Worse than Defeat

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Another busy week, yet it seems so little has been accomplished. Nymare convinced me back into the battlegrounds. It had been weeks, perhaps months even, since I loaned my magic to the Frostwolf and the Defilers. It has taken a while to learn those skills again, but I don't think I have lost them entirely. I'm simply not as sharp as I once was. Having specialized for a different focus certainly doesn't help matters, but entering the fray once more only proves that it is not what you can do alone that changes the tide of battle, but how well you can rely on those whom you fight alongside. Unfortunately.

There has been no further word from Malorii, Evanthe, or any other theoretically involved in the business with the missing Ghant. My own research reached an impasse, and I simply have no interest in furthering the venture at this point, provided Malorii continues to keep her silence.

The boy who had the audacity to study with Liadrin rather than take up studies with myself, Erona, Antheol, or Lady Dawnspire finally joined the Grim. I could have even brought him to Rommath or Bloodsworn if it would have convinced him, but no, he takes the bottled powers of that sunforsaken creature like most of those striking out on their own seem to do these days. Fools. But if he's going to be a fool, he can at least put himself to more use than simply failing to guard my front door and keep the table set properly.

There is so much fresh blood in the Grim coming through my hands recently. So much potential for miserable failure. But I hardly seem to have the energy to monitor them as closely as I should. There are so many...

That new society had their meeting today. In my usual stance as an observer and recorder of such things, I listened on occasion from the shadows on the short breaks between battles in the Valley. That rogue I met once, tried to take my coin, walks with the Grim now, she seemed very involved, which was odd. The entire thing was ludicrously inane. If I had honestly had nothing better to do, they would have bored me to tears and I'm sure my snoring would have given away my presence. As it was, if they noticed me, none made any mention while I was there. I would have been more impressed if they'd revealed anything worth relaying, but no, utter nonsense, fools' games. At least they'll enjoy themselves while the rest of us are putting our lives on the line combating those who would put an end to their amusements.

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Underestimate her? On the contrary, dear Baron. I know exactly what she is capable of, thus I am extricating myself from the situation.

And her capabilities are meaningless when juxtaposed with the simple fact that she was such an idiot as to apply magic where magic should never have been applied in her attempts to follow one of her masters into the unknown without even remotely understanding the consequences. I simply refuse to follow in the footsteps of idiots. I have made my attempts to understand the consequences. She herself exists as an example of those consequences. I have no desire whatsoever to end up like her. I have too many things to do on this side of the mirror. She has a mind of her own, yes, but it is combined with the mind of a weapon, and she often acts without logic. I do not underestimate her, but I am not going to play her fool. Not this time.

Women. So insistent on questioning, or mockery, or blatant attempts at garnering favor, or all at once. They need to learn to use their words less and their actions more. Nymare can do that when she wishes. Malorii was capable of it, as she was capable of many things. The others, I'm not so certain. Their arsenal may be only words. They'll find words useless against the Alliance, the Legion, the Scourge, the Dragonflights. Find yourselves other weapons, girls, or you are going to find yourselves reduced to haunting for your gossip.

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She is going the way of Malorii. Too many more nights of fire in Stormwind and trails of corpses at the Faire and...

But she is different. While Malorii could sit in that empty tavern and scheme and plot and laugh and question and muse on the nature of her world, Nymare does not have that patience. When the huntress is not hunting, she is awkward and discontent. So we razed our path, leaving death in our wake, wondering if Stormwind was actually empty of guardians, until finally meeting slaughter at the Slaughtered Lamb.

Women seem to make excellent decoys. Apparently, no one pays attention to a passing mage when there's a woman to be cut down. And I certainly have no hesitations about using this to my advantage.

She would not take the fortune teller's advice. Almost a shame. I would have found that vastly entertaining. But perhaps in the process she learned something of what amuses me.

Our relationship is far stranger than I had thought. No consideration, but... enjoyment? What? She seems to distance herself from the quality of ownership that I have always seen accompanying love. If there is no ownership, does it even have any meaning? If there is no ownership, am I really any different to her than he is? Given time, considering the Grim, and the nature of his work, I would not be surprised to find I have more access to her, more time to manipulate, more opportunities to turn her hand in the directions I prefer. And when we have our philosophical discussions, they are not at the calm waters of a dock surrounded by flashing schools of snapper, but amidst the fire of burning Alliance hovels in the valley.

Still, if she goes the way of Malorii, I will need to take those steps again. She has not yet. She does not hold the secrets that will end me. She has not pushed those matters that will break me. And in the parts of her life that she keeps her own, perhaps she will not want to, and I will not need to take those steps. Perhaps. But the steps are waiting to be taken. I can see them, each new idea leading to further possibilities of the destruction that is my enjoyment, and all I need is the willingness to light the torch. Not yet, but perhaps...

And the ghost has returned, she says. I am still somewhat suspicious, especially if her implications of games with the dragonflight are true. And she wants her favor returned. I cannot deny her. I can, but I have no wish to, and yet it seems another case where I play the detective in search of a name.

I wonder if she even realizes that six years ago nearly all the heirs were lost. You want me to find a missing heir? It's possible the missing heir does not even have a family to miss her. And without even a name to... Silvermoon will be no help without a name. Too many curiously similar things happen in that city every day. I can ask the questions, but Silvermoon will not hold the answers. Perhaps others will.

Of course, my question is why does the missing heir even matter to her?

I have had to punish the girl. She spoke very much out of turn. That is a... curiosity.

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I do not appreciate my own vulnerabilities. I am rash. In attempting to reverse everything that was wrong with us, I have a tendency to lose control

I really need to stop letting myself get in those situations in the first place. The walls are not strong enough to compensate for minor mental exhaustion. They will need reinforcements.

No more.

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He's an idiot. He's an idiot. He's an idiot.

I'm an idiot.


You're right, Nymare. All men are idiots. All women are liars.

Yes, I am paranoid. I do not like being made aware of the chinks in my armor. Whether or not it was my fault she pressed in that direction, ultimately the transgression is hers, and it will not go unpunished.

But she is a valuable ally, and she is Grim. I do not want to destroy her utterly. Perhaps she is also right that I am afraid that she cares. If I get the sense that someone cares, I push away, using violence or empty threats. And I must keep talking because the continual threatening is reassuring, maintains my sanity. Because I don't rely on others for my crutch, I have instead the comfort of my own voice. For now, empty threats, but not threats that I will harm her. No, not so direct. Threats that I will drive her to want me dead and all will be well in my world again. I prefer to collect enemies. Enemies keep me strong. Friends are chains to this flawed world of chaos.

I did not always have this armor. Before Garithos and Vashj, I didn't need it. That is the problem. Its strength has not been tested. Malorii tested it, but I didn't realize until too late how far her daggers had reached. Nymare has tested it, and I realized before I lost too much, but the arrow that found the edge because I did not see its approach still stings, and I will lash out. Her promises of intent to leave the lines uncrossed mean nothing in light of her knowing where the lines exist. Simply knowing the location of the lines requires her hurt.

Still, she doesn't need to be permanently silenced yet, as Malorii needs to be. And I do not want to break her allegiance with the Grim. I have cards in my hand. I will play them, and once they are on the table, this round ends. If her reaching too close to me ends with her burnt, I will be satisfied. If I fail, she will have proved the worthy opponent I expect she truly is, and perhaps she will at least be forced to acknowledge exactly how serious I am, if not competent enough to follow through on my threats. A game, yes, but the stakes of this game are my armor, and if reaffirming its strength means I push her over the edge, so be it.

And for all that paranoia, I do not fear the knife in my back at the auction house, ha! The Tauren may have saved my life. I will not guarantee it, as the action cannot be replayed, and the kaldorei took to her cowardice quite quickly once she realized her failure. But at least he no longer wears his colors. I would not want a debt to those who have wronged me so directly so often. I would rather have played the corpse than even so much as acknowledge the violet and gold. He will not find my thanks or appreciation, although he did find my acknowledgment of his usefulness, and he may find I consider him more carefully. I certainly did not ask his aid, but he offered it anyway. Perhaps next time I know there are knives waiting in the shadows, I'll find myself choosing the bank window nearest the shaman, hm?

Everyone was so concerned about me. How sweet! "Are you all right, mage?" "Are you hurt?" Hahaha! I almost wish the daggers had succeeded. They could ask those questions while I bled on the ground. "Are you all right, sir?" Yes, I'm perfectly fine. I had no previous use for my kidneys. I'm sure she'll find a better place for them. Morons.

And the Tauren prompts the revelation that Nymare has plans of her own? I must admit interest. It is tempting to accost Leoren, to learn what he thinks she may be plotting, to learn what he thinks of her weaknesses, but I doubt he would be anything but the stoic, patronizing hero I find so irritating. I doubt we would even be capable of carrying on a civil conversation without it degenerating into angry grunts. All men are idiots, yes?

I am not the only one who talks too much in our little conversations. Every time she frowns, she shows a little more of where her own concerns lie. Every time she deftly evades or blatantly ignores a question, I note it. When I express that it is difficult to break a link one cannot see, there is suddenly silence. I think she fears it will break, and not because of my games, but for some other reason. Perhaps I simply need to find the already tilting balance and give it a gentle nudge to topple it entirely. Or perhaps I can simply stand and watch, and find myself entertained, because these are the games I prefer play.

And I do enjoy my games on my terms. I have no respect for love. To watch it destroy itself will give me the genuine smile so many seem to think I lack entirely. In Lascivious' rumored affairs, for example, I find no need to break those links because she breaks them and reforges new ones herself without any prompting. When I played in that arena, that was how I played. There is a certain respect there. Although, there is always her brother, I suppose, but it seems that link has more strength to it than any of those I have attempted thus far. There will be many other attempts and failures before I think to look in that direction. And I think that may be one of those few instances where the link is actually a source of strength, where they feed off each other rather than relying on each other.

Malorii's change of tactics is concerning. She tells me to stop my attempts, the attempts that I have already stopped. She says she will take many forms, but she also says she will follow through on her silence? Hm. And to switch from willing self-sacrifice to save her precious Sabachthan to suddenly willing to sell his soul to have Nymare and Leoren suffer seems... suspicious. Perhaps something happened in that world of shadows to make her change her mind. Malorii did express desire to see Nymare broken before the rogue leapt into the abyss, but this news of the link to the Qiraji makes me... suspicious.

Whoever the figure actually is, perhaps she is playing me, and I have no desire to be the tool of insects. I already need to work under the Mandate and... others to advance myself. I do not want more masters. I may or may not make use of her bottled nightmares, especially since as she noted they may turn out to be my own. I may or may not deliver her message. I have used it with some subtlety so far, but whether I extend the full clarity of the lunatic to those involved, I have not yet decided.

For all the insanity of recent days, and dancing with the Pit Lord, I have had much to think about and my attention turns to the pieces I have in play yet again. The games provide an excellent distraction from the Prince, despite Cessily's inability to keep her silence on that subject.

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Everyone wanted my attention yesterday. I am starting to become rather sick of company.

Ninorra has a brother, a failure of a brother, little maggot with no eyes, no words, no brain. She didn't make any sense. If he's her brother, he's as much Legion as she is, which is too much. Sanctuary harbors enemies of the Horde, even if they change their colors for the duration of a conversation simply to provoke me.

And Bir needs to be put down with some permanence. I shouldn't humor him. I would prefer him corrected, but his complete inability to acknowledge reality is infuriating. Next time, I'll just leave. Perhaps he has a trick for evading death, but I have a trick for never having to stand around and listen to his lunatic rantings. Cessily has very astutely called me cold. All my warmth is sarcasm and fury. Otherwise, I prefer the ice.

Ashagga, I don't understand. It was good of her to offer an excuse, but I doubt introspection is going to get her what she wants. What does she want? I don't have answers to her questions. Although, I think I may have questions of my own for her. I have been avoiding them until after I have the opportunity to learn more on my own, but those opportunities have been exceedingly few. Of course, that could be because of the distractions.

Nymare offers to teach me how to win. She does not understand. I do not fight to win. I fight to fight. If in order to win, I have to pause and think, rather than rushing headlong at the thing that opposes me, it's just not likely to happen. I have been chastised before for pausing, for hesitation, for stepping back to observe in the heat of battle, so I removed those strategies. When I do pause, I have other things to think about than kaldorei and their cats.

Leoren thinks he can protect me, too? Aaahahahaha! Idiot. Not everyone needs protecting. Not everyone wants protecting. Just because you rescue a girl in a dress, doesn't mean she's yours to crush the life out of her with your desperate need to keep her from all harm. If you love something, let it go, hm? There's more truth to that statement than anyone seems to recognize. Anyone. Break the chains. Destroy the crutch. They're all idiots.

Lascivious talks nonsense on the hearthstone. Burn the blood elves. Talk to kaldorei. I think whatever she's been doing is causing whatever's left of her rotten brain to melt from her head. But if she wants to send her rogues after the Evershines, I don't care. She relies enough on me that any conflict between us would not be so subtle. I don't like her daggers roaming my city, looking for backs to stab, but I can't disagree that there are many backs there that require stabbing.

Infection. Sanctuary. Priests. What? I don't care. Why is she asking me to care? Stop asking me to care. I don't. Leave me alone.

Malorii's pet warlock dead in the street. Malethia gone quite obviously completely psychotic. The first is the type of chaos that keeps my heart beating and my blood flowing. The second is simple lunacy, annoying at best, mostly an incredibly stupid public display of just how degenerate she is. She seemed concerned that I would reveal her blatant indiscretion, but if I'm going to reveal that to anyone, it'll be the asylum keepers. I'm not beyond blackmail, even without intent to share. Just ask that troll with the arm injury, so desperate to pay me off when I had no intent whatsoever to go to anyone with his pathetic crisis. But I'm not sure that's a threat of any value here. I'm already suspicious of Malethia. She rather openly threatened me. And with Lascivious' slim hold on her sanity, I'm curious to whom I am supposed to bring up my concerns. The Inquisitor, perhaps? The lady warlock with a troubled expression of her own. Perhaps I'll just keep my aggravated silence.

Too many knights, and not a single one of them with a clue where their powers come from, and so many of them seeking to rip it from us. Remove the link between their order and mine, and they become Alliance traitors. They should know that. If I have to fight with any of them any more, I may just strip them all of their tabards and send them walking. Perhaps Lascivious is right. If the concept weren't so physically vile, there are days I would ask Sylvanas for her curse, just to distance myself from the overpopulation of mentally deficient light thieves.

And that group of girls, the hens squabbling over their seeds, Malethia, Cessily, Kiaransalius... Malethia, in addition to her psychosis, is insubordinate, likely as a symptom of the position she once held, and perhaps does not remember that she disgraced it by abandoning it. Cessily's true crime is being overly passionate about everything. I could almost stand her if she had any sense of how to work on her own without clutching desperately at whoever stands nearest. Kiaransalius I know nothing of, other than that she goads the others, I'm rather certain of it. And at the edges of the coop, Tsa, Zelaine, Nymare, Lascivious, clucking away. Someone simply needs to set up a room for all of them in Nazjatar, at the bottom of the maelstrom, so the rest of us can save our ears some pain and get back to the annihilation that is our business.

The Grim becomes irksome. I have no desires to manage these fools who take up paths other than that of magic, and when I'm tasked with herding them about, it becomes my actual task to find someone else to herd them.

I... My mind is... I need... clarity, and I'm not sure where to find it.

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By the sun, what is going on? Finding moments to myself to try and make money for expenses above and beyond running the estate has been next to impossible these past few days.

Nymare and her dance around the Terrace of Light. The crowds chased me back to the Seer's Library. I just... congregating is not something... no. Being with me is like being alone? What the hell does that even mean? It certainly doesn't refer to silence. Not anymore. She said I was right, although she refused to say about what.

That Magistrix hopeful from the inn contacted me again. An invitation for drinks? No. I don't... congregate.

The tower venture itself was the blazing success for the night, despite my... loss of control. Dependence on others is so... inefficient, despite its necessity.

Cessily wanted to talk to me? What was it she said I was? Reasonable? Perhaps I am, at times, although I'm not sure when she decided that label applied to me. And then she opens with asking directly if I'm trustworthy. Of course I'm not trustworthy. A truly deceptive person would have conceded to everything to learn her information, I suppose, but honesty holds its own brutality, and we want the girl to learn, yes? If she were not Grim, and had asked such a question, the answer might have been different, but I have reasons for insisting. I am not going to promise to withhold information when sharing it should benefit me. Oddly enough, most of those who have been desperate for my silence thus far have always had it from me without even knowing. Honesty may be a virtue, but what is it if you are honest about your dishonesty, hm?

But those who spend too much time around me understand better. I say much, but I never trust.

And in the end, she takes me at my word and tells me nothing. Ha! I will not pretend to have honor. I would not have shared what she said just to prove she should never have trusted me, but I will not pretend I am something other than I am. Perhaps I would have found my own reasons for secrecy; perhaps I wouldn't. And when you confess treason, do any of your words have value? They should judge me by my actions instead.

Was I trying to save them the pain of my betrayal? No. I was trying to teach them, and I was rather expertly avoiding sinking myself into yet another pit of insanity. Sabachthan's is quite difficult enough to avoid slipping into. Whatever's going on with Lascivious, I prefer to keep my distance.

The Grim is a tool, yes. A tool of great importance, but a tool nonetheless. Should I pretend it is something else? A family? Ha! If you've never had a family worth mentioning, you're not about to label something you actually find to be important as a family. I don't believe there's anything in the Mandate to say that I cannot use the Grim as a tool to further its own cause, especially as for the moment, its cause and mine are one and the same.

Kiaransalius is... close to this trouble with Lascivious, but she answered my questions with far more ease than any of those I have interrogated so far, and she proved to be less connected to Malethia's insubordinate ideals than I had assumed. If she was answering truthfully, anyway, hm.

Feleena Ran'deau. Feleena... Savior of the Sin'dorei? What the hell was that? Skafloc has a daughter? She does not seem so young, and her words play with "possible futures". I don't think the Bronze would be glad to know one such as she walks about our Silvermoon freely, if she speaks the truth, although perhaps she is one of their toys. I confess I know little of her supposed father, but everything I have heard so far points to him being at least as demented as Leoren.

And if I am ever a hero in the terms she laid out, that future is quite obviously not ours. I have no intention of heroics, and I will go out of my way to prove that. I do what I do for myself. Should my people benefit, that is inconsequential. My motives will never be those of a hero.

And Lascivious falls from above screaming, "Leave her alone!" What? Me? Leave who alone? Leave Kiaransalius alone? Leave Feleena alone? Considering the Mistress' state of disarray, perhaps she was in a world of her own, screaming to no one about nothing. I have to admit that is... concerning, but I also admit I want no part in repairing it, not until it is made my business.

Setrema actually deserves my time, being a mage, one of the Grim, and requiring teaching, but it seems I give it to everyone except her. There is only so much I can do to remedy that in these strange days, and more importantly, I need the time for myself.

Time and clarity. Who holds these things, and how do I go about making them my own?

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((Poor Feleena. In her world, Qabian is a hero. Or at least thats what I decided when I saw you last night. Now she's all let down! :P. Ok, no derailing, back to your journal!))

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(when you asked me who he was and if you could have his autograph i thought it was because you saw him up with the chieften band and thought he was a member.)

((Nah, the world Feleena comes from is totally backwards from our reality. As soon as I saw Qabian, I knew he had to be a hero in Feleena's future. haha))

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I knew it. I knew there was something odd. I didn't know it was this. I thought it was simple desire to be recognized as important the way she used to be.

Lunacy! Everywhere I turn, lunatics and maniacs around every corner.

Even if she were speaking the truth, it's not possible. Quel'dorei have never been such. Sin'dorei do not receive these gifts. We take them. What did she expect me to say? This is far beyond insubordination. Her words are treason at its essence, worse than anything I have ever done. In simply speaking them she betrays Silvermoon, she betrays the sin'dorei, she betrays the Magisters, she betrays the Horde, she betrays the Grim, and she betrays me. Perhaps she decided to let out this "secret" simply to spite me. She does not want me where I am? She knows there's no one else to take this. She knows I do not want it.

If she is what she says she is, she's not Grim. If she's not what she says she is, she needs to feel the repercussions for treachery, or a cure, or I don't know what. Pain.

And this. Was not. The time.

Something is going on with Lascivious. I don't know what it is, but what the Grim does not need now is added chaos.

And the shaman insinuating I'm her puppet is laughable. I took the reins I was given and did what I wanted. That lesson will never be forgotten. Ever. But the student, I fear...

I must speak with her, assess the damage.

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Nymare was right. The men are all hiding or complaining. The women are all crying. She got more words from me, broken ones, losing their meaning. Perhaps I am overly vulnerable to those who would listen to me. Many offer, but few ask the questions. I am not sure when if ever my chance to play my cards will come. And I don't know Malorii's nightmares. I doubt the felhounds would bother Nymare much.

I think I will take the hiding option. I was too... There was too much... Ideas can hatch while hiding, and I am at a loss for them just now. Let Malethia's insanity increase. The others will see it and see she needs... removal or correction. Kiaransalius, for all I... did not see, does not seem one to stand for it. Nor the others with the quieter voices.

I had planned to use my lesson as a warning to others, but at the rate things have... Perhaps I will wait until it needs to be taught again.

Avoidance for now, until the ideas hatch, or the maelstrom comes crashing down on me. I suspect the latter may come first.

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It's curious now, after the fact, wondering why I expected backlash and was instead given increased freedom. Although there is the point where apparently I had the freedom all along and hadn't recognized it to know to use it. I immediately made a point of using the new freedom. Time will tell if it pays off as I hope. I would be very much entertained to finally be given an opportunity to make good on my threats. All those who came through me knew I would not accept failure, but it was those who came before I was not certain about. Now I know they are mine to manipulate as I see fit, there will be no more unpunished failures while I am capable of keeping watch.

It's the strangeness surrounding Lascivious. She has become unpredictable. Previously, I would have known that meeting her expectations would be acceptable, but these days, I thought taking the situation into my own hands might cause her to turn on me. It did not. Yet. I am still... wary.

Nymare grew surprisingly upset over my distaste for holiday cheer, so much so that she had her fictional sister berate me in her stead? I don't know what that was about, but it was exceedingly amusing. Perhaps it was the alcohol. She very much lost her calm, which I have not seen her do outside of the presence of Leoren lately.

I believe she was around to know how much I thought of the last few holidays. This one is no different. My distaste is with how stupidly frivolous the entire business is. The fact that the frivolity accompanies standing around Shattrath nearly nude is simply part of the stupidity of the entire concept. I don't need to celebrate winter. It's a normal physical facet of the planet's turning. I don't need worthless gifts, and no one needs to hear from me just how much I care about them, especially since I don't.

Although, if she takes what I gave her, and actually ruins whatever pathetic reputation for sanity she might have, I'll take that as another win for me.

Thankfully, not every woman is a festive clown whore. There are those out there who actually consider their lives and actions seriously and quietly.

Though Nymare is unique just now. There are no others drawing words from me at such length. Unfortunately, what I respect in her, and I may even have told her so, is how much respect she has for herself. Even in the face of the great debilitating disease that is love, she is capable of telling it to leave her the hell alone. Not every woman can do that. Some would rather swoon and tumble into its arms, using it as a shield against everything, rather than tossing the shield aside and standing on their own. So when she strips down to nothing and gurgles like an infant, there is suddenly no respect on my part. Is that really such a shock?

Of course, my threats are empty, and only signals of how much I care for the flippant juvenile foolishness in the air at this time of year, but in her desire to behave like a child, she takes my insults so seriously all of the sudden? Strange. Must be the drink rotting her mind already, and so early. I fear there's little hope for her recovery before the thaw.

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Perhaps I do need to invest in a woman's dress. It seemed to work better for Nymare than my strategy of standing next to a stand of plucked plainstriders. Although, at least I didn't have to talk with any seriousness about kaldorei the whole night. Ha! I hope he gets flayed alive. He'd be far more entertaining without any flesh. Perhaps the cider wouldn't have worked, but there was enough strong alcohol around that she could have found something, I'm sure.

Animal magnetism. Something magnetism. It can't be the shoulders. And Yichimet just stood in front of me making faces. I thought he had a brain. I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that was in error. Tauren need to invest in chairs.

And Lascivious is threatening us again. Today, I can blame it on the alcohol. What could I blame it on last week? Perhaps if she can manage to hold onto her sanity a few more months, I can craft Khadmus for my replacement, since I'm sure she won't stand for any other race, and he seems an excellent little Forsaken so far.

Malethia managed to get away without seeing me tonight. I wonder how long she can avoid this. I said I didn't want to ruin her evening, but in truth I didn't want to ruin mine, especially after beginning it so well with the High Tinker's scorched, mangled corpse. I didn't want the inevitable resulting chaos for myself while attempting to observe. And in the end, I found chaos anyway, and too much of the festive Bir variety at that. Bah.

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I would prefer it would stop coming down to these things. I would prefer that they would just listen and act with logic.

Malethia pushed me once too often. I could not stand idly by any longer. There needed to be repercussions, real visible repercussions. No more empty threats, but action. Simply letting her disease fester weakened both me and the Grim. Two days. She didn't last two days after my ultimatum without giving more reasons to doubt. If she had at least lasted the week, I may have given more consideration, but two days... My mind was made up before we spoke. And Anaie's words in advance only reinforced my intent.

Despite my extremely strong opinions on Malethia's betrayal of myself and the magisters, it was not that, but her deliberate countering of the Grim itself that brought this on her. I was willing and still am willing to let her plead her case for breaking with the ways of our people, but I am not willing to hear that she disparages the Grim where her words can be heard.

She is right, though, about Lascivious. And if she can continue her mission from the outside, I will not stop her. If she cannot, she will have to work that much harder to appease me.

But I will not split the Grim on this. I will not be the weak point that causes the cracking, splintering, shattering of this thing I use, this thing I need. If Lascivious is that weakness, she must be purged by the Grim at large. I will not be the sin'dorei she says I am. I will not be the one who brought down this great thing. The Grim are stronger than Lascivious alone. We must prove that together, not as fragments impossibly loyal to outside causes. We must all be servants to the Mandate as she once was. Breaking her and breaking ourselves in the process will accomplish nothing.

Aest has not broken his ultimatum as Malethia did, but he is pushing me as well. Perhaps he needs a distraction, a new field in which to battle. Children need tasks to keep them occupied. When did I agree to become a parent? And a parent to blood knights at that.

Zelaine's recent change in attitude towards me makes me somewhat suspicious, but at least she hasn't yet given me reason to want to send her to her room to think about what she's done.

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What kind of a goal is silence? I know where to find silence. At the bottom of the Elrendar. Take a few large stones with you and you'll find it.

So it seems she wants the moments of Peace and I want the acts of Annihilation. The difference is she is willing to use the Annihilation to get her Peace, even for whatever brief instants it exists like epiphany, while I have no use for the Peace whatsoever. For me, Peace is a front, a facade, a feeble pretense when my purpose is to raise hell, then suffer defeat only to raise more hell. She of anyone should realize that I do not fight to win.

I would not be surprised to learn Sylvanas and Nymare have similar goals.

But this inherent difference between us is somehow comforting; to know that we are not as similar as we occasionally seem to be, trading insults, chasing down kaldorei; to know that she fills a body with arrows to know the calm after it hits the ground, while I set the same on fire for the energy of that very act that gives me reason to exist. She is probably better for the Grim than I am, and that is why I do most of what I do relative to her.

Except the threats. Those are my own.

I am always answering the questions. Perhaps I should take to asking them more often. I am usually content to listen, to her voice and my own, rather than bothering to draw out the thoughts of others. An effect of my narcissism on my observations, I suppose.

There were flashes of memory last night. Malorii and I sat on those same rocks in what seems like another lifetime now, waiting for her mythical beast that would attack Theramore. When I was there with her, it never came. But with Nymare, the beast not only arrived, but destroyed all the remaining cannoneers and so we took it down ourselves. There were fireworks in the moments before the mighty cavalry of one arrived and made us suffer for our good deed and the empty inn.

It was not the Theramore we remembered under the brothers.

I have known peace. As an apprentice, I was not trained for war. Even on the front lines in Dalaran with the Prince, I was not a soldier. I was an extra pair of hands, an extra mind to be used where needed, a resource, not a weapon. It was with the betrayal there that I abandoned calm and control, when we were saved by those who should have been our enemies. When your enemies are your friends and your friends are your enemies, I am the result. I am with the Grim because they give me what I want. Chaos. Not peace. And if they should meet their goal...

They will never meet their goal, and as long as they and I exist together, they will be my force for chaos unleashed against those who have given me reason to hate.

Hate is powerful. Hate can be eternal. Hate can be manipulated.

And hate can be created.

Malethia went so far as to mention the Lich King. She is right that his influence is not something that can simply be unquestioningly accepted, but the chaos he can bring, the sheer violence of it... We can wait for the right moment to strike our vengeance for the Sunwell, and in the meantime bathe in the beauty of the flames, indulge in our newly constructed vampiric nature, and slaughter all those who stand in our way.

If what the delusional whore says is true, Sylvanas is not likely to be happy to learn of Lascivious' current leanings. Perhaps therein lies the cure for her condition, hm?

They are all traitors. Garithos and Dar'khan. Kael'thas and Kil'jaeden. Kel'thuzad and Arthas. Lascivious and Malethia. Why should I be any different?

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I do not understand.

I do not understand appreciation.

I expect to be reviled. I take measures to ensure I stay that way. I advise the new ones to take the insults in stride.

I prefer my relationship with Malethia and Lascivious, heavy with suspicion and grudgingly miserable acknowledgment.

Malorii, for all the long hours and endless words, at least trusted me as much as I trusted her, which is to say not at all, unless she lied.

I would prefer if they were rotten.

I would prefer if the other one falls for the blood knight and hates me. That is the way things are expected to be. That is the way things should be.

The trade, the exchange -- I was not content with her knowing more than I did, but my knowing more solves nothing, at least if the trades remain evenly balanced, nothing of value for nothing of value.

Yes, there are things beyond destruction that I enjoy, but enjoyment is not my goal. I take them as I find them, but I rarely seek them. The path is towards the goal, not contentment. Do you find moments of silence while dancing around drunk in your undergarments?

For the Grim. I do these things for the Grim. And as such, I do them for myself. The Grim are my armor. The Grim. Not...

I do not appreciate being appreciated. Restrain yourself from thanking me. If I benefit you, take the benefit and return to your business without meaningless, irritating words. I do nothing for your sake. Everything I do is for one person. Me.

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I hate this holiday. I hate it. It makes people do idiotic nonsensical things. Including myself.

I have been keeping myself busy with historical research, the history of the Horde as it formed on Draenor, the history of what we know of the Well of Eternity, anything to keep me from the present.

That priest asked me with which I would stand, the Mandate or the Mistress. I said neither. He assumed I meant both. Fool.

Kiaransalius is rather overtly trying to gain my favor. I suppose that means she learned her lesson well, perhaps too well. But I'm certainly not above using her, especially while my research keeps me out of hearing.

I broached the subject of Ceryna with Abric as Ashagga asked. I did so in a letter. Rather than respond in kind, he told me to find him. I have... little desire to have that conversation. Perhaps after this insanity they call the Veil has thoroughly passed.

Setrema... I'm not sure all the girls are as correct about her as they assume. I know what she is. I instructed her to hide it. She has reason to want to stay in my good graces, seeing where I stand with her, but she does not understand me.

I have told her why I fight and how perfection is a goal, but not one that can be achieved, or life itself ceases to be on that pedestal where perfection is reached. I have not told her why I make the lives of others around me hellish, even those who presume to be my allies. Perhaps we need to have a discussion on that subject before she thinks I might appreciate her appreciation.

She is a good student. Perhaps one of the best. She says all the right things, and concedes quickly when informed that she is wrong, unlike some. I can appreciate those who focus on their studies. However, her world is a social one. Mine is not. It is that society that sends me to my research.

And mother is dead. All the more reason to stay out of the light of the Grim's war machine while I have the opportunity.

No, I never cared for her. I never even knew who she was under that shell of using me to get what she wanted in life but never had the power to acquire for herself. I'm sure she did what she believed was best for herself, and therefore for me. My narcissism was a gift from them, my parents. But as a result, I never knew them, and never cared to. Any tears shed for my separation from them as a child dried so many decades ago they've long since fallen from my memory.

However, she was a link to the past, the past before all hell broke loose on my world, where I knew something akin to true contentment, where research was all that was asked of me. I was a student, and the simple act of studying was all I wanted. There were no discussions with blood knights. There were no humans throwing the Prince in prison for acting as a savior. There were no Forsaken and Sylvanas was Ranger-General.

With mother gone, I am truly alone. This never bothered me before, and it isn't like I considered us a family, but there were times I acted with her welfare in mind, contrary to what I've said aloud. The saga ends here, then. We reconstructed our place in the hierarchy just as Silvermoon was reconstructed, but that place will only last as long as I live.

There is no household to bear the name my parents so wished to return to its glory days. Now there is only me. Fair enough. I intend to live forever, to fight forever, to burn forever, to kill forever. Mages have long had access to means of extending their years.

And their goal was never mine. And now that both of them are dead, there is no one left to care should we fade into obscurity as seemed to be our destiny. Perhaps it is time I acquired a hidden tower and fully sundered my connection to anything resembling family. Somewhere mysterious and foreboding, perhaps a dark valley in Winterspring, if there are any free of the blue, where I can continue my... research.

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I hadn't planned to spend the night in romantic Redridge.

Haha! So full of murlocs, orcs, and gnomes with hammers, it's a surprise there's any place there with a measure of quiet, but there is. Of course, last time I was there, I left corpses on that cliff.

However, I was not suffering from the mental exhaustion I have at other times when Nymare decided to ask her questions. I taunted her, gave her enough hints to bring thoughts to her mind, to bring questions to the fore, and then turned them back on her the way I should have done the days she pushed me.

She said she hasn't figured that out about me yet. Oh, but she has. I've told her directly. She just doesn't draw lines well. Perhaps she'll make the connections in time, but that might require long hours of thinking on me. Hahaha!

It's odd to think that there are those who consider me too much. Setrema definitely at this point. I would only need to offer, and she would fall. Kiaransalius perhaps, but she is one of those with an overabundance of feeling, so it would only be a turn to me in conjunction with turns to others. Bir, if I suddenly took to treating him well, I could turn, but not permanently. He seems to have an insect's mind, always seeking the next moment without dwelling on the last. The Mistress, I'm not so certain, but if the right situation were concocted, she might use unconventional methods that would appear to be turning to me. Ninorra even, despite what I've done, if I suddenly showed her I'd had some sort of change of heart, if I gave the situation some effort, I wouldn't be surprised if I could drastically change her thoughts. She's shown me enough of her weaknesses. Nymare I could turn to me, I'm sure. It would not be easy. It would take a combination of revealing just enough vulnerability and probably some false morality so as not to interfere with violence. She already tells me when she feels the need for destruction. Ashagga...

I could make those connections if I wanted to, every one of them a shackle to a world by which I refused to be trapped.

The night made me miss Malorii. I know I could never have turned her. She did not have that weakness. She already thought of me just enough. I also know she is the only one thus far who truly allowed me to be myself. Her existence as a weapon was sheer strength, but she turned out to be just another slave to others in a different way. If she could ever have freed herself, she could have been a goddess. She also led. I am not a leader. It is difficult to observe and lead at the same time. Perhaps that is why there is this frustration where I am now. And I do not enjoy regret, so nostalgia is not useful. The similarities, the wanton abandonment of dignity, were awkward to say the least.

So to avoid crowds at parties, Setrema says I should apply more warmth? She was not able to elaborate on what she meant by that. And Nymare says I should be less interesting. To be cruel and insulting only results in making thoughts of others turn to me. Hmm. Actually, the best way to do it would be a better place to hide, I think, to see and not be seen. You cannot draw a crowd if no one knows you're there. I am no rogue, but I know there must be ways I haven't thought of yet. Perhaps I will have another opportunity to make the test.

Back to my research. I'm not yet ready for a new dawn.

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