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Kurohane

Dor Shando

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The soft autumn breeze stirred the curtains on the window as Kurohane pulled the last of her garments from her bags and carefully folded them into the drawers. So many things had changed in the past few days. A sad smile slipped over her lips as she ran her hand over the Swordwaltzers' tabard, smoothing the wrinkles in it, before placing it at the back of the bottom drawer.

She had retired with her husband – they had settled into a comfortable home just outside the Shrine of Aessina with the plans of raising starting a family. Stepping down as the leader of Swordwaltzers had been one of the most difficult things she had ever done, but she knew that they would be lead well by the priestess Kiraena.

Now, she had a whole new world and future to look forward to, things she had never imagined she'd be doing so soon. The sad smile melted into one of affection as she situated Xelthan's garments alongside her's. A family. A quiet life. As soon as her husband finished wrapping up the “loose ends” he was being so elusive about.

As she turned from putting away her bags, a knock came at the front door. A full smile instantly bloomed across her lips. Many of her former guild mates had said they would come by to visit from time to time, but she hadn't expected any so soon. Pulling open the door, her lips parted to greet the friends she was sure would be on the other side, but the smile fell instead to a look of confusion.

“Kurohane Ravenveil?” the Stormwind guard asked, holding up a sheaf of paper to read.

“Yes, how may I be of service?” She returned fluidly.

The guard behind the one who spoke turned his gaze over the surroundings as the other eyed her before reading off of the page. “You are under arrest by order of Stormwind for war crimes against the Horde outposts of Zoram'Gar and Splinter Tree. You will return with us to Stormwind immediately to be placed on trial.”

“I have done no war crimes,” she said, her breath catching as the words barely escaped her lips, her eyes wide in shock. “This is lunacy I did nothing wrong at those attacks.”

The two guards exchanged frowns before the second finally spoke up, “You can either come peacefully Lady Ravenveil, or we will take you back by force.”

“No, this is idiocy! You fool lot bought into those articles?! Don't think I do not know how this will go – trail, please! There will be no trail, only the pretense of one!” She snapped, anger welling in her gut and pouring through her gaze.

The first guard stepped forward, reaching for her arm as she deftly stepped away. “You have no choice. You're coming with us.”

“< Like hell I am >,” she growled back in Darnassian as the second guard managed to snag one of her arms.

A low, dangerous growl was the only warning the guards had. Balah peeled from the shadows a mere second after hands were laid upon her, the intimidating cat's jaws closing hard on the offender's arm.

“< Hold them, then run, Golden! >,” she shouted, nimbly dashing between the two startled humans toward her nightsaber. The massive riding saber rushed towards her, sensing the danger his master was in. In one sweeping motion, she leaped onto the cat's back, her traditional linen gown fluttering as she landed and dashed towards Astranaar.

The Sentinel's would help her... She was one of them, now. The Sentinel of the Alliance – they would help her. They had to. This was lunacy Her heart raced faster than her saber's paws as she rode hard into the Elven city and leaped to the ground at the entrance of the Inn.

Huntress Raene Wolfrunner turned at the sound of their approach, raising an eyebrow at Kurohane as the fellow Huntress stumbled towards her, breathing heavily.

“< What are you doing here, Kurohane >,” the guardian of Astranaar asked quietly, letting her gaze flow over Kurohane.

“< The guards – did you know about them coming for me? >” she answered, panting and gripping at where her bow normally hung. “< They mean to place me on trial, Raene. You know as well as I there won't be a true trial – please, I seek refuge with the Sentinels. Help me clear this. You know what I did, I did for Astranaar. >”

Wolfrunner hesitated, glancing over Kurohane's shoulder to the small town. “< I cannot, Kurohane. We need the Alliance, we need Stormwind. We cannot handle the Horde threat alone... The order has come down from Shandris Feathermoon herself – we are not to aid you. I am sorry, my friend. >”

No blade could have cut so deep. No arrow could have pierced so perfectly. Kurohane's wide eyes slowly returned to a normal size, the pain and shock on her face melting into reserved calm.

“There she is,” the human's voice growled behind her. “Run again and you'll make things three times as bad for yourself, hunter.”

She did not resist as the Stormwind guards bound her hands behind her back, her gaze never leaving Wolfrunner's. The Huntress finally looked away, brow furrowing as she whispered a final apology in Darnassian.

“< I see now the price of loyalty >,” Kurohane said quietly before allowing the guards to guide her towards the mounts.

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The saber sniffed around the campfire. It was obviously freshly started. Its head snapped up at movement to its right. Its eyes met the night elf's silver and golden eyes for a moment before shifting to the frostsaber at its side dragging pieces of their hunt. The night elf shrugged and motioned for the saber to join them. He cut large chunks of meat from the kill tossing them over the fire.

He stared at the saber as it ate the bear meat. Raene Wolfrunner's saber. Why would it be way out here? He let it finish in peace and settle a bit before prodding the questions.

--------------------

Barke walked into Astranaar with the saber and Kadian on either side of him. The guards were suprised to see him and rightfully so. The saber rushed up to Raene with Barke following slowly behind.

"Monster Daertha...or from wh---" She stopped speaking as her gaze met his. "Or guess its still th---"

"Why are you still talking? I am here to grab the supplies I need for the trip to Stormwind...not for your small talk." He filled his bag with food and drink he would need along the way and walked away from the inn. He gave Kadian a gentle pat on the neck.

He took one look around him at the sentinels watching him carefully. He had half a mind to start a fight but he had more important things to take care of. They left Astranaar at full speed.

He lost too many. It made him feel old. His bones ached. He thought back....Rhowen. He could not be there for her and she was gone now. Same with so many others. This time he was going to do something about it.

He would be 'The Monster' again.

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The dust settled shortly after the clatter of bones faded away. Xelthan sheathed his swords and sifted through the remains of the once reanimated foe for anything useful to the Argent Dawn. His tenure assigned to him by Ravenholdt demanded results on their contract with the Light-blessed order, and Xelthan's posting here in Andorhol had managed to give them just that; results.

Xelthan stood and surveyed the ruined city, plotting which shadowed area to flit to next to strike down yet another mindless undead. The second slight clatter of bone was all the warning he had as he turned to investigate. He winced as the knife that was destined for his spine scored a deep gouge along his ribs.

No time. All reflex. You or them. The mantra Xelthan lived and trained by repeated as a scream through his mind even as his empty hands lashed out to catch his attacker in the throat and the crook of the arm bearing the already waiting blade. His attacker's would-be battlecry trailed off into a gurgle spewing from a ruined windpipe only outmatched by the clatter of his dagger onto the cracked flagstones. Xelthan continued the fluid motion, stepping into his opponent while driving his elbow into the side of the assassin's head, knocking him flat to the ground.

The attacker caught the glint of steel in his peripheral vision. His hand darted for the lost weapon as if it were forged steel salvation. His determination blinded him to the pacticed movement of Xelthan unstrapping his blunderbuss from his back and the gleam of dwarven metal craftsmanship as it swung low.

Click. Suddenly, Xelthan had the man's full attention.

The sharp crack of the rifle obliterated the first swelling bellow of the downed assailant, but not the following yowls of pain as he inspected the ruined stump that used to be his hand. Xelthan nodded and brought the weapon to bear over the man's heaving chest.

"If the gunshot won't draw them, then your whimpering surely will. Some of the corpses here haven't had their own eyes in many years. They hunt by sound. Follow me?" Xelthan jerked his head to one side pointedly as low moans and shuffling could be heard behind some of the far-off buildings. "Nod or just pipe down if you understand me."

The man nodded vigorously, stifling his cries with clenched teeth and force of will as he cradled his injury. Xelthan smiled and focused his attention back onto the would-be assailant. He ignored the warm trickle of blood running down inside his own tunic. Xelthan lowered his voice for his captive audience.

"Good. Who sent you to put paid to me? You can choose not to answer, as I'm sure that tiny little inner voice is telling you, but I want you to take note of something else. Listen really close now. There's a larger voice there, and it's called your imagination. For instance, imagine me putting a slug into one of your knees. Oh, it won't kill you. However, I sincerely doubt you'd be able to hobble out to the ramparts of Andorhol let alone reach safety in Chillwind before every corpse still with a nose tracks you down. Or, imagine that I have my own sources to find out why you stupidly attacked me, and that I liberate your heart from your chest. Right here. Right now."

For emphasis, Xelthan unsheathed one of his knives with an actor's flourish. The reflection of the dim sunlight off the blade made the other man squint as he nodded, collecting his breath to speak as best he could.

"R-ravenholdt sent me. Yer Mistveil's on her way to trial..under guard. Stormwind. W...war crimes. Already on h-her way there, if I'm righ'. B..blackout order on ye... Rav-venholdt can't support you as an Op no more... Politics. So yer con-cont.."

"Contract terminated, and so with it the operative. I get it," Xelthan finished for the man. "How did you know it was me. Specifically."

"Black mask...c-certain armor. O-o-other elf in t-the area would be s-some bloke named Barke."

Xelthan chuckled to himself. Ravenholdt prided itself on a tenure of secrecy so absolute, that many of it's member's faces had never actually been seen. Xelthan had made sure to be one of the "shy ones" in that respect. Not an issue. He had once faked his friend's murder to help the lad out of a tight spot with the Bloodsails. So, reasonably, faking his own would prove no trouble if it came to that.

"I want you to pass on a message to your superiors from me. Can you do that?" Xelthan said.

"An-anything mate...just make it f-fast before the dead come down o-on both o' us..."

Xelthan nodded absently to the gryphon master as he was handed the reigns of the animal that would take him on to Menethil. It was far too dangerous to fly on straight to stormwind considering this latest development. He set his eyes on the horizon and went over his plan of action in his mind as the great beast strained it's wings to gain altitude.

In the still of Andorhol, a clatter of bones announced the arrival of a curious onlooker. The skeleton was curious only for a moment before fel instinct took over and it began shuffling with measured steps toward a fresh body. It could care less about the black mask covering the gaping gunshot wound in the chest. Food was food.

As far as Ravenholdt was concerned, an operative's silence was often the most detailed message.

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Her hair was tangled from first the ocean voyage and then the gryphon ride from Menethil. She'd been given no chance to clean the road-dirt from herself, to comb her hair, to even so much as straighten her garments. Her arms ached from being tied behind her back over and over – only while on the back of the gryphon had she been unbound, so as not to fall off. As soon as they landed in Stormwind, she found her arms pulled back in the same aching manner, the rough rope grating at her wrists again.

And so Kurohane stood before them – nobles of Stormwind who smirked at her in their silks and velvets and satins. Highlord Bolvar Fordragon, Lord Gregor Lescovar, Count Remington Ridgewell, Lord Baurles K. Wishock, Archbishop Benedictus, even Major Samuelson.

She stood with all the dignity she could muster, chin held high and shoulders square despite the aching that ran up her arms and the burning at her wrists. A guard on either side of her held her in place by a tight fist on her arms.

“So good of you to join us, Lady Ravenveil,” Ridgewell barely managed to restrain a sneer. She kept her eyes focused forward, not meeting any of their gazes as he continued. “A shame you had to make such a ruckus of things...”

“Men, release her. She has nowhere to run now.” Samuelson stated blandly. She could feel his eyes examining her, sense his poise, ready to snap into action if she made any move.

Again, she gave no reaction as the guards released her and untied her wrists. With all the measured calm she had been raised to possess, she gracefully clasped her hands loosely at her waist.

“You know why you have been brought here, Lady Ravenveil,” Benedictus sighed, an expression of feigned disappointment painting his visage.

“Did you think your actions – your disgusting disregard of civility – would go unnoticed forever? Under the Alliance's name, no less?” Lescovar snapped nearly atop Benedictus.

A long moment of silence passed as she waited to see if anyone else was going to snap in before she spoke, her voice the same measured calm that she had settled into since Astranaar. “I held to the laws of war and struck where-”

“You murdered civilians!” Wishock growled, abruptly cutting her off.

Calm and steady. She would not be broken here. She began to speak again. “If any investigation had been conducted, it would be evident-”

“You have flitted along the outskirts of law too long, Ravenveil,” Samuelson did not bother to hide his sneer.

So, that was it, then. It was exactly as she had expected... There was no true trial here, no hearing of one side and the other. Their decision had already been reached. Finally, she turned her gaze to look at one of them – the one that had remained silent for the duration of this “trial”.

Highlord Fordragon sighed in a near weary manner she was all too familiar with. “You have done many services to the Alliance, Kurohane.” His voice was as steady, calm and measured as her own. Her stomach turned. “In many ways you have proven yourself over and over to be a steadfast defender of the Alliance. You have aided when called upon, and even when not. However... what you did, what you ordered in Ashenvale...” He trailed off, shaking his head. “The person who gives the command, ultimately, is the one who must answer for the deed.”

“I am fully aware of that, Highlord,” she answered quietly, keeping her gaze steady on his, her voice never trailing from it's polite calm. “Why don't we get to the point of this alleged trial.”

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The dull glow of his eyes wandered from person to person as he lazilly passed through the crowds. Stormwind was certainly busy as usual. Getting into the city unnoticed was easy enough and once inside no one really paid any attention to others.

Where were they. He paused in the street. He was in the canals outside of the trade district. He swayed as he turned feeling a hand on his shoulder.

"Hey you should not be out drunk as you are." The soldier tugged at Barke's shoulder to spin him around. His eyes went wide as he met the dull silver and golden glow of Barke's gaze.

Before the soldier could take his hand back and get it to his sword Barke hand a hold of his wrist. He twisted the humans arm and applied pressure down. The soldier dropped to one knee.

"Scream and you die." He kept his voice low and with his free hand unsheathed a small dagger from his belt. "Now I need to know everything...."

"I don....." He was cut off before the words left his mouth. The dagger now sticking through the palm of the humans hand.

"I can keep you alive for hours.....where is she? And what are you planning?"

The soldier turned his head to look at Barke. "She is on trial for..." The soldier stopped as another dagger appeared in his hand.

The soldier seemed to whimper.

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Nouri's pace was brisk as he made his way down the familiar route towards the Cathedral of Light. Those halls hadn't felt his footsteps since his excommuication for association with the Swordwaltzers, but Nouri couldn't believe all doors were closed to him. He had to find the Archbishop and make an appeal on behalf of Kurohane.

From what Nouri had been able to learn his former Commander had been led from the Gryphon roost early that morning straight through town and directly to Stormwind Keep. They had moved her quickly to avoid too much attention, but in Stormwind that was nigh impossible of course. There were always curious eyes at any hour.

He scarce got past the massive front lobby of the Cathedral when he ran straight into Brother Joshua, who was sweeping the main halls.

"Hail Brother Joshua! I have a matter of great import to present to the Archbishop. Is he available?" asked Nouri.

Brother Joshua paused in his sweeping to regard Nouri with a cold half smile on his lips. " Hello Heretic. I cannot say that I am surprised to see you, considering recent developments. I regret that the Archbishop Benedictus is not present. Indeed, he has been summoned to the Keep.... for a matter of great import, as you put it." The smile broadened to a wide grin of satisfaction.

" I fear you will find that your faith in the Archbishop's mercy is misplaced in this regard."

Nouri felt his face flush with anger. Without a word he turned his back on Joshua and sped out of the Cathedral. As he left he heard Brother Joshua's comment to his retreating back;

" Walk with the Light Brother Nouri, and may it have mercy on you.. as you will find none here."

The walk to Stormwind Keep was a blur. Indeed the past few days had seen Nouri's world take unexpected turns. The Light was testing them all, he thought to himself. Nouri was able to gain access to the Keep without difficulty however once inside he saw that the place was fairly overflowing with guards. In front of a large set of double doors Nouri saw two guards placed in a conspicuous fashion.

"Greetings my friends.. what goes on within?" asked Nouri. The guards regarded him with detatchment.

"Nothing that concerns you priest. Move along." one of the guards answered.

" I have urgent news for Archbishop Benedictus that cannot wait. Is he within?" Nouri didnt exactly lie, but also didnt offer anything more than that.

The guard that had spoken regarded for a moment then replied," My orders are none shall enter. Be off with you!"

Nouri tried a few more times to appeal to the guards, to no avail. Defeated and feeling angrier than ever, Nouri turned to leave. As he was about to walk off the guard called out to him," Hey Priest! How about a blessing?" The look on his face was cruel.

Nouri paused and approached the guard, placed his face close to his and whispered one word.

PAIN

Immediately the guard's face turned an ashen grey. He doubled over cluthching his chest, letting his polearm clatter to the marble floor. The other guards in the hall ran to his aid.

Nouri took advantage of the confusion to slip out of the Keep and lose himself in the morning crowds of Stormwind.

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Sylennis Windstar's hands shook visibly as she read the note over for the third time. A cold breeze blew through the branch on which she sat. It couldn't be true! It wasn't possible! Surely the humans knew better than... But no, this was her most reliable contact. If he thought enough to send this to her, then it was true.

Arrested? War crimes?

Kurohane was one of the first people she had ever looked up to. An example of what kind of impact she could have on the world if she tried. And to think of how Kuro was being treated after she had done so much for the alliance...

Syl's blood began to boil and her vision grew hazy. Her respiration grew loud and rapid and her chest heaved with each draw of breath. Her fist clenched uncontrollably, crumpling the note contained within. The beast she had kept buried within her soul these past two months began to claw its way to the surface and she felt her control slipping away. Soon, all she could hear was the beating of her heart like a thunderous roar in her ears. Her vision pulsed red and every muscle tensed in preparation for action.

Perhaps, she should just let it take over again...

"NO!"

Sylennis took a deep breath and waited a few moments before letting it out. When she opened her eyes her vision had cleared and she felt her pulse slowing.

Had she yelled that out loud?

She concentrated within and focused on her anger, this time manipulating it, bending it to her will. Blind rage accomplished nothing, but anger was a useful tool when managed properly. Sylennis was in control of her emotions - not the other way around.

She called for Bastion and the big cat came running up to her quickly from the grass where he had been resting. The nightsaber growled softly and nuzzled her. Sylennis patted him gently before swinging up into the saddle.

It was time to head for Stormwind. Something just wasn't right about this entire situation and she intended to find out what it was.

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“We will need time to deliberate.”

Kurohane held her gaze steady on Fordragon's, not glancing at Benedictus as he spoke. Deliberate indeed.

“In the meantime, we cannot have you running off either,” Wishock added, jerking his head to Samuelson. “See to it, Major.”

Finally, she pulled her gaze from the Highlord's to return it's flat stare at the far wall. Anger seethed in her heart but she kept it carefully pushed down, her exterior an icy shell as the guards stepped forward to once more bind her wrists behind her back.

As the sneering nobles watched on, a crash resounded outside the door – a weapon clattering to the ground. Only her eyes moved to the entry way as Samuelson stepped forward to fling the doors wide.

“I told you no disturbances, you twits,” he snapped, “That includes carelessly dropping... your... What happened.”

The guard that was still standing turned an angry gaze to Samuelson, gesturing to his fellow, hunched over, against the wall. “A priest stopped by, demanded to speak with the Archbishop... When we refused him entrance, he cast some shadow magic on Donalds here before storming off.”

“I'll be fine,” Donalds grunted, slowly pulling himself to his feet. “I'll find that twerp, but I'll be fine.”

Samuelson frowned, letting his gaze move across the hall littered with guards. “Escort her to a holding cell, and place extra guards. Report back immediately if there is any unusual activity in the city.”

“Aye, sir,” the two guards who had brought her in answered with salutes to their superiors before once more taking her arms in tight grips.

“I'd like a full description of the priest who did this, good sir,” Benedictus began, moving his hands to cast the well practiced healing spell on the aching solider. Whatever the answer, Kurohane was well down the hall and out of earshot by the time he began speaking...

But she had a sneaking suspicion, none the less. A part of the anger in her heart turned to ache. Nobody else needed to involve themselves in this... Nobody else needed to be brought into this political idiocy that she was going to have the joy of dealing with.

She frowned as they passed the Trade District, the familiar back of an apparently seething priest turning the corner just before they passed... However, other than that, the walk from the Keep to The Stockades was rather uneventful, save for the gapping stares that greeted her.

Head high. Shoulders back. She was walking of her own free will, not because of how the guards gripped her arms. They would not break her. Nobody would ever break her.

“Wait here,” one of the guards muttered as he moved to speak with Warden Thelwater. The remaining guard tightened his grip on her arm, glaring up at her.

Again, she did not care to respond, keeping her gaze steadily upon the entrance to The Stockades, letting her mind puzzle over the matter at hand, keeping her anger in check. True, the stockades were not as dangerous since she had completed her training... but she had neither weapon nor armor. A small frown tried to pull at the corners of her mouth. There were likely few, if any, who would be so kind as to leave her in piece held in that so-called jail.

The Warden and her guard seemed to be arguing over something or another, Thelwater repeated glancing back at her with increasingly concerned frowns. As well he should. He'd seen what she could do, what she would be capable of if she were allowed any freedom of movement. The tiniest of sighs escaped her lips bringing a smirk to the face of the guard that had remained at her side.

As so often happened, shouts erupted quiet suddenly from the entrance to the holding cells. Prisoners who had freed themselves came rushing up, make-do weapons in hand. Cursing, her guard dragged her inside with him, tossed her to the side wall and ran into the fray.

She had only a moment to mutter under her breath in vexation before a hand came out of the shadows, taking hold of her elbow.

“Be silent,” an all too familiar voice whispered and gave the tiniest of nods in return. What was he doing here?

The cold edge of a tiny blade slid carefully along her wrist, slicing the underside of the ropes that bound her. A moment passed – she could still sense his presence behind her – and the blade was sheathed and slipped into the back of her skirts, where her bound hands would hide the handle well enough.

Her breath caught in her throat as Thelwater rounded on her quiet suddenly. Raising her chin once more, she strode calmly forward. The latest batch of assailants had been dispatched with.

Head high. Shoulders back. She strode calmly after the guard, down into the bowels of the Stockades.

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Blood slowly dripped off her fingers as she reached to pull the small dagger free from the mass of prone forms on the ground. Slowly, she raised her glare to the men who had stopped their attack, slowly backing away from her.

“I will give you until the count of three,” her voice was barely more than a whisper, but it's icy tendrils reached their ears like a battle cry. “If I can still see any of you at that point, you will be joining your friends. One... Two...”

The last man dashed out of the cell and around the corner. She closed her eyes. Yes... There was no hint of any lingers.

“Three...” she sighed the last word out before collapsing to the ground. A pretty face without armor... She frowned down at the blood covered dagger in her hand and shook her head. With her other hand, she picked up the small piece of paper that had fallen from the sheath when she had drawn the minuscule blade.

Kurohane,

I have heard through sources that Stormwind stands to put you on trial. Rest assured, I will not let you rot in that Elune forsaken prison, as I did.

Your close friend,

Laron

She shook her head once more and rotated her position to lean against the wall. It seemed that she would be greatly in debt to that boy. But, he knew not what was going on. Then again, how could he? If she ran, she would have to spend the next hundred or so years doing so. That was not a life she looked forward to. As it stood... She had seen political maneuverings such as this before. She had a strong suspicion she knew exactly what was coming and no attempts at rescue would help that at all.

Giving a final sigh, she folded the note as small as she could make it and slid it into one of the stab wounds on her felled victims. The paper instantly stained red with the fresh blood and she watched for a moment as the black ink began making webs across the paper. Grimacing, she pressed the paper with her finger, shoving it so deeply into the wound that it could not be seen at all. There was no point in getting the boy in trouble for coming to her aid. The sheath of the dagger she tucked into the waist band of another victim's pants.

Resuming her place on the wall, she began cutting strips of the poor linen and woolen clothes they wore to bandage the multitude of scrapes the scoundrels had inflicted with their rusted nails and make-shift weapons.

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(( This section co-written by Barke and myself. ))

They had brought a low ranking priest with them. She supposed it wouldn't do well for their image for her to be escorted through the city scratched from head to toe. They had even allowed her a basin of water to clean herself, and brought a fresh robe, be it coarse linen. A good thing – the one she was wearing was half shredded and stained with spots of blood. The dagger, of course, had been promptly confiscated.

Once she was presentable again, they did not attempt to bind her wrists. After all, with an escort of six guards, well armored and armed, she had no chance of escape. And so the procession began the trek of earlier that day in reverse. The same surprised and curious stares met her along the way the same as before.

Head high. Shoulders back. This was all by her own will, to any eye that fell upon her. They rounded the corner to make the final part of the trek to the Keep, and the guards halted before her. She allowed her gaze to move past them, to see the obstical that lay ahead.

He stood with his fist clenched at his side, working his gloves in a practiced manner. The blades that always adorned his side were not to be seen. Instead, the massive riding saber, decked out in bejeweled armor, hunkered down at his side, looking ready to pounce. If an aura could ever surround a rogue like it did a priest in their shadowform, it was so now with Barke.

“Step aside, Daertha,” one of the guards half sighed, half growled.

“Ah'm no' here for any o' yah. Ah'm here fer Kurohane,” he said flately, letting his gaze trail over the men in his way before settling upon his friend.

Kurohane supressed a small sigh, and stepped forward. One of the guards' hands snapped out, taking her by the arm. She coolly looked down upon him, a small, sardonic smile slipping onto her lips.

“I suggest you allow me to speak with him before this comes to unnecissary blows,” she stated calmly. “I assure you that I have no intentions of escaping. If I wished to do as much, I had amply time and ability while I was in your dear Stockades. Now, unhand me or you will have quite a bit of explaining to do to your higher ups.”

The sharp intake of breath was the only sign Barke gave that he had been listening. The guard hesitated, glancing to his fellows, but after a whisper even she was unable to catch, he finally removed his hand from her arm.

Silently releasing the breath she had been holding, she moved closer to the rogue, fluidly switching her tounge to their native language. “< I cannot run, Barke. Not now, not like this. >” His gaze grew vaguely confused, if it still held the seething anger under the surface, and she laid a reassuring hand upon his arm. “< They play with politics today, my friend. I yet hold sway with too many people for them to punish me in any sort of permanent manner. >”

“< You should not have to suffer any of this, Kuro. You did nothing, >” he growled in return, his heated gaze turning back to the guards that frowned as they watched on.

“< No, I do not. But... They are the law of the land. They hold sway even over the Sentinels. If I flee from this, I truly will be a criminal, >” she sighed wearily, glancing back to the guards. “< If they are foolish enough to proceed further than mere political idiocy, then by all means, if you don't come save my rear, I'll never forgive you. >” She paused to give him the first genuine smile she had shared since the guards had appeared at her door. “< I need you to do something for me, though... Find Xelthan. Make sure that fool man isn't planning anything stupid. It's all I ask. >”

Barke hesitated, frowning over her shoulder to her captors before finally nodding. “< If they so much as lay a finger on you... >”

“< I know. Now, go, before they think I really am up to an escape plan of some sort, >” she answered, turning to reclaim her place in the center of the guards. She turned back to watch him, his gloved hands working once more before he finally gave one last death glare and turned to clear their path.

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Head high. Shoulders back. She stood once more before the six nobles and leaders of Stormwind, but this time there were no closed doors, no guards to keep people away. Oh yes. The would want this to be as public as possible.

“Kurohane Ravenveil, of the House Mistveil,” Major Samuelson read the parchment in clear, loud tones, ensuring anyone passing by over heard the proclamation. “By order of Stormwind, you are hereby disenfranchised from the Grand Alliance for the dishonorable war crimes you ordered upon and participated in against the Horde outposts of Zoram'gar and Splinter Tree. From this point forth, you are stripped of all rank and privilege there in, signed and sealed by Highlord Bolvar Fordragon. Furthermore, this notice will be posted in all prominent Alliance cities.”

“I hope you understand, Ravenveil,” Benedictus sighed, the hints of a warm smile tracing his lips while his eyes danced with sickening humor, “how lenient we are being. You're previous services to the Alliance have saved you from imprisonment, possibly even death.”

Kurohane slowly turned her icy gaze to meet his for the first time. “Archbishop, I understand fully what has transpired here, and am pleased to know that I have made an incredibly adept sacrificial lamb for you all.”

Wishock stepped forward, something between a smirk and a sneer pulling his face hideously. “Watch your tounge, Ravenveil, or we may have to revisit your sentence.”

“As you say, Lord Wishock,” she answered fluidly, inclining her head to him. “After all, what is the word of fallen Huntress against the lot of you.”

“It would be wise for you to take your leave of Stormwind with all due haste, Kurohane,” Fordragon, stated calmly, giving Wishock a reprimanding glance. “You are free to leave.”

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Mathias Shaw was passing through the streets of Old Town when a dark shadow swept out and hauled him into the alleyway. A blade was immediately set against his throat and a cloaked figure leaned in to whisper in his ear.

"Long time, no see, Shaw." The voice was cold and carried an iciness that could chill the heart of the great Alexstraza herself. It was a voice all too familiar to him, however.

---

"I'd know that voice anywhere, Sylennis." The elf started slightly at the mention of her name, but she supposed she shouldn't be surprised. "You can't fool me. Care to explain what you're doing here, and why there's a knife at my throat?"

Why, that arrogant... Removing the knife from Shaw's throat, Sylennis spun him around to face her. She grabbed his collar and shoved him back against the hard wall of the alleyway, leaning her face in as close to his as she could get without actually touching it. Anger burned within her and she channeled the energy into her eyes, staring Shaw down in a manner that could make an ogre quake. She shoved Shaw hard against the wall a few times. Her voice dripped with a burning rage that she allowed to sound much more out of control than it really was.

"You better not have had ANYTHING to do with this Shaw. Or so help me..." Sylennis glared at the SI:7 leader with cold, unblinking eyes.

"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about, Windstar." If Shaw was the least bit intimidated by her, it didn't show. But then, he wasn't the type to reveal his fear to an enemy. Was that it? Were they enemies now? "How about you drop the tough-girl act and we discuss this like civilized beings."

Did he think this was some kind of sick game?

Sylennis raised the dagger to Shaw's throat again.

"You KNOW where I've been these last two months, and you KNOW who I've been working with." Syl put a little more pressure behind the dagger, letting the blade come close to penetrating the skin. "Surely you don't think I'm so stupid as to think you haven't been keeping an eye on your former 'operative.' And we both know that I'm not stupid enough to think that you don't know what's going on in your own city!"

A shudder of resignation seemed to pass through Shaw.

"Ravenveil..." he muttered quietly. Sylennis gave the slightest of nods.

"Ravenveil."

Shaw sighed. "I never could fool you, Windstar." His gaze drifted upward. "Before I say anything, however, I'm going to have to insist that you put me down. I won't be interrogated like some common thug."

Sylennis abruptly let go of him, causing him to stagger a moment before regaining his composure. A small gesture, certainly, but one that gave her just enough leverage to maintain the upper hand. SHE was the one running this little game.

Shaw's gaze returned to her face and his eyes narrowed. "I strongly suggest you leave this be, Sylennis. Pursuing it is liable to get you killed."

"I appreciate your concern for my well-being, but I'll be the judge of what's liable to get me killed."

Sylennis felt a small breeze blow by her face and she turned to look in the direction from which it had come. Seeing nothing, she turned back to Shaw to see his eyes widen for a moment before he dropped suddenly to his knees. His eyes rolled up in his head and he toppled face-first to the ground.

Syl's senses flared and she whirled around, looking for any sign of an attacker. Her heart pounded, and for several moments she was at one with her surroundings. She was aware of every sound and movement and nothing slipped her attention. Finally satisfied that the danger had passed - at least for the moment - she knelt beside shaw and rolled him over. A small dart stuck from his neck.

A tranq dart?

Not assassins, then... but who?

Well, the road was getting busier and dragging around Shaw's limp, unconscious form would be far too conspicuous. Sighing, Sylennis exited the alleyway with more questions than she had had when she arrived.

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"Released?"

The guard scowled at her. "That's what I said, ain't it?"

"I see..." After all this, they just let her go?

Sylennis raised an eyebrow at the guard questioningly. He responded by grunting and gesturing at a notice pinned up on the wall.

By order of Stormwind, Kurohane Ravenveil of the House Mistveil, is hereby disenfranchised from the Grand Alliance for dishonorable war crimes ordered and undertaken against the Horde outposts of Zoram'gar and Splinter Tree. From this point forth, she is stripped of all rank and privilege and is not to be aided or assisted in any way.

This signed and sealed by Highlord Bolvar Fordragon.

She had to read it twice.

Growling, Syl snatched the parchment from the wall, drawing a startled gasp from the guard. He raised his hand and pointed at her, as if about to say something but seemed to think better of it after her icy gaze fixed upon him. He put his hand down and looked off in the other direction as if he didn't notice.

Allowing herself a quick smirk of satisfaction, Sylennis stalked out of the keep, reading the note over again. Disenfranchised... Well at least they weren't going to execute or imprison her. That was something, at least.

But the one question still burning in her skull was why? Surely the leaders of the alliance weren't dumb enough to buy into this goblin hogwash. Why no investigation? Why no public hearing and a chance for others to speak against the accusations? Oh sure, there had probably been a trial, but Syl suspected that it had amounted to little more than a sentencing.

She couldn't shake the inescapable feeling that Kuro was being thrown under the wagon, so to speak. But the question still burned. Why?

She would need to speak with Shaw again, that was all there was to it. Best to let him recover from his little 'accident' earlier, though, if she wanted to get anything useful out of him. Kuro didn't seem to be in any immediate danger anyway, so she could probably afford to give it until the morning.

Not that she planned on sleeping. Oh no. There was far too much digging to be done between now and the morrow's sunrise.

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The light of the full moon lit the otherwise dark alleyway in the Dwarven District.

"So what do you think?"

The stout dwarf turned the tranquilizer dart over in his hand, scratching his chin. He was fairly nondescript for a dwarf, and would normally have blended in well with a crowd but for one startling feature. This dwarf had no beard. Gelder would never tell Sylennis why he kept his face clean-shaven, but she suspected it had something to do with his banishment from King Magni's court. Regardless, he was an assassin and contract man of some skill, and he knew the tools of his trade.

"Well, it's def'nately gnomeish. That much I kin tell ye with cert'nty, lass."

Gnomes?

"Not standard issue, tho." Gelder held the dart up to the moonlight. "Def'nately homemade. A piss-poor job at that. Who'ver made this canna tell th' difference b'tween subtlety and a brick. Lookit th' size of th' shaft. And th' needle is bent. Ach, I'm surprised th' thing dinna hit ye instead." The dwarf handed the dart back to Sylennis.

"Thank you, Gelder."

"Aye, lass." The dwarf nodded. "That square us, then?"

Sylennis nodded and pressed a silver coin into Gelder's calloused palm. The dwarf shoved it into his pocket and slipped off into the shadows. Within a few seconds, the alley was completely quiet and empty and Sylennis was walking back down the road.

She wandered about the city aimlessly, analyzing things in her head.

So a gnome... and not one skilled in spying or engineering. Obviously, whoever had hired the assailant didn't want a trail that was easy to follow. But what gnome in the city would need money bad enough to do something he was completely unsuited for...

Sylennis stopped in her tracks and a wicked grin spread across her face. Turning quickly, she sped off in the direction of the Deeprun Tram.

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"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Sylennis winced at the shrill scream. It didn't die away until shortly before she yanked Haggle's small body away from where she was dangling it in front of the oncoming tram car. The tram skidded to a halt in a screech of steam and several passengers looked at her in shock. She narrowed her eyes at them and they turned away, moving out of the tram station as if they had seen nothing.

"Interested in talking now, rat?"

Silence.

"We can always wait for the next one and do it again... Though my reflexes might not be so fast next time."

Nothing.

Sylennis raised the gnome up and peered at him, holding him by one leg, upside-down, at eye level.

Great - he fainted.

With her free hand, she drew one of her daggers and tapped the flat of the blade against his cheek a few times. The cold steel seemed to help him regain consciousness rather quickly. Still holding him upside-down, she glared into his eyes, letting the rage bubble to the surface again.

"I really don't have time for this. Still pretending that you don't know what I'm talking about?"

Haggle shook his head nervously

"W-wait. I'll t-tell you." Sweat broke out on the gnome's forhead. "B-but you can't l-let him kn-now I t-told you."

Sylennis continued to gaze coldly at him without saying anything.

"He t-told me to make sure that Shaw didn't speak with any of you Swordwaltzers! T-that's all! I swear!"

Syl's eyes burned with an increased rage and her vision pulsed red.

"I don't want to ever hear that name from the likes of you again! The Swordwaltzers are no more - gone with their leader!" Her breath came out in angry puffs as the sting of betrayal was stirred up in her gut again. The feelings of abandonment burned within her and she had to struggle to suppress them and regain her control.

As much as it hurt to lose the leader she had respected - still respected - she could not begrudge Kurohane her choice for a more peaceful life. It was a life she hoped to one day be able to have herself. She let out a deep breath and spoke more calmly to the gnome.

"I serve the Tirisfalen now. As do the rest of our number - those of us that still believe in fighting for the Alliance." Sylennis instantly questioned the comment to herself. Was an alliance that would arrest one of its staunchest defenders, on trumped-up charges no less, still something worth saving?

"Who hired you?" Syl's eyes narrowed

"L-lescovar!"

"Lescovar?" Sylennis growled the name like a curse. "I should've known that dirty, calcualting..." Forgetting all about Haggle, she released the poor gnome's leg, dropping him headfirst onto the cold metal flooring.

She didn't even hear the crash of him hitting the ground as she stormed back out into the city.

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((guys i loved it! I pushed back my break to finish hhahahaha. Great story telling, amazingly written by all of you, great plot...i felt for the characters. I can't say enough, really))

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The study of Lord Gregor Lescovar was located on the second floor of his stately manor in Stormwind. The office was in disarray unlike the rest of the house since Lescovar didn't like the servants messing around in his private matters. A large bay window looked out over the canals and the Valley of Heroes, providing a stunning view to any who looked out of it.

It also provided a convenient entrance for a stealthy Night Elf.

Sylennis quietly moved about the study, making her way to the nobleman's desk. Deftly picking the lock on the drawers, she begin to search through the contents. After a few moments, she withdrew a stack of letters.

Going through them one-by-one she scowled to herself. Lescovar had his fingers in everything. Maybe she should just eliminate him and do the entire Alliance a favor...

Syl continued sifting through the pile, careful not to get any papers out of order. Finally, she came across something. She read the letter over quietly.

Gregor,

In recent days, I have learned that Kurohane Ravenveil is to step down from her leadership of the Swordwaltzers. Personally, I couldn't be more pleased. That thrice-damned guild of hers has interfered in my operations far too often. They were quite the brainwashed little followers and I doubt their organization will survive the loss of her leadership. I'd still prefer to act against her in some more - personal - manner, however... Though I'm afraid such an act is beyond my capabilities for the time-being.

Because our partnership has been most profitiable so far, I sense an opportunity here to solve two problems at once. I know that your precious Alliance council has been taking heat over the recent article in the Gadgetzan Times depicting her strikes as acts of mass brutality and murder.

I trust that you will find a use for this information that is to our mutual benefit.

- EVC

Sylennis read it several times over, memorizing the words carefully. When she was satisfied that she could remember every detail of the letter, she returned it to it's place in the stack and returned the papers to the drawer, locking them back within. She then began to shuffle through the papers on top of the desk, purposefully leaving them in disarray. Smiling, she reached in and plucked two important-looking documents from the surface and folded them up to take with her. If he was busy looking for these, he would be far less likely to discover what her true target had been.

Sylennis jumped slightly as a loud noise echoed from down the hall. Moving switfly to the study door, she put her ear to it and listened. The booming voice was muffled by the thick walls and she could barely make out the words.

"I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU HEARD! I SAID NO DISTURBANCES AND I MEANT IT! NO GET OUT OF MY SIGHT BEFORE I DECIDE YOU AREN'T WORTH KEEPING AROUND!"

Sylennis frowned slightly in sympathy for whatever poor guard was the subject of Lescovar's drunken ire, but at least it would delay him investigating the 'noise' long enough for her to clear out. Moving as quietly as she had come, Sylennis slipped back out the window and down into the shadows.

She smiled to herself in satisfaction. Her investigation seemed to be yeilding results and her next step should put everything together nicely.

The sun would be rising soon and it would be time to pay Shaw a visit.

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((Hey Hey! You're not quiting, are you? :) ))

(( No, it was just time for a change and for things to progress. Kuro's still around, kicking butt and taking names on her way to getting her full tier 0 set. ^_~

And a huge <3 <3 to Syl~ ))

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Sylennis didn't think that Mathias Shaw was altogether surprised to find her sitting in his office when he arrived at SI:7 headquarters the following morning. If he was, he didn't show it. He simply nodded at her and strode over to his desk as if she wasn't even in the room. Finally, he spoke to her without looking up from his paperwork.

"So I suppose you're still after the same thing."

Sylennis nodded curtly. "I've learned quite a bit on my own, but it's time for you to fill in the gaps." She briefly filled Shaw in on what she had learned about Lescovar and the letter she was fairly sure had been from Van Cleef. "So I take it the Defias are behind all this then? Fairly ambitious of them..."

Shaw let out a loud chuckle. "I'm afraid Van Cleef was only the catalyst for this little plot, my dear. No, no - it seems that the nobles cooked this one up all on their own."

Sylennis raised an eyebrow at Shaw, but said nothing.

"You and I both know that the leaders of Stormwind have always been a little too eager to play peacemaker with Thrall and his Horde. They think we can't beat them in a war, so they try to appease every chance they get."

"Is this going where I think it's going?"

Shaw nodded solemnly. "Those attacks of yours on Splintertree and Zoram'Gar, despite being well-intentioned, were disasters for the Alliance. Honestly, I think leaving the civilians alive might have been a mistake. If no one had survived, there wouldn't have been anyone to point the finger at the Swordwaltzers or the Alliance, and the goblins would have had nothing but a mystery story on their hands." He paused for a moment.

"Now, several towns have been razed and the Horde populace is in near-full war footing as a direct result of those lies printed in the Gadgetzan Times. The Alliance Council has been searching desperately for something to appease Thrall and his goons without upsetting their own people in the process. As long as Ravenveil was leading the Swordwaltzers, she was safe. They couldn't touch such a high-profile figure amongst the alliance." Shaw looked down at the ground for a moment before continuing in a more solemn tone.

"Stepping down from leadership was one of the worst mistakes she could have made for her future, Sylennis. As soon as she was no longer of use to the Alliance, they threw her to the wolves. I suspect that the only thing that kept her from execution or imprisonment was Fordragon himself."

Sylennis nodded slowly. "I know he's one of the few nobles that actually seems to have a conscience. But I doubt that even with his influence he could convince them to be lenient on her."

Shaw nodded. "You are, of course, correct. It took him hours to convince them, and then only because he pointed out that with her alive and free, she would be around for the Alliance to make use of should the need ever arise." He shook his head slowly. "No, Fordragon was the only reason she was able to walk out of this city at all."

Sylennis took it all in for a moment, fighting the rage that threated to bully its way to the surface. Taking a few calming breaths, she asked the question that was really on her mind.

"Why didn't you do anything to stop this, Mathias? Don't tell me you're a part of it too..."

Shaw frowned. "I don't like it any more than you, Sylennis, but my position around here is tenuous at best. The nobles don't like us. They only tolerate SI:7 because it serves their needs. I only need make one wrong move and they'll shut the entire operation down." He shook his head sadly. "No, I have to keep my mouth shut about things like this so I can be here when it really counts."

Sylennis fumed, battling the bubbling rage within. "So you stand by and watch while Kuro gets sacrificed?"

"Damn it, I have to, Sylennis! She's only one person, and I need to be here for when countless lives are at stake!" Shaw glared angrily at her for a moment. "Look, I've given you everything I've got. Do something with it, or keep it to yourself, I don't care. Just don't tell anyone where you got it. Understand?"

Sylennis nodded solemnly. "Perfectly."

Without another word she stormed out of SI:7.

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(( "~" is now being used to denote Darnassian due to posting issues. ))

She had activated her hearth stone as soon as she was out of the keep, the magic in the stone dashing her across the vast ocean to what should have been her new home. As her senses returned, she frowned at the quaint house. The door was still open from her departure that morning - had it truly been that morning? It felt like weeks ago. Balah, her faithful mountain lion, raised his head and gave a soft growl of greeting. Sighing, she knelt down beside him, buried her face in his fur, and let the emotions she had been forced to keep at bay flow out of her.

Moments later, after an eternity, she raised herself back up, scrubbing at her eyes with the backs of her hand. Balah gently nuzzled her and licked her cheek. She couldn't help but smile back at the massive cat, even if it was ever so faintly.

A portal on the outskirts of Astranaar, from a kind mage who likely did not know who she was, nor the creed recently made public, made her venture to Ironforge swift. Words spoken in a blur with King Magni - she was astounded that he would even see her, and overjoyed to learn she was welcome to call Ironforge home. It seemed the dwarves were not so reliant on their friends as the back-stabbing Sentinels. He had even made some quiet scoff in Dwarvish that she was fairly certain wasn't directed at her.

As the night winded on into the early hours of morning, she found herself wandering through the grand city... only to hear two voices that seemed to lift the world off of her shoulders. A touch of a smile graced her drawn features as she turned into a nearby building and made her way up to the balcony.

"~ Oh good. You found him, ~" she stated almost blandly as she emerged behind the two rogues.

With a nod to her, Barke leaned back against the cool stone, perched atop the balcony's railing.

"~ Something like that. More stumbled into me...rather, ~" Xelthan answered, turning to grin at her and pull her into a tight, protective hug.

A small smirk began to grace her lips, but she grimaced instead. "~ So, have the posted up the proclamation here yet? ~"

" ~From what I saw, yes,~ " her husband answered with a small sigh, his lips pulling down into a frown. "~ I figured as much considering everything else that's going on down the chain. ~"

Kurohane sneered before shaking her head and jerking her chin slightly to Xelthan. "~ What else, then. ~"

"~ Oh a little of this, a little of that. Ravenholdt decided I wasn't an asset anymore so they tried to kill me. The usual, eh? ~" he answered with a slight shrug as her eyes widened.

"~ They have a mark out on you..? ~" she breathed the words out, forcing her heart to stop it's sudden pounding against her chest.

"~ Yes, it looks that way. Or they have sixteen operatives who all decided it was a fine day to try putting some steel into me - thus far, anyway. ~"

Cursing under her breath, she stepped over to Xelthan, quickly checking him over for any serious injuries, which turned into a battle of batting hands as he attempted to fend her off. "~ I'm fine - honestly. ~"

Leaving over, she frowned as she eyed hi, "~ You better be. ~"

"~ Well, personally I am. Xelthan Ravenveil, however, didn't fair so well, ~" he fired back with a laugh.

"~ So... what name should I call you by now, husband? ~" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

Barke half opened his golden eye to consider the two from his apparent dozing.

"~ Xelthan's fine. They think I'm dead, and they "had" the body to prove it, so it'll be out of their minds soon enough, ~" he shrugged again, squeezing her shoulder reassuringly as he moved to lean against the back wall.

Kurohane nodded slowly, still eyeing Xelthan. "~ As you say love... but after today, I am not one willing to take many chances. ~" She sighed, letting her gaze move over the city. "~ But if you are sure, then... ~"

"~ Oh I am. There's no one left on the order to prove otherwise, anyway - so I'm in the clear unless I run into an operative with a good memory. ~" Xelthan smiled.

Nodding wearily, she took a seat on the ground, continuing to watch the mass of people pass by on their business. It was true, Ironforge never slept. For a time, the three sat in silence, the sounds of Ironforge surrounding them.

"~ So. What now, Rose? I can still put what Barke interrupted into motion if it comes to that. ~" The grin on Xelthan's face was nearly hopeful.

"~ It won't, ~" Barke answered, swinging one leg over the side of the balcony and closing his eyes again.

Kurohane sighed and looks up at Xelthan. "~ To what end, love? So that I may be hunted? ~"

"~ True, but I do love having the definitive last word with these holier-than-yes types, ~" he answered with a small shrug.

Smiling faintly, she glanced between the two rogues, "~ I doubt any of us will find warm welcomes in Stormwind any longer... and if things are even half as I suspect, not in Darnassus either. ~"

"~ Never was really welcomed there. Dwarves aren't as thick headed anyway, ~" Barke smirked, but it faded fast despite Xelthan's bark of laugh at the comment.

Kurohane nodded and lowered her head so that her hat covers her eyes. "~ How far to have fallen... ~" Her voice was no more than a whisper, and it surprised her that either of them even heard her.

"~ You didn't fall, ~" her husband sneered. "~ You were unceremoniously tossed, and it's their loss when things come down now. We'll just press on as best we can. It's all we can do at the moment. ~"

Nodding slightly, she raised her head and wiped the unbidden tears from her eyes. "~ You know things will be harder for you now as well, Barke. Your display in Stormwind... well... Perhaps if I had my old status I could do something for it, but now... ~" Kurohane trailed off, shaking her head.

"~ I'm not worried. Neither should you be, ~" Barke said quietly. "~ ...I do hope they found that poor guard though. ~"

A wicked grin slipped over Xelthan's lips as she blinked at their friend. "What..?"

Barke smiled slightly again before sighing and leaning back, "~ Don't think it was by chance I was there waiting do you? ~" He opened his eyes slightly when she didn't answer, to be met with a frown on her lips. "~ I didn't kill him. Even tended to the young guys wounds. ~"

Xelthan glanced over at Barke and muttered something that sounds a lot like the word "Pity" as her small frown turned into a tiny smile. Danger averted, he closed his eyes again.

"~ So my question stands, my heart. What do you wish to do now? You were always proactive, and there's no reason to stop now, ~" Xelthan stated as he took his own seat, using the wall to rest on.

Kurohane frowned and let her gaze wonder over the people milling about outside. "~ I have no desire to further aid them or their causes. I would only be setting myself up for further "punishments" at their whim. ~"

"~ Fair enough, and I can agree, but we can't sit in this room forever, eh? ~" Xelthan answered with a gentle smile.

Silence fell again as Kurohane let her mind tumble over their options. Finally, she turned her head to raise an eyebrow and glance between the two rogues. "~ So tell me. How well does mercenary work truly pay? ~"

Another wicked grin slipped across Xelthan's face as he laughed, and Barke sat up straight, looking fully awake for the first time since she had seen him in Stormwind.

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