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  1. 4 points
    Hello TNG, After many years of work, I have finally published my first book. If you enjoyed Copper Kisses in Nether Legends or First, Do No Harm, you might enjoy Claim Sanctuary. Unlike my TNG threads, the book was actually edited. It is available on all Amazon Kindle marketplaces in digital form (US$3.98), and also in Paperback (with complimentary e-copy) on selected marketplaces (US$15.99). I have always valued the input of the community here, and while this work is not related to World of Warcraft, I would be very gracious to have anyone read Claim Sanctuary and provide a review on Amazon--even if you hate it! if you are interested, I can provide you with a PDF copy of the book at no charge. If you would like to participate, please email me at danegreenbooks@gmail.com or talk to @Nathandiel on the TNG discord. My very best regards, Nathandiel
  2. 4 points
    A wonder that the Nightborne joined the Horde, Kex'ti Dalendala thought to himself. Telemancy has certainly made getting around easier. He hated portal magic. It always left him nauseated for hours, and for a man of his size, it was a deeply unpleasant experience. The elf monk hobbled through the moor, his boots slick with grime. He could sense the chi of nothing living. But in Tirisfal Glades, dead rarely meant gone. Rarer still did it mean non-hostile. He'd run off the drink from the morning while he rode his raptor from Ratchet to the Crossroads. From there, a wyvern flew him to Orgrimmar, and from there, a portal to the Undercity had brought him to Lordaeron. The sky here always felt low to the ground. Nowhere else on Azeroth, even Northrend, had ever felt so oppressive. The way that fog and cobwebs mixed in the sparse pines did little to relieve the feeling of slow suffocation. He shuddered, and pulled his coat closer. He'd left his armor, or most of it, in the bank of Ratchet. Now, part of him wished he'd brought something, anything besides his stubbornness as protection along on the journey. He carried his staff and limped along with it in one hand, and cradled a small box in the crook of the other. He put his foot on a stone, and heard a voice rasp from the mist. "Not many quick out here, sin'dorei." With a smirk and a chuckle, Kex'ti locked eyes with the glowing yellows of the Forsaken. "Do not worry, friend. I promise that I will keep moving for some time to come." He'd expected a laugh, and received a grunt. Kex'ti took a deep breath of the rot that surrounded him. I suppose I am a slower learner than I would like in lowering my expectations, he thought. "I am here to visit a grave." "Why?" asked the graveguard. Now that he'd arrived, he found he'd never really considered that. This just felt like the right thing to do. "It felt like the right thing to do," he said. The guard lit a lantern. The graveyard flickered in the wan light as the oil spattered against the glass and iron cage. It wasn't nightfall yet, but that made little difference. The lantern was for his benefit, and it sufficed as permission. Kex'ti nodded to the guard, a Forsaken man in dark leathers, a deep hood, and with two wicked scimitars that hung on hooks from his belt. "Augustus Krowne?" The elf asked the undead. The guard moved. The soles of his boots whispered against the peaty soil. The grave was covered in growth. Kex'ti raised an eyebrow to the guard. The Forsaken responded by setting the lantern by the tombstone. "I'm a guard," he answered, "not a groundskeeper." Kex'ti nodded, and knelt. He had worn gloves, and buckled the magewoven coat closer. The wool in the coat would keep him warm, at least. His stomach growled. He knew he wouldn't be eating for a while, given the... Strong flavors preferred by the residents of Tirisfal. The monk removed his gloves, and laid them on the chest he'd carried along. He gripped the moss and branches wrapping the grave, and began to tear them loose. The guard stayed close, and offered no help. A blade would've made the process simple, but Kex'ti wanted to do this manually. He wanted to pull the roots loose, he wanted to work his skin raw, he wanted to feel the mists tingle and itch as he knit and tore and reknit the skin and blood on his hands as the thorns of the vine gnashed into his hands. Hands that had gripped reins of cloud serpents and nether rays. That reached out for people falling away. That had choked the life from a sin'dorei scout in the wrong place. That had maimed, crippled, and killed for sport, for justice, and in madness. Hands which had healed the wounded, that had caressed the skins of the few people he'd loved, and had gripped hands with his closest friends. He didn't want to feel that. He wanted to feel his hands hurt, he wanted to remember the pain of his pinky being bitten loose. He wanted to hurt. He just didn't want to be left alone with it. And who could listen like the dead? He wove the mists into his raw and sliced fingers and palms, channeling chi to the wounds, mending them, and feeling the burn as he stole the life from the bacteria that would try to thrive at his expense. A touch of gray leaked into the spiritual matter from the surrounding mist. The monk rolled his hands, feeling the joints crack. He coughed, but couldn't taste blood. That was good, at least. He reached over to the box, undid the latch, and pulled out a wineskin. He poured it over the grave, the firewater washing off his own blood, the dust of the years since the Wrathgate. "I am sorry, Aug. I know you were more of a wine or a beer guy," Kex'ti whispered in Thalassian. "I can, at least, try to speak your own tongue," Kex'ti said, in halting gutterspeak. He smiled. "Yeah, I know. You always used to say you were a poet before you were an alchemist, and that just happened to be the tongue they put in your mouth." Kex'ti sat into the dirt. The coat would be dirty. So what? He clipped his words, flowing between whatever he knew, whether Krowne would speak it or not. "I wonder if that was the excuse you used: someone put words in your mouth. Aug, I've had a bit of a trip since I dragged you out of that quagmire." "You were right there, but it was like you couldn't decide if you wanted to throw that vial at me, or Putress' defectors. I still don't know why you did that. I would've thought that our time together would've been enough to help you make your choice. Maybe I should've given you the chance. But I didn't want you to go on like that. I didn't want to die like that, and I didn't want your memory to just get...stained like that." "But I wonder, if you just let something go on, does that actually make it better? Did I save you a lot of suffering? Or did I deny you the chance to fix it?" "I think about that a lot. I did up until recently, anyway." "There's a woman. Not... That kind. A Forsaken. Her name is Syreena. She's one of those I can never figure out. For a long time, I'd hoped that patience, a stern hand, might lead her to a nobler path. I mean, I think that's how my life worked. Or how I thought it did. You pulled me out of Silvermoon. Remi helped me see a bigger picture. But... Without the two of you..." Kex'ti looked at his hands, the crisscrossed scars of years of fighting, and the scratches he'd tried to erase with mistweaving. "Have I ever really been my own person? Is that really what I've wanted? Before you, I always listened to mother and father, and they never really gave me much hope. You gave me a chance to do something different, but when I left to go out on my own, I wasn't even alone then. I was doing it for someone else." "Maybe I just make bad decisions when it involves myself." He glanced down to the firewater. "I had my last drink this morning. Or, at least last one for a while. I know what happens when I try and distract myself, whether it's with drugs, or a cause, or just combat. I make bad choices. I hurt people. And... I can't keep doing that. Nobody else deserves to live with that but me." Kex'ti looked up at the sky, or Krowne's presence above, or just to avoid looking at the tombstone. He turned back to find the guard gone, or lurking. What did it matter? The guard could attack him, report the story, or do nothing. Making a mess to be cleaned up later, Kex'ti went on with his monologue. "I ran away, again." "After the Wrathgate, I went to go be with Remiaan, at the Argent Tournament. She died, so I ran away. I went and found a place in the Twilight's Hammer. I can spare you those stories. It was... I may have been selfish in the Arena. I may have been heartbroken when I lost you. When I lost Rem. But what I did to dull that pain... That's what haunts me. That's what makes me wish I just wasn't... Alive, or aware, or whatever oblivion means." He smirked. "That's kind of the sick bit of it. I got exactly what I wanted, there. I didn't have to think about what I was doing. I didn't have to look behind the curtain. I was behind the curtain, and in the dark, you don't really care about it. When someone pulls the curtain aside, it's not what's hidden that you look in on that scars you. It's not what's lurking in the dark. It's that when someone lets the light in, you can see what you've actually been doing, when you've been just doing it blindly, or doing it without much fear." "The horrible thing is that the ignorance is what I miss most. It's not that the truths the Twilight's Hammer and Old Gods preach that burn the mind, or make you hopeless. It's just that when you're following along, they don't matter. You don't matter. You're just matter." He coughed and took a sip from his jug, unknotting a piece of twine he'd tied around it. Without Zhanhao's yao grass, he'd need to go back to Pandaria for it. The twine would remind him when he needed to restock. "That's what scares me most about the Void, I think. Is that knowledge that it's exactly what I wanted: to be nothing. To think nothing. To feel nothing. From nothing, you can be anything. Instead of a cripple. Instead of sick. Instead of a murderer. Instead of a coward." He rested a hand on the tombstone. "I'm sorry you're dead, August. I'm sorry I didn't make good on the life you gave me," he said. "I'm sorry I killed you. I'm sorry.... I didn't make good on either of our lives." Kex'ti rubbed his face. "After that... I just went back to Ratchet. That's where life got good for me, I think. Where we started winning fights. Where I stopped being just a sick kid in Silvermoon. I think that's why I'll always go back there, because it's where I can start over. I've gotten really good at starting over. It's not a fun skill to have." He told the grave about how he met Wei Xo. How he traveled to Pandaria, and made his medicine with the help of Yu-Ting. How he came down the mountain reborn as a mistweaver, and he met Baern Grimtotem, Tauranor, Billamong, and Rabbic Ohen in the Thunder-Pan company. How being an actual mercenary taught him to think as a member of a group, rather than just a small group. How he'd gone to Draenor in hopes of a second chance with Remiaan. How he'd ended up in Sanctuary instead. He smiled, and recounted stories of Vilmah, Cerryan, Nojinbu, and Baern, now Baern Ashtotem. "Those were the best years of my life, August. The time with you, then with Rem, those were great. But Sanctuary... I felt happy. Like I had purpose." He smiled, but his eyes clenched bittersweet. "I knew an orc woman. I saw a lot of myself in her. I hoped that I could help her, that I could push her off the path I'd walked, and spare her the suffering. But..." He coughed. "Sometimes I wonder if me being sick was a sign from the universe. That I'm so poisonous that I can't even live with myself. Sanctuary went to... I guess you'd call it a war. Against a corrupted ancient named Accalia. Twice, in fact. The first time, I had a nightmare. A long, long nightmare. And the thing that I remember is that it was drawn out from myself: It was my fears. My worries, my anxieties, put on display to torment me. I... I remember bits of it, now and then. But what I always remember is that, somewhere in it, I told myself that 'I'm poison.'" "I couldn't keep Shokkra from making the choices she makes. That are so close to the ones I've made, and are going to be just as destructive." "I fought against the Legion, the last year. I helped the victims of a place called Suramar. The elves there were similar to the Sin'dorei, but descended more directly from the kaldorei. I spent a little time on Argus, too, believe it or not." He gripped his hands together. "I met a woman. I fell in love. And, she gave me part of her life, to save me from my illness. There's a lot to love about her. But part of that love is... I destroyed Remi. I destroyed you, and I've destroyed myself and countless others. She made a choice, recently, that she would give trust to those who needed it. I think they're far from deserving it. I think they'll fail. I think they'll fall to madness and worse. But trust? They need that. I know I did. I failed to go where I wanted. But everyone gave me a chance to try." "She trusted them. But I never could. I... Never can. They associated with the Void, and that association was too tempting to ignore. And after everything, I can't make the same choices I've made. When she made that choice, I was angry. I still am, and I'm still hurt that... It felt like my pain was ignored. But pain passes. Pain can heal. It just won't heal in time to make a difference. But part of me has always known what her choices meant for me." "I never stopped loving her. I don't think I can, and I think it would be wrong to try. But that love means I'm not going to destroy her. I'm not going to poison anything else." "Once you acquire a taste for poison, it's a part of you. I might destroy myself, over, and over, and over again. But, this time, I won't drag anyone else into the Void with me."
  3. 3 points
    The wolf is right. Being Grim requires caring intensely. I didn't like that description initially, but there is core truth to it. It doesn't require caring intensely about others, but it does require a fanatical dedication to the goal. I'm not sure the girl has that. All she has is the sense of a debt owed. Paying debts is not all there is, and it's certainly not enough to make one Grim. Is there a test that can force her to care? And her sense of Peace... I see the pattern, though I'm loath to admit it to others. If I'm choosing alcohol, it's because my own failure has been too fierce to set aside. That's what I'm not going to spill. I'm not going to admit something is my fault without considerable duress. I've failed again if she doesn't have the sense to keep that version of Peace to herself. Let's hope she shares that definition of peace with Awatu. He'll be impressed, I'm sure. Accept the Peace that those among us who believe in it desire. Accept it for what it is. And while they travel the endless road to their dream, enjoy the annihilation along the way. But you still need to accept and praise appropriately the Peace in public, or the entire structure falls apart. It's better that Syreena doesn't trust me. I was uncomfortable enough that she trusted me with what she gave me. If there's anyone who should know better, she should. And yet? All evidence seemed to point to the contrary. It's odd then, that while I got what I wanted, something seems off about the entire debacle. Does she even acknowledge what else I could have done with the power I had? Does she even care that it was less an outright lie and more a bending of the truth? She was absolutely responsible for the death of a Grim. It was just a brief death of a priest with priestly connections who never would have let her soul drift away for something as pathetic as an overly enthusiastic beatdown. There was just enough truth in my lie that I could have played it for a very long time. I could likely have played it long enough to end her if that had ever been my goal, but it was not. My goal was confession. I got my confession. That game is over. I respect her incentives, despite how misguided they were, but she thought they were worth following for the same reasons that she is willing to take on puppets where I am not. She had a right to be angry at my lies, whether they were based in truth or not, but it's not like she never lied to me. We lie to each other, all day every day. It keeps us going. The truth is inherently boring when not being manipulated to interesting ends. But her anger should have been tempered by how little I asked of her, how little I toyed with her. Was it? Would she have done worse if I hadn't kept the truth in the fiction to myself? I could have killed her with that weapon. That was never my intent, and she should see that. She should know that now, that her death, her punishment is not something I will ever aim for, because if I wanted it, I could have had it with ease. She should understand that now. But something tells me she doesn't. All she holds against me now is my falsehoods, not my reasons for telling them. Why do I even care? I don't. It's better when none of them trust me. They'll treat me as they should when I'm untrustworthy. I don't like the expectations that come with trust. Tradire has... no idea what she's doing. I still don't believe I can give her what she wants. As much as she lies about what that is, I think she believes her own lies. But I do think she wants more than a shield. She wants conversation and there she takes advantage of the words that are my weakness. She wants knowledge, and though I do believe her when she says that desire is limited, I don't think it's quite as muted as she would insist. I also think she wants knowledge I cannot give her, or that my version of it is twisted and broken, and to share it with her would only cause harm. What she wants she should really be getting from someone else, someone... softer in the ways she is, someone sheltered enough to still believe in possibilities that have long since been erased from me. I've at least made it clear what lines I will not cross. And I haven't decided what I will or will not admit to in honor of her game, which makes most conversations where she becomes the subject incredibly awkward, but at least said game seems to be succeeding where it concerns my accepting my role.
  4. 2 points
    The House is an RP event that will take place entirely in Discord. All Horde and Alliance roleplayers on TN/RH are welcome. There will be contestants and audience. There will be chances for the audience to participate and help guide the challenges for the contestants. The main goal of this event is to put your character into a setting with other characters they might not normally interact with, for some fun RP! More information about the house, including screenshots and descriptions of each room are on the Discord server. Applications are due by midnight on Sunday, June 3, and may be submitted on the Discord server in the Applications channel. Discord link: https://discord.gg/RuDVFSG THE HOUSE RULES 1. This event is open to all Horde and Alliance RPers on Twisting Nether/Ravenholdt. 2. This event will take place entirely in the Discord server, Razz’s House. However, any gold prizes earned will be sent through in-game mail. 3. You may apply on as many characters as you want. Please list your main to ensure only ONE of your characters is selected. There is a non-refundable application fee of 1000g per character. This money will ALL go in the prize pot, along with enough of my own gold to make 100,000g, to be distributed to the winners at the end of the game. 4. Most of the “game” will be freeform RP in the House. The main goal of this event is to give people a chance to RP together whose characters would normally not interact with each other. 5. There will be occasional IC challenges. The day and time of the challenges will vary, to give opportunity for everyone to participate. The challenges will take place in Discord, but will start and complete within set time frame, so participants will be expected to be able to be active and attentive during it. Winners of the challenges may be determined by dice rolls, contestant votes, audience votes, or possibly other means. Winners will receive points and/or some other meaningful award. 6. IC, applications have been left in all major taverns, along with anonymous nominations. If you want to participate, but your character wouldn’t apply to something like this, you can say someone nominated him anonymously. 7. The contestants will NOT be all from one race or one guild. Such balancing will be kept in mind as contestants are selected to ensure variety in the household population. 8. Each contestant will earn points through various challenges, voting opportunities in the House, voting opportunities by the audience, and whenever Razz feels like giving out points. 9. Hobgoblins/mooks will be employed to keep the peace within the House and grounds. While they won’t interfere with scuffles and small fights, anyone fighting with deadly intent will be thrown in the dungeon. Please respect their authority in the House, and if your character does get violent, play along with getting arrested. Your character may remain locked up for a couple days, lose some points, or receive some other punishment agreed upon OOC. Repeated offenses may get them banned from the House. 10. If you are interested in participating in The House, please see the #applications channel. 11. All House RP rooms are "open" meaning anyone in the house can enter and join in the RP there at any time. Bedrooms might be an exception depending on the RP. (Please do NOT RP any NSFW content in this server.) ------------------------------------------------------------------ AUDIENCE Anyone who does not have a character in the House can participate in special Audience events. These may include voting on winners of events and other issues, being a special guest star in the House for a short period of time. Suggestions for events, and even running an event may also be options for audience members. Audience members may also RP as mooks if they choose. (See below.) Anyone in the Discord server who is not a contestant will be given the Audience role. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- MOOKS ANYONE may play a mook at any time if one is needed to break up a fight, except the people involved in that particular fight. The mooks will only break up fights that look deadly in nature. They may lock the offender(s) up in the cells. They are not very bright, but they are large and well armed with various weapons, nets, handcuffs, stunrays, etc. They may also step in if someone is trying to cause harm/theft to the House or to Razz, or other very serious infractions. Players are expected to play along with any mook attempting to restrain them. RPing resistance is allowed, as long as the player allows the mook to "win" in subduing the character.
  5. 2 points
    Clank. Clank. Clank. Catalinetta walked through Undercity, the metal of her boots clanking against the stone floors of ancient Lordaeron. They felt almost unusually loud there, underground, where the Forsaken spoke in scratchy hushed tones and moved in slow, hunched over shambles. She didn't suppose that she was in a hurry, not at first anyhow. The death knight had gone to Undercity with a specific purpose; to find a ring. There were plenty to be had down there, crafted by some of the Forsaken's most talented jewelers, and she knew exactly where to go for what she wanted. Unfortunately, as she reached the edge of the Magic Quarter, certain to find the same bright-eyed Forsaken woman who used to craft her jewelry as a newly risen death knight, Catalinetta saw that she was no longer there. The death knight paused mid-stride, staring ahead at the now empty spot. Tilting her head to one side, she considered briefly that maybe her friend was simply taking a break. Or away, visiting friends in Brill. Without hesitating, she approached another nearby Forsaken who manned a stall selling inscriptions. "Excuse me, sir," she said in her high pitched, if not hollow voice. Cat's eyes glowed with the same eerie blue of her fellow death knights. It was not the dim yellow of the Forsaken, but they often found a kinship in their undeath. Today, however, that did not come as easily. "Death to the living," he said in greeting, his voice hoarse and gravelly. He seemed to have died in mid-life, just old enough to have sprouted a few gray hairs at his temples that hung in thick clumps about his gray face. A lack of flesh in his cheeks that exposed both jawbones gave him a permanently stern expression. "What do you want?" A corner of Cat's mouth twitched. "..yeah, uh... I was wondering if you'd seen Abby?" She asked, her dark gray ears perking a little. Though she was undead, the Sin'dorei's ears still worked as they did in life, reacting to her emotions with little twitches as much her eyebrows. "She was supposed to be here today, I thought. I wanted to buy some jewelry from her." The other vendor's face made no changes. Perhaps if he had been alive she might have seen some sort of change, something in his face to indicate his thoughts on the matter. As it was, he seemed far too corpse-like to emote as she did. "Gone. She won't be coming back." Cat's eyebrows rose, scrunching her forehead in concern. "Where did she go? Is she okay?? Did something happen to her?" Now the vendor's face changed, a slow and creeping grin that gradually pulled at the sagging flesh in his face enough to make his eyes squint like half-moons. "I do not know where she went, death knight," he answered, then frowned again as his face relaxed. Smiling, Cat imagined, must have taken quite a bit of effort on his part. "But I know that she will not be coming back." For a moment, she just stared at him. Admittedly, it had been a while since she'd returned to this place, where the Forsaken once welcomed the death knights to their new status as living dead. Certainly they were different, and there were plenty of Forsaken who were distrustful of Arthas' newer creations. However as time passed, most of the Forsaken grew to learn about the curse of the death knights, their eternal bond to the Lich King, and their inherent need to cause pain. The Forsaken were free, after all. The death knights, in spite of their great strength, would never truly be independent of their creator. Things were even, in a way. So why now did this Forsaken treat her like this, she wondered? Could he tell that there was something amiss? Could he somehow detect the Mogu blood magic that coursed through her black veins, creating the illusion of life even as it reanimated her? Was it a lack of decay? It didn't matter. He was being difficult, and that much was unnecessary. "Look, I don't know what your problem is," she started, pointing a gauntlet-covered finger at the bony creature. "But Abby is my friend. So if you know something, just tell me so I can go find her. Alright?" Again, the Forsaken smiled. It appeared to take less effort this time. "I can not tell you her fate, but your search ends here. Abigaille Lefaye is gone. You might as well leave this city too, death knight. You will not find what you are looking for, here." "But--" "Catalinetta?" Another voice from behind. It was scratchy, hollow and undoubtedly Forsaken, but it was also kind and familiar. She turned to see a man, hunched over but still taller than her. His short black hair, unlike most Forsaken, was usually well kept. Today however, it was matted and disheveled. His typically well cared for robes were frayed and dull, and the once jovial look on his gently rotted face had been replaced with one of terrible remorse. "..mister Steinberg?" Indeed he was. The former accountant of Sanctuary, stolen away by the Bloodstones to Silvermoon when their guild hall was burned to the ground by Garrosh Hellscream. Though he witnessed the death of so many other guild members, one of them his own adopted son, Steinberg carried on. He helped Ninorra raise Damian in her absence. He healed his broken heart by teaching the Sin'dorei boy to read and write, and one again was given another chance at life. In a way. "Yes miss D'Aragon," he said in a slightly pained voice, as if trying to keep the sorrow from slipping. Swallowing something down, his expression turned slightly harsh. "I heard you asking about Miss Lefaye. I'm afraid she's no longer with us. If you'll come with me, I'll show you where you can buy whatever it is you need." Cat's heart sunk at the change in voice. Steinburg had always been kind to her, to everyone. What happened to change him so drastically? Tearing herself away from the other vendor, she walked to her old friend and twisted her hands together. "Sorry if I caused trouble, I just wanted to know if she was okay. Is.. did something happen?" Steinburg lowered a pair of cold yellow eyes to his old friend, the once familiar smile completely gone. "Yes. Now come with me." Following him as the Forsaken shambled away, Cat's eyes were lowered to the moldy stone floor. She held in angry tears, tears she knew would invite too many questions, and vowed to let them out later for her friend. Steinburg led her from the Magic Quarter and walked her, quicker than she would have thought him capable of, toward the elevator. "Where are we going?" "Out," he said quickly, not bothering to look back. To any of the other Forsaken, they looked like a very angry man leading a very confused elf. Both dead, both unhappy, both completely ordinary in a place where nobody should ever be happy. His steps were so quick that Cat almost found herself tripping after him, but by the time they reached the ruins of Lordaeron and rushed past the throne room of its former king, she understood where he was leading her. "Steinburg wait," she said quickly, grabbing his shoulder. The Forsaken didn't slow. "Just keep walking," he said between clenched teeth, frayed robes fluttering around his bare skeletal feet. They clacked about almost as much as her boots, which worried her. Where had his shoes gone? "Steinburg, I--" The orb stood in front of them, a bright ball of red that would take them to Silvermoon. Steinburg grabbed Catalinetta's hand and moved it to the orb, but she wrenched it away. "Wait a second!" she shouted, wrenching her arm back. "What the hell is wrong with you?? I haven't seen you in months and suddenly you're here, and you look terrible, and everything is all weird and sad! What happened to you??" The yellow glow flickered in Steinbeug's eyes. For a moment, a hint of his old self came forward and he nearly smiled at the outburst. She had always been outspoken, even in death, and it had once made him smile. But it was only for a moment. "I am Forsaken," he said simply, the frown returning as he grabbed Catalinetta's arm and pulled her to him, whispering near her long ear. "Now go home. Where you belong." Still not understanding, Cat shook her head. She wanted to argue, to yell at him and get Steinburg to snap out of whatever spell he was under, but then she stopped. His face shifted, so close to hers. It wasn't angry. It was sad. He was trying to tell her something. Go home? She thought. But he doesn't know where I live, now.. She glanced at the orb. Silvermoon. It wasn't her home, per say. Not ever. But it was the home of the Sin'dorei, and she was starting to realize that's what he wanted for her. To go there. But why? "Fine," she grunted irritably. "I'll go back to Silvermoon. Maybe I'll find what I need there." "I'm sure you will," Steinburg muttered bitterly, watching as she grabbed the orb, her form fading from sight before his eyes. A few feet behind him, another hollow voice rung out. "Who was that?" Asked an almost silvery elven voice, though it retained the same echo as his own. Steinburg turned to regard one of the dark rangers, a beautiful elven woman who, even in death, moved soundlessly. "An old acquaintance," he muttered distastefully. "She has no place here." The dark ranger nodded, and glanced back toward the entrance to Undercity. "Good. You might want to get back to work, now. There is much to be done and not as many hands to do it." Steinburg nodded and turned back, resisting the urge to glance behind him at the orb. What point would there be in leaving? The Warchief's eyes were everywhere, and the long ears of the dark rangers heard everything. He would need to think fast. Thankfully, an accountant knew how to calculate all of his options quickly. He had a plan before he reached the bottom of the elevator.
  6. 2 points
    Journal Entry 2 It has been over a year since I have decided to write in this thing. How very sad! It is a pretty journal, and I have had such adventures. Imagine me, never even writing down any of them, even as I traveled to Argus and aided my friends against the Legion. How many things have occurred since I wrote this first entry? - I allowed Damian to train with Qabian. What a disaster! He learned a lot, certainly, but at some point Qabian's ego got the better of him and he put Damian in life threatening danger. Even he thought Damian was killed and in my rage I removed one of his limbs. Damian was, of course, fine. So we have all learned a valuable lesson. - With the help of my friends, I was able to obtain my soul and defeat the demon my mother made a deal with so long ago. I am now fully whole, though the idea is still strange and the curse of my eyes remains. What, if any changes this will make to my personality, are yet to be seen. - During the ceremony in which I retrieved my soul, my dear subordinate Corvallis, as well as Helnia, were lost to us. I miss them both dearly, but Damian took it the hardest. I believe he and Corvallis bonded quite a bit, and I have promised to try and find him. - The guild is moving. We will no longer have a place in Dalaran, but in Razor Hill, Shattrath, and Ashtotem. This makes very little difference to me, but I do enjoy Shattrath! It brings back a lot of happy memories from the war in Outland. Imagine, happy memories and war! - Still no word from my large friend who was hidden with us for some time. I imagine he is somewhere out in the world, making trouble. Always so serious, that one. I do miss him. - Since bonding with my little soul, my memories have been a bit jumbled. Everything is coming back to me, especially with reminders, but a few things remain fuzzy. I have the strangest feeling that I am forgetting something important, but so far nothing has been made clear. - I have had the strangest craving for sparkling white wine, lately. Not at home, of course. I will have to find someone to share a bottle with. Maybe brunch?
  7. 2 points
    By the time Vilmah returned to Wor’gol, it was past midnight. Most of the village was already asleep, and the moon cast a bright blue sheen over the snow covered ground that crunched as Edmund bounded through the snow. Attached to his back was a rudimentary sled slapped together with wood and rope, something Vilmah constructed to carry the corpse of her kill. She had strapped down the large she-wolf with yet more rope, but in the moonlight its fur appeared eerily blue, like a brightly colored creature from the jungles of Azeroth rather than a wolf on Draenor. As she approached the village, a few of their still awake warriors waved to her. She waved back and was soon met with Tuyya, who rode out to meet her with sleepy eyes on the back of her black wolf. “That was fast!” She said sarcastically. “I was hoping you wouldn’t need to spend all night out there. Did she hurt you?” Holding up her right arm, Vilmah let Tuyya see the hastily wrapped wound of her right arm. The purple sweater had been stashed in her saddle bag just a mile before reaching the village. “I hope one of your shaman is awake,” she said with a weary smile. “I got her worse than she got me, though. I don’t think she was very interested in living.” “Grief does that to people,” Tuyya agreed, turning her wolf to walk back beside Vilmah. “And animals too, strangely. You brought back the body, though? I would have thought you only needed the fur.” “Can’t let good meat go to waste,” Vilmah reasoned, shrugging. “Even if it’s just dog meat.” Tuyya grinned. “You’re learning quickly. When you first came to us you would have eaten the meat raw on your own, like some crazed animal.” Vilmah’s lip twitched as she lowered her eyes to the snow. “When you first met me I was still very much a crazed animal,” the smaller orc explained, embarrassed. “I’m not exactly proud of that.” “There aren’t many of us who are proud of ourselves at our lowest point. It brought you to us, though, didn’t it?” “War brought me to you,” Vilmah argued gently. “..but I think my grief is what made me stay. And the fact that you all didn’t just kick me out. I’m sure I didn’t make for an impressive prospective new clan member.” “You think we love everyone in the clan?” Tuyya laughed. “Your blood ties you to us, regardless of whatever it is that took you away to begin with. You told me that your mother was one of us. That’s enough for us to give you a chance, and you earned your place.” An uncomfortable silence followed Tuyya’s words, as if Vilmah wanted to agree but couldn’t bring herself to. In truth, she was having trouble not telling Tuyya that she was Vilmah’s mother, and if the portal to Azeroth hadn’t been opened, if Tuyya’s thirst for adventure hadn’t brought her to the arms of a Blackrock orc, Vilmah never would have existed to begin with. “Thanks Tuyya,” she said gratefully, smiling a little in spite of the conversation. “Thanks for being my friend.” “Don’t get all dramatic,” Tuyya chuckled. “I just hate seeing the little guy get stepped on. Or in your case, the little girl. And you looked so sad, like a kicked puppy. Who would kick a puppy? Don’t worry, guura kad dok mara. You’re one of us, now. That means you’ll never really be alone again,” she said reassuringly, punching Vilmah in the left shoulder. “..for better or worse.” "Sounds like quite the commitment," Vilmah said sarcastically, smirking. Tuyya rolled her eyes. "Believe me, it can be a pain in the ass. Any time I even suggest leaving for a long hunt, my family comes up with some reason to make me stay. Commitments, the need to find a mate, it's like they've forgotten what it's like to explore past the forest sometimes. Makes me want to get my hands dirty somewhere new." Vilmah bit the inside of her cheek. It was that wanderlust that caused the Tuyya that she knew to leave through the portal in the first place, and die starving in a cage. "They have a point. I mean.. you have everything you need here, don't you? People love you, here." "I don't disagree with that, but there's more to life than being loved," the orcess argued. "There's adventure, and you can't get that here. Not anymore, anyway. I treasure my clan, but there's more out there than this place. I want to see it." A feeling of dread overcame Vilmah's stomach, like she'd swallowed a mouthful of bees. Tuyya wasn't the type to let anyone hold her back, and she would eventually leave, even if it meant leaving everything behind. The idea of losing her for a second time, this person who, in another lifetime, gave her life for Vilmah's, made the Warboss pale with fear. "..you could come with me," she found herself saying. "Come to Azeroth, help me with Sanctuary. There's a few Frostwolves in Razor Hill, I'm sure you'll feel right at home. Even if it's in a desert.." Tuyya's eyes widened. "Really? You want me to come with you?" In truth, Vilmah would have preferred that this version of her mother stayed in Draenor, pure in her own way, and untouched by Azeroth's brutality. Knowing that it wasn't in her nature to stay in one place, however, the Warboss nodded quickly. "Yeah, of course. It'd be nice having you there. Plus, plenty of orcs in Azeroth," she joked, smiling a little more. "If your family is worried about you finding a mate." "Can you imagine if I were to bring home one of your green friends??" The orcess laughed, bouncing on her wolf. "Oh they would have an absolute fit! Yes, let's do it! I'll go with you to Azeroth and help your Sanctuary! Right after we clean your blue wolf, of course. You can bring home a wolf pelt and a Frostwolf!" Smiling at her excitement, Vilmah nodded in agreement. Whether or not this was for the best, she couldn't say, but at the very least she'd be able to keep an eye on Tuyya.
  8. 2 points
    5.28.18 I haven’t seen Shaelie since that day. I haven’t seen anyone from Sanctuary since then. It’s been a quiet few weeks, other than continuing to clean up the remaining Legion forces in Antorus. I did catch sight of a human woman who matches the description of the woman who killed my messenger in Tirisfal. She also matches the description of a killer responsible for some other murders in the area over the past couple years. I saw her in Dalaran, and guards were nearby, so there wasn’t much I could do other than talk to her. She lied to me about her name, but someone else called her “Bronnie.” I will see if I can find someone with contacts in Stormwind to get more information. The Magister continues to baffle me. After suggesting the Commander would hurt me badly for having an Alliance boyfriend, he gave me a gift. Why he thinks I would ever have a boyfriend at all, let alone an Alliance one, is beyond me, but the gift was very interesting. A vase with a contraption inside it that would release whatever was in it—poison, sleeping agents, whatever—when someone got close enough to smell the flowers in it. I usually don’t like traps where I can’t control exactly who the target is, but it may come in handy someday. I have to take the potions more often. I know Tahz doesn’t want me to release it, but I can’t let it weaken me anymore. Eastvale is far enough from any Horde lands, and it won’t be the first time they’ve dealt with something like this there. I’ll take it there. Soon. We have one active Supplicant right now, but she is enough trouble to be three usual Supplicants. Umbral continues to keep digging herself deeper into a hole. Even the Commander has noticed it, and spoke to Qabian and me about her. The last time the Grim leader spoke to me about an unruly Supplicant was Cessily. Other than general lack of proper respect for the higher ranks of The Grim, even Awatu himself, she has called me a waitress, and now she’s bitten off a chunk of someone’s ear. Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with that, but when it’s a friend, and further a friend of a very good friend, then it’s a problem. I still haven’t decided how much to protect her from any retaliation. Maybe she deserves what she gets. And the waitress comment, I’m sure she doesn’t realize the meaning behind it. How could she? She’s not smart enough to have done any research, and she doesn’t have the contacts to have had that information handed to her. No, it was just a rude comment, from a Supplicant to an Inquisitor, and that alone is enough to cost her an ear. Luckily for her, she seems to have become more competent in her skill at killing. She’s provided me with many Alliance tabards in her search for the ones I sent her for. That isn’t enough to excuse her behavior though. After all, Cessily was a powerful killer too, and that didn’t save her ears.
  9. 2 points
    It's been a long time but another food experiment has happened! This time with wild-gathered Black Locust tree blossoms. While visiting Syreena, we found and decided to try these tasty little flowers from her property. Much thanks to SySy for being adventurous and allowing use of her kitchen. <3 We used this recipe (with some substitutions for the evil, evil dairy): http://southernforager.blogspot.com/2013/05/black-locust-blossom-fritters-yummmmm.html The results were quite tasty, like eating funnel cake! Next time, I believe I will go lighter on the dredging of the flowers in the batter, so the flowers can be tasted. <.< >.> Flowers being dredged: Frying the Flowers: Finished Black Locust flower funnel cake: All of them got eaten by the three adults, flower fritters defeated! These trees are flowering all over the place right now, or are soon about to in more northern areas. They're a native, plentiful tree so if you watch for them to bloom, you'll be swimming in tasty treats! Mmmmm.
  10. 2 points
    Mmhmhmhm... Ahahahahahaha! I win. Oh, how I win. Nothing I can take back to the Grim, of course, but mine is a dangerous ego to stroke, hm? Taunt me with something you think I can't do that I know I can. 'Oh, no,' I'll admit. 'I could never do that. I'm simply no good at it. It's just not me.' A little vulnerability, not even mock vulnerability, very real, but a wager in a bet I cannot lose, a little honesty, and just enough arrogance that who I am is never forgotten so I cannot be blamed for any deception. And fuck you. I win. Truth and lies, truth and lies. That's what chaos is made of, yes? And what am I if not chaos? Is it true? Of course it is. Was it lies? Of course it was. Reality is never either or. It's always both. Little human with broken eyes he needs to hide thinks he's being generous, offering me a chance to put him in his place. You don't need to make the offer, boy. You're already there. Why would you admit that secret of all secrets in front of me? And I'm sure my secret only made you feel worse, hm? You're not special. You're not even different. You're just a broken, defiled version of the real people all around you. Enjoy your misery. I certainly enjoyed giving it to you. What an odd defect in me to harp on when it was caused by someone you claim as a friend. When what I have done with what I have lost is something greater than I could have done had I kept what I had, am I really even defective? Or have I improved? That's what we're all here for, to get better. I've gotten better. Have you? When you will never feel equal to the people around you because you never can be their equal? You can steal their faces, their friendship, their power as much as you want, but you will always be a pretender, and you will always have to hide your shame, because the day you accept yourself and live as you are is the day you'll die for it. I have no shame. I wonder how long I can play the lost bet excuse. We certainly gamble, but even though my win rate is expectedly even with my losses, what I ask for is always for my own greed. What she asks for is always my debasement, not enough to spark my anger or make me second guess, but enough to keep her laughing. I should have caught on to this sooner, especially after her little gift to Syreena. I think I did? And decided the price was worth it, and even a little entertaining for myself. The masochistic tendencies extending beyond physical pain, perhaps. I like it when she laughs, even if it's at my expense, and it's almost always at my expense. Explains too much. I shouldn't think about it too hard. The wolf's advice is good. I'm always uncertain about plans that require biding, infiltration, masks of sweetness. I can do them to a point. I have my networks and systems that I use to pull on threads hoping they'll bring down the tapestries. But such things are distasteful when chaos will suffice. Yes, I understand the idea behind a little order serving to bring a lot of chaos, but such games are difficult to play and rarely end well. When they do end well, they end very, very well, but the risk tends to be on our side, not on theirs. Still, leading them patiently to their own failure is clearly our best option in the present, regardless of whether the pendulum swings in the way they seem so certain it will. The violet commander's marital issues have caused a strange sea change. I, for one, don't think that little shift is enough to warrant the sudden acceptance of things as they are. They aren't different enough. I've only met the little warboss once? But I certainly have no faith that she's any sweeter. I blame the turning of the winds with the defeat of the Legion. Everything looks just slightly different, even when it isn't really. Old hurts have been fogged over just enough by time to be put aside long enough for coffee and brunch. And I'm able to hear things I should never hear, share things that should never have been mine to share. I can sit quietly and let them berate me as much as they wish, speaking only when spoken to, offering only the gentlest of contributions, and still come across as cruel and strange. It's quite enjoyable, really. I've had far too much enjoyment lately. It's going to my head. But given what led me to be so entertained in the first place, I'll take it.
  11. 2 points
    05.02.18 I used to say Sanctuary had tea parties with the Alliance. Yesterday, I had coffee with one of the purple people. That short-eared elf, who is half human and a mage and Sanctuary—everything I hate—so why didn’t I feel the urge to stab him repeatedly? Maybe because he didn’t act like any of those things. I learned that the leadership has changed among the purple people. Julilee, Kex’ti, and Shokkra are all gone from there now. Just Cerryan left, and though I hate him for what he did to me, what his actions turned me into, I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same in his position. Maybe it’s time for my war with them to end for good. The Grim and Sanctuary worked alongside each other once, a long time ago, when Vilmah was in charge. Maybe that is an option again if we are in need of more bodies for an assault someday. I doubt Vilmah would talk with me though. I could send a Supplicant if necessary, or better yet, maybe I’ll just stay in contact with the short-eared elf. He’s easy to talk to. I wonder if there’s something with mixing elf blood with another bad blood, that makes the two bads cancel each other out. Baal has demon blood in him, thanks to the Grim warlocks, and he’s nice. And Mard has human in him, and he seems nice….so far. There’s no question that demons, humans, and elves are all vile and cruel, but maybe mixing two bad races together somehow makes something good. I also learned that Shaelie has joined Sanctuary. I wasn’t planning to attack her. I really wasn’t. We used to pick on the purple people together in Warspear, we tortured that human Ambassador lady together. Shaelie always had my back. For a long time, I thought she was a decent person….for an elf….a friend even. But when I saw her in the Wyvern’s Tail yesterday, she didn’t seem to care about any of that. She actually said she thought it was totally justified that they attacked us at Aerie Peak, and Grim should stay in their own yard and not bother Alliance. I don’t know what the fel happened to the Shaelie I knew, but this one is a traitor to the Horde, as far as I’m concerned. But she is human after all, so I shouldn’t be surprised.
  12. 2 points
    A taste of what the Loa's gift could do spoke volumes for the effect it would have on its intended target. It refused to be treated, even showing a tenacity that hinted at intelligence as it would strike as one disease, retreat, and return in a new form. His fever ran high for hours, sheeting his form in sweat and chilling him to the bone. Then, the pain left him as if the sickness had simply given up its struggle, leaving him stunned with sheer relief. It gave him just enough time to nurture a brief hope that it was over, only to crush it within an hour. It returned in a new form and plagued his body and mind with a new kind of torture. Night and day lost meaning as he cycled through a list of symptoms seemingly at random. Tormented reality gave way to fever dreams when his body, taxed to its limits and in desperate need of recovery, succumbed to exhaustion. He stood before a river of sludge with a stench that was thick enough to taste. It had an odor that clung to his saliva and made him gag and heave for all the good it did. It reminded him of Venture company operations, but even they had not managed to produce such disgusting runoff. Lengths of cloth stuck to the top of the putrid river but he could not make out the details of them as his eyes swung hazily in and out of focus. When the world resolved itself, he was able to make out the gold and purple thread of one tabard and the matching designs on the others that stuck to the surface of the thick river behind it. The foul river slowly pushed itself along the earth, carrying over a dozen of the Phoenix marked tabards. He felt a moment of Grim pleasure that was quickly chased away by confusion as he saw the growing number of tabards stuck to the disease-ridden sludge. It would have helped him sleep at night to see the head of the self-important group of traitors along with several other vile hypocrites who followed her. But the number of discarded tabards wa far too high for his plan. In each of the tabards he caught a glimpse of their owner. A shudder of rage turned into a quiver of sadistic satisfaction as the first two passed him. Julilee had lectured him about the importance of preserving life, something she accused Lilliana of having no sense of after her betrayal. When he had dismissed her words and told her that she had attacked a pregnant woman, he had not detected a hint of remorse, in fact, he had seen annoyance that he was still pursuing the conversation. The effect her actions had on him were unimportant, she did not care. He bore his teeth in an unkind grin as she was sucked below the surface, buried in the same substance that she was filled with. She was followed by more of them. Syreena's now scarred tormentor smirked cruelly and looked down his nose at him before being swallowed by the river. Shokkra sneered and screamed soundlessly in pointless rage as she was sucked down and drowned. A feeling of grim vindication grew as he saw more of them disappear. The faces kept coming. Vilmah's embarrassed smile was smothered, Mardallius laughed quietly before being covered, Kexti's arrogant smirk was slowly saturated before being coated completely, Siane's warm smile went cold, and the sad expression of the one-eyed troll disappeared quietly beneath the surface. More people passed by him, faces he associated with the tabard but had never spoken to, people he bore no ill will towards save for their association. All were consumed by the muck and disease. The last of the articles to disappear was not a tabard, but a pair of manacles and a stained apron. His own face stared back at him as the manacles clasped around his wrists and the chain leading him began tugging downwards. " It'll fix errytin'." He assured himself as the odious sludge reached up to his chest. He had no reply for his own deluded statement. " She'll love us again!" The imprisoned man cried out at him as it reached up to his neck, desperate to justify his own actions, just like the ones he would be joining. He wanted to scream at the fool of a bartender but could only manage another choked noise as he sank below the muck. The river soon became choked with more discarded items. Shoes, shirts, dresses, trade equipment, swords and more bunched together so thickly he could barely make out the sludge that transported them until they disappeared beneath its surface. Once again, he saw faces, yet they were indistinct and unfocused. There were hundreds of them, perhaps even thousands. Countless faces flickered in front of him as the crowd of plague-ridden people passed by and disappeared. This had been his agreement. A virulent disease to consume his enemy in the worst way possible, but it could not be controlled once released. How many in Sanctuary would be killed in his hope to slay a handful? The price of it left a frozen lump in his stomach, he wanted one person dead, but he could not control the spread once it was released. The reward for this indiscriminate death dealing clasped him on the shoulder and gave him a warm, yet false smile. The Farraki was pleased with him, excited even at the blow dealt to a hated enemy. With one hand she grasped his and gave him an insistent tug to turn his back on the foul carnage wrought, with the other she held a bloody blob of disfigured fat and flesh that defied identification; a mutated freak even in the eyes of parasites and maggots. She spoke words of love and approval that spilled out as a black, oily sludge between her teeth and dribbled down her chin over her body and their son. The letter of her message he had longed to hear, but the soul of it was absent. He doubled over as an overpowering sense of nausea and joy forced its way through him. His veins bulged and threatened to burst as the sickness of body and mind invaded him. He enjoyed it, he was sick and twisted mess of a pretty troll, and he loved it. He toppled forward and sank into the cold, slimy mud by the foul river. The earth consumed the last ray of light and all sense of self disappeared with it.
  13. 2 points
    I'm sitting in the grass right now. Between the ridge of two hills, overlooking a farm. There's a cow in the pasture, chewing some grass. The lights are on in the farmhouse, shining through the windows, and I can smell them cooking dinner. There are crickets chirping, and an owl hooting up in the tree above me, somewhere. I used to live here. Not there, in that particular house. Micael did, though. Nearby. I've been thinking about Micael a lot lately. I'm not sure why.. But I'll be honest when I say I miss him and Mack, a hell of a lot. I think my time away got me thinking about a lot of things. And tonight really magnified that. I stopped in the Wyverns Tail. And Jon Ableham was there. I couldn't believe it. He wasn't the Jon I miss so much, though. Just the bad version of himself. He didn't know it was me, of course.. After I got over my shock of seeing him, I talked to him a bit and he said some things that confused me, and some things that sparked some memories that I couldn't quite dredge up. He mentioned Venedict being his nephew. That blew my mind. Did I know that before? Something about 'nephew' sounded familiar. But if Venedict was his nephew.. how the HELL did he end up being his ghoul? And so I came here, for answers. To Stormwind. Where this whole journey with Venedict, Jon and Micael began. In the graveyard.. I remember something about a tombstone. So I found them tonight. Christine, Venedict, Alex and David Abner.. being here did help me remember some things. But I still couldn't recall the connection between Venedict and Jon. I sort of remember Jon being here, but he was afraid of Venedict. Anyway, my thoughts are all over the place tonight. That's just part of what's on my mind. Being here, just behind the gates of Stormwind. I'm homesick. I miss being me. I miss being Nika. I remember how I used to help people. Not always.. I got into a lot of fights, even before I started doing the really horrible things. But I miss how life used to be. Before The Grim, and before my life changed. And before I ruined other people's lives, and destroyed families. My biggest regret in life is something that will always haunt me. It's what I did in Theramore... when I poisoned all those soldiers. I wish I could rip that day out of my life, and out of my memories. All those families and kids that no longer have fathers because of me. Fathers that didn't even get to die honorably, in battle. They didn't even get a chance to make a difference, or to be heroes. They were meant to die doing courageous things, making a difference in the world. Stories would be written about the battles they fought, and how they sacrificed their lives to make life safer for the people they cared about. But instead, they ate poisoned bread and choked to death. For nothing. That wasn't supposed to be their legacy. Hardly anyone knows about that. It's the thing I'm most ashamed of. I wonder about those families now. Whatever became of them? I feel like that's what I'm supposed to do, now. Help people. Make a difference, somehow. I don't want to fight anymore. I don't want to kill people. I can't change or take back every person that I hurt or killed. But maybe I can change something for other people, going forward. It's funny.. as I was sitting here behind Stormwind, thinking about all of this. At first I was wishing I could go back. But that wouldn't help anything, either. So I was wishing that I could somehow help people on both sides. Not just one or the other. And I was wishing there was some guild that was neutral, and that does help people on both sides. And then I remembered that there is.. Sanctuary. That's hard to wrap my head around, as much as I hated and fought against them in the past.. but that was also when I was consumed by The Grim.. and the most important thing to me was to prove myself to them. But time has passed. And you know what? I already did. And I don't care anymore. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I'm not sure if Borrowed Time and Sanctuary are on good terms, or bad. I'm not sure if I want to stay with Borrowed Time but also help Sanctuary. if they'd even have me. Which is a stretch. A big one.
  14. 2 points
    It's been a long time since I picked this journal up. I had forgotten about it, actually. It's barely even been used. Too bad I don't have my old journals, anymore... That's what's been on my mind a lot, lately. The past.. I guess it's sort of what brought me back. I had considered myself retired for what.. a couple of years now? Has it been that long? According to this journal, it has been. I traveled for awhile. Sometimes I just pick a direction and keep going until I find a spot that feels right. This time, it was an abandoned fishing shack in a bayou. It was run down and the boards were warped from moisture, and it had an entire colony of critters living inside. But as soon as I saw it, I knew it was home. At least for awhile. I fixed it up a little, and spent my days exploring the area, or fishing. Or sometimes just sitting on a rocking chair on the front porch, listening to nature. It was nice for awhile. I took a picture of it before I left. Maybe someday I'll find it again. But now I'm back. And I'm not entirely sure what the plan is. But like I said, a lot of things from the past have been on my mind, and I feel like there are some things I need to do. A lot of things I need to figure out how to fix, or make up for. Not sure how that's going to pan out, just yet...
  15. 2 points
    " Syreena be a sad story if jah stop screamin' about all de bad she's done. Ah ain't a Grim... Ain't got a desire ta do what she does an' a lotta people say jah eithah gotta be Grim or like de Grim fah her tah warm up. But she likes me, why?" He puts the rag he had been wiping the bar with down and sighs " Because ah treated her like a person. Do dat, an she gonna return jah kindness ten fold. If jah be an elf it be a lot hardah but she got her scars an' trauma same as errybody else. Ah see de trust she puts in me as a sign a what she coulda been. She be hated an' feared because she WAS hated an' feared since she came back. If someone had just been kindah ta her when she first rose would she be as sadistic an' horrible as people say? Makes me tink. Ain't excusin' what she's done, ah undahstand where de path she walkin' on leads. She gonna be how she be until de day her unlife runs out. Be a shame though, because fah all her faults, Syreena be a bettah friend den jah deserve once she decides ta trust jah."
  16. 2 points
    I wasn't certain, not at all. It was entirely my paranoia, and I know it. I was paranoid as soon as I heard that Vyalis took my advice to heart a little stronger than I might have hoped. So to send out a warning only to have that warning become useful? How could I not make the leap? But if she were innocent, her initial reaction should have been outrage, rather than suspicion. Even then, though her initial reaction was convincing, it was not enough to make me certain. What made me certain was her saying she didn't know where the money went. If she were innocent, she would have signed that paper herself. If she were innocent, she would have taken the gold in coin rather than paper. Now I can accuse her of anything, provided it's not something she can easily disprove herself, and even without proof of my own, I have the upper hand. The only question remaining is how long to play the new game. And when I do put an end to it, I think my message will be quite clear. Don't fuck with me. I imagine she thinks she could turn me in for my financial games, but those are both false and warranted in ways her intentions to hurt me are not. Amusing that she didn't understand how our relationship worked, given the nature of the correspondence she stole from me. I'm sure his name was mentioned several times. I could easily have brought him to the Grim instead, if he weren't so obsessed with Suramar and its well-being as a nation-state. She's one of the ones who always thought I was better because I am not like the rest of them. Really? Do you not remember why I left? How I left? How long have you held onto that mythology? Maybe they will finally lose the lie. I doubt it, though. You act cold enough long enough, and people will forget what they already know about you. The only way I am different than the rest of my people is that I am superior. I am just as arrogant, but I am more arrogant and my arrogance is of higher quality. I am just as deviant, only more so, and again, higher quality. I don't feel the need to shout it in the streets the way the less self-assured do. I don't feel the need to appraise everyone who walks past as Malkaris does. But on my own time, behind closed doors, with a touch of common sense? I am exactly what they are. The only difference between them and me is I am not cheap. So if being "elfy" as she would say is a crime, and I am not different, only greater, then I should get the harshest sentence, hm? She would say Kiannis was different, but catch him when he thinks no one's looking and he's behind the shrubbery in Dalaran with his hand up someone's dress, too. We are none of us different. We are all of us exactly the same. I am merely better at it.
  17. 2 points
    03.04.18 I don’t go to the cabin much anymore. Not while the girl is still there. However, sources say she is seen around Dalaran sometimes, so she’s not there all the time. Baal came to Cantina last night though. What he wants to do is crazy. Some things just can’t be made whole again after they’re broken apart, and we were broken long before she was taken away. I nearly destroyed her then. If this happens, I can probably still do that. But I’m not going to take that risk. I need to change his mind. And if I can’t talk him out of it, I’ll have to go against his wishes. If she’s dead, it won’t be an option anymore. I’m sure Qabian would help with that. But maybe I’ll give the task to Vyalis and give him a chance to save his other ear. The topic of family came up tonight. I don’t even know what it means anymore. I have a sister that I don’t know these days, but we were close once, and we killed the rest of them. They deserved it. But that wasn’t the kind of family he was talking about. He was talking about the family you choose. I’ve had family like that before too. But what’s the point? Eventually, one by one, they all die or leave or betray you. I once had many people I considered close enough to call family. I used to think of all the Grims as one big family. Now there are only two, and oddly enough neither are Grim. Umbral asked Baal why he’s so big, and he started telling her how he was infected with fel. Then he asked me to explain. So I told Umbral how Baal used to be a Grim, and when he was a Supplicant, one of the warlocks experimented on him with a drug called Wreave. I know Baal still hates Ul’rezaj for that. And I still silently carry the guilt with me for my part in it. Does he know? Can he feel my guilt when the subject comes up? Does he already know? Is that why he asked me to explain it? Will he shut me out if he learns the truth? But he was just a cocky Supplicant elf back then. Apparently, Commander Stick-Up-Her-Butt let herself be goaded into a fight with Nero. I’d love to know what he said to get under her skin enough to make her throw the first punch. The fight was bad enough that Fhenrir stepped in, and she punched him too! I wish I had seen it. Miss High and Mighty lowering herself enough to start a barfight. Justice and mercy and blah blah blah.
  18. 2 points
    Happy Lunar Festival, Alliance friends! The Twilight Empire invites you to an evening celebration beneath the sky and stars of Stormwind City. This time of year is traditionally one for reflection, and the Legion’s defeat on Azeroth and Argus has given us all a great deal to contemplate. Loss and love, friends and family, growth and gain—all sentiments have a place in our hearts, but some weigh heavier than others. Join with friends new and old as we commit our wishes or regrets to parchment and send them up in the bonfire’s flames with hopes of mutual catharsis. The night can’t all be meditation, of course. With reflection comes recreation! We will raffle off three fabulous door prizes throughout the night. What might you win? Attend to find out! Finally, what Lunar Festival celebration is complete without a rousing round of fireworks? Bring your own or fire off ours and watch as we light up the city sky! (Anti-fire wards are already in place. Don’t worry—nobody will set anything dangerously aflame!) Who: Alliance Where: Stormwind Keep Gardens When: Sunday, February 25th, 7:30pm Server Time Contact Ketani-Ravenholdt or Aryänna-Ravenholdt (alt-code +0228) for questions!
  19. 2 points
    " By de time ah was Mariz's age ah was already fightin' fah my village, doin' stupid tings dat ah would regret latah. By comparison, sneakin' outta de orphanage just cause she tired a walkin' de drag be... It be downright adorable." Tahzani folds his arms across the bar and leans against it with a troubled expression. " Ah helped her out, gave her a job ta learn a bit of responsibility, earn a little money an' get de matron off her back so she can do what she really wants ta do, explore. But even seein' her be like a slap in de face. Since we settled in dese lands an' entire generation grown to adulthood. A generation raised in a mixed populace, a generation apaht from tradition an' family. Ah been helpin' Mariz as ah can... An' prayin' she lets me continue ta do so. Let me know dat de world in good hands... Bettah hands den de ones dat shaped what she inheritin'. Still, she a smaht kid. Smaht enough ta disobey an' learn." He grins wryly. " Ah got high hopes fah her... An' hopin' ah can keep mah fat mouth shut ta not drag her down."
  20. 2 points
    ((It has apparently been a bit since I had a story to post here haha! Lil delayed but a Mya story from the Finale of the Feleclipse storyline!)) Myaka glared up at the orc warlock. Though various attacks bombarded his shield it still held firm. There has to be a way to break through. Despite what this blowhard thinks he can't be unbeatable. The idea struck almost as a gift granted by the Light. The Scales could traverse realms, she used that ability all the time just to store it. Could I use that to attack? She called back to Xandric, nearly ignoring his recommendation to fall back to fight a nearby Pitlord. She would need cover against the naga and chaos warriors if she were to send away her mode of defense. Trusting the giant paladin to watch her back she dropped her focus far into her battlerage seeking the connection with the Scales. She would need to maintain it more than normal if she attacked this way. It was strange and unfamiliar like testing a muscle not used. The connection flared and she pushed against it like she would throwing a weapon. She grinned in triumph as the shield appeared within Karthok's barrier. Shadowflame roared from the front coating him in fire. She could tell the attack had at least irritated him if not hurting outright. She pulled the shield back before Karthok could retaliate and pushed it again. The shield reappeared in a different place and blasted him again. She lost track of the push and pulls, she didn't pay attention to the feeling of draining. Her connection to the shield and battlerage pushed to the limit. She smirked as the repeated attacks from her and the others brought the barrier down and the orc was forced on the defensive. Then he was gone. Where-?! She barely had time to wonder long, everything next happened in quick succession. Terror that was not hers flared through her connection with the Scales and something strong grabbed onto her. She tried to grapple with the orc’s grip and the world darkened into twilight. Pain exploded around her as shadowflame erupted along her body. The world lightened again, the twilight realm fading as a scream of pain ripped out from her scorching throat. As the world faded to black she couldn't help but be thankful that she had not been conscious the last time she burned to death. ---------------------------------- She felt as if she was floating, even though as she looked around she appeared to be standing somewhere in an empty blackness. This had not been what she expected at the end. She expected the Halls, a shining Val’kyr standing before her to remake her soul as a stormforged. I promised Kate I would live on as a Valarjar if something ever happened. Light I… What did she want? Her gut twisted as she remembered what had happened to her family after her 'death’. How Kate had deteriorated, how Olson had meant to find someone battle where he could go out in a blaze of glory. What would happen to them now? She had to hope her final act would be enough for them to beat Karthok. “You are safe here.” A rich rumbling voice murmured softly behind her. She turned quickly, dropping into a defensive stance despite knowing she had no weapons to fight with. The being before her was like nothing she had ever seen. He towered over her, in spite of her impressive height. He looked like an elf, dark skin that looked purple in the dark expanse of nothing around them. Horns curled out from dark purple hair. His armor nearly reminded her of her own demonsteel only in purple and black tones. Spikes lined the ridges of his armor in a somehow familiar way even though she has never seen this man before. “Who the fel are you, what happened?” She didn't drop her defensive stance. The colors and horns marked him as either a twilight or black dragon, neither of which boded well for her. “I mean you no harm.” His purple eyes twinkled with barely contained amusement. “Had I wanted to harm you, severing the connection would have allowed your death to be finalized.” Connection? Suddenly, she realized something was familiar. The voice was familiar. “Are you...Are you the Scales?” His mouth formed a grin. “Your wits aren't dulled, even with your second brush with a pyre.” He starts to circle her. It's not calculating, not a predator circling prey. It's nearly parental, a dragon checking a whelp for injury. “I didn't have the time to phase to you, nor did I know if I could pull you from danger. It seems all I managed to do is pull your soul to safety.” She stared dumbfounded at the man. “When...you’ve never-” She shook her head, “How the fel do you have a body?!” She finally was able to say. “You’ve never manifested before.” “You’ve never allowed our connection as close as you did.” The man pointed out. “That was a dangerous choice. You used more than just your battlerage. The connected attached to your soul, not just your battlerage.” He stopped his pacing. “I understand the situation, but you should learn to temper the connection if you do that again.” She shook her head, the words reminding her of Karthok. A flash of silver light distracted her. Words filtered to her, but she couldn’t understand them. “You tried to save me?” The man cocks his horned head, “Aye, yes. One does not normally enjoy being immolated.” “Forgive my surprise,” she states wryly. “I remember a fight in Helhiem where you flashed away and abandoned me because you were ‘wrong about my potential.’” The words are not as accusatory as they might have been had he heard them from Kate, she had somewhat forgiven the shield. She had needed the push to realise she could beat Dominic. She was surprised to see shame flit across his face. “Yes, this would be a change from then. I do maintain that you needed that victory. However, there might have been a better way to give it to you.” He stepped up towards her, his tall height even more apparent. “For lack of a better way to state it, you've changed me.” He says with a slight grin. “ A part of her knew she should be confused. She should be afraid or traumatized, she died. Well died again. The conversation after the guild meeting flitted through her mind, there was a reason she had not promised either Kate or Olson she'd come home. There was always a chance a well placed attack would take her life without any chance to avoid it. Light flashed again, pulling her concentration, the man in front of her pulled a face at the bright flash. “Val’kyr do not give in easily.” He muttered. She turned her attention back to him. Her mouth opened to speak and she stopped. The thought passing through her head blurting out instead. “What in the Fel do I call you.” He cocked his head to the side, violet eyes watching her. “Call? I am the Twilight Scales. You prefer to shorten it to The Scales.” She shook her head, “that's the name of the shield, an object, you are a person. At least right now. That's just... strange, to call someone that.” He let out a rumbling laugh. “You find out you have died, again, and that your weaponry has a sentient mind. And the thing you find strange is the name you call me?” She grinned sheepishly. “Put like that is maybe a small thing compared to everything else. It still doesn't seem right to call you the name of an object.” He shook his head, a fond smile on his face. “While I do enjoy the Twilight Scales moniker. If it would help…” his voice trailed as he thought a moment before nodding sharply to himself. “Arcath. It's a draconic word, the rough translation is 'spellscale’” “Arcath.” She repeated slowly, testing the name. “Fits,” she says with a light laugh after a moment. “So the Light, you think that's a Val'kyr?” “It's specifically trying for your soul. I don't know for sure what it is. But I don't want to risk it.” He grinned, “just because you couldn't promise your return to your family, doesn't mean I can't try to keep that promise myself.” She blinked, taken aback that he was aware of that conversation. The blackness lightened around them, amber light flaring around them before streaking towards her. Arcath started forward, his shout drowned out by a howl that filled her with a frenetic energy… Pain lanced through her, so sharp that it brought air rushing through her in a harsh gasp. Her sight slowly focused. She was out of the dark blackness of Arcath’s realm. The dragon himself was gone and Resileaf’s relieved face looked down at her. Energy filled her even as the pain faded to a dull ache. She felt the connection with the Scales reassert itself and relief flooded her, both her own and something else. She saw a large wolf fighting a pit lord as the rest of the forces swarmed Karthok. She forced herself to her feet, walking forward to join the melee around Karthok. She knew after a few moments she would not be able to. He still vanished and reappeared, she didn't have the energy to keep up. There was one way to fight still, she ignored the concern flowing through the connection with the Scales and started the jumps again. The healing from the ancient bolstered her and made her exhaustion less noticeable. Pain ricocheted down the bond, tearing a scream of pain from her mouth and forcing her to her knees. She growled and forced through it just in time to see a wave of black flowing from Karthok's decimated body… ------------------ She fell forward, as if she had been running. She pulled in air in great gulps, wide eyes staring at the ground. A false vision, a nightmare, thank the Light. A nightmare; the destroyed city, her sister dead because she felt so sure it was a false clone or dreadlord. And Olson; sweet, loving and caring Olson, decrying her as Kate's murderer. More willing to stay and be slaughtered by the enemy than leave with her. A nightmare, just a nightmare. Kathok cackled and spoke, the words washing over as she tried to come to grips with what she had just seen. “Fitting that I should fall amongst such titans, isn't it?" Karthok stands, looking over the massive corpses of Accalia and Arkhorne, holding his stomach with one arm. "After all I've gone through, all I've accomplished, dying with gods is the least I deserve." He turns towards the others, looking them all over. "You people... I tore you apart... broke you. Even if you don't show it, I know. I know you all better than anyone else in your lives. I know what you're all made of, what you're really like. Creatures of chaos, of choice." He chuckles. "Order... you hate it. Loathe it. Even if you don't admit it. In order you have no choice, no options. But in the chaos, you're free. Just like me." Shokkra shakes herself off from her own nightmare and starts up towards where Karthok is. "I'm a part of you now. I'm your fear, your doubt, your choices. You'll carry me until the day you die and beyond. You'll never forget me, never forget what I did, who I was, what you are because of me." He laughs again, louder this time. "I'm the chaos inside you, now and forever." The orcess comes up behind him, pulling her revolver. She grabs him by the shoulder and pulls him into her arms, holding him tightly. She shuts her eyes, handing him the gun. He hugs her back, taking the revolver in hand and casting a shadow over Shokkra for an instant. Karthok looks towards the others, pointing the gun at them and flipping it open to check how many rounds he has. He laughs. "I earned this." He aims the revolver back to himself, lifts his chin, and fires.* The shot rings through the air and she looks up, a low growl of fury rumbling through her. She wanted to destroy him, to prove every cackling word wrong. He had ended it and taken that away. Everyone was tired, emotionally and physically. Tense arguments and standoffs browled around her. She barely paid attention. She wanted to go home. She wanted to leave this Light forsaken rock and forget everything. She wanted to see Kate, to know she was alive. She wanted to see Olson and know he didn't hate her. She wanted away. She breathed a sigh of relief when the airship they arrived on made it back and docked to allow them on board. She could go home. _________________________________ She should be used to issue with sleep. Night terrors threaded themselves through her life for as long as she had remembered. From the nightmares spawned of her uncertainty regarding her parents death right after Strathome, to the ones of Dominic until she finally was able to slay his specter herself. She let out a strangled sound, somewhere between a sob and a gasp for air, and sat up in bed. Her sheets tangled around sweat soaked limbs and her nightgown. She breathed in deeply, lavender oil filling the air and soothing the frazzled nerves from the dream. Had she escaped Karthok’s nightmare truly? Or was she just granted a reprieve in her waking moments? Were they waking? There were moments when she wasn't sure if she had ever left the battle torn rock in the Maelstrom. She tried to calm her racing heart, feeling the incoming panic attack. Those she should also be used too, while it had been a while since a full flash back it didn't mean there hadn't been smaller bouts of anxiety. She bent over in a fetal position, her breaths came in harsh gasps as the pain of the nightmare raced through her. Harsh sobs threaded through the gasps of air. She gave up on trying to hold back the attack and riding it so she could try to regain her ability to breath. Black started to creep into the edge of her vision as the sobs quieted and her breathing evened. Sleep of course was still well out of reach. She stood, climbing out of bed and walking to a window. She grinned, the expression both tired and fond, as she remembered teasing words to Kate. “Do I have to worry about leaving the blinds on my bedroom window? It does face your bedroom.” She knew she'd regret the question as soon as it was asked. Kate said nothing, her only answer was a wicked grin that reflected the mischievous glint in her eyes. “That's a yes.” Myaka said with a bark of a laugh. The fond grin faded sharply. Anxiety rose again, was she sure her death was a nightmare? A want to go to the house and bang on the door swelled in her, she forced it down. Light knew that would just wake up Zak and Kate, not to mention the three children. The stone was an option, but would also wake the two up. She glanced at a clock and let out a breathless sigh. Far too early for anyone to be awake. All this worry was for nothing, morning would come and she'd see that. She was too wired to go back to sleep, soft padding footsteps took her downstairs. Her latest smithing project sat on her table, it would be a good way to calm down and hopefully get back to sleep. She ignored the fact that this was the second time in so many nights that she had been unable to sleep halfway through the night, she'd didn't have time to worry with the fight in Antorus nearing it's end. __________________________________ The months past sped their way through, december bleeding into January that then gave into the warming months of spring. Winter’s veil danced into Love is In The Air and soon the Lunar Festival loomed on the horizon. Myaka let out a low breath, brown eyes traveling up the sword left by Sargaras. It had nearly stopped her heart when she saw his sword flying towards Azeroth. They had won, a long fought battle that pushed everyone as far as they could go. The combined forces of the Horde and Alliance needed to bring the fallen titan to ruin. Was it all for nothing? She shook her head, pulling her thoughts from the dark path they went down. Her mind wandered easily recently. She reached up, plated hand rubbing absentmindedly against her chest. The strange pain was back, there had been a twinge of pain when she flew home to see to Kate after the end of the fight. A slight scraping sound of metal on metal played through the infested air. She supposed it didn’t matter that she couldn’t actually touch anything though the plate. She never actually felt a wound or anything that was causing the pain. Exhaustion pulled at her mind momentarily. The nightmares had not lightened, if anything, they got worse. Sleep only came in the first few hours of the night and after she made do with naps. Silithus became an easy distraction, one she hoped would give her enough time until the nightmares went away. She tried to believe that, she wouldn’t let Karthok have his victory. She wouldn’t let him win. She could almost make herself believe it. ((*Karthok's speech is word for word from the RP, because I didn't want to mess up it's malice by paraphrasing haha))
  21. 2 points
    It's the recognition that there are more of us than I've seen evidence of in the past few months. Often, it seems like it's Syreena and I against the world. Not last night, though. Last night, we were the world, all of us, Syreena and her pet, and Vyalis, and the Grimtotem shadow, and the quiet wolf, and the knight with her broken mechanical voice accidentally screaming about horrible stereotypes. Even Malkaris, I suppose. He's worse in that skin. At least when he was more clearly falling apart, no one took him quite as seriously. Now, well, he keeps everyone entertained with his clown show, but I'm not sure we should have let him out of the guild hall. I don't think I ever want to see him and Nathandiel in the same room. But even those who weren't us weren't the usual, weren't the kind who push me to despair of any future for the Horde. There were the Luna I've worked with before, the sensible yet angry from across the spectrum, the smug and the smart. Even the one with the reputation for collecting boyfriends, who apparently has both the lizard man from last week and Our Lord Gustblade checked off her list, seemed practically an intellectual compared to the usual crowds. Even Kahlan gives me hope. There's something I like about her, and not just because she made the mistake of giving me a compliment once. Maybe it's her penchant for jumping immediately to violence. Maybe it's her utter dismissal of the continuous pathetic attempts to encroach on feelings she clearly doesn't have. Maybe it's her seemingly equal hatred of nearly everyone around her. She's not quite right in the head, being so defensive of the parents she was apparently avoiding, who I will ever doubt are actually related to her in any way, even through mere kindness. She doesn't seem to realize that everything she hates about men is all her father has to offer the world. He is the very pinnacle of what she detests most, and yet she leaps ferociously to his defense if anyone so much as sneezes in his direction. But if Kahlan were the worst the Horde had to offer, we would be well-equipped for whatever lies ahead. Unfortunately, there are those like her parents, and the monstrous rabbit who put up with Malkaris' lechery with nothing but blushes and yet ran off in a panic at the sight of that half-demon I know nothing about and want to know nothing about but who I know has enough propensity for violence to be on the side of hope. But last night, they were outnumbered in a way that felt incredibly satisfying. So yes, hope. Even at our meeting. It was small, yes, but not as small as it's been when the future has seemed darkest. We grow, slow but steady. The pendulum swings as it always does. I've been out of sync with the clock for too long to recognize its motions, but time tells its tales whether we want it to or not.
  22. 2 points
    The poster above is hung in Alliance cities and the Alliance quarter of Dalaran. Alliance friends, join the Twilight Empire for its annual Winter Veil celebration! Wear your holiday best (or your worst!), bring a wrapped gift for the gift exchange, and enjoy good food, warm drink, and merry company! Who: Alliance What: Winter Veil RP Celebration Where: Thunderbrew Distillery, Kharanos When: Saturday, December 30th, 7:30PM ST Contact Aryänna-Ravenholdt (alt code ALT+0228) or Ketani-Ravenholdt with questions!
  23. 2 points
    The bartender may be correct. If I am playing their game, I may be helping them, at least in the short term. I don't believe I am, yet. But if I am to get what I want, I will have to eventually. I must reconsider this. I am always reconsidering this. It made sense in days gone by. It does not make sense any longer. But if it works? If it plays out well? If it plays out in our favor? Even if I help them in the short term, if it ultimately erases them, or even just sows chaos and discord within them? It could be worth years upon years of toil and agony. I will move slowly. I will keep this to the edges. I will not ingratiate myself with their core, only with the periphery. A step here, a greeting there, a gift here, a compliment there, but all the while being who I have always been, insulting them profusely, never letting them think I've truly changed, only that I have a side they did not know, without ever betraying myself and my truths. I can do that. Can't I? Maybe I can't. I still don't know that this is worth the risk. If I were sensible, I would put it all aside while I still can. Unfortunately, it seems I want the possible outcome of it all more than an appeal to good sense would say is reasonable. Not so bad, hm? Oh, how wrong you are. If you can be offended by someone as ludicrous as Nathandiel, I am far, far worse, because I don't use lies to cause offense. I use the truth, and it stings much harder. That in itself is a lie. I do the same as the lunatic. I use lies to provoke, to cause and abuse reactions. I'm simply less vile and more arrogant in the play. To detest all men to the point of violence and not love women in their stead is a curious place for a woman to be? I can understand it, but in my experience, such people have been rare indeed. She only thinks I'm not as bad because I offered to help her kill him if the situation should arise. And because she didn't hear what I would have said of her father after knowing the rest of the story. I never expected to end up discussing the Barov witch ever again. I hadn't even noticed the parallels-- How could I have noticed the parallels? She never informed me of them. In retrospect, those seem like important details, but also in retrospect, I actively avoided asking her connections to the victim she sent me after. I knew something was off, but I expected family or friendship, not... this. Did we kill the Barov? We must have killed the Barov. The Bronze stole this from me. We did. We did, yes? We did. How else could we have retrieved the shard? But I didn't? I wasn't there. Acherontia did it for me. I remember Karazhan. I remember the spellwork to keep her silenced and hearing only silence. I remember the intensity and the difficulty of maintaining it week after week. Wait, I was there. We did it together? I told her I would come alone and then did not. Was that how it went? There was someone else there? No, that was something else. Why can't I remember? I know why I can't remember. I hate fishing for these vague fractured memories that promise nothing. I regained some of what Ninorra did, but this is still lost. Yet... Didn't they happen at the same time? In the same...
  24. 1 point
    Warning: Mature content The air out in the Plaguelands was thick enough to taste, a pungent mixture of rotting meat and plantlife amongst a myriad of even less pleasant odors. He shuddered in revulsion and urged his dreadsteed to pick up its pace as he rode through the parched, grassy hills. The path he had chosen was not the easiest but it was less likely to draw attention from the living who had established dominion over the main roads. Even after a decade of warfare, the wilds still belonged to the dead and the diseased. The diseased were the reason that he had come in the first place. When the plague began to spread amongst the humans, the Mossflayer tribe had rejoiced. What group wouldn't be happy to see such misfortune befall a hated enemy? Yet their joy did not last as the very land they sought to reclaim turned into a spoiled prize. As the sickness spread amongst the humans, the land itself became tainted. The desperate need for untainted game drove the tribe into a trap created by the Scourge and their followers, leaving them as another casualty in the developing conflict. The tribe had fallen, but until their dying day they had lived on this doomed soil. If any spirits knew of disease and ruination, it was the trolls who had shuffled off their mortal coil here. For the hundredth time that hour alone he checked the charm he had crafted before beginning his voyage. The knucklebones had been taken from a human corpse and left to soak in a jar; in a cocktail of rotting sludge of plant matter, the venom of the local fauna, and strips of diseased flesh taken from the living dead themselves. He had vomited immediately when the bones had been withdrawn from the muck and even hours later with several layers of leather separating his skin from the stained bone he still felt unclean. It had taken him far too long to realize that that was how he knew it was working. When the charm no longer made him uncomfortable, he was getting further away from the entity he was tracking. A ring of dead trees surrounded a patch of yellowed grass that had been trampled flat with long dead firepit had been dug in the center. Surrounded by bones lying flat on their backs or sides it was easy to guess what had happened. No weapons had been drawn and there were no tracks leading back out of the area. The adventurers had simply gone to sleep, never to wake again. A chill up his spine followed by a wave of nausea left him dizzy. He had arrived at his destination and the momentary relief was soon buried beneath the dread of what came next. He knew not the name of the spirit he wished to bargain with nor did he have a piece of his target; all he had was the charm he used to sense it and what would ultimately be used to contain its blessing. The Amani trolls had a sense of superiority that could not be removed. The spirits here would surely be darkened by the magic that hung over the land like a shroud. His appeal would be blind and filled with guesswork and if that failed he would be at the mercy of the offended spirit. With that sobering thought, he set to work to prepare the area to appeal to the dead. The bones were not cleared from the campsite but repositioned until they were groveling before the firepit. The humiliation of a former enemy would have to be enough to stroke its ego. He withdrew a pair of vials from his pocket, one green and one red. The contents of the green vial were thick and bitter to the point that he had to force his mouth shut and swallow. His body reflexively tried to stop him, a survival instinct against ingesting poison. He would prove he was suffering and unwell, just like the land. He stripped down to his loincloth and reached into the ashes of the firepit. HIs black stained fingers were moist with some unknown filth that had mixed into the ashes. The combination of death and filth was perfect for his means, but it still made his flesh crawl as he painted patterns and symbols in black across his bare chest, arms, and legs. His body became a canvas telling a story of his desire to destroy, the spirit would know this and choose whether or not to make an appearance. He flicked a hand and reignited the firepit with a sickly green flame. Fel was almost universally despised, but the spirits of the land wallowed in sickness and corruption. The magic was merely another form of suffering for them to enjoy. The final piece of his performance came from his pack. Two curved, sickle-like knives with freshly sharpened edges. He held one in each hand, one in a reverse grip, the other in an upright grasp. To mark oneself was to pay tribute, to bleed was to pay tribute. The Loa would see just how far he was willing to go just to draw its attention. He would be damned if he did not make a lasating first impression. There was no need for subtelty. His dance began with a scream of pain as he drew the blade across his shoulder and drew a strip of hide away as easily as one would peel a carrot. The agony did not die with time, it only grew worse as the poison took hold. His veins were growing heavier and itched maddeningly from the inside. Every beat of his heart sent fire through his veins as Syreena's mixture began to spread. His movements were shaky as he high stepped and screamed around the circular clearing. He threw in a spin here and there as he drew the blades across his exposed skin. More bloody lines were dug across his body, more strips of flesh were pulled away and dropped onto the blood moistened earth and speckled the bones. His blood mixed with the filthy ash paint, rendering the symbols difficult to read and meaningless as they ran and smeared across his flesh. It soon became all he could do do stay upright as he throatily wailed a song without words, rhythm, or even meaning. His nonsensical verse was puncuated randomly by shouts of pain as he looked for another unmarred patch of skin to cut open. The flame rose and hissed as he flicked the blood from his blades onto it with violent motions and spins. Unbeknownst to him, the flames had begun to twist and another shadow stretched away from the light. He had practiced the dance and the motions he would take well in advance, but even if he knew the steps it became impossible to follow as his senses became dulled and his body grew weaker. The poison Syreena had given him him left him dizzy and nauseous; he should have expected such a high-quality agent from his friend. He began laughing hysterically as he realized that the one time he would have accepted someone giving him an inferior product was the one time they went above and beyond his requirements, and it was all to hurt him. His steps faltered, his legs wobbled on bones made of jelly, and soon afterwards he crashed to the ground. " Ya try too hard." An amused, wet sounding voice gurgled from behind him. It had worked! Relief washed over him, indistinguishable from the waves of nausea as he struggled to rise. He looked upon the spirit he had called and immediately fell into another fit of dry heaving with his eyes tightly shut. He had seen war, he had seen the dead, he had seen mass graves and mutilation, but the form the spirit had taken was indescribable. His reaction earned another gurgling, wet noise that was nothing short of a violation of what laughter should be. " Well little hexer, ya put on a show to call me an' I be flattered. Now ya can't even look at me? Don't have the stomach ta look upon the dead anymo?" Tahzani forced his head up with sweat stinging his eyes and blurring his vision. The hindrance made the horrid form before him barely tolerable; brown, bloated skin whose surface crawled was all he could make out. He gulped down his bile and spoke with the strongest voice he could manage, " Loa of de Mossflayah. He who embodies this blighted land. I have come to bargain." " As it has been and always will be. Ya honor the traditions calling upon the ancestors... Though ya be far away from home, Revantusk." " Dis land reflects the soul of the one I want exposed." The creature before him let out an intrigued noise and leaned forward, silently commanding him to continue. " She waves her banners and preaches ideals that she forces others to follow, but none of her army does. She be a hypocrite... A tyrant... Irredeemable scum surrounded by filth. I want her to suffer, I want her to scream an' weep, I want her fair features to mirror the rotten core dat i've seen!" " Talkin' about dirty insides, look at yaself. Ah can taste de poison in ya veins, the dirt in ya blood... De taint on jah very SOUL!" It released another gurgling mockery of amusement at the flare of anger that crossed Tahzani's features. " I can do that for ya, but what be in it for me?" The jovial attitude took on an edge of greed and an unspoken threat. If he failed to please this one, the debilitating illness he felt would be a candle to a bonfire. " Ya tribe lay dead or enslaved by de Cult a de Damned an' what remains a de Scourge in dis area. Even as we speak dere be a sect of human holy warriors workin' ta purge de lands of what remains of jah tribe." The amused air that surrounded the plague ridden being disappeared, for a moment he feared he would not get the chance to finish his statement. " Wah be comin'. De Alliance an' de Horde been workin' ta rid dis land a de Legion but it ain't gonna last, it nevah does. An' ah know someone just as eagah as jah ta see Humanity fall. Jah gimme jah blessin', an' de sickness dat brought de Mossflayah such joy can be used against jah enemies once moah. Jah gimme jah blessin' fah dis one elf, an' i'll make suah it gets ta de right people ta be spread amongst de humans. I will give jah vengeance beyond de grave." He could no longer meet the Loa's gaze and his head dropped towards the ground in a gesture of submission. His heart was laboring to beat as the blood rushed in his ears. Every pulse of the organ sent a wave of nausea through his guts and a surge of fresh pain through his blackened veins. " Half for you, half for humanity." The warning was delivered and quickly followed by a violent surge of nausea that sent him to the bloodied mud in a thrashing heap. He vaguely registered his own muffled screaming and the feeling of his heel being brought down upon the brittle skull of one of the begging skeletons. The poison in his veins no longer registered as a cold lump settled in his gut and a feeling of wrongness permeated his very being. The charm found its way to his hands once more; the knucklebones were gone, more accurately they had become part of the liquid. The unnatural, magically induced disease had reduced them to a gelatinous slurry that settled into the bottom of the vial, the amber-brown liquid had become cloudy and threaded with wisps of darker energy that squirmed and wriggled like worms made of smoke. He could taste blood and bile as he reached a violently shaking limb for his bag to grab the antidote. Even as he downed the thick, red liquid he knew that it would only take the edge off of what had become a minor pain. He dropped the empty antidote and reached for his hearthstone. " Get me outta heah..." He whispered hoarsely, invoking the spell. Within moments, he disappeared, leaving behind a sodden, bloodstained, and fel tainted campsite. ***** His skin crawled, cold and slimy in contrast to the burning dryness of his veins and throat. He squirmed on his bed in the grip of a fever dream and pleaded with the unseen as his heels dragged and kicked at the soiled sheets at the foot of the bed. The Forsaken watched him with unease. His wrists and ankles had been strapped down to prevent him from thrashing out of the sweat and blood stained bed. He was covered in maggots that had immediately taken to removing the diseased, dead flesh from around the peeled sections of hide. His wounds were inflicted by tools that had to be wrestled away from the delirious bartender before treatment could even begin. Such wounds were painful but rarely fatal for trolls, but the effects of the wound went far beyond simple bleeding. He had already sent for more maggots as several of the plump white creatures had already curled in on themselves and fallen still. The dead flesh itself seemed cursed. Tahzani's former profession was known to him but he had never witnessed the cost with his own eyes. He had been successful, the tainted trinket was proof of that and had been removed from his person to allow him to recover. Hooked up to tubes and bags of fluid, the pale, dark-veined troll was a sad sight. " Will this solve anything?" He asked the insensate troll. Feeling a dim surge of anger at the carelessness of the hexer. " Will this make either of you happy? ANYONE?" He sighed as the troll released another pathetic whimper and shuddered. The next question pierced the haze of the troll's mind. Everything he had suffered through because of her and for *her*. His ultimate reward for the act was most likely a prison cell for the rest of his days if he was not slain immediately. "Is it worth it?" Selris asked quietly. " No." Tahzani answered with a weak croak. The answer meant for a far broader question than what had been asked. The realization of what he had said sincerely was worse than the pain that left him bedridden for the rest of the night.
  25. 1 point
    Seems if she's going to do anything about anything, it will be slow. I've spent too many hours worrying about something that isn't a problem. If anything, it's the opposite. I've remembered something in these newest lost hours. I fell back into my hatred of others easily. Its warm and inviting nature called to me the moment I stepped away from the Bronze. What I did not immediately regain was the hatred of others towards me. Stormwind had it, of course, but even then, not in its old intensity. It is just as warm and inviting to have the hatred of others focused on me as it is to have my own hatred focused outwards. Perhaps I should make that my focus. I don't like puppetry, it's true. But I don't need to puppet someone to convince them I'm worthy of hatred. Even if they have no loved ones I can murder, there are other ways to make people hate. And I am at my best when everyone hates me. If she does take any steps, she'll make this happen for me. It will be... good. Eva won't fall for it. She's too much like me. She'll take it in stride and find pride in new scars. But anyone else? Anyone else can burn, and I'll pull a comfortable chair up to the fire.