"You're relieved from duty, Andrews." The older knight clasped his gauntlet on the pauldron of the young Paladin he had addressed. He was at least thirty years this boy's senior, and it showed, even if the knight had aged with grace. Greying hair streaked his chestnut tresses like pepper carelessly spilled across a table. Wrinkles creasing his skin like discarded parchment, but they showed ages of laughter and humility. The dark circles under his sunken blue eyes would be the only hint that he was nearing a comfortable wooden chair near a well stocked pond.
"Just in time I hope, I don't want to keep M'Lady waiting." Tobias Andrews grinned with pride as any gallant knight would. He had drawn the late watch of the evening, bringing him long past dark and long past a decent time to meet with a lady, but still she had insisted they meet. "Thank you, Ser Warren"
He could only smile with warmth and nostalgia. Alexander Warren thought back to the days when he was escorting the lady he was arranged to wed. The days had changed and he had known it, but the excitement a young man felt for his first love was something that brought sword to hand and even the most cowardly solider for country. "Then you best not keep her."
Tobias took down the stairs of Mardenholde Keep, nearly tripping out of his plate before he had a chance to reach the armory to remove it. Alexander simply stepped into Tobias' place, leaning back and closing his eyes with a hand rested on his sword. Soon after gentle snoring filled the corridor.
As Tobias stepped out of the keep into the streets of Hearthglen he heard the vivid complaints of disturbed birds flying across the night sky. Normally an odd sight, but for Tobias it meant something, something that he shared with the world in a faint whisper. "She's here."
Tugging on the gold trim of her hood, it would shroud her silver-gold locks and lengthy ears from standing out in the darkness with little effort. But there was nothing hiding the rich blue cloak itself from anyone who's gaze would find her, and certainly not the birds that took off from the tree she intended to climb. The elven ranger reached for the lowest branch of strength, and with a feminine grunt she pulled herself into the old Oak tree that frequently littered the near by barn roof with leaves and acorns. Narrowly avoiding getting her bow caught in the small opening to the barn loft, the elf managed to keep to the shadows. The slightest noise of her soft and tight leather armor creaking was enough to drive her mad, though her better judgement scolded her repeatedly. 'no one can hear you, not over the rustling of farm livestock.'
And so she waited. Seconds to minutes and minutes to nearly an hour till she heard the door of the barn start to open, catching on the packed dirt, the weather beaten wood rattling in protest as it was shoved open.
Tobias stepped into the darkened barn, holding up his lantern to fill the shadowed corners the best the mundane object could manage to, a sack tossed over his shoulder, covering up his finery and well cared for Hearthglen tabard. Tobias was very proud when he had made the guard that he idolized in his childhood, and wore the tabard to flaunt such achievement whenever he could, even when attending the barn.
The elf lowered her gaze, not wanting the soft arcane glow of her eyes to forfeit her location to the Paladin. Fluidly she reach behind her to draw her bow. Knocking and arrow and pulling back the bowstring. An exhale brushed pass her lips as the arrow let fly, narrowly missing the paladin and planting itself into the wall behind him.
Tobias looked over his shoulder in shock, noticing the arrow of Quel'dorei make. Setting the lantern down he drew his blade and prepared himself. "Who goes there? Show yourself"
Daringly, the elf would do as requested. Pouncing from the shadows she would knock the knight to the straw covered ground, straddling him as she pinned his sword arm to disarm him.
He moved against her quite easily, lips parting to call for assistance but he was so rudely interrupted by her laugh. The elf's hood had fallen back and there he would see the familiar face of his love, joyful with amusement. Relaxing into the ground at this vision, he took that moment to admire how stunning she looked this moment as his heart raced. Her pale skin was flawless as if the sun had blessed it with promise of keeping it unmarked. Her hair cascaded over her shoulders, loose blonde curls bouncing with each lyrical laugh like each strand was nourished by the light itself, but it was her smile that had take his attention and to this day hadn't given it back. A smile that would make kings plead and beggars give, heathens pray and priests sin. "M'Lady Duskblaze, I apologize for taking arms against you, I expected a bandit!" He laughed along with her, a calloused hand raising to lift a few spun golden strands from her shoulder, toying with them between his fingers with admiration.
She brought a hand to cup his cheek, her fingers lingering over the rough stubble of his chin. He was nothing like any of the high elves her family had matched her with, for he was human. His flesh was darkened from working his family's farm and taking up the blade for his people. His hair thick and black as the raven, unable to be tamed to completion, though he did his best to shave his chin clean and tie his hair back to impress her, and she adored him for it. "I told you, you may call me Shannarah when we are in eachother's company, we are acquainted enough for it."
Tobias couldn't help but grin in a truly satisfied manner under her gentle touch as he gazed upon her. "Why did you wish to meet out here, and why did you take me by surprise? Even in this late hour, my family would have welcomed you with warmth, they adore you, Shannarah."
She looked away a hint of mischief in her eyes. "Yes, but what if I told you my family didn't know I came to see you?" Shannarah looked back at him with a grin, seeming not only proud of the fact but aware of the fire that could spread.
"M'Lady!" Tobias looked at her with alarm. Taking her by her arms, he guided her to her feet, standing at a matched height with his lady. "Your father could have my head, and if anything happened to you."
"But nothing will, Toby." She interrupted him. "I am with you, surely you will protect me."
And there was that smile again. His arm twisted, any sense of pride that had made him a man, had made him a knight, had earned him his blade, died in that instant. "Very well 'narah. But you will be in your family's Hearthglen estate by morning, before they notice your absence, understood?"
"Perfectly." She beamed at him, letting the world wait for them that moment, leaning in to meet his lips with hers, ending their discussion for the rest of the night.