The fires flickering around the camp, little pools of light in the unfamiliar cold of the mountain winter, her mother feeding her the last remains of the familiar food of the other place, the place mother thinks of as “home”, beyond the big dark door.
She remembers the long march tied to her mother’s back, looking over her shoulder at the snow and the trees. She remembers being left, with the other children, when their parents went away, promises to return. Promises broken.
She remembers being swept up by an unfamiliar male, name long forgotten now, and carried away, the desperate flight south, into the waiting arms of the victorious humans.
She smiles across the fire at Luccius, and offers him some burnt fish.
“Is good for you. You thin, elfling. Need to eat more.”
He looks at her seriously.
“Don’t speak of it if you’d rather not, Raxxa.”
She shakes her head.
“Is being Gladiator I remember next. Camps, Dey more like sleepin. Fights, dat I remember. I very strong, you know, Win many times.” Her fingers absently trace the lines of an old scar which, invisible under her shirt, runs thick and puckered down her chest and side. Luccius’s eyes flicker to the gesture, he guesses what it hides. She looks down and grins wryly, her bright tusks glint in the firelight. “and lose some too. But not die. Strong fighter, Raxxa! But…. No heart.” She looks at Luccius, eyes dark. “Empty. Yous get me?”
Luccius thinks of the taste of lost strength and magic. He nods quietly.
She grins at his face and hits him playfully on the shoulder. He shudders a little at the orc’s strength and grins at her.
“What are you trying to do, Raxxie, knock me into the fire?”
She laughs heartily.
“Get colour in you face, elfling!” She smiles at him warmly, this wiry, stubborn elf she thinks of as her family now. “Den is come Thrall. Him bring us home. And in new country Raxxa hear new voices, and all dat strength become spirit strength. Den she meet Dead Captain and Luccius, and now she corrupt pirate.”
Luccius grins and throws a blanket at her.
“We’re not pirates, you ignorant girl, we’re businessmen!”
Raxxa catches the blanket and throws it round her shoulders as they both get as close as they can to the fire.
“Yeah. You not pirates… and I a gnome.”
Chuckling to herself, she falls asleep. Luccius looks at her for a long moment in the last of the firelight and gently brushes a lock of hair from her face, as if she were a child. Then he too wraps himself up in his cloak and dozes off, lightly, keeping watch.