The rain came down in sheets, turning Stranglethorn into a mist filled jungle. Some exulted in the rain, splashing in newly forming puddles, or dancing and laughing on the beach. Others had quickly tried to erect some sort of shelter, using any and all available means. Flashes of magic, shouts, laughter. Bodies congregated beneath various umbrellas, huddled together beneath blankets, towels. They were all quite far away.
The drum of water against the roof was constant. It had seemed loud, at first, but had faded into the background. One of the many things which, once accustomed, faded out of conscious thought. There were four of them taking shelter beneath the wooden roof. Three adults, and a child. Two Undead, and two Trolls.
Loira’s blink was slow as her gold eyes shifted over the green canopy of trees. She, Dolle, and Kazu’ran had found shelter in one of many small lean-tos nestled in Stranglethorn’s hills. Wicker chairs had been stacked in the corner upon their arrival. Kazu’ran had taken one for himself, and she had been offered one, but refused. Instead, Loira stood in a space by the door, watching the rain. The green. The people. Her thoughts wandered, idle, as skeletal fingertips ran across the material of her hat. Somewhere close behind her, Dolle was leaning against the wall.
She had come across her companions quite by chance. The crowds, noise, sun, the endless stops for polite greetings and social niceties - the repeated, evident surprise at her attendance, had worn Loira’s patience thin. She had participated in a number of activities, either from a dogged insistence on the part of an organizer, or to fulfill a promise.
Katie May had been one such promise. The chipper woman had approached Loira after she had taken up a table by Sid and Toulouse’s refreshment stalls. She had wished Loira to join her, and others, in the decoration of a frozen treat: ice cream. Loira had set her conditions for joining, assuming they would be impossible to meet. Katie May had surprised her and so, she had reluctantly taken part.
It was shortly after that point that she had encountered Staxxy Tractorpull, and Pyraennea. The Goblin and Blood Elf had been walking down the beach together. Staxxy wore a matching bathing suit of blue and gold, the colour scheme present through her entire outfit. Pyraennea was dressed in a combination of black, pink and red. She looked quite prepared for a game of volleyball, or any other such physical activity to come her way.
Staxxy had complimented Loira on her attire, inviting the Undead to join her and some others for drinks. Loira had declined. Pyraennea had grinned wide and bright, saying that if the Undead changed her mind, a few of them were going cliff diving later on. That Loira had managed to keep her reaction to a slight lift of her brow and a slow blink of gold eyes had, in her opinion, been admirable.
She had turned to the trees soon after. There had been people enough, at first, but the further the Apothecary had wandered up the dirt paths, the more the sounds of people were replaced with those of birds. The snapping of towels replaced with wind in the trees. She’d walked along the path in silence, holding her long, dark dress just above the ground as gold eyes wandered over the diverse array of flora the area offered. Some she was unfamiliar with, but most bore close enough resemblance to species of plants she knew. Enough that an educated guess as to their nature and properties was both possible, and acceptable.
Loira had never much enjoyed baseless guessing. Not in this lifetime, at least. Uncertainty lead to danger which could not be prepared for. Her work was filled with queries and theories, and allowed her to eliminate uncertainty. When she did not know how, precisely, various substances would react, she could theorize, and then experiment. Quantifiable, measurable, observable answers. The results could be created again, and again, and while they were sometimes not exactly what she had anticipated, they were rarely truly surprising. This suited Loira well, for she was not partial to those, either. Rarely were they pleasant.
Loira’s pace had slowed to a near stop when she’d heard voices from up ahead. It would be easy enough to turn around, avoid whatever friendly, welcoming faces would insist on drawing her into a conversation of some kind. But if she turned back and they were also walking in that direction… a faint frown tugged at her face. Best to face them directly.
She had not expected to come upon Kazu’ran and Dolle. Za’tul, Kazu’ran’s son, was secured in a harness wrapped around the Troll's furry, pale blue chest. Sections of his long hair were braided, and his shorts were… present. If barely. But then, Loira thought, as her attention shifted to Dolle, the Undead’s were only marginally better. Somewhere between when she had accompanied him to change his shirt, and now, Dolle had removed - or been relieved of - his cap.
“Telling ya Dolle, it’s going to rain,” Kazu’ran head was tilted back, brown eyes squinting up at the trees. His tail swished behind him, idle and low. Dolle scoffed, “S’not, you just know ya won’t beat me.” The Undead was leaning forward, hands resting near his hips with lips peeled back into a wide and yellowed grin. Kazu’ran’s ears twitched as his head tilted, smile curving around his tusks. “I beat ya in other things already,” he replied, preening as Dolle’s brow lowered, “That was - that was DIFFEREN’- I shoulda, I shoulda damn well-”
“Gentlemen,” Loira interjected, eyebrows raised ever so slightly beneath her black sunhat, “good afternoon.” “Miss Winford,” they replied at nearly the same time and with completely different expressions. Dolle’s grin turned onto her, leaning back slightly while Kazu’ran looked mildly more mindful, offering a polite nod, which she returned in kind.
“Whatcha doin’ all the way out ‘ere?” Dolle asked. “Avoiding needless conversation, Mister Dolle.” Came the reply, and the other Undead huffed an amused sound, “fair ‘nough.” Gold eyes shifted between them, hands collecting at her front, “what is this I hear of a competition?” “Well it would be but Kaz ‘ere’s too much a chicken sh-” “I’m not! I told ya!” Kazu’ran gestured upwards with both arms, “going to rain. Best wait for after.” “It’s not gonna-!” Dolle exclaimed, gesturing low, before looking to Loira, “tell ‘im, wontcha? Look like rain t’ya?” Loira considered the question, head tilting in consideration. She did not enjoy baseless guessing. “It… did not look like rain,” she responded after a moment, and Dolle looked triumphant. “See! I told ya!” Kazu’ran shook his head, hands lowering from the air, “we’re going to get soaked because of you two.”
The downpour started within ten minutes.
It took them nearly as long to reach the lean-to. Kazu’ran had set up his chair almost immediately, one leg crossing over the other and arms resting over his chest. Za’tul was swaddled nearby, safely away from the wind and rain - that he had remained entirely dry was thanks to Kazu’ran whip fast rain preparations, covering his son up while shooting Dolle and Loira a look of utter exasperation. Now, out of the rain, the Troll clicked his tongue, looking quite self-satisfied as his arms came to rest over his chest. “Told ya it was going to rain.”