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Qabian

Piece of Mind

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Qabian    68

Qabian had ingratiated himself with a certain circle of the Suramar elite. While the rest of the Horde and Alliance busied themselves aiding the needy shal’dorei affected by Legion rationing, Qabian positioned himself as a provider of new indulgences to those who needed no help.

It wasn't that he had found the open-minded crowd. Far from it. They looked down on him as all good xenophobes do those they aren't raised alongside. But there was something comforting in their arrogance, like a childhood blanket. This was a world he knew and that he could operate within, reminding him of the days when he was not an orphan but said he was to make himself seem more exotic.

What he brought them was bloodthistle. There were other sources, of course, but few as accommodating.

And for those with a masochistic bent, higher in number amongst the powerful and bored, he showed them what Kael’thas taught Rommath the last time the Legion had been so destructive. Most found it horrifying, but a few asked for subsequent demonstrations. Repeatedly.

The mage took to accepting every invitation that came his way from the city below, and they were frequent, having him in Suramar nearly as often as Dalaran.

Any time he entered a room, even when his presence had been directly requested, half of the courtiers would leave, looks of disgust not remotely disguised. But those who remained would treat him to lavish feasts of seafood and abundant arcwine. 

It was the baths, though, fragranced, salted, and laced with ancient mana, that drew him back time and again, encouraging the mage to keep his thistle supply well stocked. Each time he indulged, the repeating nightmare of suffocating in a world without mana was deliciously reversed for several days.

It was after one such bathing session when he was wrapped in a soft robe, a thistle leaf under his tongue, lounging on a balcony overlooking the city, that a shal’dorei woman approached him. She perched on the arm of his chaise, but did not touch him, breaking from the deviance he had grown to expect from those who dared to get so close. “Is it true? What they're saying about the Nightwell?” she asked.

“Hm?” The heat of the steam still clung to him, and he found himself thinking through a pleasant, mana-heavy haze. “Most likely.”

“What will become of us?”

Not all of those eager for his services understood what was happening outside the city. They were sheltered, believing that those who had always held the power would continue to protect them. “You will adapt,” Qabian said matter-of-factly.

“Will our eyes change? Like yours?”

She was a grown woman, but Qabian found her childish questions off putting. “Don't you think that would have already happened?”

She shrugged.

“I don't think it will. Though I suppose that chapter is not yet over.”

“Will we starve?”

Qabian sighed. “Do you want to?” Given the sort who kept his company, the answer was not a given.

“No.”

“Then you won't.”

“Will we have to do what you do?”

Qabian grinned wickedly. “You mean feed on each other?”

She nodded, looking away.

He laughed cruelly. “Perhaps.” He knew the truth, but he saw no reason to correct her misconception. “My people have not needed to do that for some time, but some of us, most of us, continue. Why do you think that is?” He reached for the glass of arcwine on the small table beside him and took a sip.

She took a while to answer. “Because you're horrible.” 

He laughed again. “And so are you. Everything will change, and nothing. In the end, you will always be who you are.”

She glared at him, then her expression softened. She was, after all, willing to get close to him, to be alone with him, to inquire as to his thoughts. She was already one of the deviants. She knew he spoke the truth. “Thank you.”

Usually he found those words distasteful, but not in this place. He lifted his glass in salute. “Any time.”

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