RiktheRed21

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  1. RiktheRed21

    Lanette

    Full Name: Lanette Wetwhistle Date of Birth: September 4 Age: 32 Race: Goblin, Formerly Steamwheedle Cartel Gender: Female Hair: Cyan, shoulder-length Eyes: Blue Height: 3 feet Weight: 40 lbs Place of residence: Dragonsroost Port Place of Birth: Booty Bay Known Relatives: Not among the living Religion/Philosophy: Money Occupation: Goblin Engineer, Pet Tamer, Sailor, Gun for Hire Group/Guild affiliation: Borrowed Time Enemies: Bloodsail Buccaneers, Southsea Freebooters, any and all slavers, some warlocks, the naga, the Venture Company Likes: The smell of the sea, animals, sleeping under the stars, tinkering, the tropics, photography Dislikes: Snow, ice, the color white, Northrend, snow cones, and ice cream Favorite Foods: Pineapple Favorite Drinks: Piña colada Favorite Colors: Teal, Brown Weapons of Choice: Rifles, Grenades, Rockets, Traps, Tasers, Knives Physical Features: Angular facial features. Sharp eyes. Messy hair tied up with skull-pattern pendants. Special Abilities: Wild imagination. Can put together workable contraptions quickly and with limited supplies. Can tame just about any beast, given enough time and resources. Trained in wilderness survival, specialized in tropical jungles. A spirited climber and excellent swimmer. Positive Personality Traits: Open-minded and logical. Easygoing. Can keep a secret. Negative Personality Traits: Aloof, disinterested. A natural liar. Lacking in social graces. Misc. Quirks: Loves to spend as much time around the water as possible. Seems to hate everything cold and related to ice or snow. Paints all her gear bright and tropical colors. Photographs everything. Music: Escape -- Rupert Holmes History: She spent her early life growing up in Booty Bay with her parents, both fishers. Pirates raided the bay and killed her parents. She was taken as a slave and sold to a plantation, where a warlock stripped away her ability to think for herself. A hero saved her and the other slaves from the plantation and gave them kaja kola, which restored their minds slowly. She still relies on the kola to keep her mind from being addled, since she was brainwashed from such a young age. Reliance on kaja kola has made her brain move twice normal speed. She’s able to hold a conversation while also rapidly coming up with complex plans in her mind. This makes her a natural improvisor, and made her a natural engineer. After the hero dropped her off back at her home, she felt lost and out of place. She got a sailing job with the cartel, but disliked all the rules and structure. Eventually, she left the cartel in pursuit of her own self-image. Though she is still looking, she has managed to gather numerous skills she enjoys practicing, including pet taming, hunting, survival skills, photography, and exploring. Nowadays, she drifts between jobs. In fact, she heard of a really nice job, just the other day. Something about a mercenary company in the Twilight Highlands…
  2. RiktheRed21

    A Wolf, A Horse, and A Rider

    She woke from an unrestful sleep beneath a tree that seemed doubled-over in pain. Dry leaves fell about her and rain pattered on the moist ground. Brinnea wiped damp hair from her eyes and stood to greet the new day. Dreary and grey, the day seemed unwilling to return her hello. She gathered her meager supplies – a sword belt and a satchel with some money and first-aid kit – and hopped on the back of her last loyal companion. The deathcharger stood still, its eyes vacant as a corpse’s. When she gave it a kick, it moved, but there was little evidence otherwise that it was even conscious. On they went, kicking up moisture from the summer rain and crossing long, desolate miles of the Wetlands in silence. Brinnea slowed as they approached a small farm. She gazed at it longingly, catching sight of a family at work. The eldest man appeared to be complaining bitterly about the rain while the youngest children frolicked about without a care in the world. By instinct, she began riding towards it. Once she realized what she was doing, she quickly yanked the reins and spurred the charger into a gallop northward. The farm shrank into a dot behind her, though she never looked back to see it. The rainclouds gave way to thunderstorms. Winds shrieked across the wavy hills and sent droplets scraping across Brinnea’s bare flesh. Drops tinned against her armor. She wondered if the soldiers back at Greenwarden’s Grove would be able to keep the rain out of their tents tonight. She wondered if somewhere on the passage into the mountains far to the south Charlotte and August were dressed in their warm clothes for the journey to Ironforge. Would they like it there? Would they make new friends? Would they ever forget about her? The wind picked up further until even the undead charger balked at carrying on at full gallop. The death knight eased her mount towards the dense hills where they might find some cover from the storm. Lighting crashed somewhere nearby. She couldn’t see where it had struck home. She imagined a fire trying to survive in a storm like this, but her imagination failed her. The horse and rider strode through clefts populated with fleeing deer and rodents, squirrels and birds of every sort. Plantlife was abundant here, ranging from flowers to fungi, small shrubs to huge trees spreading wide canopies. Thinking of the tree she had slept at the night prior, Brinnea decided to continue searching for better cover. A wolf’s lonely howl took to the air. Brinnea waited, but heard no response. She counted it a blessing without thinking. A pack of wolves is dangerous, after all. But then she got to thinking of the lone beast out all alone. What had happened to its pack? Was it cast out, as she had been? Perhaps it had hoped too greatly, and tried too hard to further itself and its pups. The alpha could only tolerate so much before he had to act. At last, Brinnea found a cave gashed into the rocks and hurried toward it. She dismounted, for the ceiling was too low to fit on horseback. The deathcharger squeezed into the cave and stood resolute at the back, facing a wall. Charlotte had named the horse Spaklehoof for its bright hooves, but the beast was far from intelligent. Brinnea guessed it was evening. The sky seemed a little less bright than it had when she first entered the hilly area. She knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight. Last night’s dreams had confirmed it. Brinnea had never been able to sleep well as a death knight, but after a while living in Greenwarden’s Grove, she found she was able to have more restful nights than she used to. Despite being an overgrown, swampy backwater, the Grove had started to feel a little like a home. The wolf’s howl shook her back to her senses. Again, it sounded lonely and sad, and again it garnered no reply save for the roaring wind, the screeching rain, and the thundering storm. Brinnea had removed her armor and began polishing it, but every time she started to lose herself in the monotony of work, the howl returned. Somehow, it seemed to be growing both louder and weaker. She tossed her pauldron into a pile of armor and yanked her sword belt about her waist. After tying her cloak and lifting her hood, she stalked out into the storm. Brinnea was by no means an expert tracker, but she figured in this case it would be easy to find what she was looking for. The wolf howled every few minutes, so she used it as a guide. It became more difficult every time the thunder and wind deafened her, and for many hours, she felt as though she were wandering in circles about the hills. Then she spotted it – the wolf huddled under a tree with its leg caught in a trap. A kill was decomposing nearby, swamped by rain and eaten through by all manner of bugs. Odd that the wolf would remain trapped for so long without the hunter whose trap was laid coming to check on it. Brinnea thought as much, until she found whom she presumed to be the hunter in question lodged under a fallen tree stump. The char pattern was rippled like tree roots, but more jagged like hands with too many fingers and fingers with too many joints. Brinnea searched the man for weapons and found a knife, a bow, a length of rope, and arrows. She left the bow, but added the knife to her belt beside her own, and pulled the rope over her shoulder. The wolf had awoken while Brinnea was investigating. It sniffed and growled at her weakly, but made no attempts to move. Brin approached carefully, and eased herself to a crouch beside the beast. She reached out to touch the trap, but the wolf barked at her warningly. She pulled her hand back. Taking the rope from her shoulder, she measured a section of it and cut it with the hunter’s knife. Then she deftly clamped the wolf’s snout shut and forced the rope around and tied it tight. The wolf tried to paw it off, but otherwise acted with meek acceptance. Brin grabbed hold of the clamped trap, the leather of her handwraps thick enough to keep her hands from getting shredded by the sharp metal. She pulled with all her strength. The metal creaked, and the wolf whimpered. Blood spurted from the reopened wound, but the wolf pulled itself loose. Brin yanked her hands free and left the trap clamped and bloody where it was. The wolf tried to nuzzle the wounded hind leg, but was impeded by the ropes. Brinnea retrieved bandages from her medical kit and carefully grappled the wolf, then applied the cloth to the bleeding leg. After, she drew her knife and carefully cut the rope muzzle free, then pulled back. The wolf growled at her bitterly before madly licking its newly bandaged leg. “There, mangy mutt,” Brinnea said, “I saved you. Now scamper off and don’t do anything stupid.” The wolf watched her and continued to nibble at the bandages. In time, they would rot away, but that would be long after the wound healed. “You should be more worried about predators than a little cloth, idiot.” The wolf ignored her advice. Shaking her head, she turned to head back to her cave. It wasn’t until she was halfway back that she realized the beast was following her.
  3. RiktheRed21

    Kimba Goldfield

    Full Name: Kimba Goldfield Date of Birth: July 21 Age: 42 Race: Shu'halo, Tauren of Thunder Bluff Gender: Male Hair: Black mane and fur Eyes: Gold Height: 8 feet, 2.4384 meters Weight: Approximately 1000 pounds, ~453.592 kg Place of residence: Ashtotem Village Place of Birth: The Barrens, in a small canyon between two mountains where the sound echoes like a boom of thunder Known Relatives: Qarn (Older Brother, deceased), Rumba (younger brother), Cassowary (younger brother), Nagoda (nephew), Fasha (sister-in-law via Qarn), Magooma (mother-in-law via Fasha), Mayha, Laika, and Rhoma (his dead mates, all tauren women), Draquesha (promised mate) Religion/Philosophy: An'she, the sun god Occupation: Thunder Bluff Brave, Escort to Barrens Refugees Group/Guild affiliation: Guest of Ashtotem Village Enemies: The Alliance, Scourge Affiliates, Brinnea Velmon, the Barrens centaur tribes Likes: Wide-open spaces, flat landscapes, large gatherings, parties, playing the drums, racing, javelin toss, fishing, swimming Favorite Foods: Kodo roast, grilled salmon Favorite Drinks: Mulgore firewater Favorite Colors: Leathery Brown and Shiny Gold Weapons of Choice: Battleaxe, Hunting Spear, War Club, Throwing Axes, Javelins Dislikes: Confinement, tight spaces, restrictions to movement, diet, or activities, the smell of death, quiet places, abstract studies such as complex math, magic, social sciences, politics, etc. Physical Features: Average tauren height, black fur all across his body, black horns tipped with gold ornaments, facial hair tied in three braids, has two gold teeth, and rippling muscle across his body criss-crossed with scars Special Abilities: Peak physical fitness, hugely powerful legs and arms, expert tracker, and can run for several days without tiring. Positive Personality Traits: Boisterous and optimistic. He tends to go with the flow without concerning or stressing about the future or the past. Can liven up any situation with a fun story, song, or joke. Bold and brave, never one to shy from a fight. Highly objective; will confront someone if he senses the need. Perceptive, and takes note of people's mannerisms or interests. Reveres the elderly for their experience, and prizes the youth for their energy and potential. Has strong control over his rage, so he can use it as a tool without it getting the better of him. Negative Personality Traits: Insensitive and easily bored. Impatient and likely to take risks even when unnecessary or clearly dangerous. Finds it difficult to grasp a bigger picture or pat attention to abstract ideas or feelings. Often if there is an emotional matter at stake, he'll ignore it or find a way to move away from it. Defiant and resistant to criticism. Misc. Quirks: Shows a flagrant disregard for nature whenever possible. He'll kill critters for sport, pelts, and food if they cross his path, chop his way through foliage that annoys him, and grows vindictive at his surroundings if they restrict or confine him. Sharpens and polishes his weapons every morning, first thing. Always carries a skin of firewater with him, and gets in an intolerable mood when he's run out. Music: "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC History: Ever since his birth, Kimba has had an uncommonly strong set of lungs. He cried the most out of his three siblings, and was the most likely to cause trouble for the family. His father often told him that he had a responsibility to his people and to his family to uphold their honor and legacy, just as his older brother Qarn understood intuitively. Kimba eventually understood what his father meant after both his parents were butchered in Camp Taurajo. Qarn was devastated and went on a rampage against the humans of Northwatch that nearly got him killed. Kimba pulled Qarn, who was usually the responsible one, from the fires of hate. Kimba understood loss and felt sad too, but he understood how to control anger until the right moment, and could always find a way to enjoy the now rather than get hung up on the past or future. That way, he could always look out for his family's honor and legacy, even if he couldn't make as significant strides to a glorious future like his older brother could. Qarn was grateful to his brother from then on, and trusted him with his own family. When Qarn perished in a hunt for fugitive undead Parigan Blackmane and Brinnea Velmon, Kimba took upon himself all his brother's former responsibilities that he could. Though he could not be a visionary and a diplomat, Kimba could still be a warrior and a guardian for the family. He took in Qarn's wife and son, Fasha and Nagoda. Nagoda resented Kimba for trying to step in where his father had left, but Kimba never understood how to make the child accept the new reality. The boy wanted to be just like his father, but didn't know how to. Kimba tried to teach him as best as he could, but found the boy more hateful with every passing day. To fulfill one of his brother's final tasks, Kimba led some refugees displaced by the war in the Barrens south to Thousand Needles, to the neutral territory of the Ashtotem Tribe. They were accepted as residents, though the people had to cut their ties with the Horde. Kimba and his brothers continued to serve the Horde and uphold their duties to the refugees. Though they did not join Ashtotem, they were allowed to stay as guests. Kimba shortly afterwards led his nephew on a pilgrimage to one of Qarn's favorite holy sites, Wyrmrest Temple, to offer service to the dragons and continue their ties to the Light as Qarn would have wanted. Kimba was given a task to slay a void beast lurking in the center of Sholozar Basin, and there he found Draquesha, a Darkspear troll living alone with a multitude of animal companions. The two grew fond of one another and engaged in several sexual encounters, until the tauren asked the troll to be his mate. Drunk on firewater and lust, she accepted.
  4. RiktheRed21

    Young Soldier, Old Wounds

    Sometimes he stood at their graves. The ones he'd lost. The stones sat there looking up at him questioningly. They still waited to hear his diagnosis. Every one of them stood stock still like a soldier should and watched him with the utmost attention. It was a tremendous weight to see them all look at him. He stood at each one he could remember, and he had a long memory. When he had had time away from the war, Sanjay found his way to the graveyards eventually. Now the war was over, and there was nothing to do but stand. He counted them back in his head, but couldn't. He wished he'd never learned to count past ten. Or one hundred. Or a thousand. The graveyard had to be extended to fit them all. New earth was put into place for them to be buried. How ironic was that? Sanjay thought about the earth beind ripped apart a hundred miles away to be toted here, surrounded by walls and sad, grey stone. All that, only to be dug up again and filled with bodies. Filled with dreams and thoughts. Hopes and loves. Husbands, fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, and everything else. He thought about the ones without names. They sat and watched, too, but silently. The others shouted in his mind. A name to a memory. The nameless were the ones that kept him awake at night. They crept through the crevices of his mind like errant shadows without a source of light. They wandered aimlessly, silently. His overactive mind put faces to their lack of names. He invented names only to discard them, calling himself stupid fir disrespecting them. But he had a long memory. The discarded were not filled by new memories so quickly. And so they built up, one atop the others and so on until the nameless names outnumbered the true names. He tried to set the weight of their gaze down in his mind. He needed something physical, like a talisman, to embody the weight. So one time he spent a week weaving little leather dolls. He had meant them to look like soldiers, strong and proud. Once he'd placed them on the graves they looked more like children -- huddled, alone, and frightened. Sanjay thought about his legs sometimes. He'd told himself it didn't matter anymore, that old wound. It was the new wounds that really mattered. With new wounds, you couldn't be certain if you'd recover. If the patient would ever walk or talk or live again. Sanjay's legs had recovered. His back had mended and his spirit reformed from the ashes of the cannon that buried him alive. But he still thought about them. He had even named them. His mother had told him that names made the monsters less scary. Torque was what he'd named one. He liked giving it a powerful name, something that carried weight. It was his right leg, the one he unconsciously considered his dominant leg. When it had stopped working years ago, it sat limply in a chair and melted away like an old flower blown to dust by a brisk wind. Only, he didn't notice the wind had taken it from him until one day he'd woken up alone. There had been girlfriends -- dozens of them. They came and went, but his memory was long. He recalled them straddling his unmoving waist lovingly, swaying as if to a song. At least that part of him had still worked. The other leg he'd called Panic. It was the leg that reacted when he needed to react fast. Where Torque carried the weight, Panic pushed him past it. Sanjay remembered pushing past the time when he was alone. He had decided he wouldn't live on without legs. He had decided he wanted to sway to the music he couldn't hear. Dancing was something he'd been good at. He'd wanted to be a dancer once before his father had given him his duty. Sanjay had looked for a cure everywhere cures could be found. A broken spinal cord was tricky business, something no amount of potions, Light, magic water, experimental surgery, or happy thoughts could cure him of. His vast knowledge of medicine and fixing broken things didn't help. He had been convinced it only made matters worse because there was no more room for hope. But in the end, he'd found his cure. He'd been made whole. And so he was graced with the chance to make others whole too. But making some whole meant burying those whose pieces wouldn't fit back together. That meant names, and the nameless. It meant moving earth to fill it with bodies and wishes. It meant standing and weaving talismans and finding ways to lift the weight. It meant standing before a grave on the outskirts of Lakeshire on a dry evening as the sun fell dead in the west, biting back tears as they escaped at last from their long sentence behind the bars of shame. They were the only names that could make him cry anymore. It was bizarre what time could do to a man. Time could heal his wounds and change him into something new. But it could also make grief weigh heavier, and guilt burn deeper. The names stared up at him as a talisman of past failure, a weight that couldn't be set down. He stared down at the blurred carvings and the piles upon piles of woven children and felt time's effect on him. "Hi Dad," he told the children, "Hi Mom. Alex. John. Brom. Hi Saphir. It's me again." He wiped away his bitter tears to do his duty, as Father had always wanted. "I didn't think I'd ever come back, you know. I don't just mean to Redridge. I thought Pandaria was where I was meant to be. I thought home meant making something for myself and never looking back. I didn't think I'd have a reason. As it turns out, I was right. There was nothing to come back to." He thought it was true. They were all dead. Every last one of them. Broken pieces that couldn't be mended. No sense in dwelling on old wounds. Yet he had come back. "I'm still patching up soldiers like you would have wanted, Dad. Guess you got your wish, somewhat. I don't win any glory for the family name like you wanted, but at least I'm keeping the army you helped build keep its feet." Sanjay looked at the dolls seated carefully about the graves and sighed in frustration. "This is stupid. I'm stupid for ever thinking this would help." He bent over to pick a doll up and tossed it off into the distance. He lost sight of it behind a dry, dead bush. "You're all dead. There's no point to it. My words won't comfort you, and your lack of presence won't make me feel any better. I screwed up. I left and didn't look back until you were all gone. Ducking around the truth is pointlessly stupid. You are dead, but there are others that I can keep from the grave with the gifts you gave me. That's legacy. That's what will make me feel better. Don't any of you ever catch me getting weepy around you again, got it?" None of them answered. Sanjay told himself he was still being stupid, yet there he stood. Sanjay. Sander Redjay. The firstborn son of Alexander II Redjay, a hero of the Alliance. Taken by war before his time, and dying far too old. Beside him was his family, the ones who had stood by him. And standing above him, still breathing and crying was the one who had left. "I'm not using your name anymore, Dad. It belongs exactly where you put it. My name is Sanjay now. I never got to tell you before you died. It means Conqueror." He about-faced and walked off, his stride long and stiff. Torque and Panic carried him back down the road to town. The old house belonged to him now, so he intended to give it away to someone who needed it. That, or burn it down and light a cigar in the flames. He hadn't decided.
  5. RiktheRed21

    Young Soldier, Old Wounds

    "So let me get this straight, you jumped off the top of the Temple of the Moon, relying on a glider with a torn wing to slow your fall?" "I didn't know it was torn until after I jumped, but yes that is how it went." The young man with the ponytail winced as Sanjay investigated the damage resulting from the younger man's escapade. "You are lucky you survived. The Kal'dorei take matters of religion very seriously. That Temple is as tall as any castle I've seen." "It wasn't that bad, really." Sanjay eyed the broken leg skeptically. His educated mind told him to be open-minded, but this case seemed rather open-and-shut. "Your femur is cracked in five places," the doctor replied, "Your tibia has a solid dent in it, too. Plus your nose from where you most likely faceplanted, that's seven fractures." "Seven is a lucky number." The boy gave Sanjay a weak smile. Sweat dripped down his forehead in rivers. "Not today, it isn't. I have a question, though, unless you don't want to receive treatment." Moors sighed and lie back on the cot, staring up at the bottom of the top bunk. "Ask away. I'm an open book." "Why did you contact me, and not send a message out to the whole guild?" From what Sanjay had been told about the Empire's guildstones, the default function was to address the entire guild. It took some fiddling in a way Sanjay hadn't bothered to uncover to address only one particular stone. Usually he just kept his on mute. Moors shrugged. "I've never sent a message to one person before." "That doesn't answer the question." "It's late, people are sleeping." "You don't think they mute their stones before bed?" "People tend to forget things. Maybe not as much as I do, but still." The doctor exhaled through his nose and scratched his beard. Though he'd committed to growing it out in Pandaria, the hair was starting to get itchy. He briefly considered shaving it, or at least trimming it down some. "Right. I'm sure that's what went through your head while you writhed about at the steps of the Temple of Elune with bones broken in seven places." Moors' leg twitched in its fresh splint. Sanjay was more interested in that hair of his. It was yellow like straw, and held back in a ponytail. A slash of white lie along his scalp from above the right eye, as well. That was uncommon in one this boy's age. It reminded Sanjay of some old patients. The kid probably rubbed some warlock the wrong way at some point. "I try to be considerate." Or you just wanted to avoid the embarrassment of telling the whole guild you jumped off a building. Sanjay had been aware of some event going on tonight. Given the wine stains on the boy's cotton shirt, he figured Moors had attended. He tried not to jump to conclusions about the alcohol's affect on the boy's actions leading up to his injury. "I'll lend you potions for regrowing the bones and to suppress the pain. It'll be a week or two before you're back on your feet. I'll check in daily until you can get back to work." Luckily for you, I'm on vacation for that long. I could use a break from my break. "Thank you, Doctor. That's really nice of you." He seemed sincere. Sanjay never knew for certain. "Don't jump off anymore buildings, and I'll consider it even. And get some sleep." He stood up to leave. The elves were giving him odd looks. "Hey Doc?" "What is it?" "You won't tell anyone about this, will you?" So it is as I thought. "Not a word, kid. Rest easy." "I got three dates coming up. This won't keep me from any of that, will it?" Sanjay scoffed. That's right, it was about that time of year. Pretty boys like him would be breaking hearts left and right for the next few weeks. "I hope you weren't planning to take any of them for long walks. Or on that deathtrap of a glider. In fact, stay away from anything goblin-made for a while." "Alright. You're the Doc, Doc." He lie back and shut his shiny, baby blue eyes. Sanjay took a breath. After so long spent patching men and women condemned to die of fel poisoning or self-inflicted wounds of despair, this felt utterly mundane. It was a strange thought that such normalcy would feel unwelcome. He strode out of the medical ward of the Temple across soft grass that tickled his feet through his sandals. The elves out here watched him too. Sanjay had grown used to it. When the face of your people is a boy who looks eerily similar to Moors Hawthorne, seeing someone with skin and demeanor as dark as Sanjay's would be rather curious. Maybe I should shave the damn beard.
  6. RiktheRed21

    Gall

    "Gall's name says it all. He's got guts and doesn't shirk from a fight. I didn't know him long, but I'd probably have lost my head if I hadn't met him. I'd watch his back anytime," -Brinnea.
  7. RiktheRed21

    Rest

    Brinnea Velmon carried a sack over the shoulder with a stooped back, slowed by the weight, but sped by her resolve. She stomped eastward and north from Greenwarden's Grove, into the wild green lands in which only winding, grasping creepers grew and watched. She found a spot beneath an old, wide tree that stooped as she did. There she set down her burden, far enough away from the Grove to be out of sight, but close enough to reach within a twenty minute walk. Inside the sack lie stones she had spent the last week carving at her desk. The runes she had found in a tome she kept in her Thelsamar home. It was a memento of sorts, from her time under the boot of the Scourge. One she had stolen from a pile meant for burning by the Argent Crusade. She set the stones in a precise way, arranging them to make a shrine of sorts up against the stooped tree. Then she drew her blade, Paragon. The runes etched in the side glowed a familiar icy blue as she plunged it into the earth before her shrine of stones. The freshly etched runes glowed a dark purple hue, and wisps of shadow riddled their way up into the old tree like the creepers upon the ground. Bark withered in seconds and high above, leaves fell blackened and dying from the lowest branches. Whispers echoed all around, though it was impossible to discern their meaning. An unkeen ear might mistake it for an odd breeze. Brinnea knelt, her head lowered to the earth. She uttered an incantation that darkened the ground at her feet. Even the heat of the sun felt dimmer as she spoke. When she finished, she uttered one phrase in the low speech that meant, "Show to me the spirit of the dead: the spirit of Parigan Blackmane!" The whispers ceased, as did the dark creepers up the tree and the darkening shadow in the dirt and grass. A single voice pierced the silence -- strong, resolute, yet mocking it was. "Hello Brin. Long time, no see." Brinnea lifted her head to look up at the shade that now hovered over her wicked shrine. "Pari," she breathed softly, "I'm sorry to have to call you like this. You deserve a long, undisturbed rest." "Ha! No rest for me. I've been wandering for some time, here in Azeroth. Without a body, the spirit is free to see whatever sights it wishes, without a care in the world." He seemed utterly content and without a care in this form. He looked as she remembered him before his first death: a young man with shoulder-length black hair left uncombed and wild, brown eyes regarding the world with a fascinated bewilderment, and a body built strong, sturdy, and casually balanced. "That sounds right for you," she replied with a sad smile. "I only wish I could go with you." "In a way, you have. I see you everywhere I go. Your soul still tugs at mine. Sometimes I come back to watch you or Charlotte. She's seen me a time or two, I'd wager. A keen sense, our girl has." "Yes, she's going to make a fine mage someday. She still wants to be a hero, like you. Or me, I suppose." "A hero like us? That won't do. Teach her how to stay alive for longer than twenty years first." Brinnea laughed, tears forming frozen in her eyes. "I should be the one dead, and you the one alive. You could have taught her so much more than I ever can." "And I say," he said as his phantom hand urged her head upwards, "The only true knowledge worth having is earned yourself. She'll learn one way or another, from hundreds and thousands of teachers, living and dead. But you can give her something that I could not. You can be a mother to her. There is no replacing one's own mother." "And the same can't be said of fathers?" "A father puts life in a mother's body, but the mother carries that life with her. They are truly one for he longest time. It's a bond that transcends biology or psychology. I've seen it, you know. The bond between you two. With my own eyes, I can see it like a tether between you two. I truly believe you will never be apart. Not for long." She felt for his hand fondly, though it slipped through her fingers like smoke. "Oh you foolish, clever man! What did I ever do to deserve a you? To deserve any of what I still have?" "You were yourself. Always you were, and forever you will be. Nothing will ever really change you." "I'm not so sure..." "What is it that pains you now? There's always something, but I can feel agony within you. Something in your mind." She sighed, remembering that which urged her to contact him in the first place. "A nightmare. But this one felt real. An illusion, perhaps, but you know I've never been good at sorting reality from fantasy." "What sort of illusion?" "I saw..." she spoke reluctantly. She had been dreading that she would relive the memory again. "I saw the future. Charlotte and the boy, August, grown into a woman and man. I led them astray. They wanted to be heroes...like me." "So they died and became Death Knights," he concluded. "Yes." "Now that's bullshit." "Pari..." "No, you'd never let them do that to themselves in a million years.You wouldn't even let me get a dog when we couldn't afford it. You're stubborn as an old mule when you want to be." "It felt too real to disregard so easily." "That's the thing about illusions." "Don't you think I know that! But what if it becomes real? What if they do try to be just like me?" "Charlotte is what, six years old now? I think you've got enough time to teach her that isn't such a good idea." "It just feels as though I am leading her astray. People I meet believe a Death Knight could never be a true mother to living children. Even if they don't say it, I can see it on their faces." "When has that ever stopped you before? You spent years trying to get adoptions rights in Stormwind, and now you have two children to take care of. Stop worrying over whether it is right and just do the best with what you have." "You're right," she said, still unsure, "But that doesn't make the feelings go away." "Well, I can't control your feelings, though I believe there are drugs that could help with that." "Parigan!" He laughed -- a wispy sound that was a shadow of the irksome chuckle it had once been. "You'll find a way to get through this. You've wanted to be a mother for so long, I know you won't screw it up now." "I hope you're right, Pari. I want to believe it." "Then do that. I'm gonna go on some more adventures. Maybe possess someone along the way. Ah, to feel young and alive again!" "That's just awful," Brinnea said with a laugh and a cry. "You don't have to forget me, Brin. But you have to accept that I'm gone now." "And if you were in my shoes?" "I'd never let you leave me, obviously." "You're such a hypocrite." "And you don't need me to protect you anymore. I may have seemed strong and handsome and dashing when I was around, but it's only because I had you to inspire me. Now you do the same for our daughter, and your boy. Show this world it doesn't get to beat you." With that, he vanished with a puff of smoke. The sun grew brighter, and the silence faded into the breeze. She stood and removed the blade from the ground. Paragon. He would have said it was a funny joke to name it that. "But that's why I did it," she said to herself, "Always carry a smile into battle. Isn't that right, Pari?" Only the wind gave any reply.
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    Sorel Crescentsong (A)

    "Has to be the most persistent son of an elf I ever met. Everyone I know who knows him berates him constantly, and yet he keeps on at it regardless. Making him blush has become a hobby of mine. He may have trouble adapting to Alliance life, but he's got a big heart wrapped in his thin purple skin. I wouldn't trade him for a legion of Sentinels," -Jenivyr.
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    Baern Ashtotem

    "He is a strong and wise chieftain. My father would have trusted him with his life, so I will trust him with my family," -Nagoda.
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    Naheal Malastar

    "A dutiful knight with a strong sense of responsibility. I would have liked to work with him more when I had the chance," -Brinnea.
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    Rylie Tattersall

    "I heard about her. What happened in Eastvale...I can't help but feel responsible. I hope her new family treats her well, and she goes on to do great things. My mother once said the most beautiful flowers bloom in adversity. I pray every day that she was right," -Brinnea.
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    Tayissa Steel

    "I haven't seen her in a while, but I remember enjoying her company. She was a staunch companion in battle, and knew how to unwind otherwise. Not so many people had their lives so well put-together," -Brinnea.
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    Julilee Liene

    "She seems a strong and capable leader, full of fire. Reminds me of a certain General I know. I hope she finds a happy ending wherever her life takes her," -Brinnea.
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    Resileaf Ravenwing

    "I've never met someone so willing to put others ahead of herself. I sure was glad to hear she survived the knife," -Brinnea.
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    Kex'ti Dalendala [H]

    "He's a fighter and an idealist. He reminds me of what I want to be," -Brinnea. "He stood up for a people who needed him. I hope to be like him someday," -Nagoda.