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RiktheRed21

Rest

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Brinnea Velmon carried a sack over the shoulder with a stooped back, slowed by the weight, but sped by her resolve. She stomped eastward and north from Greenwarden's Grove, into the wild green lands in which only winding, grasping creepers grew and watched. She found a spot beneath an old, wide tree that stooped as she did. There she set down her burden, far enough away from the Grove to be out of sight, but close enough to reach within a twenty minute walk.

Inside the sack lie stones she had spent the last week carving at her desk. The runes she had found in a tome she kept in her Thelsamar home. It was a memento of sorts, from her time under the boot of the Scourge. One she had stolen from a pile meant for burning by the Argent Crusade.

She set the stones in a precise way, arranging them to make a shrine of sorts up against the stooped tree. Then she drew her blade, Paragon. The runes etched in the side glowed a familiar icy blue as she plunged it into the earth before her shrine of stones. The freshly etched runes glowed a dark purple hue, and wisps of shadow riddled their way up into the old tree like the creepers upon the ground. Bark withered in seconds and high above, leaves fell blackened and dying from the lowest branches. Whispers echoed all around, though it was impossible to discern their meaning. An unkeen ear might mistake it for an odd breeze.

Brinnea knelt, her head lowered to the earth. She uttered an incantation that darkened the ground at her feet. Even the heat of the sun felt dimmer as she spoke. When she finished, she uttered one phrase in the low speech that meant, "Show to me the spirit of the dead: the spirit of Parigan Blackmane!"

The whispers ceased, as did the dark creepers up the tree and the darkening shadow in the dirt and grass. A single voice pierced the silence -- strong, resolute, yet mocking it was.

"Hello Brin. Long time, no see." Brinnea lifted her head to look up at the shade that now hovered over her wicked shrine.

"Pari," she breathed softly, "I'm sorry to have to call you like this. You deserve a long, undisturbed rest."

"Ha! No rest for me. I've been wandering for some time, here in Azeroth. Without a body, the spirit is free to see whatever sights it wishes, without a care in the world." He seemed utterly content and without a care in this form. He looked as she remembered him before his first death: a young man with shoulder-length black hair left uncombed and wild, brown eyes regarding the world with a fascinated bewilderment, and a body built strong, sturdy, and casually balanced.

"That sounds right for you," she replied with a sad smile. "I only wish I could go with you."

"In a way, you have. I see you everywhere I go. Your soul still tugs at mine. Sometimes I come back to watch you or Charlotte. She's seen me a time or two, I'd wager. A keen sense, our girl has."

"Yes, she's going to make a fine mage someday. She still wants to be a hero, like you. Or me, I suppose."

"A hero like us? That won't do. Teach her how to stay alive for longer than twenty years first."

Brinnea laughed, tears forming frozen in her eyes. "I should be the one dead, and you the one alive. You could have taught her so much more than I ever can."

"And I say," he said as his phantom hand urged her head upwards, "The only true knowledge worth having is earned yourself. She'll learn one way or another, from hundreds and thousands of teachers, living and dead. But you can give her something that I could not. You can be a mother to her. There is no replacing one's own mother."

"And the same can't be said of fathers?"

"A father puts life in a mother's body, but the mother carries that life with her. They are truly one for he longest time. It's a bond that transcends biology or psychology. I've seen it, you know. The bond between you two. With my own eyes, I can see it like a tether between you two. I truly believe you will never be apart. Not for long."

She felt for his hand fondly, though it slipped through her fingers like smoke. "Oh you foolish, clever man! What did I ever do to deserve a you? To deserve any of what I still have?"

"You were yourself. Always you were, and forever you will be. Nothing will ever really change you."

"I'm not so sure..."

"What is it that pains you now? There's always something, but I can feel agony within you. Something in your mind."

She sighed, remembering that which urged her to contact him in the first place. "A nightmare. But this one felt real. An illusion, perhaps, but you know I've never been good at sorting reality from fantasy."

"What sort of illusion?"

"I saw..." she spoke reluctantly. She had been dreading that she would relive the memory again. "I saw the future. Charlotte and the boy, August, grown into a woman and man. I led them astray. They wanted to be heroes...like me."

"So they died and became Death Knights," he concluded.

"Yes."

"Now that's bullshit."

"Pari..."

"No, you'd never let them do that to themselves in a million years.You wouldn't even let me get a dog when we couldn't afford it. You're stubborn as an old mule when you want to be."

"It felt too real to disregard so easily."

"That's the thing about illusions."

"Don't you think I know that! But what if it becomes real? What if they do try to be just like me?"

"Charlotte is what, six years old now? I think you've got enough time to teach her that isn't such a good idea."

"It just feels as though I am leading her astray. People I meet believe a Death Knight could never be a true mother to living children. Even if they don't say it, I can see it on their faces."

"When has that ever stopped you before? You spent years trying to get adoptions rights in Stormwind, and now you have two children to take care of. Stop worrying over whether it is right and just do the best with what you have."

"You're right," she said, still unsure, "But that doesn't make the feelings go away."

"Well, I can't control your feelings, though I believe there are drugs that could help with that."

"Parigan!"

He laughed -- a wispy sound that was a shadow of the irksome chuckle it had once been. "You'll find a way to get through this. You've wanted to be a mother for so long, I know you won't screw it up now."

"I hope you're right, Pari. I want to believe it."

"Then do that. I'm gonna go on some more adventures. Maybe possess someone along the way. Ah, to feel young and alive again!"

"That's just awful," Brinnea said with a laugh and a cry.

"You don't have to forget me, Brin. But you have to accept that I'm gone now."

"And if you were in my shoes?"

"I'd never let you leave me, obviously."

"You're such a hypocrite."

"And you don't need me to protect you anymore. I may have seemed strong and handsome and dashing when I was around, but it's only because I had you to inspire me. Now you do the same for our daughter, and your boy. Show this world it doesn't get to beat you." With that, he vanished with a puff of smoke. The sun grew brighter, and the silence faded into the breeze.

She stood and removed the blade from the ground. Paragon. He would have said it was a funny joke to name it that. "But that's why I did it," she said to herself, "Always carry a smile into battle. Isn't that right, Pari?" Only the wind gave any reply.

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