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Draquesha

((WR - October)) When The Lights Go Out

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As she did every weekend, Soleil Titania Bloodstorm had visited a bakery within the sprawling city of Silvermoon to snatch a pair of overly chocolatey cookies for her and her beloved. The paper bag that housed them is placed into a light brown satchel slung over her shoulder as she strolled through the city towards where she always found her Starlight’s portal waiting to take her home. She stands tall. Confident and relaxed. The paladin whistles to herself. Nothing extraordinary, a simple tune she’d picked up at the bar one night. She whistled because Light save if she ever started to sing.

She sways along to the tune, twirling around, and causing her fluorescent yellow armor to angrily clink and clank. In the quickly emptying courtyard, the sound echoes back off the walls to her as the sun begins to hide away from the approaching night. The shadows grow longer, the city lights slowly (dimly) coming to life. Soleil feels her breath grow shorter as she waited… and waited… and waited a little bit more. Eventually, none are left but Soleil, the moon, and the many stars watching over her in the darkened courtyard (as they always had since she was young). Soleil’s glowing green eyes nervously scan the empty courtyard, her armor providing most of the little light visible. She holds her hands together, trying to pretend she was still confident as she steeples her fingers, but it’s clear that her hands are shaking. Whatever confidence she hoped to show was easily seen as the ruse it was.

Okay. Okay. This was fine. This was absolutely not a problem. Starlight got busy and she didn’t have time to make a portal. That’s what this was! Starlight knew that she had family nearby, so she wouldn’t be abandoned. Starlight knew. Starlight wouldn’t forget her.

She struggles to move her feet, feeling like she was rooted in place. The paladin takes another deep breath. She taps her forehead. She taps her temples. She taps her cheeks. She taps her shoulders. It centers her and she manages to finally find the strength to move. Slowly, very slowly, she starts to make her way out of the courtyard and away from the guarantee that there would be a portal waiting for her. A small pouch strung up and around her neck, like a necklace of sorts, is pulled out. The hearthstone inside is held in her hands, squeezed tightly, like she might break it with her iron grip, before she finally musters the strength to send a quick “I’m spending the night at home” to her beloved.

With every loud step, her heart is beating in her chest as if it were about to leap out and run away. Thump. Thump. Thump. She silently curses to herself, remembering just how far out of the city her father’s home was. The lights of the city begin to fade as she finally leaves the outer limits, the roads illuminated only by the faint glow of a few roadside lamps and the bright glow of the paladin’s armor. The walk home seemed a lot longer when she didn’t have the familiar company of her brother leading the way. No distracting stories, no smell of soap as his hair whipped her in the face, no explanations of the stars above. No matter how much she imagined him being there, the cold emptiness of the night was all the reminder she needed that she were alone on this little walk.

The walk wasn’t long, she could manage it within ten minutes. It was a walk she was all too familiar with. Out the city gate, down the road, take a left at that fork. She knew it like the back of her hand. After what felt like an eternity of shuffling along the road, Soleil finds a branching in the road. Left to Mrs. Starstrider’s, right to her father’s home. She doesn’t hesitate and quickly turns to the right with a sudden burst of energy. Relief. Home, warmth, light. Safety.

As she rounds the corner, she feels her stomach drop like she was falling out of the air, like it was about to spill out onto the ground in front of her. Cold and imposing, she walked towards her family’s darkened home. She takes a few shaky breaths. She taps her fingers her fingers against her temples. She taps against her cheeks. She taps against her shoulders. Calm. She was calm.

She continues forward and twists the doorknob. Locked. Locked? Sure, it was late. They were in bed, of course they’d lock the doors! She fishes a key ring form the same pouch that housed her hearthstone and attempts unlocking the door. The key smashes into the lock, unable to fit inside. Panic begins to build in her chest. Locked outside. In the dark. Unwanted. She continues her tapping upon her temples, her cheeks, her shoulders. Over and over, until the rhythm of it calms her down enough to search for the spare key she always knew was hidden in the planters on the windowsill. Always.

Plated fingers turn over the dirt, uprooting flowers and herbs, until finally she finds the key in question. Good, not everything had changed. It was merely an oversight! They’d forgotten to tell her that they were getting new keys. The key fits into the lock, of course, granting her access. Everything seems normal. Everything seems fine. Everything is… no, everything is not fine. Everything is not normal. As she peers further into the home, she notices that the house is in a state of disarray. It was like a tornado had swept through, furniture upturned, and walls laid bare. She flicks on a light switch. It doesn’t turn on. SHE FLICKS ON A LIGHTSWITCH. It continues to not turn on. Her heart starts to pound, threatening to jump out her throat. To flop onto the floor and hide away from everything in the world.

She pushes against walls that aren’t there, walls that feel like they’re closing in on her, as she rushes through the home. She slams open doors, looks under blankets, throws pillows across rooms. Nothing. Nobody is here. Nobody is there. She is well and truly alone.

Again…

The world starts to spin, like she was on a ride at the Darkmoon Faire she never agreed to get on. A ride she desperately wanted to get off of. The paladin settles down onto the floor, choking upon the very air she needed to survive, as her trembling hands pick up a small sphere sitting beside her. As her hands come into contact with it, the orb begins to glow a soft, warm light that washes over her.

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