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About Qabian

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  1. Time Shattered

    This is fine. It’s fine. It will be fine. Once I’m no longer blindsided nor hungover, it will be fine. I was prepared to deal with Silvermoon’s tizzy over nothing. I had all my excuses and counter-stories ready for those accusations. I wasn’t at all prepared for Syreena’s little revelation. It was just a stupid game. I was supposed to be taunting her for accessing my correspondence, nothing more. I asked for letters written in code, but I wanted them to be inane, perfectly pointless, so that if Syreena actually went to the trouble of breaking them, she’d get nothing but grocery lists and meeting minutes for her efforts. And there it was, the whole of it. Don’t read my mail was all it was supposed to say. I suppose I should be taking this as a win, considering it convinced Syreena to essentially confess to reading my mail. However, that’s rather lost under what kind of mail it proves Syreena’s reading. I got my letters in code. And they were ordinary, in the sense that they were the same kinds of letters that she had been writing before. But those kinds of letters were... Personal? Incriminating? Certainly not inane, not to me at any rate. I decided I didn’t care that much because it was so unlikely Syreena would ever find the cipher anyway. I could keep the game going indefinitely, and I might as well keep it going forever, as punishment for getting into my mail. Fine. Read my letters. And end up with an unsolvable puzzle. Enjoy breaking your brain against that one for a few years. Well, game’s over. The jig is up. Check please. Why would she do that? All it does is ruin what Syreena thinks of me. I don’t care what most people think of me. Rumors have been an integral part of my existence for as long as I can remember. That doesn’t mean I need to pay any attention to them. But could you leave well enough alone the one person that I managed to convince I wasn’t worthless? Of course she couldn’t. She can’t know why it would matter to me. None of this matters to anyone else. I’m sure none of it even matters to Syreena. It only matters to me. I think I know why she did it. She thinks she’s better than I am. Of course she does, or I wouldn’t like her. So she’s showing me how much better she is. If that’s all it is, then this will be fine. It will pass. It will blow over. For now, the game isn’t mine anymore. It’s Syreena’s until she gets bored of it. Let’s hope that’s sooner than later. I’m not sure what I told the bartender, or what he gave me to drink before he sent me home with... Was that cider? I think it was rocket fuel. Rocket fuel and champagne? What the fel? I wonder if everything would be better if I had managed to kill the kid. That was... a far greater ordeal than this petty game of letters and innuendo. And it was a wake-up call that I never wanted. I got what I wanted. I succeeded in what I’d been threatening all along. And it hurt? Why did it hurt? No, I know why it hurt. And so I let her hurt me in turn. Saved my life, the kid did. Probably. I don’t think she would have killed me, but she might have kept me in a jar for a thousand years. He’s a good kid, smart, good reflexes, strong sense of power. I can hope he’ll grow up to have more sense than his mother, but with me stepping out that seems like a long shot. Still, I’m glad to drop the teaching. I dropped the others, as well. I’m no instructor. All but one. I’ll keep her. Ninorra said no one saw her. What a liar. I told her I didn’t care. Evidently I’m a liar, too, despite my great pronouncements to tell nothing but truths. I know she’ll tell Vicailde everything I said, and everything she said, so there won’t be any real need for him to come after me. But that’s not exactly going to stop the entire city and apparently the entire Horde from saying something that’s patently not true and makes him look like a fool. If I were in his shoes, I’d want to kick my ass anyway, just for the rumors, whether I believed my wife or not. And Syreena was already angry with her, so now she gets to be angry with me as well, because of course someone like Ninorra can’t walk through Silvermoon’s streets without being noticed. I should have told her to wear a sack and cover her face or something. I didn’t think it would be so damned necessary. I don’t know what Vyalis thinks he’s going to do. I made my suggestion. I think it’s a good one. We’ll see. We’ll see with all of it. I don’t want to see. Can I just... lock the door and come out when everyone’s forgotten everything? It’s not like I’m innocent of anything, but that doesn’t mean I want to deal with this garbage fire.
  2. Time Shattered

    I'm an idiot.
  3. Spelling Trouble

    Qabian woke in a cold sweat, sitting straight up with a gasp of fear before he realized where he was. When he took in the familiar surroundings he breathed a sigh of relief and laid back down. A Nightborne woman approached the bed carrying a bowl of steaming water. He reached toward her with both hands almost on instinct, then flinched, grunting as pain ripped through his right shoulder. "Fuck the sun. That all actually happened, didn't it?" She nodded. "And as much as I'd like to hear exactly what 'that all' was, you have some decisions to make." She set the water on a small table beside the bed, then pulled a cloth from it. The warm fabric felt impossibly soft against his forehead as she washed his face. He groaned, laying his hand on hers. "I want a bath." "You're not getting in any of my baths until I know that's not going to come undone and fill them with blood," she said, nodding towards his bandaged stump of a shoulder. "I know I told you I was going to study healing, but you can't possibly expect me to create you a new arm." "No, I can't." He stared at her, coming to greater realization of just what he had lost. He could have fought back harder. He could have even escaped entirely, at least temporarily. He knew why he didn't. He knew why he let Ninorra do what she did. He even knew why he would have let her do more. But he didn't want to dwell on it. He forced himself out of his thoughts. "Reinna..." The woman blinked at him. "You want Reinna to make you an arm?" She seemed shocked. "Belore, no. But I assume you know who she steals from." "Ah. I do. And you'd like to commission them?" "Yes." "Do you prefer blackmail or negotiation?" Qabian laughed. "Whichever gets it done faster." "Blackmail then." She grinned at him. He smirked. "You're priceless." "Do you love me?" she asked, leaning over him to kiss his forehead. "Absolutely not." "Good." She mirrored his smirk. "You taste like dirt."
  4. Spelling Trouble

    Qabian stumbled from deeper in the Underbelly toward the ramp by the portal to Dreadscar Rift. His fancy robes were covered in a thick layer of pale dust that left footprints in his wake. His face was smudged and dirty and his hair a mess. His expression was a combination of distraught and confused. Wherever he was going, he was going slowly. Stepping out of the portal to the Dreadscar Rift was Ninorra, dressed, as always, in immaculate robes tightly tailored to fit her curves in ways that were more than likely inappropriate for battle. Today they were a dark purple color that matched her scythe, likely pilfered from some poor Nightborne during the city's siege. Her hood was tilted just enough to hide her red eyes from view, but they were not shaded enough to miss Qabian's slow progress from her path. "Qabian?" She said gently, lowering her hood. "What in the world happened to you?" Qabian's eyes went wide. He opened his mouth as though to say something, then closed it again. He glanced back over his shoulder, looking for help, but it seemed unlikely any was coming. Of all the people to run into, it had to be her. She had a good reason to be there. He could have taken any other exit, any other way out, but he'd walked that way. Why had he walked that way? "Nothing," he muttered, and tried to move past her. Ninorra's eyebrows raised with curiosity. Qabian wasn't the type to simply push past her without some sort of quip or insult, especially not when he looked like complete shit. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out a healthstone. "You're limping. Do you want one of these? It will help. I promise not to poison it," she added with a smile. "No." He stared at her for a pause, then shook his head, looking deliberately away from her, first over her shoulder, then at the floor between them. "I'm fine. Don't... I-I need to go." "Qabian," Ninorra said more firmly, reaching for the mage's robes with a delicate hand that sported long nails painted a dark amethyst. "I know I am not the sort of person you would--, actually, I do not think you would confide in anyone, but I must admit that the sight of you distressed has me concerned." Qabian scowled, taking a step back as she reached for him. "I'm not in distress. You are. You just don't know it yet," he said, obnoxiously cryptic yet without the slightest hint of a smirk. Something was definitely off. The warlock blinked once, her expression shifting away from her concern for him to something far more unpleasant. "..and why is that?" "Why do you think?" he snapped, meeting her shift in expression with his own move from avoidance and irritation to anger. He already regretted saying anything at all. "Get out of my way." Ninorra cocked her head to one side, the usual mirth in her face replaced by a strangely unsympathetic flat look. With a gesture, she called forth one of her minions; a doomguard, which stood at least several feet taller than Qabian. He appeared a few feet in front of the mage, blocking his exit. "Explain," Ninorra said once, her eyes just a little brighter than before. Qabian turned away from her. He pulled his hands up at his sides, both of them on fire, and stared down the doomguard for a drawn out moment. Then the fire in his hands sputtered out and Qabian appeared to just give up. He had other choices, but what was the point in any of them anymore. This was going to happen eventually anyway. He might have lived through it if he'd made it to the top of the ramp, but he was having trouble giving a damn. He leaned against the stone Underbelly wall and turned a slow, expressionless stare on Ninorra. In a voice tinged with something like disappointment, he asked, "Where's your son right now?" Ninorra's lips parted as she poised to answer. It was an easy question, certainly. He should have been in school, with the Kirin Tor. He should have been somewhere safe. He should have been where she could find him, or reach him. Why hadn't she? She felt something awkward, as if she'd swallowed a stone, and put a hand over her stomach. "..he should be with the Kirin Tor. Studying. He should be somewhere safe, learning. Why would he not be?" Qabian shook his head, looking away from her again. "And who's his teacher? And you agreed to it. You're so concerned about me looking like this. What do you think--" He glared at her, but the anger in his eyes flashed then faded and he turned his stare back to the ground. "I'm sorry," he said quietly. He could have been lying. He was certainly the type to lie, to do things specifically to hurt people. She expected, any minute, for him to start laughing at her. How quaint, to see the utter despair on your face, she pictured him saying. That same sneer, that same cocky grin. Why wasn't he smiling? Why wasn't he laughing at her? "..Qabian.." she said hoarsely. "What.. what have you done?" "I didn't do anything!" he stammered defensively, grimacing at the doomguard blocking his exit. "I didn't do anything." He choked on his words. "I'm sorry. I couldn't-- I didn't do enough. I didn't mean for-- I don't know... what else..." Emotions spun through him and across his face in rapid succession: confusion, frustration, annoyance, despair. In all of it, not a grin or smirk to be found. He pushed back up off the wall as he settled on cold anger. "I didn't do anything," he said, his tone quiet, serious, and unfriendly as he finally levelled his gaze on her. "This kind of thing just happens around me. Might as well let me go. There's nothing left." "Let you.. let you go?" She said, horrified. Ninorra's eyes flared again, but they dimmed as she spoke. A frightened as she might have been, there still was a strange sense of empathy for the elf who may have just doomed her own son. "Qabian what are you talking about? What happened?? Where is Damian?" "There's nothing left," he repeated. "There are reasons I don't--" He hesitated. The temptation to explain was always there, to circle around with insinuations and implications, to say nothing directly, but if he let himself follow those thoughts, they would take him apart alongside her. Best to stay cold. Best to stay at the bottom of the Elrendar, in the dark, with the weight of failure pressing down. He was already there. He'd been there for years. What more could she do to him that he hadn't done to himself? "He's dead. I killed him," Qabian said, withdrawing all feeling from his face and voice. Ninorra closed her mouth abruptly, her hand flexed around the scythe that stood twice her height. She took a single breath and shook her head, staring at the mage confidently. "I don't believe you," she said finally, taking another step forward. "Not because I don't think you capable. Of course I do. You wouldn't hesitate to kill a child, my child, that would be amusing. But not like this. You wouldn't tell me this way. You would make it into a joke, you would be happy. Damian can't be dead because that does not fit into your plans, and you are not the kind of person who.. who does not.. follow through on his plans," she finished, her voice wavering. He eyed her scythe carefully, then her foot as she stepped toward him, but he didn't move. He waved a hand over his smudged and dusty face with unnecessary drama, revealing a perfect, exaggerated smirk and raised brow. "Is this better? My dear sweet stupid Ninorra," he said with cloying sarcasm. "This was my plan all along. Why should I be upset about anything except being caught here by you? I've finally taught you your lesson after all these months." The put-on faded just as quickly as it appeared, replaced again by cold emptiness in his demeanor. "You're wrong, but not for the reasons you think you are. I had no choice. I did what I had to do. What does it matter now? He's still dead, and I still killed him. If you don't believe me," he gestured off-hand to the doomguard, "you can just let me go." Her face fell as easily as her confidence rose, disappointment and despair like the worst kind of makeover. Swallowing her rage, she tightened her grip on the scythe and took another step closer. "How could you? Why? Why would you do this, after everything? I don't understand, Qabian," she added, her breathing beginning to quicken. "I don't understand. Why is it you want to die so badly? If you wanted this, you could have asked. I might have said you were crazy, but I would have put you down if you really wanted it.. but why kill my son just to do it? Why? Answer me. I need to know before I do this." He lifted his chin, but didn't fall back to emotion. He finally shifted away from her, taking a step to the side, away from the doomguard, back toward the Underbelly. "I don't want to die, but I've earned it, don't you think?" The words were snide, more like him, but the tone was still vacant. "I said I had no choice. I didn't want this any more than you did. What do you think killing me accomplishes? I've come back from that before." A qualified truth, and a meaningless one in the current situation, but he held onto it like a beacon. "And it does nothing for your son." A strange smile drew her lips upward, displaying the same dimples she always had when she was enjoying herself. They were a grim reminder of their history. "If he is dead, then yes. You're right," she said with a shaky voice, close to tears as she was. "..but this would not be for him. It would be for me." The doomguard grabbed him then, it's hands enveloping both of Qabian's shoulders as Ninorra's scythe swirled with the thousands of souls that powered it. "I don't just want you to die. I want you to suffer, as I know I will, for the rest of my life. I want you to know just how deeply you cut me, just as I am about to cut you. And I want to add your scream, your wretched voice, to my songs. To remember you by." Dim light around Qabian shimmered and refracted between the doomguard's hands as the mage called on his magic, but something was wrong. What he'd suffered not long ago had consequences he didn't expect or he might have turned and run earlier. Everything was having consequences he didn't expect. He brought his hands forward as best he could, setting them alight to burn through the arms that held him, but a faster escape, the kind he always relied on, was not an option. "You'll get nothing from me," Qabian snarled, but he kept his focus on loosening the doomguard's grip, while simply bracing for whatever it was Ninorra was about to do. "Oh, Qabian," Ninorra said mountfully, even disappointedly, tears finally rolling down her face. She wasn't exactly the sort to hide her emotions, dramatic though they might be. With her free hand, she appeared to reach for him, fingers outstretched. They waved like a fan, casting a curse on Qabian that she hadn't been expecting to use on him. "That's what everyone says." The curse of agony was always the first of many. It wasn't like normal pain, it didn't radiate in one place and travel through the nerves. Agony struck its victims at once and all over, gnawing at each nerve from head to toe like a tree with each leaf on fire. Qabian threw his head back involuntarily, his jaw clenched against the pain, immobilized as he was. She didn't know him that well. She didn't know just how much practice he had, even with the exact curse she was using. The fire in his hands flickered, threatening to go out. His body stiffened against the encompassing agony, but not so much that he lost control. The traditional smirk that had abandoned him thus far in their encounter genuinely graced his face as he eyed her over the doomguard's arm. "Is that what they say? Is that what they say before they... submit?" He gave her an utterly inappropriate wink, unthinkable in the moments before she'd pushed actual violence, bringing him out of his tempest of emotions and back into his familiar adversarial relationship with the world. The fire in his hands, rather than sputtering out, flared stronger, threatening to encompass both him and the doomguard more thoroughly. The doomguard didn't seem to think much of Qabian's fire, in spite of how it burned through his flesh. It could have been bravery, or his complete and utter submission to Ninorra. Either way, he held on to the mage as she cursed him with corruption, her own expression still mournful. "You know it is," she said through tears, the rest of her finally responding to the emotions building as she choked back sobs. What would she tell her husband? That their son was lost because of her own mistrust? That perhaps she was, actually, a terrible mother, and his loss was on her hands? How much would he resent her, then? And how could she ever grow to forgive herself for being so very short sighted? The corruption attacked Qabian's circulatory system, crawling through his veins to eat at them slowly. He would appear ill, at first, as they collapsed. The pain, combined with her curse of agony, would have been exquisite. But it wasn't what she really wanted, and he knew that much already. "Damn it, Qabian," she said between heavy breaths, her own voice hoarse. "How can I blame you for being you?" His eyes flicked back in his head. He knew that curse, too, knew it too well. His body responded to it both as illness and as something else, something trained, something reflexive. He licked his lips as they dried and cracked. His usually vaguely tanned skin was already pale from his earlier ordeal and the dust that still clung to him, but the pallor of her spreading corruption began to give his skin a bluish tinge. "What else... is there?" he answered through gritted teeth. With nowhere else to go, the other schools of magic locked to him and his preferred method of casting prevented by the grip on his shoulders, the fire flowed unfettered up his arms and those of the doomguard holding him. Qabian's intention to break the demon's grip seemed lost in the purer chaos of the only action left open to him, letting the fire grow, to the point the link between him and his imprisoner became pure fire. Qabian's smirk widened into a grin, somehow both menacing and pleased, as a thin trail of blood ran from his nose down over his teeth. "You can do... better than that," he managed with some difficulty. He was baiting her, that much she knew. Why he wanted to die so much, though, that she couldn't understand. The fire grew closer to her, something she vaguely registered. Heat was something that never bothered her, and she felt drawn to it now more than ever. "You.. you are right," she said mournfully, her eyes still glistening. His grin was unbearably lurid, and it pulled at the thread holding her together. "You are so often right about me." The unstable affliction struck him, then. Like a cancer, it ate at the mage's body from within. Except very soon after she cast it, Ninorra pressed her scythe forward and began the final task. It would drain his soul, the very last essence of him, and it would remain with her like so many of her victims. It increased the power of her other curses, the corruption, the agony, and now the affliction which actually made it through his flesh and began the process of eating through his right hand. Before their eyes, Qabian's own limb rotted, clumps of flesh dropping to the fire surrounding him to sizzle and burn and surround them both in a putrid perfume. "I wonder.. why that is?" It wasn't about death, but he didn't have the words anymore, and that was probably for the best because he wouldn't have made any sense anyway. The muscles in his jaw clenched and twisted as he stared her down, the pain beginning to broach what even he could handle. He had been through this sequence of curses before, yes, but not drawn out at the hands of someone who actually wanted him dead. "Where's--Where's the... music?" he choked out as his stiffened body began to twitch and writhe under the assault. A low moan in the back of his throat overrode any further attempts at speech. As more of his flesh dropped away, the fire along his arms finally sputtered and went out. He closed his eyes, threw his head back, and screamed. "There it is," Ninorra said quietly, sadly when she considered what this would mean. No more gossiping, no more little plots. She wasn't just losing her son, she was losing a friend. A friend who may have never actually admitted to being her friend, maybe, but a friend none the less. One who she would miss terribly, whose soul she would keep close to her.. "What?" The scythe trembled in her hand. It stole the life from Qabian, and with it there should have been the distinct feel of his essence as it flowed into the weapon, and eventually into her own collection. What she found, however, wasn't that sweet flicker of life. It was a few crumbs, broken from the whole, and perhaps incapable of being put back together. Qabian may have made jokes about having no soul, but what she found was a void with the fragments of one that may have been shattered a long time ago. Pressing a few fingers to the red jewel at her throat, whose color matched her eyes so well, she felt a pang of regret. "Oh.. I see," she said to herself, as the affliction ate its way toward his arm, soon to rot his heart from the inside. "Mother?" Ninorra felt her heart drop into her stomach at the sound of such a sweet voice, a voice that she thought she might never hear again. Turning toward it, she let go of the scythe and broke her concentration from the torment. Standing a few feet behind her, Damian was rubbing his eyes. He was covered in dust, and it appeared that his hair was terribly singed, but he was in fact alive. "Mother," he repeated. "What are you doing?" As her focus broke, the mage's screaming pitched to a crescendo and a blast of fire slammed outward from Qabian's body, knocking him out of the doomguard's scorched grip and back against the wall. As he slid to sitting, the disease still eating away at his arm moved past his elbow, leaving nothing attached to bones left slick with decay. He had the presence of mind to press a hand full of fire to his upper arm and burn away everything there, whether the curse had reached it or not. He stifled a new scream by keeping his jaw firmly shut, but couldn't prevent an agonized groan as he burned away what was left of his own limb. The space of hallway beneath Dalaran was full of the fragrance of charred flesh, but perhaps that wasn't so uncommon just outside the Dreadscar Rift. "H-how?" On the floor, slumped back against the wall, Qabian stared at Damian in disbelief. Then the mage started coughing up blood. Ninorra looked between the two males, confused and still enraged. Damian didn't give his mother time to question the reality of his presence as he ran to the magister and pulled a healing potion from his pocket. "I used the cauterize spell when I felt the meteor get close, then I ported out," he explained, uncorking the bottle to empty it into Qabian's mouth. "It hurt, but I had some potions on me." "Damian, what are you doing?!" Ninorra finally shouted, grabbing him by the waist to yank him away. "He tried to kill you!" The boy opened his mouth to explain fully what happened, but thought better than to include details. Instead, he shook his head. "He tried to save me. From an Eredar. She tried to send her felhounds on me, but, he tried to kill them with a meteor. I got out before it could really hit me. Honest, he tried to help." Ninorra regarded the charred elf incredulously. "Then why did you tell me.. Oh Qabian!" She shouted, grabbing a healthstone from her pocket to shove it forcefully into his mouth. "I can not believe you would rather die than admit you tried to save a child! Of all the ridiculous things!" Qabian drank down the potion without resistance as the boy made his explanation, then the mage wiped blood and spilled potion off his chin with a hand still on fire when Ninorra yanked the child away. But when Ninorra shoved the healthstone in his mouth, Qabian spit it out and quelled the flames in his hand as he feebly attempted to push her away. "Don't--don't touch me," he said, eyes narrowed. He broke down in another fit of coughing, but brought up no blood. When he recovered enough to speak, he tried to straighten himself up against the wall. "Don't pretend it would have mattered if I'd said I killed him trying to save him. What did you think I meant when I said I had no choice? You would have killed me either way." "That is not true!" Ninorra said incredulously. "I might have been vengeful about you admitting to murder him, but I would not have wanted to kill you if you actually told me the truth!" Damian ran a hand through his hair. "I'm fine though.." "Gods I am so upset with you right now!" She fumed, grabbing her staff again before banishing her semi charred demon. "And you know another thing, you did not even have much of a soul left! Did you even know that?? Not that it makes much of a difference, but you must understand that if you were to die, Qabian, there would be nothing left!" Qabian raised an eyebrow at her. He glanced down at himself. "I did not know that, but," he tapped his chest twice, remembering, "it went through a lot. I'm not surprised it didn't hold." He shrugged, then winced. He gingerly poked at the smoldering edges of his charred shoulder with its skeletal arm and found them tender enough to suggest he'd succeeded in keeping himself alive. "But I certainly knew there would be nothing left, and there are other reasons for that. What does that matter? Isn't that what you wanted?" Ninorra sputtered, tears still staining her face and most of her makeup gone. Behind it, she seemed overwhelmingly vulnerable, and perhaps younger than she otherwise appeared. Opening her mouth to answer, Damian interrupted her by grabbing her hand. "He'll be okay though, won't he?" Pressing her lips together, she tried to smile at Damian's concern and nodded once. "..there are.. certainly things that can be done. If he so chooses," she added, looking back at the damage she caused. Her eyes were soft and mournful, perhaps more for their loss of friendliness than his bodyparts. "But he has to want to. And right now, we should all probably go home and recover from this terrible ordeal." Qabian burned away the tenacious connective tissue keeping the bones of his otherwise missing arm attached. "I'll be fine," he said. "I'll--" He frowned, looking down at said lack of arm, suddenly realizing how temporarily difficult his life was going to be given he did almost all of his spellwork via gesture. He struggled awkwardly to his feet, holding himself up against the wall with his good arm as a wave of pain and dizziness washed over him. He held up his hand defensively when he could and reiterated, "Don't touch me." He took a deep breath. "Maybe consider I never believed you'd finish it. And given that you didn't, it turns out I was correct. For a reason I didn't expect, perhaps, but I'm still here nevertheless, hm?" Ninorra rolled her eyes as she took Damian's hand. "Right. Well. Safe travels home, then," she said as she used her scythe to lead both her and her son out if the sewer. "If you actually do want help with your little problem, you know how to reach me. Believe it or not, in that area at least, we have a lot in common." Damian spared a parting glance at the magister, fully aware he might never be allowed near him again. He couldn't argue with that logic, given the events that transpired, but he gave the mage a shrug of helplessness. More toward Qabian's situation, it seemed, than his own. Qabian nodded at the parting glance. He half-smiled. "Good work," he directed at the boy, probably too quietly to be heard as the pair left. Qabian waited, then followed up the ramp, limping and clutching his shoulder. Back in the bright light of the city, he called over the nearest Kirin Tor guardian. The hooded man started in surprise, then tried to usher Qabian toward First to Your Aid. They argued briefly, then Qabian straightened up and slapped the man, nearly knocking off his hood. "I said Suramar, you dimwit!" Qabian shouted. The guard stepped back, then reluctantly opened the Kirin Tor portal to Meredil. Qabian barely made it through the tunnel into Shal'Aran before the adrenaline wore off, shock kicked in, and he collapsed to the mercy of unconsciousness.
  5. Malkaris Sen'Thil Darkfire

    There is no way in this world or any other that we are related.
  6. Aaren Anastasis

    “I know of her, yes. She’s been to the Cantina a few times when I have, but I only recently put a name to her. Based on those who recognize and speak to her and what I've heard about her second hand, she's just another part of the garbage heap awaiting the fire. But from what little I've actually heard her say herself? She’s interesting and I haven't entirely dismissed her, but ultimately I expect very little.”
  7. Kahlan Gustblade

    “Poor girl. There's really so much to pity about her and she clearly has no clue how the world works, but I have to say I admire both her hair trigger temper and her lack of patience for social overtures and outright lunacy.”
  8. Time Shattered

    I... Is it possible to have too much coffee? No. No, it is not. Well, it is possible to drink too much coffee, but it isn't possible to own too much. The number of people who could have sent this is very small. The number of people who are likely to have sent it is... But she must be dead. There's no way... Maybe I should switch to arcwine for a while.
  9. Tahzani Tallfisher (H)

    "I wouldn't trust him with anything important, but he's surprised me by having a good head on his shoulders. One of the few outside the Grim with whom I'm capable of holding an extended conversation. It helps that we have some opinions in common, not many, but some."
  10. Siané Dawnlight

    "There's something deeply, monstrously wrong with her. I'm not entirely sure what it is, but she's showed herself to be so pathetic that I'm sure she'll be one of the first to die when the tides turn anyway."
  11. Mardalius Anterius, Battlemage Extraordinaire

    "I don't know why he hasn't been cut down in the street for crimes far worse than mine, but I also don't feel like I need to be the one to give him what's coming to him. It's not that he has no skills. He would have value if his existence weren't itself treason. Time and the Mandate will take care of the problem he presents."
  12. Syreena

    "Occasionally, I think I give her more credit than she deserves, but in getting to know again the Grim I once abandoned, she has acted as my reassurance that they have not changed and will not change. I think I may be the only elf who has willingly given her an ear, but her request was thoroughly reasonable and I had no reason to protest. While I certainly don't admit it to her, I rely on this patched up dead girl to keep me in check."
  13. Time Shattered

    It's the recognition that there are more of us than I've seen evidence of in the past few months. Often, it seems like it's Syreena and I against the world. Not last night, though. Last night, we were the world, all of us, Syreena and her pet, and Vyalis, and the Grimtotem shadow, and the quiet wolf, and the knight with her broken mechanical voice accidentally screaming about horrible stereotypes. Even Malkaris, I suppose. He's worse in that skin. At least when he was more clearly falling apart, no one took him quite as seriously. Now, well, he keeps everyone entertained with his clown show, but I'm not sure we should have let him out of the guild hall. I don't think I ever want to see him and Nathandiel in the same room. But even those who weren't us weren't the usual, weren't the kind who push me to despair of any future for the Horde. There were the Luna I've worked with before, the sensible yet angry from across the spectrum, the smug and the smart. Even the one with the reputation for collecting boyfriends, who apparently has both the lizard man from last week and Our Lord Gustblade checked off her list, seemed practically an intellectual compared to the usual crowds. Even Kahlan gives me hope. There's something I like about her, and not just because she made the mistake of giving me a compliment once. Maybe it's her penchant for jumping immediately to violence. Maybe it's her utter dismissal of the continuous pathetic attempts to encroach on feelings she clearly doesn't have. Maybe it's her seemingly equal hatred of nearly everyone around her. She's not quite right in the head, being so defensive of the parents she was apparently avoiding, who I will ever doubt are actually related to her in any way, even through mere kindness. She doesn't seem to realize that everything she hates about men is all her father has to offer the world. He is the very pinnacle of what she detests most, and yet she leaps ferociously to his defense if anyone so much as sneezes in his direction. But if Kahlan were the worst the Horde had to offer, we would be well-equipped for whatever lies ahead. Unfortunately, there are those like her parents, and the monstrous rabbit who put up with Malkaris' lechery with nothing but blushes and yet ran off in a panic at the sight of that half-demon I know nothing about and want to know nothing about but who I know has enough propensity for violence to be on the side of hope. But last night, they were outnumbered in a way that felt incredibly satisfying. So yes, hope. Even at our meeting. It was small, yes, but not as small as it's been when the future has seemed darkest. We grow, slow but steady. The pendulum swings as it always does. I've been out of sync with the clock for too long to recognize its motions, but time tells its tales whether we want it to or not.
  14. Time Shattered

    That... gave me hope, hope I thought was dead or at least dying. And yet. For so many reasons, hope. None of which involve Malkaris. There I have only regret.
  15. Time Shattered

    It certainly felt illicit, though it was nothing more than conversation. Perhaps she was right, I could only speak those things among large numbers. Where else would there be no questioning of both proximity and silence? Everyone was engaged in proximity and silence. There I can speak things I would never speak if anyone might overhear or even simply question. We certainly couldn't have that conversation in Dalaran or Silvermoon, and somewhere private is not viable, nor should it be. What is left but a large crowd with a focus on a stage? Why even bother? That's a more difficult question, but given the rare opportunity, apparently I couldn't pass it up. She practically had her fingers interlaced with those of Grim the entire night, to the abandonment of even her monstrous partner for a performance never performed. Given who she is relative to her so-called friends, her predilections and obsessions, given our numbers in comparison, and given that she approached us not the other way around, it rather seemed she was the one playing traitor, which is amusing in itself. What do we do if not proselytize to each other, continually trying to convince the other that they are in the wrong? Perhaps I should not have left Vyalis to her clutches. His fight with his brother took much out of him, I think. But I trusted him to either hold his own or show himself unworthy, either of which were valuable, and it seems he did the former. He shouldn't have offered me a ring and a quiet explanation, though. Something else and a quiet explanation, or a ring and a clearly audible explanation, either would have saved us both looking foolish. He was tired. Maybe the main reason I am Grim is all of them fall outside the usual stories. None of them put family above violence. Whereas everyone she works with is extremely usual, so usual that they inspire yawns so expansive they suffocate. Khorvis... Ah well, none of it could have been avoided. I am concerned it will make him quiet, though. Khorvis is at his best when he is both loud and sharp. I am curious how it would have played out. I believe I would have had the advantage, but there were too many reasons to leave it be. The first being not giving filth the opportunity to spread. The second being the importance of continued access. The rest being no desire whatsoever to interact in any way that would not guarantee permanence. I don't take joy in the pain, the humiliation, the pieces in between. I take my joy in the finality. There was none of that to be had. I'm not sure why everyone I speak to is automatically deemed a romantic interest. Apparently, if I speak to anyone a second time, the non-existent interest has already developed into a full blown non-existent relationship. I have vague memories of the same happening in the time before, and it being just as distasteful. It's because of the usual stories. When all your concerns are pathetic, all your assumptions are as well. In line with that, there are apparently only two explanations for my mutilation. The first is I lost to her in combat, which I did not, but I would prefer if I have to choose. The second is some sort of act of romantic submission. The truth is neither, but who would care to hear the explanation? The truth is a combination of pride and necessity. The truth is the culmination of months of agonizing over what I can sacrifice to prove myself after the sheer extent of my failure, only to be offered the clearest, most obvious answer in the last moments. My wholeness, that I regained at great cost to myself, was really the only thing of value to myself that I could have given, short of my very life. Why would I have said no to an ear when what I should have given was my throat? I did not give it to her, but to the Grim, and she stands as their representative better than any. She even knows the Mandate as I know it. But no one outside the Grim sees that. All they see is the stitched up dead girl who collects pieces of elves as trophies and snacks, so I'm just another trophy and a snack. Fine. Let them see their worthless lie. Let them speak it and spread it, even. It'll leave them underestimating both of us until the day the tides finally turn.