Time Shattered

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She has her claws in too many aspects of my life as it is. Now her brother? At least, he seems unlike her in most ways, but it's just another connection where there are already too many.

I should... not have gone there, but I felt like I had no choice. Not that anyone but myself was forcing me, but... After everything, simply... staying away... was not something I could do, not without at least making the attempt. I was lucky it was only Damian around, although perhaps if he hadn't been there I could have been and gone without waking her.

What she said about Sylvanas is... her problem, not mine. Or it should be, but anyone whose focus turns to her, after they take out her family, will inevitably find those connections. Given what she spoke about sounded like paranoia, something I'm highly familiar with, I know the path that can unfold from there.

There is no way that I am willing to stand between her and Sylvanas' minions if there's any truth to her presumptions. There's also no way I just stand aside and let her die. Or is there?

On the one hand, I know what I should do. I should stay away from her entirely.

But now her brother.

Awatu wants us to pay attention to Genn, but I wonder if Anduin isn't stronger than we're giving him credit for. Yes, he's an idiot child, but I'm not entirely certain he's an idiot child entirely bent to the will of the adults in the room. I think he's too opinionated and has too much power to simply do what everyone else says without asserting his own ideas.

Umbral has her tabard, at my insistence, essentially. I went where I needed to go and made my arguments and got my approval, such as it was. It feels like desperation. When she turned over that journal, we should -- and again, doing things I know I should not -- have cut her throat immediately, no hesitation, no compromise. But much of what we do feels like desperation these days. The pendulum never completed its swing. Will it ever? Will we have to force it?

Yes, she worked hard. She "earned" the privilege by completing the tasks set for her. Several times over, in truth. But she is so deeply flawed that she is utterly untrustworthy. And it's not because she lies. It's because she won't, so she floats her flaws on the surface where we can all see them, and yet rather than destroy her for them, we are forced to take them in stride. We had to give her the tabard to make sure that hard work of hers doesn't turn against us, not because she is what we need.

Now her brother.

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  • 5 weeks later...
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War for peace. War for peace. War for peace.

And no one sees the irony.

No one.

I love it.

Hit them while they're bleeding. Yes, we're bleeding, too, and risk everything in making the strike, but...

But if we win this now, we can force acceptance and servility for centuries.

Really? How has that worked out historically?

If you insist.

If there's one thing I'm never going to argue with, it's scorched earth. Scorch it all.

Especially Lordaeron. The Windrunners have had their claws in human scalps their entire lives. Sylvanas was only too happy to find herself gifted with the power to hold human lives in her hands and have them worship her for it. Nathanos isn't just any corpse.

I hope she regrets what she's done. I hope it saddens her to see her people, her human people removed from the home they bought with the blood of their families. That pit was disgusting before they turned it into a literal sewer, and it's disgusting now. Leaving it unusable for generations is all it has ever deserved.

I hear the rumors trying to pin Malfurion's escape on Saurfang. Maybe so. That might explain his little failed death wish drama. To return their hero to them is a crime that cannot go unpunished. But was Sylvanas not there? Shouldn't she have seen it done?

While everyone else bemoans the lack of honor in murdering hundreds maybe thousands of civilians, I'll be over here wondering why they failed to cut the head off the snake.

Keep leaving nothing but ash and blight in your wake, Warchief. I certainly don't care how many innocents on either side you take with you in the name of some sort of necessity or survival. This is the annihilation we've been preaching for more than a decade. This is what we live for.

Edited by Qabian
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  • 1 month later...

What... have we done?

I have never seen such...

So much...

These islands bore me, but Azshara's voice is audible here as it was on the other Isles. I do not fear what she will do. I fear what she will fail to do. I fear she will become just another setback that we will overcome, when the history she holds should mean so much more.

History becomes meaningless in the face of the Bronze and the Titans. They strip the value from our stories and endeavor to make us worthless. They will succeed if we do not hold them at bay.

Alphaeus asked if I had ever done anything selfless in my life.

My immediate response, and the correct one, was an obvious no.

But then it occurred to me, and because I enjoy the sound of my own voice, I even revealed that I have evidence to the contrary.

Perhaps it is a singular event. No, not entirely singular, but definitely rare.

I am capable of selflessness, but if you want it from me, you have to earn it by doing something that means a great deal to me and absolutely nothing to anyone else.

In the grand scheme of things, I am capable of no such thing. I have no need for selflessness under the Mandate. The Mandate encompasses my self and every narcissistic action I take furthers its impossible cause. It is best not to dwell on stolen moments that suggest I have the capacity for any real sacrifice. 

I know that what matters most to me is my self, so I had pieces of me carved away, my ear, my name. But knowing that hardly seemed enough, I tried and failed to do more at the time. In the many months since, I think I have done enough, and look forward to earning that future place of respect without continued sacrifice.

But to suggest that anything could matter to me more than I do is heresy of the highest order.

Isn't it?

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  • 2 months later...

The sound of my own voice never fails to start trouble. Thankfully the number of people who have ever realized this is small. Better not to be interesting.

I do a lot of truth telling for someone who is an avowed liar. I wanted to bemoan the place I'm in. I do not mold and encourage and develop people. I can test them, but I do not create them. We could, plausibly, have someone in this role who could create new Grim from troubled souls who find their way to us. I am not such a person. At best, I assess. Even then, I find assessment exhausting. People are... tiring. Destruction in and of itself is much more sensible than people.

Not only that, but I am, in fact, a terrible Grim. On the surface, I'm not, but anyone who has been forced to trust me for any amount of time has a sense of it, even if they cannot define it. Awatu does, I'm sure. Syreenna definitely does.

The actions I take to keep myself from giving in always have an edge of treason. Never against the Mandate, but often against individuals. Not because I hold the Mandate particularly highly, but it is a ludicrously easy path to follow and not one that actually requires a great deal of rules. People, however, are complicated.

I was surprised to hear Awatu mention Loa in such a manner, but perhaps he has ideas I do not. Ideas I tried to contemplate aloud, but of course not. That and... I don't know just how well any given power can obtain souls with so much competition for them out there.

There are things I shouldn't speak of. I miss my didactic preaching on the subjects in the time before, when people were simpler and easier to use. I have fears now I did not have before the Scourge, not of the dead, but of weaknesses I then did not realize I had.

Every once in a while, those weaknesses make themselves known in places where the doors have not been closed. I should keep my mouth shut, or pretend the last fifteen years didn't happen. One of the two. Instead, true confessions with an insistence that I talk too much rather than an implication that at least half of it was false.

No, none of it was false. I have been monumentally stupid. I will likely continue to be whenever weaknesses come to light, but I will not be caught. After all, I already am.

Where's Tradire?

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  • 1 month later...

Oh no. Oh no no no no.

I just realized. The other possibilities.

None of this is good. None of it. I think I can keep it from... going entirely off the rails? But it's a mess.

Don't they know nothing comes of this? I learned my lesson. I'll play the games and say the words all I want, but it's going nowhere.

Besides, behind closed doors, I'm worse. In every possible way. Mm, almost every possible way. They have no idea how much worse I really am.

There's only one place I go for truth.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It should be enough.

It should be enough just to hate. I shouldn't need reasons. Garithos was the reason I offered whenever a reason was demanded. He was reason enough, too. I shouldn't

She doesn't understand.

Hate is easy. It is warm and strong. It protects from all manner of harm. I didn't need reasons to hate. We were just predators, preying on the weak, the lesser, those who would grow and learn and die too fast to remember the techniques we could focus on for decades. We didn't need reasons.

Yes, they gave us reasons, but we didn't need them.

They weren't my friends. I didn't lose anyone close to me. Not to them. The only thing that killed them was the Scourge, and the Scourge was what? A disease of the world? Arthas and Kel'thuzad can take a lot of blame for being weak and lesser, for falling for trap after trap after trap. Dar'khan can take some blame, for being power hungry, a grand failing of our kind, and his sweet little mutant children overrunning Stormwind now are what happen when you open the gates for death.

But even though they weren't my friends, I was too close to what happened to them. It changed me. It changed what made me hesitate. I was always more violent than not, and though I was never demanding, I resolved I never would be. I would never be like them. I would never take the way they did. I would only destroy.

She doesn't understand. How could she? Who does understand? A wolf without its pack is prey, and I've been without my pack for too long. The Grim stands in for them, but the Grim failed me. I was prey. More than once. I've learned not to rely on them. The Grim feed the hate, but they do not understand it. They don't need to. 

I shouldn't need to. 

She shouldn't need to. 

Hate should be enough, in and of itself. It does not need reasons to exist. It only needs to burn. It only needs to consume everything in its path. That's all it needs.

She is an obsession, a dangerous path with no way to turn from it. Even if I try, I'll always find myself back on the same road. And I have given her everything. Of my own free will. Everything. Prey again, without my pack.

The other needs to ask better questions. I don't think she wants to ask better questions. I don't think she wants what she says she wants, to do something for me, which is good, because she won't get it, but I'll get what I want, words and questions, the sound of my own voice, amusement at what nothing can cause.

Be careful giving words too much power. They don't have any of their own. The cat disagrees, but also puts a point on the possibility that the only power they have is mischief.

I need to spend a week in Suramar to remember what we should have been, but Feralas calls.

I don't need brothers, but I'm glad of them, nonetheless, if only for the hope they give. Yes, hope. I like that people assume I know nothing but ruthless cruelty. I like knowing I can drive hate so easily. That doesn't mean I know nothing of things outside hatred.

What do I know?

I know more than those who worship at its feet. I know more than those who wear it on their sleeves and on their banners.

I know because I run from it and it hunts me down. I know because I do not want it, do not need it, and yet I have it.

Killing me with kindness would be much more difficult than even the ridiculousness of the cliché implies. Boring me with kindness might be manageable. I suppose maybe you could bore me to death with it? But even then, either you're the sort of kind hearted person I either destroy or walk away from, or you're not a kind hearted person and I take the opportunity to dismantle your kindness, find the motive in it, make you regret ever having plied me with it in the first place.

Or you're the kind of person who's better at playing my games than I am. There aren't many of those, so I don't fear them though I probably should.

The team building silliness at least takes my mind off the menacing truths running deep under everything I do these days. I would definitely prefer to watch from the sidelines, but that's better managed when other people are on the dais than when I am. And if it makes them stronger, then so be it. I'll take my loss of dignity and chalk it up to forging bonds or some other useless lie.

That Eye is pointless. It saw the obvious but not the dexterous. You can tell the truth and not tell the truth at the same time, and how can one device detect that nuance? You can tell the truths that don't matter and neglect the ones that do.

There is a way to get every truth from me, and it is actually quite simple, but who actually finds that much value in truth?

Edited by Qabian
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  • 1 month later...

I said too much, gave away too many truths.

There was a lie anchoring it all, though. Nothing wrong with that. I'm honest about who I am. She knows I can't be trusted. 

What disturbs me about that lie is the whiteness of it. I could rationalize, make my excuses, that I needed the lie for some other blacker, more sensible reason, but the whiteness of the lie is behind the gifts, too.

Maybe I shouldn't have toyed with her, but curiously, I don't regret that at all. It might make her kill me in my sleep, but she wouldn't be the first to try, and good luck guessing where I am any given night.

I have my freedom. I never relinquished it. That would be a line drawn that I refuse to cross. However, my curiosity to see how the game plays out, intense as it might be, is nowhere near sufficient. 

She has earned things from me enough. She has earned abridged tales of tables she could turn. She has not earned me. 

I suppose, if she were determined, she could make the attempt, but better to break her of that hope at the expense of the game, better to make her think I'm something else, better to make her turn away. Better for everyone. Better for the Grim.

I've chosen treason. Treason keeps me loyal. I like how that works.

I wonder if she'll hide now, or if she'll make good on her threats, vices and silence. Her problem. Not mine.

And the rat lives. She thinks she killed her heart. Hilarious. I don't remember telling her that, but it does seem like something I would do. I wonder if I can get her to admit that in front of Syreena, have Syreena add a heart to her ear collection. 

I should have killed her the moment she showed her face. Instead, I showed her history and gave her hope. Since when am I an agent of hope? There is chaos in it, I suppose. Hopefully it'll direct itself away from me. I'm failing to do rather a lot of things I should do, not enough to blow up in my face yet, but that is a distinct possibility, growing more distinct by the hour.

I spoke with the boy's mother. I don't know what I thought would happen. Maybe I thought I could fix an old problem with a new solution. She thinks she was once broken and is now fixed. I think she was once fixed and is now broken. The best thing for her now, and everyone involved in that tale, would be the quick release of death. 

Yes, even the replacement. The things we do are objectively harmful, and we will just keep doing them, won't we? Because we want to, and we are selfish.

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  • 1 month later...

What am I doing?

What am I...

There aren't regrets. Not per se. There was never enough there to make it worth questioning the decisions I made.

It's not about what's right. It's not about morality. What do I care about doing the right thing? It's about the value of what I have. It's worth too much to put at risk, so I draw my lines where I need them drawn.

I can't help but wonder, though, if I'm falling apart. If the lessons the Bronze imparted have not stuck. I am weak and vulnerable, and I have been preyed on yet again.

Have I?

I question myself more since then, since everything. It makes me more honest, oddly enough.

Still, no one should believe anything I say. They should know better. They should always know better.

I've never been comfortable with this, but who else can do it correctly? If someone else tried, I would chafe and want it fixed, want it done my way, so perhaps I need to simply stop fighting.

I am more stable when I'm lying. When I'm honest, I am crumbling. Be wary when my words ring true. Falsehood should be reassuring.

She wants what she cannot have.

We always do, don't we?

I don't even know what I want anymore. I want quiet, and that is unlike me. 

I don't have friends, nor do I want them. Strange things happen when people call themselves my friends if I fail to disagree. Keep them all at arms' length.

Am I proud? Beyond narcissism, at least? I take pride where it's earned, but it seems earned so rarely. I think I expressed my ambivalence. I am proud of who we were. I am proud of what we are capable of, should we actually make the effort. But am I proud of who we are at the moment? I don't know about that.

All the best of us died to the Scourge. Those of us who were passable then followed Kael'thas and died with him. Only the idiots who left him for the Scryers survived. The idiots and the double agents. Dar'khan steals from us to this day, long after returning to ash. The sin'dorei I don't find vastly unimpressive are few and far between. Lor'themar has so little ambition he hardly deserves to be called a regent. The Windrunners all chose the humans over their own people long ago. Only Rommath keeps me from giving up on us entirely.

If she needs pride to see her through, I hope she finds it stronger than mine. Given what she's said of the situation, I doubt there's anything in it to be proud of, but I wouldn't put it past whatever serves for justice in Silvermoon today to fail me utterly and give mercy where it's undeserved. Our nation is ruled by the pathetic.

But I've never been a good example. Even when I had the pride, I toyed with it in others to get my own way. I have always put my self above everyone and everything else. I still do, though my methods have taken on different subtleties.

And still I wonder. Have I squandered the gift of the Bronze? Have I fallen too far to avoid drowning? Is that why I'm so tired?

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  • 2 months later...

When dreams hold more logic than reality, what recourse is there but to sleep?

When those leading the charge fail to grasp what is good and what is necessary, what recourse is there but to withdraw support? When their ideas are good but their tactics are so flawed as to be harmful, what good is it to follow them? It is easier to follow a Warchief whose ideas are worthless but whose tactics are strong than the opposite it seems. However this plays out, the throne must give way to someone new in time, either in body or in action. Perhaps when that happens, there will be reason to step back into the fight.

The Regent-Lord fails his people and no one has the strength to replace him.

The Mandate will continue. For all its many interpretations, it seems immutable at its core and indestructible in its concept.

And there is no abandonment this time. I follow no one anywhere else. I follow only myself into the shadows. I will stay close, but I will stay quiet. I am a child of blood and fire, but every fire burns itself out and the sparks must find new tinder before it can blaze again.

There is no fuel in Nazjatar. There was a time I would have given everything in my power to walk Her halls in peace that we now walk in violence, and seeing them from this perspective has shattered every hope I once had for us.

I remain Grim, but Grim in my dreams, until I can call on my own fire which has been smothered by this failure of a war.

I was never suited to this anyway. I was far better than nothing, yes, and I made it my project and priority, but I was never inspired to it. I know what is good and what is right, but if I cannot impart it with words, I have no other way to convey my knowledge. Convey the truth with violence and pain then? No, that is not my way. All that I am capable of conveying with violence is death, and death of our own does nothing for the war.

She understands us well enough to keep us strong as long as she has the bodies to guide. And she has fire of her own and a bloodthirst that far outstrips mine in the here and now. I don't know if the Mandate can hold her up. It weakens under Sylvanas' faltering steps. But in the time she has, she will do well. She is inspired to it in ways I never was. If only those the Mandate needs can find it before it's too late.

I have someone to hold my truths. They will grow with her until I can put them to use once again. For now, they have no place outside us. Not anymore.

Things fall apart.

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  • 2 months later...

I wish she weren't right.

There are ways in which she isn't, but

If she were anyone else, I would be disturbed. I might play along, but I would not

Instead, I

I don't like the idea that I may have had anything in common with them. It frustrates me to even consider such a thing, let alone concede it. The only nature I've accepted was theirs is narcissism. Everything else, the cruelty, the intellect, the power, I built with the help of those like me who never shared my blood. They get credit for nothing but selfishness. Yes, I respect the selfishness, enjoy the selfishness, but that is all they gave me, nothing more, and they used that gift so poorly for themselves.

And yet.

If there is space for me to act without it, perhaps they did the same, set it aside for something they wanted.

I still hate the idea. I would rather be right.

It's not like I'm going to fight this. It's not like I want to. But it has to end badly. There is no happy ending. You would think by now that I would be used to wanting things that aren't going to turn out well for me, that I would be used to chasing the present, the hedonism, that I would be used to considering the consequences and weighing them and deciding the future is a price worth the present.

But this is such a different game from those I am used to playing. I am used to the cruelty being the song, not the silence. 

We have never answered to the leadership of the Horde. We answer only to our ideals. We have sometimes, often, failed them, but they have never failed us.

We knew as well as she did that this moment wouldn't last. I made certain to ask every one of her loyalists that came to us what they would do when she turned on the Horde. I made certain they acknowledged this possibility.

And yet, while she no longer stands for the Mandate, for the Horde, she has turned on us in nothing but words. Lordaeron frightened some, but what she did seemed natural in the pursuit of victory. And everyone else who has fallen at her hands turned against the Horde first, turned toward the enemy.

She can no longer be followed, no, but perhaps she can be used? Not as a tool. She cannot be directed. But perhaps if we follow where she walks, where she makes her deals, there will be opportunities to be the destruction we crave. As long as we shield ourselves so that her violence is directed ever outward at others, she could still bring peace in her wake, the soft, ashen peace of Teldrassil.

But it's a dangerous proposition, if what she says is true. Why would she bother with our trust? I don't think she needed it, and yet she had it, not from many it seems, but from some.

We have been here before, no matter what decisions they make, at least as a whole.

Silvermoon has not been here before. Silvermoon has not been without the Prince and the Queen both. Silvermoon has never been entirely at the mercy of someone with as little strength as Lor'themar. He has always marched to the tune of others, and now we need a king and have only a traitor. Rommath has strength, but I do not think he has the will to make things right.

I have considered leaving it entirely, but there is always room in the shadows. Where would I go? In Dalaran, I need the shadows. Even in Suramar, I need the shadows.

She can be my shadows.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I cannot be "of the people." I do not have any people. I put myself above all others and always have for as long as I can remember. Any I could once claim as mine were erased at the hands of Arthas. Any people who were both of like mind and understood me are long since dead.

There are some -- two, at my count, perhaps three -- who understand me, who know me, but they are not of like mind. The Grim, they are of like mind, but they do not understand me.

The Grim are not my people. The Grim hold similar ideals, but not identical. The Grim open the path to endless violence, accepted and encouraged. They know and appreciate hate that consumes all. I wonder how many of them actually hold the Mandate closest to their heart, though. How many of them actually hold the Horde on the pedestal the Mandate demands?

Their Mandate is a strong banner. It is easy to follow, durable, a strong moral core to uphold the violence, difficult to crack short of the crumbling of the Horde itself, but we all seem to fall under it for different reasons, none of which are actually the Horde. For me and I believe for Syreena, it is the humans. For Awatu, it is the dwarves. For most, it is likely one or two individuals who need to die, or the ephemerality that is love for chaos itself. For all of us, it is the death we need to bring to a few or to many. We accept Horde protection and supremacy as a stand-in for what we truly crave.

But the way the Mandate is written, it survives despots and lunacy. It should also survive the fragility of being led by a company connected only by treason.

How often does one have to betray the people one claims as their own before they realize what they have become, before they understand their truth? You have no people. You are all you have.

It will not be for the elite, no, but it will be exclusive and I will decide who can have it. Wealth is an insufficient indicator of acceptability. It is a good one. Those who have amassed large amounts clearly hold themselves of highest import, but they do not necessarily have sense as well.

With the rumors I hear, Northrend may be the only place I can stand to be awake without walking back into the clutches of the Bronze, a place I can survive while the Horde decides if it even wants to exist in the future, or if our precious factions are as meaningless as those who believe themselves heroes would like to claim.

I know who I will bring here, and they are not the Grim. They are not my people.

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  • 2 months later...

Life is easier when I run cold. Everything is simpler, smoother. Decisions make sense. Everything seems obvious.

Cruelty comes easy to the cold. 

Hatred that runs hot has no time for cruelty. It seeks death, obliteration, ashes. Fire cannot be bothered with drawing out pain, with monitoring the suffering of its victims. The cold can use fire to play its games, but fire itself does not toy.

Fire does what it does, or it dies.

I am not often cold, no matter how often I try, no matter how easy and simple it makes every choice and action.

I could be. I could choose cruelty over destruction. When I am caged to be useful, when I am used like a lantern with its glass walls and quiet fuel, I fall to cold cruelty for a lack of capacity to be true to my nature. Perhaps it would be in my best interests to simply light the way for ruin rather than indulge in it myself.

Because there is another side to running hot.

And it is distracting. And I find it very difficult to reconcile with what I would like to see accomplished.

And yet.

It feels as though it is only in my nature to do as I am doing, to be who I am, though it accomplishes nothing beyond extreme satisfaction.

When I am cold, life is simple. When I am cold, the Grim is pure logic. When I am cold, decisions are made before they are needed. 

It's impossible for me to be cold anymore.

Edited by Qabian

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  • 8 months later...

All sorrows can be borne if put into a story?


I have no sorrows of my own. I do not bear sorrows.

The stories I tell are deceptive and manipulative to make the world closer to what I wish.

I am someone else's sorrow come to life, someone else's story untold and made to walk within the world, someone else's sorrow never properly borne, made of misery to bring misery.

I am my parents' sorrows.

I am Silvermoon's sorrows.

I am the story.

I am the story that makes their lives easier and everyone else's more difficult.

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  • 3 months later...

My desperately avoiding spending time in this place seems to have led me to spending an inordinate amount of time in this place, whenever I can find the energy to bother to step through those portals, but in the interests of not falling to pieces -- again -- I have attempted to learn what I can. It stands in between me and where I want to be. I am not helped by not knowing exactly where I want to be, but a great deal of that is a certain rare comfortable quiet that I have built around me, making me reluctant to move forward.

When you spend a great deal of time rewriting and reconstructing your memories in order to build your own identity, having someone tell you that you need to have them adjusted is infuriating. But while dealing with these people -- if we can even call them people -- has been an exercise in perpetual frustration, I do find myself learning from those who work against them.

I am seeing a value in doubt I have not seen before. I have always been plagued with doubts, but I tend to keep them buried deep. I am seeing how others wear their certainty as their masks now, as I have often worn mine. Yet, there is an importance to continually questioning one's place and one's methods, and too much certainty leads down difficult paths.

Certainty is best for manipulating others. Best to always appear as though you know exactly what you are doing if you are trying to convince anyone of anything. Doubt is a vulnerability, to be applied only in specific circumstances where appearing vulnerable will break resistance. In that vulnerability, however, is the means to break others' control, the means to thwart the certainty of others.

It is also only through doubt that one can construct oneself to suit one's desires, rather than to the desires of others. Perhaps I should thank the Bronze -- and the Kyrian -- for the harm they've done to me, for the foundations they shredded that I might improve in the rebuilding. Though I would rather end them both, and will certainly not hesitate at such an opportunity.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am having an easier time coping with all of this when working under the idea that this is simply an elemental realm. It is no different than the Firelands but for the element that powers a banshee's screams. It is no more an afterlife than the Firelands is. The people and souls here are certainly dead, but they are only as dead as the Forsaken are dead. They have gone through a transformation so altering as to suggest an entirely different form of life. They are alive as any creatures of the Firelands are alive. The Jailer is simply this place's Ragnaros. Seeing the influence of the Void and the Light here gives this theory credence and significantly reduces my frustration.

I could not abide that this was what awaited everyone whose souls abandon Azeroth, that this is where we are meant to find meaning in our existence. Is it what awaits some? Yes. Is this what awaits everyone who dies on every world? Possibly. The element that is being manipulated clearly has a basis in souls and soul magic, and the elemental nature of souls seems connected to or driven by this place. But people and creatures here also die, as they did in the Firelands. The denizens talk of returning to the cycle, or being drawn into the Maw, and some even speak of oblivion. As far as this place is concerned, a soul is simply its resource, its element, a droplet of water formed into an elemental. But when that elemental dissipates, what happens to that identity, the person that soul once was? Is it gone forever? Does it simply become part of the flow of power here and no longer retains any shape of the person who once held it? One can hope.

I reject any greater meaning to this place or what happens to those who die here.

Having left Bastion behind has also helped.

These Maldraxxi are curious. They have a penchant for violence. They rebuild bodies for souls that were killed, and yet also fear death? And also manage to permanently kill each other? I'm not concerned with the details of how they play with their element, but they have managed to acquire some of the more interesting souls from Azeroth.

Including Vashj. I have not forgotten the role we played in her death. I have not forgotten the role she played in my survival. Those of us who were in Dalaran then owe her everything. The place she has found here seems to suit her. I admit to the temptation to follow her once more as I did in another time, but this place is, to put it mildly, disgusting. 

I assume these people can craft their afterlives to appear any way they desire. Why this? Is it the resilience demonstrated by having the flesh carved from your bones yet continuing to fight? Given the House of Plagues, I could argue that only the morbidly deranged end up here and that's why they have built this, but Vashj and Draka give the lie to that possibility. I will be forever amused by how the Mograine family has degenerated and what they have become. Poster children for fight the Scourge, become the Scourge.

Kel'Thuzad, though...

If there was ever a soul that deserved eternal damnation, it is that one, and he has no place among people who pretend to have honor, even if most of them do seem remarkably quick to drop such pretense at the chance of victory over anyone at all. From the rumors I have heard, I suspect he does not belong, and he will once again be the architect of our misery. I can't say the Kyrian misery at his hands is undeserved, but for what he did to the Sunwell, for forcing us to work with this cheap, tainted replacement, for what he did to magic as a whole, he should never taste anything remotely resembling glory.

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  • 1 month later...

I am obsessed with justice.

Most would laugh, I think, at the idea that I care one iota what anyone deserves. I am, after all, an agent of chaos in almost any circumstance.

But the truth is I feel keenly who deserves what and why. Justice is my guiding force, the path that leads my choices.

But I learned early that what I know to be justice is something only I know. I know that those who share this world with me have no sense of real justice, thus nothing will ever be fair. But I will always work to tip the scales toward true justice. The chaos others see in me is only a result of my justice being unknown and unfought for by anyone but myself.

There are those who come close to understanding at times. The Grim come close enough for me to need them as they are, as a collective, but they stray often. Malygos may have been closest, but his world worked against him as my world works against me. Nevertheless, my justice requires I follow its mission to my last, even if I end up as Malygos did, with my people clawing out whatever I have that serves as a heart.

I, however, am more sly than Malygos. I have none of his power, so I attract none of the attention he did. And I know that when I die, justice dies with me. I simply cannot allow that to happen.

The Bronze temporarily succeeded in removing my justice from the world with a fate worse than death, holding me under glass, allowing my struggles to continue but to no real effect, leaving me with only the briefest moments of recognition of my imprisonment before having those moments stolen. 

Until I was shaken loose.

Because I have a core understanding, whether innate or developed, of who or what is deserving at all times, I can also see the pale reflection of justice that others hold, and I know what I represent to them. I know that I am a threat to their way of knowing the world. And I enjoy this. 

Their struggles are not my struggles, and though mine are less likely to succeed due to my being alone in my understanding, every time I see their struggles fail, I find a sense of warmth and approval in their misery while also relating to their tenacity when they refuse to give in.

I, too, will not give in.

I know what I deserve.

I know what you think I deserve and what I actually deserve.

I like to play with both.

But there are times when I wonder if my sense of justice is restricting me from becoming something more. I cannot actually be anything more. Not in the long arc of history. I must chase what I will never catch. Justice is a force that cannot be set aside. But I wonder nevertheless. I am good at wondering. And sometimes, I can pretend.

Wondering takes me places it should not. It takes me to things I do not deserve. I am so conscious of who I am that I can rebuke those things. I can say out loud to them, "Leave me. I do not deserve this." But sometimes, in the moment, those things want me as much as I want them, and I put my justice away. For a time. For that moment. And I let myself be something more. Just for a while.

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