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Eclipse: Between Shadow and Darkness

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Vionora    10

Malhavik turned his veiled head toward her, taking the sudden change in stride. He waited patiently for an explanation.

Hunter smirked, dissembling. "My dear, you said yourself that you didn't believe it. It is impossible for me to do it."

"Malhavik," Vionora said, not taking her eyes off Hunter, "he wants the fel you put inside me. He won't leave me alone... Hunter won't. Not Tirien."

Hunter shrugged, indifferent. "The seal you put on her is brilliant."

Malhavik's head turned toward Hunter. "The fel is a part of her now, and she is mine."

A shudder ran through Vionora. She clenched her hands at her sides, not realizing she was doing so.

"I see it the other way." Hunter turned to face Malhavik now. "Yes, you've infused her with fel, but I sense her chains are more-so around you."

Malhavik remained utterly impassive, but Vionora froze. The words weren't true, but they were the embodiment of a sentiment that Malhavik had spent nearly all his time since Accalia's release trying to dispel.

"Tell me, can you claim to own that which gave you what power you have?" Hunter went on.

"It's true she does have chains on me," Malhavik responded carefully. "Though the ones you 'see' are not them."

Vionora slowly looked toward him.

"I've found affection for this one," he said.

Hunter laughed aloud. Vi's eyes widened. Malhavik had never openly admitted that before, much less to someone else.

"Despite my better judgment," Malhavik concluded. She winced.

"Then you can claim to own nothing save your weakness," Hunter said.

"Well, I am a disciple of suffering, after all," Malhavik said thoughtfully. "Perhaps it's only fitting."

Hunter laughed again and looked to Vionora. "My dear. You hold all of the cards here."

She blinked several times. "No... I don't..." Malhavik held her soul. He could threaten her with worse than oblivion. She folded her arms over her stomach.

"Oh but you do," Hunter said. "You act as if you have nothing when in fact you have everything."

It wasn't true. "No... Everything I have... has been taken from me."

Malhavik spoke. "And now you have Hunter... and me."

At the same time, Hunter said, "And you've been given so much for it."

Vionora looked from Malhavik to Hunter. She didn't realize she took her dagger in hand. "No... I can't.." she said numbly.

"You can choose to remain as you are, stuck between power and weakness, or you can be free." Hunter held out his hand, the other still folded over and gripping his bicep.

Malhavik growled and plucked one of his soulshards out of the air. "I grow tired of these antics."

Vionora looked down at the extended hand. Free, he said. Freedom from Malhavik's bonds, certainly; but in truth, from suffering, the shadow that was the only thing life had ever given her. He offered her the darkness she desired, that had been denied her time and time again. He could, and would, end her existence, her miserable existence, given the opportunity. It was a way out. It was the escape, the relief, the oblivion that was the only thing she had wanted for so long.

Her eyes traveled up the hand, his arm, to his face. He winked at her.

That wasn't the only thing she had wanted.

It was like a wave crashing over her; it was like a spark to fuel. Her entire perspective changed; her entire life rearranged. A moment before, she had stood there between shadow and darkness, with nothing else to hope for, with no light in sight. Now she understood. You made your own light. And it flooded through her with such brightness she wanted to laugh and cry and collapse all at the same time.

"Tirien," she said.

An audible pop came from Hunter's right arm from the left gripping it so hard. Malhavik paused and said, "You wish to speak with Tirien, Vionora?"

All three of them suddenly dropped out of the twilight and back into the mortal realm. A'dal chimed softly. Malhavik quickly released the soulshard.

"I'll see him again," Vionora said.

Hunter still stood with his hand outstretched toward her. His breathing was heavy and labored.

"Leave," Vionora told him.

He glared, the only showing of his frustrations. "You know where I will be. My offer remains."

The heavy presence of fel that surrounded him disappeared, and Tirien sank down to his knees, gripping his broken right arm. He grit his teeth and hissed in pain.

"Gods, damnit! The' fuck is wrong with me? Breakin' my own damn arm!"

"Tirien..." Vionora dropped her dagger and moved forward to kneel down beside the rogue. She held her hand out over his arm but did not touch him.

"Vionora, what was he offering you?" Malhavik asked.

She paused to look up at the warlock. She chose her words with care. "I... told you I wouldn't disappoint you again."

He had been angry with her when she'd tried to convince him there was no point in trying to help her. He'd made it clear that such fatalistic tendencies would have dire consequences. After a moment, he nodded.

Tirien glared up at Malhavik. "She ain't yers, so stay out'a her business, warlock."

"Hush," Vionora said. She summoned the Light, ignoring its ache as she set to work healing his arm. He doubled over, pressing his forehead to the ground as he gripped his arm further. With a scream he pulled inward, snapping it back into place as her Light mended it. Vionora didn't wince. She had endured much worse personally.

"So I get to meet the infamous Tirien after all," Malhavik said.

Tirien was panting, mouth agape and eyes shut tight. "Haaa, haaa, ffffuck." His breathing slowed and he relaxed.

Sitting back on her heels, Vionora looked up at Malhavik. "He is no threat," she said, her voice still quiet.

"So it would seem." Malhavik regarded her. "You still haven't specified what he wanted with you."

Sitting back up, Tirien patted his arm and looked over to Vionora out of the corner of his eye, still keeping Malhavik in his sight. "Thanks, V," he said.

She nodded a little at him, watching Malhavik as well. "He offered what you don't want me to want," she stated carefully.

"Ah, an end," Malhavik said. "I presume there is more to it than that."

"He would... take me instead of Tirien." She looks back at the rogue.

Tirien winced at the dull throb and nodded. "Yeh. I heard that."

"Hmph, well, I suppose I can't find fault in that," Malhavik said. "You would be a far superior vessel than this... man."

Tirien huffed. "Says you."

Vionora closed her eyes. All the chaos and confusion of earlier was gone; simply gone. She felt calm and sure. "Perhaps," she said simply.

"Still, it seems Hunter is a much greater enemy than Tirien," Malhavik reflected.

Vionora nodded. "He is."

Tirien sat, arms behind him as he leaned against them. He was still stuck on the remarks from a few moments ago. "Just 'cause ya don't like the 'D' don't mean I ain't a primo-vessel." He winced again, his arm somewhat sore.

"My, how crass..." Malhavik said, and approached. Vionora looked up at him.

Tirien grinned and patted around his right side until he found what he was looking for. "I don't recommend comin' too much closer, bud."

"Relax, you are safe in A'dal's presence," Malhavik said mildly.

"Like I trust a wind chime. But whatever."

Vionora looked back to Tirien. "Can you make it back to Stormwind all right?" she asked.

He nodded. "Yeah... I'll be just fine when I get a drink in me..."

"You know I really can help you with your 'problem'," Malhavik said. "He's proven himself to be a greater enemy than you."

Vionora rose to her feet, and Tirien did as well, though a bit more labored. "My business is my own," he said. "Ain't no way I'm turnin' to another warlock to get rid of one." He spat off to the side and rubbed his arm with a frown.

"Of course the far easier solution..." Malhavik reflected, before his tone dropped to something more ominous, "would be to simply murder you and be rid of you both."

Vionora didn't respond; not so much as a peep of objection. She didn't feel the need to protest anymore. She had her own plan.

"Tch. Like that's gonna happen," Tirien said.

"Not here, not now," Malhavik agreed.

"Not ever," Tirien said confidently.

"What do you want with Vionora, good sir?" Malhavik inquired.

Tirien arced a brow in surprise. "Uhh...?"

"Is she an exquisite woman to bed? A unique obstacle to overcome?" Malhavik studied the rogue's reactions. "Reveal to me you intentions."

"Well, I want t' keep talkin' with 'er, that's for sure." He looked awkward and scratched the back of his neck. "Though it's been up t' her if she wants to or not."

"How boyishly romantic..." Malhavik remarked.

Tirien frowned. "It ain't like that. I'm jus' glad she's chosen t' spend time with me, mostly."

"I'm sure." Malhavik looked to Vionora. She was just looking at Tirien, her expression calm. "You've been rather quiet since Tirien has shown himself," he said. "Any words to share, my dear?"

Tirien noticed she was looking at him and got a somewhat embarrassed look to his face. "What? It ain't Michael this time. Promi–"

"I'm ready to leave when you are," she replied to Malhavik.

"Oh," Tirien said. After a moment he recovered, and gave her his smile. The right smile. "So b'fore ya go, mind if we talk a lil'? Won't hold ya up too long."

Malhavik remained quiet, facing the two. Vionora responded evenly. "If you like."

Tirien looked at Malhavik and narrowed his features, making a shooing motion with his hands. Malhavik turned his head to Vionora, and she nodded faintly. With that, Malhavik turned and paced toward the Orgrimmar portal. After he was out of earshot, Tirien sighed and finally truly relaxed. "So that's th' guy eh?" he said.

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Vionora    10

"Yes," Vionora said. She couldn't stop looking at him. She was so happy to see him back to himself, his features warm again, the drawl to his voice, the awkwardness.

Tirien looked off in Malhavik's direction with a mock-pout almost, and shrugged. "Eh... Ain't so bad, if ya get past..." He looked momentarily lost in thought. "Nevermind. Anyway. I jus' wanted t' apologize fer all'a that. I was weak an' let Hunter in, so it's on me. I caused ya trouble so..."

He extended out his fist and tensed it. She reached out and closed her hand over his gloved fist before he managed to punch himself again.

"That's not necessary," she said.

He looked conflicted. "But I promised I'd clock whoever caused ya trouble."

Vionora lifted her other hand to wrap it around his fist as well. "Tirien. I'm just glad you're all right."

He smiled at her, happy. "Geeze... Ain't like I was lost ferever."

"Always come back to me..." she murmured.

Clearing his throat, Tirien lowered his arm. She slowly let go as he withdrew. "Anyway. What I wanted t' tell ya before ya leave was..." He placed his hands on both her arms and looked at her as if he spoke truth. "No one owns ya, V. Not me. Not Mal... Not Accalia. Yer th' only one who owns you." His grip tightened, but gently, and he smiled. "Don't fergit that, alright?"

She closed her eyes, relishing his touch. Then she opened them to smile at him, happier than she could ever remember being. He couldn't hold back a wide smile in return and laughed.

"What? I'm serious."

"I know." She kept smiling at him.

Tirien began to look awkward and blushed, needing to look off somewhere as he kept smiling, "Geeze. Jus' play it safe around that warlock, alright? Though keep an eye out for his soulstone. That's my advice to ya. Get that an' ya can trade it fer yers," he said after a wink, then, "Or hey! If ya find yers, then all th' better!"

"There is someone helping me find the soulstone. And Malhavik plans to remove the seal when Accalia comes." Her expression grew more serious, though not unhappy.

One of her hounds had offered to help her find a way to release the bond. Vionora was finding herself ambivalent about her decision to accept his aid. And the seal... That was something even Malhavik wasn't sure she'd survive. Before minutes ago, she hadn't much cared. Now, she did. Tirien clearly didn't know how to respond to that, looking taken aback for a moment. She looked at him.

"Tirien... when she comes... will you be there?"

He pulled her into a tight hug, to her surprise. Her hands went to his shoulders. He laughed a little. "Of course I'll be there t' see ya through all'a this." He pulled back and kept his hands on her arms. She smiled at him again, but then grew serious once more.

"Last time... we beat her... but..."

"It didn't stick," he stated.

"Yes... but also..." She paused. "When her mortal form was defeated, she dragged us all into the twilight realm... into... nightmares." She looked at him. "It destroyed me."

His grip tightened, though again, gently. "What do you mean?"

"Everyone was subjected to their worst nightmares. Mine was.." She paused again. "I suffered. Too much. And she'll do it again, I'm sure, even if we beat her." She looked at him, wanting to ensure he understood.

"I won't let that happen." He sounded so sure, so confident. As if it was written in stone somewhere.

"You have to be prepared," she said quietly.

He nodded. "Ain't no other way I'd be. Got more'n a few tricks up my sleeve."

"I'll look for you," she said, "in the nightmare. You won't be alone."

He smiled. "Neither will you. You'll know where t' find me."

Vionora was quiet, not having anything else to say. Time had become precious, and she felt it keenly, standing here with him in the ruins of a shattered world. The last time she'd been in this Shattrath, she realized, her life had changed, too.

Tirien couldn't seem to look away from her either, though he did look awkward as usual. "I'm glad I bumped inta you, y'know?"

"Me too," she said simply.

His gaze grew more relaxed. "But hey, I'm gonna head back t' my camp. Past my bed time," he said with sarcasm.

"All right." She didn't move to pull away.

"What are you gonna do?"

"I'm going to go back to Malhavik," she said. He would be expecting her.

He nodded. "Alright. Remember what I said, okay?"

"I will." She smiled at him a little.

"He can't tell ya what t' do, let alone make ya." He winked at her. "I got a feelin' he'll get what's comin' t' him." He patted her arms and took a step or two back. "And I'm off."

She couldn't think of a proper way to say goodbye. She didn't want him to leave. It could be that their leavetakings were numbered, now. But time marched on. "Take care," she said quietly.

He waved as he turned. As a crowd of guards passed by, he disappeared.


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Vionora    10

In the week and a half between then and the Eclipse, Vionora began seeking to undo what she could of the damage she'd help bring about. She tried to remove the curse from Smithe, one of Accalia's best sources of energy; though she failed there, she was able to help Aaren by removing the curse from her. Vionora also delivered warnings to everyone she could about the coming Eclipse, once Malhavik had determined that a previously overlooked solar eclipse was going to be occurring over Darkmoon Isle soon, and she told people to be prepared for the nightmare that would follow if they were able to defeat Accalia's physical form. Many remained hostile to her, but a surprising number welcomed her change of heart.

Even after Fhenrir betrayed her and transferred her curse from her to him, depriving her of her greatest powers, Vionora continued acting as she could – to Malhavik's dismay, as she took considerable risks.

But she was growing bolder; more sure of what she wanted.

And it was all because of Tirien. Because she had discovered how to love unconditionally, after being accepted unconditionally, and under the most extreme circumstances.

From that seed of acceptance came other, surprising things.


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Vionora    10

Talfryn's words had shocked her; they would continue to haunt her. Vionora followed Malhavik when he left, worried she had once again earned his disapproval. She found him out on the strand as the sun was beginning to set. Twilight would come soon. He stood looking over the water and did not acknowledge her arrival.

"Everything I do makes you angry..." she said softly.

"The fault is not yours," he said, "it is mine. I have failed you, it seems."

She looked at him uncertainly. "How? You didn't..."

"I had hoped that with the proper nudging I could show you the way to truly enjoy this delusion of existence," he said bitterly.

In the end, she had not been able to find enjoyment in making others suffer, as he did. That fire had burned out in her long ago. She clasped her hands together. "It's not your fault I... don't enjoy what you enjoy..."

"So it would seem," he said.

Vionora gazed at him, troubled. And slowly grasping why she was troubled; why his disappointment bothered her so much. She didn't want to lose him. She cared about him. But more than that... she needed him. And wanted him. Softly, she took a breath, and made herself put it to words. "But... I do enjoy..."

She hesitated, and he did not respond, looking at her. Her gaze dropped and she put her hand on his arm, sliding it upward. He did not pull away, but neither did he respond.

"Do you know what I saw in that tavern just now?" he asked abruptly.

"Probably... not the best," she said.

"I saw the woman I've somehow grown feelings for enjoying the company of my most hated enemies. I saw my flesh and blood little brother siding with the same company."

Vionora cringed, lowering her hand. She had been trying to warn the others about Fhenrir. Talfryn had spat accusations at her, and the others in turn at Malhavik. "He said... I'd seduced you... turned you against them all..." she said.

"Hmph, if anyone seduced anyone, Darrethy did him."

He dismissed the accusations, but the fear remained. Vionora spoke quietly. "But... you would be better off if... you'd never met me."

"I always learn from my mistakes," he said, his voice cold.

Vionora cringed again, closing her eyes. She was a mistake to him. But something made her open them again, and she realized he had taken something into his hand. A glowing stone that pulsed in time with her own soul. Her eyes widened. He'd had the soulstone on him the whole time.

"I don't have the heart the destroy this," he mused. "Perhaps you have seduced me?" He chuckled softly.

She bit her lip. But then he held the stone out to her with a curt movement. "Take it, and do not come to me again," he told her. "I know I will do horrible things as my love for you dies."

Stunned, she stared at him, unmoving. "No... please..." she said.

Still, he held it out to her. "I cannot bring myself to harm you tonight, but the feeling won't last. Take it and go."

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Vionora    10

His expression was shuttered; cold. "No... please..." she had pleaded, when he'd offered her freedom and warned her against him. But she wanted and needed what they had, no matter how twisted it was. And she understood, then, that he was afraid, and that was why he was pushing her away.

Then, for the first time in her life, she got angry at someone who was hurting her.

"No!" Vionora reached out and shoved his hand away. Malhavik dropped his arm in surprise as her words tumbled out recklessly. "I refuse! Harm me if you want to. I don't care."

"Don't you see?" he responded, growing vehement. "You are not like me! I have nothing to offer you but misery!"

"I'm only free when you hold me!" she cried.

The words hung between them. She bit her lip and tilted her head down, looking at him from under her eyelashes. Malhavik remained quiet for a long time, looking at her.

"Very well," he said finally. "But know I will likely kill everyone you care for in the end."

Vionora thought of Tirien. "No one owns ya, V," he'd said. He wouldn't understand why she chose this. He wouldn't judge, but he wouldn't understand. She took a breath as she understood that, and at the same time, understood she'd do anything to preserve it.

"Maybe," she said.

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Vionora    10

Malhavik slowly placed the soulstone in a pocket of his robes. He was clearly still troubled. Vionora didn't dare draw near or touch him, her persuasion at best tentative for now. But it was enough.

And there were other hurdles to clear. She looked down at her hands, where the seal glowed, but the mark of the Eclipse was now dormant, its power transferred to another.

"You know..." she said slowly, "without the curse... it will kill me when you try to remove the seal."

The only way Malhavik had surmised the seal could be removed required a vast amount of power; an amount great enough to kill her without the mark to send it to Accalia to absorb. She looked up at him calmly.

"I figured it would kill you anyway," he responded.

"Maybe," she said again. He and Naheal thought her will to survive insufficient to survive the ordeal. But a part of her wanted to live, now. Even as she wondered at it, she nurtured it. "Are you still going to try...?" she asked.

"I don't know," he muttered. He wasn't looking at her. "It's... hard to think right now."

"Then don't think," she said softly.

"Part of me wants to flay your soul for what you have done to me," he said. His deadly tone sent a shudder through her, and she clenched her hands.

"You can, if you want to," she whispered.

Now he looked at her. "...But another, more foolish part still calls me to embrace you."

She couldn't help but move closer. The movement made him cringe away from her, and she stopped. "I'm sorry," she said helplessly.

"I can't... grasp this right now," he said. "I'll be returning to Silverpine to rest and plan our next move." He turned away.

"Let me know when..." She paused. "...if you want me."

He began to walk away, but stopped after a few paces to look back at her. "You are still welcome to my home as you please," he said.

Relief washed over her. "Thank you," she said.

He nodded faintly and left her there.


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Vionora    10

It was a delicate balancing act, trying to please Malhavik while asserting her independence. It came to a head when Vionora rescued Aaren from Fhenrir against Malhavik's wishes.

The fel gateway fizzled out behind them as they stumbled into the dank interior of the cave. Vionora pressed a hand to her stomach where blood flowed. She'd been shot, again. Pain was familiar and almost comforting, taking her away from what she'd just done so she didn't have to think about the ramifications. Yet.

"Fucking hell! I just made this one too!" Aaren said, inspecting her arm where another bullet had grazed her. Then she looked at Vionora, realizing the other elf was injured. "Did they hurt you?"

"Ah," Vionora said distractedly. She summoned the Light to start healing the wound, though doing so brought its own share of pain. "I've been hurt worse," she said.

Aaren reached out with her bloodied hand, setting it on Vi's shoulder. "Yeah, so have I. Want me to help?"

"Is it worth it?" Vionora murmured.

"For me? Yeah. For you?" Aaren left it unanswered.

The glowing lichen lit up the cave enough to see each other by. They were in the Ghostlands, the first place Vionora had thought to go. She was still a little shocked that she'd done it, she'd drawn on the fel well of energy inside of her. She'd had no other choice, though. More shocking was how it had bent so easily to her will, unlike the Light, which had only ever come grudgingly. She closed her left hand, the seal-marked hand, into a fist over her wound. Aaren frowned.

Vionora knew Fhenrir hadn't meant to shoot her. That was the last thing he wanted to do.

"If I die, the Harbinger loses his power... But Accalia will still come," Vionora said.

It had been almost three months, and more had been marked this time than the last. Accalia would certainly have enough power gathered to break through to the mortal realm come the next eclipse even if the flow were cut off now.

"Is it worth it?" Vionora repeated in the ensuing silence. "I don't know."

"Well, letting you die isn't nice," Aaren said factually. "What would your human friend say?"

Vionora blinked and looked at the other elf. "He's... very stubborn," she said after a moment. She had no doubt of what Tirien would say. He would tell her not to throw her life away just to take away Fhenrir's power. He wouldn't even invoke any logical reasons about other ways she could help. He wouldn't need any.

"Well, so am I," Aaren said. "And you are too, whether you think so or not." She moved her arm and flinched at the pain.

"I'm sorry," Vionora said. "It's hard to remember... he treats me differently than everyone else."

She spoke of Malhavik. He'd been all too willing to let Fhenrir dispose of Aaren. After being the one to bring Aaren into that situation, Vionora had found she couldn't stand by.

"Why do you bother with Mal, then? He's an idiot. And a jerk," Aaren added.

Vionora paused to find the words. "You're addicted to magic, aren't you?" she asked. "Like all elves? Have you ever been addicted to anything else?"

At that, Aaren appeared at a loss for words. Her expression was somewhat pained. "Ya know," she said after a moment, "Sunfury are drunk on mana crystals, all the time." She frowned. "Well, were. I dunno. Anyway. What are you getting at?"

Vionora leaned back against the cave wall. The stone was smooth and cool in between patches of the glowing lichen. "I'm addicted to suffering," she said. "And he..."

She trailed off, her gaze going distant. Aaren looked down at her injured arm, then at Vionora's wounds. "Not like this, huh?" she said dryly.

Vionora focused on Aaren again. "I've accepted it about myself," she said.

"Yeah, well, you should ditch him and hang out with that other guy."

Vionora shook her head. "Tirien would never hurt me."

"Yeah, that's why you should stay with him," Aaren said.

"No... that's why I could never stay with him," Vionora said quietly.

"Because you think you need to hurt?"

Silent, Vionora gazed at Aaren for a few moments. "I'm happy, now, this way," she said eventually.

"You don't look happy," Aaren said flatly.

"It's hard to hold onto." All of it. Pleasing Malhavik, protecting the others, helping Tirien, and dealing with the looming threat of Accalia's coming, and everything that came with that. "It's all on the verge of falling apart. It would be better if I hadn't started to hope again..."

"Hope for what?" Aaren said. Then she sighed. "It's kinda overrated sometimes, I know. But it's necessary."

"Yes..." Vionora murmured.

"It ain't bad, though," Aaren said. "Unless you make it meaningless."

Vionora pushed away from the wall. Aaren looked at her, her expression tired.

"Will you be prepared when Accalia falls?" Vionora asked.

Aaren shrugged. "Don't got much of a choice. I kinda just take things as they come, anyway. Plans never work out. Well, sometimes."

"I have to go back," Vionora said.

"To the jerks, huh?" Vi nodded. "Kay. You do that, I guess." Aaren tried to sound indifferent, but it didn't work.

"Don't get hurt," Vionora said.

A smirk flashed across Aaren's face. "You be careful. No fun unless you got another scar for the story."

"Scars are forever," Vionora said. She had many she would never be rid of, not all of which were visible. The way Aaren looked at her, Vionora knew the other elf knew what she meant.

"Yeah. I know," Aaren said. "I got plenty. Inside and out."

"I know," Vionora said. It was why Vionora had wanted to help her.

She headed back to Malhavik and Fhenrir to face the consequences.


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Vionora    10

Malhavik was infuriated with her for rescuing Aaren and throwing his plans with Fhenrir into jeopardy. But she calmly told him to not expect her to stand by and let someone she cared about die – because he wasn't the master of her. To which he asked who was, and she told him: herself. Even if she gave herself to him, it was her decision; she was ultimately in control of her own life.

Maybe it had been true all along. Life had heaped everything from indignities to unspeakable cruelties on her, but the choice of how to react to them had always been hers to make. While the choices she'd made were understandable, a great part of them something it would hard to blame her for, it had taken her this long to believe she could even be anything besides a victim.

It wasn't going to be easy, learning to fight the instinct to give up. There were pitfalls she couldn't even fathom down that path. Chief among them was taking responsibility for how her actions had and would hurt others. But she was determined.

Yet Accalia was coming.

A new perspective wouldn't be able to save her from the choices she'd already made. And the light she'd found, reflected by those around her, would illuminate the truth of why she'd taken the path she had.



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