Woiven's eyes snapped open with a start. She groaned as she stretched her arms above her head. Woiven swung her legs off the top bunk she had been sleeping in and gave a little push, she dropped to the ground noiselessly. The cold stone of the floor pushed away the final webs of sleep. Grabbing her clothes she pulled them on without a sound. Woiven secured her shoes, grabbed a canteen, and quickly made her way out of the barracks. Torchlight seared her eyes making them tear as they struggled to grow accustomed. Quickly, Woiven made her way to the door leading to the courtyard. Gently, she released the latch and pushed the door open. The hinges groaned in protest causing Woiven to hold her breath and give a silent curse. “I should have oiled those damned hinges”, She stepped out into the crisp morning, took a deep breath, and made her way to the main gate of the keep. Voices of the guards on the other side of the gate drifted over the high walls. Woiven pushed the small door open and stepped on to the steps of the main entrance of the hold. No sooner than she made her exit, a gruff voice exclaimed. “Oi, wher do ya tink you are goin this time a morn lass?” Before a response could be given to the stout dwarf another voice cut through the night air. “She is just going for a run. There is no need for concern ya twit.” Spoke a much taller human guard. Woiven smiled and turned to face the guard. “Thanks Ben. Hows the family?” The man rubbed his beard while answering. “The misses is well despite looking like a house.” Her smile grew brighter, “It'll be worth it when the little one arrives.” Ben nodded in agreement. “So whats the route today?” Woiven pointed to a distant rise of the mountain and simply relied, “Up this time.” He followed her finger to where she pointed and let out a low whistle. “It's going to be quite a bit colder up there...” Woiven interrupted. “I'll be ok, promise. The guard rubbed his neck but finally relented. He pulled a watch from his belt, waited a few seconds, nodded and barked, “GO!” She launched herself off the steps running toward the path of the training grounds.
Woiven had been sneaking out before sunrise for weeks. She doubted that anyone would mind that she wanted to improve her overall fitness but like many things in her life lately, she didn't want to answer any questions or even worse, be forced to train with others. Not that she didn't like them but she preferred her own methods and had come to covet her alone time. Convincing the guards to allow her out wasn't easy but she did manage. She also made them promise that if they were ever questioned about it to not lie. She even had worked out a deal with one of the guards to set up obstacle courses every once in a while, which she felt obligated to pay the man for his time. He would set them up before his shift then clean them up once Woiven was done. Each one had been exceeding difficult and always a surprise. One that Woiven had grown to love was climbing one of the towers by rope. Once at the top she would use another rope to shimmy across the distance to the nest tower. Once there, she would repel down and continue moving on to whatever was next. On other mornings, Woiven would simply find a high place where she would sit for hours, legs crossed, eye shut, and with Lune's prayer beads in hand she would try to use what the Draenei woman had attempted to teach her all that time ago...meditation. Woiven doubted she was anywhere near the woman's skill but felt she was making progress. She often wondered what Zaria or even Lune would think about her sneaking out but that is as far as the thought ever got.
Woiven's legs pumped pushing her up the switch back trail. Her lungs burned from the frigid air but her breath came out in a steady rhythm that nearly matched her foot falls. The trail grew steeper as she neared the top. Once she had made the summit she was a bit shocked to find a fire burning in the pit. She grinned knowing that Ben had left another surprise. Woiven's eyes searched wondering what had challenge had been left. Finally, she found something hanging from the frame of the only shelter on the plateau. She slowed her pace then came to a stop in front of the item. Woiven flexed her fingers trying to urge the blood back into them. “A puzzle.' She smiled to herself. The puzzle in question was several mathematical expressions. Numb fingers gripped a stylus as best they could and a tongue poked out between her lips in concentration. Woiven worked the problems methodically writing out the work she used to obtain her answers. Once she was satisfied with her work, she folded the parchment, stuck the stylus in her hair, and trotted off down the hillside.
At the keeps entrance two guards were deep in a heated debate. “I don't care what you say, Illidan could kick the crap out of his brother. Malfurion is a cry baby wimp. Without his precious mate, he is nothing.” The dwarf chuckled. “I cannot disagree wit ya.” Giving it a thought the Dwarf asked. “What about the wee lass that went up the hill. How wold she fare against such a beast?”Ben grinned. 'She would be reduced to a puddle of muck but she'd put up one hell of a fight...and I'll tell you this, she wouldn't back down no matter what. The Eagles are like that. They fight when most wouldn't.” The dwarf shook his head. 'Sounds crazy to take on odds like that...” His reply was cut short by the rhythmic crunch of snow. Both men peered out at the approaching figure. “That be your girl there.” The dwarfed pulled Ben's watch, which was still in Ben's hand, closer and let out a whistle. “She is faster than me mom tapping a fresh keg.” Ben laughed as he pulled his hand back. “She doesn't have the beard your mom has but she is quick. Should have seen her when she started this.” The conversation was cut short as Woiven drew near. Her heavy breathing was marked by puffs of 'smoke” as she exhaled in the below freezing temperatures. She handed the parchment to Ben and dropped to the ground, her hands nearly making the snow steam, as she began doing pushups. Ben looked over the paladins work as she completed the exercise. He leaned over and plucked the stylus from her hair and made some notes. Without raising his eyes, Ben nodded toward the woman, 'Hold her feet will ya?” The stout warrior grumbled as he rested his knees on Woiven's feet and grasped her ankles. Woiven curled her back forward completing several situps before finally stopping. She nodded her thanks to the dwarf. He slowly returned to his post as Woiven stood. Her eyes glistened in the light of the coming dawn. 'How did I do?”
Woiven removed her shoes and shed her clothes. She took a moment to ravel in the results of all her work. Her biceps bulged more than they used to, her thighs were void of any fat, and her tummy was a solid six pack. Woiven smiled to herself as she stepped into the stall. She tugged a chain which sent nearly hot water cascading over her body. Her sore muscles soaked in the warmth and relaxed as the water buffeted her. She closed her eyes and let the water run over her face and head. “I can't believe I got one wrong...it's just freaking math.” She thought. “I'll get it next time...' Her thoughts were cut short by other voices entering the shower room. Woiven quickly finished cleaning herself. Wrapping a towel around her chest she made a quick exit. Woiven entered the barracks and quickly dressed in baggy clothes as to hide what she had been doing this past month. She brushed her hair out and made her way to the mess for breakfast. “Tomorrow, it's on.” She thought.