In the Dalaran alchemy labs where Solarine now spent much of her time during the days when she was not performing medical or ecclesiastical duties at the Netherlight Temple, there was a somewhat more cheerful air about the place when the little Priestess was present.
It was true that there hadn’t been a particularly solemn feel before then, even when she had been taken by Nightmare fever, because half of the laboratory staff did not know one another, and there were several language barriers that prevented effective communication between some of those who were there even at the same time. Separate experiments, separate concoctions, separate lives.
However, even the dreadfully dull humans or the morose and morbid Forsaken couldn’t help but be subjected to Solarine’s now nearly-perpetual cheer.
She brought baked goods to work with her.
She randomly burst into song at least twice a day, though nobody complained because Elven singing was, after all, rather more pleasant than the clink and clatter and bubble and boil of implements of the alchemical instruments.
She smiled at everyone.
“There must be something wrong with that one,” muttered one of the Forsaken to his partner. “Mayhap she came back from her little vacation even more touched in the head than we are.”
“Does she realise we can’t eat those?” Asked the other Forsaken, looking gloomily at the plate of cookies. At least they smelled nice.
The next day, a plate of delicately steamed fungus with strong sauce even the undead could taste joined the cookies on the counter. And Solarine, of course, smiled. Nobody would say a word about it, of course, but the fungi mysteriously went missing during the course of that morning, and the less-living denizens of the lab smelled suspiciously of strongly-spiced sauce.
It wasn’t until a few evenings later that the Priestess’ infectiously-good mood faltered, but only in private.
Solarine quietly studied the beautiful ring under the lamplight at her writing desk, where the opal glittered and the tiny diamonds glinted like the stars they mimicked, tiny celestial bodies wrapped in gold and wrapped in turn about her left ring finger.
“Third time is the charm, isn’t that how the saying goes?” She asked herself in a quiet, thoughtful voice.
Twice before had she been given an engagement ring, and shortly thereafter, both engagements had ended in flames. Once figuratively, and the second literally, after the little house in the woods had “mysteriously” exploded and burned down after a suspicious amount of yelling and disappearing woodland critters had been seen and heard in its vicinity.
She knew that this was different. This was not like the others - it had been a slow burn. A friendship, and a romance borne out of mutual grief and loss and mutual respect and, eventually, adoration.
Illapa Greybane was not an easy man to live with sometimes. He was sometimes harsh and critical, even cruel. His tongue, as silver as his hair, could cut like a finely-honed silver knife if he so chose, and the knife he quite literally bore at his side had taken an innocent life - though it had been restored, in the end.
He was also good to her, and good to her daughter, Varali. Even before they had become so close, more than a simple friends-turned-lovers May December couple, he had set aside a fund that would ensure little Varali’s financial security well into adulthood were anything to happen to him or Solarine.
He steadied her when her balance threatened to tip, and as she tempered the finely-honed blade of his tongue, he in turn offered her the weighted balance of the fulcrum to the lever - never pressing down on one side or the other, but providing the stability on which they could freely pivot and eventually return to normal. He could be generous and caring, even kind, and he was good to those he loved and who were good to him. She valued his friendship, his intellect and wit, his razor-sharp sense of humour, and his companionship.
And, of course, his experienced touch in their bedchamber.
A smile touched the Priestess’ lips as she contemplated the echoes of light reflecting from the facets of the tiny diamonds and onto the wooden alcove of her writing desk.
She was happy.
She had her own little family, and though Azeroth’s very existence was still, once again, threatened, in that moment, Solarine could not help but feel that all was right in her own little corner of the world.