The small dwelling that overlooked the walled-in plains of Mulgore, perched in what would have been a scenic view from Thunder Bluff save for the high ridge of ancient stone that shielded it, sat as quiet as the valley itself as the morning illumination in the east drove the last hints of blue and purple from the sky. Night had given unto surrender, yet again, to trouble in its retreat another people in another place until the tables would turn upon the light of day in just a few precious hours. But by that time, the dark haired girl that approached the small but sturdy tent-house in the cool of the dawn would have already come, and already gone.
She recalled, as she waded through misty grasses reaching upward beyond her waist, slivers of thoughts of a time that had long slipped to memory. Youthful days when the sky had been bright in her dreams. She had been permitted on occasion, though ever warily, to accept invitations from distant kin - those of family who were less than even friends, by no fault of every contrived effort otherwise. Once weeks had been spent and the passing adventures of a season had ended, and a mother's roaming duties had seen the young girl's collection back into familiar arms, the fleeting time that followed atop the small caravan was time that had pressed upon her young heart as deeply as anything.
As familiar acres crept by, passing the young thing onward, surrounded by her mother's charge of books both fantastic and dull, the approach of home twirled within the anticipation in her heart. For all the hours that she had longed to look out into the world, and for as much as her loving guardians fought with gentle hands to keep her from the dangers of seeking the mysteries of the forests and hills, carefree, trembling with excitement and the sort of nervous fear that propelled as much as it pushed back, how fond she had been of home.
She had never found home in lines of poetry or among words that spun wondrous tales, though she had loved them and often wished that she could. The hearth that was her own was not to have been seen among the great transcribed histories of lands and lords, nor had she ever discovered anything like it as she wandered halls of tomes quilled before she had been considered, in languages older than time.
And even as she had emerged from the great silver forest into the rocky hills of the north, with the smell of the sea and of farms and of the rainy countryside, with the sight of the towers of Lordaeron, and finally with the fragrant rush of air as the door to the house her family had built opened just for her, she had even then yet to find that true place where she belonged.
It had rung with grim truth much later, like the broken bells of the citadel, that which she had already known but rarely noticed in life, what was faith without evidence until evidence made itself manifest in the moment that she found that old house again after dark years had passed. Though faded and worn and singed by horrible things, it still stood, the scrollwork over the door and the light creak of the hinge both standing to meet an old friend who too had grown worn and withered. But as empty as she had arrived, so would she also depart. After she had sifted gently through ashes and what remained of belongings and things once held dear. For the most dear things of all had long drifted away, beyond her touch, and with them every bit of warmth and love that they had been - every bit of home that they woven together to form for that little one. For in their absence, so too was home missing utterly, even in that place that she had once loved.
The sun continued to rise above Mulgore as the breeze pulled gently at the pale girl's thoughts. Her hair tossed in it just as the loose outer flaps of the tent did in near constance, and she reached upward with one hand to tuck ebon locks behind her ear just as the other took the home's woven door, slowly pulling it open before she slipped her slender form through completely.
The single oblong room, canvas and hide and well-made planks upon earth, smelled of old fires. What had not been taken with them to new places in months past was crated and pushed neatly aside, leaving the lightly-dusted floor mostly barren. Memories of days and nights stolen away filled the girl's thoughts, her eyes glancing about, picturing things as they had been. The small table, too low to host a proper seat, atop which so many of her books had been stacked, at times spilling off into the floor. Cloth drapings that she had practiced upon until she was satisfied, their stitches imperfect but commented lovingly upon more than they should have been by that familiar voice.
And she wondered if she would begin to hear it, that voice, the voice of the other, the one that had not only built a simple room atop a hill where they might find rest together, but the one that had called to her in the very darkness of despair. The one that had caught her up, and pulled her ever gently out. The one that had blessed her. The one that had kept her.
She listened. She listened as the grasses caressed the outer walls of the domicile and the breeze became wind that howled somewhere further up the canyon. She listened as her tiny feet conveyed diminutive weight just substantial enough to tease a soft creak from the flooring below. She listened as the canvas of the doorway slipped fluidly, helplessly at the call of the cool air that commanded it. But she heard nothing. And the images of things that had been in that place began to fade, and with them the smell of the fire, and of the flowers that she had placed as often as she could throughout. And the small, sturdy tent-house grew cold as she stood, shifting silently back to what it had been as she had approached it at dawn's first light - simply some place that she had loved, once, in days gone by.
It was home no longer. For the very heart of what had made it such had drifted away, beyond her touch, and with it every bit of warmth and love that he had been - every bit of home that he alone had woven together to form for that little one. For in his absence, so too was home missing utterly.
She breathed in a final time the ghostly air of old fires, turning and failing to look back at whatever remained in the dim dwelling, and much as she had come, she left. Slipping out and securing the flap, one hand gripping her breeze-tugged hair at her ear, she turned toward the grassy plateau that would lead her away, her eyes wide and curious, her brow kneeling softly in concern. Her face, however, soft and free from tears, was forward. And though the acres that passed as she moved were no longer familiar, and the place that she sought was no longer a hearth enacased in wood or canvas, she traveled onward, her eyes upon the distance and what she knew in her heart of hearts that it held. And from deep within she could feel the prick of anticipation as it moved and turned in gentle restlessness, awaiting that moment when the season would find its end; that moment in which she might finally arrive home.