direction, yanked away before Lesara managed to slam the mental door with a gasp.
They both looked at each other with eyes widened by the shared fear. Recovering her composure first, Lesara looked away, sat up straighter, and assumed her peaceful mask. “Are you alright, Ren?”
The boy nodded slowly, too slowly. Shock.
Lesara placed a hand on his knee, calling on Elune’s gentle warmth. The sensation washed over the boy and he relaxed, blinking several times. “What was that?” He swallowed hard and found Lesara’s eyes again.
“Unexpected. I’m sorry.” She smiled then. “You must have a natural gift.” She patted his knee before clasping both hands in her lap.
“You died!” Horror and amazement warred in his voice. “And those things! Who was that lady?” She heard a muted version of a dozen more questions from his thoughts.
“My people are immortal.” Lesara squirmed a bit. “It’s difficult for us to stay dead if a priestess is close enough for healing…unless the dying kaldorei lets go…on purpose.” Silence stretched between them while Lesara wondered where to start with the other questions.
She looked over at Ren, who was staring back as though viewing his first sunrise over the ocean. Just on the surface of thought, Lesara viewed flashes of a lonely life, and an oft-disappointed, but hopeful Ren. A boy pretending Padraig could be his father, or at least a big brother.
He fancied a vague image of the wife Padraig mentioned, Thieren, as his own mother. She starred in fantasies of Ren wearing a ridiculously poofy pink robe and longer, braided hair with his faceless mother, laughing and sharing a group hug with Padraig, sharing a large meal, or playing with each other’s hair. He seemed pleased and embarrassed by this fancy.
The memories moved backward, wondering how his parents died, why people died. Why did they leave? Did they leave? They probably died. The habitual loneliness felt like a hollow space in the pit of Ren’s stomach. He lived with other children before, but they ignored him. Ren was strange. Not at all like other little girls.
Lesara resisted a strong impulse to hug the poor girl and comfort her. She knew lonely too well. “Not a boy after all…” The response sounded lame after the flood of memories.
Ren nibbled at her bottom lip and shook her head, then looked up in slight panic. “Don’t tell, though! Please?” A new flash of memories, other young girls being grabbed by shadowy figures and carried off into a dark sense of foreboding mixed with a woman’s voice chiding. Such things aren’t safe for little girls. Multiple memories of various boys allowed on a week of adventure with approved heroes left her behind, feeling bitter and angry.
“You needn’t worry about that now. It appears your people consider gender backwards.” Lesara sent back brief memories of her brother and father receiving similar limitations.
Ren giggled. “I think I’ll like it here.” She bounced over and threw her arms around Lesara.
A surge of warmth and energy, along with easy, almost desperate affection came from Ren and Lesara found the laughter infectious. She grinned and hugged the girl back, enjoying her as thoroughly as she might an innocent saber kitten. Now, if only her mother would let her keep Ren. She began rehearsing special pleas in her head and fought dread at her mother’s likely responses.