Nymare

Conscience Sanguine

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He apologized for doing what Fate demanded?

I sound sad?

Just another reason to rip out my lungs?

He wants to look through my eyes to see the truth?

Go ahead.

There is no Truth.

There is no Fate.

There are things far worse than Death.

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He feels too much, doesn't he? Just... some things...

He knows too much, too.

<there is intermittent doodles lazily scribbled down the page>

I am an arrow noticed too late. I am a whispered curse. I am a voice in someone's head. As much as -- I cannot disappear because I was never here. Or anywhere. No place is mine and I belong no place.

I thought I did.

But I have been wrong so many times before.

Perhaps I should see what Deathshadow really wants, why it might be necessary to rip out my lungs and perhaps let him do it just to see what happens. I am not in his head, so an explanation would be nice.

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That was not helpful. He told me nothing and I still have my lungs. I was willing to offer them to him... to see...

I tore out my heart instead.

That is why I was there. Because it reminds me of Vythica. Because I like it. The waves suit me. They are more intense, more violent. Because it was close. Because no one knows to look there. Because I was bleeding to death inside.

I went there to disappear. I am disappearing. I was. And then I wasn't. I had expected to be alone. I was. And then I wasn't. Exceptions in a place that belongs to no one... and suddenly the night was gone. Everything else had managed to disappear instead.

It's coming back now, though. Slowly. My chest hurts.

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It is not hate I want. I want to plant seeds. I want them to look at me for help when they have torn themselves apart... or just... look at me... when they are tearing themselves apart. I want to see in their eyes what words will never be able to accurately articulate, what an arrow or curse could never fully inflict. Getting it just right is probably a very delicate process. Fynne. Cessily. But it is Death I want, or his Shadow, since they are the same. He will be far different, I think.

I am too distracted. I need to give Acherontia what is hers. And plans... the plans are mine now. Some things have subsided. I might have forgotten if not for Shadow. How can I forget, though? Fynne is still everywhere, sniffing. He wrote me another letter. I let Qabian plant that particular seed, but at what cost? Perhaps his own distractions will keep him from asking things.

Things are backward again. Two nights. Nothing of interest burned. I managed to not think about things. If he knew what he was saving me from, if he knew he made me feel better --not better. Nothing? Nothing is better -- even still... he would throw himself off of his rock, I think. He doesn't know because I didn't tell him. I didn't show him. When he appeared, it might have been there, briefly. Did he notice the missing necklace? He would be one of the few to ever see it with any semblance of regularity. Family, though; what we were supposed to be; practicalities -- Nothing. Hours of it. Long past dawn. Accepting Exceptions?

Lysanthar failed him. He asked odd questions tonight before telling me anything. Reassuring himself that I am not Lysanthar? Or her? Or him? Sometimes he forgets I am not him. It is good he says things like that from time to time, it reminds me he is still insane. And, it is good that I am not a pure mage, then --

Being with him is like being alone. It was -- it is. It is, but it isn't. And I am out of reasons. Everything I do has a reason. This doesn't. There is no game. No death. No hate. Is this how he feels? Because I am fine until I come to you, little book. Fine until I remember Mulgore. Fine until my chest starts hurting... it is more than what I did there. It is something else, too. It is why I am pulling away from everything else. Isn't it?

He forgets that I am not him??

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What makes someone a man? There is not enough room in that word for all that he is and is not, all that he should be distinguished or hated for.

A man should not be so simple to describe as "hero" or "villain".

A man should not be defined by the merits or failures of a woman.

A man should not be defined by his ability to subdue a woman.

I am not meek enough for him to be a man? How stupid. I hope that was the point.

I am not just some girl in a white dress. Thank you.

I am not a man, either, and I am not him.

He should know better than -- yes, we spent our evening doing whatever it is we do when we are not on a rock or destroying something in each other's presence, but he let me know everything I needed to know if I wanted to find him and interrogate him incessantly about his sudden interest in dragons.

I left him alone so he could be a man in peace. I will want that book, though.

He said he could murder everything Fynne vowed to protect. Would I be first? Last? Ever? I offered him the chance, once. There is rarely a shortage of hedonistic skin to char when we have our talks. He has his chance again. There are a great many things he could do in the position he finds himself in. He failed to see how he could use this to make me hate him. Masochist that he is, he prefers Fynne's focus on him and not the rest of the Grim. Masochist. Not hero.

Fynne will take me to Alyiane. This will all be over soon.

One way, or another.

It hurt too much tonight. I lost my sense of humor along the way.

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I almost did not come here. Fynne has found me nearly everywhere else. Even in Silvermoon that damned mouthy cat found me. And I am tired. I haven't really slept in -- what day is it? Tired... and it is a long swim. Can't track through water so well and there is no other way to get here -- I tried. Here should be safe.

I wanted to bring the whelplings. Cpooky knows the way and the other three would be strong enough for the trip. They seemed confused when I could fly from the cliff to the water, but not once I was in the water. The green tried swimming with me.

I hope, after how hard it was to find it, that it will not do something stupid. Like drown.

I'd kept them all separate until now. I want them to know there is a difference between them, but I think they know. They kept their distance from each other at first.

The red is bold, vibrant. It was first to try to interact with me and then the other whelps.

The green is so... relaxed. Almost silly. Not exactly what I would describe as "all here"... but, most definitely aware of what is going on around it while it's mind would seem to be somewhere else.

The blue is intense, curious, but distant. I feel like it is studying me almost as much as I am studying it.

Cpooky is... not happy. He was not aggressive toward them, nor they to him, but there was a definite distinction.

They mostly kept separate, but eventually the red coaxed the green into playing until the green just kept rolling over and waving at it. The blue tried, but quickly seemed to get more irritation than joy out of the red pushing it around.

Otherwise, they ate the fish I caught and would occasionally squawk and chirp at me or each other. They are still so small. I doubt I will learn anything I want to know for some time. Leoren's spoke to me once, but... not out loud. I wonder how old it is.

They do not speak, but every time I look at the blue, I think about Northrend and... white dragons?

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Lies.

Lies are only worth something if they're believed. Did I lie? Whatever it was, I made him believe it. I wanted to believe I loved him. I wanted to believe there was nothing greater. But I was right. If I loved him as I should, I could give him what he needs.

He said he could wait, he could endure whatever it is that is taking me away from everything.

He said he didn't care, as long as I were his.

His.

In his arms.

My body, perhaps, but not me. I knew it wasn't fair. I took away his right to choose. I knew what I had to say to set him free... I told him I didn't love him. Thinking of the look on his face at that moment, even now, is just ---

I feel heartless.

I stopped in Brill to pick up some Slumber Sand from Apothecary Johaan just before it began to pour. I do not trust the rain here, or water, or food, for that matter. I will be staying here for the night. Dethknell will have to wait. Just waiting for the sand to---------------------

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<-- the page is watermarked, the ink smeared -->

It was still pouring when I woke. And nighttime. Did I really sleep that long? ...or that short? I have no idea what day it is. The weather followed me to Darkshore. I decided to explore the ruins this time, instead of just murder everything in sight and keep going. Three sets of ruins. A tower. I stole a page out of some book. There was a dragon skull in the tower. It belonged to a green, I think. I have a bag full of figurines, but no more ghosts appeared. Aeacus found me in those ruins last year. I wonder --

Asterion

Athrikus ? - cult ? - just him and a bunch of human women

Relics - looks like Blackfathom - no entry

Dire Maul.

< -- carefully placed in between pages here are what appear to be rubbings off of what one can only guess to be stone tablets. The lettering is faint and nearly illegible at parts, in some way due to the weathering of the tablet itself, and in some way due to the weather that existed during the rubbing to begin with. The thin paper is delicate and almost brittle from being dried by fire -->

__________

Diel anu dor eraburis lo dor talah al’dahr anar dor bandu lo dor dorados’no man’ar lo dor Shan’re Shar. Do ash dor eburi diel bandu, terro lo dor shan’re d’ana’no, ethala nor al’shar lo dor dieb, talah dorini ash man’ar al thus aman diel anu shando dath anu turus. Anar dor ishura lo dor Shar nor dor eraburis lo dor talah, shan’re lo Bandu, thera ishun shari, fulo da ishnu rini dor anoduna fulo al’shar, dieb dor aman’ni talah.

Neph’o shano fulo fulo shari nor ethala lo ash’therod shari’adune ana dor banthalos. Thero’Shan nor Fandu’Talah fulo dor dal’dieb, neph’o dor bandu lo Mush’al, dor Dorados’No mush’al erubi, no ishnu dal’dieb. Anu shan’re dune’adah, turus lo dor Dath’anar, anu dor’ano do dor anar shari do shando, nor do ethala rini anu dorini Mandalas Thoribas, neph’o al thera su diel lo thera thera thus lo nor anar no nor Adore lo Fala’andu, thus thus alah’ni lo dor shari.

Nor u’phol, o aman erubi lo nor shan’re no dor shando thus da aman da shar nor eraburis dath’anar, dor Dal’dieb, ano adore balah dor ethala lo Fandu’Talah, nor fulo fulo shano do Thero’Shan, do nei do dor falla nor ishnu lo ash ethala.

Nor ri al dor, anar dor ishura lo dor Shar lo Mandalas, dor anar shari fulo nor dath anar, erubi dor talah shan’re dor tala rini ishura alah’ni.

__________

Dor bandu d’ana’no da dor anoduna adore no dor dune’adah do’rah fulo dorithur nor asto’re. Dor shando nor t’as’e t’as’e da dor fulo nor thori’dal lo D’ana’no nor dor adore belore lo dor eraburis lo dor talah fulo dor’ano do dor dor’ano belore. Shano dor fal erubi, dor’ano fulo no dor shari’adune, no dor fandu diel dor dor shan’re. Dor dune’adah dur asto’re ethala shar dor thori’dal lo fandu, shar dor isera’duna diel thero’shan do anar dor talah alah’ni.

Mush’al ishura musha’al. U’phol ishura aman’ni. Al dor anu ash dor Dath’anar diel ishura. Thus bandu, shar’adore, da dor alah’ni aman rini. Shando neph’o nor dorini shari turus fulo shando belore rini.

No Thero’Shan, ash dor no bandu, ash ethala thoribas do dor belore da neph’o diel shari terror rini dath dor fandu’talah. Al dor diel diel Mandalas Thoribas, shan’re lo Mush’al eraburis do thera rini do dorini.

Shar o talah lo adore anoduna rini, lo thera osa. Erubi belore rini, mush’al nor u’phol, ishura nor do’rah d’ana’no, alah thera diel shar shan’re, nor diel ishura do anar dor Fala’andu diel dor do andu…

__________

<-- tucked neatly away behind the delicate rubbings is a piece of parchment that looks as though it was torn out of something -->

Al balah shando do shano ni tal ethala ishura fal su thus do alah ethala do thus shar. Dor shar nor belore fulo shan’re, ishnu ishura lo dor Thoribas do’rah rini dor’ano thoribas do aman dor anoduna lo dor Shar T’as’e. Ri alaha diel tal dor’ano lo dor mush’al turus alah erubi?

Diel fandu’talah aman’ni. Shan’re dor Mandalas, tal aman u’phol dieb fal al’shar no Dath’anar, Do’rah, erubi nor do’rah, Il’amare, ishnu su su adore, il’amare nor thoribas asto’re do ni. Shan’re d’ana’no ri o falla neph’o, andu anoduna talah fulo, asto’re. Man’ar dieb lo rini diel al tal ash ash lo dor… shan’re lo dor T’as’e Dor’ano.

Da o bandu, O dor alah alah lo ni ethala bandu dath adore dath shar thus, neph’o al ehtala shan’re shar alah o nei, o adore belore t’as’e lo fandu’talah. Al ri dor u’phol osa mush’al ishnu shar alah osa dor thus, shar do t’as’e.

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He was lying.

I wonder what Bir really said to him. Yes, we do spend a lot of time together, but if he truly cared about that, why bother to come along to the library when I ask? Why ask me to lie about what should be an insignificant truth, just so it can remain a truth and I can look like... a liar. And who knows what else. Bir would know Qabian told me, he cared enough to bring it up. He would think I care and that's why I'd come to set him straight. Far too much potential "caring" there for Bir to not turn it into even more of something it isn't.

Oh but he did care enough to bring it up, to ask, and it was so much fun to watch him try to explain, to give reason, and then to shrug it off. Literally.

He cited convenience. There is nothing convenient about talking to Bir, not now, or I am sure he could do it himself. And, it would seem, Kovan was the source of this information? So why not correct the source...

But Qabian suggests I not talk to Kovan, because Kovan does not matter? I should not talk to Kovan because Kovan ... is persuasive. Kovan does not matter, but Bir does? Oh yes, because he is a warlock. I will test myself elsewhere if the opportunity presents itself.

Just another bit of information he doesn't need - whether or not I am still susceptible to the runes that were supposedly purged. More lies. I indulged him anyway. I know he has no real interest in being a more convincing "Master". He stated very clearly that he has no interest in puppets. He has no interest. Period. Except... that they are potential weaknesses - those are his interest. He still wants me to hate him, he says, but if he does not take the opportunities...

If he does ever decide to cut himself while I am with him, infront of Fynne... once Fynne has finished with him and gone on his way, I will hurt him myself. I should have told him more about the expected behavior that comes with that one. I probably left that part out for the same reason he would not tell me what Bir actually said. If he'd been anywhere near me, I might have, just to see the look of horror on his face. Told him or showed him? That would have been priceless, especially after mention of whores and my poor hedonistic self. He probably thinks I am one. He asked me if I thought I was when I asked him if he thought all women were. I assumed he was letting me answer his question for him, but, no, not if he really thinks my love for swimming as I do is really that much of an indulgent impracticality. Hedonism was his word.

And yet all I have ever done to him was convinced him to dance.

I translated what I could. Forgot to ask for that book. He is reading about dragons but does not trust them for answers. Books, then. Stealing books, too. So did I, but when don't I? They lose hundreds each year, one of the curators said. So we continue the cycle. They left us in peace. I like it there.

Maybe I will do this little thing for him, just to sate my own curiosity. I doubt it will help him sleep any easier at night, not when things are as they are and the night is spent on a rock, a dock, or in a Library, talking about things neither of us needs to know.

__________

The Lay of Ameth'Aran

Long had the children of the stars dwelled upon the banks of the shimmering waters of the Eternal Well. To all was known that Elune, light of the eternal twilight, aspect and goddess of the moon, dwelt within its waters at such time that she rested from her works. Upon the shores of the Well did the children of the stars, favored of Elune, build their homes even as their gaze was trained ever skyward, into the moonlit night.

Though there were many towns and places of habitation constructed upon the lakeshore, Ameth'Aran and Bashal'Aran villages were the foremost. Having the touch of Azshara, the Kaldorei's beloved Queen, in their creation. Her favored servitors, those of the Highborne, she brought to the twin towns to reside, and to govern them she placed Athrikus Narassin. Though it would be that he would spend most of his days in his Tower of Althalaxx, some ways removed of the towns.

His second, a mage known of his prowess in the arcane arts as much as with his physical abilities was Asterion, who lived among the people of Bashal'Aran, and went many times to Ameth'Aran to see to the needs and wants of its people.

And so it was upon the shores of the Well of Eternity, the twin towns grew and prospered, while the world beneath the stars fell slowly to madness.

__________

The Fall of Ameth'Aran

The earth trembled as the ancient trees in the enchanted forest were uprooted and toppled. The groves and glades tended by the sons and daughters of Cenarius and the stone towers of the children of the stars were brought to the rolling ground. There was our queen, radiant even in the desperation. In the chaos that was the battles, the enchanted sky changed colors with the discharge of magic. With the explosions that threatened to tear the world asunder.

Brother fought brother, Chosen fought blessed. It was not all the Highborne that fought, some stood transfixed as the madness took them. Mighty cities and humble towns alike were felled around them.

In Ameth'Aran, all was in ruins. Its people clinging to the ground as though that might spare them from the destruction. It was then that Athrikus Narassin, favored of Azshara appeared to guide them to safety.

With a spell he could protect them. He would say. While around them, brother and sister, father and mother perished. They would have life eternal, and have naught to fear from the Great Sundering that was to come.

_________

From the journal of Athrikus Narassin:

It never ceases to amaze me how easily hatred can be used to bend people to your will. The orcs and trolls were easiest, their hatred of the alliance making them willing subjects to hear the message of the Dark Strand. Do they have any inkling of the Greater power they serve?

That infuriating paladin, Delgren the Purifier, has been poking into our affairs in Ashenvale Forest. While his lackey, Balthule, spies on my tower thinking his presence unknown to me. Delgren believes us a minor threat, just another death cult. Perhaps. Little does he know that we are but one of the... Strands of the Shadow Council.

As a child, I was once told of an insect whose bite could kill with ease. Though it looked nothing more than a fly, a speck barely worthy of recognition. It is the things you dismiss which will hurt you the most, left to fester.

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It started out "practical" enough. It seemed like a proper precaution. A runed girl should have runes, and mine were, at the very least, no longer visible. Given Fynne's knack for finding me, and my swimming habits when I think I am entirely alone, it just... made sense. Unfortunately, there are only so many places I can reach on my body without help. Qabian seemed hesitant, but he did it anyway. Why don't we have homes? This would have been much easier if it hadn't turned into an outing.

"Your place or mine?"

HA!

Damn Goldshire. Damn Cessily. Damn Qabian. If she hadn't run out of flash powder and he hadn't decided to bring her some, we could have bypassed the town like every other on the way to Redridge and might have been able to accomplish things in peace. Or, if Cessily had just done enough damage in Stormwind, we might never have been noticed. So much for giving her flash powder. As for Goldshire, in all fairness, as soon as we stepped out of the faire grounds, the guards attacked us. But that rarely matters in regard to blind "justice", and we were eventually found in a very awkward moment.

It could have been worse, much worse, but I doubt it could have looked much worse.

It also could have ruined everything. I can only hope Qabian was enough of a cover and distraction before I was able to throw my robe back on. Fynne... did not listen to the fact that if we were being malicious, more would have suffered than Goldshire - we were being careful and left Darkshire and Lakeshire in peace. But, he left me to the squid to pay for my... transgressions. That turn of events is not a good sign, but if he'd seen the lack of a rune on my back, he surely would have said something. No, something else prompted that. I will need to send him a letter.

I do hope the meat statue Shaatom made out of the two Lakeshire guard's bodies afterwards wasn't too much for him. It was my artistic interpretation of how his Justice feels to me. Or maybe I was just being a vengeful pet? Or maybe that damned squid knocked the sweetness out of me?

The Mountain offered a better guarantee of seclusion, though. He said he did not know the place well, but he led me past the heart to the core. The bridge just outside of it fit my pointless requests. No dwarves. No giants. A view of the lava. I expected him to be more like a kid burning a line of ants. I expected more pain. I expected something else. I expected almost everything else. But, he gave me everything I asked for, even ice. Even a shirt.

It was...

He asked about Zelaine and Leoren. I wonder if he will ever ask again. He knows now, more or less, what I did. He says he believes me. There should be nothing left to ask.

And who knows what he carved into my back. That is the trouble with Forsaken Inns, their keepers do not have much use for mirrors. I cannot really see his handiwork. For all I know, he cut an ornate target and a flower into my skin.

He says Silvermoon is home. There is no home. It is a home to our people, yes, and I will protect it, but it is not my home. I do not have one. I do not even have a fortress as he does, stolen as it may be. I almost wish he hadn't told me about the Spire. Some places should be just his, no matter how perfect they are to jump from, but, for all I know, I am not the only person to ever have sat there with him. Before he left to be closer to her, he used to go there to think? To throw burning women to the pool below... He gave me a story, mostly. Demented. Wonderful. I do not think I would make servant of someone who wanted to kill me, though. She is bound to remember what he did to her. So many Forsaken remember things from their lives. There are others who know as well. I thought he didn't keep puppets? Does she count -------

I FORGOT THE PAGE!

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Leoren... I wonder how I looked to him just then when he recovered himself, stopped before things went too far, and stood back, witnessing the evidence of his pain on my lip, my neck. Did I look like a whore? Did I look like the woman he loved? He asked me why I let him treat me like that. Why did I let him?

To win? I won.

To see how long he would play? Longer than I expected.

But that wasn't it.

I would rather be his whore than his pain. That was my answer. That was the truth. Who loves a whore? He asked me not to remember him like that whenever I think back on him. Maybe I need to, though. That he stopped himself, that he knew better, is evidence that he is where he belongs, proof that I was right. He came to his senses before he could truly make me a whore, but enough damage had been done.

Qabian picked a foul time to bait me with my lost page. No armor. It had been ripped to shreds and left on the Golden Strand. I went to him with no armor, making almost every word he said a reminder that I am no exception. Apparently, I am no woman, either. It shouldn't have mattered to me. No armor. It was there, the desire to show him just how wrong he is. But how? By breaking down and crying like a little girl? By forcing myself on him like the uneducated trollop I am and giving him something that, judging by his disposition this evening, he could desperately use... at least a few times in a row?

I spared him any lapses in my own sanity. In return, I not only got my page back, but additions. Copies. Alterations. Modifications. He thought I might care. How... considerate? However will my uneducated little mind cope? I will look them over with more scrutiny later. He kept his own copies as well. Perhaps I will hand over the other pages, but if he cannot even ask Haleh her opinion, what is the point of giving him something that someone else could find, take, and use if he insists on carelessly ignoring it? If he has no intention of researching, I have no intention of sharing.

For however old he is, he was so much like a child tonight. Tucking his hands under his arms after perhaps too much insistence that he take off his gloves so I can see his palms was an especially nice touch. Perhaps he was afraid I was going to carve a rune into them. Who knows. He gave, though, finally. They are nice hands, but were they really worth the fuss?

Maybe now I can sleep, and stay asleep. And Qabian can steal my pages. And Leoren's pain can end. And Azeroth can open up and swallow it all before it caves back in on itself and I can have my Silence.

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Too many nights asking the same question.

How many times have I written his name?

How many pages are his?

How many nights?

How many lives?

Why doesn't he ruin my things?

Why there?

Why anywhere?

Why answer?

Why ---

He's right.

We share too many things.

He's wrong.

Because it is nothing.

Not enough of nothing to make him feel safe.

Not enough to teach me.

He doesn't know if I care.

Not safe, but safe enough.

I never tag along home.

I did not touch his hands.

He knows.

And he still comes when I call.

His lines of reason seem so clear, and then suddenly are gone... like anything else that gets too close. That space... that blind space... where things blur.

Being with me is like being alone? We do not need to be in the same space for questions, we rarely are, but he tagged along when I did not. I should have gone to his spire and left him to the broken glass and wretched. I prefer the spire. I leave him his things and he still showed up in mine. Fine. But that is not alone and that is not what I meant. That was before nights spent on rocks, docks, spires, ruined ledges... It was for the towns, the cities, anything else - when we did not talk, we just killed.

No hate. This week. He does not ruin my things because he does not want me to hate him now? We share them? There is no point now? The distance he wanted to keep is gone, but we are not close. And now I just 'am'. How... profound?

It was mine. I felt myself slipping, he gave me words. I do not break so easily and he does not like to be wrong - as if that will stop me when the only voice in my head is as broken as everything and everyone I was trying to get away from. Maybe I was wrong for feeling safe there, but I was not wrong for appreciating it, for wanting it. If we did not share too much, I would not have gone there. It would not have been found. I told him what I wanted and he came to help me get it. We got it. I told him to burn it. He did.

So many little things, and still nothing. He does not have answers. He tries. "Knowledge?" is not an answer, it is a question. He does not know. Knowledge is my motive. Silence. Curiosity.

One thing, one substantial thing, and he will not give it. Anyone else could teach me anything else, give me anything else I ask for, but not this. They were friends, those who knew this thing I am asking for, and he does not want friends again. How would this make me...???

Maybe, if he is lucky, he will teach me and I will die, too, and he can go back to a life that was silent and solitary and all his.

I have no reason for him! What I do have are too many pages and they all mean nothing, just lines blurring together.

He should ruin my things.

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Debutante? I am sure Mother would be proud. There are still some small things I hold onto, things I never used when I was expected to. I cook now. I am even nearly polite in "society". I can function at social gatherings. I can be gracious. I can pretend. But gatherings, more and more often, make me want to run away. I can sit on a rock for hours but I cannot stand in a crowded room for more than a few minutes? I am a mask of what I need to be, and it won me a good deal of gold and a bouquet of black roses. Qabian even bothered to put on his horns, if only for a few moments after it was all over. My only real disappointment of the evening was that I did not see Bahlmoral. Most everyone had unmasked by the end and still I never saw him. Faelen said he's changed. Given the topic of one of our last conversations, before the Feast of Winter's Veil, this worries me some. There was nothing else to be said. The night should have ended there.

I may have overreacted. I should not have let that one little piece of Quel'Thalas mean so much, but it was so far removed from Eversong and Silvermoon, so untouched by anything more than the ruins and whoever used that dock before I did. Qabian tried to tell me it was nothing, to show me how oh-so-much better it is to not have attachments like that, that it was Setrema's first. But no, she only used it for something and then left it. And as for him, he has Silvermoon. There was beautiful irony in its waters. For how still they seemed, they are dangerous to swim in. The currents there... you can only swim so far before they become too much. Azshara is violent, but safe.

Safe seems like such a dirty word now. I called Qabian safe. I should take that back, if it were not so true. Indifference is -- another entry. I still hate it. I suppose it is up to me, now, to change things or watch them slip into what would surely be something worth pitying.

Oh but how long was my own little Arthas sitting there in the shadows, waiting for the right time to tell me he had been there while I thought I was alone. He threatened to bring his Scourge, he threatened to burn it, unless we remained alone.

No. There was no need for threats.

He burned it the moment he set foot on it, Qabian only added the flames to Fynne's footsteps later. There were no deals to be made. There was nothing to be said. There was only time... time to mourn, to collect, to move the pieces into place... The betrayal was nearly beautiful. If only he were not so lost in my blood at the very end, so he could realize, clearly, what all had just occurred. Could I have told him the rest of my plans and watched them cut more deeply than any dagger across my palm? Did he hear me? Did he understand when my "Master" walked to my side and bled for me, only for it to have no effect whatsoever? He forced my hand, and while it was a small victory, it was not the one I wanted, the one I still want - not even for me, but for The Grim. Not even for The Grim, I think... just for the results. I wonder if he lived amidst the burning ruin. It is not likely, but we did not linger. For all our talk of seeing how long it would take for his calvary to arrive earlier, neither Qabian or I wasted time stepping through this final portal. I wonder...

We all have our ways of surviving. Do we, Fynne?

Will I start swimming like Qabian now? Swimming like there are worse things in the water than sharks? For all his practicality, it has never stopped Qabian from running headlong into a tactical disaster. He does not fight to win, and winning means living... so why should he swim to win? Why should I? As long as he enjoys his fight, he can do as he likes. I will continue to swim as I always have. There are still places that have not been found.

Malorii lives? And now Bir's talk of Leibowitz makes sense -- well, more sense than what he usually says, yet still no sense at all. I wonder what brought her back. The Heirs? Or is Evanthe really that useless at killing people? I should have asked more questions, but everything else insisted on taking my attention. It matters. I forget that it does. They still have that tie to me, that pull. And when they call for me, I will go.

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Zelaine... wrong place, wrong time. This is why titles are pointless. She professed that she considers me her sister, a real sister. Sister should be a safe title, but what she said...

So, she feels alone. Leoren neglects her? She just wanted someone to listen. I listened. New night, different mage. If I find myself sitting somewhere with Setrema, next, talking for hours, I will have to rethink my life. It was not the same anyway. I hate almost everything she had to say, but I listened. She wants to be loved. She believes in it. I think she is selling herself short. I thought that, perhaps, since she left The Grim, she had lost her focus, and then I remember Cessily. I remember Lascivious. She has always wanted love. Perhaps it is best she left and best that Qabain has not found her in his search for answers.

The things we do when we are left... wanting. I wish she had not told me about who she spent her previous evening with, why, and how.

Sister, am I? Sleep with someone who hired the Cartel against me, will you?

I really should not be so surprised. There she was with me, talking as if I had not torn her brother's heart out repeatedly. Perhaps she justified it through his neglect? There was more. There is always more.

Her reactions when Qabian was mentioned were... odd. The looks on her face during other parts of conversation were telling.

I tested her.

I... did not expect the results. I suspected she wanted it. I expected to be accepted or smacked. I did not expect tears on her cheek and a revelation. And, despite everything I'd just told her --- she will end up hurt. Before I put my mouth to hers, she knew my thoughts on love.

Yes, maybe I wanted it, too. I wanted to know what it was like. And maybe it served as proof... of something.

Something Kovan had said had given her the wrong impression of certain things and she did not seem to believe me when I answered her questions with words. How funny that I should run into Kovan immediately afterward. I presume he told me the truth of all he said which might have inspired Zelaine's misconceptions about Qabian and I. If so --- he has a deranged idea of what "adorable" is. Volatile? Oh we could be. Adorable? No. Couple? No. Would we rather kill each other than admit... what?

If some or any of that were filtered through Bir to Qabian, I think I know now why he wanted me to go to Bir in the first place. I am glad I didn't. Let them have their fantasies. Having me attempt to lie about how much time we do or do not spend together would not have helped anything.

I am not sure anything can be helped.

I hope when Zelaine wakes in whatever place she found a bed that was not too large and cold for only her, she will have come to her senses. She could be so much more. She should be. She is heartless, to a degree, to be so accepting of someone who's hurt the only person who will ever truly love her. I would hate to destroy an entire family.

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Maybe, just maybe, this is all some part of a brilliant plan to get me to leave him be. He could just tell me to shut up, he acknowledges that. He also says he is no good at pretending. If that is the case, then, he may have just become ridiculous.

"Did he hurt you?"

I hope that was a joke. Even if Kovan had, even if he could, I would not be looking for a hero - especially not in Qabian. He's said he's not a hero. I know that. I do not expect that. He did not play Hero with Fynne, either. He was necessary for me to show Fynne what I wanted to show him before he died. And, I did not ask. I told him what I wanted. He gave it. That is all. He just ---

It should not even matter.

And tonight... I hurt him on occasion? Do not tell me that! He wants to know what I want from him? Do I have to want anything from him? Maybe I did... maybe I do... maybe he should have better things to think about. When I want something from him, I tell him. Is that so hard? And everything else, the space between things I want, I learn. I listen. I give him a reason to talk so he can hear his own damned voice. There is point. I even genuinely enjoy it. What does he want from me? Something more profound? Something more insidious? After all this time, if I haven't gotten from him what I wanted, I may well have given up. What would I even be waiting for?

He asked me if I cared.

About what? Him?

What the hell is all that?

Do I treat him like I care?

I treat him as he treats me. Garbage for garbage. I left him to his wishes, I made no attempt to stop them from going after him when I knew what he wanted, what they would do -- if I'd tried to stop them, that might mean something. What did I do? Why does he ask? I question his motives when he questions mine. That is all. Can't that be all?

He would not want me to care. I would not want me to care. So, I will not care. What do I want from him?

Everything and nothing.

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I was ready to... Oh how badly I needed to destroy something. Nothing. Just insanity after insanity.

Evanthe was sweet enough to store Malorii's soul, as if I needed to know this. I suppose it might concern me since Malorii is up and about and already making threats... without ever having gotten her soul back. She had one to begin with? Wouldn't it be funny if the Heirs' last elf took her oath but she had nothing to be bound by to begin with? No soul? Is she as free as someone like her can be, then? She must be. If what Skafloc told me is even close to the truth, she did not touch the stone, yet here she is... walking, talking, remembering, threatening.

How considerate of him to warn Zelaine to warn me that his wife's dearest friend is back and ... seeking vengeance. Still? He could have told me himself, he told me everything else when I contacted him about it. But Zelaine... she had no part in any of this. The only thing that she needs to know is that she is still Leoren's sister and, therefore, something worth killing to get to him -- something she should already know very clearly.

Qabian has not heard from her, though. Not yet. I wonder when Malorii will find him.

And so Bir found Malorii's body, and then he lost it, and the Good Doctor has been seen around. Any wonder things are as they are, then?

Zelaine... spoke to Qabian? She says she is not daft, but she would have to be to go to him with the honest intention of persuading him to not hate her. She left the Grim. She is Leoren's sister. Those two reasons alone are things she will never be able to get him to see past. Everything else is just frill. She knows better. She has to. And then to come to me asking about Qabian? He did not send her to me, so I have no reason to tell her anything about him. I am not inclined to trust that. Not with... What was she doing? Does she see him as competition? It would be nice if I could be in her presence and not have to hear some of the things she says.

He is not my fucking pet.

One more word... one more push... and I would have set her on fire. I have enough pets. I know what they are for. I do not want another. If he were everywhere I went, he would have been there, too. Use your eyes, not your damned ears. Rumors. Speculation. Kovan. She should know better.

I still do not think she believes me. I refrained from testing her this time. She still held me. Still tried to comfort me. Still told me how she felt.

What do I even do about that? I am convinced she is just confused, she will snap out of it. She asked me why I kissed her and I told her. And still...

At least I served as a decent distraction from her questions about Qabian's family. She wanted to know what I know. She believes I know something. She stopped asking about him and we moved onto other topics. She humored me about some things. Then... she left upset about something or someone or me, or everything. Wrong time, wrong place, dear. The gods are against you. This is why you have to leave your love for love behind, why you should see me and feel empty. You could be so much more.

Silvermoon was a madhouse. Watching Aest try to climb the auction house wall after a gnome ... now THAT is entertainment ... as well as a decent distraction when Qabian is not there to be a target in my place. Maybe I should have said it was a request, afterall, that he come and get stabbed to save my robe a few stitches. But I had my pets, I had my heroes, and he did do me the favor of not asking me questions tonight. Instead, Madness found me everywhere else. It is the beginning of a new season.

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Nothing. Nothing nothing nothing and more nothing. We've progressed through the Shrine, but I haven't set foot in any of my haunts. Silvermoon offers a gnome. The forest offers things I do not want to deal with. Falling back into society is tedious. This week has been tedious. I need more.

I finally gave Acherontia what was sent to me. She will have to pass along her thanks and her promises on her own. I wish I could have told her that she would have to summon his ghost to deliver the message, but it would seem we do all have our ways of surviving. Perhaps his calvary arrived in time. I do not care. She says it is far from over. She is right, but it is still a disappointment. It is a delicate balance, though... wanting to be rid of him yet taking comfort in seeing that look in his eyes and knowing I did that. It truly is a work of art. I could make the world of man my gallery. Let me be their Garithos, their Arthas. Let me paint the ground with their blood and the fabric of time with their desperation. Let me make a Silvermoon of their Stormwind, a Scar of their Forest, so that all history can look back and admire what I've done.

This may be difficult without lungs. I do not need to breathe, though. Deathshadow can have them, if that is what his message meant.

"The Oath has been made once more, and a new Grim must die soon."

I presume the messenger meant "another Grim" and not "a new Grim" -- for I am fairly certain I do not count as "new" -- but we shall see. Malebrignon knows of Death's issues. Perhaps I should go to him. Perhaps I should just let it happen. Perhaps it does not matter. Would he save me? Do I need to be saved? It is disturbing to realize I find myself actually needing someone to tell me I need my lungs, or, at least, I am better off with them. It's just this feeling...

Kiara noticed my necklace was missing. I was fully armored, too. It's been weeks. I was still surprised. Explaining that it was not mine and is now where it belongs was more difficult than I expected. I wanted to talk. Gods, she's not insane. I wanted to talk to someone sane. But, no, we all have our own little insanities and hers showed up just as I spoke her name. I wondered how Lascivious was doing. I did not stay to find out.

It's strange, feeling like this. I should not even notice. Not enough has burned this week. I've had no release, no Silence, still no sleep. I tried. It went hideously wrong.

I think today is Noblegarden.

I should head to Elwynn with some special eggs.

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What does sending clothes to anyone tell them? I've no idea. No wonder Qabian didn't understand. So, a human tradition filtered over into the Horde. Yes, it is disgusting, but the pants smell like candy.

Well, I thought it was funny.

I certainly did not expect him to be thankful, pleased, or even amused. He enjoys taunting me about lies? I enjoy forcing holidays on him.

I wonder if he thinks he is special... I do not need to lie to him, I can usually get around what little questions he has easily enough. I prefer the truth with him. I do not need to lie to most people. I didn't lie to Zelaine. I can lie. I prefer not to be misunderstood, though. I prefer not having to keep up with tangled webs. The truth should be simpler... shouldn't it? It isn't always, but it should be.

She doesn't ask for the right truths.

He has, and it bought him some silence. Well, that and other distractions. I do not want to lie and I do not know what the truth is, so... different versions of the truth and then one too many questions that shouldn't be asked to begin with and I find myself, a week later, wanting to...

Doesn't matter. She does ask the right questions, but they don't matter... it's not the same. It's easier. Is that it?

He is right. I should stop playing. It's not that simple, but he is right. I do not expect him to understand, I do not expect her to understand. I just need sleep and a good fuck and get it out of the way. Oh the opportunities are there, but I keep hiding from them. Maybe I should listen to rumors about Leoren, maybe that would make it easier to remember I belong to no one. For the first time in so long I truly belong to no one and I keep holding everything back. I am faithful to something that does not exist while I've told Leoren to move on and be happy. Is it respect? Honor? What? Self respect? Is it habit? Exclusivity can become habitual?

Maybe I do not want just anyone crawling on me. Maybe my curiosity knows some limits afterall. Maybe because everyone has slept with everyone else and that is disgusting. Maybe sex implies a desire for love and I hate misunderstandings.

I am sure he wonders why I love swimming so much. Cold. Nice, cold water.

Ana was waiting for me long before the sun came up. I'm surprised Mother and Father did not notice, if things are as she says they are at home, especially for her. She looks so much like me... and she is still so happy. We found eggs. We talked. Skafloc had taught her to use a bow and she had her own little dragonhawk pet, apparently, but as soon as they found out, they took the bow and... who knows what they did with the hatchling. They'd given me one, once. She reminds them of me. So, she will be a Priest, in as much as it does not take her from home. They will suffocate her. They will drain the spirit from her. With love. All out of love.

Such a loving family.

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No.

Yes?

Maybe.

No. I've been busy. Distracted. If I could be anywhere else half the time, I would be. Too many have-to's to attend to, not enough actual need-to's, no want-to's.

If it is yes, and he got what he wanted, I may as well take something, too. No. I assumed he meant silence, but letters do not answer questions. Imagine that.

Why can't I do what I need to do to prove that nothing and no one matters? Him. Any him. Her. It. Them. I should not care how what I do affects Leoren. I still have some sense of what is right - enough to feel guilt. I should be able to give Qabian his silence. I can't.

Some things should matter. I do not want to be a hollow beast. Not yet. I'd lose perspective. I am not him. He is not him, either. He shouldn't be able to hurt. I shouldn't either. Things shouldn't matter and they do.

I. just. need. sleep.

Malethia... what game are you playing? Why are you even bothering? It's more than what scraps of insight she was throwing out at me, it's the name. The face? She is somewhere and someone else. Fine. I can live with that and she can keep her scraps.

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Being right has never tasted so wretched as it has tonight.

Standing in the rain, listening to her scream above the noise of Quel'Danas... I could hear it all falling down around her, where ever she was. History taught me enough. I tried to warn her. I am not sure I would have been screaming, not if I were her and trying to hold onto her longer-term goals, but it was raining and we were all standing on the shore of our home while it was being overrun with Scryers, Aldors, and Alliance. It was sickening! And all after our wayward Prince -- and the demons, and the wretched. He's come home. He's come home to damn us, them, the world. I can see how she might have lost her head. She told me I was right, I am always right.

History. Azshara. I'd laugh if I did not feel so much like crying. Is it crying? I still feel numb, mostly. The disbelief lasted for only so long after I walked down to the basement to see for myself, to find only Bloodsworn and a group of magisters wallowing in loss... defeat. Skafloc bore the brunt of my angst. He does not need to know why I care. He wouldn't understand. I do not think he did to begin with. The fact that he asked anything says more than enough. By the time I reached the Isle, most everything had fallen away to somewhere deeper inside me. Familiarity helped - finding Qabian and Kovan both there, Alphaeus, everyone... And yet, I still managed to feel so small, like that first night on the Terrace of Light not more than six months ago.

I knew what I saw. I knew what I heard - our Prince revealing his plans to A'dal, reveling in his brilliance. It was Qabian's voice that made it real when I could have let it fall into nothing... He was right. I knew better tonight. Our Prince found his source, and he brought it home. What else did I expect? Nothing. I knew it would happen. Not wanting to believe, though... hoping? Did I hope that, somehow, this would not happen, that history would be enough for our Prince to know better... Not wanting to believe is almost as powerful as blind faith when it comes to failing one's self. I knew better. I expected all of this. Did I? I know I feared this.

But... not this soon...

not like this.

Just... not like this.

Yes. It was awkward.

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I need sleep. I can barely remember what he said now. I can barely think to speak. Everything is one big blur. Malorii found Qabian and everyone still has all their organs.

Except, perhaps, Rosalynd... oddly enough. Different rogues, different reasons. I'm still not sure how or why that happened. Too... distracted.

Malorii hates me, but there was no mention of threats? Even better. Call me a catalyst, then, in whatever fairytale has been woven. It is flattering, but Sabachthan and the Heirs were hardly helpless damsels to whatever destructive fury I seemed to have set in motion. She doubts my loyalty. Well, luckily for the both of us, my loyalty is not hers to doubt. I am not like her, no, so I can see why she might not understand that I do not share her strings, but the fact remains that I was given my leave by an Heir; and then some things... some things go far deeper than loyalty - some things are beyond question. She has her Good Doctor, I have The Grim, and we both have our Oath.

Catalyst? A destructive muse.

Maybe. Why not?

To the Heirs? Unlikely.

I haven't ... It is not the same alone. First the Heirs, now him. I haven't asked. I haven't had time. I haven't slept. I can't think. I can't remember how... I bask by firelight as the last things standing are brought to the ground, not in the contentment of others, not in giving Aeacus treats. There, before that fire, do I ever feel content.

I very nearly played hero tonight... to a Knight, of all things. I had to follow the scent of fel in the air to even find the gnome through the rain - does it ever stop raining there? It fell fast enough once I was able to aim. Well, perhaps not fast enough. I went to see if the Knight I assisted a bit too late was all right, and he promptly fell at my feet. He introduced himself later as Szordrin Jolnin? I noticed shortly after that he is one of Leoren's men.

That should have been the end of it, I think.

The moment I said my name, he knew who I was. He knew why I would react as I did to that black cross on his chest, yet he still -- I should have known better. With him claiming to regard Leoren as family, it wouldn't be possible for me to have any real anonymity, would it? That is what I wanted, though, what I let myself believe I had -- what HE let me believe. I... did not expect that.

How many more times am I going to find myself writing that in here? Gods, I just need to sleep.

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< A neatly folded note is tucked into the pages >

It is always raining when I arrive in Quel'Danas to aid the Shattered Sun. I drifted through the tasks while Kovan and Qabian talked about things that probably should have interested me.

Still no sleep.

Progress has been made in the area. They're hoping to free up the armory next. Flying over the end of the Dead Scar was... harrowing. There are places in Draenor that cannot compare with what I saw there, on this tiny Island so close to the last of anything I might claim as my own.

Zelaine contacted me, asking for time I did not have to give. She and Leoren spoke. She says he is not mad at her. I suppose, then, this is all my fault and I can take the blame? If that is how it has to be in his eyes, so be it. In the realm of Truly Horrible Things, though, it could be far worse. It is not as if I slept with her. It is not as if I Love her. She is safe. So is he. May they both rest better at night knowing I simply do not have the time to give.

If it is not one "family" member, though, it is another. A letter arrived for me while I was away - an apology from Szordrin; an apology and he'd like to speak more in the future? If he knows about Leoren and I, why bother? But then... he is so nice. And all that talk about dresses, maybe he's...? I suppose that might make sense. Hmm.

I was going to ----

< the rest of the page is torn down the center, dark splotches of blood spread across it's surface >

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"The thought of you and..."

Anyone else? That is what he had said, wasn't it, when he asked me about Zelaine? "It could have been anyone else." From the look on his face tonight, however, "anyone else" isn't exactly acceptable either. They were questions, innocent ones, over an innocent topic. I had no desire to be uninformed again for future conversation. But, the more I asked, the more things seemed to fall apart.

In any case, there is no "me and..." to earn the reaction I got from him. Hurt or jealousy, it does not matter. Futures may be inescapable, but mine will remain my own.

I will be a star in no one else's sky. I do not think he believes that.

Anyone else would most likely have no idea what to do with me, anyway. Perhaps "anyone else" was meant to exclude those wearing his black cross. He asked about my intentions. Again.

I was fine with him treating me like a whore in bed when we were together, but to keep asking me what my intentions are now that we are apart... for the love of the Sun! As desperately as I could use it, I do not intend to sleep with anyone. Or to Love anyone. What is he even asking when he wants to know my intentions?

I intend to have delightful tea parties where we discuss the most innocuous of subjects, and maybe, just maybe, skip through the fields of Quel'Danas in the rain. Intentions are an abuse of honesty... littering a goal with morals and the strength of will - or lack thereof. I am sure Kael'Thas had the best of intentions.

When will people stop asking me what I want? If I want something, I will take it. I might even attempt to be a good girl about it.

I do believe he was, once again, asking the wrong person, anyway.

It is amazing how well one sleeps after a startling loss of blood.

I really should get this looked at.

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Tonight was... interesting. Refreshing, almost. Beautiful.

After all Abric's talk about "emotions being tools" and it should be "Grim first", our dear Hand chose Pride over sense, over The Grim. I am sure she is in a better place now. But for how long? These things are so rarely permanent. Cessily is a testament to this, even Kovan being reinstated... though I do wonder, if Drinn ever returns, if she will ever get her old job back. I wish Cristok luck and success. It should not be a big gap to fill, though I am sure he may have trouble gaining the loyalty of the Vengeance. They seemed incensed. Confused, at the very least. Even I did not know that it was she who removed Kovan, and I got to hear it all.

I did not expect the punishment inflicted, though. There is something very unsettling about hearing the Enforcer tell a small group of Sin'Dorei to take off their armor infront of all their peers, two Forsaken, and anyone else lurking around. Most bore it with dignity.

Kiara and I passed a group on the way back to the city after the meeting, who seemed to question the "punishment" meted out - if it were fitting, I suppose. The very first meeting I attended as a Grim, Grogkor lost his scalp for an attack on Cessily. And she would offer Aquizit sexual favors in return for killing Kovan...? Has she coughed out the better parts of her brain? They all got to keep their skin. And, of course, those questioning the punishment were not around to witness anything before this night. They've no idea how bad it could have been... no idea at all.

Maybe they will weed themselves out.

Tonight was necessary.

Otherwise, everything and everyone has been quiet. Quiet makes everything feel so... empty. It is a strange thing, trying to fill the quiet with the sound of my own voice. It does not work the same for me. It is not my voice I want to hear, the words passing between me and everything else as empty as the world around me.

Music might be nice, but how long will the notes color the air before it returns to nothing once more? He is as quiet as the rest. Quiet. Nice. Agreeable. I am sure he will come to his senses soon enough. Music is a nice thought, though. I miss music.

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