Episode 33: A Good Meal (Intermission)

The Pandaren town of Halfhill.

      Sionis hadn’t spoken for some time, instead tending to his noodles on the stove.

      “You okay?” the Loremaster asked, glancing up at him.

      “I am,” Sionis answered. “I just wish I had more to say. Truth be told, it was all so sudden and immediate. After that day… it was just… over. The war, the death… the loss.”

      “I see.”

      “You expect it to be more fulfilling, I guess,” Sionis continued. “You think it’ll come down to you and the villain. I was a soldier that day. I did what I was told. I had a drive for survival and a hunger to escape the certain death that loomed over us all. I can’t even recall, with the best of my ability, the injuries I sustained that day. It’s all a blur of blood and chaos. I marched, I fought, and then I was granted the fortune of being one of the few that walked back down off that mountain.”

      “I’m so sorry,” the Loremaster said. “I’ve heard about this from other Loremasters. There are so few that survived that original battle at Mount Hyjal. Those that did… well you know what happened at Theramore…”

      Sionis nodded. “I do.”

      “Right. I guess we’ll get to that at some point.”

      “Indeed,” Sionis said, messing with his noodles again. “Dinner is nearly done.”

      “Dinner?” The Loremaster asked. He looked outside and nearly gasped. The sun was indeed approaching the horizon and the early evening was upon them. He couldn’t believe it. He hadn’t eaten anything in hours, and it was only now in this moment that he realized how desperately hungry he was.

      “You’ll be glad you waited,” Sionis said, seemingly reading his mind. “It’s worth it.”

      He whirled around and drained the noodles, then set them in a large bowl and started adding chopped vegetables and broth. The meal smelled so good that the Loremaster was fairly confident he had started drooling. He reminded himself never to wait so long for a meal again.

      Everything Sionis had said about the Third War, about the Battle at Mount Hyjal… it had all been so visceral and real. All through the delicious meal, the Loremaster couldn’t help but feel like he had somehow absorbed some of the shock that Sionis had lived through during the conflict. He found his mind circling back to the absolute apocalypse that had fallen on Lordaeron and how impossible it must have truly been to live through that darkness each day.

      “This is wonderful,” he said, ignoring his thoughts and focusing on his food.

      “That’s why you starve your guests before you feed them,” Sionis said with a grin. “You can feed them an absolutely mediocre meal and they’ll think they’ve been given a meal fit for the King of Stormwind.”

      “Sionis, I gotta tell you, I’m moved by your story.”

      “I would hope so,” Sionis replied.

      “I mean it. The Loremaster is supposed to be unbiased. I am supposed to sit here and coldly transcribe what you tell me, record it, and eventually bind it and display it in the Royal Library. It has always been so mechanical, but with this… with you…”

      “I’m very personable,” Sionis said, smiled. “It could be the food, too.”

      The Loremaster laughed. “I suppose that’s fair. I’ve interviewed a lot of people in prison, so this is definitely a change of pace.”

      “So,” Sionis said, slapping his hands on his legs. “We’re through the darkest part, and honestly I’m not super keen to go to sleep on a bad note. How about we talk about what came next, shall we?”

      “Are you sure?” the Loremaster asked. “It’s late. I wouldn’t want to—”

      “I’m afraid I have to insist on this one,” Sionis answered.

      “Well, I’m more than willing,” the Loremaster replied, wiping his mouth, setting his leftover broth aside, and tapping his magical quill to wake it up. “So, tell me then, what happened after the war?”

      “It got better,” Sionis said, crossing his arms, but we had one more hurdle to clear first.”


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