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  1. Last week
  2. Qabian

    Time Shattered

    It should be enough. It should be enough just to hate. I shouldn't need reasons. Garithos was the reason I offered whenever a reason was demanded. He was reason enough, too. I shouldn't She doesn't understand. Hate is easy. It is warm and strong. It protects from all manner of harm. I didn't need reasons to hate. We were just predators, preying on the weak, the lesser, those who would grow and learn and die too fast to remember the techniques we could focus on for decades. We didn't need reasons. Yes, they gave us reasons, but we didn't need them. They weren't my friends. I didn't lose anyone close to me. Not to them. The only thing that killed them was the Scourge, and the Scourge was what? A disease of the world? Arthas and Kel'thuzad can take a lot of blame for being weak and lesser, for falling for trap after trap after trap. Dar'khan can take some blame, for being power hungry, a grand failing of our kind, and his sweet little mutant children overrunning Stormwind now are what happen when you open the gates for death. But even though they weren't my friends, I was too close to what happened to them. It changed me. It changed what made me hesitate. I was always more violent than not, and though I was never demanding, I resolved I never would be. I would never be like them. I would never take the way they did. I would only destroy. She doesn't understand. How could she? Who does understand? A wolf without its pack is prey, and I've been without my pack for too long. The Grim stands in for them, but the Grim failed me. I was prey. More than once. I've learned not to rely on them. The Grim feed the hate, but they do not understand it. They don't need to. I shouldn't need to. She shouldn't need to. Hate should be enough, in and of itself. It does not need reasons to exist. It only needs to burn. It only needs to consume everything in its path. That's all it needs. She is an obsession, a dangerous path with no way to turn from it. Even if I try, I'll always find myself back on the same road. And I have given her everything. Of my own free will. Everything. Prey again, without my pack. The other needs to ask better questions. I don't think she wants to ask better questions. I don't think she wants what she says she wants, to do something for me, which is good, because she won't get it, but I'll get what I want, words and questions, the sound of my own voice, amusement at what nothing can cause. Be careful giving words too much power. They don't have any of their own. The cat disagrees, but also puts a point on the possibility that the only power they have is mischief. I need to spend a week in Suramar to remember what we should have been, but Feralas calls. I don't need brothers, but I'm glad of them, nonetheless, if only for the hope they give. Yes, hope. I like that people assume I know nothing but ruthless cruelty. I like knowing I can drive hate so easily. That doesn't mean I know nothing of things outside hatred. What do I know? I know more than those who worship at its feet. I know more than those who wear it on their sleeves and on their banners. I know because I run from it and it hunts me down. I know because I do not want it, do not need it, and yet I have it. Killing me with kindness would be much more difficult than even the ridiculousness of the cliché implies. Boring me with kindness might be manageable. I suppose maybe you could bore me to death with it? But even then, either you're the sort of kind hearted person I either destroy or walk away from, or you're not a kind hearted person and I take the opportunity to dismantle your kindness, find the motive in it, make you regret ever having plied me with it in the first place. Or you're the kind of person who's better at playing my games than I am. There aren't many of those, so I don't fear them though I probably should. The team building silliness at least takes my mind off the menacing truths running deep under everything I do these days. I would definitely prefer to watch from the sidelines, but that's better managed when other people are on the dais than when I am. And if it makes them stronger, then so be it. I'll take my loss of dignity and chalk it up to forging bonds or some other useless lie. That Eye is pointless. It saw the obvious but not the dexterous. You can tell the truth and not tell the truth at the same time, and how can one device detect that nuance? You can tell the truths that don't matter and neglect the ones that do. There is a way to get every truth from me, and it is actually quite simple, but who actually finds that much value in truth?
  3. Earlier
  4. Qabian

    Time Shattered

    Oh no. Oh no no no no. I just realized. The other possibilities. None of this is good. None of it. I think I can keep it from... going entirely off the rails? But it's a mess. Don't they know nothing comes of this? I learned my lesson. I'll play the games and say the words all I want, but it's going nowhere. Besides, behind closed doors, I'm worse. In every possible way. Mm, almost every possible way. They have no idea how much worse I really am. There's only one place I go for truth.
  5. Dangrus Cober

    A Horble Thret

    It was a beautiful day in Elwynn Forest. The birds were chirping, the cows were mooing as they wandered about unfettered... and the sewer crocodiles that had escaped to the sewage pond outside of Stormwind dragged a particularly careless one to its untimely death. At one of the local farmsteads, a seasonal worker was getting fired. Amidst the relative tranquility and the goings on of the kingdom's residents, a newcomer marched with purpose down the road. With eyes that gleamed with ferocity, upturned nose held high, and scales that shined in the sun, a brown spotted colored Sethrak moved towards the city's gates with purpose! Only to come face to face with a patrol of mounted riders, tasked with protecting the kingdom from the Horde and other threats who had, as of late, invaded and sowed chaos at an unacceptable rate. "HALT, SNAKE!" The patrol's captain motioned for his soldiers to stop, and halfway surround them, "You will go no further!" "HOW DARE!" The Sethrak yelled back, its neck instinctively flattening to make the back of its head and neck wider... presumably to look fierce, "Hoomans go away! I has messij for king!" There was an awkward moment of silence as the captain was... in essence dumbstruck with how spoken words could somehow be misspelled, but he pushed the befuddlement aside, "Stand down and surrender, and you will not b-" "GO 'WAY HOOMAN! AM DANGRUS!" The Sethrak huffed and puffed breaths in, and began to hiss, "EMPIRE DEMANZ SURR-ENDR!" "...um, sir?" One of the rookie patrolman spoke up after another few moments of awkward, befuddled silence, "What is it doing?" "How am I supposed to know? You and you, get off your horses and arrest it." The captain pointed to the rookie and one other guard, who looked at each other, shrugged, and dismounted. "NO TUCH!" The Sethrak hissed louder, tensing a puffing up even more, "I BITE!" The rookie and his partner, despite being faced with this... weird unknown, couldn't help but snort as a laugh escaped them. Undeterred, they began to approach, which caused the Sethrak to become even more defensive, coiling back into a defensive posture until!... ...it collapsed to the ground in a hissing, writhing heap. "What in the... Sir?!" One of the still mounted guards looked alarmed, concerned, but ultimately confounded as she watched the snake man flail about in the dirt in what looked to be a horribly acted death-throe. The guards backed up their horses, but otherwise all stayed where they were, as for the next minute or so the snake person kept on its death act, until finally laying still in a contorted pose... mouth agape, and forked tongue lolling off to the side. "I've had enough of this. Get that damn thing to the stockades and make SI:7 deal with it." The captain annoyedly ordered, turning his steed around back to the city gates, and motioning for the other mounted guards to follow. "You heard 'im." One of the dismounted guards went over, grabbing the Sethrak by its robe collar to try and force it to stand up, but finding it floppy and limp, though not in an actually dead way. Starting to get irritated, he tried to force it to turn over, only to express further frustration as it flipped back belly up, and did it again when he tried to right it once again. "For the love of the light, just throw it over your horse and let's go." "arrrggghh.... no tuch!" The Sethrak quietly hissed and muttered, oofing as it did get thrown over the back of one of the patrol horses, to be carted away into the city's gates, oggled at by the city's denizens, and then locked up to be attended to later.
  6. Such embolden courage would be set to a test as his lord was slow to answer, Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper would be forced to undergo an ordeal of tentative silence before there was at long last an answer. When it did finally give way to his lord’s voice, there was a sense of suspicion that tainted it. “Who is there?” “My Lord, it is I--” This was not the welcome he had expected, but it mattered not. He would subject himself to this final trail. It’s results determined the fate of this alliance. If he could not convince his lord, he would have to forgo the use of Sanctuary. He would have to improvise. He prayed it didn’t come to that. “--your ever faithful servant, Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper.” “Vathelan! Please, do come in, I’ve been hoping to speak with you!” That was closer to what he was hoping for, why the previous contention? Strange. But not something he could dwell upon. He had to keep focus. Rolling his sleeve back into place, he frowned at the white hairs that inevitably did linger from his visit to his office. A small silent sigh at the flaw in his presentation before he opened the door, barely remembering to put his glove back on as well as he presented his practiced pleasant demeanor worn over his face that infected his very tone-- no matter how much he truly meant the words. “I am pleased to see that you have returned, My Lord.” He, in turn, was greeted with the warmest smile that his lord’s marred face could muster. Marring that had come from his assistant, Miss Cat D’Aragon. “I am pleased to be back, there’s far too much to be done for me to be idle any longer. And I’d like to apologize to you, Vathlean. I know that I have not been terribly present for much of the time you have been here as liaison to the Scryers, and I believe that you’ve suffered for that. I am sorry; I hope to amend that going forward, especially once these Accords are ratified and we can start moving on some of the plans they detail.” “I have suffered worse in my lifetime, My Lord.” Vathelan shot his response as quickly as he could, bowing his head both in terms of respect and as to hide his true emotions from view as his mask of pleasantry threatened to crack. He may have told the truth, but that didn’t diminish the treatment and the insults he had been forced to endure in his lord’s absence. The fact that the Commander had allowed an Orcess to go unpunished for all her threats to his life and well being. The threats of removal from service. The lives such stonewalling threw away in the meantime. All of it. But, in the end… “I do appreciate the concern, but I don’t matter. What matters is the cost if we should fail our world.” Lord Cerryan responded with a stoic nod, making it impossible to tell if he bought the implications of Vathelan’s words. Or if he had seen beyond the persona the Magister was putting forward. “I don’t intend to see that happen, under any circumstances. That that end, I’d like to discuss finalizing the Accords with you so that by my authority as Marshal of Sanctuary I can sign the documents and make them official.” “Good. I am glad to see a voice of reason has returned to Sanctuary.” His pleasant tone remained as he lifted his gaze from his bow towards his lord once more. But at the pursing of Cerryan’s lips, he could tell it wasn’t enough to hide the bile from his mistreatment. So instead he would continue on to business proper as he moved to take out a folder with a sizable amount of paper within it from his satchel. He spoke as he set the numerous pages upon his lord’s desk. “I have revised a new draft of the document, it allows you an official direct line between us-- Warboss Bloodborne where applicable as well. I can go over all the changes with you, if that is your desire, my lord?” There was a slight widening of his lord’s eyes at the Accords, paperwork was never something of his strong suit. That was one of the reasons he was brought in, after all. After a moment Cerryan nodded, and Vathelan awarded him a small reassuring smile as a reward. “Yes, it seems we should go over anything you might have changed. I trust that outside of expanding the points of contact you will be working with, you haven’t modified any of the points that you and the Commander specifically agreed to. I am still working under her authority and intend on keeping the intent of her conditions, in the interests of Sanctuary’s sovereignty.” “The alterations are to allow efficiently and security of the war assets we will be granting you in light of recent events in order to ensure I was able to secure the Other, more final, signature required to make this document pass and in an attempt to make up for some of the wasted time it took to get this far-- but I assure you, my lord, my role has not changed. Nor am I interested in threatening sovereignty.” Vathelan set the new, revised edition of the document to the next one for comparison. It was mercifully shorter. And try as he might, he was unable to prevent himself from commenting on the implication made. “...Though one could quite reasonably take offense to such an insinuation. I am a professional. Not that she would particularly care, I am sure. She hasn’t seemed to in the past.” “I am really only interested in moving forward, in securing the assets that will help us win this war and empowering our people to better defend it. Enough time has been spent on indecision, for good reason to some extent, but at this point we need the extra resources. Both here and in Suramar.” Lord Cerryan picked up the new document and began to page through it for an initial scanning read. “I’ve no appetite for contentious personal opinions right now though, and will appreciate sticking to business until we’ve come to the signing.” Very Well. “You will noticed I removed much of the preface, that which stated the history of both groups to prove the point as to why we are compatible in terms of an alliance between us. The term of the Accords’ validity stay the same-- thirty days after an officially declared victory of this conflict as a sort of grace period should we seek to renegotiate terms of a continued partnership. It was fluff that may have been misconstrued in terms of legality. I will remain the Delegate-Ambassador that will serve as a representative of both organizations for the other. As such I will serve to fulfill Scryer interests here, and will serve to fulfill Sanctuary interests there.” He continued to recite his run down of the basics of the contract while Cerryan was allotted his chance to skim the Accords. “My service, besides ensuring both sides are treated fairly in terms of this treaty, will be in terms of requisitions for this war effort-- sadly, this will be incredibly costly and time consuming thanks to the insistence of running everything internally here rather than taking advantage of the larger infrastructure developed by the Scryers over their years as an organization. I must inform one of your officership of alterations and/or additions to anything relating to your new infrastructure that we will be required to construct. I am to manage these assets to ensure efficiency and security for all parties involved, but must follow command and will surrender reports should such be requested. Assets provided may or may not be limited to resources or weaponry for use on the field as per decided by said parties involved.” “We will be needing a diverse range of assets, to reinforce our own forces and resources against the Legion. Securing the final Pillar will open the path to stopping the invasion, but I grow ever more worried over how quiet the Broken Shore has been in the months since we arrived on the Isles. The accountability is a necessary facet of working with a third party, though my own experiences with the Scryers does not have me terribly worried.” Cerryan nodded as he continued working through the pages of the document. Smaller as it may be, it wasn’t short in length still. “There is… I believe it has already been discussed, but the insurance that sensitive information pertinent to Sanctuary remain within Sanctuary first, to be disseminated at our discretion. Our mission with the Relics and keeping them secure and not widely known is critical, and that aside; were there something like the a situation like miss Rylie, before she was sent off to board for her education, the sort of thing where the fewer external parties know the better. I have enough faith that it won’t arise as a point of concern, but assurance only fortifies faith.” “You will notice that the Vault and any mentions that could be related to such are entirely absent from the Accords. This is intentional.” An affirmation, a sign of faith. “The Scryers will, obviously, require tactical Intel however in order to further our battle-plans as we work the angles afforded to us that we have in play. This will keep our strategy running smoothly. That being said, I am both well aware as well as sympathetic to Sanctuary’s needs and desires for privacy in non-essential matters. This brings us to the compromise for both idealism and function in this ongoing crisis: To ensure the efficiency and satisfaction for both parties, I am to oversee and manage the assets brought in with a certain level of autonomy within reason. For example: All plausible services will be ran internally as well as I will be running under the officerships related to my duties. This requires me to submit to their authority and surrender anything in terms of collected Intelligence upon request. I must also inform you should I apply new or altered assets.” “I find that to be more than an acceptable compromise, and I trust you genuinely in the role you’ll be playing in this. For the most part I think that you reporting primarily to me makes sense, given my authority here and my relationship with the Scryers, unless I become unavailable or the criticality of a given matter requires the direct attention of the Commander. I will otherwise still be reporting Scryer-Sanctuary interactions with her, but at least for the Suramar campaign I will be in control of assets deployed to the front.” “And I will be reporting applicable concerns and solutions to the officership that is responsible for the relevant issue. Cooperation is required for us to with this war. None of us will be effective on their own, my lord.” Magister Vathelan presented the final page for his lord, an set of lines ready to be filled laid before Cerryan. One for Vathelan, One for him. The final was already filled out by a great man, the Seer who lead the Scryers to victory since their foundation. “And in that spirit, I would appreciate you calling a meeting of Sanctuary’s officership in the near future-- at their convenience of course-- as to ensure we are all on the same page in terms of what I plan to install within the coming months.” The Paladin nodded in agreement with the Magister. ‘I think that is a wise idea. I know both Baern and Vilmah have vested interest in the resources afforded by the Accords, and I think that after finally signing, it will be good to circle up and discuss how it’s going to impact things going forward.” “And I shall be happy to serve them.” Frostwhisper removed a pen from a case within his pocket and pressed with a gently but firm finger tip upon the back to make the vial inside bleed its enchanted ink upon the bladed edge. “If there is nothing else…” He offered the writing utensil to his lord. With a final sweep through the last few pages of the slimmer revised version of the Accords, Lord Cerryan Vyel was silent for a moments as he left Vathelan’s pen to awkwardly linger. He took a breath. Was something wrong? Vathelan tried to banish the creeping doubts. And then, at last, Lord Cerryan nodded and took the pen. He pressed it to the paper, his name coming out as a flowing script upon the line designated for him. “There, it is done, after much ado.” “Indeed. I already have the paperwork for the first series of orders pre-written. Considering the time it is going to take to synthesize the Arcane Communications Relay Crystal for the required infrastructure upgrades, I thought it prudent to cut out as much delay as possible.” His heart raced as he held his hand out back for his pen, he was so close to his second major victory in this entire campaign. “...So much to do, but at long last… We are finally upon the right path. We can do it, Sir. We can save this world.” “That is the goal, Vathelan. That is the dream.” He handed the pen back to the awaiting Magister. “That is everything.” “And it is my job to make such a dream possible, sir.” Vathelan smiled as he took the pen, at long last signing a document he had spent what had felt like an eternity to push through. His expression betrayed the joy and pride he felt in this hard earned victory as he pulled the pen from paper to admire the proof of his little footnote in history. Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper, the poor bastard of an orphan all those years ago, the author of a document that would help lead to this world’s salvation from oblivion. If he could help it, this would be merely the beginning. He would prove he was worth more than anyone had bargained for. “And for the Arcane Notary…” His hand raised, his fingers forming a snap. It was a simple spell, but with it the ink’s magic ignited to make the document official. “There. I will need to deliver the treaty back to Headquarters, so that it can be secured so we can finally begin to realize our goal. Was there anything else you needed from me while I’m still here, my lord?” “For now, all I need is for these Accords to be submitted and made official as soon as possible. Afterwards I’d like to talk with you about involvement in the Suramar campaign, but I would put nothing above your current task.” Cerryan placed a hand upon the Magister’s shoulder. “Thank you for the work you’ve done, Vathlean. We will be better for it, and I’m sure it’s something Draco would’ve been proud of. Now. Be off, then. And come back as soon as you can. Oh, and send my warmest regards to Voren’thal. It has been some time since I’ve visited the old Seer.” “Y-you’re most welcome, Sir. That means… more than you know, coming from you, Sir-- My Lord, Sir.” Vathelan flushed with both embarrassment and the lingering shame. The touch of one of his heroes, his kind words, Vathlean deserved none of them as far as he was concerned. He bowed his head before trying to excuse himself before he ruined the moment further with his blustering as he collected the document. He needed air, air away from a man he admired so. Before leaving he halted at the door. “I will be around-- of course-- should you… should you need me, my office is the small one next to Praetor Baern’s. In case you didn’t know.” And with one final bow he made his departure from a hard fought victory. With Sanctuary, and the protection provisions he had put in place to buy him some more time, he knew he had significantly raised their chances of winning this war. But would it be enough? He didn’t know. He could only keep working to make it so.
  7. “Vathelan, there is no more time. The Legion is here, laying siege to our world and threatening our people like never before. We need to utilize every resource we have to stop them. You know that Draco would agree, if he could see how high the stakes were.” The scene from the night previous played within his mind over and over as Magister Frostwhisper marched up to his office with a black coffee in hand. How perfect that moment had felt, like out of some novel he would have written in the decades after this was all over, where the golden light of the setting sun was captured within the paladin’s armor. So perfect Vath had forgotten to ask about the recent scars that marred his lord’s once beautiful face. “The Accords. Bring them to my office as soon as you can. We are finishing this, so that our real work can begin.” Vathlean fished out the key to his office from his satchel that held the precious document he was promised would finally be signed. He set it within the door-- only to pause as he felt it was unlocked already. He felt a sense of dread sink within his stomach. Had his lord acted too late? Had they caught on to Vath’s plots already? Cautiously he removed his key from the door to his office, attempting to make as little noise as possible. He didn’t want to alert the intruder on the other side of the door to his presence. While his motions to set his key back into his satchel were slow and controlled, his mind raced. Who was it? What did they want? What had they found? Where had he made the mistake that had gotten him caught? He stood there for nearly a minute as he deliberated, eventually coming to the conclusion that he was only going to make himself more suspicious as he stood in front of his door like this. Instead he would have to brave whatever lay before him, His arm went behind his back, conjuring water and drastically dropping the temperature to make a makeshift weapon to defend himself with as used his hand with the half cup of coffee to turn the door knob. He was not prepared for what was on the other side of the door. Where he had expected one of Raeventus’s Inquisitors, he instead found a tiny ball of white fluff trot towards him. It mewed expectantly, forcing the Magister to smile and bite back a small chuckle at his paranoia as he dismissed the spell… the chunk of ice dropping to the floor as he removed his glove and pulled up on of the sleeves of his uniform so that he could pick up the tiny creature while trying to prevent her white hairs from scattering all upon him before his important meeting. If little Munchkin was here, then her owner should be nearby as well. It didn’t take long for his eyes to spy the form of the scrunched up Death Knight who was still like a corpse. Carrying the little creature in one hand, he approached the woman before nudging her with his foot as he set the cup where it would be at her eye level. “You look like you could use this more than I.” She was slow to stir, it took a few seconds for her to even respond to the nudge. Blearily she halfway opened her eyes to look up in his direction. “Hnnwha…?” Oh, sir… sorry, sir…” she muttered as she yawned. “I must’ve fallen asleep after feeding Munchkin… I wanted to see you, but you weren’t here.” “It must have been important, if it was after business hours.” A smile that had formed naturally from seeing the kitten only grew as rolled his wrist to swish the coffee within its cup, still warm. “What can I do for you, Miss Cat?” Cat shakily stood and took the cup from his hands. She held it in her palms to warm them before she spoke. “...I’ve been in a pickle, sir. I’m just starting to climb out of it, but I figured you ought to know everything since it affects the way I’ll be helping you out in the future.” She looked down into the coffee, not daring to take a sip yet. “You know I was with the Ebon Blade when they attacked Light’s Hope Chapel. I’m sure everyone does… What I didn’t know is that Cerryan was one of the paladins that I injured, that day.” She continued before Vathelan had the chance to process this new information. “I didn’t know until T’suro told me, because I tried turning myself in. T’suro suggested I turn myself in to Cerryan, since he’s one of the people I hurt. I figured it was the right thing to do, so I did, but… he didn’t want to spare a moment on me. Like at all. That’s my judgement, I guess, that I wasn’t worth judgement. So… all I can do now to make up for the wrongs I’ve done is try and do good deeds. That’s why I wanted to see you. To see if maybe there’s anything I can do for you, to help save people. Like you always say you’re trying to do.” “...I...see…” The smile was gone, instead the cool mask of the Magister he used to hold to so often since he started trying to get get this alliance forged took its place. With a couple steps he found himself to where his chair was within his tiny office where he took his seat as he let the new information and its implications sink it. At the change in tone and demeanor, Cat lowered her eyes towards the dark liquid in the cup. The silence must have been deafening. “...I know I’ve done terrible things, sir. I don’t have any excuses for myself. All I can do is offer my services, and hope that I can help people. I’m a death knight, people hate me. I’ve already died more than once, so I know what death is. I also know I’m expendable.” That phrase lingered between them as she swallowed. “...so… whatever that means to you… I’m willing to do whatever I need to do to do some good before whatever is going to happen to me happens.” For minutes that felt like hours after she finished her plea, he remained silent as his stare lingered upon her. He was conflicted as the realization that those marrings upon his lord were her doing, and yet… that was nothing compared to what he had sent her to. Was such pettiness worth the fate of the world from neglecting such an asset? Of course not. He had a mission. A purpose that needed to be fulfilled, by any means necessary. He would continue his narrative, he had to. And at last, he finally spoke with a low and quiet tone. “...I know all too well what it means to be hated. If you are sincere in your desire to make amends; to dedicate your service to saving the world… I can’t do it alone, so I will accept this as your atonement. As it will be mine as well.” Miss Cat nodded slowly, but otherwise remained silent as she ventured a step toward to put down the cup he had offered her. “Then it is settled.” The Magister returned his own nod. “We’ll save this world. Together. And in doing so we’ll spurn those who hate us, who wish us to fail. Through this act, through our sacrifice we shall find our redemption. Are you with me?” She raised her eyes to meet his own. There was a determined look upon her face, clouded from her grief as it may be. “Always, sir.” “Good.” He forced a smile on his face as he raised from his chair. He knew well what awaited him at the end of the path he was following, but he wasn’t going to stop him! He couldn’t let it. Even more so, he needed to banish away the doubts and fears of those who followed him. And so he struck a dramatic pose as he pointed to the heavens. The cat in his arm climbed upon his shoulder to keep her perch. “Then save the world together we shall!” He nearly shouted, lying to himself enough to believe it as his smile became more genuine. “First the Accords, then the Shattered Son! Together we’ll get through this! Together we’ll stop the Legion!” The response to his attempts was less than stellar as Miss Cat tried to smile in spite of herself. She cleared her throat, nodded and raised a fist into the air. “...w-woo!” Close enough. At least she tried. The Magister gave a small smile to reassure her as he bowed his head. “Alas, I must apologize for my short stay. It is my hope that today is the day that at long last we solidify the ties between Sanctuary and the Scryers. May it be today that we finally take the steps required to take the fight to the enemy rather than being backed into the corners of the world.” He gently plucked the kitten from his shoulder and handed her back to her rightful owner. “But if you wish to stay here until I return, you are welcome to do so.” And with that Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper of the Scryers marched from his office from the courage he had summoned down the hall towards where his lord would be awaiting him. Courage gave way to determination. He would make this work. For he had to. Not just for himself, this was beyond him. He would do this for the Sin’dorei. He would do this for Azeroth. And with that, his knuckles would grace the door of Lord Cerryan Vyel of House Visca, the second in command of Sanctuary-- an organization where he never felt belonged, but he kept fighting for. An organization he was going to use to bring salvation to the world with.
  8. That unknown location that Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper had selected for their privacy was quickly apparent: The Crater where Dalaran had originally once rested in the days before the Wars of Northrend. The very instant they popped back into reality, one of the natural forces of the universe, Gravity once more tried to claim them as its prizes. Miss Cat gripped harder upon the Magister’s arms as the cloth of his robe billowed out like a malfunctioning parachute. Fortunately, the Magister had anticipated this, and the freefall was cut short with a Slow Fall spell. The two looked as if they were dancing as they floated towards the ground, twirling as Vathelan guided them to a particularly nice section of the clearing below them. Vathelan was taller, allowing him to find his feet gently planted on the ground first. He used this leverage in an attempt to better manipulate her descension further in hopes of securing as gentle a landing for her. What he didn’t account for was how much her armor and axe weighed, nor her newfound fear of falling-- in spite of her warning him when she spoke of the Ebon Blade. Instead with a small thud her boots hit the ground and she threatened to fall backwards even as the Magister reeled her back in. When she was secure upon the ground, Vathelan was the first to speak. “You wished to talk in private?” The trip had clearly been jarring for the poor woman, and he felt a tinge of guilt as she blinked and tried to steady her breath. “Woah… uh…. Yeah. Uh… About Suramar.” She carefully looked at their surroundings before she began her report. Such a use of caution warmed the Magister’s heart. “I couldn’t get very far. I tried to find him, your friend, but… I couldn’t. I wanted to know what you want me to do next. I don’t know if the Ebon Blade will try and get me again.” “That… does complicate things, yes.” The news wasn’t great, troubling even. But it wasn’t exactly unexpected on many fronts. His dark brows furrowed as he considers this information and calculates it against a multitude of variables. Both known and unknown, he makes the best educated guesses he could with the information he had and suspected. Did this mean the Lord-General was being cautious? Or had something happened? He tried to think of something to say, Miss Cat had been so faithful to his mission. “...The meeting should give us a better ideas as to what is going on there in Suramar. I’m hoping with something like this being called, there are some promising developments. Also, with the Captain keeping an eye on Borrowed Time for me, I should be able to return my gaze back upon Sanctuary.” For better or worse. “It is my hope that they might be able to present new opportunities in bringing a favorable end to this war. But… for now, we’ll have to figure out how to better protect you.” At this comment Cat lowered her eyes to the ground, the guilt that ate her from the inside covering her face like a veil. “I hate that I’ve put people in this position. That I’ve become a liability. I… I owe you in more ways than I can admit. I don’t know how, but I promise I’ll make it up to you. However I can.” Now it was his turn to have guilt stab him in the chest. He had sent her into a situation of horrible experimentation just for the off chance to free one of his personal heroes. Sure, he told himself it was because he believed that the Lord-General was key to defeating the Legion… But was that all it was? But for now he would have to keep up his lies, for the greater good of the world. He allowed his mask of warmth to cover his face with a gentle smile. “Hey.” His right hand guided itself onto her cheek and to her chin, forcing her to look back at him and that smile. “We’ll figure this out together. I’m just... Glad I could do some good.” Not an entire lie. He was very thankful for the results of the Magister’s Gambit. “I… just need need some time to devise something. I know that’s a luxury we’re quickly running out of… but I can figure something out. I always do.” Her lips trembled. Whether it be from the touch or his words, he couldn’t be sure. Either way the effect was a good indicator to him as she spoke. “Well, I’m not going anywhere. ...I mean, I’ll go somewhere…” She bit at her lips. “I’ll be at the guild hall. It would be weird for me to stay at the port without Kreyen… I guess… I’m on my own, now. Again.” “You’re not alone, Miss Cat.” He corrected as he shook his head. “You’re part of my team. And together we’re going to support the Late Lord-General. We’re going to help him save this world.” The warmth of Frostwhisper became much more genuine, radiating at higher degrees with each sentence. He believed every word he said, he had to. This was his purpose in life, he was sure of it. He wouldn’t fail. He couldn’t. Instead, for her as much as himself he reiterated their goal to make it manifest itself as their destiny. “We’re going to save the world.”
  9. Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper had taken little to no time to savor his recent victories; neither that of stopping the Mad Illidari or leveraging his influence to install one of his personal agents within their ranks. The rebuilding efforts were already proving costly in terms of supplies and in time estimates. Nothing could be done about this, clearly, but the Legion wasn’t going to wait for them. So he went back to work from the dining table of the apartment that now belonged to his agent. Paperwork remained scattered about it, sorted into piles. To his left were those which he had received, to the right were those he was to send out. Each faction had their own separate pile, the most urgent matter on the top. In the center before him was a singular envelope of distinct stationary addressed to him: that of the scorning organization of Sanctuary. Out of his perfirals he saw his agent, Captain Raphael Vanderzee, stand from his seat at the table as he set his bottle back upon the table. “Gotta take a piss.” Vulgar as he was, Vath couldn’t deny the man got the jobs required of him done. As such the Magister gave him nothing more than an absent minded nod as he continued his calculation on funds to direct towards one of the forward teams on the field. He hardly registered the sounds of running water, nor did he let the ensuing shouting distract him. A knock at the door mercifully drew the shouting further away to allow the Magister to finish this segment of the budgets he was charged with. What followed were murmurings from the front door, the first clear thing to him was the shouting of his dependable bodyguard, Kirital. “No you don’t get to just break off and answer the door like everything is fine! Who the fuck just barges into the bathroom and-” The voice went too quiet for Vathelan to hear, merciful as he totaled up the sum this would cost the Scryers and House Visca. All it needed was his signature now. “Frosty? Ye--” The Captain started, his voice getting highly agitated by something. “--MY Bathroom. And yeh were takin’ ta long. And I told yeh ta put on some bloody clothes! No one wants ta see yeh naked!” “Know who never complained until you came along? Vathelan.” The Magister nearly choked on the air he swallowed from this comment. What in the world was going on out there? “Besides, no ones to wake up at three in the morning and hear you with whoever you brought home for the night.” “...is Vathelan not here, then?” A feminine voice raised to be heard over the arguing pair of half-elves. She sounded familiar, but he couldn’t figure out exactly who it was over the two men arguing. “That be because the boy’s meek. An’ then it’s a damn good thin’ yeh be leavin’ soon, ain’t it? Though… I know a liar when I see ‘un. Not me fault yeh be jealous of me catches.” All right, that’s far more than enough. The Magister set down his paperwork and finally made himself known. “Gentlemen, would you kindly refrain from embarrassing me in public? Allow our guest in.” Kirital had the last word, scoffing at the notion as the trio entered back into the apartment proper. “I ain’t beddin’ anyone ‘cuz I don’t want Vathelan t’ feel awkward.” Further adding to the embarrassment of his charge. The slightly larger of the half-elves ran a hand through his damp hair before swaggering away towards one of the bedrooms. “I’ll go get fuckin’ dressed, then.” “Uh… Vath?” With one of them gone, their guest came into full view. Miss Cat was at least a foot shorter than both of the men, making it understandable as to why he hadn’t gotten a chance to greet her as of yet. Though her current state was enough to concern him. She looked utterly exhausted, and she had obviously gone through some sort of major conflict recently. The regenerative powers of the blood of the Shattered Son that flowed through her hadn’t set her back to her base state as of yet. Bruises littered what parts of her body he could see. Even still, he tried to give her a warm and reassuring smile. “Good Evening, Miss Cat.” From behind the woman, Captain Van wove out of eyesight to find his seat back to his place at the table, marked with a half empty bottle of liquor of some sort and his pack of smokes. Kirital was surprising not far behind, reclothing himself and setting a thick sandwich down on the table along with a heavy glass of milk. Normally this would bring up questions, but the Magister was too focused on other matters instead. “Uh… h-hi. Umm….” The Death Knight woman looked at the men before her at the table. A Magister, a pirate and a hairy brawler in short shorts. Vath could only guess what she must be thinking right about now. His smile widened in an attempt to re-encourage her. “I… uh… I went to Suramar. It… I-it didn’t go well.” “Suramar is a warzone, from what I have gathered.” The smile faded, the Magister hiding any hint of understanding of the deeper meaning behind her words from all those gathered at the table. “I am saddened to hear a friend of mine had hardship there, but I am glad to see you returned to us still in one piece.” He hoped that was enough for her to catch his double meaning here, but his attention would be ripped away from the task at hand momentarily. The Captain had set a cigarette to his lips and shifted his body weight as he fished for his mechanical lighter to light it. “I would appreciate it if you refrained from that habit while I’m in the room.” “I… yeah. I guess… I guess it’s pretty bad there…” Miss Cat lowered her eyes to the table, all the while the scolded Half-elf grumbled as he put the lighter away. “...A-actually… the Ebon Blade got me… and I escaped, but, I had to jump out of the Acherus. So I broke like… every bone in my body, but I got back. And I’m pretty sure they’ll try again.” A pause before Vathelan responded, his framed eyes making it a point to make direct eye contact. “That is troubling news, indeed.” His tone sounded uninterested, as if merely humoring her. But his eyes spoke a different story. As if he needed to talk to her later in private. His hand rested upon the envelope that rested before him. “Are you coming to the meeting that was called for tonight?” “Um… um yeah.” The tiny Death Knight tugged on her pigtails in distress. “Also… Kreyen got hurt real bad. Lost his memory. He doesn’t know who I am.” Her eyes filled with tears. “I’m having a really bad day.” “...I’m really sorry to hear that.” Vathelan abandoned his paperwork before him as he slid his chair from the table. As he stood the robe, not being tailored to be a proper fit, billowed outwards in the air. The Magister moved closer to her, opening his arms to offer her a gentle and reassuring hug. ...This is what normal people did to comfort friends, correct? He certainly hoped this was the right course of action. Upon embrace the woman burst into tears as she clung to his arms. “Being a death knight sucks so bad!” Frostwhisper held her close, maneuvering where he could look at his companions as he sought advice as to what he was supposed to do in this situation. The look of confusion was obvious. Kirital gave a gentle smile of reassurance, the Captain only rewarded an amused smirk as he propped his legs back upon the table. The look of confusion briefly turned into ire at the man before his attention refocused on his friend. He tried to soothe her with a cooing, “I know, I know.” Even if he clearly had no experience as a Death Knight himself. “Cat, can I get you anything? Tea? Coffee?” Kirital was a Light-send as he offered his aid, taking some of the pressure of this emotional situation off the ill-equipped Vathelan. “N...no… thanks Kit. I just… W-what should I do?” She leaned into one of the Half-elf’s arms, her bruised face twisted with the ugly crying. “The Ebon Blade wants to kill me because I left… my fiancé doesn’t know who I am… Cerryan hates me… why does everything suck so bad??” “We’ll find a way to protect you from the Ebon Bla-- wait. Cerryan?” Now Vathelan’s mind was racing with a hundred questions. Did this mean his lord had returned from his unexplained absence? Maybe there was a sliver of hope that the Sanctuary situation could still be salvaged? “Ah, the Ol’ Drunk is still around, eh?” The Captain smiled, presumably from some memory. But Vathelan didn’t know of any battles with alcoholism that this hero had. None of it was in any reports he knew of. “...I wonder if he’ll finally let me buy ‘im a whore fer o’ night now, get ‘im ta relax fer once.” Okay make that a Hundred and Five questions now. And counting. At this comment Miss Cat erupted into a renewed rampage of tears. Kirital smirked as he bit back his newfound ire for the Captain, and he retaliated with a quick kick to the remaining tips of the other half-elf’s chair that remained upon the ground in an attempt to startle him. Van’s quickdraw grip upon the table to keep his balance himself was impressive, if not a little worrisome, as he returned the chair to be back on all fours. It would take some time for the comforting of the two men, but eventually they were able to talk the distraught woman down enough for her to collect her thoughts. Sniffling as she wiped her face with the backs of her hands, she steadied her breathing. “...Sir… Can… Can I talk to you alone?” “Of course. Is there somewhere specific you wish to go?” Vathelan offered an encouraging smile. “Uh, no… no, just…” She shook her head slowly, before her eyes darted towards the half-elf men in the room. Then her gaze drifted back down towards the floor. “...Wherever we can go to be alone. Somewhere we won’t have to worry about anyone else listening.” “I see…” The Magister considered various locations that he could whisk them away to quickly, yet would fulfill this need. Somewhere he wouldn’t be expected to go would be best. “...Do you still have business here? Something that you cannot be delayed from?” Her response was quick. A shake of her head. “No. My only business here is… I guess… somewhere else.” “I see.” Excellent. “One moment then, please allow me to gather my things and we shall be on our way.” And he did just that as he relinquished his embrace from his friend. Collecting each pile and setting them into various folders, casing his writing pen, retrieving the ruined robe from the battle; all of it would once again find itself in his trusty satchel. Before returning to the woman, his bespectacled gaze rested upon his bodyguard. “I will see you at the meeting, Kirital.” And with that a portal flared up between the two parties. A way for him to return back to Dalaran. When the Magister was satisfied he offered his embrace to the Death Knight once more, “Ready?” Cat nodded as she accepted the offer, “I’m ready.” She glanced back at the portal that divided the room, where Kirtial and Captain Van would still be lingering as magic began to swell and flow around them before stealing them away from that apartment and to some unknown location.
  10. Xaraphyne

    The Hunter and the Predator

    Daçiana laughed and slapped Xara on the back. "I knew I always liked you for a reason!" Xara grinned and flagged the bartender down for another round. As she and the orc handed their emptied mugs over the bar, Xara leaned back, exhaling. "Yer doin' a fine job keepin' up with me here. Been awhile since someone gave me a run fer my drink." "You should've seen me before," Daçiana said. "Tahz gave me this green stuff from his home and I didn't realize you were supposed to sip it slowly. Apparently not doing so kills most people. I downed the whole thing, and it was the first thing that even made me feel it after about ten other drinks." "That's so wild, that you ended up like that," Xara said. "Inside the body of a demon hunter, but in charge?" "It's been a long, strange journey," Daçiana agreed. She turned to put her back to the counter, accepting the mug the bartender handed her with a nod. "But after ten millennia, I'm finally free again, and that's all that matters." Xara paused infinitesimally before she said, "Ain't it, though?" and laughed again. "So what are you up ta these days?" "Just running around with Gunheya," Daçiana said. "Doing whatever we want. Sometimes helping solve problems. Mostly because he wants to." "Mostly, huh?" Xara said, taking a sip of her drink. "Sometimes I worry about the fate of Azeroth and all that," Daçiana said, waving her hand, "but most of the time I don't. I just want to live my life, you know?" "Of course," Xara agreed smoothly. "Do you ever run into anyone else and have ta explain things?" "Not really," Daçiana said. She shrugged. "Most of them wouldn't recognize me, I think. Any of my past Heralds would, most likely, the ones who are alive anyway, and probably Jazziks and Naheal, and maybe a couple others, but the others, they're not as attuned as you." She cast her gaze over Xara. "I still want to know about the blue dog." "She's doing her own thing at the moment," Xara said vaguely. "So Gunheya knows the whole story? Or no?" "I'm not lying to him if that's what you're asking," Daçiana said. "I haven't told him my entire life story but he knows the gist of it. He saw me when I was freed and in my true form, before I fell." Xara frowned, rubbing her head. "That whole thing is sort of a haze to me," she admitted. "I guess dyin' and gettin' resurrected will do that to a person. Thanks fer that, by the way," she added, slowly. "Pretty much the literal least I could do at that point," Daçiana said, tossing back her drink. Xara gave the other female a look of wary surprise, but quickly covered it with a chuckle. "And then ya came back from the dead too -- how?" "It's pretty hard to kill a being like me," Daçiana said. "Goldrinn fell in the War of the Ancients too but you still see him running around. Me, I just fell a little harder, was corrupted for awhile. Then they banished me to the twilight realm, and you know what the deal was for awhile after that. Throwing me into the twisting nether though... If I hadn't been so fel-tainted by then, I probably never would have made it back." She reflected for a moment. "This last time, I barely had the energy to reformulate. It'll be a long time till I'm any power to speak of." "Huh," Xara said with a tone of interest. "And then what?" Daçiana cast Xara an amused look. Setting the empty mug down, she turned to face the other woman, leaning forward. Xara straightened, putting a surprised look on her face, but it wasn't enough. "Don't think I can't tell what you're doing," Daçiana said. "There's more than one way to hunt, and you're particularly good at this one, but you're talking to the embodiment of the Hunt, the Prime Predator, the Beast Who Knows No Fear." Deep in her eyes, locked on Xara's, there was a flicker of an amber flame, not even an ember, but the heart of a fire unextinguished nonetheless. Xara remembered the sound of howling. Then, Daçiana leaned back. "But you don't have anything to be worried about. I don't hunt for no reason anymore. I respect the cycle of nature, I believe in balance and life. All right?" The fear and anger Xara had been studiously hiding, in order to interrogate this being and determine how much of a threat she was, came boiling out in a low spoken statement. "You hurt a lot of people, Accalia." "Don't call me that," Daçiana said, irritated. She didn't look back at Xara. "There's nothing I can do about that now, is there? If anyone wants to come take a piece out of my hide for it, they're welcome to try." The words were pointed. "And now you get to just run around and do whatever you want?" Xara put her mug down on the counter with a clonk. "You don't even feel GUILTY?" Daçiana did look at Xara then, a long, level look. "I am what I am," she says. "You either understand that, or don't." Xara sat back, shocked with understanding. "You're not capable of feeling guilty," she said. "Just like you're not capable of feeling fear." Daçiana cocked her head slightly in acknowledgment. "I'm not happy about what I did these past millennia," she said. "But I'm going to live my life now. And I'm no threat to you, or anyone you care about, and certainly not Azeroth. You don't have to pretend to be happy I'm around. You live your life, and I'll live mine. Deal?" "How do I know you won't someday be a threat again?" Xara said. Daçiana shrugged. "Anyone can fall," she said, "Anyone can get corrupted. Doesn't mean everyone should be destroyed just in case. Trust me, no corruption survived the crucible I went through. I'm surprised I survived." "Pardon me if I don't just take your word for it," Xara said with an edge. Daçiana smirked, flashing a fang again. "Good. There's no one else I'd rather have watching me." She rose from the barstool. Taking out a few gold coins from her pocket, she dropped them onto the counter. Xara rose as well, uneasy about not being on her feet when Accalia -- Daçiana -- was on hers. On the floor beside her stool, Lupa continued to watch warily, but no longer held herself ready to pounce. Daçiana glanced down at the cat and grinned, an amused baring of teeth that the cat didn't react to in the slightest. "By the way, call me Dachi," Daçiana said. With a wave over her shoulder, she turned and walked out of the tavern. "Refill, please," Xara said to the bartender, and sat back down. "And keep 'em coming."
  11. Xaraphyne

    The Hunter and the Predator

    "Relax," the orc said. She gave the bartender a nod, who moved away to go help other customers. "I'm not going to hurt you." "Who are you?" Xara said. "What have you done?" The orc glanced around, then set down the mug she was carrying and turned to Xara. She gave a flick of her hand at the door Xara stood in front of. "Let's go outside to talk." Room to maneuver was Xara's friend in combat, and innocent bystanders were not, so Xara nodded warily and withdrew from the tavern. Outside, the city street of Orgrimmar was dirt-packed and solid beneath her feet, reassuring. She kept the orc in sight as she followed. Lupa stayed at Xara's side, gliding smoothly, her gaze also never leaving the orc. "Where's the glowing blue dog?" the orc asked as she came to a stop opposite Xara in the street. Her posture was relaxed. "None of your business," Xara said tersely. "Who are you?" The orc looked at Xara measuringly. Her expression, the way she held her head... She was just so damn familiar, it was like Xara did know her, though she was sure she didn't. There was no analogy for it. "You know who I am." "Show me your hands," Xara demanded. The orc raised her eyebrows, but lifted her hands. Without needing to be asked, she took off both gloves and showed Xara the backs. Both were unmarked. "What the fuck," Xara said again, this time adding, "are you." The orc grinned, almost a smirk, a fang flashing between her lips. She tucked her gloves into her belt and shrugged, folding her arms. "No one important to you anymore. How about that." Xara wasn't normally given to hyperbole, but she felt like she might shoot this orc after all if she didn't get a real answer in the next ten seconds. "Who the fuck are you." The orc sighed. "Daçiana. My name is Daçiana. But you knew me as..." "Accalia," Xara said.
  12. Xaraphyne

    The Hunter and the Predator

    The moment Xara walked into the tavern, the fur on the back of her neck stood up. Danger, said every sense. She paused inside the door, casually, letting her gaze move around the room. Some irrational part of her mind expected to see Sinaku. She hadn't encountered the first Herald of Accalia in more years than she had fingers, but that was what her instincts spoke of first. Her thoughts then ran through a litany of other old foes. Morinth? Karthok? Even Fhenrigo crossed her mind. But none of those old specters haunted this tavern; just a couple faces familiar in a good way, and a few innocuously unfamiliar. One hand had dropped to her stomach, over the faint scar hidden by her armor, the other to the head of the ghost saber whose prowling had stopped at her side. The feline's ears were perked. Xara looked down at Lupa. The cat's glowing blue eyes were focused on one orc in particular. Xara studied the orc in question more closely. She was a brown-skinned orc, one of the Mag'har who had recently joined the Horde in a convoluted manner that Xara hadn't bothered sitting down and making comprehensible. Time travel was involved, that was all she knew. Her hair was golden brown and tied back in a half-ponytail, like Xara's but not as high. She wore mail armor with fur trim and had what looked like punching daggers and a few tools hung at her waist. Her back was to Xara as she chatted with the bartender, but then, as though sensing she was being watched, she glanced back, and her amber-glowing eyes met Xara's. Xara took half a step back, reaching for her bow, then blinked. The orc's eyes were just a light brown, not amber and glowing. But a look of recognition definitely crossed the orc's face, though Xara was certain she'd never seen her before. The orc's attention then moved to the cat at Xara's side, then swept the ground near Xara's feet, as though looking for something else. She's looking for Cyelaena, Xara knew without a doubt. Xara had only a moment to parse the situation with its every conflicting fact and decide how to respond. She was sure she had never seen this orc before, but every instinct screamed at her said that she knew her. Her reflexes said to sic Lupa, grab her bow, and start kiting. Her common sense said you don't shoot people you can't justify doing so. So for that moment, all she did was stand there, her hand halfway raised to her bow, reality clashing with past, pragmatism with experience. Then, in greeting, the orc said, "Hunter." The word was so much more than a polite acknowledgment. It contained all that inexplicable recognition, tinged with amusement and... a hint of rue? "What the fuck," Xara said.
  13. Pelande Aijatar

    Sins of a Patriot: Act 1: Rise of the Shattered Son

    A ‘leaked tip’ and a couple of bribed civilians had lead to this moment in the final hours of the night. Two women stood in the Evermoon Commons alleyway amongst the corpses of several patrols of Nightwatch guards that lay where they had been cut down. The Nightwatch had thought themselves the ones laying the trap for those who dared ply their trade in contraband of Arcwine rations--instead they found themselves the prey, mere fodder some grander design by the enigmatic Commander Kal’une Danteur of the Ebonfeathers. Pelande Aijatar ran a torn scrap of cloth over the end of her spear and then tossed it to the ground, avoiding letting her gaze linger too long on the faces of the dead. Focus was key; she couldn’t let conflicting feelings get in the way. In youth she’d seen the guard as some unshakable force and somewhat aspired to them. Now fear and chaos were getting the better of them as the city descended into further disarray. Unrefined blade strokes, rushed and weak defense, topped off with sudden and unclear orders from the officers: a formula for a messy counter-attack that ultimately failed. Pelande made one more vigilant scan of their surroundings before looking to her mission partner to see how she was faring. Her partner that was cleaning her blade, seemingly taking the lectures she received from the previous missions to heart. And then she froze as her eyes locked onto an intruder of their little operation. For a moment there was silence as the man looked on at horror of the carnage the two women created. Isabaele watched the man intently, waiting to see his reaction. When he screamed for the other guards as he bolted in the opposite direction, she gave an audible sigh. “Damn.” Her soft voice conflicting with the swear. “I’ll take care of the Crier.” And with that there was the familiar arcane pop as she began her chase. Pelande raised a brow at the swear almost imperceptibly, noting how Isabaele’s tone never seemed to match her words when these happened, and gave her a silent nod of confirmation. She didn’t have to understand this strange woman to find her reliable. Reliable, and quick. From the sound of it, the man had hardly rounded the corner when Pelande’s compariot caught up to him with a crash that silenced his cries for help. Then the pool of blood leaked within her view. “Stop in the name of the Grand Magistrix, Murderer!” Commanded a new voice. This was quickly followed by the reappearance of Isabaele popping into existence. “...That didn’t go as cleanly as I like.” ...So perhaps not as reliable. The girl sprinted to grab Pelande’s hand. “We got company! Run!” Pelande quickly obliged, letting out a an audible sigh for no other reason than to let Isabaele hear her disappointment. Perhaps if she wasn’t so eager and using her little arcane teleport she would be able to scout out a situation rather than just appearing in the middle of it? Pelande tucked that little note away in the back of her mind to bring up later, when things weren’t quite so chaotic. “Don’t worry, P, we got this!” The smaller woman looked back at her as they sprinted down the alleyway as another patrol of the Duskwatch turned the corner in pursuit, spotting their fallen comrades. “Rebels! Sound the alarms, don’t let them get away!” “Shit. Shit. Shit.” Isabaele stuck her left hand to her ear, her index and middle finger pointing to the sky as her thumb created a right angle. “Things got kinda hairy out here, we could use some help, M!” A pause. And then Isabaele nodded before looking back at Pelande. “This way!” With a yank she pulled the the warrior down another connecting alleyway that lead into another street where familiar faces stood awaiting them. Captain Ludrissra and her cohorts, fully armed with weapons drawn. This was too absurd, Pelande thought to herself. Why was this woman latched onto her wrist leading her like an excited child dragging her poor exhausted mother into the Darkmoon Faire? And telling her not to be worried when she was being so jumpy? But wrenching herself free would cost them precious seconds and distance so along she went. There was an instant of cold shock when she saw what awaited them until reason took over, and she remembered. “Looks like you bit off more than you could chew; a rookie mistake.” The Slayer that wore Ludrissra’s face commented before rolling her head in command of the others. She sounded eerily so much like her. “Get out of sight. We’ll take it from here.” “Right! This way, P!” The Rogue pulled at Pelande’s arm once more as they ducked behind some foliage before their surroundings swallowed them in illusion to censor them away from the world. All they could do now is wait as the shouts down the street got louder as their pursuers approached ever closer, and hope that placing their fates in this false-faced Ludrissra would prove fruitful rather than foolhardy. With the concealment in place, Pelande let herself lean against the wall behind them, watching through the veil of leaves. She forced her breathing to slow. Part of her wanted to laugh. ‘Rookie’ was a wonderful understatement, she thought as she dragged a hand through her messy hair. Pelande eyed Isabaele, who was fixated on the scene about to unfold before them. Even with their successes under their belts she knew so little about her, and Pelande herself had been so guarded, perhaps that was damaging their teamwork. “Captain! Did you see two women run this way?” Called out the leader of the pack of Duskwatch that were hot on their trails. “They’re suspected rebels that set up an ambush in the Illicit Arcwine sting.” “And you let them out of your sight?” Scoffed Ludrissra as she turned to her comrades. “Imbeciles!” “Well-- I--” “No matter. Let’s find your runaways before the Grandmagistrix’s court gets wind of your blunder. Volroux, you take the right, we’ll take the left.” “Y-yes ma’am!” Ludrissra shot a single glance at the duo that hid under illusion before casting her eyes up towards the crowds. “Let’s hope we find them before it rains. Weather has been unpredictable since the fall.” After the crowd cleared, being lead on their fool’s errand of a chase, Isabaele finally let out a breath that she had been holding in. “...That was more exciting than I hoped…” As the illusion faded the rogue went about tying a cord to one of her oddly shaped daggers. “You okay, P?” "Exciting, I'll give you." Pelande pulled herself up but remained against the wall, idly rolling her shoulder. It was the arm Isabaele had dragged her by. Nevertheless there was a wry little smile on her face. "I'm starting to think we need some work, or we're going to run dry on luck eventually." “You’re probably right.” Isabaele’s soft voice little more than a sad coo as she tested the strength of the knot that was tied to the circular handle of the blade. “We probably wasted all those lives because that man stumbled on our work. Do you have any suggestions?” After a little hum of thought, "It seems like... we're both used to fighting alone." It seemed ridiculously obvious once she'd said it, and she fell quiet. A handful of instances came flashing into her mind; the two of them nearly tripping over each other in close quarters, blowing each other's cover, or a weapon swing getting too close for comfort. Isabaele threw the dagger upward, allowing it to entangle itself in the overhand of the roof above. “I guess you’re right. I was trained by solo fighters as well… so it makes sense.” She tugged on the cord to test how well their anchor held. “Want to do some drills or something when we get back?” "That's a start." Pelande reached out, giving it a test of her own, only seeming satisfied once she'd done so. "Or we could ask the one who made us a team. I mean, maybe he sees something we don't." “He sees a lot we don’t. The problem is getting him to actually tell us about it.” Isabaele sighed, oddly negative in terms of the leadership she seemed to have dedicated her life to for as long as Pelande had known her. Then she began her climb up the rope towards the sky. “If we work better as a team, the higher the success rate, the lower the long-term cost.” Pelande climbed along, almost speaking of him as a client on a building project rather than a superior. “I should hope he has enough sense to know that after investing so much in us.” “You can give it a try, but sometimes I think he’s playing a different game than we are. Like he’s testing us for something else than the liberation of our city. Guess it doesn’t hurt… but… He’s not like his brother…” Isabaele spoke in between pulls upwards. “...Sin wanted to empower us in our fight against the Legion and our oppressors. He spoke from a place of empathy, like he had seen this before.” Something else? “What else is there besides fighting the Legion?" Pelande seemed genuinely puzzled. It reflected how little she'd seen of the outside world since their city was sealed; it had drastically narrowed her scope of thinking. "What else could possibly matter when They are on our doorstep?" “I don’t know.” Her compatriot admitted. As the two women reached the summit of the roof of the building they scaled, the Concourse of Destiny greeted them in the foreground. And with it did the Three Armies that had marched onto the Nighthold, lost to time by Elisande’s mighty power. The bulk of the army was to their far right, the Generals to their far left as they led what was supposed to be a glorious march of unity between the relatives of the Nightborne. And in the middle stood a lone warrior in mid stride to reach them. Isabaele had gone silent. It was one thing to know of the events that had taken place on the Concourse; it was another entirely to see it in person. Once one was over the initial shock of seeing all these soldiers and their leaders frozen in place, however, an eeriness settled in. It brought to mind many of the homes and gardens Pelande had built for people more important than herself, the lifelike statues they would adorn their properties with, whose cold stares unsettled her. Her partner was fixated on one, so she drew closer with caution, as if she feared a loud noise would shatter the whole lot of them like glass. “...We were there, you know.” Her partner’s voice soft as an evening breeze. “Sin… he was so proud of them. He said that in spite of their rocky histories, they were making a new future for us…” 'In exchange for what?' was what Pelande wondered, but she kept that to herself, instead musing aloud that: "We were all the same, once." “Once, yes.” Isabaele ripped her eyes of the middle man for a mere moment to retrieve her strange dagger, only to return them as she worked on the knot of cord that remained attached to it. “And perhaps, one day, we can get over our differences and become the same once more. I think… Commander Sin dreams of this, for us to remember the strength we can find in Unity.” She wasn't afraid to voice this doubt. "Things are too diffaerent now. I don't think it'll ever be like that again, and maybe that's okay." Her tone turned thoughtful. "Just because we were all one People doesn't mean things were great." “You don’t think so?” The doubt made her comrade frown as she canted her head, eyes still watching the scene before them. “Maybe you’re right, but I think it’s a lovely dream. Better than being cooped up in a Bubble, don’t you think? "Before I lived in an actual bubble, I lived in a different sort of one." She cracked a smile, crossing her arms across her chest. "My missions with you have been my first taste of life outside of some kind of isolation and I gotta say, I do prefer this." “I like that you’ve joined us too.” A smile formed upon her lips. “...Have you thought about what you want to do when the war is over?” "Nope," Pelande freely admitted, shrugging, but then she paused. "...well..." She tilted her head to the side, ponderous, contemplating whether or not to go on. Ultimately she threw caution to the wind. "I want to see Azeroth. Outsiders talk about such amazing places and I've been stuck here seeing the same sights for ten thousand years. Makes me feel like I need to make up for lost time, you know?" “Could be fun!” Isabaele cheered on the warrior as she actually talked about herself for once. Her attention diverted for the meantime. “...Whoah, are you really ten thousand years old?” She'd gotten this sort of reaction before, usually out of younger work crew on her building sites, so she treated it with the same bemused smile as she usually did. "I don't show it, do I?" she teased. "But, yes. More so, actually. I didn't originally live here. I got sealed in when they put the barrier up, so, it became Home." “Crazy…” Isabaele stared in awe of her elder. “All I knew before the Ebonfeathers picked me up was a single manor… any ideas on what place you want to see first? I’m thinking Silvermoon.” A single manor--well, that sounded familiar. Pelande tucked that away to address later. "The more fantastical the better. I don't remember place names, but I know the stories: a Titan city in the north, a forest full of faerie dragons, and an underground city built by Dwarves.” “It sounds like you got a lot of travelling ahead of you. How are you going to get there?” "However most people do it, I would think. So what are you going to do?" “Promise you won’t laugh?” There was an uncomfortably long silence. Quietly, Pelande clenched her thumb. "Yes." Isabaele nodded once the promise was made, seemingly unphased by the passing of time. “I’m going to marry him.” Her soft voice lacked any sense of irony. She raised her gloved hand, a single finger pointing to the center of the Concourse of Destiny where the singular man frozen in place as he desperately tried to reach the generals at the front. “He saved me from my old life, gave me direction and purpose… he even showed me how to fight. Before him, I was nothing. With him, I will become a proper Lady. We’ll save all the Elven peoples together, for a brighter tomorrow.” The slight pop was masked by the totally casual movement of Pelande's metal-clad heel. After blinking and using her loose hand to tuck some windward hair behind her ear, running the line through her mind over and over to make sure she had it all correct, she very slowly nodded, her gaze moving to the figure Isabaele pointed out. "I... see." Was her partner unstable, or was this the new normal? Pelande decided she had no standard to measure it all by yet, so she reserved judgement. It didn't involve her, right? So no need to worry. Right? "Can I give you a piece of advice?" “Of course, P, I’m sure you have a lot of experience in the ten thousand years you’ve been around!” As always, the younger rogue looked back at Pelande, her soft spoken voice as warm and inviting as always. There was a nearly undetectable rise of one brow; she couldn't decide whether that jarring feeling had been from the perceived sarcasm from her partner, or her own insecurity rearing its ugly head, but it didn't matter. "Never invest all your resources and materials into one project. Always have extras on hand. What if the contractor decides not to pay you? If they decide they don't like the work you did and force you to do more for free?" Pelande was rewarded with a tilt of the girl’s head as she considered the words. “...Okay…” Isabaele’s tone was as gentle as always, making it hard to read if she had truly understand the words of advice given or not. But before it could be pondered upon, the girl changed the subject. “...The alarm bells seem to have stopped. Ready to go home?” That was Home now, Pelande supposed, and she answered with a nod. "Yea, I am. I want some wine." Isabaele nodded before she made the same motion she had earlier in the day. Her hand came to rest parallel with her ear, index and middle finger pointed towards the sky and the thumb at a ninety degree angle. A small light shimmered within her palm. “M, we’re ready. Take us home.” In response a portal of similar shimmering light appeared beside them upon the roof. Isabaele nodded at her partner and motioned towards it as she stole one more look longfully at the Concourse. “We’ll see each other again soon, my prince. I promise.”
  14. pinkrocketninja

    Goreth

    Full Name: Goreth Nicknames: Ret Date of Birth: Year 600 by the King’s Calendar Age: 26 Race: Mag’har Orc Gender: Male Hair: Jet black Skin: Reddish-brown Eyes: Amber Height: 6’5” Weight: 232 lbs Place of residence: Orgrimmar Place of Birth: Nagrand, Draenor (AU) Known Relatives: Father - Borgug, deceased. Mother - Glasha, deceased. Older sister - Rekamai, missing, presumed dead Religion/Philosophy: Shamanism Occupation: Shaman Group/Guild affiliation: None (yet) Guild Rank: N/A Enemies: Lightforged Draenei Likes: The elements, meditation, other Mag’har orcs Favorite Foods: Pork belly, pastries when he can get them Favorite Drinks: Mead Favorite Colors: Red Weapons of Choice: Maces, axes, shields Dislikes: The Draenei, dishonorable actions Hobbies: Fishing, cooking Physical Features: Heavily muscled like most male Mag’har, but is slim in build. His jet black hair is long on both his head and beard, and is braided throughout. Special Abilities: Has an affinity for air over the other elements Positive Personality Traits: Patience, sense of humor Negative Personality Traits: Has issues forming trust and creating long lasting relationships with others Misc. Quirks: None Played by What Famous Person: N/A Theme Songs: None History: Goreth was born in AU Nagrand, Draenor, to Borgug, a shaman, and Glasha, a blademaster. A member of the Frostwolf Clan, he had a traditional orc upbringing, going through all the rites and trials that would be expected of any orc, with his parents originally planning to have him follow in his mother’s footsteps, same as his older sister, Rekamai. This changed, however, when Goreth began to show an affinity for the elements. Pursuing the shaman’s path, he took to it well, as not only did it suit his gentler nature, but he had a natural connection with the elements. Upon coming of age, Goreth embarked on his journey to the Throne of the Elements to seek the blessings of the spirits, and to attune his mind to the elements. He would return a few years later, a fully fledged shaman, taking his place at his father’s side a spiritual leader for his people. It was during this time that the Draenei would begin their attempts at “converting” their once orcish allies to the Light. Both on the front lines wielding the fury of the elements, and acting as healer to the many wounds inflicted by their pursuers, Goreth pressed on, suffering both the loss of his mother and father during a skirmish. Soon after, Horde emissaries emerged from the Nether, seeking the aid of the Mag’har. In the battle that followed, Goreth and Rekamai became separated in an explosion. He looked frantically for her among the debris and bodies, but could not find her. Forced into a retreat, Goreth fled. With Grom Hellscream leading one last charge against the Draenei, and presuming his sister to be dead, Goreth followed the Horde into Azeroth where he would make his new home, and fight for his new allies. Edit: Updated age and birth year
  15. RiktheRed21

    The End of the Road

    “You should put another lightforge net on that hill. The hunter has claws like steel and won’t be hindered by a brisk climb,” Brinnea gestured with the stump of her right arm. She felt a phantom finger point as well, but where it should have been there was only empty air. Christa pushed the wheelchair and nodded at a pair of squires, who quickly set to work at the fortifications. “That should do for the east side. What about the north?” “Trenches and stakes. The land rolls down naturally, but it’s hard to see as you enter. She’ll be eager to attack after missing me the last time. Maybe we’ll get lucky and she’ll fall in. More realistically, it will make it harder for her to maneuver out of camp.” Brinnea felt the need to stand and stretch her legs. It was a maddening feeling, the desire to move what cannot be moved. Christa made an affirmative noise and passed the order along. The knights following the sisters seemed less than amused by this display. The dwarf man wearing captain’s colors least of all. “I won’t just stand idly while this death knight gives commands," he had said when Brin asked to be shown around. Brin had replied, “I am merely pointing out what should be done to safeguard against a more threatening undead foe. The safest precaution would be to leave me in the river you fished me from.” Christa cut the head off that conversation immediately. “That takes care of the parameter,” Christa said. “Now we need to discuss where you’ll be during all of this.” “Dangling from a gallows like meat for a trap,” Brinnea replied without a trace of sarcasm. “We talked about that plan.” “It’s the smartest play.” “Not for you, it isn’t.” Brinnea huffed. “It’s not as if I can move myself around anyway. Keeping me in clear view at all times will ensure that monster will be visible as well.” Christa gestured to the watchtower at the center of the encampment. “At the top of that, you’ll have walls and archers about to protect you. We knights are the best equipped to kill this hunter. You won’t be in any danger.” “Not until she cuts through your archers. I don’t need anyone risking their lives for mine.” The dwarf cleared his throat. “Don’t I get a say in this?” Christa scowled. “You had your say, Captain Redstone. But I have the command here, and I have elected to ignore your say.” “We are of equal rank, Velmon! And what you intend to do here is a serious waste of Silver Hand resources!” “A powerful undead abomination is coming right for us. You think I intend to miss that opportunity?” “From all we have heard of this monster, it only cares to kill your no-limbed, deadweight sister and anyone who gets in the way of her.” Brinnea sighed. “The creature is erratic, dangerous, and subservient to a deceased witch of the Burning Legion. Without anyone giving her orders, she’s like to go on a mad killing spree in distress. The safest thing is to put her down using me as bait.” The dwarf sniffed contemptuously. “Aye, you’d know all about killing sprees, wouldn’t you, Butcher?” Christa opened her mouth to reply, but Brin cut her off with a pleading look. The older sister composed herself. “My plan shall come in effect. I am taking my sister to the roof of the tower. Captain, you shall remain below to lead the shield wall. Dismissed.” Christa wheeled Brin away, leaving the stout knight with a flustered expression. *** “Why did you come this way, Brinnea?” Christa asked as they watched the sun set from the roof of the watchtower. The pink light painted the clouds a dreamy color. “I wanted to see Andorhal,” Brin answered. One last time. “To what end? Home is long gone. All we can do now is try to build a new one.” “I tried that a few times. I’m no longer built for such endeavors.” Christa had nothing to say to that. Brin looked her sister up and down. She had always been tall and thickset, but now she was stern and proud and full of purpose. The Light had a plan for her. I was left alone in the dark, despite my cries for help. “What will you do about the limbs?” Christa asked. “You death knights have means of replacing them, right?” “I haven’t counted myself as one of the Ebon Blade for years,” Brin said, “I won’t even be able to make my own rune blade, let alone have limbs replaced.” “You must know someone who could fix you up.” Brin smiled callously. “Haven’t you heard? I’m a friendless killer. A butcher of innocents. Even more sinister folk don’t want anything to do with me. I’m a waystone for bad luck.” Christa’s brown eyes flashed angrily. “I’ve had enough of that despairing tone of yours. Even as a little kid you were always moaning about your lot in life. I need a straight answer from you. No bullshit. Did you kill the Gilneans in Valsharah?” “I may as well have.” “Explain. Speak up and look at me when you talk. Were you not forced to kill them by Cynthia?” The witch’s golden eyes flashed in the back of her mind. You wanted it, the eyes said. You enjoyed it. “It’s true that she commanded me to go to the camp. I was to scout the defenses and begin an attack if the opportunity was ripe.” “And did you?” Brinnea nodded. “I didn’t know whose camp it was until I got there. Esmerra.” Brin spat the name hatefully. “She deserved to die. She sacrificed me, my daughter, and Parigan to that black-hearted devil-woman. She deceived us hoping to profit from our deaths.” “So you killed her?” “I did. I called for the demons to attack. I unleashed undead on the town. And when I had her cornered I showed no mercy. She died screaming, torn to shreds by ghouls. And I…I felt light afterwards. Like I’d removed a stain from the world and took a weight off my shoulders. I’m sick, Christa. There’s something broken in me that can’t be fixed.” Tears welled in her eyes. Brin lifted a hand to wipe them away, but there was no hand to lift. She cursed and rubbed her face on her bicep. “I don’t know about all that,” Christa said nonchalantly. “Mother always said if you’re sick, go to the healer.” Brin looked up at her. “What are you saying?” “I’ve known men and women who went mad on campaign in Northrend. They went to a man in the Storm Peaks, and when they returned they were back to normal.” Brin was about to ask more when a shout called her attention to the base of the tower. “She’s coming! She tore the cavalry to shreds! Ready yourselves, fools!” Christa swore. “Damn Redstone! I told him to hold position, not send our heavy horse out to scout!” She picked herself from her seat and took up her mace and shield. She looked at Brinnea with eyes set like stone. “Stay here. I’ll be back soon.” Brinnea felt a rush of panic. You don’t know that, she almost said. Then Christa was gone. It was full dark now, and torches shone across the camp below. Shouts told Brin where to look. The hunter moved like a shadow in a sea of shadows. She came from the east, down the hillside. The lightforged net didn’t trigger, so she must have leapt over it. Bits of armor and weapons rained down on the defenders, forcing them to stay put as the hunter charged downhill on her spiderlike limbs. The archers nocked, drew, and loosed. The hunter took two blessed arrows and screeched angrily but did not slow down. She barreled into the shield wall. Brin had been expecting her to cut through the paladins like she had the mercenaries in Arathi, but these knights were made of sterner stuff, and blessed by the Light as well. The hunter retreated, pelted by arrows and weapons that burned her at the touch. She spouted acid but shields of light kept the defenders mostly unharmed. The hunter limped around the side, aiming to climb the side of the tower no doubt. Christa emerged from the tower with a pair of squires attending her, each armed with a shimmering silver lance. Christa herself looked fierce in silver plate and bearing a heavy oaken shield against the creature. The hunter leapt overhead, but Christa slammed her out of the air. The trio cornered the beast against the side of the tower. She seemed to have damaged her limbs, so the beast could not scamper up the side to escape. Christa stepped back as the archers hailed arrows down on the hunter. With one final ear-splitting scream, it was over. Brinnea let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. Brin had two of the archers help her downstairs to her wheelchair, where Christa met her. “A quick one, that,” she commented simply. “I can see how you had so much trouble, so poorly armed as you were.” Brin smiled. “You’re not even out of breath. I’ll admit, you’ve gotten pretty good at what you do.” Christa smirked. “Well, I haven’t been sitting on my hands all these years, have I? Do you want to see the body? It might set your mind at ease.” Brinnea nodded. When they reached the corpse, Brinnea realized for the first time how young the girl looked. She must have been a beauty at one time, but not her mouth was twice as long as a normal one and her teeth were a jagged ruin of metal shards. Her eyes were black and yellow and lifeless, but Brin could swear she saw a hint of gratitude in them, as if she were happy to finally be at rest. “Christa,” Brin said, “What’s the name of that man in the mountains? The one who cured those soldiers?” “They never mentioned a name,” she replied. “But I can tell you where to find him.” As they returned to the tent Brin was recovering in, the death knight glanced out at the vast, dark fields of Lordaeron. In the distance she saw lights that she knew belonged to Andorhal, the place she once called home. And in that dark distance, she glimpsed a grey figure lope across the field. The wolf looked at her with uncertain eyes. They were eyes that spoke to her clearly. This is not the end of the road.
  16. Vilmah

    Vilmah's Journal - Volume 2

    Well, Darkshore is a warzone again. A real one, this time. The Night Elves have invoked their goddess and the Horde has asked that we defend the land that we attempted to take. Sylvanas has been plaguing it, so I'm not sure what the point of it all is. Survival? How are we supposed to survive on plagued land? Does she expect us all to go there for the glory of battle and nothing else? We're not that stupid, Sylvanas. The Alliance is expected to attack Andorhol, soon. With them, the Night Vanguard. I can't say I'm at all surprised. Ever since we broke our treaty they've somehow managed to pop up in places where conflict is imminent, so what's one more battle? They outnumber us, that's for sure. They have superior numbers and Margoz can pull dozens of troops out of his ass if he so chooses. We're not going to win this fight by throwing bodies at him and I won't sacrifice my men that way. I have a better idea, one that utilizes the strengths that the Horde has and the Alliance doesn't. No, it's not the plague.
  17. Syreena

    A Rogue's Diary

    12.15.18 So much has happened since I last picked up this book. Teldrassil is burnt to ash. Undercity and Brill are lost to the Alliance. Twilight Empire cornered us in the guildhall, ran us out, and took over the place. Awatu picked Alterac to be our new home. So now we live in among ogres in the middle of nowhere instead of among Forsaken in a respectable town. A couple of the Empire followed me to the farm when I escaped Brill. They took my prisoner—the Tirisfal killer—from me and drove me off my own property. I’m sure they freed the prisoner. I guess they wouldn’t consider her guilty of murder for only killing Forsaken. Since then, the Horde has moved out to Zandalar to make allies of the trolls there. There have been skirmishes here and there with the Alliance since then, in Arathi and Darkshore, and a few on the islands of Zandalar and Kul Tiras, but nothing major. Awatu has named me Irredeemable. I’ve been kept busy organizing our attacks against the Alliance, and planning other hunts and events for Grim, whether for benefit or entertainment. Along with that, I’ve been playing politics with other organizations of the Horde both to make alliances with them and to bolster our own numbers. It has been slow, tedious work to find other organizations like us, that are interested in joining together to hunt Alliance. Killing is so much easier than making friends. I told Canai I would speak to Cobrak and see if any of his company want to fight alongside us as some of them once did. It’s been a while since I visited the Port. I should stop somewhere and get some cookies for Gruk on the way. Darrethy has joined The Grim. I have no doubt his viewpoints and actions are perfectly in line with the Mandate. I’m certain he will be successful here. I saw him at his interview, though I let Qabian do most of the talking, but I haven’t sought him out since. I remember long talks with him and a few others around the fire in the Brokenspear. I stabbed his wife in cold blood once, just to hurt him. I can’t remember now if he had done something to anger me that much, or if I felt too close to him and did it to make him hate me. Maybe a bit of both. Getting too close to someone gives them power over you. It also makes them a target for your enemies. I'm very interested to see how he fares in The Grim.
  18. Qabian

    Time Shattered

    The sound of my own voice never fails to start trouble. Thankfully the number of people who have ever realized this is small. Better not to be interesting. I do a lot of truth telling for someone who is an avowed liar. I wanted to bemoan the place I'm in. I do not mold and encourage and develop people. I can test them, but I do not create them. We could, plausibly, have someone in this role who could create new Grim from troubled souls who find their way to us. I am not such a person. At best, I assess. Even then, I find assessment exhausting. People are... tiring. Destruction in and of itself is much more sensible than people. Not only that, but I am, in fact, a terrible Grim. On the surface, I'm not, but anyone who has been forced to trust me for any amount of time has a sense of it, even if they cannot define it. Awatu does, I'm sure. Syreenna definitely does. The actions I take to keep myself from giving in always have an edge of treason. Never against the Mandate, but often against individuals. Not because I hold the Mandate particularly highly, but it is a ludicrously easy path to follow and not one that actually requires a great deal of rules. People, however, are complicated. I was surprised to hear Awatu mention Loa in such a manner, but perhaps he has ideas I do not. Ideas I tried to contemplate aloud, but of course not. That and... I don't know just how well any given power can obtain souls with so much competition for them out there. There are things I shouldn't speak of. I miss my didactic preaching on the subjects in the time before, when people were simpler and easier to use. I have fears now I did not have before the Scourge, not of the dead, but of weaknesses I then did not realize I had. Every once in a while, those weaknesses make themselves known in places where the doors have not been closed. I should keep my mouth shut, or pretend the last fifteen years didn't happen. One of the two. Instead, true confessions with an insistence that I talk too much rather than an implication that at least half of it was false. No, none of it was false. I have been monumentally stupid. I will likely continue to be whenever weaknesses come to light, but I will not be caught. After all, I already am. Where's Tradire?
  19. Julilee

    Journeys of a Ghost

    Her feet took her back down the tiers. Conscious thought had little to do with it, as she had no plan, no idea for where to go from here. She would get a letter to Rylie; even with the new conflict, Juli knew there were some on the other faction who would help. But past that, her future was a complete blank. It was a state she had never before in her life found herself. So she wandered through the Zandalari city of which she didn't even know the name. The crowds took her in without a second glance. She was just another Sin'dorei soldier here for the war effort. Without the distinctive, famous tabard, her appearance attracted no attention at all. The only thing that did was when she accidentally brushed by someone too closely. They looked at her with a bit of startlement when they felt the aura. Far more active than that of most Light-wielders, it rose off her with a heat anyone standing close enough could feel. Constantly burning, it could not be quenched. Finally she stopped at the edge of the dock area. Down in the water swam schools of bright fish, and slower, larger ones alone. A couple people stood fishing for them nearby, conversing with one another. Juli didn't pay them any attention and them her any either. Instead, she focused her thoughts on figuring out what she was supposed to do next. It felt like a monumental effort, but eventually, the answer arose within her, the remnants of whatever soul or morals she'd once had. Survive, and do as little harm as possible. She inhaled and exhaled slowly as the bare, cynical truth of it settled over her, and she began to apply it with a cold and calculating eye to her life. While she had few responsibilities now, there were still some things where she had to ensure that her inaction did no harm. The moment she decided was the moment the voice next to her registered. "Aye... inna way... Peaceful b--" "Cobrak?" Juli said before she realized what she was doing. The orc, fishing with a companion Juli also recognized, turned swiftly at the sound of her voice. His one good eye widened as he took her in, reconciling the voice with her appearance, and the pipe in his mouth began to droop. "Hey," she said, for lack of any better ideas. Cobrak continued to stare as the pipe fell out of his mouth to land in the water below with an unnoticed splash. Behind him, Megeda said, "Greetings." Juli gave him a nod and looked back at Cobrak, who was still staring at her in disbelief. "I'm not a ghost, by the way," she said, since he looked like he was seeing one. Megeda tilted his head, seeming to suddenly realize something, as Cobrak let out a strangled laugh, then began to smile, weakly. "Fuckin' shite..." the orc finally managed. "Commander Liene... You look different," Megeda stated. Cobrak set aside his fishing pole, rose to his feet, and swiftly closed the distance between them. Then, he poked her with one finger. She just looked at him. "...'Ah ta see. Bout tha ghost part," he said. Without further ado, he folded her arms around her in a hug, one hand patting her back. It was the first time anyone had touched her in over six months, and it felt like something that was happening to something else. Juli just stood there, not returning the hug, until he released her. He didn't seem to notice her reticence, or the aura. "Shittin' 'ell, Liene!" he laughed again in disbelief. "I'm sorry for my absence," she said evenly. "I hope it hasn't caused any problems." "Tha fuck 'appened? We spent long as 'ell lookin' fer ya... e'en tha Earthen didnae..." Cobrak tweaked his head a little then, finally sensing something was amiss. "...Ya... alright?" The glass wall was here, too. She and Cobrak had achieved a level of respect with each other over the years, especially after he took charge of Borrowed Time. They had disagreed vociferously over many a subject, but still always recognized they both wanted the best for their people, and had each others' backs without exception. Or so she had thought until she'd heard what he'd done shortly before her mission to Silithus. Then there was the whole staring into the void thing that had stripped all pretension from everything anyway. It was all really moot. She couldn't connect to anyone anymore, if she ever really had. But she couldn't say all that, so instead she said, "I'm... just getting used to things again. I was trapped below Silithus with nothing but the void for company for most of this time." Cobrak's eye widened as he looked her over again. Like Kex'ti, he had a special loathing for all things Void and clearly couldn't help the fear that sprang to mind. "Oi. Ya... ya didnae..." "Yet you do not carry its taint," Megeda said with surety. The Light he himself wielded could doubtlessly discern as much. "No, far from it," Juli said in response to both of them. She held out a hand, curling it into a fist. With a moment's focus, a burst of Light showered outward. Cobrak let loose a breath, blinking. "Woah. That didnae 'appen fore." "So one set of rumors was exaggerated. The other was true?" Megeda inquired. "You'll have to be more specific," Juli said, lowering her hand. "We all thought ya wuz dead," Cobrak said. "One was that you disappeared in Silithus, presumed dead," Megeda agreed. "The other was that you were a paladin." "The irony isn't lost on me," she replied. With how much of her life she had spent denying her potential, all because of... well, it didn't matter anymore. It was either the Light or the Void, and she had chosen. Cobrak was shaking his head, still in disbelief to a degree. "I've been bribin' them boys in Silithus ta dig deeper after whar... we found... jus'.... nuthin' o' ya. Jus' yer shield..." "You found my shield?" Juli said. Once, it had felt like an extension of her body, but now the idea of getting it back felt... wrong. She had come to rely more on Mercy than she ever had on her shield. Cobrak grunted. "Aye. Wuz gonna put it on tha statue we commissioned..." A snorted chuckle. "Ya cost me a few dozen gold pieces now that that things goin' ta waste..." "...A statue?" "Aye," Cobrak said again. "Likka all our friends who parted this world... sumthin' we kin remember." "...Well, thank you for the sentiment," Juli said after a moment. She didn't ask about the shield. Cobrak snorted in good humor. "Shut it, good ta know yer alive. Lost too many friends already, but always good ta see one still kickin'." Friends. He thought they were still friends. "How fares Borrowed Time?" she asked instead of responding, including Megeda in the question. He had been regarding her with his lips tightly pressed together, unlike Cobrak unwilling to overlook her changed demeanor. Still, he was the one who responded. "Unsieged... For now," the tauren stated. "A welcome change," she said. Cobrak looked back at Megeda. "Well, things be..." He hummed, looking for the right word. "Even for the moment. Nothin' too upsettin' or well..." "A lot of things have happened while I was gone," Juli said. "There is division over how the conflict is to be handled," Megeda said. "Some have joined our ranks, others have left..." The three chatted for a minute longer about current events. Eventually Juli said, "I haven't reported myself alive to the Horde chain of command yet. I'm... not sure I want to get involved." "Thar's always room in tha Champions," Cobrak suggested. "They're workin' on 'ealin' Azeroth more than fightin'... I been sendin' mosta tha Azerite we recover from tha Allys ta them anyway." "Chieftain..." Megeda said, "she just got BACK from Silithus." "Champs work outta a lotta places," Cobrak argued. "Azerite's poppin' up er'rywhar. But..." He looked at Juli. "Yer always welcome at tha Port. Iffin ya need a place ta find yer 'ead an' think bout things wiffout worryin' bout a roof o'er yer head." "Thank you, I appreciate that," Juli said politely, with no intention whatsoever of taking up the offer. Megeda looked between the two. "So we are to forget the treachery then?" he said. "S'in tha past, Meg..." Cobrak grunted awkwardly. "I'm surprised you looked for me, honestly," Juli said. It seemed just barely worth saying. "I thought you'd chosen different priorities." Cobrak looked at her. "Ya think me priorities e'er shifted from me friends?" "It seemed that way when you chose to attack and nearly kill Allycia, who was under my protection, who I specifically asked you not to harm." Megeda was silent as he watched them finally speak of the matter that hung between them. Perhaps he thought that once they had it out, Juli would thaw, and start acting more like her former self. He didn't know that nothing would ever bring the old Juli back. "I kill void elves, thass fer sure," Cobrak said. "An' that willnae change one bit, wut I will say I didnae try ta kill that'un. Shapeshifter under tha employ o' tha Raven. Wanted you gunnin' fer me." Juli blinked once. Cobrak wouldn't lie. If he had been bold enough to attack Allycia, he would have looked her in the eye and told her so. Still, after a moment, Juli realized that this, like everything else, didn't matter. Though it had not then, if it ever did come down to it, Cobrak would do what he needed to. He was not really her friend. And she was not his if she could not accept that. "Well, I appreciate your efforts in looking for me," she said after a protracted pause. Cobrak looked like he was about to say something, but stopped himself, then said something else. "...Bah. Any case, yer back an' thass wut matters." He looked off to the sea. Maybe he was looking for a reason to believe that as the strain on the conversation grew too great. "I should be going," Juli said, then, politely, "It was nice catching up with you both." Cobrak reached into his pocket and produced something, which he handed over to her. "Here," he said. She took it and looked up at him. "It's ta me cabin in tha port. Ya ever need help, go thar an' stay as ya like." His words were a little strained, but he was determined to uphold this fallacy. He wanted to believe they were friends, that the camaraderie they had shared could be restored. He didn't see the truth of it like she did. Megeda was still watching her. Juli said, still politely, "Thank you." "Stay safe, Juli," Cobrak said. "Tha world's gotten only more dangerous." "Safe Journey, Liene... Azeroth needs all the help it can get," Megeda said. She gave her most honest reply yet in parting. "Safety is an illusion. Don't stay safe. Stay strong." She left. Once she was out of sight, she destroyed the hearthstone with a surge of Light and tossed the ruined rock in the water. [[ Written in conjunction with Cobrak and Tahzani. ]]
  20. Bloodbath Setting: Soon after the Burning of Teldrassil Area: Small island off of Darkshore Time: Evening Chestius was restless. Tired after his last job, but the menders saw to immediate injuries, allowing him to be up and about for the next contractual form of self punishment.. A contract back at Darkshore, a place that the goblin privateer now wished to steer far away from, had Professor Skorm calling specifically for him.. The Ethereal had a way with premonitions, and this was one he claimed to be ‘haunting’… Haunting, that was a good word for the feeling of taking flight in the smoggy skies with the massive charred skeleton of failure looming to the northern horizon… He had no idea what would happen amongst the thorns, but not even in the goblin’s six decades of life would he have imagined that this was Sylvanas’ plan all along… It was… Failure.. Pure failure.. There was nothing left now but vengeance and war, given an updraft from greed and fear.. The questions still loomed, even on his mind, and each time his gaze shifted back to the husk of Teldrassil, Chestius felt as though his heart was breaking all over again.. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way… Military occupation would have WORKED. It would have caused a standstill, a ceasefire, allowed for peace talks with the Alliance having full knowledge that the Horde was not to be conquered and converted… Maybe the Banshee Queen saw that, and deemed it outside of her own plans. Her dying people, her own fading light, and the drifting away from her ties to the living. Maybe amidst the chaos of the war she sparked, Sylvanas cooked up another plan… The goblin shook his head at the thought of what this could possibly mean. After what was done to Teldrassil, no one was sure who to trust anymore. Everything was just… Broken… The static of the Etherstone breaking up Chestius’ train of thought on the grim topic. The engineering console of the jet mounted gyrocopter lit up as the transmission patched through into the headphones Chestius wore. Hearing protection AND guaranteed communications at all times was a must, and the static brought the hunter back from his grief to the mission ahead. “Captain, sir, you are nearing the drop point. I will begin preparations for manual override, so please, in the meantime prepare for your drop.” came a raspy, yet pious voice. It belonged to none other than Professor Skorm, working ethereal assistant and one hell of a butler. The flashes of the console signified the overtaking of the controls, and Chestius eased off the wheel in order to begin preparing. First tightening the small pack on his back, then next fastening a series of zippers on his own armor. The sounds of his preparations were drowned out by the whirring and roar of the jets and engine. Regardless, Chestius prepared like any other mission he would, getting ready to drop in by a glider and take out the target. “Tell me Skorm… If this mission is a simple assassination and rescue, why didn’t we send a fleet?” Chestius asked as his eyes drifted below. He was well above it all, hidden between the clouds and patches of smoke. But below, questions began to answer himself as his assistant spoke up. Before Chestius could belay his last, he found himself amidst a briefing. “Precisely, Captain. There is a squadron of deathguards who have failed to respond for some time now. The island ahead, while rich with Azerite, was besieged by Alliance. Going by ship is impossible. And with our forces spread thin, only your machines would be able to make it through the skies in these conditions. The Alliance ships you will see below have circled the island, but many stay anchored off shore, refusing to land. We have little information as to what is going on.” Skorm replied. The destination was still a ways away, but as he donned his goggles, Chestius was able to clearly see them. A small fleet was parked outside of this little no name island! No less than six ships lay in the waters, while a seventh was wrecked upon the shore alongside a forsaken frigate. The movements were wrong. The squad sent to this island from the Horde was likely no more than a skeleton crew for the frigate they used as transport, likely here to snatch and grab Azerite… But what could be holding the Alliance off of the island? Seven ships total meant literal boatloads of soldiers, waiting to fight.. And yet they sat off shore, not even close enough to send a rowboat. Strange. “Skorm. Any intercepted comms from the Alliance here? There’s too many for this job to be a search and rescue. Somethin’s up.” Chestius replied, only to hear the ethereal reply fast, meaning he was waiting for the question to be asked… “Yes Captain. We haven’t been able to scrape much due to their methods, but it appears there is some sort of beast hiding out on the island. I’ll patch in a recording we managed to intercept.” Skorm replied before the kzzzzzt of the radio turned to the sounds of many people shouting, gunfire, and some sort of rumbling. They were speaking Thalassian, and the recording was heavily damaged, but Chestius was able to listen in. “Not alo-…. Horde…-ll been killed…-their own… Blood!… It-…..-blood! Sta-….. I repeat-….- away!” The voice of the night elf was desperate, and while ferociously chopped up, it gave out some vital information. Something was indeed on the island, and a threat to all of the survivors of this fight. Chestius’ thinking was however interrupted by the lurching of his gyrocopter, suddenly beginning to drop altitude as it neared the bailout point. The goblin swallowed hard and began final preparations. “Alright, search and rescue mission engaging. Mission title: Bloodbath, commencing in 90 seconds. Skorm, stay on my comms and cam and keep the gyro in rotation. Get a lock on my location and prepare a transmat, if our cargo is dead this will be nothing more than an in and out. Chestius on standby for countdown, over.” Chestius stated, flipping a few switches and easing up a bit. He was obviously getting himself ready internally, which was a process very few bore witness too. After so many years, one of his few forms of excitement left was the jump from a plane. The leap into a freefall was something he both loathed and adored. As he looked down, seconds ticking by, he looked to the island now setting below. His gyrocopter was coming into range as he scanned the treeline of the densely forested little island. Lights showing locations of azerite could be seen through the dense canopy, but little else would show to the carefully scanning eyes of the hunter, swiftly descending upon its prey. A flash of red flickered far into the center of the island, due south of a decent rocky spire that stretched above the little island, looking like a witch’s hat almost. The flash was there for but a second, but something immediately clicked in the goblin’s mind. A bad feeling set in almost instantly, but for something not yet recognized by his troubled mind. “Barrage incoming. Brace for shock, Captain.” came the calm voice of Skorm a fractured moment before the sound of thundering guns wracked the airspace! Chestius gripped the gyrocopter as it immediately spun and dipped, rolling to avoid cannonfire from some of the ships now not too far below. It was time, and the deployment was going to be a hot one… “Prepare to drop in 10, 9, 8, 7, ...egh Impact Sir!” Skorm spoke calmly before breaking from his calm pattern to send a warning! From the middle of the island, near where Chestius had his eye on, a large boulder broke from the treeline and launched towards the gyrocopter! By time the goblin could react, it was already a split second from impact! Kaboom! A bright orange blast lit up the sky as the rock made a direct hit on the gyrocopter! Chestius was able to just barely throw himself back before contact, the blast thrusting him to wildly spin and thrash through the air into a tumbling fall from his freshly wrecked transport! He growled as he struggled to regain composure, waiting to open his wings for the right moment! A flapping sound strained against the sounds of cannonfire and howling from below signaled that the goblin’s glider suit had activated properly, and to onlookers Chestius managed to disappear into the explosion. But the goblin took to a direction with a spirited dive, the strongly woven fabric attached to his armor secured like webbing between his arms and legs, forming a pair of batlike wings. He wouldn’t be able to fly with these, but as he dove downwards, they made a world of difference, allowing him to gratuitously slow his descent and glide swiftly through the air like a bird descending silently towards its nest… Taking aim to the southern side of the island near the beachhead where the two wrecked ships lay. The fresh night was now a desperately needed shield as the goblin made his descent over the water winding towards the beach. While his gyrocopter had jets and multiple lights to make it stand out, Chestius was entirely suited for his best defense; stealth. With all that was happening, activating a light cloaking device allowed the goblin to vanish entirely from view at the distance he flew, landing silently with a dive in the tide after breaking his fall multiple times by drawing back with his glider suit to save on impact. Crawling from the water up to the shore, the hunter whispered into his reciever. “Skorm. Report. What the fel was that?” “A… A boulder, Captain. I barely saw it, it didn’t appear to be launched from a catapult, nor was it fired… It was… just hurled at your transport… Which I am afraid lay in ruins now.” Replied Professor Skorm, seemingly dumbfounded at first. “I’m aware of the copter. Tap into my location and prepare a gate rather than a transmat, I’m moving on target alpha and beta. The wreckage may be occupied. Ask Koopa to be on standby… We got more of a problem than Alliance here.. Hear that howling?” Chestius replied almost silently as he lay out flat amongst a patch of brush just off the sands of the beach. Hundreds of feet ahead lay the Alliance ship, and on the far side, the Horde’s. As the goblin whispered, he drew and matched a pair of binoculars to his goggles, zooming his sights in on the wreckage and beginning a scan. “It sounded… pained… I’ll begin sorting through data to try and match source. For now, keep your head down and recon. I will report to you after you reach a haven.” Skorm replied, seemingly inquisitive. “Aye aye, Chestius going dark. Heed all commands forward as battle comms, codeword: Father.” Chestius replied before pushing the reciever back to the side of his headpiece. The wreckage was occupied. There were several night elves still moving about it. They had taken shelter within the broken keel of their boat to protect from the elements. No fires, no smoke. They merely huddled and waited.. They weren’t attempting to be rescued? If the Horde was still about, prioritizing escape would be wise with 6 other ships offshore… Giving away their location wouldn’t be a risk… Unless… The air had been stilling from the gunfire and crash. The ambush upon Chestius’ vessel came to an end as the goblin crawled up on the beach, and as he lay prone in the brush, scouting his target an eerie silence overtook the coming night. Howling! No, a single roar broke the freshly birthed peace of darkness, turning it to suspense and fear! Describing it was hard… Whatever it was, it was big, furious, and close… Chestius’ hair stood on end as the howling neared. If it wasn’t already sheet white from his falsified age, he’d be losing color as the feeling that had crept into his spine prior to the impact returned full force. It churned into a dreaded gut feeling. Something was very, very wrong… Even the shipwrecked elves felt it, now covering themselves in sand, huddling amidst the shadows of their former boat.. Burying oneself was used for few reasons… either to hide the sounds of armor as enemies drew near…. Or to hide scent… Chestius vanished, his body fading into shadows as he dropped his goggles and began to silently scurry through the grass! The icy feeling finally came to his mind’s eye and reared its ugly head for praise… It was the feeling of being hunted… No sooner than seconds after his disappearing act, the goblin felt it. The rumble of something taking step by step towards the beach. He crawled and scratched his way no less than fifty feet from his position, driven almost entirely by something the goblin rarely heeded, his instincts. Next came the sounds of each thump, something still hidden by the dense woods thumping and pressing through to the beach, now breaking and even toppling some young trees as it neared. Chestius activated his goggles, which switched the spectrum of the darkened night into one he could easily see through, staring into the woods where the sounds of movement warned of his coming threat. Sparks… toggling his vision showed color of a bloody red as he watched marked the way. This was it. This was what the elves were fearing.. What likely killed the deathguards. This was what took out his ship. The rifle Chestius drew from his back made not a sound as it aimed down the line at the figure now silhouette in the distance. With a final thump, it stopped just at the treeline, giving just enough visibility for Chestius to finally get a look at its form… Chestius could count on on hand how many times he’d felt his heart sink. The first time was when he found out he was the father of a boy to a witch, seeing the child used as no more than a test subject for torture… The second time was when corruption took his long time friend Hanz, driving him to becoming fodder for a monster that swept through their company, killing several of their own men. Now, Chestius felt his heart practically fall from his chest for the third time his long life of war and business… As he looked through the scope, he saw a hulking mass of an orc, glaring with eyes of pure burning crimson at the place where his gyrocopter fell amidst the waves. His barrel shook for a second as his finger, which was tight on the trigger, melted away, cowering from its only job in the field. This orc, flashing with red sparks, grunted and growled as it hid away in the treeline. Though outside of view of the elves and the warships that waited offshore, Chestius recognized what this was… This was no monster… It was Banjin… He was hulking, his eyes glazed over with a bloody veil, and his famous chi was sparking out of whack against his onyx flesh.. His clothes were badly torn and barely clinging to his berserk form. He was on all fours like a gorilla, sniffing the air and looking to the beach. This was why the elves dug in, the reason they didn’t signal, light any fires, or even show themselves… They weren’t worried about escaping the Horde.. They were trying to escape Banjin… Inhaling to speak, but silencing himself, the goblin kept creeping back. His stealth arts erased his presence enough to where even his scent was obscured. But Banjin had great senses outside of his primal form.. In that state, if the brute got too close, he’d likely be able to locate Chestius even without eyes. And as if answering his thoughts as a dare, the flaring of nostrils gave notice to the hulking monk now moving through the treeline closer, Banjin’s eyes now fixing on the crawling trail that lead to the bushes. The goggles were still there, lying amidst the shrubbery, waiting to become the battery that lead the orcish bloodhound right onto his trail! Silently cursing, all Chestius could do at this point was get distance. It was either a ship full of night elves too scared to move, or an obviously berserked Banjin most likely not about to ask the goblin to sit down for tea. This amongst hundreds of other thoughts crying out Why or How were silenced amidst the tempered heart of battle Chestius would normally pride himself upon. This situation was beyond dire… As Banjin stretched his head out of the brush, hunching over to crawl slowly towards the bush, sniffing the air and grunting, Chestius scrambled in his mind for something to do. He couldn’t attack, he couldn’t flee, he couldn’t stay here hoping to remain hidden. The pressure building faster and faster as the mad monk hissed words that would claw further at the old heart of his former general. “Ca..ptain….Betray..er….. Burned… Burned.. it… all….” growled the monk. But amidst the sensation of fear prickling at his heart alongside its partner grief, Chestius was able to feel it… ‘...He’s…. Crying…’ The goblin ached out the words into straight thoughts as he stopped in his tracks. Looking at his former employee, a man he treated and boasted about like his own son, Chestius could see the lines from tears still dripping from the monks eyes… Gripping his chest, Chestius felt his composure slip.. He inhaled to call out to his student, senses fading to a rise of emotion strong enough to topple any heart, no matter the stone amidst its make. “Targets, six o’ clock.” Rang Skorm’s voice in Chestius’ ears, tethering him back to Azeroth as he whipped around to see a night elf not fifteen feet from him, eyes and weapon trained on Banjin! Pulling the trigger was all the goblin processed as his own body immediately reacted and chaos once again reclaimed the night! A screeching flare whipped from the gun of the night elf scout, blasting towards the treeline and bursting with light right in front of Banjin! And almost within the same moment, Chestius’ hand slipped to his side to draw and fire a pistol at the elf, the gunshot cracking a split second after the initial flare! The gunfire caught the elf offguard, the bullet tearing through the air and hitting her directly in the head! The thump of her elegant form hitting the ground was silenced by the earthsplitting roar that blasted from the mad monk, thrashing about and howling as his tear filled eyes locked shut! Gunfire from the cannons offshore lead in the moments after, cannonballs hitting the waters and the beach, aiming for the target that was illuminated! Banjin retreated backwards into the woods as the cannons hit the sands and ground, shelling closer and closer, but not landing a direct hit upon him! Chestius hit the grit, deploying a smoke pellet and clawing his way into the dense brush to avoid sight from all the forces around him. Ships waiting for a beachside target to bombard with death, night elves now alerted to an assassin, and his own maddened friend out for blood… ...This was going to shave years off his life...
  21. Vilmah

    Inner Peace

    The sky was a pale grey blue, empty of clouds. In spite of the brightness, and the small yellow sun, there was no warmth. White painful cold radiated through her skin, chilling her to the bone. Vilmah Bloodborne lie still, covered in the snow she remembered without much fondness. Somewhere in her memory, she recalled nights alone in exile, her only company the same wolfdog that she was tricked into buying so long ago. Where was he now? Edmund was big enough for her to ride, but only just so. He didn't have the toothy maw of a wolf that most orcs would consider passable, but a constantly wagging tongue and ears that flopped at the tips. He was a sweet creature, more likely to nuzzle an enemy than to attack unless firmly guided. When he did clamp his jaws down on someone, however, he did not let go. He could crush bones with those jaws, but he had little to no desire to do so. Not unless she really needed him to. He was a misfit from the beginning, and she loved him. Where was he, now? She knew that in the snow she would be numb, eventually, but for the moment it was only pain. The cold was slowly freezing her skin, layer by layer, killing the nerves within. Trapped. An avalanche? The weight of it would not allow her to move. Attempting to flex the fingers of her left hand, she realized quickly there was no response. Her mechanical arm was gone, and all she was left with was the heavy snow that covered her up to her chin, burying her within. All she could see is the sky, and all she could hear was the silence. Help! She tried to shout, but her voice would not work. Did something destroy it, before? Has she been yelling all this time? Is anyone there? I'm going to die here, she understands. This was her fate, for some reason. She was alone, cold, and no one would come for her. The clouds drift in, and once again, snow began to fall, burying her alive. ---------------------------------------- Vilmah awoke from her nightmare without much noise, her eyes opening in the dark to stare wordlessly at the stone ceiling of her bedroom in Razor Hill. The orcess was still wearing the same under armor she had on the day before; plain gray linen pants and a shirt. The gray almost matched the stone walls of her room, and with her furs tossed to the floor at some point, it was no wonder she dreamed of freezing to death. Idly, she wondered how long it took Garinth to pick away at that stone, to create each individual room, and what it must have felt like to see it filled with so many new people. She remembered the shy blind half orc she met as a young girl, and recalled just how surprised she was to see him again during the war against the Legion. Surprised and relieved. That relief felt like it happened ages ago. He was gone again, and his partner, Greywind, was dead. Sleeping at her side and taking up half of her bed, Edmund snored noisily. At her feat and at her head, Greywind's puppies joined him in the chorus. Surrounded by canines, there was a certain comfort and familiarity that tugged at a smile in the corners of her mouth. It didn't get very far. The magic time piece on her wall indicated that she had been sleeping less than two hours, and her body wanted her up. Careful not to disturb the puppies, Vilmah pushed herself from her back and slid both legs from the bed. The puppies didn't seem to mind, but Edmund's eyes opened to watch her climb out of bed and move toward her desk. She was nearly silent on bare feet, and the puppies dozed on. Fuzzbutt, finding the warmth of Vilmah's head missing, rolled into Edmund instead. The wolfdog snorted but didn't object. Meditate, she thought to herself, pulling out a sheet of paper and a quill. I need to meditate, and I can't do it if I can't clear my mind. Staring at the blank sheet, Vilmah waited for the words to come to her. They were one part prayer, one part an emptying of thoughts. The words were jumbled and not as coherent as she would have liked, but she poured every thought trapped inside of her on to the page. Before long, it was full of her anger and frustration, and tears blurred her vision. When she finished emptying every thought, Vilmah blew on the page to help the ink dry, and folded it. Edmund raised his head, and the puppies yawned simultaneously. With all three canines at her feet, she went outside. ---------------------------------------- The sun hadn't begun to rise as Vilmah stepped on to the sand, still barefoot, with two huge puppies and Edmund behind her. They were still sleepy enough not to cause a fuss, though Edmund made sure to keep an eye on them both as Vilmah found the small cactus garden cultivated by their other resident shaman, Alinah. Sitting down crosslegged in the sand, Edmund lay down a few feet away and was joined by Furface and Fuzzbutt. The cold desert air chilled Vilmah enough that she briefly considered going back in to grab a sweater, but the prickling of her skin reminded her of the dream, and it settled her. Reaching into one of her pockets, she pulled out a stick of incense and flint. Sticking the incense into the ground in front of her, she then retrieved the piece of paper that she wrote before, and struck the flint to light it. With the folded paper's flame, she lit the incense and sat the burning paper down on the sand. Quickly, it burned to black ashes as the smoke joined the wafting thread of incense. The sight of her words burning away into nothingness drew a strange calm over her, and Vilmah finally closed her eyes to meditate.
  22. Vilmah

    Vilmah's Journal - Volume 2

    Had a nice talk with Gun. He seems pretty happy, he was visiting his family and introducing them to his new girlfriend just before we spoke. I feel a little guilty about throwing my troubles at him, considering how well he's been doing. He's always been good to me, I'm not sure it's been very even. Right now he's just about the only person I feel like I can be honest with, and even then, I can't really tell him everything now can I? To think, I felt isolated when I was in exile. I thought it was because I was in exile that I felt that way. Now I wonder if maybe it had nothing to do with me being exiled at all. Maybe I'm just meant to be the lonely type? Frostwolves are supposed to be like pack animals, but I'm not exactly feeling that way lately. I'm not sure what changed about me. I used to have a lot of friends. Now I find it hard to talk to people, especially about anything too personal. I just let it build up instead. Is that what I'm supposed to do? Just keep all of it inside? I should be meditating. I've been trying to, but every time it seems like my inner voice just wants to scream at me. I can't really blame her, I want to scream too. I want to scream. I want to be angry. But what do I have to be angry at? Sylvannas? The void? The Night Vanguard? Myself? I don't have any one person to blame for all the things I'm feeling, just a big soup of shit I have to keep eating. It used to be that being alone was a choice I made, to keep myself from getting too attached. What was I thinking? It wasn't a choice. It never was.
  23. Vilmah

    Vilmah's Journal - Volume 2

    The Blood War is raging. Garinth is missing. Ridan's mother is dead. Sorathan is dead. Greywind is dead. My chest is heavy and I'm having trouble sleeping. There are things you can't stop from happening, but that doesn't mean I don't feel guilt. I have a duty to serve these people, and I'm failing them. I have tried being conservative with our limited resources, but there are dissenting voices that crave war and revenge. I can't blame them. I want more than anything to find Garinth, and whoever killed Greywind, and tear them apart until my fingers are bloody and I don't feel this guilt anymore. I know that isn't possible, so I have to be patient and wait. Nika is still in Andorhal, and the Alliance wants to march. Soon I might need to bring the few volunteers I have and stand at the front lines. Maybe it will all end there, in glorious battle. A soldier's death, defending my people. It's all I could ever hope for, it's all I should want. I feel selfish for wanting more. Selfish and wrong. At least if I die in battle, I die with honor. Honor is getting so rare these days, it's like trying to keep hold of a slippery fish. Or a slippery shark. I'm chomping at the bit to get back at those bastards who plagued us and killed Ridan's mother, but it's a wildly irresponsible desire. I have Kenton to worry about, now. With a worgen at my heels, I'm practically swimming in wolves. Kenton is kind and thoughtful, but I wonder how much of that is the spell he's under. When you have someone who's been programmed to serve you, it's difficult to tell where the sincerity is. It's so lonely. I have to go through Garinth's journal to find some kind of clue as to his whereabouts and I hate that. I hate that I need to breach his privacy, but I know it's the right thing to do. Greywind's saddle is sitting alone in his room and Razor Hill feels empty. I have to remind myself to eat and sleep, or the headaches chase me down and force my hand. I can't let that happen. So much to do. I hear the embassy is ready. I'll have an office there, a place to work where I can help people away from the war. Is it wrong that I want to stay here instead?
  24. Julilee

    Journeys of a Ghost

    They emerged onto a large balcony. It jutted over the edge of the tier and had a view of a section of the city, as well as the jungle-covered inclines that lay beyond. Further out, the jungle appeared to melt into swamplands. Pterodons wheeled overhead, and the sounds of the city drifted upward. Kex'ti stepped up to the railing and wrapped his grip around it. Juli looked at his hands, seeing the finger he was still missing, and the ring he still wore. "Are you happier here?" she asked, remaining behind and to the side of him. He didn't answer the question, because since when did he answer any question that made him slightly uncomfortable. Instead he tried to find the words to speak of what preoccupied him the most about her reappearance, in his meandering way. "Last I heard, you had been lost in Silithus. And it was not someone from Sanctuary that told me this, but... I am tremendously relieved that you are alive, and were not lost to that cursed place." He grimaced. "I'm sorry if you were worried," Juli said. "It wasn't intentional." "What do you want from me, Juli?" he asked simply. He turned and scrutinized her. She didn't know what he was looking for. Any sign of the taint of the Void? She knew he feared that above anything else. Any hint of the woman he had loved, and who had loved him? She knew it wasn't there in her eyes anymore, whatever he had once seen, though it could very well have as much to do with the knowledge in his gaze as the knowledge in hers. The time they had spent apart had been instructive to them both. If you set someone free and they don't return, that means you were only holding them back. "I wanted to say I'm sorry I never loved you as much as you loved me," she said. He was floored. All he could say was, "What happened to you?" She moved up to the railing beside him and folded her arms on it, looking out but not really seeing anything. Her mind went back to the moment everything changed. The six months that followed had changed her too, but not as much as that moment had. "I came face-to-face with the Void, and it... made me see things differently. I was almost lost to it, Kex'ti. I'm sorry I never really, fully understood your aversion to it before. In the end I had two choices: the Void or the Light. I chose the Light and survived." At her hip, Mercy glowed softly with its jagged lines of gold energy that were no longer just energy. Now the purified weapon glowed with the Light, and so did she. It shone in her eyes and flowed through her constantly, an aura she couldn't turn off. The goblin hadn't been wrong. She was a paladin now. Kex'ti's expression softened. He hadn't missed the difference in her. "I am glad you made the right choice." He thought for a moment, then said, "You do not need to apologize. Love is not a matter of magnitude... and I do not even think it is true. We both made errors in our relationship. Am I happier? No. I am not. But I am also less sad, and frustrated." "You're kind to put it that way," she said. "But I think we both know it was my fault it didn't work. I just want you to know I don't blame you." There it was. She had said it, most of it. She had walked straight out of hell and to him because nothing had mattered more than lifting whatever she could of the burden that she had so unfairly placed on him. If she had died down there, her ghost would have been haunted with the knowledge of the guilt she had inflicted on him, unjust and undeserved. Looking at him, she wondered if it helped. He didn't look dumbstruck anymore, just calm. Maybe it would sink in over time. "I appreciate that. I hope things have improved for you since Sanctuary. I do not imagine it has without you." He lifted a hand from the railing and put it back, watching the birds. "Are you happier?" "I only just got back," she said. He didn't know how true that was. "This is the first thing I'm even doing. Next will be Rylie... if I can communicate with her safely." He nodded. "That is a large part of why I am here, so obviously present in the military. So as not to paint a target on her back. Or draw question to my loyalties. It might be advisable you do the same." "I just don't want her to think she's been abandoned," she said quietly. He scowled. "I have tried to get mail to her. I do not know if it has arrived." Changing topics swiftly as he did when he was irked, he said, "What will you do next?" "After trying to get word of my own to her... I'm not sure." He coughed and reached for where he used to keep his medicinal jug at his waist. It was not there. "Ah. I left my medicine back inside. It was... good to see that you are alive. I am sorry for the troubles you have faced." She listened as he prepared to end the visit, to separate himself from her. She watched as he stepped away from the railing, taking a couple steps back toward the guildhall. Every move he made was so familiar to her. Even with his lost weight, every plane of his face was embedded in her memory. Every twist of his mouth, every furrow of his brow, every pitch in his voice, she knew. But it was like watching him through a window. They couldn't reach each other. So it was just as well he didn't want to anymore. He turned away, but then he stopped. Without looking at her, he spoke. "I never stopped loving you, or believing in you. I just couldn't stomach that one decision you made. I am sorry that choice led you to the path you had to walk, but I hope it brings you purpose and peace. For myself, I often wonder if those things exist. But at least for you, if they exist, I believe you'd be the one to find them." And that was why she'd had to come tell him this. Because he would have kept putting up with her, with far more than he should have, if she had not pushed just a little too far. And then she had accused him of not loving her enough. "You did always love me more than I deserved," she murmured. "Maybe," he said. Before he began to move, he remarked, "Do not endanger Rylie because of a guilty conscience." Then he waved his hand and headed inside. Once, that would have been more than sufficient to offend her. It didn't. What he thought of her didn't matter. Whether he was right or wrong to think it didn't matter. She had done all she could here. The rest was out of her hands. She looked once more over the view. It held nothing of interest. She left Warscar Reach's hall. [[ Written in conjunction with Kexti. ]]
  25. Julilee

    Journeys of a Ghost

    Down, deep within the sprawl of the Seal's halls, she found the banner the woman had described. An eager-eyed orc stood beside it, dressed in black chainmail with red accents. He addressed her the moment she was in range, before it was even reasonable to assume that his hall was her destination. "Throm-ka, paladin! The Reach could always use more of your kind. Have you come to enlist, following our recent victory?" She continued until she stopped in front of him, her gaze briefly moving to the banner. It was not far removed from the Kor'kron banner Shokkra had kept in her room. To the orc she said, "No, I'm looking for one of your members. Kex'ti, Kex'ti Dalendala." "Dalendala? Oh. Huh. Who're you to him?" the orc asked, hand on his pike. Juli paused, distinctly. Wasn't that quite the question. The answer she finally came up with was, "Julilee Liene. He'll know who I am." "Oh. Uh huh." The orc seemed to know what that meant. "Well, he's back about three torches on the left. Should be sparring with Tulip, Ochiga, Kaeeli, and Gorgath. I'll escort you." He added the very last sheepishly after Juli simply looked at him for a moment, since he stood blocking the doorway. "Thank you." The orc nodded. The thirst for drama was evident in his hurried pace as they entered the Warscar Reach barracks. Past the third torch, the hallway angled down to a veranda with overhanging vines. A sandy ring lay in the middle. A white-haired Sin'dorei stood in the center of the arena, a burly Blackrock orc and a lithe Nightborne strafing around him. He hadn't noticed the newcomers yet. "Think fast, old man!" yelled the Nightborne then, rushing in to take a swing at the back of the elf's head. The orc growled and charged in at the same time, low, aiming to tackle the elf's waist. Outside of the arena, a goblin kicked her feet on a planter, and a pandaren monk sipped at a cup of tea, cross-legged, as they watched the sparring match. Juli stood in the archway and observed. Kex'ti twisted lithely and leaned back to catch the Nightborne's fist, only to spy Julilee as he did so. A moment of confusion crossed his face. "Juli?" he muttered, then the orc's converted uppercut connected with his jaw. The phenomenal strike landed him in the Nightborne's arms, caught and hanging limply by the armpits. "Whoa, hey, wait a second!" called the goblin. "Kex'ti, you alright?" She hopped off the decorative container and walked over, summoning a few drops of healing rain onto the sand. "I wasn't expecting that to work!" boasted the orc. "But... are you okay?" Kex'ti never took his eyes off Juli. He spat some blood into the muddy dirt. "I am fine, everyone. Excuse me a moment." He held a hand to his cheek and began to mend the damage as he regained his feet. Then he walked calmly over towards her, limping only slightly. Juli stayed where she was, letting Kex'ti approach. Seeing him... It felt different. Everything was different now. It evoked feelings she wasn't allowed to have anymore. She found she didn't know what to say, and was silent. He looked different. He was dressed in sparring leathers in red and black. The red on black of his tabard looked out of place compared to the purple and gold he'd worn for so many years. His beard was much better kept, very close to the sides of his angular face. He'd lost a lot of weight. He'd never been fat, exactly, but it was clear the traveling with a military branch left little time for him to bulk up to his usual size, or perhaps the lack of quality food... None of it mattered. He was there. She was looking upon him. And she could tell him what she'd spent every day these past six months hoping she'd have a chance to say. "I see you have matched your hair to mine," he chuckled. She'd forgotten how different she looked, too. Her armor was no longer muted purple and gold, but white, dark gray, and gold, and lacking tabard, pauldrons, or shield. And her hair, long now, had become as white as his. The last changes she hadn't known about until she came across the mirror in the ruins. Her eyes no longer glowed green. They glowed gold. The differences were so striking that it was remarkable he had recognized her instantly. No one else would have. "Yeah, I guess." She paused. The words wouldn't come out, hardly. "I just wanted you to know I'm alive. I thought... You would want to know." "Should we go somewhere to talk?" he asked. "Probably." He raised a hand to his eyes and rubbed them. "Fine, let us head out to the general concourse." He walked past her, causing the orc guard, who had been hovering, to start hastily moving back toward his post. The goblin in the arena called after Kex'ti. "Uh, you want your staff?" "No, Tulip. I will not be long," he said, wearily. He glanced to Julilee, and nodded out back towards the humid mid-day heat.
  26. Julilee

    Journeys of a Ghost

    Juli didn't know what the Paku'ai were and didn't bother asking when it didn't seem like it would make itself obvious. It was a climb indeed but it didn't bother her. She had learned long ago that it didn't matter how slow your forward progress was as long as you kept moving forward. Endurance would win you any battle, eventually. At the Great Seal, a hall characterized by an ancient device that hung broken overhead, soldiers more than any others came and went. Juli knew them by the way they carried themselves, by the purpose with which they moved. Sprinkled amongst them were emissaries from the new lands: diminutive, foxlike people, a few snake-like ones, and the slow, wizened turtle-esque ones. Juli barely spared the unusual sights a glance as her gaze moved over the crowd, looking for a familiar face that did not materialize. She ended up wandering, and came to a field hospital. There, chants to the Loa, the Light, and other supernatural forces clamored for attention. A slight Sin'dorei woman, her ears evident through the cap she wore, tended to the wounded with pulses of mists. Her ministrations were gentle, hope blooming on the faces of those she tended. Juli thought of Kex'ti's less-than-tender healing as she watched and waited. After the monk finished tending to her last patient, Juli approached her. "Excuse me," she said, "have you seen another Sin'dorei monk around here? His name is Kex'ti... White hair, slight limp?" The woman nodded. "He was here right after landfall. Fell in with a division called the Warscar Reach. Black tabard, red Horde crest. Don't know where the Zandalari have garrisoned them, but should be somewhere near here, in the halls below the Seal." After a moment she added reflectively, "Proficient healer. Little sensitive about the quality of his work." "Warscar Reach," Juli repeated. Luck she had no right to had befallen her again. "Thank you." She went to turn away just as she had every time over the past three days. "Your spirit seems troubled," the woman spoke up. "It's not," Juli said, both politely and honestly, and left.
  27. Julilee

    Journeys of a Ghost

    The next morning she had stopped in Echo Isles to start searching for more information, and that's where she discovered two things: one, that it had been six months she had been gone, and two, the pleasant coincidence that a boat sailed from the Isles to Zuldazar every day. Thus she had ended up in the Zandalari capital city that very afternoon for the price of only two gold, her journey more direct than it had any right to be, though at that point she was on her own to figure out where to go from there. She'd only had the one idea of where to start looking for him. As she stepped into the sailors' tavern, she gave herself a moment to adjust to the interior. The tavern music was loud and heavy on the drums, but the addition of stringed instruments added a strangely elven vibe. Within, sailors threw knives at targets, quaffed drinks, and brawled. Most were Zandalari, but grizzled orcs staked their claim. In a corner, two goblins, a Farraki troll, and a single Forsaken were engaged in a game of cards, and laughed in unmistakable Orcish lilts. One of the goblins clutched her hair and bemoaned whatever she'd lost in the exchange. Juli was standing there, pondering whom to approach, when the female goblin noticed her and seemed to brighten with hope. "Hey! You!" she called to Juli. "You're a paladin, aintcha? I just lost my staff. Really, really a shame. Can barely call down the Light on my allies here. Mind helping a fellow girl out?" Not offering any corrections, Juli approached. "What do you need?" she inquired. "Just uh, you mind spotting me some coin? Just three gold, enough to buy back my staff." The female smiled coyly, batting her eyelashes. "I'll do anything you might need. Y'know, 'cause we're fellow travelers on the path of the Light." Juli reached into her satchel and pulled out her remaining three gold. "Just help me find someone. His name is Kex'ti. Sin'dorei, white hair, a little weathered, likes to punch and use the mists like a monk." The goblin quickly grabbed the three gold, but didn't hesitate to turn to her companions. Her voice, known to the other regulars, elicited attention as she spoke loudly. "Hey, any'a youse know anything about an old blood elf monk guy?" She set down the coins and pulled back an ornate, gaudy staff. "I've seen one or two," spoke up one of the orcs. "You might try checking up at the Great Seal." He addressed Juli. "Hell of a climb, 'specially in plate. Ask for one of the Paku'ai to send you up." If Kex'ti had kept to bartending, or underground fighting, these people would have known him. This Great Seal seemed like her only remaining lead, weak though it was. "Thank you," she said, and once more left without a backwards glance. "That's it?" Juli heard the goblin say, then, with a shrug in her voice, "All right, boys, buy me back in. I'm gonna win this one."
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