Raeventus

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

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Kirital looked up at the shattered sky.  A flock of kaliri swoop by and land on the fence of an Arakkoan hut high in a tree top.  He had only read about the Outland campaign, or heard snippets of rumor and hearsay when traveling with his brother.  He was always so much better at this than Kirital is; handling attraction beyond just a one night stand. "What am I doing, getting all flustered?"  Kirital asked to himself. "It's Vathelan. He's probably completely oblivious to how much of a flirt he can be..." After a string of calming breaths, he turned back in through the door then closes it gently behind him.  Seeing the continuation of the coffee lesson, he smirked. "Adorable goof." He muttered.

 

“Something to give it a bit more flavor; spices—mint can add a whole new dynamic, actually. One of my favorites.” His hands continued to guide her motions, gentle above the rising temperature of her skin. Her body heat had rising significantly in a short time. “But for now, we shall keep this simple. Miss Cat… are you feeling well?” The door opened again, the half-elf caught out of the corner of his eye, drawing his attention. “Ah, Kirital, welcome back. Your cup should be done brewing. Do you like it black? If not… then give me a moment and I shall give you the funds needed to run and get some milk. I tend not to keep such anymore—spoils before I get the chance to fully enjoy it.”

 

"...I'm fine," she squeaked. Cat cleared her throat and listened for Kirital to came back. She was too distracted by the magister's hands to look back at the half-elf, and half-listened to the milk conversation. Her cheeks had gone red during their time alone.

 

"Its, uh, fine."  He looked decidedly less feverish as he approached his mug of coffee.  "Got any sugar?"

 

“I… should?” Vathelan sounded dubious in this regard, his form leaning slightly away from the woman he was instructing as he looked at his cabinets. His hands removed themselves from her next as he departed to try to find such for Kirital, his eyes turning to Cat for just a moment as he gave her an instruction. “Keep going.”

 

Cat nodded quickly, clearly receptive to taking orders. "Yes sir." She kept grinding the beans, her hands slightly less shaky on their own. After a while, they were ground into a nice grainy powder with a few chunks left here and there. Cat's breathing was surprisingly shaky as well.

 

When Kirital moved up to Vathelan, he took a moment to help the man look around for the misplaced sugar. "How often are you out of here?"  Kirital noted the low amount of perishables. There's likewise not much in the way of ingredients as well. Thinking back, much of the time he spent with Vath, they've always eaten out somewhere.  In his thought he bumped into the magister when turning around. It was rough enough to off balance the smaller man. Kirital would be quick to grab if that were the case.

 

“Since my House Visca assignment?”  He asked as he tried to calculate a proper answer. “It varies. Before the Legion—” The man stumbled backwards, thanks to the sheer muscular bulk of the half elf compared to the fit, yet still lithe Magister as gravity does his trick. The movement to catch him was impressive. “…Careful.” Vathelan responded somewhat meekly.

 

Cat glanced back to see Kirital holding Vath. She grinned to herself and continued grinding the beans. "How's this, sir?"

 

Kirital smiled in apology and let Vath steady himself.  He rest a hand on his waist and looked over the magister to see if he was fine or if he dropped anything.  "Sorry about that. Go on?"

 

“I’m fine.” His smile matched the meekness in his voice; he rested there a moment before he collected his thoughts. The realization of his compromised position struck him, his more professional persona took charge once more as in a blink of an eye—he was gone from Kirital’s arms and next to the living death knight. He looked over the grounds of the beans and nodded. “It seems you are ready for the next step.”

 

Cat put down the mortar and pestle to stand at attention. "What's the next step, sir?"

 

“This could have been started sooner, but I didn’t wish to rush you.” The Magister took the pot and conjured the estimated amount of water required with ease. “We have to boil the water, as a well versed student of the magical arts, I can merely summon it. For someone who does not, you will have to measure the amount required—I suggest your cup and a half to two depending how much room you want for additives, to compensate for both the loss due to steam and the filtration system.”

 

Kirital stared as he blindly dumped way too much sugar into his coffee.  The extent if Vathelan's knowledge of the brew, as well as the existence of such intricacy for a simple drink, baffles him.

 

Cat nodded slowly, processing the instructions.  "Cup and a half. Got it."

 

“The next variable is the heat source you are using.” He set the pot onto one of the circular rings on his stove. “Various kitchens will have different methods, you could even make coffee in a camp via a fire—but I have something a bit more sophisticated.” He motioned at the stove before grabbing the metallic wand, moving back to his former position behind her as he set the rod in her hand, before maneuvering her as he had done before. “This wand will summon a flame; you simply must will it to do so. Go on, try.”

 

Cat took the wand carefully. "Never was too good at magic stuff.." she said to herself, swallowing as he moved behind her again and put his rod in her hand. "...u-um... do I just... wiggle it?"

 

“That is fine; this device is designed with that in mind.” He ensured her fingers are on the bottom portion, a safe distance from the tip. “It’s simpler than that, just focus your thoughts on the implement, and desire the flame. Mentally tell it that is what you want…”.

 

Cat's eyes widened with his description. Seriously?! She thought to herself, her hand slightly shaky under his. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and stroked the wand slowly, willing the tip to deliver its bounty.

 

“Easy, there is nothing to be afraid of.” The Magister’s voice was gentle as he spoke to her, he could feel the poor woman’s hands shake. To help accentuate his point, one of his hands gently squeezed on grip on the device. His other, if Kirital was paying attention was behind his back, prepping a countermeasure of frost should this get out of hand. He watched with a raised brow, unsure as to why she was stroking the wand—an odd motion, but if it helped her focus… who was he to judge? The wand would warm in the woman’s hand as she focused. Vathelan moved her hand gently away from the tip before the sparks started to form. “Focus… we’re almost there… remember, we need a gentle flame, like one would expect from candlelight.” Not that it was designed for much more.

 

Cat cleared her throat and nodded, watching his hand, her hand, the wand suddenly, without warning, released tiny sparks that burst forth from the tip; just enough to light its target. "Oh! Hey! I did it!" She said happily, legitimately surprised with herself. "Not bad, huh sir?"

 

Kirital was looking out of a window and sips his coffee.  Clearly aware of the events, he concluded it best to keep a level head, despite the furious rush of blood to his face.

 

“Yes, well done.” His voice spoke of gentle encouragement as the sparks eventually gave way to a small and singular flame. “Now we carefully set the flame to the circle like this…” His touch guided her to touch the tip of the wand towards the circle underneath the pot. As the gentle fire licked at the surface of the stove, it consumed the inside of the circle that seemed to both feed and control it. “Very good.”

 

"Neat!" She seemed a lot more comfortable now that they were actually getting somewhere. "Now the water? How do you know when it's hot enough?"

 

“We want to catch the water before it truly boils, as that level of temperature will burn your beans.” He gently removes the rod from the Knight’s hands to ensure the lack of a fire-hazard. “You want it above poaching level, where the first bubbles form, but before it starts to get at a roaring boil where you would cook noodles in. If you get to that point, remove the pot and let it cool for a minute or so before using the water.”

 

"This is pretty complicated for one drink.." she watched the water carefully.

 

“Cooking is an art, Miss Cat. One I am admittedly… not great at aside a few choice recipes, and this is one of them.” He gives a small shrug as he guides her hands towards the filter and cone used for the actual seeping required. “There are devices, from what I understand, that help make this quicker—but you lose the art of it from such. To me, this isn’t simply about a means to an end. The process itself helps reduce stress while still being productive.”

 

Cat looked at Vathelan carefully. "You seem like the type to need some stress relief, " she said not unkindly, allowing him to guide her hands.

 

“I suppose you would be right.” Any markings of offense were wholly absent upon his face. “I’ve never said I’m perfect, far from it. To get where I am has been… an ordeal, I’ve made enemies. Too many. But it has led me to be in a place where I could actually make a difference. To do finally do Good in the world, even if it rejects me.”

 

"Sir," Cat said with a mirthful smile. "You know I'm a death knight, right? You don't need to explain that sort of thing to me. Being hated comes with the territory. Maybe that's why you and I get along."

 

“Sometimes I forget, with how lively you have become.” His smile, while smaller, seemed to rise to follow her own. “It’s hard to remember… I have friends, for the first time in my life.”

 

"You sure do." She nodded toward Kirital. "And I'm pretty sure that we'd both take a bullet for you, even if it weren't his job to."

 

"I hope... it never comes to that."

 

Cat laughed and elbowed the magister playfully. "Well me too. They're no fun to pull out, even with the death knight stuff. I just mean you don't need to feel so lonely all the time. 'You're only as strong as the men next to you.’ While this sounds like a slogan for togetherness it's actually a reminder that your faults can hinder the man next to you. If your companions are focused on you they can't focus on the enemy.”

 

“…Yes, I suppose not." He forced the smile to continue. "How is the water looking?"

 

"Just about there, I think." The water was bubbling, but only at the bottom.

 

Vathelan gave a small nod. “Good. First, let’s place the filter on the cup… like this.” He moved her to make the motions. “And then we just have to pour the hot water through the filter and let it do its job.”

 

Cat added the filter to her cup and added the ground beans, then carefully picked up the boiling water by the handle. She poured the water in slowly, her eyes fixated on the task until it was full and she put the boiling water back on the stove. "Now we wait?"

 

"Now we wait. Congratulations on making your first artisan coffee."

 

Cat giggled, clearly pleased with herself. "Won't Kreyen be happy I can do more than burn eggs.. thank you, sir. You'll definitely be invited to the wedding."

 

The Magister stepped away as he let her enjoy her work, taking his own cup of coffee. "I'm not sure I will be welcomed..." He began to sip his own hard work.

 

Cat raised an eyebrow. "You're my friend. It's my wedding. Why wouldn't you be welcome? Kreyen isn't mad at you. Not anymore, anyway. He's not the type to hold a grudge. Besides, if it weren't for you, we wouldn't be getting married anyway. You kinda gave me another chance, and after what happened at Light's Hope.. I really needed it."

 

“…I am not fond of having guns in my face, when risking my job to help them.” He looked back at Kirital, as he tried not to show aggression. “He also threatened the Accords, because he could not figure out the coded messages I was trying to give him. And he’s an Arath’dorei. Conflict with him isn’t in my best interests.”

 

Cat pushed her tongue into her cheek. "I mean... I'm going to be an Arath'dorei, too. Eventually. So if anything, you'd have less a conflict with him, and more a friendship with me. Right?"

 

“Assuming he can keep from a gun being placed in my face again, I suppose.” He looked back at the Knight. “If I am to die for the cause… so be it, but that particular scenario is a waste and a hindrance to our mission.”

 

The handle on Kirital's mug broke off.  The half elf sat it down hard atop the windowsill at Vathelan's resolve towards death.  The mug itself stays on the short ledge, but coffee leaked from the cracks. Kirital played it off as an accident and it's convincing.  He laughed a little with sounds apologetic. "Towel?" The mug and handle are set somewhere out of the way.

 

“Oh dear…” The Magister frowned at the leaking of the mug, quickly grabbing at towel, the cast a Blink spell to quickly move,  kneeling as he started to clean. “You are not hurt, are you Kirital? I hadn’t realized the container’s structural integrity had been compromised!” He got up and fussed over the half elf, looking for burns or cuts. Cat watched Vathelan fuss over Kirital, smiling to herself at the sight.

 

"Vathelan," Kirital states, "I'm fine."  He didn't hinder the inspection and instead looked over at Cat.  There's a desire to speak his mind about Vathelan's priorities, but he knew Cat worked for him and doesn't want to undermine the man in front of someone who respects him.  He'd have to plan to bring it up later, though that carried its own complications, as too much time will have likely passed. There had to be some way to distract Cat so he could talk to Vathelan in private and save face for everyone.  Smiling at Vathelan, Kirital decided to go back on his earlier thought. He firmly gripped Vathelan's shoulders to cease his check and smirked at Cat. This idea has a good chance to work. "Wanna practice making another cup like how Vathelan showed you?"  He asked her.

 

"Uh..." Cat wasn't one for subtlety, but she knew a guy trying to get in someone's pants when she saw it. "Sure!" She said brightly. "If that's alright with you, sir? I'll be careful, I promise not to burn the place down."

 

“Oh good… I would hate to think I caused you undue harm due to my negligence.” He breathed a sigh of relief. His brow raised at the contact, but he allowed it. As she asked for his permission, he nodded. “…Practice does make perfect, Miss Cat. If there is a problem, please inform me immediately. I can counteract the fire if caught quick enough.”

 

"Aye aye, sir," Cat said with a salute, winking at Kirital before turning her back to them both and starting on a new cup from scratch.

 

Kirital smirked back at her before looking to Vathelan.  "You mind if we step out for a minute?" He lowered his hands.  It's clear Kirital wantsed to bring something up, but the nature of what is up in the air.

 

“Are you sure that is wise? I have other rooms…” He looked down the hall.

 

Cat grinned to herself, as she ground the coffee beans. "Maybe you should show him more of your collection, sir."

 

Kirital shrugged.  "You know the place better than I do."  

 

The Magister gave a brief nod before motioning the Half-elf to follow. As they entered the hall, which required a sharp turn that made them wholly invisible in this weird Draeneic architecture, they would already find themselves alone—in a depth of the apartment no one other than Vathelan had ever tread since he had owned the lease. The scenery upon the wall seemed to shift just as suddenly. Rather than the hopeful overtones of the righteousness of duty in propaganda came newspaper clips of the harsh realities of war that was only accentuated by the lack of lighting. Articles from the Violet Eye detailed and attempted to track the mysterious General Quel’thalas. Recruitment posters for a colonization project, articles detailing the casualties in both the Civil War and the Northrend Campaign, details on both the Theramore Incident and the Dalaran Massacre—and then they came to his bedroom door. He paused here, realizing that no one had ever been in here besides him.

 

Kirital remained silent with his hands in his jacket pockets.  "Are you all right?" The question was meant in full and not as some passing comment.

 

“Yes… I... I just tend to be a very private individual.” He looksed back at the Half-elf with a nervous smile. “You have been one of the few that have ever visited me, and the first… here.”

 

Kirital leaned on a barren part of the wall.  A soft green glow emanates from his eyes as he listened; a quality only visible in the dimmer light of the hall.  In a way, he can empathize. He and his brother were secluded from others as they grew up together. The luxury of having someone else doesn't escape him.  "Thank you for allowing me to be here, Vathelan."

 

“I know, it’s silly.” He tried to reassure himself with a smile. “I’m not… particularly sentimental. I don’t even know who—nevermind. I just. I know it’s foolish of me.” He waved himself off before taking a deep breath, slowly exhaling it as he disarmed the wards before taking a key to unlock this particular room. This room hardly any light at all, the majority of it coming from underneath a sheet in the corner of the room before he stepped in, his hand rested on the lighting controls as he tried to brace himself for the revelation to another soul of how far his obsession went…

 

Kirital stepped inside and looked about the room.  He wasn't planning to plunder Vathelan's darkest secrets or anything, so he rolled with it.  Really he just wanted to get a better idea of the man, given his duties of protection. The covered object has him curious while he tries to not trip on anything.  "Vathelan, if this is too much for you, we can go back into the hallway." His tone was soft and caring like a gentle river's current. "I don't want you to feel pressured."  Turning to Vathelan, he rested his hands at his side and relaxed his posture. With his size, he knew he can be imposing to a degree, and seeming as passive as possible is the only way around it.

 

“I appreciate the willingness to respect my privacy.” He closed his eyes, the corner of his mouth twitching as his fingers gently activated the energy source to give the room light. “…But given the nature of what may be required of me to save our world… my room is safer than outside.” And with that he held his breath momentarily as he awaited the reaction of his half-elf companion. In the corner of the room that Kirital focused primarily on, he may notice that the glass casing wasn’t entirely covered by the sheet. Just above the risen wooden platform, one could make out some sort of binding rune that contained a twin set of charred metal, warped by something or another.

 

Should his gaze wander from there, he would find a series of shelves behind more glass casing with various objects on them. Models of Dalaran, a Manaforge on an island, snow globes of both Dalaran and Quel’Danas, a jar with an embalmed finger, a black jewelry box with runes upon it, some sort of operative’s knife, various models of golems—each seemingly more complex than the last. Within the opposing corner of the Armor, upon the same wall, would be a bed one saw in Sin’dorei inns, larger than a single person required, with a veil for further privacy; odd for a man with no friends to speak of until recently.

 

Kirital paced around the room as he looks over the assorted items.  Given the variety, he wondered if it's a collection of some sorts. The finger caught his attention and he gave it a look of wonder.  "I'm not sure how you can sleep in here with all of these fascinating trinkets to look at."

 

“I… don’t usually; work tends to keep me away from home.” As Kirital continuesd to look about the room, he would find the wall next to the bed to be full of a collection of shields that would be too large for the man. All of them had obviously seen use in battle, but their condition varied from shattered to merely scuffed. Most of them portrayed the Blood Knight symbol, though a couple would stick out as majorly different: A titanium should that bared the symbol of the Kirin Tor and two Tower Shields, one of spikes, another that of a Spellbreaker. Under this collection was another display case, it was hard to determine what lay within from this angle. Upon the opposing wall, was… artwork? Concept art and plans of some sort of Colony built around a Manaforge. Vathelan spotted a large pillow on the bed and quickly moved to teleport it away into the closet. “...So, Kirital, what did you want to speak about?”

 

Kirital turned to regard Vathelan with a sobering eye.  Returning his hands to his pockets, he thought on how to approach the issue without being too blunt.  What angle should he take? The persona of 'bodyguard' assigned to him or as the new friend given a view into Vathelan's most private of spaces?  The situation was complicated, that much he is aware of. He stalked a little closer to Vathelan. A smile spread the dense stubble around his mouth. "I wanted to speak to you about... us."

 

The Magister took a step backwards, his skin gaining a slight red hue. "...U-us?"

 

There is something the Magister is nervous about, and Kirital felt he could narrow it down.  His smile turned subtle in a way Vathelan may not pick up. With the effort Vathelan endured, allowing him a glimpse at something so private, Kirital gently maneuvered the thinner Magister toward the door.  Quietly, it shut, and with a simple click of the lock to follow Kirital rest his hand on the knob. They were close now; the difference in height and size apparent. Intimidation was at the forefront of Kirital's mind as he walked the fine edge between it and unsettling Vathelan further.  He needed his words to be felt as much as heard if they were to continue with this, though at the same time, he does not want to make an ultimatum. "Vathelan, I worry about you." Kirital began. He tucked a long strand of his fiery hair behind an ear. There's a concern within his pleasant baritone and genuine apprehension behind his softly glowing eyes.  "If I am to be your bodyguard, assistant, friend," a slight pause intervenes in his list as if to suggest another category before he continued, "What-have-you, I need to be clear on this: I want you to rethink some of your devotion. It's admirable, truly, but it ... pains me to hear how easily you've accepted your life as expendable." He swallowed and took in a breath to calm himself.  "Even for the Greater Good, you are not expendable. It's fine to continue as you are. It's something I respect you for, but just that one thing, please give it thought?"

 

“My friend…” The Magister tried to give the Half-Elf more space, the corner of his lips twitched for a moment as he tried to center his breathing. “…I fear you misunderstand. I do not wish to die, I merely find it probable. We are in a war for Azeroth’s very soul, and I am no hero of renown. I’m not some grizzled war veteran, an Archmage, or a practitioner of some divine being. There will be casualties. Both from the Legion and elsewhere. And I have made plenty of enemies already, and I am on a path to make many more—just to do what is right.” The Magister’s voice was gentle, his face solemn. “I… will admit. I didn’t think I would live past twenty. But I kept beating the odds, as I play this game horrendously stacked against me.” The Magister closed the distance between them that he had caused in his earlier movements. “…Perhaps I shall keep doing so. But even I can only outwit the world so many times; I can only push my luck so far… But I will keep fighting the good fight into the next day, until there isn’t one.” He set his hand upon the Half-elf’s that rested upon the door handle. “I trust that you’ll help me to do so, I know you’ll try your best… But when my luck runs out, I don’t want you to blame yourself. Okay?”

 

'Blame yourself'.  The words ran through Kirital like a river.  His mind swam, jostling and rocking when Vathelan set a hand upon his.  The light at his back hides the darkening of his cheeks and the nervous sweat at his brow.  Guilt is not him. Doubt is not him. Hesitation is not him. Those are all traits of his brother.  Mistakes, however, are still within his realm to make. This time, he hopes, isn't one. His hand moved on its own.  Vathelan's jaw tips up and their lips meet for but a moment. "I'll be your good luck charm, then."

 

As his jaw was moved, the Magister’s brow raised, he opened his mouth to speak—to be silenced as the other man’s lips touched his own. The action sent shockwaves through his form. First came the paralysis, the shock of the act. What was a man to do? Next came the full body blush that spread from the tips of his ears ever onward like wildfire. The man was attractive, strong, and just expressed a conspicuous interest. Something he had never experienced, it melted the entirety of his frosted defenses. And then the contact was broken. His first kiss was over. And it set a maelstrom of emotion through him, his hand quickly moving to hide his expression—he was far too exposed. His eyes averted the man as his other hand forced the door handle to turn. “…Let’s hope that is true. We’ll need as much luck as we can get in the coming months.”

 

"Yeah."  Kirital sighed with a relaxed contentment.  Such a reaction after their exchange is a farce, however.  It's all he can do to restrain himself and respect Vathelan's need for space.  No resistance was felt. Only surprise and ... potential. He slipped his hands into his jacket pockets; tugging the thick garment down and wishing he had zipped it.  As before, his shadowed features reveal just enough of a smile somewhere between apologetic and happy. "We should probably get back to Cat." His nerves began to ebb, though their influence lingers on his words to add a subtle shake.  "And uh, thank you for trusting me with all this." The smile given earlier turns into one of boyish gratitude.

 

"Y-yes. Let's not neglect my other guest." Vathelan practically glowed a pleasant scarlet. He gently opened the door to allow the half-elf to pass him, needing a moment to regain his composure. "And you're... um... welcome?"

 

As Kirital walks the hall, the newspapers and clippings help take his mind off the past minute.  He calms himself and dispeled the inconvenient blood flow to his face. It was a gamble and his heart still thud steadily against his chest.  Vathelan's reaction, that subtle shock, the intake of breath, the slight bend in the man's back, and the lingering excitement on his tongue all were good signs of potential. Still though, he needs to be careful, but it doesn't make his smile any less wide.

 

Cat was busy with coffee making and didn't notice as Kirital and Vathelan left the bedroom until they were within earshot. Beaming at the half-elf, the death knight handed him a fresh cup of steaming coffee. "How'd your little talk go? You guys okay?"

 

Kirital kept his smile and rested his hands in his jacket pockets.  A humor comes over him. "Yeah. We just hammered a few things out, you know.  Set a few things straight." Looking to the coffee, he swapped to that. "How'd it go?  No fire, so that's a good sign."


 

Cat grinned at Kirital's description. "No stove on fire. Not yet, anyway." She glanced at Vathelan again, then back at Kirital. "Though is it just me or is it a little warm in here?"

 

Kirital would be the first to arrive, as Vathelan held back for a moment to catch his breath—he needn’t let his other guest see him so flustered, it was simply unprofessional. After a moment, all he could spare before being noticed absent he was sure, he looked back to the sheet covered object mouthing a ‘Sorry’ before he closed the door to catch up.

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The mission had proven a success: Lord Cilarare Belarneau and his forces had been eliminated, a major blow of Elisandre. This allowed the Ebonfeathers to enact the second objective of the mission, the acquisition of both valuable intel and more importantly, the contents of his cellar of Arcwine. Of the six casks, five were sent to donation for the people via Vanthir. The sixth was used to maintain their operations: each of the Nightborne were allowed a cup to drink, another round used in terms of payment, a bottle for payment for their new recruit’s armor and two more for supplies. When rations were passed around, and the Nightborne of the Ebonfeathers were satisfied, they were dismissed. Leaving the Danteurs to have a much needed private conversation.

 

“Care to tell me what the fuck that was about?” Kal’une finally spoke, his illusion had dissipated this far from the city proper. Even without eyes his expression was obvious, if the tone had not given it away. He was pissed.

 

“You will have to be more specific.” Draco responded as he pulled out a chair, helping himself to a seat before offering the other to his ‘brother’.

 

“You know exactly what I speak of: The girl.” He refused. “She’s far too young, has no combat experience, far too trusting of outsiders, we have to supply her equipment… need I go on?”

 

“She was able to lead us to the intel Belarneau had hidden away, and they would have killed her if they found where we left her, had we not taken her instead.” The Sin’dorei took one of the emptied glasses upon the table. “It is true that we will have to train her, mold her into what we need. Consider her an investment.”

 

“Investment?” The Illidari echoed, his white brow raised. “We don’t have much to invest, Sin-- especially when the end goal is at our doorstep as it is.”

 

“You think far too short term then, Kal.” He smirked at his darker comrade before stretching to begin to fill the glass. “What do you think happens after we Liberate them? Or better yet, after the Legion is out of the picture?”

 

“Doesn’t matter.” The Illidari shook his head. “You think too small.”

 

“Pardon?”

 

“Ultimately, none of us matter in the grand scale of things. We are talking about a cosmic war, one that has been waging before we could even count our ancestors. A person is nothing greater than a speck of dust in the grand sea of the cosmos. A city but a grain of sand, a nation little more than that. We are nothing but what we contribute to this war effort. If we win, then those who survive get the privilege of deciding the fate of the world-- just one of many stones that float endlessly in the great dark. If we lose, it doesn’t matter if you saved one girl from death today, she won’t see tomorrow.”

 

“That is one way of looking at it…” Draco commented as he filled his glass with arcwine. “My problem with your logic is, why bother fighting at all? If we are so minute of concern in the greater scheme of it all, why stand up for us? What is worth the sacrifices an Illidari makes?”

 

“You wouldn’t understand.” Kal huffed his feet felt the need to move, he began to pace like a caged predator.

 

“Try me.” Draco took a sip of the wine, allowing the mana to flow through him once again. The sensation tingled down his throat, before spreading across his form.

 

“It was my mate’s dying wish. To see a world Elune could be proud of, secured for people like our wretched little child. Lord Illidan is our best shot in leading us to victory, if Gul’dan is here in Suramar then we have a lead as to where Lord Illidan is. I care not for this city, it matters little in the grand scheme of the universe.”

 

For a moment Draco was silent, trying to decide as to where to tackle what fallacies he saw in the man’s arguments. He took another sip of the arcwine, allowing its magical properties to flood his senses. “You seem uncertain of our cause, I do understand the hesitation. From my understanding, the Burning Legion has conquered world after world, and yet we have defied them time and time again. Each time we have run this gambit, we have somehow found a path towards victory. Due to this, I must assume the question of… what if we do survive this one as well? What does that mean for my people, those still teetering the edge of extinction? By saving these Shal’dorei, those who face the same trials and tribulations that we, the Sin’dorei, had suffered through-- I have the chance of gaining my people a valuable ally. In order to capitalize on this opportunity, we will need the right people to guide them upon the right path when this war is over. What better chance do we have than one we can devote, we can twist her world view into perfection? We can end the misunderstandings of the Elven peoples, we simply need the right pieces in their proper order to do so.”

 

The Illidari, in spite of himself, could not help but find an odd solace in these words. A promise of a better tomorrow that would likely never come, and yet… was this not what his dear Vaelana would have wanted. Begrudgingly he grunted in acknowledgment of the sentiment, “...We shall see.”

 

“That we will.” The war hardened face of the Shattered Son split into a smile, he raised he glass in a mock toast to the Illidari. “For all our Children, weather it be of the Stars, Night, of Blood or on High!”

 

The Illidari grasped an empty glass, raising his glass to the toast. But before he could speak, a panicked voice of Manuelle echoed through the hideout. “...H-hello? This is Manuelle broadcasting on all Telemancy networks. Something horrible has happened upon the Waning Crescent. They… they launched a full scale attack on us. Please! Help us, you are our only hope.” The two men looked at eachother for a mere moment before activating their illusions, taking their personal beacon to as close as possible to the Waning Crescent. They had to see the horror for themselves, they had to help any way they could.

Edited by Visca

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The closest beacon to the Waning Crescent was the Lunastre Estate, where they had come to accept the mission earlier that day. From here they had a vantage point of the carnage that ran through the city. Loyalist and Demons alike marched upon what was both home to the common folk and the market district, indiscriminately slaughtering anyone who put up a fight. Next to them the orb began to relay the message again.

 

“...H-hello? This is Manuelle broadcasting on all Telemancy networks. Something horrible has happened…”

 

“Kill the signal.” The grim voice of Sin’soiel ordered to his brother. “They will only give us away.”

 

“...Please! Help us, you are--” The voice was cut off as the orb was consumed, the mana absorbed within Kal’une’s fist. For a moment the brothers Danteur were silent, the screams of bloodshed meeting them all the way up here, so above the city.

 

“...We need a way down there, quick but discreet. I could plummet, but we would lose precious time before I came to once more.” He thought a moment longer, “Are your wings strong enough to carry us?”

 

“So you choose two large men flying above the city?” Though under illusion , Sin’soiel could imagine the Illidari’s razored smirk. “I doubt the illusion could counter such a ludacris sight. But in terms of practicality… not enough to search the city, but perhaps land us on one of the buildings unharmed.”

 

“That will have to do. It may not be preferable, but the alternative is no better.” Sin’soiel raised his arms, bracing for whatever the other man had planned in terms of grappling him well enough to send them several feet above the ground in search of an optimal landing location. The trip down to the city below was much less of a ‘Flight’ than a ‘Glide’, the weight of both men proving far too much for any meaningful airborne antics. Short lived as it was, they were able to land upon a building overlooking the damaged teleporter, corpses laid strewn across the courtyard, indicating an attempt at escape. Sin, rolled upon the cloth outstretched from the roof to help catch his fall as his brother was forced to toss him to brace himself for the landing. “Do you see them?”

 

Kal’une’s illusion struggled to compensate his altering of form, he composed himself before walking to the edge for a peer onto the streets below. “No, all I see are demons and lackies of the Legion.”

 

“...I feared as much. They must be deeper within the Crescent. You keep to the roofs, I will look for them on ground level.” Before hearing the Illidari’s rebuttal, the man leapt from the banners above, landing upon the ground below. One of the Legion’s guards spotted the strange elf, the illusion had broken momentarily. With swift movement, Draco moved to counter the blow of the large blade before using the force against him to lift and toss the Wrathguard on his back. Alarmed from the motion, the demon loosened his grip momentarily on his weapon. This was the only advantage the elf needed to wrest the weapon away from his foe, impaling him with his own weapon. After the target was neutralized, he reactivated his illusionary ring and continued his search.

 

“Show off.” Murmured the Illidari above, he kept watch over the Sin’dorei as he sprinted across the courtyard to behind an abandoned carriage. After leaping to the next building he kept watch over his comrade, who knocked out one of the Loyalists before scanning his physiology to take form of. Sin’soiel, now a female guard began her ‘patrol’ down the street. There was a pattern to the strikes, Kal’une noticed as he leapt from building to building, watching his comrade at work. As Sin’soiel moved through the ranks, he would see out an isolated individual, strike, take their form and dispose of their body. Deeper and deeper did the man on the ground delve into enemy territory until he hit the Evermoon Terrace.

 

It was here that the devastation had halted, where both loyalist and demon alike had come to have spent their rage and aggression. The Shal’dorei here had wisely packed themselves away, along with any neighbors whom had the misfortune of being away from their homes. The rest of the Ebonfeathers had to be here, Draco knew it. He kept his ears open for the slightest hint of his comrades. With each methodical step he looked about the empty market, his eyes drawing upward towards his friend above the city. It felt like hours until Kal’une had finally spotted them, motioning towards an empty shop. Draco knocked on the door. Nothing. With a sigh, he set his leg to assault the door, it folding against the strength of a man. That was when he found them, huddled in a corner. Manuelle, Isabaele, and Maurice. They hovered over a limp body, most likely dead, but he could not get a good visual who it was. He was slow to approach.

 

“Stay back!” It was Maurice who dared stand against this unknown intruder. He took no time, in spite of the tears that welled within his eyes at the loss of a friend of his, his bow drawn at the guard who stepped in the light of this abandoned home.

 

“I am not your enemy,” the guard spoke before breaking the illusion, revealing their commanding officer, “Though I admire your courage. We need to get out of here.”

 

“Sin!” Their newest recruit came rushing to embrace the Sin’dorei. “They came out of nowhere! They attacked us, they killed Ollarin! They called him a traitor!”

 

Both Manuelle and Maurice would not look their commanding officer in the eye, the latter finally lowering his weapon. “Ollarin knew what he signed himself up for, he knew what sacrifice he may need to make in order to save his people. And yet he stared death in the face without hesitation. He was a hero, he was one of the best of us-- we will not let his sacrifice be in vain.”

 

“But… how, Sin? We are surrounded by all sides.” Manuelle finally broke his silence. “It’s only a matter of time before they find us as you have. How many more got our message? How long until this entire area is purged? We lost…”

 

“Do you truly think I came alone?” The pale brow raised as he spoke. “On the rooftops stands Kal’une, he will lead you to safety as I provide cover. The Dusk Lillies will learn of what happened here, we will tell Ollarin’s story. We will save this city from damnation.”

 

The three Shal’dorei talked this over with themselves, the mood within the room shifted from utter despair to cautious optimism. They were in danger and their commanding officers had come to save them, this was not but their only hope, it was their best hope. “We won’t allow Ollarin’s sacrifce to be in vain. Lead the way, Lord Sin’soiel Danteur.”

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Captain Draco Visca of the Silvermoon Guard stood at attention while his trusted friend, Voren’thal served as his second for the upcoming duel against Adonis Suncrest. A sizable crowd had come to witness the results of the inevitable escalation between two long time rivals here at the Stillwhisper Pond. He could not remember what had started this millennia long feud, not that it particularly mattered anymore. As his dear friend marched back over he gave a sigh and shake of his head. “He refuses to apologize, or retract his comments. Draco… are you certain you want to do this? Adonis is an ass, there is no shadow of doubt of that, but what do you think your father would say to this? For the heir to the Visca family to be fighting like a schoolboy over petty words?”

 

“What my father thinks is his own business. Suncrest thinks himself immune, I plan on changing that. You heard what he said about my wife.”

 

“And what will she think if Adonis does have some trick up his sleeve and wins?” The pale brow raised as the two men stared at each other for a moment as the words laid within the air.

 

“...He will not.” Draco shook his head before reaching his hand out, “My blade.”

 

Voren’thal sighed as he relented as the voice of reason, handing the single bladed sword to his dear friend. “Sunwell guide your strikes. Try not to kill him if you don’t have to?”

 

The Captain made no indication he heard, much less acknowledged, the request as he marched forward to greet his opponent. The rising son glimmered upon the drawn blades, red as the blood that was soon to flow from the clash of two men that had hated each other longer than either could remember. Draco stretched his blade, “it did not need to come to this, Suncrest.”

 

“Didn’t it?” Adonis smirked as his blade touched his rivals. “I look forward to making you bleed.” They alternated descending numbers, the challenger starting at ten; When Adonis spoke the final number the duel proper began.

 

In terms of strength and size, Draco clearly had the advantage. He pressed his weight into the clashing of blades, forcing Adonis into immediate defense as he struggled to keep the giant of a man at bay. When he could no longer withstand the test of strength, he slid his blade away in a hasty retreat. With every two steps Adonis took backwards, Draco took one to match him and struck. Unable to match his foe’s strength, Adonis was forced to parry it and continue his retreat. Step, strike, parry, step, strike, parry. The pattern went on in five times of succession before Draco finally spoke up. “Come now, Suncrest… are we fighting or running? Stand, fight me like the man you claim to be; not the mere boy as the crowd sees you.”

 

Flustered by the stir of chuckles from the crowd, Adonis hastily made his next move in retort. He came from the right, where he knew his rival usually had his shield-- only to be parried and then struck with the pommel. The force of the unexpected blow made him fall to the ground.

 

“You will have to do better than that to best a Visca, Suncrest.” The tone of the larger elf was that of a knight to his squire on the training fields, further enraging the man on his knees. With blade pointed down at his opponent still, flush and crimson in the rising sun, he offered a chance of surrender. “Yield, apologize for your words to Lady Visca and let us put this past us.”

 

Adonis, it seemed, had other ideas. With a quick enraged strike, he knocked the larger man’s blade away from it’s target before leaping in for the kill. At the last moment, Draco dodged the blow before checking the man in the cheek with his elbow. Suncrest recoiled, giving Draco another opening to knee the man in the chest-- sending the Magister upon his back with the tip of a blade once more in his face.

 

“You have lost, Suncrest. Submit. Let us end this charade.”

 

“Hardly.” Magister Suncrest smirked, igniting the air between the two men. As the fire expanded at an alarming rate, Adonis pushed it beyond his reach to consume his foe. As the area surrounding him erupted he started to chuckle, thinking he at last beat his lifelong opponent. The laugh grew into a full on cackle.

 

The laughter would be short lived, however. For before even so much as a minute had passed-- the oversized boot of Captain Visca shot from the flames, shattering the nose of the Magister that still laid upon the ground. As the man fell back upon the floor, the imposing figure of Draco stepped out of the flames; furious. “I granted you multiple chances to end this with your life in tact.” Began the Spellbreaker as he grabbed the Magister by the collar of his dueling clothes, cloth just as was his rival’s. “I challenged you to honorable combat, man to man, a single sword each. No armor, no magic. And when you lose, what do you do?” The other hand of Visca still gripped his blade, pointing it at the man. “You cheat, like the coward you are. That you always have been. I should have known, I couldn’t hold you to your word. But I can promise you this: I will never make the same mistake again.”
 

“Plea-sh! No!” Shouted the Magister in fear for his life, recoiling in his grip for the blade that would never come.

 

As Draco positioned the blade to run through his rival, to end it once and for all, he would find an overwhelming amount of resistance. When he looked back to see why, a furious face of his father Lord Gladius Visca glared at him with his one remaining eye. “I leave you to your devices and you decide to go about murdering your fellow Quel’dorei? I thought you better than this. She thought you better than this.” Next to his father stood his wife, seven months pregnant with their first child.

 

Before Draco could say anything in his defense, the world around him darkened-- only the face of his disapproving father seemed immune to the fading of the world into oblivion, but even it seemed to morph...

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