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About Kexti

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  1. TNG Con... 2018!

    New Orleans sounds fun, and I'd like to get away from anything that's "local" to most people. Vegas there's a lot to do, and I think Puerto Rico could also be a lot of fun, or a beach house in Florida, or even Texas.
  2. RHTN Usability Poll

    Hi all, could you take 5 minutes and answer a short survey so I can gather data to send to the RP community managers at Blizzard? Thanks.
  3. Moonglow Goodbye

    At one moment in time, Kex’ti would have found the arrangement pragmatic. As he walked hand in hand with Julilee, Rylie meters beyond, he would have found peace in the security of the way they moved together. Rylie just far enough away to not be obviously affiliated with them, close enough to be safe, but not near enough, for long enough in public, to draw scrutiny. Sanctuary was beset by scandal enough. His own assertions that the girl was half-Sin’dorei did much to quell any real dissent; the monk’s vague allusions to prior discretion fueled enough of the rumor mill to keep prying questions away from the simpler truth that she was not Julilee’s nor his by blood, that she was never born in the Horde, and that for political means “belonged” elsewhere. The girl once flitted between the booths at the fair. Now, she ambled. An adolescent gait offset by his personal training of her. He was proud as much of how she took to her lessons as he was of her as a person. She had faced much of the same horrors he had, with less to rely on. The monk was happy her story had come as far as it did. But the realities of his, and his wife’s, differences, were quickly catching up. Where a year before, she had sat with rapt attention on his lessons in swordplay, on stances, on center-line defense, her gaze often wandered to the uproars of the young men studying under the Kirin Tor, or the knights of Stormwind or Silvermoon that traversed Dalaran’s cobbles. She asked questions that made him uncomfortable, and argued with him on truths that were once met with easy acceptance. Her combativeness frustrated him, in truth. As much of him believed that it was part of growing up. And he believed it was for the best. He believed he was proud of her. But he was nonetheless frustrated. Julilee’s insistence on tutoring Rylie in “practical” areas of study in a time of war were proving to be the correct choice. While he certainly wanted his erstwhile daughter to be armed for the inevitable conflicts she would face, there was no denying the simple facts of politics and history would teach her to be better than he ever would have been. He was no diplomat; he could only hope that Rylie would be able to fight her battles in courts, and in the realm of public ideas rather than with blood and iron. He watched her casually drop a few tokens and walked back with three glowing mugs. Her hands shook a little bit, and she tried to avoid his gaze. “Moonglow?” He asked, in Orcish. The girl responded, trying to make the choice to bring back cups of liquor a foregone, casual rite of acceptance. Julilee looked up to him. He coughed, and smirked. Julilee and the monk often took roles of discipline and liberty in turn. She played bad cop. He played good cop. It worked for their daughter. It sometimes worked for their guild. But he knew that she had enough of the senselessness of endless debate of late, and it was his turn to tell Rylie no. Kex’ti began to correct the girl’s Orcish, teasing her even as it was better than his. Almost flawlessly unaccented. Or, rather, accented in the same way Shokkra spoke it. The fireworks of the Lunar Festival were going to start soon. The monk knew how the conversation would go. “No,” “Orcs are considered adults at 14,” “No,” Then the fireworks would start. She would raise her glass, she would drink. When he scolded her, she would say, perhaps hurt, perhaps because she knew the response would deliver a jab to him he could never block, perhaps a jab she would feel bad about later, she would say: “I’m not an elf. I can’t hear as well as you can.” His heart beat. He glanced up to the first barrage of explosions, the first in so many years to celebrate, rather than warn or explode amongst cavalry formations or swaths of soldiers. Even with the Legion descending, there were always moments to celebrate. Kex’ti chuckled, and took a pull from the drink. He bumped the bottom of the cup against the rim of Rylie’s glass, spilling some of the glowing alcohol down over her hand. She scoffed, but Julilee joined in with his laughing. “Orcs are considered adults at 14,” he said. “But if you are going to hold your liquor…it is best to start with holding the cup.” She took a sip, outrage and surprise mixing on her face. She grimaced. Then took a longer sip. “Just for now,” he said to Julilee, who raised an eyebrow, and began to sip her own drink. Rylie hugged the Commander and the monk, taking care not to spill. She would leave, after the Festival, to board in Stormwind. She could visit them in Dalaran without much trouble. But that moment was far away.
  4. Red Tea I once wielded a scholar's weapon. It was a beautiful tool. The scrolls that rolled about it, the way my tome of notes rocked in its mooring. It was inscribed with hints of knowledge and dripped with insight and the illuminating power of the mind at work. It was heavy, and it was long, and it parted my enemies before me like a sieve. It became a symbol of my failure, and my own lack of foresight. I once wielded a missionary's blade. This was a long sword, resplendent with inner light. It curved and shimmered, and it danced in my hands. I used it to quell my foes and leave them alive, afraid, and in enough pain to remind them to not cross my path. It whispered when I yelled on the dusty world of Draenor. I named it Mercy, and I gave it to my beloved. I once wielded little more than a ceramic mug, for many years. I tended bar with it at first, and kept it for only myself. I never shared it. I never trusted what poison could go within when I was not the one pouring it. I tried to clean it of its stains. I wanted to obliterate the haze of lost days with cleansing medicine and vivifying tea. I could not. I still cannot. I once wielded the worn blade of a murderer. I obeyed without question, and slayed without pause. I stained the Saronite with gallons of blood. I remember their surprise, their rage and their misery. When I wake in the night, Julilee's calm gaze on me, I still wonder if even now this is a dream and respite from the nightmares best forgotten and so viciously first in my mind. They remained buried in the chest of a man whose name I never learned. I once wielded the knives of a duelist. I fought with bravo and flair, and dabbled in crowds more scandalous than I ever would have overheard in my parents' Silvermoon inn. I fought for the Horde with those weapons against the Lich King, for Tirion Fordring and his Argent Tournament. I once wielded maces, and daggers, and swords from the best armories Ethereal hands could pillage and goblin coin could buy. In the pits of Outland and obscure arenas of Azeroth, I fought with Augustus Krowne, and ventured forth from my homeland with a thirst for life and vigor in my limbs I could hardly imagine. I once wielded the utensils of a sous chef, in Murder Row. I once wielded these. I will certainly wield others. But now I wield Red Tea, an ancient staff touched by Chi-ji Himself. Carved from bamboo, set with ghost iron. It is a weapon that draws and restores blood. It is a weapon I will paint, and carry, and come to know as my own. The story of this staff? That too, I will wield, to captivate you. As I teach you what can be done with such a weapon.
  5. Grand New Year Story Contest 2017

    *cries and rolls around in that artifact thread*
  6. Mists of Helheim

    The figure uses a chipped moonglaive, like a warden would. They wear a dark, travelstained cloak. Under it, a bandolier holds several shimmering vials. They look around, and continue searching for Kerala through the day... Kerala eventually gets antsy. Even though the centaur said he was magrami and didn't trigger any bad vibes in her instincts, he's still a stranger. She makes her way back to ask him if he heard the voice again in her absence, trying to think of what she'll say to convince him to leave. Well aware of her own tendency to strike first and ask questions later, the druid materializes a little distance away and calls out to the sleeping centaur to wake him. "Armagh?" The centaur has been cleanly killed by a single slash across the throat. Seeing this instantly sets her on edge, and she looks around trying to sense if there is still someone in the area, or perhaps any signs of a trap or ambush. She sees a faint green glimmer as if from a gem. The figure steps lightly out from the shadows. A pendant hangs from her hand. "Dan'binoir?" Kerala keeps her distance. "Did you do this?" she demands. The figure twists her head to the side and peers, as if listening. She nods her head. "Why?!" "Xaxus." She has a strange lilt to her voice, and steps forward, slowly. She keeps the gem extended. "Falah'thas Shal'dorei mirt-talniai." She gives it a gentle shake at Kerala. Kerala does not like this at all. "I don't know what you're saying." she announces, just in case that wasn't clear from her expression. She backpedals until it seems as if the woman is trying to give her the gem. She's got some experience with warlocks and soul shards, but this is green... she hesitates though, trying to decide whether or not accepting such a thing is dangerous. The person is heavily shrouded buty seemingly elven. You don't believe her to be overly tainted by fel...but the arcane suffuses her. "What is that?" Kerala still doesn't reach for the gem yet. The woman insistently holds it out and advances on Kerala. The Broken Ring Blade at her side held loose in her grip. The Kerala of a few months ago might have put up more objection. She might have fought a random killer showing up out of no where. She might have done something different, but the Kerala here now thinks along the lines of 'what the hell, why not', says "Fine," with a shrug, and decides to accept this gem, whatever it is. The elf tugs a bit on the hanging pendant as Kerala pulls it, but with a wince lets it yield. A voice enters Kerala's mind. <Hello, little druid.> Kerala almost drops the thing. She glares at the strange elf woman, for a second thinking the voice was hers but... there's something about it... maybe familiar? "What is this?" <My soulstone. I didn't want to get trapped in the Dream. Fortunately, Ilduria managed to find me.> Kerala manages to resist a pretty powerful urge to fling the gem, no the soulstone, away from her. "You're supposed to be dead." She looks at the elf "Ilduria, is it? Why are you HERE?" Back to Xelkorak "How are you here? What do you want with me?" Kerala doesn't do well with being confronted with yet more proof (after Konro) that ghosts and spirits are very real. "And why is HE dead?!" she demands, pointing in the direction of Armagh's corpse. <I am dead, little druid.> The thought seems clipped. <I couldn't survive that entanglement with you and your...friends? Which brings me to the topic at hand.> <It would seem that Ilduria is in need of a favor from you.> <One of the Horde elves who stood against me was apparently quite helpful in Suramar. This surprises me very little. But what did surprise me is that Ilduria knew of him. And that I did as well.> <This one has been taken.> Kerala blinks. Thus far she has not been to the Broken Isles and so Suramar is a foreign term. "Who?" <The fat one with the purple shirt. The one that I killed. That one that you somehow managed to salvage in a manner I can barely fathom.> There is only one elf to fit that description. Kexti. "Where has he been taken?" <I do not know. But for Ilduria, and the Shal'dorei, I implore you to help. You could find his essence, given your familiarity with it.> "His... ESSENCE?" Kerala pauses, peering at Ilduria. "What do you want with him? And you still have not answered my other questions. I suppose with the Vult... with Xelkorak's involvement how you found me is answered, but why kill the boy?" Ilduria simply looks confused. <She is very clever but not in speech. She does not ken your tongue.> <He was helping her people. His absence was noted. And a former guard was suspect at best to the Insurrection.> <Ilduria has traveled at great risk to find you.> Kerala listens while staring at Ilduria, judging for herself as best she can by stance and nonverbal cues the truthfulness of the Vulture's mental explanation. Ilduria seems patient but a little shaky. The vials at her chest are nearly empty. Her only weapon is a clearly stolen moonglaive. "Hmm. And what about you? You're going to help her find the elf that you hate?" To Ilduria, Kerala points firmly at the centaur's corpse and frowns, then jerks her hands in a pretty universal 'what the hell?' gesture. Ilduria bows cursorily. <My appreciation of lack thereof is irrelevant. I do this for her.> Ilduria speaks confidently but quietly in Shal'dorei. She gestures to the corpse then the cavern. "What did she say?" <The savage was distracting you and time is of the essence. More or less.> Kerala's jaw tightens for just a moment. The tauren steps over to Armagh's body. She doesn't look at his face, but drags his torso in line with his body, then steps to his belly. She lifts front and rear leg pairs and uses them as leverage to easily roll the centaur's body over the edge. The hydras and gators will take care of him. "Fine. Let's go then. I will help you find Kex'ti." Ilduria, seemingly understanding, nods. Then she stands for a moment, thinking.
  7. Call of the Scarab

    To commemorate the first ringing of the Scarab Gong on January 23, 2006, players will be able to relive a portion of the Ahn’Qiraj gate opening by collecting items for turn-in. The winning faction will then be able to claim bragging rights and have their faction flag hang over the gates until the next Call of the Scarab micro-holiday event. Hey Everyone! Let's show some server pride and get together on a night or two to fight it out in the sands of Silthus!
  8. Mists of Helheim

    She snorted. After a minute, though, her horns tilted as she stared at the ground. "Do you know, druids were myths among my people when I was a child? When we were young, the most mystical magical things we aspired to be were shaman. My sister always lied and said she could almost hear the rocks speak, and the waters. She tried so hard to be what she was not. A shaman. A druid. Do you know what she is, what she truly is? Neither of those things, at all." She looked over at Armagh. "If you hear the rocks, if you are not lying to yourself or afflicted of the mind, you will find the way. If that is who you are." "I found my way here with a bit of guidance...did I not?" He shuffled and settled down to the floor, and closed his eyes to consider his circumstances. "They say the satyrs have begun attacking the world." "Satyrs have always been an evil species corrupting things." Kerala doesn't point out that centaur have, too. No need to state the obvious. "I hope my people can fight back, in some way. The druids have retreated from the wilds...but our eldest father is a druid. Zaetar was son of Cenarius, after all. curious we did not follow that path." "'Curious'... that's the strangest way I've heard yet to refer to murder. And let me tell you, I'm Grim. They are creative in that particular endeavor." "You're what?" He asked, perplexed more so than denying. "Grim. It's... nevermind. What I mean is- the centaur murdered their father. So the story goes. It's no mystery to me why the sons of Zaetar cannot hear the wilds, for they cannot listen. Look around you, Armagh, at what your people have done to the land here. Everywhere trodden by centaur hooves withers and dies. And they don't care. If you do..." Kerala shrugged. "you are a rare creature." "It was not we who did this. It was elemental forces. We have the power of both the wilds and elements in our veins. We can be so much stronger if we stopped to think for-" he curses. "I did not even listen and yet I hear. And here I hear nothing at all. Why?: "Maybe you followed me too far. I never claimed to know what I am doing. Perhaps the voice is mad you listened to me instead?" Kerala looked back up the stone archway in the direction they came. "I suppose if you heard it before, and don't now, it could be that I've led you astray. I imagine I'm not well liked by many spirits. My best guess is to go back to where you last heard it and listen again. I won't intrude this time." Armagh nodded vaguely and curled into a pile to sleep or meditate. Kerala sighed, confused. She took a few steps back from the centaur, fading as she did. The lushness of Maraudon doesn't change much from reality to the Dream, but in the Dream her companion isn't invisible. He smiles at her. "You didn't call him, did you?" She asked Keth. The answer is no, of course. She lead them away to keep her word and give the odd centaur some time and space without her interference. The centaur shifted uncomfortably in his slumber. He murmured. "Why are the satyrs here?" A blade raked across his throat in the shadows. "Dan'binoir Quel?" questions the bloodstained murderer.
  9. Mists of Helheim

    Kerala stopped. "Look around you." She gestured at the majesty of inner Maraudon, with sunlight filtering down through the crack of skyline high up the stone walls, with giant beautiful flowers and clear waters that turtles swim in and hydra, at the waterfalls, at the upper pathways where creatures of stone still do whatever it is they do. "What do you see?" He pondered this. "I see a holy place. Revered by my ancestors. Haunted by them. The grave of my sires." "What are you truly, spirit?" he asked. "Certainly not an ancestor, nor even revered." She continued along toward the place where the Stone Princess fell. "I am called a druid. I go where I please, and this place pleases me." "But you are a tauren...Your Horde drove us to this place. For that I am strangely thankful." Armagh looked around the cavern. "These voices speak to our women. Not men. I hope through the power of this place can teach me power I can call my own." "Why?" "So I can be strong, and so I can lead my people. Our way..." He stopped. "We won't survive it. We must listen to our ancestors. Our first ancestors." The tauren crossed her arms and waits to see what Armagh will do now that he is here. "Power from without is flawed, and itself a weakness. True strength comes from within and no where else." Kerala stops at the bottom of a rocky span where there is a large verdant clearing (where the princess roamed and died). She gestured to the place. "I support your ideals, young one. I have stood where you stand. I hope you have better luck than I." He kneels to the spill, and puts his fingers into the thick earth. "I do not want the power of the elements," he says, quietly. "I just want the power to repair these burnt Plains, or to fly away, like those elves and tauren. "But I only hear the voice of stones." "You." Kerala states flatly. "You want to be a druid?"
  10. Mists of Helheim

    "Desert heat-dreams perhaps? I have certainly not called you. You are disturbing my rest." Kerala cocks her head at the centaur. "Be about your quest quickly then," she told him. Her gesture invites him deeper into the tunnels. Even if her tone had been suffering or maybe slightly mocking. Her opinion of the centaur's errand has been made clear. Armagh raised his chest proudly, carrying the bone in a loose grip. He descended into the tunnels with Kerala. "Are you with the circle of the great father?" "I heard a voice on the wind, that sounded of stones..." As Armagh rounded the next corner, he found himself alone and speaking to no one. The centaur rubbed course dust on his hands, and continued his aimless wandering among crystals. He's surprisingly deft at avoiding combat. Kerala was not gone, only no longer making the effort to appear. She followed, accompanied by a spherical essence. Kethrenorean didn't have the skill yet to appear as he willed, even in the Dream. She answered his questions though as if he spoke them to her. "He won't find us. Even if he could get that far, I don't intend to let him. ... because I'm curious. Well look at him! He wears the green, but he didn't know me. An exile, maybe? Hes Magrami, but not.... . I'm going to watch for a minute. ...don't call me that." The centaur continued his scramble, and took weary rest by a pool. Luck had seem him this far, but he grew weary. His hand bled on a sharp crystal and he cracked it off. He embedded it into the earth before him, and focused. Kerala watched, intrigued. He grunted and kicked over the crystal. "This was pointless. Now I am lost. We are lost." He sidled to the ground and grunted. Kerala spoke behind the centaur. "Well that was fast. Do you always give up so easily?" "My will is at its end, spirit. I have come so far and can't go further," he sighs. "I had hoped to hear the voice again." "The one that sounded of stones," Kerala murmured "Sounds like a Gelkis pet. Perhaps you should go to their cavern instead of this one. I am not lost. I can lead you out from here." "No...not Gelkis...even older than that..." He seems dejected. "But I will accept your guidance." Kerala didn't hear the mumbled second comment, and became annoyed. "Right, so let's just listen to mysterious voices from the deep places of the earth. How could THAT go wrong in any way? After all, it's not as if the entire tauren race theoretically fell from grace by doing that. Or that the bastard spawn of a stone princess happened to be set loose on the world tantruming, and now some lost little runt is here whining like a packrunner pup." She snorted. "My heritage is of the wild places of this world. Yet we are weak for it. I know little of Tauren save that they were driven almost to destruction when I was a child. Then the Horde came..." He waited to follow Kerala. Kerala surveyed the centaur. He's stubborn, if nothing else. Sometimes that is enough. "Fine. You've come this far. I can show you the supposed tomb of Zaetar. Rumors say some adventurers came and murdered the Stonemother's daughter here. Perhaps it was she who called you. Stay close, there are still some simple elementals, plus the basilisks and lashers. This may be a holy place for your people, but it has meaning for me as well." She offers a hand to help Armagh to his feet, and this time there is no disappearing funny business. He walks respectfully behind her and bows his head. He smells foul, as centaur do. "What meaning?"
  11. Mists of Helheim

    It had been some time since Armagh had ventured into the ancestral burial grounds. The cataclysm had been unkind to his people, to say nothing of their own predilection of violence. He had come to...he was not certain. The centaur centered, and stopped. Kerala's form manifested silently behind the glowing shards of a crystal formation. She was near enough to spook the intruder, but just out of reach should his reaction be physically violent. She stepped out into view at the same time that she called out to him. "Lost, runt?" Armagh started and looked to the shadowy figure. "No runt am I." He puffed up his chest and stamps his hooves. "I am Armagh, son of Kotarg, and I have come to seek wisdom of my ancestors and you do not frighten me." Kerala cocked her head, taking in the centaur's appearance and posture. She looks for indications of clan membership. "You speak well enough," she said, surprise evident in her tone, "but you must be stupid, to come here, or lost. Your ancestors have nothing for you." "No, they have everything I could need, ghost." The centaur trembled a bit, unsure. He appeared to be Magram, or a sect thereof. "Are you a cherished ancestor, or something else?" Kerala laughed. "You lie, little runt. You are dry of blood (terrified), I can see the quiver in your limbs. Turn back, lost one, before you find the spirits you seek and they make you one of them." "No. I seek their knowledge. Seek to correct their course." He grunted, taking a step back. Kerala eyed the boy. "What secrets do you think they can share with you?" She advanced the distance he gave up. He took another step back. "Why they fought the wars they did. Why they wield the magic they do. Our traditions are flawed, and have split like rivers from the source." Kerala cast her senses out to see if perhaps she was mistaken, and this lone centaur is not alone? But he was. Nothing living or dead followed his footsteps. "How did you get through the Maraudine? Who are you?" He grabbed a nearby bone. "As I said, I am Armagh, son of Kotarg, and I have come to seek wisdom of my ancestors and you do not frighten me. I have done as many have, and I walked in." Kerala's form darkened, and she leaped at Armagh, her expression furious and full of hate. He made a clumsy swing with his improvised weapon, a meager strike of lean skill. Kerala easily ducked away from the swing and made as if to backhand Armagh. She stopped before contact might be made. "Dead," she announced. "Tell me again how you will survive to ask anything of the spirits roaming these caverns." "May your prey be infested," he cursed. "Bravery must see me through. And why do you rest in these tombs?" Kerala ignored the question again, highly amused that this centaur who is not afraid of her clearly just nearly soiled himself. "You are weak. Begone. You waste your time here. The khans wander this tomb, yes, but they cannot see you. They will not hear you. They cannot help you." She waved dismissively, and backed off a step, half-turning away. "Then what magic has called me here? I heard a voice calling me to my ancestors."
  12. October story contest 2.0

    Here's my entry:
  13. “Who were you talking to?” asked Ilduria, slinking her way down the hall. Seledyne turned, quickly, but did not jump. A pale green flash faded from the room, leaving only a dark basin before Seledyne. Ilduria stood in the doorway, the purple light of false dawn behind her. In Suramar, behind the shield wall, time moved differently. It flowed and ebb at behest of magisters, and sleep was more of a formality than a predicted time of day. The Shal’dorei had long dismissed notions of day and night, and had come to simply engage in activities of necessity without respect to a common schedule. Ilduria was wearing her guard uniform, a mix of the most delicate of white silks and the hardest of reinforced steel. The blade at her side flickered with bluish starlight. She took off her helmet to get a better look at Seledyne’s room. They shared a small villa off the Market district. Seledyne’s room (or the library, as Ilduria tried to assert, wanting to assimilate Seledyne into her life as much as possible) was surprisingly sparse. The common tomes of the zeitgeist rested in nooks along the curved walls, and the shelves were more full of dust and all matter of arcane reagents more so than novels or studied texts. “Nobody,” said Seledyne. The woman turned, linking her fingers together, and setting them in her lap. “Just reviewing some formula.” Ilduria nodded, slowly. “You’ve been teaching me magic for a while...I don’t think I’ve ever heard you use that cadence except when we’re talking.” “Maybe you just don’t listen very carefully?” offered Seledyne with a small smile. “You know if I listened carefully we wouldn’t be together now, right?” Ilduria made her way to Seledyne, kneeled, and rested her head on the other elf’s shoulder. She smelled faintly of...Ilduria’s mind tried to figure out what. The mixed delights of Suramar lended themselves to a scintillating array of aromas, to say nothing of the odd side effects of arcane magic. It was familiar...but where… Ilduria sighed. “Do you want me to bring anything home after patrol?” Seledyne shook her head, then laughed, a dark, chipped sound. “Just yourself. It’s so dangerous here without you.” “In our house? The guard surely must do a better job,” responded Ilduria, wryly. Seledyne unfolded her hands and ran them through Ilduria’s hair. The smell was stronger by her hands, the guard noted. “Very dangerous....” muttered Seledyne. Seledyne’s pulse quickened. Ilduria could feel, if not hear, her heartbeat. “Are you sure you weren’t talking to anyone?” Seledyne nodded, easily. “Reaching beyond the barrier is forbidden, isn’t it?” “Why would you say that?” said Ilduria, rising to her feet. “You could just be talking across the…Seledyne, no, you weren’t, were you?” Seledyne shook her head. “No, of course not. Do you want me to show you what I was doing? Would that make you feel better?” She took Ilduria by the hand and walked over to the dark basin. The mage muttered a few words, and the basin flared purple. But something wasn’t right. Where was the green? The magic felt differently, even to Ilduria’s relatively untrained sixth senses. The words too. Then Seledyne began to speak, conversationally. The bowl repeated back her words. “See. Just a diary. I’d share more but…” Ilduria didn’t feel better. Seledyne was fiercely protective of her privacy, even the little details, for reasons she could not quite articulate to Ilduria. Ilduria was suspicious and stubborn by nature. You had to be, in Nightborne politics. It had been a long road, to come this far with Seledyne. And the moments she cherished were worth the differences between the women, so Ilduria thought. But there was something strange about this. Seledyne dismissed the sheen on the bowl, which faded without a flicker of energy or light. “How long have we been together, Sele?” The mage smiled. “Long enough that you don’t know the answer.” “Then why don’t you trust me more?” The smile didn’t slip. It folded gracefully downward into a practiced frown. The lanterns in the room were low, and the feral angles of Seledyne’s kaldorei heritage, from long before the Nightwell changed them, were pronounced. “You don’t need to know everything. If we’re stuck behind this barrier forever, shouldn’t we take our time in sharing our secrets?” “But what secrets could you have? What do you do here that I don’t know about? Is there something you’re hiding from me?” Seledyne took a deep breath. “I was...cut off from my family when the barrier went up. I…” “So you were reaching beyond…” “No, let me finish. You can’t ask for me to tell you a secret and then just interrupt.” Ilduria gripped her sword, and then took a deep breath, and nodded. “I was...trying to find out where they went. Not beyond the barrier, but back through time. The Grand Magistrix and her chronomancers are encouraging research...I thought maybe I could help, at least for my own peace of mind.” Seledyne’s hands had folded together like spiders in her lap. Ilduria watched her partner. She asked, again, if Seledyne was talking to anyone else. “No,” said Seledyne. “My family is gone, after all.” She pulled Ilduria into an embrace, the sudden warmth of her lips and the tightness of the hug startling Ilduria. The guard sighed and rested her eyes in the crook of the mage’s neck. “But...What if they did try to reach me? What if they reached through the barrier?” Ilduria tried to raise her head to look Seledyne in the eyes, but the mage’s hold prevented her from moving. It was more forceful than Ilduria was used to. Much, much stronger besides. “What if I knew they wanted to come back?” asked Seledyne. She released Ilduria, who rose to her feet, the blood in her face drained by the sudden mania in Seledyne’s voice. She paused, and considered her choices. “Don’t do it again,” was all she said. She turned, and hurried her way out into the corridor, down to the landing, and out to the street like she had so many times before. In the darkness of the library, Seledyne’s eyes flashed green as she returned to the basin. A tear slipped down her face into the black water, images swirling within. “Honestly, my love,” she muttered, looking at the gathering fel in the depths of the well. “I wish I didn’t have to.”
  14. I think a casual option is just to have characters you want to RP not get hit by the time stop. Like Elisande is a badass in her own right, and using a pillar of creation, also amped up by the Nightwell is doubtless a huge deal. But people get skipped over for all kinds of reasons. After all, it's a pretty big, complex spell, so even someone with her status isn't likely to just apply it to every peon and soldier; taking down heads of command and their honor guards is probably a solid enough tactical move to let the Duskwatch deal with whoever is left.
  15. Red Lightning

    The rogue’s ankle twisted as he fell back in the dirt. The kick had worked, and the vrykul before him struggled to catch his words and cthnonic syllables back in the shape of a spell. But Kex’ti was in trouble. His second dagger was embedded in the wood of the cliffside dwelling, a remnant from his long drop from the ravine above. Empty air to his left. To his right, an angry vrykul allied to the Lich King. He made his choice, and the elf spilled a sack at his waist into his palm. He threw the clump of white powder at the vrykul before him. The man yowled as he tried to scrape and cough the itchy dust out of his eyes and mouth. Kex’ti looked up and wondered if he could scramble to the other dagger, and looked down at his ankle. It could be worse, he thought. He grit his teeth, and vaulted himself back to his feet, biting down a gasp as he put his bad foot down. He sprinted towards the giant, and drove his dagger upward, leveraging it from his waist into the runecaster’s ribs. The daggers had come as a prize in one of his arena fights. Not a particularly memorable one save for the weapons, but he liked using them. And there was something wrong about keeping just the one. The rogue’s charge barreled the vrykul back towards the cliff, and a slug of the elf’s fist propelled the giant, dagger and all, backwards into the ravine. This one had been a sentry, but there would be others. He quickly pulled some frostweave from his field kit and made a makeshift splint with his boot. *** Fong chuffed and came forward, drawing a shortsword. The sheen of the living steel weapon blinded Kex’ti. If the elf was going to use dirty tricks, why shouldn’t I? Thought the pandaren. The light shining in Kex’ti’s eyes would’ve distracted him. But some cheap tricks worked on monks. Some of them didn’t. He focused his senses, and followed Fong’s aura. The red of anger, the bright pink of passion. To say that Fong didn’t care wouldn’t have done the other monk justice. He did, Kex’ti knew. But emotions had to be controlled. Either by yourself, or by your opponents. Kex’ti didn’t consider Fong a foe, not really. A threat? Perhaps. Few others fell into that category, mostly out of caution rather than any real concern on the monk’s behalf. Rorrek was one. Awatu, another. People who Kex’ti could not see himself fighting, but neither could he see befriending. Fong’s blade sang through the air, the mists guiding his strikes. Mistweaving among crane initiates involved focusing on both the external arts of healing, and the internal arts of qinggong. Using the mists allowed one to surpass physical limits and fight with greater endurance than one would imagine. Pain could be dulled, reflexes heightened. It wasn’t the longstanding training of wearing plate mail or the practiced incantations and summonings of others; but it could bridge the gap for a time. Fong’s strikes continued onward, the monks dancing in and out of the melee, their feet crossing, their arms jutting out to break offensive maneuvers, the staff and sword clanging and twisting. Sloppy or no, Kex’ti’s modified forms worked for him. He wouldn’t win. He knew it, Fong knew it, and most observers knew it. But he wouldn’t go down without a fight. *** The human had caught him by surprise. Not in ambush, but merely that it was the first he’d seen another non-pandaren monk out in the world. In the thick of combat in Ashran, he could spy glimpses and glances of unusual fighting styles, and occasionally the distinct green lightning and mists of other healing monks. But this monk was not a healer. His armor was more cloth than leather, and barely padded. And the power he could draw from his strikes, and the aggressiveness of his stance painted him as a tiger adept. The tiger adept’s strikes were quick, and deadly. Kex’ti had to roll and transcend more often than not just to catch his breath and mend his wounds. As the duel continued, Kex’ti’s medicine managed to keep his mana flowing. And eventually, the crane began to win. The tiger refused to yield. Kex’ti didn’t plan on killing him...But leaving him badly wounded might send a better message. With a quick series of palm and finger strikes, Kex’ti released his chi into the other monk. As a crane, Kex’ti never learned the tiger technique of the karmic touch. By aligning one’s chi with another’s, pain suffered by a monk could be transferred whole cloth to another. It was a difficult technique, but one that was almost essential to fragile, but nimble, tiger adepts. But the dim mak, the death touch, caused resonance in the target’s lifeforce, and dealt monstrous damage after its application. It required a focused mind and a weak foe; used too soon, the dim mak’s destructive effects would bounce back into the user. Tiger adepts, among all monks, were the most dispassionate. They could focus their emotions, and clear their minds to unleash their powers. While all monks could do this to some extent, most needed their emotions to draw on. Kex’ti channeled a moment of rage, and left the tiger shattered. *** He was not prepared for the same technique to be used against him. The elf could no longer dodge, no longer slip away. He bent his will and the turbulence roiling inside of him towards resisting the hostile invasion of chi. But this technique was different. It still manipulated life energy, but was not designed as one final blow. Fong was doubtless the better monk, and had adapted the dim mak to something new and superior to its original form. In all his many battles, Kex’ti had seen one single person shrug off a death touch: the orc rogue, Gnarrdog. The fight ended regardless shortly after, but it was a singular moment. Kex’ti knew he could not repeat the feat. He had a few seconds to go, and took a deep breath while he waited for the pain, or worse, to hit. *** Kex’ti took months before he could walk again. Remiaan’s last act had been to shield him from the collapsing pavilion at the Argent Tournament. With each step, he’d remember her. It chilled him more than any night he’d spent in Northrend. Without invitation, each itch and fork of pain would be accompanied by her smile, her smell, or the ripple of her hair in the wind. The only running he could do was away from the memories, and the cold. He left the formal Horde Offensive, his record one of failed efforts and disobedience. He went to Ratchet, and tried to forget. But even when he ran deeper into the dark, he was not content to simply stay still. *** Fong and Kex’ti watched each other, gauging the elf’s reaction to the dim mak. It coursed through his energy, painlessly at first, and the elf did his best to chase down the chi and expel it. It tore at him, splitting apart the balance of generating and consuming force in his essence. Kex’ti assumed a stance. He only had a few seconds left. And he smirked. *** The Nightmare oozed into Sanctuary’s guildhall. The relics collected there, the magic the guild relied on, all beckoned it like moths to a flame. Kex’ti had encountered it, and the dreamless sleep he experienced in the wake of his own attack by the Nightmare was more peaceful than he’d had in...months. Kex’ti never slept well, not since the Cataclysm, and the unspeakable company and acts he’d participated in. The guilt was never truly washed away, the blood on his hands stained too much to remove, much like his oft-quoted metaphor about teacups. But he managed it. He tried to do better. Chi, as Kex’ti understood it, was related to the elements that shaman could draw upon, and as elemental spirit, could be used to manipulate life itself. To him, mistweaving was about aligning the current state of one’s body with its idealized, pain and damage-free form, and bending the difference away, like smoothing out a wrinkle. It touched the Emerald Dream, elemental spirit did, in some way. And throughout his experiences with Sanctuary, he’d faced his own fears, and the fears of others, more times than he’d like to admit. The Nightmare would find something new to take from him, as it always would, in a world of infinite, horrific possibility, it doubtless would find a fault or crack to pick at. But Kex’ti thought, for once, he could take something back. *** He felt the energy separate, waiting to crash together. The flimsy avatar Kex’ti had summoned faded as he drew what spare energy he could from it, and he focused on the pathway the dim mak traced through his limbs. His discipline had taught him to focus his chi, and to commit fully to the acts he set out on. In this case, not dying would suffice. He reached into the stain within himself, into the miasma of the touch of the void on his soul, and let the corruption into the small gaps of separated chi. What he prepared himself to do would not be undone, and it would change the way he could mistweave, perhaps for the worse. The corruption, the pain and doubt and mistakes and loss and errors that hid in the corners of his mind and spirit were set loose. He released a lance of lightning at Fong at the moment the dim mak would have finished its reaction inside his body. The beam singed the pandaren’s fur, and knocked him to his back, ten yards back. The pain brought Kex’ti to his knees regardless, and he raised a hand in surrender. The other crane adepts stood by, and murmured amongst themselves. The chroniclers and masters looked on, processing what happened. Kex’ti had come to learn, to have anything he’d develop be recorded and evaluated by the true masters of Crane style. It was a simple discovery, albeit one that could be replicated. Even though it was simple, even though it had more an impact on Kex’ti than it would on other mistweavers, even though the technique had likely been practiced by others, he had chipped a sliver into the new disciplines taking shape on the Wandering Isle. He made red lightning.