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Vionora

Eclipse: To Wax or Wane

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She found them, standing around outside Wor’var. Vionora had never been to Nagrand before and knew nothing of the orc and draenei societies that lived there, but someone mentioned the name as she walked by, and that was how she knew. The original Shattrath, in which she had lived for several years, hadn’t been far from what remained of the Outland’s Nagrand, but she’d never visited there either. She wondered if Wor’var existed in that version of Draenor, or if it had changed. Perhaps it had taken another name, like she had.

It was nearby, the book. She could feel it. She remembered how it drew her eyes even away from Sinaku. Like the mark, it was compelling.

HUNT. HUNT THEM DOWN. TAKE THE TOME.

Accalia spoke to her nearly constantly, but most of the time Vionora simply ignored her. Unlike Sinaku, Vionora had no desires the ancient god could warp and twist. There was only one thing Vionora wanted, and Accalia would bring that regardless. But for that, the tome was required, so for now she was effectively obeying... something some may have found galling, perhaps, but which didn’t matter to her. To her, the point of defiance had long been lost.

She watched them, for a time. There was Naheal, with his spirit beast, and the tauren warrior Breygrah; Darrethy stood nearby as well, and two female taurens Vionora hadn’t seen before. Listening, she learned their names were Lomani and Anura. And there was a male Sin’dorei with red hair and a strange aura. After awhile, Vionora guessed that he was a monk. She hadn’t seen very many, having spent most of her time since Pandaria’s discovery in relative isolation, even lately. Someone called him Kex’ti.

Naheal and Darrethy were looking around; Naheal had his gun in hand. They knew she was close. They stood along the path to the north exit, with water on one side and cliffs rising on the other.

When she stepped out of the twilight realm, the colors, sounds, and smells of the mortal one struck her. It was always so unwelcome after the peace, the whispering dullness of the twilight, but she endured it. The spirit beast stood before her, having known exactly where she was the whole time, and she looked down at it. Elune’s creatures were stronger than the Blue Child’s, except when Elune waned. And the Blue Child was waxing. She offered her hand to it, her right hand, the amber mark glowing there, but it did not move.

“I know enough about love to...” Kex’ti was saying, but stopped when he saw her. They all did; Breygrah picked up her sword and shield slowly. “What are you?” Kex’ti said after a moment, seeing much more than her physical appearance. He reflexively assumed a combat stance.

“Kex’ti,” Breygrah said, her voice clipped. “Please keep your distance from her.”

“Ugh... you again?” Darrethy grumbled. He looked in nearly as bad shape as she’d left him in Warspear, or rather, he’d left himself. “Look, I’m kind of injured right now, could we reschedule, Vionora? Maybe I can buy you some coffee and send you on your way.”

“Her herald,” Vionora said, answering Kex’ti. She looked up at Naheal as the hunter dropped to a knee, lining up the sights of his gun. At the same time, the spirit beast launched itself at her.

Naheal was not going to spend any time on idle chatter.

Vionora swiftly stepped to the side, dodging the shot, and seized the leaping spirit beast by a leg to spin and hurl it into the water beyond the assembled party. Her hand burned where she’d touched it, but she gave no sign as she looked at the group again in the shocking silence that followed after the gunfire and splash.

“Well, that’s rude,” she said.

“I didn't mean to imply I didn’t want to see you, dear,” Darrethy said dryly.

“What do you want, this time?” Breygrah asked, readying her shield. She hesitated to charge, knowing the power Vionora had shown last time. But Kex’ti was moving forward, against Breygrah’s advice.

“What is this monster in the guise of a woman?” the monk demanded.

“Where is the book,” Vionora said. It came out like a statement instead of a question. Ignoring Kex’ti, she looked past him at Naheal.

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Lomani and Anura were looking at her anxiously, noting everyone’s reactions. They seemed to be taking their cue from Breygrah. One of them, Lomani, whispered a word of power to strengthen the assembled party.

“Darrethy! Answers!” Kex’ti said curtly.

“It’s not a monster, it’s just a woman who had a bunch of corrupted shit shoved into her,” Darrethy said in his usual apathetic tone. “Shadow be damned... I’m tired and annoyed today.”

“I have it on me now, Tassha,” Naheal said. His gaze was locked with hers, an animalistic challenge. “You know that. Or you would, if she favored you still.”

“No one has ever favored me,” Vionora replied.

“You are lost,” Breygrah said.

Her words were punctuated by another gunshot. Vionora didn’t move, didn’t flinch, but raised a hand to her chest where she’d been hit. Red stained her fingers.

“Stay back!” Breygrah shouted, but Kex’ti was already leaping forward. Vionora stepped away and back into the twilight realm, and his ghostly figure passed through her.

She watched for a moment as the party scrambled to find or prepare themselves for her, then walked around calmly behind Naheal. He started to turn, sensing her, but she moved back into the mortal realm and seized him by the collar, wrenching him back. “You all struggle so pointlessly,” she said.

But Naheal reached behind him and grabbed her wrist. “Check,” he said.

The counter-curse slammed into her. It was the same as had been done to Malhavik, though she hadn’t known who had caused it, and still didn’t know how it was done. But it was Naheal’s doing. Now, the energies being funneled up to her from the cursed were slowed to a trickle, and the pool of power on which she was drawing would not be replenished.

She shoved him forward, punishingly. “Let him go!” Breygrah said. “The only pointless actions are your own.”

Such bravado. Vionora told them, “Give me the book now, or his life is forfeit.”

She could feel it was near, but it wasn’t on Naheal. Who held it, she was starting to think she knew.

“Look Vionora, can we just end this?” Darrethy said. “This stupid book doesn’t matter, nor does your stupid plot to end the world, or your stupid shows of dominance. It proves nothing, solves nothing, leads to nothing.”

They made no distinction between her actions and their own. They didn’t understand. Not bothering to respond, Vionora moved back into the twilight realm, this time taking Naheal with her.

Again, he didn’t waste any time. His hand moved to his belt, flipping a switch there. He always had a cache of explosives on him, Vionora had learned, and he wouldn’t hesitate to blow himself up if it meant he took her with him.

But that wasn’t how she was planning for this to end. “You fool,” she said. She released him and stepped back into the mortal realm – leaving him in the twilight one.

Breygrah was clutching the bag on her hip. She glared at Vionora. “Where is he?”

“Give to me,” Vionora said, her tone without inflection.

“No,” Breygrah said.

Kex’ti spoke. “You will provide an excuse to the Grim no longer, monster.”

Kex’ti stepped forward again, plunging his fist toward her throat. She raised a palm and caught it effortlessly. He was strong, very strong, but she was still stronger than any of them. Her gaze focused on him briefly. “You are unmarked,” she said. “I should change that.”

“No! Stop!” Breygrah raised her shield again, but still hesitated to charge forward. Lomani cast a shield of Light over the warrior in preparation nonetheless.

Kex’ti was throwing all of his chi into her, trying to push her off balance. Easily withstanding the onslaught, she absorbed the energy. It was strange, his chi, neither Light nor fel, but it would feed Accalia just the same. She lifted her other hand to reach for his face, the only place where his skin wasn’t covered, but then he was suddenly jerked away from her as the tauren priestess used the Light to pull him out of her grasp. He stumbled and hit the ground at Lomani’s feet. Vionora looked at Lomani, weighing how useful it would be to mark more at his point. But that wasn’t her current priority. She looked back at Breygrah.

“Leave him alone,” Breygrah started to say, but Vionora was already moving toward, rushing the warrior who was so reluctant to get close.

Brey was small for a tauren, but still bigger than Vionora. She stumbled back when they collided but wasn’t taken down. At the same time, a popping sound was heard as Naheal suddenly fell out of a wormhole in front of Lomani.

“You want another go?” Breygrah demanded.

What she wanted was the book. Vionora grabbed hold of Breygrah’s shield and tore it out of the warrior’s grasp savagely. “I haven’t even begun,” she replied coldly, and hurled the shield at the nearest target, which happened to be Darrethy.

He’d learned last time that flinging spells at her was largely useless, and had not yet moved against her, only watching and trying to think of something to do. He barely ducked the flying shield in time. “’I haven’t nearly begun!’” Darrethy yelled back mockingly. “I’ve had enough of this BULLSHIT!”

Brey lowered her head and charged into her. At the same time, Kex’ti had unsheathed a sword and was coming at her back. Vionora darted to the side, and Breygrah was forced to drop her sword to avoid striking Kex’ti, while Kex’ti wheeled into a somersault around Breygrah.

Naheal had found a position and was taking aim at Vionora once more. Lomani was casting spells to help bolster the party. And, in pure frustration, Darrethy picked up a rock and threw it at her head.

Vionora blinked as it bounced off.

“...Huh... I actually nailed it,” the warlock said.

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Lomani threw down a totem out of the elements, and a much larger rock appeared. The earth elemental rumbled forward.

“Well now I just feel inadequate,” Darrethy said.

Vionora ignored it and went for Breygrah again. This time, when the two collided, they both tripped and fell. Kex’ti sent healing mists to Breygrah as Naheal fired at Vionora. Rolling away, she dodged Naheal’s shot. Her gaze flicked up to the hunter. The earth elemental loomed.

She lunged forward to grab Breygrah, and Kex’ti interposed himself.

In the next moment, the two of them were in the twilight realm. Kex’ti didn’t hesitate, his blade inscribing a graceful crescent as mists flowed around him. She moved back swiftly, but the slice narrowly missed her. Already, she was slower.

“Another fool,” she said to him. Her voice echoed in the twilight.

“I did not align myself with the Old Ones, tell me again which of us is the fool?” He held his blade ready but did not press the next attack yet. “You think this plane limits me? I have meditated in the thin air of Kun-Lai, and wandered far in my travels.”

In the mortal plane, they were trying to sense or reach them. Darrethy struggled to focus as he slowly turned, seeking the fel essence that Vionora was rank with. “Anything this time? Darrethy!” Breygrah said.

“Trying...!” he grunted.

Anura pulled another totem out. Cerunan, the spirit beast, had returned, and was licking his wounds, but paused to look over at the totem. Breygrah scanned the area, ready for the moment Vionora reappeared.

Back in the twilight plane, Vionora’s eyes narrowed at Kex’ti. All of them were so boastful, but his boastfulness actually almost galled her. “Who are you?” she asked.

He smirked. “Kex’ti Dalendala of Sanctuary. And you, Herald of Monsters?”

Her head tilted at the name, her dank, tangled hair trailing over her shoulders. “Sanctuary?” she repeated.

He seized the moment, kicking a clod of phantom earth up at her and bringing his blade to bear. She staggered, blood flying as his strike cut her, but in the next moment she was back in the mortal realm without him.

And Breygrah charged her. Vionora let her, her hands closing on the tauren’s arms as they collided yet again, and transported them both into the twilight. Naheal’s shot rang out too late, and Anura let out a wordless cry of frustration.

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Brey stumbled away from the elf, keeping her sword up and ready, her other arm held defensively as though she still carried a shield. When Vi’s gaze slid from her to Kex’ti, who was facing her now as well, Breygrah said, “You will leave him out of this.”

Vionora looked back at Breygrah. The tauren warrior was brave, but only because she had to convince herself she was. Luckily for her, she was stupid enough to believe herself.

“You’re in my territory now,” Vionora said. Around her, the shifting shadows of the twilight realm started to move, to slide together and congeal, until they formed into a worg-like shape three times Brey’s size.

“We fight as one, Brey,” Kex’ti said. He was still smirking as he wove mists around the tauren warrior.

Breygrah grinned to him, then turned an apparently unfazed look on Vionora. “You will not win, monster.”

Monster. Vionora had been called that, and worse, before. And they were all right. Wordlessly, she raised her Eclipse-marked hand and pointed at Brey, and the worg bounded forward.

Brey turned quickly, letting it leap past her, but it was agile and quick to adjust. It leapt again, and this time its shadowy jaws closed around Breygrah’s leg, dragging her to the ground. She cried out and struck at it ineffectively; Kex’ti dashed forward, but his blade glanced off its flank as well. Vionora wavered slightly as she concentrated on keeping the shadow worg together. It started to shake its head from side to side violently to try to tear through her armor, but Kex’ti wove cocooning magics to protect the warrior.

In moments, Vionora had moved over to Breygrah and reached down to the satchel at Brey’s side. She snapped the belt holding it as she pulled it away.

But then Cerunan had appeared in the twilight realm with them. He too went for the worg, but the worg let go of Breygrah to dodge. The shadow beast seized an opportunity then to lunge for Kex’ti, who shouted, “Get the Herald!”

Breygrah latched desperately onto the trailing belt of the satchel, and Vionora turned, trying to plant a foot on Brey’s neck for leverage. Cerunan leapt for her, his spectral jaws raking her arm, and knocking her down. Kex’ti sent a paralytic burst of chi at the shadow worg, which fell back.

There was a brief tug-of-war between Vionora and Breygrah, but it ended when suddenly Breygrah vanished. Lomani and Anura had managed to pull her out of the twilight. Cerunan sank his teeth into Vionora’s wrist, but she curled around the satchel, reaching inside it with her other hand. Kex’ti was leaping for her, but it was too late. Her fingers brushed black.

The twilight realm shattered into the mortal one as an explosion of shadow radiated outward. It knocked down near half the party who wasn’t down already. Breygrah, the closet, was thrown the furthest back, slamming into the hill face, and Cerunan went skidding. Vionora rose to her feet, her gray eyes glowing brightly and darkly at the same time, and the black book in her hands. Blood from her wounds dripping down her robes.

“How stupid this all is,” she muttered. But all she felt was a sense of relief. It was almost over.

“Cerunan, get her,” Naheal said. His calmness was a sort of madness.

Lilliana, the troll priestess, had arrived at some point. She looked around in confusion, only getting the fringes of the blast.

Cerunan leapt for Vionora again, and at the same time, Kex’ti threw a rope dart, trying to ensnare the book out of her hands. Vionora growled, and a second explosion of shadow roared outward. This time, nearly the entire party was bowled over by it.

“For fuck’s sake,” Darrethy was heard saying.

Lomani threw bolts of Light in response. They struck and sizzled, but Vionora ignored it. She walked over and looked down at Kex’ti, who had withstood enough of the blasts to remain on his knees, though he was leaning on his blade, dazed.

Whatever he thought he stood for, or any of them, was hollow, an illusion at best, a cruel joke at worst. Life itself offered no reprieve from suffering, only taunted with promises of such. It was a lesson she had learned, and one which they would all learn. “There is no sanctuary,” she said.

She reached down and laid her hand on his face.

Nothing happened.

“What?” she said.

“Make peace with your god,” he said. “You will be meeting her soon enough.”

He moved swiftly, more swiftly than she would have expected even if she hadn’t been totally dumbfounded by the moment before. He flipped his sword around and drove it through her. The sensation was one she knew well, and even as her bright blood ran down the blade, she just looked at him.

“You are already cursed,” she said, understanding, “but not by Accalia.”

With the last of his faltering strength, Kex’ti ripped his blade free.

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She fell, barely even feeling the impact of the earth. Pain, agony even, was such a familiar sensation to her that its presence almost seemed more right than its absence. There were loud noises, Naheal shouting to finish her off, Kex’ti vomiting blood and collapsing, Lomani trying to heal the battered Breygrah, Lilliana trying to understand what was happening, but they didn’t matter. Vionora curled around the book again, the book and her pain, closed her eyes, and vanished.

The twilight realm whispered around her, peaceful again. Unlike for her, it had taken extraordinary measures for them to breach it, and they wouldn’t be able to do so again quickly. But she couldn’t stay here. She was too grievously injured, her power too depleted to mend her injuries with the upwelling energies slowed to a trickle. But there was nowhere she could go. She had no home, no refuge, no sanctuary of her own. She was alone.

The book pulsed in her arms. Here, in the twilight realm, it was more than just black. It was shadow incarnate, a black hole in the shape of a book, and it whispered to her, but she didn’t care what it was saying. She was dying here, and the book would be forever lost, out of mortals’ hands. Accalia howled.

She was dying.

Vionora thought of Elek.

With a pang that cut deeper than any blade ever had, she realized that he couldn’t help her. He had exhausted every ounce of cruelty he had on her, more than anyone should ever know themselves to have, and it hadn’t helped either of them. He was as trapped as she by this life. No, he could not help her now.

Slowly, she pushed herself up. The red of her blood was almost a black in this realm, only where the twilight illumination shimmered upon it holding hints of crimson. One could fill a lake with the blood she’d shed in her life and experiences, and swim in it.

Wasn’t that a morbid thought. She started laughing to herself, blood dribbling out of her mouth, as she clutched the book. Morbid? Her? Never. Her thoughts were growing fuzzy from blood loss. But this would be the last blood that spilled from her. Finally, finally, it was the last.

NO. NO. YOU WILL SERVE ME. SERVE ME UNTIL THE END.

“No more,” she whispered.

The shadows came and bore her away. Suddenly, cold air and vivid images rudely thrust her back to reality. She was standing in a place she’d never been before, rough buildings surrounded by stone and snow, and before her, his back to her, was a familiar warlock. Malhavik paused where he had been working at a magical font, then turned, sensing her presence.

“Vionora,” he said, his yellow eye glinting through the cracked mask he wore.

She could not stay standing. She fell to her knees. “M-mal,” she said, and fell to the snow in a faint.

Malhavik looked around for a moment, confused, then back to Vionora. After a moment, he walked over and knelt down to her. He paused when he saw the tome still in her hands, then extended a hand to let his fingers stroke the surface of the book. It whispered to him; promised him things. He pulled it out of her slackened grasp. “Fortunately, my dear,” she said to the unconscious elf, “I have learned how to break us of this curse.”

He rose to his feet, summoning his voidwalker.

“Kragphog, see her to a bunk,” he said. “I have some studying to do.”

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The sun was setting on the frustrated warlock. He had been working relentlessly since Darrethy had pointed him in the direction of a cure. Then, out of nowhere Vionora just showed up with the book he had been seeking and promptly passed out on his doorstep. He couldn't of been happier if it had been his birthday.

Naheal's curse had taken its toll however. The once bright green fel flames that lit the warlocks way were long since out of fuel and absent. He was constantly tired, constantly sore. The book he had wanted so badly unusable. The pages within were solid black, and no methods he tried could produce hidden meaning from them.

Vionora lie in a drug induced slumber several feet away, and he stared at her softly. The light was fading, and he could only just make out the blood soaked features of the girls face. Her matted hair crusted against her dusky cheeks, giving her the look of something wild. Uncivilized, yet innocent. A lie he knew of course, and he would have no interest in her were it true.

When he looked back to the book, they were in total darkness, and there were the words he couldn't before see. The words were darker than black, and difficult to perceive. He grinned, rapidly flipping the pages as his as focused in on the strange un-light. The book whispered, screamed and begged at his mind to be used, but Malhavik was no stranger to seductive magics. His will was iron and he resisted the books calls with little trouble. With a deep, grating chuckle he snatched the book up and approached the comatose elf. With his free hand he caressed Vionora's cheek and smiled so wide his cheeks split at the corner as they had so often before, dripping black ichor oonto her robes.

"I've found the answer to our little problem!" He whispered loudly.

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Vionora lay unconscious in the center of large malefic runework. She had been cleaned, her wounds dressed and outfitted in a new wardrobe by Malhaviks more feminine demons. She looked quite beautiful in the moonlight. Across from her stood Malhavik with the black book, and a large black soul stone perched upon a pedestal of bone before him.

With a wicked black dagger, he carved the same rune into the soul stone that he had carved on Vionora nearly a month earlier. He closed his eyes and the ritual began.

Dark clouds blotted out the moon, and they were drenched in darkness. The book began to hum softly, and the runes on the ground, stone, and elf began to glow a soft purple. The hum of the book began to grow and the runes glowed brighter to match.

Malhavik opened his eyes, and could visibly see the wavelengths of the girls soul syncing with the large black soul stone. The process took several hours, and by the end Malhavik was on the brink of madness. To use the book was to invite the old god into his mind, and its presence was crushing.

Malhavik dropped the book, and was left shaking. Something undead don't do. He tried to calm his mind and focus on the stone before him, now quivering with magic. He had done it. Her soul was bound to the stone. Should she die her soul would be ripped out of her and join the portion he had all ready transferred. Much like a Lich's phylactory.

Now it was time to test if the second part of his plan would work. With a faint nod, his terror guard stomped into the snowy clearing, dragging behind him two bloodied, barely alive night elves. With a slow crunch, the demon snapped there necks. From their bodies Malhavik pulled out their souls and funneled them into the stone. He watched patiently to see how Vionora's soul would react to them. At first they sat side by side, trapped within the stone. Suddenly Vionora's soul stretched around the other two until it encased them. After a few moments there was nothing left of night elves souls and he grinned feeling Vionora's magical strength

Increase.

"Success!" He shouted. Now she could live once broken from Accalia grasp. He needed time to work, and the artificial slumber he kept her in wouldn't last forever. He looked to his terror guard.

"Take her far from here. I need more time to figure out what to do with this book."

With that the demon scooped her up gingerly and flew off into the night.

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She dreamed of a time when she still dreamed.

The dream she dreamed of had been innocuous, one where she had a normal mother and father, Shaena was her sister, her normal sister, and Vionora herself looked normal, with light skin, and everyone else had blue eyes that never went green. But the important thing was that Vionora dreamed of when she was still young and innocent enough to dream at all. She dreamed of a time when there had still been hope.

But that dream had been ruined when her uncle awakened her with a thrown jar, the earthenware shards splintering against her head, and now just as then she awakened with a violent jerk, confused and disoriented and fearful.

It took her long moments to remember that that was a long time ago, that that life had been replaced by even more of a mockery of one, but when she did, the pit of fel inside of her made itself known. Almost, almost she had forgotten it was there, almost she had gotten used to it, but no. She rolled over and vomited onto the floor, little more than bile, as she hadn’t eaten since... She couldn't remember the last time she ate.

She couldn’t remember the last time she'd slept, either. She hadn't needed either since she was cursed, and cursed twice.

Her gray eyes rose as she looked around the room. It was a humble, one-room house with the small bed she lay in, a table, and a chimney for heat and cooking. The spray of blood on one wall was hard to miss. So was the terror guard demon standing at the door, apparently guarding her. She noticed the pair of bodies on the floor next, a human woman and a child. This would have been their home. She wondered where the father was. Had he abandoned them too?

Something else was amiss. It took her far longer than the other things to realize what it was. But when she pushed herself up, she looked down and realized. She was wearing a different robe, an almost elegant one... and she was clean. She hadn't bothered bathing since the start of this end, not with the fel inside of her making her disgusting anyway, but now she was clean, and even had some wounds dressed, such as her broken wrist in a brace. Someone had cared for her.

A wretched sound escaped her. Who would do such a thing? Why...? And then she remembered, the sudden unfamiliar place, standing in the snow, Malhavik turning to face her with calculating surprise. She looked up at the terror guard, who looked back at her with dull interest. It was surely his.

Anger was not an emotion Vionora felt anymore, to speak of. It was wasted, pointless, to get angry at a world that didn't care what you felt. Anger was just an inability to accept reality, the reality that suffering was life.

But this was just too much. Life had gone beyond insult to injury long ago and somewhere it had come to the worst it could possibly be. Any pride Vionora had had had been beaten out of her long ago, but the last thing, the very, very last thing, she had, was the belief that she was at least a person. No one and nothing had ever been able to convince her otherwise, not her uncle, not her peers, not Elek, and not anyone who opposed her now. It was the understanding that no one ever saw her personhood, only seeing an enemy, a tragedy, a monster, an outsider, that formed the basis of all her suffering. And this, being treated like a literal object to be moved around, altered, guarded, this was too much of an assault for her to accept on that very last thing she had.

The shadow came naturally to her now. She didn't even have to speak or gesture. It enveloped the terror guard demon, which screamed, but only for the moment before it was consumed.

However, she realized two things as the shadow flowed through her.

The first was that the counter-curse Naheal had put on her was gone. She had the full flow of power from her marked now, and, she sensed, so did Malhavik, the restriction on him removed as well.

The second was that one more thing about her had been changed.

The demonic seal Malhavik had put on her, foolishly thinking to stopper the leak that was her soul's drinking of the energy fed into her, had cut off her soul from the very essences of the world around her. Had the connection to Accalia not been reforged, providing her soul a steady stream of sustenance, Vionora would have starved to mana-death in short order; but it was that reforging, the immense power released when Accalia was connected to the mortal realm once more through Vionora, that had seared the seal into Vionora's very soul, ensuring that only a comparable, and doubtlessly soul-devouring in the process, amount of power could ever remove it.

It was still there; no miracle had been performed. But now it was connected to something else. Her soul was bound by a tether she could feel when she wielded the shadow that Accalia's curse gave her, which too fed through her soul. Her soul was bound.

She let out a strangled gasp as she curled over, reaching for a physical binding that wasn't there to try to tear it away. She was trapped. She was trapped in life. Even if she died now, even if she died bringing Accalia to this world and took everyone with her, she wouldn't be free. She would still exist. It wouldn't end.

What do you do when nothing is left, not even death?

Vionora would not be seen or heard from by anyone for almost a week.

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Malhavik sat in his temporary room in the Grims guild hall, staring at his reflection in a mirror on the wall. Slowly, he removed his mask and sighed at his once handsome face, now largely decayed and abhorrent. At some point in the last week his glowing yellow eyes had vanished, leaving small black voids in there wake. He wasn't sure how or why it happened. Perhaps a side effect of using the black book? Or maybe it was simply a new condition of his curse as it grew in power. It could even be related to the void he kept in his chest where his heart once sat. He'd have to look into to it at some point, if he survived the coming few days.

It had been four days since he gave Khorvis the black book, an action he had done for several reasons. Firstly, whoever held the book was doomed. Powerful artifacts like that drew far to much attention, and Malhavik was not willing spend his life safeguarding it. No, his object of power was Vionora, even if she didn't fully realize it yet. He cackled loudly as he thought of her. Such a beautiful creature of strife. She was all most there...

He replaced his mask and gathered his supplies. With the black soul stone safely hidden away, it was time to enact the final, and most dangerous part of his plan. He summoned his dread steed and rode off into the night without telling a soul. He came across an abandoned farmhouse in Silverpine forest, and went inside to wait.

It wouldn't be long before she found him.

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