Florinn the draenei slowly opened his glowing blue eyes while he felt warm water droplets hit his ear while the scent of smelled wet hair and rabbit meat filled his nose. When he saw his gray-haired wolf Lanseril, inches away from his face, he rolled out of bed and wiped the wolf's saliva off of his ear.
"Thank you for the greeting old friend," the draenei said in his deep voice. He quickly tossed the covers, then put on his leather pants and white shirt. "Merry Winter veil to you too."
Smiling, Florinn walked into the living room, finding his young roommate Kelevmor Van Cleef at his oak desk next to their decorated Winter veil tree, bent over what appeared to be a long piece of parchment. "I thought you were going to spend the morning at the office before you left for Ironforge"
Kelevmor who worked as a reporter for the Gadgetzhan Times, scratched his head of gray hair which he had shortened to ear length just two days before. "I just had to proofread these two articles before I turn them in."
Florinn walked over and glanced at the two stories. He knew of the profile piece Kelevmor had written about a fighting group of female warriors who had opened a gladiator circle in Shattrath City. Seeing another piece of parchment underneath the one he was looking at, he asked "What is this other story about?" He saw the title at the top that read. "Nefarian returns to Azeroth? You are actually writing about that encounter we had with him and those orcs in Blackrock Spire when you covered the group I was with while we were rescuing Metzen?"
The reporter smiled up at his roommate. "Nefarius has thought to be dead for some time and his return is big news. I did write some details about the rest of us fighting, specifically your little scuffle with Rend Blackhand."
The draenei looked at the article, noting how Kelevmor had referred to himself as 'the reporter' while referring to the others by name. His eyes read over one paragraph, then looked at Kelevmor. "You wrote that I lost control in my fight with Blackhand and you actually quoted some of the derogatory words he said about me and the draenei."
The human shrugged his shoulders. "They are in orcish tongue, and you hearing them got you upset about that, causing you to go into a rage." Kelevmor grabbed the article then walked over to a window, that overlooked Shattrath's Lower City streets that were sparsely covered in snow. He watched a small human boy building a snowman with an orc girl and said," I was going to edit out those comments."
The draenei shrugged his shoulders. "Do what you will. I also see that Aleese's name is on the byline."
Kelevmor smiled at the mention of Aleese Silvermantle, a purple haired night elf, who held the position of Managing Editor of the Gadgetzhan Times. "She was about to get some conformation about Nefarius' return. I was also able to have one of the Knights sketch a picture of you fighting Blackhand."
"I will have to see the issue when it comes out," Florinn commented as he walked over to Kelevmor. "I take it Taffy will be ready for our arrival."
The human nodded and grabbed the Fighter article. "Yes she will. She stressed to me that your little friend Dornaa will be sleeping in her room while us 'men', as she puts it, will sleep in her living room. Are you going to meet her at the Exodar and then bring her Ironforge?"
Florinn watched him walk over to the fireplace and grab the letter Dornaa had written, which was sitting on the mantle. "I am excited to meet this little friend of yours. She sounds adoreable."
"She is," the draenei commented in a soft voice. His thoughts went back two Summers before, where he had met Dornaa at the orphanage just down the street. From there, they visited different ruins on both Outland and Azeroth, met new friends, and even stood face to face with ancient dragons. In the end he had taken her to the draenei city of the Exodar where she had discovered her shaman abilities.
"Not too long after we parted, Dornaa left for the Exodar where she currently stays with the Farseer Nobundo," added Florinn. "Perhaps while I get her, you can ask Aleese if she would like to come to Ironforge. After all, you two were both very tender at office party you invited me to."
Kelevmor blushed and shook his head. "You know you are perhaps the eighth person that has told me this-"
"And everyone cheered, until Aleese vomited in the punch bowl," the draenei finished with a laugh as Lanseril came to join them. "No worries Kelevmor, everyone knows it was because of her allergic reaction to Mikel's undercooked roast."
Kelevmor walked over to the coat rack, grabbing his cloak and brown fedora. "Well I am off. I will meet you in Ironforge."
Florinn nodded. "I will see you there my friend. Give my love to Aleese for me."
The reporter responded to his roommate's jest with a slam of the door. Florinn scratched Lanseril's ears and asked. "Well my friend, are you ready for a trip to the Exodar."
Florinn and Lanseril arrived at the Exodar through the one of the portals located in Shattrath City's center. The city's crystalline and cracked stone walls were decorated with Winter Veil wreaths, tinsel, and strings of tiny lights. Draenei of all ages and shades of blue were running through the streets, preparing to travel to visit friends and family who were either scattered across Azeroth, or still living in Draenor.
The draenei hunter and his wolf companion walked through the Crystal Hall, noticing that few shamans were out and about. After going up two very steep ramps, they found themselves standing in front of a young black haired draenei girl, wearing a long sky blue robe.
Before Florinn spoke one word, Lanseril dashed forward and jumped on the girl, licking her face.
The little girl giggled as she gently pushed the wolf away. "It is good to see you too Lanseril." Once the wolf stood down, the girl's glowing blue eyes turned to the wolf's master. "It is good to see you too Florinn."
Florinn smiled and braced himself as Dornaa charged him with the same speed as Lanseril did her, and wrapped her arms tightly around him. "I missed you too Dornaa," the elder draenei said as he felt her hug soften.
"I missed you too," Dornaa said. "I am so glad that Farseer Nobundo allowed me to come visit you for Winter Veil. Let me just go and get my things."
"As am I," Florinn said as he watched Dornaa run into the small house where he guessed Dornaa was staying. Although it had been a little over a year, the hunter noticed little change in the girl. Other than growing a few inches in height and her hair growing to the point where it covered her entire head, Dornaa still looked like the small child he had met at the Lower City orphanage years ago.
Dornaa emerged from the house carrying a simple crooked staff while her brown backpack was slung over her left shoulder. "I am all ready," she said with a big smile on her face.
As the three companions began walking through the Exodar, Dornaa looked at Florinn and asked," How are we getting to Ironforge?"
Florinn bit his lip and admitted, "I had not really thought of that Dornaa. Perhaps we could take the safe route and order a portal to Ironforge."
The girl swayed her head back and forth, which told Florinn that she had other thoughts. "I was thinking we could take a boat to Auberdine and then get take a gryphon ride to Ironforge. Like when we traveled from the Booty Bay to the Caverns of Time."
Florinn glanced down at Lanseril, who looked back at him with a worried look on his face. "I think you should ask Lanseril."
Dornaa scratched the back of the wolf's ears and faced him with her eyes. "Please Lanseril. If I am to be a great shaman, I must be attuned to the elements. And water is an element."
While Lanseril may or may not have understood all of Dornaa's words as she spoke to him, he did understand the pleading look in her eyes, along with the sensation he felt of seeing her for the first time since what seemed like an eternity.
Lanseril let out an enthusiastic bark as they made their way out of the Crystal Hall and into the Seat of the Naaru section of the city. "I think that was a yes," Dornaa remarked as she looked up at Florinn.
The hunter smiled at his pet, silently promising him a feast worth of meats when they reached the dwarven city.
The two draenei and the wolf reached the gates of Ironforge just as the sun was setting. Just like they planned, Florinn, Dornaa, and Lanseril had taken a ship from the port of Valaar's Berth to the port city of Auberdine. From Auberdine, they sailed on a crowded vessel to Stormwind Harbor.
Noticing the way Dornaa was staring at Stormwind's white and blue stone walls, Florinn asked her," I take it you have not been here before?"
The draenei girl shook her head as Lanseril sniffed around a large statue of a lion. "I have seen paintings of it around the Exodar. I hear the king's son is around my age."
Florinn nodded at Dornaa's words. "Anduin was king for a time until his father's recent return."
"I hear they also their Deeprun Tram can take us to Ironforge without flying," she added.
The elder draenei nodded and said," Yes, but we have to reach that through the Dwarven District. Let us get to Ironforge. We must not keep our friends waiting."
With that, the three companions walks through Stormwind Harbor, through Cathedral Square and through the smoky streets of the Dwarven District.
"I have seen dwarves and gnomes bring those machines into the Exodar," Dornaa commented as she, Florinn, and Lanseril entered the Tram's station where they were greeted by a blue haired gnome. The trio quickly boarded one of metal wagons that was suspended up by a cable. "Florinn, how does this work?"
Before the hunter could answer, the wagon shot forward through a tall, but narrow tunnel. Dornaa's eyes lit up in wonder as she stared at the tunnel's steel walls and the sea behind what she guessed was a plate of thick glass. "I think I just a sunken ship," she said as the tram continued smoothly through the tunnel. Seconds later it arrived at a small station similar to the in Stormwind City.
"Florinn, are we in Ironforge?" Dornaa asked as they left the wagon and walked through an opening that was shaped like a giant kog.
"Yes Dornaa we are," the elder draenei responded as they entered the small section of Tinker Town.
"Wow," she said as they walked left, quickly walking through Ironforge's Military Ward and entered the Commons.
As they arrived at Taffy's house, Florinn saw a nervous look cross Dornaa's face. Just as he stepped over to her, the door flew open and out stepped a gnome maiden with short brown hair, donned in wine red robes. Her round eyes looked at both draenei as she said," Florinn, you're here! And this must be Dornaa, it is very lovely to meet you."
Dornaa smiled at the gnome, who was only inches taller than she was. "It is nice to meet you madame."
From inside the house stepped Florinn's roommate Kelevmor. "I'm glad you made it my friend. Taffy just baked cookies if you would like some. I would be careful, they are a little burned."
The gnome scowled at the human as she led Dornaa up the small flight of stairs and into the house. Kelevmor walked down and met his roommate with a smile. "If I didn't know you that well, I would say she was your daughter."
"More like a little sister," Florinn said as he watched Lanseril follow Dornaa and Taffy into the house. "So, were you able to convince Aleese to come?"
The human titled his head. "She will be able to make it tomorrow evening for dinner."
Florinn smiled and patted his roommate's shoulder. "Nicely done my friend."
Kelevmor nodded as he walked up the stairs and into the house, leaving the draenei outside. Florinn looked into the streets, watching everyone line up to see Greatfather Winter.
Just as he was about to get lost in thought, Florinn heard the sound of Lanseril's barking fill the air. When he looked over at the door, Dornaa stood there, her arms crossed. "Florinn, come on. Taffy wants to play games."
Smiling, the hunter walked up the steps to join his family.