Reading

“Is that a … book? In the hands of Leafsong Shalah’aman? ”

Leafsong simultaneously ignored her mate’s impertinent query, and him know that she was ignoring him by releasing a small huff. He shrugged a shoulder, adjusting his position against the headboard and exhaling. For several minutes, the only sounds in the cramped little room were the soft sighs of the babies as they slept, accompanied by the occasional rustling of pages.

Another glob of wax rolled slowly down the side of the fat candle that sat on the bedside table. Leafsong grumbled and shifted slightly within the circle of his arms. He noticed that she had been gazing at the same page for the past two minutes. He weighed up the value of making another acerbic comment (a small revenge for the elbow she had ‘accidentally’ dug into his abdomen several minutes ago); but on seeing the furrows dividing the brow of his young wife, he changed his mind and kissed her on the top of her head instead.

“What are you reading?”

She held up a flimsy pink book, thin parchment cheaply bound; Aphel recognised it as the sort that was printed weekly by an infamous Darnassian publisher who catered for the ‘lighter’ literary tastes. He sat up higher against the cushions and plucked the slender tome from her fingers. It was little more than a pamphlet, gaudily illustrated with hearts and moonblossoms. The front page was covered in grubby fingerprints, suggesting that it had been repeatedly – if futilely- perused. The rest of the book seemed untouched. Aphel took pity on his literacy-challenged mate and opened the cover.

“Just relax,” he murmured into the top of her head as he took the glasses from her nose and rested them on his own. Clearing his throat, he began to read.

’Taken by the Arch Druid: A Tale of Lust and Moonlight.’ He stopped reading and stared down at his wife, incredulous. “What the fuck is this shit?”

Leafsong nudged him, impatient. “Keep readin’, it’s good.”

He exhaled.

’It was a beautiful starlit night. The moon hung over the Ashenvale lake like a gleaming silver coin. Yet its glow was not as radiant as that in the eyes of Starla Teardropshadow, the maiden with hair like spun silk. Starla Teardropshadow worked as a serving-girl for the notoriously wicked Porkchopper sisters. Marly and Narly Porkchopper, jealous of the winsome beauty of Starla, forced her to wear crude brown rags, in an attempt to disguise her natural allure. Starla was petite and curvaceous, with hair the colour of moon-kissed sea foam, skin the dusky blush of a violet petal –

He broke off, gnashing his teeth. “Who comes up with this shit? You could write better than this!”

Leafsong shrugged. He noticed that she was listening with utter absorption. “Keep going, don’t stop.” He sighed, irritably, and flicked forward several pages.

“Darling, this is an insult to my ears. Listen: ‘The Arch Druid prowled in, stealthy, retaining the sleek masculinity of a black panther even when in his Kaldorei form. He was bare-chested, the muscles covered with a sheen of sweat. Starla blushed, her cheeks pinkening, casting her long-lashed gaze downwards. He strode forward, tossing his hair back over his shoulder – like a stallion – and pressed her against his manly chest.’ Ah, Elune, I can’t read this-!”

He hurled the book across the room, causing Loredar to wake with a yelp.

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