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Malhavik

Eclipse: incarceration.

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The Grims dungeon was an abysmal place. They usually didn't take prisoners, and the jail had the feel of abandonment. The walls and floor glistened with moisture and the room was rank with the smell of mildew. Malhavik sat in the center cell, Konro in the cell to his left, Lupinum to his right.

Malhavik glared at the magic suppressing gauntlets binding his arms. They were of an unknown metal that ran up to his forearms and were coated in many purple glowing runes. A short chain attached them to each other, with another chain running to his bound legs.

Konro leaned against the bars connecting the two cells and chuckled. "Atleast they didn't muzzle you."

"Ridiculous!" Malhavik spat. "Shackled and thrown in this pit like a ravenous beast! On top of that Awatu Has given the order that I be mana starved. I fear it not long before I lose my mind as well." He looked to Lupinum who appeared to be sleeping and pointed. "They took him out to feed on The Alliance last night." He then fidgeted with a mana potion he produced from a bulging portion of he's dress shirt, and drank it hastily.

"Now where did you come by that?" Konro grunted in question. "Never mind you where I got it!" Was the quick response. Malhavik sat there for many hours scouring his bindings for weakness, but was not physically strong enough to cause any sort of damage. Without his demons at his side, and the curse continuously sapping him of mana, he was helpless in the magic suppressing restraints.

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The Tauren rose from his seat. Marching around the cell he inspected the walls and bars for weak points, not that there were any. He grunted in disappointment, kicking his hoof at the small opening where food could come from. He glanced over at the dungeon's double doors, watching the two guards as they stood at attention, always ready for a fight.

"Two days in a row Mal, first in the Phoenix' garrison, now here. Maybe I should try laying low once we get out of here." Konro criticized himself. He dug around in the hay they were supposed to sleep in, finding a thin piece of timber. "Do you think anyone will care when we die? The bastards that tried to bring an old god back from the nether?" The Warrior found a particularly sharp bar and started to whittle out a point on the wood. Malhavik seemed to be too interested in his bindings than conversation. Konro grunted and went back to whittling.

After a short while he managed to make something that could pierce a neck and sat down on the hay, hiding the shiv inside. Konro figured nothing would be happening for a while and dozed off, waiting for his heroine to come and save him.

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After flopping about like a fish in frustration for a few moments Malhavik gave up on his shackles and pondered the words Konro had spoken earlier.

"The last time I died no one cared. I was caught communing with demons, and hung on the spot. My family denounced their relationship with me out of shame, and my name was stricken from the town registry. All memory of me vanished by the next year. So I say to you my good man, the next time I die I couldn't care less about who cares, but my name will be known long after. That is all that matters."

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Abruptly waking up when he heard Malhavik answer his question, Konro nodded grimly and thought to himself about the way things were shaping out. He fiddled with his shiv and pricked his finger seeing how much damage it could really do.

Then he noticed the mark on the back of his hand again and held it out to the torchlight, examining the two interlocking circles. The Warrior's thoughts went back to the previous morning and his encounter with the Herald. "You must mend the wounds you have wrought." she had said. Konro had tried to do that, now he had the same problem he had yesterday. How was he supposed to gain allies when everyone tries to impede his work? He grumbled to himself, now preferring to stay awake rather than dream about his allies.

"Maybe she'll show up and get us out of here."

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Malhavik was getting riled up, and his yellow eyes burned with intensity.

"Love? Companionship? Illusions to coddle the weak of heart! Look what my 'friends' have done to me for trying to fulfill the mandate! This catastrophe was not my intention, and nobody could have predicted such a ridiculous outcome. If anyone cared about 'me' they would surely realize how improbable and unlucky my ritual was! No, they would sooner kill me and be done with it. The only reason I yet live is because Awatu is unsure whether or not I will be needed to disperse this curse! Unh rhidge ghulasr echtl!"

Malhaviks rant trails into Gutterspeak as he babbles in rage.

He began to calm down after a few moments. "I need to find Khorvis. If there is any hope left for me it lies alongside him."

Malhavik looked to Konro curiously, "Who is this you speak of?"

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Neither had noticed that between one moment and the next, she had appeared.

There was no flash of light, no whoosh of air, no sound of reality tearing. It was the same as before: she was just standing there like she had been there all along. Glowing gray eyes regarded the three prisoners from outside the cells.

She was a curious sight, dusky tan of skin, bright blonde of hair, and of course those eyes of the strange glowing non-color that matched not blood, high, nor night elf. But not only that -- her robes were the same as Malhavik had last seen her in, crusted with the blood in which he'd dropped her, her hair still tangled and matted, dark circles under her eyes as though she hadn't slept in days. Maybe she hadn't. She smelled of blood and brimstone.

The marks on all three flared.

"What pitiful hunters you are," she said.

There were guards just around the corner, patrolling through regularly. One would surely come by soon. Or would they?

Her gray gaze moved to the third cell, where the priest Lupinum had been resting.

"And the most pitiful prey," she said.

She looked back at Konro, then Malhavik.

"How can you hunt when you're chained here?" she said.

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Konro winced as the mark burned brightly then subsided back to it's normal form. He looked up at the elf and shrugged. "I tried to mend wounds, it didn't work." Konro grabbed the makeshift dagger from the hay, hiding it behind his back in case the guards needed to be dealt with. "Mal I'd get ready to go if I were you." He motioned to the cell door and bowed low. "My lady."

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Malhavik peered at his former captive in wonder, ignoring the pain of the mark.

"You... You offer my freedom? I would have many words with you when we are free from this place."

He noticed Konro's tensed battle stance, and sharpened shiv. "Do not bother yourself with the gaurds. I will deal with them."

A plan began to brew in Malhaviks mind. Perhaps there was a way out of this predicament without losing his place among The Grim after all...

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She cocked her head, looking at Malhavik. It wasn't something he'd seen her do before... not that she'd done much but sit there and suffer. It was strangely lupine in mannerism, perhaps akin to a deadly hunter of the forest examining a cornered piece of prey.

"Freedom," she said. "You think if you leave this cell, you'll be free? No." Her gaze turned back on Konro. "Too much damage has been done. But still you may be useful. Nip at their heels... send them stampeding. Sow chaos and dissent. You can do that, at least."

She walked forward, and touched the door to the tauren's cell. If he hadn't forgotten what happened last time, he'd know to get out of the way before it blasted away from her fingertips, slamming into the cell wall opposite with a loud bang. Not so much as a hair on her head was disturbed, at least not beyond its current disarray.

"It is well-guarded here," she said to him in the following silence. "Take the armor of the guard at the foot of the stairs. And don't make me come for you a third time."

The guard would not be needing the armor. Not now, and never again.

That taken care of, she turned to Malhavik again. Her feet carried her to the bars of his cell behind which he looked at her with such wonder. The mark on his hand was burning a bright amber, burning like the knot of hunger in his stomach that was threatening to overtake any rational thought if he did not feed soon.

"You don't yet understand, do you," she mused, gazing upon his rotted face. "If you had marked enough, not only would you not be suffering, but none could hold you." She placed her hands on the bars of the cell, wrapping her fingers around the magicked steel. The rune on her left hand glowed purple; the mark on the right amber. "I've already given you all the power you need."

She fell silent, watching him for his response.

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Konro quickly moved out of the door's way as it blew across the cell. He nodded to Vionora and made for the dead guard. Konro stripped the guard's armor off and took the small axe on it's waist. The Tauren, now fully equipped, waited to see if Mal would be following him out of the stronghold.

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The loud crash of the cell door slamming against stone was enough to rouse Lupinum from his slumber. He sat up with a start and groaned as his shoulder throbbed with pain.

His eyes focused on the elf who had appeared and concluded this was the avatar spoken of last night. Lupinum's clawed feet touched the cold ground and scraped harshly with his steps. He watched from between the iron bars, silently, while Mal spoke.

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Malhavik stared at the elf a moment. He must choose his next words carefully.

"I choose to mark those with the highest potential of spreading it, rather than run around picking targets at random. As we speak one of my finest agents is spreading the curse like a plague to the Alliance. It was only a matter of time before I was discovered and captured, those I marked are quite powerful and will be very troublesome to stop. I regret that I was unable to mark all the targets I had in mind, but Khorvis and eventually even the warlock Darethy will spread the curse to enough fools to empower me. That is of course if I understand this curse accurately." All most as an afterthought, he looks to Lupinum. "That wretch was simply an accident." Before Malhavik turned away, Lupinum could barely make out a slight nod of the head, and a treacherous wink.

Malhavik approached the bars between him and the elf, chains rattling as they dragged behind. He got as close to the elfs face as he could and spoke evenly.

"Leave me here and I will get out eventually. Release me now and I can finish hunting my prey quickly."

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She watched him, her thoughts unknowable. This close, he could see clouds moved over her gray-glowing eyes, like mist wreathing the moons on a starless night.

"The alpha's share is always passed upward. But if you make enough kills, you can at least sate your own hunger."

The elf stepped back from the bars, her hands falling away. Everything the warlock wanted was so close, yet so far. She looked at him thoughtfully.

"Do you think I intend to make you suffer like you've made me suffer? Like I'm still suffering?"

The taint of fel still filled her. It never went away. When he'd taken her, she'd been a priestess. Now, there was no trace of the Light around her, not even the weak rays there had once been. Demonic magic pulsed in her veins, illuminating the rune Malhavik had put on her hand. The powers she commanded were now not unlike his own, but for the blaze of feral amber that ran through it all.

"Do you fear me, or do you think you can challenge me?"

She didn't say a word; didn't make a single gesture. But an overwhelming urge to prostrate himself lashed out over Malhavik, an unreasonable terror, the babbling desire to plea for mercy. The mark on his hand burned again, as though teeth had been sunk into the decayed flesh and tore.

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Malhavik cringed and fell to one knee, staring at the ground. He was gripped by terror, a feeling he hasn't felt in so long... But he was Forsaken. He would not be intimidated!

A quiet giggling filled the room. Malhavik raised his head to look Vionora in the eyes, and though still stunned by an overwhelming sense of doom, managed to speak.

"I do not fear you girl." He lied. "You are now simply another demon to be tamed. A mindless creature of malice and destruction. I suppose my experiment with you was a complete success after all wasn't it?"

He continued to grin at her as the crushing terror forced him into a sitting position, the pain in his hand excruciating.

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The will of the Forsaken was strong. If Vionora was impressed, she did not show it. If she was surprised by him dropping the act, she did not show that either.

"You'll serve for now," she said presently, after their gazes had been locked for some time. The terror and pain faded away, slowly. "But maybe I won't save you for last after all."

She looked, then, at Lupinum, who was observing in wise silence. This one was no rabbit or hare to be startled into wild flight. But he was still well, well below her on the food chain, and it was the mark on his hand's turn to flare as a reminder of that. She said nothing to him, only looked next at Konro.

"You'll hunt alone."

Shadows detached from the corners of the dungeon, beginning to slither and slide over the slimy cobblestones. They came to Konro, gathering around his feet, not to harm, but to make him soundless when he moved, to make eyes pass over him as though he weren't there, aided by the disguise of armor to implant the idea he was just another grunt in any would-be observer. He would have no trouble departing the garrison.

Then, she vanished. A quick eye would catch that it was like a shadow sweeping over her, rendering her invisible; like a veil being drawn over her existence. But it was no illusion, as the power that had inhabited the room with her was gone as well.

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She had disappeared without a word. The wench who had caused all of this... The mark on Lupinum's body still ached in her absence and the hunger had doubled along with it.

He had still yet to speak, even after watching the immense pressure... or force that had caused Malhavik to bend his knee. Lupinum looked toward the shape that was Konro, underneath the sliding, shadowy mass. "Hunt well, Konro," were the only words he spoke, sadly at that. Lupinum looked back towards Malhavik's figure in the cell and waited for him to regain his energy.

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"Lupinum... my friend... care to call for help?" Malhavik rasped weakly.

His defiance to Vionora had taken its toll on him, he was now dangerously low on energy. He closed his eyes and waited. Hopefully it was Ley'ujin who came to investigate. If he was unfortunate enough to have Awatu arrive on the scene, he was certain he would perish.

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