Julilee

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About Julilee

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  1. Julilee's Journal

    I always knew he could be irrationally stubborn. I knew but it seemed all right, because he’d always relent, for me, when it was important to me. That was how I knew he loved me. He’d let me win. Maybe even when I didn’t deserve to. But he knew when I couldn’t accept otherwise. And that was why I loved him, because he understood, and he was willing to tolerate my stubbornness. I always knew it wasn’t fair. I always knew. I felt guilty. Even now, though, I don’t see how can I do otherwise. I believe what I believe. I’m a Commander. I wrote the oaths. This is what I’m dedicating my life to. How can I compromise? It’s not as though I can meet him halfway. But he demands it. He’s not relenting anymore. I don’t blame him, though. It’s too much to ask. It always was. Finally admitting that to myself puts so much of our relationship in a different light. The illusion is dispelled that it was working, that it was healthy. At least, that’s what it feels like. He said I didn’t value his opinion, and I don’t know what argument I can make that that’s not true in light of my choices. He’s just stopped pretending that it’s all right. I thought I returned enough. I was willing to give him my loyalty, and literally my life. I looked past his indiscretions. I reassured him that I believed in him, that he could be who he wanted to be. But what does any of that matter when in the end I always insist I be the one to make the decisions? When I demand complete control? Who can tolerate that? No one deserves to be treated that way. But I thought he understood. I thought he was willing. I thought he loved me and it was worth it to him. I guess it’s my fault for letting myself believe it, too.
  2. T'suro Sunspear (H)

    "T'suro has been a member of Sanctuary's ranks for some time. He and Shokkra used to get into it... probably more than I should have allowed. But he's grown and prospered despite all the challenges that have been in his path. I'm glad to have him in Sanctuary."
  3. Aaren Anastasis

    "Yes, she's been in Sanctuary for some time, now," Julilee says. "It surprised me a bit when she wanted to join. She'd always struck me as..." She pauses to find a diplomatic way to put it. "...An independent kind of person, who didn't need or want the rules and customs that tend to come along with large groups. Which is probably true, but I think a part of her does want it, too..." She pauses, realizing her comments have ventured into the personal. "...But everyone needs somewhere to belong. And I'm glad she's chosen us. She never complains, and she never gives up."
  4. Baern Ashtotem

    "I remember when I first met him," Julilee says after a moment. "In the tavern in the Draenor garrison, one busy night. Kex'ti had suggested to him that he make a home in Sanctuary. He wasn't quite sure if he'd be welcomed. He was very upfront about his Grimtotem ties." She reflects, having not thought about this for some time, and holding it in new context now after all the time and events that had passed since then. In the end, she just offers a few more words of opinion. "He's not the type to waste words or time. He just wants to get the job done. He can come across as brusque, but if you understand that his priorities lie with not letting others down, that shouldn't bother you."
  5. Cobrak

    Years later, Juli is asked about Cobrak again. This time, her response is different. "He and I don't see eye to eye on a lot of things, and for that reason a lot of people think I shouldn't trust him, much less like him." She doesn't mention her husband is one of Cobrak's more vociferous objectors in that regard. "But there are few people in this life that I know exactly how far I can trust, and he's one of them." Her eyebrows rise slightly. "How far is that? That's between him and me."
  6. Sorel Crescentsong (A)

    "Sorel?" Juli gives the person inquiring an evaluating look, as she does when she's trying to decide how much to say. She chooses her words cautiously, aiming for honesty but political politeness. "I wasn't a good leader when I first restarted Sanctuary. I still have a long ways to go, too. What I do know is this. Being a leader means listening when people speak, but it also means carrying on when you know what's right, regardless of what anyone says. When do you know what's right, though, and when you should listen to others?" She shrugs. "That's a distinction only experience teaches how to make."
  7. Mardalius Anterius, Battlemage Extraordinaire

    "Mardalius," Julilee says, consideringly. Her gaze moves to the person inquiring, obviously debating how honest to be with them, but not for the reasons one might assume. As it turns out, whoever it is invites her confidence and honesty. "He's... eager to prove himself," she says finally. "He's a very resilient person. I understand he grew up in trying circumstances, though you wouldn't know it by the way he carries himself. Very confident, very capable, doesn't hesitate or overthink things. But sometimes he overreacts to threats..." She pauses. "Someone less scrupulous would probably be able to manipulate him easily." She shakes her head. "But he'll always come back to the right path, I think."
  8. Syreena

    Julilee's eyes narrow into a flinty gaze at mention of the rogue's name. "She is one of the few people I believe deserve to die."
  9. Julilee's Journal

    A week ago It’s been weeks but I still find myself thinking about it. Naheal. How could he just show up at my doorstep with the slate wiped clean, completely ignorant of everything he’d done? I don’t care if it’s unfair to him, whatever version of him that was, it makes me angry. Especially suggesting as he did that he found the things the Naheal that we all knew did objectionable. Like he wouldn’t do the same under the same circumstances. He is him. And as far back as when we were children he always had this in him. It took me a long time to realize, and longer to understand, but he always did. In any case, I made clear that I wasn’t interested in having him in my life again. He left. I haven’t heard anything since. But now I feel on edge about it. I thought he was gone. I mean, I knew he’d been called back to service with the Bronze Dragonflight, and that didn’t mean gone gone. But... more gone than this. Whatever this maddening state of events is. Hopefully nothing will change, though. Kex’ti said he needed to go to Argus. He’d been staying out of action for awhile. I told him of course I wouldn’t stand in his way. I would never ask him to stop fighting, regardless of his health. He wouldn’t ask me either. As I told him before we went to the swamp... It’s not likely we’re going to live to a ripe old age anyway, not with the conflicts Azeroth regularly sees. We both hope for the best after the Legion is defeated, and we hope the Legion will be defeated, but for now, live like there’s no tomorrow, because there may not be. I’ve been busy working with Shokkra to track and outmaneuver Karthok. I’ve made a plan with Gunheya from Coldstar to free the demon hunter who has Accalia’s power from his grasp. Her name is Kalisto, and Gunheya seems sure she’ll be on our side once she’s freed. I just need to identify a time I’m sure she’ll be away from Karthok, as we learned from Twilight Empire’s excursion into Tirisfal that he definitely sends her away at times to accomplish things for him. Careless. Or maybe just arrogant. Or maybe he has a plan. He probably expects us to strike at him, though, not her. I’m betting a lot on this, but it’s vital. Karthok is nearly unstoppable with Accalia’s power on top of his other powers from the fel and the Old Gods, not to mention all his resources... We’ll do it. We have to. Sanctuary has been working a lot with Twilight Empire and Night Vanguard to counter Karthok. There have been others too who have been willing to help, like Rhaen, Kejala, and Yocelyn. Sanctuary isn’t the only place where there are people willing to make sacrifices for the good of others. I’ve never forgotten that, but it’s always heartening to see. I still haven’t told Shokkra about my plans for her. Right now she’s doing great dealing with the Karthok problem. I’m not sure she’ll understand. But if nothing else, after this, she needs a break. This might be the only thing keeping her going, but that’s not healthy. She needs to find the will within herself to be the person she wants to be. I wish more people would see in her what I do. It affects her more than she lets on when people dislike her or write her off. Who wouldn’t it affect, really? Heroes in stories aside, no one is really capable of believing in themselves if no one else does. Everyone has to start somewhere, a parent, a best friend, a lover. Someone to give them that seed of hope that they can then nurture into self-esteem. I’m trying to encourage her, but she has to take heart in it. I can’t do that for her. Lots of thoughts to gather. I think I’m doing okay handling everything. There was awhile where I doubted my ability to handle it all. Losing Taozhu... almost put me back there. I still miss him so much. He had been with me, with Sanctuary, through thick and thin. But now I’m just more determined to end Karthok. There will be no mercy. He has proven unworthy of it. The world has proven we can’t afford to give him any. For Taozhu, for Kanda, for everyone he’s hurt, he will pay.
  10. [ H ] Sanctuary

    Sanctuary and friends are 9/9 N ToS and 4/9 H ToS with more to come. We have two raid nights a week, with one focused on progression and the other on alts or prior expansion raids. In addition, many members run Mythic+ groups and other in-game activities. Meanwhile, there continues to be RP every day on Discord. Speak to any member or an officer if you're interested in joining!
  11. Mardalius strolled out into the gardens. They were beautifully manicured, and glowing lampposts illuminated the area very well, growing brighter as the sun finished setting. The warm later afternoon was turning into a sultry evening that continued to be pleasant for outdoor socialization. Right outside the side exit from the ballroom was an open area where tables had been set up with food and drink, where most of the guests who were outside were milling, and several paths wound off through taller hedges and statuary arrangements. To one side there appeared to be a cleared space that, if Mardalius wasn’t mistaken, appeared to be reserved for duels, judging by the two attendants with cases standing nearby. He straightened his coat and looked around, considering where to begin and scrutinizing the area for illusions, only to be accosted immediately. “You! Boy! Are you an Anterius?!” It was a human man who called out to him, squinting at the sigil on Mardalius’ coat. Appearing to be an old soldier, the man wore traditional Stormwind military dress attire with his medals pinned to his chest and the rank of General on his collar. His hair was cut clean and short, his beard trimmed for the occasion, though he didn’t look too excited to be there. A younger man who could only be his son stood beside him. With a large beard, the sides and back of his hair shaved to keep a short cut on top, proud leonine features and a muscular build, the younger man embodied the image of the perfect Alliance soldier. It was enough to make the elven-tending Mardalius feel slightly inadequate. Nonetheless, he approached confidently. “Yes, sir. I’m Mardalius, Margoz Anterius’ son,” he said with a bow. “I take it you know my father?” “Comrades for as long as it lasts in times like these.” He extended his hand. “Josef Morozov, Son of Lothar.” The younger man stepped forward. “And this is my son, Ivan.” Mardalius took Josef’s hand firmly, shaking it briefly, then Ivan’s. “A pleasure to meet you both. I can’t help but notice your rank and honors, General. A prestigious career, and your son seems poised to follow in your footsteps.” “He’s a damn good soldier, sure as hell better than I ever was.” Josef grins, clapping his son on the back. Ivan just nodded politely and said, with gravitas, “Thank you, I’ve only done what I’ve felt was right for the Alliance.” “Sometimes, all it takes is the right man, in the right place, at the right time,” Mardalius said with a companionable smile. “Would you gentlemen care to join me for a glass of wine?” He beckoned them along as he started towards the wine table. It seemed to him that getting to know these two better couldn’t hurt. “Wouldn’t mind a couple. Get the taste of Horde air from my mouth,” Josef grunted. Mardalius choose one of the impressive wines on display on the table and procured three glasses. Once all three men had their drinks, he raised his glass. “To House Morozov, and House Anterius. May glory and honor shine on both.” The other men concurred, and Mardalius drank, savoring the wine for a moment before deciding where to go with the conversation. “So, what brings two honored Alliance soldiers to a Shal’dorei wedding, especially one attended by so many members of the Horde?” “I insisted my father come. It’s time he added more temperament to his life than his hate,” Ivan said. He turned to begin strolling, and the other two followed, Josef with a snort. “They took too much from me to make it up now. Nothing the Horde could do to redeem themselves, especially after getting King Wrynn killed.” Mardalius smiled agreeably, but stated none of his own opinions. “I see. And what of Argus? The last I heard, that was a joint operation. Some things are too big, too important for Azeroth to be divided on. Surely, General, there is some way the Horde could find redemption.” As they walked, he let his gaze move around them, ostensibly admiring the scenery, but in reality on the lookout for illusions. However, nothing was not as it seemed, including the two men with whom he conversed. The gardens were innocuous. “I’ll rely on the Army of the Light and my own soldiers for that, they’re preparing for it as we speak. Trusting the Horde to put their faith in the Light, or the Illidari…” Josef shook his head and took another sip as they continued strolling. “The heathens that created warlocks and death knights are not trustworthy creatures.” “I think you would find that the Horde today is very different from those of old, the likes that created Gorefiend.” Mardalius sipped his wine before continuing, “And what of the Shal’dorei? Are they trustworthy, General?” Josef wiped his mouth and turned down a path away from the hedges, into a slightly less maintained area of the gardens. There was a shed up ahead, and the path curved back around to the party area. “They’re dangerous, but Thalryssa and her advisors are good people. So long as she keeps her people in check, they’re fine in my book.” It didn’t sound like much motivation for disrupting a wedding, but Mardalius kept probing to be sure. “I see. Are you gentlemen acquainted with the groom, to have been invited this evening? He appeared to be a military man.” “We are,” Ivan said. He tucked the back of his suit down as though he were used to something being there. “We worked with him to quell the loyalist resistance.” Near the shed there appeared to be an exit from the gardens that looked like it was used by staff rather than guests. Mardalius began to wonder why they had brought him this direction. “A servant’s entrance? I hope this means one of you paid off a man to sneak in some good Lordaeron bourbon.” Both of them followed his gaze as though they hadn’t realized it was there. “Thought this was the way to the bathrooms…” Josef grunted. Ivan paused by the entrance, beside the shed. There were several boxes there that looked recently deposited. It was his father, however, who moved over and opened one to see what was inside. The old soldier took out a small bottle and sniffed it, then said, “Shit.” The scent wafted toward Mardalius from the open box. He smelled something he recognized from his father’s collection – a common kind of poison, one that had a strong scent, but no flavor. It could be put in aromatic food or drink and go undetected. There was another scent, too, he couldn’t quite place. He moved forward to open another box. “A dagger?” he said as he found one that had been left behind. “How did these things get smuggled past the guards?” He began looking around intently, sure something was going on. “Might’ve gotten paid off, might’ve killed ’em.” Josef said. He took out a rag and sniffed it. “Smells like oil for crossbow strings.” “We should probably tell security. We could prevent a tragedy, gentlemen.” He no longer believed the men were up to something. They seemed as disturbed by the find as he. Ivan nodded, lightly pulling his father up from the boxes. “You’re right. I’ll go alert security. Father, you go back to the gardens so it doesn’t look suspicious.” He looked to Mardalius. “You should go tell your friends about this.” It seemed Sanctuary’s presence here hadn’t gone unnoticed. “Indeed,” Mardalius said. “You gentlemen stay safe; the Legion likely has targets painted on your backs for the work you did digging them out of Suramar.” He headed back toward the ballroom to find Julilee.
  12. The wedding director, whom Shokkra had somehow identified, appeared to be fawning over a bard at the edge of the dance floor, an area where some additional mingling was happening. At least Aaren guessed the person the director was fawning over was a bard because of the heavy instrument case slung over her shoulder. Both were Nightborne, and exceptionally good-looking ones. If you liked that type. Aaren watched for awhile, until the two parted ways, and the director turned to look over the dance floor. The bride and the groom were taking their turn in a carefully choreographed piece with artfully romantic string music played by a host of other bards who were set up on the stage at the back of the room. The stage was almost unnoticeable, a small raised area about half-height to and directly across from the lofted banquet area, above the doorway everyone had come in through from the ceremony, but Aaren paid attention to such things. The director’s name was Laerye, or so Shokkra had told her. She had long hair arranged in three braids, looped elaborately. And she watched the bridal couple. Since Aaren was observing closely, she noticed that when the dance ended, the bride shot the director a strange glance before announcing she was going to go freshen up and departing for upstairs. It could mean anything, but it could also mean one thing. Aaren approached the director after that and offered one of the glasses of sparkling wine. “You’ve certainly outdone yourself. A beautiful union and ceremony. You are the director, yes? I am looking to begin planning my own wedding.” Laerye, the director, chuckled as she let her gaze drift lazily over the priestess. She took the offered glass and drank. “Shame to see one like you settling down,” she said. “Oh, I never settle, down or otherwise,” Aaren replied. “But there are reasons to get married besides that, no? I’m sure this bride and groom are similar in that way.” Laerye’s mouth twisted. “Of course,” she said. “Nobility.” She tossed back the rest of the glass then looked Aaren up and down again, this time with a more jaded, if still shameless, kind of eye, as she put her glass down on a nearby surface. “Would you care for a dance? The floor seems to have cleared up for a few more couples.” Aaren took a last sip of her glass and set it aside. She offered her hand with a smile. “That would be lovely, dear.” Laerye effortlessly took the lead as they stepped out onto the floor, joined by several others as the music began again. A waltz was a waltz in any culture and Aaren moved nimbly enough to more than keep up. Laerye’s lips curved in approval. “It’s good to see our distant cousins still know how to dance,” she says. “I’d go so far as to say we’d perfected it,” Aaren said, with disguising blandness meant to be seen right through, which Laerye did. The director grinned in approval. “So do you want help with your wedding? Or something before that?” Laerye said. Several minutes later, Laerye had gotten them past the guards and into a room on the upper level. Aaren paused inside the doorway as Laerye moved over to the mantle for a glass decanter. “Now what would Celene think of this?” Aaren said daringly. Laerye snorted. “You’ve heard of how she dumped me to marry Gaspard, then? She’d be in a tizzy if she heard about me sneaking up here with a blood elf in the middle of her wedding.” She smirked as she poured them two glasses. Aaren stepped inside, letting the door close behind her. “But what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her,” Laerye concluded, holding one of the glasses out. Aaren moved forward to take the glass, cupping it in both hands. It smelled of peat, like the stuff Juli drank. “What else doesn’t she know?” Aaren inquired. Laerye stepped up to Aaren, touching her glass to the other woman’s with a soft clink. “A lot of things,” she said, and drank. Aaren followed suit. The stuff was bitter, but she was used to it. “Since I’m just going to be a one-night stand, you should tell me, and I’ll tell you a secret,” Aaren said. Laerye looked at her speculatively. “Is there something I should tell you?” she says. “Or are you better off not knowing, too?” “I’m sure I could handle anything you’re capable of doing,” Aaren said, drinking some more from the glass. Laerye’s lips parted in a grin. “I wouldn’t be so sure.” The booze was starting to hit Aaren, and it was hitting hard. Too hard, actually. “Shit,” she muttered. “I like your style, beautiful, so I’ll leave you alive. But you can’t be allowed to interfere with tonight.” The glass dropped out of Aaren’s hand, hitting the carpet with a thunk, and she almost followed suit except that Laerye caught her. As darkness swallowed her, she heard Laerye say, “Such a shame, you seemed like such fun…”
  13. Sitting through the ceremony while trying to keep Mardalius and Sorel focused on the Karthok threat and not each other had not been fun. Once the ceremony was over, the three of them had decided to split up. Julilee would go up to the banquet area, Sorel would stay down in the ballroom area, and Mardalius would go out to the gardens which was another designated milling area for guests during the reception. Julilee wasn’t sure where Shokkra and Aaren had disappeared to in the crowd, but was sure they’d be keeping their eyes open as well. Julilee took a glass of sparkling drink that one of the attendants pressed on her, but didn’t drink from it. She wanted to keep her senses completely sharp. She glanced at the impressive spread of food with the gorgeous cake centerpiece, but didn’t help herself to that either. She didn’t have much of an appetite, and kept her gaze roaming over the other guests. A Nightborne man with a drink in either hand happened to be nearby. He had small spectacles on his nose and seemed to be at a bit of a loss. As they noticed each other, it became required to acknowledge each other. “Good evening, m’lady,” he said generously. “Did I hear from the herald that you were a Commander? There seem to be a few in attendance tonight.” “Yes, of Sanctuary, a guild of the Horde,” Julilee responded. She fiddled with her drink. “Julilee Liene.” “Haronne du Wistelin. It is a pleasure. I have heard the tale of Sanctuary’s saving of Shal’Aran. Is it true one of yours rode a beast into the sky to allow a mana bomb to explode harmlessly?” That made Juli smile, with pride. “Yes, Arahe is her name. She barely survived, and her wyvern too.” “Very noble, as matches what I have heard of Sanctuary,” he said. “My date is a member of another noble guild, Twilight Empire…” That got her attention. Hearing that was more than welcome news. “Who are they? Where are they?” she asked immediately. “Errr…” he said, taken aback. “Her name is Jaelantia. You are familiar with Twilight Empire, then? Hopefully not in an adverse capacity? They are of that Alliance faction…” “Not adverse at all,” Julilee assured him. “Sanctuary and Twilight are fast allies. I’d like to introduce myself to her… I assume she’ll be along shortly?” She noted the two drinks he was carrying. “One can hope,” he said with a weak chuckle, casting his gaze over the crowd. There was a dark-skinned human man standing nearby who seemed to be waiting for something, but who appeared to have taken an interest in their dialogue. Having obviously noticed him in return, Julilee felt obligated to include him in the conversation. “Hello,” she said at a diplomatic minimum. He grunted with vague discomfort. “Evening. Uh, fine dress you have there.” The clumsy compliment amused Julilee a little. A certain lack of eloquence was refreshing in situations like these. “Thank you.” “I heard you mention the Twilight Empire. As it happened, I’m a member myself. Fairly new. But, still a member.” His words were awkward, a bit stumbling, but sharpened her interest considerably nonetheless. “Oh, are you?” Julilee said. “What brings you here?” If there was more than one Twilight Empire person here, perhaps they’d been warned of a threat, as well. Reuvan would have been wise to not count on Sanctuary coming. They almost hadn’t, after all. “Invitation,” the man grunted, then sought to clarify in embarrassment. “I mean, I was invited. By a friend of… one of the families.” “Ah, I see,” Julilee said. She was about to introduce herself, but Haronne perked up then. He had spotted a set of polished horns above the crowd. “Ah, there she is! Jaelantia!” “I apologize, Haronne, I… ah, who is this?” the draenei said as she arrived. She looked at Julilee, then the human man. “Julilee Liene, Commander of Sanctuary,” Julilee introduced herself. “I understand you’re a member of Twilight Empire as well?” Jaelantia seemed to follow what Julilee meant by the ‘as well’, glancing toward the human man with a smile and a hint of recognition. “Sanctuary,” she repeated. “Ah, yes, I am! I am Jaelantia of the Twilight Empire… Good, Sanjay, there are a few of us here tonight, it seems.” “I wasn’t expecting to see a draenei tonight. I wasn’t sure if your kind celebrated marriages, what with the lack of surnames and all,” the human man, Sanjay, said. He looked like he regretted his words immediately. Jaelantia didn’t seem offended; in fact, she might have stifled a laugh. Haronne offered her one of the drinks and she took it. “Ah, thank you so much, Haronne.” She put the wine to her lips and drank politely before turning back to Juli. “Coincidentally – I needed to speak with you, a moment, Julilee. There is a demon hunter here who is also of our order. She urgently would like to make your acquaintance.” She frowned as she said this, seemingly signifying the seriousness of this urgent need. “I would love to,” Julilee said firmly. Haronne looked back and forth between the two females, obviously figuring out that something was going on, and beginning to look a little put out. Jaelantia drank deeply of the wine, then leaned in to Haronne and spoke in a quiet, reassuring tone, her words not quite audible to the others. Then she gently pressed her lips to his cheek and smiled. Haronne flushed. “Of course,” he murmured back. “Just let me know how I may be of assistance…” “You have done me a world of favors by bringing me here in the first place, Haronne. I promise I will be back soon.” Jaelantia set the empty glass on the refreshment table, and turned back to Julilee. “I think she is here, in the ballroom as well. We should join with her as soon as we can. Would you like to accompany us?” she asked Sanjay. Sanjay looked almost torn. “I am waiting on my dance partner. She’s speaking with some friends, but she’s expecting me to stay where I am. I’d rather not force her to search for me.” He turned to Julilee and said, “My name is Sanjay, by the way. It was… good to meet you, Julilee.” “I suppose I’ll head to the gardens, then,” Haronne said, with almost-concealed disappointment. He hesitated a bare moment longer, then departed. “This is important,” Julilee said to Sanjay. She lowered her voice. “There is a threat to this wedding.” Sanjay frowned. “What sort of threat?” he said distractedly. It wasn’t the level of cooperation Julilee was hoping for from a member of Twilight Empire. She glanced at Jaelantia, who was frowning. “A threat on someone’s life,” Jaelantia said. “We have a duty to act.” It seemed Twilight Empire did know something of the threat, although Julilee didn’t know the circuitous route that information had followed. She was about to say something herself when Sorel arrived with a demon hunter, or more accurately, the demon hunter did with him in tow. “Liene, Hervor here was looking for you,” he said by way of introduction. Julilee had noticed the demon hunter during the ceremony, looking around suspiciously, and seated next to Reuvan. It made sense, now. She looked up at the demon hunter, Hervor, who was considerably taller than she, and nodded. “Is this everyone from Twilight Empire who’s here?” she asked. “We should speak.” “No, we have one more,” Hervor said. “Niala, an arcanist and beast master… Though I don’t believe she brought any of her animal friends tonight. I heard Sanctuary is here to stop an assassination plot. We’re ready to give our full cooperation.” Julilee glanced around. It was a risk speaking to them like this. She had to act casual, and the best way to do that at the moment seemed to be to take a sip of her drink. It was stronger than she expected and she grimaced in regret before speaking quietly. “Yes. Sanctuary is tracking a nefarious criminal named Karthok, and sources indicated he had taken an interest in disrupting this event. Unfortunately, no specifics were discovered. I tried alerting them…” She sighed. “They refused to believe he was a significant enough threat to warrant canceling, or even much worry.” She was quiet for a moment, looking down into her drink as she considered what else to say, then spoke even more quietly. “Karthok has killed two Sanctuary members and is meddling with the Legion, and a mad Ancient bent on destroying all life on Azeroth.” Jaelantia’s frown deepened. “So there is a possible agent of the Burning Legion who seeks to disrupt the harmony this union represents.” “Liene reached out to my order to aid them in dealing with this madman, but so far he has not extended his wrath our way,” Sorel said. “Well, it’s a good thing we all found each other then,” Hervor said. She took a drink from an attendant who came by and waited until he had departed before continuing. “If he’s meddled with fel power, my Sight may prove useful. Any idea why this event would interest him? Is there someone of note here?” “He sows chaos, dissent, and despair wherever he can,” Julilee said. “He simply enjoys it, and it makes everyone and everything easier for him to work with. Stirring up unrest in Suramar of any kind with the Legion right over our heads would be right up his alley.” Hervor’s brow twitched. “So everyone here is at risk…” The idea seemed to bother her immensely. “It’s certainly harder if there’s no clear motive. We’ll have to spread our net as wide as we can.” “Exactly,” Julilee said. “We shouldn’t speak long. I’m doubtlessly being watched, as are the three I brought with me.” “I’ve been watching for traps and illusions all night already,” Sorel said with simmering frustration. “So far I’ve not picked up on anything.” Sanjay seemed tense, but distracted. He drifted back from the group. “I am sorry, but I’m afraid I cannot be of much help. I cannot disappoint my companion.” Abruptly, a night elf in purple and sky-blue robes appeared. She grabbed Hervor’s hand, beckoning her. “You need to come check this out, it’s hilarious,” she exclaimed. “Jaelantia, you too.” Hervor gave the newcomer a sour look. “I’m not quite in the mood for comedy, Niala…” Jaelantia was looking toward Sanjay, whose date, a Nightborne female, had arrived and was giggling at him. “If you see anything, please try and let one of us know as soon as possible,” she said to him. Sanjay didn’t respond as he and his date walked off. Julilee looked back at the group as Niala let out a light chuckle and looked Hervor dead in the fireorbs. “Seriously. You’ll love it. I know it. Come on. Come take a look. You’ll love it, I’m sure.” Jaelantia, who had been frowning, opened her eyes wide in sudden comprehension. “Go see whatever it is. Tell me about it. I love a good laugh.” Juli would have stayed to figure out what was going on, but just then Aaren arrived. They couldn’t all afford to be seen talking together. “Nice meeting you,” Julilee said loudly, and moved away, bringing Aaren with her. “They’re all allies,” she said to the priestess once they were in a different part of the banquet area. It had grown much noisier as more of the guests partook of food and drink, and easier for them to talk. “Twilight Empire. They’ve been alerted. One from Night Vanguard, too, another ally.” Sorel, seemingly abandoned, had petulantly moved off somewhere. Aaren took a deep breath. “I can try pressing the director for information, or do we have another plan?” Julilee considered. “The director should know everyone here. Especially the bride and groom. It’s their wedding; they must be significant. So that’s a good idea. Can you find out what you can about them?” Then, something else occurred to her, along with a wave of foreboding. “…Have you seen Shokkra lately?” Aaren nodded and turned. “She said she would chat up the crowd, pointed the director out to me.” She gestured in a direction. “Do you want me to find her first?” “No, I will. Let me know if you find out anything that seems important.” They two parted ways, Aaren scooping up two glasses of wine as she went. An attendant stopped Juli. “Refill, m’lady?” he asked. Juli realized she had drained her glass at some point, and reluctantly allowed it to be replaced. Need to pay more attention… she thought. There were going to be a great many things to pay attention to, and she couldn’t afford to miss any.
  14. It had been a lovely ceremony, but Jaelantia was quite ready for it to be over by the time the last of the wedding party had finally retreated back down the aisle. The party was apparently headed to another part of the grounds to partake in the newest wedding fad – goblin photography – while the rest of the guests would be shepherded into the ballroom. She clapped politely and endured until she could finally stand up and join the throng headed inside. The draenei paladin was more suited to the field than the social scene, though she could comport herself well enough, and itched to get on with things. It didn’t help that folks had seemed strangely tense before and during the ceremony. She had seen the short-haired blood elf haul the night elf off to the side in the courtyard for some sort of urgent conversation. Then, there had been several people seemingly looking around warily during the ceremony itself. Those same two elves, plus a demon hunter in the back, and another two blood elves and an orc too. All of them non-Nightborne, but their actions seemed more than just a discomfort born from a possible feeling of being out of place. Yet they made such a strange combination of individuals. Jaelantia couldn’t figure out what it meant, if anything, and it bothered her. The tension made her arm act up, a cramp running through her shoulder. She winced and rubbed it absently. Unfortunately, her very attentive date noticed. “Are you injured?” he asked with concern. Haronne du Wistelin was a Nightborne fellow of that middling elven age, neither old nor young. He had long hair tied back in a ponytail and wore small spectacles on his nose, giving him a scholarly appearance. His fine dark vest and pants with bowtie over a white shirt complemented Jaelantia’s own attire, which was an elaborate white dress with gold and blue trim. Her lower legs and hooves were wrapped in fine ribbon, and long white gloves covered both arms up to the shoulder, where the dress covered the remainder. Her hair was drawn up, bunched behind her head, and then allowed to cascade the rest of the way over her shoulders. Even her horns had been polished. It had been a lot of effort, and she wasn’t sure it was going to be worth it at this rate. “No, no, I am fine,” she said. “It is… simply a war wound which has been left slightly tender. Sometimes it flares up when the atmospheric pressure changes.” Or a host of other reasons, she thought to herself, but she left it at that. “It is no concern. Just a mild cramp.” “Ah, my aunt has a marvelous tincture for aches, or so she claims,” Haronne said. “I’ll have to send you some.” “That would be most appreciated,” she lied, turning her attention to the fore of the gathering. They were about to enter the ballroom/banquet hall. “Would you be willing to fetch us both a drink when we get inside?” she asked. “I would like to find a mirror and ensure my hair is the way I left it when we arrived.” “Absolutely,” Haronne said. She let go of his arm as they stepped inside. Immediately through the doors at the rear of the manor was the grand ballroom, extravagant to the extreme. Furnished with only the most expensive of materials, the room had been colored in shades of blue and hints of gold, rich drapes ensconcing the windows that showcased Suramar’s nobility in stained glass. A grand staircase landed on both ends of the ballroom floor that moved up to a lofted upper level where the guests could gossip and comment on the intrigue delivered to them. Guards were at all the doors, carrying traditional dress blades, while not another weapon was in sight. The lower floor appeared reserved for dancing, while the upper lofted area held room for socializing, as well as tables full of exotic and delectable food. Servants circulated, offering guests sparkling drinks. As they entered, a herald by the door holding a long scroll announced their names. “Archivist Haronne du Wistelin and escort Jaelantia!” More ready than ever to escape, Jaelantia looked around and spied a doorway to one side that looked promising. However, as she moved away, she noticed someone nearby. It was the demon hunter she’d seen looking around warily during the ceremony. Instinct made Jaelantia act. She approached and gently touched the demon hunter’s shoulder. “Excuse me,” she pardoned herself. “It was a lovely ceremony, was it not?” She smiled warmly, trying to keep worry from her eyes. Unfortunately, she had not quite lost Haronne. The man had started to move away, only to pause when Jaelantia stopped to strike up a conversation. He hovered nearby politely, not wanting to rudely leave as small talk was being exchanged. However, he leaned back ever so slightly from the demon hunter, despite his efforts to be polite. It was only to be expected, considering his people’s recent trauma at the hands of the Legion, Jaelantia supposed. However, she didn’t have much opportunity to reflect on such things, as the demon hunter all but jumped at her touch and whipped around to face her. “Yes it… It was…” The demon hunter let out a breath. “I apologize for being short, but was there something you needed?” Jaelantia frowned and shook her head. “No, I am sorry to bother you. I thought perhaps I recognized you,” she lied again. She couldn’t keep the concern entirely off her face. “I simply wanted to remark on what a lovely ceremony it was… that everything seemed to go well? And nothing was out of place?” She forced a smile again. “…Y…Yes, I supp—” Just then, the crier announced another name. “Julilee Liene, Commander of Sanctuary!” It was the short-haired blood elf who had hauled the night elf off for a hurried conversation earlier who had entered. The demon hunter’s attention snapped that way. “They rehearsed it for weeks, or so I understand,” Haronne chuckled, oblivious. “Hervor!” said a night elf who approached in pretty purple and cerulean regalia right at that moment. “You’ve changed… when did you get the uh… fel stuff?” The demon hunter, Hervor’s, attention was forced back to the immediate vicinity. “…Ah! Niala! I’m glad to see another member of the Empire… Listen, I’ll tell you all about it, but first I need to find some members of Sanctuary…” She stepped closer to the other night elf and whispered something to her. Jaelantia started. “Another member of the – ah, of course! We haven’t met after all, but I’ve heard your name. I am Jaelantia, also of the… Empire…” Her expression sank again as the more private exchange carried on. Something really was going on. Haronne looked back and forth between the two whispering and Jaelantia. He cleared his throat slightly. “Associates of yours?” he asked. Jaelantia smiled apologetically at Haronne. “Oh, forgive me, Haronne. We seem to be comrades under the same banner… I did not expect to find any here.” Hervor’s ears perked up as she looked back toward Jaelantia. “Seems I have more allies here than I thought. Come with me…” She grabbed both Jaelantia and Niala by the wrist and began walking off to the side with them. “Err, I’ll go fetch our drinks,” Haronne offered as he was left behind. “J-Just girl talk,” Jaelantia explained as was pulled away. “I will rejoin you shortly!” Once they had moved away from the entrance and the bulk of the crowd, Niala said, “I knew something was wrong the moment the guards wouldn’t even let me have my staff to help conjure all the arcwine and the cake. No one bans magic in a city of mages unless they’re trying to kill the mage. I might just be paranoid, but from the moment I entered, it felt off.” “Is something truly amiss, then?” Jaelantia whispered. Hervor let go of their wrists. “I don’t know if they’re aiming to kill any mages, Niala. It sounds more like the newlyweds. Why else choose a wedding? That’s just speculation, but I’ve been given a disturbing tip that something dangerous may indeed be going down here.” The demon hunter folded her arms, one black claw scratching a bit at her skin. “Apparently it’s the reason a group called Sanctuary is here. I think we should find them, hook up with them, and help solve this little issue before anyone gets hurt.” Jaelantia sighed. “So there is a danger here, possibly blended into the rest of the guests, or the wedding party itself – but they are waiting until after the ceremony? Perhaps it is somebody already within the manor itself. Whatever the case… we must combine our efforts, as you said.” Niala nodded once to Hervor, speaking for clarification. “I meant any of the guests. Most of them are mages. That’s all I meant. I’ll keep an eye out. Just...” A second copy of Niala walked up to the group, smiling at the two. “Don’t get worried when you see two of me. They are both me. I’ll look about the party. Long story. Magic involving my soul. Doesn’t seem to be blocked here.” Hervor nodded, seemingly accepting this without question. “Sanctuary may know more about what’s going on. I heard the commander’s name, Julilee. I’m going to go search for her… I caught a glance just before she went out of sight. I suppose of the three of us, I’ll be the easiest to pick out of a crowd… Come to me if you find out anything, okay?” “You may be the first to draw attention from our possible assassin, I hate to say,” Jaelantia said. “I will keep my eyes peeled and let you know the moment I find something. They did not make me surrender my guildstone, after all.” “I’d rather they come after me. I’m quite a bit hardier than I used to be.” Hervor cracked her knuckles, the light of her eyes flaring up, then looked to one of the Nialas. “I’ll be in the ballroom. Perhaps each of you should take another area... I’ll let you figure it out. For now, I need to get back right away… Good luck.” With that, she turned, and moved quite speedily back toward the entrance where Julilee had been. Jaelantia turned to the Nialas. “Well… I will see if I can enter the upper level of the manor. The two… or however many… of you, perhaps keep an eye in other areas as well.” With that, she turned toward the doorway which looked like it led to the upper levels. The two Nialas walked off in separate directions, wading into the crowd a ways before one of her copies veered back off to the kitchen. The other exited the room headed toward what looked like the foyer at the front of the manor. Unfortunately, Jaelantia was denied entry to the upper levels. “Wedding party only, ma’am,” the guards said. “Guests may refresh themselves in the designated area by the banquet.” Not having any other particular ideas, Jaelantia went up to the banquet area as directed. Of course, who should be encounter there but… “Ah, there she is! Jaelantia!” came Haronne’s voice. Jaelantia stifled a sigh and turned toward her date, only to find him standing with the short-haired blood elf – Julilee.
  15. Niala was directed to enter the manor and take the stairs down to the servants’ level as the rest of the guests began heading toward the ceremony. She had a lot of work to do before it ended, but she didn’t intend to miss it. The kitchens proved to be hustling and bustling as the main courses were being prepared, timed to be done as the ceremony ended. There was shouting and a couple of fires at this point. Niala surveyed it all and peered around, trying to find the head chef. Just then, a burly Nightborne in a stained chef’s apron with short-style hair threw a dirty pot at a scurrying servant and shouted, “WHERE’S THE LAMB SAUCE?!” It seemed to signify some sort of authority, so Niala approached hastily. “Pardon. I’m supplying the arcwine and the cake. Are there any powerful foci I can use? If not, I need about a twelve-foot square area for preparation. Please keep staff away from it. The guards refused to let me bring my staff in to focus my magic, so unless we have a powerful focus, it will be dangerous. Hurry or they won’t have their cake by the end of the ceremony!” The burly elf looked Niala up and down. “You’re the cake and arcwine provider? Take that rat bastard’s spot, whose meat was so rare, I COULD’VE USED IT AS A PILLAR OF CREATION!” He pointed to the station in the corner which had been quickly vacated by the pot-struck elf. Niala took her spot at the station without further ado and set to work. With a muttered word of power, a light blue wall of energy formed around the area. The arcane protective field would ensure that she could call upon massive amounts of energy without it splashing onto anyone else. Next, she formed energy into a needle-like spire, and thrust it downward. From it, mana began to well, drawn up from the leylines that ran underneath the estate. When she had gathered enough and it thoroughly permeated the space inside the field, she spun it into use. Instantly, she became a blur of motion, such that there appeared to be no less than three of her within the field, making an assembly line of wine. One was busy conjuring, the other was filling up bottles, and the last was popping out of the barrier to place them on a long empty table by the doorway leading up to the ballroom. In this fashion she conjured several dozens of bottles of arcwine in just a few, though very long-seeming, minutes. Throughout, the kitchen staff moved around Niala’s production line, swiveling and limboing underneath the bottles with platters of food destined for upstairs. The head chef continued shouting obscenities at the servants and cooking up a storm of entrees and appetizers the world had never seen nor would see ever again. And nearby, a blood elf that was handling the regular wines paused to study her movements and magic interestedly. Once she was done with the arcwine, Niala shifted tacks to start working on the cake. She’d already had the perfect image in her mind from as soon as she’d been invited to contribute to the catering, and now it was time to call it into existence. Mana was conjured into the base of the cake, the softest, purest-white, cloud-like matter, which she built up into several narrowing stacks. Though every layer was made with care and exacting precision, she continued to move at lightning speed so that in all but moments she was moving onto the next step. Silk-like layers of frosting began to wrap themselves around the cake, ribbons of smooth white, followed by additional layers of the same with added patterns and textures. Next came innumerable sparkling crystals of edible mana that arranged themselves in elaborate and meticulous patterns as Niala’s form blurred around all sides of the cake. This part took the longest, as each crystal had to be placed individually. As this went on, one of Niala’s forms stepped outside the barrier, and spoke almost confusedly. “I… uhm… Sorry… Doing… a lot at once… Uh… I’ll be… spacing out in the corner. Let me know if you…” She paused for a short moment to collect her thoughts. “…want help with anything else… from that me. In there.” The blood elf who’d been watching her looked to the head chef, who simply nodded and wiped his brow with a cloth before turning back to his staff to bellow instructions. Niala continued working on the cake until at last the glimmering confection was done. The welling of mana within the barrier was dispelled back into the leylines below, carefully, the spire removed, and finally the barrier came down, to reveal an exhausted but pleased looking mage. “Uuuugh… That took ages.” She slumped with a slight groan, then got up and started looking around for the head chef. Oddly, the second her remained outside the barrier, though it stared absently at nothing. Finding the head chef again, the active Niala said, “Do we have some people to carry the cake up? We’ll need at least six to lift it.” The head chef waved a hand and no less than six staff rushed over to pick up the cake by the crystal platter it rested upon and start bringing it upstairs. “By Elune’s neckbeard that was a damned farce of a cook,” the head chef commented, still occupied with the lamb sauce incident though it had been hours ago for Niala. “Luckily, of course, they had me.” He flipped the towel over his shoulder. “Shouldn’t need you again, at least until the ceremonial wine later if you’d like to help with that.” The blood elf glanced toward them again before moving on to attend to his duties. The other Niala sat down slowly in the corner. The active Niala nodded once to the head chef and smiled. “Sounds good. I’ll be amongst the crowd, yeah? Shouldn’t be too hard to spot me with clothes like these.” With that, she made her way out of the kitchen and headed upstairs, leaving the other her downstairs. There was a ceremony to catch… but she wanted to keep an eye on things down here, too.