Conscience Sanguine

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((Spend the night with zee in a tree and all you talk about is Szo *emocry* ))

((Oh that just sounds naughty! Yes, Nym wouldn't let one-kidney-Z sleep in a tree, alone, so far away from people that could stop any spontaneous hemorrhaging when she refused to go. And Szo was not mentioned by name and got a little bitty paragraph at the end. It wasn't -all- the journal entry was about.


ln2reed nub <3's and chocolates. Down the river, not across the street. I pretend to sleep now. bai

PS: you crazy kids get your ooc outta muh journal!))

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How? How does one fight for anything and still manage to claim that he does not let "a whole lot" get to him? How does someone play something so moving and make that sort of assertion? I only meant to tease Szordrin about being heartless, about how removing the thing that invites passion into our senses is one way to ensure one does not suffer from a whole lot getting to oneself, but it turned into something else entirely. Does he know something real about me now? Perhaps.

Things should get to him. There should be passion. There should be reason. Otherwise, what are you? You are delusional, you are lying, or you are hiding from something. No one that nice is without a heart, though. He should know better than that.

Men and their extended... metaphors. He will remain at the cover for so long as he knows nothing real about me. He's offered more music for my unfinished-manuscript-turned-opera, more talking for plot. How am I bound? I am not. Do I let others close to my pages? Yes, if they feel like bothering with pages. Do they know how to read them? No. Was I being so open? Relative...

Will I let him swim with me? Why ask where I sleep? Yes, I can sing. Alin loved my voice, but the way he made me sing --- I can dance, too. It is what all little girls are taught to do at some point, isn't it? I can be a perfect little doll. Does he want to be my friend? I do not have friends. Any other questions I will most likely not ask because I am not sure I want to know the answers. Is that irresponsible of me? One might look back on the night and think it was somewhat romantic.

And then it ended with a pat on the shoulder.


Cristok had bumped into me in the city, prior to the serenade in the woods. I am looking forward to seeing what he can do with Vengeance. I would love to help, though he knows of my commitment to Ruin. To simply be welcome, and not see such an enormous dividing wall between the paths, would be a nice improvement by itself. He is trying to make a smooth transition, and I can understand this, but if more leave over poor Drinn's abominable "punishment", then good. I was surprised, though. The few he listed were not who I expected. It should be easier for Deathshadow to murder Grim now, no longer being one of us.

Which reminds me... there has been no more word on my lungs. Perhaps he left for other reasons, then, and I will get to keep them. It will be hard to sing otherwise.

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Weeks. Weeks?? I can't. I won't. I ... it has already been weeks since I've done anything worthwhile, it feels like, I can't NOT use that arm for another few weeks.

Last night should not have happened. I know where I belong. I asked the question I needed to, knowing I could take any answer and use it against him and I tried, damnit. It helped that he is horrible with words. I was, truly, offended. But, somehow, I still ended up on a cot in Sun Rock having my shoulder finally tended to... mostly by Szordrin. Leoren was there, watching and assisting from the shadows. Digging the shard of obsidian out of my shoulder was a nice distraction, so was the blood, the removal of dead flesh. I'm not sure I would have stayed there otherwise, but the intoxication of pain was enough to keep me... pliable.

Rest, they told me. Rest? I am restless. Constantly. Sleep? I am already too tired to fight from lack of sleep. The pain helped fix some of that. It is hard enough to argue with one Knight interested in my well-being, but two?

After Szordrin left to sleep, Leo... tried talking. I am still not sure why he asked me there to begin with, if what he ended up talking about was the reason at all. I cannot keep reliving those moments. The entire time I was being tended to, he just looked... tormented?

If it were anyone else, less kind and caring as Szordrin, he would have punched him? Tempting, the desire to find people for him to punch. But he doesn't seem to understand, fully, that all Szordrin wants is a friend, and I want absolutely nothing - especially not someone to make me happy.

I cannot BE happy. It does not last. Everything else outweighs it. The mere thought of even being dependent on another person for my own happiness is... I cannot be happy - with him. With anyone. With myself.

He knows this. He does not believe this.

A grip that could have torn through the bed post...

Perhaps I should take a few weeks. Heal. Disappear. He says no, but, it would be for me and then for everyone. It seems like a waste, but I am only wasting time as it is. Where I do find any sort of happiness, I have not ventured to in some time. The last place I felt safe, I had burned.

I have no doorstep.

I have no island.

I have nothing.

I need nothing.

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He should not have done that. My pain is my own. My wound is my own. They're his now and I cannot get them back, it would seem. Why make that sacrifice? My wing is still clipped, only now, when I aggravate the wound, I will not notice. He will? He will heal as I do? Why did he do that to his hands...

He did not seem to appreciate The Mandate, either, yet he still came back.


His answer was the same for both.

Thank the Sun he does not deny me who I am. He calls himself foolish instead of spouting off hopes of saving me.


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Where have I been?

I do not answer to him, so it should not matter where I have been. My absence was noticed, though. How sweet. The near chastisement was unexpected. I did not intend to let my arm rot, I just... for the love of the Sun, I am no doctor. I've been injured before. Why should this time be different? And, it has been taken care of, I just need time to heal. I called him Mother. He called me a child. And then I realized I had missed that and then remained mostly quiet while we destroyed things.

Leoren took me to the Caverns of Time.

It was a solution, though temporary, to this time, this world. I would have stayed there if the Bronze would have let me, stayed and watched it all burn... burned with it... but would even my ashes mixing with theirs as their immortality was ripped from them have been enough to change history?

It was so quiet, so eerily quiet. Did any of them know what was about to happen to them, to the world...

Do any of us?

As we moved about, we tried to be careful. It made me realize how the smallest things could upset everything, that each step I take now echoes like thunder in a future not yet created, each footfall the herald of something horrible. I know this because they are mine, and where they lead, ruin will follow.

I slept so beautifully. For the first time in so long, I slept like nothing else mattered.

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I am not used to such hesitation. There was none, mostly none, for any other piece of alliance we came across. They knew the tabards. They have their targets, their vendettas. But once we ran into Fynne, Jilliane, and Sare...

Why does that horrible woman insist on sniffing me?! It was bad enough when Fynne did it, though I do suppose he learned his lesson the hard way. I find everything about her vile and repulsive. Like some ambassador, she approached and then would not remove herself from my presence. I spat on her. I never spit. She must have liked it, though, since she still would not move. Not for Leoren. Not for Szordrin. Not for spit. A rude gesture in return was her clever retort. How quaint. Does she think this is some joke? I can see why she might...

They did not act. Any of them! I should not be so surprised... I'd seen Diomades and Fynne salute one another the first night I set foot in Quel'Danas. And of course Fynne would not act, he was at the "tactical disadvantage" he seems to prefer his targets to have instead.

I was furious and all I could think in my disgust was that Qabian would not have hesitated; and even if we would have fallen, at least one of us would be laughing to the ground.

What is the point in telling me that if my arrows had flown, he'd have joined in as well? The Cross are not mine to command, and showing I have the power to move their leader in front of his men, which, in turn, could mean them as well...? I was trying to be courteous. Leoren asked me if I wanted them dead after I left them to their awkward silence at the shore. I said yes. He said it would be done.

We will see.

I almost cannot believe he had to ask that, after everything. I have never regretted courtesy so much as I did tonight.

Szordrin claimed ignorance of why the Cross did not attack, of why I thought those three alliance deserved it so desperately. I took the time to tell him the history Leoren would not, while I let my fury die and he looked over my stitches. I worry for his relationship with Leoren. Small things -- moments of awkwardness between them that I seem to stumble across. He lets things slip, I think, without realizing.

My shoulder is healing nicely. I thanked him by giving him something that I've given no one else willingly in so long - a song. He said it was magnificent, but that is what they're supposed to say, isn't it?

Uich gwennen na 'wanath ah na dhín.

An uich gwennen na ringyrn ambar hen.

Boe naid bain gwannathar,

Boe cuil ban firitha.

Boe naer gwannathach...

Astranaar looks far more interesting from beneath the waters of a moonwell.

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I told Leoren not to hurt himself. Told him. Warned him. Does it matter now? He breaks himself against me repeatedly and others are suffering for it, like some fleet of ships to a rocky shore with no light to guide them away. What inspires this sort of masochism? Is it just me? I am no siren calling them to me. A catalyst... a malicious inspiration, maybe? Or am I really weaving such horrible things so subtly that even I am unaware?

Tonight was different. Could he really feel heartless for what he had done to her? I saw the guilt. There is no guilt without heart. And, he was with me. I am his heart -- was his heart. Tonight, though? Tonight, I think, I was penance for what he'd done. To her. To Szordrin. For his jealousy.

Jealousy. Desperation.

He should know better. I told him... Oh, but it is different now, now that I am not his or anyone's. His fears of what that could mean. He would stab himself through the heart with an "if". What would I do if Szordrin ever...

And Qabian. Can I not go a single night without something or someone bringing him to mind? Never refer to him as "my" Qabian, and I do so wonder where those supposed rumors which reached Leoren's ears came from. It was probably wearing a black cross. But it was more than that --

Pieces of me. They are mine to give as I choose, spread out far and wide to keep anyone from really being able to know me. Szordrin asked me if anyone really knew me, and Leoren wanted the missing pieces, the pieces he knows I keep from him, the pieces that might help him understand. It was not a pleasant revelation, realizing where those pieces are. Leoren has most of the pieces that can hurt, and Qabian has most of the pieces that mean anything. How backwards that each should have what the other wanted.

There. There is his answer and mine. There is why I bothered. There is why I cared. There is why I am absent. He can keep those pieces because he does not know how to use them, because they mean nothing to him, and I can go on pretending I do not care about where they are.

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How can a ghost, a memory, be distracting enough to keep someone from a place? It is not as if he murdered and buried me there. I am not sure Qabian really knew what he was talking about. He was talking to me when he didn't have to. I did not really need to know where he had been, and, hours later, he did not really have to tell me. I can only conclude that he needed to hear his own voice, then, and if he would like to blame it on me trying to "draw more words" from him after weeks of silence from me, well then... fine. Would he go there and hear me asking him questions? Laughing? Goading? Would he see me swimming? His purpose in being there to begin with should have been greater than all that, but, it seems for those moments of him wondering if I were him, I was a distraction after all. He should have requested I leave if it were keeping him from his original purpose, but instead he changed his intentions?

For me, his ghost manifests at random things - something someone says, something done or not done, which brings him to mind at times and places he should not be. I've come to draw comparisons. And appreciation? He was at Dolanaar, his voice in my head as Leoren spoke. And then as we murdered our way to the moonwell, there was no ignoring memories of bodies at our feet and waters red with blood, still and waiting for the next baptism. I did not want to share that place with new memories, then. I could have ignored it otherwise and made new, clear ones, but Leoren just had to comment about not expecting such... conversation... from me.

And so it was with Theramore. Qabian, The Ghants. Neither were there. Qabian, at least, should have been - it was the way it should have been otherwise, not like our last encounter with the Wall of Light. Cristok was very generous in listening to my suggestions, and then our company battled the paladins not just through their numerous guards back into their city, but into Jaina's tower where they near literally gathered at her skirts.

Because, when the Light fails you, you may as well fall back on the power of a mage.

HA! He really should have been there.

I am sure they thought they were protecting her. Not that it worked. Not that she needs protection.

I missed him. I'd considered telling him, just to hear the irritation in his response, just to draw more words from him. I didn't. I haven't. I do not draw any longer. Has he ever questioned that? I can't. Not for now. Perhaps if we just destroyed things instead... I would like to see him practice this new restraint and control all over a town. Though, I think I might miss the fire. There is a beauty in the stillness of ice and the silence it brings, but it is far less permanent. Fire changes things to the point of no return. A log turned to soot will never be a log again. Is he changing, or just that aspect of him?

I saw Bahlmoral for the first time in so long... just another reminder of things I want which I do not get nearly enough of. He's changed as well, or so he said. There was not much time to notice the difference, not near enough bodies to hunt, though he was as gracious as ever. I am interested in seeing where he will go now that he no longer wears the colors of Infection. I know where I would like him, but it is a large world, and only he knows just how much he has changed. Where ever it is, I would prefer if it were not too far from where we met.

It's still not my tree. Is it our tree now? He called visiting it a tradition, though I probably should not have fallen asleep there with him. That is hardly tradition. I have not heard much from Szordrin since then. We spoke briefly last night while he was trying to force Leoren to talk to him, which seemed to end with him declaring what a prick he thought Leoren was. Then his mind changed. I wonder if a resolution was reached. I would prefer that as well, though I doubt anything real came from it, because I still feel... possessed. I shouldn't. It should never have come to the two of them being at such odds. How Szordrin can truly upset anyone is beyond me. He is so warm. Gentle. And everyone has their secrets -- father from son. It is why we do not let others read our journals - because there is never anything good in there. They will hurt. Secrets are kept for reasons. So many are harmless. What Szordrin did for my shoulder was harmless, and I told Leoren immediately - yet he still accuses Szordrin of secrets, interprets it as distance. Untrustworthy, then? Disloyal? For taking away my pain?

Secrets are not the issue here. I wonder if either recognizes that. I highly doubt Leoren saw it as Szordrin's place to make that sacrifice for me. I think Szordrin knew. I think that is why he wanted it kept silent, and perhaps why he did not tell me what he was doing before he did it. Almost devious... And none of this, any of it, is what I want -

A lover.

A friend.

A routine.


Too. Much.

My mind has been on Azshara too much lately. I would go there to hide from everything and everyone but him. I feel the need to go back - to be with ghosts or to be utterly alone, to be closer or further away, it does not matter. I left a piece of myself there.

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Paladins. Knights. They are not "my thing". She knows that what she is saying is ignorant, and that alone is what is irritating when she speaks. There are just so damned many of them. I cannot account for Jutte, though. Then again, there is no accounting for the minds of humans. Unlike Nicoleta, I am not all right with them flirting with me and I will not reward them with a blush and a hug. That cowering forsaken mage in Quel'Danas said SMU's Head Mistress would be ashamed of me for not being there for his protection? I can think of worse things... Yes, I know who she is, but I hardly care. As if the threat of being shamed in her eyes would goad me into anything other than tossing him to the alliance myself, since they are on such good terms... Besides, the University has the Cartel to look out for them, and I had my own men to look after.

Survival of the deserving, I suppose. I wonder if that is taught there.

The look in his eyes... he said he felt as if he were watching me die, but it was him, that look... like a dying soldier reaching for a hand, one last bit of contact before life flutters away; a desperate attempt to cling to life, the warmth of the living.

I took him to the dock. I wanted to see if it were regrowing. It is. The trees hold the most evidence that the place had ever been burned, their bark and branches still so much like obsidian, but the grass growing back is a brilliant green over patches of blackened earth, and enough rains have passed that most of the scorch marks and ashes have been rinsed from the stone.

There was a message there that had not been there before, however; something which cannot be washed away so easily.

’Let these ruins stand symbolic of a ruined friendship. May no-one make the mistake of trusting another in this place.’

Funny then, that I'd taken him there to say goodbye. Was he able to read what Fynne had carved there in prophetic warning?

I really only wanted to be alone tonight. I tire of demands on my time, on certain expectations. Turning down dinner should not have been taken as a blow to the ego. My wish to be alone, to not speak any more for the night, should have been respected. As I can see the sun for myself this morning, I can safely say that not having dinner was not, infact, the end of the world.

Szordrin, however, never asks me for anything. It was for that reason that I bothered to leave Azshara... and to have my stitches removed and request he say goodbye; but I'd started ripping them out nicely on my own, and leaving does not require a goodbye. It is because he's never asked me for anything that I thought I might extend him the courtesy of a Goodbye. I know where I belong, and where I have been is not it.

So, I'd taken him to the forgotten dock to say goodbye, but I only lost more pieces instead.

When I am gone, I think I might miss them.

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Qabian suggested I might be able to change Desolace if I knew what made it the way it is. I would learn it all, then, and change everything. I cannot fix things, though, I know this. I can make them worse. I can destroy them.

Do I change it back? Do I change it into something else? And if I hate "something else" too? And if I do not like what he is becoming, do I bother trying to change him? Change him back? Change him into something else? Do I have the knowledge for that? He wondered if the reason why I would not kill him is because he is Grim. No. I would not kill him, because then he would win. The game isn't over, not when I still feel the need to correct him when he says "I win". No hate from me, still. He hasn't earned it. Trust that he will not find some way to expel me from The Grim and murder me is still trust. He was amused. I expected repulsion. Irritation. But while some things remained the same, there were more than enough that were different.

He has earned that little bit of trust, whether or not he wants to believe it. For all he has not done, for what little he has, for what I do understand about him... I still find him safe. For now. He is changing, though. It might make a difference if other things had not changed as well. Fire might bother. Ice is not as likely. I keep my distance, my silence. And things just seem to matter less and less... I miss it, though... learning things from him, listening, watching, killing, talking.

He does not currently hate me. Fire needed to hate me, I think. Ice does not. He seemed so ... somber? Maybe it was the place and not the person, but there was something about seeing him bother to swim in something less than everything. I didn't ask. A comment, maybe, but nothing else. There were daggers on the shore. When they saw me, they took to the shadows. She was nothing impressive, but there were daggers... I wonder if he saw. I wonder if it mattered.

I am not much of a seductress. I don't think I ever had the opportunity to figure it out before I was pawned off on someone. I can barely fathom using my body to get what I want, to force attention, to inspire. Does that make me less of a woman? Is it one less tool at my disposal?

It has been a year since the Fête, since Alin, since Skafloc. It has been a year of things just happening. I was trying to teach Szordrin how to fish. He fished, I told stories. I told him about those things. Life was different then because it was not my own. And the one time I was able to force myself to be seductive, I look back on and want to laugh. In horror. At least he was amused. I wonder if he believes me. I wonder if he feels safe.

Safe safe safe. Everyone is safe, despite what everyone would prefer to believe. Go home little girl.

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The roses I planted here were not supposed to bloom this year, but they have, and there are rose petals everywhere... every one of them dying. The little terrace looks like a graveyard. Where do I live? Everywhere. I'd almost forgotten about this place, but it is convenient what one remembers when one is trying to avoid other things. Not just him, or talking about things that do not need to be discussed, but I was attacked there. Not safe. Not that any place is, but it's just another reason to not go back. Not for now, at least. If I live everywhere, it will be harder to find me again.

Living everywhere... I've stayed too long in this place. Szordrin reminds me of what it was like to have siblings, to not have to have such a thick fucking wall, but I've found myself out in the world without it or him to blame it on and, yes, we cannot have that. I forget. I've become lazy.

I am so bored.

When it leads to provocation for my own amusement? Perhaps I should find yet another hobby. It was strange being slapped. Who slaps? Women slap. The last and only time I can remember being slapped was by a woman, at least. Men use words. They express a desire for a woman to stop. They ignore. They walk away. Parents slap, but usually with warning.

No warning, only a small explanation far after the fact.

"You touch me, I touch back" eh? Oh, I could have so much fun with that.

I've always respected the physical barrier, never really having touched him beyond a dance. To say "things have changed" is, therefore, meaningless to me in that context. And does it count as him if its the tentacles of some disguise? To him, I suppose it did. I wonder if he expected me to care?

I expected my letter to repulse him. Didn't seem to work, but the response was just as entertaining.

It was strange being slapped...

Strange. Like Anaie and Syreena dancing together. No, not together... ON each other? I can barely describe it, and the thought gives me the creeps. They do it on purpose now, I just know it... lurking around behind me... There are very few things in Azeroth and the Outlands which can really, truly disturb me. Fel Reavers bothers me. Bog Striders. Undead baby dragons. And now, Anaie and Syreena. It's hypnotic, and I cannot not look. I just...


My chest has been hurting again and there is something wrong with the scar. Bits of black... huh. They remind me of something.

The tears will be in bloom, soon.

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Broken faith. Expectations, wants, thought, ideals... idealization. Idolization. I thought... I hoped.

But, no, I am always the stronger one, and to expect anyone else to be is ridiculous. Am I the bigger person? No, not anymore. Not that I ever was in most people's eyes. Speculation is so much more interesting than truth. I am such a villain in their little fairy tales. Am I?

I am now.

He can have it now. He can have everything he feared. He can have the rumors and bleed to death from the inside while I make them real for him. Did he hear us? Will I see it in his eyes? Will it make it easier for him to sleep, knowing I can be exactly what I never was?

The cooperation I received was... I didn't want it. I'd changed my mind about him like I'd changed my mind about Szordrin. Different reasonings. For a moment there, I almost felt like he was goading me. If I wanted the hurt badly enough, I would make it happen? Even though he knew what it would mean for him? My mind changed back...

I offered him answers. I wonder if he got them.

The path to those answers was... so wonderfully worth changing my mind about.

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Sometimes, it is like watching a child trying to tend to an animal he does not realize is dead. This world, this life... how can anyone live in it and maintain such innocence? Is it willful? Szordrin sent me a pearl, something to remember him by when he leaves. How can he know what I've done and still want anything to do with me? I don't trust it. I test it. I should stop. He's seemed confused, different. The other night -- The moment he fails...

He healed the marks I let him see. He had to have known I was lying about how I got them. Yes, Qabian, I can lie. Especially about you. The one who needed to know it was you, knows. The letter was a nice touch, but it's the look in his eyes when I see him that is truly beautiful. Betrayal. I gave it back to him. He knows how it feels now, how it sounds, even... Success.

Success has never tasted so much like... something I should not want more of.

The rest of the reminders have faded on their own. No guilt. No regret. Vindication? And something else...

I think I will be making a trip home. Skafloc delivered some... interesting... news. News. Rumors. "Heresay". Have you missed me, Father? I've grown up so fast in the last year. I think you owe me...

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< tiny paw prints dot the page, smearing ink here and there. At some places it looks like the writing is trying to go around the owner of the paws and failing horribly at it. >

Forgiveness. How absurd. I do not require forgiveness and I will not give it. I took what I wanted as payment for your weakness, and to accept forgiveness, I should first be sorry for it, shouldn't I? Such self-righteous pretension! I am not sorry, not in the least. Give to the needy, paladin, there is nothing of yours I want anymore. Your heart. Your pride. Your words. Your forgiveness. They are as simple and as weak as everyone else's.

First a pearl, now a kitten. Szordrin thought I would know what to do with it. Because I am a girl? Because I am a Ranger? Aeacus is hardly living and he takes care of himself. What do I know about animals? I don't keep living things, not without purpose. Cats! I have... this will be the fifth. At least it wasn't a present. It won't stay off of my journal. It looks pitiful. Stop --- playing wit------ m-- q-- aneh --

There is a girl in Silvermoon who watches over my presents for me. Three siamese and one bombay. I think she's named them. They're fat and happy and safe from Emmons. I think. This one's so small, though. Under fed. Dirty. It's paws and head are far too big for its body. Orange and white. Likes to fight my hand. No name. Not yet. I stopped naming things some time ago. Hmm.

No labels... much to Szordrin's chagrin, no doubt. No wonder he was confused. Was... is... He's made the mistake of trusting me, even though I have warned him. Despite what he said, he still has hope that I can change. He will be leaving soon, though. Fine. If I can't push him away, something else can pull him away. It's not much longer. And then maybe, in the time apart, he will be able to see things more clearly.

The time for hesitation has passed. I'm expected to strike. Constantly. I'd always thought... but no, I suppose it is never enough. Because I see them in the open field of Quel'Danas and let them live does not mean I will not be burning their home once I leave. I can. I have. I do. So many. Thousands. So many nights spent exploring the art of destruction without any prompting beyond pure desire. I walk a certain path because it was expected to choose a focus, and yet they marvel at the realization that there is a great divide between the people who were told to pick one and walk it? Vengeance, Ruin, Lore - these were my options. Ruin is the only one that truly requires a title, so I took it. The rest I do enough on my own. I do it for the Mandate. I do it because I enjoy it. But, if Abric demands more, I will give more.

No rest for the wicked.

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Turned down Stormwind because I was covered in ravagers. It is as if the gods heard my plea for the beasts to not be so damned elusive, and then overdid it. I can barely move in those mines without tripping over a nest of them now. Maybe it's their breeding season...

In the spirit of insects and breeding... Humans. Fynne. Fynne has taken to wearing a blindfold. As if his hair were not distracting enough, now there's nothing else to look at on him. I admit disappointment. The eyes say so much more than strange gestures. He saw me, though. Smelled me? He did not sniff me this time, not that I noticed, at least. The way he stood there... his grin... he knew I was there. Maybe he clawed his own eyes out. Maybe someone did it for him. He is less than useless to me without his eyes, though. I cannot see myself in them, see the mark I left beneath them. Just hair. Hair that was trying to provoke something in me, perhaps, as he stood at my table. But, The Grim and I had more important things to do. The call went out to proceed to our assault, and he was left there... a blind man with hair. Alone. Except for the ogre's ass right behind him. I wonder if he saw that. I suppose, if I ever feel utterly distraught by what he has robbed me of with that piece of leather across his face, I can always re-read the message he carved into the stone where he fell. Or will he go back and cover that with a patch of leather, too? Time will tell.

Szordrin's misconceptions make me want to punch him in the head until he sees things my way, some days. Did he not say he disliked judgments based off of... it doesn't matter. He is quite capable of judging, that is what Knights do, isn't it? He is capable of being wrong. Why did he have to say anything at all? Things were so much simpler when they were my way. I shouldn't make allowances for him. He has settled for being without a label. He really does trust me, then, or he is more confused now than ever.

Funny what words stick. Divine? Godly? Whatever was going through Qabian's head?

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It's not C'Thun there. It's something else, and I suppose that makes enough sense. Can't be in two places at once. Something else, then. Something with a huge sword in it's skull and a bunch of cultists milling around it. I wonder what they want with it. It is supposed to be an Old God. Or a lieutenant. And that glaive once belonged to a Titan?

That book was interesting. If the Shen'dralar had books that smacked people, I imagine far less would be stolen every year. The Mark of the Anthenaeum is supposed to keep the texts from being viewed by the unworthy, but... hmm.

I went to the Library after I finished in Blackfathom. I might have slept there if I hadn't ended up with company. Just another few books gone missing.

Qabian expected I would have other things to do than search for his answers. Learning is what I do when I am not destroying everything, and he touched on something I didn't know. Of course I want answers. For me. And then I might share. Of course I want to learn. I will be severely disappointed if he's forgotten I am nothing like the other Ghant girl. Or maybe he has forgotten I go home to no one. He could not have forgotten that I would have been curious...

He... destroyed nothing. Why? Because they were not in his way. They're felling cultists! Cultists that keep a shrine to her in their little underwater tomb. Cultists that serve the Legion. The Legion is in the way. Destroy their servants. It makes sense.

She is Legion. Perhaps not purely, not a demon, but she may as well be. There are too many connections.

Has that ever occurred to him?

Cultists serving the Legion, holding a shrine to her... I killed them. Why didn't he? All that time spent trying to see clearer, to be closer, spilling his blood to find answers on the other side, looking to her, believing in her... and he can just let them continue uninterrupted? Did he do anything while he was in Darkshore beyond get slapped by a book and then run away home when he found her down there amongst the filth?

Will it send him back to his rock, or some place else now? Bones. He mentioned bones. Old Gods in the way of his goals. A different kind of slavery. I wish I knew half of what he was talking about. He wanted to know what I knew. Why would I know anything about the Old Gods? Just a chance, I suppose, so why not ask? Just to hear my reaction. Lie just to hear my response. If he thinks there is really value in that, fine.

Malorii told him if he shut up and listened, he could hear them? Them? It. Go sit in the desert, and if he does whisper to you, I am sure it will not come with answers, only directions. Like you said, directions for release. Lies to entice and encourage. Promises. But, you will not get your answers from Old Gods. They were not destroyed because they were helpful.

If they were destroyed, they cannot exist. Just that one. How --

He doesn't even know, I'm sure. He doesn't know what he's looking for. Why the Old Gods at all? Did I ask? I know why, but when...? How did he notice they were getting in the way? How are they getting in the way? And, suddenly, it is all looking like insanity again.

I thought he'd recovered. I may have been wrong.

Try not to ruin my dress???

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Qitten needs a new ball of yarn. The lies thing seems so... If it were something revealing, something mildly important, I could see why I might care beyond marveling in disappointment at his obsession with it.

"Inconsistencies, Nymare"

Were we not just talking about other, more interesting, things than me saying no when I would have said yes if I'd been devoting an appropriate amount of attention to the conversation? Did we really have to detour into some contrived pit of amusement for him? All he proved was that he warped what I said, formed it into a belief, and then tried to wield it with all the flair of an expert swordsman at me. Preferring the truth and not typically feeling the need to lie to him by no means should imply I do not lie. I never said I do not lie. To him or anyone. What the hell? And being mistaken... is such a long crooked line to travel just to try to throw something so pointless in my face in the middle of something else entirely.

Well, you got me, Qabian. I will surely rethink my life now that you have shown me what a sinner I truly am, because I was too distracted to realize what you were asking and then answered too quickly. That was my failing. If it mattered enough, I would have corrected him. So, let him have his sense of... triumph? Accomplishment? If he needs that, we could just find another bookshelf and skip the desperate attempts at insult. When he talks like Cessily, he can have as little consideration.

Of course I had read about her, just as I am reading about them. He should know better than that. Did some divine being simply touch me on the head and gift me with insight? No. I read. He reads, or he claims he did. It does not matter. As long as he is not secluding himself on a rock, it is not really my concern.

What the hell was his problem? Was he really so paranoid about my interest in the Old Gods, or was it because I brought up Ninorra?

Ninorra... Szordrin.

It was as if Azeroth opened it's great mouth and from it came a yawn of pure madness.

If you have a rune, get rid of it. HOW DO YOU FORGET YOU HAVE SOMETHING LIKE THAT ON YOU?! He said she told him that she loved him.

But she is married.

But she slapped a rune on him without even telling him she was doing so, what it was for...

That isn't love. You do not do that to things you claim to love. They do enter into it at some point, do they not? Their feelings? Their wants? If not, then it is one-sided and it is not love. It is possession.

And it is disturbing.

She would not remove it for him? So let him wander Azeroth asking the first friendly warlock he sees to remove this RUNE from his skin? What the bloody fucking hell was going through her mind? Put something on him and then abandon him to it?


He wanted it gone, despite the risk or being completely ignorant of what it was. Fine. It should be gone now. It was not the same as mine were, not remotely close. How was I supposed to know what to do about it? I would have to ask her. But no. He wanted it gone, and I suppose if she had no intention of removing it herself, she would likely not bother sharing with me how to do it, either.

He wanted me to listen.

I did what I came there to do. Hearing about her, her love for him, his one time love for her, how unfair it is, how he is so unlucky... none of that is my business. Qabian kindly confirmed her insanity for me. That is all I needed to know.

What was she expecting? Why bother telling him that?

What was he expecting? Why bother telling me that? I had nothing to offer in return except what I thought based off of what I have been told, and how valuable is that, truly?

Between him forgetting about his rune, it's method of removal, hearing about her, and listening to Qabian... I would have been content if it had all blinked into oblivion. I think I began to willfully ignore everything.

Nothing is fair.

There is no luck.

There is only ability. To adapt, to manipulate, to conquer.

Perhaps he will feel better in the morning.

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Set with the Sun,

Night's only just begun.

Shadows that creep across the soul cry, "Save me!"

Direction gone,

Lost in the current again.

Drowning in things that cannot be and seeing

There is no reason to breathe.

Hope has not fled this land.

Fragile, it breaks beneath the frost of Man.

Suffering Peace

gives way to the bitter end

where Justice is an illusion waiting to bend.

Look everywhere but here. Look everywhere but at yourself. Pieces, things built around you. A nest. A castle. A hole. A rooftop. An elaborate tapestry woven of lies. Distance. Words. Among all the hands at your throat, your own squeeze the hardest. The halo is slipping.

One is more than enough.

Two is too much.

Find something else to look at.

Everything can rot.

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Well, that was not quite how I saw my night going. I really should know by now that when certain people decide to speak to me, it can never be about anything as simple as the weather or inane as asking me how I am doing. The last time Skafloc spoke to me, it was to alert me that my family might be loyalists to the Prince. Charming conversational piece...

I knew Evanthe was missing. I'd considered, for one moment, that he might try asking me for help in finding her. And why not? I should be an expert at finding poor, lost souls. But no... and he was surprisingly candid knowing that I was in no way sincere about whatever condolence I tried to offer.

It seemed the polite thing to do. I do not exactly have reason to stick my finger in his wounds. Not at the moment, at least.

The favor he asked me was, perhaps, the last in the world that I would expect anyone to ask me... let alone him. Oh yes, why do I have sympathy for runes, Skafloc? Because your idiocy, your refusal to listen to me, threw me at the mercy of the insane.

You and dear Evanthe. With any luck, she is getting exactly what she deserves right now. And you...

Well, time will tell, won't it?

I know exactly what it is like to walk around wondering if some passing warlock will decide to turn me into a puppet. You should, too.

He saw something he should not have. He felling didn't bother to tell me that the connection I was taking up and securing in his lost wife's place, before being forced dormant, would allow him to... feel me. He deserved being run off the ledge for that.

Where did my heart go? What was that emptiness you felt in me? What the hell. How can anyone actually SEE those things? They're MINE. I wonder if he had considered, however, that there was never anything there to begin with. I do put on a good show, don't I?

The irony of our parting moments was not lost on me... he seemed to imply he knew just how far from harmless I can be, told me it was good to see me again, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and then walked away knowing who he had just given control to -- or not truly knowing a thing at all. He did not look as if he had slept. I wonder if he was able to after that.

It is interesting what Evanthe did to try to nullify Alyiane's mark. Interesting and absurd. I wonder...

I should invest more time into studying it. I had always told myself I would never be like them, but I can have knowledge and never use it, can't I? Knowledge. Control.

The map. Why did I bother getting the map. No doubt, Qabian probably thinks I did it for him. With his ego, I do not even want to imagine why he might think I would do it just for him. Sentimentality? Want? I pray he has more sense then that, or he might just become unbearable. Telling me he needed something from Szordrin was adequate reason for me to get it myself instead of exposing the two of them to each other.

I am curious, though, just how high I can make him jump for it, now that I have an idea what it is needed for. That, I can have fun with.

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