Syreena

Sweets for Sanctuary II

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Syreena descended the rickety wooden steps to the basement of the alchemy lab in Venomspite. Her footsteps, and the creak of the stairs, were muffled by bubbling noises coming from various vats that bubbled over with sickly green goo or bright pink liquid. Her alchemy lab was once in the Grim garrison, but she had moved it several months ago to somewhere quieter.

“Good afternoon, Miss Shadowblade,” Bernard said as he poured a slimy substance from a small vial into a swirling mixture inside a beaker. Bernard was an older man, clean and well dressed, for a Forsaken. “Have you come to check on your pets?”

Syreena moved to a row of cages that lined one wall. A few of the cages had a handwritten nametag on the outside, and a live specimen inside. “Maggot” was written on the cage of a male blood elf. “Stick” on the cage of a female blood elf. “Edwin” on a male human’s cage. Two Iron Horde orcs had the nametags “Honor” and “Whipper.”

“Any progress, Bernie?” Syreena asked as she peered at Maggot. The elf was missing both ears, and his skin was covered with patches of sores and rotting flesh. He lay on the floor of his cage, his breath coming in wheezing gasps.

“Perhaps,” Bernard said. “The latest strain takes longer to take effect, but seems to have more promising results.”

“When will it be ready?” she asked as she looked over the other cages.

“Oh, I don’t know yet,” Bernard said. It was his usual answer. He would never commit to a deadline. “There’s still the other specimens to test, it’s not stable yet, the effects are not permanent, the solution is—“

“That’s nice,” Syreena interrupted. “The first field test will be in three weeks.”

The Shadowblade smiled cheerily at the older alchemist. She waved at him as she walked out, leaving him sputtering objections about not being ready.

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Three weeks later, Syreena returned to the alchemy lab with several large heart-shaped boxes of assorted chocolates. She set them on a table that was already filled with other such boxes.

“Hey, Bernie. Is it ready?” she asked Bernard, the head alchemist here.

“Patience. Discipline,” he said, and then he clucked his tongue. “The results are still not consistent. In some people, it does nothing. Sometimes it causes fevers, delusions, and blistering, as a plague, but the patients either die or eventually get well. None have successfully risen again as Forsaken from our experimental plague. It’s just not ready to release on the public yet.”

Bernard motioned to the cages of test subjects. As he had explained, none had been changed to Forsaken. Some looked unaffected, and some had fever sweat and blistering sores.

“We’re releasing it as planned,” Syreena said firmly. She pointed to the stack of Love is in the Air chocolates. “Have those filled with the plague. Don’t forget to melt the chocolate again over the syringe needle marks. Send three boxes to each of these guilds: Sanctuary, Eternal Aegis, Twilight Empire, Cup and Blade Caravan, and Borrowed Time. The cards for all should read ‘From Sanctuary’, except Sanctuary’s obviously which should say it’s from Borrowed Time.”

Bernard started to object, but she glared at him. “Have them delivered tomorrow,” she ordered.

((OOC: For anyone who wants to participate, the chocolates will be delivered on Sunday, Valentine’s Day. They are contaminated with this version of the plague. The results, as noted in the post, are inconsistent and temporary, so it’s completely up to each player if/how the plague affects them and for how long. Have fun! :) ))

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Sanctuary's garrison experienced a certain amount of turnover, as was typical of a military post. As a result, the office worker who sorted the mail hadn't heard of last year's rather... spectacular events. Finding no one specific to deliver it to, he shrugged and left it in the inn, the lid off, for anyone to help themselves to. After taking one for himself, of course.

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Shokkra walked into the inn, spying the chocolates and stretching out her hand before reading who it was from. "Ugh... Borrowed Time. Probably shitty chocolate. Then again it might be from Nok, in which case there might be alcohol in them. Ah fuck it." She took three.

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Rylie found the box of chocolates left on the table soon enough. She curiously picked up the card to see who it was to, and who it was from. Spotting Borrowed Time's name brought a huge smile to her face. She really missed them! Especially Mayce, who had been helping to train her how to fight. And Tazhou, who had initially began teaching her Orcish. And even Chief- who she hadn't gotten to spend a lot of time with, but who was always warm and encouraging towards her. She popped a chocolate into her mouth and carefully picked out two more, then hurried off to find some paper so she could send them a thank you note.

......

But not before she snuck back in and took just one more.

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Geo walked in and saw the chocolates on the table he opened the box and looked at them carefully before returning the lid before picking it up and walking off towards his ship. Once aboard he told one of the crewmembers to go destroy that box and to return. It is now 8 hours later.

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After leaving the guild meeting, Katrynne decided to stop by the guild hall before her evening hunt. Even in her human form, she still had a sensitive nose, and the smell of chocolate tempted her as soon as she stepped inside.

Unable to resist, she took the lid off the heart-shaped box. A few pieces were already missing. Nobody would notice the disappearance of three more that would end up delicately savored by the worgen woman.

She hated this time of year. Everyone all giddy with love either real or hoped for, and flowers, and cards, and worthless trinkets. She had no interest in such. But she could not resist good chocolate; it nearly made up for all the silliness of the holiday.

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Razz wandered around the garrison, looking for that silly drill sergeant brother of hers when she came across some chocolate.

“Ooh,” she said. She lifted the lid, looking it over. “I wonder if this is the good stuff, or if it’s cheap candle wax from Booty Bay.”

She picked up a piece with her perfectly manicured hand and experimentally nibbled a corner. Seemingly approving the treat, she popped the rest of the piece into her mouth. She closed her eyes as she chewed, and made a soft “Mmm” noise.

She started to reach for a second piece, then drew her hand back. “Oh, no, I must watch my figure!” she said. “Well, I suppose just one more won’t hurt!”

Five pieces later, she walked away and resumed the search for Rekkit.

The next morning, Razz did not get out of bed. Her blankets were tangled around her, her hair was sticking up in every direction, and she was coated with a thin veil of sweat. Red welts had risen on her skin, and she groaned.

“Help,” she moaned pitifully. “Help, I’m dying! I knew it was too cold here. Ohhh!”

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Faelenor stared blankly at the box of chocolates counting the empty spaces and sighed at the amount taken. He plucked one out of the box and wrapped it in a small cloth. He put the lid on the box and carried in hand making his way to Julilees quarters. "Ninorra would be sorely disappointed in Sanctuary...again."

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Kex'ti arrived home, looking really ill. He went to check on Rylie.

Rylie was in her bed, curled tightly beneath the blankets in a bit of a fetal position. But she sniffled, and tossed and turned.

Kex'ti walked over to her. "Hey, sunshine. Are you feeling unwell too?" He said in Orcish.

Rylie pulled the covers off of her head. She looked horrible, as well. In fact.. she looked gravely ill. Whatever had stricken them seemed to hit her exceptionally hard, probably due to her young age. She seemed very pale and looked weak, her eyes a bit glassy. And a rash covered much of her skin.

"I'm sick, Kex'ti." She whispered, in a tremulous voice.

He stroked the hair from her face. "Ssh. It wil be okay. Just take a deep breath." He let the mists wash over her, taking time to search for illnesses, and encouraging her body to right itself internally.

"Just let your emotions flow. It makes it easier."

She looked up at him and a tear streaked from the corner of her eye, dampening her hair which was already damp with sweat. She was feeling sorry for herself. "You're sick, too? What happened? Is it the flu cause it.." She swallowed. "It feels worse...and my skin burns."

"You will be okay," he says, quietly. He unstoppers a carafe of water and holds it to her lips.

She sat up in bed and sipped gratefully from the carafe of water, not realizing how dehydrated she was. If any servents or others from Sanctuary had been about to speak to Kexti before, they would have told him that she had been quite ill for most of the day, and wasn't able to keep much of anything down.

Kex'ti continues to let the mists wash over her. It's not an unpleasant experience, as he tries to siphon out the contagion, and have her tissues right themselves. He just talks to her calmly.

"I remember the first time I was very sick," he said.

He weaves the mists, taking away the worst of the misery.

She closed her eyes and held the carafe in her hands, soothed by the mist, and by having him there. She drew her knees up to her chest and huddled against the headboard, then opened her eyes and watched him, listening. "What was it from?"

"I tried to use magic."

"And it made you sick?" She blinked at him.

He nodded.

"I have an illness," he said, "That is quite unfortunate among my people."

"That's why you always cough, isn't it?" She watched him. "What kind of illness is it?"

"It hurts my ability to use mana. When I attempt to draw it, my body accumulates it, and causes harm to my organs and tissue. As an elf, my people can use magic quite easily. So, as you can imagine, it was quite a painful experience. "

Rylie pouted at him, her eyes still just a touch watery. "But you heal.. isn't that magic?"

"That is why I take my medicine," he smiles. "And it is a long practiced skill, not completely magical in nature. For a very long time, I was not a healer, to tell the truth."

"Are you going to be ok, though?"

"Of course," he smiled, and rested a hand on her forehead. "Does that feel any better?"

She nodded to him. "It does. I don't feel so hot and queasy, now. My skin still kinda itches, but it's better." She regarded him. "What about you?"

"I will be fine, Rylie."

"Good." She nodded firmly at him.

"Can I bring you anything?"

She thought about this, and shook her head. "No.. just leave the water, please. I'm still not hungry."

"I will cook you a big meal tomorrow, so please heal quickly," he smirked. "Please rest up," he said, and gave her a hug.

She hugged him tight, then smiled weakly at him. "Ok Kex'ti.. as long as you do, too! I don't want you to be sick, either."

"I will get well. But sleep in tomorrow, Rylie. You will need to rest to recover. Mistweaving can only do so much."

She nodded. "Ok, promise."

He ruffles her hair. "Goodnight, Rylie."

She giggled, cheered by his visit considerably. "Night!"

He turned out the lights as he leaves.

Sometime in the night, he sat on the edge of her bed and made sure she was okay. Julilee eventually followed, spoke to him in Thalassian, and took him back to bed.

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A look of frustration painted the rangers face as he made his way to Sanctuary's great hall. Still holding the box in hand he motioned to one of the guards. "See to it that Julilee meet with me here. It is of utmost importance that she does." The guard looked at the box of chocolates and back up at Faelenor. He began to smile but before it could become a full grin Faelenor whacked the guard on the helmet. "Don't be so quick on your assumptions...Just see to it she knows I seek an audience with her."

The guard straightened up and saluted Faelenor before taking off to find Julilee. Faelenor took a seat and waited patiently eyeing the note left behind with the box. "How is it that we could allow this to happen a second time?" He sighed, watching for any sign of someone who may have consumed the chocolate.

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She reached for the bucket again, thankful for her husband's forethought and understanding that no, his agile wife was not as quick on her feet when ill as she claimed she could be, despite the voracity of such claims, and that yes, she needed the bucket by her bedside no matter how strongly she protested to the contrary.

Whatever she had, Zak and the children hadn't caught it. Yet. She hoped it stayed that way. The stomach disturbances, chills, fever, and myriad other symptoms were bad enough when it was just her, but if the whole household got sick...

Well, there simply weren't enough buckets. Or hours in the day to sleep it off.

They'd have to rectify that.

The bucket part, at least.

Zakarnas simply patted his wife on the back as she leaned over the bucket again, gazing sympathetically at her. Since falling ill, Katelle had shared several looks with her husband: thankful ones, loving ones, irritated ones, wistful ones...but they all shared the same memory and with it, the same question.

The rogue had been similarly ill when she learned she was pregnant with Sophronia. Was it happening again?

---

Tuesday found just the right formula of tea to give her the energy to make it to her office and to keep her from needing a bucket. Much.

Tuesday night found Tayissa Steel trudging to said office apart from her weekly Saturday coffee visits--and with the sight of Tayissa came a flood of relief (or was that naus--? No, it was definitely relief...). The pirate was pale, sweaty, sickly, and looked as poorly as Katelle felt. Surely it wasn't a coincidence.

"...oh, good," she greeted the woman. "So I'm not pregnant."

At least she wasn't craving chocolate anymore.

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*Sunday Evening*

Tayissa tapped her foot impatiently as the Twilight Empire guild meeting dragged on. It's not that she didn't find the meetings important, but ugh, it was the same thing week in and week out, and she had places to be. She pinched the bridge of her nose and stepped out of line, heading for the exit. As she passed the table in the back, a box of chocolates caught her eye.

Celebrating early?

Tayissa frowned, most years she never received chocolates for Love is in the Air, but here they were, waiting to be eaten! Big people have big appetites, and Tayissa took four chocolates.

The next day, Tayissa awoke and instantly balled up in pain, groaning. "Hnnnh.."

Her pillows and bedsheets were soaked in sweat. She slid herself to the edge of her bed and swung her feet to the floor. As she attempted to stand, her legs gave out and she collapsed to the floor with a thud, "Augh! Why!"

It took most of her strength to crawl back into her bed, breathing heavily as her insides burned like fire.

Healer... Need a healer...

Tayissa's eyes darted around the room, catching sight of her belt and pouches hanging from a hook... On the far side of the room.

"... Shit."

*Some time and much struggling later*

Tayissa finally made it back to her bed, with her guildstone in hand. She fiddled with the stupid thing, trying to remember how to activate a private line. She managed to speak across the channel that went privately to Skylah and Brianna Mackinzie.

"Doc? Can you make a house call?"

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"Seriously?" was all Juli had to say.

She had anyone who'd partaken of the chocolates checked in the infirmary, but it was already too late; for most, the poison had made its way into their systems. At least this batch didn't seem to be doing anything worse than some very severe cases of indigestion. She was worried when she found out Kex'ti had eaten some, and even more so when she found out a similar "present" had been delivered to Borrowed Time bearing Sanctuary's name. No one in their right minds would think Sanctuary wanted to poison anyone, but some people could be... unreasonable, and these weren't the best times when it came to trust. Hopefully if there were any other facets of this mischief, she'd have a chance to address them.

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Cobrak stormed into the infirmary, a familiar box in his hand, draped with lovey decorations and a small note that bore Sanctuary's emblem. The door burst open to reveal the interim Boss of Borrowed Time, fully of thunder and fury as he looked upon several members of his crew. Zakael led the medics to tending to those upon the dozen or so cots spread out within the medicinal area; some groaning, clutching their stomachs; some unloading their lunches into pails or buckets; and the supremely unlucky were sequestered behind closed doors getting their stomachs pumped.

Rekkit and Razz, the Blastwhizzle half-siblings were upon one such bed, the two goblins looking a far more sickly pale version of green. Though he had himself not partaken of the sweets, Nok sat right beside his sister who had, Geryal's normal firecracker behavior soured from the tainted chocolates. Mythiis, the poor draenei who had only come to visit her people, now had to recuperate upon eating half a dozen of the sweets. Thankfully Pythral had been spared the stupidity, but neither her mate nor the other senior medical officer, Rhuune had the brains to avoid the suspicious delicacies. A few of the human children had dug into them as well...as well as little Anock, the younglings taken back further to ensure their health from this debilitating experience.

Cobrak's eye twitched, and he had to swallow down the urge to yell at every single one of them for this unfathomable cases of stupidity on their ends for eating a box which had supposedly come a guild whose leader had just been the subject of identity theft. Thankfully, little Rylie's letter thanking Mayce (Thank the Spirits who actually had a working brain and had opted against eating the chocolates), had been the matter that sank into Cobrak's head someone was playing something dirty at them, and he would find out...And maybe take an arm from the prankster if he ever found out.

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Syreena flew her wyvern over the ruins of Southshore and the surrounding area. The place still looked strange to her. She hadn’t been here much since the Alliance had been slaughtered or driven out. The place didn’t hold as much appeal to her without the humans to toy with. Now it was just some Forsaken rangers with their giant spiders, hunting down a few stray mutts from Gilneas among the animated globs of slime.

While recently in Undercity on other business though, the little rogue heard a rumor that she couldn’t ignore. Apparently there was a fresh Forsaken man roaming through the Hillsbrad area. That in itself wasn’t very interesting, but according to the rumor, he had been heard complaining about the taste of chocolate stuck in his mouth.

She signaled her wyvern to land after circling over a Forsaken man. He was standing a short distance from Southshore, looking at the back of the old town hall building. Syreena landed her wyvern nearby, and dismounted, leaving the battle-trained beast ground tied where he was.

She didn’t try to hide her approach as she walked up behind the Forsaken man. He turned when he heard her, brandishing a spear as formidably as he could. Syreena watched him quietly, eyeing him up and down until he spoke. “Who are you?”

“I’m the Shadowblade,” she answered mildly. “Who are you?”

“I’m not sure anymore,” he said.

"Yeah, I've been there before,” Syreena assured him. She knew that new Forsaken were often confused about what had happened to them, and sometimes even who they were. “What are you doing here?”

“Seeing what I could see,” the man answered as he stuck a finger into an empty eye socket. He gestured at the fallen town. “Home or what remains of it. It has a certain quality to it now.”

“You lived there...recently? Or in Life?”

“Not recently,” he said. “Was hoping that the stocks where not completely empty.”

“Stocks of what?” Syreena asked.

“Stout,” he said. “This taste of chocolate is rather annoying now.”

“Chocolate?” Syreena questioned, blinking at him. This must be the new Forsaken she’d heard about. Perhaps the rumor was true. “How long have you been Forsaken?”

“Two weeks roughly if i remember correctly,” the man said.

Syreena grinned at the possibility of her plagued chocolates being successful. She couldn’t wait to share this with Bernie, her lead alchemist on the project. “Well! Welcome to your Unlife!”

“It has been weird.”

“But so much better than being human,” she assured him with a nod. “Humans are all evil and untrustworthy.”

“Certainly that Halfling.”

“Hafling?” Syreena asked with a curious tilt of her head.

“Yes my Captain I think he poisons the chocolates.”

“Well, that wasn't very nice of him, was it?" she asked with a sympathetic looking frown. “You should get back at him for that. Captain….military or ship?”

“Ship,” the man answered. “Either way he’s still far too strong for me.”

“Well, you'll get stronger and kill him. You can kill all humans now,” she told him with a wicked grin.

He nodded. “Sounds like a start.”

"So…who is this captain?" she asked casually. Bernie would want to know exactly which batch of the chocolates held the successful plague samples, so she need to know which guild this new Forsaken had been affiliated with.

“Captain Geodorik Deepwater.”

Syreena blinked, then her eyes widened as she stared at him. Geodorik was in charge of security while she was a prisoner of Eternal Aegis. He was the one who saw to her bindings, and assigned extra guards to watch her, and ordered her guards to be armed with those fellin’ glitter bombs.

She had been on one of their ships once, when they moved her from Fenris Isle to wherever they had taken her. She tried to picture this Forsaken with a human face, but she didn’t recognize him. That didn’t mean much; her memory still had holes in it. But he didn’t seem to recognize her either, even when she told him she was the Shadowblade. He cocked his head to the side and asked her what was wrong.

“Oh….well…nothing. It’s just…” she started. She kept her voice light and calm, even though her mind raced with the possible opportunities before her. “I just think it's horribly sad that a Captain would poison his own men like that. You should definitely get justice for that.”

“Aye I agree,” he said. “When I tried to convince the crew to do the same they tried to kill me.”

“Well, we'll get justice on all of them,” she promised with a reassuring nod. “Do you need anything now?”

“For the time Southshore stout,” he requested.

Syreena started towards the town. “Let's see if there's any there. You got a name?”

“Tertrey,” he said. “Tertrey Del'avont.”

They didn’t find any drinkable ale in the old inn, but Syreena assured him she’d bring him some next time she came to see him. And she would come to see him again. The little rogue would keep a close eye on him to make sure he didn’t get lost like some Forsaken did in the early days. She had just met this Tertrey, but already he was very special to her. She would make sure she became his best friend, his mentor even. Bernie would surely want to see the Forsaken his work had produced, but he would have to wait. Revenge would take priority over alchemical advances.

Not too long ago, a human had intended to scramble her brain and remake her into an assassin to hunt her own guildmates. Now she would oversee Tertrey’s training and mold him to become a perfect Grim. She would encourage him to seek revenge on his captain and everyone that captain held dear, especially his guildmates. As an added bonus, she now had a witness who believed it was a member of Eternal Aegis who had infected the chocolates.

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