Like “The Half-Blood” (which remains unpublished on my blog in the case I can clean it up enough to get it officially published), this story came out of a “what if” scenario during some roleplay sessions. In order to heal him of a Void infection, Evelos was taken back in time, to Lordaeron, to be raised in a second childhood by Tyrdan and Lellith as his foster parents. The infection was bad enough he was missing half his soul; it remains unclear if it will ever grow back.
As I’m unsure if the players behind Tyrdan and Lellith will ever give their characters kids–and probably not in this exact manner–this remains as speculation instead of canon for Evelos and his ongoing story in World of Warcraft.Author’s Note
His first memory was of a woman and a man. The woman was sad, and the man had been scared. That scared Evelos too, a little, though he couldn’t think as to why.
He thought about asking Auntie Lel if the man had been his father. He knew in his slow, bumbling way that that’s how love worked. If you were together with a woman for a long time, in a secret place, love happened. Then came the magic. The man in his memory even looked a little like Uncle Tyrdan. And Auntie Lel and Uncle Tyrdan spent a lot of time together. Evelos wasn’t allowed to be with them when they did, so he never saw the magic. He had a strange feeling it hadn’t happened yet.
He tried asking them about it instead. “When I’m grown, will I disappear into your bedroom with Auntie Lel and make magic happen, too?” he asked Tyrdan a few times.
Tyrdan would just give him an odd look, and try to explain that, no, Tyrdan and Auntie Lel’s bedroom belonged to Tyrdan and Auntie Lel. Evelos wasn’t to go in there. Not until he was much much older, at any rate, and with a woman of his own. And he said this with a little small smile that Evelos knew he was talking about something that was an adult thing and therefore boring.
But the magic wasn’t the adult, boring kind, even if the love maybe was. It didn’t make much sense to Evelos. Tyrdan and Auntie Lel’s bedroom was the kind of place you did those things in. He didn’t care about the love, but he had a strange sense of urgency about the magic.
Still, it took him a few weeks to work it out. “Will I be taking another woman into your bedroom to do magic someday?” Evelos asked a while later, thinking he was very clever for figuring it all out.
But Tyrdan just grew very somber and still and then abruptly said it was bedtime. And Evelos, Evelos was always tired, so that was okay with him.
But then Auntie Lel came the next day and told him he shouldn’t ask such questions. What had given him the idea? He was being naughty, very naughty. And he was to stay out of Tyrdan and Auntie Lel’s bedroom while they were making magic. And then she made the same kind of smile as Tyrdan, except it was really a frown, because Evelos was watching.
Evelos thought that was a little unfair, because he wasn’t interested in the love, so he told her about the man and the woman instead. Then it was Auntie Lel’s turn to grow still and sad and then also send him to bed.
Both of them spoke to him after a week had passed. It was about sex and boring adult things like that. They seemed to think it would help. Evelos was tired again, so he didn’t want to tell his aunt and uncle that the talk just made him sad. Sad like the woman had been. He was also afraid, like the man had been, but he didn’t think they would understand that at all. They didn’t get afraid.
“Why aren’t you my dad?” he asked instead, when Tyrdan looked like he was done talking. It was hard to hold the thread of conversation sometimes, and Tyrdan would be upset he wasn’t trying really really hard to concentrate like he was supposed to, but Evelos thought that this was a little more important than paying attention was.
“Because I’m not.” And then Tyrdan became impatient, in that way he di when he had told Evelos something a million times. Evelos thought it would be a good time to walk away, so he did.
Things were uncomfortable in the cottage for a few months. Tyrdan and Lel seemed worried for him, but they kept it a secret as to why.
Then, about six months later, he noticed Auntie Lel was harder to hug than before. They told him the magic had happened, and he was going to have a new baby brother or sister.
Evelos was confused. He knew it wasn’t the right kind of magic. But when he said this, they just assured him he would like his new sibling and that they would always love him, too. Knowing he was loved was okay, so he just learned how to hug Lellith from the side instead and forgot about the rest.
Then in another few months, when she disappeared into the bedroom with Tyrdan, she came out again with the baby.
Evelos felt confused again and asked if the baby was his son. No, Tyrdan said patiently. This one was a girl. And she would be his daughter—Evelos’ cousin.
When Evelos was eight years old, and the baby four, Evelos started to know something was the matter with him. What took him half the day to figure out would take the baby minutes. What made the baby cry, Evelos barely registered. The baby was just beginning to do things like pick up practice swords and swing them around with Tyrdan too, which Evelos had never gotten the hang of. They always seemed too heavy, and he was too slow. He got whacked by Tyrdan a lot, but the baby was much better, and only got whacked a little. Tyrdan spent more time on it with her than with him.
Evelos didn’t mind too much, because he liked to watch them, and nap in the sun, and Tyrdan never frowned so much about the napping while the baby was keeping him busy.
Evelos liked the baby, too. She was always nice to him and kept bringing him flowers—sometimes he was supposed to pick the flowers himself, but he couldn’t remember the right leaves, and Tyrdan would get very upset when the flowers didn’t have the right leaves, especially if the flowers were purple. So the baby always checked the leaves for him, and things were fine.
When Evelos turned eleven, the baby was six, and Tyrdan wanted to send her to school. Evelos has never been to school. Auntie Lel said he could try, if he said nothing about them. Evelos agreed. People rarely seemed to understand him when he talked anyway, and sometimes he even struggled to understand himself, so there was no danger he would say something understandable about his parents to any strangers.
So he went with the baby, and tried to look at the same books at the school. The words made no sense to Evelos, yet the baby seemed to pick up on the words faster and faster every day. She soon moved on to the next class, while he stayed with the same books. They smelled nice, but that was all they did for him.
Evelos didn’t mind. Not at first.
Another two years went by, and Evelos announced abruptly he no longer wanted to try to read. The baby—who Tyrdan and Lel kept telling him not to call the baby, but that just seemed the most right to him—was excited about something and wanted to tell Tyrdan and Lel about it at the same time. They weren’t mad at him for interrupting when he interrupted though, and asked him solemnly to say what he felt.
Evelos hated this game. They played it a lot when he scraped a knee or wanted something he couldn’t have, but he never could answer them, so he never got what he wanted. And this time Evelos wanted very badly not to go back to school. It was a tiring place, he tried to say. Tyrdan said hard work was good for him. No, said Evelos. It was tiring. So tiring, and not the good kind.
Tyrdan began to look skeptical, and Evelos tried to explain. He tried so hard. He said it was tiring, and besides, the other kids kicked him and said he was stupid when he was there. Evelos philosophically added he knew he was stupid and that was okay, but it wasn’t nice to kick people. He thought they did it so much they should go to their room without supper, but he knew that never happened, even when the baby was there to defend him. She defended him today a lot. That’s what she wanted to say, but he was saying it for her because that was right. And now he would go to bed without supper so the other kids never did. That was tiring, Evelos said, when you had to go to bed early for work you never did. It happened a lot with those kids, when they told their own parents about him.
Then he did what he had never done before and started to cry.
Tyrdan and Lel swooped down on him and hugged him and apologized for making a mistake about the suppers, but it didn’t make the crying stop. Evelos couldn’t figure out how to make it stop. He would take a breath and then it came out hitching like he was trying to throw up, so he would take a bigger one and it would come out just the same.
Tyrdan said he would ask the baby to keep a lookout for the kickers—she was old enough now she knew how to swing a fist or two, whatever that meant. Lel said Evelos didn’t have to go to school if he didn’t want to. Evelos tried to say he knew he had to or he would never get smart, but the strange hitching in his chest wouldn’t let him say it.
Then Tyrdan and Auntie Lel exchanged a look, like they had when they told him the magic had happened and that they would love him just the same. So he told them again in a burst-out shout, that the magic hadn’t happened, it hadn’t , it hadn’t, and it wouldn’t until he was much much older. And it wasn’t fair.
And the two looked at each other again and then they did something strange. They agreed with him. That made the crying stop happening very suddenly, and Evelos decided instead he just wanted their hugs.
After that, the baby went to school alone. She was eight years old now and could take care of herself.
Evelos couldn’t. As hard as he tried, he couldn’t get the leaves in the garden right, and Tyrdan began keeping him from the garden in case he got the wrong leaves and got very sick again. There were two parts to that garden, one with food and one with magic plants, but he wasn’t allowed in either of them because of the wrong leaves.
He started feeling tired a lot—more than usual, like he had at school when the other kids had kicked him. Tyrdan spent time with him, and Lel spent time with him, both doing what they had never done and forgetting about each other. Lel was hard to hug again, but they were just worried about him, all day long, because he felt tired, all day long.
Evelos knew that wasn’t right. He wasn’t a baby, even if they had to treat him like one. It bothered him a lot, and he knew he had to think about it, figure it out. So instead of napping long in the sun one day he thought long and hard. Slowly he thought. Slowly an answer came.
He thought maybe if he wasn’t there anymore, Tyrdan and Auntie Lel would think about each other more, and the baby. So Evelos made up his mind that he’d have to leave. He’d have to get good and lost, and then they wouldn’t have to think about him anymore. Thinking was so hard.
Things were scary in the world outside at the time. Even the baby wasn’t going to school so often any more. Evelos thought and he thought for more days, and Tyrdan was happy to let him, because he thought Evelos was happier to do so, and he was. He liked thinking about not being a burden and pretending he was smart.
After so many thinks, Evelos stole Tyrdan’s rucksack. He watched him and knew where he kept it, and that he always put good helping things like bandages and hunting knives in it. He knew getting the wrong leaves was very bad too, so he took from the larder, where all the leaves were already right. He thought he was being very clever for leaving the cucumbers behind. He hated them, and now there would be more for everyone else at dinner time.
He didn’t want anyone to be looking at him when he left, so he waited until after nightfall. He knew Tyrdan couldn’t see at night because he’d always run into the living room table and squawk when he tried to walk about in the darkness. But Evelos knew the table never moved, so he went around where it should be and didn’t squawk. He had more trouble with the door, but he reasoned a door after sunset was just the same as a door after sunrise, so he put his hand where the handle was supposed to be, turned it, and went out.
It was cold outside, and Evelos thought he really wanted to be back in bed under his warm covers, but he remembered his mission, that he had to try very hard to make Tyrdan and Auntie Lel happy and thinking about each other more, so he started off into the gloom. He tried not to think about hungry things like wolves and bears, so he thought about Tyrdan’s horse and Auntie Lel’s cat—the one that was always invisible, but would hiss and strike at him if he got too close to her back. He had described it to Tyrdan once and Tyrdan said it hadn’t been a cat, and that Auntie Lel didn’t like being snuck up on, but to Evelos, if it acted like a cat, it was still a cat. Tyrdan just didn’t understand things like that.
Evelos walked a long long time. He sat and ate when he was hungry, but when he was sleepy, there were no comfortable beds around, so he just kept walking.
He was very tired a day later when the sun came up again. Not many people were on the road, and the people that were told him he was going the wrong way, that bad things were up ahead. But Evelos knew they were wrong because behind him was Tyrdan and Auntie Lel, and he had to stay away from them so they could be happy. So he just kept going.
The green grass had turned brown and the sweet scent of Tyrdan’s wild flowers were eventually replaced by something that made his stomach sick. The bad grass cracked under his feet, and he felt a constant buzzing in the air that didn’t come from any bugs. He knew because he checked by rubbing his ears.
It was next to a graveyard Evelos abruptly turned off the road. The buzzing had gotten really annoying, and besides, he heard once that the dead rested in graveyards, and he thought he’d check if they had any spare beds.
Apparently someone else had the same idea, because he heard someone talking in low voices like he did when he was trying not to wake Uncle Tyrdan. Only this was a sing-songy kind of talk, almost-but-not-quite what Auntie Lel would do when she held him before bed, back before when she gotten so hard to hold. Evelos stepped around a big building kind of like his cottage but made of stone. There were two men on the other side, in long, dark dresses with their faces covered in masks like it was Hollow’s End.
When they saw him, they screamed in that way that they knew they were going to be sent to bed without supper and ran for it. Evelos wondered what kind of game they were playing out here in the cold graveyard, so he kneeled besides what looked like a lot of bones and purple writing, like the baby read out of her books. They had forgotten to take these with them. Evelos thought to call out to them that that was so, but remembered a lot of people didn’t understand him, so he decided to follow them and give the strange things back.
He reached out to touch the writing. It was pretty, shifting colors of black and pink and purple. But something hit him in his middle when he did, and he didn’t like it very, very much. He wanted to be sick all the sudden, but then was surprised when he felt…better all over instead. He stopped being tired and even felt a bit clearer-headed, for the first time in years.
Evelos looked at the runes of Shadow magic—some sort of necromancy—and quickly kicked them into oblivion. The wonderful feeling of increasing health stopped, but a little of it remained, and he straightened up and let out a howl of gladness—like Tyrdan sometimes did when he was happy.
With that thought, Evelos remembered why he was here, and thinking how worried his uncle and Tyrdan’s wife would be, and about how bad the smell had gotten the further north he went, he decided he had spent long enough here. He was getting cold, and he was tired, and he missed his bed. He turned his back on Andorhal and hurried back home.
Tyrdan was furious, in that way that Evelos knew he was also secretly relieved. When he yelled himself out, he hugged Evelos very hard, and Evelos hugged him back. “I’m not angry with you anymore,” Evelos told Tyrdan, because he thought his uncle needed to hear it. “I knew you’d never give up on me. We made a promise, you know, before everything got bad.” Then he went straight to bed, while Tyrdan stood there gaping.
It was only after the last ragged months of pregnancy and the first hectic months of having a new newborn in the house that his aunt and uncle seemed to notice something different about him. For Evelos’ part, he was suddenly always hungry, and he kept thinking about the runes. Tyrdan seemed always hungry too, and one day he gathered his family around him to teach them to draw from the magic of his old sword and armor, as well as some other artifacts Lellith had produced out of nowhere. Tyrdan and the baby’s eyes turned green, but Evelos and his younger sister didn’t like how Lellith’s artifacts tasted, so they just took from Tyrdan’s old things, and their eyes remained blue.
And Evelos kept thinking about those runes, when everyone else seemed more concerned about the new, deep ache inside them. Evelos was used to the ache. It wasn’t that different from what it was like before he touched the runes.
Lellith’s new baby couldn’t handle the hunger. Lellith went to her room to do the magic—the kind she and Tyrdan always denied she was doing when they were in there together. When she came back, the baby was gone, and she seemed incredibly sad, but at peace. Evelos made sure to hold her for a long time, and then held Tyrdan, when his uncle kept rubbing his neck and pretending the sun was stinging his eyes. He couldn’t fool Evelos though, and he didn’t want Tyrdan to be so sad that he might think about running away himself.
The days went past, and they drew in the magic of Tyrdan’s old things, and Tyrdan and Lellith also took from the books and the skulls, and the new difference in Evelos continued to grow. Evelos noticed it for the first time himself when he picked up one of his sister’s books. He had always hated them, because they reminded him of the bullies at school, but when he looked at them again now, suddenly the words just seemed to click in his head. It was still hard, like dredging up and piecing together all his memories all over again in a brand new pattern, but he did it. He realized he could read. Stranger, he felt he had never not known, but had just forgotten for a very long time.
He told Lellith about the strangeness first, because she always seemed more open to the idea of such strange things happening. She seemed excited but sad, and she promised to show him a secret. She knew about the Shadow runes, she said, and what they were, and told him she knew why they drew him so, but she wouldn’t tell him why until he was older. She also said she could make more runes for him to soothe his pain, and if Tyrdan agreed, she would do so soon, and he was to feed on them like he did Tyrdan’s artifacts.
Tyrdan did agree, though he did it in a numb kind of way Evelos thought he needed another hug and also a gift. He picked some flowers from the garden, and this he brought the ones with the right leaves back. It was easy this time, and he wondered how he ever got it wrong. Nightshade was so obviously bad.
Tyrdan cried over the gift, in his wincing kind of way instead of when Lellith made herself wet all down the face, and somehow Evelos knew it was from a sad kind of joy instead of a sad kind of sad. Tyrdan then gave Evelos his blessing, and told Lellith to create the runes.
Over the next few months, Evelos eagerly siphoned off their Shadow energy, along with the arcane from the other artifacts. He felt more awake and aware every day, and began to wonder why he had ever been so different. Lellith celebrated for him, and even his sister celebrated for him, and in return, he helped his sister a few times with the hard words in her books that he was remembering better and better. They came easily now, and it made him very proud, and very happy to see her awe in his intelligence.
Tyrdan was less excited, and Evelos detected a new light in his newly green eyes whenever he looked at Evelos. He was afraid, though of what, Evelos could barely imagine.
Yet he suddenly remembered the dream he had as a child, about the woman and the man, and how the man had looked like Tyrdan and had also been very afraid.
And Evelos begun to grow a little afraid, too.