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Mackinzie last won the day on December 21 2016

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  1. 17th of December Most nights my potions work, but sometimes the nightmares are merely too relentless to hold at bay. Nights such as this one, where he awakens drenched in sweat and trembling; reaching for his weapons with a mixture of determination and desperation that I recognize at once. I need not ask what he dreams of; I know. All I can offer is the warmth of my arms and the comfort of my lips – and I pray it is enough. He is slumbering once more, what seems like peacefully, but I will not sleep again this night. He gets so little rest as is, I'll stay awake to watch over him. Light be praised, he truly is an exquisitely sculpted work of art to behold. Surfal'o ana, dalah'thalas. I will see you safe. <There is a perfectly round inkblot upon the page, as if quill touched parchment with a thought that was merely held back too long and then cast aside. No more was written this night.>
  2. 10th of December I thought this dear journal of mine lost after the transition to Dalaran. Lamenting such and loathe to begin anew elsewhere, I have kept my thoughts neatly put aside. Which is no monumental task considering how dreadfully busy life has become. One hardly has the luxury anymore. Yet I have found the time to welcome my journal's reappearance properly. I imagine grubby little hands of lavender have had quite the time attempting to pry it open, as it was found hidden among Vatya's tomes for school. When asked, she merely peered up at me with round eyes as innocent and pure as freshly fallen snow. Perhaps those eyes would fool another but it is like looking into a reflection of my younger days. Quite the wily one already. My regular shifts at the Dalaran infirmary have waned greatly, with focus shifting to Shal'Aran and the many refugees that call the cavern their home for quite some time now. I do my best to travel between the two as needed, but the necessity of one far surpasses the other. And the children, so many of them, orphaned and alone... I can not bear to leave them to suffer the chill of the night with no comfort to be found. Yet I have a child of my own at home. Shadow and Light be thanked that she herself was not left an orphan. Had I only remained within the city of Suramar for an hour more, had I not been called back to tend the wounded – I would be lost within that foul chronomancy myself. Fortune does not always favor my face but I am grateful for its mercy that day. Mercy... I wonder if it is terrible of me to receive such myself and yet dispense none in return? No, I think not. Mercy at my hand is given to the deserving. My healing may only mend so much pain before that which all injuries stem from must be culled to prevent further harm. Such is the way of things, especially now. Whether it is wrong or not matters little to me. It must be done, and I would be lying if I said I took no pleasure from seeing their eyes dull to a lifeless stare. Their blades will harm no more innocents. Rorrek and I have spent the last few days seeking those that would foolishly (no doubt it is pride to them, and lucky for us) wear the colors of their crimes - those of the so proclaimed Dread Horde Coalition. Two of the cravenly filths were cut down this very day, left as ill-flavored food for the stormdrakes that prowl the skies. Yet my hands must relinquish the shadow now and call upon the light once more, there are many still in need. The balance grows more effortless with each passing day – a testament to the teachings of Seline. There seems to be no end to the forces which need to be cut down. The fanatics of the Horde and the proxies of the Legion will be treated as one in the same as they both seek to harm our world. Rorrek is often so very weary, and I am glad we may confide in one another equally. Regardless of my own weariness I will continue on if only to protect and glimpse again Vatya's smiling face. Or smirk, depending on which questions are asked of the little mischief maker.
  3. 16th of September It has been two days. Two eternally agonizing days and Rorrek is still entranced (for I've no other way to describe what seems to have befallen him) within this task the Valarjar have supposedly ordered. What could they possibly need his hands in particular to craft that theirs could not do one hundred times better? He has spoken of the Vrykul's runesmithing skills quite highly, and while he is talented beyond most, he does not possess such qualities. Are they using the warriors to fulfill meaningless tasks they themselves do not want to do? It is practically enslavement! And I can do absolutely nothing about it! I fear I am losing my mind waiting. Light and Shadow damn them to the nether, his body will not last much longer without nourishment! I am doing my best to be patient, to nurture hope that this task will end soon, and take comfort in Pralea's words that he remains unharmed and otherwise safe... but it is trying what very miniscule sanity I have left at the moment. My strength has returned at least. Well, for the most part. I am able to aid Skylah within the Dalaran infirmary, even if I do need more breaks than I am used to. The routine assignments are greatly welcome and succeed beautifully in taking my mind from things I've no control over. Fractures, hemorrhages, diseases, wounds are all among the things I have the power to mend. Within the infirmary, I am in control. Gods it is good to get my hands dirty once more. In doing so I have had precious little time to devote to my research of the city of Suramar, but I have found out some deeply troubling knowledge. It was an ancient jewel, preserved over thousands of years beneath an all encompassing veil. And yet, the luster now bears the marring of fel as I have learned of the dark bargain the city elders had struck with the Legion. And so have I learned word of the desperate plea given from a struggling rebellion. The plight of these "Nightfallen" calls to me and I know where I shall next set my hands to helping. But how exactly? I know not at this moment, but I will find a way. I write lastly of a summons received today, for Skylah and myself, from ones known as the Conclave. I have heard talk here and there through my daily rounds with the other Priests but have not given much thought otherwise. I shall go of course and see what service is wanted of me, if any. But mostly to see if the rumors are true. Has the Cult of Forgotten Shadow returned at last? One can hope.
  4. 13th of September What a peculiar sensation to be in such vast debt to so many. An appreciative debt to be sure and one never forgotten, but I haven't the means to repay their efforts on any worthy scale. How could I? I owe them all my life. Every last one of them. Skylah. Rorrek. Violet. Tayissa. Myaka, Light guide her soul. Even Vatya, my darling child, and Ella did not leave my side. And then there is Nomu Highmountain, an Elder Druid of the Horde I am told – how unexpected he would risk his life to save mine. I hope to thank him in person soon, somehow. Tayissa, as well, and Myaka... I don't even know where her spirit was laid to rest. Light how I wish it had not turned out this way. Everyone keeps speaking as to how I'm awake; I've awoken. I suppose in a sense I have, yes, but I was never truly asleep. I fought for my life just as hard as they, all unseen. It is an unimaginable terror to be trapped within your own body, one you can never understand until it happens to you. The demon kept me cornered and weak, urging me to give in relentlessly. Yet I could hear their voices, an anchor to what awaited me if I could only break free, and I held tight to that hope. In truth I am uncertain which words were reality and which conjured by the fel fever but I can still remember them in such dream-like quality, floating in and out of reach. I could feel their presence as well, and even thought I felt Rorrek's gentle touch among the pain; but I can not be sure and I dare not ask. It is over and I should not dwell. We have all been through so much and so much has changed. Yet for me the waiting persists. Over a month I laid there waiting to open my eyes, waiting to see my family again, waiting to see if I would die instead. Now I wait for my body to regain strength. I wait for my magic to obey once more. I wait restlessly while all hands around me move with purpose. The world is fighting for it's survival and here I wait, to be of use. I have missed so very much already. It is infuriating! I am at my wits end as to what to do with myself in the mean time. Or I was... until tonight. I accompanied Rorrek to Krasus' Landing to see him off for Skyhold. I've been trying to get more exercise and usually see to an evening walk about the mage city if I'm able. Though I'll make sure to accompany him every night from now on just to spite that smirking winged harlot. I realize as a Val'kyr she is required for his ascension into the palace but must she be so smug when her arms wrap around him? And for Gods sake, must she be wearing next to nothing!? ...Anyhow, it was then that I glimpsed it, as I peered down from the edge of the platform. Suramar. I have never seen a glimmering city such as this! It puts the opulence of Dalaran to utter shame with it's expansive vistas and enchanting shapes. I must know more about it and the people that inhabit such a beautiful place. My current condition allows for research if nothing else, amid my rehabilitation and Skylah's protective lectures; and I know Vatya would delight in helping me. She's a bookworm as well, I am proud to pen. Together we shall conquer the mystery of this alluring and most fascinating new metropolis.
  5. The journey was long from the distant haven of Moonglade, but the story seemed much the same in the land of Khaz Modan. The mountain of Ironforge was under assault by the Legion, just as countless other locations across the world. The mountain city was impregnable, and its inhabitants unwavering in their vigilance. Adrenaline coursed through the city as the combined military forces of the clans swept through the quarters. They were being cycled from within the city to Kharanos where the Council of Three Hammers was making their stand against the demonic invasions. All within were wary of the Legion infiltrating Ironforge, causing a second front behind the main brunt of defenders outside. No large force could hope to enter unnoticed... but, that was not to speak of individuals. Ironforge was more than its circular districts. It was riddled with winding corridors and labyrinthine halls that extended throughout the mountain like veins. Tayissa Steel, as a privateer of less respectable interests, was accustom to paths few others knew where to look for. But, she did not smuggle goods this day, but instead someone who could help a dire situation. Nomu Highmountain posed great difficulty to smuggle into the mountain due to his immense size. Fortunately the druidic arts of the elder Tauren were able to curb this with his ability to shape-shift. Through darkened tunnels from the north Tayissa escorted the druid after making landfall in Menethil. All seemed well for, despite the heightened alert the city was on. It was not until they needed to step from the shadows and less known path near the end of their journey that issue arose. Brianna Mackinzie needed a healer of a specific kind to treat the fel wound and curse therein. All that stood between Tayissa's delivery of that person was a wide and open expanse. The infirmary was nestled among countless bright braziers and coal pits that lit the area well. The stream of guards which passed by never seemed to end. The two could not wait forever, and eventually Tayissa took her chance after another Dwarven patrol passed by. The shout and whistling came immediately after they moved into the open. She was caught, with a large member of the Horde in tow no less... The guards surrounded them and in response Nomu shifted from the stealthy feline form as to hold his hands before him in a gesture of harmlessness. Unfortunately, the Dwarves seemed even more on edge at the sheer height of the venerable elder. Shouting rang out as the captain of the these guards ordered the unlikely pair to lay down their belongings. The noise drew the eyes of the entire area, including those in the infirmary where Brianna was kept. A solemn and weary figure emerged with haste, with a likewise tired Priestess on his heels, from the infirmary building. An exasperated Rorrek and Skylah rushed to explain the dire straights of their desperate situation in this trying time where even many Horde fought to defend Dun Morogh. With hope the guard could be swayed... *** Tayissa rubs a sweaty forehead, now that both Nomu and her were upstairs safe, "Sorry, almost made it undetected." Nomu slowly stumps up the stairs, his body barely fitting in the small room. “Well, this was certainly exciting....” Skylah rubs a hand gently over Brianna's forehead, a hopeful smile to form across her lips. "I am certainly hoping it was worth all the trouble..." Rorrek wearily laid his axes against the stone wall after having returned from settling the guards. Nonetheless, the Dwarves had taken to wait outside the infirmary building while their captain explained to them at length. He watched the looming Tauren with some reservation and wariness, anxiety and fatigue clinging to the frayed defender. He glances to Tayissa to glean their outlook on the situation. Nomu slowly walks up to the figure on the bed, his one good eye scanning her body and taking stock of her wounds "Hrmmm....You say she was bit by a felhound?" The patient remained much as before, her breathing irregular and exceptionally shallow. Yet her pallor was much worse, a sickly green, and her cheeks were further sunken in. Beneath her pale gown was the outline of bandages upon her thigh. Tayissa leans heavily against the wall, having not slept since she had left the infirmary days earlier. She watches Nomu speak with weary eyes. “Nay, drained was she ere the bite by felhound. Thereafter came dreadstalker as carrion to attempt to... finish her. Such gave the bite and curse therein,” Rorrek explained wearily. Skylah gently pulls the covers back to expose where the bite would be. Nomu frowns and begins to remove several vials and herbs from his bags, including what look like several long vines. One of the vials in particular seems to almost glow with an otherwordly light. "I must say, I am impressed she has survived as long as she has, I've seen many die from far less." He opens one of the vials, the liquid a dark blue in color and adds some crushed mageroyal to it, resulting in it turning to a bright blue. Skylah watches the Tauren intently. "I...I've done the best I could. I have only been able to contain the spread from the bite. It is incredibly resistant to the Light." “You have done very well child. I do believe she owes her continued life to you at this moment,” Nomu replied in kind. Skylah reaches forward and gently removes the bandage from Brianna's thigh. The revealed bite wound is angry looking, oozing with fel pus and very raw -- though Skylah's magic has stopped the spread of infection from traveling further. Black jagged lines shoot out from around the wound's edges, seeking further flesh to corrupt. Nomu passes the glowing drink to Skylah, "Here, have her drink a little bit of this now. It will restore some of her strength so that I can begin the healing process.” Rorrek watched Nomu for a time, the reserved and guarded posture of the tired warrior to eventually lessen as the Tauren spoke. He chanced a glance out the window to his side toward the remaining guards. He soon shifted his attention again to the healing. Skylah nods in thanks to the previous comment before reaching out to take the drink in hand. "In her state I may have to inject it, is that alright? I fear pouring it in her mouth would see it mostly wasted." After Nomu passes off the blue potion, he examines the wound closely and nods a few times "Serious, but not inoperable. I do warn you though, this will be painful. The corruption is set deep. I will be able to draw it out, but it wont be pleasant for her.” “Aye, that is fine. Just a small amount though. To much and it will speed the rate of corruption,” Nomu added, his attention focused on Brianna. Tayissa watched the druid pass his potion, eyes closing more with fatigue. A very small, innocent 'bump', perhaps a guard leaning his weapon on the building's wall, or someone setting something heavy on a surface downstairs. The noise makes Tayissa jump, as she draws her revolver and peers down the stairs. Nomu pulls out a large flat leaf, as large as Brianna's entire thigh. Opening the vial of moonwell water, he pours a little on the wound. Rorrek bit his stern lip at the thought of the corruption being spread, his gaze to quickly flash to Skylah. The Knight's stance trembled slightly, but he soon forced calm in his silence as to not disturb the delicate process. Skylah grabs a fresh syringe from the table. Expelling all the air from it, she draws about a quarter of the contents of the glass. She slowly injects the contents into the IV in Brianna's hand. Ellaluna had been watching the Tauren for a time from where she perched protectively near Brianna. The fae dragon did not hold her usual wariness for strangers when regarding the Tauren. "Druid good. Druid help," she chirped softly. Nomu then pulls a small seed out of his bag and places it in the center of the wound. Instantly little tendrils begin to sprout out and dig their way into the wound. Nomu then places the leaf over the wound while he begins to softly hum an old tune in a language that sounds vaguely like Tuare-he, but not quite. With his hands pressed against the wound, the leaf begins to wither and decay, the refuse falling into the wound. Skylah caresses Brianna's cheek as she peers upon her slack face. The fel ichor from the wound seems to recoil from the placed seed and outreaching tendrils, taking on an eerie shift as if its own pained entity. Under the wound, the ichor movement against the treatment might be felt. Rorrek stood as a silent witness with breath held, hope set within his troubled gaze. He dares not speak as the druid and priestess work upon the festering fel wound. Nomu stops his humming for a moment, and grabbing two of the vines, wraps them around her upper thigh, above the furthest bit of corruption. They quickly wind around and seem to form a line against the corruption in case it should try and spread. Skylah turns her gaze from Brianna's face to watch the Druid's work in hope and fascination. Nomu returns to the seed and humming, and slowly the seed begins to germinate, the tendrils reaching in further, sucking up the fel corruption as if it was water for the plant. Ellaluna seems pleased as she watched the druidic magic take hold. For the first time, the little fae looked more hopeful than she had in days. The silence of the room is suddenly cloven for a brief moment as a gruff voice shouted toward the window from outside. "Oye! Hurry up in there so we kin get that great horned lummox outta tha' city! We have places ta be!" Tayissa glances over her shoulder at the humming, but is unable to see around the massive Tauren to glimpse what is happening. Her brow furrows at the Dwarven shouting from below as she clutches her revolver tightly. Nomu continues to hum, but adds more moonwell water to the plant. As the water hits the seed, the roots shoot out to the furthest reaches of the corruption, and begin to draw it in to the seed. The flower itself then begins glowing with fel energy. Skylah takes Brianna's wrist in her hand to monitor her heartbeat; taking note of her breathing patterns as well. As the last of the corruption is drawn into the plant, the roots begin to retract and draw back, wrapping themselves around the base of the stem. Opening his eye, Nomu plucks the plant out of the wound, and watches as it quickly withers and dies. “There, that should take care of the corruption...” he said aloud. Footsteps approached from the stairs, and a ways below the first flight stared upward the Captain of the accosting guards. He spoke to Tayissa from below. "Ey! Me lads are gettin' antsy and I've already got ta make a report a mile wide! How goes it?" Skylah breathes a sigh of relief. "You are certain?" she asks while peering at the wound. Tayissa growls and hisses over the railing at the guards below, "Not finished." The Dwarf was taken aback, and his brow furrowed sternly. "Listen here, lass. We let ya through since we're all staring down them demons. But you best watch yerself unless you want ta end up clapped in irons." He then stomped back downstairs. Tayissa makes a very very rude gesture at the dwarf. “I do apologize Noble Children of the earth. I just need a few more minutes. Then I promise I shall leave,” Nomu spoke with deep respect. Rorrek had watched the exchange between the guard and Tayissa from afar, it having taken his focus briefly from the healing of Brianna. He walked toward Tayissa and clasped a hefty hand upon her shoulder. "Thou shalt listen and hold thy tongue. Grateful am I for thy service, but... Thou shalt not endanger such healing. Be well unto the guard.” He leaned slightly forward with a pointed and dire look in his eyes. Nomu returns his attention to his patient and holds his hand over her. "Now the question of the curse remains... What did you say it was again?" Tayissa shoots Rorrek a dirty look, her mouth opening to explain herself, then she bites her tongue and shoves her revolver roughly into its holster. “It is one of exhaustion, or sapping of her strength in some way, I believe. Whatever it is, it is keeping her body from being able to recuperate,” Skylah explained as best she could. “Hrmmm,” was all Nomu spoke as he gazed thoughtfully down at Brianna. Rorrek stood resolute as a monolith, though his eyes warned of an ire awaiting to be released in these trying times. He would brook no argument as the digging of his plated fingers into her shoulder emphasized. He released his grip as she sheathed her revolver and bowed his head. "My thanks..." His eyes remained on them for a time before he returned to where he leaned before. Tayissa wipes her hand along her shoulder where Rorrek's gauntlet made contact, resuming her position along the wall. Nomu rummages through his bags before pulling out a sprig of cinderbloom which he promptly crushes and adds to the remaining moonwell water. It changes color, taking on a bright golden color and he hands the vial to Skylah "Inject her with this once I start,” he orders. Skylah nods, taking the container in hand and filling a new syringe with its contents. Tayissa folds her arms and leans the back of her head on the wall. Nomu holds his hands over Brianna and begins to chant in his deep gravely voice. Its the same language as before, with bits of Taura-he, but far more ancient. Skylah watches the druid. Once the chanting began, she injected Brianna with the given mixture. As the mixture is injected, Nomu continues to chant, his voice rising and falling in rhythmic pattern. Slowly he moves his hand towards the two vines on her thigh, and they begin to grow lax and unwind until completely slack. Falling limp to the floor, their color drains as the curse now has been transferred to the vines. The patient seems to breath easier almost at once, her chest no longer rising and falling in such irregular rhythm. In fact, Brianna's chest expands greatly as she inhales deeply for the first time in a long time. Skylah quickly turns at the sound of a deep breath taken, a smile forms a she looks between the druid and her sister. "It...it is working already!" she exclaims. Nomu sighs from exhaustion but now pulls out a mason jar, and a somewhat sour smell fills the air. Taking his fingers he applies a very thick brown paste to the wound before wrapping it in several more vines, which tighten themselves to form a perfect bandage. Rorrek watched Brianna's form seemingly ease, for the first time since the invasions began in earnest. His eyes widened and glazed with the threat of tears. He restrains himself in silence, though his stoic and wrathful features dare to visibly hope more so. Nomu smiles softly as he finishes up and replaces the top to the mason jar. "There....that should do it. She will just need rest now. This salve will speed the healing process up. Just reapply it once every two days. The bandages will need to be replaced then as well. She will need to take it easy and build her strength back up, but in time, she will be just as strong as she was before.” Skylah looks to her sister before stepping forward and closer to the Tauren. “I will tend to her as I have since she fell. I will be ever vigilant. Rest assured that your efforts have not been wasted,” she promised. Nomu turns to hand the mason jar, along with a bag of herbs to Skylah. "This is a bag of tea leaves. It will help with her pain. Should be enough to last a month. Its my own special brand." He then looks down upon her, responding to her promise. “I know they wont be child. She is lucky to have you, without your care I would not have been able to save her.” Skylah's gaze takes in all of the Tauren, she to place a gentle hand on his arm; in a quick motion does she try her best to give him a hug. Nomu blinks a few times before letting out a deep chuckle and softly pats her on the back, returning the hug as his other arm grips his staff for support. Rorrek took several measured steps closer toward the Tauren that loomed over him. He pointed his gaze upward and spoke with a voice that struggled to maintain composure. "... Thy name. Speak thy name and thine order." He waited patiently. Nomu turns and looks at Rorrek "Ah, yes. I am Elder Nomu Highmountain, Druid of the Cenarion Circle, and Elder of the Horns of Shu'halo" Skylah lingered in his embrace for a moment longer before taking a step back. She clears her throat in attempt to gain Tayissa's attention and beckon her closer. Rorrek closed his eyes and bowed low. He holds the gesture for several moments of silence before rising and speaking in turn. "Sir Rorrek Therrien... there is debt sincere to be repaid. Thou may callest upon mine aid whenever thou art of need for this. Thou hast my thanks eternal.” Nomu responds in kind as he looks to Rorrek with his one good eye. “You owe me nothing, I am just glad to have been able to help.” Tayissa rubs the bridge of her nose and shakes her head as the druid speaks his name, not familiar with any of it. She squints an eye at Skylah as she beckons. Skylah smiles up at Tayissa, her eyes rimmed with tears yet to fall. "Thank you, Tayissa. It doesn't even begin to express my gratitude, but thank you." Ellaluna flew up, uncharacteristically flying towards the stranger. Ever so briefly she landed on Nomu's massive shoulder and fluttered her wing against his face affectionately. "Ella thank Nomu," she said before returning to Brianna's side. Nomu laughs as the fae lands on his shoulder "You are most welcome young one." Tayissa folds her arms a little tighter and nods her head once, "... It's fine, I just want her to be whole." Rorrek smiled, a genuine expression, and broke absently with subdued laughter which welled forth from beneath the long vigils and warring which has been had. "Nonetheless, remember shall I thy name and that imparted." Skylah holds both her hands out, and without waiting for acknowledgement from Tayissa, wraps her in a hug as well. Nomu smiles and nods at Rorrek "Now then...I feel that I should probably leave, as the Children of earth don’t seem to appreciate my presence. Nor do I fit in these buildings all to well." He lets out a deep rumbling laugh. Tayissa still had her arms folded, but leans into Skylah's hug. She probably smells pretty bad from being on the road for a week without bathing. Skylah releases Tayissa and turns again to the Druid. “We are eternally thankful for your aid. There are no words to truly express that gratitude. Travel well, and be safe in this dire world.” “Fare thee well, Elder of the Circle and Horns. May thy path be guided and fortunes gracious amongst morrows unbeknownst.” Rorrek spoke with respect. “May the earthmother watch over you all.” Nomu turns and collects his bags. With a final nod he begins to slowly limp down the stairs. “I'll make sure he gets out safely. Erm, without trouble,” Tayissa informed the group. “Steel,” Rorrek said, calling to Tayissa before she could leave. “Aye?” Tayissa replied, looking with worry to the Druid as he slowly limps to the door. Rorrek looked upon Tayissa again, though his demeanor had changed from before. His weariness was shown through around a bud of warmth which seemed to bloom at last. "...Again, thou hast my thanks. Endeavor shall I to gaze upon thee in light anew." He nodded. “Thy service shall not be forgotten.” Skylah sits on the bed opposite Brianna and watches her sisters chest as it rises and falls. Brianna's pallor was already looking more normal. The sickly fel tinge had receded and a healthy color was beginning to emerge, although quite pale still. Tayissa offers a smile to Rorrek, "I'm just glad it all worked out," She turns to take a few steps to the door, hesitates for a moment and looks back to Rorrek, "We're on the same side, remember that." She almost doesn't look fully certain herself as she speaks the words. Rorrek seemed to make to speak, but he stopped himself. He gave then instead a deep nod of acknowledgment. Tayissa strode briskly to the door to catch up with Nomu and the commotion outside. “She'll need time...but one can already see the improvements,” Skylah offered, hope present in her weary voice. Ellaluna curled up behind Brianna's nape, nuzzling her face against the woman. An odd vibration began to emit from her chest as she closed her eyes peacefully. Rorrek seemed to not hear Skylah's words for a time as he watched Brianna's visage and Ellaluna's regarding of her. He looked to Skylah then as he realized she spoke. "Yes, of course." He glanced away to the window as a great horn sounded, a signal of need. He bit his lip harshly as his gauntlets clenched with clear resentment. “Take a night to be with her. I'll spend my time with the injured if it lets you rest easier. I worry still, but I believe she will fully recover,” Skylah spoke softly, looking to Rorrek. Rorrek shook his head slowly from side to side. "Tempting is thy word, Chancellor... and grieve do I to depart, but need is dire now and neglect shall I not that sworn. No demon shall enter the city upon my watch, especially now that returned is hope to me." Rorrek stepped closer to the bed and leaned foward. He laid a lasting kiss upon Brianna's lips before parting her hair slightly from her face. The tears which welled within the corners of his eyes were allowed to fall freely when he stood again. Skylah nods a couple times at spoken words. "Then fight well and fight hard.” (( Taken from in-game RP. ))
  6. 9th of July What secrets to divulge? I hadn't the will nor the want to write of late, but perhaps it is the four glasses of wine urging pen to my hand this evening. I had desired nothing more than to lose myself to the quiet, yet find that my mind seems to thrive on it instead – replaying over the events recently passed. Skylah has witnessed the death of the elven slut at my hands. I shared with her the memory of such fateful night and everything that led up to it. My fear was twofold; that she would not forgive me for deciding to do so without her and that such actions would skew all the progress she has made in Winterspring. My fear was misplaced however. Her drive remains but the cloud of self-hatred has lifted. She truly seems happier, and her approval of my methods is the only opinion I care of on the matter. Aside from Rorrek, who stands with me as he always does. Everyone else may think what they wish, I do not care. Judge me for the actions I've taken, but I know the difference between what I did and what they do – even if others are too ignorant to understand. That blonde bitch got exactly what she deserved, for the unforgivable crimes against my family; that is the true difference. I do not lift my hand against the innocent, but against evil; and evil shall not be treated honorably. Light, this wine does not mix well with such intensity of thought. If only there were something frivolous to burden my mind instead. Those days seem many lifetimes ago. Once again we are wrapped up in dangerous affairs, only this time I have no emotion invested. A blessing perhaps. For what ever reason, the Starseer has wormed his way into Skylah's heart and earned her loyalty. She has asked for my involvement and I do so for her, not for him. One thing is certain, if he wishes to remain unharmed he should leave his Caravan. They offer no protection at all, as Skylah has learned the hard way. I suppose I'll be accompanying her soon in any case – the plan is already in motion, if you can call it that. But I still have the remainder of the night, and I have spent enough time thinking on such things. Perhaps now my mind will allow me rest. Mm, after a nice long bubble bath. Aye!
  7. (( It should be noted that the actions here do not represent the vision or views of Twilight Empire and those involved are acting of their own accord without consent. )) ************WARNING: Graphic Violence and Gore************** The coastline curved along the foot of towering mountains, their slopes cascading upon a narrow beach which was soon engulfed by the sea. The swallowed shore then turned inward to resemble a hook cast at the end of a line. Eventually the waters receded to reveal a winding path which lead upwards to the mouth of a lonely cavern. An abandoned canvas partially sheltered the pile of scant belongings across from a moored rowboat. Perhaps this had once been a refuge from harm or a clandestine retreat seldom traveled, but now it was decrepit. The oars had not budged from their rowlocks for some time and the bow were tilted into the rocks. Much of Talador was as this scene since the march of the Iron Horde. Most had yet to reclaim the lives they had lost and left behind while seeking sanctuary from the tide of battle, even after so long. Whoever once tended to this secluded place had not returned. It was well hidden and far from any walked path or grove. It suited their purposes well enough and the Huntress had since seen her quarry kept in this solemn place. Predatory eyes watched the pair approach from down the path, their gaze hidden in the shade afforded by the cave entrance. She had caught their scent before ever seeing them. The first was a full and feminine figure who walked with a purposeful sway which told of one consumed with thought. Supple and rich cloth accentuated her movement while mimicking the appearance of more stout wear. Her face was shrouded by a thin veil, but this did little to conceal the seeming aura which subtly emanated from them with every step. The curse bestowed the Huntress with senses beyond those of men. Her bestial instincts knotted her insides as she watched the woman approach, the hairs upon her nape standing on end. A feeling of unease seeped into her veins as the aura about the nearing visitor began to muster into an unseen shroud. Her concentration was almost wholly consumed, to the point where the second of the pair was nearly forgotten. A pace behind and to the side of the intimidating woman walked an armored man, his demeanor stern and wary. He was garbed in royal blue that was girded in brilliant gold. A short sword jutted from his waist and an immense shield hung upon his back. The Knight was always as this, for as long as the Huntress had known of him. He often seemed to meld into the background as a statue himself. The lupine guard stepped from the shadows and intercepted the two as they breached the threshold of the cavern opening. "Magistra," she spoke respectfully to the darkly clad woman. Only a brief nod was exchanged between her and the woman's stalwart escort. She noted that his silent ire and caution had done little to abate since last they met. The Magistra at first did not respond to her and instead looked within the dim cavern behind the leather swathed Worgen. It was a dreary place, the stone and soil moist from brine which breached the slopes when come was storm. Moss clung especially about the inner crevasses to at least add some color to the darkened cave. All seemed empty until the trio of looming statues and the figure chained betwixt them. The carvings were Draenic in appearance, worn by time as the detail of their faces and once immaculately sculpted robes now stood dull. Their hands were folded in prayer and they looked to one another eternally. From their stone grasps extended chains clasping to and pulling at the neck and either limb of their prisoner. She was not petite as most Sin'dorei were known to be. Instead, her portions mirrored those of a humans more closely. Her legs were chained to the low platform she knelt upon. Perhaps this place had once been an alcove of serenity? Or, maybe a grave to commemorate anchorites long since deceased? Would these silent watchers have approved of becoming a captive audience for this? It did not matter. The Magistra wordlessly moved to the wall nearest the entrance and began to trace invisible symbols into the stone. The lair had already been warded against sound before, but she was determined to ensure none escaped for what she expected to come. "Katrynne, the time has come," she spoke without peering over her shoulder. Katrynne, the Huntress, grew wide eyed. She took several paces past the two and looked outward, as if seeking another. There was no one else to be seen. When this became apparent she turned and her gravelly voice became perturbed. She moved deeper into the cave to impede the other two from entering further. "Where is the Chancellor? Where is Skylah?" Katrynne balked uncertainly. "She will not be here. My sister is doing well and I cannot disturb her from the comfort she has finally found. She is not ready to return, and I will not take her from that haven for this," replied the woman calmly. Katrynne bristled. "You can't kill her tonight, Brianna. Not without the Chancellor... this was to be for her. I understand that she needs distance, but we can hold the monster until she returns." It was then that the third among them stepped toward her, in all his armored regalia. His expression was stern and brooked no desire for debate on the issue. Katrynne's clawed hands clenched and her hackles rose defensively. She knew what he was going to say. This was a risk she had placed before them, and the longer they waited the more of a liability it became. Nonetheless, she was undeterred. "Sir Therrien... This is Skylah's kill. If you're still worried about her being found, then I will stay here every moment myself and make sure that doesn't happen." He was unmoved. She knew he would see to the deed himself if it came to it -- that is, unless she could stop him. "Skylah will see everything that is done here today. She will feel it as I will," Brianna interrupted before the two could begin a heated quarrel. The Magistra was composed and regal in manner as she stepped from the warded opening. "You have my word, Katrynne. Now, stand aside and remove their blindfold. I want them to see." There was a strange gleam inside her emerald eyes, the mark of darker magic. For a moment Katrynne, even while imposing as she was, hesitated. She contemplated what Brianna promised and how she would go about it, remaining in their way as she gave the idea thought. A priestess of her caliber could perform many feats, and the sharing of memories was easily among them. Eventually the assassin begrudgingly stepped aside and did as she was bidden. "If that doesn't work, there are others to capture for her," she muttered under her breath. She quickly stalked to the captive and roughly tore the blindfold from them. Filora reeled from the sudden light. She had been deprived of sight for days, and even the dim cavern threatened to overwhelm her as she adjusted. She stirred in the chains that bound her, forcing her arms upward at all times. "Finally able to show your faces, cowards?" She sneered at her Worgen captor. But, Katrynne's back was already turned as she stepped away in frustration. She folded her arms and leaned herself against the curved wall nearby. Brianna and Rorrek had since followed deeper into the cavern, the latter coming to stand at the wall across from Katrynne. He watched carefully as a sentinel from his position over the captive and two women. It was Brianna who stood closest to the prisoner, though there was still a sizable distance between them. Filora's eyes were greedy to absorb everything about her surroundings. Within moments she had memorized the cavern and the faces of her holders. Their ominous words had echoed down into the cave, and she had listened carefully to it all. "So, the time has come, has it?" This particular face in front of her seemed familiar. Had she seen it before? No, but she had seen its likeness. It was then that it came together. "Ah, I see... That same pretty hair. You must be the harlot's sister, yes?" she probed. "That explains why you'd think this was a good idea. Stupid." Her face was calm and with a hint of smugness, perhaps seeking a rise from the woman that stood before her. There was no answer as Brianna merely watched them. The shadowy sigils carved into Filora's flesh days before prevented resistance to her cursory probing, and the few sweeps she had done of the Sin'dorei's thoughts came to mind. As a woman of a noble house, Brianna was well versed in pointed words. The insults to her sister and herself had caused many rebuttals to flash in her thoughts. She ignored them all in favor of silence. There was no point. She knew that this creature did not feel fear. It was not from bravery that Filora was fearless, but instead an absence of the emotion. Brianna briefly thought on what else this thing did not feel. It did not matter. She knew what Filora would be feeling soon enough. "Do you have any last words?" Brianna asked impassively. Filora mulled this over for a time before glancing away. She smiled and shook her head from side to side. "Please, save the empty threats. You're from that pathetic guild that calls itself an Empire. You wouldn't dare." It was then that Filora had a thought. She looked down toward the stones to hide her smirk. "Is there someone you want your remains sent to?" Brianna inquired. It was a hollow gesture and it would not be honored. But, there was a chance that such a question could betray the name of their kin or allies. Filora ignored the question. "No, no...you wouldn't dare. Or... maybe you would? Maybe you feel you have to?" A cunning streak took root in her mind as she spoke in a purposefully timid voice. "I... know what that is like. For what I did to your sister. I had to since it was the only way to survive... in the Grim." She knew this ploy would most likely not work as it had before. But, she could not resist. Her posture in her chains went more limp as if to garner pity. "I do not have to," Brianna said. "I want to." There was no pity. The unseen aura which surrounded Brianna gathered again, causing Katrynne's clawed hands to quietly clench around her folded arms. The priestess closed her eyes and focused on her decided method. It would not take long. When her eyes opened they were clouded with a dark amethyst shade. Filora was defenseless. The runes etched into her skin thwarted any attempt to muster the Light to her side. Nonetheless, she did not feel the need. There was no foreboding in her stomach or chill up her spine. She believed herself to hold a measure of control over the situation, despite her circumstances. She had made to sneer at whatever her captor was preparing, but her attention was stolen as something gripped her limbs. Tendrils, of the same amethyst as Brianna's eyes, sprouted from the statues and ground surrounding her. They tied themselves like vices about her wrists and ankles. From the mouth of the statue behind her emerged another tendril which slithered down to grasp her neck in addition to the chain. "Get these filthy things off of me!" Filora demanded, her voice full of outrage. Her protest was interrupted again as the tendrils began to lift her until her chains and limbs were tight. Soon she was completely suspended in the air. Brianna's clothes and auburn locks rippled with power, as if a gust of wind had swirled around her. "This will hurt," she quietly stated. The tendrils began to pull. Filora's thoughts raced as she attempted to thrash the tendrils loose. Eventually she stopped and looked down at Brianna with a realization. A malicious grin appeared on her strained face, and with an effort she laughed. It was a strangled sound due to the grip on her throat, but it still echoed softly in the warded cave. "So... now we are the same," she gloated while she could still breath. "You're just as... evil as... you think we are." The choked laughter returned before she continued speaking. Brianna did not hear them. Just as before, it did not matter. She would not waste her words and she did not banter with the dead. She did not hear their voice struggle more and more between breathing and talking. She did not hear the strain of their limbs as the tendrils began to pull harder. She did not hear the involuntary shouts that came when the slow popping began. Instead, she heard the voice of her sister. Brianna heard Skylah crying and pouring out all she had endured. The torment she had suffered, the depravity she had withstood, and how despair had come to dominate her thoughts. Brianna knew Filora's sins, and for them she would see her torn apart. The Shadow hungered and it would not be denied. Filora's joints cried out with unsettling sounds as they were dislocated one by one. The tearing of muscle and gnashing of bone filled the cavern with their hideous noises. The screams and gasping filled the voids in between as Filora's body shuddered and fought in an instinctive panic. "No... better than... us," Filora spat out, though it was difficult to understand in the wheeze it emerged with. All throughout the slow drawing she choked likewise insults. The Light would not answer her, and so this was all she had to use. The ugliness of vengeance. It was then that Rorrek answered the gloating while watching their gradual demise. "Such is where oft falter the righteous. Should unable one be to lure vermin of their hovels...then prepared must one be instead to delve thither and see their likes purged amongst den and darkness," he proclaimed. He spoke as if reciting oath. The solemn man was unmoved by the gruesome nature of the execution. He continued to watch as if he were simply another impassive statue that held Filora bound. Such was not so opposite of the Knight. Katrynne had fidgeted and watched with ever widening eyes. She could hear the breaking of Filora's body in a way the others could not. The sight and sounds of a creature in its death throes called to her cursed instincts. But, this conflicted greatly now with her conscience. She watched in horror, to be noted by the Knight across from them. The Huntress looked at Brianna in a new and disturbed light until she eventually had to tear her sight away. “Be done with it!" she exclaimed. She would from this day onward remember Filora's words and find herself agreeing. "Feed...me...to...the...wh--" Filora did not finish her final words. Her skin was flushed and visibly elongated into a grotesque appearance. Her body would not last. Still, she was completely unafraid. In her last moments there was no fear, only a deepening denial. Filora could not comprehend herself dying. There was always a way out. And then... it was done. There was a sudden and violent squelching before the end. A horrible and visceral ripping was heard as Filora's limbs were torn asunder and free from her torso. Her head was the last to be wretched from her body. The violence of the act saw the statues and tendrils coated in blood and other bodily fluids. So great was the pressure from this eruption that much was vaulted toward Brianna, but nothing would touch her. A shield of Light had instantly encircled Brianna. This halted the rain of gore entirely, and she watched Filora's still suspended pieces through the curtain of red. Only a growing crescent of crimson remained about her feet when the barrier fell. It was over. -Written in collaboration with Rorrek, and in editing with Filora and Katrynne-
  8. (( Here are some of the SS's I managed to take when not stuck in an endless loop of placing down decorations, haha. )) People were just beginning to arrive! Familiar faces alongside some new people! Skylah's cooking brings a few people... So much skin. Tuuroto learns to see-saw. And dead seagull. Overhead view. All of our contestants in their lovely outfits. A bit more people show up! Congratulations to our Swimsuit Contest winners! Kyalla in 1st place! Tayissa in 2nd place! Kolgarn in 3rd place! Fun in the sun, yo. When you see it...
  9. Mackinzie

    Island Beach Party

    <A bright yellow sun dazzles in the top corner of the parchment in attempt to catch the eye of those passing by! Palm trees decorate the edges, with their branches swaying enchantingly in the wind. The script is written in an inviting blue that is reminiscent of the ocean. These fliers are posted all around Alliance hotspots, taverns, and city boards!> Grab your swimsuit and get ready for some fun in the sun! The Twilight Empire will be hosting an Island Beach Party upon the 25th of June, at 7:00pm in the evening. Come relax in the sand, float around in the clear waters, and enjoy some grilled food. All refreshments are free, and yes, alcohol will be provided! There will also be fishing and fireworks! (But not fishing with fireworks!) For the competitors out there, we'll be having a swimsuit competition! A fair amount of gold will go to the winners, which will be decided by those attending but not competing. Men and women are permitted to enter and will all be participating in the same competition. Good luck to all! All Alliance are invited to our Island Beach Party! Bring your family, friends, and pets – and we'll see you there among the sandy beaches of Southbreak Shore, Tanaris! The party island is visible just off the coast and there will be transportation across the water to all that desire! Come join the fun! ((OOC Details: Date: June 25th, 2016, Saturday Time: 7:00 pm (server) Location: Southbreak Shore, Tanaris (An island visible just off the coast.) Activities: Swimsuit Competition: Men and Women, dress in your best swimsuit! Party-goer vote will decide our top 3 winners! Please keep in mind best overall look, uniqueness, and cohesiveness when voting. Prizes of gold will be given to our winners! Aside from the competition there will be swimming, fishing, fireworks, games and provided food and drink for all to enjoy! We hope to see many new faces among our already dear friends! Everyone is invited, so bring as many guests as you'd like! See you all there. ***Looking For Help: We are currently looking for a few IC helping hands to aid with some of the food stands and other activities. We are also looking for IC volunteer guards to help keep the perimeters safe! If anyone out there would like to assist with the party or guard duties, please contact Mackinzie-Ravenholdt. Thank you!***))
  10. <A bright yellow sun dazzles in the top corner of the parchment in attempt to catch the eye of those passing by! Palm trees decorate the edges, with their branches swaying enchantingly in the wind. The script is written in an inviting blue that is reminiscent of the ocean. These fliers are posted all around Alliance hotspots, taverns, and city boards!> Grab your swimsuit and get ready for some fun in the sun! The Twilight Empire will be hosting an Island Beach Party upon the 25th of June, at 7:00pm in the evening. Come relax in the sand, float around in the clear waters, and enjoy some grilled food. All refreshments are free, and yes, alcohol will be provided! There will also be fishing and fireworks! (But not fishing with fireworks!) For the competitors out there, we'll be having a swimsuit competition! A fair amount of gold will go to the winners, which will be decided by those attending but not competing. Men and women are permitted to enter and will all be participating in the same competition. Good luck to all! All Alliance are invited to our Island Beach Party! Bring your family, friends, and pets – and we'll see you there among the sandy beaches of Southbreak Shore, Tanaris! The party island is visible just off the coast and there will be transportation across the water to all that desire! Come join the fun! ((OOC Details: Date: June 25th, 2016, Saturday Time: 7:00 pm (server) Location: Southbreak Shore, Tanaris (An island visible just off the coast. From your map it is south of Caverns of Time.) Activities: Swimsuit Competition: Men and Women, dress in your best swimsuit! Party-goer vote will decide our top 3 winners! Please keep in mind best overall look, uniqueness, and cohesiveness when voting. Prizes of gold will be given to our winners! Aside from the competition there will be swimming, fishing, fireworks, games and provided food and drink for all to enjoy! We hope to see many new faces among our already dear friends! Everyone is invited, so bring as many guests as you'd like! See you all there. ***Looking For Help: We are currently looking for a few IC helping hands to aid with some of the food stands and other activities. We are also looking for IC volunteer guards to help keep the perimeters safe! If anyone out there would like to assist with the party or guard duties, please contact Mackinzie-Ravenholdt. Thank you!***))
  11. Rorrek and Brianna - Couple Mood Board. (I felt like doing one around their relationship, so that's what I did. )
  12. 26th of May I never realized how empty the house feels without Skylah. Quieter, yes. Stocked with more food, yes. (And certainly more wine.) But her absence leaves a noticeable loneliness about the halls, perhaps because I know the implications of why she had to leave and what is at stake while she is gone. In truth I simply miss her. I suppose that is why I found myself in her chambers today. I had only intended to step within for a few moments, to feel a bit closer to her – but I noticed the letter almost immediately. She had left it atop her jewelry box. (Probably because she thought I'd borrow things, hmph. Alright, I most likely will but that is beside the point right now.) I wish I hadn't read it. I know she surely wished for it to be a token of comfort but it is practically a fucking suicide note!! How could she possibly think this would be good to leave behind for me? Rorrek is the only reason I have not went to Winterspring to slap her silly face. “To hold closer would but smother and see that as her drift further from thy watch and grasp,” he had told me. The truth is clear enough but it is so very difficult to abide considering the situation. But she is there with the love of her life, just as Rorrek would be there with me were things reversed. I must trust in that love and leave them be. Skylah sounded cheerful enough when I spoke with her last but she has my talent for masks so I can not help but worry. And wonder. And worry. I've informed both Katrynne and Tayissa of her time away, and explained as best I could; though I do not think Katrynne was too pleased with the sparse information given. Or perhaps it was the fact that Skylah had to leave in the first place, I can not say for sure. Only that I have noticed a subtle change in Katrynne. I do not want to place false trust in the woman and get burned but I admit I have come to realize the length of her loyalty and thusly believe I owe her more trust than I have been bestowing. Even with Skylah away, she came to Joscelyn's memorial service. It meant a great deal to me, more than she is aware I'm sure. I have invited her to the manor for a social visit, mayhaps I'll be able to find a way to say as much. As for Tayissa, she worries me greatly. How someone in her line of business, with such a criminal past, has come so far without the ability to lie believably – well it's astonishing really. Vatya, in her nine years of age, could tell a better lie. I do not say such to speak ill of the Captain, but it is worrisome nonetheless. The General has her suspicions, I know because she asked me outright if I was hunting the Grim. If such is asked of Tayissa, her face is bound to betray us even before her shaken words! Lying is not something I am proud to do, nor take any pleasure in. Yet it is a necessary sin upon such occasions as we now find ourselves. The truth must be guarded if our cause is to continue successfully. And it must continue! My anger from meeting with the General has calmed some, though I still find most of what she said incredulous. Hypocritical. Ignorant. Careless. Hmm, perhaps it has not calmed at all. She would have had Skylah and I placed beneath watch (at the very least!) – to ensure the good name of the Empire. Ha! The image of the Empire as seen by outsiders is the most important thing to her and the Council. What of the image of the Empire as seen by its members? For that image is surely tarnished. Besides, I do not believe for a second that the death of any Grim would have ill bearing on our reputation. If anything, I expect thank you notes and red roses would cascade upon our doorstep for taking out the trash. Perhaps our allied organizations would applaud us for growing a spine! Azeroth is a better place without their terror. Like a snuffed flame, the anger turns to smokey disappointment. I could go on – I could fiercely defend our actions, I could debate until my face turned blue and it would never matter. It would never change a thing. And in all honesty, I do not want to harbor these feelings towards the General or the Council. If my station within the Empire requires me to place my professionalism above my personal feelings for the only real family I have, above their safety even – then I must face the fact that I likely do not belong here any longer. I -certainly- do not belong with the Keepers. How ironic that their oath is to serve and protect the Empire, yet I have been warned of my imminent removal should I get caught hunting the Grim. Are not those actions of protection!? This is not some petty disagreement of views, this is much more valuable – but I am reminded again of Rorrek's words near the lake. He is much wiser than I, with far more experience to pull from. Rash decisions often lead to regret, so I will think further on the matter.
  13. There was something so very alluring about the garden at nightfall. A sense of enchantment that left ones heart hopeful, as if magic danced on the petals of every rose and sparkled in the soft shafts of moonbeam that fell from the canopy above. Within the garden all desires were possible, one only need but whisper them to the flowers. At least, that is how it had always felt to the two sisters. The years may come and go, and the gardens may change, but the feeling of wonder always remained the same. Their garden beneath the moon was a place of peace, their own hidden paradise. It was for this precise reason that Brianna now waited upon the elaborately carved stone bench next to the billow of dreaming glory that surrounded the fixture, swaying gently in the night's breeze. “Hello, sister,” Skylah spoke softly, interrupting the silence that Brianna had found herself content within. She took a seat next to the elder Priestess, who in truth was but three years older than her, and fixed azure eyes curiously her way. Brianna had asked Skylah to meet here for a reason, one that was sure to be of some importance she knew, but what? Her stomach clenched abruptly at the possibilities yet she managed to quell the surge as Brianna smiled warmly. “I apologize if I took a bit longer on the ride home. My thoughts sometimes come clearer on horseback,” Skylah added as an after thought. “Hello, Skyjade,” Brianna responded. She sat straddling the bench, with one leg dangling on either side. Between her legs rested an old and well aged bottle of wine from their private collections, with dust that still clung possessively to the label. A lazy wave of her hand commanded the cork and it popped loudly from it's holding place by an unseen force. The wine had a fruity aroma with an unmistakable hint of cinnamon spice that rose up around the pair and swathed them delicately. Grasping the neck of the bottle in hand, Brianna took a deep drink and then handed it to her sister as she spoke. “I understand. Did it seem to help?” Skylah tipped the bottle back, indulging in a long taste, before she answered the question. Within her voice there was a sigh of frustration. “Not this night, unfortunately.” Weariness pulled at her otherwise beautiful face, drawing down the corners of her mouth and draining the light from her azure eyes. The sight of such despair upon her sisters face may as well been a bramble of thorns, squeezing viciously around her heart to leave tiny pricks of helplessness. For a time she remained quiet, merely taking in the shadowed beauty that surrounded them. “Sky,” she finally began once the silence became unbearable. “There was a moment earlier at the Keepers meeting. There were too many around to ask further but... I felt the jarring sorrow radiating from you, almost suffocatingly so. I would never read your private thoughts but your emotions I can not help but feel. Will you speak to me?” A flash of alarm crossed the younger sister's face and she instinctively hid away behind another even longer drink of the wine – but she could only drink so much and her eyes fell then to the bottle as she lowered it between them. Unable to meet Brianna's gaze, Skylah stared at this bottle for awhile and struggled with how to begin. “I, um...” she attempted. Her foot began to bounce nervously among the lush grass, catching the intuitive eye of Brianna. With respect to Skylah's feelings and the challenge she faced, Brianna politely averted her gaze in hopes to waylay some of the pressure. Her attentions shifted to a nearby flower and she reached out to stroke the velvet petals casually. This seemed to help greatly and Skylah took a deep breath, affixing a distant gaze on Brianna's hand. “I fear to burden you with more of my issues,” she said bluntly. “You weigh yourself down by my needs as it is.” A cold uninvited void left Brianna feeling sick at the sadness in Skylah's words and she lifted her gaze to look at her sister, compelled by the desperate need to contradict such mistaken feelings. “Is that what you truly think? That I am burdened by you? That you weigh me down?” the Priestess spoke quietly, full of her own despair. “I do not believe you would ever admit such, but yes I do. With the worries that you must constantly have about me, would not your life be simpler without them? Without me?” Skylah whispered in return as the breeze caught her words and brought them crashing hard into Brianna's heart. Azure eyes searched her sister's face, begging to be heard – truly heard. “No. Skylah no,” Brianna spoke her answer with difficulty. Torment clouded her gaze, rising up to darken the emerald hue in much the same way a thunderstorm leaves the day dreary and gray, taking all hope for a glimpse of the sun in its wake. In the silence that followed, as Brianna regarded her sister intensely, tears gathered at the corner of her eyes. Storms always brought the rain. Gently Brianna moved the wine bottle away and scooted forward on the bench, closing the gap between them. She grabbed Skylah's hand beseechingly and placed it over her own heart. “Search my heart if you must know the truth,” she pleaded. “Pick apart my mind, I will lie all exposed to you! If you will not trust my words, trust that. Please, Skylah.” Brianna whispered, the first of the tears slipping down her cheeks. “You are never a burden. Never a weight or a worry that I can not bear. No, you are my Light. The mirror of my very soul. You are the beauty in my wicked world, don't you see?” Skylah wiped at her own tears, which flowed freely now, and held her palm firmly over Brianna's heart. From her lips, the words fell hopelessly. “But am I not the source of this wicked world anymore?” A small pause drove the thought home before Skylah whispered once more. “I am a dim light at best, and I feel as if my beauty has been soiled.” “And have you ever thought of me in such a way?” Brianna demanded gently. “For I have lain with the darkness for many years, bent it to my will, and relished in such. If you are a dim light, I am far beyond.” The Priestess shook her head, giving lift to the satin strands of auburn that framed her face as the breeze caught them and sent them swirling lightly. “No, you have not and neither do I think such of you.” Emotion rushed up her throat, filling the small space with desperation, and Brianna clenched her jaw briefly to keep it at bay. Though a struggle, she continued on. “You are even more beautiful than you once were. You have risen from the ashes of those foul hands to burn ever bright! You stand when they wanted you so badly to kneel. You must see that as I do! Everything we do is for justice. We are not the wicked ones. They are!” “Then why am I the one plagued with thoughts of taking ones own life?!” Skylah blurted out, words dripping with agony and soaked with a bleak misery. “I try Brianna. I -am- trying, truly. I know the truth of your words but when I am alone...” She bowed her head, unable to bear the weight of the words she spoke. Fallen tears dropped onto the cold stone between them, leaving tragically beautiful evidence of the pain that twisted her very soul. “I must cling to you and Bethany, for without you I am surely lost,” she voiced quietly. Brianna touched Skylah's cheek in comfort, brushing away the tears with her thumb even as she lifted the younger woman's face and affixed heartbroken emerald eyes upon her. “Because you have walked through hell, Skylah, and it changes a person,” she answered. She was doing her very best to not fall apart under such a deafening revelation but she was also not truly surprised by Skylah's confession. Hadn't she once thought of taking her own life as well? Aye, she recalled, you know what its like and you know what saved you. “I have had such thoughts, when I ki – when Father died,” she amended softly. “Though the trauma is different, the feelings are quite similar. I often thought you would be better without me, that I had caused much strife in your world. And the guilt, Light, it is enough to place the dagger in my hand for me but do you know what stopped me?” Brianna imparted a teary stare of importance to Skylah. “You did. Our bond kept the blackness from swallowing me whole. It is unbreakable and more powerful than these thoughts. And you never have to fight this alone, for I will always be here.” Throughout Brianna's words Skylah had sat attentively, with a furrowed brow of distress but azure eyes that held full understanding to the truth spoken and sympathy as well. The younger sister burst into full sobs, unable to truly respond with anything else, and dropped her head. “Oh my darling girl,” Brianna cooed. “Come here.” With a tender touch Brianna gathered Skylah into her arms and guided the girls head to rest upon her shoulder. For a time she merely held her sister protectively and pressed her cheek to the mane of auburn that so closely matched her own. Here beneath the stars, alone in their garden, the two sisters could do nothing but hold tight to each other and let the pain run its course. Eventually, when Skylah had finally exhausted herself, she lifted her head slightly and whispered, “I blind myself with this anger, this need to hunt them. I just want to be happy, with you, here at home. What can I do?” The frail voice cracked heart-wrenchingly. “I struggle in constant battle.” “I know the harrowing toll of constant battle within ones own heart more than most,” Brianna said in plain truth. Whether it was vengeance or forgiveness, Shadow or Light, guilt or justice – she knew the importance of balance and the strength one needed to see such controlled. “We will find your happiness once again,” Brianna vowed with a squeeze around Skylah's lithe shoulders. “It is not forever gone, but merely shadowed. And I know the first step to finding such but it is not something I think you wish to hear, for it is a most arduous trial.” Skylah choked back a sob at this, or perhaps it was a scoff, Brianna could not tell. “I don't know what could be worse. What more must I endure? How much more can I?!” Skylah cried, with words that danced teasingly on the edge of hysteria. Sky felt so small in her hands that Brianna was overwhelmingly reminded of Isabella and the times she had to comfort the child over a scraped knee or a torn dress. She had failed that sister, she would not fail this one. “Happiness and vengeance can not dwell in the same place, my Love. Not for one such as you, not now.” Delicately she caressed Skylah's back, running her fingertips over the knobby spine beneath. “The life you so treasure awaits you but you must first let go of the anger and the only way to do that, Sky, the only way to let it go is to make peace with what happened. And it will not be easy, it will be so frightfully hard to do but I can help you! I will do all I can for you,” she promised. “I...” Skylah tried to say, but her breath caught in her throat and prevented her from continuing. The grip around Brianna tightened and she hugged her sister as if afraid to ever let go. “I... don't know that I can, Bri. I wish I could but every day I see things that remind me. The herbs I now rely on, the apparent celebrity status that comes from almost being hanged, and this...” She stopped, holding up her prosthetic hand. “There will never be a day that I am not reminded. The scars are mental as well as physical.” There was no way to argue that point, nor anything to say other than what Brianna whispered as she glanced to Skylah with a look of pure, aching understanding. “I know, Sky.” She gathered the young girl back into her arms and pulled her close once more. “That particular war has ended and you can never go back to win it but you can survive it. The pain will lessen in time and the scars will fade,” she spoke certainly and with emphasis. “You must now search yourself and make a decision. You can not be these two hearts at war inside you and I am so sorry, my sweet. I have been blinded by my own vengeance as well and have lost sight of the pain you feel. Please don't leave me, I need you.” The answering response was barely said above a whisper. “As I need you, Bri.” Skylah took a deep breath to steady herself and collect such thoughts that were beginning to rear up defiantly. “But what of those who deserve our wrath? Can I truly mend knowing they are still out there? Sometimes I know not what I wish for more – to be healed and whole again or to get my hands on each and every one that harmed me. To be the last thing they see before their dying breath.” Renewed anger pulsed in her azure eyes and Brianna noticed the clenched fists at her sister's side. A soft kiss was placed atop Skylah's head by Brianna, lingering there for a moment as she held her sibling closely and sought her mind for the right words to say. “I do not suggest we leave them to their lives, no. No, they must pay and they shall. But I do suggest this, Sky: You must truly heal first. This pain you feel must be tempered to a degree that allows you to see past it.” She guided Skylah away gently so that she could look into her eyes. “I have been remiss in my actions, I should have focused upon you firstly and for that I must beg your forgiveness. The trauma you've experienced is still too raw for you to fully claim your vengeance, it is splitting you in twain. I thought that being so active in their deaths would give you the closure you needed, and perhaps in time it will, but you aren't ready to contend with it all at once. I should have realized sooner. I have went about this all wrong.” “You are at no fault, though if you feel it is so then you have my forgiveness,” Skylah spoke gently. The tears had finally stopped but her voice held the weary weight of one ready to give up and it broke Brianna's heart. “If it is as you say, maybe I cannot see it yet. When I think of letting go of my vengeance, I feel as if I am losing something I can never reclaim. A part of me.” Growing ever tired, she laid down along the length of the bench and rested her head in Brianna's lap. The urge to refute those points rose eagerly in Brianna's throat. She wished to tell her that it was but a toxic part of her, one not needed but she couldn't bring herself to be so hypocritical. For she held tight to that very same vengeance and cursed those that tried to take it from her. The difference was that she was strong enough to do so and Skylah still stood upon a shattered foundation. But not for long, Brianna vowed to herself. She would rebuild Skylah's inner fortress bigger and better than it had ever stood. So instead she brushed Skylah's auburn hair back from her tear streaked face and whispered softly. “You are not happy as it is, so something must be done. That is the bold truth, my little Skyjade. I think you need to step back for a time and focus upon the scars of your heart. What of a vacation? Leave it all behind you.” Skylah closed her eyes beneath the soothing touch and exhaled slowly. “To where might we vacation?” she asked. “Is there a place where I might feel free of these chains? I welcome it, truly. I do not wish to die, Brianna, but I fear I have forgotten how to live.” How incredibly sorrowful those words were as they took flight over the tops of the dreaming glory blossoms. “Where ever you wish,” Brianna replied gently while running her fingers comfortingly through Skylah's tresses. “Far away from all of this. You could go to the sunny beaches of Quel'danas or the snowy mountains of Dun Morogh. Where ever you choose you will have nothing to worry of but you.” “Will you make the arrangements?” Skylah spoke, still a little uncertain at the prospect. “I cannot think of a place at this time. And will you be there with me, or must I go alone?” Brianna peered down at her lap to see azure eyes staring up at her and it lifted her heart to see the small sliver of hope that shone therein. She smiled warmly at Skylah as she spoke, “Aye, I will make all the necessary arrangements and inform all that need to know, leave everything to me. And I will be there, if you want... but perhaps a retreat for the two turtle doves, you and Bethany, might be more in order.” A smile formed on Skylah's lips, small but there, and her body relaxed a bit. “I think I would like that.” It had been so long since she had been alone with Bethany in any intimate capacity. The notion both excited and frightened her. “Will you write me? Or keep in touch? I do not believe I will be taking my guild stone,” she decided. Brianna delicately ran one fingertip along the curve of Skylah's ear in sisterly affection as she responded softly, “I will of course keep in touch. But we will speak only of your adventures, nothing of business, of the Empire, that wretched Cathedral, or the hunts that continue. I want such far from your mind.” She cupped Skylah's cheek gently and peered down at her with a weighted gaze that imparted the importance of what she next spoke. “Skylah, for this to truly work I must know that you understand what is at stake, your inner peace. Your ability to find the happiness once again, in time, and hold it securely in the face of the vengeance we will take up once more – if you so want.” Skylah nodded, the tears long dried upon her beautiful face and spoke agreeably. “For you, my lovely sister, I will do this. You have done so much for me. Should I return whole enough, maybe you can find time for yourself and Rorrek, away from everything.” The thought for her and Rorrek's welfare touched her heart and Brianna smiled lovingly. “Perhaps so, but with you and Bethany gone from the house, it will be a vacation for us as well, no?” She laughed slightly at the jest, nudging Skylah in hopes to bring a smile to her sister's lips. Skylah nestled her head in Brianna's lap and rewarded her sister with a smile. “I do understand, Light I do. To see myself in the mirror these past months has been painful enough. To see the person I was staring back at the person I am...” She shrugged softly. “I want to be better. I realize I will never be that same girl, but I will settle for better.” She shifted slightly, taking Brianna's hand between hers and holding it tightly. “I love you, Bri.” “I love you too, Sky. Always always,” Brianna whispered in response. As they fell into a peaceful silence, Brianna glanced appreciatively around their garden. The enchantment was still very much alive and it had emboldened each of their hearts with renewed hope, just as it always had. Thank you, she thought with a grateful smile, looking then to the willow tree that stirred slightly in the cool breeze. You're welcome, it responded in the lift of it's fronds. Yes, the garden was a magical place indeed. This post has been promoted to an article