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Tahzani

(WR-July) Constructs

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The building was on fire and it was not his fault. He would have been disappointed if he had not been running for his life.

An arrow snatching at the hem of his robes made an unnecessary point about the gravity of his situation. " Stand and fight, COWARD!" The sentinel demanded, nocking another arrow and firing it in rapid succession. The shot missed his ear by a matter of inches, causing him to instinctively jerk away in a delayed and thoroughly pointless reflex. Qabian blamed his exhaustion.

The smoke in the air was getting worse, his eyes had begun to water and breathing was growing more and more difficult. Perhaps that was why the "legendary" archers were shooting so poorly. A useless byproduct saving his life from an enraged woman. It could have been the exhaustion from the battle or the adrenaline induced hysteria of the chase but the thought caused the magister to start laughing.

He was rewarded for his momentary lapse in focus with an armored fist across his cheek.

The sentinel had finally caught up to him. Any noise of protest he could have made was silenced as the heel of her boot pressed down painfully upon his ribs, driving the air from his lungs. " You think this is funny?" She demanded as she drew the arrow back and took aim, from such a distance she was not likely to miss. " No, this just reminds me of my career in teaching. Though i'd call it more hilarious than funny." Another chuckle was cut short as the Kal'dorei put more pressure on his aching ribs. "Shut. Up." The woman snarled as she stared down the grinning mage. " Or what? You will shoot me? Hardly a threat after-Hngh!" He let out a pained cough as she pressed down on his ribs again and bared her sharpened teeth.

The woman looked as exhausted as he felt. Grime and blood coated the plates of her armor and left uneven splashes across the exposed purple flesh. Now that he had a moment to finally look at his would be executioner, he could see shaking limbs. She was tired, she was hurt, and she was racked with anxiety from the slaughter. " I thought your kind believed in honor! Where is the honor in this?" She snapped at him. It took him a moment to realize she expected an answer. He kept his surprise hidden behind his usual infuriating smirk. He needed time, just a little bit more to catch his breath, and in her anger she had give him exactly that. He did not have the energy to formulate a proper lie or story to stall her. Between the lack of oxygen and the delirious feeling born of a mixture of panic and hope he could barely even think.

He would never tell anyone what happened that night but he would continue to blame that for what he blurted out.

" Do you believe in the boogeyman too?" He babbled as he saw the string stretch back in preparation. The question earned him a slight reprieve as she drew her boot back enough to allow him to breathe but still keep him pinned. " What?" She demanded. " What are you talking about?"

" The Boogeyman. The monster under the bed or in the closet of children. A figment of their imagination created by their fear of the dark." He hissed out as he sucked in a grateful breath of smoke-tinged air. He was not sure what annoyed him more, the straws he grasped for to stall the woman or the fact that it seemed to be working. " No child should fear the dark." She snapped, still trying to puzzle out what the man was talking about. " But they do." He insisted, feeling a familiar tingling as the exhausted reserves began to fill drop by drop. " They use it to explain their own fear because a fear of nothing is ridiculous! It's a faulty construct."

His rant was halted as the boot pressed down upon his ribs again, the sentinel controlled the flow of the conversation and she wanted him to know it. " That's what it is to you? Nothing?"

" Less than nothing," Qabian confirmed with a wheeze, expending what little air he had left. He fought down a surge of panic as the bow was drawn back another inch in preparation. " Think about it!" He wheezed, hiding his relief when she relaxed a fraction of an inch. " The orcs are the ones shouting it the loudest and what are they? The ones with the most to make up for. If not for this concept what would they have left? Nothing." The end of the statement was barely a whisper as his head began to spin
The sentinel eased up on his ribs enough to let him draw in another choking lungful of air which he sucked in greedily and promptly hacked up a globule of dirty saliva. " Nobody wants that they are irrational or horrible. Everyone wants to be right. So what do you do with that much baggage? You make up a code. Make up some justification for why you've done what you've done and pretend that you're not as bad as they say because you have one noble sounding concept to cling to. Honor is easily forgotten but the first thing to be cried out about. It's something you use against them even though YOU don't believe we have it in the first place!"

" What's your point?" She snapped. Her ears twitched as one of the support beams let out a groan of warning and a high pitched squeal. " My point is that you are trying to insult me with air. You are trying to hit me with something that does not EXIST save for in the imagination of frightened orcs. Honor is nothing more than a word shouted out by everyone so they can pretend they aren't awful people. The Horde is awful, the alliance is awful, you are awful..."
" And you are any better?" She demanded as she drew the bow taught, having reached the end of her patience with the mage's explanation. " I never said that..." He let out a raspy, unsettling laugh as he felt  the spell take shape. It was a match compared to a forest fire in terms of what he usually wielded but he had nothing else. "In fact... I am far worse."

Even before he had finished the statement, Qabian had begun to move. He pulled his head to the side as he tightened his chest and twisted his body to throw her off balance. The meager energy he had gathered coalesced into little more than a needle of ice, no larger than a toothbrush. As he twisted and she released her shot, the needle found the exposed joint in her armor.

The arrow she held pierced the stone with a deafening shriek and a spray of sparks as the metal scraped the rock. His captor let out a shout of pain as the ice pierced her flesh, forcing her to remove the leg from his chest. He scrambled to a standing position as she fell into a seated position and let out a wordless shriek of outrage and drew another arrow

The creak of a drawn bowstring was drowned out by the crack of a ceiling beam finally losing its fight with the flame. A fraction of a second was wasted as she looked up in surprise at the buckling ceiling, another fraction was wasted by panic and the torn desire between punishing the blood elf and her own survival, and then time ceased to matter as the flaming debris buried her in a roar of falling wood, flame, and stone.

Exhausted by the effort and desperate for clean air, Qabian staggered out of the collapsing building, clutching his mangled and now singed ear. There was no time to even make sure the job was finished. If any of the other sentinels spotted him he was done for.

He doubted talking about boogeyman would work on another one.

Qabian sucked in a lungful of clean air and adjusted his rumpled robes before removing his hearthstone from his bag. This was one story of many that people would never hear. Saved by the faults in two constructs in one night? Ridiculous!

Edited by Tahzani
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