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Everything posted by Svetlaena

  1. 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.
  2. ((This was a great RP, indeed. Gooooood times.))
  3. I kept saying that as a general means to stop people from continuing to sit around and point fingers instead of come up with solutions. I already said I was guilty of a bit of standoffishness, but what's the purpose of sitting there and accusing me like you are, Ugraz? My health has been a major factor in a lot of this, and I do in fact feel bad about it and am trying to fix it. Can we just start talking about solutions already instead? Fel's sake, people.
  4. This thread is getting painfully off-topic. Can we just establish that perspective is a weird thing, we're all to blame for the lack of RP, and move on to making solutions already? ...please?
  5. Standoffishness is a problem, and I myself am guilty of it. Social anxieties make it worse. I can't really add much to the debate here, my opinions being already outlined by others in the thread in words better than what I can currently come up with, but I feel I can add a suggestion to the mix... what if we resurrected the "Blind RP" thing and added a condition that the RP be done in a public place? Tear down two barriers at the same time? Also, let's avoid getting into talk of "Well I did/tried to do this for the community BUT no one jumped in..." as well as the shirking of responsibility all that really turns into is accusations and finger-pointing, and that's the opposite of what we need to do. Who's to blame (which, by the way, is every single one of us) isn't the topic at hand, it's how we can salvage the situation we're in.
  6. "OOPS." The ink on the wanted poster ran, soaked with tea, until the words were incomprehensible and the parchment had been reduced to a soggy, blackened scrap. The Professor ignored the scowl the guard gave her, shrugging and waving her empty teacup. "Clumsy me."
  7. Dear Great-Father Winter: I believe I have gone out of my way enough this year to do 'nice' things. I healed and blessed my fellow Horde even if I did not like them. I did not attempt to kill my husband, instead, I got him a really cool panther made of rubies. I kept my hands to myself when the Alliance wandered Halfhill Market, the Darkmoon Carnival, and other such places for the vast majority of the time. I was obedient to my guild and my Warchief on almost every order I was given. I even stopped throwing empty bottles at strangers, and using moonwells as bathrooms, and I'm trying to stop running away when fights go badly and while I haven't always kept to that one I'm trying and that's what counts. I demand in return the following: A new dagger (as the one I had went over a waterfall in the Jade Forest months ago), an improved harness and saddle for Tiborstraz that he cannot easily undo with his claws, and a fresh batch of thistle from deep within the forests of Quel'thalas. I have even done you the courtesy of suggesting a few names for your 'naughty' list this year: Urivial Beckett Varian Wrynn (but get Anduin something nice. I like that kid.) Vaedoras Starshade Illisade Shadesong (really, there's just nothing redeeming about this one.) Regards, Prof. S. N. Quel'Ivan
  8. Svetlaena didn't say a word as he took off, nor did he wait for her to. That final strange moment was enough to keep her there, staring, tapping her finger against her chin in thought. She wasn't made a Professor for nothing. The little woman knew something was up, but she was trying to determine just how much she cared. After all, it'd put something incredible in her hands and given her the freedom to study it. What was a little danger in exchange for such ancient and possibly powerful knowledge? With a final disdainful glance at the entrance to the cavern, she started to make her way Southward.
  9. The Professor let out an initial yelp at being jettisoned from the cave so violently, but the relief to look around and be able to see that she was on the surface again was enough to quickly put any upset she might be feeling to rest. Oh how I missed you, sky. "Of course, of course. It truly is always a party with you around, Altherion." Svetlaena said as she was put back on the firm earth. A glance to the south and she took a deep breath, happy to be finally out of the rancid cave air. Thinking fast she extracted some parchment from her bag and began to wrap the crystal up, hiding it from view. "I'll make my way south from here; my associate is waiting to port this thing safely off-continent and we'll get to work."
  10. She eyed him skeptically before taking the offered hand, firmly out of both the nerves of being underground combined with her own anticipation for whatever he was going to do. Careful, right. As if Altherion knew the meaning of the word. "Alright... whatever gets us out of here."
  11. "Bound to my Magic... right. It is probably best not to do that here, yes? And attract unwanted attention. I'll be taking it with me to study then, far enough out of the reach of these Mantid that we won't be interfered with. We being myself, Duroxas, and an associate of mine who is also studying such things." Svetlaena looked around her at the eggs; in the absolute silence one could feel gentle pulsing. Bugs were one thing on the surface, but now she was quite certain she wanted out of the hole. Still clutching the crystal she stepped back toward where they had come in, peering upwards curiously. "So what was your exit strategy again?"
  12. Svetlaena picked over the crystal's surface, muttering to herself in curiosity while the sounds of Altherion's cruelty to the creature made for the backdrop. Whatever was triggering that behavior, she didn't want to ask about in the first place, if it was abnormal at all. It might just be typical, she had little basis to go on... neverminding all that the Professor tried to keep her focus on the object. "I thought so," she said softly, turning it over and this way and that to see it from all angles. "But something is off-- technically it should have a lot more energy than this. Though it is still a fascinating find, don't you think? I wonder how old it is. Older than our races, do you think? Ah, and to think I'm handling it..." If he didn't stop her, this could go on for some time.
  13. When her spell faded and the darkness returned Svetlaena barely saw the club coming in time to get a shield spell off, but thankfully her nerves and senses were on edge simply from being where she was and the barrier of Light went up in time. The club connected with it harshly, but the magic did not give way. As he raised the weapon to repeat the process and break through to his prey she cringed back and extended her hand, at first it seemed in desperation, but then she fired a fierce Penance bolt that knocked the creature clear off its feet and onto its back, skidding across the floor somewhat toward Altherion. Certain the Death Knight would be more than happy to finish it off, she let her attention go back to the crystal, shifting it to hold in both her hands again and looking it over. Yes... she was now more than certain this was what they had come for, but how to awaken it...?
  14. A heavy exhale left her lips in relief once the Saurok charging her had been readily and dramatically dispatched. There was blood on her tabard, not that it was an uncommon occurrence. The Death Knight's laughter reaching her ears over the din of the fight did not surprise her much-- every time she remembered fighting alongside him he always seemed like he was having a little too much fun. He was the sort of undead that embraced more than rejected what he had become, at least in front of her. A career killer that genuinely enjoyed his job. "I guess you did," she replied, her head canting to the side a bit when he spoke as if trying to read him better. "Good to keep your debts paid off." But then her eyes went to the staff-- particularly the stone that sat atop it. At first glance it was just some stone the Saurok had perhaps infused with the basest, most primitive of elemental magic. The more the Professor stared, the more out of place it looked. The staff itself was huge, thick and made of a very heavy wood and any attempt to lift it would only serve to embarrass her. So instead she stepped toward the crystal itself, marveling at how it seemed to tug at the hand she extended towards it, and even more surprised at how easily it pried loose from its setting. A snarl snapped her out of it, and she looked up to see that Cookie's manifestation in the physical world had ended while they were distracted. The Saurok that remained were spreading out a bit from each other in order to surround the pair. Svetlaena shifted the crystal to hold it in one arm and with the other fired off another spell like the one she had illuminated the cave with before; a Cascade of bouncing Light that would blind their darkness-adjusted eyes and painfully sear anything it touched. A light hiss was followed by pained roaring when one unlucky creature took one of the bolts directly to the eye and dropped his dagger, leaving him completely open to a Holy Fire spell that immolated the entire scaly form and he fell, quiet. The rest spared not a moment and charged together...
  15. She wasn't sure how much longer she could keep Cookie manifested-- after a while despite her best efforts he would always dissipate back into nothingness, but for a while he was still a viable distraction. The Shadowfiend melded itself around a spear meant to impale it and slithered up the length of the pole, tendrils clawing at the assailant's face and throat. He could vanish at any moment but that was not priority for now, however, as the particularly massive one had Altherion temporarily pinned. Her depth perception was off but luckily she didn't need to close any distance, hurling bolts of holy fire at the creature's back that left small, searing flames lingering on its scales. It roared, turning its head to look at her without relenting its hold on the staff but if nothing else, its attention was off the Death Knight now. Cautiously she backed up the hill, trying to lure the Saurok away while she charged up another spell. This one obviously bit a tad harder-- amplified by the remnant flames of the last. Now it was mad. With another earth-shattering roar it turned about, far swifter than something that size had any right to, and began to lunge for her. The deer-in-mechanohog-lights look took over the Professor's face for a half-second... she hadn't thought far beyond this point... and she shielded herself with Light, hoping to goodness it'd be enough.
  16. As most everyone around her already knew, Svetlaena very much hated being underground. The way it skewed her visual perception, the dank smells, the things that lived down there, everything about it. It was a feeling of slow suffocation and her imagination never did much to help, always raising fun questions like 'how much breathable air is down here' or 'how easily could this whole thing collapse and crush me' or 'how long could I survive if I got lost down here'. Not to mention it was rare for anything good to be found buried under the surface. As a result she found herself almost grateful to be distracted by the presence of enemies. When her mind had something to concentrate on it was far less likely to continue screening fantastical horror scenarios in her head. She stepped somewhat behind the armored Altherion, out of practiced battlefield habit, but kept the Saurok in her sights. One glance to their strange shadows on the floor was all the inspiration she needed. "Get 'em, Cookie," the Death Knight would hear her whisper, and the nearest shadows to the creatures began to shift and move like liquid. They rose out of the ground and started to take shape, coalescing into a weird little mass near the lizard-creatures' feet. As soon as its overly large mouth formed it was latching onto the nearest ankle, two thin tendrils reaching out on either side to snag tails, claws, feet, anything they could. A hideously angry swipe from one of the Saurok's weapons seemed to pass through it, though Cookie responded with a nasty gurgling noise of his own and tried to pull his attacker to the ground by the foot.
  17. A sigh, of course she was expected to go into that horrid blackness. Rolling her shoulders and taking a deep breath she left the safety of the surface and descended in a slow, controlled manner. It smelled like wet earth and something else she could not place, despite being sure she'd smelled it before. Her perception thrown off by the blackness Svetlaena was surprised at the time it took for her feet to find something solid to stand on. When she did, however, she went toward the faint blue of the Knight's eyes, frowning as she glanced up to surmise how far down they'd gone, "Torches and tinder, of course." Shoving her hands into her bags, the Professor was grateful she'd been careful to place the torches near the top for easy retrieval. Leaving one for later, she reached out till her fingers met armor-- then having oriented herself to do so, set the torch and tinder-box in his hands. "You can get that lit and lead the way, you know where we're going, or at least some semblance of a direction. But do let's have a little look around..." Her voice tinged with amusement she tossed out a single glowing orb that left shimmers in its path, lighting up its surroundings. It hit the ground below them, bounced and split into two more, the process then repeating for each until a Cascade of light was bouncing off the floor and walls of the cave, for a few seconds brilliantly illuminating it all until the light faded out.
  18. Entirely serious indeed, Svetlaena mused as the Death Knight disappeared comically into the hole he himself had created. It was always convenient, however, when someone else learned something the hard way so she didn't have to. She cast a Levitation spell on herself, hovering inches above the unstable ground and cautiously approached the edge of the hole. "You aliv-- er... you conscious?" she corrected herself, calling down into the hole. Internally she winced at how much noise it made, but she reasoned it couldn't have been any louder than the explosion and Altherion's graceless descent. The light from outside was far too dim to illuminate well into the hole, there was nothing to be seen but pitch darkness, but she'd await word from her associate before she cast any Light spells down there... wouldn't want an unpleasant accident after all. Deep in her mind she'd known this venture would probably take them underground; but she was determined to put that part off, if she could at all.
  19. "What are-- OH." Svetlaena didn't need to finish the question. She scrambled after him, having only a partial idea of what was going on, but whatever he'd laid there was clearly bad. The diminutive elf suppressed a yelp as it went off, even from her safe spot just behind her armored acquaintance himself. Adrenaline awoken, she came to a stand once the explosion had cleared, laughing shakily and taking a large drag of the thistle to soothe herself. "It's always a party with you isn't it, Altherion?" And then with a practiced, whispered word she blessed them both, in preparation for whatever lay ahead.