Aldonza was sweeping up dust and gravel from the latest earthquake in Ironforge when her old friend Kallixta came up. "Gave up trying to sleep. Got enough rest, I suppose. Way too long since I slept through the night. In fact, if an hour goes by one night without a quake, it'll wake me up!"
A dry, dusty cloud rose from the bin as Aldonza threw her sweepings away. She had to blink to clear her eyes again. "Very unsettling. No place feels safe anymore. It's even worse at home. You want your home to be a refuge and it isn't."
Kallixta's eyes were tracing a crack up the wall to where it would disappear somewhere towards the high ceiling. "Being human, you don't like all the rock o'er yer head?" She turned the statement into a question, although it was rhetorical.
"No, but you do, doncha?"
Surprisingly, Kallixta slowly shook her head. "I suppose it's undwarvenly. Maybe it's from where I grew."
Aldonza's expressive face showed her surprise, "Not here?"
With a gesture, Kallixta shepherded her friend back to their usual table in the Stonefire Tavern. She needed to sit for this and she wanted some food. Gwenna brought the order to the table as they settled down. "I've told you about Da and his travelling, eh?"
Giving a simple nod, Aldonza was afraid to say anything that might disrupt new information from her taciturn friend.
"It's why we were living at Aerie's peak when I was young. And the Wildhammers love having openings to the sky, fer the gryphons, you see? It's more on the mountain side than here, so it's a might easier to be out'a doors. And if yer a young lass fascinated by gryphons, you might spend more time watching the windriders. It all means I spent my most impressionable years on top of a mountain, not inside one." The paladin's eyes showed the distance of her thoughts. "I think the Wildhammers weren't as fussed about it, neither. They all'd been fighting underground against the Dark Irons, so Underground didn't mean safety to them and I suppose it stuck to me."
"And you miss the Hinterlands?" Aldonza gave Kallixta an indulgent smile.
Acknowledging the truth, Kallixta smiled and shrugged. "That the last place we were a family together. Mum was sent off to Redridge and Da went off fighting, dying at Hyjal, or near enough. Things just weren't the same."
"Things change all the time, Kalli," the human warned the dwarf. "And you can't go back."
"Oh I've been back. It wonderful to revisit Aerie Peak, but yer right in it ain't the same." With a stretch, Kallixta brought her arms out wide, then drew them back in, to pull her hair back. She adjusted how it was gathered at the back of her head. "And much change is fer the better, you know? Lordaeron is recovering some. It's been what, eight years? And the ghastly cauldron fields are lifting. I talked about impressionable years, but that's something else. I watched it happen. The Silver Hand was shattered by Arthas, but they still tried their best. Everything seemed in chaos, but I watched them stay true. And they rescued me and returned me here, but I weren't the same after that. I knew what I had to do. I had to do my part in protecting the places I called home. Places like here and Aerie Peak and the former plaguelands."
Aldonza sighed. "It's so different to me. My home outside Stormwind hasn't suffered like so many. We've had some bandit problems in Northshire, but no invasions or other catastrophe, thank the light."
The pair of friends smiled at each other, in common agreement. Kallixta summarized her feelings, "There's no place like home."