But Logan didn't leave after a week. Instead, five months of productive, labour-filled days slid by before he finally decided things at the farm were in good enough shape for him to admit there wasn't any more reason for him to stay. It seemed to Idira once he knew he could leave his disappointments in Westfall behind, he relaxed, his agitation and resentment dissipating and his easygoing nature returning.
Over the months, he had hunted out big jobs that needed doing, poking around the farm, looking for problems and bringing them up over dinner, suggesting he help with them before leaving, oblivious to the knowing looks Unambi shot Idira over his mug of coffee.
With the abundance of shipwrecked wood washed up along the beach, he was able to build a dock so they could put their crab pots out much further into the sea. Then he set his mind to rebuilding the chicken coop. He then declared the kitchen garden wasn't enough for their needs, so he spent a month creating a beautiful garden in the front yard by building a dozen raised beds made from ship timber and filled with fertilised soil. Already the planted boxes had begun to burst to life, filled with new green things, unfurling their nascent leaves to the sun. Idira savoured the sight, anticipating how beautiful the farm would look once all the beds filled out; an oasis of green in a world of desiccated browns and yellows.
Not satisfied with his work, Logan built a little stone enclosure around Blackie's grave and together with Unambi they transplanted wild catnip Logan had found growing north of the farm near the river's boundary to Elwynn Forest. Now a riot of purple flowers waved in the breeze, attracting butterflies and fat bees, the sight warming Idira's heart.
As she sat on the rocking chair on the porch, a book on her lap and the rays of the setting sun on her shoulders, Idira realised they hadn't seen a single transient for at least a month, not even while out at the wheat field, a ten minutes' walk distant. Peace, of a sort it seemed, had finally returned to Westfall. Although she never said anything, a part of her thought perhaps this new Marshal of Westfall might be more than capable of his job. She hoped Vanessa had seen sense and given up her game now someone with power and clout had arrived, his presence supported by the might of Stormwind.
Within the house, Idira could hear Logan and Unambi conversing as they played cards, talking about rotating the wheat fields to spare the soil, and Logan's planned departure first thing in the morning.
She smiled, completely at ease. Life felt good. The hard edges of the memory of the dragon's devastation had finally begun to fade, her pain from the loss of her cat joining the hidden place in her heart where all her other hurts lived, silent, and still, buried but never forgotten. She glanced at Blackie's little plot, overflowing with spreading catnip, and busy with bees, still gathering nectar even as the sun set. Blackie would have loved that. She hoped she was safe and happy now, out there somewhere with the Light.
She turned back to her book and lifted it up with a sigh. Realising she had lost her page, she leafed through the book, lazy. Over the top of her book, movement caught her eye. A gleam, flashing every now and again in the lowering light. She stood up, squinting, trying to focus. The gleam merged into a horse and rider. The glint came again. Armour. She backed up, her heart tight. A soldier, headed straight for the house.
'Logan?' Idira called out, as she edged to the door, hoping whomever it was hadn't seen her yet. She slid inside.
'Someone's coming,' she breathed.
Logan got up and reached for his sword. 'More transients?' he asked. 'I thought the influx was finally over. I guess I'll have to stick around a little while longer, after all.' He smiled, cocky. 'No problem.'
'It's a soldier,' Idira murmured, feeling her heart begin to pound. Something terrible was going to happen, she could feel it. 'He's wearing armour and riding a horse.'
Logan paled. Already Unambi was rolling back the rug in the bedroom and opening the concealed trap door, cleverly hidden within the seams of the planking. He lowered himself into the cramped space, usually used for storage and held up his hand to Idira, who hurried to clear away the evidence of there being someone else at the table. She sat on the edge of the opening and slipped down onto the dusty ground under the house, eyeing Logan through the cobwebs as he lowered the door over them. Dread wormed its way deep into her heart. Nothing good could come of this. Nothing.
'Don't worry,' he said, though he looked uneasy, 'It's going to be fine. We planned for this remember? I know the drill: I live here alone. Found the place abandoned after the dragon attack, blah blah blah.' I got this. No problem. They won't find you. I won't let them.'
Logan kicked the rug back into place. His booted tread moved over the floorboards and out onto the porch.
'Hello!' he called.
A muffled reply. He went down the steps and into the yard. She could hear talking, but the words were low and indistinct. Unambi sat completely still, listening, his eyes narrowed into slits.
Several minutes passed. Unambi shook his head. 'Ah. No,' he said, quiet. He glanced at Idira and shook his head again, pity in his eyes.
Idira couldn't bear it. She took hold of his arm. 'Please, she whispered. 'Tell me.'
But Unambi lifted a finger to his lips, so he could continue to listen. She slumped back and leaned against a support beam, cobwebs and dust trailing after her, clinging to her hair and dress. Logan's tread came up the porch steps and crossed the house, fast, moving towards the trapdoor. She looked at Unambi, hopeful. Is it alright?
He nodded. The rug rolled back and slivers of candlelight slipped between the floorboards, sunbeams piercing the roof of a cave. The trap door opened. Logan thrust his hand down into the dusty space. Motes of dust caught in the light spiraled, swirling in the disrupted air. Idira grabbed onto him, holding onto the opening's edge as he hoisted her back into the house. Unambi clambered up after her, brushing at the cobwebs plastering his shoulders and chest. She turned and caught them sharing a look. Pity, again.
Logan cleared his throat. He glanced at her quick, then away again, uneasy. 'How about some fresh coffee?' he asked. He didn't wait for her to answer. He turned and left, busying himself in the kitchen, his head down as he ground up a handful of fresh beans.
She turned to Unambi. He closed the trap door and rolled the rug back in place, keeping his eyes averted from her.
'What's going on?' she asked, her voice rising, tinged with desperation. 'Why don't you tell me what it is?' Unambi kept his eyes on the rug, continuing to adjust it long after it needed it. She let out a bellow of frustration and ran to Logan, slapping his hands away from the grinder. 'Stop doing that!' she shouted. 'I don't want coffee! I want to know what you don't want to tell me.' She glared at him, her voice still loud in her ears, all angles and points, like broken glass.
Logan let go of the grinder and turned to her. Unambi joined them. He rubbed his hand over his mouth, slow, something he always did when he was worried. Idira waited, but the look in Logan's eyes started to make her regret her impatience. Maybe coffee wasn't such a bad idea after all. She opened her mouth to tell him to carry on when he started talking, the words coming out of his mouth so quick he was almost incoherent, as if he couldn't rid himself of the awful, horrible sentences he was forcing himself to say as fast as he wanted to.
The soldier. One of Stoutmantle's. Sent to find Logan. An apology. SI:7 Investigation. The Furlbrows' and Blanchy's murder solved. Hope Saldean guilty, wanted as Vanessa VanCleef for multiple murders. Vanessa in Moonbrook. Recruitment of transients. The Defias Brotherhood. Sentinel Hill burned. The mines a Defias stronghold once more. The Night's Cutlass repaired and prepared for use. Champions from Stormwind. Vanessa overwhelmed. Her refusal to be butchered like her father. A vial of poison. Gone to the Light.
Idira's knees turned to water, Logan caught her and helped her to a chair. She sat, numb, staring at her hands trembling on top of the table. She looked up at Logan, at his blue eyes, usually stubborn and uncompromising, suddenly soft and filled with compassion.
She knew. Somehow she had known all along, sooner or later Vanessa was going to be caught, but not like this, back on the top deck of that awful ship, just like her father. Somewhere deep in her mind, Idira knew justice had been done, had needed to be done. But still. She blinked and looked back down at her hands, Vanessa's crimes, so distant and unreal couldn't erase the memories Idira had; comforting Vanessa when she had had bad dreams on the ship, or the hours she had spent teaching her niece to read and write. How proud she had been of her when Vanessa could read aloud without help.
'And now, it's just me.' She lay her head on the table and said nothing for a long, long time.
After the news of Vanessa's suicide, Logan decided to stay a little while longer. As the days rolled by, Idira sensed he seemed to be waiting for her to give him her permission to go. While she was touched by his protectiveness, she knew there was nothing he could do to soften the pain of her loss, not just for Vanessa's short-sighted, vengeful choices, but for all the others Idira had lost; her small circle of family and friends reduced to just Logan, Unambi and Margle. At times Idira morbidly wondered if Azeroth herself was trying to eliminate all proof of Idira's existence.
Perhaps meeting Khadgar was the only reason Idira had been born, her Light meant to be channelled by him for reasons she could not comprehend. Maybe she was nothing more than a vessel, hidden away in Westfall until she would be required—all her hopes and dreams of a magical connection with Azeroth's hero a fabrication of her overactive imagination. Maybe meeting Khadgar on the balcony of the floating city was the best part of her future and she would never see him again after that. Maybe that one time was all there would ever be: after that she would be used by him for some greater purpose and then die just like all the others, never knowing or understanding anything about her Light, or why she had been the one chosen to carry such a lonely, dangerous burden.
She withdrew into herself, fearful and worried. Unambi understood and left her alone, giving her the space she needed to try and make sense of her life and all her losses. He didn't pepper her with questions like Logan did, who desperately struggled to fill the gulfs of silence at the dinner table, never realising the kindest thing he could do was just let her be.
When he finally decided he would leave, Idira watched him pack his belongings, a part of her broken-hearted, trying to memorise him, fearing she might never see him again, and a part of her relieved to see him go—to see him moving on to his new life filled with promise and purpose, where he might be safe from her 'curse' as she now privately called her Light. Stoutmantle's messenger had given Logan two pieces of gold in compensation, which had provoked several long conversations with Unambi about his being unwilling to keep it, wanting to leave it behind for Idira, in case she might need it.
Eventually Unambi had his way, by finally admitting he still had a pair of gold candelabra hidden away. Satisfied, Logan kept his gold.
His bag packed, he went out onto the porch. Idira followed him into the yard where Unambi was already waiting. They stood together, the three of them, awkward, under a pink-smeared sky warming in the sunrise.
'It's going to be a scorcher today,' Logan murmured to no one in particular as he looked up at the sky's canopy, clear and cloudless, just like every other day.
'Ya got ya waterskin filled?' Unambi asked, gruff.
Logan nodded and pulled his waterskin from his belt, giving it a jiggle to make sure he had filled it up enough. 'Should last me until I get to the river, no problem.' His eyes met Idira's. He opened his arms, waiting for her to hug him.
Now it was really happening, she didn't want him to leave. She bit her lip, her heart clenching so much it felt like she couldn't breathe. He came to her and gathered her up against him, enclosing her in the warm, familiar smell of his leather tunic and her homemade soap. She clung to him, her eyes wet with tears.
'Just be safe,' she whispered, 'I'd like to see you in your fancy armour some day—' Her voice wavered. She sniffed and continued, hesitant, plaintive. 'You know, just like the heroes in the fairytales?'
He laughed, but it sounded hollow. 'I'll do my best to look like a hero for you.' His arms tightened around her, it hurt her ribs a little, but she didn't mind, it distracted her from the ache in her heart.
'As soon as I can, I'll come to see you. I promise,' he answered, his voice tight. She felt his kiss against her brow and then he let her go. She backed up, blinking hard, trying to control the tears in her eyes. She'd promised herself she wouldn't cry. Unambi shook Logan's hand.
'Ya be takin' good care o' yaself, or ya got ol' Unambi ta be answerin' ta,' he said, soft.
Logan pressed his lips together and nodded. He blinked hard and ducked his head, turning to look towards the sunrise. 'Well, I'd better head out,' he sighed. 'It's a long walk to Stormwind. Four hours if I walk fast.'
Idira knew everyone already knew that, and Logan was just talking for talk's sake, like he always did whenever he was nervous. He rubbed the back of his forefinger against the bottom of his nose, sniffed and nodded again.
He hefted the sack containing his belongings over his shoulder. Scuffing the toe of his boot in the dry earth, he glanced back at the house and watched the curtains fluttering in the breeze, absently patting the front of his tunic, making sure the little leather bag holding his gold coins still hung from the cord around his neck. He looked at them one last time, his blue eyes glistening, his lashes spiky with unshed tears.
'Well, I suppose that's me then,' he said, his voice creaking a little. 'Time for me to be off on my adventures.'
He walked out of the yard, past Blackie's grave, abundant with the purple flowers he'd planted; past the raised flower beds, burgeoning with life; past the chicken coop he'd remodelled and reinforced to withstand all but the most extreme weather. He kept walking, his stride increasing, moving faster as he passed the line of acacia trees and crossed the fallow fields, heading straight into the glare of the rising sun.
Her heart in her throat, Idira watched him go, the tears she had held back slipping free as she waited for him look back. Her vision blurred. She wiped her eyes with the corner of her apron, her heart in her throat. If he was going to turn and wave, it would have to be soon. But he didn't. He kept walking, never once looking back, moving straight into the light of the rising sun. She felt Unambi's arm come around her shoulders, supporting her as she sagged against him, crying in earnest.
'Da Light be protectin' ya, lad,' Unambi murmured, his voice thick with his own unshed tears. 'Da Light be protectin' ya.'