“Hey Miira, wait up!” Miira turned around and saw Torruhk running towards her. Miira noticed his injury was still as bad as before.
“It’s been a while since you came by and people told me you had left already,” he said, still catching his breath.
“Yeah, I left and now I’m back. Although not for long, Crusader Towerbreaker was looking for me. You know you shouldn’t be running,” Miira said and wanted to walk away again, shaking her head.
Torruhk grabbed her paw and looked her in the eye. “Please come by later. Let me cook for you and you can tell me what happened since I last saw you, for old time’s sake? I know our last meeting didn’t end well, but let’s forget that for now and meet as friends. Don’t make me run after you again.” Torruhk pleaded.
Miira thought back to this last meeting, before she left for Lion’s Arch. Torruhk had asked the impossible of her. How could she stay while Tyria needed her? She wasn’t even sure of her feelings for him. She’d always thought of him as a brother in her warband. Now he wasn’t even in her legion or warband. It would’ve ended badly. The look in his eyes betrayed his feelings. He still loved her. His loyalty was one of the things she liked about him.
“Fine, I’ll come by later, but I really have to go back to Lion’s Arch. And if what I fear is true, I’ll be even further from home by next week. I could do with a friendly evening.” She sighed and gave Torruhk a faint smile.
“I’ll make your favorite dinner. And know that you’ll always have a home to return to. I’ll be waiting.” A grin appeared on Torruhk’s face and he winked. He made a small leap of joy when he ran back to the inn’s kitchen.
Miira smiled and shook her head. He was still easily pleased, his words still lingered in her head.
“… You’ll always have a home to return to. I’ll be waiting…” This gave her a warm feeling in her gut. She was grateful. After everything that happened, home was an abstract thing. She didn’t know what it was. Torruhk reminded her that the Black Citadel was her home, the place where people knew her and some even loved her. After everything was over, she would return here.
“Miira, you’re finally here. I almost thought you left without saying goodbye.” Torruhk waved at her and urged her to sit at the bar. He grabbed a bowl and filled it with fried moa steak. “Nowhere crunchier, not even in Lion’s Arch.” He winked at her as he sat the bowl down in front of her and turned to pass her a glass of ale. “And the finest ale in all of Ascalon.”
“You’re the best, Torruhk. I really missed your cooking.” Miira grabbed the moa bone and ate the juicy meat from the bone. “No one can fry these as good as you, thanks.”
“You’re very welcome. I’m guessing it was a tough meeting with Towerbreaker? Since you only just got here.” Torruhk sat down at the other side of the bar, opposite of Miira, waving to a few patrons leaving.
“Rytlock was there too, but I’m not supposed to talk about it.” Miira’s voice lost its volume.
“Destiny’s Edge is involved? Then I can guess.” Torruhk frowned.
”I don’t have a good feeling about this mission, but I have no choice. If I don’t go, who will? I don’t know anyone who I would entrust with this mission.” Miira looked down at her ale.
“Ouch, that hurt.” Torruhk cringed, but he knew she didn’t mean it like that. Her eyes showed concern. She was always the one who looked at things rationally. If she said the mission was a dangerous one, it was. He felt regret that he couldn’t be with her during the mission.
“Nothing personal, but you’ve been away from the battlefield too long. Your injury won’t help you either. And you always made the wrong decisions when we were talking strategies.” Miira was surprised by his response. She didn’t mean to hurt her friend. When she looked up and saw a smile appearing on his face, she knew he was just messing around with her.
“Strategies, pah! I’d rather just bash someone’s skull in. Too bad you can’t do that with the ghosts around here.”
“Don’t tell me that’s the reason you became a cook.”
“Of course. Now I can chop all kinds of things, without getting weird looks. Plus I always get the flavour just right. The flavouring is my talent, the chopping bit is extra.” He grinned, revealing his sharp fangs.
“Why not go to Lion’s Arch? You’ll make more money there.”
“What’s this? Are you asking me to come with you? Haha, I couldn’t. The best moa meat is homegrown and I doubt those pesky humans can appreciate my dishes. They are made for charr tongues. If they want to try my food, they come here. What’s the use of the damn asura gate if you don’t use it?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.” Miira looked down at her ale.
“Come on, Mi. No sad faces, not tonight. You know my place is here. This is my home and I really hope my cubs will call this their home too.” He put his paw on hers. “I hope you will call this home again someday.”
Miira looked up. “Thanks. I… I probably will.”
They stayed like that for a few moments without saying anything.
“I should probably go. They’re expecting me back.”Miira said, barely audibly.
“You know you don’t have to go, right? Even if your bed isn’t in the Black Citadel anymore that doesn’t mean there is no bed at all.”
“What are you suggesting? I thought it was a friendly dinner.” Miira pulled her paw back and narrowed her eyes.
“No, wait. What I meant was that you could use one of the rooms upstairs. I always try to keep one free, just in case. No one wants to rent it anyways because it’s quite expensive. But you can stay there for free. I know what you did for all of us and it feels wrong to charge a hero.” He put a key on the bar and took away the empty bowl and glass. He turned around to wash them when Miira picked up the key and looked at it.
“Will you make me breakfast tomorrow?”
“Of course, Mi. Who else makes the most delicious pancakes in all of Tyria?” he said.
“I’ll see you tomorrow then. Goodnight.”
“Rest well, Miira Lightbringer. Bring the light back to these dark parts. If you hear anything, I’m never far away.” Torruhk kept his back to her, to conceal the tears in his eyes. He loved her and he knew he would have to let her go again. For him it was already a small victory that she stayed another night.
After a short night, Miira walked down to the dining area. Torruhk was already preparing breakfast. She walked over to the bar and sat down on the same stool as the evening before. “Good morning” she said.
He turned around with a smile and a frying pan filled with scrambled eggs. “Hi. Did you sleep well? The other tenants weren’t too noisy? As promised. Your breakfast, miss.”
“You promised me pancakes. Now I’m having eggs? Not that I’m complaining, becauseeverything you make is delicious.” Miira looked up from her plate to her friend.
“Who says I’m done?” He grinned and stepped aside. Behind him on the prep table were pancakes, cookies and sandwiches.
“I may be charr, but I can’t eat that much.”
“That’s also your lunch. I know you have things to do, people to see. It’ll save you some time if you don’t have to stop for lunch. Eat all you want and I’ll wrap up the rest.”
“Thanks.” She said and finished the eggs and the pancakes.
Torruhk told stories of their old friends, the cubs playing pranks on him and the tavern brawls over women. He always had a knack for telling stories, using his whole body to illustrate what happened.
“Thanks for everything, Tor. I’ll be back soon for some more pancakes.” She got up and turned around to go to her room and pack her stuff.
“You’d better. And bring me some war stories. Things get a little dull around here. And remember, there’s always a bed for you here.” Torruhk said while Miira walked away. She put up a paw to show she heard him, just as she used to do when they were kids and he shouted things at her.
When she came back downstairs, her lunch was packed and the dishes were clean. Torruhk looked at her, slightly troubled. “Can you do something for me, Mi? If you find ghost peppers, bring me back some. Varian is trying to rip me off, by creating scarcity. I know it has nothing to do with scarcity, but with a lack of balls.”
“Sure. I’ll keep my eye out.” She knew ghost peppers only grew in dangerous places. She’d seen them in Orr once. She was on her way there anyway, so bringing back some ghost peppers was the least she could do.
“You’re the best, Mi.” Torruhk winked at her.
“I’ll be off then. See you soon, Tor.” Miira picked up her lunch and her bags.
Torruhk nodded to her, but didn’t say anything. He knew she would be back soon. She had too. When ghost peppers are harvested, they have to be processed soon. If he was lucky, he’d see her again within a fortnight. Miira walked towards the door and turned around one last time. He saw her smile, the one he fell in love with years ago, just before she disappeared from view.