Conscience Sanguine

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So much flesh.

I finally discovered exactly what to do to it to make it so wonderfully hot and irresistible that you cannot help but want to taste it. I have a real talent for it, I think. Mother might actually be proud.

I do not think I will tell anyone that I actually know how to cook. Not yet. It will make his warp burgers taste even better if I don't! HA!

And maybe I'll finally be able to tell if he's been putting anything in them... hmm.

I was pulled from the front line to help burn down the Prince in his tower. I was not terribly happy about that. He fell to us easily enough, but I missed out on the trip to Darnassus. I have been wanting to go there, but it is not as much fun alone.

In a way, there is a small bright side... those druids never stay out for too long. I am sure Staghelm is too valuable for them to lose to the Nether so quickly. And I am more interested in the more scenic areas, anyway.

I should plan a trip.

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The Lunar Festival

And, soon, "love" will be in the air, or some emotion poorly dressed up like it. I was never allowed into the city during festival times without Mother or Father and the Family - especially after the Sunwell. Last year was, perhaps, the first year in five that the city bothered celebrating anything and I only saw it because I was running away. Hmm.

I remember almost plowing over some new Knight in training just outside the entrance to one of the Inns. I will never forget the look on his face. I was holding a new bottle of perfume that the innkeeper Jovia had very... shyly... given to me, and he was holding a lovely black dress -- which he immediately stuffed into my hands.

Apparently, one of the very quiet, very stoic guardians of the city had gifted it to him...

And Silvermoon has been the same ever since.

The Lunar Festival has been interesting, though, in its own way. Is there really so much power in the moon and it's light? What is moonlight except a reflection -- a bending of the light of the Sun?

So, the moon - the symbol of Elune and Peace and all that is Pure - may as well be a giant Sin'Dorei in the sky, stealing its light from somewhere else. I do wish they would speak more of the history involved. "An Ancient Evil" is more than just Omen. Omen is a product... a remnant... of the Legion's conquest. Finding the Elders and getting them to talk has not been terribly enlightening, either. They thank me for bothering to find them, hand me a coin, and then immediately shut up. There is probably a reason our people do not seem to celebrate the Festival as readily as the rest of Azeroth.

It did give me reason to go to Darnassus, though. Dolanaar. It is very pretty on Teldrassil. It is even prettier without Kal'Dorei. I would have liked to stay longer, to see more, but something was missing. I will go back another time.

Those whore sentinels use nets. WE don't use nets. What the hell? All our guards seem to have, apparently, are lovely black dresses to hand out to the more shapely males of our race.

I may avoid the city this year.

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It feels like it is happening again. The world is taking a deep breath and shaking things off. And I participate in it, but I am not in it.

I hate being trapped. How does it happen? And the only place I ever feel freedom anymore is where I am denying it, denying life, to others. Without him, it is becoming easier to not care. It is becoming easier to do horrible things. But then I had the strangest revelation...

I spent most of the day before with Kovan. I have never really bothered to get to know him. He's always been so quiet, so distant. I ran into Kovan purely on accident in Orgrimmar. Coins. Elders. I thought Kiara and I had found them all but no. He and I were hunting for the same thing and I did not feel like being alone, so we traveled together.

Like the whore, he wouldn't call me by my name. Said it was too personal and too formal all at once. I informed him Lady Nymare, Baroness, and m'lady were not me, though. I do not respond well to ideals of me. "Princess" was ridiculous and mocking enough, though. I accepted that one.

He was charming. Easy to talk to. Fun.

I told him I was not surprised about some things. Perhaps I wasn't. Somehow, nothing involving Bir can surprise me, because I think I expect it to be unusual. But I was surprised about him and Alphaeus when I found out the night before. I was surprised at his willingness to join in on the thrill of the kill. Before I knew it, we were assaulting towns right infront of the elders we sought.

And for as stupid as I felt afterwards, I was surprised to learn he likes women. He can never love one, he said, but he can "enjoy" them. He knew about Leoren, asked what I did for entertainment now. I wanted to smack him. He asked me if I were seeing anyone, had any lovers, any trifles.

I knew what he wanted.

But I do not want to be seen.

I do not want a lover.

I do not trifle.

I realized why. It is because I am still Leoren's. There were very few parts of me that I kept from him. Everything else was his. It still is - my heart, my body... everything that was good about me.

Kovan suggested I am punishing myself for something. I was going to object but then I was thrown from my talbuk. Off of bridge. In Azshara. I would have laughed if I could have. The fall was damned long enough. When he found me, he looked me over carefully and told me not to do that again. He said it was easier to see me fall in battle. I think he thought it was intentional.

When I was all put back together and we'd had our fill of Elders, he offered to be my relatively safe pillow. I went to Orgrimmar instead. Maybe I am punishing myself, but I am punishing everything else, too.

The Grim has been running with more purpose. Things have been more collected since Lascivious stepped down, more sanity now rules over the pit of the insane. Malebrignon informed me this morning that Muatah has failed in his duties and I should look to Grogkor, for now, if I have any questions on how to be a "hunter". It is a little daunting being the only Ranger in a group of the Horde's hunters. Only Ranger. Only Sin'Dorei. Only female. Well, the only active one. There might be more of us hiding in a corner somewhere. What I lack in height, weight, and tusked or horned protrusions, though, I make up for in sheer destruction - enough that Grogkor doesn't hate me. Good to know. I wonder if that would change if I sought Muatah's old position.

And though they're more infrequent, my evenings with Qabian seem to make up for the time lost by covering more areas. I am exhausted. Teldrassil was interesting. Unleashing snakes on the unexpecting was... entertaining.

I'm not sure who's idea it was originally, but there was something extremely satisfying about piling corpses in the moonwells. Qabian standing there in the mystical water like a priest ready to baptize his flock... Dolanaar was the most rewarding. Some we lured in, others came on their own to try to stop the desecration. They all ended up purified by fire while we stood up to our knees in the color of their sins.

Inevitably, he decided to fish and I decided to swim. No more screams were coming from the town. It was peaceful.

Apparently, he does not intend to drown me. It would be easy. He has a means of staying underwater and I like to swim. He could just hold me down and then tell the Grim I was pulled away by an undertow. But no. He took me to Gnomeregan to find something to keep me from having to breathe.

We made a few stops along the way. Darkshire. Stormwind. Ironforge. All of Dun Morogh... And when all we could find in Gnomeregan were shoes, we went to Menethil. Theramore. Though, Theramore was disappointingly short.

But something was missing - and not that damned ball! Looks like he still has it. I don't. Maybe one of the troggs took it. It smells as bad as one.

In between everything else, though, it was quiet. I do not like quiet. Quiet makes me restless.

And so I am exhausted, and restless, and I am out of things to punish. What now?

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I do not think Aquizit truly understood me or my point. I really do not expect him to. I do think it was all very funny, though - something that involves Bir, Aquizit, and Malorii? A perfect trifecta. Aquizit perhaps should not act on Bir's behalf. Sure, Qabian might love to see Bir die in a fire, but that's typical. Bir should already have known this. Why would he be truly nervous of Qabian now, regardless of who or what killed Malorii? Why would Aquizit have to act on his behalf?

But that is love, isn't it? That is what he was trying to teach me. Show me? I get to watch it now as it comes to his doorstep demanding things, and maybe feel a little sorry for him.

Oh but I do hope Aquizit sends Bir to Evanthe. I am sure he might find some solace in the truth, and I am sure she will just love the topic being brought up again.

As for the other thing... I am positive Aquizit has the wrong idea. I wonder just what everyone else thinks. Qabian said people already talk. Lately, though? Malethia and Kiara mentioned something. Skafloc. No one else, and not in a while. Aquizit thought better of it, perhaps, but I knew what was considering just from what he said. Ah well. Again, I do not expect him or anyone to understand. I have a game to finish and I do not want anyone messing with my pieces, even if things do seem to be at a very awkward stalemate.

I wonder if the part of me that knew how to play was lost with the rest.

Diomades. I'd tried to keep my respect for him. Despite his complaining, I have never demeaned his efforts as he demeaned mine last night.

He could have just spat on me, really. Spit is easier to wash off.

There is an insanely huge difference between being detained in Shattrath while organizing a large force so that we cannot just drop everything and run to Thrallmar's rescue, and just standing in the Royal Exchange chatting while blood is being spilled within walking distance.

His excuse disgusted me.

Really. How many lives have to be lost so I, too, can stand around in all my self-righteous glory and do nothing? If that is what war is to him, he can damn well keep his cow mouth shut the next time he feels The Grim are not doing enough to meet his hypocritical standards.

Mercy help the Bulwark, for I will not anymore, except, perhaps, to know where to find his broken carcass and gather some nice cuts of meat. I'd love to know what such hypocrisy tastes like in a nice marinade.

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The picnic basket is so stupidly ridiculous, I cannot help but use it. Really. Pink and white. Little hearts patched on.

But oh the ruffles. The ruffles get me each time.

I can hardly wait to plant that umbrella into a pile of corpses on the dock and just enjoy the sunset. Things like that are important, right? I'm sure if any of my picnic companions could speak from beyond the Nether, they'd agree that one should always take time to savor the small things, because you never know when it will be the last time you get to.


Setrema and Rosalynd were wondering where my dress was. Like Aest needed one more doll in a gown fluttering around his side.

The funny thing is, I was wondering where their dresses were, too.

Well, the first day is over. Only Zelaine really made me regret being in any of the major cities. If not for her brother, she'd marry me? I tried to not care. Vultures are still vultures, even if they're doused in colognes and candy hearts.

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Ever since Gnomeregan and that meeting, I keep running into Henri Fynne

He even managed to have a letter smuggled to me, which I still have not responded to. But, I should know better - no one sees someone like him unless he wants to be seen and I really should be asking myself how long he'd been lurking in my shadow before deciding to reveal himself. I suppose I should not be surprised that this happens most often when Aeacus is not around.

He must be wondering why I haven't answered his letter, which I am sure he went through some small bit of gold to send, but what do I say? Not much was accomplished in Booty Bay. None of my questions were really answered, and who knows what the Cartel told him that I said.

Thalarios, if I remember his name correctly, is a strange strange human. If he was acting as translator, for all I know he told Henri that I suggest he put on a revealing gown and dance like no one's watching.

What do I say to a man who, if that whore warlock gets her way, will rip me to shreds at her whim? One thing I did take away from the meeting is that Alyiane is "in check". But I am not an idiot. He still blushes and shies away if I look him in the eye, and I was more than aware of his company in Booty Bay - a Kal'Dorei druid, and another damned warlock. Trade in one mistress for another, then. Or maybe even me?

Does he even remember Nagrand?

I do. Clearly.

As clearly as I remember Eversong and being taken.

I have not forgotten what he did... what he risked... to make it possible for Leoren to carry me out of that cave, and it is for that reason alone, perhaps, that I do not lash out at him every time I see him. Contrary to what some might believe, I do actually appreciate being alive. But he owed me. HE is the one who got me there to begin with. When I left that place, we should have been even, but Jilliane got her message anyway - an act that cost way more than it should have. If I ever have a Kal'Dorei's mouth on me again...

And what has happened to Leoren --

We are more than even.

But what is a girl to do? Knives make very persuasive instruments for conversation, and this matter should be resolved before any more Grim witness it. Who knows what Setrema earned with her little display last night in the bank. If she has found someone else to live for now, as I suspect she has, she may want to be more conscious of self preservation until she knows what she is dealing with.

I suppose a response is in order... at least until I can think of something else.


<below little notes are randomly scribbled along with a cartoonish drawing of Swamplord Musel'ek>


Druids can be tamed?


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He is not my favorite "plaything".

Infact, everything has watered down to indifference, unless I overlooked something. I really have no reason to change that. Do I? I risk losing, if I do. I obviously haven't rubbed this holiday in his face enough. With his paranoia, I am almost afraid to see the results if I did. Where there used to be a voice like my conscience there is now only a smirk and a helping hand. Is the price for knowing too much to never know anything again? Or is he still recovering from his failures?

I prefer passion to indifference, and indifference to nothing. And the only person I have wanted to smack lately is Kovan.

But I do not toy with the playthings of others.

I am so painfully bored.

My fel teachers inform me they have nothing left to give me. My knowledge, my power, if increased, will be done only through self discovery. So, I am at an impasse. I wanted to master control, and I have done that.


I swore to myself I would never be like them. But I am, really, so painfully bored.

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Would she have reacted well if anyone had been accusing her of having alliance as friends, alliance pets, and keeping strange company? Given her thirst for blood's ability to override any successful tactics against an even number of alliance, something that never would have happened under the Ghants, I would guess she is not the type to take some slander lightly, either.

She knows nothing of the company I keep, and her ignorance was beyond insulting.

And him. Imply it about any any other alliance lost cause but him. No, I do not want to talk about him, what happened. Call me evasive all you like, make your insinuations, but until you have where I have been --


No, I do not want to talk about it. Of course I do not want to explain how I know this man or why he makes the mistake of treating me how he does.

There were rumors that Fynne was dead. If hunting The Grim's warlocks is how he chooses to live his second life, he will soon realize he was better off remaining a rumor -- that is, if anyone can be found who is capable of executing such a course of action. Perhaps I am being too harsh on her. Having fought the battles I have with the Ghants, or even my gladiator games with Anaie and Vilerune, I am simply not used to such failure by a group of people at such even odds.

I missed him yesterday, as I miss him today - with all my heart. I gave my candy ones away, though.

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Today was... better. I know what I must do and it will be done.

I did not want to use Alyiane's tricks - for my own sake. Fynne is right, there should not be thousands of her running around. Somehow, I doubt it will ever come to that. In all of creation, I have only met she who could do such things. There are so few. It will continue to be so. Thousands or not, though, I do not wish to be her.

But a gaze reaches further than an arrow, the scent of my blood more critical than a concussive shot. I loved and hated that it worked so well.


should not have done what he did. Let him kiss me, fine. Apparently, I need it. I look lonely? But he made me feel guilty. He made me wish for freedom. He made me painfully aware of weakness and other things I do not care to think about. Some things even you will never know, little book.

I hate that I felt at all guilty. It is not my fault he wants what he cannot have.

But after what had happened to him and Alphaeus...

I should have left before I did something stupid. He should not have made me remember. He should not have made me feel guilty. He should not have made me think.

I should have given him the smack he was hoping to get.


Why do men want me to hurt them?

If Qabian took this opportunity to ruin me, to destroy for me the only thing I have left, he might just get his masochistic little wish. He hasn't, though. Little things, here and there... to sting, to provoke... but nothing else. Perhaps, since the game began, he's developed more of a sense of self-preservation.

Or, perhaps, he just does not care.

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Some things seem clearer... Closer? ...now that I've slept. For the most part, it has not really helped since, judging by that first sentence, it would seem I remain lost in the pattern of thought I let myself get wrapped up in.

It is a lot like swimming all day. Even long after you're out of the water, the moment you lay down and close your eyes, your body still feels like it is being carried by the waves.

The path started out as clear as it always does, I was in control, and then I got carried out to sea. And even all these hours later, my thoughts still feel like they're there, moving against the current of his insanity.

What happened? Even if he says it wasn't, it seemed sudden. Sudden enough. We were talking, we were destroying attackers. He laughed at me. I laughed at him. Normal. And then things slowly began to come undone. Or maybe I did not notice it sooner? He stopped making sense. I didn't expect when I asked if he was all right for him to tell me he wasn't. I didn't expect him to keep answering me.

And, damn it all, I should NOT have followed him! All that time spent dealing with Fynne and the Cartel in the World's End -- not just MY time, but the Inquisitor's as well -- in trying in vain to build something... something so small... and even though she did not tell me what I should or should not be doing to cultivate this outside of seedy taverns and letters I still have not sent, I KNEW BETTER than to find my beloved Silence anywhere other than in defense of a Horde town. I knew it... I knew if I went and did what I wanted to do, Fynne would find me and all that time would have been wasted because I could not control myself.

He found us.

I didn't do it... I did not start it... I barely raised my bow to help when I followed Qabian into Forest Song and watched him destroy everything. Fynne and his pet warlock found us on the bridge to Azshara. Was he tracking me or was he coming to Forest Song's aid? It doesn't matter.

Qabian managed to get away, but I couldn't... not without knowing...

I'm not sure if Fynne understood I was trying to tell him I did it, that I attacked Forest Song. I hate lying, even to him. I prefer the truth to work for me... it hurts more...

He wouldn't kill me. I wanted him to judge me like every other Grim. I should not have to attack him to force his hand. From what he said in the tavern, surely doing what I did should have been enough to earn judgement, retribution? To be hunted relentlessly. I know why he would not cut me himself, perhaps, but his pet warlock and that cat I felt prolwing around could have doled out the punishment. I was not treated the same as the other warlocks. I should have been.

Does this mean I have more to work with, or have I destroyed everything? I suppose I will find out soon enough. But I don't want to. This should not even be my problem.

That has so much to do with why I was even there to begin with - with Qabian on his journey to being closer to her. Would I ever have found those places on my own? They were beautiful.

He asked me why I was there. I did not tell him everything, but I did not lie, either... what it left him believing about me, though, was a lie. But he said it best - despite how that shrine should not be there, no one else was there. And that is exactly what I wanted.

I was hiding. I was escaping. Is it running away if you are with someone else? Is it hiding if I am with him? I once told him that being with him was like being alone. Somehow, it all feels like mine and mine alone, even if he is right there. I don't think he expects me to share it with him, to be apart of it with me, to take from it what he does. And then he showed me the dragons... two dead dragons. He thought it would interest me, and it did. Neither of us knew why they were there, or what happened. I'd like to find out. He asked why it bothered me. I did not tell him everything, but I did not lie either...

From their skulls, and the color of the undead whelps that plagued the place, they were probably Greens anyway.

He will not find the power he is looking for. He won't find her. Can he? He will die, first. I shouldn't care. If someone kills him before I do, even himself, then he can't win his game. But when I told him I did not want to kill him, he told me it meant that he failed me?

That, I still do not understand. That, or preferring to listen to what he thinks are lies to listening to nothing at all.

I understand how being "unique is a detriment", though, in his eyes. He is right, if I were a sheep, it would be easier. For me. For him, even. But if I were a sheep, I doubt things would ever have gotten to the point where he felt he would need to silence me.

And, I understand why he has lost his mind, I think. Even if he has failed at everything, surely nothing can be worse than murdering your friend and then not being able to bring yourself to silence me or even break a fool who's failed you almost as badly as you have failed yourself.

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Shouldn't it be easier to silence me if he's completely lost his mind?

I am still waiting to see if this is lasting, or just a slip. Everything he has ever said -- this should not be happening to him. We fail. We slip. We feel weak, even when we are not. Don't we? What he wants to be is not what he is, not yet. What he wants to do, he cannot. Not yet. Surely he could deal with that. Couldn't he? Why does it matter so much right now? Is it because he missed his chance? He missed it, or he let it go? He said something about sanity and The Grim. Fine, maybe it is all just coincidence. Another coincidence, then, and not ME. He was not exactly stable to begin with, but he gave the illusion that he had everything in it's place. He had it right, mostly. Everything he has ever said -- he should have been safe.

I do not want to add him to the list. That would be failing me. It really shouldn't matter. I should not have had expectations of him, and if he loses his mind and then his life as a result, it should not be my problem. I have Leoren to live with, Qabian has the Elrendar - but it is not the same. I am allowed to hurt, he is not. I don't remember if he answered me...

There are so many things I could say - does he know that? So many other things I could ask. I could make this so much worse.

There are so many things I could do to make it easier for him, too, but they would be lies. I think. Would I rather he regain his purpose by giving him reason to do what he must and making sure that it is not his fault that he can't or just finish him off?

What do I want?

No. I will not do that to him again.

Fynne, though... Fynne has earned what is coming to him, if I could just stop and concentrate on what I need to do. If betrayal is the worst he suffers at my hands, he will take Jilliane, run far away, and thank the stars every night that he still has her and his freedom.

That is the beauty of knowing too much.

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Why am I there and no one else?

Why am I different??

Would I be there without him?

Why am I there?

Would others be there if they knew? Has he let his insanity slip elsewhere? If others came, would it be for him? No one cares about him, do they? Would they care if they knew he's becoming nothing more than another tower out there? Everyone hates him. He makes sure of that. Would he send them away or let them swim through his insanity like I do?

It's all the same. Why does he keep asking? Curiosity? Reassurance? To keep it from being silent? Or to keep me searching for another answer... until I get lost... And that's dangerously close to happening. I said things I shouldn't have. Did I think they would make a difference? No. But I was tired of talking in circles. I didn't go there to make things harder or easier on him. I wanted to be there. I like it there.

And then it bothered me that he just stood there on that rock. I wanted to make him move.

And now there is no game, is there? He does not want me to kill him. He does not want to kill me. He wants me to hate him, like everyone else. I do not want to. Doesn't he see why? He lets me stay there. He could tell me to go away, even if I wouldn't, but he won't. He could tell me to shut up, even if I wouldn't, but he doesn't. He could be mean, even if I'd laugh at him, but he's not. He could make me hate him.

Should I finish him off? Is it possible? Help break him entirely to keep him, to make him do things instead of stand on a rock? Could I? I haven't. I don't want to. I haven't kept anyone who's gone insane. I would rather keep the things I value about him, anyway.

If there's no game, he's taken away a reason...

And this suddenly feels very backwards. Is that why my answers changed?

I could take it out on Cessily. She left herself open. She thinks so much of me? I am what she thinks a Sin'Dorei woman should be, and next to me she feels like a girl? I... had no idea what to say to that. She was telling me these things and then I saw her and I left. I don't want to feel the pressure to be something I'm not. Not yet. I'll end up on a rock.

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It is funny how these things happen.

He asked me what I knew about Grim Batol. Beyond the Dragons, I know almost nothing about it. Nekros. The Demon Soul. Alexstrasza. Deathwing. Korialstrasz. History turned into bedtime stories. He didn't seem to think they were still alive.

We went to look. It is guarded by Red dragonspawn that are very much alive.

He wanted to know why they attacked. The answer seemed simple enough - they attacked because that is what guards do to those who should not be there.

I couldn't imagine such a place having been the seat of such great and horrible power. It is so green. So quiet. Empty. So much water... It did feel oppressive. Of course I thought his rock was better. What are they guarding, though?

I wanted to know more. I wanted to go inside the fortress. I wanted to hear what he had to say. He knew why the dragons died...

And then for the second time tonight, the warlock and her pet rogue appeared.

That was no more their place than it was ours. We were harming nothing. They were serving no great justice. Qabian isn't a warlock. Why... HOW did they find us? We left no trail. None. It would have ended before the Wetlands and then we could have been anywhere - he IS a mage, afterall. Regardless, we entered in a less than conventional way. There was no one and nothing that way. He did not even burn the dragons to leave a trail to the fortress. So how?

It doesn't matter.

Three times in as many days is too many. I can only assume I am the one being hunted, in that case. So, I will remove myself. It is bad enough that he has lost his mind, but to invite death as well?

I left him in Shattrath.

What if they find you anyway, Qabian? Is that what you said?

I don't know. Maybe she will save you.

This will be like silence.

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I got here as quickly as I could.

I did not change clothes. I brought nothing. I did not think, I just went. I could hear them downstairs when I wandered in from the wyvern roost - Cartel, mostly women, and the unmistakable voice of Thalarios among them. Why, of all places, did it have to be here? I hate Booty Bay almost as much as Shattrath. There was such a crowd around him, I could barely see him, and I almost didn't come in here, but I couldn't leave -- not once I saw him, not once they saw me. Other than Videlle and Thalarios, they were all strangers. I couldn't leave him like that... I couldn't force myself to stay away. I do not know why I was expecting to be kept away. They know who I am. One girl said my name, but she was unfamiliar to me. Once they saw me, it was too late.

I shouldn't be here. I am the reason why he is here.

None of them really knew how long Leoren had been unconscious, and when I asked, it seemed as though none had really tried to wake him. He didn't wake, though, or move... not even for me. I could have ripped Thalarios' face off, hearing him talk about risk, about what they could try without even knowing what was wrong. "What is life without risk?" Better to ask what is risk without thought? Oh, I do not know - how about Death? His would mean yours.


Mages. HUMANS. They should never have been given such a gift from us, and thoughts like that are why.

After most of the Cartel saw fit to leave and find their own rooms for the night, a few more curious onlookers wandered in and out of the room before Diomades arrived. Thank the gods we did not argue. Infact, we even seemed to agree. We will be looking for a priest as soon as the sun is up, I think. He told me about Thoraggar. I had no idea...

It's quiet. There are guards posted outside of the room. Videlle says there is no charge, but I know nothing is free, and I hardly understood her reasoning. I don't care, really. So quiet... I wonder if the guards heard me or it? I let it play for him. It's so quiet...

I slept with him in my arms for maybe a few minutes, or that is what it felt like - long enough to dream. How is everything so different, yet exactly the same? I am so far away from where I have been, but it is the same water I hear crashing against the pylons beneath this place that broke against the rocks I swam around only a night ago, a little fish flitting through the worlds of broken men. I lie awake feeling him breathe and listening to the waves, but they do not sound the same.

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I'm lost.

There are few things I want more right now than to take back most of last night - or to never have seen it, done it, felt it, or allowed all the reasons that came together to create it to exist to begin with. Or, I should have stayed at the top of the Scryer's Tier and watched the mountains slowly erode. But then, I would be just as bad as Qabian.

What was all of that?

And how many times can I leave Leoren before I just do not feel anything anymore? As much as it hurts, I don't not want to feel anything. Is that my greatest fear? I will "grow up" into someone like Qabian? Isn't that why I do what I do to him? Don't I think he is mostly right? I think he had answers, but I do not want to be him?

What was all of that?

I am his conflict??

We did not even go in a circle like usual. It was more like he took me out into a strange forest, broke my legs, and then left me there. That. Doesn't. Happen. To. Me. I could have made so many assumptions, I could have done a better job making him clarify, but I avoided the hard questions, the questions involving me. So, I let it happen? Nothing in his world has anything to do with me, so there was nothing to ask. I am not his conflict. My questions do nothing. He does not want me. Everything he's ever said... None of it means anything. So I let him lead me around.

He's not real?

He's real. He hurts, even if he shouldn't. I didn't make him up.

I tried asking again later, when I'd collected myself, and it was as if he'd never said anything to begin with. Fine. That's far easier on me.

He asked how I knew Leoren would be the last link. Any other night and I could have given him a better answer. If he never knew just how defeated I was when he asked, then I won in some small way, even if I let him know other things I would rather not have. I did not tell him about Leoren, about where I'd been, what I had been doing, why I changed my mind about links.

I told Kovan, though. Kovan, who so desperately wants me to smack him. I played my own little game with him and things went too far. He perhaps cannot read me, but he can read something about me and he uses it without fear. He sees my buttons. He asks the right questions. He's... far more dangerous than Qabian? Only just then, but that is entirely my fault. He offered me a shoulder, an ear, and I let myself believe that not only did I need one, but that I was safe with him.

I live in a very singular world. I was grieving Leoren. I was reeling from the night. I was left ... wanting. I was lost. I should have known better.

However, just as I did not tell Qabian about finding Leoren again, I did not tell Kovan about Qabian's insanity.

He accused me of being a martyr, and of course I wanted to prove him wrong. Or perhaps he was remarking only on my dedication to Leoren - a man who looked at me last night with no spark of recognition or understanding. I am nothing in his world while he remains a foundation of mine. He can keep my heart, he can keep my body, and never use either, never know they're his. Where I go now without him, I should not need them anyway.

Should I blame Qabian for ending up where I did?

I think I will.

What was all of that? Why was he even there? I know why I was there, I was running away. I didn't want to think, so I ended up in Stormwind's stockades burning criminals in a lovely red dress, Setrema in her blue one, with Alphaeus, his cousin, and Qabian.

Exchange a mageling for a whore and some warmer robes, and we found ourselves in Dun Morogh on our way back to Gnomeregan with Fynne pleading for me to let him kill Qabian.

I spent the next two hours bargaining for a stupid rock and trying to impress on the man that Qabian will do what he wants and be where ever he wants, that he is not mine. I didn't tell Fynne that I was trying to preserve a spot and not a body. Qabian earns each dagger in his back - just not there.

I talked my way through it. I let Fynne believe what he must. Seeing him makes it easier than trying to write a letter. I've not seen Acherontia in some time, though. I do not know what her plans are, what she would like me to do next. So, I wait. I have not heard much from the warlocks lately about him. With any luck, he's realized not just the Grim, or the Horde, but the whole world is filled with the wicked and he has more on his plate than he will ever be able to finish.

I followed Qabian to The Lodge.

None of it was right.

I told him that his rock is mine once more. He said he knew? What does he know?

We, no... not so innocuous and expected as "we" which is usually "I" while he smirks... HE played with a squid, tried to make it jealous - THAT was not right, but it worked. I might have laughed more if I had had any idea what I was witnessing. And when I said I needed a soul, he tried to help? But the squid fried too quickly, no doubt too overcome by Qabian's taunts to think straight, though he did eventually try to run away, and I do at least have to try to concentrate when taking such things. He was too far away, a flaming appetizer just beyond the pull of my will. In return, we turned our magic on each other and Qabian let me try to take his. Take a little piece...

It scared me, just how badly I wanted it.

It is good we left when we did.

Yes. Yes, I think I will blame him.

Note: Dwarves don't have souls.

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If he were anyone else, staying alone on a rock, staring at the sea, waiting... asking some of the questions he insists on asking again and again... would sound --

What would anyone lose if he died? He tells me that the answer should be nothing, but that I'm different.

So why do I care?

Leoren. Links. He accused me of lying to him about it??

Why why why... Why do the questions keep coming back to that? Is it for me or him?

What is so horrible about not wanting him to fade away while he waits? It seems like such a waste. I know he does not want to hear my answers, and if I gave him an answer, he would just tell me I am lying anyway. No, I think he knows the answers. If I told him the answers, would he make it a point to disappear? Can't have that, either.

Everything falls apart? I don't want him to fall apart. I am tired of things beyond my control falling apart. He is useless to me apart. I won't just let him, but I don't have his answers. I am not her.

Zelaine eventually found me. She would not listen to me. I tried to tell her Leoren is better off this way, he is safer, he has another chance to be happy with someone who will not tear him and them apart like I was. She tells me I deserve more than to be alone, I deserve even more than her brother. She tells me he loves me, even if he doesn't remember? ...that when my name is mentioned, there is something different. I am different.

She says he needs me. She says we can have our island, even if it is only in our minds.

And then I found myself pretending... pretending it was not ripping me apart... pretending I did not want to ram my fist through her face to get her to shut up so I would not have to hear anymore of it.

Yes, Zelaine, I miss him more than breathing when I am underwater. He is my air.

I've had to learn how not to breathe so he can be free. He belongs in the Aboveworld. I do not.

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Anything is better than nothing.

He's right, I don't hate him. I was wrong, I thought he was different. Isn't he? Not tonight. Tonight, he could have been Cessily. He could have been anyone talking for the sake of irritating another. Resorting to the equivalent of "you're stupid" is about as clever as staring at the sea. I expected more. I know better than to believe him, but if it helps keep him from wasting away on a rock somewhere, he can say and believe what he likes.

Except that I hate him. He won't just let himself believe that. I don't think he believes anything, but at least he tried. All this time, everything he's suffered and could not do because of me... If I really were all those things he said, I would not be different. This time would not have passed. None of this would have happened. I knew better than to believe him.

Men should never be so desperate to get what they want out of a woman. It is unattractive.

He accused me of submitting. He told me he expected me to fight. He wondered what changed. He wanted to believe that it was because he was asking the questions for once. But, no. Normally, I would have argued, I would have wanted to change his mind, I wanted to answer his questions, but he would not clarify... Normally, I would have cared what he thought, but as soon as he let himself be anyone else, it stopped being worth it. I did not tell him that, but I did not lie, either.

If I do not hate him, what do I feel? It's not pity. I thought it was, but I would rather hate him. It still feels unfortunate, though.

I feel like I've lost something... like something is missing.

And that's it, isn't it. That is the point.

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Gods, I am so tired. The waves sound different here and there and there - it is all different. They are all so far apart from each other. This is not my place.

Azshara is violent and beautiful and dangerous. Quel'Thalas is quiet and lost and it was mine for a day... until he showed up. What is his attraction to towers? I was fishing, but I am horrible at it. While we talked, I tried to watch him and learn and I got better at it. We went through hundreds of fish. He could have taught me how to talk with my hands, too. I could have watched and learned, but I wonder if we were talking about the same thing half of the time. He wasn't being a jackass. I wanted him to stay. He did. I enjoyed myself. We were there for so long. So many fish. I did not remember the sun coming up. How old he is wouldn't make a difference, it is only math. Me, though? The last thing he needs is another opening. I do not like being looked at as a child unless I have earned it. I do not want it to be a reason or excuse. I do not want it to be a factor. I do not want to be dismissed because of it. He has probably guessed, though, that I am not very... experienced in life. When I talk to him, I become aware of so many holes in what I know about the world. I only learned what I wanted to know about. I haven't had as much time to learn everything I need to. Over 10,000 years of history will take more time than I have had to learn. I should start making assignments for myself.

I wonder how long the letter had been waiting for me when I got back to my room. I haven't slept since. I should be sleeping now, Leoren is. I couldn't leave him again. I should have, but I couldn't. He remembers me. He doesn't want anything more from me than to be with me. I can do that. I do that. Don't I?

I still fear for him. I still feel an ocean away from him. I feel an ocean away from everything I knew only yesterday. He said it himself, it feels like this world is ripping us apart. He said I was right to question us...

But here we are. All those mornings I woke up wanting nothing more than this moment... and it is mine again, his breath... his heartbeat... I asked him not to let me hurt him but he cannot let me go anymore than I can let him go, can he? I do not know what to do, I only know what I cannot do. I only know what I want.

The waves sound different here.

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We went to see more dragons, blue ones this time. Winterspring. I had never spent enough time there to know they were there at all. He had other reasons to be there. He was checking to see if a woman - a dragon - was still there. I wonder if he has been to Seradane and seen the dragons there? Do they even interest him at all, or does he really just mention them because he knows they interest me? I suppose it doesn't matter. I get to see dragons.

I think I want one of each.

Red are for life, protection. Blue are for magic. Green are for dreams. Black are for... But in the year I have had him, Cpooky hasn't grown, hasn't destroyed anything - not like me. Maybe it is because he is away from the other dragons? Do the Bronze even have children?

I wonder if he will help me get them...

Southshore was... The alliance have given it up entirely, I think. We found this building with children's bedding downstairs, next to a nice fire, but across from an open doorway. Qabian thought it was unusual. He said it would be drafty. I... laughed. It seemed like a strange observation for him since I hadn't even thought about it. I almost imagined him, for one moment, tucking in some unfortunate child, nice and secure, to make sure it didn't catch a draft in it's sleep. The next time I am in Southshore, I really should just declare it is mine and that all its buildings should have doors - FOR THE CHILDREN! The dead cannot object anyway.

But, perhaps that is not entirely true. He found this island up the coast with a ruined tower and graveyard. And outhouses. Though, the inhabitants weren't using either. The spirits, angry as most are, were all over the place. Even the trees were dead. Yes, Silverpine was probably not far away, but the trees there are at least covered in leaves. It was so gray there, so much like being dead -- except for the fire burning there. I wonder if the ghosts could see how beautiful it was against all the gray and rain. Maybe it is only there to remind those who are on the island if they are alive or not. Maybe that is why they kept attacking me and not him.

We ended up back in Eversong after we went to answer calls from Tranquillien. We found the trespassers - two Kal'Dorei. One was very very inexperienced and his protector, well, she seemed more content to hide in the shadows instead of save him.

Not that he really needed saving. After the Kal'Dorei picked himself back up, Qabian decided to toy with him... perhaps to draw out his protector. It didn't work, but it was hilarious to watch. Kovan is wrong. I do not hit hard for a girl. I just hit hard. Period. I got to watch them box each other. Qabian did eventually win. So, I decided to play. The Kal'Dorei was very obedient to me. He kept trying to talk to me, maybe he thought I would be sympathetic, maybe he thought I could get Qabian to stop. It still surprised me, however, that when I called him over, he came. And then I nearly punched his head clean off. One hit. One hit and he was out.

It was beautiful!

It was then that we went to see the dragons. And then back to Azshara. I knew there were blue ones there. Azuregos and I have... met... before.

And then Qabian asked me how old Leoren is.

Age again?

I think he was arguing with me, even though I was agreeing with him. No, I do not think it is important. I give it some relevance, a small bit more than he does, but it is not something I want to be judged by, either... because it shouldn't be more important than what I do. He says it is not important, but he brought it up, out of nowhere, following some "train of thought" of his, while he was where ever he was, doing whatever it is he does when I am not there.

Despite how unimportant it is, he still wouldn't tell me. Apparently, he doesn't tell me things that aren't important? Like how he doesn't need hands? He claimed that might be important.

I laughed.

More important than his age, at least?

We left.

Rosalynd... I am not sure what she thought she knew. Whatever it was, it was wrong. I am not sure why it infuriated me to have her ask me if I knew Leoren had his memory back, and then tell me that I should go see him.

Oh I should, should I?

I did. I have. I was with him the night before. Perhaps I snapped at her because I was tired. Could she guess why I was so tired? He and I had time to make up for...

In any case, I was with him three nights ago. I was there just after he woke the next evening. Where was she? And who is she to think she should offer such selfless, heart-felt advice? Are we friends, now, she and I? Are she and Leoren friends? If so, I would like to think I might have noticed, but no... all I knew of her before I joined the Grim was that, perhaps, she had had her eye on him, and since then...? Nothing. So, she will have to forgive me if I think her interest in all of this is just a bit unnecessary and self-serving.

I should have asked her how Elek is. Is that his name? Oh, but that might have been mean.

I hate women.

Do I want a Blue or a Green next? A Green that hasn't been corrupted... not yet...

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I am not even sure where to start. There are far too many things on my mind. I can't sleep. I tried. For Leoren, I tried. I try. It seems more honest to just be, though. I thought that is what he was asking for - for me to let myself love him, and to let him love me. I should have known nothing is ever that simple or selfless, even in love. He appeared so upset that I did not seem to need him, that he couldn't break me from my mood, but I was keeping it to myself. Nothing was burning because of it. Nothing was being harmed. Maybe that would have helped?

I do not understand. If I do understand, then it does not seem fair.

It should not have had to come to me pointing out that I should not have to hide my feelings from him.

I do anyway, though, don't I? I will. There are things I do not tell him, places in me I still will not let him see. I love him, but things have not changed since that night... I still feel so far away from everything - even him. One thing did change, though - neither of us left. We have each other. That is all I want. That is enough. That is its own comfort and its own burden. It is different to walk away from someone than have it ripped away from you. There is enough to rip us apart without either of us helping.

I wanted to say something about his "bodyguard". A bodyguard? A woman. A woman I have only even seen once since he awoke. I am sure all reason would have been mistaken for jealousy, though. He seemed surprised that I thought he could take a hit. Unlike him, I do not underestimate ... why did he have to bring the shadow bolt up again? Doesn't he see how I've grown? It was not funny then and it is especially not funny now. After all my time and effort to ensure I have control, and he dares to make such a condescending joke when he knows I am already in a foul mood?

Maybe it is jealousy, but not... not like that. Maybe I would prefer he had as much faith in me as this woman I can only assume he has known for a few days... though I did not ask. And no matter how much time, no matter what I accomplish, I will always just be some girl in a white dress, won't I? Something incapable of fending for itself. Something pathetic.

That is not me. He does not love me. Does he?

I'd noticed their matching tabards. He finally got around to an explanation tonight. I knew he had been busy, and I made my deductions.

He said he was waiting for me to ask.

He lives life to survive.

There should be more.

I am at a loss.

I went back to the rock to give Qabian his rune of teleportation. He is so... odd. He has expectations of me? I am not an idiot? Should I be flattered? Flattered until he implies I am an idiot again to try to get some response out of me...

I gave him his rune, he gave me a whelp - a perfect little blue whelpling. I wonder if he has any idea just how thrilled I was. It is funny, holding back the desire to treat him like -- something that would not set me on fire if I touched it. I wanted to at least tell him thank you. I showed my appreciation by not burdening him with it? How backwards. It was surprisingly not easy.

I am actually surprised he did not just kill it outright when it failed to act as the bait he was hoping to use it for and just left it to me to find my own. He knew I wanted one, and he accused me of not actually wanting it as much as I claimed because I left earlier in the evening. Why make it easy on me? He could have taunted me with it's corpse, but he didn't.

How nice of him?


He was not loved, so he does not understand or need it. Is that why? He asked me what it was, when I asked him if dragon whelps need to be loved, and I couldn't tell him. I am not sure it is possible. Love is felt, not seen... Like hate, only its effects are witnessed. I almost said too much. He caught onto it for a moment, but he let it go. He isn't patient. He will never get what he wants if he is not patient. Would I have told him everything? Was what I told him enough for him? He made assumptions... he tried to play off of what I let slip to learn more, I think.

Didn't I tell him, though? I think I told him everything, once, about what my family did, about Vythica, about how some of us have to live with our ghosts. He remembers to try to bring up Vythica from time to time... but nothing else. Maybe I ... I don't know. If so, it is his loss.

It was raining there so hard and for so long, that I had no idea the sun had risen until long after the fact. I didn't tell Leoren where I had gotten the whelp or why I wanted it. The fact that I was in a much better mood was probably enough to make up for any unanswered questions.

I will need a place for them. When it was just Cpooky, silent little Cpooky, it did not matter if he were placed in someone else's care. But I plan to have one of each. I want no one else involved, this is too important.

I need a place for me as well.

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I finally found a Green that was not too old or showed signs of being corrupted by the Nightmare.

I will be returning to Grim Batol and the Wetlands tonight to continue my search for a young enough Red one. There are so many there to choose from, but none of them are what I am looking for - too old, too wild, the scales too dull to match the kind I am looking for, or just... lost. Leoren's is deformed, it will not do. So, I will return. The tedium is almost too much, and I am covered in scorch marks. There was no protector there, only more dragonkin. The Green have Itharius. The Blue have Haleh. I wonder what became of Krasus. Stories would say he turned back into Korialstrasz and flew off with Alextrasza and her recovered eggs after freeing her from Grim Batol.

I very much want a Bronze, but I've no idea where to even start looking for one. I am not sure it will be necessary for what I want, but I am convinced if I could have one of each major flight...

I will start looking after I find a suitable Red.

After some minor coaxing, I embarked on a search and rescue last night into Gnomeregan, or I might have found my Red already. Lysanthar, one of Qabian's newest mage inductees to The Grim, is... insane? "Burdened" might be a nicer way of putting it, since he seemed to collect himself after being tended to. Not that it would matter much - sane or not, he has a stone that wants to eat him. Well, not the stone, but what is contained within it.

Sentient entropy? How interesting.

So that is what happens when you play with portals? Who would have guessed. I am sure this must thrill Qabian to no end. Maybe Lysanthar found our dearly departed Malorii? That would be even better.

All dimensions are accessed through the Nether. All portals pass through it. Maybe it can be sent back. Who knows. I only deal in souls, yes, and could not possibly understand anything like this. No, not at all.

No experience whatsoever.

At least I could bandage up the results of his failed attempt at entrail art and give him a little stone to eat instead of be eaten by. He seemed healthy enough when he left. We shall see.

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Bir looks like absolute shit. He says he is sick, and I believe him, but telling me that Leoren "has another bitch"... He said if I were bitter, he could help me, but only if I could help him.

Could I help him?

I could help him die to shut his idiot mouth. He did the same thing to Skafloc and I. Luckily, I am not nearly as susceptible to rumor. I know Leoren better than that, and I know exactly what I did and did not do while married to Skafloc. "Running around on him" was not something I did. Bir probably just saw Leoren and his bodyguard together. Rumors are bound to start, especially when he and I are so busy we rarely get to see each other more than when we come home at the end of our work. He has a Cross to bear, and I have... my studies?

I have spent so much time looking for my dragons. I have a red one now and it is absolutely perfect. I spent hours... HOURS... two nights getting fire snorted at me while I inspected every whelp I could find in search of a suitable one, and then Qabian appears out of the Wetlands mist holding just exactly what I was looking for.

For some reason, I was rendered absolutely stupid. He gave me the whelp and was gone again... probably to Menethil.

His newest Mage seems to be doing better. Lysanthar contacted me later and thanked me again for bothering with him. And then said he was in my debt... that, in my moment of greatest need, to call on him and he will do what he can to repay the favor.

Oh, there is so much that can be done with that.

I gave him his chance to step back from that gracefully, but my objection, he said, was irrelevant. Fine. I have an insane mage in my debt. I may keep that to myself. For now.

Bir... Malorii's will was brought up again. If it weren't for Aquizit, I would not even know about the thing, or lack thereof. What was Bir expecting me to be able to do for him? Sweet-talk it out of Qabian? There is no such thing with him. And, it is none of my business. Her will, or what ever was left to him. If not a will, then things of hers. Would Qabian have things that belonged to her? Bir wants medicine, mentioned Leibowitz... and now I see all of this going to a very, very bad place.

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