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  1. 4 points
    It was a beautiful day in Elwynn Forest. The birds were chirping, the cows were mooing as they wandered about unfettered... and the sewer crocodiles that had escaped to the sewage pond outside of Stormwind dragged a particularly careless one to its untimely death. At one of the local farmsteads, a seasonal worker was getting fired. Amidst the relative tranquility and the goings on of the kingdom's residents, a newcomer marched with purpose down the road. With eyes that gleamed with ferocity, upturned nose held high, and scales that shined in the sun, a brown spotted colored Sethrak moved towards the city's gates with purpose! Only to come face to face with a patrol of mounted riders, tasked with protecting the kingdom from the Horde and other threats who had, as of late, invaded and sowed chaos at an unacceptable rate. "HALT, SNAKE!" The patrol's captain motioned for his soldiers to stop, and halfway surround them, "You will go no further!" "HOW DARE!" The Sethrak yelled back, its neck instinctively flattening to make the back of its head and neck wider... presumably to look fierce, "Hoomans go away! I has messij for king!" There was an awkward moment of silence as the captain was... in essence dumbstruck with how spoken words could somehow be misspelled, but he pushed the befuddlement aside, "Stand down and surrender, and you will not b-" "GO 'WAY HOOMAN! AM DANGRUS!" The Sethrak huffed and puffed breaths in, and began to hiss, "EMPIRE DEMANZ SURR-ENDR!" "...um, sir?" One of the rookie patrolman spoke up after another few moments of awkward, befuddled silence, "What is it doing?" "How am I supposed to know? You and you, get off your horses and arrest it." The captain pointed to the rookie and one other guard, who looked at each other, shrugged, and dismounted. "NO TUCH!" The Sethrak hissed louder, tensing a puffing up even more, "I BITE!" The rookie and his partner, despite being faced with this... weird unknown, couldn't help but snort as a laugh escaped them. Undeterred, they began to approach, which caused the Sethrak to become even more defensive, coiling back into a defensive posture until!... ...it collapsed to the ground in a hissing, writhing heap. "What in the... Sir?!" One of the still mounted guards looked alarmed, concerned, but ultimately confounded as she watched the snake man flail about in the dirt in what looked to be a horribly acted death-throe. The guards backed up their horses, but otherwise all stayed where they were, as for the next minute or so the snake person kept on its death act, until finally laying still in a contorted pose... mouth agape, and forked tongue lolling off to the side. "I've had enough of this. Get that damn thing to the stockades and make SI:7 deal with it." The captain annoyedly ordered, turning his steed around back to the city gates, and motioning for the other mounted guards to follow. "You heard 'im." One of the dismounted guards went over, grabbing the Sethrak by its robe collar to try and force it to stand up, but finding it floppy and limp, though not in an actually dead way. Starting to get irritated, he tried to force it to turn over, only to express further frustration as it flipped back belly up, and did it again when he tried to right it once again. "For the love of the light, just throw it over your horse and let's go." "arrrggghh.... no tuch!" The Sethrak quietly hissed and muttered, oofing as it did get thrown over the back of one of the patrol horses, to be carted away into the city's gates, oggled at by the city's denizens, and then locked up to be attended to later.
  2. 4 points
    Hello TNG, After many years of work, I have finally published my first book. If you enjoyed Copper Kisses in Nether Legends or First, Do No Harm, you might enjoy Claim Sanctuary. Unlike my TNG threads, the book was actually edited. It is available on all Amazon Kindle marketplaces in digital form (US$3.98), and also in Paperback (with complimentary e-copy) on selected marketplaces (US$15.99). I have always valued the input of the community here, and while this work is not related to World of Warcraft, I would be very gracious to have anyone read Claim Sanctuary and provide a review on Amazon--even if you hate it! if you are interested, I can provide you with a PDF copy of the book at no charge. If you would like to participate, please email me at danegreenbooks@gmail.com or talk to @Nathandiel on the TNG discord. My very best regards, Nathandiel
  3. 4 points
    A wonder that the Nightborne joined the Horde, Kex'ti Dalendala thought to himself. Telemancy has certainly made getting around easier. He hated portal magic. It always left him nauseated for hours, and for a man of his size, it was a deeply unpleasant experience. The elf monk hobbled through the moor, his boots slick with grime. He could sense the chi of nothing living. But in Tirisfal Glades, dead rarely meant gone. Rarer still did it mean non-hostile. He'd run off the drink from the morning while he rode his raptor from Ratchet to the Crossroads. From there, a wyvern flew him to Orgrimmar, and from there, a portal to the Undercity had brought him to Lordaeron. The sky here always felt low to the ground. Nowhere else on Azeroth, even Northrend, had ever felt so oppressive. The way that fog and cobwebs mixed in the sparse pines did little to relieve the feeling of slow suffocation. He shuddered, and pulled his coat closer. He'd left his armor, or most of it, in the bank of Ratchet. Now, part of him wished he'd brought something, anything besides his stubbornness as protection along on the journey. He carried his staff and limped along with it in one hand, and cradled a small box in the crook of the other. He put his foot on a stone, and heard a voice rasp from the mist. "Not many quick out here, sin'dorei." With a smirk and a chuckle, Kex'ti locked eyes with the glowing yellows of the Forsaken. "Do not worry, friend. I promise that I will keep moving for some time to come." He'd expected a laugh, and received a grunt. Kex'ti took a deep breath of the rot that surrounded him. I suppose I am a slower learner than I would like in lowering my expectations, he thought. "I am here to visit a grave." "Why?" asked the graveguard. Now that he'd arrived, he found he'd never really considered that. This just felt like the right thing to do. "It felt like the right thing to do," he said. The guard lit a lantern. The graveyard flickered in the wan light as the oil spattered against the glass and iron cage. It wasn't nightfall yet, but that made little difference. The lantern was for his benefit, and it sufficed as permission. Kex'ti nodded to the guard, a Forsaken man in dark leathers, a deep hood, and with two wicked scimitars that hung on hooks from his belt. "Augustus Krowne?" The elf asked the undead. The guard moved. The soles of his boots whispered against the peaty soil. The grave was covered in growth. Kex'ti raised an eyebrow to the guard. The Forsaken responded by setting the lantern by the tombstone. "I'm a guard," he answered, "not a groundskeeper." Kex'ti nodded, and knelt. He had worn gloves, and buckled the magewoven coat closer. The wool in the coat would keep him warm, at least. His stomach growled. He knew he wouldn't be eating for a while, given the... Strong flavors preferred by the residents of Tirisfal. The monk removed his gloves, and laid them on the chest he'd carried along. He gripped the moss and branches wrapping the grave, and began to tear them loose. The guard stayed close, and offered no help. A blade would've made the process simple, but Kex'ti wanted to do this manually. He wanted to pull the roots loose, he wanted to work his skin raw, he wanted to feel the mists tingle and itch as he knit and tore and reknit the skin and blood on his hands as the thorns of the vine gnashed into his hands. Hands that had gripped reins of cloud serpents and nether rays. That reached out for people falling away. That had choked the life from a sin'dorei scout in the wrong place. That had maimed, crippled, and killed for sport, for justice, and in madness. Hands which had healed the wounded, that had caressed the skins of the few people he'd loved, and had gripped hands with his closest friends. He didn't want to feel that. He wanted to feel his hands hurt, he wanted to remember the pain of his pinky being bitten loose. He wanted to hurt. He just didn't want to be left alone with it. And who could listen like the dead? He wove the mists into his raw and sliced fingers and palms, channeling chi to the wounds, mending them, and feeling the burn as he stole the life from the bacteria that would try to thrive at his expense. A touch of gray leaked into the spiritual matter from the surrounding mist. The monk rolled his hands, feeling the joints crack. He coughed, but couldn't taste blood. That was good, at least. He reached over to the box, undid the latch, and pulled out a wineskin. He poured it over the grave, the firewater washing off his own blood, the dust of the years since the Wrathgate. "I am sorry, Aug. I know you were more of a wine or a beer guy," Kex'ti whispered in Thalassian. "I can, at least, try to speak your own tongue," Kex'ti said, in halting gutterspeak. He smiled. "Yeah, I know. You always used to say you were a poet before you were an alchemist, and that just happened to be the tongue they put in your mouth." Kex'ti sat into the dirt. The coat would be dirty. So what? He clipped his words, flowing between whatever he knew, whether Krowne would speak it or not. "I wonder if that was the excuse you used: someone put words in your mouth. Aug, I've had a bit of a trip since I dragged you out of that quagmire." "You were right there, but it was like you couldn't decide if you wanted to throw that vial at me, or Putress' defectors. I still don't know why you did that. I would've thought that our time together would've been enough to help you make your choice. Maybe I should've given you the chance. But I didn't want you to go on like that. I didn't want to die like that, and I didn't want your memory to just get...stained like that." "But I wonder, if you just let something go on, does that actually make it better? Did I save you a lot of suffering? Or did I deny you the chance to fix it?" "I think about that a lot. I did up until recently, anyway." "There's a woman. Not... That kind. A Forsaken. Her name is Syreena. She's one of those I can never figure out. For a long time, I'd hoped that patience, a stern hand, might lead her to a nobler path. I mean, I think that's how my life worked. Or how I thought it did. You pulled me out of Silvermoon. Remi helped me see a bigger picture. But... Without the two of you..." Kex'ti looked at his hands, the crisscrossed scars of years of fighting, and the scratches he'd tried to erase with mistweaving. "Have I ever really been my own person? Is that really what I've wanted? Before you, I always listened to mother and father, and they never really gave me much hope. You gave me a chance to do something different, but when I left to go out on my own, I wasn't even alone then. I was doing it for someone else." "Maybe I just make bad decisions when it involves myself." He glanced down to the firewater. "I had my last drink this morning. Or, at least last one for a while. I know what happens when I try and distract myself, whether it's with drugs, or a cause, or just combat. I make bad choices. I hurt people. And... I can't keep doing that. Nobody else deserves to live with that but me." Kex'ti looked up at the sky, or Krowne's presence above, or just to avoid looking at the tombstone. He turned back to find the guard gone, or lurking. What did it matter? The guard could attack him, report the story, or do nothing. Making a mess to be cleaned up later, Kex'ti went on with his monologue. "I ran away, again." "After the Wrathgate, I went to go be with Remiaan, at the Argent Tournament. She died, so I ran away. I went and found a place in the Twilight's Hammer. I can spare you those stories. It was... I may have been selfish in the Arena. I may have been heartbroken when I lost you. When I lost Rem. But what I did to dull that pain... That's what haunts me. That's what makes me wish I just wasn't... Alive, or aware, or whatever oblivion means." He smirked. "That's kind of the sick bit of it. I got exactly what I wanted, there. I didn't have to think about what I was doing. I didn't have to look behind the curtain. I was behind the curtain, and in the dark, you don't really care about it. When someone pulls the curtain aside, it's not what's hidden that you look in on that scars you. It's not what's lurking in the dark. It's that when someone lets the light in, you can see what you've actually been doing, when you've been just doing it blindly, or doing it without much fear." "The horrible thing is that the ignorance is what I miss most. It's not that the truths the Twilight's Hammer and Old Gods preach that burn the mind, or make you hopeless. It's just that when you're following along, they don't matter. You don't matter. You're just matter." He coughed and took a sip from his jug, unknotting a piece of twine he'd tied around it. Without Zhanhao's yao grass, he'd need to go back to Pandaria for it. The twine would remind him when he needed to restock. "That's what scares me most about the Void, I think. Is that knowledge that it's exactly what I wanted: to be nothing. To think nothing. To feel nothing. From nothing, you can be anything. Instead of a cripple. Instead of sick. Instead of a murderer. Instead of a coward." He rested a hand on the tombstone. "I'm sorry you're dead, August. I'm sorry I didn't make good on the life you gave me," he said. "I'm sorry I killed you. I'm sorry.... I didn't make good on either of our lives." Kex'ti rubbed his face. "After that... I just went back to Ratchet. That's where life got good for me, I think. Where we started winning fights. Where I stopped being just a sick kid in Silvermoon. I think that's why I'll always go back there, because it's where I can start over. I've gotten really good at starting over. It's not a fun skill to have." He told the grave about how he met Wei Xo. How he traveled to Pandaria, and made his medicine with the help of Yu-Ting. How he came down the mountain reborn as a mistweaver, and he met Baern Grimtotem, Tauranor, Billamong, and Rabbic Ohen in the Thunder-Pan company. How being an actual mercenary taught him to think as a member of a group, rather than just a small group. How he'd gone to Draenor in hopes of a second chance with Remiaan. How he'd ended up in Sanctuary instead. He smiled, and recounted stories of Vilmah, Cerryan, Nojinbu, and Baern, now Baern Ashtotem. "Those were the best years of my life, August. The time with you, then with Rem, those were great. But Sanctuary... I felt happy. Like I had purpose." He smiled, but his eyes clenched bittersweet. "I knew an orc woman. I saw a lot of myself in her. I hoped that I could help her, that I could push her off the path I'd walked, and spare her the suffering. But..." He coughed. "Sometimes I wonder if me being sick was a sign from the universe. That I'm so poisonous that I can't even live with myself. Sanctuary went to... I guess you'd call it a war. Against a corrupted ancient named Accalia. Twice, in fact. The first time, I had a nightmare. A long, long nightmare. And the thing that I remember is that it was drawn out from myself: It was my fears. My worries, my anxieties, put on display to torment me. I... I remember bits of it, now and then. But what I always remember is that, somewhere in it, I told myself that 'I'm poison.'" "I couldn't keep Shokkra from making the choices she makes. That are so close to the ones I've made, and are going to be just as destructive." "I fought against the Legion, the last year. I helped the victims of a place called Suramar. The elves there were similar to the Sin'dorei, but descended more directly from the kaldorei. I spent a little time on Argus, too, believe it or not." He gripped his hands together. "I met a woman. I fell in love. And, she gave me part of her life, to save me from my illness. There's a lot to love about her. But part of that love is... I destroyed Remi. I destroyed you, and I've destroyed myself and countless others. She made a choice, recently, that she would give trust to those who needed it. I think they're far from deserving it. I think they'll fail. I think they'll fall to madness and worse. But trust? They need that. I know I did. I failed to go where I wanted. But everyone gave me a chance to try." "She trusted them. But I never could. I... Never can. They associated with the Void, and that association was too tempting to ignore. And after everything, I can't make the same choices I've made. When she made that choice, I was angry. I still am, and I'm still hurt that... It felt like my pain was ignored. But pain passes. Pain can heal. It just won't heal in time to make a difference. But part of me has always known what her choices meant for me." "I never stopped loving her. I don't think I can, and I think it would be wrong to try. But that love means I'm not going to destroy her. I'm not going to poison anything else." "Once you acquire a taste for poison, it's a part of you. I might destroy myself, over, and over, and over again. But, this time, I won't drag anyone else into the Void with me."
  4. 3 points
    Hey all, I've added two new themes to the boards. I have arbitrarily made the Horde one the default, but there is an Alliance version also. I am leaving the green Legion and default White there for others who either don't like change or dark colored forums. Let me know (screenshot if you can) if you find an area where the text on background doesn't have enough contrast to be able to read it. I've gone through a bunch of the pages and I've fixed the things I've found so far. Happy new expansion! To change your theme, go to the bottom center of the page --> Theme --> pick one.
  5. 3 points
    The wolf is right. Being Grim requires caring intensely. I didn't like that description initially, but there is core truth to it. It doesn't require caring intensely about others, but it does require a fanatical dedication to the goal. I'm not sure the girl has that. All she has is the sense of a debt owed. Paying debts is not all there is, and it's certainly not enough to make one Grim. Is there a test that can force her to care? And her sense of Peace... I see the pattern, though I'm loath to admit it to others. If I'm choosing alcohol, it's because my own failure has been too fierce to set aside. That's what I'm not going to spill. I'm not going to admit something is my fault without considerable duress. I've failed again if she doesn't have the sense to keep that version of Peace to herself. Let's hope she shares that definition of peace with Awatu. He'll be impressed, I'm sure. Accept the Peace that those among us who believe in it desire. Accept it for what it is. And while they travel the endless road to their dream, enjoy the annihilation along the way. But you still need to accept and praise appropriately the Peace in public, or the entire structure falls apart. It's better that Syreena doesn't trust me. I was uncomfortable enough that she trusted me with what she gave me. If there's anyone who should know better, she should. And yet? All evidence seemed to point to the contrary. It's odd then, that while I got what I wanted, something seems off about the entire debacle. Does she even acknowledge what else I could have done with the power I had? Does she even care that it was less an outright lie and more a bending of the truth? She was absolutely responsible for the death of a Grim. It was just a brief death of a priest with priestly connections who never would have let her soul drift away for something as pathetic as an overly enthusiastic beatdown. There was just enough truth in my lie that I could have played it for a very long time. I could likely have played it long enough to end her if that had ever been my goal, but it was not. My goal was confession. I got my confession. That game is over. I respect her incentives, despite how misguided they were, but she thought they were worth following for the same reasons that she is willing to take on puppets where I am not. She had a right to be angry at my lies, whether they were based in truth or not, but it's not like she never lied to me. We lie to each other, all day every day. It keeps us going. The truth is inherently boring when not being manipulated to interesting ends. But her anger should have been tempered by how little I asked of her, how little I toyed with her. Was it? Would she have done worse if I hadn't kept the truth in the fiction to myself? I could have killed her with that weapon. That was never my intent, and she should see that. She should know that now, that her death, her punishment is not something I will ever aim for, because if I wanted it, I could have had it with ease. She should understand that now. But something tells me she doesn't. All she holds against me now is my falsehoods, not my reasons for telling them. Why do I even care? I don't. It's better when none of them trust me. They'll treat me as they should when I'm untrustworthy. I don't like the expectations that come with trust. Tradire has... no idea what she's doing. I still don't believe I can give her what she wants. As much as she lies about what that is, I think she believes her own lies. But I do think she wants more than a shield. She wants conversation and there she takes advantage of the words that are my weakness. She wants knowledge, and though I do believe her when she says that desire is limited, I don't think it's quite as muted as she would insist. I also think she wants knowledge I cannot give her, or that my version of it is twisted and broken, and to share it with her would only cause harm. What she wants she should really be getting from someone else, someone... softer in the ways she is, someone sheltered enough to still believe in possibilities that have long since been erased from me. I've at least made it clear what lines I will not cross. And I haven't decided what I will or will not admit to in honor of her game, which makes most conversations where she becomes the subject incredibly awkward, but at least said game seems to be succeeding where it concerns my accepting my role.
  6. 2 points
    The constant pounding filled her ears. Julilee lifted her head as the wind rose for a moment, letting it catch the loose strands of pale hair around her face. Beneath her feet, the coarse sand shifted, cut into strange shapes and angles. It was dyed orange and red in the early morning light, and she turned her head to look behind her briefly at the rising sun. The sky, also red and orange and pink, was always a welcome sight, even after having been back aboveground this long. Then she turned her attention back to what lay before her. The pounding was the combination of the screaming, stomping audience and drums. The sands were the floor of the arena and weren't just red from the sunrise, but from dried blood, and were grooved not by the elements but by battles. The sun was rising over the bleachers and the match was about to begin. She drew Mercy. The sword gave away her identity to those who recognized its jagged silhouette, but that turned out to be vanishingly few. So far, she could count them on one hand. Memories were short in war. The white mask that covered the lower half of her face did enough to disguise her identity otherwise, along with the absence of any of the other features that had once marked her identity, such as her once-dark hair, former purple armor, and tabard. Mostly the tabard. That had been the majority of what people had ever seen when they looked at her anyway. To be fair, she was the one who had redesigned it and raised its banner once more. "Juriel! Juriel!" Now she let her image become whatever it may. The gate across the arena opened with slow, menacing clanks that were nearly drowned out as the crowd rose in volume commensurately. Juli stood waiting, the tip of Mercy pointed at the sand. She held it in one hand and nothing in the other. Carrying a shield would only burden her now. The creature that came out was not one of the largest she had faced. The mad brutosaur had been that, and it had cemented her as the preeminent fighter in this arena circuit. But it was one she had never fought before. It slunk out, wary of the noisy crowd and bright, open space, but soon focused on Juli. And then it was followed by another. Two adversaries. The crowd, thrilled by this twist, became all but deafening. The creatures' blue-gray bodies were lined from nose to tail-tip in spikes, and long tusks protruded from their mouths. Their forequarters were heavily muscled for digging, pouncing, and shredding, but their lean bodies were built for speed nonetheless. Lean, but at least twice her size in weight and mass each. Sabertusks. Julilee was given pause as she studied them, knowing that Zandalari druids took on the same form, but in a few moments it became apparent that there was no hint of sentience in these beasts. They circled her warily, moving instinctively as a pack to take down the first edible thing they had seen in days. Juli continued standing still, only turning her head slightly as one circled behind her. When it thought it had the advantage, it pounced. She heard the crunch of sand and moved as it did. She threw herself into a backwards roll that was diagonal to the beast's trajectory. Tucked low to the ground, her relatively small size played to her advantage as she passed underneath the beast. As she rolled, she whipped her blade up and across its belly. There wasn't enough clearance to get the strength behind the thrust to disembowel the thing, but bright red blood spattered over her white, gold, and dark gray armor. The beast shrieked. As it landed and whipped around with shocking speed to lunge for her, paws as massive as her head with claws that long again coming at her face, she was only just pushing herself into a crouch on the sand. There simply wasn't enough time to dodge again. Her empty arm came up to block. It would have done absolutely nothing to save her if not for the Light that blazed into existence around it. The crowd roared in vicious delight as the large beast collided with the shining barrier, its sheer mass pushing her back a dozen meters and leaving a deep furrow in the sand, but she kept her feet under her. After the beast jumped away to seek a new opening, the creature not yet slowed by the shallow gash that bled fresh red onto the sands, she rose unharmed and allowed the shield to dissipate. The other beast, more cautious than its partner, did not yet make a move, only prowling along the side of the clash. The horn on its nose was broken, it was a darker blue-gray, and it was slightly smaller, though not by much. As Juli watched them stalk her, she wondered what had brought them to the attention of the arena organizers. Had they preyed on townspeople? Ravaged local livestock? Or had it just been the appeal of a matched pair? "Juriel! Juriel!" The crowd was insistent. It wanted blood, hers or the beasts', it didn't care. She had learned it thrilled to either, though this had not really come as a surprise. As much as they had loved her rise to underground fame, it would love her downfall just as much. She had seen the betting odds and knew many had no qualms about betting on the latter every match, if not more and more eagerly with every victory. She made good money off those bets. The sabertusks were too fast for her to try to take the offensive. Unlike the brutosaur, they could turn on a dime and rend with those deadly claws as fast as she could blink. If she gave them the slightest opening, they would seize it, and her by the throat. She would have to wait for them to come to her to try to find an opening, and the crowd communicated its disapproval of her patience as she continued to let the beasts circle her, though this time she slowly turned to keep them in sight as much as possible. Trying to urge action, the drum players increased the tempo. It was effective on everyone but those battling in the arena. The crowd grew more frenzied; someone threw a rock that landed with a thud in the sand not far from Juli. From somewhere, she could hear Tetsujin hollering directions at her. She didn't take her eyes off the beasts, nor they theirs off her. The two beasts started to circle closer. She knew the moment they decided to attack. This time, the sabertusks moved together.
  7. 2 points
    They emerged onto a large balcony. It jutted over the edge of the tier and had a view of a section of the city, as well as the jungle-covered inclines that lay beyond. Further out, the jungle appeared to melt into swamplands. Pterodons wheeled overhead, and the sounds of the city drifted upward. Kex'ti stepped up to the railing and wrapped his grip around it. Juli looked at his hands, seeing the finger he was still missing, and the ring he still wore. "Are you happier here?" she asked, remaining behind and to the side of him. He didn't answer the question, because since when did he answer any question that made him slightly uncomfortable. Instead he tried to find the words to speak of what preoccupied him the most about her reappearance, in his meandering way. "Last I heard, you had been lost in Silithus. And it was not someone from Sanctuary that told me this, but... I am tremendously relieved that you are alive, and were not lost to that cursed place." He grimaced. "I'm sorry if you were worried," Juli said. "It wasn't intentional." "What do you want from me, Juli?" he asked simply. He turned and scrutinized her. She didn't know what he was looking for. Any sign of the taint of the Void? She knew he feared that above anything else. Any hint of the woman he had loved, and who had loved him? She knew it wasn't there in her eyes anymore, whatever he had once seen, though it could very well have as much to do with the knowledge in his gaze as the knowledge in hers. The time they had spent apart had been instructive to them both. If you set someone free and they don't return, that means you were only holding them back. "I wanted to say I'm sorry I never loved you as much as you loved me," she said. He was floored. All he could say was, "What happened to you?" She moved up to the railing beside him and folded her arms on it, looking out but not really seeing anything. Her mind went back to the moment everything changed. The six months that followed had changed her too, but not as much as that moment had. "I came face-to-face with the Void, and it... made me see things differently. I was almost lost to it, Kex'ti. I'm sorry I never really, fully understood your aversion to it before. In the end I had two choices: the Void or the Light. I chose the Light and survived." At her hip, Mercy glowed softly with its jagged lines of gold energy that were no longer just energy. Now the purified weapon glowed with the Light, and so did she. It shone in her eyes and flowed through her constantly, an aura she couldn't turn off. The goblin hadn't been wrong. She was a paladin now. Kex'ti's expression softened. He hadn't missed the difference in her. "I am glad you made the right choice." He thought for a moment, then said, "You do not need to apologize. Love is not a matter of magnitude... and I do not even think it is true. We both made errors in our relationship. Am I happier? No. I am not. But I am also less sad, and frustrated." "You're kind to put it that way," she said. "But I think we both know it was my fault it didn't work. I just want you to know I don't blame you." There it was. She had said it, most of it. She had walked straight out of hell and to him because nothing had mattered more than lifting whatever she could of the burden that she had so unfairly placed on him. If she had died down there, her ghost would have been haunted with the knowledge of the guilt she had inflicted on him, unjust and undeserved. Looking at him, she wondered if it helped. He didn't look dumbstruck anymore, just calm. Maybe it would sink in over time. "I appreciate that. I hope things have improved for you since Sanctuary. I do not imagine it has without you." He lifted a hand from the railing and put it back, watching the birds. "Are you happier?" "I only just got back," she said. He didn't know how true that was. "This is the first thing I'm even doing. Next will be Rylie... if I can communicate with her safely." He nodded. "That is a large part of why I am here, so obviously present in the military. So as not to paint a target on her back. Or draw question to my loyalties. It might be advisable you do the same." "I just don't want her to think she's been abandoned," she said quietly. He scowled. "I have tried to get mail to her. I do not know if it has arrived." Changing topics swiftly as he did when he was irked, he said, "What will you do next?" "After trying to get word of my own to her... I'm not sure." He coughed and reached for where he used to keep his medicinal jug at his waist. It was not there. "Ah. I left my medicine back inside. It was... good to see that you are alive. I am sorry for the troubles you have faced." She listened as he prepared to end the visit, to separate himself from her. She watched as he stepped away from the railing, taking a couple steps back toward the guildhall. Every move he made was so familiar to her. Even with his lost weight, every plane of his face was embedded in her memory. Every twist of his mouth, every furrow of his brow, every pitch in his voice, she knew. But it was like watching him through a window. They couldn't reach each other. So it was just as well he didn't want to anymore. He turned away, but then he stopped. Without looking at her, he spoke. "I never stopped loving you, or believing in you. I just couldn't stomach that one decision you made. I am sorry that choice led you to the path you had to walk, but I hope it brings you purpose and peace. For myself, I often wonder if those things exist. But at least for you, if they exist, I believe you'd be the one to find them." And that was why she'd had to come tell him this. Because he would have kept putting up with her, with far more than he should have, if she had not pushed just a little too far. And then she had accused him of not loving her enough. "You did always love me more than I deserved," she murmured. "Maybe," he said. Before he began to move, he remarked, "Do not endanger Rylie because of a guilty conscience." Then he waved his hand and headed inside. Once, that would have been more than sufficient to offend her. It didn't. What he thought of her didn't matter. Whether he was right or wrong to think it didn't matter. She had done all she could here. The rest was out of her hands. She looked once more over the view. It held nothing of interest. She left Warscar Reach's hall. [[ Written in conjunction with Kexti. ]]
  8. 2 points
    She'd also forgotten what pork tasted like. After journeying north into Durotar, she'd killed a boar, then cooked it over a proper fire. While the meat sizzled and browned, she'd stared at it, struggling with a sense of unreality. Dissociation, she told herself. She'd heard the term somewhere, probably in a leadership course or other schooling her privileged upbringing had provided, but like many other things, she hadn't understood it until she experienced it. Pork didn't really taste special. It was just meat. In the fading light of the evening, Juli inventoried her possessions. She carried very little. Her sword, Mercy; her armor, with the padding she wore underneath; and the contents of her pack, which was at this point only a short rope, a knife, a patched waterskin, a well-used sharpening stone, and five gold pieces. If she continued to Orgrimmar, she could access her accounts and purchase anything at all she needed. She could commandeer a mount, sleep in a bed, replace her shield. She thought about it, then laid back on the hard-packed dirt and stared up at the sky until stars began to twinkle into existence. The sight wasn't as reassuring as she had hoped. It wasn't really anything. It was just the night sky, which was to say, more an infinite void than anything else. "I'm alive," she whispered. The void did not answer. That was a welcome change.
  9. 2 points
    Months ago... Julilee arrived in Silithus, alone. She had bruises under her jaw, above the collar of her armor. “Julilee Liene reporting for Sanctuary,” she said. The overseer she spoke to, a goblin, looked her up and down. They stood at the edges of a busy camp, the makeshift command yurt behind him strung with contraptions of unknown purpose. This had been where she’d been directed upon arrival. “Yer all they sent?” he said, tilting his hard hat back. “We asked for three, and apparently we’re gonna need a whole damn platoon, so you’re definitely not going to cut it, short stuff.” Juli didn’t comment on a goblin calling her short. She barely commented at all. “What’s the situation?” she asked. “Mining accident, with a special voidy bonus,” the goblin replied. “My team was mining up Azerite, and broke into some sort of underground chamber. Thought we’d find some good bug artifacts in there, but what we got was abominations.” He frowned, a hint of uneasiness in it. “I was actually plannin’ on increasin’ my request... A few Horde soldiers volunteered to go in this morning for a little extra grease, if you catch my drift. Clean things up. Shouldn’t’ve been too hard. But they never came out.” Julilee looked toward the mine. This particular operation was a distance away from the wound in the world, but the earth had heaved here enough to expose some underground caves the goblins had eagerly turned to exploiting to get deeper faster. The caves had probably been part of a buried Qiraji hive. The mine entrance was guarded by a couple of uneasy-looking Horde soldiers. At this hour, the shadow from the gigantic sword was fallen over where they stood, and the cavernous black hole of the entrance seemed to swallow far too much light in that shadow. “How many hours ago?” she asked. It was past noon. “Two and a half. You’re not going in there, are you?” he said, incredulously. “They could still be alive,” she said. “Not likely, shorty! And I’m not payin’ you to go in there either, if that’s what you’re thinking. That’s just throwing good gold after bad.” “I don’t want your Light-damned gold.” Juli continued looking toward the mine’s opening. Her cold, flat words confused the goblin to silence. She spoke again, after a moment. “How many people can you help if you don’t ever help anyone?” “What?” he said, baffled. “If I don’t come out, detonate explosives and collapse it.” She walked toward the mine.
  10. 2 points
    In that moment, the world was irreversibly changed for her. You can’t unsee the abyss. You can’t unknow the truth. No matter how hard you tried to repress it, no matter how much you tried to deny it, it would haunt you forever. Juli saw it and knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that nothing would ever be the same. Kex’ti’s fear, his unwillingness to slide so much as an inch closer to that edge, was so much clearer to her now. She had understood it, but she hadn’t known it. Every pretension she had, every self-delusion, no matter how innocuous, every coping mechanism she relied on, all were stripped away. She saw herself and indeed the whole world and uncaring universe laid bare, reduced to an absurd meaninglessness. Of course the world was uncaring; she had never labored under the belief that anyone would necessarily get what they deserved, be it good or bad. She knew evil could triumph anytime, any place, and that it would be forever and thankless a struggle for anyone trying to hold it back. But she had never realized it was also a pointless struggle. No matter how much suffering you tried to alleviate, more would take its place, because evil was endlessly inventive and adaptive. And in the end you died and whatever difference you had made would end up being less than negligible. But worse, somehow, was how all the things she had tried to accomplish, everything she had ever tried to be, was all shown to be utterly foolish, self-centered, and inadequate. Her own uncharitable thoughts, even what she had believed were her deepest fears, were nothing compared to the truth. She had never loved Kex’ti. She had only used him to placate her need for control, and he had allowed it until he couldn’t anymore. She had never treated Shokkra like a person. She had tried to turn Shokkra into what she had thought Shokkra should be, sacrificing everything Shokkra was along the way, until Shokkra broke. She had done more than simply been too cautious with Sanctuary. She had ruined a legacy, dragged it backward and done significant harm it would take long to recover from, if it ever fully did. She had been too hard on Cerryan; she had revoked her trust simply because he was imperfect. Cobrak, meanwhile, she had also expected too much of. She had expected him to place her needs above his own. The list went on and on. Even with Miwanza, she hadn’t come down here for the girl’s benefit, or any of the others’. She had come down here to selfishly prove herself. That was all there was to it. And with her father, for whom she’d never been good enough, the truth was she was just… Oh, fuck you. The reflex was so deeply ingrained, it was inseparable from who she was as a person. Her entire body jerked. No one was allowed to touch that nerve. It didn’t matter who. It didn’t matter why. It didn’t matter even if they were right. Nobody got to diminutize what she had gone through growing up. Nobody got to break her down like her father had always tried to. She was entitled to defend herself. And fuck anyone who suggested otherwise. Just fuck them right in the eye with a jagged sword. She reached out, and her hand closed around the wickedly curved hilt of Mercy. Golden light surged down the blade, purging the tentacles which shrieked as they were dispelled. It filled up the weapon and all of the eyes hovering around shrank back as she pulled it free. Maybe it was all pointless. Maybe she could never make a difference. Maybe she would never do more help than harm in the world. But fuck anyone and anything who tried to convince her to give up. She would die fighting, with her soul intact, because no one would ever convince her to hand it over. The righteousness, the strength, the self-belief, she seized it. ******* When Miwanza awakened, she had no idea where she was. It seemed to be the bottom of some caved-in ruin, stonework on one side and a huge mountain of rubble on the other. There was a torch lying nearby, barely an ember left on it, but she was able to coax it to life with the shreds of some purple fabric that was discarded next to it for some reason. She started climbing, trying to find an exit, guided by the faintest whisper of a breeze. If there were other whispers, she didn’t hear them. It took hours of squeezing through narrow gaps and crevices, but Miwanza eventually broke through to a ravine that was open to the sky. From there she was able to follow it until it became shallow enough that she was able to climb out, and from there she wandered until she came across a Horde camp. “Whoa, what happened to you?” the guard said in alarm, ushering her to a bench. “Alliance hit?” “No… I don’t think so…” Miwanza looked down at herself. She was covered in a layer of dirt and had a bandage wrapped around her leg, though she felt no pain. Later, she would discover there was no injury beneath. “...But I don’t remember what happened.” The guard took a closer look at her and frowned. “Are you glowing? You didn’t try that Azerite brew, did you?” “I don’t think so…” She looked down at herself again. She had thought the torch had been her only source of illumination, but she did seem to be giving off a faint golden glow. As she watched, it faded away, leaving just her dark blue complexion. “Some sort of blessing,” said another guard who had shown up to see what was happening. “You don’t remember anything?” the first guard asked. She shook her head. “The last thing I remember is arriving here in Silithus with my platoon.” No one was ever able to puzzle out what happened. The Alliance were named likely suspects when her squadmates were discovered missing. The incident was soon forgotten.
  11. 2 points
    Juli didn’t have much of a choice. She raised Mercy and delivered a solid thwack with the side of the blade to the girl’s head. Miwanza crumpled and Juli scooped her up, throwing her over her shoulder and running for the far side of the dais. Probably should have done that in the first place. Except now she couldn’t hold up her shield, or fight effectively. And the fallen torch’s light didn’t reach far. No, this plan had far too many problems, but it was the only one she had now. You – can’t – flee – from – what – you – believe – She stumbled down the other side of the dais and fetched up against the wall, which she could barely make out. Ancient tapestries crumbled to dust under her touch. She started following the wall, feeling frantically for any exit. Slithering sounds surrounded her and she unintentionally stepped on another tentacle, quickly grinding it to pulpy sludge with her boot. A swipe around her with Mercy had several more barely-visible tentacles dodging back. Luckily, the golden light the blade gave off wasn’t bright enough to illuminate them. She wasn’t sure what they would do if they reached her even if they couldn’t hypnotize her, though. Her hand on the wall suddenly plunged into nothing. An exit! She threw herself toward it, only to bounce ringingly off a wall just inside. It wasn’t an exit. It was just an alcove. Juli stumbled back, and that was when a tentacle wrapped around one ankle. She was just starting to react when it gave a heave and pulled her feet out from under her entirely. She lost her grip on Miwanza as she fell, the girl’s limp body slamming Juli’s head into the stone floor and stunning her. When she regained her senses a few moments later, she had lost her shield but somehow retained her grip on Mercy, and was dangling upside-down in the air, being drawn away from the flickering torch and toward the corner of the room where the mass was. With a grunt she pulled herself up and sliced at the tentacle around her ankle by feel alone. It loosed her, and she braced herself for a rough landing, but instead landed in what felt like a nest of writhing, slimy tentacles. Light help me. As she struggled to right herself, throwing off tentacles and slashing out with her bright blade, it occurred to her in a wry corner of her mind not currently occupied with fighting for survival that this would undoubtedly make a retroactively hilarious story, someday down the line, to share over a cup of strong liquor with Kex’ti – no, Shokkra – no, Cobrak – no, who? Who would she laugh about this with someday, if she made it out of this? Who would care? Nobody would care. “Get out of my head!” she shouted as she struggled, infuriated her thoughts had once again been pushed in this unwanted direction. We – need – do – naught – your – own – battles – are – fought – In the very faint outlines provided by Mercy’s glow, a great stalk rose up in front of her, twice as wide as she was, thought admittedly she was rather small. At the end, a great orb turned towards her. Juli didn’t wait to see any more. She lunged forward and plunged her blade into the center of it. You – bring – us – power – it – we – will – devour – From the edges of the wound sprung more tentacles. No – they sprung from her sword. Juli jerked her hand back in horror as Mercy’s golden glow was replaced by a vivid purple that grew brighter and brighter as more and more tentacles swarmed out of the sides of the blade. Very clearly released. Her mind leapt to the battles against Karthok and his minions, where Mercy had seemed to harmlessly absorb several void attacks. It hadn’t been harmless at all. All this time, she had been carrying around a void-infused weapon. What have I done? How had she not known? Had it been manipulating her? Let – us – show – you – what – mercy – is – true – Too late, she realized that the illumination was too great. She should have closed her eyes immediately. But, still shocked, she didn’t. And she met the gaze of a hundred black eyes.
  12. 2 points
    Miwanza described it as, of course, an unfathomably hideous tentacle beast with far too many eyes. Juli didn’t know what she expected. All Miwanza could really offer other than that was that meeting the gaze of one of the eyes had spelled doom for her companions. Miwanza had only barely avoided doing so, since to gaze upon the mass was to almost assuredly ended up catching the gaze of one of the eyes; only her companions’ reactions, in front of her, had saved her, as they had commanded her attention and at the same time clued her in to what was happening. “All right, here’s what we’ll do.” Juli looked toward the shadows ahead in the antechamber. Apparently the thing lurked in the next room; they speculated it was immobile, relying on its prey to come to it. “You’ll hold the torch, and I’ll guide you – you’ll be blindfolded.” “Blindfolded? But wait, you won’t be?” Both options seemed dismaying in their own way to the girl. “Yes. I’m going to use my shield to block my vision where needed, and find us an exit. If I stop talking and guiding you at any point… try to smack me in the face, with the torch.” Juli inhaled slowly. “I’ll take being blind over insane.” Miwanza hesitated, then nodded, firming her grip on the torch. “All right. Let’s do this.” Juli had used up most of the roll of bandage, and wasn’t sure the gauze would be thick enough if not layered adequately, so had already decided what she was going to do for a blindfold. She sheathed her weapons and took hold of the hem of her purple and gold tabard. Tearing upward, she pulled off a long strip. One of the wings of the phoenix emblem came off with it. Now how is it supposed to fly? She ignored the nonsensical thought as she had Miwanza bend down so she could securely tie the improvised blindfold around the girl’s head. The whispers were getting louder; more eager. She redrew her weapons, and felt better with Mercy in her hand. They set off toward the end of the antechamber. A wall with a wide archway appeared, separating it from the next room. The stonework was still absent of the black chitinlike corruption, but the whispers were growing louder and louder, no longer in small degrees, but in leaps and bounds as they drew closer. Below it, Juli thought she might be hearing disturbing slurping sounds. There was no point in hesitating. Juli took the girl’s arm with her sword hand, lifted her shield and darted into the room. The torchlight danced madly, illuminating a space smaller than the antechamber – a throne room? There was a dais at the end with some objects atop it, but that wasn’t where the creature was. To their left, the light gleamed on hundreds of orbs and Juli threw her shield up between herself and it before she was sure what she was seeing. Backing away from that direction, she looked around, trying to see if there was another exit. Miwanza, making small sounds of fear, gripped Juli’s arm tightly and almost trod on her feet as she followed Juli’s lead. What – do – we – spy – with – our – countless – eyes – The voice was both inside and outside of her head. “Nothing to see here,” Juli said through gritted teeth. There was no exit on the right side of the room, but maybe there was behind the dais. Juli tugged Miwanza that way, angling her shield. She heard sickening slick noises and strained to determine if they meant the thing was moving. The acoustics of the chamber if not the echoing whispers made that impossible. As they reached the dais, something slid up to her foot, under her guard. She didn’t think; she stomped it to bits. The texture was wretched. “Up!” she urged Miwanza. “Five steps!” Miwanza stumbled as she went up, breaking from Juli’s grip but catching herself. Juli swept Mercy under her shield preventatively, and thought she felt the tip of the blade slide through something that gave almost no resistance. Like, maybe, an eyeball. “Juli?” Miwanza cried. You – saw – all – before – remember – so – much – more – “Keep going!” Juli backed up the steps, keeping her shield up and using every sense she could to try to catch any more tentacles that might encroach. Not being able to look went against every instinct she had. Look out, look out, look out. She bumped into Miwanza, who wasn’t moving. Juli whipped her head to look at the girl, suddenly fearing the girl had somehow become transfixed despite the blindfold, but there were no tentacle stalks near the girl. Nonetheless, she wasn’t moving. “Miwanza! Keep going!” Juli tried to give her a shove, but in response Miwanza simply dropped the torch. It continued to burn, but the light was dangerously dimmer. The – inner – eye – is – where – truth – lies – “I saw it,” Miwanza breathed. “I saw it, before. I ran away, but I remember now.” She reached up. “Miwanza, no!” The girl ripped off the blindfold and smiled beatifically past Julilee.
  13. 2 points
    “First, though, let’s see if I can bandage that wound better for you,” Juli said. Miwanza nodded and sank down against the pillar. Juli gave her the torch to hold and started unwrapping the bandage. “How come you came by yourself?” Miwanza said. She paused. “I mean, it’s very brave, but… didn’t it seem risky?” “Someone else was going to come with me originally,” Juli said as she worked. She didn’t know why she said what followed. “But she felt I was going to betray her, so she attacked me, disabled me, and took off.” “Why did she think that?” Miwanza said, somewhere between curious and alarmed. Juli was silent for a moment before answering, working on unbuckling the girl’s leg plate and setting it aside. “She thought she wouldn’t get a fair trial for something she’d done which others viewed as a crime. I thought she would, but… I guess I don’t blame her.” “Sounds like you two have a complicated relationship,” Miwanza offered. “You could say that.” “Is she the one who gave you those bruises?” Juli paused in the middle of getting out her water canteen, one hand rising reflexively toward the bruises under her jaw. It was a lucky guess. “Yes,” she said. “If, um, she was going to be put to trial, why were you two coming here…?” Juli considered what to say. She had already said all that, so why not the rest? “It was going to be our last assignment together. I resigned from my post as leader of my guild. I just… wanted one last chance to feel like I was carrying out Sanctuary’s mission, the way I’d always envisioned it, with someone I always hoped could see it the same way.” “I’ve heard of Sanctuary,” Miwanza said, perking up. “You want peace between the Horde and the Alliance, don’t you?” Juli sighed inwardly as she cleaned the wound. “We want peace for everyone, regardless of faction,” she said, the correction one she had given more times than she could count. Then she paused, realizing she was speaking as though she were still part of Sanctuary. “Or at least, that was my vision. I don’t know how good a job I did of getting anyone closer to that while I was in charge. But I’m not going to try anymore.” “You’re giving up?” “On some things,” Juli said. She reached into her satchel and pulled out a roll of bandage. “I’m not going to try to lead anymore. I could never really inspire anyone. Not their confidence, not their hope, not anything. So I’m just going to do whatever I can until I can’t anymore.” She started wrapping Miwanza’s leg tightly. “So you came down here on pretty much a suicide mission.” Miwanza gave a rueful laugh. “Do you even expect to get out of here alive?” Despair underlaid her words. Juli looked up at the girl. “I will die trying to get you out of here alive,” she said quietly, “but dying is the very last option, and not one I’ll be throwing myself at. You can’t help anyone if you’re dead.” “You sound like you’ve said that before,” Miwanza said, the words calming her somewhat. “Someone said it to me years ago,” Juli said. “And it stuck… maybe too much. I was too cautious, for too long. An entire guild’s lives were in my hands. One bad call and I could lose someone who trusted me, right?” She was silent for a moment as she worked, tying off the bandage. “But Sanctuary needed to take those risks. We weren’t Sanctuary unless we did.” “Like Aerie Peak,” Miwanza said. Juli stopped again, looking up at the girl. “People still talk about that?” she said. “I was at the Wyvern’s Tail once when some Grim came in, and they mentioned it,” Miwanza said. “I found the official Horde report later and read it. The Grim said you attacked them, but according to the report, you stated that you only stood in defense of Alliance civilians and noncombatants when the Grim attacked. People say a lot of things about Sanctuary, but… I’ve seen what the Grim have done… I wouldn’t put it past them to do that.” “Yes,” Juli said. “The town’s soldiers were mostly away, leaving only children, elderly, the infirm, and other noncombatants… There were only a handful of us Sanctuary, and a whole squad of Grim. But we chose to make a stand, even though we were outnumbered.” She remembered the clash of her and Khorvis’ blades. Lilliana’s twisted face as she flung dark magic. Cerryan’s bright cries. The surety that had rung in her heart, the utter lack of regret even when things were at their bleakest. “But things changed after that… No, I changed. I became unwilling to take any more risks. I was too afraid that someone else would pay the price if I was wrong.” “But you were just saying you can’t help anyone if you’re dead,” Miwanza pointed out. She helped with her free hand as Juli buckled the leg plate back on. “So being cautious isn’t unreasonable.” “Yes,” Juli agreed. “But you can’t help anyone if you never help anyone, either.” She rose to her feet and offered Miwanza her hand. Miwanza clasped it and Juli pulled the girl to her feet. With the new, tighter bandage, she seemed more stable. Miwanza tested her weight on it and seemed satisfied. She still wouldn’t be leaping across any chasms, but she could get around. “I’m not responsible for anyone else anymore,” Juli said. “Just myself. So I’m going to take those risks now that I always should have. I’m not going to run toward death, but I’m not going to always run away from it, either. That’s why I’m here. I won’t let you down.” “If you say so,” Miwanza said with a weak chuckle. “I’m not going to look a gift boar in the tusks. If we get out of here alive, I’m not gonna argue with whatever philosophy you used to do it.” The whispers had quieted while the two spoke. It had been a welcome break, but suddenly Juli had the feeling that they had been listening. Well, it wasn’t anything that hadn’t already been in her mind, on which the shadows had already played. And, as always, the only way to go was forward. No matter what lay behind, she had to keep moving forward, because giving up was never an option. “Keep the torch,” Juli said. “I’ll need both my arms to fight. What can you tell me about the thing ahead?” The whispers were growing loud again as she drew her sword and shield. The bright, jagged lines on Mercy gleamed golden in the darkness. “Oh, you’re a paladin!” Miwanza said, her voice rising with real hope for the first time. “Maybe you really can beat this thing!” “...” “What?” Miwanza blinked. “Just tell me what this thing looks like.”
  14. 2 points
    From there, the pathway didn’t fork anymore. It was a blessing because she didn’t have to worry about losing her way, but a curse because she didn’t have concentrating on not losing her way to keep her distracted from the whispers. She spent some time thinking about how to get back across the treacherous cavern on her way out. Once she had a few basic ideas about that, she didn’t have much else to try to anticipate or plan. She found herself wondering what the outside world do if she never came out. How many weeks would it be before someone went into her office to try to figure out what mission it was she’d mentioned to Vilmah? Would anyone try to follow her down into this damned place? Or would they assume she’d just run off with Shokkra? The whispers loved that train of thought, so she tried to think of a new one. A distraction came in the form of the walls and floors. The reddish, bulbous, silithid-made appearance of the surfaces was changing. It was becoming darker, and glossier. Her sabatons made a slightly different sound on them. They clicked more. She paused to inspect a particularly bulbous pustule once it had all become very shiny and black, bringing her torch nearer to it. Deep within, the blackness contracted as the torch neared. It was an eyeball. She flinched back instinctively, but nothing happened. After a few moments to calm her thoroughly unnerved heart, she continued on. Something loomed in the path ahead. She couldn’t quite figure out what it was for a moment, only able to perceive a strange shadow lying in the way, before it clicked. It was a chasm. The earth had been split here, this far beneath the surface, the rending wide enough that she had to get close to the edge before the circle of light her torch provided illuminated the opposite side. The bottom of the chasm, she couldn’t see at all. A breeze stirred the torch’s flame, ever so slightly, though she couldn’t feel it. Did the opening go all the way up to the surface, somewhere? Even if it were impassable to anything but a breeze, the fresh air was welcome. The whispers seemed quieter here. She considered her options. It was a noteworthy distance across, but she suspected that with a running start, she could make it. However... she wasn’t entirely sure. But other options did not seem promising. She had brought no rope, and an inspection of the walls and the edges showed that there would be no climbing sideways or down, the material too slick and sheer to promote a safe hold. If she wanted to continue, across was the other way to go. There were three more Horde soldiers unaccounted for. They could very well be at the bottom of this chasm, so far as she knew. Or, this chasm could have only opened up with the last earthquake in that cavern of impalement. Or, the chasm had been here, but they’d made it across. Or, they could have gone a completely different direction. Well, there was only one way to find any of that out, wasn’t there. She backed up a distance, then started for the edge. However, she didn’t run at full speed, and slid to a stop before the edge. She was half-expecting a tentacle to try to lash up at where she would have been mid-jump. But nothing happened. The whispers didn’t even change. Am I too paranoid? Or am I the only one prepared? You’re always the former until you’re the latter. She backed up again, and this time ran as hard as she could. Her footing at the edge almost gave out under her as she leapt, but she was still able to get enough of a launch to just barely make it across, her feet landing inches ahead of the gap. She pounded to a stop, looking back. The gap looked wider from this direction. She kept going. It suddenly changed. In a transition spanning only a few feet, the material surrounding her shifted from the black, organic (?) material to gray stonework, tendrils trailing into it then disappearing. It was an ancient, deeply buried ruin. She lifted her torch higher as she stepped into the area, looking around. It seemed like some sort of grand antechamber, wide, with dual rows of pillars reaching to the ceiling. The whispers echoed, here, like she was hearing them with her actual ears. Realizing that was also when she realized that she could hear again, and that she had been able to for some time. It was enough to give her pause, and wonder what else she’d missed. But all she could do was try to pay as close attention as she could to her surroundings, and she did as she moved forward, casting her gaze about, aware that there were many directions with much cover that something could appear from. Then a muffled sob came from one side. As much as she had every reason to believe it was a trap, she couldn’t not ensure it wasn’t. Hand on Mercy’s hilt, she moved toward the sound. Sheltering behind the pillar was a troll in Horde armor. She was bunched in on herself, holding a one-handed axe with both hands. She almost leapt at Juli as she appeared, but stopped in confusion at the last moment, stumbling and shrinking away. “What...?” Juli held up her hands, including the one still holding the torch, spreading the fingers a little bit to show it was all she held. “My name is Julilee. I came down here to find you. Are you all right?” she asked. “Are... are you real?” the trolless asked. “Are you?” Julilee replied dryly. “The shadows haven’t stooped to outright illusions yet, but I wouldn’t put it past them.” The trolless didn’t seem entirely reassured by that, but she looked like she wanted to be. She was young, with blue hair and darker blue skin. Her youth made Juli think of Mariz. Mariz could have easily ended up here, had she signed up with the Horde military instead of Sanctuary. But Juli had ended up here too, hadn’t she, because of Sanctuary. Juli wasn’t sure what lesson she was supposed to draw from that conclusion and didn’t have the time to ponder it further. “Look,” Juli said, “I want to get you out of here safely, and your companions if they’re still alive. Do you know where any of them are?” “We lost Mal’lul early in the tunnels,” the trolless said hesitantly, “and Orenzi to the spikes.” She swallowed, still gripping her axe. “Lomar and Kaishu, they convinced me to keep going once we got here... They said that there would be treasure in ruins like these and the goblins couldn’t complain about us helping ourselves down here while we cleaned up the voidspawn... and maybe we’d find something to help us get back through the spikes and the suffocating dark thing...” “What happened?” Juli prompted. “Where are they now?” “We went ahead, and... the voidspawn... it... there was... it was too big. It got Lomar and Kaishu... almost got me...” Julilee nodded. She didn’t press for details. “What’s your name?” “Miwanza.” Juli gave her a closer look. The girl looked scared out of her mind. She also had a bloodied bandage tied across her right thigh. The stumble hadn’t been entirely due to the pulled swing. “How fast can you move, Miwanza?” “Not very,” the girl admits. “I only got away because the... thing... it was occupied.. with...” Juli nodded again, letting the girl know she didn’t need to explain. “There’s a chasm in the tunnel on the way out. I made it across but I don’t think you can with your injury. We’ll need to find something to help us cross it, or another way out of here.” The sheer practicality Juli evinced seemed to be reassuring the trolless that Juli was real, though the situation as described clearly scared her. “What do we do?” she asked. Juli considered that herself. There was no guarantee that any other exit existed. Nor was there that there would be any items they could put to use in these ruins. And it was guaranteed that an enemy lay ahead. But there were literally no other options. “We get past it.”
  15. 2 points
    The path opened up into another large cavern. Juli could tell it was huge by how the small sounds she made, her footsteps and the rustling of her armor, got swallowed up by the dark that her torch couldn’t find the end of. She weighed her options: go through the middle or stick to a wall? In the end she decided to follow the whispers, which led out away from the walls. The soldiers, if they were fleeing in terror, would have taken much the same course anyway. An obstruction appeared – a stalagmite. She moved around it and encountered more, the ground growing thick with them. A natural cavern? She paused to look at one of them more closely. It didn’t appear to be made out of mineral. She hesitated to inspect further, and continued on. Her ears strained to pick out sounds in the dark surrounding her. Even her own movements seemed muffled, and to be growing more so. Only the whispers stayed at the same volume. At first she wasn’t sure if it was an acoustical trick, but eventually she stopped and tapped and her armor to check, and she heard nothing at all. She scanned her surroundings, wary of what this meant. Had she lost her hearing, or was this some new threat? Or both? Then she began to feel vibrations under her feet, rapidly growing stronger. Instinctively, she reached out to steady herself on one of the stalagmites. This proved to be a bad idea as it broke off at her touch, far more fragile than she had anticipated. The rumbling grew heavier, accompanied by a rushing of air, and she turned her head to see a stalactite crash down not far from her. She couldn’t hear it hit, which was disorienting, nor the fragments that she could feel bounce off her armor as she shielded her face. Managing to keep her feet, she started moving quickly, seeking the end of the cavern. With her right arm she drew her shield and held it up to protect herself as more stalactites came crashing down in utter silence. At least one bounced off her shield directly, but other than being jarring, it did no harm, its material far too fragile. While running for cover, Juli almost tripped over another body, this one a female orc. She also wore Horde armor and was impaled on a broken stalagmite, which appeared to have fallen over and shattered in the earthquake. How? Juli didn’t have time to puzzle it out and quickly passed by. Almost all of the spires along the ground had collapsed at that point, and fewer stalactites were falling now. In another few moments, it ceased entirely. Juli slowed to a stop, looking around. Fragments lay everywhere that the torch’s light could reach. The cavern was clear of obstructions now, save for the rubble. But she has a feeling that that wasn’t it. The rumbling started up again. Instinct made Juli break into a sprint. The ground grew strangely mushy under her feet. The debris was disappearing. Absorbed into the ground? Then, the ground grew hard again. She had the weird feeling that the ground was actually changing, and not from her passage of distance, but altogether. This place was all wrong and unnatural. Then a stalagmite erupted from the ground in front of her. She spun, barely avoiding running into it, though she still bounced off the side of it. The soundlessness of it all was as jarring as the impact. It didn’t break, much stronger than any of the ones that had collapsed. Fully capable of impaling someone. It was a new one. It had regrown. She didn’t know if her own wild imagination had supplied the thought or if the whispers did, but couldn’t do anything right then but dismiss it anyway. She kept running. Another one erupted just in front of her, but she saw it coming this time, and leapt over it. Her instincts told her there was going to be more than direction to this threat, and when a spike suddenly speared down down from the ceiling, she was not entirely surprised. She ducked, her short height once again coming in handy for something, and kept going. Several more close calls later, she fetched up against a wall. Quickly reconsidering that, she moved away from the potentially lethal surface and moved to follow the edge at a safer distance. No spikes did end up coming out of the wall, but several more erupted from the floor and ceiling, trying to get her. One scored along the side of her leg but her armor took the scratch. Eventually, she found an opening and ducked in. The spikes didn’t follow, and the rumbling ceased. The whispers flowed down this passage. If there had been more than one exit from the impalement cavern, it seemed she had found the right one. Juli slung her shield back on her back, put her hand on Mercy’s hilt, and continued on.
  16. 2 points
    The narrow entrance led to an even narrower corridor, one that looked like it was created by the earth’s rupturing rather than created by creatures, sentient or otherwise. The cavern it led into, however, was another matter. The torch’s light shone on bulbous walls signature of what one could expect in the zone. Juli moved out into the open, looking for other exits, and the light illuminated three other corridors out of the cavern. From one of them flowed the whispers. Eerily, they sounded like someone she knew, though she couldn’t say who. She put her other hand on the hilt of Mercy and followed them. The path forked; Juli took the one that the whispers were coming from. Then it forked again, and again, and again. She started building herself a mnemonic to remember the path she took: My really lousy rocks reach lower levels… It didn’t make any sense, but that was fine as long as she could remember it. Focusing on the dumb game kept the whispers from encroaching on her mind, too. It seemed odd that the path forked so much. As far as she knew, most silithid hives just spiraled deeper and deeper, without many branching paths at all. And this one just kept going. At one point, she realized she was going in a circle, and was forced to take some time to revise her mental map, figure out where she had started repeating herself, then go from there, finding a passage where the whispers were marginally louder than the one she had been taking. After that, the whispers started becoming a thrumming undertone of too many speaking at once to understand. She chose to not be disturbed by it, determined to get to the bottom of this and find what had happened to the missing soldiers. Her thoughts started wandering as she continued on. There was too much weighing on her mind. Losing Kex’ti, giving up Sanctuary, even Cobrak’s actions. And Shokkra. The more she thought about it all, the more depressed and discouraged she got, her thoughts darkening. Why was she even here? Why was she even trying, when she couldn’t help anyone? Then she realized that those thoughts weren’t her own; they were what the whispers were saying. Anger burned bright clarity back into her mind. She wasn’t going to give up, and she certainly wasn’t going to give up because manipulative entities were toying on her fears. It was at that same moment that she realized the shadows were encroaching on more than her mind. An amorphous blob hovered at the left side of her peripheral vision, and as soon as she realized it was there, she instinctively swiped at it with the torch in her hand. A shriek split the enclosed space and suddenly it was hard to breathe. It occurred to her she didn’t even know how far she was underground and if good air could still reach down there. She could suffocate. She was suffocating. No. More shadows. She drew her sword as the blob recoiled then lurched for her again, and the shining blade sliced right through it. It died with another shriek, and as soon as the sound dissipated, she could breathe again. She took a moment to do just that, as she shifted carefully, looking around for any other threats. She ended up finding a body instead. It was a male troll in Horde armor. His eyes bulged, his mouth agape, as though he had choked to death. His body was cool, but not yet stiff. His companions must have fled ahead and left him to die. Juli turned back toward the whispers and continued.
  17. 2 points
    Juli stood at the entrance to the mine. Besides being unnaturally dark, a chill breeze flowed gently from the cave’s mouth, yet it failed to stir the flames of the torches on either side. That wasn’t the worst part, though. The worst part was the impression of whispers carried on that breeze, like a hushed conversation you were overhearing while asleep and couldn’t make any sense out of. It was no surprise the two Horde grunts guarding the entrance seemed uneasy. They looked at her as she stood there, and as she did, their expressions slowly turned from dubious to bewildered as she did not move for some time. She ignored them, immersed in thought. Eventually, she took out her hearthstone and spoke. “Sanctuary, thank you for the chance to lead you as long as I did. It’s been the most important three and a half years of my life. If you haven’t already heard, I’ve passed the mantle of leadership to Vilmah Bloodborne. I had reached the end of what I could offer Sanctuary, and I know she’ll be able to guide you further than I could. It’s been an honor. Thank you.” When she was done, one of the guards asked with nervous gentleness, “Err, lady, you’re not going in there out of some deathwish, are you?” The juxtaposition of her words, which they could hear, and what she was staring into was rather clear. The other shifted awkwardly, and the first guard went on. “Just take a little time, find someplace to blow off some steam. Go fight in an arena, spend some gold somewhere – fel, go get laid. You’ll feel better and realize you don’t have to do anything drastic.” “How many are unaccounted for?” was all she asked. “Five of ‘em went in,” the other guard said. “Two trolls, two orcs, and a pandaren.” She grunted. “Haven’t heard a peep. Other than...” Her eyes shifted toward the dark of the cave mouth, where the unheard whispers were coming from, and she scratched at an ear nervously. No new information since the request that had come to her desk, then, about what Juli would actually be facing down below. The report had just mentioned voidspawn in a cave the miners had broken into, from which they’d quickly retreated with no casualties. Juli mentally reviewed what she knew and found it wasn’t much. She would have to figure out what was going on herself. “She sure stands around thinkin’ a lot,” the second guard commented to the first. “Someone has to,” Juli muttered, then walked into the cave. She grabbed a torch off the side as she passed by. The guards didn’t stop her.
  18. 2 points
    Somewhere behind dark clouds, the moon was high over Sun Rock Retreat. Rain pattered down onto the dry red dirt, collecting in puddles and dribbling down the sheer cliff faces into the small Tauren village below. Despite the hour and the weather, the distant sound of fighting could be heard echoing from over the canyon walls. And standing above it all, looking down into the village below, was a lone Goblin. A cigar chomped in the corner of his mouth lighting up his face and the pair of goggles resting upon his forehead in an orange-red glow. He’d take a heavy puff from the cigar now and then, drawing on it to keep the dim glowing tip alight despite the rain fighting to extinguish it. With a sigh, he reached into his vest and withdrew a pocket watch, exchanging it to his opposite hand to fling the water that had collected on his fingertips after reaching into his soaked clothing. Lifting the pocket watch to his cigar to cast some light on it in order to read the time. He grunted and rolled his eyes before tucking the watch away once more into the wet clothing from which it had came. “You’re late again.” He commented aloud around the cigar, rolling it from one side of his mouth to the other. Behind him, the sound of heavy steps in the mud grew gradually louder. A Tauren approaching, walking up the steep wet slope of the path that lead to the top of the cliff. “Sorry. Traffic.” Came the flat joke in reply, a smooth baritone voice from the bull that strode toward the Goblin. The Goblin rolled his eyes, visible only thanks to the glow upon his face. But the smirk that pulled at the corners of his lips was obvious. It was short lived though as he pulled a folder from under his arm, tucked into his armpit to keep it at least somewhat dry. It wasn’t particularly effective. Never the less, he held the damp folder up with a full extension of his arm for the Tauren to take it. And as the bull came to a stop at the cliffs edge he took the folder, opening it in a hand. The Goblin reached into his vest to retrieve a flashlight for the bull to read by, but stopped short. Before he could retrieve the flashlight, the Tauren’s fingertips upon his free hand lit up with arcs of blue electricity. His hand raised just high enough to light the pages. Within the folder were photos and documents. Horde insignias marked each page. Post combat reports and debriefings taken by Horde intelligence. Thick fingers paged slowly through the folder, flipping from one page to the next before coming to rest upon a photo. An image frozen in time of the carnage upon the beaches of Darkshore. In the distance, the world tree Teldrassil smoldered, spewing smoke into the sky. The Tauren visibly hesitated, an action which the Goblin recognized. “It’s bad.” Came the thickly accented voice of the Goblin. “Bad is one word for it.” The Tauren replied as he traced a finger along the photo, smearing raindrops across its surface. “It would be ironic for me of all people to say Sylvannas has gone too far.” “But?” “But Sylvannas has gone too far.” The Tauren replied, closing the folder and holding it back out to the Goblin. Realizing that he was done, the Goblin reached up and took it, tucking it back beneath his arm. “So what do we do about it?” “Nothing.” Came the baritone reply. The Goblin blinked, before looking up at the Tauren with a raised brow. “The leader of the Horde is going too far in their conflict with the Alliance. Again. And we’re going to do nothing. Again?” He asked quizzically, wanting to confirm what he’d just heard. “The whole reason myself and the others left was because our fight was over. Our whole intent was to fight the battles the Horde could not. Garrosh made our existence unnecessary. For the Raven Cross to continue would simply mean becoming a part of the greater Horde war machine. This is no different.” The Tauren replied easily, shrugging his shoulders. “And I have no interest in killing a fellow member of the Horde. No matter how despicable they may have become. It should not be our way.” “So we just go back to watching?” A nod of the Tauren’s head indicated his reply. Silence lingered in the air between them for a time. Only the sound of the rain pattering down onto the world around them would fill the air. The goblin stared at the Tauren for a time, before realising that the rain had finally won out against his cigar - it now was dark and wet. Grumbling, he pulled it from his lips and dropped it to the mud, stamping on it with a boot to make sure it stayed out. “What about the others? Have you heard anything about them?” The Goblin asked, shaking his foot to dislodge mud from his boot. “Not for years. We all went our separate ways. I’m not sure about the others that stayed and kept flying the flag, but they’re not in Sun Rock anymore.” The Tauren replied, his eyes on the village below. Even in the dark, the Goblin could make out the sombre look upon his face. “It was for the best for everyone that we stayed out of touch. The Alliance weren’t exactly going to take what we did lying down without looking for revenge. We were a liability to each other.” There was a brief pause, before the Goblin chuckled. “So remind me why we still keep doing these little covert meetings, then?” The grin from the Tauren was visible even in the dark as he turned his head to look down at the Goblin. “Old habits die hard, my friend.” With those words, the Tauren turned and started heading back towards the path up the cliff. “I need to go see Teldrassil for myself. Then maybe I’ll change my mind about our next move. Maybe it’s time.” Nodding his head, the Goblin was silent and watched as his friend started walking away. But before he was out of sight, the Goblin spoke up one last time. “Dio!” The Tauren lifted his head, and in the dark the Goblin could make out the silhouette of the Tauren as he turned his head to look over his shoulder. “It was good to see you. Unulu, too. I’m assuming he’s around here somewhere, at least.” The Goblin remarked. In the dark, his expression unreadable, the Tauren smiled. “Yeah, he’s around. It was good seeing you, too, Chikt. I’m sure we’ll be doing this again soon.” With that, the Tauren continued down the path. And as he disappeared out of sight, the storm went with him.
  19. 2 points
    Late to seeing all this, but well wishes to the lot of you. Legion saw a shift for me away from Rp unfortunately. At least for a bit raiding was great and Katrynne got to be a part of that! I'll always look back fondly on our planned kidnapping and everything that stemmed from that. I repeat my wishes for continued success! I plan to be more RP focused this expansion, so who knows, our paths may cross yet again. After all, there is still a score to be settled. >:)
  20. 2 points
    The House is an RP event that will take place entirely in Discord. All Horde and Alliance roleplayers on TN/RH are welcome. There will be contestants and audience. There will be chances for the audience to participate and help guide the challenges for the contestants. The main goal of this event is to put your character into a setting with other characters they might not normally interact with, for some fun RP! More information about the house, including screenshots and descriptions of each room are on the Discord server. Applications are due by midnight on Sunday, June 3, and may be submitted on the Discord server in the Applications channel. Discord link: https://discord.gg/RuDVFSG THE HOUSE RULES 1. This event is open to all Horde and Alliance RPers on Twisting Nether/Ravenholdt. 2. This event will take place entirely in the Discord server, Razz’s House. However, any gold prizes earned will be sent through in-game mail. 3. You may apply on as many characters as you want. Please list your main to ensure only ONE of your characters is selected. There is a non-refundable application fee of 1000g per character. This money will ALL go in the prize pot, along with enough of my own gold to make 100,000g, to be distributed to the winners at the end of the game. 4. Most of the “game” will be freeform RP in the House. The main goal of this event is to give people a chance to RP together whose characters would normally not interact with each other. 5. There will be occasional IC challenges. The day and time of the challenges will vary, to give opportunity for everyone to participate. The challenges will take place in Discord, but will start and complete within set time frame, so participants will be expected to be able to be active and attentive during it. Winners of the challenges may be determined by dice rolls, contestant votes, audience votes, or possibly other means. Winners will receive points and/or some other meaningful award. 6. IC, applications have been left in all major taverns, along with anonymous nominations. If you want to participate, but your character wouldn’t apply to something like this, you can say someone nominated him anonymously. 7. The contestants will NOT be all from one race or one guild. Such balancing will be kept in mind as contestants are selected to ensure variety in the household population. 8. Each contestant will earn points through various challenges, voting opportunities in the House, voting opportunities by the audience, and whenever Razz feels like giving out points. 9. Hobgoblins/mooks will be employed to keep the peace within the House and grounds. While they won’t interfere with scuffles and small fights, anyone fighting with deadly intent will be thrown in the dungeon. Please respect their authority in the House, and if your character does get violent, play along with getting arrested. Your character may remain locked up for a couple days, lose some points, or receive some other punishment agreed upon OOC. Repeated offenses may get them banned from the House. 10. If you are interested in participating in The House, please see the #applications channel. 11. All House RP rooms are "open" meaning anyone in the house can enter and join in the RP there at any time. Bedrooms might be an exception depending on the RP. (Please do NOT RP any NSFW content in this server.) ------------------------------------------------------------------ AUDIENCE Anyone who does not have a character in the House can participate in special Audience events. These may include voting on winners of events and other issues, being a special guest star in the House for a short period of time. Suggestions for events, and even running an event may also be options for audience members. Audience members may also RP as mooks if they choose. (See below.) Anyone in the Discord server who is not a contestant will be given the Audience role. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- MOOKS ANYONE may play a mook at any time if one is needed to break up a fight, except the people involved in that particular fight. The mooks will only break up fights that look deadly in nature. They may lock the offender(s) up in the cells. They are not very bright, but they are large and well armed with various weapons, nets, handcuffs, stunrays, etc. They may also step in if someone is trying to cause harm/theft to the House or to Razz, or other very serious infractions. Players are expected to play along with any mook attempting to restrain them. RPing resistance is allowed, as long as the player allows the mook to "win" in subduing the character.
  21. 2 points
    LUNK RITE MOAR WORDS hai hi, me iS stIlL Lunkkk, wriTe stOry bout scarY day! :O haHa :O looK likE LoNk facE! 2dayYyYyy ScAry. FeW days b4r, sCar LadY brinG frned, n he bIg n mean. anyWay, 1day 2day end of miss Razzy contest. PRETTY LADY WIN! lunK very happppy. Affer she Win, HOUSE CATCH FIARRRR! :OOOO luNk watch shoWs in room wid friends crOnk n PonK. n boB n Lonk2 buttt dey naht frinds. dey sUck. So, we watchIn show, LunkkKk look like tis: \o/ he hav good time. Den, get HAWT. BoB tell turn air, buT no AiR, AirrR hot! B4r no, rooM on fiahr in Mid of Ahll miiii gren chilrend! N lunk Lock in firarr room! bOoB haZ good ida, Hee spiLl dranK oN fiarrhs! N CrOonk spits on fiaarhrs! smmMart cRoNk..s Luank try same. Den! PRETTY LADY COME SAVE LUNK! Door opn, pretti ladi derE wid nothAr pretY lady! TwO pretTy Ladies! :O Dey Yallink at moOks n wE run out RooM n dey SavEe liFE!!!! BesTtest ladIes evarh! baD stuf happeN miSs RazzY housE brrrn 2 groun, but MisS RaZzY sayyfe! n moOks sayyfe! we go Poooorrt? Purt? Pert now! NEwww hOomE 4 Lunk Lunk! luv lunk ❤️ The text is written in the same shambled up journal as before, the mook having had it stuffed in his pants as he left the burning building. The edges of the paper is charred, as the mook attempted to fan the flames away. There is a wrinkles where some stray saliva got on the paper. It is written in the same messy text, but it is full of love. Lunk loves his job and loves the people he works with. Especially Miss Razz ❤️. He won't forget his time at the house with all the pretty ladies and silly men! Or, that's what he thinks!
  22. 2 points
    The Grim was always a good fight, best of luck to you.
  23. 2 points
    Proud to have been a member of The Grim for several years, and I look forward to seeing the story continue on WrA. ❤️
  24. 2 points
    Hello! I feel like I should have posted this SOONER, but I've kinda been all over the board as far as forumers go! I am Hunter, otherwise known as Chestius, otherwise known as Mr. Pockets. I'm a small time youtuber and a huge fan of both WoW and TF2. I've been playing both for YEARS, and adore everything that comes with it! Some funny facts about me: I am very bad at video games I can do voice impressions of both the Goblins in WoW as well as the Scout in TF2 (the only difference was Smokers Lung, after all) Beyond that, I'm just a dork who loves treating WoW as an extra D&D Night. I love the game and challenge, but also love the storytelling and fun with RP. Hit me up in game for some Battlegrounds, and I look forward to seeing everyone in BfA!
  25. 2 points
    Full Name: Lunk Lunk the Destroyer Nicknames: Lunk for short Birthday: 01 April, at least that's what he's told Age: Don't ask Race: Hobgoblin Gender: Mook Hair: Mook Skin: Mook Eyes: Mook Height/Weight: Mook Place of Residence: Razz's House Place of Birth: Don't ask Known Relatives: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Religion/Philosophy: Whatever Miss Razzy tells him Occupation: Miss Razzy's Bodyguard/Protector of her house Enemies: LONK Likes: Pretty ladies (particularly Ketani Addison), his shows, bun huggers/underoos, Miss. Razzy Dislikes: Lonk, when people are mean Favourite Weapon: Zappy Stick, itchy stichy (itching powder) Favourite Food: Floaty Sammich Hobbies: Watching his shows, picking pretty flowers, and helping Miss Razzy Positive Personality Traits: Unending positivity, always tries his best Negative Personality Traits: Has the intelligence of a hobgoblin Theme Song: Womp Womp, Wimp Wimp by Mook Quartet History: Lunk work hard for Miss Razzy, write journal telling all adventures! He try hard, do best job!
  26. 2 points
    Ninorra did not like running. The warlock was built for few things that involved physical exertion. Her limbs were short and thick, used to walking or riding more than running, and her robes were too cumbersome to make the effort easy. They flailed about her as she pumped her limbs, sweat glistening on her skin despite Everson’s temperate weather. How did it get to this? She had been walking with Steinburg, recently returned from his time in Undercity. He shared the story of what happened to him there, a tale both of sadness and woe that showed itself in the way he spoke and moved; the once cheerful Forsaken, who long ago learned to ‘live’ with his new existence by working with Sanctuary as their official banker and record keeper, had gone to the Undercity recently to help a budding new government created in the Dark Lady’s absence. He sent Ninorra letters, sometimes, sharing what happened. He seemed proud of the work he did, proud of the men and women he worked with. However only a day ago, Steinburg returned to her home in Eversong a shadow of his former self. The once tidy Forsaken wore the tattered robes of a prisoner, and his hair, once so carefully taken care of, lay in limp strands over his face. He explained to Ninorra the situation, that anyone showing dissent in Undercity were “disappearing”. He considered leaving many times, but it wasn’t until Catalinetta saw him that he realized the time for his departure had come. A portal to Silvermoon was all it took, something he considered fortunate. The elves of Quel’thalas would never allow Sylvanas’ dark rangers to follow him there. Would they? Ninorra assured him that no, the Sin’dorei were a proud people. Loyal to the Warchief of course, but, the Regent Lord Lor'themar Theron would never allow her to— “Going somewhere, are we?” a deep voice said from the shadows. It was not a familiar voice. The scratchy hollow echo was similar to Steinburg’s, but it did not share the warm quality that he spoke with, in spite of his sorrow. Turning toward the voice, Ninorra gripped the scythe in her right hand. It was a monstrous weapon, known for stealing the souls of her victims and recycling them. Today it had a dark red glow, matching the red and black robes she had decided on that morning. Her own red eyes cast a faint color across her face, which was strangely relaxed. Steinburg took a step back. “Who are you?” Ninorra asked calmly. “If my friend and I have traipsed on private property, we do apologize. My own home is not far from here.” Of course, she knew that this part of the Eversong Woods was public property, a jurisdiction of Quel’thalas and under Silvermoon’s protection. Hoof beats signaled an approaching rider, but what came forward were three faces Ninorra did not entirely recognize. Two male Forsaken and one female, who, she could see, was a master of the fel arts not unlike herself. “The Warchief has requested that we apprehend this employee of the Desolate Council,” said the lead rider, a sword at his hip. Each wore a tabard of black and white. Steinburg grabbed Ninorra’s arm. “Infection,” he whispered to her. “Go, Lady. They only want me.” Ninorra frowned at the idea. Steinburg was her friend, after all. He helped raised Damian, he cared for her home while she and Vicailde were gone, and he never asked for much in return. “I am afraid that will not be happening,” she said boldly, red eyes flashing a little brighter for a moment. “Mister Steinburg is under my protection.” The Forsaken sneered terribly. “And why should that matter?” “Because I am Lady Ninorra Bloodstone,” she answered flippantly. “And my friend has committed no crimes. Our people do not simply allow strangers to walk in our land and take our friends without a damn good reason.” “The reason is that our Warchief wills it,” the lead rider said without a smile, approaching them on his skeletal horse. “And what our Warchief wills shall be done. Now. Hand over that wretch or you will also find yourself in an unpleasant situation.” Ninorra frowned deeply, her dark lipstick covered mouth turned downwards. “You cannot command me on this land. This is Quel’thalas. Not Undercity.” “This is Horde territory,” he muttered, sliding off of the horse. Drawing his sword, the Forsaken approached Ninorra and pointed it in her direction. He didn’t seem to have the patience or the desire to argue with her. “All of it.” A sudden explosion behind the other two Forsaken startled Ninorra, who turned to look at Steinburg. He was not a great mage, but in a panic he managed to conjure a big enough fireball to startle the skeletal horses of his antagonists. The one with the sword turned to snarl at his companions, who nearly fell off of their mounts. Steinburg didn’t mince words. “Run!!” Grabbing her wrist, the Forsaken made for the trees. He was faster than she would have imagined, but his plan was flawed. How could they outrun riders? Obviously, she could not. “Steinburg, what are you—“ “I will make a portal!” He shouted, running into a copse of trees. “You have to hold them off!” Of course, now this was a plan that made sense. However, if he made a portal, where would it go? If Sylvanas truly had a strangle hold on all Horde territory, where could they escape? Allowing Steinburg to work with panicked hands, Ninorra turned toward their adversaries and immediately began casting curses. They would work well against Forsaken, whose flesh was already rotting and corrupt. Unfortunately, she could only cast one at a time, and with all three of them approaching, she had no time to summon a demon to aid her. “Hurry, Steinburg!” She shouted. The first blast hit her squarely in the gut, a chaos bolt that rattled and sent blazing pain throughout her limbs. She returned the favor with a fresh bout of agony, and followed it by draining the life from her target. Forsaken may have had rotting bodies, but leeching from their soul could heal her for a time, and she only needed enough time to— “Lady!” Steinburg was shouting, the portal was finished. Waving her over, she released the soul drain and ran toward Steinburg's creation. “Don’t look back, Ninorra,” the Forsaken said hurredly, grabbing her arm to shove her through the portal. It was then that another chaos bolt hit him in the back, sending him reeling to the ground. “Steinburg!” She shouted, slamming the butt of her scythe to the ground to cast corruption at each of these attackers, each of these creatures that would dare harm her friend. They each seemed, under their armor, to writhe a bit. But what were Forsaken if not accustomed to pain and the reality of their undeath? They would keep moving until there was nothing left. The warrior who spoke before closed the gap between himself and the elf, and without a moments hesitation plunged his blade into Ninorra’s abdomen. She could hardly believe that she had let this happen, and even as shock set in and her limbs froze, she thought to herself how very silly she had been. Is this how it ends? She asked herself, falling backwards through the portal. Instantly, she found herself somewhere dark and warm, lying on her back. Pain radiated from the wound in her belly, a throbbing numbness that ached with each beat of her heart. Her back was wet, her clothes slowly soaking. That she was bleeding to death was obvious, and whatever place she was in seemed like the perfect place for it. The sound of gentle flowing water was nearby, and the rustling of robes. She heard voices somewhere, deep and concerned. A second later, the portal closed. Where was Steinburg? She couldn’t make sense of it, this rush of events. It was too quick and too well executed. Three Forsaken against one elf, who, regardless of any importance she might have imagined for herself, could not defend her friend against them. What a failure. She pictured Qabian somewhere, laughing at her. Then the world went dark.
  27. 2 points
    Clank. Clank. Clank. Catalinetta walked through Undercity, the metal of her boots clanking against the stone floors of ancient Lordaeron. They felt almost unusually loud there, underground, where the Forsaken spoke in scratchy hushed tones and moved in slow, hunched over shambles. She didn't suppose that she was in a hurry, not at first anyhow. The death knight had gone to Undercity with a specific purpose; to find a ring. There were plenty to be had down there, crafted by some of the Forsaken's most talented jewelers, and she knew exactly where to go for what she wanted. Unfortunately, as she reached the edge of the Magic Quarter, certain to find the same bright-eyed Forsaken woman who used to craft her jewelry as a newly risen death knight, Catalinetta saw that she was no longer there. The death knight paused mid-stride, staring ahead at the now empty spot. Tilting her head to one side, she considered briefly that maybe her friend was simply taking a break. Or away, visiting friends in Brill. Without hesitating, she approached another nearby Forsaken who manned a stall selling inscriptions. "Excuse me, sir," she said in her high pitched, if not hollow voice. Cat's eyes glowed with the same eerie blue of her fellow death knights. It was not the dim yellow of the Forsaken, but they often found a kinship in their undeath. Today, however, that did not come as easily. "Death to the living," he said in greeting, his voice hoarse and gravelly. He seemed to have died in mid-life, just old enough to have sprouted a few gray hairs at his temples that hung in thick clumps about his gray face. A lack of flesh in his cheeks that exposed both jawbones gave him a permanently stern expression. "What do you want?" A corner of Cat's mouth twitched. "..yeah, uh... I was wondering if you'd seen Abby?" She asked, her dark gray ears perking a little. Though she was undead, the Sin'dorei's ears still worked as they did in life, reacting to her emotions with little twitches as much her eyebrows. "She was supposed to be here today, I thought. I wanted to buy some jewelry from her." The other vendor's face made no changes. Perhaps if he had been alive she might have seen some sort of change, something in his face to indicate his thoughts on the matter. As it was, he seemed far too corpse-like to emote as she did. "Gone. She won't be coming back." Cat's eyebrows rose, scrunching her forehead in concern. "Where did she go? Is she okay?? Did something happen to her?" Now the vendor's face changed, a slow and creeping grin that gradually pulled at the sagging flesh in his face enough to make his eyes squint like half-moons. "I do not know where she went, death knight," he answered, then frowned again as his face relaxed. Smiling, Cat imagined, must have taken quite a bit of effort on his part. "But I know that she will not be coming back." For a moment, she just stared at him. Admittedly, it had been a while since she'd returned to this place, where the Forsaken once welcomed the death knights to their new status as living dead. Certainly they were different, and there were plenty of Forsaken who were distrustful of Arthas' newer creations. However as time passed, most of the Forsaken grew to learn about the curse of the death knights, their eternal bond to the Lich King, and their inherent need to cause pain. The Forsaken were free, after all. The death knights, in spite of their great strength, would never truly be independent of their creator. Things were even, in a way. So why now did this Forsaken treat her like this, she wondered? Could he tell that there was something amiss? Could he somehow detect the Mogu blood magic that coursed through her black veins, creating the illusion of life even as it reanimated her? Was it a lack of decay? It didn't matter. He was being difficult, and that much was unnecessary. "Look, I don't know what your problem is," she started, pointing a gauntlet-covered finger at the bony creature. "But Abby is my friend. So if you know something, just tell me so I can go find her. Alright?" Again, the Forsaken smiled. It appeared to take less effort this time. "I can not tell you her fate, but your search ends here. Abigaille Lefaye is gone. You might as well leave this city too, death knight. You will not find what you are looking for, here." "But--" "Catalinetta?" Another voice from behind. It was scratchy, hollow and undoubtedly Forsaken, but it was also kind and familiar. She turned to see a man, hunched over but still taller than her. His short black hair, unlike most Forsaken, was usually well kept. Today however, it was matted and disheveled. His typically well cared for robes were frayed and dull, and the once jovial look on his gently rotted face had been replaced with one of terrible remorse. "..mister Steinberg?" Indeed he was. The former accountant of Sanctuary, stolen away by the Bloodstones to Silvermoon when their guild hall was burned to the ground by Garrosh Hellscream. Though he witnessed the death of so many other guild members, one of them his own adopted son, Steinberg carried on. He helped Ninorra raise Damian in her absence. He healed his broken heart by teaching the Sin'dorei boy to read and write, and one again was given another chance at life. In a way. "Yes miss D'Aragon," he said in a slightly pained voice, as if trying to keep the sorrow from slipping. Swallowing something down, his expression turned slightly harsh. "I heard you asking about Miss Lefaye. I'm afraid she's no longer with us. If you'll come with me, I'll show you where you can buy whatever it is you need." Cat's heart sunk at the change in voice. Steinburg had always been kind to her, to everyone. What happened to change him so drastically? Tearing herself away from the other vendor, she walked to her old friend and twisted her hands together. "Sorry if I caused trouble, I just wanted to know if she was okay. Is.. did something happen?" Steinburg lowered a pair of cold yellow eyes to his old friend, the once familiar smile completely gone. "Yes. Now come with me." Following him as the Forsaken shambled away, Cat's eyes were lowered to the moldy stone floor. She held in angry tears, tears she knew would invite too many questions, and vowed to let them out later for her friend. Steinburg led her from the Magic Quarter and walked her, quicker than she would have thought him capable of, toward the elevator. "Where are we going?" "Out," he said quickly, not bothering to look back. To any of the other Forsaken, they looked like a very angry man leading a very confused elf. Both dead, both unhappy, both completely ordinary in a place where nobody should ever be happy. His steps were so quick that Cat almost found herself tripping after him, but by the time they reached the ruins of Lordaeron and rushed past the throne room of its former king, she understood where he was leading her. "Steinburg wait," she said quickly, grabbing his shoulder. The Forsaken didn't slow. "Just keep walking," he said between clenched teeth, frayed robes fluttering around his bare skeletal feet. They clacked about almost as much as her boots, which worried her. Where had his shoes gone? "Steinburg, I--" The orb stood in front of them, a bright ball of red that would take them to Silvermoon. Steinburg grabbed Catalinetta's hand and moved it to the orb, but she wrenched it away. "Wait a second!" she shouted, wrenching her arm back. "What the hell is wrong with you?? I haven't seen you in months and suddenly you're here, and you look terrible, and everything is all weird and sad! What happened to you??" The yellow glow flickered in Steinbeug's eyes. For a moment, a hint of his old self came forward and he nearly smiled at the outburst. She had always been outspoken, even in death, and it had once made him smile. But it was only for a moment. "I am Forsaken," he said simply, the frown returning as he grabbed Catalinetta's arm and pulled her to him, whispering near her long ear. "Now go home. Where you belong." Still not understanding, Cat shook her head. She wanted to argue, to yell at him and get Steinburg to snap out of whatever spell he was under, but then she stopped. His face shifted, so close to hers. It wasn't angry. It was sad. He was trying to tell her something. Go home? She thought. But he doesn't know where I live, now.. She glanced at the orb. Silvermoon. It wasn't her home, per say. Not ever. But it was the home of the Sin'dorei, and she was starting to realize that's what he wanted for her. To go there. But why? "Fine," she grunted irritably. "I'll go back to Silvermoon. Maybe I'll find what I need there." "I'm sure you will," Steinburg muttered bitterly, watching as she grabbed the orb, her form fading from sight before his eyes. A few feet behind him, another hollow voice rung out. "Who was that?" Asked an almost silvery elven voice, though it retained the same echo as his own. Steinburg turned to regard one of the dark rangers, a beautiful elven woman who, even in death, moved soundlessly. "An old acquaintance," he muttered distastefully. "She has no place here." The dark ranger nodded, and glanced back toward the entrance to Undercity. "Good. You might want to get back to work, now. There is much to be done and not as many hands to do it." Steinburg nodded and turned back, resisting the urge to glance behind him at the orb. What point would there be in leaving? The Warchief's eyes were everywhere, and the long ears of the dark rangers heard everything. He would need to think fast. Thankfully, an accountant knew how to calculate all of his options quickly. He had a plan before he reached the bottom of the elevator.
  28. 2 points
    Journal Entry 2 It has been over a year since I have decided to write in this thing. How very sad! It is a pretty journal, and I have had such adventures. Imagine me, never even writing down any of them, even as I traveled to Argus and aided my friends against the Legion. How many things have occurred since I wrote this first entry? - I allowed Damian to train with Qabian. What a disaster! He learned a lot, certainly, but at some point Qabian's ego got the better of him and he put Damian in life threatening danger. Even he thought Damian was killed and in my rage I removed one of his limbs. Damian was, of course, fine. So we have all learned a valuable lesson. - With the help of my friends, I was able to obtain my soul and defeat the demon my mother made a deal with so long ago. I am now fully whole, though the idea is still strange and the curse of my eyes remains. What, if any changes this will make to my personality, are yet to be seen. - During the ceremony in which I retrieved my soul, my dear subordinate Corvallis, as well as Helnia, were lost to us. I miss them both dearly, but Damian took it the hardest. I believe he and Corvallis bonded quite a bit, and I have promised to try and find him. - The guild is moving. We will no longer have a place in Dalaran, but in Razor Hill, Shattrath, and Ashtotem. This makes very little difference to me, but I do enjoy Shattrath! It brings back a lot of happy memories from the war in Outland. Imagine, happy memories and war! - Still no word from my large friend who was hidden with us for some time. I imagine he is somewhere out in the world, making trouble. Always so serious, that one. I do miss him. - Since bonding with my little soul, my memories have been a bit jumbled. Everything is coming back to me, especially with reminders, but a few things remain fuzzy. I have the strangest feeling that I am forgetting something important, but so far nothing has been made clear. - I have had the strangest craving for sparkling white wine, lately. Not at home, of course. I will have to find someone to share a bottle with. Maybe brunch?
  29. 2 points
    By the time Vilmah returned to Wor’gol, it was past midnight. Most of the village was already asleep, and the moon cast a bright blue sheen over the snow covered ground that crunched as Edmund bounded through the snow. Attached to his back was a rudimentary sled slapped together with wood and rope, something Vilmah constructed to carry the corpse of her kill. She had strapped down the large she-wolf with yet more rope, but in the moonlight its fur appeared eerily blue, like a brightly colored creature from the jungles of Azeroth rather than a wolf on Draenor. As she approached the village, a few of their still awake warriors waved to her. She waved back and was soon met with Tuyya, who rode out to meet her with sleepy eyes on the back of her black wolf. “That was fast!” She said sarcastically. “I was hoping you wouldn’t need to spend all night out there. Did she hurt you?” Holding up her right arm, Vilmah let Tuyya see the hastily wrapped wound of her right arm. The purple sweater had been stashed in her saddle bag just a mile before reaching the village. “I hope one of your shaman is awake,” she said with a weary smile. “I got her worse than she got me, though. I don’t think she was very interested in living.” “Grief does that to people,” Tuyya agreed, turning her wolf to walk back beside Vilmah. “And animals too, strangely. You brought back the body, though? I would have thought you only needed the fur.” “Can’t let good meat go to waste,” Vilmah reasoned, shrugging. “Even if it’s just dog meat.” Tuyya grinned. “You’re learning quickly. When you first came to us you would have eaten the meat raw on your own, like some crazed animal.” Vilmah’s lip twitched as she lowered her eyes to the snow. “When you first met me I was still very much a crazed animal,” the smaller orc explained, embarrassed. “I’m not exactly proud of that.” “There aren’t many of us who are proud of ourselves at our lowest point. It brought you to us, though, didn’t it?” “War brought me to you,” Vilmah argued gently. “..but I think my grief is what made me stay. And the fact that you all didn’t just kick me out. I’m sure I didn’t make for an impressive prospective new clan member.” “You think we love everyone in the clan?” Tuyya laughed. “Your blood ties you to us, regardless of whatever it is that took you away to begin with. You told me that your mother was one of us. That’s enough for us to give you a chance, and you earned your place.” An uncomfortable silence followed Tuyya’s words, as if Vilmah wanted to agree but couldn’t bring herself to. In truth, she was having trouble not telling Tuyya that she was Vilmah’s mother, and if the portal to Azeroth hadn’t been opened, if Tuyya’s thirst for adventure hadn’t brought her to the arms of a Blackrock orc, Vilmah never would have existed to begin with. “Thanks Tuyya,” she said gratefully, smiling a little in spite of the conversation. “Thanks for being my friend.” “Don’t get all dramatic,” Tuyya chuckled. “I just hate seeing the little guy get stepped on. Or in your case, the little girl. And you looked so sad, like a kicked puppy. Who would kick a puppy? Don’t worry, guura kad dok mara. You’re one of us, now. That means you’ll never really be alone again,” she said reassuringly, punching Vilmah in the left shoulder. “..for better or worse.” "Sounds like quite the commitment," Vilmah said sarcastically, smirking. Tuyya rolled her eyes. "Believe me, it can be a pain in the ass. Any time I even suggest leaving for a long hunt, my family comes up with some reason to make me stay. Commitments, the need to find a mate, it's like they've forgotten what it's like to explore past the forest sometimes. Makes me want to get my hands dirty somewhere new." Vilmah bit the inside of her cheek. It was that wanderlust that caused the Tuyya that she knew to leave through the portal in the first place, and die starving in a cage. "They have a point. I mean.. you have everything you need here, don't you? People love you, here." "I don't disagree with that, but there's more to life than being loved," the orcess argued. "There's adventure, and you can't get that here. Not anymore, anyway. I treasure my clan, but there's more out there than this place. I want to see it." A feeling of dread overcame Vilmah's stomach, like she'd swallowed a mouthful of bees. Tuyya wasn't the type to let anyone hold her back, and she would eventually leave, even if it meant leaving everything behind. The idea of losing her for a second time, this person who, in another lifetime, gave her life for Vilmah's, made the Warboss pale with fear. "..you could come with me," she found herself saying. "Come to Azeroth, help me with Sanctuary. There's a few Frostwolves in Razor Hill, I'm sure you'll feel right at home. Even if it's in a desert.." Tuyya's eyes widened. "Really? You want me to come with you?" In truth, Vilmah would have preferred that this version of her mother stayed in Draenor, pure in her own way, and untouched by Azeroth's brutality. Knowing that it wasn't in her nature to stay in one place, however, the Warboss nodded quickly. "Yeah, of course. It'd be nice having you there. Plus, plenty of orcs in Azeroth," she joked, smiling a little more. "If your family is worried about you finding a mate." "Can you imagine if I were to bring home one of your green friends??" The orcess laughed, bouncing on her wolf. "Oh they would have an absolute fit! Yes, let's do it! I'll go with you to Azeroth and help your Sanctuary! Right after we clean your blue wolf, of course. You can bring home a wolf pelt and a Frostwolf!" Smiling at her excitement, Vilmah nodded in agreement. Whether or not this was for the best, she couldn't say, but at the very least she'd be able to keep an eye on Tuyya.
  30. 2 points
    5.28.18 I haven’t seen Shaelie since that day. I haven’t seen anyone from Sanctuary since then. It’s been a quiet few weeks, other than continuing to clean up the remaining Legion forces in Antorus. I did catch sight of a human woman who matches the description of the woman who killed my messenger in Tirisfal. She also matches the description of a killer responsible for some other murders in the area over the past couple years. I saw her in Dalaran, and guards were nearby, so there wasn’t much I could do other than talk to her. She lied to me about her name, but someone else called her “Bronnie.” I will see if I can find someone with contacts in Stormwind to get more information. The Magister continues to baffle me. After suggesting the Commander would hurt me badly for having an Alliance boyfriend, he gave me a gift. Why he thinks I would ever have a boyfriend at all, let alone an Alliance one, is beyond me, but the gift was very interesting. A vase with a contraption inside it that would release whatever was in it—poison, sleeping agents, whatever—when someone got close enough to smell the flowers in it. I usually don’t like traps where I can’t control exactly who the target is, but it may come in handy someday. I have to take the potions more often. I know Tahz doesn’t want me to release it, but I can’t let it weaken me anymore. Eastvale is far enough from any Horde lands, and it won’t be the first time they’ve dealt with something like this there. I’ll take it there. Soon. We have one active Supplicant right now, but she is enough trouble to be three usual Supplicants. Umbral continues to keep digging herself deeper into a hole. Even the Commander has noticed it, and spoke to Qabian and me about her. The last time the Grim leader spoke to me about an unruly Supplicant was Cessily. Other than general lack of proper respect for the higher ranks of The Grim, even Awatu himself, she has called me a waitress, and now she’s bitten off a chunk of someone’s ear. Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with that, but when it’s a friend, and further a friend of a very good friend, then it’s a problem. I still haven’t decided how much to protect her from any retaliation. Maybe she deserves what she gets. And the waitress comment, I’m sure she doesn’t realize the meaning behind it. How could she? She’s not smart enough to have done any research, and she doesn’t have the contacts to have had that information handed to her. No, it was just a rude comment, from a Supplicant to an Inquisitor, and that alone is enough to cost her an ear. Luckily for her, she seems to have become more competent in her skill at killing. She’s provided me with many Alliance tabards in her search for the ones I sent her for. That isn’t enough to excuse her behavior though. After all, Cessily was a powerful killer too, and that didn’t save her ears.
  31. 2 points
    It's been a long time but another food experiment has happened! This time with wild-gathered Black Locust tree blossoms. While visiting Syreena, we found and decided to try these tasty little flowers from her property. Much thanks to SySy for being adventurous and allowing use of her kitchen. <3 We used this recipe (with some substitutions for the evil, evil dairy): http://southernforager.blogspot.com/2013/05/black-locust-blossom-fritters-yummmmm.html The results were quite tasty, like eating funnel cake! Next time, I believe I will go lighter on the dredging of the flowers in the batter, so the flowers can be tasted. <.< >.> Flowers being dredged: Frying the Flowers: Finished Black Locust flower funnel cake: All of them got eaten by the three adults, flower fritters defeated! These trees are flowering all over the place right now, or are soon about to in more northern areas. They're a native, plentiful tree so if you watch for them to bloom, you'll be swimming in tasty treats! Mmmmm.
  32. 2 points
    Mmhmhmhm... Ahahahahahaha! I win. Oh, how I win. Nothing I can take back to the Grim, of course, but mine is a dangerous ego to stroke, hm? Taunt me with something you think I can't do that I know I can. 'Oh, no,' I'll admit. 'I could never do that. I'm simply no good at it. It's just not me.' A little vulnerability, not even mock vulnerability, very real, but a wager in a bet I cannot lose, a little honesty, and just enough arrogance that who I am is never forgotten so I cannot be blamed for any deception. And fuck you. I win. Truth and lies, truth and lies. That's what chaos is made of, yes? And what am I if not chaos? Is it true? Of course it is. Was it lies? Of course it was. Reality is never either or. It's always both. Little human with broken eyes he needs to hide thinks he's being generous, offering me a chance to put him in his place. You don't need to make the offer, boy. You're already there. Why would you admit that secret of all secrets in front of me? And I'm sure my secret only made you feel worse, hm? You're not special. You're not even different. You're just a broken, defiled version of the real people all around you. Enjoy your misery. I certainly enjoyed giving it to you. What an odd defect in me to harp on when it was caused by someone you claim as a friend. When what I have done with what I have lost is something greater than I could have done had I kept what I had, am I really even defective? Or have I improved? That's what we're all here for, to get better. I've gotten better. Have you? When you will never feel equal to the people around you because you never can be their equal? You can steal their faces, their friendship, their power as much as you want, but you will always be a pretender, and you will always have to hide your shame, because the day you accept yourself and live as you are is the day you'll die for it. I have no shame. I wonder how long I can play the lost bet excuse. We certainly gamble, but even though my win rate is expectedly even with my losses, what I ask for is always for my own greed. What she asks for is always my debasement, not enough to spark my anger or make me second guess, but enough to keep her laughing. I should have caught on to this sooner, especially after her little gift to Syreena. I think I did? And decided the price was worth it, and even a little entertaining for myself. The masochistic tendencies extending beyond physical pain, perhaps. I like it when she laughs, even if it's at my expense, and it's almost always at my expense. Explains too much. I shouldn't think about it too hard. The wolf's advice is good. I'm always uncertain about plans that require biding, infiltration, masks of sweetness. I can do them to a point. I have my networks and systems that I use to pull on threads hoping they'll bring down the tapestries. But such things are distasteful when chaos will suffice. Yes, I understand the idea behind a little order serving to bring a lot of chaos, but such games are difficult to play and rarely end well. When they do end well, they end very, very well, but the risk tends to be on our side, not on theirs. Still, leading them patiently to their own failure is clearly our best option in the present, regardless of whether the pendulum swings in the way they seem so certain it will. The violet commander's marital issues have caused a strange sea change. I, for one, don't think that little shift is enough to warrant the sudden acceptance of things as they are. They aren't different enough. I've only met the little warboss once? But I certainly have no faith that she's any sweeter. I blame the turning of the winds with the defeat of the Legion. Everything looks just slightly different, even when it isn't really. Old hurts have been fogged over just enough by time to be put aside long enough for coffee and brunch. And I'm able to hear things I should never hear, share things that should never have been mine to share. I can sit quietly and let them berate me as much as they wish, speaking only when spoken to, offering only the gentlest of contributions, and still come across as cruel and strange. It's quite enjoyable, really. I've had far too much enjoyment lately. It's going to my head. But given what led me to be so entertained in the first place, I'll take it.
  33. 2 points
    05.02.18 I used to say Sanctuary had tea parties with the Alliance. Yesterday, I had coffee with one of the purple people. That short-eared elf, who is half human and a mage and Sanctuary—everything I hate—so why didn’t I feel the urge to stab him repeatedly? Maybe because he didn’t act like any of those things. I learned that the leadership has changed among the purple people. Julilee, Kex’ti, and Shokkra are all gone from there now. Just Cerryan left, and though I hate him for what he did to me, what his actions turned me into, I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same in his position. Maybe it’s time for my war with them to end for good. The Grim and Sanctuary worked alongside each other once, a long time ago, when Vilmah was in charge. Maybe that is an option again if we are in need of more bodies for an assault someday. I doubt Vilmah would talk with me though. I could send a Supplicant if necessary, or better yet, maybe I’ll just stay in contact with the short-eared elf. He’s easy to talk to. I wonder if there’s something with mixing elf blood with another bad blood, that makes the two bads cancel each other out. Baal has demon blood in him, thanks to the Grim warlocks, and he’s nice. And Mard has human in him, and he seems nice….so far. There’s no question that demons, humans, and elves are all vile and cruel, but maybe mixing two bad races together somehow makes something good. I also learned that Shaelie has joined Sanctuary. I wasn’t planning to attack her. I really wasn’t. We used to pick on the purple people together in Warspear, we tortured that human Ambassador lady together. Shaelie always had my back. For a long time, I thought she was a decent person….for an elf….a friend even. But when I saw her in the Wyvern’s Tail yesterday, she didn’t seem to care about any of that. She actually said she thought it was totally justified that they attacked us at Aerie Peak, and Grim should stay in their own yard and not bother Alliance. I don’t know what the fel happened to the Shaelie I knew, but this one is a traitor to the Horde, as far as I’m concerned. But she is human after all, so I shouldn’t be surprised.
  34. 2 points
    A taste of what the Loa's gift could do spoke volumes for the effect it would have on its intended target. It refused to be treated, even showing a tenacity that hinted at intelligence as it would strike as one disease, retreat, and return in a new form. His fever ran high for hours, sheeting his form in sweat and chilling him to the bone. Then, the pain left him as if the sickness had simply given up its struggle, leaving him stunned with sheer relief. It gave him just enough time to nurture a brief hope that it was over, only to crush it within an hour. It returned in a new form and plagued his body and mind with a new kind of torture. Night and day lost meaning as he cycled through a list of symptoms seemingly at random. Tormented reality gave way to fever dreams when his body, taxed to its limits and in desperate need of recovery, succumbed to exhaustion. He stood before a river of sludge with a stench that was thick enough to taste. It had an odor that clung to his saliva and made him gag and heave for all the good it did. It reminded him of Venture company operations, but even they had not managed to produce such disgusting runoff. Lengths of cloth stuck to the top of the putrid river but he could not make out the details of them as his eyes swung hazily in and out of focus. When the world resolved itself, he was able to make out the gold and purple thread of one tabard and the matching designs on the others that stuck to the surface of the thick river behind it. The foul river slowly pushed itself along the earth, carrying over a dozen of the Phoenix marked tabards. He felt a moment of Grim pleasure that was quickly chased away by confusion as he saw the growing number of tabards stuck to the disease-ridden sludge. It would have helped him sleep at night to see the head of the self-important group of traitors along with several other vile hypocrites who followed her. But the number of discarded tabards wa far too high for his plan. In each of the tabards he caught a glimpse of their owner. A shudder of rage turned into a quiver of sadistic satisfaction as the first two passed him. Julilee had lectured him about the importance of preserving life, something she accused Lilliana of having no sense of after her betrayal. When he had dismissed her words and told her that she had attacked a pregnant woman, he had not detected a hint of remorse, in fact, he had seen annoyance that he was still pursuing the conversation. The effect her actions had on him were unimportant, she did not care. He bore his teeth in an unkind grin as she was sucked below the surface, buried in the same substance that she was filled with. She was followed by more of them. Syreena's now scarred tormentor smirked cruelly and looked down his nose at him before being swallowed by the river. Shokkra sneered and screamed soundlessly in pointless rage as she was sucked down and drowned. A feeling of grim vindication grew as he saw more of them disappear. The faces kept coming. Vilmah's embarrassed smile was smothered, Mardallius laughed quietly before being covered, Kexti's arrogant smirk was slowly saturated before being coated completely, Siane's warm smile went cold, and the sad expression of the one-eyed troll disappeared quietly beneath the surface. More people passed by him, faces he associated with the tabard but had never spoken to, people he bore no ill will towards save for their association. All were consumed by the muck and disease. The last of the articles to disappear was not a tabard, but a pair of manacles and a stained apron. His own face stared back at him as the manacles clasped around his wrists and the chain leading him began tugging downwards. " It'll fix errytin'." He assured himself as the odious sludge reached up to his chest. He had no reply for his own deluded statement. " She'll love us again!" The imprisoned man cried out at him as it reached up to his neck, desperate to justify his own actions, just like the ones he would be joining. He wanted to scream at the fool of a bartender but could only manage another choked noise as he sank below the muck. The river soon became choked with more discarded items. Shoes, shirts, dresses, trade equipment, swords and more bunched together so thickly he could barely make out the sludge that transported them until they disappeared beneath its surface. Once again, he saw faces, yet they were indistinct and unfocused. There were hundreds of them, perhaps even thousands. Countless faces flickered in front of him as the crowd of plague-ridden people passed by and disappeared. This had been his agreement. A virulent disease to consume his enemy in the worst way possible, but it could not be controlled once released. How many in Sanctuary would be killed in his hope to slay a handful? The price of it left a frozen lump in his stomach, he wanted one person dead, but he could not control the spread once it was released. The reward for this indiscriminate death dealing clasped him on the shoulder and gave him a warm, yet false smile. The Farraki was pleased with him, excited even at the blow dealt to a hated enemy. With one hand she grasped his and gave him an insistent tug to turn his back on the foul carnage wrought, with the other she held a bloody blob of disfigured fat and flesh that defied identification; a mutated freak even in the eyes of parasites and maggots. She spoke words of love and approval that spilled out as a black, oily sludge between her teeth and dribbled down her chin over her body and their son. The letter of her message he had longed to hear, but the soul of it was absent. He doubled over as an overpowering sense of nausea and joy forced its way through him. His veins bulged and threatened to burst as the sickness of body and mind invaded him. He enjoyed it, he was sick and twisted mess of a pretty troll, and he loved it. He toppled forward and sank into the cold, slimy mud by the foul river. The earth consumed the last ray of light and all sense of self disappeared with it.
  35. 2 points
    I'm sitting in the grass right now. Between the ridge of two hills, overlooking a farm. There's a cow in the pasture, chewing some grass. The lights are on in the farmhouse, shining through the windows, and I can smell them cooking dinner. There are crickets chirping, and an owl hooting up in the tree above me, somewhere. I used to live here. Not there, in that particular house. Micael did, though. Nearby. I've been thinking about Micael a lot lately. I'm not sure why.. But I'll be honest when I say I miss him and Mack, a hell of a lot. I think my time away got me thinking about a lot of things. And tonight really magnified that. I stopped in the Wyverns Tail. And Jon Ableham was there. I couldn't believe it. He wasn't the Jon I miss so much, though. Just the bad version of himself. He didn't know it was me, of course.. After I got over my shock of seeing him, I talked to him a bit and he said some things that confused me, and some things that sparked some memories that I couldn't quite dredge up. He mentioned Venedict being his nephew. That blew my mind. Did I know that before? Something about 'nephew' sounded familiar. But if Venedict was his nephew.. how the HELL did he end up being his ghoul? And so I came here, for answers. To Stormwind. Where this whole journey with Venedict, Jon and Micael began. In the graveyard.. I remember something about a tombstone. So I found them tonight. Christine, Venedict, Alex and David Abner.. being here did help me remember some things. But I still couldn't recall the connection between Venedict and Jon. I sort of remember Jon being here, but he was afraid of Venedict. Anyway, my thoughts are all over the place tonight. That's just part of what's on my mind. Being here, just behind the gates of Stormwind. I'm homesick. I miss being me. I miss being Nika. I remember how I used to help people. Not always.. I got into a lot of fights, even before I started doing the really horrible things. But I miss how life used to be. Before The Grim, and before my life changed. And before I ruined other people's lives, and destroyed families. My biggest regret in life is something that will always haunt me. It's what I did in Theramore... when I poisoned all those soldiers. I wish I could rip that day out of my life, and out of my memories. All those families and kids that no longer have fathers because of me. Fathers that didn't even get to die honorably, in battle. They didn't even get a chance to make a difference, or to be heroes. They were meant to die doing courageous things, making a difference in the world. Stories would be written about the battles they fought, and how they sacrificed their lives to make life safer for the people they cared about. But instead, they ate poisoned bread and choked to death. For nothing. That wasn't supposed to be their legacy. Hardly anyone knows about that. It's the thing I'm most ashamed of. I wonder about those families now. Whatever became of them? I feel like that's what I'm supposed to do, now. Help people. Make a difference, somehow. I don't want to fight anymore. I don't want to kill people. I can't change or take back every person that I hurt or killed. But maybe I can change something for other people, going forward. It's funny.. as I was sitting here behind Stormwind, thinking about all of this. At first I was wishing I could go back. But that wouldn't help anything, either. So I was wishing that I could somehow help people on both sides. Not just one or the other. And I was wishing there was some guild that was neutral, and that does help people on both sides. And then I remembered that there is.. Sanctuary. That's hard to wrap my head around, as much as I hated and fought against them in the past.. but that was also when I was consumed by The Grim.. and the most important thing to me was to prove myself to them. But time has passed. And you know what? I already did. And I don't care anymore. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I'm not sure if Borrowed Time and Sanctuary are on good terms, or bad. I'm not sure if I want to stay with Borrowed Time but also help Sanctuary. if they'd even have me. Which is a stretch. A big one.
  36. 2 points
    It's been a long time since I picked this journal up. I had forgotten about it, actually. It's barely even been used. Too bad I don't have my old journals, anymore... That's what's been on my mind a lot, lately. The past.. I guess it's sort of what brought me back. I had considered myself retired for what.. a couple of years now? Has it been that long? According to this journal, it has been. I traveled for awhile. Sometimes I just pick a direction and keep going until I find a spot that feels right. This time, it was an abandoned fishing shack in a bayou. It was run down and the boards were warped from moisture, and it had an entire colony of critters living inside. But as soon as I saw it, I knew it was home. At least for awhile. I fixed it up a little, and spent my days exploring the area, or fishing. Or sometimes just sitting on a rocking chair on the front porch, listening to nature. It was nice for awhile. I took a picture of it before I left. Maybe someday I'll find it again. But now I'm back. And I'm not entirely sure what the plan is. But like I said, a lot of things from the past have been on my mind, and I feel like there are some things I need to do. A lot of things I need to figure out how to fix, or make up for. Not sure how that's going to pan out, just yet...
  37. 2 points
    " Syreena be a sad story if jah stop screamin' about all de bad she's done. Ah ain't a Grim... Ain't got a desire ta do what she does an' a lotta people say jah eithah gotta be Grim or like de Grim fah her tah warm up. But she likes me, why?" He puts the rag he had been wiping the bar with down and sighs " Because ah treated her like a person. Do dat, an she gonna return jah kindness ten fold. If jah be an elf it be a lot hardah but she got her scars an' trauma same as errybody else. Ah see de trust she puts in me as a sign a what she coulda been. She be hated an' feared because she WAS hated an' feared since she came back. If someone had just been kindah ta her when she first rose would she be as sadistic an' horrible as people say? Makes me tink. Ain't excusin' what she's done, ah undahstand where de path she walkin' on leads. She gonna be how she be until de day her unlife runs out. Be a shame though, because fah all her faults, Syreena be a bettah friend den jah deserve once she decides ta trust jah."
  38. 2 points
    I wasn't certain, not at all. It was entirely my paranoia, and I know it. I was paranoid as soon as I heard that Vyalis took my advice to heart a little stronger than I might have hoped. So to send out a warning only to have that warning become useful? How could I not make the leap? But if she were innocent, her initial reaction should have been outrage, rather than suspicion. Even then, though her initial reaction was convincing, it was not enough to make me certain. What made me certain was her saying she didn't know where the money went. If she were innocent, she would have signed that paper herself. If she were innocent, she would have taken the gold in coin rather than paper. Now I can accuse her of anything, provided it's not something she can easily disprove herself, and even without proof of my own, I have the upper hand. The only question remaining is how long to play the new game. And when I do put an end to it, I think my message will be quite clear. Don't fuck with me. I imagine she thinks she could turn me in for my financial games, but those are both false and warranted in ways her intentions to hurt me are not. Amusing that she didn't understand how our relationship worked, given the nature of the correspondence she stole from me. I'm sure his name was mentioned several times. I could easily have brought him to the Grim instead, if he weren't so obsessed with Suramar and its well-being as a nation-state. She's one of the ones who always thought I was better because I am not like the rest of them. Really? Do you not remember why I left? How I left? How long have you held onto that mythology? Maybe they will finally lose the lie. I doubt it, though. You act cold enough long enough, and people will forget what they already know about you. The only way I am different than the rest of my people is that I am superior. I am just as arrogant, but I am more arrogant and my arrogance is of higher quality. I am just as deviant, only more so, and again, higher quality. I don't feel the need to shout it in the streets the way the less self-assured do. I don't feel the need to appraise everyone who walks past as Malkaris does. But on my own time, behind closed doors, with a touch of common sense? I am exactly what they are. The only difference between them and me is I am not cheap. So if being "elfy" as she would say is a crime, and I am not different, only greater, then I should get the harshest sentence, hm? She would say Kiannis was different, but catch him when he thinks no one's looking and he's behind the shrubbery in Dalaran with his hand up someone's dress, too. We are none of us different. We are all of us exactly the same. I am merely better at it.
  39. 2 points
    03.04.18 I don’t go to the cabin much anymore. Not while the girl is still there. However, sources say she is seen around Dalaran sometimes, so she’s not there all the time. Baal came to Cantina last night though. What he wants to do is crazy. Some things just can’t be made whole again after they’re broken apart, and we were broken long before she was taken away. I nearly destroyed her then. If this happens, I can probably still do that. But I’m not going to take that risk. I need to change his mind. And if I can’t talk him out of it, I’ll have to go against his wishes. If she’s dead, it won’t be an option anymore. I’m sure Qabian would help with that. But maybe I’ll give the task to Vyalis and give him a chance to save his other ear. The topic of family came up tonight. I don’t even know what it means anymore. I have a sister that I don’t know these days, but we were close once, and we killed the rest of them. They deserved it. But that wasn’t the kind of family he was talking about. He was talking about the family you choose. I’ve had family like that before too. But what’s the point? Eventually, one by one, they all die or leave or betray you. I once had many people I considered close enough to call family. I used to think of all the Grims as one big family. Now there are only two, and oddly enough neither are Grim. Umbral asked Baal why he’s so big, and he started telling her how he was infected with fel. Then he asked me to explain. So I told Umbral how Baal used to be a Grim, and when he was a Supplicant, one of the warlocks experimented on him with a drug called Wreave. I know Baal still hates Ul’rezaj for that. And I still silently carry the guilt with me for my part in it. Does he know? Can he feel my guilt when the subject comes up? Does he already know? Is that why he asked me to explain it? Will he shut me out if he learns the truth? But he was just a cocky Supplicant elf back then. Apparently, Commander Stick-Up-Her-Butt let herself be goaded into a fight with Nero. I’d love to know what he said to get under her skin enough to make her throw the first punch. The fight was bad enough that Fhenrir stepped in, and she punched him too! I wish I had seen it. Miss High and Mighty lowering herself enough to start a barfight. Justice and mercy and blah blah blah.
  40. 2 points
    Happy Lunar Festival, Alliance friends! The Twilight Empire invites you to an evening celebration beneath the sky and stars of Stormwind City. This time of year is traditionally one for reflection, and the Legion’s defeat on Azeroth and Argus has given us all a great deal to contemplate. Loss and love, friends and family, growth and gain—all sentiments have a place in our hearts, but some weigh heavier than others. Join with friends new and old as we commit our wishes or regrets to parchment and send them up in the bonfire’s flames with hopes of mutual catharsis. The night can’t all be meditation, of course. With reflection comes recreation! We will raffle off three fabulous door prizes throughout the night. What might you win? Attend to find out! Finally, what Lunar Festival celebration is complete without a rousing round of fireworks? Bring your own or fire off ours and watch as we light up the city sky! (Anti-fire wards are already in place. Don’t worry—nobody will set anything dangerously aflame!) Who: Alliance Where: Stormwind Keep Gardens When: Sunday, February 25th, 7:30pm Server Time Contact Ketani-Ravenholdt or Aryänna-Ravenholdt (alt-code +0228) for questions!
  41. 2 points
    " By de time ah was Mariz's age ah was already fightin' fah my village, doin' stupid tings dat ah would regret latah. By comparison, sneakin' outta de orphanage just cause she tired a walkin' de drag be... It be downright adorable." Tahzani folds his arms across the bar and leans against it with a troubled expression. " Ah helped her out, gave her a job ta learn a bit of responsibility, earn a little money an' get de matron off her back so she can do what she really wants ta do, explore. But even seein' her be like a slap in de face. Since we settled in dese lands an' entire generation grown to adulthood. A generation raised in a mixed populace, a generation apaht from tradition an' family. Ah been helpin' Mariz as ah can... An' prayin' she lets me continue ta do so. Let me know dat de world in good hands... Bettah hands den de ones dat shaped what she inheritin'. Still, she a smaht kid. Smaht enough ta disobey an' learn." He grins wryly. " Ah got high hopes fah her... An' hopin' ah can keep mah fat mouth shut ta not drag her down."
  42. 2 points
    ((It has apparently been a bit since I had a story to post here haha! Lil delayed but a Mya story from the Finale of the Feleclipse storyline!)) Myaka glared up at the orc warlock. Though various attacks bombarded his shield it still held firm. There has to be a way to break through. Despite what this blowhard thinks he can't be unbeatable. The idea struck almost as a gift granted by the Light. The Scales could traverse realms, she used that ability all the time just to store it. Could I use that to attack? She called back to Xandric, nearly ignoring his recommendation to fall back to fight a nearby Pitlord. She would need cover against the naga and chaos warriors if she were to send away her mode of defense. Trusting the giant paladin to watch her back she dropped her focus far into her battlerage seeking the connection with the Scales. She would need to maintain it more than normal if she attacked this way. It was strange and unfamiliar like testing a muscle not used. The connection flared and she pushed against it like she would throwing a weapon. She grinned in triumph as the shield appeared within Karthok's barrier. Shadowflame roared from the front coating him in fire. She could tell the attack had at least irritated him if not hurting outright. She pulled the shield back before Karthok could retaliate and pushed it again. The shield reappeared in a different place and blasted him again. She lost track of the push and pulls, she didn't pay attention to the feeling of draining. Her connection to the shield and battlerage pushed to the limit. She smirked as the repeated attacks from her and the others brought the barrier down and the orc was forced on the defensive. Then he was gone. Where-?! She barely had time to wonder long, everything next happened in quick succession. Terror that was not hers flared through her connection with the Scales and something strong grabbed onto her. She tried to grapple with the orc’s grip and the world darkened into twilight. Pain exploded around her as shadowflame erupted along her body. The world lightened again, the twilight realm fading as a scream of pain ripped out from her scorching throat. As the world faded to black she couldn't help but be thankful that she had not been conscious the last time she burned to death. ---------------------------------- She felt as if she was floating, even though as she looked around she appeared to be standing somewhere in an empty blackness. This had not been what she expected at the end. She expected the Halls, a shining Val’kyr standing before her to remake her soul as a stormforged. I promised Kate I would live on as a Valarjar if something ever happened. Light I… What did she want? Her gut twisted as she remembered what had happened to her family after her 'death’. How Kate had deteriorated, how Olson had meant to find someone battle where he could go out in a blaze of glory. What would happen to them now? She had to hope her final act would be enough for them to beat Karthok. “You are safe here.” A rich rumbling voice murmured softly behind her. She turned quickly, dropping into a defensive stance despite knowing she had no weapons to fight with. The being before her was like nothing she had ever seen. He towered over her, in spite of her impressive height. He looked like an elf, dark skin that looked purple in the dark expanse of nothing around them. Horns curled out from dark purple hair. His armor nearly reminded her of her own demonsteel only in purple and black tones. Spikes lined the ridges of his armor in a somehow familiar way even though she has never seen this man before. “Who the fel are you, what happened?” She didn't drop her defensive stance. The colors and horns marked him as either a twilight or black dragon, neither of which boded well for her. “I mean you no harm.” His purple eyes twinkled with barely contained amusement. “Had I wanted to harm you, severing the connection would have allowed your death to be finalized.” Connection? Suddenly, she realized something was familiar. The voice was familiar. “Are you...Are you the Scales?” His mouth formed a grin. “Your wits aren't dulled, even with your second brush with a pyre.” He starts to circle her. It's not calculating, not a predator circling prey. It's nearly parental, a dragon checking a whelp for injury. “I didn't have the time to phase to you, nor did I know if I could pull you from danger. It seems all I managed to do is pull your soul to safety.” She stared dumbfounded at the man. “When...you’ve never-” She shook her head, “How the fel do you have a body?!” She finally was able to say. “You’ve never manifested before.” “You’ve never allowed our connection as close as you did.” The man pointed out. “That was a dangerous choice. You used more than just your battlerage. The connected attached to your soul, not just your battlerage.” He stopped his pacing. “I understand the situation, but you should learn to temper the connection if you do that again.” She shook her head, the words reminding her of Karthok. A flash of silver light distracted her. Words filtered to her, but she couldn’t understand them. “You tried to save me?” The man cocks his horned head, “Aye, yes. One does not normally enjoy being immolated.” “Forgive my surprise,” she states wryly. “I remember a fight in Helhiem where you flashed away and abandoned me because you were ‘wrong about my potential.’” The words are not as accusatory as they might have been had he heard them from Kate, she had somewhat forgiven the shield. She had needed the push to realise she could beat Dominic. She was surprised to see shame flit across his face. “Yes, this would be a change from then. I do maintain that you needed that victory. However, there might have been a better way to give it to you.” He stepped up towards her, his tall height even more apparent. “For lack of a better way to state it, you've changed me.” He says with a slight grin. “ A part of her knew she should be confused. She should be afraid or traumatized, she died. Well died again. The conversation after the guild meeting flitted through her mind, there was a reason she had not promised either Kate or Olson she'd come home. There was always a chance a well placed attack would take her life without any chance to avoid it. Light flashed again, pulling her concentration, the man in front of her pulled a face at the bright flash. “Val’kyr do not give in easily.” He muttered. She turned her attention back to him. Her mouth opened to speak and she stopped. The thought passing through her head blurting out instead. “What in the Fel do I call you.” He cocked his head to the side, violet eyes watching her. “Call? I am the Twilight Scales. You prefer to shorten it to The Scales.” She shook her head, “that's the name of the shield, an object, you are a person. At least right now. That's just... strange, to call someone that.” He let out a rumbling laugh. “You find out you have died, again, and that your weaponry has a sentient mind. And the thing you find strange is the name you call me?” She grinned sheepishly. “Put like that is maybe a small thing compared to everything else. It still doesn't seem right to call you the name of an object.” He shook his head, a fond smile on his face. “While I do enjoy the Twilight Scales moniker. If it would help…” his voice trailed as he thought a moment before nodding sharply to himself. “Arcath. It's a draconic word, the rough translation is 'spellscale’” “Arcath.” She repeated slowly, testing the name. “Fits,” she says with a light laugh after a moment. “So the Light, you think that's a Val'kyr?” “It's specifically trying for your soul. I don't know for sure what it is. But I don't want to risk it.” He grinned, “just because you couldn't promise your return to your family, doesn't mean I can't try to keep that promise myself.” She blinked, taken aback that he was aware of that conversation. The blackness lightened around them, amber light flaring around them before streaking towards her. Arcath started forward, his shout drowned out by a howl that filled her with a frenetic energy… Pain lanced through her, so sharp that it brought air rushing through her in a harsh gasp. Her sight slowly focused. She was out of the dark blackness of Arcath’s realm. The dragon himself was gone and Resileaf’s relieved face looked down at her. Energy filled her even as the pain faded to a dull ache. She felt the connection with the Scales reassert itself and relief flooded her, both her own and something else. She saw a large wolf fighting a pit lord as the rest of the forces swarmed Karthok. She forced herself to her feet, walking forward to join the melee around Karthok. She knew after a few moments she would not be able to. He still vanished and reappeared, she didn't have the energy to keep up. There was one way to fight still, she ignored the concern flowing through the connection with the Scales and started the jumps again. The healing from the ancient bolstered her and made her exhaustion less noticeable. Pain ricocheted down the bond, tearing a scream of pain from her mouth and forcing her to her knees. She growled and forced through it just in time to see a wave of black flowing from Karthok's decimated body… ------------------ She fell forward, as if she had been running. She pulled in air in great gulps, wide eyes staring at the ground. A false vision, a nightmare, thank the Light. A nightmare; the destroyed city, her sister dead because she felt so sure it was a false clone or dreadlord. And Olson; sweet, loving and caring Olson, decrying her as Kate's murderer. More willing to stay and be slaughtered by the enemy than leave with her. A nightmare, just a nightmare. Kathok cackled and spoke, the words washing over as she tried to come to grips with what she had just seen. “Fitting that I should fall amongst such titans, isn't it?" Karthok stands, looking over the massive corpses of Accalia and Arkhorne, holding his stomach with one arm. "After all I've gone through, all I've accomplished, dying with gods is the least I deserve." He turns towards the others, looking them all over. "You people... I tore you apart... broke you. Even if you don't show it, I know. I know you all better than anyone else in your lives. I know what you're all made of, what you're really like. Creatures of chaos, of choice." He chuckles. "Order... you hate it. Loathe it. Even if you don't admit it. In order you have no choice, no options. But in the chaos, you're free. Just like me." Shokkra shakes herself off from her own nightmare and starts up towards where Karthok is. "I'm a part of you now. I'm your fear, your doubt, your choices. You'll carry me until the day you die and beyond. You'll never forget me, never forget what I did, who I was, what you are because of me." He laughs again, louder this time. "I'm the chaos inside you, now and forever." The orcess comes up behind him, pulling her revolver. She grabs him by the shoulder and pulls him into her arms, holding him tightly. She shuts her eyes, handing him the gun. He hugs her back, taking the revolver in hand and casting a shadow over Shokkra for an instant. Karthok looks towards the others, pointing the gun at them and flipping it open to check how many rounds he has. He laughs. "I earned this." He aims the revolver back to himself, lifts his chin, and fires.* The shot rings through the air and she looks up, a low growl of fury rumbling through her. She wanted to destroy him, to prove every cackling word wrong. He had ended it and taken that away. Everyone was tired, emotionally and physically. Tense arguments and standoffs browled around her. She barely paid attention. She wanted to go home. She wanted to leave this Light forsaken rock and forget everything. She wanted to see Kate, to know she was alive. She wanted to see Olson and know he didn't hate her. She wanted away. She breathed a sigh of relief when the airship they arrived on made it back and docked to allow them on board. She could go home. _________________________________ She should be used to issue with sleep. Night terrors threaded themselves through her life for as long as she had remembered. From the nightmares spawned of her uncertainty regarding her parents death right after Strathome, to the ones of Dominic until she finally was able to slay his specter herself. She let out a strangled sound, somewhere between a sob and a gasp for air, and sat up in bed. Her sheets tangled around sweat soaked limbs and her nightgown. She breathed in deeply, lavender oil filling the air and soothing the frazzled nerves from the dream. Had she escaped Karthok’s nightmare truly? Or was she just granted a reprieve in her waking moments? Were they waking? There were moments when she wasn't sure if she had ever left the battle torn rock in the Maelstrom. She tried to calm her racing heart, feeling the incoming panic attack. Those she should also be used too, while it had been a while since a full flash back it didn't mean there hadn't been smaller bouts of anxiety. She bent over in a fetal position, her breaths came in harsh gasps as the pain of the nightmare raced through her. Harsh sobs threaded through the gasps of air. She gave up on trying to hold back the attack and riding it so she could try to regain her ability to breath. Black started to creep into the edge of her vision as the sobs quieted and her breathing evened. Sleep of course was still well out of reach. She stood, climbing out of bed and walking to a window. She grinned, the expression both tired and fond, as she remembered teasing words to Kate. “Do I have to worry about leaving the blinds on my bedroom window? It does face your bedroom.” She knew she'd regret the question as soon as it was asked. Kate said nothing, her only answer was a wicked grin that reflected the mischievous glint in her eyes. “That's a yes.” Myaka said with a bark of a laugh. The fond grin faded sharply. Anxiety rose again, was she sure her death was a nightmare? A want to go to the house and bang on the door swelled in her, she forced it down. Light knew that would just wake up Zak and Kate, not to mention the three children. The stone was an option, but would also wake the two up. She glanced at a clock and let out a breathless sigh. Far too early for anyone to be awake. All this worry was for nothing, morning would come and she'd see that. She was too wired to go back to sleep, soft padding footsteps took her downstairs. Her latest smithing project sat on her table, it would be a good way to calm down and hopefully get back to sleep. She ignored the fact that this was the second time in so many nights that she had been unable to sleep halfway through the night, she'd didn't have time to worry with the fight in Antorus nearing it's end. __________________________________ The months past sped their way through, december bleeding into January that then gave into the warming months of spring. Winter’s veil danced into Love is In The Air and soon the Lunar Festival loomed on the horizon. Myaka let out a low breath, brown eyes traveling up the sword left by Sargaras. It had nearly stopped her heart when she saw his sword flying towards Azeroth. They had won, a long fought battle that pushed everyone as far as they could go. The combined forces of the Horde and Alliance needed to bring the fallen titan to ruin. Was it all for nothing? She shook her head, pulling her thoughts from the dark path they went down. Her mind wandered easily recently. She reached up, plated hand rubbing absentmindedly against her chest. The strange pain was back, there had been a twinge of pain when she flew home to see to Kate after the end of the fight. A slight scraping sound of metal on metal played through the infested air. She supposed it didn’t matter that she couldn’t actually touch anything though the plate. She never actually felt a wound or anything that was causing the pain. Exhaustion pulled at her mind momentarily. The nightmares had not lightened, if anything, they got worse. Sleep only came in the first few hours of the night and after she made do with naps. Silithus became an easy distraction, one she hoped would give her enough time until the nightmares went away. She tried to believe that, she wouldn’t let Karthok have his victory. She wouldn’t let him win. She could almost make herself believe it. ((*Karthok's speech is word for word from the RP, because I didn't want to mess up it's malice by paraphrasing haha))
  43. 2 points
    It's the recognition that there are more of us than I've seen evidence of in the past few months. Often, it seems like it's Syreena and I against the world. Not last night, though. Last night, we were the world, all of us, Syreena and her pet, and Vyalis, and the Grimtotem shadow, and the quiet wolf, and the knight with her broken mechanical voice accidentally screaming about horrible stereotypes. Even Malkaris, I suppose. He's worse in that skin. At least when he was more clearly falling apart, no one took him quite as seriously. Now, well, he keeps everyone entertained with his clown show, but I'm not sure we should have let him out of the guild hall. I don't think I ever want to see him and Nathandiel in the same room. But even those who weren't us weren't the usual, weren't the kind who push me to despair of any future for the Horde. There were the Luna I've worked with before, the sensible yet angry from across the spectrum, the smug and the smart. Even the one with the reputation for collecting boyfriends, who apparently has both the lizard man from last week and Our Lord Gustblade checked off her list, seemed practically an intellectual compared to the usual crowds. Even Kahlan gives me hope. There's something I like about her, and not just because she made the mistake of giving me a compliment once. Maybe it's her penchant for jumping immediately to violence. Maybe it's her utter dismissal of the continuous pathetic attempts to encroach on feelings she clearly doesn't have. Maybe it's her seemingly equal hatred of nearly everyone around her. She's not quite right in the head, being so defensive of the parents she was apparently avoiding, who I will ever doubt are actually related to her in any way, even through mere kindness. She doesn't seem to realize that everything she hates about men is all her father has to offer the world. He is the very pinnacle of what she detests most, and yet she leaps ferociously to his defense if anyone so much as sneezes in his direction. But if Kahlan were the worst the Horde had to offer, we would be well-equipped for whatever lies ahead. Unfortunately, there are those like her parents, and the monstrous rabbit who put up with Malkaris' lechery with nothing but blushes and yet ran off in a panic at the sight of that half-demon I know nothing about and want to know nothing about but who I know has enough propensity for violence to be on the side of hope. But last night, they were outnumbered in a way that felt incredibly satisfying. So yes, hope. Even at our meeting. It was small, yes, but not as small as it's been when the future has seemed darkest. We grow, slow but steady. The pendulum swings as it always does. I've been out of sync with the clock for too long to recognize its motions, but time tells its tales whether we want it to or not.
  44. 1 point
    Hey all, I did a fairly major upgrade to the site this morning. One of things you might want to do is update your bookmarks so they link to https:// instead of http://. The site will auto-redirect you, but it might save you a fraction of a second in loading the site if you change your bookmark. The site should run a bit faster now, and I've got some options for speeding it up more that I might test. The forum software that this site runs on, https://invisioncommunity.com/ is leased for a fee every 6 months. The next renewal day is in late May. The one after that is in November. I will likely be going with a newer, cheaper forum option in November. Why? You might ask? Because Invision forums are like sports cars, and TNG is being used by grandma to drive herself to church and back home once or twice a week. The lease renewal fee is pretty reasonable for a sports car, but more than I want to pay for only a few posts per week level of activity. This isn't a cry for money, by the way. It's just a recognition that, while TN RP isn't completely dead, what RP that is happening has mostly moved to Discord. This isn't a TN specific probably either. I've checked around and where I used to find a few other servers that had something similar, I can't find anything anymore. But Discord servers? They are everywhere. And the truth of the matter is it's a better interactive medium than forums are. But forums are still better for permanence and stability. The purpose of this site was always to preserve the fanfiction of RPers on the Twisting Nether server (and later for Ravenholdt too!). That isn't going away. Things the *might* be going away: the front "news" page, private messages, old discussion posts, leaderboards, clubs, and profile public messages. But November would be the earliest that that would happen. Hey, who knows, maybe they'll merge TN with another RP server and life here will get crazy again and make that sports car lease worthwhile. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns or if you find a bug with the new version of the forum. --Mortica
  45. 1 point
    Brinnea woke to a searing pain and a dull hunger. She lay in a simple cot with a scratchy blanket, but it may as well have been a cloud for how much she could feel of it. When she tried to move, her body rebelled and lay still. Her arm and leg itched furiously. She tried to scratch at her arm but found that her left hand was missing – as was her right arm. Memory flooded back along with another wave of pain. She didn’t bother trying to reach her itching phantom leg. “Brin, you’re awake,” a familiar voice said at her left side. Brin struggled just to turn her head and look. “Christa,” she rasped. Her sister. She stood by the bed looking haggard; her armor was dinted and dingy, her hair messy and overgrown, and her eyes were bloodshot and drooping. She was the most beautiful thing Brinnea had seen in months. Christa adjusted the covers on Brinnea’s body. “We don’t have a proper healer here for you,” she said, “But I plan on capturing some animals for you. It should help you get back to your feet.” She winced when she realized what she said. “Where are we?” Brinnea asked. “A small farmstead. The Silver Hand is helping the farmers get settled in safely. With the Forsaken distracted to the west and south, we finally have some breathing room to rebuild Lordaeron.” “The war still rages?” Brinnea wasn’t sure why she cared, but she asked anyway. “Yes, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping. Sylvanas escaped when Lordaeron fell to the Alliance. Forsaken resistance is still strong in places. Not strong enough to kick up fuss about us knights.” “You remained neutral?” Christa nodded. “And I intend to stay that way. If we play our cards right, Andorhal might be free for human settlement again soon. I thought I might open an inn there if that happened.” “That would suit you,” Brin said. “I wish I could be there to see it.” “You aren’t dead yet, sister. Not truly.” “It’s only a matter of time. Besides, Andorhal won’t be a home for me. Only another place full of enemies.” “You don’t know that for certain,” Christa said, but she didn’t sound like she believed herself. When Brinnea was silent for a long while, Christa stood to take her leave. “Thank you,” Brinnea said. “Christa, thank you.” She opened the door and replied without looking back, “It’s what sisters are for, aren’t they?”
  46. 1 point
    Lor'Danel was falling, the last defense before the Horde reached Teldrassil. Pressing her lips together grimly the green haired night elf surveyed the map and markers of her family's assets. People, goods, equipment, knowledge stores; it was too much to move at once but if they could just move things that couldn't be taken now into hiding, they could be retrieved under the noses of the Horde during occupation of the city. Her people were skilled at that. Snapping out orders and arranging plans to the best of her ability she sent clan members out of the hidden burrows with missives, knowing they were racing against time with their lives on the line. Not enough time, never enough time. Janala felt like she was always trying to beat time; first in her own life, then in her husband's life, now for all of her clans' family's' lives. She'd won the first two of those, now... There was a little shudder in the ground under her feet. It'd not been long enough, by her estimations only the most essential things had been moved and non-essential family members should just be packing up or heading out now. Looking about the empty burrow alcove she slowly walked out, her pregnancy slowing her down. She should be leaving soon as well, once everyone had their orders. Giving a little harrumph at the idea of having to use a beast for transportation instead of shifting forms as she usually did the young lady rubbed her rounded abdomen, smiling softly as she murmured reassurances to the baby girl within. Up ahead she could hear running, stumbling footsteps coming towards her. Frowning Janala started at her slow pace up the passageway, stopping when she saw a panicked mother and child round the bend. These clan members were not the ones she expected to see. “Teldrassil...” gasps out the other lady, tears welling up in her eyes. “It's burning! We... we're trapped!” Hugging her young child tightly she trembled. Pursing her lips Janala tried to stay calm, someone had to have a cool head here. “We will exit the burrow and get the nearest Hippogryph, there should...” she was cut off by the other lady's wail. “No, we're trapped, in the burrow! Fire's everywhere outside, in the entrance...” Shaking her head she sobbed, already the smell of smoke was drifting down from the passageway up. Violet skin blanched in color as understanding set in. Placing a hand on the other lady's back she rubbed and asked softly, “Honey, is anyone else in here with us?” A 'no' shake of the head was the reply given. Options were quickly becoming slim. Awkwardly standing there trying to soothe one of her subordinate's and her crying child Janala had many thoughts running through her mind. There was one way out but it wouldn't take all of them, even this small of a group. Selfishly she had wanted to use it for herself to get out just before the Horde came in. It'd take her to her home on Azuremyst, where she could be with her children and her loving husband. Her eyes softened as she thought of them and him, then looked down at the two next to her. She knew what Aruku'd do, crazy as it was. And she knew how he'd feel if he knew she didn't try to save these two when she saved herself. Giving a sad little smile Janala settled heavily next to the pair with a little 'ooopf,' taking and drawing their hands into her own. “Do not cry, everything is going to be alright sweeties.” With one hand the druidess reached into a bag at her side, withdrawing a hearthstone. “This is not set to Darnassus, this will take you to my home on Azuremyst.” “I.. we couldn't you're Head of...” “Shhhh,” Giving the two a reassuring smile she placed the stone into the middle of their joined hands, “We will just see how many it can take at once, perhaps Elune will bless our trip.” With a deep breath she made up her mind. Please Elune, let this work. “Be sure to hold on tightly, ok?” When she'd gotten nods of agreement and saw hope in their eyes the three of them held onto the hearthstone, practically covering its surface with their hands. Smoke wafting in thickened as Janala traced the rune to activate the teleportation device, a soft green glow issuing forth from between the group's hands. Reaching out it enveloped them, whisking away to safety those who had previously been without hope. As the green glow disappeared, only Janala was left behind in the otherwise empty burrow corridor. Gently lowering her hands onto her rounded stomach she began to sing softly, strangely at ease with her fate but still mourning for her child to be. You had your whole life ahead And that I took away from you Was it selfish of me to decide this To save lives precious to another? I wish I could have shown the joys and wonders of the world to you Held your perfect little hands in mine and shared in your triumphs as you grew. But it shall never pass now so to you I give a lullaby, a story of the place where we lived and shall die. In purity, all things are born. The eldest tree was once a tender sapling, And even the stars were young. O Lady Elune, Weep tears so sweet At the thought of the innocence That once was ours. The huntress' horn has sounded! To battle, it calls us now, To the defense of all we hold dear: This city, This well of the moon, This soft song of the evening breeze. it calls us, And we answer. The jewel of our city Lies within their craven grasp. One last time, we shall stand. One final act, we shall perform By the light of the moons, By the flash of our blades, By the song of our arrows, We shall triumph-- Or we shall fall. The tree has fire for leaves And skeletons for branches And its roots feed only upon The ashes of the dead. The winds that sigh through it now are the cries of the dying And this daughter, This lament For horrors unspeakable, For cruelty unimaginable, For this life and the beauty and the grace that once were And shall never be again. By the moons' glow, listen. Beside the river, listen. Holding those you live, listen: To the cries of the dying, To the whisper of the wind over the silent dead, To the song my broken heart will ever sing Of the story of the Tree of the World And the death of all the dreams It once cradled in its mighty boughs. -----------------------------------------------
  47. 1 point
    This… isn’t supposed to happen. It was hard for Svetlaena Ascent to even think for a moment before more coughing racked her body and sent shockwaves through her mind. The Sin’dorei lurched forward and caught herself on her hands and knees amongst sands rapidly being blanketed in ash. Her head was pounding, her eyes stinging and tearing over. Despite the efforts of her lungs to cleanse themselves, all she managed to do was hack some gray slime onto the beach. Not like this. Nearby, the priestess’s hippogryph Ipolit collapsed, breathing but utterly spent, twitching his singed wings every now and then. She watched him for a time to assure herself. Once confirmed, she set about trying to rise to her feet. Easier considered than done. Svetlaena’s head was spinning far too much. It wasn’t just the pain and suffocation, either. She settled for simply kneeling there, falling ash sticking in her frayed hair, and staring back at the horrible beacon of war that the Horde had lit. Not like this… Within this burning ruin of the world tree a dark splotch of smoke amassed into the form of a storm crow as it propelled towards the Sin’dorei woman like a meteor, falling mere feet from her where she knelt. Sand, ash and cinder alike spilled in the area around them as the scent of smoke threatened to overwhelm her once more. As the disturbed debris once more began to settle, a silhouette of a druid stood where the crow had fallen. Standing about a head shorter than the average Kal’dorei female, the figure stood ready for martial combat; one hand held a shard of something, the other balled in a fist illuminated with a blue light. A familiar, wrathful tone of gravel greeted her after a hacking cough. “...I should have guessed... I should have known. Of all people to be spearheading this… atrocity…” ‘Atrocity’ was right. She wanted to tell Vaedoras that, but of all the people on Azeroth, he was probably the least likely to believe her. He had seen her blazing hatred for his people first-hand; an inner fire born of past betrayals and lingering resentment, he himself had been burned by it more than once. She wanted to say that she would have at least taken prisoners. She wanted to tell the druid how she’d tried to save as many as she could until the heat burnt the very air out of her lungs and forced her back for good. She wanted to say so very much, but all Svetlaena managed was more painful coughing fits, shaking her head and hoping the despair in her face and the burns on her skin said enough. “Five years.” The druid growled, gripping on the shard that pulsed with brilliant shades of red as if feeding its owner’s rage. It cut into his skin, blood dropping into the ash-ridden sand. “For five years, I’ve known you a Monster. But She begged me to spare you. She said you could be saved.” Vaedoras began the first step of his march. “And I did, for Her. But what has it cost us? I should have done this a long time ago…” “No. Syl...Sylvanas…” Svetlaena stammered out, trying to explain despite her scorched throat, beginning to realize just how vulnerable she was and just how enraged Vaedoras was. If only She were here. An attempt was made to stand. It failed. She fell back into a sit, reduced to trying to scramble backwards. The head-shaking became more frantic. “I didn’t… I-I wouldn’t… she’s…” And the strain was too much, the small priestess breaking into more coughing spasms, only broken up by the occasional ‘no’. “You wouldn’t?” The rough, incredulous voice raised in indignation at the perceived lie. “I wouldn’t!” Svetlaena spat back, finally with some conviction behind her voice, sounding nearly as rough as the druid in her current state. He would normally have found this absurd, perhaps even laughed at her, but any sense of humor seemed burned with the tree and those within. He continued his grim march towards justice. “You’ve always been an opportunist, I assume those burns are from trying to steal more victims for your wretched sins. Too long have I stood idle, too many have suffered at your hands because of it. I have neglected my burdens from Elune for too long, may I remain forever damned for it.” At this rate, he’d be upon her in moments and she had precious little strength left. The backwards flailing ceased. She raised a hand, realizing he was closing the gap far too fast and trying in vain to halt him. “I know what I’ve done,” her voice cracked, “I know what I am.” Eyes that burned struggled to focus on his to convey her honesty. “It isn’t this!” “Is that so?” Short as he may be in comparison of his own people, he still towered over the priestess. Behind him his trail was marked by his own blood, that which stained the crystalline shard that he pointed at her. “This is your last chance to confess, Svetlaena Ascent. May Elune hear you and judge you accordingly.” Cornered, guilt-ridden and at the peak of frustration, she slammed her fist into the sand beside her, “She won’t hear me. Nor will she hear you, nor did she hear them--” she gestured to the tree. “I saved as many as I could. She did nothing.” “Then I will serve in her place.” His natural fangs remained bared, the shard still poised to strike as a makeshift blade to deliver some supposed divine justice. “You expect me to believe you actually sought to save my people? After all your past crimes?” Svetlaena’s defiance seemed to lose its fire; she lowered her head, and slowly shook it to answer him in the negative. “Of course not. Not after all we’ve been through together.” Her tone suggested that she was almost amused by the question. Almost. It fell just short, too deflated and defeated to really embrace the irony as she typically did. “All I could think of was when my own city fell.” She just stared at the ground now, watching the ash accumulate. At least this way she could avoid the terror of that final moment if, or when, it came… and rob him of the satisfaction of seeing it in her eyes. “A fate that you’ve now brought upon us.” The Druid’s fist surrendered its illumination, only to grab the woman’s chin and force her to look back up at him. “You and your abomination of a leader. She was one of yours in life, was she not?” Svetlaena raised one of her weary, singed hands to grab at his wrist, but little else. She simply hadn’t the strength to pry him away or even tear out of his grasp. “She is no kindred of mine. Merely a shadow of it.” There seemed to be some hesitation to these words, but once they were said, it was replaced by the tiniest shred of relief. “And yet you still march to her commands.” Vaedoras hissed as he kneeled, getting closer to her face. “You’ve made this mistake before, with the brown orc. He destroyed a city, like your ‘Shadow’. He renewed conflicts that benefited none but his own ego-- as this one does, this wicked Windrunner and her designs. How do I know you truly regret it this time? What will you do to prove you have learned from your past, Svetlaena? Why should I believe that you can still meet salvation? Tell me, why are you worth sparing again?” His increased proximity seemed to be fanning the faded inner flame of defiance, for she ceased to avoid his gaze once more, “What makes you think you have this right? We once agreed that we two are monsters, didn’t we?” Narrowing her stinging eyes, she continued, “This is beyond us both. You’ve no right to be talking like a paladin… nor do I have any defense for myself.” “Because, I have the only thing Monsters like us seem to respect.” The Druid waved the now crimson shard where her gaze lingered before applying pressure on her entire jaw. “Might. You are right that we are both monsters forged in elven flesh-- cast from Elune’s graces for our sins. If she has truly turned a blind eye on us all this eve, then it is my time to do my proper duty as an apex predator and feed upon those like us. For the rest of my nights, I will seek out and hunt those who will prey upon the weak and innocent, as is my destiny-- endowed upon me at the hour of my birth when I claimed my first victim.” His voice was deathly calm, seething as the shard began its approach. His amber eyes never leaving his prey as he made her position painfully clear. “And yet, in my neglect of these burdens, I have caused far more suffering than if I had my fill. I see this now, Svetlaena… tonight's the night I accept my dark purpose as one of Elune’s Damned. Tonight I, Vaedoras Starshade, realize my true nature as an Apex Predator. And so I ask one final time, why should your final judgement not mark the start of this new era? Are you certain you have nothing more to say in repentance?” The entire speech was so long-winded and bizarre that it assisted the priestess’s disorientation; it all eventually becoming a blur of his anger and a strange awareness of the silence that now hung in the air, outside of the sphere of Vaedoras’s crazed declarations. Previously one could hear the echoes across the water, cries of the doomed and dying… now there was nothing. The flames on Teldrassil didn’t roar quite as high now. The fire was finally running out of life to consume. All this talk of predator and prey. She’d said similar things to Vaedoras, once, at a time when he had been at her mercy rather than the other way around. But this was amplified. Demented, even. Or, perhaps, she had always sounded just as mad as he. Svetlaena wasn’t sure anymore. “Do what you feel you have to,” she spoke with some strain from his grip on her, “if someone had tried to talk sense into me after Silvermoon fell, I wouldn’t listen either. I don’t blame you.” A deep breath. “But as someone who knows what I am, and what I am capable of, all I ask is that you answer me one question.” The shard lingered within her peripherals, his harsh gaze seemingly unblinking. “...I will grant you this request. Speak.” Her gaze is unwavering, despite the tightness in her throat. “Would I have allowed so many children to die that way?” There was a silence between them, the shard close to her neck, ready to bleed her out at any given moment-- assuming the searing heat that seemed to radiate from it didn’t cauterize her wound. “Fair enough.” The improvised weapon retreated. “Pray that you are telling the truth, and if not… that I never learn of your deception. You are granted one final chance from the Damned of Elune that stands before you. My mercy is spent, this is my final favor to Her and you both. Use it wisely, for my wrath will not be spared a second time if I hear you so much as touch another one of mine inappropriately.” He released the woman, pushing her back into the sand as he stood. “Have I made myself clear?” The wind knocked out of her, it took Svetlaena a moment to reply with a weak, “...yes.” Physically and emotionally spent, the Sin’dorei made no effort to move from where she lay, watching the ashes that continued to drift down from above. So many things she thought to say, but none of them would help at this point, and she knew it. With a sigh she settled on, simply, “It wasn’t supposed to be like this.” “And yet we bask in the fruits of the pale’s efforts.” Starshade scoffed as he turned his back on the woman that lay in ash and sand. He retreaded his dread march, as if it were the only path that remained for him. “Tell Windrunner and those who follow to enjoy her little empire of ashes, we will not forget this day. These flames will spread to all your Horde holds dear, and from this divine retribution, the Kaldorei will once again flourish. This is nature’s way.” When his foot finally touched where his march had begun, his form shifted back into the stormcrow, grasping that foreboding shard as he flew towards the east beyond the mountains to leave her to her thoughts.
  48. 1 point
    The building was on fire and it was not his fault. He would have been disappointed if he had not been running for his life. An arrow snatching at the hem of his robes made an unnecessary point about the gravity of his situation. " Stand and fight, COWARD!" The sentinel demanded, nocking another arrow and firing it in rapid succession. The shot missed his ear by a matter of inches, causing him to instinctively jerk away in a delayed and thoroughly pointless reflex. Qabian blamed his exhaustion. The smoke in the air was getting worse, his eyes had begun to water and breathing was growing more and more difficult. Perhaps that was why the "legendary" archers were shooting so poorly. A useless byproduct saving his life from an enraged woman. It could have been the exhaustion from the battle or the adrenaline induced hysteria of the chase but the thought caused the magister to start laughing. He was rewarded for his momentary lapse in focus with an armored fist across his cheek. The sentinel had finally caught up to him. Any noise of protest he could have made was silenced as the heel of her boot pressed down painfully upon his ribs, driving the air from his lungs. " You think this is funny?" She demanded as she drew the arrow back and took aim, from such a distance she was not likely to miss. " No, this just reminds me of my career in teaching. Though i'd call it more hilarious than funny." Another chuckle was cut short as the Kal'dorei put more pressure on his aching ribs. "Shut. Up." The woman snarled as she stared down the grinning mage. " Or what? You will shoot me? Hardly a threat after-Hngh!" He let out a pained cough as she pressed down on his ribs again and bared her sharpened teeth. The woman looked as exhausted as he felt. Grime and blood coated the plates of her armor and left uneven splashes across the exposed purple flesh. Now that he had a moment to finally look at his would be executioner, he could see shaking limbs. She was tired, she was hurt, and she was racked with anxiety from the slaughter. " I thought your kind believed in honor! Where is the honor in this?" She snapped at him. It took him a moment to realize she expected an answer. He kept his surprise hidden behind his usual infuriating smirk. He needed time, just a little bit more to catch his breath, and in her anger she had give him exactly that. He did not have the energy to formulate a proper lie or story to stall her. Between the lack of oxygen and the delirious feeling born of a mixture of panic and hope he could barely even think. He would never tell anyone what happened that night but he would continue to blame that for what he blurted out. " Do you believe in the boogeyman too?" He babbled as he saw the string stretch back in preparation. The question earned him a slight reprieve as she drew her boot back enough to allow him to breathe but still keep him pinned. " What?" She demanded. " What are you talking about?" " The Boogeyman. The monster under the bed or in the closet of children. A figment of their imagination created by their fear of the dark." He hissed out as he sucked in a grateful breath of smoke-tinged air. He was not sure what annoyed him more, the straws he grasped for to stall the woman or the fact that it seemed to be working. " No child should fear the dark." She snapped, still trying to puzzle out what the man was talking about. " But they do." He insisted, feeling a familiar tingling as the exhausted reserves began to fill drop by drop. " They use it to explain their own fear because a fear of nothing is ridiculous! It's a faulty construct." His rant was halted as the boot pressed down upon his ribs again, the sentinel controlled the flow of the conversation and she wanted him to know it. " That's what it is to you? Nothing?" " Less than nothing," Qabian confirmed with a wheeze, expending what little air he had left. He fought down a surge of panic as the bow was drawn back another inch in preparation. " Think about it!" He wheezed, hiding his relief when she relaxed a fraction of an inch. " The orcs are the ones shouting it the loudest and what are they? The ones with the most to make up for. If not for this concept what would they have left? Nothing." The end of the statement was barely a whisper as his head began to spin The sentinel eased up on his ribs enough to let him draw in another choking lungful of air which he sucked in greedily and promptly hacked up a globule of dirty saliva. " Nobody wants that they are irrational or horrible. Everyone wants to be right. So what do you do with that much baggage? You make up a code. Make up some justification for why you've done what you've done and pretend that you're not as bad as they say because you have one noble sounding concept to cling to. Honor is easily forgotten but the first thing to be cried out about. It's something you use against them even though YOU don't believe we have it in the first place!" " What's your point?" She snapped. Her ears twitched as one of the support beams let out a groan of warning and a high pitched squeal. " My point is that you are trying to insult me with air. You are trying to hit me with something that does not EXIST save for in the imagination of frightened orcs. Honor is nothing more than a word shouted out by everyone so they can pretend they aren't awful people. The Horde is awful, the alliance is awful, you are awful..." " And you are any better?" She demanded as she drew the bow taught, having reached the end of her patience with the mage's explanation. " I never said that..." He let out a raspy, unsettling laugh as he felt the spell take shape. It was a match compared to a forest fire in terms of what he usually wielded but he had nothing else. "In fact... I am far worse." Even before he had finished the statement, Qabian had begun to move. He pulled his head to the side as he tightened his chest and twisted his body to throw her off balance. The meager energy he had gathered coalesced into little more than a needle of ice, no larger than a toothbrush. As he twisted and she released her shot, the needle found the exposed joint in her armor. The arrow she held pierced the stone with a deafening shriek and a spray of sparks as the metal scraped the rock. His captor let out a shout of pain as the ice pierced her flesh, forcing her to remove the leg from his chest. He scrambled to a standing position as she fell into a seated position and let out a wordless shriek of outrage and drew another arrow The creak of a drawn bowstring was drowned out by the crack of a ceiling beam finally losing its fight with the flame. A fraction of a second was wasted as she looked up in surprise at the buckling ceiling, another fraction was wasted by panic and the torn desire between punishing the blood elf and her own survival, and then time ceased to matter as the flaming debris buried her in a roar of falling wood, flame, and stone. Exhausted by the effort and desperate for clean air, Qabian staggered out of the collapsing building, clutching his mangled and now singed ear. There was no time to even make sure the job was finished. If any of the other sentinels spotted him he was done for. He doubted talking about boogeyman would work on another one. Qabian sucked in a lungful of clean air and adjusted his rumpled robes before removing his hearthstone from his bag. This was one story of many that people would never hear. Saved by the faults in two constructs in one night? Ridiculous!
  49. 1 point
    Full Name: Nagoda Goldfield, son of Quaran Date of Birth: September 20 Age: 14 Race: Tauren Gender: Male Hair: Brown mane Skin: Brown fur, spotted white Eyes: Brown Height: Short Tauren Weight: Hefty Tauren Place of residence: Ashtotem Village, Thousand Needles Place of Birth: An Oasis in the Barrens Known Relatives: Quaran Sunwalker, (father, deceased), Fasha Sunseer, (mother), Magooma, (maternal grandmother), Kimba [the commander], Rumba [the muscle], and Cassowary [the logistician], (paternal uncles) Religion/Philosophy: An'she and the Earth Mother Occupation: Healer's apprentice at Ashtotem's Healer Hut Group/Guild affiliation: New recruit of Sanctuary Enemies: The White Hawk of Silvermoon, Nakama's pirate crew (presumed dead), Brinnea, the Butcher of Kaur'he Likes: Quiet walks in the wilderness, praying to the sun god in private, reading, singing, watching bugs and critters, tending to plants Favorite Foods: Any veggies or fruits (vegetarian) Favorite Drinks: Shamed to admit he loves firewater (it helps him be more social), more commonly admits to liking kodo milk Favorite Colors: Brown and gold Weapons of Choice: A spear or staff Dislikes: Being cooped up indoors, restraints, (claustrophobic) Physical Features: Chubby, white-faced, brown furred. His horns are small and young, his hooves well-trod upon for his age. Keeps his left hand covered to hide a brand in the shape of a red dragon. Special Abilities: Talented at healing with herbs and medical supplies. Knows how to set snares and traps for game. Positive Personality Traits: Idealistic, seeks value and harmony in all things. Respectful of others' cultures and opinions. Open-minded and flexible, willing to try new things even when afraid of the consequences. Highly creative, passionate, and dedicated. Works hard and complains little. Negative Personality Traits: Too selfless for his own good, lets others take advantage of him. Takes any insult to heart, internalizing them until his self-esteem is at a deep low. Poor at practical skills and unfocused so as to leave him unable to master any trade. Very distant and hard to get to know. Misc. Quirks: Rubs his left hand and bows with his horns to most everyone elder to him Theme Songs: "The Farthest Land," Shadow of the Colossus History: Born to the warrior Quaran and his wife Fasha in the Barrens. Watched his father transform from an implacable warrior with bloodthirst and ravenous thirst for revenge turn to a life of piety and devotion to An'she. Fasha was the first to take to An'she as a Seer, and Quaran followed to become among the first Sunwalkers. This transformation began with a miracle: the Light saved Quaran's life from a mortal wound delivered by Grimtotem axe at Thunder Bluff. Since then, Nagoda has been in love with the sun god, and pious to a fault. Nagoda grew only occasionally in his father's eyes. The elder warrior was normally away at war, a dutiful bull. Nagoda became much like his mother and grandmother because of this, and followed the path of a healer for some time. He was poor at fighting, and did not want to eat meat or even harm wildlife, so he was no huntsman. Since his family had turned to An'she, he did not follow the path of a druid or shaman either. He seemed destined to become a Seer, if not for his uncles' constant insults about his femininity. His father, though he hid his disappointment well, accepted his son's inability to take up the mantle of warrior, which made it sting all the worse for Nagoda. He wanted to make his father proud, and so he would wander from home often to reflect, pray, and try to practice. He could never bring himself to swing a spear or staff at anything alive, or even any practice target he pretended was alive. Quaran Sunwalker died hunting after the Butcher of Kaur'he. The death knight had to die to see justice done, Quaran had been convinced when he left home. Nagoda's heart fluttered nervously the day his father left -- the man had faced the death knight once and still carried a scar on the face where she had smashed him with his own maul. The news came not as a surprise, but it was enough to cast a lasting shadow on the family of the Gold Plain. Nagoda ran from home not long after. His uncles wanted to whisk him away and make a true warrior out of him, but at that moment all the boy wanted was to avenge his father and prove himself at long last. He knew he needed help, so he asked a friend of his father's to hunt the death knight down. The troll was an expert at the hunt, using the elements themselves to bolster his weapons and senses. Yet even he did not return to hunt after the death knight. For a time, Nagoda believed the Butcher was impossible to kill, and that An'she intended for him never to be like his father. But then the sun god sent him a new chance -- the Butcher was imprisoned in Silvermoon, and would soon be sent across the sea to Kalimdor. The boy ran again from his people, this time to total strangers. He approached a pirate captain called Nakama, a trolless with her own ship docked at Ratchet. He paid her with money left behind by Quaran, and arranged for the ship carrying the Butcher to be hijacked at sea. The gold was not all his father had left behind, though. A priceless relic from Northred, a gift from the Wyrmrest dragons themselves, accompanied him on his task. He believed it was a gift from An'she as well -- the instrument of justice. His father had called it a brand once, though Nagoda had been too young to understand what it was for. He knew only that it carried the dragon's fire somehow. Fire that might cleanse the world of the death knight he thought unkillable. The White Hawk, a mysterious elven task force, warned Nagoda not to do what he intended, but he stubbornly ignored them. He had to avenge his father. The Hawk were prepared for this, though, since Brinnea the Butcher was not on the ship as the pirates had been informed. It was set up as a trap, and the pirate ship was surrounded by war vessels to be taken in by the Hawks. Nagoda was stunned, and with the brand in hand, his emotions exploded outward at last. It was enough for the dragon fire to erupt and burn the ship around him. As far as the young tauren knew, no one by he survived the explosion. It left a lasting mark on his left hand, a reminder of his failure. After that, he decided he had shamed himself too much to return home again. He tried to find a new path, and An'she sent him a vision of a golden hawk on a purple sky. Sanctuary. He followed his vision, remembering that it was Kex'ti of Sanctuary who stood against the Butcher and lived. Nagoda sought a chance at redemption and escape from his failure, but he never forgot his duty. One day, he knew, he would have to face the Butcher, and only one of them would walk away alive.
  50. 1 point
    "Too skinny," Xara comments. "Every time I see her, I want ta feed her! But there are some people out there who don't want people takin' care of 'em... They think it makes 'em vulnerable, they're scared, they don't wanna get hurt." The trolless is quiet for a moment, then shrugs. "Some wild animals can't be tamed."