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  1. Today
  2. ((omg ;-;))
  3. Yesterday
  4. Kerala's Death Song (based on Red Hot Chili Peppers - Brendan's Death Song) Way up high I know She's watching me. Why do you cry? Our Mother calls, and now I sing for you, before I fly. Although our paths have parted you know I'll be nearby. A mournful sound and now it's all around. Do you know why? In whispered wind, in the grass and the rain, all spirits sigh. So when you feel sad remember this song; It's my goodbye. Now I sing: My spirit takes to wing; I don't want you to grieve. And when your heart feels scarred, you'll be alright you'll see. I'll live in memory Now I sing: My spirit takes to wing; I don't want you to grieve. I know it might be hard for you to understand. Remember and believe. We both know someday we'll have to go; We all must die. And we both try to live our lives with pride. Dry your eyes because I love you. And we both agreed. I never lie. Now I sing: My spirit takes to wing; I don't want you to grieve. And when your heart feels scarred , you'll be alright you'll see. I'll live in memory Let me live so when it's time to die, I will honor my tribe. Let me die so when it's time to leave, another sun will rise. Now I sing: My spirit takes to wing; I don't want you to grieve. I know it might be hard for you to understand. Remember and believe. Now I sing: My spirit takes to wing; I don't want you to grieve. Now I sing: My spirit takes to wing; I don't want you to grieve. Kerala and her twin sister Agiga (Lomani) made up this Death Song to share when they were just younglings. Since her skull injury and amnesia, Lomani has of course made up a new song. There may not be anyone living anymore who could sing this for Kerala. I found it in my documents while doing backup to googledocs and so seems fitting as the last writing about her I share.
  5. Things have calmed down a little. Sort of. I went on a mission led by T'suro Sunspear. He's a great Blood Knight, the kind you can look up to. He led me, a demon hunter named Sylarian, and a lady from Suramar named Ilduria. We were looking for a leyline that used to help fuel the shield, but hasn't been working. What we found was just a crap ton of demons, plus a Nightborne guy turned Felborne. Lots of fighting, I got banged up pretty bad, along with my armor. Sylarian got hurt even worse though, he wound up unconscious. T'suro used the Light to purify the leyline, but it took a lot out of him. He looked so much smaller after he did that, I think maybe the Light gives him a lot more than I realized. Makes him braver than I thought was possible. He'll be fine, though. As soon as I got back, another member of the Ebon Blade came to talk to me, Regdar the Red. I met him at the guild hall, and later on in Dalaran. He wanted me to come back, but he had a lot of good reasons for it. I just can't bring myself to do it, even though I know it would be a lot easier on me. They have the only runeforge I know of, and they know how to help me learn my death knight stuff, but I just can't. Not after Light's Hope, after they made us do those terrible things. I can't trust they won't do that again, and regardless of their reasoning.. and his reasoning, I just can't agree it was the right thing to do. I live with the Arath'doreis, now. It's weird, being in someone else's house, even if it is big. I didn't exactly grow up rich, so the place makes me feel even weirder. Everyone is nice, though. Sinlanna showed me to the library, and I found some books on rune and unholy magic that might help me figure out this runeforge problem. Kreyen seems to be happy. He's getting stronger, but his memories still aren't all there. It's weird, though. Sometimes he says and does things just like he used to. I wonder if maybe those things don't ever go away.
  6. Last week
  7. Ul-Rezaj placed his Dimension-Ripper's Staff on a counter at the enchanter's booth in Dalaran. It had become increasingly more difficult to control as of late, and the worst part was... he began to hear... voices? No, that was insane. Ul-Rezaj shook his head, thinking no better. The staff sometimes broke into floating pieces, dismantling the faceless headpiece at the top, into tentacles that squirmed desperately to partake in reality. Yet, those were all weak, weaker than Yogg-Saron's minions. Still, ... echoing from the dark space that the tendrils of darkness created, Ul-Rezaj thought he heard a voice. Kosumoth. N'zoth. These sounds resonated with him in much the same way Hakkar had. He touched the piece at the tip of the statue, it divided itself into pieces, crackling with lightning and energy—desperately wailing like an animal caught in a trap. Ul-Rezaj stared at the piece; it behaved in ways unlike the necrolyte's natural talents. It behaved like a separate entity, feeding itself into Ul-Rezaj's mind. Was it stolen enery, he thought contemplatively. No, the voice replied coolly, consider it a gift. We share a master, and I expect you to continue to feed us. Ul-Rezaj stared as the portals opened. The shopkeepers fidgeted uneasily, "Sir," an elven vendor asked, "Please, take it outside, you're scaring the customers." Ul-Rezaj scowled at the elf and turned around, people were not actually worried about him, but rather fixed in obsessive fascination on the ethereal who imbued enchantments on older garb that called himself "transmogrifier." --- Ul-Rezaj carried himself into the sewers; his staff exerted enormous pressure on his back. We... are... not... finished. Ul-Rezaj pled, "What is it, then?" The staff broke into fragments again that hovered in the air, releasing the pressure on his shoulders. The air shimmered and opened up black holes. A path must be cleared, ... if I am to manifest myself in reality. Your enemies threaten to block that path. Look out! Plumes of void energy crackled with lightning and opened up gaping fissures. Warped chaotic energy shot out across the sewers, lighting up the caverness hall and exposing grueling, eye-twitching vagrants with knives. A crash and a whip of hot air stole Ul-Rezaj's breath as the collision wiped out the petty beggars. A shack crashed down on top of their bodies, forming a small bonfire that puffed out smoke in thick ash clouds. "Why," asked Ul-Rezaj. They are not as innocent as you know. From now on, I will go out before you and destroy your enemies. "I can take care of myself," Ul-Rezaj retorted. No, I will go out before you and destroy your enemies. I will break their bows and shatter their swords. I will-- "Enough," the troll snapped, now seemingly barking at nothing in the darkening halls. The shack fire dwindled. The voice grew silent. A cool darkness that could be felt swept around him. Panic started to overtake him as the void itself complied with his request for silence. Ul-Rezaj experienced stomach-churning fear, unsure of what was going to happen. He folded his arms and shivered, looking around him for something, anything, to grant consolation. I hope that it is clear now... that I am on your side. Here in these sewers, you have the perfect reality. Without me, you have no vision. With me, you can plainly see what you must do. Nothing is what it seems. Those beggars acquired wealth at the expense of others, exploiting the above-grounders who move into these sewers to buy overpriced, stolen goods. These halls have no justice, no law, no order, and we must put that down—in order to build a strong, organized society. "What's in it for me," the troll asked. The glory of your cause will shine. The idea blinked into Ul-Rezaj's mind with enthusiasm. For too long, he had fought what felt like in vain. Sure, the Legion had invaded, but that wasn't his problem. He had scurried through the streets of Suramar to keep the Nightborne locked in infighting, yet the satisfaction of doing so had not wrung any sort of grand satisfaction. The Grim pursued the same ends as normal. The Alliance had largely perished, reducing the need to fight as often. Let me stop you there. The voice cooed. You have your achieved your reality, one in which the Alliance's ranks dwindle as they continue to protect fringe outposts across the world. What you must now do is raise up your own people. Descend from Dalaran and build your livelihood, pursuing honor and strength. "Right," snorted Ul-Rezaj. My first order of business, he told himself, is to put some restraint on this talking stick. You might resist now, but you were never in control. The sooner you relinquish that notion, the sooner you will be free. "I would rather die," Ul-Rezaj scowled. No, you would not. Your fledgling grasp on reality is so strong that your greatest fear is death. I have shown you that I can prevent that. You must grant me my freedom in order for you to thrive in this world. Ul-Rezaj was not about to let that happen, yet he knew of a way to pit the beast against itself.
  8. I've learned rather a lot of disappointing things this week. Disappointing as they are, though, they are things I needed to know. Knowledge doesn't need to be good or encouraging to be important and useful. Sanctuary is not what I remember. The warlock implied a great deal happened while I was away, though he gave no details. I should have judged the truth from the things Ninorra said, but it took Syreena to make me understand. It is, however, hilarious to me that they are now essentially everything they once hated. May they fester and burn under that pious golden lion they sweetly worship. The new supplicant, his family name sounds familiar, but my research has afforded nothing of note. Perhaps it is just a similarity. Or perhaps it is a remnant of days long past, given those he mentioned he once worked for. I shouldn't have difficulty believing what he said, but I do. The man was an outright fool, too stupid to dress himself I'm sure. And no one else could see that and turn him away when he showed his face on their doorstep? The Grim have made errors. But I also made errors while I was Grim. They correct them in the end. The supplicant himself has made an error if he underestimated Syreena. That may cost him more than he bargained for. The shaman's insistence on inviting everyone within earshot to some sort of strange orcish springtime fertility orgy was concerning at best, horrifying at worst. If it's as bad as it sounded, there may be considerable opportunity for blackmail. I suspect it will be far more innocent than innuendo would imply, and simple curiosity and an observation post at some distance will be sufficient.
  9. 03.23.17 I lost two friends today. Three, if I count the troll I was given as a bodyguard. Zulkaz looked so big and strong, and he had so many weapons. He said he could kill Kex’ti. I had my doubts, but I wanted to believe him. I told him to do it. Kex’ti threatened and questioned me the other day, about Karthok. Zulkaz failed. Sanctuary has him now. I saw Karthok this morning. There were no "darlings" today. He yelled at me for sending Zulkaz after Kex’ti alone. By yelled, I mean he expressed his disappointment. I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard him raise his voice. Then he ordered me, ordered me to go break into Sanctuary’s guild hall and execute Zulkaz before he could tell them anything. I refused, of course. There was no way I was going to try to get into Sanctuary. They would likely kill me on sight for breaking into their hall. I told Karthok as much. I told him to send a rescue party for Zulkaz instead. But he was mean to me. He didn’t care. He only wanted me to kill Zulkaz. But I couldn’t. And then I finally pried some details about Karthok’s plans from him. I didn’t want to believe him. I kept waiting for him to tell me the part that would rationalize what he was trying to do, that would make it all make sense. But that part never came. I can’t help him anymore. And through that talk, I wondered if I had ever been his friend at all. A little while after that, I ran into Lazarus in Dalaran. Lazarus used to always be so nice to me. He must have left The Grim at some point though. I didn’t know. He had a pie with him. He said it was a new recipe—apple cinnamon—and asked me to taste it. So I did. My friend offered me pie, and I took a bite. It was cursed. Lazarus cursed me. I blacked out. When I woke up, I was chained to a wall, with Kex’ti and Lazarus standing in front of me. (And this only hours after Kiannis threatened me that if I got into any trouble again, he would “rescue” me himself. Probably with a bullet to the head.) Lazarus had cursed me and handed me over to Kex’ti. I didn’t even hear what Kex’ti said to me at first. I couldn’t believe Lazarus did that to me. I thought he was my friend. I was wrong. Kex’ti questioned me a bit, and threatened to lock me in a metal crate and drop me at the bottom of the sea if I didn’t answer him. I don’t think he realized that I agree that Karthok has to be stopped. I tried to tell him, but Lazarus kept interrupting with some kind of illusion spell or something. And then Kex’ti left, after telling Lazarus to let me go when he was done. So now I need to try to find a way to find Zulkaz again. I’ve already sent someone to punish Lazarus. And I sent someone else to put an end to Karthok. But if Karthok knows I turned against him, or talked to Sanctuary about him, he’ll probably hunt me. Baal assured me that I’ll be safe. He even did a blood magic spell on me so he can find me anywhere and know if I’m hurt.
  10. The Xara Agenda I've put together an agenda for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. This is what I and anyone who wants to tag along will be doing! You are welcome to come along, or hop in and out to catch others at particular activities you want to join in on. Activities include sightseeing, shopping, wine tasting, and of course, the revue. If you're staying any extra days, there is also a trip to the Grand Canyon being planned, and Fremont Street! The agenda can be found here and also has a dedicated channel on Discord, which will be used to coordinate during the trip.
  11. PARTY SUITE RULES Those staying in the suite First and foremost, your space in the room is not guaranteed. Legally, the hotel is only supposed to allow 6 people to stay in that suite. There is no way to gauge how much effort they will put into enforcing this rule. There are plenty of stories of people getting away with similar things just fine, but that’s all they are – stories. It’s entirely possible we’ll have some really bad luck and they’ll get on us, and you will have to find someplace else to stay. I am willing to assume some of the financial risk for this but not all of it. If you have to leave to lower our occupancy to the limit, I will refund you 50% of what you paid me for the room. Who has to leave will be at my discretion. In the case of our reservation getting canceled entirely (everyone has to leave), I will refund 25%. If they cancel the reservation but refund me (I’d be surprised if they did), I will refund you your portion of whatever amount is returned to me (25% of your original payment minimum). Should occupancy issues or any other problems arise, I reserve the right to eject anyone from the room, at my own discretion. I will take each individual’s circumstances under consideration, but my say will be final. Those ejected for reasons other than the hotel enforcing the occupancy limit are not guaranteed any refund. If someone is forced to cancel their attendance before the event but after money is already collected, I will refund as much money as can be made up by the rest of the attendees paying their share of the difference. If they can’t make up the difference completely, your refund will not be full. Room keys will be limited and managed, so be prepared to have to coordinate with others when you need to leave or come back to the room. Further arrangements about who gets room keys will be made as plans for outings are solidified. All the room’s facilities are expected to be shared regardless of which room you end up sleeping in. Beds and couch space will be divided up with those who RSVPed first getting first pick. There will be no recreational drugs or paraphernalia allowed in the suite, even in baggage. What you do elsewhere is completely your business, but the room is in my name and I can’t afford any issues. Check-in time is 3pm Friday. Check out time is 11am Sunday. Partying in the party suite We obviously don’t want to attract undue attention or displeasure. I expect things to get rowdy but we can’t go insane or we risk losing the room if not for one reason then another. Hopefully this goes without saying, but please try not to destroy anything or trigger any room charges (the fridge and other goodies are a trap!). Any guests may be asked to leave at any time by anyone staying in the suite. There will be set times for open getting-together (probably mostly Friday evening, before and after dinner), and for other times people not staying at the suite who wish to hang out must be accompanied by a person who is staying at the suite. Payments The final cost will be tallied on Apr 5th (1 month before go time). I'll give a PayPal address for payment at that time.
  12. I am writing in this simply as an exercise in sanity. While I undergo these trials and other such intrusive inquisitions I require a place to vent. It has been quite some time since I have been relegated to such a lowly role, a peon at best... I endure it, because it suits my goals at this time... their goals currently of course align very well with my own. The acquisition of power, destruction of our enemies. I find one particular female to be quite taxing... yes... very taxing, taxing indeed. I do have a personal matter to tend to before I can fully commit to the trails that certainly lay before me... that Paladin has incurred my wrath for the -final- time... my scouts have located his hovel, he will pay for his... indiscretions. Sir Cavanaugh... is going to be... how would he say it, purged? Yes... yes indeed. Purged. On another note... my lady has returned from her studies, and I do look forward to reuniting with her. It has been many long years, but it shall ever be worth the wait. I would have her join me, but I am not sure if now is the time... I would hope to attain a bit more status. Her seeing me in this particular situation is... not acceptable. Although I doubt she will listen to such a request. She is quite vexing...
  13. Hey big grats, Q!
  14. As the winter's blanket receded, melting into the Telaari Basin, dreaming glories poked their heads from beneath Nagrand's plains. Clefthooves in heat, talbuks rutting, spring had arrived, and the green grasses made their annual pilgrimage up towards the Red World's sun. The winds gusting off the Twisting Nether whistled past the holy mountain of Oshu'gun, carrying the promise of change and renewal over the barrier hills into the hovels and sanctums of Shattrath City. A rogue breeze slipped through one of the portals to Orgrimmar and rattled the parchment of a freshly printed flyer hanging from a tentpost within the Cleft of Shadow. It reads: Clans and guilds of the Horde do be called to meet upon the plains of Nagrand! A Kosh'harg will be held about the Ring of Trials at the middle of the coming month and her equinox! With feasting and drink, this sacred gathering do be a time of peace and honor. Games will be held to boast the strength of our comrades. Tales will be retold to remember the valor of those who did come before us. Honor will be heaped upon those who did depart from us too soon. The old ways call on us to unite as one and look to the future. The Horde must know for what it fights! The poster is signed with a sigil stamped in red incarnadine ink, bearing the image of Blackrock Spire, the Grim skull, and the Lash. The wind swirls and dissipates, but leaves behind the heady scent of grasses. [[OOC: This is an event for all Horde! The Kosh'harg is an old tradition from the orcish clans of Draenor, before the intrusion of the Burning Legion. It is meant to be a great large festival, where all Clans come to meet in peace. No weapons are drawn in anger (aside from friendly duels) and all are invited to celebrate their commonality. Traditionally, this was a time for discussing trade and oaths, settling disagreements, and retelling stories. It was always held near Oshu'gun in Nagrand. I would very much like for us as a roleplay community to honor this tradition. The Kosh'harg has been executed successfully on other servers, and I think that it could be a lot of fun! We are not all orcs, but our various guilds form many different 'clans'. This would be a chance to interact freely outside of the usual 'tavern' RP setting. It would also need some structure. I am envisioning a series of events through a night. An opening benediction. Feasting and chatter. A dueling tournament. A storytelling contest. A closing ceremony. Nothing is yet set in stone, because I am coming here to listen to ideas! Here's a basic TL;DR: Who: Everyone's invited! (Hordeside) What: Large Horde festival Where: Ring of Trials, Nagrand, Outland When: Wednesday night in middle of April - 12th or 19th, 8pm server If you or your guild wants to participate, post here or send me a PM. The goal is to get a big turnout, so the more the merrier! ]]
  15. Full Name: Tiandron Bloodstrider Titles or Nicknames: Blood Knight Age: 96 Race: Sin'dorei Gender: Male Hair: Black Eyes: Green Height: 6'1 Weight: 135 lbs Notable Physical Features: Nothing too extraordinary. Place of residence: Silvermoon City Place of Birth: Silvermoon City Known Relatives: Mother - Coria Dawnstrider ( Ranger, deceased, killed during the Third War ) Father - Magister Matero Bloodhelm ( Magister, deceased, killed at Tempest Keep during the war in Outland ) Religion/Philosophy: He adheres to the philosophy that Silvermoon and the Sunwell are great places of power and will do whatever he must to protect his kin and all that aid them. Occupation: Blood Knight - master Jewel crafter and Enchanter Guild Rank: Supplicant Known Associates: Tialoc and Reimmi, both Sin'dorei who he has fought beside many a time. Known Nemesis: Any and all that threaten Silvermoon and by extension the Horde. Special Skills: Nothing outside of the standard repertoire of a Blood Knight. He is deceptively quick, and relies much more on the speed of his strikes, then overpowering his enemy. Alignment - Lawful Evil Positive Personality Traits: Ambition, understands rank and position, charismatic, will not hesitate to lead or step into a leadership position, even if only temporary, decisive, values learning, cerebral, measured, "knows his audience". Negative Personality Traits: Ambition ( Will do -whatever- is necessary to gain power ) , snarky and arrogant, once he is in a position of power he will make sure his position is noted... and known. Shows -no- mercy or leniency, will prefer a harsher punishment over mercy, vindictive, does not trust anyone, even if they have fought beside him for many years. History Before The Grim: A veteran of the Second and Third Wars, he has a long service record that he will be happy to explain to anyone that will listen. He seeks now mastery of the Light, either by draining its power from the Naaru ( he still believes it was foolish to give up such a source of power ) , or focusing it through the Sunwell. History In The Grim: This is underway...
  16. Earlier
  17. Excerpts from a notebook 3.TI.P2.017 "...expected to learn self-sufficiency shortly after I had..." "...despite their determination to defeat Kael'thas because of..." "...stands between us and our peace, we will stop at nothing to see..." "...have the opportunity to correct my assumption..." "...one of necessity. Theirs was simple spite and malice..." "...Garithos' actions did not teach me fear. Those events..." "...intrinsic property in all of our important decisons, individually and..." No, no, no. This isn't right. These are not the words I gave to the troll. These are not Grim words. I know all these words. They are mine. All at one time were committed to paper, but most were burnt or destroyed in water years ago. Divested of its fur, these are the marks that move across its flesh. Why? I did not give her my blood. Did she take it somehow? This makes no sense. I've never been incompetent enough to leave anything incriminating to paper, but this development is highly unsettling. == Qabian flipped the notebook closed with a little more energy than he intended when he finished recording his notes, pinning the quill between the pages. With the crater that was once the city of Theramore at his back, Qabian placed the notebook in a satchel and removed what appeared to be a fist-sized ball of glass set into a stand decorated with a curling bronze dragon. He snapped his fingers before the ball and for a long time, stood motionless, watching tiny shadowy figures moving inside it. Eventually, he slowly took a knee, and held the glass ball out to the greyish, hairless panther cub with the curious purple scrawl trailing over its skin. The creature sniffed at the relic, then stared up at the mage, its curious pale eyes blinking. "This," Qabian explained to the animal as if it could understand, "is who I used to be." He stood meaningfully, then threw the glass ball as far as he could out to sea. The cub leapt out into the water with a splash and paddled after it. "You idiot!" the mage called out, then sighed. "I thought cats didn't like water."
  18. *excited applause for our winners!* YAY!!!
  19. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER It's time to announce the winners of the story contest. As a little insight there were three judges with at least one judge Horde side and one Alliance side, stories were judged on -Grammar -Adherence to the main topic -The Overall Favorite Each judge compiled their own list of favorites and then brought together for discussion until everyone was happy with the top choices. As a Bonus I'm adding additional prize for 3rd place. Winners Please contact me before April 20th to claim your winnings or risk forfeiture of your prize. So, Winners: Third Place Goes to.... Kexti For Red Tea! Congrats Kexti, that is 1,000 gold reward for you! Please msg me privately ant let me know which char to drop your winnings off within one month. Second Place and Winner of $6,000 gold goes to....... Catalinetta for And My Axe! Congrats to you! please msg me where you want your prize money sent within one month. Without Further Adieu...Winner of the Grand New Year Story Contest and 1 month free game time or the equivalent gold is........ Qabian!! for Design Flaw!!!! Congrats to you! Please contact me before April 20th and tell me how you want your winnings. Congrats to everyone and thank you for your participation!!!
  20. Well then. I do believe I have an accurate grasp, now, of what exactly it feels like to have all the shards within myself ripped from me at once; though not in quite the situation I'd fantasized over. There was only one victim, and she endured it willingly. And, gods below, was it far more painful for me than cathartic. She had the good sense to leave as soon as it was over. I wouldn't trust me in that moment, either. It wouldn't serve me to drain every last bit of fel from her before I get what I need from her friend, anyway -- assuming he is capable of being of any use -- though, for a moment, it almost looked as if I wasn't going to give her or myself the option. I haven't felt that particular brand of crazy in quite some time. Even now, I can hear its siren song when I close my eyes, keeping me from surrendering to the rest I so desperately need, urging me toward inclinations I've long since shed. Luckily, any movement whatsoever quickly dissuades me from following my dreams. That man, though. Wasteful, dismissive, inattentive, far too excited by shiny objects. He actually assumed my injury was the result of some negligence on my part -- and, to be fair, it was, though not in the manner he was assuming: that I were some overreaching novice that called too much upon herself. He asked for clarification. I offered a more thorough representation of the facts, and suddenly it's a sob story? How? Why? Did *he* want to cry? I will take his reactions to mean he has no idea what I am capable of, which is exactly how I would prefer it be for the world around me, so I suppose I shouldn't fault him for that. In fact, it was a sobering reminder of Silvermoon's nobility culture; one I obviously needed, despite how disappointing it was. As long as he can deliver on what I'm paying him to do, what should I care? But if all he teaches me is how to open a pocket to some candy store dimension because he believes me to be some lost little princess dabbling with demons to shock mommy and daddy, I will gladly show him how wrong he is.
  21. Chapter One - The Southfury Part One Khorvis slid down from the back of the war wolf, wincing and bending over a fist clutched to his stomach. The old wound given to him by that Sanctuary wench throbbed and ached after the tumultuous galloping across Orgrimmar's western bridge. Up the edgewaters of the Southfury the party had raced at a breakneck pace, chasing the slobbering jowls of their new lupine companion. Only after a mad league did Shmuggles relent, stopping to pant and gorge himself upon river water. The aged orc glanced quizzically at the Blackrock dagger hanging from his belt, the same blade with which Shokkra had tickled his gut. He could have sworn to the ancestors that the woman had stolen it from him. One day he would need to interrogate Boneslave as to how the putrid knight came to repossess the dagger. For now, Khorvis was content to pat the wolf's mane and catch his breath. "I do think we will call you Mash'rogahn, boy." Khorvis felt the shoulder muscles of his mount flex with pride. "Willful Heart, which you clearly do own." The warrior's right gauntlet clenched in a fistful of fur. The Hand of Ashran was a vise and before Mash'rogahn could react, Khorvis shoved the wolf's entire head beneath the river's current. Great thrashing and gurgled howls shook the embankment, but the orc was as immovable as an ancient knotty ironwood. Mai'kull's voidcaller darted to and fro in a dash of worry, uncertain of what this mad orc was trying to do, but Edgar only stood stupidly with his mouth agape, admiring the strength of his master. "You must learn who do be the alpha of this pack," Khorvis growled as the scrambling of paws grew more frantic. The water was frothing with silt as Rogahn's snout dug into the riverbed. "If you do wish to be fed and rest your head within my den, you would do best to acknowledge your place, runt!" As the air ran out in the wolf's lungs, a realization came to the fore, along with a shiver and then the touching of a grey belly to the earth with bent legs. The Hand released. Mash'rogahn wrenched his soaking head from the Southfury and laid down before Khorvis. Whimpering and heaving out no small amount of riverwater and mud, the war wolf kept his snout to the earth and looked up at the orc through his great big sapphire eyes. Khorvis did not fail to notice that the beast's tail continued to wag, belying any masquerade at hurt. "There now," he said almost gently, as if he had not just nearly drowned the animal. "Did that be so bloody hard?" Khorvis stood up, letting the wolf's sweat and river's muck drip from his mechanical prosthetic. "What do you say we all enjoy a calm walk to the North... aye, Bes'thra‽" He shouted at the old kodo which was just now catching up. The burdened matriarch displayed a lack of enthusiasm for her new role and could only muster a decidedly annoyed grunt as she passed the party. The Southfury River churned between the barrier cliffs of Orgrimmar and the Mor'shan Ramparts as it had since the Sundering. An'she's afternoon rays played along the spray of the rapids which misted the water-worn rocks. Lichen clung to the shaded areas, tinting the shadows green. Where the banks had withstood the pressure, rough granite provided purchase for gnarled cedars and spruces to thrive. Khorvis let his gloveless left hand run over their furrowed bark, enjoying the familiarity of the terrain and the closeness to nature. The little spaces caught his attention, the small crevices where life took root and tiny rodents burrowed. For a moment, Khorvis had the odd sensation of seeing through his empty eye - not viewing the living world as it was, but as if time were quickly passing. The life cycles of the lizards sunning themselves upon the warm rocks, their skin curling away and leaving behind sun-bleached bones. Embankments fell away into the waters below, carrying with them pines which quickly shed yellowing, dead needles mid-plunge. An aged Tauren paddled down the river in a roughly hewn canoe, a young Brave standing at the craft's bow. As the Brave turned, the Elder had lain against the stern and ceased breathing. The Brave, now turning grey and frail, cast a white linen cloth over the bones of his ancestor. They both disappeared behind a rapid. Fiercely blinking, Khorvis dispelled the image, and the world righted itself into the lazy afternoon through which the little caravan meandered. These visions were becoming more common ever since his return from the Shadowlands. Uncertain of their origin, though he suspected the infection of his eye wound, Bloodstar made a mental note to bring it to the attention of the next Elder with whom he spoke. For now, the river babbled along mundanely. Part Two It occurred to Khorvis that his troop neared the ruins of the ill-fated brewery that he had abandoned some years ago. After crossing an aged stone bridge, likely of Kaldorei make, to the Azsharan side, they slowed their pace. Khorvis listened closely to the woodland sounds and scanned the bases of the pines. Edgar flanked to the right, wraithwalking between each elongated shadow. Above the warbling of the swallowlings and the swishing of the river, sarcastic laughter could be heard between what sounded like two orcs. Entering the brewery site's main clearing, the party came to the wide dilapidated and overgrown foundation, once intended to support the sizable facility's main building. Between the weather-worn granite blocks quarried from the nearby cliffs crackled a small campfire. A gnarled orc hunched on a log, prodding the pitiful embers with a metal rod. Scarred across the face with a nasty burn that had failed to heal properly, Grik'nish spat into the weeds through a twisted snarl. Once a dark shaman loyal to the fallen Warchief Hellscream, the fugitive orc appeared to have fallen upon hard times, if the gauntness of his face and state of his armor were of any indication. A clatter of logs punctuated the precarious mood of the clearing. Towering eight feet tall and helmetless, Oggok Ug’throk stared imposingly at Khorvis and his company, having dropped his armful of kindling. Grik'nish's head snapped up at the noise, his feral black eyes narrowing at the sight of strangers. "Nish. Company," Ug'throk bellowed in his deep bass. The dark shaman was already getting to his feet, cursing and scrambling for his cudgel. "Who in the name of Thrall's hairless nads... did they track us from Ogrimma-!" "Bloodstar?!" wailed Grik'nish. Khorvis had come to a halt, leading Mash'rogahn by the harness. Huffing and shaking her tusks, Bes'thra paused at the side, her shadow covering a skittish voidcaller. The Lasher curled the edge of his lip in a grunt that exposed both a tusk and a sickening sense of disgust for his find, as when one lifts a stone to reveal a colony of venomous centipedes. Beyond the guttural bark and a pair of crossed arms, Khorvis provided no other reply. A sucking of mud resounded from Grik'nish's boot clomping forward in the residue of spring's melt before the orc halted with hesitation. He glanced at his oversized partner and made a hasty motion. "Well. Ain't this a fancy surprise." The screechy worm spat again, this time with unnecessary emphasis. "Last we did see your nasty arse, it was covered in rotter guts while you lost your damn mind!" Despite his brave words, the shaman's only remaining ear laid back against the thinning hair of his skull. Oggok tried to mirror 'Nish's obscene smile but only managed to look like a fool as he flanked the Grim warrior. "Zug zug, boss. We thought you was gonna be a deader too." The giant kept his hands raised, purposefully showing that they were empty. It would matter little - those huge paws could crush a Halfhill melon as quick as an eggshell. "Aye, I did be dead, gone, and returned. No thanks to the two of you fools," riddled Khorvis. "Seeing how you both do still be dirtgrubbing and drawing breath, you might count yourselves fortunate that I do not flay you both on the spot for your cowardice." The warrior patted the dagger at his belt. "I do think it would be best if you moved along..." His two boots were planted squarely apart. Grik'nish had a brow covered in sweat as he waved his hands and tried to placate his surprise guest. "No! ...No reason to be so pussin' hasty, brother!" The wind began to pick up, whipping the tops of Azshara's pines. "We just ah - was thinkin' about that payment you promised! Remember the gold you said you set aside for the Tirisfal job?" The grin plastered on the orc's face was about as real as the palm tree in Everlook's tavern - the eyes were always a giveaway. Oggok Ug’throk charged first. The huge orc would have crashed into Khorvis had Edgar not taken that moment to shadowstep above the melee and drop before Ug'throk's face with a gap-toothed grin that sent the pair cartwheeling past Bes'thra in a tumble of bones and muscle. Bloodstar's sidestep also avoided a windshear flung by Grik'nish that split a fir tree some few paces to the rear. Khorvis huffed and drew his Blackrock dagger, set to gut the upstart shaman on the spot. "Stupid choice, you goatsucking peon. You forget your place - and the second chance I did give yoUR-!" His taunt was cut off as his chin clipped the earth. Ropey roots shot out of the ground and snaked their way around Khorvis's ankles, trapping him prostrate and defenseless. No matter how hard he struggled, the tendrils only constricted more tightly, wrapping upwards and threatening to cut off his windpipe. A baleful cackle arose from the throat of his adversary. "Not so tough without your whip, are ya 'Griiiiiiimey'!" Grik'nish licked his lips and stalked towards a Khorvis that was gasping for breath. The mace smacked menacingly in the shaman's palm. "No, as much as I wish I could make ya suffer, you're just too fuckin' dangerous to let loose. Mad dog!" He giggled, raising the cudgel over his head, ready to bring it down in a crushing blow upon Bloodstar's cranium. "Mad dog! Put 'em down! Put 'em GAH-!" Grik'nish's scream was silenced as Mash'rogahn's maw collapsed around his throat. A sickening crack resounded throughout the trees as the wolf tore out the orc's larynx, spraying gouts of piping hot lifesblood across the granite foundations of the brewery. Two great paws pinned Grik'nish's shoulders to the trampled weeds as the beast shredded what remained of the orc's neck, until a triumphant snout arose clenching a limp head tenuously attached to a broken spinal column. The ropey roots dropped inanimately from Khorvis's body. He scrambled to his feet, regaining his footing while taking in the gory splendor that Rogahn was enjoying. Bloodstar had seen the most brutal of close combat between hated enemies, whether they were orcs or humans, but this primal evisceration presented a spectacle too gruesome to celebrate. Backing away, fully cognizant that the shaman was beyond anything resembling life, the Blackrock dagger and its owner sought out the grapple between Boneslave and the giant. Edgar had tried to toy with the great oaf. Slipping between the tree-shadows, the deathknight managed only to infuriate Oggok - by the time Khorvis arrived, Boneslave's neck was pinned by a bulging bicep. Edgar's hacking laughter served only to disguise his Master's approach. Khorvis dug the fingerpads of the Hand of Ashran into Oggok's eye sockets and yanked the orc's head backwards. "I do think you should have kept running, coward." Unceremoniously, the Lasher dragged his dagger across the Kor'kron's neck. The skin split and forth spilled a river of what Bloodstar should have undammed several years prior. Oggok Ug’throk's head slumped forwards, taking with it the vengeance of untold innocent lives. Wiping the gore upon his leathers, Khorvis let his gaze sweep over the unsteady ensemble of limbs called Boneslave before attending his new mount. Mash'rogahn was licking his chops gleefully. A stark contrast could be drawn between the spray of red ichor decorating the worg's silver mane, yet Khorvis could only feel a sense of relief at seeing the living health of his newly adopted brother. "Mash'rogahn, you do have a warrior's spirit within those foolish bones," Khorvis muttered as he scooped the sweetmeats from Grik'nish's shattered skull. Upon the wolf's panting snout and brow he painted the orcish runes of strength and alacrity. "This day we together we have charged into battle. Let this be your Om'riggor." Were Khorvis a more sentimental orc, he might have embraced the wolf. Instead, Azsharan sunset would be content to sparkle in his wet eyes.
  22. "She learned quickly." I remarked to Saelene. Saelene agreed. "She's a natural. She'll be fine with her new family." "They are a good couple, and seem to have loved the idea of adoption. And appointing Maxim as a teacher for her should prove wise." "I agree." Little Yana was safe now. "It was fun for a time, don't you think, raising a kid?" Saelene chuckled. "Ha! That's not raising a kid that's feeding one for a few weeks. I'm sure raising one for twenty years is a whole nother story." I nodded. "Certainly not something we'd be doing. We've got other concerns in our life." Saelene nodded. "Course. Everyone has their place in life. We know ours." "Indeed."
  23. It’s not as easy as it looks. When it’s quiet, and it often is, I can feel it scratching at the back of my skull, twisting in my gut, clawing at my heart, and it all comes together in a scream welling up within my chest with a madness that tears through my body, demanding expression. Demanding release. But I can’t. I can’t let it out. I can’t, and then the rage sets in as that feeling gnashes at its prison bars and paces away again, trembling with frustration and the promises of what it’ll do once it gets free. And it’s not this *thing* I was left with from the Hold. Or, it’s not just that thing, though that thing does not help. Is it heartache? Is it boredom? Impatience? Doubt? Grief? I have experienced them all before – some more than others. I am familiar with them in cleanly cut doses, meted out over time. But what is time, now, other than a joke? Nothing has its place anymore. There is no outlet. And neither is there an end. And this thing is a razor wire tangled and twisted around on itself, coiling ever tighter, snapping and lashing. I am its center, and it is mine. So I have to wonder what they see when they see me moving through the crowds. Can they feel the shards within myself stirred to a frenzy, longing to explode outward and rip through all of the flesh and bone and candy-coated complacency around me with exquisite, cathartic violence? Or am I a picture of normalcy with nothing but my scent to give me away to a select few, who, even then, don’t seem to notice my overwhelming desire to rend the universe in two in order to find my way home. Ignoring all of that. Being mundane. None is as easy as it looks. Maybe it’s this awful hair color.
  24. I submitted some answers and also posted in the thread Kerala posted in GenDisc.
  25. (( Bump because this is tomorrow! (or I guess technically today if you're on the east coast).))
  26. Headshots of my three main characters, mostly drawn as an exercise in making sure I can make their faces look different. Then their personalities came through too.
  27. [[ The next, less dour, chapter following Grief. ]] The zeppelin flight from Tirisfal to Orgrimmar had left Khorvis covered from head to toe in kodo vomit. Bes'thra, the orc's trusty mount for the many campaigns since the Horde landed upon Kalimdor's shores, was having none of the early spring turbulence patterns that gusted 'round the Maelstrom. Despite Khorvis's best efforts to placate the wailing beast, wave after wave of partially digested dehydrated dwarf meat (as was her favorite) splashed through the Thundercaller's hold. Considering the unruly headwind and the extended trip, Khorvis emerged from the Skyway's lift in a mood foul enough to sour springwater. The Voidcaller which had lingered about the Harbinger since his return from the Shadowlands ghosted beside Edgar, who scampered by his master's side with Bes'thra in sickly tow, making pitiful soothing motions only to be swatted at by a meaty fist. "Stop it! Just bloody stop!" the orc yelled, completely losing his temper. "I just do need a moment to think! Hands to yourselves!" Boneslave recoiled in fear, retreating to Bes'thra to check the kodo's harness and straps which secured the majority of his master's worldly possessions. Given the age and condition of the creature, it was unlikely that she was any longer suited for combat. A beast of burden and the caravan would be her retirement. Khorvis watched the elevator ascend away and sniffed the air of Durotar. Chilly, and with the same sweaty musk that soaked the old timbers of the capital, albeit quieter now that the bulk of the war machine was engaged on the Broken Isles. A few peddlers wheeled their carts down the path into The Drag. A rogue wind blew a whirlwind of dust along the same road, and Khorvis, giving in to what was either habit or instinct, followed. The early morning sounds of Orgrimmar's less desirable quarter were familiar to the orc. The clanging of the scrapper's hammer, irregular in the haze of a hangover. A shouted quarrel between a domineering warrioress and her browbeaten mate. The leather hawker's barking, overselling what were clearly the under-tanned hides of sickly gazelles. All of these noises harangued over the constant creak of the shade sails which hung at the canyon's crest. Ignoring the wastrels, Khorvis marched onward along the curving path. These cretins that holed up in Orgrimmar's cliffsides were to him nothing but cowards. The aged and the children were to be forgiven, for they would only be dead weight in the war against the Legion, but many of those still rotting in The Drag were orcs, trolls, and goblins in their prime. In his life before the Grim, Khorvis would have been counted among them, were it not for the wise urging of a wily troll. Their selfish stench now disgusted the veteran. The caravan and the gust of wind came to a stop at a small pool near Nogg's machine shop. With the spreading of tiny waves and fleeing muddy crawfish, the dustdevil subsided, leaving the orc and his band without a guide. Edgar led Bes'thra to the water's edge with an uncanny gentleness to let the kodo drink her fill. Harumphing, Khorvis sat his own self down upon the dock to consider his next move. The Voidcaller - Khorvis would need to designate a name for the minion if it refused to depart - caught up with the party, its arms overflowing with scrolls and inks. Clearly it had been to the Mighty Pen to patron the great scribe, Zilzibin Drumlore, to procure what the elemental assumed its old master would require. Khorvis only grunted and gestured towards Bes'thra. Drumlore would likely be sending a blighted invoice for the lot, but he had too little energy to scold the shadowling. Instead, Khorvis gazed into the pool and thought back to the words he had exchanged recently with Elder Duskheron... The Taureness sat at the Filthy Animal's bar, nursing some Vry'kul-brewed swill. She explained her understanding of her relationship with the elements. "They are your guide. I let the waters mend our comrades, as that is what their blood is mostly made of." She seemed thoughtful. "Though I suppose there is a little bit of each element within us. The air of our breath, the earth in our bones. And the fire in our hearts." Khorvis seemed skeptical. "You call them guides, these elementals. Why not command them properly as subordinates? Would this not be more efficient in battle?" Elder Duskheron chided the orc, explaining, "Do you not trust your axe in battle, that your swing will be true thanks to training? Time. Practice. Patience. With these things, you will grow into your own power." The truth of it dawned upon the orc in a flurry. "Ah, I do think I now see. The blademaster trusts in his sword when it do be cared for. When he knows that the smith worked his forge in earnest and tempered an honest blade." Khorvis went on to describe the leadership methods of Warchief Doomhammer during the Second War, and Duskheron cordially nodded along, her muzzle smiling behind her mug of ale. The night drifted on, the two exchanging thoughts on the nature of command, until they were both summoned to the Nighthold, to serve the Mandate. Khorvis's reverie was disturbed, as was the pool's stillness, by a great splashing. A quaking goblin was screaming with both hands outstretched. Her palms were ripped and bleeding, the culprit being immediately obvious having flounced into the small body of water after tearing the reins away from his handler. A massive war wolf thrashed and shook in the weedy waters, spraying all of the onlookers with scummy waves. The Kor'kron of Garrosh Hellscream had been cruel masters, bedecking the proudest of wolves with armor that would break the backs of lesser creatures. A great many of the beasts had needed to be put down at the close of the Siege, so abused had they been by the traitor Warchief's dark shaman. Not this specimen. Unruly and full of vigor, the wolf howled and stared a direct challenge at the soaking Bloodstar. Its grey coat glistened in the morning light of An'she, filtered through the massive tree at The Drag's center. Fully armored in the bone raiment of the Kor'kron, the alpha presented a fearsome visage. Khorvis was no stranger to the training of these murderous mounts. An overzealous flog could whip itself to a nub against such a proud beast, while a timid hand would be torn from its owner's limb in a snapping second. This one required a firm hand to guide it. To direct its vicious nature into a strategic outlet. He approached, palm outstretched unyieldingly. Willful Heart, or Mash'rogahn as Khorvis would take to calling the worg in the days that followed, inched forward to sniff the orc's flesh. It was in that instant, soaked in pond scum and rank with kodo vomit beneath the shade sails of The Drag, that a powerful connection was awoken between Bloodstar and the wolf. It stretched back in time, to the early days of the Horde, a commitment to principles of loyalty and honor, bound in blood and an indescribable lust for the wild reaches of one's nature. In the present, the gobliness continued screaming at the vile-drenched orc who was stealing her prized worg. "BLAHHH!!! What do you think you're doing, you lout!" She tucked her lacerated palms beneath her armpits and hopped up and down in a fury. "If you wanna canoodle this blasted fleabag, you can dang well pay for him!" The handler had obviously had enough of caring for the war mount, given the state of her agitation. "But I won't part with Shmuggles for cheap...!" Khorvis, his fingers already in 'Shmuggle's' mane, scratching the great worg's neck, considered the beast. Bes'thra was past her prime, the journey across the Great Sea had made quite clear. He would require a proper mount to continue his journey - whatever the fel The Commander had meant - and the coincidence of an encounter with such a wolf beggared belief. "I will take him." Bloodstar responded succinctly. Edgar sent the goblin handler on her way with a pouch of gold coins that left the woman blessedly speechless. Shmuggles pawed cheerfully in the pool with his gigantic pads while Khorvis adjusted his harness. He paid careful attention to the worg's movements, accepting that the spirits had brought to him so obvious a furry guide. "Water it do be, then... Shmuggles...hrmph." Khorvis growled under his breath as he mounted the worg. "We do need to amend this name of yours. It do be an embarrassment." Shmuggles only whined in response, his coat bristling. He had grown thoroughly bored with The Drag and was ready to explore other paths. "Right you do be. If there do be one place that I know to find strange spirits, it do be the headwaters of the Southfury RivE-!" Without Khorvis finishing his sentence, the Kor'kron war wolf charged off towards the Western bridge. "Gah!" Bloodstar exclaimed as Edgar and the rest struggled to keep pace. "A willful heart you do have!"
  28. It’s just a finger. I keep telling myself that. I keep telling others that, and they look at me like they’re not sure how to react to my calmness about the whole thing. It could have been so much worse. And the doctor fixed it up as best he could. My date from the auction a while back. He was not at all what I expected. He was nice. “Booze money,” the finger stealer said, and “Be glad it’s just the finger I got paid for.” That was after he made me tell him which of my hands I use more. He cut the finger off the other hand. He wasn’t unnecessarily cruel, and he didn’t seem to take exceptional pleasure in the task. He was huge, and spikey, and so strong. It could have been so, so much worse. But people don’t consider what could have happened, only what did. But it’s only a finger. For now, at least. What did happen, what I did lose, doesn’t frighten me. But what’s next? A hand? My head? Just watching my back all the time, waiting for a next strike? Every time I remember the grip of death’s tendrils around my waist, yanking me into that alley. Every time I envision those frosty blue eyes before me. Every time I catch my breath, remembering that huge plate gauntlet around my neck. Every time the stump of my pinky finger throbs, or an itch settles on a digit that is no longer there, I wonder. Who paid him? At first, I thought of Skylah. She knows who I am, or thinks she does. Would she have paid someone to mutilate my hand as payback for what was done to hers? Then I found out that the Cardman received my finger as a gift. It was even wrapped up in pretty paper. He didn’t seem to have a clue who sent it. But I did. I knew it wasn’t Skylah. She would not have sent it to the Cardman. At least, I don’t think she would. She didn’t seem the type to send grisly presents like that. I know of one who does send such gifts though, and if my suspicions are correction, this won’t be the end of it. But I can’t tell anyone, not without revealing my own identity. So I balance the risk of my safety against the new life I've begun to build for myself. It is not an easy choice, especially without any way of being certain of who's behind the attack. Aside from the sisters, who I never see any more, and Lilly, who I avoid, nobody else has shown any sign of knowing who I really am. Until last night. I tried to play dumb, but he wouldn’t have it. He said we would talk later, somewhere quiet. I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to that meeting, or dreading it. In any case, although he could certainly make things difficult for me if he chose to, I am confident he can't hurt me, not without straining a long-standing trust with someone else.
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