Before we begin: I must be clear about this. This is the second part of a story that I began posting earlier. The first part of this story can be found here if you have not already read it. It is very important to have read that part before beginning this one.
As a quick recap, I will explain the following: Kronisk, the Mage-General of the Allied Realms, has visited his sons and their families on the world of Kali-Yuga. With him is the Dwarvish Warlock woman from Azeroth (Kharanos, to be specific) who has been accompanying him on much of his recent adventures. Yes, this is a crossover between my own canon and that of World Of Warcraft. It was necessary to do that for the benefit of the woman represented by the character I have just described, Corrigwen. So eat me if you dislike that.
Other than that, as always, any and all commentary or feedback is welcome. I hope you enjoy this installment.
After attending the second night of musical performances, Kronisk and Corrigwen bade Kronisk‘s sons and their families a farewell before making their way to a safe location to enter the Wunderwerck again. When they exited the Wunderwerck, Corrigwen found herself feeling relieved that nothing seemed to come after them or bother them. It was early in the evening, and the air around Kharanos was very cold. Looking around, the only sentient creatures Kronisk and Corrigwen could see around them were wild Rams, and they were not paying these mysteriously-teleporting Humanoids any mind.
Kronisk shivered hard before he dug a large coat out of his bags and put it on. In the form he assumed on Azeroth, he seemed to feel the cold a great deal more than was the case on Kali-Yuga. Quietly, Corrigwen built a fire whilst Kronisk donned his coat and used one of his powers to figure out exactly where they were.
As Corrigwen warmed her hands by the fire, Kronisk used his tablet to show Corrigwen exactly where they were relative to Kharanos. Corrigwen was delighted to see that her parents’ home was along the route that led most directly to the town, only a small deviation in direction from the path.
“Me parents’ home is right here,” Corrigwen told Kronisk, pressing a finger against the surface of the tablet.
Kronisk issued a verbal command to the tablet to zoom to the area that had just been pressed with a finger. As the machine’s view of Kharanos zoomed to an area Southeast of Kharanos and very near the mountains on the South edge of Dun Morogh, Kronisk asked Corrigwen to tap the area she most believed corresponded with her parents’ lands. When she did this, the tablet, in its own sneering, grimy-sounding voice, gave Kronisk a set of numbers that made no sense to Corrigwen.
When Kronisk asked the tablet how long it thought it would take him and Corrigwen to reach that place by the safest route, the tablet told them their mounts could get them there in forty minutes. Getting their mounts, feeding the large beasts, and climbing onto them, Kronisk and Corrigwen rode along the road through Kharanos. They slowed as the road from Kharanos veered away to the West, off towards Coldridge Valley. Moving off this path and along the snow to the East of it, Corrigwen told Kronisk that the homestead was within the mountain area, and they were likely to cross the paths of Trolls or other hostile creatures along the way.
But the only people they encountered along the route they took immediately recognised Corrigwen. A pair of Dwarrow, both with dense black beards and gravelly voices, instantly recognised Corrigwen, calling out to her by the shortened form of her name that she often went by.
“Ibon! Derin! So good to see ye,” Corrigwen called to the two Dwarvish lads as they approached. Embracing them, she said, “Ah have come back to see our da. Is he home?”
“Aye, that he be,” Ibon said to Corrigwen. “He has bin wondering where ye bin. It has bin some time since we last saw ye.”
“Well, I will fill ye in on that in good time,” Corrigwen giggled. “But how about you lead your sister and her fiancé home? We have been out in the frosty air all evening, and it is starting to get to us both.”
Dismounting and putting away their mounts, Kronisk and Corrigwen followed Ibon and Derin along a path into the hills. Corrigwen considered and rejected the idea of telling her brothers that Kronisk could understand every word they said as they chattered about their sister having found themselves a man silly enough to propose to her. Turning back to look at Kronisk, she knew from the look on his face that he would reveal this in good time.
Corrigwen also wondered a little what Kronisk thought on his first sighting of her parents’ homestead. Turning to look at him again, she believed what she saw indicated a warm, receptive feeling. The homestead was atop the summit of a fairly wide hill, being a few acres across. Rams, sheep, and boars, boars as in the big-tusked porcine animal, not male bears, slept in pens or open areas of the land. Her mother’s familiar gardens, thick with many species of cold-resistant plants, became a welcome sight.
“Will he be alright trying to stand in the house? He looks a wee bit tall fer much of the homestead,” Derin asked Corrigwen in Azerothian Dwarvish.
“I will be fine, I can always find a way to manage,” Kronisk answered in the common speech.
Giggling as her brothers squirmed, Corrigwen led her brothers and Kronisk into the house’s front doors. Within, the old fireplace, burning bright and large, radiated heat as two Dwarrow sat in large, luxurious seats nearby. Upon the sight of Corrigwen and Kronisk, both Dwarrow, elders judging by the appearance of their skin and hair, rose from their seats and greeted Corrigwen in their native speech.
Kronisk found that he could stand upright within this house, but only just. The ceiling, clearly built with Dwarrow in mind, pressed his hair down as he stood. Not that he minded. Getting in from Dun Morogh’s cold was more than enough at this point. As Corrigwen‘s parents approached him, he got down on one knee so that he could address them more easily as they closed in.
“Ma, da, ah want ye to meet Dean,” Corrigwen said to her parents. “The folks he normally deals with call him by the name Kronisk, but he uses his birth name with me. Ah met him some months ago when he arrived in Northshire Valley. Now he is my fiancé.”
“Well, Dean, it be good to meet ye,” Corrigwen‘s mother said to Kronisk as she gently took one of his hands in hers. “Ah am Bain, and ah am sure Corri has told you enough about me.”
“Things that have made me desire to meet you for a while, milady,” Kronisk said to Bain as she released his hand and backed away slightly. Kronisk knew not whether this was the proper thing to say when meeting one’s fiancée’s mother, but it was the truth, and he knew all too well that speaking the truth would get one by when speaking with Dwarrow.
“Pleased to meet ye,” the older Dwarvish man said as he gripped and gently shook Kronisk‘s hand. “Ah am Thorin, and ah be sure that me little girl has told ye enough about me, too.”
“Indeed, she has told me much,” Kronisk said with a smile. “We might go sit down and talk further, if it please you both. Whilst this position makes it easier for me to converse with you in, it does not do much for my already precarious sense of balance.”
“Sure, lad, let us get you seated,” Thorin said with a giggle as he led Kronisk and Corrigwen to the table and chairs near the fireplace.
Taking a seat with Corrigwen across from Thorin and Bain, Kronisk carefully fixed himself into a comfortable position. As they sat, Ibon and Derin busied themselves scouting outside of the homestead once more. In Azerothian Dwarvish, they informed their parents and guests that someone had to keep an eye out for incoming visitors. Apparently, more were expected.
“The name Thorin got my attention,” Kronisk said simply in Azerothian Dwarvish.
“How would that be, lad?” Thorin asked, reverting to the Azerothian common speech.
“In my homeland, there is a story widely read both by children above a certain age and adults,” Kronisk explained. “It tells a story of a Gnome-like creature going on a lengthy journey with a group of thirteen Dwarrow in order to retake one of their Kingdoms. It is the name of the group’s leader, the rightful heir to said Kingdom.”
“Ah see,” Thorin said with a chuckle. “Ah assure ye, lad, that ah am naught but a humble farmer, hunter, and smith. Nothing amazing, as ah am sure the information from your eye will eventually confirm.”
“The amazing quotient in Lady Corrigwen has to have come from somewhere, then,” Kronisk said with a light chuckle as he turned to more directly face Bain.
“Oh deary me,” Bain said. “Ah can see why ye fell for this lad, Corri. He have a great gift for knowing the right thing to say at a given time.”
“Matter of fact, ma, he does not,” Corrigwen told Bain carefully, recalling some of the miscommunications she and Kronisk had early in their relationship. And still had at times even now. She continued, “In the time that I have known Dean, gone questing and raiding dungeons with him, I have never known him to say a word that he either did not mean, or did not want the recipient to feel the full effect of.”
Kronisk squirmed a little in his seat. He was not prepared for Corrigwen to share this bit of information just yet.
“Whatever do ye mean, Corri?” Thorin said, intrigued and smiling brightly.
“Recently, he and ah have been visiting the ruins of Stratholme,” Corrigwen explained. “Most of the hostiles within shatter or explode when he uses his powers on them, but on occasions we have met creatures that require a little bit more killing.”
“Oh dearie me,” Bain said, putting a hand against her face and falling back in her seat.
“Well, Dean has these habits that get him in the mood to battle things,” Corrigwen said with a giggle. Pushing the memory of Kronisk joking about putting walnuts into the bottoms of enemies within Scholomance out of her mind, she said, “There is one that I will tell ye about. He told me it was a quote from a story. He looks at the enemy as if he has eaten something that makes him hallucinate, and he asks them, quite earnestly, if they ever fantasise aboot bein’ killed.”
Thorin and Bain laughed uproariously. Neither of them knew about the teleplay that Kronisk‘s quote had come from. Neither of them would know what a teleplay was if Corrigwen had used that word, Kronisk had taken great care to remind her. But the quote sounded like something Dwarvish Warriors or even those terrible Death Knight types would say to each other with some frequency.
“Aye, lad, ye seem to have all the right qualities to go adventuring with Corri,” Thorin said with a dying giggle. “Ah am curious, though. Ye seem to have at least two names, and neither of them sound like ones from anywhere ah am familiar with.”
“There are things I cannot tell you about me because they relate to my work, which is a bit of a secret within the governments of the Alliance,” Kronisk began. Sensing the tensing up from Thorin and Bain in response, he continued, “I can tell you it involves such people as Chronormu and her dragonflight, if that helps. It also involves the fact that I was originally from a place very far away from either Stormwind or Ironforge. So far away, in fact, that an Azerothian could travel all of their lives using the means available to them, and never reach it. The name Dean comes from a number of different sources there. It denotes the leader of an intellectual organisation, and is derived from a very old word denoting one who dwells in a valley. The name Kronisk is more indicative of one of the functions I serve at my job. It is a word in a less widespread language that means Chronicler, or historian, or something similar to that.”
That was very good, Dean, Corrigwen thought to herself. Satisfying their curiosity without imparting a singular important or revealing thing.
“Well, lad, ah hope ye dun mind when ah say that ye bring many questions to me mind,” Thorin said with a faint smirk. “But fer now, after coming all of this way, ah am sure the two of ye must be hungry. Unfortunately, dinner here was a little less than an hour ago, but I am sure we can rustle up something from the pantry or leftovers.”
As Kronisk quietly assured Thorin that he would be fine, and Corrigwen told her parents to ignore that, the four of them got out of their seats and went to the kitchen. Without realising it, Kronisk let out a faint sigh of hope when he smelled various food products within the kitchen. As he had told Corrigwen a few times, his sense of smell was so dull as to nearly be non-existent. But the faint odour of gravy, home-baked bread, and homestead-style chicken set off little segments of his brain.
“We still have quite a stock of leftovers,” Bain reported. “Ah overestimated how much we would need, forgetting that only Thorin, myself, and the two sons you have already met would be here.”
“That would be very lovely,” Kronisk said to both of Corrigwen‘s parents. “If Corrigwen does not mind, I believe we could happily finish off what you have left over.”
Corrigwen smiled, a little uneasily, and made her way to a seat at one side of the table. As Bain retrieved food from pots and served it on plates that Thorin put before them, before putting out smaller servings for themselves and taking seats nearby, Corrigwen relaxed a little and gently patted Kronisk‘s arm.
You are doing well, Corrigwen thought as gently and directly as she could at Kronisk. They seem to like you.
You are also doing well, Kronisk thought back at Corrigwen, much more easily and effortlessly. You have made some progress in projecting things to me.
With some chatter between bites, a few burps, and some chuckling, Kronisk, Corrigwen, Thorin, and Bain finished the leftovers together. Although Kronisk ate more than he had done in one sitting for some time, it was still only a fraction of what Corrigwen ate. A significant one, largely because it was the best-tasting combination of chicken, bread, and gravy he had eaten in some time, but still a fraction. Thorin and Bain, for their part, only ate lightly, having already had dinner some time ago.
When the impromptu dinner was finished, and both Kronisk and Corrigwen felt full, Corrigwen quietly excused both herself and Kronisk from the table before leading him out into the homestead’s yards. By now, the sun had well and truly gone down, so Kronisk illuminated his way by keeping a light-emitting sphere of his own conjuration in the claw-formation palm of his hand. Being Dwarvish, Corrigwen could see a good way in front of her in this dark, almost as if it were day. But the extra illumination allowed her to properly look at the plants in Bain‘s gardens.
From time to time, Corrigwen explained to Kronisk, she would send seeds of the plants that she gathered on Azeroth‘s mainlands home. Bain would plant some in her gardens and cultivate them. Most of these, Bain would sell on the market to provide a small supplement to the family’s modest but well-managed income. Some, however, Bain would either harvest the seeds from for further planting, send to Corrigwen via the mail to make inks with, or use for her own hobby-like dabbling in Inscriptive arts.
The plants that Bain kept in the gardens at present, Corrigwen said to Kronisk, were slightly below the level she needed to further her skills. Not that this surprised her. She had reached a point where she needed to start collecting plant samples from different parts of the mainlands, and start milling those.
Looking in on the animals around the grounds, Corrigwen giggled a little. As a condition of their continuing to live on this land, Thorin had set Ibon and Derin to work picking up the droppings of the animals, scooping them into containers, and helping in the work to process it into fertiliser. This helped with the planting of crops for food, inks, and selling on the market. The fertiliser itself, of which there was frequently much left over, sold well on the market, too. Giggling about this, Corrigwen reminded Kronisk to tell her father about some of the occasions when Kronisk had seen siege engineers on Kali-Yuga load catapults up with fresh, steaming droppings and fling such payloads at an enemy. Kronisk smiled and told her that he would as soon as he had figured out the right ways in which to modify the story to not give away that these events had not happened on Azeroth.
Finally, Kronisk and Corrigwen sat together on a stone near the path leading out of the homestead. Building a fire to keep themselves warm there, they kept their eyes open for Ibon and Derin, who were likely milling about at the bottom of the hill and grumbling at one another.
“Ah still have no idea how we are going to organise this wedding,” Corrigwen said with a sigh.
“You are frightened by it?” Kronisk asked, suspecting he knew the answer.
“Aye,” Corrigwen admitted. “Not of the wedding itself, mind ye. Of what happens after.”
“Oh,” Kronisk said, more to himself. He had been over this subject a lot with Corrigwen. He loved her a great deal. The fact that he was willing to do something he never thought he would do, marry someone, her, and commit to spending the rest of a lifetime with them, was all the evidence either of them needed of that. But it did not help the way she felt about the idea of intimate contact.
“I am going to do something now that I really feel frightened about,” Kronisk said to Corrigwen. “I need your complete trust. It will not hurt you in any manner, but you will receive a lot of sensory input as a result of it that will overwhelm you for a while.”
Corrigwen thought about this for a while. With a deep breath, she said, “Ah trust ye. Ye have shown me so many things that have changed me understanding of the world ah live on, the universe it is in, and what is possible. Even though ye scare me at times, ah feel blessed to be with ye, to have ye with me.”
With that, Kronisk requested that Corrigwen held up her hand, palm out toward him. She did so. He then asked her to close her eyes, and she did this, too. After telling her to stay calm and focused, he put his hand over hers. Although he was dramatically taller than her, her hands were only slightly smaller than his. Fitting the two together came easily.
When Corrigwen felt the contact of Kronisk‘s hand against hers, her mind was flooded with a stream of images from his consciousness. At first, the images were fragmentary, disordered. What little she could make out was terrible. A small boy, presumably Kronisk at a younger stage, being told a story about himself that made him feel sick and terrible inside. Years of being absconded in a terrible place without being allowed to leave, all the while being neglected and left to die. And then… his first meeting with her.
To him, she had appeared strange, alien, even… deviant? the word that matched Kronisk‘s initial impression, she tried to understand in vain. No, that was not it. She was so outside of his frame of understanding in terms of what her appearance said she was that it initially freaked him out a little. He was scared.
The imagery changed dramatically, and suddenly Corrigwen felt another series of impressions in her mind. The way it had felt to him when he had kissed her, touched her, shown her these things from the worlds he was really part of. For the first time, Corrigwen grokked, not merely understood, that he was not simply saying it when he had told her that he was falling in love with her.
Then the imagery changed once more, and it took Corrigwen a bit of self-restraint to not balk at what came in this time. They were both naked on a fairly decorative and stylish bed, the few visible pieces of clothing nearby clearly indicating that this was how Kronisk was imagining one night of their honeymoon. Various acts of love, foreplay, and sex, images and feelings thereof, slowly and gently formed in Corrigwen‘s sensory mind. The kissing, fondling, sucking of nipples, or even the penetration that followed, did not stand out in Corrigwen‘s mind. No. When she received this images, she did not receive any approximation of how she was meant to feel. She received approximations of what Kronisk believed, likely knew, he would feel.
For instance, when he fondled or sucked at her breast, Corrigwen got a very real sense that her reaction, the manner in which her breathing increased in pace and her body’s natural flexing became more dramatic, made him happy. Not just happy, she realised after a moment, but like the performance of this act was a blessing from that Odin creature himself.
And during the minute or so that she received images of herself and Kronisk engaged in sex, actually putting their parts together and moving the things against one another like so, she understood him to be feeling something just like that previous sensation, but also something more. Like all of the horror, fear, and terror that had initially accompanied the establishment of this neuro-sensory connection had gone away and left him alone. Like right now, he did not have to feel utterly alone, frightened, and afraid that someone was going to break down his door and take him away to cut into his head for fun. And with that, he also felt an extreme sensation of delight, both at the feelings circulating through his manly parts, and at the obvious displays the representation of her in his mindscape gave of her enjoyment.
Then, quietly, the imagery faded out, leaving only a faint echo of how Kronisk pictured this act would play out with her in Corrigwen‘s mind. It took her a moment to adjust to being back in the real world around them both, but Corrigwen looked right into Kronisk‘s eyes and saw that they were bloodshot. Shutting them and slowly leaning down, Kronisk‘s breathing made it clear to Corrigwen that in order to place this collection of images and sensory perceptions into her visual-cognitive cortex, he had to risk inducing great pain in himself. And he did so anyway, because he felt that this clue to how deeply he loved her and why was that important.
“Come on, my beloved,” Corrigwen said to Kronisk as she stood and helped him to his feet. “We had best get ye indoors and off to bed.”
Strangely compliant, Kronisk tried to follow Corrigwen toward the house, but each step he took seemed to take forever. Frightened, Corrigwen watched as he took several steps, each in the ridiculous and exaggerated motion of a drunk, before falling awkwardly to the ground.
Seconds later, Ibon and Derin came onto the homestead’s grounds. Grumbling to one another about how the rest of the family would likely turn up tomorrow, they broke into a run when Corrigwen called to them. Running toward her, their faces contorted in concern when they saw Kronisk on the ground, shaking and contorting.
“Help me get him inside,” Corrigwen said to her brothers. “He needs medicine that ah have in one of my bags.”
Ibon and Derin did as they were asked. Ibon took the tall Human’s legs, whilst Derin held his shoulders. Putting her arms under Kronisk‘s midsection, Corrigwen giggled when her brothers remarked about how oddly light the Human seemed. Then she sobbed a little, and they marched in carefully-coordinated steps toward the house. Entering the house a couple of minutes later and setting Kronisk down on the floor of the entryway, Corrigwen immediately dashed towards the supply bags she had put away in the kitchen on a temporary basis.
“What happened, lads?” Thorin asked as he rushed toward Kronisk‘s prone, but still rapidly and involuntarily moving form.
“He was like this when we found him,” Derin said to his father.
“Corri was sitting beside him, lookin’ frightened,” Ibon reported. “Ah think they had been practising some sort of spell that had to do with their professions. Or something like that.”
“Hold him down,” Corrigwen barked at her masculine relatives as she returned with a cylindrical device in one hand.
As Thorin, Ibon, and Derin used their combined weight to keep Kronisk‘s position on the floor secure, Corrigwen pulled a lid from the cylinder in her hand. Removing a further lid, the men holding Kronisk had enough time to notice a sharp steel needle before Corrigwen pushed it into Kronisk‘s bicep and pressed a button on the cylinder’s side. As a gassy, hissing sound issued from the device, Corrigwen let out a sigh of relief, noting the passage of the liquid within the cylinder into Kronisk‘s muscle.
“We were sharing information using one of his spells,” Corrigwen said mostly to Thorin. “Ah do not know which part of it caused this reaction, but it is a very powerful and consuming spell that can be a bit like a flying accident if there be the slightest slip-up.”
With a glare on his face, Thorin simply asked Corrigwen if he, Ibon, or Derin were needed further. Corrigwen answered in the negative. The involuntary movements on Kronisk‘s part were already slowing down and becoming more contained. Ibon and Derin moved away, taking seats in the kitchen and grumbling to one another. Thorin ceased holding Kronisk down, but remained at Corrigwen‘s side.
“He warned me that something like this might happen, but he did not elaborate on when or why,” Corrigwen said in a flat, toneless voice to Thorin. “Now ah understand. If he pushes himself too hard, in thought terms, it can drive him to this state. It must be hell for him.”
“Your story that he were practising a spell with ye,” Thorin said. “That really be the truth?”
“The spell,” Corrigwen began, a bit unsure what to say next. “He be showing me things he know, things from his mind, his feelings, and such. It be dangerous for him because mixed in with all that he feel, there be terrible things, hurtful things, things he want to be cutting out like the chunks ye see missing from his face.”
Thorin looked at the side of Kronisk‘s face. Although it looked slightly different when he was on Azeroth, the legacy of bad cell growth in the right side of his face was still horrid and disheartening to behold. Thorin thought to himself, quietly, about why a man would want to do this to his own face. Then he realised that those stories about how Humans could get sick and need pieces cut out of their bodies must be true.
“Ah saw images of such things at first,” Corrigwen said. She sniffled a bit, and struggled to keep the distress she felt at the fragmentary, split-second sight of a young Kronisk looking up in terror at some unseen bully to herself. When she felt she had this under control, she continued, “What ah saw next was beautiful. Suffice to say it was a few of the things he pictured in some part of his mind after the wedding.”
Thorin raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. Although he still thought of Corrigwen as his little girl, he knew all too well that the words “little girl” no longer applied to her.
“Before then, he had shown me so many wonderful things in a real, physical sense, da,” Corrigwen said to Thorin, her emphasis changing in order to make sure he was paying full attention. “Things that cannae possibly have been made by people from Azeroth. Things ah should nae even mention like this. Things that have changed not only the way ah see the world and the universe it be part of, but how ah be seeing meself within those things.”
Kronisk began to stir. Although he had been listening for a few minutes now, he thought it would be best to let Corrigwen finish.
“Oh, me head hurts like anything,” Kronisk said quietly, rising into a sitting position.
“How much do you remember?” Corrigwen asked quietly.
“Stopping transmission,” Kronisk said cryptically, knowing that only Corrigwen would understand. “I was feeling dizzy, distressed, and hearing all sorts of cycles about how I had to stop right now. It has been many, many years since I had felt that sensation. So many that it took me time to remember what it meant. And by the time I did remember, I had lost control of most of my body.”
“Well, lad, ah dinnae mean to be prying, but how likely would that be to happen again on our watch?” Thorin asked, the worry in his voice reminding Kronisk of many things.
“Given that I have no more reason to be using the powers I was using at the time, it is not going to happen again,” Kronisk said in a manner that offered no room for argument. “It should not have happened now, save for me losing control of the car, so to speak.”
“Aye, ah be taking yer word for it then,” Thorin told Kronisk as they both stood up. “Ah have spoken with many Humans before, and ye have so far always struck me as the rarest kind. The kind who always tells the truth, even when he lies.”
As Kronisk giggled for a second, Corrigwen understood why. This was a near quote from a teleplay. Although the teleplay itself was not one of Kronisk‘s favourites, the quote was one of his favourite quotes.
“We had best find ye both somewhere to sleep,” Bain said to Kronisk and Corrigwen. “It be nearly midnight now, and it get awfully cold here during the Winter.”
“Ye will be okay to move now, lad?” Thorin asked quietly.
“Let us find out,” Kronisk said, mostly to himself.
Getting to his feet, Kronisk found that in spite of not being used to being nearly six and a half feet tall, his balance was perfectly fine. His head felt light, and the cold was starting to bite into his limbs. But his legs and shoulders felt strong together, and that was all that mattered. Holding his hands out near the sides of his waist, he took a deep breath, relaxed, and nodded, grinning.
“All good,” Kronisk said.
Following Corrigwen and Bain to a moderately-sized room midway down one hall, he listened to the two women speak. Unlike her sons, Bain knew better than to simply assume that Kronisk could not understand the conversation. Corrigwen promised Bain they would sit down and have a talk about the rough plan for the future soon, and then Kronisk found himself in a room with a wide and somewhat lengthy bed. The first sign he noted that Thorin and Bain had been expecting Corrigwen to arrive here with him this weekend was that they had set the bed and ensuite bathroom up for his use.
“Again, ah apologise for the ceiling,” Bain said with a giggle. “It not be often we have visitors who are so tall.”
“No apologies are needed,” Kronisk said with a grin as he sat at the foot of the bed and took a large quilt that Corrigwen put into his hands. “One place that I lived in when I was younger had ceilings so high that I would need scaffolds to clean them.”
Both of the women in the room with him giggled. Looking up at the ceiling now, Kronisk guessed that the ceiling was really about the same height as a standard door frame in parts of Terra, about six feet and eight inches. This would suffice to keep the house operable for a family of Dwarrow whilst receiving most kinds of visitors. The only reason he felt the ceiling against his head was because the hairstyle that he had adopted whilst in the form he used on Azeroth allowed parts of the hair on his head to make contact with that ceiling.
“Ma, me own room next door,” Corrigwen said to Bain. “That still be available?”
“Aye, lass,” Bain confirmed.
Kronisk could hear faint echoes of the thought in Bain‘s mind. It was both strange, and just like Corrigwen, to be engaged to a tall, handsome, if somewhat peculiar man, and yet sleep slightly down the hall from him. Not that Bain was thinking this to be a bad thing. She and Thorin had been exactly the same when they were engaged.
Corrigwen had two sisters, Kronisk discerned from the echoes of thought coming from Bain. Dwalin and Marin, both of whom were married and thought of their sister as becoming something of an old maid. Kronisk had never really asked or figured out Corrigwen‘s exact age, but his own powers and perception put her around her mid-thirties. A bit old to have not at least once had the kind of relationship he was hoping to build with her, but hardly an old maid.
But as Corrigwen and Bain bade him a good night, and he returned the sentiment in Azerothian Dwarvish, he thought to himself about how he just wanted to sleep. Lying in the bed he had been granted use of by his hosts, he pulled several covers up over himself, including the quilt. He took a look at the fireplace that had been ignited and then covered carefully. The fire was burning so brightly that, from eight feet away, Kronisk could feel a minor sting from the heat. He knew that this meant the air was going to cool dramatically overnight.
In the bed she had not slept in for years, Corrigwen laid down and cuddled a teddybear. The teddybear had been hers since she was a few years old. She had loved it, cared for it, and cuddled it whilst attempting to sleep whenever she had come to her parents’ home to stay for a while.
To herself, Corrigwen thought about the things she had seen come out of Kronisk‘s mind when he had used that complicated power with her. Maybe at a later time, she said to herself, she would ask him exactly what kind of power it was and how it worked.
It had been a long and slow process, Corrigwen realised, developing enough trust in Kronisk to contemplate loving him in the manner of a wife. At first, his difficulty in understanding the difference in pace at which they developed such connections caused them both concerns and upsets. But what Corrigwen liked was that Kronisk was willing, even desiring, to make the effort to work with her and adjust to her pace.
Giggling, Corrigwen recalled the times in more recent months when she had consented to engage in some mildly intimate acts with Kronisk. Every occasion had been preceded by nervousness, a wondering as to what would happen if she disliked whatever she tried with Kronisk. And every occasion had ended with her feeling happy, blissful, contentedly relaxed against him, and sometimes sticky.
As she fell asleep, still giggling, Corrigwen decided that they were going to have to do something about finalising a time to marry.
THIS SHALL CONTINUE
The last part of the text will be coming soon. For now, if you have read through to this point, thank you for your patience. Any comments, suggestions, or general chit-chat would be welcomed at this point.