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About Vathelan

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  • Birthday 07/31/1989

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  1. At the designated time, Kirital comes out of his mediation and looks over to the bed, checking on Vathelan. It's takes a minute for his senses to catch up, but the brief rest leaves his mind sharper than ever. He hopes for the same with Vathelan. The Magister’s eyes snapped open. He took a deep breath as he took account on his location. Why was he in the bed? He murmured something about no time as he headed back towards the table of melting spires. "Hey, feel better?" Kirital gets to his feet with a hop to his step as he rests a hand between his shoulder blades. "I moved you to the bed, you've been out for about an hour and a half." "I've lost an hour and a half of work then." He starts creating another orb of water. "We're under siege tomorrow. We need to be prepared." Kirital sets out to make a fresh batch of tea. Being in the other room he raises his voice a little to be heard clearly. "You were rather fatigued. Unless there's a spell to keep you sharp and focused." He opts to let Vathelan's tea steep longer for added strength. Working through the night is the likeliest of outcomes and being Vathelan's assistant means he needs to keep the magister productive. “I can rest when I—” Vathelan Frostwhisper paused at the Half-elf’s words. A spell that would make him sharper, more focused. “…Actually…” He froze the orb and left it on the table as he marched towards his satchel. Please let me have those notes on me…. Kirital gets a bad feeling in his gut. While the tea steeps he moves to the make-shift study to see what grabbed Vathelan's attention. Seeing the man rummage through the backpack, Kirital asks, "Struck by an idea? Anything I can help you find?" “As I have stated, before I was assigned to investigate Lord Cerryan and Sanctuary, I was part of our Research and Development Department.” The Magister starts rummaging through his satchel. “I never did fully give up my love for such. Anyways, when I still had some off time—where we weren’t being invaded by the threat of the Legion, I was trying to develop something on my off time in order to aid other projects.” He shifted away his Glass Scroll in favor of a notebook. “I was researching something… impressive, to say the least. And I may be able to alter it to fit our current needs.” Kirital laughs at Vathelan's display of enthusiasm. It's a quality he likes about the man. "Oh? Tell me about it while I go grab our drinks." Taking the old mugs, Kirital returns to the kitchen. The guestroom is open with only a few doors separating rooms. “I’m afraid I cannot discuss the details in too much length. Needless to say, however, that as a group dedicated to the Defense and Preservation of the Sin’dorei—a dying race—we have multiple projects in the works at any given time. Some are quality of life in order to improve the lives of our people, others are innovations in hopes that we can continue to have a cutting edge against others and to open pathways to new ideas for a brighter tomorrow. Others are… well, are designed with a much more Defensive notion in mind.” He grabs the notebook and starts heading back to the table. “We have created a wondrous creation that could revolutionize the Golem technology; I was trying to find a way to do so in a more cost effective way in order to ensure it was viable so that it could be utilized in future endeavors.” The Magister opened the notebook as if searching for something. “…I haven’t perfected the spell as of yet, however. There are always… complications.” "Oh. I thought you meant a spell for keeping yourself awake and sharp." He brings Vathelan a strong tea while sipping his own. "At any rate, let me know what I can do to help out? I'll be doing my own preparations in the meantime." “I am saying that I can use this spell, if I can find it, and augment it to enhance my mental capacities beyond my usual standard. I intended to work out the kinks and submit this spell so that it could be used to make smarter equipment.” He paused at a page before going back to his satchel, pulling out specialized paper, a mechanical quill and a few vials of ink. “It could save lives, revolutionize well… Everything. If it works, I could bolster both my magical abilities and thought processes.” He finally takes the mug and starts to drink from it. Kirital removes his tunic and tosses a flat pillow onto the floor. Moving some of the furniture to open the space, he stands in the center if it. "What happens when the spell wears off, though?" He begins to go through various poses and stretches, occupying the majority of their conversation. “Ideally?” The Magister looks over his notes, his tone obviously one of speculation. “One of two scenarios: The spell proves to have a lasting effect and I retain some partial benefits to it thanks to how it has opened new lines of thought; OR the spell simply wears off and we simply reap the benefits of that short timeframe it works. We can save Dora, we can save Borrowed Time, and then we can save the world.” Kirital is doing something upside-down now with his arms supporting most of his weight. "So there's no...lack of energy or feedback? Would someone so accelerated need food to compensate?" A thought comes to him. "Or does," he grunts as only one arm supports him now, "The magic carry the load?" “I’ve not tried it on anything organic before.” He admits as he reviews the notes. His jaw sets as he debates whether he should go into details on the experiments he Had performed. Seeing the hesitance, Kirital whirls on a palm and lands on a foot, keeping atop the flat pillow. The angle shifts his center of gravity forward, putting strain on his legs and lower back. He holds the taxing position. "Well, from what I do know, you don't get things for free." A quick huff of a laugh escapes his steady breathing. "This research of yours, is it personal or under the Scryers?" “Both… I guess?” He thinks on how to explain it. “It’s a personal project of mine, in hopes that I could submit it when I was sure it was safe and worthy of use in hopes that it could be used to save lives. It started from the inspiration I gathered from arguably one of our most impressive creations—though it was so costly, we cannot make them on any sort of massive scale as it is. And it’s not as… efficient as it could be. So I started… This. The biggest problem I have stumbled upon is it both has to ramp up, and then it—um—decays over time, I think it’s a quirk in the amount of mana required to make and sustain something that can actually think. As the power source diminishes… well, the spell begins to fail. In unpredictable ways.” "Does it need t'always be on?" The honest question comes with a slight drawl to his voice. It doesn't sound out of place, but hasn't come from him before. "When I'm training, I take frequent breaks to recharge. Helps performance." That last word had a devious grin to accentuate it. He stops his stretching and light exercise to bind his hair back and grab some water. "Like now. One minute and I'm going to get back to it." “I am afraid I am not entirely sure I understand the question.” Vathelan wiped away the moisture from the melting ice as best as he could with his sleeve, also pushing the remaining chunks and shards onto the ground. Normally he would be more concerned with the cleanliness in the area—but it being clean wouldn’t matter soon, especially if they were dead or failed their mission here. “I should be able to function without the effects, it putting me into a vegetative state is… unlikely, if that is what you are asking? If you are asking if I can suspend the spell while it is active; then the answer is no. Once active it will stay so—and dispelling it and recasting it is not only inefficient as the spell… grows in power as the mind continues to expand, it adds its own problems.” "Seems it's on a larger scale that I thought." Kirital drinks a few more sips of water. "I was thinking something more mild, like how you feel during exercise or when you're riding a high." The topic has gone out of his expertise, but, he can find some ways to relate. "But given these risks, I don't feel it's worth it unless you can dumb it down a little?" “Dumbing it down would defeat the purpose.” The Magister shook his head. “With this increasing edge, I could make everything click into place. I could craft the guardian, I could… remove my inhibitions for the violence we are going to require today. I could… no longer be helpless. I could save those we are here for. We could win this, and then we could prepare against the greater threat.” He takes a sigh as he looks over the notes. “…I just need to be brave enough to take these risks…” "Or." Kirital pauses his stretch and resumes a normal posture. "You can be really brave and not take the easy way out.I don't believe in an easy fix. Nothing is easy, especially this." He drinks a bit more water. A towel slings over his shoulder as he watches the man sift through his notes."If the original spell is meant for an inanimate object, and not something alive, maybe a weaker version is best? A boost is a boost. Why crank it past eleven when a notch at three or four would do?" “This has been years of research, I would Hardly call it an easy fix or way out.” His voice got terse in defense. His hands grasped at the specialized parchment paper. “With the world on the brink of total annihilation, we have to worry about what Works. Not philosophical debates. Idealistic minds may very well be the death of us, we cannot afford inaction.” He takes another drink of his tea before giving a sigh, his voice softening again. “…But, perhaps I should place more trust in our friend and her company. A radical experiment may not be required, and may cost us more in the long run… for now.” Kirital sighs, more in relief. "That's what I was getting at. I want you in top condition for the upcoming battle since you're going to participate and saw this as... an unnecessary risk, considering all the good you've done so far." A smile returns to him as does a light hearted tone. "I'm your assistant slash bodyguard, afterall." Approaching Vathelan, he extends his hand. "And friend above that." The Magister took the Half-elf’s hand, though did not return the smile. Instead there was a certain determination beyond his glasses. “…This is only the beginning, Kirital.” "Do what you need to do on the battlefield, Vathelan. I'll support you." His grip tightens as he keeps his nerves from it. Bringing attention to tomorrow's battle refreshes his energy and brings a wide grin to him. "Now, while you make your preparations, I'll be doing mine." Stepping away, Kirital resumes his stretching, though an Amery is felt within the room. At the center of it, Kirital focuses and draws it in. The aura subsides as he goes through his martial motions.
  2. Within the guestroom that Magister Frostwhisper and his half-elf entourage had been assigned to until the conflict was resolved, Vathlean was hard at work at the table he turned into a makeshift desk for his preparations. Preparations for war, from a pacifist. The irony and developing pattern were not lost on him. First he intervened in the conflict with Karthok, which wasn’t his fight. Now he practically begged to be here in the middle of a warzone in order to protect someone close to him. But he was not built for this. His nerves were getting to him. Anyone who saw him or his workstation would be able to see it. Dark rings started to form under his eyes, his robes had lost the pristine creases that usually were ever-present—forcing the entire ensemble to look flat, his hair was disheveled. Surrounding him were disfigured spires and partial spheres of ice. In between his hands a basketball sized orb of water whirled as it floated in the air, suspended between his hands. “Come on…” He growled in exhausted frustration as he gritted his teeth, his eyes locked upon the ball. The orb wobbled. Vathelan’s eyes remained focused on it. The perfection of the shape began to wane. The Magister’s thumbs pressed into the air like one would clay. The Orb started to indent. A small smile crept upon the exhausted man’s face. And then frost began to form within his misshaped globe. “…No… Don’t do—” The Orb turned into solid ice. “…That.” His teeth grinded against each other. He felt the frustration rise in him once again, boiling to an anger as he threw the globe back upon the ground. “NOT AGAIN!” He balled up his fists and set his forehead to the table giving an aggravated sigh. A soft knock comes from the door frame. Kirital stands within it. He lacks his jacket and instead wears a sleeveless shirt and slack pants bound at the waist with cloth. He is barefoot and his knuckles look raw. Held in a large hand are two mugs, a pleasant scent coming from both of tea. A disarming smile softens the edges of his face. He tries to not interfere with Vathelan's concentration knowing how devoted he is to helping Dora. The magisters frustration, however, is louder and more concerning as of late. Kirital fears the man is slipping and is certain he needs to relax. The tea, he feels, should act as an icebreaker. "Please tell me you've slept?" Kirital's even baritone voice dips to concern as he approaches one side of the desk. Vathelan slowly straightened his posture once more, his weary eyes looking back to his friend as he released his breath in speech, “…Yesterday. We’re too short on time, too much riding on the outcome.” Kirital pulls up a chair; its back facing Vathelan. Straddling it, he folds his arms atop the back and hunches forward a little to rest his chin in an upraised palm. His stubble is unkempt and just on the verge of becoming a fiery beard to match his hair. "So what have you managed to do since yesterday?" He looks to Vathelan's work. Its sprawling across the table and is disheveled enough to deepen Kirital's concern. "The Scrolls are done." He doesn't elaborate. This doesn't explain the ice all around him either. "We just need to get her to agree to use one if things get too out of hand." Kirital races out to grip Vathelan's shoulder to give a reassuring squeeze. "Preparations are going well then. What is it you're working on now?" Keeping the conversation light while focusing on his task at hand might help refocus the man and relax him. His grip is strong and warm. Kneading his fingers through Vathelan's tired shoulder works out its tension. "With the ice?" "Protection." Vathelan sounds weary. "Dor--Lady Arath'dorei can't fall. We need her alive." He tries to look at this objectively and professionally. Emotions made people sloppy. Scooting closer, Kirital sees full well how exhausted Vathelan is. "And what are you stuck on?" He asks. The question is innocent, as is the second hand moving to Vathelan's other shoulder to mimic the motions of the other. Nearby, on a spot left free of tomes and papers and ink, their tea cools. The soothing mint scent replaces the dry, musty parchment and adds a sense of welcome to this nook of the guest room. "Making a guardian." Vathelan was usually a man of a certain flourish in the way he spoke, kept it short in his frustration as he tried to look away from his failures in digest. The problem is the reminder was all around him. Kirital notes the hateful glances toward the ice and magic around them. He sighs and stands, positioning behind Vathelan. "Would you say no to a break? Thirty minutes is enough for a reset, but, no one will blame you for taking a nap." Continuing to massage the man's shoulders, Kirital applies more pressure. Occasionally he finds a knot in Vathelan's upper back and, when pressed, would pinch sharply at first. As the maneuver continues, the pinch fades to a warm burn, a good burn, one of soothing and rest. "How many days until the siege?" Kirital's voice remains calm, breathing rhythmic and slow. Even the tempo to his speech is soft to the senses. It's as if these subtleties coerce Vathelan into a relaxed state without directly asking him to do so. The topic of conversation serves to distract while everything else, hopefully, helps slip him into slumber. Kirital glances to the clock and times his actions. There is a delicacy to this and, if unsuccessful, has a chance to backfire. Should Vathelan slump or snooze, he'll need to keep track of the time otherwise the magister would be rather groggy after being woken up. “Can’t nap. Too much to do…” He tries to protest, a yawn escapes in spite of himself. “…We have to protect her, Kirital. If… Dora…” He loses his focus, the world drifts away for a moment. “…Dora… needs to live…” Another lull, stronger than the first. “…She’s the reason we’re here… If she dies, we lose everything…” His body starts to slump over on the table. With his last breaths of consciousness he makes one more protest. “…She’s our… in… we need… to… save….” Kirital smiles when Vathelan slips off into sleep. Glancing at the clock, he wonders how long he should let this nap be. Gently, he frees him from the chair to carry him in his arms. He doesn't tuck him into the bed, instead laying Vathelan atop the comforter and making sure no bumps or wrinkles disturb the rest. Within a nearby chair he sits and relaxes. Ninety minutes for this one, he concludes.
  3. The knock threatens to teeter the bulk of her thoughts off their railing. She goes through the rigmarole of standing for a new guest, calling out a clear "Enter!" Kirital slips in. He figured they were in discussion, so his body language reflects a quiet respectfulness. Offering Dora a quick smile, he slips to the wall just beside the door; hands moving behind his lower back. Like before he wears a dense cloth jacket lined with a short fur for cold, slack pants bound with cloth at his waist and ankles, and heavy boots layered with dense disks of metal. Oh right...well, shoot, she's going to have to remember this guy's name eventually. The bodyguard that shadows Vathelan for reasons that Dora doesn't have knowledge about...and she's starting to worry that she really ought to have looked into that before hand. Too late now. She gives the male a nod of acknowledgement and a smile of similar briefness before she sits back down again, her posture changed into a rigidity that makes her back ache. "Weeell," she drawls, drumming a beat, "think of him like a felhunter. Any spellcasters are fair game. According to old mission logs on him, he can only possess bodies that are heavily tainted by fel...the body he's using now...I really don't know how he managed to reconstruct it, but it's a close approximation of his original if the testaments from retired Rough Raiders are anything to go by." The Magister looked back at his bodyguard with a small nod before turning his attention back to the task at hand. “I see. And we are assuming he will strike here? What does he have to gain from such? Is it revenge? All this preparation for one Demon Hunter…” "Not just any demon hunter...if it was that simple, well," she shrugs. "I mentioned before that he has a history of working with Scryers who defected to his cause. Artifacts in exchange for power." A twist of a frown, a shift of her shoulder blades like a predator cat out in the Barrens that makes the gilded piping of her military-style jacket shimmer. "He knows how to network and build a following. He's got two other known enemies on his side with incredible shadow powers. Like," she barks a short laugh, "like, they both outclass my mom in Void control and she's no slouch. Besides that...we have a plan. He wants these stones we have, that the Rough Raiders used to create a pocket dimension where they trapped him initially." She pauses, the windows of her stare darkening like the shadow of a bird across a dusty plain, there and gone. "So we want to lure him close enough to activate the stones again. We won't have the element of surprise on our side, but we have strategies for dealing with his army and his techniques. When we start the ritual, he'll sense it and he won't be able to resist." “So, you are essentially trying to lure him into a trap.” The Magister looked over the report. Defecting Scryers. He could use this to gain Borrowed Time more favor from his organization after the battle was won. “You’re sending my Agent to lead your air force. And I am sure that you will brief him further later. What of your other forces? Are you well supplied, are you in need of anything I can acquire for you?” From the conversation, Kirital attempts to catch up. It seems they're planning to counter a foe of strength...with powerful allies...and who they plan to trap instead of defeat. A look of concern turns toward Vath; brow turning outward until he steels himself against his wandering mind. Vathelan is no combatant. Besides that's what Kirital is for. Through Dora's explanation, he moves his focus onto her and listens. She seems tense, though confident. It brings a subtle smirk of interest to his stubbly face. "We've got help pouring in on all fronts!" There's a little bit of that cheer in Dora that bears the marks of authentic if a bit worn down. It's too difficult for her to stay down for very long, goes against what comes naturally to her so she doesn't fight the sudden tide of good humor. "Honestly, it's been kind of a windfall of support from unexpected places, all of them vetted. We've got ships in the dock, we've got people diggin trenches, we've got out weapons specialist working on landmines, the tanks. Fel!" she grins, eyes going crescent with her mirth, "I've got my cousin up in the zeppelin tower working on a damn canon that oughta put a sizable dent in anything Lazhio tries to bring to the table." In her excitement, she brandishes a copy of the map that details their plans, with red markings of adjustments in the margins. She points to the square marking the command center, hovering over the map while her long ebon hair slips off her shoulders, messy and wild. "We have shamans who can detect underground tremors in case of tunneling. We have ballistas set up along the eastern and southern facing walls," her finger drags a line down, "and that's not accounting for the mines placed here, or the oil that will be set aflame by our rangers." Kirital gets to his tip toes and peers to the map from the wall. It seems rather complex and there are a lot of lines and words. Instead he returns to ogling Vathelan's back view with a subtle once over. If Vathelan resolves to be here for this intense siege, he'll kick the shit out of whatever tries to attack him. The hunter in Dora reacts to the movement in her peripheral; she notices the half-elf in his less than discreet attempt at satiating his curiosity. She'd be doing the exact same thing in his position. She shoots off a look towards him, that same enthusiastic and artless grin tossed in his direction like a bomb. She's pure energy in her element, explosive like the weapons she enjoys tinkering on in her spare time. It's like sharing a secret, a little understanding between him and her, before she returns her attention to the map. Kirital grins. He had a feeling Dora was into him. That look confirms it to him. He makes a mental note to ask her to go clubbing in the Dalaran nightlife and maybe bring Vathelan along. It'll be a celebration. Resting against the wall, he lets himself daydream a moment. “Your tactician seems to have done an adequate enough job devising a solid plan of defense, save potentially warding the area to ensure that the enemy cannot simply teleport within.” Despite his studious tone, her usual liveliness is infectious. He cannot help but smile at how her excitement bubbles to the surface. “I am willing to lend my aid there if you so wish, and while I am not normally a combatant—I can provide support in terms of altering the flow of battle in our favor, or I can lend my prowess in keeping up the barrier if you would have me at either station. Unless you have something else in mind?” Vathelan's offer sobers Kirital and his wandering mind. He approaches the table and stands behind Vathelan with crossed arms and a raised brow at the man. "It's not outlined here," she confides, "but we do have plans for an arcane barrier. Those magic users who can use light will be fighting against what are basically sha-puppets..." the movement gives her pause. Vathelan stands in the shadow of what Dora realizes is a giant of a half-elf. He might actually be the same size as Nokh, managing to loom in their space and her just shy of meeting his eyes. He might have had an inch on her, she'd have to guess. She gives his size a notice, a mental 'huh' before she continues on. "I can put you on the team with the'd be closest to the inner circle where we're protecting the stones, but arguably that would be the safest place in the base." “If you think my talents would be best suited there, then so be it.” He has his suspicions, but he doesn’t verbalize them. He understood the value of such a position tactically, and if she sought to protect him… he would have to take that as a good sign. “Where will you be?” "Erm," she verbalizes, internally wincing while she keeps her eyes down, pinned to the map. "I'll be with the rest of the ranged fighters and fall back after they breach the wall." "Where Vathelan goes, I'll be there as well." Kirital adds. Looking over Dora, he smiles, demeanor turning friendly and a little scrutinizing. It's almost as if he sizes her up in the least offensive way. "Should I get with you to see where I fit in? Vathelan is my priority, but that doesn't mean I can't help defend others nearby." The Magister’s lips thin as the briefing declared her positioning. His frosty gaze glared within the woman’s scalp. He looked about to protest at any moment. His brows knitting at his bodyguard’s declaration next. He obviously wasn’t pleased, and yet he said nothing at current. What he sees is what he gets, that much is obvious just looking at her. If imagined lined up against other elven women considered typical in stature and grace, they'd probably try to gently direct her out and maybe hang up her femininity card as she left. She had the height that made her tower over most of her gender and race, and a thicker build beneath the jacket and trousers. Feminine demure was traded for the sort of free-spirited will of a younger mind who really just cared about what was practical. She was freshly scrubbed, at least, but bare-faced and curious. She considered the man and his question, rubbing thoughtfully at her chin. "Honestly," she starts, head canted, "I'd just like to know why Vathelan has a bodyguard in the first place. I don't wanna compromise your job, but I am wondering." Kirital's grin turns toothy. He's clearly proud of the position. "Sure yeah! We can go over that and Vathelan's body over drinks." He soon catches what he said and attempts to recover despite a small blush. "Ah, why I'm assigned to be his body guard, that is." “It’s a bit comple—” The Magister had finally spoken up, his frigid concern had not yet thawed in this distraction. And then he heard that slip up and froze in place, his eyes slowly looking back up at the half-elf, before looking back at the woman before him. The correction did nothing to stop his flustering however, as a red hue slowly began to emanate upon the man in glasses. There is a titan of a male blushing in front of her. What he'd said had caught her notice, but she wasn't going to give it much thought; at least until Vathelan cut himself off and his discomfort radiated off of him in a deep blush across his cheeks and the bridge of his nose. She runs the words in her head again, niggling loose the meaning, and hates that she feels her own face go hot when she isn't even sure why they are blushing (though she's got ideas, but they're distracting from the point!). Her hands splay flat across her desk, with her stare roving from Kirital to Vathelan. "I'd- uh. Rather just hear it now." "I'm a uh," Kirital clears his throat and slides a step away from Vathelan, similarly drifting his gaze to the far wall. "A member of Sanctuary charged with stopping threats to Vathelan's person." He shrugs. "Simple as that, really." He gives a somewhat desperate look to Vathelan to extrapolate, and hides it behind a smile. "Who?" Dora is forced to ask, concerned, her focus on Vathelan. “There have been… incidents, which were left unchecked. Some of the leadership thought this acceptable; others did not and understood the risk it posed to my delicate work in negotiations.” "That's not the answer to my question," Dora frowns. "You know her quite well, and I loathe the thought of being a wedge between your friendship." Kirital nods during Vathelan's explanation. Clearly the Magister is better at describing delicate situations. Once the conversation continues he stops. "I dunno. Haven't had any incidents, really." He arcs a brow toward Vathelan. Really he is oblivious to what harm merited Baern's order to bodyguard the mage. The truth hits her with enough force to make her groan. She scrubs at her face, her reluctant little smile peeking from behind the gaps of her fingers. "Well," she sighs, laughter hiding in her eyes as she glances between them both, "yeah, I can see why you need a bodyguard. That's an entire set of problems I'd like to address later, when we're not dealing with a magic-sucking maniac." "Shall we add it to the list of things we need to discuss after this scenario?" "Yeah I can cover the first round but you're on your own after that." Kirital teased, or at least that was how Vathelan took it. Her stomach freefalls, the gently amused curve of her lips wiped clean. There's too much in the unspoken to pick apart. When she tries to catch murmurs of a conversation in the dark, she hears her own voice but not his. Apologies and backpedaling. Clarification; a small perk that laid at the end of the unknown. "Sure," she offers, straightening. The buttons of her coat gleam in the light. “I didn’t mean…” The Magister gave a small sigh, he seems slightly flustered. “We have much to discuss when this is over. I have hope that the majority of it will prove quite pleasant.” He manages to calm his fussing to give her a small smile. “…All we need do is survive.” Dora probably does this to spite herself. It's her playing cards against her brother all over again, revealing her hand just by breathing or something. She lacks the ability to hide, to disguise. She feels like the air blares loud with the undercurrent of their conversation. Vathelan was going to read it just like Eiverlyn could read a person's history just by analyzing their clothes. Unable to stop herself, her stare flickers to Kirital. Was it written all over her face, the uncertainty? She takes up the map, a safe port in a storm. "We've got good odds. Surviving, I mean." “Indeed.” The Magister gives a small nod, it was uncertain if he could see through her weak façade or not. “Thank you for your time, Lady Arath’dorei.” He moves to stand up from his chair. His eyes looked over his dear first friend. “We’ll get through this. Together. And… perhaps we can have our discussions over dinner?” "I'm starving." Kirital laughs. Overall he seems to not own a care in the world, or at least doesn't let such bother him. There is a disarming quality that hangs about him as loosely as his attire. "So I'm game for anything." He does take a few steps back as his input ends. Just like that, the bubble of tension breaks. Unconsciously, she aims a half grin Kirital's way. "Well, you're free to have dinner in the mess hall if you want. We've got a pretty decent chef...and yeah," she meets Vathelan's eyes, easy confidence returned to her. "Dinner after the battle is fine too." Vathelan held the door open for the bodyguard, his eyes glancing back at his first and dear friend. The smile started warm, encouraging as she regained her confidence. “Thank you, Lady Arath’dorei.” The gaze lingered for a moment, the smile faded before contact was completely broken. He shut the door behind him and his companion without a word further.
  4. In his own preparations for the battle to come, Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper had kept finding himself at a loss any time the Captain asked for an explanation of the details of the job not listed in the contract—when he wasn’t leaving at the bar to get drunk on the Magister’s silver, of course. Not liking having a decidedly lacking understanding of the situation, he had decided it prudent to return to the office. Each step had him questioning his preparations. Should he bring flowers? Too forward. This was work, after all. And Dora had too much on her plate as it was—the whole reason he decided against actually getting an answer or saying the words. His hands hovered at the door of the office. He took a deep breath, only exhaling as he finally announced his presence. How many more adjustments did this plan need? How many more hands volunteered for the sake of a fight that counted on so many factors outside of their control? Earlier, opportunities ran abundant out of the mouths of those in attendance at the meetings. Now that they put those plans into action, she kept running into new logistic problems. Most tedious part; the part she liked dealing with the least. She skimmed the end of her quill across her mouth, the feathery end chewed while she came up with what she was going to do for Cat in thanks for all of her assistance. Shokkra too. Cat fought for Kreyen, Shokkra for her best friend. Julilee for her support in everything, reliable even at all-time lows. Though they all bent their heads to their tasks for different reasons, they all bore the same banner and it made Dora speculate on just how much Sanctuary aided them now without question. Not because they were Sanctuary and allies...or maybe the term 'ally' meant more than it ever had before.... With the startle from the knock, she ends up with the feather end of the quill tip up one nostril. She sets it aside, brings her wrist to her nose to stop her sneeze, and beckons them with a muffled "Come in!" After hearing her invitation, the young Magister gently opened the door and saw himself in with a warm smile. “Good evening, Lady Arath’dorei. How does the planning fare?” She peers past a sea of parchment, catches sight of Vathelan. The sincere if tired half-smile reaches her eyes, just partially hidden under a heavy black fringe that always seemed to need cutting. She stands, throws a hand in the direction of one of the chairs in front of the desk. "It's a little fiddly," she admits, "but promising at least." “I could help, if you would allow it?” He seems slightly better rested than the woman before him. Though the robe he was in was less pristine than she had ever seen, save perhaps the end of their little hunting trip almost a year ago. “My specialties tend to be catching and managing the little details so that heroes such are yourself can worry about the bigger picture. You slay the dragon, I figure out how to make sure your men don’t go hungry during the venture.” "You're restless," she decides, a dimple deepening as her smile hitches up further. If Dora Arath'dorei carried the confidence to claim any sort of expertise in anything at all, restlessness ranked at the top of the list. She knew the signs. “I am worried.” He corrects, his eyes looking pointedly in direction and at all the paperwork. He sat down before her, gently moving to try to smooth out the wrinkles in his uniform as he did so. And then he eased his demeanor, back to a more familiar than the professional as he teased. “Do not tell me you were so quick to forget our conversation?” Their last conversation; it's like staring into a dense fog in her own head where glimpses reveal themselves of their own accord, never to her satisfaction or to complete the picture. Vague notions, an awful lot of confusion. Her bottom lip attempts to roll back for her teeth to chew, but she manages to refrain. "You can be worried and restless," Dora counters, sitting when he does. "I learned that those two tend to go hand in hand." She looks like she might tip out of her chair, perched on the very edge, but her feet are solidly beneath her. “I suppose it is difficult to get adequate rest when there is a threat of certain doom, or when your employee deems to claim the bed within the guestroom as his own.” The playful smirk continued to grow for a moment before it settled back down into his professional side threatened to overcome him once more. “Lady Arath’dorei… I know the eagerness to spill oneself into their work, the fear that someone else may get it wrong. But I am here. For you. Please do not hesitate to utilize my talents.” "I- yeah, I know that Vath." Zakael can only do so much between his own exhaustion and taking care of his daughter. Amalyn...Dora passes by the infirmary to get updates on her status. At least Amalyn's recovering, but she won't set the burden of more paperwork on the woman. Or maybe Amalyn needs the work to feel included in the fight, to save her husband (or vengeance, but Dora moves right along past that possibility). "If I gave you anything, it would be a lot of grunt work. Giving the numbers another check, reporting directly to me." A ruffle of her hair, a mild furrow of her brows. Her smile carries a note of sardonic, like it's an uncomfortable sentiment that can't stand to land on her expression for any longer than an eye blink. "We've got...a lot of Sanctuary here filling a lotta roles. As much help as they provide, there's also been tension because of it. It's hard to keep up morale when it looks like we're handing off a lot of our control to an outside source, no matter how closely we might be allied." “If running numbers will help alleviate some of the burden you bear upon your shoulders, then please, by all means.” His face remained in the twilight of both personas, each sentence seemed to play a different note in his mannerisms. “Though… I must admit, I am surprised to see Sanctuary actually acting.” The amount left unsaid fills the room, forcing her attention. She's always been told that, as a leader, you're always listening for the unspoken. You're balancing multiple conversations with each word capable of changing the outcome. You can tuck meaning into phrases like cards up a sleeve. She's never once won a card game against her brother. She works on her strengths to make up the difference. "They're not acting under orders. A lot of the members that are here came on their own, because of family or friendship." “I suppose the reasons are irrelevant at current. What must be focused on is how to achieve victory in order to fight another day.” He adjusts the conversation as he does his glasses. “…Speaking of which, I feel I am at a loss of an understanding of the specifics." The specifics? She gets another chance at trying to narrow down months of events into a succinct summary. The problem of information sharing among BT's own people buzzes around her head, with half-baked ideas that she's considered in those meandering moments where she's drifting between one problem and another. Better kept mission logs, maybe a little more bureaucracy. Not enough to stifle, just to smooth out their operations... Oh, right. Debriefing first. She tries to keep details relevant. "Alright," she starts, handing him off one of the reports passed around in their earlier meetings detailing the victims in Dalaran whose remains appeared no more than husks. Bodies of Sunreavers and stray mages. "These were found in the sewers a few months ago. We didn't get a confirmed ID until Aaren was attacked. Then Uncl-..Cobrak recognized Lazhio, not just from Aaren but from events prior...he borrowed a body of one of our own, using it like transport. I'm not sure about the form he's using now beyond the fact that it's strong." She picks up another loose sheaf with the pitlord-esque form of Lazio in the background, with the Rough Raiders to the front. "He breathed out a wave of felfire and had our best fighters retreating with just a word." “You said he is devouring… essence of those Magically inclined, those trained in the classic arts specifically? Or are those using natural magics or the Divine for example also at risk of this?” His first question as he reads the reports. No one he knew sticks out within them, if there are names.”He… borrows forms? Does he kill his host? Does killing the host neutralize him?” A soft knock comes from the door.
  5. The men are lead out of the office. Vathelan keeps his eyes on the shorter of the two half-elves until he is surely going where intended. Then he holds back, looking up at the woman at the door frame as he stood at the bottom of the steps. He could tell she was stressed; he tried to think of something encouraging and yet appropriate to say given this strange dynamic in play. “I’m… sorry if he crossed a line.” He starts. “Do… you want me to stay here too? My offer to aide you still stands, just tell me what you need.” He's offered his help time and time again. Realistically, she knew that every hand available meant a better fighting chance for her uncle and for her shan'do. For beating Lazhio and for the continued survival of the world as they knew it. The reservations that hold her back fade in importance. "It was just unexpected, but it's fine. Uhm." What does she need? What does the company need? She wants to explain the risks...and since when did Vathelan have a bodyguard? What for? Just what kind of danger was he already in? “Dora…” His voice is low, meant just for them. The formality dropped. He is worried for her, this much is evident. “I understand the perils of leadership; I understand the impulse to work yourself beyond the point of exhaustion. At least let me do some of your paperwork? It’ll allow you to focus better on the upcoming battle. Also… have you seen Lord-General Rayfeather around? If I can get him to help me to lean on Headquarters, I may be able to requisition some Golems at least to help.” At the mention of the Lord-General, the cracks in her professionalism start to deepen. Her shan'do, who had put time and effort into her with training, had been dangling as a limp puppet with no way to help him. The images of his head caught in the claws come to her unbidden. She goes very still, and very quiet. She just needs a moment. Just a moment. She'll be fine, she can do this. She has to do this. "Faelenor was captured," she admits, voice whisper quiet and wavering. "It's part of the mission detail." Not another one. Vathelan’s jaw tightens, his eyes express a deep sense of regret beyond the glass before them. “…I… didn’t know.” He looks behind him, to the group travelling to the guestrooms. His mind starts calculating. “If you want to take me up on the paperwork offer, let me know… you know how to contact me. For now… I-I’ll see if I can use that information to our advantage.” She wavers. She needs to tell him. "...this monster that we're facing, Lazhio. He targets magic users, Vath. I...can ask my company to stay back and fight for our leader and for taking him down. He poses tremendous risk, but...if we fail, then all of our hope goes to surviving organizations who know about the threat and can do something." The shadows of the hallway outside her office press against her on all sides. She takes a deep breath through her nose, exhales. "I don't want to take you away from the Scryers. Not when you could be doing a lot of good in their service." “…I see.” He pauses, seeming to process this new information. “I will respect your wishes. But have you considered the alternative? What if I lose you, Dora? Do… you know how much you mean to me? And how much shame I have from failing the first Lord-General? What… how do I live with myself with another failure like that? With having you taken from my world?” He shakes his head before leaning in to give her a hug. An unusual gesture from a man who seems to tend to shy away from physical contact. It's not the first hug he's ever initiated with her. She's transported to a hillside just outside of Durotar, close to the crossroads where she witnessed Legion-infested ships flying overhead. She remembers warm arms and silly promises. As dark clouds filled the sky so that it looked like evening when the sun was at its highest point in the sky, they'd found a moment to laugh. Was he...putting her before his duty? Her arms hang on either side of him until, finally, they settled around his waist. "It's not about me," she murmurs. "You- Vath, you know the price of peace." “And who do you think has a better shot at it? You or me?” She was so close to him, he wasn’t sure if his heart was racing from her touch or the fear of losing her. He was getting emotional. Emotions were always messy. “I… cannot ask you not to do this. For many reasons. But you—you cannot expect me to just walk away? To leave you to die without a moment’s thought?” Desperation hounded her for the entirety of her life. If they lived in the same place for the length of a season, the company considered the event a miracle. Years of watching her mother's back, wondering if this was the mission that killed her. Being sent on missions of her own and wondering if she'd ever see her brother's face again. It was either hunt or be hunted. Hopelessness returns to lie in wait at her back, waiting patiently for her to take notice. She hears it in his questions. The back of his robes crinkle under her clenching fist. "The world is more important than just me," she reminds him, breathless. “You say that…” The retort starts, but the logic is with her. So he simply holds her, in fear that this may be the last time. His clever mind, the one that had gotten him here against all odds, races for an answer. The missing piece of the puzzle. The solution to all their problems. After minutes, he finally admits it. “…I don’t know if I’m strong enough this time.” She draws back, with the curtain of her black hair slipping to fall against the front of her coat. Just far back enough that she could meet his stare with her own. Her eyes glow a muted jade in the gloom. This was the man who forged credentials for the authorization of the Order of Eversong. He'd risked his career, his future for what he thought was right. She'd been so proud. "I believe in you, Vathelan." “There has to be a way. I… believe in you too. I believe in both of us too much for this to be the end. I’ve yet to fulfill my promises to you.” His gaze reflected into her own, his mind still trying to whirl in a way to find a solution. “…I’ll keep looking for support to send you. If I can spin this as a rescue mission, maybe I can garner something greater than a single agent. Dora… if the battle… goes too far, if it proves a suicide mission… If I can give you a way out, would you take it?” "No," she answers. "I die with my company." "...And you will not reconsider? So that you can help me fight for the peace we so desire?" She laughs, a single little sound trapped between them. "I think there's something you don't know about me. I care about peace, like my dad. It was all he wanted, and my mom died for his cause. I'm fighting for peace, but not for the world." Another shaky exhale. Gods, she's trembling now, nerves rattled. "I just want peace for my family. They come first. If I lose them, I have nothing to fight for. So yeah," she laughs again, a little reckless, "It's hypocritical to have me ask you to leave. But I don't think this is the end, and I don't," she gives him a tiny shake, her grip on his arms, "want to risk more people." Then her face clears with sudden realization. "Wait. You're a Scryer." He heard her words. Her mention of family. Family. Something he never had. How could he relate? In her little speech, the only piece he could take solace in was her denial of this being the end. His beacon of hope had not yet run dry. “…Yes, Dora. I have been since before I met you. What are you…? Should we get you somewhere to rest?” "No no," she mumbles, then drags him towards the interior of the office. She might be half-way to delirium, but she knows she's onto something. She shuts the door behind them, starts to scrub again at her hair as she paces to a stack of papers and flips through them until… "There's intel here that claims...yeah, that during his first surge into power, there were Scryers who defected to aid him. Fed him information and artifacts in exchange for promises of power. There was a Crosys Falirin, he was a magister...and he had help." “And do you want me to go researching on what they found?” He sounded skeptical, wondering if she was just trying to humor him to get him away. "Maybe?" she answers, dropping the papers back on the pile. Suddenly what she thought might have been a good lead evaporates. She leans against her desk with the small of her back resting against the lip, sinks a few inches with her boots skidding ahead of her, and groans into her palm. "I don't know. I just- gods, Vath," she lifts her face up, "You ask how I can expect you to just stand by and let me walk into this fight when you'd be one of the first that he'd seek out if you were anywhere near the base. I'm not even magical, I'm some sort of elfish dud!" “If you think it’ll actually help, I’ll do it.” The Magister moves to reorganize the papers so that he can try to get a better look at them. “And… maybe I was a little off base there. If I’m going to be… a part of your life, I’m going to have to get used to this notion. You’re a hero, this is what heroes do. I just—I care about you, Dora. You’re my first friend, ever. And—” He cuts himself off as he gets close to her, his eyes likely say what he won’t. “…This is hard for me. You’ve taught me that the price of inaction is worse than that of making a mistake, remember?” She following two different conversations. She hears what Vathelan says, but she's also interpreting the rest in a way that she was slowing learning to decode. She couldn't play ignorant, not after all the mistakes she made in the past year. Not after seeing those same eyes from several different people and recounting what happened afterward, all the shattered promises that cling to her like emotional shrapnel. "Vathelan," she says very carefully, "I care about you too. You barely know me. I barely-" she stops, lets out a frustrated sigh. Takes up his hands to hold in her own, like they were children about to swing them from side to side. "...maybe you have this idealized version of me in your head that I'm never gonna live up to." “None of us are perfect, Dora Arath’dorei. I’ve read too many reports and profiles to not realize this. And I don’t mean to stress you out any further than you already are…” He gives a small sigh, kneeled as he was to be on her level. “I’m sorry if this is unfair given the circumstances. But… we’re, pardon the expression, if we’re living on Borrowed Time—what if we don’t get the chance? Which will be worse; the not knowing because we didn’t act, or learning from our mistakes?” It's abysmally unfair of him to do this to her now. She has a company to hold together, putting the skills she learned into practical use for the first time. She's managed alright thus far; no major mistakes she feels like in her planning or the choices she's made in assignments. Emotionally, she's stable enough. Having a plan and putting into motion creates that stability that she needs to focus on the task at hand. But he's flinging her own argument against her. She's a day and some change away from leading her company into a war. She doesn't get to choose who lives or who dies under her command. She knows in her heart what would be worse. "You're using my own philosophy against me," she responds, her smile a little broken. “It’s a solid argument, and it’s been something I’ve been thinking over… a lot.” He gave a small smile to try to reassure her, his voice is even and gentle as the words play past his tongue. “I’m not asking you to decide tonight, nor am I planning on asking you to be exclusive with me. Certainly not while we try to figure things out. I just… wanted you to know, just in case the worst does happen. At least I said something.” His hands gently rub her own in his grip. “…And, if I’m lucky, maybe you’ll consider it.” She gives him a squeeze in return. "I've considered it," she admits. Tonight was a night for confessions, she supposes. She's running on food from about fourteen hours ago, an apple she scarfed down while she was examining the gates. Blood roars in her ears. Her heart is leaping ahead of her, confused but barreling forward without her consent. Crazy infects everyone the night before a battle. She's never been one to be satisfied with standing still. "I'm considering it right now," she says like a challenge. “I do not mean to rush you, my lady.” He gives a small nervous smile. Part of him wants to retreat, another wants so desperately to know. “And I apologize for the intrusion...” Surprise splashes across her face, completely bare. For Dora to hide her own heart was doable, with effort. But she'd tried to fight against what had been lying between them according to her better judgement, eventually gave in...and for what? The whiplash stuns her. "Oh," she says, her grip going slack. "...alright," she murmurs in a daze. Then she lets him go entirely so that she can turn away to look down at the piles of her notes. She plants her hands on the desktop, hunched over it. The faint color of her eartips go a deep red. Well… that reaction wasn’t encouraging. He had made a mistake. “…Unless you’re sure?” He thought he was starting to catch on. Lady Bloodstone had criticized him for this. “I just… I’m nervous for your answer. Please forgive me.” He started to fuss over her, trying to get her in a much more comfortable position. "I'm just-" she halts, gathers her thoughts. She senses him at her back, but she's collected herself enough to angle herself slightly in his direction and allow him the right to have a face-to-face conversation. "I'm confused, I guess. You talk about acting and learning from mistakes, when there's a battle looming over our heads and then you ask me to take my time deciding...maybe," a wrinkle creases the place between her long brows, "maybe I don't know what you want from me." “Honestly? I panicked.” He frowns for a moment, silently scolding himself. “But… can you blame me? Dora, you’re amazing. You’re smart, you’ve got a great sense of humor, you’re brave—ready to die for your family. You’re talented, you’ve got the markings of a great leader… and I’ve not even touched on your beauty. I admire and care about you so much… it’s a little intimidating.” He sighs as he tries to collect his thoughts. “Look… what I want from you is simple, I want you safe and happy. Preferably with me. And I’m willing to take the risk on that—but I also understand what’s coming for us.” "I'm not sure I'm all that," Dora smiles, fondling a gold button on her jacket. She's going to get herself cleaned up and presentable soon, for the next meeting. Maybe get food in her too. "You can ask my brother, my humor is awful. I really really like puns." The point of the conversation is getting away from her. She chews on her bottom lip, considering. "...alright. I can add you to the roster of arcane casters. We'll fight this thing together. Then after that," she peers at him, wary but curious. She notices moonlight across his glasses. "...after the battle, we'll see what happens." “Excellent. And… I am sorry for the confusion.” His lips twist in another nervous smile. He was relieved to hear she was considering it still, in spite of his horrible grasp of emotions. And he was even more thankful that he had the chance to oversee her safety through the oncoming chaos. “I just… I want to make sure I’m doing this right with you. You may not believe me, but you are all the bit amazing as I say.” He leans over to give her a joking whisper, “I like puns too.” She broke into a laugh then, covering her mouth like they were sharing a dirty secret between themselves. The laughing felt good. This moment hung suspended in that otherworld of night where only they exist and death is forced to wait for it's harvest. She's relieved that she can laugh, even now. When they die away, she seems at least a bit refreshed. "Alright," she giggles, "okay. Then...yes. I guess we have a plan."
  6. Following an escort came three men of Elven descent. The central one, the leader of this gathering, was the shortest—At Six Foot Even. Their escort could tell it was the man expected, he had all the markings: The finely pressed Scryer uniform, the short dark hair, the satchel at his side and the glasses. He was Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper of the Scryers. To his left was his rugged half-elf companion, the tallest and burliest of the three—Kirital. To his right was, what one could assume, was his newest employee. An inch shorter than the bodyguard, the man had his own imposing demeanor. He too, was likely a half-elf. He was well armed, twin blades at his hips, a revolver, a couple of grenades and a flask. Before their escort could knock, the door flew open. The new-hire, dodged the incoming Tauren. He glared with his singular eye, his lip slight in a curl underneath his stubble. He said nothing, however. He’d let the Magister take the floor as ordered. Dora barely had a moment between Megeda leaving and three elves at her doorstep. She'd been just about to sit down in the chair, to deal with the scrolls that laid in her bag, but the motion goes aborted before she's straightening up again and running a shaky hand through her long, ebon hair. "Va-" she halts, noticing the other two that dwarf him, and her body goes stiff. The jacket is open, you look sloppy- Her expression goes mildly pinched, exhaustion making it's impressions on the creases near her eyes. She considers fixing her jacket. She motions them inside instead, the sound of her boots heavy as she rounds her desk. "Evening, gentlemen," she greets them. “Good Evening, Lady Arath’dorei.” The Magister gives a small bow, his voice and smile warmer than those who know his professional stances to be. “I am sure I need no introduction. To my left is Mister Kirital, my bodyguard. To the right is Agent—” “Captain, sir.” The thug of an elf corrected. His singular eye seemed to inspect the woman before him. His inflections spoke of a seafarer. “Captain Raphael Vanderzee. You can call me Van if you wish, my Lady.” "Nice to meet you both," her mouth twists uncomfortably, "though I really wish it'd been under better circumstances. And always good to see you too, Vath." She tried to toe that line between professional and friendly. When she'd seen Vathelan's face, there'd been a brief moment of relief to sweep away the thoughtful furrowing of her brow as she mentally leapt to one end of the battle across the other. Now she invites them to take seats on the many chairs parked just in front of the desk with a sweeping hand. "But I appreciate your assistance, no doubt about that." “Woulda liked to meet you in better circumstances too.” The Captain smirks. “But, I doubt it. I only get called in when shit starts rolling uphill.” He stops as he sees the glare of his employer shoot beside him, slowly leaning into the offered chair. “Always a pleasure, Madam.” The Magister gently takes his seat, trying to calm his own battle between the personal and professional personas that roared within him. This could get messy if he weren’t careful. “I am thankful you trust me enough to allow me to help you and your organization.” She occupies the desk chair, finally. It's clearly built to house a bigger body, but she fills it out well enough. This is one of those times where she actually considers her own physical presence and is actually thankful that she's larger than the average female, tall and sturdy in build. At least the chair doesn't dwarf her. Life was so much simpler when she wasn't thinking about the kind of intimidation she creates in a damn chair! She'd rather be tinkering on the prosthetics she left in her private workshop. C'mon Dora, you can do better than this! "I trust your judgement, Vathelan, and frankly we're pretty low on resources. We've reached out to only one other organization- working with Sanctuary and using their aid." She turns her stare on the new-hire then, with her rubbing at her chin. "Captain, can you tell me a bit about your history?" “A trust I hope you will find well founded.” The Magister smiles. “I will support you to the best of my ability, all you need do is ask.” “What kind of history? And where do you want me to start?” As the Magister wasn’t glaring at him, a mischievous smirk crossed his lips. The smirk isn't lost on her, or the potential implications. A tug at the corner of her mouth hitching up, like a fish tugging on a line. It smoothes out into a more relaxed smile, with her steepling her fingers and allowing her chin to rest on the tops of them. "The kind of history that is relevant, Captain. How familiar are you with gyrocopters, or a position of leadership? Your title suggests a lot, but I'd rather hear it from you." “Business it is then.” He nudged the Magister once more, a glare his reward. “So… let’s keep this short, eh? I’ve been a sailor of sorts since I was but a boy, rose in power until I ran me own ship. Fought in yer Civil War—Yes, I met Glow-face.” He said as he looked at his employer. Who gave him a confused look. “But that ain’t important right now. I also ran and requisitioned supplies in the war in the North. Tried to retire, didn’t go so well. Ended up working on and flying ‘copters and bigger for awhile. Among other jobs.” She probably shouldn't laugh. Somehow, that didn't strike her as behavior suited to acting leader, or maybe for this situation. She's awfully tempted though. The mouth corner tugs again, provoked. "Sounds like you've been awfully busy." “You have no idea, Miss…” He gave another grin. And a… blink or was it a wink? A singular eye made it hard to tell. “Bar tabs don’t pay themselves, after all. Lucky for the Dress over here, I got myself some free time and a need for another tab to pay, eh?” Spirits, this man really is a kind of scoundrel isn't he? She realizes she thought the word scoundrel to herself, like she's in one of those horrible novels that Phyruss likes to shove in her direction to make her uncomfortable. She looks pointedly down at a stack of contracts just in front of her, starting to rifle through the papers. "Then I'll just need you to sign on with us, as outlined here on this document. Standard jargon, adapted for this particular mission. You'll get a file on our target and you'll be expected to meet with one of our heavy weapons engineers to talk about the details of the fleet you're leading." “Leading you say?” He grins as he looks over the contract. Specifically what was in it for him. He knew why the Magister had hired him, despite his heavy fee—even if the damn wizard denied it. Vathelan looked over at the woman on the other side of the desk apologetically. He was stunned; he didn’t even know what to say. Dora glances to Vathelan then, her eyes offering a chance for them to speak later if he wished it. She almost shrugged, but these were the measures they resorted to taking. Any modicum of assistance that she could unearth was valuable. "Yup, leading. You're in charge of our air force during the battle. This is our target." Another slip of paper inches across the desk towards the man, depicting Lazhio at his full strength during the time of the old Rough Raiders campaign against him. Vathelan gave a small smile as she looked at him, nervous and uncertain. Was this a ‘We Need To Talk For Bringing This Scoundrel To Me’? Or was it a ‘I Missed You And Want To Chat’ look? Either way, he supposed he would take her up on her offer—away from prying ears if he could help it. But his concentration would be interrupted as the Captain took the photo and gave a small whistle, before showing it to the Magister. “Yeh know what this means, right?” Dora leaned forward, holding her breath. “…Yes. I know. We’ll talk about it later.” The Magister nodded, feeling his pocketbook screaming at him for even more abuse that it was about to take. The frown deepened upon his expression. The Captain gave a small grin before taking the writing utensil. “…I’ll hold you to your word. I know where you sleep after all, Wizard.” He was awarded a glare from Kirital, not that he seemed to notice as he signed his name upon the contract. Oh, poor Vathelan! Dora shot him an encouraging little grin, secret. She tried not to enjoy the situation at his expense, and failed while she collected the documents. "Perfect. There's lodging here in the port with space for you during the length of your contract. I'll be assembling all leaders to discuss coordination." She hands Van a communicator for his use, a pile of them set in a bowl for convenient reach. "Be ready to rise to the call when it comes." “And a bar?” The Captain smiled. “I would enjoy buying you a drink at some point.” The hand that extends the communicator freezes in mid air, with the rest of her to follow."Oh," Dora says, pointlessly, before she places the communicators within Van's reaching grasp. Wildly, her stare flickers over to Vathelan's face and then retreat back to Van. Drop to her papers, which she collects and starts tapping the edges of them against the wood top though they couldn't be straighter or more neatly gathered. "Auhm. That- ah, it's flattering-" her mind erupts into various screams of outrage at her incompetence, "I'm- this mission is really important and I'd like to have as few distractions from it as possible." "So," she continues on because once she starts rambling she has no idea how to stop, it's a sickness, "now that we've gone over the details, I'll make sure that you get that mission briefing and someone will escort you to your new lodging! Are there any questions that you'd like me to answer for you before you're dismissed?" “No further questions.” The Magister says flatly as he glares at Van. “Thank you for your time, Captain. Be ready to do what we’re paying you for.” “…You heard the boss, I guess.” The smirk fading, the return of the look of a killer waxed back upon his features as he moved to stand up. “Guess I’ll take that escort before I start my little tour of the area.” Dora makes the call into her comm that is lodged in her ear, a quick mumble into the device. An orcess with chestnut hair loosely framing her face appears at the door, where she waits in silence for the Captain. "Thank you for your time," Dora says faintly, standing to walk with them out.
  7. Lady Arath’dorei, Hope is as much a resource as anything else. The irony being how much its validity proves tied into the basic concepts of economics: Considered useless when plentiful as people seem keen to overlooking it, but wholly precious when the jaws of despair grasp upon the throats of the world. It is fortunate then, is it not, that it proves renewable? And it is my personal belief, that our mission statement of the defense and preservation of the Sin’dorei should include planting the seeds of such a resource. I have found, and brought under my employment, a formally inactive agent of the Scryers that I am happy to direct to your service. And while not one whom actively works from the field, I too am willing to lend my mastery of the Arcane Arts to your defense wherever it is you need us. Consider it a personal favor from myself, and a professional act in confidence in hopes that we may find common ground against the greater threat at large in the future from the Scryers. Sincerely, Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper Scryer Agent of Asset Protection and Acquisition
  8. “It seems you have a visitor, Captain.” A voice sneered in the darkness around Magister Frostwhisper, whom was clearly far beyond any shred of his element at current. “You know we don’t like the uninitiated poking their noses in our business.” Even in this dire of a situation, Vathelan struggled to recollect as to exactly how he got into this predicament. It had started with his search for the retired agent he had been eager to recruit. He couldn’t see anything. He had traveled into the Underbelly of Dalaran, looking for this bar his target was reported to frequent. Vath was forced into what felt to be a chair. The search proved to be fruitless, so he started asking around if anyone knew of this location. His back met the hard wood behind him. No one seemed to have wanted to give him a solid answer. “I’ll handle ‘im.” A second voice spoke, the accent was not one Vathelan was quite familiar with. It wasn’t Trollish… “‘e won’ be a problem. One way o’ ‘nother. Ain’t that right?” With the second voice claiming responsibility for the Magister, the first man seemed satisfied enough to remove the heavy sack from Frostwhisper’s head. He senses rushed back to him, and two things of note immediately caught his attention. The first was the wretched stench that reassured him he was still very much still within the sewer system of the Underbelly. The second was the man before him. Tanned skin, with short ebon hair. His right eye concealed by leather, his left was that of his own people; but without the glow of the proud magical heritage of the Sin’dorei. His build was too muscular for the average elf, but too lean and lithe to be considered entirely human either. This was further accentuated by the dark facial hair and the pointed ears that remained the size of a human’s. This had to be him as he stared impatiently for an answer. “Y-yes, Captain Vanderzee, sir.” “That’s just what I wanted ta hear.” The Half-elf smirked as he nodded to the man who brought the Elf in, who took the hint and faded into the shadows. “Yer gonna have ta tell me what a wizard such as yerself is doin’ in a place like this though.” “I...I don’t even know where this is. Is this the Cantrips and Crows bar? Why all the secrecy?” “Do yerself a favor, let me ask the questions.” The Captain pulled his revolver pistol and set it upon the table with one hand, his other motioning for one of the bartenders over. When he was sure he was seen, he turned to look back at his ‘guest’. “Let’s just say after Proudmoore’s tantrum, we all got a little bit o’ nervous so out in the open. Yer bein’ here is gonna put a few o’ these fellas on edge. Speakin’ o’… yeh still ain’t answer me question. What brings yeh down ‘ere?” “You, actually. We… I need your help.” The Magister’s throat was dry as he swallowed some air. “A… friend of mine is in danger. So I am looking to hire you.” “Couple o’ years too late there, mate.” Vanderzee stifled a chuckle. “I’m retired. Ain’t in tha killin’ business no more.” The bartender reached their table. “Another Mead, Dwarven.” His attention returned to the Fullblood in front of him. “Want anythin’? Me treat.” “No. I don’t drink.” Vathelan shook his head before struggling to take a deep breath, taking far too much of the chemical-ridden-body-refuse pugence that lingered in the air as he considered his next choice of words. Despite the smell of the location, the service was surprisingly quick. The goblin bartender returned with the Captain’s drink. “There is a war going on below us. And I assure you if the Legion wins, your drinking days will be over. That is, of course, assuming your funds don’t bleed dry first. The world needs you, my friend needs us. For her sake, I’m willing to foot the bill. So, please, name your price.” Vanderzee was content to nurse his drink, relatively ignoring the plea of the man in front of him. That was until the gender of the elf’s friend was mentioned. This caught his attention, he sat down the flagon. “Tell me ‘bout her.” “What?” “The girl yer doin’ this all fer. Wha’s she like?” The Captain leaned in slightly, a bit too interested in a discription for Vathelan’s liking. But if he wanted help, he suspected he would have to comply. An opening to negotiations was an opening afterall. “She’s the kindest person I’ve ever met. Brave and always with a smile, she--” “Yer borin’ me, kid. Come on, give me somethin’ ta work with.” Even as he spoke, a wolfish grin reached his lips. He was testing the Magister, and Vathelan knew it. “Try again, give me some feelin’, eh?” “...Where to begin? She’s not like most of our kind I’ve met, she’s certainly a cut above the rest. She is of heroic stature, her skin tanned from the warm embrace of the Sun.” The Captain went back to his drink, his boredom becoming even more prevalent. The Magister closed his eyes, trying to imagine her presence with him-- even in this horrible place. “...Her brilliant eyes, are like windows to her ever curious mind. When she smiles, the world lights up. And fortunately for the world, she smiles often. She is an endless supply of hope in a desperate world. She’s quick to see the silver lining of any given trouble, she always stands up for what she thinks is right… she has always been kind to me, she’s the first friend I’ve ever had. She sees so much in me, more than I can even fathom. And… I refuse to let her down.” “...Well, I’ll be damned.” The Captain spoke, setting his mug down. When Vathelan opened his eyes, he would see an approving smile on the half-elf’s face, much to his confusion. “What? I was young an’ dumb once too, an’ I know a lovebird when I see one. If yeh feel tha’ strongly ‘bout tha’ woman…” “Oh! Thank you Sir! I--” “Don’ thank me yet.” The Captain murmured as he took out a small booklet and wrote something on it. After sliding it over for the Magister, he then took out a small case and picked one of his Sultry Maiden cigarettes from it. “Jumpin’ tha gun ain’ gonna do yeh no good kid, we ain’t spoken ‘bout payment yet.” “Oh. Ofcourse.” The Magister gave a small smile before picking up the paper. His heart threatened to stop at the number listed. It was half his salary! His smile faltered, and the Captain picked up on it. “In gold pieces. I was one o’ tha best, which ain’ exactly cheap.” He set the cigarette in between his lips, lighting it. He took a puff and released before continuing. “An’ yeh’ll ‘ave ta pay ‘alf o’ tha’ a month as a retainer fee too, o’course.” He eyed the Magister who stared at the paper before giving a shrug. “Yeh did wanna bring me outta retirement.” “...If this what it takes to recruit you, then so be it.” Magister Frostwhisper accepted the terms with a conviction, that for a moment he thought he saw a look of surprise on the rogue’s face. “Welcome to the fight to save Azeroth, Captain Vanderzee.” He extended his hand. “Great.” But there was one more catch. If the Half-elf was shocked, that moment was gone. Instead the expression was replaced with that of amusement. “But it be customary fer me ta have a drink ta seal the deal with me new employer. Yeh don’t have any objections ta this, do yeh?” “If I must.” Emboldened by his resolve, he couldn’t afford to falter now. He reached for the mug to take a drink before the half-elf grabbed his wrist. The two men exchanged a glance for a moment, Vanderzee clearly had something else in mind as he motioned for the bartender to return. He whispered something in the goblin’s ear, who in turn nodded. What the Goblin returned with wasn’t something Vathelan would have expected. A single small stone container, the thing could not have held more than two ounces of liquid. However the liquid was on fire. The Magister looked at his new hire, who just gave him a smirk. This was his final test, it seemed. A trial by fire, he could almost her Dora say. He picked up the stone miniature cup with a smile at the imagined joke. He tried to blow the flames out. No avail. He tried again. The same result. He pondered this a moment before deciding there was no other option. He set the stone to his lips, he could feel the heat of the flames. He took in a breath of air, trying to prepare himself. Then he moved to down the shot of flaming liquor. To say it burned was an understatement. He wasn’t sure if he was imagining it or not, the fire that traveled down his throat. He grunted, his hand gripping the table as he tried to brace himself as the recreational poison’s effects took hold. He could feel the heat travel from his stomach, up his chest, and throughout his body until they reached the tips of his extremities. Flames temporarily licked his form, and only when they stopped could he even manage to cough and gag. It was dreadful! How did people do this for recreation?! “Seems we have a deal.”
  9. Another day, another cup of coffee. Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper treaded the same commute, the same path. He had the same conversation with the guards of Sanctuary’s Guildhall, placating them with the same empty promises while he awaited the same abuse from the management that was passed down from the Commander herself. It filled him with endless frustration, knowing what was going on upon the Isles below and beyond. He sorted through the same paperwork sent to him, dreading the death toll and injury reports he would have to read as he eagerly awaited a response from his last set of letters-- a chance to do some real good, a chance to reduce the casualty rate. He ached for an advantage to exploit to help turn the tides. To his initial disappointment, he found only one of the two letters he eagerly awaited. That from Lady Dora Arath’dorei, not that from the leader of Borrowed Time. He frowned, yet he eagerly opened his consolation prize. To Vathelan Hope runs in short supply, but it exists. What you say is very true; we all face different threats of increasing magnitude with the passing years. Not a day goes by where I'm not reminded of the effects of the Legion or how it's opened doors for those of similar talents to reach out to each other despite race or faction. But right now my focus is on my people; that is, the people that comprise my company. We're looking into the mouth of a beast like I've never seen before. Every available hand is either digging a trench, delivering supplies, or making plans for an encounter scheduled to happen in five days time. We're woefully shorthand over here. If you have anyone you would recommend who knows anything about commanding an airfleet, direct them to me at your soonest convenience. Stay safe, my friend. I hope my next letter contains happier contents. Dora Arath'dorei, acting leader of Borrowed Time To those interested parties: The request comes at an unexpectedly difficult time for our company. We take the matter of your concerns with equaled concern. The threat of the Legion extends to every corner of Azeroth and beyond; as beings capable to fight against that power, we bear the responsibility of doing whatever measures required to defeat it. That said, we face a danger that requires our attention. Upon our success, we will revisit the request to join in your organization's efforts. With warm regards, Dora Arath'dorei, acting leader of Borrowed Time To say its contents were not quite what Magister Frostwhisper was expecting was an understatement, for it felt as if his blood would freeze within his veins in any given moment. His eyes raced across the page as he tried to process all the details within. His first and dearest friend was in a dire situation; she was the key. She was requesting aid; this was his opening. He had to help; this would give him quite the bargaining chip. His mind raced as he considered this gambit, his day’s priorities shifted as he abandoned the other stack of documentations of the ongoings down below. Vathelan’s fingers jumped upon the satchel he carried with him everywhere, rummaging through it. This window of opportunity was time sensitive, he only had five days to exploit it. He pulled out the pane of enchanted glass, it was about the size of the cover of a tome. After setting it upon his desk, his fingers grasped at one of his cuff-links. He removed what looked to be a golden coin with a twin headed phoenix upon it, leaving the cufflink bare of its usual iconography. He placed the quarter-sized emblem upon the bottom right corner of the pane of glass. The ‘Glass Scroll’ came alive with a brilliant light within the tiny room. He grabbed a writing instrument designed for the peculiar Scryer device and drew the command rune to search the Scryer Archives that his security clearance allowed him. Search: Scryer Agent Personnel. The Glass Scroll began to compile a list of all the Scryer Agents. He drew the Command Rune once again. Search: Air Command. The list rapidly shortened as per the new parameters. But Vathelan wasn’t finished, he drew the Command Rune a third time. Search: Unassigned. One result remained. He tapped upon the name: Raphael Vanderzee; Retired. The Magister’s eyes ran through the man’s bio and career history: Half-elf. Former Pirate. Infiltrated Alliance Military; Served as a Mechanic and Pilot on an Alliance Gunship. Lead Gyrocopter teams during the Panderia campaign. Retired after Lord-General Visca died. He seemed promising. Frostwhisper looked up his last known location, the Scryers were likely to keep an eye on someone so decorated in their service. He seemed to frequent the Underbelly bar here in Dalaran. Vathelan paused as he looked over all the paperwork he had as he weighed his options. If he could help turn the tides of war, he could save so many more lives than he could just sitting here as he had been; trying to make the strikes as efficient as possible in hopes to reduce casualties. ...But would the Half-elf really be there at such an early time of day? He looked back at the Glass Scroll, the Agent in question seemed to frequent the bar around the clock. He could finish his paperwork when he returned, could he not? He stood up from his desk. Worse case scenario, he could find a lead as to when he would be back, or where the man stayed. The world needed all the heroes they could get right now, to have such a decorated war veteran sitting out of the conflict was nothing more than a waste. The Magister folded the letter away on his person, smoothing the cloth as he departed from his office. He had a world to save. And with long and swift strides, he would head towards what he would have considered one of the most unlikely of places: The underbelly of Dalaran, a hive of scum and villainy; but potentially even more ludicrous, a bar.
  10. When his artisan crafted coffee finished brewing, Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper began his usual early morning commute from his apartment in the Lower City region of Shattrath in Outland. With a teleportation spell, he traversed countless miles across the great beyond back to Dalaran that floated above the warzones of the Broken Isles in Azeroth. From the Kirin Tor designated magical transportation zone, it was a quick stride in the sunrise into Sanctuary’s guildhall proper. On the way inside, as per routine, he checked for any physical letters within the mailbox awaiting him before approaching the foyer’s security checkpoint. As per usual, the checkpoint was guarded by two trolls from some tribe that the Warboss knew. This early in the morning, there was no line. The Magister with a cup of coffee in one hand and a stack of letters in the other found himself having the same conversation with the guards he did every morning. “‘Ey Mon, how be da talks goin’?” Ever since they were hired on and told that the Scryers were seeking to provide extra security, they had shown interest in Frostwhisper’s progress in the negotiations. Every day he had the same answer. “I’m hoping to be able to give you a solid answer soon.” “Tha’ be what ju said last time, Mon.” The answer rarely satisfied them. “We are still in negotiations, my apologies.” The Magister gave the same practiced smile, the same tone. The truth was, Vathelan was more frustrated than he could afford to let on. He wanted to help Sanctuary, he wanted to provide aide, but Commander Liene refused to trust him and the organization he represented-- at best. Truth was, those whom had personal grudges against the Scryers and Frostwhisper himself had her ear. He had even been attacked within these halls before, by an orcess who had seemed to make it her life mission to make his life a living hell for no discernable reason. But still, the salvation of Azeroth was not something he took lightly. He would persevere. He had to. He gave a slight bow to the guards, “have a nice day, gentlemen.” After excusing himself from treading more of the all too repetitive conversation he was forced to endure, regardless of which set of guards were scheduled for this shift in their rotation at the checkpoint, he had little more than a simple trek through the housing section before approaching his office. The smallest of all of them, not only of those leading the organization of Sanctuary, but of those Emissaries granted the same accommodations as he. The square footage being little more than that of a supply closet. Another not so subtle snub from the Commander, given the friends she kept. Another insult he endured for the sake of the fate of Azeroth. The Magister set his satchel that draped over his shoulder beside his small desk, that comically almost consumed the entirety of his work-space before setting his mug of coffee down as well. “Another day, another standstill…” The Magister spoke to himself as he gave a brief stretch before he tried to shake off the sense of hopelessness he felt within his office. He sighed as he started to sort through the stack of letters, placing each within a stack depending on a myriad of factors to determine order of priority. Some came from the Kirin Tor, some from the Sunreavers, others from Silvermoon and the Reliquary. However, there was one that forced him to pause: Dora Arath’dorei. He eyed the other stacks, his hand even going so far to pick up the one he hypothesized was the most important of the bunch before pausing again. His eyes were once more drawn to the letter from Her. He sat down, his eyes locked upon the letter before finally convincing himself there was no harm in checking it first. Inside it read: Vathelan, I'm sorry it took so long to respond to your letter. It's been mission after mission here and we're all struggling to keep our heads above water (because we live in a port, you see!) but I'm hoping to see a change in our favor soon. It seems like the world is constantly in flux. Do you ever think that? Just when the foundations settle, something changes to throw the world into chaos. I suppose that's a very vague sentiment, but I've learned to appreciate stability where I can find it. I hope I never take what I have for granted. I think about my friends who I lost, and the timeline from which I've been exiled. I think about the new friends I've made here and how their involvement in my life has changed me. Even if everything changes, I can at least count on the bonds people make with each other, how they can be used as a source of power in troubling times. Late season's blessings. I hope to hear from you again soon. Dora Arath'dorei When finished reading the letter, the Magister read it again. He tried to absorb every bit of detail he could from the parchment as a small smile formed upon his lips before he tried to formulate a response. He grasped for his pen and paper. My Dearest Dora, As a scholar for an organization dedicated to the defense and preservation of our species, I can relate to the feeling you described. The battles seem ever reaching: In recent history we have the collapse of our nation, its rebirth, a civil war, the campaign in Northrend, the return of Neltharion, the escalation of conflicts that lead to a rebellion, an attack from an alternate universe and now the return of the Legion in the likes we haven’t seen since the days of legend before the Sundering. The world is always in need of its heroes, especially those who do not forget to smile—to take in the little things that make life worth living. Those beacons of hope prove to be the greatest boons in the darkest of nights. And you are one of the greatest sources of hope, Lady Arath’dorei. And you never need to go it alone. I may not be one of the world’s champions; a warrior of light, a soldier of justice, a paragon of hope—but I will do everything within my power to aide and watch over your back, all you need to do is ask. Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper. When he finished his pen hovered over the page, his eyes tracing every curve of every letter as his mind fretted over every sentence. What if he came off too strong? What if he made it sound he didn’t care at all? His mind raced and fretted over every potential implication-- only to be interrupted as the gathered ink that bled to the bladed point of the pen dripped into a single blot aimed directly for the page. He had to act quickly, tossing the pen out of harm’s reach of the letter before using a controlled frostbolt to freeze and knock away the ink from his ernest account of his feelings. His gaze raced to inspect for any damage… before breathing a sigh that no harm came to the parchment. That was enough of a waking call for him to carefully fold it and set it into an envelope with the official markings of position. He would sent it with the first wave of paperwork. Paperwork that would prove taxing on the morale of the young Magister, for while he may not be a physical combatant within the war below Dalaran, he read a great many of their stories and pleas. Death counts, requests both for reinforcements and supplies, accounts of scouting missions… from this small desk in a tiny office in a building belonging to an organization that scorned he and the Scryers on a daily basis, he could not help but question why he remained here? If Commander Liene wished to be petty, if she was willing to pay the deaths of so many down below to feed her arrogance… why was he here? It's been mission after mission here and we're all struggling to keep our heads above water. Hundreds dead, trying to secure strategic positions across the map. People that could use a well placed Assault Class Golem to help even the odds even if in the slightest… but I'm hoping to see a change in our favor soon. Perhaps he was in the wrong place. I can at least count on the bonds people make with each other, if Sanctuary was unable or unwilling to apply Scryer Technology and Resources… how they can be used as a source of power in troubling times. Maybe it was the mercenary organization that was the best path for Azeroth’s salvation? He looked at the envelope in the corner of his desk, a wave of inspiration struck him as he grabbed for his pen once more. He would do whatever it took to save the world, even if it meant disappointing his heroes. All life on Azeroth was at stake, if Sanctuary would not cooperate… it was time for other avenues. Dear Boss of Borrowed Time: The war against the Burning Legion is upon us. Over the last five months the Alliance and the Horde, among other less prominent forces, have been running their own costly campaigns in dire hopes of turning the tide against the biggest threat known to Azeroth since before the formation of the Great Sea. This is a threat to all, and we would like to help with the war effort. I will repeat, for emphasis: This is a threat to all of us. No matter what race, creed or affiliation you have; The Burning Legion seeks to end all life here on Azeroth. This includes the Sin’dorei, of which my organization has founded itself on protecting and preserving. We have both experience in repelling the Legion threat in the past, and the foresight to prepare for their inevitable return. Preparations, we are willing to share with you in order to ensure the salvation of all. While admittedly small in number with the passing years, we have retained some of the most brilliant minds our people have to offer—and we have the research, the technology we have developed and resources gathered from that benefit. If such interests you, I have the pleasure to inform you that you have been preselected as a candidate for our outreach program. Simply contact me and I will be more than happy to schedule a meeting to address any of your concerns and/or begin talks of a negation that will give us a much needed edge against the unyielding threat of the Legion. Just remember, with their return, time is the utmost essence. Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper Scryer Agent of Asset Protection and Acquisition
  11. Kirital looked up at the shattered sky. A flock of kaliri swoop by and land on the fence of an Arakkoan hut high in a tree top. He had only read about the Outland campaign, or heard snippets of rumor and hearsay when traveling with his brother. He was always so much better at this than Kirital is; handling attraction beyond just a one night stand. "What am I doing, getting all flustered?" Kirital asked to himself. "It's Vathelan. He's probably completely oblivious to how much of a flirt he can be..." After a string of calming breaths, he turned back in through the door then closes it gently behind him. Seeing the continuation of the coffee lesson, he smirked. "Adorable goof." He muttered. “Something to give it a bit more flavor; spices—mint can add a whole new dynamic, actually. One of my favorites.” His hands continued to guide her motions, gentle above the rising temperature of her skin. Her body heat had rising significantly in a short time. “But for now, we shall keep this simple. Miss Cat… are you feeling well?” The door opened again, the half-elf caught out of the corner of his eye, drawing his attention. “Ah, Kirital, welcome back. Your cup should be done brewing. Do you like it black? If not… then give me a moment and I shall give you the funds needed to run and get some milk. I tend not to keep such anymore—spoils before I get the chance to fully enjoy it.” "...I'm fine," she squeaked. Cat cleared her throat and listened for Kirital to came back. She was too distracted by the magister's hands to look back at the half-elf, and half-listened to the milk conversation. Her cheeks had gone red during their time alone. "Its, uh, fine." He looked decidedly less feverish as he approached his mug of coffee. "Got any sugar?" “I… should?” Vathelan sounded dubious in this regard, his form leaning slightly away from the woman he was instructing as he looked at his cabinets. His hands removed themselves from her next as he departed to try to find such for Kirital, his eyes turning to Cat for just a moment as he gave her an instruction. “Keep going.” Cat nodded quickly, clearly receptive to taking orders. "Yes sir." She kept grinding the beans, her hands slightly less shaky on their own. After a while, they were ground into a nice grainy powder with a few chunks left here and there. Cat's breathing was surprisingly shaky as well. When Kirital moved up to Vathelan, he took a moment to help the man look around for the misplaced sugar. "How often are you out of here?" Kirital noted the low amount of perishables. There's likewise not much in the way of ingredients as well. Thinking back, much of the time he spent with Vath, they've always eaten out somewhere. In his thought he bumped into the magister when turning around. It was rough enough to off balance the smaller man. Kirital would be quick to grab if that were the case. “Since my House Visca assignment?” He asked as he tried to calculate a proper answer. “It varies. Before the Legion—” The man stumbled backwards, thanks to the sheer muscular bulk of the half elf compared to the fit, yet still lithe Magister as gravity does his trick. The movement to catch him was impressive. “…Careful.” Vathelan responded somewhat meekly. Cat glanced back to see Kirital holding Vath. She grinned to herself and continued grinding the beans. "How's this, sir?" Kirital smiled in apology and let Vath steady himself. He rest a hand on his waist and looked over the magister to see if he was fine or if he dropped anything. "Sorry about that. Go on?" “I’m fine.” His smile matched the meekness in his voice; he rested there a moment before he collected his thoughts. The realization of his compromised position struck him, his more professional persona took charge once more as in a blink of an eye—he was gone from Kirital’s arms and next to the living death knight. He looked over the grounds of the beans and nodded. “It seems you are ready for the next step.” Cat put down the mortar and pestle to stand at attention. "What's the next step, sir?" “This could have been started sooner, but I didn’t wish to rush you.” The Magister took the pot and conjured the estimated amount of water required with ease. “We have to boil the water, as a well versed student of the magical arts, I can merely summon it. For someone who does not, you will have to measure the amount required—I suggest your cup and a half to two depending how much room you want for additives, to compensate for both the loss due to steam and the filtration system.” Kirital stared as he blindly dumped way too much sugar into his coffee. The extent if Vathelan's knowledge of the brew, as well as the existence of such intricacy for a simple drink, baffles him. Cat nodded slowly, processing the instructions. "Cup and a half. Got it." “The next variable is the heat source you are using.” He set the pot onto one of the circular rings on his stove. “Various kitchens will have different methods, you could even make coffee in a camp via a fire—but I have something a bit more sophisticated.” He motioned at the stove before grabbing the metallic wand, moving back to his former position behind her as he set the rod in her hand, before maneuvering her as he had done before. “This wand will summon a flame; you simply must will it to do so. Go on, try.” Cat took the wand carefully. "Never was too good at magic stuff.." she said to herself, swallowing as he moved behind her again and put his rod in her hand. "...u-um... do I just... wiggle it?" “That is fine; this device is designed with that in mind.” He ensured her fingers are on the bottom portion, a safe distance from the tip. “It’s simpler than that, just focus your thoughts on the implement, and desire the flame. Mentally tell it that is what you want…”. Cat's eyes widened with his description. Seriously?! She thought to herself, her hand slightly shaky under his. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and stroked the wand slowly, willing the tip to deliver its bounty. “Easy, there is nothing to be afraid of.” The Magister’s voice was gentle as he spoke to her, he could feel the poor woman’s hands shake. To help accentuate his point, one of his hands gently squeezed on grip on the device. His other, if Kirital was paying attention was behind his back, prepping a countermeasure of frost should this get out of hand. He watched with a raised brow, unsure as to why she was stroking the wand—an odd motion, but if it helped her focus… who was he to judge? The wand would warm in the woman’s hand as she focused. Vathelan moved her hand gently away from the tip before the sparks started to form. “Focus… we’re almost there… remember, we need a gentle flame, like one would expect from candlelight.” Not that it was designed for much more. Cat cleared her throat and nodded, watching his hand, her hand, the wand suddenly, without warning, released tiny sparks that burst forth from the tip; just enough to light its target. "Oh! Hey! I did it!" She said happily, legitimately surprised with herself. "Not bad, huh sir?" Kirital was looking out of a window and sips his coffee. Clearly aware of the events, he concluded it best to keep a level head, despite the furious rush of blood to his face. “Yes, well done.” His voice spoke of gentle encouragement as the sparks eventually gave way to a small and singular flame. “Now we carefully set the flame to the circle like this…” His touch guided her to touch the tip of the wand towards the circle underneath the pot. As the gentle fire licked at the surface of the stove, it consumed the inside of the circle that seemed to both feed and control it. “Very good.” "Neat!" She seemed a lot more comfortable now that they were actually getting somewhere. "Now the water? How do you know when it's hot enough?" “We want to catch the water before it truly boils, as that level of temperature will burn your beans.” He gently removes the rod from the Knight’s hands to ensure the lack of a fire-hazard. “You want it above poaching level, where the first bubbles form, but before it starts to get at a roaring boil where you would cook noodles in. If you get to that point, remove the pot and let it cool for a minute or so before using the water.” "This is pretty complicated for one drink.." she watched the water carefully. “Cooking is an art, Miss Cat. One I am admittedly… not great at aside a few choice recipes, and this is one of them.” He gives a small shrug as he guides her hands towards the filter and cone used for the actual seeping required. “There are devices, from what I understand, that help make this quicker—but you lose the art of it from such. To me, this isn’t simply about a means to an end. The process itself helps reduce stress while still being productive.” Cat looked at Vathelan carefully. "You seem like the type to need some stress relief, " she said not unkindly, allowing him to guide her hands. “I suppose you would be right.” Any markings of offense were wholly absent upon his face. “I’ve never said I’m perfect, far from it. To get where I am has been… an ordeal, I’ve made enemies. Too many. But it has led me to be in a place where I could actually make a difference. To do finally do Good in the world, even if it rejects me.” "Sir," Cat said with a mirthful smile. "You know I'm a death knight, right? You don't need to explain that sort of thing to me. Being hated comes with the territory. Maybe that's why you and I get along." “Sometimes I forget, with how lively you have become.” His smile, while smaller, seemed to rise to follow her own. “It’s hard to remember… I have friends, for the first time in my life.” "You sure do." She nodded toward Kirital. "And I'm pretty sure that we'd both take a bullet for you, even if it weren't his job to." "I hope... it never comes to that." Cat laughed and elbowed the magister playfully. "Well me too. They're no fun to pull out, even with the death knight stuff. I just mean you don't need to feel so lonely all the time. 'You're only as strong as the men next to you.’ While this sounds like a slogan for togetherness it's actually a reminder that your faults can hinder the man next to you. If your companions are focused on you they can't focus on the enemy.” “…Yes, I suppose not." He forced the smile to continue. "How is the water looking?" "Just about there, I think." The water was bubbling, but only at the bottom. Vathelan gave a small nod. “Good. First, let’s place the filter on the cup… like this.” He moved her to make the motions. “And then we just have to pour the hot water through the filter and let it do its job.” Cat added the filter to her cup and added the ground beans, then carefully picked up the boiling water by the handle. She poured the water in slowly, her eyes fixated on the task until it was full and she put the boiling water back on the stove. "Now we wait?" "Now we wait. Congratulations on making your first artisan coffee." Cat giggled, clearly pleased with herself. "Won't Kreyen be happy I can do more than burn eggs.. thank you, sir. You'll definitely be invited to the wedding." The Magister stepped away as he let her enjoy her work, taking his own cup of coffee. "I'm not sure I will be welcomed..." He began to sip his own hard work. Cat raised an eyebrow. "You're my friend. It's my wedding. Why wouldn't you be welcome? Kreyen isn't mad at you. Not anymore, anyway. He's not the type to hold a grudge. Besides, if it weren't for you, we wouldn't be getting married anyway. You kinda gave me another chance, and after what happened at Light's Hope.. I really needed it." “…I am not fond of having guns in my face, when risking my job to help them.” He looked back at Kirital, as he tried not to show aggression. “He also threatened the Accords, because he could not figure out the coded messages I was trying to give him. And he’s an Arath’dorei. Conflict with him isn’t in my best interests.” Cat pushed her tongue into her cheek. "I mean... I'm going to be an Arath'dorei, too. Eventually. So if anything, you'd have less a conflict with him, and more a friendship with me. Right?" “Assuming he can keep from a gun being placed in my face again, I suppose.” He looked back at the Knight. “If I am to die for the cause… so be it, but that particular scenario is a waste and a hindrance to our mission.” The handle on Kirital's mug broke off. The half elf sat it down hard atop the windowsill at Vathelan's resolve towards death. The mug itself stays on the short ledge, but coffee leaked from the cracks. Kirital played it off as an accident and it's convincing. He laughed a little with sounds apologetic. "Towel?" The mug and handle are set somewhere out of the way. “Oh dear…” The Magister frowned at the leaking of the mug, quickly grabbing at towel, the cast a Blink spell to quickly move, kneeling as he started to clean. “You are not hurt, are you Kirital? I hadn’t realized the container’s structural integrity had been compromised!” He got up and fussed over the half elf, looking for burns or cuts. Cat watched Vathelan fuss over Kirital, smiling to herself at the sight. "Vathelan," Kirital states, "I'm fine." He didn't hinder the inspection and instead looked over at Cat. There's a desire to speak his mind about Vathelan's priorities, but he knew Cat worked for him and doesn't want to undermine the man in front of someone who respects him. He'd have to plan to bring it up later, though that carried its own complications, as too much time will have likely passed. There had to be some way to distract Cat so he could talk to Vathelan in private and save face for everyone. Smiling at Vathelan, Kirital decided to go back on his earlier thought. He firmly gripped Vathelan's shoulders to cease his check and smirked at Cat. This idea has a good chance to work. "Wanna practice making another cup like how Vathelan showed you?" He asked her. "Uh..." Cat wasn't one for subtlety, but she knew a guy trying to get in someone's pants when she saw it. "Sure!" She said brightly. "If that's alright with you, sir? I'll be careful, I promise not to burn the place down." “Oh good… I would hate to think I caused you undue harm due to my negligence.” He breathed a sigh of relief. His brow raised at the contact, but he allowed it. As she asked for his permission, he nodded. “…Practice does make perfect, Miss Cat. If there is a problem, please inform me immediately. I can counteract the fire if caught quick enough.” "Aye aye, sir," Cat said with a salute, winking at Kirital before turning her back to them both and starting on a new cup from scratch. Kirital smirked back at her before looking to Vathelan. "You mind if we step out for a minute?" He lowered his hands. It's clear Kirital wantsed to bring something up, but the nature of what is up in the air. “Are you sure that is wise? I have other rooms…” He looked down the hall. Cat grinned to herself, as she ground the coffee beans. "Maybe you should show him more of your collection, sir." Kirital shrugged. "You know the place better than I do." The Magister gave a brief nod before motioning the Half-elf to follow. As they entered the hall, which required a sharp turn that made them wholly invisible in this weird Draeneic architecture, they would already find themselves alone—in a depth of the apartment no one other than Vathelan had ever tread since he had owned the lease. The scenery upon the wall seemed to shift just as suddenly. Rather than the hopeful overtones of the righteousness of duty in propaganda came newspaper clips of the harsh realities of war that was only accentuated by the lack of lighting. Articles from the Violet Eye detailed and attempted to track the mysterious General Quel’thalas. Recruitment posters for a colonization project, articles detailing the casualties in both the Civil War and the Northrend Campaign, details on both the Theramore Incident and the Dalaran Massacre—and then they came to his bedroom door. He paused here, realizing that no one had ever been in here besides him. Kirital remained silent with his hands in his jacket pockets. "Are you all right?" The question was meant in full and not as some passing comment. “Yes… I... I just tend to be a very private individual.” He looksed back at the Half-elf with a nervous smile. “You have been one of the few that have ever visited me, and the first… here.” Kirital leaned on a barren part of the wall. A soft green glow emanates from his eyes as he listened; a quality only visible in the dimmer light of the hall. In a way, he can empathize. He and his brother were secluded from others as they grew up together. The luxury of having someone else doesn't escape him. "Thank you for allowing me to be here, Vathelan." “I know, it’s silly.” He tried to reassure himself with a smile. “I’m not… particularly sentimental. I don’t even know who—nevermind. I just. I know it’s foolish of me.” He waved himself off before taking a deep breath, slowly exhaling it as he disarmed the wards before taking a key to unlock this particular room. This room hardly any light at all, the majority of it coming from underneath a sheet in the corner of the room before he stepped in, his hand rested on the lighting controls as he tried to brace himself for the revelation to another soul of how far his obsession went… Kirital stepped inside and looked about the room. He wasn't planning to plunder Vathelan's darkest secrets or anything, so he rolled with it. Really he just wanted to get a better idea of the man, given his duties of protection. The covered object has him curious while he tries to not trip on anything. "Vathelan, if this is too much for you, we can go back into the hallway." His tone was soft and caring like a gentle river's current. "I don't want you to feel pressured." Turning to Vathelan, he rested his hands at his side and relaxed his posture. With his size, he knew he can be imposing to a degree, and seeming as passive as possible is the only way around it. “I appreciate the willingness to respect my privacy.” He closed his eyes, the corner of his mouth twitching as his fingers gently activated the energy source to give the room light. “…But given the nature of what may be required of me to save our world… my room is safer than outside.” And with that he held his breath momentarily as he awaited the reaction of his half-elf companion. In the corner of the room that Kirital focused primarily on, he may notice that the glass casing wasn’t entirely covered by the sheet. Just above the risen wooden platform, one could make out some sort of binding rune that contained a twin set of charred metal, warped by something or another. Should his gaze wander from there, he would find a series of shelves behind more glass casing with various objects on them. Models of Dalaran, a Manaforge on an island, snow globes of both Dalaran and Quel’Danas, a jar with an embalmed finger, a black jewelry box with runes upon it, some sort of operative’s knife, various models of golems—each seemingly more complex than the last. Within the opposing corner of the Armor, upon the same wall, would be a bed one saw in Sin’dorei inns, larger than a single person required, with a veil for further privacy; odd for a man with no friends to speak of until recently. Kirital paced around the room as he looks over the assorted items. Given the variety, he wondered if it's a collection of some sorts. The finger caught his attention and he gave it a look of wonder. "I'm not sure how you can sleep in here with all of these fascinating trinkets to look at." “I… don’t usually; work tends to keep me away from home.” As Kirital continuesd to look about the room, he would find the wall next to the bed to be full of a collection of shields that would be too large for the man. All of them had obviously seen use in battle, but their condition varied from shattered to merely scuffed. Most of them portrayed the Blood Knight symbol, though a couple would stick out as majorly different: A titanium should that bared the symbol of the Kirin Tor and two Tower Shields, one of spikes, another that of a Spellbreaker. Under this collection was another display case, it was hard to determine what lay within from this angle. Upon the opposing wall, was… artwork? Concept art and plans of some sort of Colony built around a Manaforge. Vathelan spotted a large pillow on the bed and quickly moved to teleport it away into the closet. “...So, Kirital, what did you want to speak about?” Kirital turned to regard Vathelan with a sobering eye. Returning his hands to his pockets, he thought on how to approach the issue without being too blunt. What angle should he take? The persona of 'bodyguard' assigned to him or as the new friend given a view into Vathelan's most private of spaces? The situation was complicated, that much he is aware of. He stalked a little closer to Vathelan. A smile spread the dense stubble around his mouth. "I wanted to speak to you about... us." The Magister took a step backwards, his skin gaining a slight red hue. "...U-us?" There is something the Magister is nervous about, and Kirital felt he could narrow it down. His smile turned subtle in a way Vathelan may not pick up. With the effort Vathelan endured, allowing him a glimpse at something so private, Kirital gently maneuvered the thinner Magister toward the door. Quietly, it shut, and with a simple click of the lock to follow Kirital rest his hand on the knob. They were close now; the difference in height and size apparent. Intimidation was at the forefront of Kirital's mind as he walked the fine edge between it and unsettling Vathelan further. He needed his words to be felt as much as heard if they were to continue with this, though at the same time, he does not want to make an ultimatum. "Vathelan, I worry about you." Kirital began. He tucked a long strand of his fiery hair behind an ear. There's a concern within his pleasant baritone and genuine apprehension behind his softly glowing eyes. "If I am to be your bodyguard, assistant, friend," a slight pause intervenes in his list as if to suggest another category before he continued, "What-have-you, I need to be clear on this: I want you to rethink some of your devotion. It's admirable, truly, but it ... pains me to hear how easily you've accepted your life as expendable." He swallowed and took in a breath to calm himself. "Even for the Greater Good, you are not expendable. It's fine to continue as you are. It's something I respect you for, but just that one thing, please give it thought?" “My friend…” The Magister tried to give the Half-Elf more space, the corner of his lips twitched for a moment as he tried to center his breathing. “…I fear you misunderstand. I do not wish to die, I merely find it probable. We are in a war for Azeroth’s very soul, and I am no hero of renown. I’m not some grizzled war veteran, an Archmage, or a practitioner of some divine being. There will be casualties. Both from the Legion and elsewhere. And I have made plenty of enemies already, and I am on a path to make many more—just to do what is right.” The Magister’s voice was gentle, his face solemn. “I… will admit. I didn’t think I would live past twenty. But I kept beating the odds, as I play this game horrendously stacked against me.” The Magister closed the distance between them that he had caused in his earlier movements. “…Perhaps I shall keep doing so. But even I can only outwit the world so many times; I can only push my luck so far… But I will keep fighting the good fight into the next day, until there isn’t one.” He set his hand upon the Half-elf’s that rested upon the door handle. “I trust that you’ll help me to do so, I know you’ll try your best… But when my luck runs out, I don’t want you to blame yourself. Okay?” 'Blame yourself'. The words ran through Kirital like a river. His mind swam, jostling and rocking when Vathelan set a hand upon his. The light at his back hides the darkening of his cheeks and the nervous sweat at his brow. Guilt is not him. Doubt is not him. Hesitation is not him. Those are all traits of his brother. Mistakes, however, are still within his realm to make. This time, he hopes, isn't one. His hand moved on its own. Vathelan's jaw tips up and their lips meet for but a moment. "I'll be your good luck charm, then." As his jaw was moved, the Magister’s brow raised, he opened his mouth to speak—to be silenced as the other man’s lips touched his own. The action sent shockwaves through his form. First came the paralysis, the shock of the act. What was a man to do? Next came the full body blush that spread from the tips of his ears ever onward like wildfire. The man was attractive, strong, and just expressed a conspicuous interest. Something he had never experienced, it melted the entirety of his frosted defenses. And then the contact was broken. His first kiss was over. And it set a maelstrom of emotion through him, his hand quickly moving to hide his expression—he was far too exposed. His eyes averted the man as his other hand forced the door handle to turn. “…Let’s hope that is true. We’ll need as much luck as we can get in the coming months.” "Yeah." Kirital sighed with a relaxed contentment. Such a reaction after their exchange is a farce, however. It's all he can do to restrain himself and respect Vathelan's need for space. No resistance was felt. Only surprise and ... potential. He slipped his hands into his jacket pockets; tugging the thick garment down and wishing he had zipped it. As before, his shadowed features reveal just enough of a smile somewhere between apologetic and happy. "We should probably get back to Cat." His nerves began to ebb, though their influence lingers on his words to add a subtle shake. "And uh, thank you for trusting me with all this." The smile given earlier turns into one of boyish gratitude. "Y-yes. Let's not neglect my other guest." Vathelan practically glowed a pleasant scarlet. He gently opened the door to allow the half-elf to pass him, needing a moment to regain his composure. "And you're... um... welcome?" As Kirital walks the hall, the newspapers and clippings help take his mind off the past minute. He calms himself and dispeled the inconvenient blood flow to his face. It was a gamble and his heart still thud steadily against his chest. Vathelan's reaction, that subtle shock, the intake of breath, the slight bend in the man's back, and the lingering excitement on his tongue all were good signs of potential. Still though, he needs to be careful, but it doesn't make his smile any less wide. Cat was busy with coffee making and didn't notice as Kirital and Vathelan left the bedroom until they were within earshot. Beaming at the half-elf, the death knight handed him a fresh cup of steaming coffee. "How'd your little talk go? You guys okay?" Kirital kept his smile and rested his hands in his jacket pockets. A humor comes over him. "Yeah. We just hammered a few things out, you know. Set a few things straight." Looking to the coffee, he swapped to that. "How'd it go? No fire, so that's a good sign." Cat grinned at Kirital's description. "No stove on fire. Not yet, anyway." She glanced at Vathelan again, then back at Kirital. "Though is it just me or is it a little warm in here?" Kirital would be the first to arrive, as Vathelan held back for a moment to catch his breath—he needn’t let his other guest see him so flustered, it was simply unprofessional. After a moment, all he could spare before being noticed absent he was sure, he looked back to the sheet covered object mouthing a ‘Sorry’ before he closed the door to catch up.
  12. Vathelan Frostwhisper summoned a portal for Cat and himself, sending them back to Shattarath. From there he was quick to guide and get them lost in the Lower City crowds. He tried to keep them in the thick of it, making them hard to follow before leading her to his apartment complex. He looked around for any signs of someone watching them as he opened the door and motioned for her to get inside. Cat followed Vathelan, looking around Shattrath as they walked with surprise. The death knight hadn't been there since shortly after she was turned into one of the Lich King's knights, and she had forgotten how pretty it all was. By the time they got to Vathelan's apartment, she had almost forgotten why they were even there. "Oh," she said with surprise, walking in. "Is this your place?" As he made one final check for any threat of being watched, he closed the door to the complex and marched to Room Three, on the bottom floor. A basket of various now rotating and eels lay before it. "Yes." He sighed as he looked down the hall. He quickly ported it away to somewhere else before he depowered the protective wards on his door and unlocked it. As he opened the door, the first thing she may have noticed was the naked man she met had his likeness pointing at them. In Thalassian the script on the poster said "The Lord-General Wants YOU to join the Scryers today! Find your nearest recruiting station for more details on how to enlist!" Cat jumped back at the sudden image of Draco on a poster. "Ah! Crap!" She went toward the poster and looked at it more carefully, her blue eyes going over Draco's features. A sudden recognition came over her. "...wait... I think I'm starting to remember something..." She said quietly, to herself. Cat looked over at Vathelan, her eyebrows raised. "I think I saw this poster a long time ago. When I enlisted. I knew I wanted to be a knight before I saw it, but... it was definitely a nail in the coffin." She paused. " more ways than one." "I envy you for having such talents," He gave a small smile, "What I would not give... to be more like him. But feel free to look around, would you like some coffee?" Cat shook her head and looked around the apartment. "No thanks.." The death knight came to a stop in front of another poster. It depicted three knights; Cerryan, Draco, and someone else. "Who's this third guy? I know Cerryan and naked-guy, but not this one." The entire living room of the apartment, at least, was full of propaganda and memorabilia. "That is the now current Lord-General, Faelenor Rayfeather. A weapons master and a high ranking Farstrider. ...also the Late Lord-General's brother-in-law." Cat stumbled on her own feet, suddenly turning to look at Vathelan with wide blue eyes. "What?! That guy is a Rayfeather!?" "Yes?" Vathelan gave a raised eyebrow. "Are you well, Miss Cat?" She looked both shocked and uncomfortable. "Uh... no. Yes? Maybe... do you know of someone named Arcturus Rayfeather?" “Easy Miss Cat, you are safe here.” His tone tries to reassure her as he considers the question. “Heraldry is not an area of expertise of mine, I am afraid. As far as I know there are only four left of the family, Lord-General Faelenor Rayfeather, his wife Lady Amalyn, their child… and then the Lord-General’s siblings, Aetheril and widow of the former Lord-General Visca, Lady Ronyo Rayfeather-Visca. Could this…. Arcturus be their father?” Cat sputtered and shook her head, turning again to look at the trio of knights in front of her. "...father? Their father? That would mean.." she looked around the apartment and grabbed the ends of her pigtails, tugging them down. "Oh sir, I think I've just made a whole lot more trouble for myself by even asking. Wait, why are we here again?" “Calm down, tell me what happened. Maybe I can help.” His voice is calm and, hopefully, soothing. "I.. well..." she tugged on her pigtails. "...don't tell anyone, but... Arcturus Rayfeather is my.. birth father?" “So a Rayfeather and the blood of a Visca running through your veins…” He leans upon the counter of his kitchen as he looks at her, a warm smile upon his face. “You really are destined to be a Champion of our people. But you have no need to worry about me keeping your secret, my entire job centers around secrets. But, back to the purpose of why we are here?” "Oh yeah.." she looked around his apartment, suddenly aware of the fact that she was alone with a man in his home. "Uh... it's a nice place you have.." she said nervously. "...but... why?" "Just have a look around, tell me if you see a pattern." Vathelan gave a small smile. In the corner was a suit of Blood Knight armor, much like the man in the posters. There were action figures on one of his bookshelves of the three masters. The books were lined with history of the Quel'dorei, of House Visca, Arcane theories. "I can give you a tour that leads deeper into the other rooms, if you so wish." Cat looked around again, her eyes settling on the posters, the armor, the action figures.. suddenly, it clicked. "...oh. Oh! Oh, I'm sorry!" She put up her hands defensively. "I had no idea! I promise you, I was not checking out your husband!" "W-W-WHAT?!" The Magister, not known to raise his voice, strangled upon his words as he went the fiercest shade of scarlet. "No! The Lord-General is not-- I'm not-- the Lord-General looks down upon homosexuality! It is a deviation from our duty as a people! I'm just...No. He is not my husband. He has a widow and a son! I just... I look up to him, is all." He nods with a bit too much exaggeration. Cat blinked at the sudden outburst, frowning as Vath went on about the window and the son. "Uh... if you say so, sir... I mean, it just kinda looked like... look," she lowered her voice. "You'll keep my secrets, I'll keep yours. If you and this guy have a thing, I won't tell anybody. I'm not one to stand in the way of true love. Just like... can you promise you won't tell the Scryers? I'm sure he'll be happy to see his boyfriend, but they're another story." "I am not his..." Vathelan is still clearly flustered by this notion. "I just-- of course I will not tell them. I brought you here so you could see that I am his ally. If we are to win this war, he would be exponentially beneficial to this. Especially if we can get him into an optimal position." "Right, right. Optimal position." Cat winked, clearly more at ease than before. "He mentioned Suramar, but didn't say where. He said... the sun sets over Suramar? That's all I got." "Huh. That actually... would make a lot of sense." Vathelan tried his hardest to ignore what he was sure she was trying to insinuate, though he wasn't quite sure how. "Elven people, the excess mana might block out attempts to track him, and they are amidst a revolution. Insurgencies seem to be something he has gotten quite adept at." Cat shrugged. "I guess he figured he'd be left alone there. I didn't want to betray his trust, is all. He was scary, but he felt he was helping me. I guess he didn't realize I was there by choice." "I... doubt that, actually. Knowing Lord-General Visca, he's likely planning something. So the question is, do you want to help him?" "Of course," she answered quickly. "I feel like I owe the guy, but, how could I possibly help him?" "We won't know until we talk to him. But I am sure he's going to be in need of allies and a strong support network for whatever it is he's trying to do." Cat nodded and shrugged. "Then I'm happy to do what I can, I guess. Just let me know. Or... I guess I could come with you? If you want, sir? Might be a better idea since I'm the one he told this to." "It may be best you go alone..." He looked towards the door of his apartment. "I fear I may have to watch my step, if I am to be any use to him." "Alone?" She followed the direction of his eyes, then looked quickly back at him. "Is something going on, sir? Are you okay? If you need help, I can help you too you know." "They're looking for him, Miss Cat." He frowns as he removes his glasses to give them a slight clean. "And thanks to my obvious admiration of him, they're likely to watch me. I can help him better if I play my part of the Scryer." "That makes sense, then.." she mumbled. "...but you don't think they're watching me, too? I mean, I'm a test subject. I escaped with him. Wouldn't they be keeping tabs on me?" "You're harder to follow. But you have a point..." Vathelan considers this a moment. "We will have to get you a disguise." Cat blinked, processing this idea. She looked over herself and then back at Vathelan. "Uh... okay. I guess I could do that." "And I can give them some misinformation to direct them elsewhere." He sighs, another mark they'll add to his likely court martial that will be waiting for him at the end of all this. One of many he was sure. "What kind of disguise? Like, a magic one?" Cat asked as she once again started to wander the apartment, taking in the posters and fandom adorning Vathelan's walls. She paused in front of one poster that depicted Cerryan prominently. "If we can do so, that would be preferable, yes. I will have to see what I can pull together for you." His eyes followed where she moved. "Sir.. have you heard from Cerryan, recently?" Cat asked quietly, concern obvious in her face. "I've been thinking.. he's been gone a while, and... Light's Hope happened just before he stopped coming to the hall. It was crazy in there, you know? There were so many paladins and death knights, and... you couldn't tell who was who. Just flashes of light, and blood, and the risen dead. I hope... he wasn't there." "No. Last time I saw him was at a Sanctuary meeting where he assured me that I would not be fighting for this alliance alone." He shook his head, sounding oddly bitter. "Since then I have been assaulted, told it was my fault and then my attacker's brother tried to kill us all. Was imprisoned and then promptly freed. He abandoned me. Again. Probably still on a vacation with that... Woman." Cat winced as she heard the anger in his voice, something she realized she didn't often hear from the magister. Clearing her throat uncomfortably, she pursed her lips and looked back at the poster. "I don't.. I don't really see him as the vacationing type. Not in this climate, anyway. He's more of the workaholic type. Kinda like you, sir, except with a sword. That's why I'm worried. They... we killed people at Light's Hope. It was bad, sir. That's why I came to you, you know? It sort of made me realize that it would be worth the risk of defecting from the Ebon Blade." "You would think so. I did, and yet this isn't the first time I have been left behind to do everything," but the Magister listened. His voice shifted from the odd bitterness, back to a tone of concern. "...That sounds ominous, however, I will do some research and some poking in that regard." Cat nodded, still looking at the poster. "Don't be too hard on him, sir. Sometimes it's hard not to let someone you love kinda.. take over the way you think, and shift your priorities." She turned to smile at him reassuringly. "I'm sure you know what that feels like, seeing how much you love Draco. He seems to guide your every move." "...I told you. It's not like that." He grumbled as he turned his back to get a mug from one of his cabinets. "It's not?" She followed him into the kitchen, watching as he worked. "I mean.. no offense, but it seems like you're holding a torch. Even if you're not romantically involved. I get the appeal, I used to worship guys like this too. I still do, but.. you know. In a different way. It's okay to be in love with something, even if it's just an ideal." “I have my reasons.” He looked back at the living death knight, “Are you sure you don’t want anything to drink?” Cat turned to look at Vathelan. He seemed to be looking for a distraction. "...sure." The Magister picked up another mug and started to gather the supplies to make two of his artisan coffees. “My point is, I was not always looking to save the world. They changed my mind.” "I can understand that. Love doesn’t just mean romance, yanno. It also means... respect. Admiration. When you believe in someone so much that it changes you." Cat chewed on her lip. "I've seen it happen. It's nothing to be ashamed of." “For most, I suppose.” His tone is flat; his face speaks a different tune. He measures out the coffee beans. “There are reasons I haven’t had friends most of my life, Miss Cat. Emotions make things…. Quite messy, I am afraid, in my profession. And leverage is a liability.” "You're not a robot, sir. Emotions make things messy, that doesn't mean you don't have them." She glanced again at the poster of Cerryan. "...even the weird ones... when... was that poster made, sir?" “It is true, I am only Elven.” He started to grind up the beans in the mortar and pestle as he looked over at the poster she was viewing. “That particular one? It was printed and in use during our Pandaren Campaign, but you can see the likeness portrayed is from the Civil War era as seen by his armor.” "Civil War?" Cat repeated, looking carefully at the picture. “Yes, the very reason the formation of the Scryers even occurred. Do you know the tale?” Cat shook her head. "I know about the war in Outland, and the Kael'thas, and all that... I assume there's more to it than what I was told. I was in training during that time. I wasn't old enough to start fighting until just before the campaign in Northrend. " "Then you know the basics. I do wish... I could have been there, when it all started. To see history being written before me." Cat shrugged, looking over the poster, as if some wheels were turning in her head. "I just wish I'd been a better knight. Like Cerryan. He was the last person I saw before I died, I remember wanting to be strong like he was. I remember meeting him the night before I died, and..." she squinted and shook her head. "...and my memory... still a little fuzzy.." "A bit irresponsible, but a good role model to have." He paused. "He was there the night you died?" Cat put a hand to her forehead. "Well... I met him the night before I died. In a bar. I remember we talked a lot, and he was really nice. He walked me home, and..." She frowned for a moment. "...I don't exactly remember... anyway, he was on the battlefield with me and my squad when we got overrun by Scourge. I remember seeing him when I was hit. His was the last face I saw." "Was he relieved to see you once more?" Vathelan set the ground coffee into the two filters. "I understand that feeling of awe far too well..." "Well... he seemed... I don't know. I'm not sure happy is a good word for it. Maybe... surprised? I guess it's surprising to see the dead come back, isn't it?" "...Probably why the Lord-General deemed it wise to let them keep thinking he was dead, even if I were cleared to tell them." "Them?" Cat looked over the action figures. "Is there someone he doesn't want knowing he's alive?" "He has specifically ordered me to not to tell his family of his return. Not that I could anyways. Given the secrecy of the project. " "You mean his wife and kid?" She frowned at the idea. "That's so sad.. if this happened to me, and nobody told Kreyen, I'd be so mad. I mean, I get it, I guess, but... still that's pretty sad." "His wife left him before he died, took his unborn son with her. I suppose there may be some bitterness there. But... no. This includes the other two Masters of the Order of Eversong. Lord Cerryan and Lord-General Rayfeather." "Includes them as in, they don't know he's back either?" "Correct. Outside of the Director and those whom worked on the Project, yourself and Lady Bloodstone are the only ones who know. " "Oh... well... I mean I don't know the guy, I won't tell anyone... didn't know he had a kid, though. Do you want kids, sir? I know that's a whole thing with the Scryers, making more elves and all. Seems like it's on everyone's mind, lately." "Good. It's highly classified information." He didn't bother to elaborate on the past of the former Lord-General as he conjured water into a pot for them. "We are dedicated to the preservation and defense of the Sin'dorei. Ensuring the creation of the next generation is part of this. As for me... it would be my duty, but that requires myself to become a bit less of a pariah." "It would require you to date," Cat suggested. "And actually want to have kids. I mean, it's not enough to just knock up some lady. You'd actually have to do all the dad stuff, too." "Which again, requires me not to be seen as some sort of abomination in social circles. I have heard what has been said about me over the years," He gives a small shrug as he sets the pot upon the stove and took a wand to light the fire underneath it. "I pity anyone who has me as their father, should they gain the same taint on their name as I have." "I think that's a little harsh, sir. I haven't heard anyone say anything bad about you, and you've been fine to me so far. Actually, the only person I've heard say anything mean about you is... you?" "You haven't talked to the Commander or her entourage then." Cat shrugged. "I guess not, but why bother looking for trouble? If you have friends, don't worry about what other people say. I mean, I'm a death knight. Do you know how many people hate me? But so long as Kreyen loves me, I don't mind it so much." The Magister laughs at the comment. He cannot help it. It's a bitter, depressing laughter. Cat's face paled at his laughter. She lowered her eyes to the floor. "...I mean... it's something. I guess." "...My apologies. I laugh because I know the truth, I am unlovable. I am and always will be a pariah. No matter what I do. No matter my intent. I am only worth what I can provide. And under the Commander's leadership, whatever her given reason, I am worth Nothing until the Accords she required drafted are signed." Cat raised her eyebrows and folded her arms. "You know, if you keep telling yourself you're unlovable, eventually you will be. Didn't anyone ever tell you that you have control over your own destiny? For all the work you put into making the world a better place, why didn't you think to work on yourself too?" "It's not what I have told myself, it is a well established pattern. I am either useless or a pawn in someone's game." He sighs, "But that will not matter. I am not likely to survive this war. Even if we succeed, I will be court martialed." He heard a frim knock at the door, his brow raised before slowly going to approach the door. Cat frowned and followed Vathelan as he went to the door. Before he had a chance to open it, she gave him a firm hug from behind. "You quit beating yourself up, sir. You're plenty lovable, and don't let anyone tell you different." Another knock, through lighter this time due to hearing folks inside. The Magister froze at the embrace, unsure what to say or how to react to the physical contact. "... I am sure your betrothed would say otherwise, Miss Cat." He sighed before looking through the scrying glass to see whom the new visitor was. Kirital stands in a winter jacket of thick material and lined with fur. Underneath is a thin shirt and below are his usual slacks and waist-wrap. He's holding up a bag of what looks like food with the other hidden in his jacket pocket. A big, goofy smile greets Vath as he peers through. Cat peeked over Vathelan's shoulder to see Kirital, grinning when she noticed the food. "Kirital, what are you doing here? Vath was just about to make furious love to me, wanna join us?" Kirital kind of just stands there, perplexed. Did he hear that right? Is Cat really in there? "If I'm uh, interrupting, I can come back later?" Vathelan went scarlet once more as he opened the door. "...Er... what?" His voice meek in embarrassment. Cat laughed and poked Vathelan's side. "I'm kidding! He was showing me his collection. Are you guys having a dinner date?" "Nah," Kirital shrugs. "Baern assigned me to be his bodyguard, so I figure I'd grab some food to fight against hunger." His smile is full of mirth, especially at the joke he didn't exactly say no to. "So, haven't seen you in awhile, Cat." Glancing from her to Vath, he asks "She's doing work for you, right?" The poke at his side made him clench slightly, still unused to physical touch. His face still bright red. “…Thank you Kirital. I am sorry for leaving my office without leaving you word.” His gaze led back to the woman behind him as well. “Yes. She is working on a special project of mine.” Cat winked at Kirital. "Super special, top secret. He was just making coffee and telling me about the guys on his wall. You two want I should leave you alone?" Kirital looks toward Vath to answer that. "I do have enough food here for four people, but it's up to you, Vathelan." “Please, Miss Cat, you are welcome to stay as long as you wish.” He gives a small smile as he moves out of the way for Kirital to have access to the apartment. Cat shrugged and moved back into the apartment, giving Kirital room to walk behind her as she went toward the kitchen. "Well I'm not about to say no to free food.. whatcha get, Kir?" Kirital moves to the main dining table, admiring the Cerry-phanelia as he goes. The food is arranged in order from mild to hot for spiciness and each in a clearly labeled container. Kirital's stomach growls through the process of displaying the food. "So I'm unfamiliar with Arakkoan food, so I got a little of everything?" He leans his hip against the table corner and crosses his arms. "So Vathelan, I guess pick your favorite then Cat, then I'll just eat the rest." "It's all quite good. And I would be a horrible host if I were to refuse you any of Riro's cooking. Why don't we do what I did last time?" Cat looked between the two men. "What did you do last time?" A slow smirk spread to Kirital's face. "Oh yeah? Sounds like a good idea." Kirital looks around the apartment, "So did you need anything done here, Vathelan?" His hands rest on his waist and he looks at Vath with an arched brow. Vathelan moved to gather three plates and bowls, and the appropriate silverware. “I did not expect you to be visiting, so would you do me the honor of making the portions? I have to get these coffees made for my two guests.” Cat blinked, still confused. "Wait, what did.. never mind, do you need help making coffee, sir? I feel kinda useless between the two of you." "I could teach you if you wish?" "That... actually is probably a good idea." She walked behind Vath, just close enough to watch him. "I'm gonna get married, I should probably learn how to make coffee." Vathelan takes out another mug, "Then we shall start from the beginning while I finish this batch for the two of you." "Sure yeah." Kirital remembers where Vath retrieved the plates during his first visit. Preparing the table, he rather obviously eyes up Vathelan. He knows how dense the Mage can be, so he doesn't bother hiding it. Cat glances back at Kirital and catches him eyeing Vath. She looks between the two men and smiles to herself. "Seems pretty labor intensive for coffee.. do you do this every day?" She asks while nodding toward the mortar and pestle. "Seems like it could get a little tiring." "This guard thing is maybe three days old now?" Kirital shrugs as he retrieves utensils. "I'm just glad do get to know another Elf." There's a downcast tone to his voice, as if this is something he's wanted for a while. “The artisan skill gives such flavor.” He retorts with a small smile as he sets the filters into their cups and pours the boiling water into them. The aroma alone would give the enticing hint as to why he does so. It seems Vathelan is wholly focused on teaching the younger woman how to make coffee, unaware of the half-elf looking at him. “We’ll let that wait, allow the flavor to seep in like one would expect for tea. So… step one, is simple. You take a measuring cup and fill it like so…” He moves behind the woman, gently moving her in the appropriate motions. He wasn’t sure if she was a visual, auditory or kinetic learner… may as well do all three at the same time for maximum efficiency. Cat's eyebrows raised as Vathelan put his hands on her. This was unusual for someone who was uncomfortable with hugs, but she didn't stop him and allowed the magister to guide her physically. She tried to pay more attention to his instruction than their proximity and focused on the task at hand. "Oh.. yeah, it's not so hard I guess.." Kirital is surprised. Vathelan totally made a move on Cat. Standing behind her, moving her hands...thoughts of him asserting such initiative onto him clouds his thoughts enough to drop his forks. The clatter snaps him out of his trance. "Woah hey, my bad!" He recovers and retrieves them. “So, you may have noticed the seemingly excess amount of beans you have in this measuring cup compared to the final product.” His voice is calm, collected—an odd contrast to how he is normally to those in such close proximity to him—“This is because, a significant portion of this mass is lost in the transition from bean to pow—” The clatter draws the Magister’s attention as well, his brow raised as he looked at his other guest. “…Der. Kirital, are you okay?” Cat turned to look at Kirital. With Vathelan behind her, and his arms over hers, it was a compromising position indeed. She smirked at the half-elf and winked. "I uh." Kirital looks at the weird arrangement of the plates and utensils. "I need some air." He looks feverish and rubs the back of his head as he heads to the front door. Stepping outside, he gently closes it to a slim crack. Cat blinked and looked down at Vathelan's hands. In an attempt to not make things awkward for the Magister, she cleared her throat. "Um.. I think maybe the spicy food got in the air. Maybe he's got sensitive eyes." Kirital rests against the outside wall. For his assignment, he scene the area with a subtle sweep if his attention. No one seems to pay him or this location any kind, even in the far distance of upper shattrath above. In a way it helps him relax. Placing his hands behind him, he closes his eyes and thinks. “I’m sure he’ll be fine.” The Magister says in a matter-of-fact voice. “Next we grind the beans, are you understanding this so far?” "Uh... yeah. Totally." She watched as his hand covered hers. Despite the magister's demure persona, he was still male, and his hands were significantly larger than hers. Cat cleared her throat, blushing. "I still can't believe you go through this every day. Must be worth it." “It has a sort of therapeutic quality to it, and much more preferable than making one’s own ink.” He gave a small warm smile as he took her hands, manipulating them as required to start the grinding process of the beans. “We are looking to a medium to fine quality of a grind for this particular technique. If you wanted to add something special to your brew, this would be the time to do so. But I do not entertain company enough, nor do I stay within my apartment for the extended periods of time to make the investment in such things worthwhile.” Cat cleared her throat, watching his hands guide her more than the process itself. She was a little stiff in front of him, unused to this kind of attention from the typically hands-off Vathelan. "...uhm... add something like what?" She asked curiously, her hands very warm under his. She wondered idly where Kirital had gone, and hoped he'd be back soon.
  13. Cat walked up the stairs toward Vathelan's office, surveying the damaged hall with awe. "Holy moly.. the hell happened here?" She said to herself. The death knight wore black armor, stained here and there with specks of fresh blood. She knocked on the office door. "Sir?" "Come in." A tired voice called from the door. Cat walked in and shut the door behind her. "Sir!" She practically yelled. I have so many things to tell you!" Frostwhisper looked up from a pile of paperwork, only smiling-- If only ever so slightly-- when he saw his visitor. "I would hope so. And... I am glad you have returned, I was afraid I would have to track you down. " He snaps his fingers, his mana feeding his wards once again. "Of course I came back, I was worried at first but I guess they didn't think it was worth hunting me down.. you know what happened, right?? That guy they were feeding me from went ballistic! He broke us both out and ran off!" "...Do you know who he is?" His eyes told he very much did, as he stared into hers. Cat blinked, caught off guard. She shook her head. "No. He was this big guy, like really big. Everywhere. We had to escape naked, so believe me, I won't forget that anytime soon.. who is he?" "Please, have a seat." The Magister spoke calmly as he started to mess with his Glass Scroll. "I must remind you that our conversations as Classified." "Sure sure.." she sat down and fidgeted in her seat. "I came back here to talk to you before, but you were gone. Then I went to my room and someone had been in there, looking through my stuff.. oh, don't worry, I didn't write down anything about my missions or anything like that, but, it spooked me so Kreyen and I went somewhere to celebrate Winterveil and.. oh yeah, he said he saw you, when I was running around with naked guy! I'm sorry if he got upset with you, he was worried about me.. and oh yeah! Guess what?? We're engaged! Isn't that crazy??" The Magister flipped the Glass Scroll so that Cat could read the article. The headline read 'Lord-General Visca, decorated war hero of the Order of Eversong killed in action during the Liberation of Orgrimmar' the picture would be of the same elf, in full blood knight armor with a Shattered Sun Offensive shield raised high. "Was this him?" Cat raised her eyebrows in surprise. "..woah. yeah, that's the guy. He was a Blood Knight? I didn't know.. but.. it says he died?" She looked confused. "Is he like me, then?" "He was a personal hero of mine. And the reason I pushed for the formation of the Shattered Son Project. We tried to heal him... but..." "But he's fine," Cat said quickly. "Better than fine, he was running around fighting like a pro. Believe me, that's not easy to do when you're naked, but he did it." "Because of what we did to him." Vathelan speaks quietly. The death knight cocked her head. "Whadid you do?" "Fleshcrafting, Necromancy, Augmentations, among other things. I am not... proud, that I helped set this in motion." He sighs. "But... he was our best bet for the Legion. And we knew it was only a matter of time...." Cat leaned forward in her chair. "But they put his blood in me. They used my axe on him. What does that mean??" "Ideally it will permanently alter you into a more favorable state, no?" "Well sure, but these changes.. I mean, I'm pretty much alive again, aren't I? A few days after I got back, I had this massive period, it was seriously like my uterus just decided to explode! Is that normal??" "I... wouldn't know?" "Well, what about the rest of it? It's like, I heard them talking about how they wanted me to reproduce, but now it's like all I can think about is boning and killing, is that part of it too? Does that Draco guy feel the same way? I'm pretty sure I caught him with a crazy awkward boner, but running can do that sometimes." "I... wait. What? He was..." He thinks on this a moment with a 'Huh'. "...I thought that theory may have been a bit far fetched." "Which? About the boners? Seriously, it was not comfortable running naked with him like that. I'm pretty sure he could knock someone out with that thing." "The concept of fertility, this is... amazing." Vathelan tapped his finger upon his chin. He was torn between the description and the implications. "So does that mean I can have kids, then? And if that's the case... if I did, what would it mean for them? Would.. the Scryers wanna study them or something? Would they come out like me, or Draco?" "This... is new ground. I cannot say for certain what is possible and what is not. While I am sure such a phenomenon would be something worth study them, we also would want what is best for the next generation." "So what do they want from me, now? I wasn't planning on escaping or anything, but that Draco guy was kind of... hard to say no to? I followed him, and they said to use lethal force and I panicked. So far, nobody's come after me? So what do I do, now?" "Well... we have a few options." "What... kind of options?" "They're after him. Did he... give you a way to find him?" Cat frowned. "..sorta, but.. he kinda.. I mean, he trusted me not to tell the Scryers. You're one of them, sir." "I am also probably his best resource. He could use us... if we wish to lend aide, of course. " Cat looked down uncertainty. "...I don't know, sir.. seems kinda wrong of me to betray his trust.. don't you think?" "You're not. Actually.... come. A visual representation will prove more useful." The Magister stood from his desk and started to head for the door. Cat stood and followed Vathelan. "If you say so...."
  14. From the sweet oblivion of a much required rest, a vain attempt to forget what had transpired that night came the sudden rancid odor that brought him back to reality. An involuntary cough sent the sharp pains like daggers through his chest once more, he gasped for air as he tried not to scream from the agony of his wounds—only to force more of that horrible smell of herb into him. His eyes would shoot open, looking for the source, only to find a set of glowing green lights staring back at him. “Awake at last,” the baritone voice mocked from above him. “I was beginning to get impatient.” He must have dozed off, and judging by the pain in his ribs, it was unlikely a medical professional—this ‘Josie’—had yet to see him. The young man blinked his eyes, trying to get them to focus. Slowly, thanks to his glasses still being firmly upon his face, the dark room slowly began to pain its portrait in shades of dark grays, blues and blacks. All of which had the same fel-green glow providing what minor illumination from each set of their eyes. The first thing he would notice was how the light bounced off the intruder’s facial structure. His features looked as if they had been soft once upon a time, but weathered by some sort of constant strain. He was bald. A very strange thing for an elf. “Are we not speaking?” The bald man smirked, “The Director said that we would have to ensure that your silence was guaranteed, it seems you’ve already learned your lesson.” The stench, he tried to place it. His mind started working through its catalogues… Bloodthistle, there was a case regarding that while he was under apprenticeship of Magister Arcalos. Why was Raeventus employing Thistleheads? His eyes tried to look for more clues in the dark. The outline of his robes, was he another Inquisitor sent to torment him? He held something in his hand, something of lighter color. Looked like cloth. A towel? “Heh. Either way, I was sent to bring you a gift.” The thistlehead moved to take something out of a bag. A bottle about the size of a foot in height, maybe five inches across? Within it the liquid had a faint glow as it swirled within its container. “We thought you may need it after your hard day today.” Frostwhisper’s eyes followed the movement of the bottle, trying to use its faint light to gain more details. His fingers were long, spindly. The additional light seemed to confirm his fears of the man’s occupation. His robes fit the uniform of the Inquisition. Even now he could feel the shiver down his spine, as his mind pieced together the implications of their work. He also noticed that the robes seemed a little too tight on him compared to his experiences with Dawn. The cloth he had seen earlier proved to be a reddish color, seemingly still damp. He’d raise an eyebrow before finally speaking, “…What is it?” “Oh, so you do speak. Good. It was getting boring talking to myself, like speaking to a wall.” He lifted the bottle, “Isn’t it obvious?” The Magister gave a quick shake of his head. The low light made it hard to make out many of the details, his inquiring mind trying to figure out how long the man had been here. What the intruder could have done to him while he slumbered. “It’s alcohol. Something special we have been cooking up.” “I don’t drink.” “Well then, in case you decide to. We feel we may have gotten off on the wrong foot.” The Inquisitor began to rise from his seat upon the bed. The glow from his eyes hardly moved from the same height they were previous. This would make him short. Not only that, it would mean his body was disproportionate. His torso must be bigger than his legs. Something for him to file away for future use. Still, Vathelan Frostwhisper said nothing, deciding that potentially provoking his intruder was likely the worst move to make. “But I have delivered my message and you a clearly exhausted and in need of medical attention from your heroic defense of this fair city… something our allies, the Sunreavers, can use as a foothold back into the city. I will leave you to your swift recovery, we have much to do.” The Magister said nothing, only watching as he awaited the intruder to at long last leave him be. And still so many questions nagged at the back of his head. This was only accentuated as the short, bald man who smelled of Bloodthistle stood at the door, his fel-green eyes moving to look back at him. “If you ever need anything, Magister Frostwhisper, know we have eyes and ears everywhere. We’ll be waiting.” “I-I understand, Inquisitor.” “Good.” The voice sounded amused as the shorter man opened the door, allowing the light from outside to pour in for just a moment—revealing the Stern Faced Sun upon the bottle of alcohol before once again being almost entirely consumed by the darkness. “Rest well, Magister Frostwhisper. You have a lot of work to do.” Vathelean Frostwhisper would not get a chance to respond, the room once more dark as the door once again was locked into place. Despite the advice, the young magister would find no more rest for that evening, only able to allow his ever increasing exhaustion to claim him once the sun had once again risen to banish away the horrors of that night and allowing those below to better keep watch.
  15. …And within the very next moment, the famous floating city blinked right back into existence. In nothing more than a couple beats of the heart, the entire city had teleported leagues upon leagues away. From the southern reaches of the Eastern Kingdoms to a set of islands so far north that they neighbored the roof of the world, the spell had worked. As with any normal teleportation spell, the world would slightly displace to accept the new occupant of that particular space—the problem was with such a large target, the astronomical amount of variables that could go wrong in such calculation for such a spell made the likeliness of perfection a delusion. Anyone who was close to Khadgar during the conception of this plan had the slightest warning before they had attempted such a feat. It was a horribly dangerous plan, the amount of things that could go wrong… well; just pray it wouldn’t be of your concern. And had Magister Vathelan Frostwhisper known, perhaps he would have simply been thankful that the consequences of such a thing weren’t more dire for him. To keep moving, the dulled pain from his frost and the exhaustion threatening to claim him at any moment, he had come to lean on the wall for support. And in the move, between the energy making things slightly incorporeal for ease of transfer and a fraction of an unaccounted for variable in the spell—the shoulder of his robe’s cloth had fused with the wall. Something Vathelan was not aware of until he took his next step. The resulting pain that wrecked through him thanks to his ribs from the way his Scryer uniform gripped at him would be as if an ogre had decided to give one a bear hug. The young magister opened his mouth to give an involuntarily soundless scream, not even his frost magic had the power to numb it enough. The pain was so overwhelming; it threatened to send him into shock. His framed eyes looked, longingly so, at the door to the Ledgermain Lounge that was not more than just a few feet from him now. He thoughtlessly formed a shard of ice within his hand, coalescing the humidity around them until he had enough to create it, focusing his small concentration on making the edge facing away from him as sharp as he possibly could. The result would be an improvised knife made out of nothing but ice, one of which he would use to start trying to slice away at the cloth… each movement rewarding him a sharp agony, that built further upon what already threatened him sending him closer and closer to the verge of shock. The makeshift blade would continue its sloppy but relentless assault until the threads of the Scryer uniform’s shoulder finally gave way—never had he been so frustrated with such fine tailoring! But, as it seemed this night would go, it came with a cost. An instant after the flushing victory of freedom, came the biting frost of the shard and the warmth of his blood that flowed from the resulting injury. The heat of the blood ate away at the edged ice almost as if acid, but that didn’t really matter as he tossed the shard onto the ground as this time he was verbal in his grunting pain. With his now free hand it was all he could do to grip at his shoulder, feeling the heat of the blood—almost like magma upon his chilled skin-- as he stumbled the last bit towards the door of inn. The momentum and lack of ability to function fully would result in a loud thud on the door of the Lounge’s door. One, to his luck, they answered. Vathlean could hear the grinding of wood against the door before it opened, his ear so close to the entrance as he lay upon their steps. His breathing was ragged and despite his efforts, he could feel his life fluids draining from him upon the stone. As such he was thankful when the door opened, and he heard in his native tongue, “What the Fel happened to you?” The young Magister was being lifted up to his feet, his mind racing as he tried to find the best way to explain what happened without breaking his non-disclosure agreement. He couldn’t be sure this man wasn’t a spy for Raeventus… or—his heart sank when he was at eye level. Those blue eyes filled the young man with so much distrust, even more so than the Director did. He knew what they were responsible for, what he himself narrowly escaped. Perhaps more than the man did himself, considering he saw the aftermath. Even still, he knew how horrible an idea it was to spit in the face of a man who could be his potential rescuer. So instead he came up with a lie that seemed wholly reasonable, “…Demons?” “They really messed you up!” The Quel’dorei looked over the man again before taking Vath’s arm and throwing it over his shoulder and dragged him inside. “You’re one of those Heroes then? That helped save this city before The Six cast that spell? Anything we can do to help you? You really look like hell.” “…Need room… and medic….” Vathelan wheezed in pain, the frost spell quickly wearing off. If the Quel’dorei thought he was some sort of hero that saved the city, and if it got him a chance to rest and get medical attention, Vathelan would be a fool to correct him, even if the magister planned on paying for such regardless. “Of course! Of course!” The man looked over to the woman checking their inventory, the chaos seeming to be something a bit more manageable now. “Amisi! Key to Room Six, and then go get Josie. This man needs medical attention.” The human female raised a brow at the two male elves for a moment before nodding, pulling a key off the rack behind her and handing it off to the Quel’dorei. She gave him a quick peck on the cheek before running off. The High Elf male took the key before leading the perceived hero up the stairs, careful with each step as he was wary of the haggard breathing from the man. “I’ll admit… had my doubts about letting you guys back in after that whole fiasco… but… you guys still rushed to our aid, can’t help but wonder if Proudmoore was wrong….” “She… was.” The Magister managed to speak. “I was once… in the Sun—Arg!” A misstep forced a wave of anguish to rip through him again, leading to the Quel’dorei to apologize in rapid succession before trying to coax him to continue up the stars. They would move even slower up the stairs, his breathing becoming more labored. “I… can’t. I don’t know… if I can.” “If you can fight the Legion a few stairs are nothing!” The Magister’s face twisted in what luckily was mistaken as physical pain rather than the conflict of lying to this man who was being so kind to him. “…How close?” “We’re almost there. A few more steps, you can do it Mister…?” “Frost… whisper.” The Magister breathed out. “Magist…er… Vath…elan… Frost… whisper….” At last the dreaded stairs were over. Now came the trial of the hall, littered with items from the rapid departure of Dalaran from above Karazhan. Though, in comparison, this was much easier. “We’re almost there, Magister Frostwhisper. As you were saying?” The Magister thought for a moment, trying to remember their conversation. Then it struck him. “I was… a Sunreaver…” “…I’m sorry for your loss then, Mister Frostwhisper.” The barkeep’s voice went solemn as he remembered that day, and the violence he read about in the papers that erupted from the former leader of the Kirin Tor and the leader of the Silver Covenant’s decision to purge the city of them. “Magi…ster. Magist…er… Frost… whisper.” Vathelan corrected, beaten as he was, he tried to hold on to what little dignity he had left. “My apologies, Magister Frostwhisper.” The barkeep accepted the correction as he shifted the man’s weight as to better access the door to Room Six. His movements were gentle, careful not to cause the man any more pain as he guided him towards the bed. “Rest well, Magister.”